Oilers at Preds, G61/07-08

For stats nuts like me, the Zack Stortini’s of the world are always going to be a mystery. Like the .188-hitting catchers who can handle pitchers like horse whisperer’s (say that 10 times), Stortini’s gifts do not present themselves in crooked numbers.

One cannot argue about the benefits of Stortini, at least this season and more specifically recently. He is a magnet for the opposition’s better players, an instant “get into the penalty-box free” card in hockey’s game of Monopoly.

Stortini takes the other teams better players with him to the penalty box, he is as difficult to score on as Bob Gibson in 1968 and he looks like a complete donkey with a modern Glen Sather smirk that must piss off opponents from 20 miles away.

He’s a mystery. I’m glad he’s on our side and even though he isn’t my favorite player-type it’s hard to argue with success.

The only thing left is to put him on the powerplay where he’ll turn into Phil Esposito.

As for tonight, the Preds are a very good team again this season, are tough at home and are on a hot steak. They do not, however, have Zack Stortini.

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83 Responses to "Oilers at Preds, G61/07-08"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Seems many of us are starting to come around on Sasquatch. I can see winning this game if Garon can shine, and if Hemsky can get himself back on track. Let’s stay out of the penalty box here guys, or Radulov’s going to have his way with us.

  2. pboy says:

    I have been baffled for most of this season as to why Stortini has been up in the majors but I have to admit he’s pretty much won me over with his play over this last month. He’s plays full out every shift and he has that knack for driving the opposition bat shit crazy. He will never be a big time enforcer but if you appreciate the work he is putting in, he has earned a spot on this team.

  3. CM says:

    If we were talking a deal for Cammalleri does anyone think that perhaps a roloson for cloutier would make sense as a throw in?

    Once again now that Katz is the owner we could send cloutier down to the minors and effectivly bury his contract there.

    Maybe a deal could look something like this

    Stoll, Staios, Roloson , one of MAP JFJ or Robbie for Cammalleri, Cloutier and a 2nd?

  4. doritogrande says:

    cm,

    If we use that 2nd rounder on Harri Sateri, I’m down.

  5. RiversQ says:

    …he is as difficult to score on as Bob Gibson in 1968…

    But not quite as difficult to score on as Marc Pouliot in 06/07.

    Give me a freaking break with the hyperbole, LT.

    Stortini has played some good hockey and has found a great niche at this point. Personally, I think his contribution to beating bottom sixers has more value than the agitating, but getting quality opposition players off the ice can’t hurt. You have to like that line right now.

  6. canablach says:

    “… put him on the powerplay where he’ll turn into Phil Esposito”.

    I’ll drink to that !

  7. HBomb says:

    Would anyone else be happy with a “bottom five” forward set of Glencross, Brodziak, Stortini, Pouliot and Jody Shelley next year?

    I know I would. Two guys who piss off the opposition, two young and cheap utility centres, and one true heavyweight at our disposal for 30-40 games per year.

    Perfect.

  8. doritogrande says:

    H-bomb, do you mean those as your 10-14F?

    I’d do that if so, but I’d rather a rookie take Shelly’s spot. Ryan O’Marra comes to mind if he continues doing what he’s done the last month or so.

    I don’t think this team needs a bona-fide “enforcer” the way Glencross and Stortini play their games.

  9. HBomb says:

    doritogrande: Yep, that’s what I’m getting at. Fourth line plus two extras.

    If anything, O’Marra could challenge for Pouliot’s spot as the spare centerman.

    And given that we play in the same division as Minnesota, Calgary and Vancouver, I’d say having a Shelley-type on board would be useful for those games alone, plus other select opposition (Anaheim for example).

    A guy like Shelley might check in at a cheaper rate than a first rounder like O’Marra on an entry-level deal. Having a true heavyweight on top of Stortini and Glencross as part of that 10-14F group really would stop any debates about “team toughness”, in my mind.

  10. jon k says:

    Zach’s been one of the my favorites since the pre-season. Coincidentally that was also when I decided to cheer for guys who were fighting for a roster spot, since there wasn’t much point in cheering for the team as a whole.

    I don’t know, it’s sort of like Kelly Hrudey said on one HNIC, there’s something about the guy that you could see even early on that hinted he was a player.

    Plus, you know, it’s pretty funny to watch his antics. ;)

  11. Bruce says:

    Man, Nashville have just owned us lately. At least six straight, all in regulation, including a sweep of last season’s series.

    I happened to go to their last two games at Rexall, a convincing 4-0 whitewash last March — one of the most disheartening and least competitive games during the Black Spring — and a barely more competitive 4-1 Predators pig-out in November. Then the Preds sacked the Oilers 5-2 in Nashville six weeks ago.

    Don’t know what it’s going to take to turn that around, but a 20-man effort would be a real good place to start. It always seems like Nashville gets one.

  12. danny says:

    Well it would be nice to see the effort from Vancouver, and not the effort from San Jose. Thats what matters with this team, let the wins/losses fall where they may.

  13. Ribs says:

    Think Nashville would switch divisions with us if we asked real nice?

    I was at the game last March as well. It was pretty horrible. I was excited to watch Forsberg play in that game but he just floated around for most of it.

    All part of the loads of cash I handed out last year to the Oilers with mini packs and hotel rooms and gas and whatnot. I’m almost thankful for all of the injuries because otherwise my bank account would likely be hurting again.

    Should be interesting to see what Tootoo’s night will be like with Stortini and friends playing.

  14. Dennis says:

    The great thing about this game is wondering if the Oilers will continue to get in there and crash-and-bang.

    It’s funny because I hate movies where people are dying or getting their heads cut off and things are exploding, etc.

    And I’ve given up liking violence since I’ve gotten out of my early 20′s:)

    That being said I was laughing my head off on Sat night and loving that game vs Van. And though there weren’t as many fights, the Oilers played pretty much the same way when they shut out the Flames at Rexall a couple of weeks ago. And I didn’t see the game but from what I read they did the same thing a couple of friday’s ago vs the Stars.

    Moreau said the other day that they’ll gain a lot of new fans if they keep up this style and I’m here to tell you that they’ll get more love from the older fans if they keep that up as well.

    And, Bruce, yes, it’s hard sledding for the Oilers in Nsh and always has been.

  15. Aaron says:

    Don’t for get Nashville has that little prick named Tootoo.

    I hope Huggy Bear gives him such a hug that he blacks out and is done for the game.

    I would hate to play against that dirty little SOB (Tootoo) running around charging people and jumping on hits.

    Grrrr ….

  16. grease trap says:

    Yeah, but we’d love him if was in Copper and Blue.

  17. rickibear says:

    Yes please! Plus he sure teaches people who try to run him. Ask Robidas.

  18. mike w says:

    Gene Principe and props MUST END NOW.

  19. Scarlett says:

    Gene is good entertainment….

  20. Bruce says:

    That wasn’t exactly a hugfest. Lots o’ punches thrown there, and quite a few landed.

    Those rebounds are scaring me, Garon is really punting them out lately. Lucky to escape without a GA there.

  21. Lowetide says:

    So did we get confirmation that Gagner challenged Kesler?

  22. Scarlett says:

    Better practice those line changes more…bad!!

  23. Bruce says:

    Errors: Stoll, Reasoner, Hemsky. That was terrible. Primary error Stoll who just peeled off for a change with the Preds breaking out. That’s the second time since the All-Star break that Stoll has made a brutal change that has cost a goal. Against San Jose (here) the Sharks scored a goal two seconds after Stoll left the ice on a fairly similar play, where he simply left the eventual goal scorer (Grier) in the neutral zone and cruised to the bench. At least this time the right guys (16, 19, 83) were charged with a minus. Unfortunately, Smid and Staios were also charged a -1 for doing their jobs. That’s why I like the error stat to complement the +/- because there’s discretion to identify the real culprits.

    Three veterans too. Very disappointing.

  24. Lowetide says:

    A no-hitter so far.

  25. PDO says:

    Brodziak won’t like watching that one on the tape tomorrow.

  26. Bruce says:

    Fuck here we go again, another Music City Debacle. That was weak sauce too.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Stoll has his head up his ass.

  28. dubya says:

    Seriously, is MacT drunk?

    Penner in the middle? The fucking kid line again? Our best ES offensive player with a black hole (Stoll) and a dead weight (Reasoner)?

    Seriously, we win a few games, play a good game and lose. Why the FUCK change the lines? And why do so in a fucking random manner?

    Next shift, Pitkanen centring Garon and Stortini.

  29. honkey says:

    How the hell can they let Radulov walk out like that from the corner without noone challenging him.

  30. dubya says:

    I think Gagner may be a player someday.

  31. honkey says:

    San Fernando with his trademark deke.

  32. mike w says:

    And then there is Pisani. God bless him.

  33. Bruce says:

    Primary Error: Brodziak, for vacating the middle. Secondary error: Gagner, who played the fake pass OK but then pulled up and didn’t react defensively but watched Radulov curl into the slot. Pitkanen was also late reacting although I’ll have to watch the play a few more times before assigning him an official error.

    Again no chance for Garon; you can’t let Radulov shoot from there for fuck’s sake.

    Note: the Nashville minor officials are not good at tracking player changes. I’m pretty sure 16-19-83 were all off the ice for Nichol’s goal (although as mentioned they dseserved their minuses), and that time Storitini had changed off for Gagner a good 10 seconds before the goal, yet was erroneously identified as still being on the ice. I guess he and Gagner are similar in that both shoot right.

  34. Bruce says:

    Wow, a bolt from the blue. Lucky that one made it 2-1 and not 5-1.

  35. Bruce says:

    Ice time allotments all fixed, that must have been preliminary. All three of 12-13-89 were stuck with the -1 on the first goal, and since all had officially been on the ice for 3 seconds at the time I am sticking with my assignment of errors to three guys sitting on the bench. The youngsters got screwed over by the vets on that one.

    On #2 the scorer had Gagner on the ice for 5 seconds but it was a bit more than that, he definitely was in the zone and involved in the play, although maybe not involved enough.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Gagner ties Hemsky’s point total as a rookie. He did it in one fewer game (and more minutea).

  37. Dennis says:

    The second goal reminded us of just how many kids we have. 89 just lost his shit when Radulov rolled out of the corner. BTW, that bad-bearded fucker kills us, doesn’t he? And the Oilers always look like the suck in Nsh.

    Nice hustle by 12 followed by sweet play by 89 on the 34 goal. Fernie’s Kids re-unite for a marker;)

    Lines all over the place and 13 must have had to go back for an equipment adjustment or something. 27′s been taking the odd draw here or there for awhile now so to see him with the assigment on a semi-permanent basis wasn’t quite a total surprise.

    The 19-16-83 line just isn’t working.

  38. DBO says:

    i’m not a genius like MacT, but why do we have a checking line centre playing wing on a scoring line, and our scoring line winger playing centre on our checking line? Am I missing something. Did Penner play Centre ever in his career?

  39. mike w says:

    Seriously though, why is Penner playing Centre?

    He’s easily the most gassed player after 40 seconds, and now he’s asked to cover more ice?

  40. dubya says:

    Marty Reasoner is not a great winger. Penner is a bad centre. Gagner is a bad winger.

    These things could all be fixed.

  41. Scarlett says:

    What? The Oil are winning!!!

  42. Scarlett says:

    Too good to be true of course!

  43. honkey says:

    Nilsson and Gagner connects again, the Kid-line really play well offensivly together.
    Wow what a turnaround … I was about to turn it off when down 3-1 and now they are up by one goal.

  44. garnet says:

    Okay, whoever’s in their lucky chair, STAY THERE.

  45. dubya says:

    lol. 2/3 I just suggested weren’t good at their current positions just scored.

    Go Penner! 3/3

  46. garnet says:

    All right, who moved?

  47. PunjabiOil says:

    Kent Nilsson made a nice pass on that Gagner goal.

    Meanwhile, I’m arguing with the HF crowd that Lowe’s incompetent. The best rebuttal argument has been, “PJO, you never played hockey so your opinion means nothing” and “Kevin Lowe tries hard”

  48. Ribs says:

    Seriously though, why is Penner playing Centre?
    Why not? He played center a lot in Anaheim. I think he played alright there.

  49. Dennis says:

    I can’t think of a game in recent memory where the Oilers have played this poorly after 40 only to be no worse than tied.

    I don’t think Ellis has made more than one big save and everytime we get a chance we score. But at the other end Nsh is making us look like total monkeys when it comes to our coverage.

    Both the Preds and Canucks have figured out how to make the Oilers look their worse and that’s to play them from behind-the-net-out. If you get the puck behind or to the side of the Oilers net they’ll eventually break down and leave the slots and/or the points wide open.

    Some other stuff:

    - Up until the barrage, the best play of the period from the Oilers side of things was a saucer pass 89 made from the left circle to the right point and onto the stick of Staios.

    - Kids Line is great with the puck and beyond clueless without it.

    - Last time Marty scored a goal that nice it was probably ’97. Even with a GF, I still hate that line.

    - And, yes, to whomever said it, why Not put 19 between 18-34 and then have Penner play LW with 16-83? Makes no bloody sense.

    - 25-77 are guys playing the most min and against the best players so maybe that’s why 2-5-37 are standing out as solid while Joni-Tom look like they’re going through a rough patch.

    - Hard to say how good he’ll be but offensively Gagner looks like he could lap Cogs in terms of pure offensive ability.

  50. Dennis says:

    MikeW: What do you prefer: the comedic stylings of Gene or that rapt wit of Rob Faulds?

  51. Bruce says:

    Nice first shift: Giveaway, Hemsky. Giveaway, Stoll. Giveaway, Hemsky.

  52. Bruce says:

    Heard the second period on the radio.

    Rod Phillips: “Hemsky is supposed to be one of the best players, but tonight he’s just very, very, uh, uneffective.”

  53. Bruce says:

    Is it just me or is this the fourth game in a row with terrible ice? (Edmonton, San Jose, Vancouver, Nashville)

  54. Lowetide says:

    If I had 40 Million in the bank I wouldn’t bet 4 cents on the Oilers winning this game. All the arrows are pointed in the other direction.

  55. PDO says:

    LT:

    Which is the exact reason I’d bet on them, the way things have gone this season.

    Seriously.

  56. Dennis says:

    89 muscling Hamhuis off the puck to create that chance for Penner was ultra-impressive.

  57. Lowetide says:

    How did Gagner do that? Does he have Bill Madlock’s ass?

  58. CM says:

    were the oilers as bad in the first 2 periods as they have been in the third?

  59. garnet says:

    Anybody following the Habs game? Preposterous.

  60. honkey says:

    Oilers dominate play from halfway mark in the 3rd and end up losing to a lucky Nashville bounce.

  61. PunjabiOil says:

    Nashville has a history of scoring the late 3rd period goals against us.

  62. Scarlett says:

    Bad defense, bad goaltending… all night long.

  63. mike w says:

    were the oilers as bad in the first 2 periods as they have been in the third?

    Yep.

  64. Bruce says:

    The same old refrain: Error: Pitkanen. Game, set, match.

  65. PunjabiOil says:

    Pitkanen was terrible today.

  66. dubya says:

    That sucked.

    Dennis, agree about that play by 89. He looks like he did in the first 10 games again.

  67. Bruce says:

    Pitkanen’s night:

    25:35 TOI — 0 HT, 0 BS, 0 TK, 2 errors, -1.

    This guy wants $5 MM a season? Based on his recent play, that’s about $4,999,999.50 too much.

  68. Scarlett says:

    How much do you want Pitkanen? Lowe: show this game tape at the next negotiation session!

  69. Oilman says:

    That train whistle has to be the most annoying thing in hockey….12,000 people without a clue what’s going on in front of them just waiting for a 22 to show up on someones sweater….fuck I hate Nashville

  70. Ribs says:

    Anybody following the Habs game? Preposterous.

    It’s no wonder Jagr is having an off year. He sets up 4 straight and they still lose the game.

  71. Bruce says:

    I thought it was 8,000 people.

  72. Dennis says:

    Yeah, Pitkanen’s warts were super evident and it leaves me wondering whether he’s banged up and that’s why he’s playing bad; or maybe he just has games and stretches like this.

    In any case, we’re already tied in longterm to a question mark in Shoulder Souray; it doesn’t make me feel good to think we’d do the same with Pitkanen.

    You know what else, Gilbert struggled too and has for awhile now. The Oilers were absolutely brutal when it came to moving the puck. I counted all the times where the Preds would go D-to-D and then make an outlet pass. At the other end you had a whole lot of fellows screwing themselves into the ice or just throwing it away.

    And I think I counted four scoring chances for the forwards on Hemsky’s new line.

    And I think they allowed 29 against.

    Seriously, one of the worst fucking lines in recent history in terms of chances for/against. It was brutal.

  73. Slipper says:

    I may never forgive any of those three for that ridiculous change. Ecspecially Stoll. WTF was he doing?

    Hemsky looked like classic 2005 Hemsky. Carry the puck in wide, circle the net, and then bungle up the whole freaking possession.

    Good on Marty for burying that chance, but honestly, he’d need another eighty tries to replicate that result.

    So many players has warts all over their game tonight. Yikes. Let’s not forget all the iron the Predators hammered tonight, either.

    Pitkanen is either hurt or worthless. He’s just turning 25 later this year, so I probabley should give him the benefit of the doubt, but after this shit show…

    Nilsson looks like Lupul on the side boards in his own end more often than not. I’ll give him credit for what he seemingly can create in the other end at times. I think he really deserves a hard push so that the Oilers can see what they have got. A make or break shot, so to speak.

  74. Scarlett says:

    Pitkanen has been hurt on and off all year. He missed the last game so he’s obviously hurting a bit. He hasn’t played this bad in a good while.

  75. Bruce says:

    He hasn’t played this bad in a good while.

    At least since the game in San Jose (also 2 errors). Obviously he is hurting a bit, he’s always hurting a bit. Or a lot. Right about now it seems a hell of a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

  76. Dennis says:

    Slipper: I think it’s hard for the Oil to give Nilsson more of a shot then he’s getting right now.

    I think what see with Nilsson is what we’ll get. He might be that 50 point guy that isn’t worth paying more than 2mill for because what he can’t do and the situations he can’t thrive and/or survive in.

  77. Bendelson says:

    My belief is that Pitkanen is always hurt – a real glass joe. It goes without saying his overall effort and desire tonight is a huge concern – and seems to occur on a semi-regular basis (almost Kovalenko-like). He is not a long term Oiler – something seems to be missing. A great talent that should bring back a very nice return though.
    SJ? LA?

    IMO KLowe has a few nice pieces to play… not a rental in the lot. Pitkanen, Stoll, Staios, Rollie (yes, blackdog it is possible). We will see what he can do.

    Hemsky, obviously wasn’t much better tonight (as stated)… clearly, he is hurting. It wouldn’t surprise me if he get put on the shelf for the year in the next couple of weeks.

    Gagner is playing great… I’m getting very curious about just how good this kid is going to be by his 21st birthday.

  78. toqueboy says:

    reasoner and stoll on the first line seems like an obvious pre trade deadline roster move … much like rolie playing 3 of 4 against the SE where 3 teams needed goalie help.

    roli messed up his trade value

    stoll is doing okay lately, but stock dropped a little tonight

    reasoner stock increasing daily

    pisani stock going through the roof with goals lately…pisani/roli/pouliot for hudler and a third (i wish)

  79. garnet says:

    All six Canadian teams in action tonight and they all won except the Oil. I’m starting to think this season will be a disappointment.

  80. Slipper says:

    I don’t know about that Dennis. Nilsson is third on the team for EV points per hour, yet virtually dead last for even strength ice time per game.

    He and Stortini are amongst the best Oilers for GA/60 when the’re on the ice. Although, I think any sane person would recognize that they’re both utilized sparingly and sheltered from tough opposition and tough situations most of the time.

    It’s most likely MacT’s control over Nilsson’s situational minutes that keep his ice time below 12-15 minutes. Meaning, he’ll only send 12 over the boards when the puck is going in the right direction.

    He’s been able to get some things done in those minutes. Odd, because you’d think someone in that situation would be balls out better with one less man to play against, but Nilsson’s PP results are pedestrian. But at even strength he’s shown enough that I think it’s worth tying him to Hemsky and throwing him overboard for 5-7 games. Just to see where the tide takes him.

    After all, he is due to re-up this summer.

  81. doritogrande says:

    Slipper,

    If you’re suggesting a 13-89-83 pairing, I’m all for it. But putting 19 in between them would be…well I may stop watching.

    I fully understand that Reasoner’s being showcased, but why would they offer him as a 1-line C when the warranty sticker indicates “bottom-6 for life”? I can’t for the life of me decide why, and surely teams interested in his services don’t give a shit about his goal scoring. If he’s traded, it’ll be because he can eat through minutes against tough opposition.

    Anyone else think they’re forcing Pitkanen to play though the pain now in hopes that teams are still looking? I think if he hasn’t been traded by the deadline, they shelf him for an extended period.

  82. HBomb says:

    From what I understand, Pitkanen shouldn’t even be playing, and Hemsky is quite obviously banged up (his touch on his passes isn’t quite what it usually is, and he’s unwilling to shoot, which screams to me that the playing cast is limiting what he can do).

    The scary part is that both still have 1-2 plays a game that make you go “whoa”. The two most skilled guys we have, by far.

    And Gilbert looks worn out right now.

  83. Dennis says:

    Bendelson: Nice job on the Kovelenko reference. We would also have accepted Alexander Selivanov;)

    Seriously, though, a good Pitkanen is pretty damn impressive and considering that I think we can tie in some of his poor outings with his health status, I think the biggest question about him is health. A healthy Pitkanen is damn good but it appears like he’s one of those fellows that’s gonna find a way to get banged up so you decide if you want to pay for 55-60 good games a season.

    The other thing you might want to do is perhaps if you insist on him playing when he’s banged up, maybe for those games you only play him 15 min and you elevate your lesser’s. For a small stretch of games is that something that would work? I don’t know. And once again, do you want to pay for it?

    My answer is yes because of all the things he does when he’s healthy but considering you’re paying Souray to be a gimp who’s really only useful on special teams, maybe the dye’s already been cast.

    Regarding Nilsson, I think there’s a reason why MacT plays him like he does. I’d imagine I was one of the first guys to size up the Desjardins numbers and say this guy deserves a bigger push but the more I think about the more I think MacT’s doing a good job getting the best of him. Though, a 8-10 stretch of primo time might be a good gauge as well.

    As for Hemsky, and I think we can tie in Pitkanen as well, no matter what Lowe says, the Oilers are conscious of the fact Burke has their first round pick. Hemsky’s wearing a cast every minute when he’s not playing and Pitkanen’s out there hauling ass so I’d bet a lot that if we had our own pick, both guys would only be in the lineup when they were close to 100% healthy.

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