Oilers at Hawks, G69/07-08

I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul
But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ’bout rock and roll
-Lovin’ Spoonful

I rarely use the line “you had to be there” because old guys like me overuse it. The facts are that hockey today trumps hockey from the 1970s by a lot (conditioning, split leagues, etc) but there are pockets of players who were special by any measure. One of those players is Bobby Hull. For some reason as time marches along there are fewer and fewer people who remember just how unique he was as a hockey player.

One factor is that his son had a long and impressive career and there is a tendency to compare them to each other because goals were such a factor in their value. The reality is that Brett Hull was not a comparable player to Bobby Hull. No sin there, few were. Bobby Hull was as strong as an ox, a firebrand and a unique player from beginning to start. It was impossible to find a hockey magazine without an article about him during his career (seriously, find one) and anyone who lived through those days and was a hockey fan can close their eyes and remember him flying down the wing and letting loose the most feared shot on the planet.

Bobby Hull was Paul Bunyan.

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70 Responses to "Oilers at Hawks, G69/07-08"

  1. Black Dog says:

    That’s weird – I saw the tribute to him and Stan the other night and I could swear he had a really lovely head of hair.

    I’ve gone on and on about Mikita before but its a measure of the impact he and Hull had that I believe they each had multiple covers on SI. They were “known”.

    When is the last time a hockey player was on the cover of SI? When is the last time a Chicago Blackhawk was?

  2. Black Dog says:

    For once I will actually answer my own question, or part of it.

    From 1960 to 1972 there were ten covers that featured Blackhawks, the only ten.

    Hull was on five, Mikita three. Tony O and Keith Magnusson were on the other two.

    The last cover with a Blackhawk – 1972 – and it was Bobby Hull. The topic – whether he would get the money from Wirtz or would he jump to the Jets.

    Its been downhill pretty well ever since.

  3. Mr DeBakey says:

    “Hull was a classy guy – period. As a right winger I often ended up playing against him, and I was always amazed at how strong and talented he was. He could carry two guys on his back and still score a goal, but he never resorted to cheap shots or using his stick”

    Rusty Patenaude in Big Pucks & Blue Pucks

  4. Doogie says:

    When is the last time a hockey player was on the cover of SI?

    Wasn’t The Crosby on the front last year or something?

  5. Tyler says:

    THAT was one of the luckiest breaks I’ve seen in quite some time.

  6. Dennis says:

    Pat: You beat me to it:) I had a laugh the other night while checking out the Hawks game on CI; he was about to appear with the broadcast team so they show a bunch of clips of him in his prime and there he is with the bald head in view, then he comes to the studio and the wig’s in full effect.

    It kills me every time:)

    Today marks another shot for 78 and though the loophole wasn’t explained, one of the dailies today said the Oilers are able to keep young Pouliot up for the rest of the season if they so chose.

    Here are the quotes from macT:

    “We couldn’t hit the net in the second period, but Pouliot got a couple of shots through and if you’re going to get second chances on a goalie, first you have to hit the net. I thought he played pretty well,” said MacTavish.

    “He’s a first-round draft choice and you walk into the door and you maybe think this is an entitlement to being in the locker-room,” said MacTavish. “You get all sorts of opportunities, but it’s a pretty level field once you walk into

    the room … doesn’t matter where you were drafted.

    “He’s had trouble finding a niche. He’s OK defensively and OK offensively. You have to excel at something. We all know what the qualifications are to play on a team, be it on the first, second, third or fourth line,” added MacTavish. “He’s been able to grab a specific role for himself, and all players have to do that. You grab a lesser role first, fill it and try to expand on it. I haven’t seen that yet, but he’s better prepared to do it.”

    That’s from the Journal and here are the quotes from the Sun:

    I thought he was good, made some plays,” said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

    “That has to be the focus at that stage in his career,” MacTavish said.

    “When you come in and you’re a first-round draft choice and if you think that’s an entitlement to be in the locker-room and get all kinds of opportunity, that’s when you’re going to have problems.”

    He’s been OK defensively and OK offensively,” MacTavish said.

    “But you have to excel at something and find a niche and we all know what the qualifications are to be on your team.

    “He’s just been unable to grab a specific role for himself and I think that’s what players need to do to expand their role.

    “They need to grab a lesser role and fill it, then expand it.”

    So, it’s basically back to square one for Pouliot: He’ll be given a spot in the bottom six – and maybe some 2nd PP unit time as well; he did replace 51 in that role last game out – and it’s up to him to not get scored upon and create more than he allows.

    For his part, Pouliot seems to finally get it. But I guess we shall see.

    don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself, I just want to play my game,” Pouliot said yesterday.

    “I don’t have any control in these kinds of things, I’m not even sure how it works. I just want to take it game by game. I don’t know how long I’m going to stay, I just want to prepare myself for every game.”

    “It’s been a while since I’ve been here and I wanted this chance to come back,” he said.

    “Now that I’m here, I just want to play my best, try to get at least another game and prove myself.

    “I just wanted to go out there and play my role, not try to do too much, just play well defensively make sure that I’ve earned my ice time.”

  7. K says:

    Slick pass from 78.

  8. Lord Bob says:

    That’s weird – I saw the tribute to him and Stan the other night and I could swear he had a really lovely head of hair.

    Bobby’s been known to wear fake hair. There’s a story from Hull’s WHA days of him getting into a fight with I think one of the Hanson brothers and said Hanson ending up yanking out Hull’s hair, realising what he’s done, and throwing it at the ice like a dead rat.

    I believe the quote was “I got something like twenty minutes in penalties, and Bobby didn’t get anything.”

  9. Bank Shot says:

    Gagner makes Kane look like a pencil neck.

  10. Lowetide says:

    A couple of nice plays from Pouliot in the period, came back and knocked the puck off a Hawks stick and then had a blind pass work out.

    On the downside he was on the PP but did nothing with authority during it. I’m thinking of a specific sequence where the puck was in the corner and he was the advance man but he faded and waited for the second Oiler to engage.

    If I had $200 to bet for or against, I’d put it in my pocket based on the 4 periods since his recall. He needs to force the issue and hasn’t done enough imo.

  11. Dennis says:

    Another good period for 78, I thought. I think the litmus test on whether to send him back should be if his line’s creating more chances then they’re allowing and I think he’s certainly ahead in that metric at this point. I like how he goes to set up a screen on the PP and I wonder if that’s how he worked down in SF as well. He got killed in the dot, ie 1/5, but he made a wonderful n-zone pass to 51, made a nice play to break up a two-on-two and I noticed him once pointing out some defensive coverages as well.

    As for the period:

    - Hockey gods giveth large on the bounce to 27 for his goal but they take take it back on 77′s post shot.

    - 12 is just a wonderful playmaker. 2nd best on the team in that regard to just 83. The kid line fucks around too much trying to score highlight reel goals but it’s fun to watch when you have no hope of making the playofs anyway;)

    - Greene nailed Adams, Bufgyliend ran Hemsky and Glencross ran Henry but otherwise it was a pretty soft period, wasn’t it? You’ve got all kinds of players on both sides that would love to play in these games all the time, IMO. Our kid line plus and Lang and Kane and all those guys.

    - Garon made some dandy saves but was a bit unlucky on Sharp’s snipe. Garon doesn’t play as much on his knees as he does on his shins, note: what’s more butterfly then even butterfly;), so he should soak up chances like that.

    Fun game to watch and if we stop taking penalties that fail to negate scoring chances then we have a decent shot at hauling out a point.

  12. Dennis says:

    LT: I think you’re being too tough on him as to over-compensate:)

    I think the play your talking about where he didn’t go in hard was actually at EV. The PP I remember him on he went to the net for a screen but 12 tried to stickhandle through 16 guys at the right point and turned it over.

    I think he’s doing fine. Fuck, it’s Sanderson he’s fighting here. I don’t think we need him to be Tuffy Rhodes;)

  13. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Nah, he’s just not good enough. Gets an assist on a wonderful shot by Glencross where Pouliot’s chief role was as “fly hitting windshield” and then follows that up with a complete “also in photo” shift where he is beaten repeatedly by a Hawk forward down low and allows the player to get a wrap around chance.

    Lots of players are in competition for that job, not just Geoff Sanderson.

  14. Lowetide says:

    And as I say that, he makes two nice plays in the same shift. Battled hard for a turnover down low and got the puck to Glencross who bulled it out and then rammed some Hawk on the left offensive boards in a very nice, physical style.

    Good for him, keep it up.

  15. mike w says:

    NILLSSSOON SCHMMMILLLSSSONN!!

  16. uni says:

    NILSSON!

    Now who gets that assist?

  17. Lowetide says:

    Nilsson Schmilsson is just a helluva hockey player. I have no idea how much he contributes to wins but lordy stuff happens when he’s around.

  18. mike w says:

    Kurri and Steve Smith: big and strong.

  19. Bank Shot says:

    Pouliot’s been good enough to play. Still, though… If Lowe could scrounge up another Glencross clone in the offseason would anyone be upset if Pouliot lost his spot in those circumstances?

    The Oilers must be pretty frustrating to play against recently. They get dominated for 3/4s of the game, but they turn around and score on every chincy chance they get.

  20. Lowetide says:

    Bank Shot: I’m a Pouliot fan, but honestly he is window dressing on a lot of plays. That play where Toews had Pouliot going one way and his stick the other is entertaining but the guy marking Toews needs to be able to catch him, hit him or block the shot.

  21. Dennis says:

    Going forward, LT, yes there are more guys up for that just then just Sanderson but in March 2008? No, there’s not. So that’s why I’d stick with him. One thing he’s excellent at is taking the puck off his skate and not losing stride. Uncanny.

    I still believe in the guy and until I see him getting some real time and fucking up more than making the nice play I’ll hold on hope:)

    Other things:

    - Anyone worried that all of a sudden Garon’s getting beat consistently on short side shots> Ferraro might say that was a great shot by Duncan but by comparison Glencross had a lot less room on Lalime than Keith on Garon. Also, Garon could’ve frozen the play just prior to the 3-2 goal. Shot came in from the RW and he decided to play it off to the corner. Lots of games now with three or more GA allowed and I’m starting to worry. At the very least he’s gonna need a good backup going forward.

    - For a blowhard like Van Wilder Stauffer who likes to slam MacT because he doesn’t play the kids enough, when you get a bunch of offensive players you’re gonna have a soft team. There are lots of Oilers out there today who aren’t the least bit interested in dumping the puck or taking a hit to make a play. That’s why I’m loathe to brush off Pouliot taking that run and not getting gun-shy.

    - This is the luckiest OIlers team I’ve ever followed. Tonnes of SO wins and staying in games they have no business whatsoever.

    - MacT let the kid line take an own zone draw with less than two mine left. Yes they went on to score but wow, let’s retire the “mact doesn’t give kids enough time” argument, shall we?

    - No sense in not giving the Oilers 4th line more time. 20′s trying to do something every shift and our 3rd line plus 16 are getting wiped out by all the PK time.

  22. mike w says:

    That one was for you, Dad!

  23. mike w says:

    Man, I just love watching Pisani.

  24. uni says:

    Great lost the sopcast feed for the game and 3 goals in the 3rd already…and what the hell has Cogliano been eating for breakfast the last little while? Maybe he’s taking all those Marchant and hands of stone comments personally?

  25. Lord Bob says:

    I’m at work making computers be not broken, alas, so I missed this one. God, I’m sad I did. Any chance to gloat about Bobby Nilsson’s excellence is one I try not to pass up.

    By the way, if the over/under on blog posts in the next month lamenting the Smyth trade in passing without even mentioning the revelation Nilsson’s been was zero, I’d still take the under. The guy gets all the credit and then people forget about him.

  26. mike w says:

    Well early on in the season, Nilsson wasn’t looking like a sure-bet NHL player. I always liked him, though.

    But I’ve never seen him play so well, although it may be enhanced by Chicago’s loosey-goosey one-on-one coverage this game.

  27. mike w says:

    Cue horrendous Nilsson turnover.

  28. mike w says:

    I never thought I’d live to see a raucous United Center.

  29. Lord Bob says:

    Nilsson’s a bust. I’ve said it all along.

  30. uni says:

    COGS!

    Oh me oh my!

  31. Black Dog says:

    Cogliano again!

    From Nilsson.

    Plan the parade! ;)

  32. mike w says:

    COG-O-TRON!

    7th last place here we come!

  33. PDO says:

    Cogs isn’t Todd Marchant.

  34. Black Dog says:

    71 points on the season.

    Didn’t figure they would hit that.

    I love that story Lord Bob – that’s a classic.

    Bobby Hull tied my shoes for me when I was five. I got his autograph at an armwrestling tournament in Timmins. As I turned to walk away he said “Hey son, your shoes are untied” and he bent over and tied them up.

    Then he ran my Mom into the boards for her lackadaisical parenting style.

  35. mike w says:

    Then he ran my Mom into the boards for her lackadaisical parenting style.

    Heh heh

  36. Lowetide says:

    MAN what a fun game. For anyone who missed the 80s this was it, take a pee at your own risk.

  37. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Oh yeah, agreed on him being the best option for 12F now (especially with JFJ hurt).

    Anyway, good game I thought from Pouliot plus he got a point. Certainly deserves another game.

  38. Oiler Mag says:

    “It’s deja-vu….. all over again”
    A classic piece of radio commentry to go with the win.

  39. Bank Shot says:

    “I’m a Pouliot fan, but honestly he is window dressing on a lot of plays”

    I fear that will be the kid’s eulogy if he fails to find a foothold in the show.

    Hemsky is chocolate swirl, Greene is rocky road, Stortini is Pralene and dick, and Pouliot is just vanilla.

    I tried to remain a fan of his, but with each additional viewing he just continues to underwhelm.

    He appears to have pretty good hands at times, but then he can’t make a ten foot pass to Hemsky to avoid an icing, and he’s passed it back to an Oiler only to see the puck scoot right out of the offensive zone three times in the past two games.

    On his last shift today he just got completely lost on his coverage in front of the net. Fair enough if you’re Nilsson and can pass the puck back in time, but not for Pouliot who doesn’t score that much.

    Dennis is right about him being able to take a pass at full speed, but his full speed just isn’t very good, and he doesn’t appear to have very much vision, nor be the type of guy that will block shots with his face.

    How Pouliot is going to carve out a role is the big question.

  40. jon k says:

    Well early on in the season, Nilsson wasn’t looking like a sure-bet NHL player. I always liked him, though.

    Nilsson was always showing flashes that he could be an NHLer, even in the pre-season. It’s always been an issue of consistency for him. I think he’s found a nice niche on the kids line though where Gagner and Cogliano maybe look for him to be the leader.

    Overall though, I remember LT had a post early in the season trying to predict Nilsson’s career path based on his previous seasons. The long bet for him to make a career for himself was to hit 40 points this season. So far, it’s looking good for those who took that bet. ;)

  41. Lord Bob says:

    Cogs isn’t Todd Marchant.

    Andy Moog disagrees.

  42. Nelson88 says:

    LT.

    Love your insight and your blog. However; I am feeling more than a little smug that my comment from the beginning of the year that Stoll and Torres should be sent down instead of Nilsson wasn’t that far off.

    No doubt he has found consistency lately but his linemates at the beginning of the year certainly weren’t helping.

    I don’t want to jinx them but my comment that this year’s Oilers are last years Avalanche may also not prove to be far off. Late charge with some bright young talent and they are everyone’s cinderella (if overrated) pick for 09.

  43. jon k says:

    In terms of the team though, I can’t help but think that watching the team now, Lowe is satisfied that Glencross helps fill the physicality that Torres will take with him when he’s traded.

    Combined with the emergence of the kid line, and there’s no space for Torres on the team. Unless of course they send away the captain instead and slot Torres into a permanent checking role.

  44. Dennis says:

    BS: I noticed that icing as well, ie the one where he couldn’t connect to Hemsky on the right win. That being said, notice how many times today you heard, “great defensive play by Pouliot” or “and the puck gets swept away by Pouliot.” He played a great game today in his own end and in terms of negating chances. I can’t see how anyone who watched the game would argue otherwise.

    Now, is there something to be said for how he’d or he’ll create offense going forward? Yes I certainly think there is and I was saying that last season when he was a regular. I was jazzed that MacT let him play with 27-83 in the third period but one of those shifts the Oilers had a draw to the left of Lalime and 78 wins it clean back to 24 who throws it around to 27′s side and that lug doesn’t make it there and the puck’s out of the zone. From the comments posted earlier I think Pouliot’s just here to look after his own end first and he’s frightened to death to get scored upon. Like everyone every born who wasn’t named Hemsky or Gagner, Pouliot will only make his MacT bones by not getting scored up. MacT pretty much laid it out there today: find a niche and work your way up from there.

    I’d have a hard job believing that Pouliot hasn’t at least gone a little way towards that in his first couple of games. So, I’m not sure what he’ll do offensively – though it’s clear he isn’t Gagner or Cogliano counting stats wise – but if he can get comfortable looking after his own end then maybe we’ll see him take some chances at the other. Do you think he’s comfortable now making chancey plays in the O zone now with the possible condition the puck will go back the other way? Do you think he should be? Would you be?

    This was just a crazy game, the third period was as much fun as I’ve had watching hockey since the Van game this year and in regular season terms there was a dandy at Rexall in ’05 vs the Flames that I remember, Pisani scored late I believe, and this one’s right up there. I mentioned how offensive guys can be soft and I saw Cogs bail out in the second period but all of a sudden those guys caught fire. Couldn’t believe that 13 stood up Barker; either Cam has poor balance or Cogs is stronger than I gave him credit for.

    Anyway, 89′s feed to 13 was very sweet and I loved how over the last 25 min Cogs was just dialing it up. Plus, the best play that didn’t result in a goal was 12 going in on the right wing and trying to take the D and then at the last moment dropping it to 89 who killed one off the pipe. If that had resulted in a goal, it would’ve been spectacular.

    One last thing: Glencross is a fucking bull. The guy has no regard whatsoever for his body. It’s enjoyable to watch and I think we should have two GM’s like the Stars do: Lowe can handle the little deals and then get someone else for the big ones;)

    Finally, for the guy pimping Nilsson, I thought he’d turned the corner a couple of months ago but then he fell down again. I said a couple of weeks ago that he was for real and I’m coming around to liking and respecting him but I’d still rather have Smyth here, paying him Penner’s money and with our pick in our pocket.

    Oh, this is finally, Garon’s starting to worry me.

  45. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – well the knock against Rowbert has been his consistency all along and how many solid games has he put together now? The bad streaks are getting shorter and the good ones are getting longer. They have him in a role against soft opp with a couple of kids who are really playing lights out lately. Good thing is he is part of that line, not a passenger I mean.

    Yeah Garon worries me too – they have been riding the shit out of him and I think he’s just tiring out but its a good ploy by MacT – see if he has what it takes to be the man. The guy is the team MVP but its becoming clear that a 50/30 or 40/40 split might be in the offing starts wise. I would sign him but not for big money.

    I haven’t seen either of MP’s games but it sounds like you are on the mark. He is going to take care of his own end first and hope that that wins over MacT. He doesn’t have to chip in much offence at ES to catch Stoll. He’s only seven points behind now. ;)

    He must know this is it so I would think he is squeezing the stick a little bit but if he can be a guy who can win some draws, use that size of his a little and chip in some offence here and there then I think he can earn a spot next season. Like Nilsson its just a question of the light coming on.

    Dennis – re: two GMs for the Oilers – that’s a fucking beaut

  46. Bruce says:

    Missed the game today, just saw the video of the last 3 minutes plus OT, might watch the rest later. Sounds to have been an action-packed affair.

    He’ll be given a spot in the bottom six … and it’s up to him to not get scored upon and create more than he allows.

    Dennis, you must be happy that Pouliot was given the plum role between 20 and 46. :) They didn’t create a lot, just two shots (both by GlenX), but one of them went in and they didn’t allow anything, and all three have a shiny +1 to prove it. The three of them combined for 8 of Oilers 19 hits, with MP recording a creditable 3 of those. I notice that MacT gonged 46 early in the third but kept running 20 and 78 out there. MP got some quality minutes down the stretch, two long shifts (1:36! and 1:04) in the last few minutes.

    I’d still rather have Smyth here, paying him Penner’s money and with our pick in our pocket.

    You mean paying him Penner’s money PLUS Nilsson’s money plus more.

    At least both Penner and Nilsson can stay in the line-up, Ryan’s season has been one big bungee jump. First a neck injury, then a fractured ankle, now a concussion and a separated shoulder, not to mention some fairly erratic play while he was “healthy” (-11 in November). No telling what might have happened to him here of course, but those who suggested he might be starting to break down have hardly been proven wrong.

  47. Asiaoil says:

    What is MAP’s role going forward? It’s Stoll’s job IMHO and over the last 2 games it seems very winable for young Marc. If Pouliot can put together a good little run here to end the year and be defensively solid – I would have no problem waving goodbye to Stoll at the draft. The guy is simply death to any line he plays on and it’s getting worse not better. Add in the salary difference especially if we sign MAP to a cheap one way deal……and it’s like seeya Stollie.

  48. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: I think Stortini’s minutes were backed off because of a long stretch of special-team minutes in there, plus at a guess maybe MacT didn’t want another penalty (did he take the one that cost a pp goal?).

    Either way, Stortini had at least one ridiculous hit today, it was one of those “and there were no survivors” hits.

  49. Quain says:

    Stortini took a penalty off a face off, but from the sound of the radio announcers it was a weak call. And yeah, it lead to a goal.

    Of course, Rod Phillips and Morley Scott might not be the most objective sources for that.

  50. Slipper says:

    Dennis, I can’t see this team being a legitimate contender through the duration of either Penner’s deal or Smyth’s.

    We can always go back to summer ’06 and lament Lowe not extending Smyth as early as possible, but after the Pronger deal and the season 94 put up last year, keeping him might hvae only ensured a pick out of the top ten for the next 5 years.

    Nilsson is looking like the best return of any recent rental deal previous to this season. With his play over the past 30 games you can project a decent futre for him, I believe. When you figure in that in most deadline deals the first rounders going out are at the bottom end of the round, Lowe did well getting the Islanders first rounder.

    It was a good return for 20+ whatever games of Smyth. Lowetide was right and Dennis you owe him a half sack of beer if not an apology;)

    Now following that up by signing Penner and Souray is indefensible. If this was truly a rebuilding team the better option would have been to re-sign Hejda and Sykora, who have both stated they desired to sign contracts here but were told to be patient by Oilers’ managment and to wait. They’d have cost what? 3.5 million compared to 10 million. And Hejda and Sykora are actually an improvement over Souray and Penner.

    The Oil would also have their three picks in this draft to go with the 6+ million in saved salary.

  51. Slipper says:

    Oh and Dennis:

    When you walk through the garden…

  52. Bruce says:

    They have him in a role against soft opp with a couple of kids who are really playing lights out lately.

    Hey BDHS, while I know there’s something in it I’m not quite ready to drink the Kool-aid on this “soft opp” thing. Or is it “monkeys”?

    I hope to watch this game on video and since I can relax in the knowledge that the good guys won, I can watch dispassionately and focus on the in-game strategy. I will specifically keep an eye on how MacT handles his bench to get the kids out there in a good match-up on enemy ice.

    But let’s start with the evidence right in the game summary. The kids were on for 3 GF, and for 2 of them Duncan Keith (+29 on freakin’ Chicago!) and Brent Seabrook (+16)were on the ice; up front Robert Lang (+14) was out for 2 of them as well, while one of the goals was scored head-to-head against Chicago’s hotshot kids with Patrick Sharp (+20) on the wing. Given Chicago’s essentially a break-even team I don’t see much evidence of soft opp there, do you?

    Interesting to note that Gagner was burned for 2 goals against when out there without his usual linemates, and of course it was just Cogs and Row-bear on the ice for the (beautiful!) OT winner, so 12 and 13 wound up the day at +2 and 89 at -1. On the season Nilsson is +8, Cogs even and Gagner -17, so it’s fairly easy to conclude that of the three Sam is the one that needs protection.

    It would seem a similar situation exists in the Windy City with Sharp (+20), Toews (+10), and Kane (-6) spending a lot of time together. When they’re apart, however, it’s again the 18-year-old hotshot that tends to get exposed.

  53. Dennis says:

    Bruce: You absolutely need to watch that last period: it was outstanding action.

    Oilers played bad in the first and worse in the second before kicking it up a little in the last 5 min of the period but the third was just flat out. I’m not saying that Cogs will ever be as productive relative to Vladimir Guerrero – because we know he’ll never have a season like Vladdy’s ’00 for instance- but I remember watching Vladdy in ’97 when he used to hit basically all his power to the opposite field and I remember telling my buddies to watch out when he learned or got the confidence to pull the ball.

    If Cogs turns into a 30 goal and 75 point man, I’d point to the third period of today’s game as the first time I believed he could ever produce at that clip.

    I also get your point on 94′s durability but I still think he should’ve been signed in the summer of ’06.

    Slipper: the Nilsson rental looks like one that could very well be mentioned on Trade Day next Feb. Do they do that where they look at guys who were picked up for rentals? I don’t agree with how it all went down but if I’m convinced that Smyth was the prick and not Lowe; then I’d have to say that was a good return.

    But I’m not, of course;)

  54. uni says:

    Not really a ‘rental’ I guess so but I’d have to say Tommy Salo for Tom Gilbert would give Smyth for Nilsson a run for the money.

    Hard to gauge which is better just yet, since everyone here wanted to dump Salo for a bag of pucks if possible; and Smyth went for 3 1st round prospects (Nilsson less so as he’d been in the show for a bit before).

  55. Dennis says:

    I have a problem cutting Lowe any slack on Salo for Gilbert because Lowe let Tommy rot this team from the inside out for the last two seasons before he dealt him.

  56. Bank Shot says:

    b”What is MAP’s role going forward? It’s Stoll’s job IMHO and over the last 2 games it seems very winable for young Marc.”

    I don’t think MacT trusts MAP to get that type of PK time.

    The Oilers probably don’t go into 08-09 with Horcoff-Gagner/Cogliano-Pouliot-Brodziak down the pipe. They are trying to pretend they are competing for a playoff spot after all.

    Garon. He’s not Hockey Jesus any more, but he’s not letting in too many dreadfully bad goals. I think he looks alright if the Oilers start trying to limit the quality chances against somewhat.

  57. Asiaoil says:

    Bankshot – but should we pay Stoll over $2 million to kill penelties and score an even strength point every decade of so? Brodziak is only 2 years younger than and next year is still development time as far as I’m concerned. A PK of Moreau, Pisani, Reasoner and Horcoff gives us time to break a new guy in with Reasoner around as a 13th forward.

  58. Doogie says:

    Stortini took a penalty off a face off, but from the sound of the radio announcers it was a weak call. And yeah, it lead to a goal.

    Of course, Rod Phillips and Morley Scott might not be the most objective sources for that.

    It was a terrible call, actually. He barely grazed the guy with his stick, if he touched him at all. It looked more like he was just trying to get into position after the faceoff.

  59. Dennis says:

    I know people don’t like trading the captain and I know that there are lots of times we look soft but I’m sick of the Oilers paying Moreau for a whole lot of on-ice nothing.

    Torres would have more value on the market than Moreau but I’d still deal off 18 and have a dedicated tough min line of 14-16-34 for ’09.

    That would leave the 10 and 13 lines to play softer min and then have a blast picking out your 4th line;) I’m a fan of Glencross, Pouliot and Brodz with Storts around as well.

  60. Bruce says:

    Do they do that where they look at guys who were picked up for rentals?

    Dennis: I seem to recall hearing quite a bit about Shawn Matthias during the 9 hours of filler material this past deadline.

    Guess he wasn’t exactly a rental since the vet was already signed long term, but the steal of the year last year might have been the one-for-one of Zhitnik for Coburn. Check out this comparison from 2007-08:

    Alexei Zhitnik:
    DOB 1972/10/10, 5’11, 225 lbs.
    65 GP, 3-5-8, -8
    $3.5 MM per season thru 2010

    Braydon Coburn:
    DOB 1985/02/27, 6’5, 220 lbs.
    65 GP, 7-25-32, +16
    $3.5 MM TOTAL thru 2010

    I have a problem cutting Lowe any slack …

    I noticed. :)

    It could be worse. He could be Don Waddell.

  61. uni says:

    Is it any wonder why Hossa would want out of Atlanta? Going nowhere with all the talent they traded off last year.

    That Tkachuk trade was brutal, then Coburn, a big, talented, up and comer on D for Zhitnik (paid off short term though) who got traded earlier in the year for practically a nobody.

    Well at least they have Lethonen, if healthy, who could turn out to be something special. Other than that Don Waddell had to be made of teflon to have lasted that long.

    Also I wasn’t cutting Lowe any slack, just saying as far as good returns for rentals go, Tom Gilbert is a damn good one.

  62. godot10 says:

    //I know people don’t like trading the captain and I know that there are lots of times we look soft but I’m sick of the Oilers paying Moreau for a whole lot of on-ice nothing.//

    You don’t think that in the few games Moreau was back that he changed the physical confidence of the team, even now that he is hurt again? Having Moreau in the lineup will reinforce that physical confidence, every time it begins to slip.

    Swap Horcoff and Moreau into the current roster, and Stoll and Pouliot out, with the way the kids are playing, and if they were to stay healthy, next year they would be in the middle of the playoff hunt with what they have now.

  63. Black Dog says:

    bruce – yep may be the case last night and that’s great but if you look at Desjardins the kids have had an easy road, unless I am reading it wrong only the fourth liners and callups have had an easier row to hoe this season.

    Are they getting put into tougher situations, esp. on the road? Seems like. And the fact that they are producing against Keith and Seabrook is a wonderful thing.

    And dominating soft opp is wonderful – Caryle used Getzlaf and Perry in the exact same role at the beginning and we saw how well that turned out.

    The stats aren’t the end all and be all Bruce but it is telling. Look at Gilbert and who he has played this year and then look at Matt Greene who played third pair in his rookie year and struggled angainst the other team’s dregs or monkeys ;) – there’s really no comparison.

  64. dstaples says:

    Bobby Hull, 8th greatest player of all time according to combined Hart and Conn Smythe voting, while Brett Hull rates 35th overall.

  65. Bruce says:

    if you look at Desjardins the kids have had an easy road, unless I am reading it wrong only the fourth liners and callups have had an easier row to hoe this season

    Well that’s as it should be, MacT is a smart coach and he does have last change in half the games. As for reading it wrong, every time I cite Desjardins QUALCOMP figures and cite something that doesn’t agree with somebody’s world view, I get told that they’re not very accurate. Are you looking at that rating or something different?

    Look at Gilbert and who he has played this year and then look at Matt Greene who played third pair in his rookie year and struggled angainst the other team’s dregs or monkeys ;) – there’s really no comparison.

    I’ll say. Greene (who is four months younger than Gilbert, and this was two years ago) played behind the likes of Pronger, Spacek, Smith and Staios. This year MacT doesn’t have such luxuries, with only Staios reliably healthy among the veteran options, Souray and Pitkanen in and out, and Greene himself out for a long stretch. In the first half Gilbert was a more reliable option than Smid or Grebs, but I think the long season and the big minutes have begun to wear him down. It’s to be expected really, and it hardly lessens my opinion of him or his long-term prospects; I’ll merely stand by my assertion that the gap between Gilbert and the other developing defencemen is not as wide as it appeared to be three months ago. Which is mostly good news, the other guys have been coming on. And slowly but surely, MacT has been scaling back Gilbert’s minutes, which is also as it should be.

  66. dstaples says:

    Just when we’re all down on Pitkanen on the powerplay, he makes a beauty pass ;) to Penner, and gets the game going in the right direction.

    As for Gilbert, I’d be far more comfortable the Oil handing him a long-term deal (five, six years) than I would be seeing that deal go to Pitkanen, even if Pitkanen is playing about half the game these days.

  67. Dennis says:

    My problem with Greene is, much like Jason Smith, his range is limited and there’s only a couple of things that he’ll ever be able to do at an above-average level.

    I mean, fuck, it turned out all right for Gator:) but Greene’s never a guy that’s gonna be able to make a consistently good first pass, he doesn’t have the vision to make any kind of play and his shot is useless. The scary thing is that Smid for all the world looks to be the same guy except he’s a much better skater.

    And that’s why I like Gilbert so much and hope so much hope going forward with him.

    Uni: On the cutting slack thing, it wasn’t meant towards you per se but I think that with Gilbert looking promising and Nilsson’s counting stats inflating, you’ll get even more Lowe supporters coming to the forefront and I’m doing some pre-emptive strikes in that regard;)

    Not sure how old you are but for people who lived and died with the ’03 club just like they do with the ’08 squad, it’s hard to think of anything but the Phillipe Boucher goal from G6 of that year. Or maybe that’s just me;)

  68. Bruce says:

    Just when we’re all down on Pitkanen on the powerplay, he makes a beauty pass ;) to Penner, and gets the game going in the right direction.

    Yeah, he was making another of those ever-dangerous ring-it-around-the-backboards passes, it glances off a guy’s skate and turns into a perfect cross-seam pass. Given Joni’s reputation for great vision — eh, DG? — I wouldn’t mind seeing such a pass on a tape-to-tape basis from time to time. We got an extra guy out there, find him.

    Alternately, become the open man yourself, Joni. 1 PPG in 215 minutes is not enough for an offensive defenceman. In Souray’s absence adapt your game and become a shooting option. Let ‘er fly once in awhile, or sneak in for the old backdoor play while Ales is hypnotizing them on the halfboards. Hell, maybe you two could even practice that …

  69. dstaples says:

    Bruce.

    I’m trying hard not to get too negative about Piktanen.

    But my best efforts aren’t always paying off.

  70. Bruce says:

    David, your basketball comparison is a good one, Joni does play an all-ice game and there’s no doubt that he has a lot of influence on the flow of play. A lot of what he does doesn’t show up in the stats (he said charitably). But I too see the goal-costing errors, and I see the relatively small output at the offensive end, and it’s hard to make a $5 MM argument on Joni’s behalf, let’s put it that way.

    As for his health, he really hasn’t been the same since that sports hernia surgery in late 2005, and to gamble 15 or 20 million dollars on his future durability seems a shaky bet, as Dennis says. The trouble is two-fold: not only does he miss games, he seems to be “playing hurt” the rest of the time. I can only remember one stretch in early December where he seemed to really be bringing his A game night in and night out, he was putting in 26-28 minutes a game and racking up the points and the plusses (8 GP, 3-3-6, +7), and for those games he did indeed look like a $5 MM defenceman. But that’s only 10% of the schedule, hard to base a long-term contract on that tantalizing glimpse.

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