Oilers at Coyotes, G72/07-08

I used to watch him at Northlands from the cheap seats. It was actually a great way to watch 99, as you could see the things he valued (open patches of ice, anticipating the opposition, finding open lanes) and how hard it was to defend him. He had a sixth sense with Kurri, but the truth is if a player found himself on the ice with 99 and had any kind of brain at all the puck would come to him in high percentage scoring areas. When you see his goals as an Oiler now they look flukey, somehow less valuable than a goal today because of lesser goaltending and smaller goalie equipment. The truth is Gretzky rarely shot the puck when the goalie was ready, preferring to make a small move to the left or right to change the angle for a better chance.

They say hitting is all about timing and pitching is about changing speeds to upset that timing. Wayne Gretzky was all about upsetting timing, running counter plays to areas that were occupied by teammates at the last second but had not been an area of concern seconds before and generally making high percentage plays others would never think of trying.

Wayne Gretzky was an amazing hockey player. For a long time now his playing career has given him opportunities in the coaching and management end of the game that were perhaps undeserved. This season he appears to be maturing as a coach, or he is delegating properly, or he has so much talent he cannot fail. The Coyotes have been for real since the gift of goaltending from Anaheim Burke and they are not a team to be taken lightly.

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91 Responses to "Oilers at Coyotes, G72/07-08"

  1. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Well, according to sportsclubstats.com, the Oil still have a 5.4% chance of making it. Go team go.

  2. gary b says:

    i think the good vibes continue: 5-2 Oilkids.

    and C.F.S.F. got suspended for 8 games. it’s a good day.

  3. Black Dog says:

    I would say he has done a pretty good job coaching this team this year. Credit where credit is due just as he got a lot of flak for the failures they had.

    As for Gretzky as a player – I think the word that would describe him best is genius.

    On a nightly basis he would do things that you had never seen before and would never see again.

    Genius.

  4. PunjabiOil says:

    aah the sweet smell of justice…8 games for Chris “scumbag” Pronger. Take a seat bitch.

  5. knighttown says:

    Look how calm Wayne looks in that picture. Can there be any doubt that a scoring chance ensues in the following 5 seconds? Now remove #99 and place #16 in that spot. I think you’d see the hockey equivalent of Jason Biggs vs. Shannon Elizabeth in the famous “premature” scene from American Pie. Pure panic and a whole lot of mess.

  6. Tyler says:

    Can there be any doubt that a scoring chance ensues in the following 5 seconds?

    Given that he appears to be playing against the Leafs, I say no.

  7. knighttown says:

    I dunno Tyler. I’m pretty sure that’s the original Roli the Goalie, Roland Melanson of the LA Kings, circa about 1985? Still doesn’t change the fact that the puck likely ended up in the net.

  8. Dennis says:

    Without looking at strength of sked, and admitting it matters, this suspension should go a long way towards damning the Ducks to no better than 4th place. And that’s something we can all get behind. Though, the prospect of Dal vs Ana doens’t leave anyone with a lot to cheer for, now does it?

    Roli’s in tonight and it’s about fucking time. I understand the Oilers wanting to ride Garon in order to see if he’s worth faith and perhaps an early extension but there’s reasons in all things and they went too long without giving him a rest and, plus, it’s not like Roli’s dirt.

    Anyway, I hope Roli does well. He’s been super quiet while being banished to backing up and the only blip was quickly corrected by him a few weeks ago, ie the whole bullying and school misunderstanding.

    BTW, if Burke didn’t have our pick, I think I might cheer against us tonight. Don’t look now but there’s still a little chance that both the Canucks AND the Flames could miss the playoffs. I wished for that scnario a conference away last year, ie Habs and Leaves, and it happened for me so perhaps it’s too much to ask that it will swing for me this year too:)

  9. Traktor says:

    Pronger only got 25% of what Simon got.

    What does a guy like Horcoff get who has no previous suspensions compared to Prongers 7? (now 8) 20%? 1 or 2 games? Not enough.

    Pronger should have recieved no less than 20 games because of his previous track record.

    What a joke.

  10. Traktor says:

    If it had been Stortini stepping on Matt Sundin he would have been suspending for life.

  11. Ribs says:

    It seems pretty silly that pronger didn’t get at least 10 games. 2 playoff games sounds about right to me. As for the Ducks will fall in his absence…I seem to recall the team playing pretty well without him.

    Roli in? Damn… I just picked Garon in the pool for the week.

  12. Bruce says:

    BDHS: Genius is indeed the word to describe the Great One. I used to describe going to every Oiler home game without missing like being a member of Mozart’s congregation and looking forward to the cantata of the week. One didn’t know exactly what to expect but the chances were very good it would be something utterly brilliant.

    LT: You too are exactly right about Wayne being a pitcher rather than a hitter, always disrupting the timing of the opponent. He could sub-divide each second down into all 1000 milliseconds and know precisely which one would catch an opponent lunging or with his weight on the wrong foot or whatever. Genius.

  13. Black Dog says:

    Bruce – That’s a nice way to describe it.

    I actually saw Gretzky play for the Soo Greyhounds once when he came into town to play the Wolves.

    My Dad’s verdict – “He’ll never make the NHL – too small, too slow” even though I am sure he put up three or four points against the local heroes that night.

    Now my Dad is rarely wrong but that is just two more things about 99 – he was not a big man and he did not have blazing speed (I think I would describe him as “quick”) that make his accomplishments that much more impressive.

    For all that Lemieux could do, he had that wingspan and that big body on his side.

  14. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: It wasn’t only your Dad. The NHL basically allowed Gretzky to pass through unchallenged as part of the NHL-WHA merger because he hadn’t been drafted (his draft year I think would have been 1979, the year of the merger) but there were many reports that he was not going to be an impact player once the two leagues become one.

    Seriously. And that was AFTER he had shown some amazing things in the WHA.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    Anyone catch the CBC HNIC preview? Lowe and Gretzky were sharing a laugh, with Gretzky styling in this hot leather jacket.

    I know – nothing groundbreaking. Just thought I’d point it out and all.

    Missing tonight’s game (have been missing all Saturday night late games) because of MY floor hockey game. The only thing better than watching a bundle of sucks, is BEING a bundle of suck.

  16. speeds says:

    Though, the prospect of Dal vs Ana doesn’t leave anyone with a lot to cheer for, now does it?

    Because of the draft format introduced last year, EDM fans should hope ANA is eliminated in the first two rounds. In the new format, conference finalists pick 27 and 28 in the draft, while the finalist and Cup winner pick 29 and 30.

  17. Dennis says:

    Mike: I was speaking from the heart and not the head:)

    PJO: If Lowe was sensible, the laugh would’ve been at the expense OF Jayne’s jacket.

    Fuck, I thought he was the lead singer in a Platinum Blonde tribute band.

  18. Tyler says:

    Pat –

    You guys win tonight? We were on after you; I watched a bit and saw some good hustle from the boys. There was a pretty sweet looking SH scored off the forecheck while I was watching and I thought things were looking good for Capsule.

    We were down 2-1 with 10 to go, shortened the bench (which is an incredibly awkward thing to do in beer league) and put the boots to the guys. Off to the next round.

    Lunch and jersey exchange Wednesday?

  19. Nuckels says:

    Tonight, for the first time since my foolish childhood, I officially cheer for the Oilers.
    My Nucks gutted out a win in Dallas and we need some help. So with that said, GO OILERS :)

  20. Dennis says:

    Scoring chance early on for 78 as he’s found a new/old home with the 19-34 combo.

    If you remember from last year, that line popped a couple of goals and there was a HNIC game where 78 and 34 really showed some chem. Something to look forward to for the rest of the game and I’m going out on a limb and saying that Pouliot will score tonight.

    Oh yeah, and Hemsky scored too;)

    But we already know he’s good.

    You know what else is good? The Oilers PP. It’s now clicking at a shade over 20% in the last ~58 games.

    Folks, that’s a big sample size.

  21. Black Dog says:

    Ty – beauty run this season so far. Won our first round last weekend.

    Tonight was G1 vs. the #2 team. Down 3-2 with eight minutes left, we tied it. Then two penalties with seven minutes left, including a four minute call. Three guys, including Mark and Leo, killed the entire 5 on 3 though not by choice – they could not get off.

    Then killing off the second of the four minute we scored.

    They didn’t even get a sniff after. So worse case we have a 5 minute OT and then a shootout if we lose next game. I’ll take that.

    Wednesday sounds good to me.

    Holy shit, how did Penner miss that?

  22. danny says:

    Blogger Black Dog said…

    Holy shit, how did Penner miss that?

    You mean where he kicked the puck from behind him up onto his stick and hit the post?

    I know its fashionable to hiss at 27 but thats a bit thick. It was a pretty good effort all around it just didnt happen.

  23. Showerhead says:

    yeah, i’ll agree. I don’t think Penner had enough time, no matter who he was.

    one thing I will say is that DP is a good cycler and will be an asset of at least some value. only thing is, no one else on the Oil can play on the boards and DP can’t do much else either than that.

  24. Devin says:

    That’s just embarrassing stuff from Hrudey there. Anyone else feel that was borderline inappropriate?

  25. Dennis says:

    - Hemsky’s playing with a tonne of confidence; looks like he’ll try just about anything.

    - Pitkanen is a hell of a skater and a deft passer but he does some weird stuff. One shift early in the first he was to the left of Roli and was about to engage in a battle with two forecheckers. He could backhand the puck around the net to 24 but instead he took a check and battled and tried to kick the puck up to the centre. And it almost worked. I noted that play as strange though.

    - Nilsson is a remarkable passer and he made about three dandies in that frame. I also liked how he rocked Morris.

    - I’d like to amend my “78 scores a goal” prediction because A: I forgot that playing with 19-34 means you sit down when Hemsky double-shits and B: the Yotes are about as disciplined as the kid of a crack addict and I predict we’ll end up with about 14 PP’s;)

    Seriously, though, there’s just something about Pouliot and Pisani together. I marked it last year and commented on it before but it’s just a predictable game that 78 seems to be able to read off.

  26. Tyler says:

    Anyone else feel that was borderline inappropriate?

    I was actually more troubled by Oake submitting to a search in circumstances in which the officer apparently had no reasonable and probable cause to do so. Also, he’s charged with resisting arrest? I didn’t see anything that warranted arrest, so I don’t see how he could be resisting.

  27. Black Dog says:

    Yeah Danny I saw on the replay what had happened but realtime looked like he missed it to me.

    Thanks for calling me “thick” for missing it though, pal. Appreciate the quality comment.

  28. Lowetide says:

    I picked the wrong time to make coffee, have no idea what Oake and Hrudey did in the intermission. Oake is a strange bird, I remember Barrasso called him a bastard or ass years ago when he was a Senator.

    Nice to see Pouliot playing tonight, I keep thinking he’s going to seize the day but the sand is running out.

    PROSPECT NOTE: Nash wih 2 assists and a +1 tonight.

  29. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – did you read Brownlee’s post about his conversation with Hitchcock where they talked about Pitkanen? Interesting stuff.

    Never been the same since his injury according to Hitch but before that he was allworld – over a PPG and you know playing for Ken Hitchcock he wasn’t getting away with a lot of bs.

    So if you’re the Oilers do you gamble on his return to form or do you bet that he never will?

  30. danny says:

    I wasnt calling you thick, i said crapping on penner for that play was laying the penner bashing on a bit thick.

    in other news, 77 is making a niinimaa grade turnover almost every game now.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Where do they put Greg Sansone? Guam? I can barely fricking hear the guy.

    Pitkanen is the suck. Scored, though. :-)

  32. speeds says:

    Keeping Stoll going forward, if that is what Lowe decides to do, will be interesting to follow.

    It’s worth asking, how much better are the Oilers next year if they could get Langkow in place of Stoll?

  33. speeds says:

    I’d guess Langkow will cost 3 mil more than Stoll next year, and I also suspect CAL will re-sign him before he hits the market.

    What can you say, the Stoll situation really depends on where one sees Stoll going in the future. Is this simply an off year, or is this his future performance level post injury?

  34. Black Dog says:

    speeds – if you’re going that way I presume you’re saying they have to let Horc go? Or are you thinking Horc-Langkow-Cogliano up the middle and Gagner on the wing??

    I like Langkow but I’d rather have Horc and I think this UFA class is pretty thin which means Langkow is going to get big money

    I think they’re going Horc and a kid and then either Stoll or someone else on the third line.

    MacT said today that 5 on 5 Stoll is a checker. So I’m thinking that is his role next year. Brownlee said that they’re not of the mind to gas Stoll yet which makes me think he’s sticking around. Horc-Cogs-Stoll

  35. Black Dog says:

    Apparently Stortini has found his range.

    Ahh, its Brodziak.

    What a terrific shift.

    Goal and then they draw a penalty.

  36. Tyler says:

    I don’t watch a lot of games out of Phoenix – pretty much just HNIC games. I have to say, it’s incredibly disorienting. I’ve never seen anything quite like the cheer that the Canadian teams get when they score.

    Also, Gretz has got to be fucking kidding me with that shirt/tie combo.

  37. speeds says:

    Off the top of my head, something like:

    Penner-Horcoff-Pisani
    Nilsson-Langkow-Hemsky
    Torres-Gagner-Cogliano
    Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini

  38. doritogrande says:

    So uh, I just got home from work.

    Can someone confirm that the 3-1 Oilers lead is actually…you know, correct? With Roloson in net? It takes more than my tired eyes to actually believe that score.

  39. Devin says:

    LT – they showed Hrudey on the set of his new porn movie with 3 starlets giving him a rubdown, and as Tyler mentioned Oake in bracelets on a charge of being such a poorly-dressed bastard. Dumbass stuff.

  40. Black Dog says:

    Speeds – I think this team is going to look a lot like next year’s team.

    Penner-Horck-Hemsky
    Nilsson-Cogliano-Gagner
    Torres-Stoll-Pisani
    Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini

    With Glencross replacing Moreau when Ethan goes down during preseason. ;)

    Seriously I think they roll with the same top six. The big question marks are Stoll and Torres – they seem to be the most likely to be moved but I don’t know how you move a guy coming off knee surgery and Stoll sounds like he may be back.

    It kind of makes sense though – another year with the kids, see if Stoll bounces back – this team is building toward 2010 and 2011. If Stoll can’t bounce back then you know a move you have to make. If the kids can do it over a full year then you know a move or two you do not have to make.

  41. Dennis says:

    My GF awoke on the couch during the Hrudey segment and asked, “When did Kelly Hrudey get a harem.”?

    Ty: I actually like Wayne’s suit but that hair is killing me. It reminds me way too much of Jeffrey Loria.

    LT: I was gonna ask you how Nash did tonight because I was reminded when Friedman talked about how Turris’s Badgers were knocked out tonight.

    Pouliot has been doing a lot of nice little things but he needs to be doing big things given that the 4th line is back and MacT has to go with them starting next year. Can’t wait to see how Lowe deals with Torres and Moreau because like Devin’s said in the past, he doesn’t have a grasp of replacement players but he’s certainly got one in Glencross.

    BTW, I loved how Pouliot didn’t get fazed in the least by the Yandle hit and then went right back looking for him. I love little things like that; it shows you a guy has guts.

    Gilbert’s making a terrible TO a game but then he can also shield the puck from two forecheckers and made that little Lidstrom pass and away we go.

    The thing that separates Nilsson is just how fast he makes his passes. The hands and vision are there but the x factor is it’s hardly on his stick before it’s on it’s way again. A very entertaining player to watch.

    Couldn’t believe that Matt Greene hit a post.

  42. doritogrande says:

    Nilsson gloves a shit pass from 2 or 5, and it’s on Cogliano’s tape in 0.3825 seconds. Soft hands indeed.

  43. Black Dog says:

    Yeah, Nilsson has come a long way. Pitkanen goes down low and 12 is covering for him. Phoenix breaks out and 12 angles off the man coming out of the zone and forces him to just dump it.

    Looks like a player. Been a long run of solid games for him now.

  44. doritogrande says:

    Marty Sakic.

    Bryzgalov seems to have learned his rage control from J.S. Giguere.

  45. doritogrande says:

    Oh, the Roli-swack.

    (Heart)

  46. doritogrande says:

    “Stoll has struggled to make up for the playmaking loss of Horcoff”

    Even Captain Obvious wouldn’t need to say that. Jesus.

  47. Black Dog says:

    So two rookies at 40 points now.

    Brodziak with 11 goals.

    Gilbert with 10.

    Yeah, that’s a lot of alright.

  48. doritogrande says:

    Prospect update: What’s up with Slava Trukhno? 10 points in the last 6 games, including another goal and assist tonight.

    The Hockey Jesus with two assists.

    ———-
    Guess the Ducks didn’t need CFP. Beat St. Lou.

  49. doritogrande says:

    Holy shit. If Hemsky finishes that pass…Roloson for Team President.

  50. Tyler says:

    Man, anyone else have flashbacks to the heady days of the spring in 2006 there?

  51. Black Dog says:

    dg – that’s called a kid figuring it out finally, lets hope

    this Hemsky guy is pretty good, huh?

  52. Black Dog says:

    Yeah Ty, Roli has tried that a couple of times and the first time I immediately thought of Samsonov coming out of the box.

  53. doritogrande says:

    Error: 5

  54. doritogrande says:

    Ok, when’s the fucking unsportsmanlike penalty coming?

    Fucking Coyotes making Gretzky looking like a tool who can’t control his players.

  55. doritogrande says:

    gary b said…
    i think the good vibes continue: 5-2 Oilkids.

    gary b, can you teach me to be a prophet also?

  56. doritogrande says:

    Not only is Riley Nash making waves in NCAA playoffs…Jeff Petry has 3 points (all assists) in his last two games.

    Taylor Chorney however…nothing.

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    Like I said last game — this is a completely different team with Pitkanen. They are awful without him.

  58. Dennis says:

    DG: Truk’s run has been even longer than that: I think he has something like 15 or 16 points in his last 10 games. I’m sure LT will chime in any moment now with the real totals, though.

    Pat: Good eye on 12′s defensive awareness and effort. I don’t know where that part of his game came from but all of a sudden it’s here and obviously we’re better for it.

    One thing no one else mentioned was how well Smid did offensively tonight. He had the primary assist on Doan’s goal and then he scored the Yotes 4-2 goal to ‘boot.’:D

  59. doritogrande says:

    dennis:

    Yeah, he has 13 points in his last 15 games, but on his current point-scoring streak (6 games) he has 10 points.

    Also, I actually did comment on Smid’s offensive prowess. See the “Error: 5″ post. haha.

  60. Ribs says:

    Most impressive to me tonight was Andrew Cogliano. Whenever he gets the puck at the Oilers blue line, a hush comes over the crowd. He blazes by everyone and a scoring chance comes from it more often than not. Even if he does hand it off just after the opposing blue most times. His willingness to skate and not dick around like other guys sets him apart and it’s needed greatly on this team.

    Poo looked like he was having a good game. He is definitely trying to show some grit. If only he got the chance to play on anything but MacT’s shit line now.

    Penner invisible yet again as he simply couldn’t keep up. I’m not worried though. He’s a guy I’d trust going into a playoff race.

    Pitkanen looked to be having some fun. He’s still a crazy bastard though.

    Roloson didn’t have too much to worry about. What he was doing on the play where he went behind the net and lost his stick is anyones guess though. The replay had two capable defensemen ready to grab the puck in plain sight.

    The kids are making this team fun to watch again. It’s only sad that it took so many injuries before MacT would play them so much. Maybe there was some easing in to it that I’m not giving credit to there.

    The crowd was pretty into this game in Phoenix. Were they handing out free green beer to go along with the goofy hats?

  61. Bruce says:

    Missed this game on a busman’s holiday (attending a Bantam AAA Provincials game in Sherwood Park). Sounds like the Oil had a pretty good night. I’ll likely watch the condensed version on HNiC Late Night at 00:30.

    Looking at the event summary as I always do, I note that the home scorers had the hit count at 34-9 Phoenix. Is that even remotely close to reality?

    Also note that in a night where plusses dominate the Oiler map, that 16-27-83 all ended up the night at -1. Again. Those guys have sure got the “Minus Touch” these days. Everything they touch turns to goal (against).

  62. Mr DeBakey says:

    Not only is Riley Nash making waves in NCAA playoffs…Jeff Petry has 3 points (all assists) in his last two games.

    Taylor Chorney however…nothing.

    Trade Chorney to LA for Purcell or Moulson

    Stat

  63. doritogrande says:

    I think Bruce has created a new definition for the BoA glossary…

    The minus touch: the result of sticking a plugger between two players who until previously had a great track record at +/-.

  64. RiversQ says:

    Horrible game from Penner tonight. Outside of the scoring chance that was nearly impossible to convert anyway, he did virtually nothing.

    How is a big guy like that softer than a full diaper every other game? I think he may have won one puck battle all night.

    This season has been about the kids and you have to be ecstatic with how they’ve progressed this year. However, Lowe splashed out a lot of cash this offseason and received very little. You may be able to find someone else who blew $10MM in cap room and ended up with less, but I highly doubt it.

  65. RiversQ says:

    Here’s how I put it to Dennis during the game:

    Who sends three picks in a deep draft out the door for a guy who can’t even get the puck moving in the right direction in 2/3rds of the ice let alone create his own scoring chances and then gives him $4.25MM/yr?

    Penner has a long way to go to earn that money. He can start with showing up for half the games in a season.

    Incidentally, he was out of shape to start the year. What’s the latest excuse? (Cue Bruce telling us that it’s really hard to play with Hemsky, which is fucking ridiculous.)

  66. PunjabiOil says:

    Speeds…how will Calgary sign Langkow? They’re at 45.5M in cap space (more in real dollars in payroll – Kipprusoft will be earning 8M in real salary)

    Even with a cap of say 54-55M, it will be difficult for the Flames to sign Langkow at 5M, and still have enough room to sign guys like Conroy, Huselius, Nolan, etc.

    Sutter’s in a very tight spot.

  67. rickibear says:

    RiversQ: He and Hemsky play with the EV black hole known as Stoll.

    If you can not recognize that it is like playing on a line in rec league with a guy so bad that you spend your time covering for him. Then when you get a line with equal guys your play flourishes.

    When you watch the things that Penner does in reading the game it fits with Horcoff and Hemsky.

    Hemsky can generate on his own. Penner is developing into an NHL creator. It is obvious the difference from the start of the season.

    Hopfully that makes sense to you.

  68. RiversQ says:

    Mmm… I’m not buying it.

    First things first, Penner is a mediocre NHLer in his own end and in the neutral zone because he’s slow. He can’t effectively backcheck either because he simply doesn’t get there. That’s where I was going with the “2/3rds of the rink” thing. He’ll always be a player that leans heavily on the Horcoff’s of the world to get the puck back and get it moving in the right direction.

    I agree that Penner has potential in the offensive zone and I do agree that Stoll is ES GF death. (I don’t agree that he can’t defend though – he starts a lot of shifts in his own end and he gets tough assignments and those things count for a lot) Stoll isn’t helping Penner’s game much, but the fact remains that he doesn’t win many puck battles and he doesn’t create many scoring chances on his own.

    It also really boggles my mind that people seem to think Penner has so much room to grow. He’s a 25yr old hockey player already. As an NHL forward he probably entered the first year of his prime 4-5 yrs this year. I really don’t think there’s much left at the top end.

    One thing is certain – the Oilers are stuck with him and are going to have to find ways to squeeze out some production because $4.25MM of cap hit is a whopper. Especially when they’re already pissing away all that cash on Souray.

  69. Bruce says:

    Right on cue: Hemsky is tough to play with.

    Was able to watch the condensed version of the game, relaxed and enjoyed what was mostly a fine performance by the good guys. Phoenix may have outhit the Oilers, but that was in large part because the Oilers always had the puck.

    Case in point: early in the first Joni Pitkanen makes a superb high diagonal dump pass from the neutral zone into the right wing corner. Zack Stortini starts from a position about ten feet behind Keith Yandle, blows by Yandle and wins the race to the puck. Badly beaten, Yandle slewfoots Stortini but Zack, going down, makes the pass behind the net to Curtis Glencross and the Oilers control from there. Just a little thing, but when your team is willing to take the hit to win the race to the puck rather than come in second and land the hit, well that’s what I want to see. I’ve always said the first 50% of being tough is being able to take it, as Stortini did on this occasion.

    Minutes later it’s Robert Nilsson being slewfooted and drawing a penalty, but still making a fine behind-the-back pass as he is going down to keep the play alive on the delay, a sequence on which Oilers nearly scored. On the subsequent powerplay, they do score, a dazzling goal by Hemsky off another fine neautral zone pass from Pitkanen, and Oilers are off to the races. 6 minutes in and we just own the fucking puck.

    In just limited appearances in the shortened version of the broadcast, Nilsson was spectacular tonight. He landed a big hit on Derek Morris in the corner seconds before Ballard slewfooted him, really bouncing him a few seconds after Morris had crunched Cogliano. He made four or five wonderful passes, including a tremendous play to centre the puck to Pitkanen for the goal that put Oilers ahead to stay, 2-1. Later he made a play that I think is described above in this thread, covering the point for Pitkanen, dropping all the way back in his own zone, absolutely burning a forechecker in a 1-on-1 move, then making a fine breakout pass. Nilsson looked like Gilbert on that play. Finally, a great play inside his own blueline to clear the puck, winning a race to it in the neutral zone, jumping in on a 2-on-1 and whistling a rocket just over the crossbar. This was elite stuff from Kentasson tonight.

    Pitkanen looked better than he has in weeks, skating, moving the puck, and impressively diving to win a loose puck and bury it into the open net after Nilsson’s centring pass. If only Joni would win some battles like that in front of OUR net, I’d have no problem with him at all.

    Then the fourth line again, this time with the third beautiful goal of the night for the Oil. It starts with a nice dish from Nilsson late in his shift to gain the zone for Brodziak, Kyle and GlenX doing some terrific work behind the goal line to control it deep, GlenX chipping the puck free, circling in the corner, and finding Stortini in the slot just coming on for Nilsson, Zack firing a quick one-timer that Brodziak, having busted for the front of the goal, tips into the top corner. I don’t care if it’s the fourth line or the first, that is wonderful hockey. Instructional video stuff.

    Hemsky was dangling tonight,but his line continued to have trouble in their own end, running around before Stoll’s penalty that led to the first Coyotes goal, and running around again on the second goal where they netted their -1. Penner won a battle for the puck (ahem) in the corner and bumped it over to Smid, but neither Gilbert nor Hemsky were in position to take Ladi’s ringaround pass, and neither Gilbert nor Stoll was in position to take the goal scorer in front of the net. Just soft defence, granted it was 4-1 late but that’s been a pattern for those guys and it continues to be troublesome.

    Finally, a thought that Don Koharski had to be more than blind to not assess a penalty to Bryzgalov on the stick throwing. It came close enough that he should have been able to hear the stick crashing into the glass, and even feel the breeze as the big paddle whizzed a couple of feet from his face. That’s not even worthy of a two-minute unsportsmanlike penalty? Man. Donny Donuts won’t be too popular in the Zebras’ Ass’n. for that level of tolerance. Maybe the problem isn’t so much that he’s blind and deaf, but dumb??

  70. Black Dog says:

    Smyth never seemed to have a problem playing with Hemsky.

    Horcoff seems to have figured it out as well.

  71. Coach pb9617 says:

    Mmm… I’m not buying it.

    Of course you aren’t – it would break up your bias against the move.

    Penner is worth maybe a million less than his deal, however, next year, if he can get away from the minus touch at center, he’ll be worth his deal and pot 30-35. From then on, his deal is gravy.

    If you don’t understand that he was extremely effective without 16 at center, and that 16 at center has killed three lines this year, then your preconceived biases are too much to overcome.

    Even against the Avalanche last game – the first line was completely ineffective until 89 was forced to center them when 16 had an equipment problem. All of a sudden, the first line had jump and got a scoring chance.

    They are dragging an even strength anchor up and down the ice.

  72. Tyler says:

    Penner is worth maybe a million less than his deal, however, next year, if he can get away from the minus touch at center, he’ll be worth his deal and pot 30-35.

    We should have a pool for when the general consensus turns on Penner. I mean, I haven’t seen a more teflon coated guy since oh…Smid last year.

    He’s getting PP time with Gagner/Hemsky for Christ’s sake. Hemsky’s one of the better PP players in the NHL. He’s just been a complete fucking black hole at ES. Nobody challenges Rivers’ main point there, which is correct, that he’s invisible in the neutral and d zones, mainly because he can’t get there.

    Incidentally, it looks like Penner’s shooting rates and shooting percentage are way down this year. Second guy in a row that they’ve pried out of Anaheim who had that problem. If I can ever figure out how to strip the data out of the NHL’s website, I’l take a look and see if anyone who shoots this infrequently is a 30-35 goal man.

    Oh, and while I’m on this topic. Stauffer killed me a while back with this gem. He’d done some figerin’, which he explained in great detail on the air, that had Penner nosing in to 25 goals, a figure which, in Stauffer’s view, made him a 25-35 goal scorer. I don’t know why Stauffer takes such a limited view of these things – I would have chalked him up as a 25-75 goal man myself. Think of that; the Oilers acquired a 25-75 goal man.

  73. Bruce says:

    We should have a pool for when the general consensus turns on Penner. I mean, I haven’t seen a more teflon coated guy since oh…Smid last year.

    Do you mean when the consensus turns AGAINST Penner? Or are you wondering when he’ll play well enough that he’ll even win the critics over? Probably never, cuz some critics will remain critical no matter what.

    The jury is definitely still out on Dustin, as I said the other day he’s not a $4.25 MM player this year but I’m not prepared to write him off; five years is a long time, and he’s still a young player in terms of experience. But he’s a long way from a Teflon man, holy shit, Tyler, I don’t know how you can say that. He’s been excoriated on some of these fine blogs since about 5 minutes after he signed the offer sheet.

    I’d say Ales Hemsky has more Teflon coating than Penner. Here’s an offensive “star” who five years into his career has never had a 20-goal season. (Hopefully that changes tonight, but this morning it’s true.) After a sheltered rookie season where he recorded a respectable +5, Ales has posted consecutive seasons of -7, -5, -7 and (so far) -9. Just to prove that’s not a fluke, in his two playoff years he’s gone -5 and -3. Not quite an ES black hole, but not exactly an outscorer. He always gets the best centre and the best LW on the team to play with, and he can’t hold his own out there? How much are we paying this guy anyway?

    You see how the argument can be made? You see something you don’t like about a guy, and everything he does is because of somebody else on his line, or the coach likes him, or whatever. But if something goes wrong, well, that’s all on the whipping boy.

    He’s getting PP time with Gagner/Hemsky for Christ’s sake.

    And your point is …?

    Penner is +30/-4 on the PP, Hemsky is +31/-5. Obviously that’s all due to Hemsky.

    Fact is the Oilers PP has been pretty effective since about the 20 GP mark, and both guys have contributed to its success. Penner leads the team in PP goals, is tied for second with points (with Stoll, another whipping boy who is actually a reasonably effective special teams player), and his imposing presence in front of the crease has resulted in more than a couple goals in which he wasn’t credited with a point.

    Nobody challenges Rivers’ main point there, which is correct, that he’s invisible in the neutral and d zones, mainly because he can’t get there.

    The best way to be invisible in your own zone is to BE there, doing your job. See my description above of last night’s goal against, in which Penner was the only defensive Oiler who actually did his job properly. But he got saddled with the same minus as the guys who screwed up did.

    (And at the risk of opening another can of worms, I see at Cult of Hockey that Staples has made similar comments about that goal. Like me, he noted Penner made a strong play; like me, he also noted Hemsky was out of position on the play — he couldn’t get there, but that didn’t make him invisisible, quite the opposite. I know it’s trendy for the anti-MSM types to heap abuse on the Error stats, but David has spent a lot of time analyzing what went wrong on every Oiler ES GA this year, and Penner’s 9 errors don’t look so bad compared to 6 forwards in the double digits — led by Stoll and “Teflon” Hemsky. :)

    Incidentally, it looks like Penner’s shooting rates and shooting percentage are way down this year.

    Penner leads the Oilers with 176 shots on net, and should wind up very close to last year’s total of 204. The offensive catalyst Hemsky is third with 161, nearing his career high of just 178. In between them is Stoll with 169 but just 11 goals, proving that sheer volume of shots doesn’t guarantee positive results on the scoreboard.

    I’l take a look and see if anyone who shoots this infrequently is a 30-35 goal man.

    Patrick Sharp: 173 shots, 34 goals
    Brad Boyes: 182, 37
    Dany Heatley: 186, 35
    Jason Spezza: 186, 30
    Dustin Brown: 194, 30
    Vaclav Prospal: 196, 30
    Daniel Alfredsson: 198, 37

    Sure it’s possible. Mike Ribeiro shoots a hell of a lot less frequently than that (just 97 shots) yet has 27 goals. Last year Penner had 29 goals on his 204 shots, and it’s his reduced shooting percentage in 2007-08 is indeed troublesome.

    Stauffer killed me a while back with this gem. He’d done some figerin’, which he explained in great detail on the air, that had Penner nosing in to 25 goals, a figure which, in Stauffer’s view, made him a 25-35 goal scorer.

    Ha, that is funny, and you’re absolutely right. Of course, until Dustin scores that magic 25th, he’s just a 0-24 goal scorer, the bum.

  74. RiversQ says:

    Penner won a battle for the puck (ahem) in the corner and bumped it over to Smid…

    Yup that’s the one that I was thinking of as well. Ironic that the one puck battle he won was on the shift for the GA.

    …but neither Gilbert nor Hemsky were in position to take Ladi’s ringaround pass, and neither Gilbert nor Stoll was in position to take the goal scorer in front of the net.

    Yup, Gilbert got caught in no man’s land and didn’t support the puck or take his man there. Can’t hang the coverage on Stoll there, Gilbert and his man were practically all alone. Pretty shoddy stuff, although you do have to wonder why Smid ripped it around when he did.

    Gilbert was also the one who gave up the puck on Stoll’s hooking penalty as well. I can’t be too hard on Gilbert because after the giveaway he made three or four outlet passes in a row where he’s probably the only Oiler dman that’s capable of making them. Regardless, he’s making some mistakes as well and it’s cause for some concern.

  75. RiversQ says:

    Oh boy, where to start with this one. Bruce has setup so many strawmen, I’m not sure where to start or if to bother.

    I’d say Ales Hemsky has more Teflon coating than Penner. Here’s an offensive “star” who five years into his career has never had a 20-goal season.

    This is Stauffer’s nonsense essentially. In Hemsky’s only full season since the lockout he scored 19 goals and put up 77 points. That’s obviously an offensive accomplishment.

    How much are we paying this guy anyway?

    The answer of course is less than Penner this year and next year AND less overall cap hit for the duration of the contract.

    The best way to be invisible in your own zone is to BE there, doing your job.

    Or not be there, not doing your job. Or to be there not doing your job.

    I notice we’re still ignoring the neutral zone here because it’s clear that Penner isn’t able to hinder players coming through the neutral zone and can’t backcheck.

    This is my problem with the errors stat – players that don’t get engaged in the play on a regular basis actually get credit for just being there. The whole “just being there” thing was what this “stat” was intended to help with.

    Penner leads the Oilers with 176 shots on net, and should wind up very close to last year’s total of 204. The offensive catalyst Hemsky is third with 161, nearing his career high of just 178.

    And if you factor in icetime, then they’re shooting at almost the same rate. So the famously unwilling to shoot Hemsky is matching Penner’s shooting rate. Apparently that’s not a problem…

    In between them is Stoll with 169 but just 11 goals, proving that sheer volume of shots doesn’t guarantee positive results on the scoreboard.

    This isn’t even arguing in good faith. Stoll generates the majority of his shots as a PP pointman. The comparison doesn’t hold water.

    To be continued.

  76. RiversQ says:

    Patrick Sharp: 173 shots, 34 goals
    Brad Boyes: 182, 37
    Dany Heatley: 186, 35
    Jason Spezza: 186, 30
    Dustin Brown: 194, 30
    Vaclav Prospal: 196, 30
    Daniel Alfredsson: 198, 37

    Sure it’s possible. Mike Ribeiro shoots a hell of a lot less frequently than that (just 97 shots) yet has 27 goals. Last year Penner had 29 goals on his 204 shots, and it’s his reduced shooting percentage in 2007-08 is indeed troublesome.

    Why fucking post this Bruce? You know it’s bullshit. You have to know that.

    Hands down, the best way to find a sucker (or a Lowe) is to look for single seasons with shooting percentage aberrations. Let’s go through your list anyway.

    Boyes is shooting 20% this year. Last year he shot 9% and in his previous NHL time he was around 13%. What’s a good bet for him going forward? Will he score 30 shooting at the same rate and 9% efficiency?

    Heatley is only 2-3% over his career SH% but he’s shooting at a 250 shot/82 game pace. This is 50 shots more than Penner’s pace.

    Spezza’s pretty much the same deal. Shooting pretty much at his career efficiency, but at a rate much higher than Penner’s.

    You wonder why this matters at this point, because these two Sens have a track record of 16-18% efficiency and Penner’s unlikely to do that on a regular basis anyway.

    In Brown’s previous two full NHL seasons he shot under 9% and at a similar rate. He’s a younger player than Penner so he could be getting better, but whether an 8% jump in shooting percentage can be maintained is a very good question.

    Prospal again shoots more than Penner and is a career sub-10% shooter in the NHL who is posting a 15% this year. Sustainable?

    Alfredsson is shooting at a 266 shot/season rate and routinely gets over 240 shots/year. He’s also a 12% career shooter who happens to be shooting almost 19%. That could be more PP time or more 5V3 time. He could be spending less time on the point taking low percentage shots as well although his shooting rate doesn’t seem all that different. Or it could be he’s just been a little luckier than usual.

    Ribeiro? Whew. Ribeiro’s a 14.5% career shooter who has posted a 28% shooting percentage. I think he found a sucker in Dallas for that extension because there’s no way that’s a sustainable shooting percentage. Particularly with that track record.

    In summary, you’ve convinced me of nothing with these examples. It looks like a list of career years or guys that have shooting rates and efficiencies that are always well clear of Penner’s established level of performance.

    The question is why does Penner shoot so infrequently and how can he fix it? Some of these types generate loads of chances but pass up good shooting opportunities. Other players just don’t generate enough quality opportunities in the first place.

    Personally, I think Hemsky is clearly the former and I’m concerned that Penner is the latter. He’s always near the net, so his shot distance is low and is opportunities should be pretty good. He just doesn’t make enough of them.

  77. danny says:

    Thank you for that Bruce. It’s refreshing to have a moderate voice out here where the mob mentality sometimes gets in the way of better judgement. I’ve been coming back to the blogworld a lot more frequently lately, and its in part due to quality servings from yourself.

    No doubt what the lynchers constantly harp on has roots in reality, but it gets the sensationalist treatment much too often, and you do a great job of ‘keeping it real’.

  78. Bruce says:

    Bruce has setup so many strawmen

    Good catch. :) My tongue was fairly firmly in my cheek on some of that, in case you didn’t notice. Just trying to advance the discussion, and thanks for engaging.

    This is Stauffer’s nonsense essentially. In Hemsky’s only full season since the lockout he scored 19 goals and put up 77 points. That’s obviously an offensive accomplishment.

    One thing I’m not is Stauffer’s mouthpiece, but we might notice the same thing from time to time. (Just not very fucking often.) You’re right Ales had a breakout season in ’05-06, after which he signed the big contract, Since then his PPG ratio has slid back from that high-water mark of 0.95, to 0.87 in 129 GP. I had frankly hoped and expected he would keep improving and blossom into a true point machine. Instead he’s treading water, just outside the top 40 in the NHL at present, not bad but nothing wonderful. His defensive play continues to be middling-to-suspect, he doesn’t kill penalties and he’s a consistent minus player at evens. Sure he’s pretty darn good on the PP, but I don’t see Oilers blowing away the league in this category either.

    I notice we’re still ignoring the neutral zone here because it’s clear that Penner isn’t able to hinder players coming through the neutral zone and can’t backcheck.

    Yeah, that’s a concern. That line has been getting killed in the neutral zone. The fact Hemsky would seemingly rather turn the puck over at the offensive blueline than ever dump it in contributes to the problem. But since you mention it, I think I’ll spend a couple games focussing on 27′s play in that area of the ice, both ways.

    And if you factor in icetime, then they’re shooting at almost the same rate. So the famously unwilling to shoot Hemsky is matching Penner’s shooting rate. Apparently that’s not a problem…

    Damn straight it’s a problem. When our three leading shooters have scored just 19, 11, and 19 goals they’re not generating enough goals, period. And it’s Hemsky’s problem just as much as it’s Penner’s problem, which is central to my true argument here. I won’t accept “four legs good two legs bad” simplifications when it comes to discussing the relative merits of Hemsky and Penner. Both have shades of grey.

    This isn’t even arguing in good faith. Stoll generates the majority of his shots as a PP pointman. The comparison doesn’t hold water.

    Well, my argument — and no less an authority than Vic Ferrari confirms that there’s at least a one in a billion chance that I might be right :) — is that there’s a hell of a lot more to the game than simply counting up shots on goal. A guy like Hemsky who can bring the puck into a dangerous position and then shoot is going to get more goals than Jarret just firing away from wherever. Ultimately it’s shots IN goal that count.

    This is my problem with the errors stat – players that don’t get engaged in the play on a regular basis actually get credit for just being there. The whole “just being there” thing was what this “stat” was intended to help with.

    Not sure you entirely understand the stat, or the process. First of all, nobody gets “credit” for anything. The question is once we’ve already identified the guys who were on the ice and given them all a -1, which players were most responsible for the GA. It’s a judgement call and it is not easy at all. I spent a dozen or so games after the All-Star break shadowing Staples on the errors, and believe me I looked at everything I could think of: change of possession, access to the zone, battles for and away from the puck, positional play, rebound control, and on and on. With a mere 45 years of closely following the game inc. a few years coaching minor hockey, I would NOT consider myself an expert, but I’m more of one than I was six weeks ago.

    I like it as a complementary stat to +/-; one answers the question “who was out there?” anbd the other “who got burned?” Staples and I found ourselves in broad agreement on most goals, although I am perhaps a little tougher on the forwards and a little more forgiving of goaltenders and that’s where subjectivity creeps in. Twice I awarded all the errors to guys sitting on the bench after a terrible line change that hung their replacements out to dry for an entirely undeserved minus (for the record: Stoll, Moreau, Reasoner, Hemsky, Stoll again as the (veteran) culprits; Reasoner, Brodziak, Nilsson, Cogliano and Gagner as the victims). Once I assigned one to a guy who didn’t make a change when he should (Brodziak) and wound up sucking wind, caught in his own end after a 1:50 shift. I spent over two hours watching replays of one game (yet another horror show vs. Nashville), and believe me it’s not easy. In fact it may be too complex to ever establish a consistent and reliable methodology, but it’s damned interesting to make the attempt. I personally think Staples deserves a lot of credit for trying to shine a different light on the game (as many others on the ‘sphere do in their own ways, and the reason why I for one spend a lot of time in here), but he sure seems to get a lot of abuse for it. I wonder if that’s more about who he is and who he represents rather than what he’s actually trying to do. Which, like many of us, is to attain a little deeper understanding of this wonderful game.

  79. mc79hockey says:

    Since then his PPG ratio has slid back from that high-water mark of 0.95, to 0.87 in 129 GP.

    I am utterly slammed at work right now, so I can’t get into this as much as I want but a few points about this. First, Hemsky has played on the real MacT first line for the past two years, which is the line that goes H2H with the opposition’s best. Ok, he got away from that for part of this year but you get my point – quality of minutes should be factored in there.

    Second, I don’t know that doing straight comparisons to 05-06 is relevant; PP time was up all across the league that year; it, like scoring, has since declined.

    At first blush I’d bet that, in real terms, his offence is ahead of where it was in 05-06.

  80. Bruce says:

    Why fucking post this Bruce? You know it’s bullshit. You have to know that.

    Well since you asked so nicely, RQ, I thought I was just answering — admittedly superficially using just this year’s stats — the question whether it’s possible to be a 30-35 goal scorer at a 200 shots per year rate. Short answer: yes, it’s possible. Longer answer: not too many guys do so consistently.

    Here’s a sample since the lockout, so divide by 3 and round up:

    Ryan Smyth: 585 shots, 86 goals
    Jason Arnott: 573 shots, 84 goals
    Chris Drury: 568 shots, 89 goals
    Jason Pominville: 543 shots, 76 goals
    Kristian Huselius: 528 shots, 73 goals
    Alexander Frolov: 512 shots, 79 goals
    Jason Spezza: 504 shots, 83 goals
    Marek Svatos: 474 shots, 73 goals
    Tomas Holmstrom: 452 shots, 79 goals
    [Alex Tanguay: 342 shots, 67 goals]

    So it would seem that even successful players shooting at or below 200 shots per season score in the 25-30 goal range.

    Ales Hemsky (210 GP): 461 shots, 51 goals
    Dustin Penner (173 GP): 426 shots, 52 goals

    Looks to me like our local heroes have a ways to go in both volume of shots and shooting percentage.

  81. PunjabiOil says:

    One thing I’m not is Stauffer’s mouthpiece, but we might notice the same thing from time to time. (Just not very fucking often.) You’re right Ales had a breakout season in ’05-06, after which he signed the big contract, Since then his PPG ratio has slid back from that high-water mark of 0.95, to 0.87 in 129 GP. I had frankly hoped and expected he would keep improving and blossom into a true point machine. Instead he’s treading water, just outside the top 40 in the NHL at present, not bad but nothing wonderful. His defensive play continues to be middling-to-suspect, he doesn’t kill penalties and he’s a consistent minus player at evens. Sure he’s pretty darn good on the PP, but I don’t see Oilers blowing away the league in this category either

    At the same time, Hemsky’s EV/60 production improved significantly. And that is the category that tells me he’s an improving hockey player.

    Hemsky ran the PP in 2005-2006, but it’s no secret he benefited playing with Pronger. That being said, his PPP/60 rates are still very respectable, despite playing without a true point defenceman who can run the PP.

    He’s also young – the prime of his career is still a few years away.

    It’s also no secret this his +/- numbers fell once Horcoff got hurt. That will happen, and Dustin Penner is screaming more and more like a complimentary player every counting day. Playing alongside Reasoner/Stoll (both who bleed GA) isn’t going to help the cause either. The way I see it, Hemsky’s a PPG player if Horcoff didn’t get hurt and doing well 5 on 5.

    I also don’t put too much stock into the fact he’s been a minus player. Look, he gets the tough minutes out there, and the Oilers are relatively a poor 5 on 5 team. Sakic and the Avalanche – same story early in the year, with Stastny and Wolski in the pluses in double digits. More local example – Horcoff and his EV- 12 rating last season.

    You’re a smart guy here Bruce – but I’m in RiversQ camp with respect to Dustin Penner. That’s not saying I don’t agree with your point the error stat has some value in it.

  82. Bruce says:

    At first blush I’d bet that, in real terms, his offence is ahead of where it was in 05-06.

    MC: You’re right PP TOI has dropped since 2005-06, according to NHL.com Ales has dropped from 5:02 to 4:18 to 3:53 per GP. His ES TOI has risen, from 11:37 to 12:33 to 14:34. His PK time is negligible, in fact it has dropped from a “high” of 0:18 in ’05-06.

    On a per 60 basis in each situation, Hemsky has been pretty darn consistent. At evens: 2.17, 2.09, 2.22 the last three years. On the PP, 6.17, 5.45, 5.92.

    I think it’s fair to say his offence has levelled off, in fact that he’s returned to ’05-06 levels this year after a somewhat off-year in ’06-07 (for which we can probably thank Boogaard).

    I agree quality of minutes should be factored in, but so should quality of linemates. In general Ales plays with and against the best, and it is to those high standards I hold him.

  83. Black Dog says:

    Pretty well every game I have seen the Oilers play this season Hemsky has been one of their two or three top players.

    The PP, which he drives, has been over 20% in the last sixty games, is that right?

    He is just under a PPG this season and just under a PPG since Horc went down. His totals at ES have dropped since Horc went down but the has been playing with Marty or most often Stoll, who has 8 points at ES, 2 goals (one of those an empty netter).

    And he is playing hurt.

    He doesn’t shy away from the high traffic errors and by my eye he is shooting a lot more. In other words he”s ironing out the flaws in his game.

    Its right to hold him to a high standard, Bruce, but I just wonder who you would prefer over him? For me, the jury is still out on Penner. I thought he had turned the corner there but he has been pretty bad the last while and I think as fans of this club we had all better hope he picks it up a notch or this club has just wasted an awful ton of dough on a guy who is no more then a complementary player, as PJO says.

    I’m not one of these huge stats guys – there is meaning to them, sure. But game after game my eyes tell me that Penner is ineffective while Hemsky, at the very least, is creating scoring chances at a pretty good clip. To me there is not even a comparison. I think Ales has taken a leap forward this year – I hope Penner takes the same leap next season; he has been a disappointment.

  84. Bruce says:

    [PJO]
    [Hemsky's] also young – the prime of his career is still a few years away.

    [RQ]
    It also really boggles my mind that people seem to think Penner has so much room to grow. He’s a 25yr old hockey player already. As an NHL forward he probably entered the first year of his prime 4-5 yrs this year. I really don’t think there’s much left at the top end.

    Interesting to compare your remarks. Penner is a few months older but is a “young 25″ having played about half the games at the NHL level. He’s surely about the same distance from his prime as Hemsky is from his.

    [BDHS]
    [Hemsky's] totals at ES have dropped since Horc went down but the has been playing with Marty or most often Stoll, who has 8 points at ES, 2 goals (one of those an empty netter).

    Identical statements apply to Penner.

    Its right to hold him to a high standard, Bruce, but I just wonder who you would prefer over him?

    Besides Ovechkin or Malkin or Zetterberg, etc.? On our team, nobody. For now, at least in theory, Hemsky’s the best we got, and for our team to get more competitive Ales needs to get better, or else accept a lesser role as guys like Gagner and Nilsson blow past him. Treading water five years into his career is not a good sign IMO. Yes there are reasons for it, but if Horcoff’s injury turns Hemsky into a friggin’ minus machine (-13 since the All-Star break), then surely that makes the same argument about Hemsky that PJO made about Penner, that he’s a complementary player. I don’t see him that way, but jeezus man, that’s terrible. Same for Penner’s -14, I’m not sugarcoating that either. I’m just not buying all that first-line failure is on Penner. With Stoll in the middle they have been unable to click offensively (at evens), and have had a terrible time of it keeping the puck out of our net. For $10 MM I expect better. Is that so unreasonable?

    He doesn’t shy away from the high traffic errors

    Well put. :~)

  85. rickibear says:

    Penner was brought in to score and compliment Horcoff and Hemsky.
    When you look at him and this years shooting percentage he will have scored 50-52 goals in his first two full seasons.
    First full 29G 14%
    2nd full year 20-22G 11%
    Average 25G 12.5%

    Is he a 14%, 12.5%, or 11% shooter

    In his first 20 games when the team was 5 games below .500 and everyone was getting established with each other Penner was:
    3G on 53SH 5.7% 2.65SH/GM

    From game 21 to Jan.29 when Horcoff got hurt Penner was:
    12G on 80SH 15% 2.42SH/GM

    Since Stoll has been centering the top line Penner was:
    4G on 43SH 9.3% 2.26SH/GM
    of these 3were on the PP with Gagner at center and Stoll on the point.
    His only EV was when Reasoner was at center.

    I look forward to next year with him on LW with Horcoff and Hemsky for a full season with 2.55SH/GM at 14-15%.

  86. PunjabiOil says:

    Interesting to compare your remarks. Penner is a few months older but is a “young 25″ having played about half the games at the NHL level. He’s surely about the same distance from his prime as Hemsky is from his.

    The difference is that Hemsky has already demonstrated a level of high performance (2005-2006 77 in 81, 17 in 24 in the playoffs) and is having a very good season this year.

    Penner is a late bloomer, and may still develop, but if I’m putting money, I’m putting it on Ales. Dustin Penner seems like a slighly better version of Raffi Torres – the difference being, PP production.

    Yes there are reasons for it, but if Horcoff’s injury turns Hemsky into a friggin’ minus machine (-13 since the All-Star break), then surely that makes the same argument about Hemsky that PJO made about Penner, that he’s a complementary player.

    Hemsky at least has the wrist excuse. Penner has…well, he’s out of gas.

    Besides, Hemsky’s at least still putting up the the points since Horcoff got injured. Meanwhile, Penner has gone AWOL, aside from the obligatory 2nd assists of the , “Whoops, the puck brushed against my stick” variety.

    Hemsky’s biggest strength is playmaking and setting up goals – it’s no question when the team’s best goal scorer gets hurt, Hemsky’s numbers will suffer. That being said, hardly a compliment to Penner that a playmaking winger has just as many goals as him.

    The way I see it, Dustin Penner was Lowe’s last remaining option. In hindsight, he probably should have gone after a guy like Nagy and offer him a 1M Northern Relocation Benefit (total 5.5M salary/1 year) and kept the flexibility for this summer.

  87. RiversQ says:

    The fact Hemsky would seemingly rather turn the puck over at the offensive blueline than ever dump it in contributes to the problem.

    This is interesting because frankly, when I watch the Oiler games this year I see Penner turn the puck over a lot at the blueline as well. If you consider that he rarely turns anyone into a turnstile, this is a disturbing trend. I see Penner trying to beat the dman standing up at the blueline almost as often as Hemsky in terms of percentage of opportunities, except that he rarely has the puck and he’s very rarely successful.

    Let’s muddy the waters with some RTSS stats, shall we?

    I think we both agree on the limitations of the TK/GV RTSS stats. A) they’re subjective and rink dependent, but usually players on the same team are being judged roughly the same way. B) They are highly possession dependent, meaning the players that have the puck all the time will naturally end up with more turnovers. The Spezza’s, Thornton’s, Ovechkins, Jagr’s, Hemsky’s, etc of the world always get dinged with far more of them because their teams depend on them to lug the puck up the ice and make things happen in the offensive zone. (The dmen often get ripped pretty hard as well because they’re expected to fire a lot of long passes.) So with those caveats, I present the following:

    Hemsky – 57 GV in 1177min

    Penner – 50 GV in 1218min

    This is interesting because Hemsky obviously has the puck far more than Penner does and yet they’re within spitting distance of each other in RTSS turnovers. Since blueline turnovers are almost always the most egregious, they’re probably reasonably well portrayed by this measure.

    So while the “Hemsky is hard to play with” crowd waxes nostalgic about his blueline hijinks, they should probably consider a few things IMHO: A) He’s usually the only option to lug the puck into the offensive zone especially with Horcoff on the mend so he’s asked to do it alot; B) He beats a lot of NHL dmen like they’re Dutchy’s proverbial rented mule, so you have to weigh the risk/reward; and C)Looks can be deceiving because Penner’s coughing them up at a similar rate despite having the puck a lot less.

  88. RiversQ says:

    Bruce said… I’m just not buying all that first-line failure is on Penner.

    I’m not saying it is all on Penner. Not at all. Especially when Stoll is struggling so much offensively.

    I do however find it very hard to pin much at all on Hemsky. We’re not that far apart on this issue, except that you’re the one that tried to throw Hemsky under the bus for the first line struggles when he’s clearly the best player on the team right now despite the wrist injury. I can understand defending Penner for whatever reason, but I don’t see why Hemsky should be blamed for that line’s struggles.

    My only concern here is that the reality is that Penner’s deal should be looked at critically because the production isn’t there, the salary is high, the cost to obtain him was high, and the upside needs to be looked at realistically.

    When I have a tough time rectifying comments from the thickies out there about Penner, with the reality on the ice. Besides Stauffer, Staples and the Oilers’ propaganda machine.

  89. RiversQ says:

    Hemsky at least has the wrist excuse. Penner has…well, he’s out of gas.

    So he started the year as a fat guy and now he’s out of gas?

    He’s got what? 30 games/year in him then?

    Seriously, I think the Oilers will be able to salvage some of the Penner deal. They’ll never reclaim the cost of the contract, but the overall deal won’t be terrible if he could be a useful 2nd liner. I’d be interested in seeing 27-89-34 next year. I think that could be pretty good if Pisani’s healthy, because 27 and 34 can cycle the puck down low and Gagner completes the puck possession triad.

  90. RiversQ says:

    When I have a tough time rectifying comments from the thickies out there about Penner, with the reality on the ice. Besides Stauffer, Staples and the Oilers’ propaganda machine.

    That makes no sense. My rearrangement of the paragraph cost its meaning.

    I meant to say “I don’t know where many Oiler fans get this stuff about Penner, except for the Oilers propaganda machine.”

    I should sleep more.

  91. Bruce says:

    RiversQ: To be continued. Some other day, some other thread.

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