MacHappy

This is the Iraqi Information Minister. In the history of recorded time there have been few people who were able to hold back the facts and face the obvious with such comedic (and deadpan) delivery.

The man, quite simply, was a God in terms of framing issues. My favorite press conference he ever held was the one where he said the Americans “were dying in the streets” at the same time U. S. tanks were rumbling down the street mere blocks away. I don’t know his name but if he’s ever in the same cafe as me I’ll buy his lunch and that’s the truth. Greatness at any level must be rewarded and he was the right man at the right time. I hope he’s happy and in good health.

In his own way, Craig MacTavish is almost as entertaining. He’s certainly stretched the truth here and there but his appeal doesn’t come from misinformation but rather from credibly detailing the state of the union for Oiler fans. It’s my belief that one of the reasons the Oilers fanbase is growing and rabid is that there’s more to chew on, more people of interest in the organization and MacT would have to rank as the most interesting of the group (among them are empire builder Laforge, the man who thinks out loud in Kevin Lowe and a man after my own heart, all-time bullshitter Kevin Prendergast).

The post-season MacTavish press conference (on the Oilers site) is the best thing he’s ever done because he not only touches on real, important issues but he gets the point across sincerely and with emotion. If you listen to the 22 minute interview you’ll come away pretty pumped about next winter, and for a guy addressing people who have such a short summer that’s like selling ice to Eskimos.

I’m not going to quote the entire interview but there are several quotes that need to be repeated. My take is in italics.

The Season Past
  1. “The foundation for the future has been built.” Certainly true and I wonder how many teams have had this many young breakout players and NOT won the Stanley at some point down the line. The only example that screamed out at me was the 1980+ Minnesota North Stars.
  2. “Super gratifying” to see the development of the team over the last 2 months. It’s nice to hear him say that because anyone who saw the man suffer through that awful run last year had to think he was in need of a leave of absence.
  3. “I’ve never been afraid of expectations” and they were warranted. He also said the expectation is that the team will pick up from where they left off this year. From a coaching persepective, last year at this time they were on a crusade to find players, this year they don’t need to do that. Huge difference between this year and last year.
    Off-ice conditioning and strength building is a key element but there’s a real hunger on this team to get back and get started. He sounds like a man who can’t wait for the fall and obviously is extremely pleased with the results of the last 20 or so games of the season.

GOAL

  1. “Mathieu is evolving, I haven’t spoken to Roli yet, but there’s no reason to expect it won’t be a competitive situation next year.” It sounds like he’s going to roll with the hot hand again next season. Mentioned it was a difficult season for Roloson because it was a transition (I assume from starter to co-starter and then backup).

DEFENSE

  1. On Pitkanen: “We all know what the issues are with Joni. He’s still a relatively young player, a little different culture than what he’s used to and in a lot of ways it takes awhile to get a read on him. I’ve talked to him about finding common ground, and there’s room there for his game to co-exist with us. It’s all about making the right decision at the right time of the game and if he can grow in that area he could be a huge asset for us.” Despite the compaints about MacT not giving offensive defensemen the chance to make an impact, he’s had both MA Bergeron and Tom Gilbert emerge on his watch despite some lapses on the other side of the play. I’m encouraged that the coach is showing patience with a clearly gifted player and if they can sign him long term this summer it’s a good idea. This guy might just rip off a 50-point season from the blueline one of these days.
  2. On Matt Greene: “He had an up and down year at the start but right now he’s playing the best he’s ever played for us and he’s a guy who needs to come in and play at this level.” Greene offers this team a player who is somewhat unique on this depth chart but the longer he plays against the soft parade the closer he gets to the point where he’s going to be asking for real money without doing the heavy lifting required to earn it.
  3. On Grebeshkov: “He just does it all. There’s a complete dimension to his game.” If we’re talking about arrows pointing in the right direction for next season this fellow has to be near the top of the list. Another trade Lowe made that was in the secondary division but looks like it’ll pay off.
  4. On Souray: “Cycle breaker. He’s strong, has a good stick and knocks people off the puck. I was pleasantly surprised about how well he could play defensively.” The fact he said that about one of the most expensive free agents in last year’s market tells you how badly they needed players and offense one year ago. With the fine season enjoyed by Staios and the emergence of both Gilbert and Grebeshkov, Sheldon Souray might not be in the top 4D breaking camp in the fall.

CENTER

  1. “Marty Reasoner has a lot of value in the role that he plays and a lot of value in terms of his impact in the dressing room.” It’s hard to imagine Reasoner going anywhere based on the comments from the coach. He clearly views him as an integral part of the team.
  2. On Stoll: “He’s a good player and he overcame a lot coming off the season and the doubt he had two years ago. I liked his competitiveness the last two or three weeks of the season. Players sometimes have off-years, but sometimes you have to be patient even with veterans who have off-years.” MacT clearly still believes in him and Stoll does have areas of strength (PK, faceoffs). I think they’ll sign him to a one-year deal and if he struggles again in the fall he’ll be 4line C before you can say Jim Dowd. Loyalty and faith are trumped by results 100 times out of 100 tries.
  3. Kyle Brodziak: “The challenge for him is to come in with the same confidence he’s playing with.” This is a key player for the Oilers moving forward. If they can count on him producing and doing it against tougher minutes then it means the options available at center behind Horcoff and Cogliano are less vital. They can afford to sign Stoll and endure another poor EV season if Brodziak can play between Moreau and Pisani with positive results.

LEFT WING

  1. Torres: “It’s a performance based business and a dog eat dog world. It’ll be incumbent upon Raffi to come in and grab a spot for himself.” There’s something unusual going on with Raffi and I can’t put my finger on it. Throughout the season after their injuries you saw Horcoff, Souray and Moreau here and there and the Oilers would update their injuries and there seemed to be more inclusion than there was with Torres. I’m not questioning the injury, he was clearly hurt or they would have brought him back when the F group was thinned. However, after Raffi’s season ended it was like he was gone and that’s a curious thing for an organization that prides itself on family. My guess is he’s gone.
  2. On Penner: “There’s still a considerable distance he has to go as a player. He’s scratching the surface.” I wonder if he’ll be the 2line LW in the fall. The Hossa rumor comes up from time to time and was mentioned in the PC but after seeing him for a year I’m wondering if Dustin Penner might be better suited to a secondary role. Gagner of course is available too plus Glencross and Moreau and of course Torres is still on the roster. Penner will play next season but my guess is the coach makes him earn the cherry linemates.

OTHER ITEMS

  1. “We’re going to have a lot of competition at some spots.” The toughest areas to break into the lineup will certainly be up front, especially if they add a UFA like Hossa. Even without him, a top 6F of Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky and Cogliano-Gagner-Nilsson means guys like Raffi will be on the outside looking in.
  2. “There’s something very positive that’s building here.” I wonder if MacT is reminded of his own time breaking in with the Bruins. It took him awhile, he played half a season and then two more “cup of coffee” seasons before getting established on a very good young Bruins team.
  3. “I don’t think you can ever have enough players. Those things will sort themselves out.” The injuries to Moreau and Souray will have to be factored in and for that reason alone it’s likely the Oilers get some extra AHL depth again this year (another Allan Rourke).
  4. “I can’t tell you what our opening day lines will look like next year.” One of the areas I’ll be interested in seeing is that kid line. When they break it up there are three players who might make another line go from the starting gun. Seriously. If they keep them together though and give them soft minutes that line might be the key ingredient to a romp up the standings. If the Oilers finish in the top 5 in the West next season they’re going to need an excellent powerplay and consistent EV scorers. Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson are key elements despite their age.
  5. “There are so many guys on our team right now playing better than they’ve ever played before.” He mentioned the objective is to come in at that level in the fall and while there’s no doubt one or two players will fall back to the pack (and others might endure injury plagued years) there’s just too much talent here to go backwards from the 07-08 season.
  6. On Depth: “I don’t see too many expendable pieces right now. The way they’re playing they’re deserving of those benefits of the doubt if there is any doubt.” This would be good news I think for players like Ladislav Smid, Matt Greene and maybe even Marc Pouliot.

Overall an excellent press conference by the great communicator. The other day I looked at the defense and forwards for 08-09. I’d change a few ratings based on the comments from MacT:

  1. Raffi Torres may already be gone.
  2. Jarret Stoll is staying.
  3. Marty Reasoner too.

It’s never fun to watch 16 other teams make the second season, but I can’t recall a spring where there were this many good things to talk about when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers.

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43 Responses to "MacHappy"

  1. Andrew says:

    Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf

    He has a website dedicated to him at:

    http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/

  2. Mr DeBakey says:

    I hope he’s happy and in good health.

    I think in Arabic what he is
    is pronounced Gwan-tonno-mo.

  3. Mr DeBakey says:

    At the end-of-season presser a year ago, MacT said about Torres
    - He’s got physical tools that 90% of the guys in this league wish they had. -
    And you knew Torres was coming back.
    This year, he got Lupuled.

    That line about Hossa was an end of presser gag line – leave ‘em laughing.

    Tho’ MacT seemed to indicate they’d like to add one forward – I’m reading between the lines a bit.

    The free lasagna crowd seems to have decided Pitkanen is leaving; They were talking about it on Staffer’s show [again] the other day and Barnes wrote it this morning. I didn’t get that from Mact at all

  4. Tania says:

    I hope Torres isn’t gone. He’s my 4 year old niece’s favourite player and she’s too young to have her heart broken by this team!

  5. doritogrande says:

    Thread hijack: MSU lost in the West Regional Final to Notre Dame. Jeff Petry was named to the All-West Regional Team.

    Taylor Chorney and the UND Fighting Sioux are off to the Frozen Four, along with Michigan, Notre Dame and Boston College.

  6. doritogrande says:

    …seems that was all last week’s information. Carry on everyone.

  7. Ribs says:

    “I can’t tell you what our opening day lines will look like next year.”

    ARG! This pretty much tells me he plans to use the blender going 20 games into next season again. No wonder the Oil fight for a playoff spot every year.

    Ribs’ Fibromaster Keys to the Season:

    Start camp early.

    Go with lines that already work and keep them for the first 2 months of the season. Set 1-2 lines would sure be nice!

    Find some urgency. Early. Players and coaches.

    Have a power play strategy before the season begins. It really shouldn’t be as hard as they make it look. Hire a tenth Assistant Coach if need be.

    Is this too much to ask?

    …Probably…bleh.

  8. namflashback says:

    Ribs,

    Not blender — earn the positions.

    Here is what I hear him saying:
    Those with years of experience or salaries don’t automatically get the primo icetime.

    Sounds like a return to the 4-line PVP alignment of the past. Which is when his teams have been most successful at producing goal differential at ES. PK and PP look to be strong elements. 4×4 looked good already.

    His statement is more about switching from a teaching mode to an expectations and accountability mode.

    On Raffi — we all have seen strong support for his results here, but just as “leadership qualities” equate to good professional behaviour. I think they are probably concerned that Raffi could have a negative effect on the young guys.

    Just speculating.

  9. Ribs says:

    His statement is more about switching from a teaching mode to an expectations and accountability mode.

    That’d be okay to believe if he didn’t say the same thing year after year after year. Why can’t the players “earn” their ice time before the season starts? Or even within the first 10 games of the season?

  10. therealdeal says:

    LT, great wrapup of the press conference. I’m a bit suprised by what MacT said about Penner but I wouldn’t disagree. Sort of have the feeling the Oilers are stuck with him longterm though.

  11. Dennis says:

    NFB: The longer I thought about it, the more I came to the same conclusion as you regarding the seeming distaste for 14.

    I’ve listened to Stauffer’s show quite a bit this winter and whenever Brownlee was on and they started talking about Raffi, Robin would say that Raffi was really, really hard on himself when he wasn’t playing well and that every time he had a bad game, you’d get the same response from you went for an interview.

    “Fuckin’ brutal” was the oft-used Raffi phrase.

    So, I dunno, maybe MacT’s aware of that attitude potentially seeping in and perhaps he doesn’t want it to be a part of the new deal. I know you won’t have all players being the same or fitting into the same mold but a kid like Nilsson, for instance, he’s seemingly so happy-go-lucky and oblivious that he didn’t even realize the Wild replaced their goalie mid-game during their last visit to Rexall.

    So, I’m not saying you build your team around Nilsson’s personality but I’m just picking out one guy who could probably be intimidated and/or influenced by a prevailing attitude like that.

    I’m a numbers guy so maybe I don’t put enough stock in the area of intangibles but I really think it’s folly to keep Moreau over Torres. And it’s not only Moreau you have to think about either; Pisani will always be a concern as well. If you’re looking for a ray of sunshine here, this probably means Pouliot makes the club. MacT was talking about the impact of all the kids a couple of days ago and he mentioned 78 as well. So, like I said earlier, I think he’s more valuable to the club as a spare part than he is as a trading chip.

    The comments on Souray were enlightening if for nothing else than we see that he was brought onto the Oilers with MacT fully aware of just how limited he was. On one hand, I’m not buying Souray will be a bottom pairing guy but then again, if you feed him time on both ST units, then Souray BEST be used as a 5 or 6 at EV because otherwise the min will exceed his usefulness.

    And to speak about depth on D, whomever’s the 7th guy will see plenty of time because chances are both 25 and 44 will miss time and given the style 24 plays, he’s always a bad break away from a bad break;) I would imagine though that we’ll carry a 14th forward instead of an 8th D so that means Roy will be waived after camp in hopes that someone claims him.

  12. HBomb says:

    That’s just terrible if they’re already conceding dealing Torres.

    How the fuck can these guys realistically count on anything more than 20 games from Ethan Moreau?

    And bringing back both Reasoner AND Stoll? That would be a fucking mistake. If it was me at the helm, I’d bring back one, tops, and I might very well just get rid of both of them and go Horcoff-Gagner-Cogliano-Brodziak-Pouliot as my center depth.

    The fact that there’s all this talk about retaining guys like Stoll and Reasoner yet there are questions about Pitkanen and Torres make me quite upset. I hope Lowe is smarter than the fans and the MSM.

  13. Slipper says:

    I think Torres has maturity and behavioural issues. Stoll shouldn’t get a free pass, either. In fact, some people around the city have begun calling those two the Toxic Twins.

    Sure, in a hockey town rumours should be taken with a heap of salt, but to what extent?

    I think for the sake of both their careers Torres and Stoll need some seperation.

    They also carry influence on a very young roster. Bad influence.

    Toss one of them. Toss of both of them, I wouldn’t care. Just make responsible and feasible choices when replacing their minutes.

  14. dave says:

    If torres was in the line up this year, we don’t get that close to a play-off spot…. book it. Several players outplayed his skillset, and brought it every shift.

    Getting Stoll for one year at third line money is a good bet. It will of course mean that we’ll have good players in the press box. Which will give us lots to “talk” about during the season.

    If we have Joni back the D is set. It would be nice to dump Roli’s salary and if a $ UFA was a possibility he’d probably have to go. But if he’s happy in the role he’s ok insurance my problem with him is I think he needs to play alot to stay sharp Outside of the adreniline game in SJ he was’nt sharp but his last few games were solid.

  15. Schitzo says:

    Christ, if we keep Raffi, and he gets those kids out partying and squeezing their sticks when the breaks aren’t coming… I don’t even know where to start.

  16. Bruce says:

    Loyalty and faith are trumped by results 100 times out of 100 tris.

    Two words: Toby Petersen.

    Make that 99 times out of 100.

  17. CrazyCoach says:

    If Torres and Stoll are indeed toxic, the MacT owes it to his team to get rid of them as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    I learned one great thing about team dynamics from Ken Hitchcock and it is religion to me when I coach.

    On any given team, you will have positive leaders (Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla), Positive followers (Milan Hejduk, Fernando Pisani), negative followers (Sean Avery, Jimmy Carson), and dark side guys. Dark side guys will ruin a dressing room faster than thing. Some classic dark side guys are Todd Bertuzzi, Donald Brashear, and Kevin Hatcher.

    One of the first things Hitchie did when he hit Dallas in January of 96, was to get Hatcher traded in June of 96 for Zubov. Hitchie explained that it was nothing personal, except that Hatcher was a dark side guy and was dragging others with him.

    If Torres and Stoll are dark side guys, get rid of them.

  18. Tania says:

    I think this is entering dangerous territory of baseless rumours and speculation.

    We don’t know what’s happening with Raffi. Let’s not forget what he brings to the Oilers aside from his perceived negatives.

    I’m not prepared to bury him just because a bunch of rookies had a nice season and everyone’s jonesing for next season.

    How about we all take a deep breath and try not dissect comments made immediately after the season ended and wait awhile.

    I know our season is over but must we begin the second season?

    You all know baseball started, right?

  19. uni says:

    Tania’s right, from everything Stoll has ever said in interviews he loves playing for the Oilers. Additionally remember when he was strapped up with a PPV mic how pumped and vocal he was (comically so), and that Dvo butt tap, guy definitely loves the guys he plays with.

    Torres’s situation is definitely a little strange, but baseless rumours are just for bored minds =).

  20. PunjabiOil says:

    Anaheim won today. 100 points. Doesn’t look like a good 1st round pick slot for the Oilers.

  21. uni says:

    Doesn’t matter, it’s your final position in the playoffs, so if they lose in the first round it’s only 3-6 slots lost or so, depending on how some of the other teams finish off the season.

  22. CrazyCoach says:

    If it weren’t for baseless rumours and speculation, NHL scouts would be out of work.

    Say what you want, but I can guarantee the head coach is thinking and formulating in his mind right now, about how he is going to put the best team on the ice next fall, and believe it or not, not all of his decisions are going to be based on stats and formulas.

    Some of it will be on baseless rumours and speculation.

    Its called taking a risk.

  23. uni says:

    Some of it will be on baseless rumours and speculation.

    I think you misunderstood my post =). I’m saying that for all we know Stoll and Torres are well liked and positive contributors in the dressing room. Also I’d hope MacT wouldn’t have to resort to baseless rumours and speculation since he’d know if Stoll and Torres were cancerous to team morale or not.

  24. doritogrande says:

    Pou’s back in the AHL and is playing like he doesn’t belong there. Goal and two assists in the second period.

  25. namflashback says:

    I think several people went straight to the innuendo which I want to make sure was not what I was suggesting was the case. Nothing on the rumour side.

    Simply, Raffi is a headcase about his own on-ice performance. “For Raffi, its all about confidence” said MacTavish previously about Torres. I’m just talking about the negativity and as Dennis suggested — that the negativity end up polluting one of the young kids.

  26. Asiaoil says:

    Sure if Torres needs to go then so be it – but we do need more toughness in the lineup if we dump him in the off-season. The kid line is fun but a complete push-over physically – and that will always be an issue on the road.

    Stoll is 1 year away from UFA correct? I’m not a fan but that’s not the point as no one has a clue whether or not he will be better or just as bad next year. There are pretty much 2 options for us since it is very likely he signs a one year deal:

    a) he rebounds and as a UFA next summer can demand $3 million plus. No way can we afford this when we have to sign Horcoff – and since Horc is a far superior player – he walks for nothing.

    b) he does not rebound and his $2.3 million is a complete waste that could be well spent elsewhere

    So as I see it we should probably just trade Stoll and Torres this summer and be done with it. If one is a headcase and the other an impending UFA – why dick around.

    Basically the best we can hope for is to spend another year pumping Stoll’s stats (sure didn’t work this year) to get more for him at the trade deadline. But either as a UFA or as a bust – Stoll probably has a year or less left as an Oiler no matter what MacT says.

  27. IceDragoon says:

    There’s just too much to chew on here and now. Time is a four letter word. Watching the presser added some delightful perspective, imo.

    I do have to jump on this, tho.

    “When you have enough character, you can handle A character.” Wish I could remember who said that, but it works for me.

    This team is loaded with character and high intelligence. Half of them need a lot of physical maturation and experience before they’ll be ready to battle for The Stanley, tho.
    ;-D

    Raffi Torres is a wildcard and MacTavish loves his wildcards. I think he’s just pushing some buttons that he knows Raffi understands.

    Not unlike Ryan Smyth, Raffi had a hard time in school, so poured everything he had into something he loved and waddayaknow… he got really good at it.

    He’s a guy who lives and breathes the game and relies on his instincts and confidence. He’s also a follower on the ice. Give him a smart, 2 way centre and he’ll follow the lead. Give him an erratic centre and he’ll follow the chaos. Give him a smart, 2 way centre and an equally smart, tenacious RW and you’ll get May & June ’06. Damm close anyway, imo.

    Wildcards can trump kings & jacks.

    Jarret Stoll is still recovering from mush-melon. His hand-eye coordination has been improving throughout the year and his defensive reads have been coming back nicely. He’s had a rough year, to be sure.

    He’s never really had any offensive finesse. His reads and touch are suited to bang and crash offence. Whether or not he’ll get his physical game back is anybody’s guess, but that’s what he needs to be more than ES #4C.

    L8r
    Louise

  28. HBomb says:

    Fine, separate the toxic twins. But looking at the makeup of this team, I firmly believe if you’re going to keep one, you keep Torres:

    - We’re relatively deep at centre.
    - Stoll’s PP and PK contributions can be replaced.
    - The forwards aren’t exactly tough.
    - The 3LW spot, despite the unconditional love this city gives to Ethan Moreau, is a big fat quesiton mark due to his inability to stay healthy.
    - Torres has had more success keeping his head above water playing tough minutes at ES than Stoll.

    Everyone was talking in TC about how Torres was shackin’ up with his woman and taking better care of himself. He’s getting married this summer. Personally, I think he’s not only a better fit, but a better bet than Stoll at this point.

    JMO.

  29. Bruce says:

    He’s also a follower on the ice. Give him a smart, 2 way centre and he’ll follow the lead. Give him an erratic centre and he’ll follow the chaos. Give him a smart, 2 way centre and an equally smart, tenacious RW and you’ll get May & June ’06.

    Great stuff, Louise. I think Stoll qualifies as an “erratic” centre, he was up and down last season even before the concussions. After seasons of 20 and 27 goals (+12 and +4), Raffi had 15 last year and was on pace for even fewer in ’07-08 while posting the first minus figures of his career (-7 and -4). Part of that may be QUALCOMP but part of it may be he’s not a particularly good match with Stoll, with whom he was seemingly joined at the hip since the departure of Peca. Torres has a great wrist shot esp. off the rush, and needs a centreman who can get him the puck when he’s bursting up the left side. For all of his 46 assists in ’05-06, Stoll is not my idea of a playmaker to put it mildly. (Exhibit B: Dustin Penner, whose goalscoring dried up down the stretch on Stoll’s left side.)

    Whether or not he’ll get his physical game back is anybody’s guess

    Odd thing was Jarret led the Oilers in hits (122) this season by a fair margin. This after being 4th on the club last year (89 in just 51 games) and way down in 8th on the club (71 hits) his last full season in ’05-06. In part this is because the make-up of the team is different — that was a much tougher crew — but it’s hard to make a case Stoll has lost his physical game based on those numbers.

    My observation is that Stoll’s physical play was far more effective last season, esp. in that strong stretch of games he had just before Pahlsson put him out. This year he would finish the check, but I don’t recall too many of those that separated the man from the puck and caused a turnover or scoring opportunity. For long stretches he seemed to be going through the motions OK but far too often was a split second late to do anything positive. It’s that aggressiveness on the puck that he needs to rediscover.

  30. Asiaoil says:

    If Stoll only signs a one year deal – and it is in both the team’s and Stoll’s best interest to do this – then whether he rebounds or not is irrelevant since he’s gone in 2009.

    If he rebounds then the choice is Horcoff or Stoll and I know who I choose 99 times out of 100. If he doesn’t rebound then he’s done as well. Only scenario I can see where it makes sense to keep him is as insurance against a crazy Horcoff demand ($6 million plus) and I just can’t see Horcoff doing that.

  31. Coach pb9617 says:

    I’ve been thinking about the defense, if unchanged – which I expect it to be, next year and it’s not as grim as I first thought. If the pairings end up

    Pitkanen – Staios
    Grebeshkov – Gilbert
    Souray – Smid

    with Greene in the PB, then the minutes aren’t going to be so bad for Smid and Souray at ES.

    22 mins – Pitkanen – 17 mins ES, 5 mins on the power play
    22 mins – Staios – 17 mins ES, 5 Mins on the penalty kill

    19 mins – Grebs – 16 mins ES, 3 minutes penalty kill
    22 mins – Gilbert – 16 mins ES, 3 mins power play, 3 mins penalty kill

    21 mins – Souray – 11 mins ES, 5 mins power play, 5 mins penalty kill
    11 mins – Smid – 11 mins ES

    3 mins of power play time per game are taken up by Stoll.

    I don’t mind this at all. Smid and Souray can be sheltered heavily at ES and Souray’s weird combo of special teams talents enable him to draw minutes where he can be effective.

  32. Alice says:

    LT, Thanks for the tip on the end-of-year interviews, there’s a lot of pretty happy guys for a squad that’s hitting the beach. Let’s hope this springs ‘accomplishment’ only makes them hungrier.

    Ok, real reason I’m here today: as if we needed any more reasons for the GlenX man-love, in his interview we find out he’s starting his summer training immediately, in Bonnyville.

    For chuckwagon racing. Flett would be proud :-)

  33. Gilmore Tuttle says:

    I think a great many are underestimating how difficult it will be to re-sign Glencross. Someone on HF likened him to Scott Fraser and I think there is the potential for the same situation to occur with Curtis (good end to the season, gets a big contract thrown his way).

    Here’s to hoping I’m wrong. Lowe has to get this guy re-upped, he’s a solid, all-around player who brings everything to the table that the Oilers need on a nightly basis. I doubt he’ll put up massive offensive numbers (I’m betting no more than 20 goals) but his skating, physicality, and good two-way ability is certainly nice to have. I feel that he’s definitely NOT replaceable.

  34. Bruce says:

    GT: Agreed. The complely unheralded Glencross had a fine rookie season, finishing fifth among rookies in goals despite ranking 23rd among rookie forwards in TOI.

    Rookie —– GP / G (ESG)
    ——————————
    Toews —— 63 / 24 (17)
    Mueller —- 80 / 22 (15)
    Kane ——- 81 / 20 (14)
    Cogliano — 82 / 18 (15)
    Glencross — 62 / 15 (14)
    Backstrom — 82 / 14 (11)
    Dubinsky — 81 / 14 (13)
    Dawes —— 60 / 14 (11)
    Gagner —– 79 / 13 (9)
    Perron —– 61 / 12 (10)

    Obviously at 25 he’s not in the same category as most of those guys, but he’s the only guy on the list who’s UFA and that should attract attention.

    GlenX also ranked 12th among rookie forwards in hits, behind 11 guys who didn’t make the above goal-scoring list, so he brings a pretty decent package. Not to mention that he co-led the Oilers in +/- at +8.

    There are reasons Edmonton should be his first choice: he’s a good fit in the line-up, he’s already had some success here, and he’s from the area. But Lowe will have to come up with a competitive offer, or else business will be business and “he just didn’t want to play here”.

    You think maybe Buffalo or Anaheim might like to take a run at a guy like this? Relatively small dollars, ZERO compensation, and a chance to stick it to K-Lowe.

  35. IceDragoon says:

    Good day, Bruce.

    Our observations are quite similar, actually. I saw last year (before concussion) as the expected progression of Stoll’s game, and that’s where his game has to get back to if he’s going to contribute. He doesn’t have any finesse, so he has to pound it out or be bypassed. During the early season mega-blender, even MacT stated that Stoll’s game wasn’t a fit for playing with Hemsky. Then Horcoff got injured. *sigh*

    I know you understand the need for copious amounts of salt when digesting RTSS #s. With that in mind, Stoll’s 122 hits puts him 84th in the league. Just a wee bit short of #1 Dustin Brown with 311.
    ;-)
    His 89 in 51 games last year prorates to 143 over a full season. This would put him beside Jason Smyth this year, and in the top 50 this year and last. I’d wager that his stretch of games with Torres and Pisani b c provided significant hit #s. Re: this year… perhaps some splits, home/away, 1st half/2nd half might add a little context.

    In any case I would question how effective his counted hits have been. Plus… his offensive reads have been atrocious, and his offensive positioning was bettered by every one of the kid centres. His linemates deserve major kudos for maintaining as many plays as they did.

    Concussions can take a couple of years to fully recover from. Hand-eye and thought processing takes the bulk of time after the obvious symptoms have passed. And some never fully recover.

    Stoll has improved over the season, even while having to carry more mail than he’s capable of handling. I think the Oilers want to take an inexpensive chance on him. And, I’m hoping that his showing in the last few weeks of this stretch means that he’s found the switch to flip his game on, and not just a desperate stab at keeping a job.

    Louise

  36. CrazyCoach says:

    Oh my god, if Gilmore Tuttle is on here that means the doughnut shop in Mile 40 Saskatchewan is now wired with the Internet.

  37. Bruce says:

    I know you understand the need for copious amounts of salt when digesting RTSS #s.

    Yes I certainly do, Louise. As stats go I have lower confidence in them than most, but nonetheless they are the best we’ve got for some things so can be useful as an indicator. I actually have greater faith on RTSS ratings within a team than I do across the league, where they can often be fairly close to meaningless due to obviously different standards among scorers. A given team will have the same scorer(s) in each game, thus reducing the effect of the biggest variable of all.

    His 89 in 51 games last year prorates to 143 over a full season.

    Yeah, I meant to mention he’s dropped from about 1.75 to 1.50 per GP, but is still far higher than his rate of <1 of two years ago.

    I’d wager that his stretch of games with Torres and Pisani b c provided significant hit #s.

    No doubt. I remember Stoll himself being quoted more than once during that stretch that he was focussing on his physical play, that he wanted to initate hits and the rest would follow. And he was right.

    Re: this year… perhaps some splits, home/away, 1st half/2nd half might add a little context.

    Yeah, that would be interesting. Have no idea where to get stuff like that other than mining game sheets; I’m no computer whizz and would rather waste my time on other stuff.

    BTW, I’m a big proponent of home/road splits to make sense of RTSS, simply because it removes much of the scorekeeper bias. e.g. I’d be interested to see Dustin Brown’s splits before I get too excited about those 311 hits. If he leads the league in road hits then I will be much more convinced.

    In any case I would question how effective his counted hits have been.

    On this point we entirely agree. Last year Jarret was separating guys form the puck; this year, not so much. But both can be recorded as a “hit”, yet another limitation to the method.

  38. IceDragoon says:

    Sorry, Bruce. Even used only within one team, that’s still a lot of salt. I’m old, you know.
    ;-D

    The subjective disparities in ‘hit counting’ over the years suggested to me that some of the ‘counters’ were fans of players, as well as teams. Many times I saw an effective (turn over causing) hit not counted, and then a teammate’s shoulder rub awarded as a hit. Home and away splits could help thin the smoke, but for now, I’m not inhaling.
    ;-D

    fwiw – I know Jason Smith/142 is an effective hitter. I could be wrong, but I think Dustin Brown/311 has a special fan. The next three Kings have 139/106/102 = 347 combined.

    Yeah, I meant to mention he’s dropped from about 1.75 to 1.50 per GP, but is still far higher than his rate of <1 of two years ago.

    He was a sophomore on a veteran team, who had a one year delay in the ‘A’ after his rookie year. I would expect significant progress from that season. As you mentioned, Stoll knows he has to bring a physical game. Let’s hope he can find it.

    btw – I should have added another linemate scenario for Raffi…

    Give him a smart, mature, tenacious RW and he’ll help carry a developing centre.
    ;-D
    We didn’t have the luxury this year with the kid parade, but Stoll was an effective fit with Torres and Pisani, imho.

    Who knows what the future holds for Stoll, but I do think Torres can follow any of our other centres.

  39. Bruce says:

    Give him a smart, mature, tenacious RW and he’ll help carry a developing centre.
    ;-D

    Yeah, one combo that works for me as a potentially effective “third line” would put Torres with Pisani and Pouliot. As I mentioned the other day it’s not inconceivable that trio could put 40 to 50 goals on the board while being solid on the defensive side of the puck. Ideally at least two of them would be regulars on the PK unit, an area where Raffi has not shown much in the past, but Pouliot has some potential there.

    Home and away splits could help thin the smoke, but for now, I’m not inhaling.
    ;-D

    Now that‘s a great line! :)

    Your caution w.r.t. RTSS is wise. I’m glad they keep those stats, but I don’t trust them either.

    I could be wrong, but I think Dustin Brown/311 has a special fan. The next three Kings have 139/106/102 = 347 combined.

    You’ve piqued my interest, Louise. When I get a little time I’ll have a look at a sample of Kings games, maybe 10 home 10 away, for those 4 players. And maybe I’ll do something similar with the Oilers. Be interesting to see what’s left when the smoke clears.

  40. Dennis says:

    16 really did have a find couple of last games; outside of the coming back to score in Van, he had two excellent scoring chances in the loss to Cgy. In fact, it doesn’t matter now because Nsh finished with 91 points but had they not I would’ve had a hard time forgetting the brilliant pad-save Kipper made off a 16 one-timer shortly after 20 had re-tied the game.

    But, was that just a flash or was he starting to come around again? Maybe he’s back to being closer to normal in ’09 or maybe his last two games of ’08 are akin to Jim Morrison recording “Orange County Suite” with those two Yank street musicians in his last days in Paris.

    I previously outlined why I like the look of Bruce’s proposed third line but in listening to MacT the other day, he spoke glowingly and forgivingly of 16′s season and when I think back to his Souray comments, I don’t think he had a lot to do with bringing in Sheldon but I do think he’s about to try and have a lot to do with bringing back Stoll.

  41. IceDragoon says:

    Yeah, he had some room out there, Dennis.

    Games 81 & 82, Stoll was the ES-4C. Against Iginla and the Sedins, Reasoner was doing the heaviest lifting and all the kids clocked in ahead of 16.

    Game #s – 21194 & 21208
    http://www.timeonice.com/H2H0708.html

    There is a fine line between brilliant and insane. Looks like ‘bat**** crazy’ straddles it.
    ;-D
    Way to go, MacTavish.

    And, good luck assisting Hitchcock at the WCs.
    http://www.hockeycanada.ca/

  42. Dennis says:

    Yeah, I saw that, ID. MacT was running 19-34 at the Sedins and early on 78 was on their port side but then it was 27 when 83 went down for the night.

    DB had some encouraging numbers on 19 down the stretch and we know everyone plays better with 34 so maybe when it comes to who plays the tough min besides the 10 line, the answer is before us: it’s either 14-18-78.

    We could go old school with RPM or reunite the 14-34 combo or we could break in 78 in this role. It would be the best thing that could happen to the Oilers capwise because if we could drop Stoll and get Marty to do his job for ~1.5 mill cheaper, then we could really pour some more money into the D.

  43. IceDragoon says:

    It was good to see that Reasoner still has a high end game when teamed with a real NHLer. Since the lockout he’s had to haul around so many different kids and/or misfits that it was easy to think he was one of the misfits. He’s a smart, versatile, hard-working, funny, teammate. If only he hadn’t destroyed his knee. *sigh*

    The kids have earned some of MacT’s trust, so I’m all over reuniting Torres & Pisani, and I would love to see 19 between them. Stoll might be able to bring some thunder (if he’s got it), but Marty would bring the wily smarts. Imho, 19-14-34 could shut down pretty much anyone, and take advantage of opportunities presented by lesser lines.

    I’m reserving judgement on Pouliot till I see how he shows at training camp. If he passes, I’d be cool seeing what he can do with 14 & 34.

    L8r

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