Many years ago there was a move director from Hungary named Michael Kurtiz. He had a way with words, especially English ones. Curtiz was known for mixing up phrases and not quite getting it right when speaking to English actors.
One day, while on the set of “The Charge of the Light Brigade” Curtiz needed hundreds of horses with no riders to be released at once. “Bring on the Empty Horses!” he screamed, at which time the two stars of the movie (David Niven and Errol Flynn) erupted in laughter. This made the director extremely angry, to the point where he said “You and your stinking language! You think I know fuck nothing? Well, let me tell you, I know fuck all!”
True story. 40 years later, David Niven wrote a book of stories about his experiences over the years. Title: Bring on the Empty Horses.
If Craig MacTavish writes a book about his coaching career, I think it should be called “Cerebral Cortex.” He’ll often talk about telling the scouts to bring him players who think the game, he’ll say things like “it has implications for guys we have on the wing and we’re faced with what kind of tangible element we want to add for the 12th, 13th, 14th forward.” That’s just a small example, but I’ve been reading comments from coaches for decades and most hockey men would have said “we got some guys who do things and we need to decide” or some such.
Awhile back, Craig MacTavish said the following about centermen:
“It’s a big part of the game. If you get dominated up the middle, you don’t have much chance to win, and that includes face-offs. They don’t get a lot of attention by people outside the game, but people inside the game, coaches, know how important they are. To start with the puck is a huge advantage in any situation.”
So, on a day when the two dailies are hinting that Fernie is headed back to the wing and MacT says “Stollie was really good and so was Marty. But with Kyle Brodziak and Marc Pouliot we have the ability to augment that drop off” you know he’s already planning on making the move.
The next few days will probably go in a predictable fashion:
- Word will leak out that Brodziak is centering the third line.
- Pouliot will move back into the middle on the 4line
- Potulny will get sent out.
- Schremp and Trukhno will battle for a spot that may or may not be available to them.
In the summer, when MacT said “I want Reasoner back for sure” and Kevin Lowe said “we have a lot of bodies right now so we have to see what unfolds” some of us started wondering aloud about that 4line center job. When Jarret Stoll was traded the need became greater.
Now that we’re in training camp and the team is burning daylight, MacT is left to struggle with the issue of which player to put into the middle for right handed end zone draws. I’ll bet you a 2-4 his name is Kyle Brodziak and I’d bet money the decision has already been made.
We await news of the changes, but the information is already available. MacTavish is such a fun coach to observe, I often think one of the reasons the Oilers are so popular is because the coach offers the fan actual information and assumes intelligence is out there.