MacTavish and Rookies

Since taking over as head coach in the fall of 2000 Craig MacTavish has become famous for a few things. He’s an outstanding quote, a man who understands that humor can be very effective in getting the point across to the media and the public. He’s also pretty good at explaining strategy, something many NHL coaches imply is beyond the intellectual reach of the audience (which is so idiotic someone should write a book) and generally speaking he appears to be pretty good at his job. If the Oilers were to unemploy him anytime soon it is likely he’d get a job soonafter.

One thing that people think about MacTavish that runs counter to evidence is in his ability to develop young players. He’s very good at it, and this season would have to be the man’s watershed.

Let’s go back in Oilers history and track the young players who have emerged under his watch. Let’s also agree that a ‘good season’ for rookie development would be either one substantial rookie or two who would be solid role players. Fair?

In his rookie season (00-01) as coach MacTavish had the gifted but challenging Mike Comrie after the New Year and found a way to work him into the lineup successfully. MacT found a gem in Shawn Horcoff who almost made the team out of camp but was sent out and then recalled early enough to play in 49 games at the NHL level. He found spots for Dom Pittis (extra forward), Dan Lacouture (energy 4th line W until traded to PIT), Brian Swanson and Michel Riesen (together for a dozen games on the Bulldog line with Daniel Cleary), and played Chris Hajt in an NHL game (which he rarely gets credit for btw).

In 01-02 he had only Goalie Jussi Markkanen who ended up having a nice NHL career and cups of coffee were handed out to Jason Chimera, Jani Rita and Ales Pisa. None of them could get established under MacT although Chimera has turned into a nice NHL player for Columbus. This is sometimes mentioned as a negative in regard to the coach, but in my opinion it’s like finding fault with him for replacing Dan Cleary with Fernando Pisani: find fault all you want but the results were strong.

02-03 was his high water mark before this year in terms of developing useful NHL talent. Two players specifically stand out as highlights. First, Ales Hemsky was not sent back to junior and MacT and the coaching staff brought him along slowly. Any fool could see he had talent but getting it out of him at that age (he finished second in the NHL assists by a rookie that season) was important. The other was Pisani. Around the time he turned 26 years old, Pisani was in the AHL. He went 41gp, 17-15-32 down there before getting called up to the Oilers. It took a little time, but he’s been Fernando Pisani (and that is excellent) pretty much since. I often wonder how many other coaches would have given the 26-year old rookie (from the Coco Laboy school of development) the same opportunity. I suspect many would have looked at his first NHL games and thought of it as a fluke. Chimera was a rookie that year, fast as lightning. He gave 46 games to Alexei Semenov, 48 games to Ales Pisa on the blueline. Cups of coffee went to Jani Rita, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Jarret Stoll, Bobby Allen, Alex Henry and Kari Haakana. That’s a very good group.

03-04 saw several of the players mentioned above emerge as productive members of the Edmonton Oilers. These weren’t hangers-on or cups of coffee types. Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky and Fernando Pisani were playing more minutes and bigger minutes. Raffi Torres also established himself as an NHLer this season.

Rookies in 03-04 included Marc Andre Bergeron, who had one of the best offensive seasons by an Oiler rookie defenseman in the club’s history (Coffey had 32 points, Gregg had 28, Bergeron’s 26 ranked him 3rd and 1st in points-per-game even ahead of Coffey). I always felt this was a telling player in terms of MacT as a coach, even moreso than Hemsky. For those (and I was among them) who said that the coach didn’t allow offensive free spirits to make mistakes and find their way, Bergeron was the boat against the current. He’s a better example because (unlike Hemsky) Bergeron wasn’t a first rounder and so was unlikely to get that automatic opportunity high picks often get no matter how badly they play.

It was also the rookie season of Jarret Stoll, whose career looks like it’s in some touble now. However, as a rookie and certainly in the following season Stoll had the look of a player who would one day join the Horcoff-Hemsky-Pisani group as the heart of the club. Hopefully he has a long career and certainly his development from his rookie season until his injury was impressive. Jarret Stoll was a good NHL player.

Cups of coffee went to Mike Bishai, Peter Sarno, Mikko Luoma, Tony Salmelainen, Jani Rita, Doug Lynch and Steve Valiquette.

05-06 is the season MacT will be remembered for, due to the outstanding DET series win and the run to G7 of the SCF. ALL the bets he made on players (Hemsky, Horcoff, Pisani, Stoll, Torres, Bergeron etc) paid off in one shining moment and they rallied around two veteran pickups (Pronger, Roloson) and some outstanding role players (Dvorak, Peca, Spacek) to come within a heartbeat of history. That team was underpaid and undervalued in any era.

The rookies on that team? Jani Rita got 21 games before being shipped to PIT so he could score 50 a year on Crosby’s wing, Matt Greene played 27 games in the regular season and had a major role (for a rookie) in the Stanley run plus there were cups of coffee went to Pouliot, Winchester, Mathieu Roy, Yan Stastny, Dan Smith, Jean Francois Jacques, Kyle Brodziak, Danny Syvret. Mike Morrison was a rookie too, played in 21 games and won 10 of them before being shipped away.

06-07 saw a ton of rookies, mostly because of injury, the lockout season of 04-05 and the fact the veteran-laden 05-06 squad didn’t supply any rookies of consequence (unless you count Greene’s play in the SCF a consequence).

They pretty much ALL got a shot in 06-07 andit was ugly:

Patrick Thoresen 62gp, 3-12-15 +2
Marc Pouliot 40gp, 4-6-10 +1
Brad Winchester 53gp, 4-5-9 -7
Ladislav Smid 71gp, 2-7-9 -13
Tom Gilbert 6gp, 1-1-2 +2
Kyle Brodziak 6gp, 1-0-1 E
Zack Stortini 25gp, 1-0-1 -8
Mathieu Roy 14gp, 1-0-1 -5
Jean Francois Jacques 35gp, 0-0-0 -11
Dan Syvret 12gp, 0-0-0 -9
Alexei Mikhnov 2gp, 0-0-0 E
Bryan Young 9gp, 0-0-0 -7
Sebastien Bisaillon 2gp, 0-0-0 -1

So entering this season, MacT’s developmental record looked like this:

00-01: Shawn Horcoff, Mike Comrie
01-02: Jussi Markkanen
02-03: Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani, Jason Chimera
03-04: Raffi Torres, Marc Andre Bergeron, Jarret Stoll
05-06: Matt Greene, Mike Morrison
06-07: Patrick Thoresen, Ladislav Smid, Brad Winchester

This season is one of those years I think we’ll all talk about. It’s a mega-cluster, it’s Haley’s comet, it’s the Boston Red Sox of 1975.

Sam Gagner looks like the smartest teenager on planet earth, Andrew Cogliano is the new Butch Goring, Tom Gilbert put himself in the record books for rookie D scoring, Kyle Brodziak was tremendous in his first real NHL season and on it goes.

I’ve never been a fan of the NHL’s rookie requirement (Brodziak doesn’t qualify) but let’s just list the NHL.com rookie list for the Oilers:

1 Sam Gagner 79gp, 13-36-49 -21
2 Andrew Cogliano 82gp, 18-27-45 1
3 Tom Gilbert 82gp, 13-20-33 -6
4 Curtis Glencross 62gp, 15-10-25 8
5 Mathieu Roy 13gp, 0-1-1 0
6 Rob Schremp 2gp, 0-0-0 -1
7 Bryan Young 2gp, 0-0-0 -1
8 Liam Reddox 1gp, 0-0-0 -1
9 Theo Peckham 1gp, 0-0-0 0

Add this to the youngsters who don’t qualify (Brodziak, Grebeshkov, etc) and I would hope we can finally end this silly talk about MacTavish and rookies.

The evidence is crushing. Enough.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

30 Responses to "MacTavish and Rookies"

  1. therealdeal says:

    Is this criticism of MacT coming from HF, or the media or somewhere else? I don’t read HF anymore and I don’t live in Edmonton, and I didn’t really realize he had this reputation, as I agree with you, I’ve always found him to be very good with young inexperinced players.

  2. Lowetide says:

    therealdeal: I’ve seen it over the years from HF and other places. I questioned his decisions over Rita but have since quieted down and honestly was pretty impressed by how well he brought along a 2000 rookie (Horcoff) with the exception of one trip to the minors.

    Schremp of course is a religion onto himself.

  3. Bruce says:

    Outstanding stuff, LT. Your blog is routinely excellent and then every weekend or so you run out some topnotch analysis like this.

    Have to agree with your conclusions too, MacT’s record with kids is pretty darn good. Put it this way, how many of these guys who couldn’t cut it here have gone on to be outstanding elsewhere? It’s not like Chimera, Cleary, Comrie and Bergeron are tearing up the league, and all of them got a reasonable shot and developed quite a bit under MacT. But as you say, LT, if you compare those guys to the ones who replaced them, we haven’t really lost a lot. The guys who couldn’t cut it under MacT — Riesen, Semenov, Rita, Salmelainen, Henry, Y.Stastny — haven’t exactly cut it anywhere else either. (Maybe we just had lousy European scouting!)

    Heard even Bob Stauffer admit today words to the effect that finally in the last three months Craig MacTavish has done a good job coaching the Oilers. An alternate explanation, that finally just in the past three months has Stauffer pulled his head out of his hole far enough to see that coaching is not a weakness of this club, suggested itself immediately. However, I wouldn’t be crude enough to suggest such a thing in this space so will keep such thoughts to myself.

  4. rickibear says:

    No room at the inn next year.

  5. PunjabiOil says:

    The criticism of MacT goes well beyond internet forums. It’s integrated into real day conversations with hockey fans in Edmonton.

    I think LT brings up very good points, however, I don’t believe it’s an either/or situation. MacT can be argued to have a great job with the kids, but there have been circumstances where he probably could have handled it better.

    With Rita, it’s not that he didn’t turn out into how it was hoped he’d turn out. It’s that early on Rita did a good job scoring in his limited opportunities. Years later, MacT made some pretty harsh comments about Rita running out of opportunities – Then, Rita was once recalled for 1-2 games, and had Scott Fergueson as his linemate.

    Of course in the end Rita was given a one-way contract, and Chimera was moved to give Rita a full opportunity – but it was too late. The confidence was no longer there. Now, Rita wasn’t going to be a top scorer, but from what I saw of him (i.e. Chicago game, January 2006), he did enough things well that he could have carved himself an NHL career.

    Semenov – played a series of great games, and for no apparent reason – benched in favour of Syrvett for the next week and subsequently traded. You could argue Semenov wasn’t special, but at least he’s still an NHLer.

    Mikhnov – did he really get a shot in his 2 NHL games, or did MacT have his mind made up on him? Should MacT have given the same patience as he did with Penner? Of course Mikhnov did nothing to help his cause in the AHL, but he’s always been more of a project. I’m in the camp that he could be an NHL player one day, be it with the Oilers or someone else.

    Schremp – one almost begins to hate Schremp due to the fanboys, but if you’re going to call up this guy from the AHL, maybe you should give him more than 2-3 minutes of ice time. Was it a wasted opportunity last season to give Peterson that much ice time in the final 20 when you could rather develop your own 1st round picks?

    MacT usually gives an honest answer. With Schremp it goes beyond skill, and remember the quote on Nilsson? ”It’s very, very questionable that Robert will be an impact player for us next year”

    The skeptics argue that this was a year in which MacT had no other options but to develop the rookies and give them that much ice time due to injuries. That’s possible, but at the end of the day, it’s about results, and one can’t argue that the rookies on this team have developed significantly.

    However, I don’t think MacT is flawless.

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    Please excuse my grammar in the above post. It’s been a long week.

  7. Gord says:

    I was asked by my dental hygenist around game 30 of the season whether I thought MacTavish should be fired… I responded that he was the perfect coach for for a team filled with players as young as Edmonton’s.

    Having said that, I do believe MacTavish has his “chosen ones” who get ice time based upon something other than pure talent. That is why Mikhnov did not ice time even though injuries opened up space & Mikhnov was sitting on the bench… That is why Schremp gets called up yet only gets a few shifts while he is sitting on the bench.

    But I’m not the coach & MacTavish does get results from his chosen ones…

  8. Lowetide says:

    Two things: First, isn’t it funny how often you get into specific conversations about the Oilers with people you don’t really know? I’m not talking about the “hey man, they’re really doing well here, huh?” conversations but stuff that’s very specific.

    Like Stoll. I’ve probably had 10 people talk to me about him this year (none of whom would have any idea about this blog) just wondering out loud about him. I suspect it’s probably the same way in other towns, but in Edmonton the Oilers have had sustain since the ’06 Stanley run.

    As for MacT’s failings, I’d say the proof would be if some of these traded players had emerged as real talents. Chimera has, Cleary has, but Pisani was the reason (among other things) Daniel C was cut loose.

    I don’t really buy Rita’s downfall as being MacT’s. He had a terrific AHL debut but didn’t build on it at all, he’d levelled probably since his draft day.

    Even Pouliot, who I’m a big fan of, he’s had his 500 ab’s and if they send him down the line there’s no complaints.

  9. Dennis says:

    The cases that really come to my mind are Rita and Semenov’s but I guess before I say too much I’d really have to dig back into TOI and who got a push ahead of them and so on and so forth.

    When we see what happened with the kind line this year, you had a bunch of fellows who were all talented enough that they didn’t need any accompanying vet help in order to put up points. But when a guy like Rita really should’ve made this club and stuck, I’m not sure where we could’ve put him.

    Of course, that was Hemsky’s first year so we had to look after him and plus you had Smyth-Carter-Comrie-York in the fold as 50 point men along with a young Horcoff who were showing he had the potential to play both ways.

    So, maybe Rita just didn’t show enough. I wonder if MacT would like to have that one back, though.

    But there is certainly something to the idea that everyone outside of first Hemsky, and then Gagner, had to show they’d play two ways before MacT would really let them play. Well, I guess we can throw Comrie into that mix too because be it we were so offensively starved or not, he was getting the candy min with Smyth-Carter by the end of his first season while Weight was slogging it out with Cleary and Zholtok.

    I think the whole thing with the way all the kids came along this year was you had a whole confluence of events:

    1: Some guys were just so good that you had to keep them
    2: Some guys were so good and some vets were injured — 18-34 — that you could think twice ABOUT keeping them and by the time it came to make the decision, they’d made an impression.
    3: On the blueline, he simply wasn’t given a whole lot of other options. I don’t know how much impact MacT had in letting Hejda go in favour of Greene but the only thing I saw where he openly favoured kids for vets is when he began to sit down Tarnstrom and roll with Staios and a bunch of youngsters. At that point, MacT was full on with the youth movement.

    Anyway, LT< check out today's MacT closing statement and please pick it apart and post some comments for us to chew on. I just listened to it and there's a lot there.

    Some things I’ll throw out:

    - On Garon and Roli: MacT said something to the effect it was a learning season for Roli and I took it to mean DR had to get used to the idea of sharing time again because MacT said it will be an open competition again next year.

    - On Stoll: Coach was emphatic in his response that he wants him back and isn’t in one of the grey areas that surrounds other players.

    - On 14 and the port side in general: Basically said Raffi was to re-earn his position which I took it to mean the Oilers forget how many games 18′s played the last two years and that 14′s out the door on draft day. Also mentioned 20 but didn’t get into whether he knew he was an impending FA or not; though he did say something like he imagined 20 knew what could potentially be happening here so he should want to be a part of that.

    On Reasoner: got into how much he liked Marty and how he doesn’t think he’s done as a player and how important he is in the room and to team chemistry in general. I don’t think you need Both 16 and 19 back so maybe they’d go with my idea where 19 and 46 split the 12th spot. I’ll also throw this out here considering the topic’s about a potential depth guy, MacT took a reporter’s question about the last couple of injury filled seasons perhaps being a prompt to ask Lowe to go with a 13 or 14 forward roster all next year and he said he defeintely agrees with that.

    On Penner: didn’t hesitate to agree that fitness was the biggest thing holding him back this year. He took the angle that 27 struggled with the extra playing time which is like saying a fat guy only looks fat because his clothes are so big. Penner struggled with the extra playing time because he wasn’t in shape and MacT said Penner’s slated for Chad Moreau’s Cali camp and much like Lupul did in Philly this year, he expects Penner to bounce back. No one brought up Lupul’s EV numbers and I guess it will be another 20 years before we can expect that:)

    On Pitkanen and the D: Said took him and 25 awhile to get on the same page and said early on that everyone knows the issues with Joni. He absolutely sounded like a guy who was in his corner though and understood and stated the difference 25 can make. I think MacT sees the same good things we all see about 25: the way his ability to jump into the attack fits this team perfectly. MacT also positively gushed about 37 and thought enough of Gilbert to mention him as well. Later on, he was very candid about how Souray brought more defensively then he expected. He said he didn’t come advertised as a defensive dman but he was a cycle-breaker and could move guys off the puck. Spoke about 2 early on in the vein of guys who were playing at their peak when the season ended and said he was playing the best hockey of his career and that he’d need to do that starting next season too. Take that as you will but I’d call it a backhanded compliment or at the very least a warning show across the bow.

    - Team going forward and FA market: he talked about how this team was close to being elite level though he didn’t get into whether that would come from in-house maturation or FA pick-ups. Can’t remember everything about his discourse on the latter but the clip ended with reporters asking him if he’d comment on whether they’d be interested in certain players. MacT replied that yes he’d comment and someone threw out only one name and MacT laughed and in the quickness of his response showed this guy is clearly on the radar.

    The guy?

    Marian Hossa.

    Anyway, I hope LT digs into this because I think we saw a big clue as to what the ’09 team’s gonna look like.

    Assuming neither 16 nor 19 play hardball, here’s what I see after listening to this:

    27-10-83
    12-89-13
    16-18-34
    20-51-46-19-78

    With Moreau being Moreau and Pisani’s health always being a worry as well, I think we’re better off keeping 78 to rot on the bench then we are to deal him for what certainly wouldn’t be a decent return.

    We’ve got enough kids in the lineup now and we can still keep Schremp and Reddox in the A — and off waivers — for another season so it’s really only Pouliot and Jacques who can force the Oilers hand.

    All that being said I hope Moreau’s next season ending injury happens in camp so that Pouliot can get closer to the top 12.

  10. Dennis says:

    The cases that really come to my mind are Rita and Semenov’s but I guess before I say too much I’d really have to dig back into TOI and who got a push ahead of them and so on and so forth.

    When we see what happened with the kind line this year, you had a bunch of fellows who were all talented enough that they didn’t need any accompanying vet help in order to put up points. But when a guy like Rita really should’ve made this club and stuck, I’m not sure where we could’ve put him.

    Of course, that was Hemsky’s first year so we had to look after him and plus you had Smyth-Carter-Comrie-York in the fold as 50 point men along with a young Horcoff who were showing he had the potential to play both ways.

    So, maybe Rita just didn’t show enough. I wonder if MacT would like to have that one back, though.

    But there is certainly something to the idea that everyone outside of first Hemsky, and then Gagner, had to show they’d play two ways before MacT would really let them play. Well, I guess we can throw Comrie into that mix too because be it we were so offensively starved or not, he was getting the candy min with Smyth-Carter by the end of his first season while Weight was slogging it out with Cleary and Zholtok.

    I think the whole thing with the way all the kids came along this year was you had a whole confluence of events:

    1: Some guys were just so good that you had to keep them
    2: Some guys were so good and some vets were injured — 18-34 — that you could think twice ABOUT keeping them and by the time it came to make the decision, they’d made an impression.
    3: On the blueline, he simply wasn’t given a whole lot of other options. I don’t know how much impact MacT had in letting Hejda go in favour of Greene but the only thing I saw where he openly favoured kids for vets is when he began to sit down Tarnstrom and roll with Staios and a bunch of youngsters. At that point, MacT was full on with the youth movement.

    Anyway, LT< check out today's MacT closing statement and please pick it apart and post some comments for us to chew on. I just listened to it and there's a lot there.

    Some things I’ll throw out:

    - On Garon and Roli: MacT said something to the effect it was a learning season for Roli and I took it to mean DR had to get used to the idea of sharing time again because MacT said it will be an open competition again next year.

    - On Stoll: Coach was emphatic in his response that he wants him back and isn’t in one of the grey areas that surrounds other players.

    - On 14 and the port side in general: Basically said Raffi was to re-earn his position which I took it to mean the Oilers forget how many games 18′s played the last two years and that 14′s out the door on draft day. Also mentioned 20 but didn’t get into whether he knew he was an impending FA or not; though he did say something like he imagined 20 knew what could potentially be happening here so he should want to be a part of that.

    On Reasoner: got into how much he liked Marty and how he doesn’t think he’s done as a player and how important he is in the room and to team chemistry in general. I don’t think you need Both 16 and 19 back so maybe they’d go with my idea where 19 and 46 split the 12th spot. I’ll also throw this out here considering the topic’s about a potential depth guy, MacT took a reporter’s question about the last couple of injury filled seasons perhaps being a prompt to ask Lowe to go with a 13 or 14 forward roster all next year and he said he defeintely agrees with that.

    On Penner: didn’t hesitate to agree that fitness was the biggest thing holding him back this year. He took the angle that 27 struggled with the extra playing time which is like saying a fat guy only looks fat because his clothes are so big. Penner struggled with the extra playing time because he wasn’t in shape and MacT said Penner’s slated for Chad Moreau’s Cali camp and much like Lupul did in Philly this year, he expects Penner to bounce back. No one brought up Lupul’s EV numbers and I guess it will be another 20 years before we can expect that:)

    On Pitkanen and the D: Said took him and 25 awhile to get on the same page and said early on that everyone knows the issues with Joni. He absolutely sounded like a guy who was in his corner though and understood and stated the difference 25 can make. I think MacT sees the same good things we all see about 25: the way his ability to jump into the attack fits this team perfectly. MacT also positively gushed about 37 and thought enough of Gilbert to mention him as well. Later on, he was very candid about how Souray brought more defensively then he expected. He said he didn’t come advertised as a defensive dman but he was a cycle-breaker and could move guys off the puck. Spoke about 2 early on in the vein of guys who were playing at their peak when the season ended and said he was playing the best hockey of his career and that he’d need to do that starting next season too. Take that as you will but I’d call it a backhanded compliment or at the very least a warning show across the bow.

    - Team going forward and FA market: he talked about how this team was close to being elite level though he didn’t get into whether that would come from in-house maturation or FA pick-ups. Can’t remember everything about his discourse on the latter but the clip ended with reporters asking him if he’d comment on whether they’d be interested in certain players. MacT replied that yes he’d comment and someone threw out only one name and MacT laughed and in the quickness of his response showed this guy is clearly on the radar.

    The guy?

    Marian Hossa.

    Anyway, I hope LT digs into this because I think we saw a big clue as to what the ’09 team’s gonna look like.

    Assuming neither 16 nor 19 play hardball, here’s what I see after listening to this:

    27-10-83
    12-89-13
    16-18-34
    20-51-46-19-78

    With Moreau being Moreau and Pisani’s health always being a worry as well, I think we’re better off keeping 78 to rot on the bench then we are to deal him for what certainly wouldn’t be a decent return.

    We’ve got enough kids in the lineup now and we can still keep Schremp and Reddox in the A — and off waivers — for another season so it’s really only Pouliot and Jacques who can force the Oilers hand.

    All that being said I hope Moreau’s next season ending injury happens in camp so that Pouliot can get closer to the top 12.

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    Thanks for the recap Dennis. Great stuff, that would have gone unnoticed.

  12. doritogrande says:

    Mike Morrison wasn’t shipped away, he was a waiver wire pickup by the Ottawa Senators iirc. I think it was nothing more than a “you fuck us for Nedved, we fuck you for your shootout goalie” kind of thing.

    Great post as usual. If MacT can take the kids he’s brought along and do something with this roster, then we can all give full credit where it belongs.

  13. Bruce says:

    Having said that, I do believe MacTavish has his “chosen ones” who get ice time based upon something other than pure talent.

    But there is certainly something to the idea that everyone outside of first Hemsky, and then Gagner, had to show they’d play two ways before MacT would really let them play.

    Gord and Dennis: Those two statements are hardly mutually exclusive. If the talent is overwhelming, then they will get more leeway to play while they learn the two-way game. But I sure have no problem with our coach expecting second-level talents like Horcoff, Mikhnov, Pouliot, and many others to be able to look after our own end to some extent. If they can’t, they can’t help the team. I personally wouldn’t want it any other way.

  14. rickibear says:

    Dennis: Went to the year end interviews after supper and seeing 22:19 min come up for MacT made me giddy. These interviews are so fun to read into.

    He sure was hurt by not getting in to the playoffs.

    His comments are very crystal clear this time around.

    He said, “we need the depth;I do not see too many expendable pieces right now.”

    I did not draw the same conclusion on the Greene comment. We do impart our own opinion into the interpretation. So maybe you are correct.

    On Penner: Would redo the contract.
    “He is scratching the surface. Potentially he is a whole lot better player than this year. He was good this year.”

    That says it all re penner.

    Horcoff’s and Gagner interviews were great.

  15. rickibear says:

    LT: Looking forward to your pre draft prospect work. Your work last year created my nerve to start commenting.

    Now I go to the sites: CHL, BCHL, AHL, HockeyDB, Elite Prospects(and the linked SEL Pages), prospect sites: (Cornell, Providence, MSU, NDU) daily. Look for video on the players.

    I wait for these posts with great expectation.

  16. PunjabiOil says:

    Mike Morrison wasn’t shipped away, he was a waiver wire pickup by the Ottawa Senators iirc. I think it was nothing more than a “you fuck us for Nedved, we fuck you for your shootout goalie” kind of thing.

    Hmm…Morrison was picked up by the Senators in 2005-2006 – the year of the Oilers cup run. The Oilers had put Morrison on waivers because he simply wasn’t good enough.

    It was in 2006-2007 the Oilers picked up Nedved, under the deep hope that Nedved would be the same player he was in the 10-15 games with the Oilers in the 2003-2004 season.

  17. PunjabiOil says:

    Two things: First, isn’t it funny how often you get into specific conversations about the Oilers with people you don’t really know? I’m not talking about the “hey man, they’re really doing well here, huh?” conversations but stuff that’s very specific.

    Yup. On the LRT the other day heading home from an Oilers game, I jumped in a discussion with a older guy (60-75 years of age) who knew his hockey. He started asking me trivia questions – I correctly responded to them. I got a “Good to see that you know your hockey” approval.

    I went home, beaming in pride.

  18. PunjabiOil says:

    Some more interviews from Oiler players (Videos)

    http://oilers.nhl.tv/team/console?type=fvod&id=1

  19. HBomb says:

    On 14 and the port side in general: Basically said Raffi was to re-earn his position which I took it to mean the Oilers forget how many games 18′s played the last two years and that 14′s out the door on draft day.

    Talk about being blinded by intangibles. Straight up, Torres is probably a better player, all things considered, than Torres at this point. And that is BEFORE taking into account that Raffi has been healthy other than this last injury his entire time with the Oilers and Moreau has played 32 of the last 164 Oiler games since fall 2006.

    I am usually onside with what Stauffer is bringin’, but fuck, the fact that he (and everyone else) seems to want Pitkanen and Torres gone, yet they’re all willing to give Stoll another shot….it’s stupid.

    Give all three of them a second chance, and if you’re not going to, Stoll is the one who makes sense to trade.

    Let’s hope Kevin Lowe sees it that way too.

  20. Ducey says:

    Hbomb,

    I assume you meant to say Raffi is better than Ethan.

    We have had the discussion before and well, I disagree.

    Aside from the injuries, in the games they played, Ethan made a huge difference. In fact, I think he was very instumental in the turn around of the season, bringing and energy and accountability, along with solid checking and scoring. This is on top of being a leader off the ice.

    Raffi has more tools. He has a better shot, can likely skate faster and can possibly hit harder. However, he was lost before he was hurt. He is not reliable checker and disappears for multiple games.

    If they were both prospects, maybe you would take Raffi and hope he would learn to check/ show up evey night/ be a leader. But he has had over three full seasons to post 34, 41, 34 (.41 ppg) points. This year he was at a .34 ppg clip. If anything his offence is going south and he has none of the intangibles (other than the ability to hurt guys when he hits them). He has been passed by Brodziak and Glencross.

    You have said that Ethan has been injury prone. His shoulder is now fixed for good. The broken foot is a freak thing. You have to figure the bones will grow together this summer. Raffi has had major knee surgery. I expect he faces a difficult rehab, at least as uncertain as Moreau’s.

  21. doritogrande says:

    Punjabi:

    Okay, maybe I got that a little backwards, but I think the same element is there. Also, they had to send one of their 4 goalies down anyway, so it wasn’t that he was no good. He was just the one with the least NHL experience. Probably wouldn’t have pulled a Conklin in G1 SCF, but hindsight is 20/20.

  22. Dennis says:

    Ducey: There’s no way on god’s green earth you can say Raffi isn’t a reliable checker. Dude was -2 in Actual plus/minus while facing off against the other team’s top line.

    You can call Raffi on a lot of things but one of them ISN’T that he’s not a reliable checker.

  23. Slipper says:

    But, but, but…

    When they succeed, they succeed in spite of the coach.

  24. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    LOL… mega-cluster of kids…

    And, most of them are in the super-cluster of incredibly high IQs we were talking about the other day, Lain. MacTavish is in his element. Damm straight the future is bright.
    :-D

    ………

    Sorry, Punjabioil, but you can’t fault MacTavish for not trusting Rita and only playing him with scrubs against scrubs. When the tough got going Jani Rita crumbled. If he had to be held by the hand (allowed to keep Marty Reasoner as his centre past training camp) to play in the NHL, he wasn’t NHL material. Period.

    And there was something off with Semenov after the lockout… like he had something weighing heavily on his mind. He’s about to turn 27 and has played all of 21 games(25 games out with 4 injuries + 35 healthy scratches), averaging 15:08 TOI for the Sharks this year.

    Schremp? Flaws and all, MacT damm near kept him with the team in ’05. Keep in mind we had a defence lead by FCP. Then the kid blew off power skating O-S ’06 and was summarily sent to the ‘A’ early in TC. Injury kept him from working on his skating last O-S, and the new kids at ’07 camp blew his doors off with their skill, smarts, speed and hard work. 4 strikes.

    MacT already had a line-up of kids and misfits down the ’07 stretch. I don’t begrudge him giving a smart, hard working, AHL vet some nice paydays over bringing up another kid/misfit.

    imho – Captain America needs to turn that chip on his shoulder into focused motivation. Maybe then he’ll earn some NHL at bats. Or… maybe he just goes to Europe.
    ;-)

    The Oilers put Morrison on waivers because they were going to loan him to the Houston Aeros. The Wild called up Harding when they traded Roli, and the Aeros, coached by Rob Daum, had been making a very strong Calder push. The Senators messed that plan up. We retaliated last year when we nabbed Nedved and they had to trade for Comrie.

    ………

    Further thoughts…

    Cleary had his head up his a** and needed the love of a smart woman to straighten him out. Good on him.

    Chimera? Speaking from personal knowledge, this boy is frustratingly stupid. I’m talking thick as a brick here, people. He’s almost 29, has 133 points in 372 NHL games (ppg-0.3575) and there has been little growth in his game. Currently he’s a depth player getting second line minutes (PGTOI-17:40/ES-13:23/PP-2:02/SH-2:14) and has contributed 31 points (ppg-0.3875).

    I loved Bergeron, but I also knew his limitations. Because of his size he had learned to survive in chaos. Creating chaos against soft opposition isn’t too dangerous, but it’s suicide against the top guns in the league. This boy was another dumb-dumb and there won’t be any noticeable development in his game, imho.

    fwiw – When MacT had finally had enough of MAB he asked Lowe to trade him for a pick, or a project. Lowe asked who would replace him on the PP. MacT’s on ice response was… tada… Toby Petersen. Bergeron was traded a few days later. I think that MacT is happy with the return.

    Bottom line…
    You’d better have incredible instincts and be able to keep your game super-simple if you don’t have the IQ to keep up with MacT. (ie: Smyth and Torres)

    Louise

  25. Coach pb9617 says:

    therealdeal: I’ve seen it over the years from HF and other places.

    Well THAT is an authoritative source…

  26. Mr DeBakey says:

    Not authoritative,
    relentless,
    mind-numbingly so

    This year
    “He only played the kids cuz he was forceta”

  27. Slipper says:

    I think it’s fair to do a bit a psychoanalysis. Despite opinions to the contrary, MacTavish exhibits a lot of patience with players. People sometimes tend to label these his “pets” or “project players”, and site examples like Toby Peterson while excluding the Horcoffs and Pisanis.

    I tend to believe that he does approach players as projects, and that this is a healthy approach to development.

    To understand why, I think it’s fair to take a critical look at the coach’s own life. At one point he was terribly irresponsible and, as a consequence, forfeited control over his own fate. To assume control over his own life he had to obey the rule of other and meticulously follow the instruction others. This carried over to his professional life, for when opportunity was extended to him, he a greater obligation over an average player, to fulfill the duties requested of him.

    I think that’s important, because the events of MacTavish’s life are profound, and the manner in which he overcame them most certainly affect him as a coach and mentor.

    So when a young player enters the depth chart, MacTavish expect that player to execute whatever he’s instructed to without question. For a player ot get ot destination B first he must arrive at destination A. No shortcuts. No bullshit. Just do what’s requested of you.

    Unless, of course, you possess the skills of Anze Kopitar or Alexander Ovechkin, and then some rules don’t aplly to you.

    Stortini is a perfect example of this. Alot of board rats, myself included, were wondering aloud why JFJ was passed over after what appeared to be a reasonable string of games where he and (I think) Raffi, were able to pin the puck in the right end of the rink. MacTavish offered that it wasn’t the mission he gave that player, but instead he wanted someone who would go over the boards when the pucked was headed North and punish the defenseman in the corners. Enter Zach Stortini, and the reward he was given was 4 minutes. The next step was probably not over commiting or taking yourself out of the play on checks, and the reward was 6 minutes, and so on.

    The same thing goes for Horcoff. He earned the 1 slot by first proving himself in the 4, 3 and 2 slot. Simple as that.

    I think the logic at play here is along the lines of “why would I award you second line time when you can’t go out and ___________ when I’ve asked it from you?”.

    So when I hear MacT sat all he expects form Allan Rourke is “12 flawless minutes of hockey”, I laugh because it sound absurd but also because it’s really what he expects.

  28. Slipper says:

    You know what’s scary?

    Now the HF’ers have the past half a season to lean on when they need an example of a team succeeding with 15 rookies and sophomores in the line-up.

  29. Mr DeBakey says:

    Toby Petersen, like Zach Stortini this season, was sent to the AHL after training camp.

    Both, passed over for better players, were recalled when those better players either stiffed or were injured.

    Petersen wasn’t overplayed in 06-07. He played only the 9th most ES minutes – ahead of several of the chronically injured.
    The final third of those minutes were on the “Sayonara Line” of Petersen, Sykora & Lupul.

  30. Dennis says:

    LT: I really can’t agree with you regarding Pouliot.

    After taking a couple of games to warm up, and to show he knew his own zone better than any of the other 23′s, 78 was getting a scoring chance a game by the end of the run and was throwing shots on or at the net every game.

    I know he came up the first week in March at Cbj but he should’ve been here 10 games before that. There came a point where Sanderson should not have been playing instead of Pouliot and I’m not saying Marc didn’t need a kick in the ass when he get one in Nov but he should’ve been back before early March.

    Then again, maybe the Oilers saw enough to want to bring him back and he’s obviously gonna have a spot if Torres is to be moved.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Lowetide.ca