Bruins at Oilers, G8/08-09

This is Harry Sinden with some prospect from long ago who didn’t exactly make #27 a memorable one.

Oh well, not every prospect changes the game.

Tonight we have a chance to see 4 young players who have experienced the ups and downs of hockey since their draft day.

For the Edmonton Oilers, Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano had terrific rookie seasons one year ago. Cogliano’s speed is stunning to watch and he has enough skill to help a team offensively. Sam Gagner showed elite level ability one year ago and frankly was the best offensive rookie seen in these parts in 15 years (Jason Arnott).

Phil Kessel was a top 5 pick for the Bruins who received as much bad press as good in the years following his draft day. In the Gare Joyce book Kessel is framed as a questionable character and a high risk kid despite the skill. His first two seasons in pro seemed to confirm the question marks.

This season Kessel has scored 6 goals in 7 games and looks like he can score from anywhere. For those who like a good story Phil Kessel’s emergence this season is a beauty.

Milan Lucic is absolutely going to be a guy that fans from coast to coast wish their club had drafted (50th overall in 2006, the Oilers did have one shot at him but chose Jeff Petry instead) and you’ll probably see why tonight. He’s a freaking machine and does in fact remind old guys like me of the old Bruins, the big, bad Bruins who beat you on the ice, in the stands and damn near anywhere else you’d care to go many years ago.

MacT has Gagner on the 1PP to get him some confidence but even better was the kid’s response (basically he said that he wasn’t worried because the chances were coming. I am so impressed with Sam Gagner) and I imagine the points will come as the season rolls on. Fans need to remember our wunderkind had some slow periods a year ago (he was 1-2-3 in all of November and racked up some negative plus minus numbers throughout the season) and is in the black at EVs so far this season.

Cogliano has had a nice start and honestly the main worry isn’t about offense for this team. It’s the chances going the other way and the bleeding in their own zone that comes from a struggling defense. Even more troubling is that the culprit seems to change by shift and by evening and so addressing the blue appears to be a moving target. The forwards could help by waiting until they’re actually in the Ozone before losing the damn puck.

I think the Oilers win tonight, probably in the 4th period. Either way, for old Bruins fans like me this is a must-see.

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172 Responses to "Bruins at Oilers, G8/08-09"

  1. Doogie2K says:

    If you watched the early game on Hockey Night, you’ll know that Milbury seems to have the biggest raging boner for Lucic this side of Pierre MacGuire. It’s not entirely unjustified, either, because the kid is a treat to watch. I remember watching him in the 2007 Memorial Cup, and had an assist and a fight in the winning game, and took the MVP award. Soon as I heard he was a Bruins pick, I thought, “Yup, that sounds about right.”

    I think 4-3 in the SO seems about right.

  2. Ribs says:

    Games against Boston are always fun to watch. Always fast games with barely any whistles all night. Of course the Oilers always lose the games…but they’re still fun to watch. Pay Per view? Gad dammit. Feed me…

    In other news Joni Pitkanen out with a torn meniscus.

  3. dubya says:

    Well, Cole will be back with Moreau but it sounds like Pies will still be a centre when he returns:

    MacT – “That line looked really good, it’s going to be a handful, whether it’s Fernie in the middle or Pouliot, Ethan and Cole are tough to play against.”

    Pouliot looked better in that spot than Pisani has all year. And Pouliot does not look good as a winger. Even if it means Penner or Pisani on the 4th line, I think you’ve got to give Pou another shot.

    Also, glad to hear 89 is back on the 1st PP, but who’s wife did Penner sleep with? The guy is a legitimate PP option, leads the team in PP goals, and now can’t even get on the 2nd unit? Harsh.

  4. HBomb says:

    A couple other Bruin angles this year so far….

    1) It’s good to see Patrice Bergeron back after that ugly concussion stuff last year. 6 points in 8 games is nothing to sneeze at. Guy is a favorite of mine (own a Bergeron bruins jersey, mostly because I couldn’t find a 1980′s era “Neely” version to purchase instead).

    2) Marc Savard: watched a bit of him on NHL Centre Ice, and it’s true what some have stated – the guy has come MILES in terms of being a complete player. A friend of mine and I bet a bottle of Smirnoff and each threw down a dark-horse pick for Team Canada 2010 this week. He took Savard. I took Shawn Horcoff. Point production aside, knowing that Savard has never had any Team Canada involvement (or at least as far as I know), I like my odds of at least breaking even on said bet (if Sakic retires and the Team Canada guys insist on a “checking” guy as the 13th forward, why not Horcoff? He’s a first line center by any measure in the NHL, but can play the two way game and has played in such a role on previous Team Canada editions).

    Anyways, I could see the 1/2 Center punch of Savard/Bergeron creating issues for the Oilers tonight, but I like the home team’s chances. Heading out on the 7-game roadie at 5-3 would be a nice spot to be in. Manage .500 on that trip and they’d be 8-6-1 through 15 games, with 12 of those being on the road. I don’t care what anyone says, I’d be damn happy with such numbers when the team rolls back into town in a couple weeks…..

  5. HBomb says:

    Pouliot looked better in that spot than Pisani has all year. And Pouliot does not look good as a winger. Even if it means Penner or Pisani on the 4th line, I think you’ve got to give Pou another shot.

    Or why not do the smartest thing, put Moreau on the 4th line, roll out Pisani-Pouliot-Cole as the 3rd line, and let Ethan help Brodziak and whichever of the twin-towers is dressed get some effective ES minutes?

    This whole “Moreau MUST be on the 3rd line” mentality needs to disappear.

  6. Black Dog says:

    hbomb – agreed on that final point

    Cole has to play RW.

    Play Penner or Pisani with the kids. Play the other with Pouliot/Cole.

    Moreau plays with Brodziak and Stortini and gives the team a legit fourth line which they do miss.

  7. dubya says:

    This whole “Moreau MUST be on the 3rd line” mentality needs to disappear.

    While I do agree with you in general, over the last few games Moreau has been one of our better players (better than Pisani). 4 points, leads the team in +/-, and a consistent physical presence. Doesn’t really deserve the demotion at this time, IMO.

  8. Phil says:

    Man, that Lucic kid is a tank. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t continue his play from two nights ago.

    Is there word either way on Pisani playing tonight?

  9. HBomb says:

    BDHS – right now, my ideal setup?

    It’s this:

    Penner Horcoff Cole (smash line)
    Nilsson Gagner Hemsky (flash line)
    Cogliano Pouliot Pisani (dash line)
    Moreau Brodziak MacIntyre (crash line)

  10. HBomb says:

    While I do agree with you in general, over the last few games Moreau has been one of our better players (better than Pisani). 4 points, leads the team in +/-, and a consistent physical presence. Doesn’t really deserve the demotion at this time, IMO.

    Maybe not based on merit, but I think you waste any of the other guys in the top nine (Pouliot, Penner, Pisani, whomever) by sticking them with Brodziak and Stortini/sMacIntyre.

    Moreau essentially would bring the Glencross element to that line that was such a spark for them last season. Round peg, round hole….

  11. Schitzo says:

    Biggest problem with dropping Moreau to the 4th line is that all of a sudden 3LW is somebody playing out of position again. For the love of Jesus, don’t make Pisani learn a third position in 2 months.

  12. Bruce says:

    Agree with Dubya, HBomb and Black Dog, and it’s not too often I can say that simultaneously! Moreau makes the fourth line instantly trustworthy, he’s the closest thing we got to GlenX but with more experience. Brodziak and Stortini are good enough to hold their own but they can’t carry a boat anchor. Their line will only work well if all three guys can pull their weight. Give them 8-10 minutes at evens, and Moreau and Brodz will pull extra minutes on the PK.

    A unit of Pisani-Pouliot-Cole (from L-R) would be one helluva “third” line. Pouliot has been flying, playing better than Gagner IMO and doesn’t really deserve to be demoted/shuffled about either. Pisani can handle LW just fine, he’s played there lots over the years.

    Also agree with Dubya re: Penner on the PP, guy scored 13 PPG last year and his screens led to many more goals. Why is he being left out of the loop?

  13. shep says:

    dont forget david krejci, he’s looking good this young season

  14. doritogrande says:

    “Biggest problem with dropping Moreau to the 4th line is that all of a sudden 3LW is somebody playing out of position again.”

    Uh, no?

    Nilsson-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Gagner-Cogliano-Cole
    Penner-Pouliot-Pisani
    Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini

    I see one player not in his natural position, and he’s 19.

    ——-

    Guess I’ll have to find a link for this one. Really excited to see Lucic play. We may be pimping a 3rd line player for his career, but damned if he isn’t exciting to watch. His play this year reminds me a lot of Glencross last year and he was a treat to see. All I can hope for is that he stays in the East for his career and only bullies us once every couple of years. Let Jersey deal with him.

    I think the teams are pretty balanced in terms of forwards and defense. The game will be decided on which goalie shows up.

  15. Schitzo says:

    Dorito:

    Since when is Cole on the kid line? I thought we were rolling

    12-10-83
    27-13-89
    18-?-26
    ?-51-?

    Not that I’m complaining – I’d love to see Pisani take Gagner’s place as either 2RW or 3RW. I just don’t see it happening.

  16. Sean says:


    Penner Horcoff Cole (smash line)
    Nilsson Gagner Hemsky (flash line)
    Cogliano Pouliot Pisani (dash line)
    Moreau Brodziak MacIntyre (crash line)

    HBomb: I like this lines. I’m looking forward to seeing 27-X-26 but was happy with 18-26 last game. Horcoff hasnt got his game back to last years level and simplifying it a bit playing with a couple north/south players might be good to get his confidence back. I’d switch 78-13 and use 46 against the softer teams.

  17. CrazyCoach says:

    I hope that St. Fernando comes back tonight. I haven’t been able to see all of the Oilers games, but there is a marked difference when he is in the lineup and out of the lineup.

    He seems to provide the smarts to the team.

  18. Jonathan says:

    Just a note about all of these potential lineups – I think the best 4th line we’ve seen thus far was Pouliot – Brodziak – MacIntyre, because the first two are quality players, and the third only plays two shifts a night. MacTavish looked to have good success spotting Hemsky/Nilsson/etc. on to that 4th line to get them away from checkers, and both 78 and 51 are good enough offensive players to make that worth while.

    Of course, Stortini gets a press box seat in this scenario, but I’m not convinced that’s something to be terribly upset over.

  19. Schitzo says:

    Here’s one other thought – why is MacT running 89 on the penalty kill when he has 78 dressed? Seems like a funny use of resources to me, unless we’re operating on the theory of a “well rounded education”.

  20. Dennis says:

    Titans are 6-0 and I don’t have Sunday Ticket because I watch enough sports/TV as it is.

    And they don’t get a lot of MNF time because the NFL always sets that up in terms of the old favourties and how a team might have played over the last couple of years has nothing to do with it; unless you’re the Cleveland Browns.

    So, Titans finally get on MNF And wouldn’t you know the Oilers are playing one of their ~ 5 ? Monday night games on the same fucking date.

    Anyway, as always, the Oilers get my loyality and I’m expecting a high scoring game because both teams would rather not play D and also because Roli’s playing for the Oil and perhaps Thomas is playing for Bos;)

    I really can’t get a handle on the Oil and if MacT can’t get the PK straightened away then I’ll never be comfortable watching them; he’s either gonna have to chance the approach or personnel or perhaps both.

    When it comes to the lines, I like what HB was bringing today. And I’d also like to go back 27-89-83 as the forwards on the PP; at least they’ve put 89 back there to work with 83. That was a treat at times last year.

    It seems like there’s going to be a lot of work this year to find out what really works lines-wise. 78′s making the push to get more time, 51′s getting more time on the PK but not at evens and then a guy like Cole looks better on RW than LW.

    You’d think it won’t take too long for MacT to figure this out but “looking after” a guy like 18 will only fly the ointment.

  21. Dennis says:

    I think something else we could consider too would be putting 26 with 89-Plus and trying to build some chemistry in that regard.

    1. Keep 10-83 together and see what works up there

    2. Put 89 with 26 and round that out with 12-13 and have two guys that can pass it through people while 26 goes straight to the net.

    3. Keep 34-78 together.

    Someone useful other than 51 will wind up on the 4th line but that’s how it goes sometimes. If 18′s such a team guy than he should accept such a “demotion” in style.

  22. Coach pb9617 says:

    Ribs:

    http://www.justin.tv/

    usually carries at least one stream of the Oilers game somewhere

  23. Ribs says:

    Thanks coach.

  24. budorduke says:

    Well it looks as though Roli’s in tonight. Pies centering third line. Eesh. Not a fan of either move. Would’ve liked to see Pisani on lw as mentioned above..

  25. Coach pb9617 says:

    Mac is pretty close now.

    Just get Horpensky back together now.

    And send MacIntyre out pronto.

    Bring me Trukhno!

  26. Bruce says:

    I’d … use 46 against the softer teams.

    Sean: This is one line of reasoning that I just don’t get. Why sit our most consistently physical player against the “harder” teams?

    MacTavish looked to have good success spotting Hemsky/Nilsson/etc. on to that 4th line to get them away from checkers, and both 78 and 51 are good enough offensive players to make that worth while.

    There’s some logic to this, but Hemsky/Nilsson etc. are not going to play a grinding game either, and the net result will be the Oilers are a softer team, SMac or no SMac.

    Last year’s Oilers were at their best when 20-51-46 were out there for three or four shifts a period. They looked after their own end, they ground the opposition defence into a fine powder, and they contributed a surprising amount of offence (about one goal every two games they were together). No getting GlenX back now, but the formula hasn’t changed.

  27. Scott says:

    If we want an energy line for our fourth line that has offensive upside and will play physical:
    Moreau = Glencross + defense

    But then that removes the only consistent energy I’ve seen in the top 9 thus far.

    But in terms of getting some wins, the 1-line needs to start pulling their weight with some ES scoring and 2-4 can work themselves out from there.

  28. Vic Ferrari says:

    Good quote from Gagner is terrific, Lain.

    I remember Terry Jones going around a Scotty Bowman locker room looking for a panic quote (the Wings had a squillion dollar payroll back then, and had only scored two goals in the past three games). Turns out that none of the players gave a damn, “we’ve been getting lots of chances, they’ll start going in soon” just wasn’t the sort of thing Terry was looking for.

    I think (rusty memory allowance) that eventually Draper gave him “the other team’s goalie has been the first star in the last three games”. I assume that Terry ran with that.

    Still, it speaks to Gagner’s maturity a bit, and the leadership on this team a lot, that he sees things this way.

    Only Cole, Visnovsky and Horcoff have better underlying numbers IMO. And that stuff just always translates into results eventually, and with a repeatability that only those cursed with foolishness at birth and touched by madness as adults would dare bet real money against.

    Gagner is just fine. And he knows it.

    Carry on.

  29. Scott says:

    Whenever I read my own posts I wish this site had an edit feature. Starting two sentences with ‘but’ would most certainly infuriate my fifth grade English teacher.

  30. namflashback says:

    RE: Lucic

    Saw the hit he put on Van Ryn on HNIC last Saturday. Weak glass pane shattered on contact. Van Ryn was fine, a few fans got nicked up (unfortunate) — but that had to go a long way in writing the story on Lucic.

  31. CrazyCoach says:

    Roli starting tonight?

    Think I’ll save on that PPV money, and save it for post game beer in my rec game tonight.

    Good to hear Fernando is back though.

  32. Art Vandelay says:

    Lucic practically by himself won the Memorial Cup final for the Giants on the first shift when he skated around destroying anyone wearing a Tiger on his jersey. Maybe the single greatest junior hockey shift I’ve ever seen. And I was cheering for the Tigers.

    The only mystery after that was why the clowns in Vancouver didn’t draft him. I had to look it up, but Grabner at 14th? Har har, hardee har har.

  33. Bruce says:

    Har har, hardee har har.

    That one’s for you, Temujin.

    Lucic is one fun player to watch, and judging from what I saw against the Habs in Round One, he has beauty soft hands to go with that size and power. He’s a 20-year-old Dustin Penner. With a mean streak.

  34. Jeanshorts And Baggedmilk says:

    They say imitation is the truest form of flattery, well I tried my best to make your proud Sir Lowetide. I may not have your talent or ability but I write because I care.

    Your friends at jeanshorts and baggedmilk

  35. Traktor says:

    Classic MacTavish playing Roli tonight.

    What’s the chance that Joel Quenneville starts his 3rd stringer on the most important game of the season before hitting a long road trip?

    Not surprising though. The same idiot didn’t know Mike Peca should be playing in a checking role until Peca told him.

  36. Jonathan says:

    Classic MacTavish playing Roli tonight.

    What’s the chance that Joel Quenneville starts his 3rd stringer on the most important game of the season before hitting a long road trip?

    It isn’t the same situation, but check out Scotty Bowman’s use of Manny Legace the year Hasek – Joseph – Legace was his team’s goaltending duo.

    Also, if you seriously believe that Jeff Deslauriers is a better NHL goaltender than Dwayne Roloson at this stage in his career, I’d suggest rewatching the Calgary game where Deslauriers “won”.

  37. Lowetide says:

    Starting Roloson tonight makes perfect sense. Garon let in a softie on Saturday and MacT has two veterans and a kid as options.

    When you’re on a three game L streak starting the rookie isn’t an option. Garon is confident and I’m pleased about it but if Roloson plays well tonight one suspects he’ll get the next start too.

    If they’re not going to play Roloson on a night when the team is coming off a loss that saw 6 goals go in (not all weak, I’m not saying that) when DO they bring him in?

  38. Coach pb9617 says:

    No, Traktor just hates Mac and Horcoff and reminds you with every post.

  39. PunjabiOil says:

    Roloson starts tonight.

    MacT has always, for some reason, has somewhat of a hard-on for Roloson.

    Perhaps the Oilers want to play Garon 3 games in 4 days beginning Thursday?

    If not, this is another questionable move by MacT this year (the other two being taking Dustin Penner off the 1st line PP unit and playing Erik Cole on his off-wing).

  40. PDO says:

    No, Traktor just hates Mac and Horcoff and reminds you with every post.

    Pretty much.

  41. Schitzo says:

    So I’m back in the drinking club tonight! Just lined up a position with one of the biggest law firms in Edmonton, so out comes the rum.

    Oh Lambs, darkest of the dark liquors. What’s that? You want me to drink you? I’m in the middle of a trial!

  42. Showerhead says:

    Lowetide: as someone who was born after that Orr kid stopped playing, I’m wondering if you can recommend any video or print insight into his career? I read Searching for Bobby Orr by Steven Brunt but more than anything I’d like to SEE the man skate and am looking for good recommendations on an entry point.

  43. Bruce says:

    Just what we need, another Schitzo lawyer.

    Assuming the position you lined up isn’t “defendant”, congratulations!

  44. Traktor says:

    Nothing good can happen from playing Roli.

    If he plays well it just means more goaltending controversy and it’s going to become another Juise/Conks situation. Another self-inflicted wound. Garon should have never been taking out of the net when he was 3-0 with a .941 save percentage in the first place.

    This team is absolutely nothing without Garon. We would have been a lottery team last year if it wasn’t for him.

  45. Bruce says:

    Showerhead: There is a DVD set of the 1976 Canada Cup, of which Orr was the MVP. It was his last hurrah and he was pretty much skating on one leg, so the evidence of his skating superiority is mostly in sudden changes of pace rather than breathtaking rushes. But he was still a dominant player on an awesome defence unit that included Brad Park, Denis Potvin, Serge Savard, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe and Jimmy Watson. Best group of defencemen I’ve ever seen on one team.

  46. PDO says:

    Has anyone with Bell ordered the game?

    I have some weird Christian stuff on….

  47. PDO says:

    Well, now I have paid to watch the Oilers play on NESN…

  48. Ddoorstop says:

    @pdo:

    Same here. Bell seems utterly clueless as to what’s happening.

  49. Jonathan says:

    Nothing good can happen from playing Roli.

    If he plays well it just means more goaltending controversy and it’s going to become another Juise/Conks situation. Another self-inflicted wound.

    God forbid this team have two goaltenders that it has confidence in, or that one of the two expendable tenders were to increase his trade value.

    The Conkkanen situation was two goaltenders playing miserably and MacTavish debating which poison to take. Two goaltenders playing well is only a positive, and it’s idiotic to suggest otherwise.

  50. Coach pb9617 says:

    Wow. Rowbear just thumped Ward. I love that kid.

  51. PDO says:

    Nilsson just cranked someone…

    If only MacT wasn’t so stupid and wouldn’t have made him realize how much better he could be if he became a more complete player.

  52. Showerhead says:

    Bruce: Thank you! It seems that, along with attempting to learn to play guitar or waking up three towns over without a clue what happened to get you there, learning to appreciate the legends is one of those things that every guy has to try at least once in life.

  53. goldenchild says:

    Coach said “No, Traktor just hates Mac and Horcoff and reminds you with every post”

    Wasn’t there another guy that posted here with the same schtik every time? the guy quit last week and said he would never post here again.

  54. doritogrande says:

    Dammit. Anyone got a non Czech speaking link for the game?

  55. Showerhead says:

    dorito: not a huge fan either but I love the super-Italian way the guy pronounces Cogliano. makes him sounds like a fancy cheese or something.

  56. kinger says:

    That’s a ridiculous call on 27.

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    That call on Pens was so ridiculous

  58. LittleFury says:

    love the super-Italian way the guy pronounces Cogliano. makes him sounds like a fancy cheese or something.

    Well: isn’t he?

    That Penner call was a classic: two minutes for being bigger than the other guy. Dare I say: ridiculous.

  59. raventalon40 says:

    It was ridonkulous!

  60. Scott says:

    This link would seems to be in English:

    http://www.justin.tv/dman2077

  61. doritogrande says:

    English link: http://stoogetv.com/player.html

    Other channels.

  62. Scott says:

    I know at least one person that doesn’t think that Rexall needs a new ice machine.

  63. Showerhead says:

    switched over to scott’s link, heard the guy say Cogliano with a hard G and almost went back to Europe. the English guy won me over with his “we get paid for this!!!” which was said with the same emotion I would approximate to a male “squee”.

  64. doritogrande says:

    Aaaand Smid just kicks Wheeler’s ASS!

  65. Steve says:

    switched over to scott’s link, heard the guy say Cogliano with a hard G and almost went back to Europe

    Um, it’s supposed to be a hard G, no?

  66. Coach pb9617 says:

    Heh. That Hemsky play was pure Bobby Orr.

  67. doritogrande says:

    Great individual effort from Hemsky, but the fact that he still hadn’t gotten up before the commercial started suggests to me that he’s playing through an injury.

  68. Showerhead says:

    steve: you wouldn’t talk that way if you heard that magnificent czech announcer and the firm-but-gentle timbre of his best Italian accent.

  69. Coach pb9617 says:

    Great individual effort from Hemsky, but the fact that he still hadn’t gotten up before the commercial started suggests to me that he’s playing through an injury.

    Maybe. Could be because he had the puck for 18 seconds and got hauled down too.

  70. Coach pb9617 says:

    Hey, these fellas in blue, do you think they know that shots can come from inside the circles?

  71. Showerhead says:

    coach and dorito: seeing your posts back to back is kind of eery for me. here’s hoping hemsky’s ok.

  72. kinger says:

    What a great play by Robert Nilsson right before the period expired. He used his speed in the neutral zone to cover for an ill-advised Oiler pinch (I think it was 71).

  73. Coach pb9617 says:

    Kyle and Mr. Hanky really need a Stan, Eric or Kenny to play on that bottom line with them.

  74. gary b says:

    Nilsson is a monster topped with monster sauce. Looks like Hemsky’s focused again, too.

  75. Schitzo says:

    Bruce: Thanks! I’m mostly harmless, we’ll see if I can find a home in tax law. That way I can stick to mostly trying to screw the government.

  76. Coach pb9617 says:

    Refs are missing a bunch of interference.

  77. LittleFury says:

    Is it just me or has Visnovsky been pretty “whatever” at best these last 8 games?

  78. doritogrande says:

    The Boston announcer just *loves* Roloson.

  79. Showerhead says:

    Roli!! 30 saves so far, and what a glove hand on that last one. Fuckin’ awful decision to play him though.

  80. Jonathan says:

    This is the best hockey I’ve watched yet this season, and I’ve only caught the start of the third. Has this whole game been quality?

  81. Scott says:

    The Boston colour guy is right about the Oilers D backing off too much off the rush. The same thing was happening in the game in Vancouver, and it allows way too many high quality chances.

  82. LittleFury says:

    Am I right or am I right? He’s getting beat on the cycle, he’s getting beat on the rush…

  83. Coach pb9617 says:

    This is the best hockey I’ve watched yet this season, and I’ve only caught the start of the third. Has this whole game been quality?

    At least this level the entire game and better at times.

  84. doritogrande says:

    lf:

    Visnovsky’s actually looked better tonight to me than he has yet. He’s a great positional defenseman with plus speed.

    Unfortunately he’s also as small and mistake prone as MA Bergeron.

  85. Jonathan says:

    Staios really needs to clear that.

    That Ryder contract doesn’t look so bad at this juncture.

  86. Jonathan says:

    Yeah, I’m really not confident that Visnovsky can handle any opposition with size.

  87. Showerhead says:

    Samwise with the presence of mind to realize he has time for a proper breakout pass instead of just throwing the puck away after a panic sequence in front of the Oiler net. These are the little things that separate.

  88. Coach pb9617 says:

    Yeah, I’m really not confident that Visnovsky can handle any opposition with size.

    I still think he should pair with Strudwick when Strudwick comes back.

  89. Coach pb9617 says:

    I can’t believe I’m typing this, but thank Pete for Sheldon Souray.

  90. doritogrande says:

    The macblender’s really out in force tonight. I swear I just heard Moreau and Gagner on the same line. Also haven’t heard from Pouliot or Brodziak in the 3rd period.

  91. Showerhead says:

    It seems every one of our D has an obvious wart or two re: goal prevention. Exactly the reason that the PP needs to come around for this to be a successful season IMO.

  92. Coach pb9617 says:

    Samwise with the presence of mind to realize he has time for a proper breakout pass instead of just throwing the puck away after a panic sequence in front of the Oiler net. These are the little things that separate.

    Now he has to separate the times where he can make a play and where he just need to shove it deep.

  93. Coach pb9617 says:

    The macblender’s really out in force tonight. I swear I just heard Moreau and Gagner on the same line.

    Nah – that was just a busted change.

  94. Showerhead says:

    Now he has to separate the times where he can make a play and where he just need to shove it deep. Is this a general point or do you find Gagner to force things too much for your tastes?

  95. doritogrande says:

    THAT’S what we need from a Hemsky linemate. That was crafty. Too bad Thomas came to play tonight.

  96. Showerhead says:

    Gracious that was nice.

  97. Lord Bob says:

    Rod Phillips is calling that Tim Thomas save “nightmarish” and “absolutely pulsating”.

    Why does Rod Phillips make Oilers games sound like bad porn?

  98. Coach pb9617 says:

    What’s the rule on refs clearing sticks? Seems like there has been a broken stick on the Oilers end all game.

  99. Showerhead says:

    Rod Phillips is calling that Tim Thomas save “nightmarish” and “absolutely pulsating”.

    Why does Rod Phillips make Oilers games sound like bad porn?

    I don’t see the issue here. Thomas grabbed Hemsky’s shot right off his shaft.

  100. Coach pb9617 says:

    Is this a general point or do you find Gagner to force things too much for your tastes?

    Once or twice a game he tried to baby a touch pass in traffic where he just needs to push it deep and let Cogs go get it.

  101. Coach pb9617 says:

    Really, thank you Souray. You’ve been very good tonight.

    Also, if Mac takes Cole off of the RW ever again, I’m going to hunt him down and knock his front caps out.

  102. Scott says:

    I’m pretty sure that Moreau was holding Wideman’s stick in the corner on his last shift. Now, he didn’t get called, but why would you do that? It’s just asking for trouble.

  103. LittleFury says:

    Now he has to separate the times where he can make a play and where he just need to shove it deep.

    Leaving aside the obvious innuendo, Sam’ll get there before Hemsky.

  104. Coach pb9617 says:

    Showerhead.

    On cue, Sam gives you an example.

  105. kinger says:

    Easy to blame that one on 89, but 24 has to have his stick on the ice and support his fowards.

  106. doritogrande says:

    Fuck.

    Roloson deserved better than that tonight.

  107. Coach pb9617 says:

    That one’s on you Sam. Now stop fucking doing that.

  108. PDO says:

    Jesus Gagner. I know he’s only 19, but that’s a mistake he can’t make.. you knew the game was over the second Horcoff got called there.

    Roloson got a piece of that shot too.

  109. Coach pb9617 says:

    Easy to blame that one on 89, but 24 has to have his stick on the ice and support his fowards.

    Bullshit. Like I said three minutes before he did it – once or twice a game – he spews a chance going the other way with a touch pass to the opposite team.

  110. LittleFury says:

    I didn’t see the whole thing from what I saw, the effort was there. There’s some kinks to work out still, but you get the feeling they are getting it.

  111. kinger says:

    Bullshit. Like I said three minutes before he did it – once or twice a game – he spews a chance going the other way with a touch pass to the opposite team.

    Obviously 89 messed up, but 24 played a role in that crap show.

  112. Lowetide says:

    Kid looks guilty as sin on that play but did Staios turn off and go down a different road?

  113. Showerhead says:

    Up until that penalty this game had steal written all over it. A shame to see it end that way.

    coach: all I have to say is I’m sorry I asked and I hope he learns quick.

  114. HBomb says:

    Well, that game is one of those that happens at the end of a losing streak, methinks.

    The Oilers generated some chances, but got beat by a hot goalie. The offense has to get it going though. They’re going to start burying chances, and the wins will come.

    Over/under on some idiot on HF blaming the whole loss on Horcoff taking a penalty is set at 10 minutes.

  115. Coach pb9617 says:

    coach: all I have to say is I’m sorry I asked and I hope he learns quick.

    Yeah, wait a minute. It’s YOUR fault for the jinx!

  116. Bank Shot says:

    I thought the Oilers were outchanced tonight which has been a regular theme to start 08-09.

    They need more structure in their game and less creativity in all three zones.

    I don’t know whose idea of puck possession this is, but they’re doing it wrong.

  117. Lowetide says:

    I enjoyed the game a lot. Roloson played well and was lucky and Souray looked real good to my eye. Hemsky and Nilsson were magic on that one play and the Oilers had some beauty chances.

    4-3-1 start isn’t all bad, folks. If this team can go .500 through the first quarter of the season (and Minnesota doesn’t run away and hide) this team should make a run when we get into December.

  118. Showerhead says:

    Guys we can talk about giveaways and penalties all we like but the real issue here is obvious: JDD would have made that save.

    (and fire MacT lawlz1!)

  119. HBomb says:

    They need more structure in their game and less creativity in all three zones.

    Simplistic as it sounds, these guys have to stop being afraid to maybe score an ugly goal here and there.

    Hemsky and Gagner are both perfectionists from where I sit. That’s counter-productive.

  120. Lowetide says:

    Meh. You play the same game another night and 4 go in. The Horcoff line and the Gagner line were doing fine things from what I saw.

    The D seemed more settled (Souray and Staios had good games) and Pisani made a difference too but they didn’t get the W.

    I don’t think there’s much to moan about tonight. Oilers didn’t score but had some tremendous chances.

  121. raventalon40 says:

    The Conkkanen situation was two goaltenders playing miserably and MacTavish debating which poison to take. Two goaltenders playing well is only a positive, and it’s idiotic to suggest otherwise.

    Amen to that.

  122. PDO says:

    HF is imploding in the PGT… and I have no idea why.

    Oilers could’ve very easily won this game and been full value for it. Shit like this evens out…

  123. Lowetide says:

    Imploding? Why? The Oilers D is the ONLY area I could point out as a negative, and only in a “Grebeshkov still looks high event and they didn’t seem to have their legs as a group” kind of way.

  124. kinger says:

    The D:

    - 24 played well.

    - 44 by my eye played his best game of he year

    - 77 and 37 had nice plays and gaffs. I was impressed by their ability to thwart the Boston forecheck.

    - I thought 5 had a solid game.

    - 71 had a number of ‘Bergeron’ moments.

  125. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    PDO said:

    “HF is imploding in the PGT… and I have no idea why.

    Oilers could’ve very easily won this game and been full value for it. Shit like this evens out…”

    It already did. The oilers should be 2-5-1 based on their play.

  126. Bank Shot says:

    I thought the Oilers were outchanced again.

    The game could have certainly gone either way, but Boston seemed to have the better chances outside of the Hemsky-Nilsson robbery job.

    One shift in particular in the third saw the Oilers surrender three chances from the slot. The d-zone coverage is still loose. The Oilers could possibly have popped 3-4, but the Bruins could have as well.

    Not going to jump off a cliff yet, but the Oilers haven’t shown much this season despite being marginally above .500.

  127. Dennis says:

    Maybe I’m just growing impatient but it was hard for me to stay focused given that G5 of the WS was going and the Titans were trying to stay perfect.

    Probably the biggest factor in the malaise though was yet another dogshit first period by the Oil.

  128. PDO says:

    It already did. The oilers should be 2-5-1 based on their play.

    Lol?

    They deserved both Calgary games, along with the Anaheim game… I didn’t see the entire Vancouver game (missed the third period… until that point, the Oilers had been the better team and Garon let in a couple dog shit goals).

    Yes.. they earned their losses against the Avs and Hawks…. but there’s no way they deserve a record of 2-5-1 right now.

    Unless of course you’re counting it against them when Garon plays well and against them when he plays like shit… which would make no sense at all.

  129. Phil says:

    I choose to believe that MacT’s decision to play Roli tonight was based on the fact that it was third jersey night, and Oil fans everywhere deserved to see Fuhr’s gear again. Good on Roli to do them justice as well.

    A free point from an Eastern team – could be worse. You’re right LT, 4-3-1 is a decent start for sure, especially for a young team still trying to find it’s chemistry.

  130. kinger says:

    MacT sounds pissed in his post game comments.

  131. raventalon40 says:

    There’s some sort of Oilers’ spite going on over at the Pensblog. Go check it out.

  132. HBomb says:

    Oilers could’ve very easily won this game and been full value for it. Shit like this evens out…

    This is the kind of game that happens at the END of a losing streak.

    If we’re 8-6-1 after the road trip is over, this team is in pretty damn good shape, IMO.

  133. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    PDO

    Yes.. they earned their losses against the Avs and Hawks…. but there’s no way they deserve a record of 2-5-1 right now.

    You may want to re-visit those event summaries with particular attention to shots, FO%, GV TK.

    Garon won those two games all by himself.

    That shit evens out.

  134. PDO says:

    I’m far more worried about scoring chances and their quality than Shots, FO% or what some fat guy eating a hot dog in the press box thinks is a giveaway or takeaway.

  135. Bank Shot says:

    I’m far more worried about scoring chances and their quality than Shots, FO% or what some fat guy eating a hot dog in the press box thinks is a giveaway or takeaway.

    Fenwick’s and Corsi’s also say the Oilers are getting worked over.

  136. HBomb says:

    And, over on Oilfans, Horcoff getting trashed in the postgame thread….cue HBomb rant.

    Looked awful, blah blah blah. One guy saying he didn't see the game, but a look at the game sheet told him all he needed to know, Horcoff wasn't moving his legs and took a hooking call in OT which cost the team the game, he needs to take power skating, etc.

    Maybe if the dumbass had actually watched (or even listened), he'd know that what happened in OT was on Gagner and not Horcoff.

    Memo to the fan-board prospectphiles: Shawn Horcoff ain't the fuckin' problem with this hockey team right now. The guy is a top line center in a minor scoring funk. He will pull it together and the pucks will start going in. Book it.

    Saying he should be demoted to the third line or calling him overpaid 8 games into the new season is fucking clueless. Plain and simple.

    http://oilfans.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=33643&rid=0

    Fortunately some folks over there have already told the guy off. Said site is, by the large majority , a pretty damn good fan-board by any measure (beats the hell out of playes like HFBoards and CalgaryPuck), but the anti-Horcoff brigade has been out in full force already this season.

    Personally, I'm like Lowetide on that debate. I don't get it and will never get it when it comes to people being unable to see that the guy has value (especially to a team like the Oilers) and that he's by any measure a first-line center. I am still waiting for someone to show me a list of 30 guys who are better all-around centers than #10. Probably because said list does not exist currently.

  137. PDO says:

    Oilers Fenwick was -14 headed into tonight….

  138. Lowetide says:

    Postgame comments were about right, Pouliot saying they needed to build on it, Ethan saying it was okay but not good enough, too high risk.

    MacT did seem frustrated about the high event D and not going to the high traffic areas to score goals.

    Which is a little curious for me because:

    1. The Oilers have high event D and a lot of smaller kids learning on the job up front and

    2. A lot of perimeter players who are never going to make a living in the high traffic areas.

    I think the frustration is more from the loss of a close game than anything that actually happened on the ice.

    Having said that, maybe he tired of the high event D and will doing something about it.

    Why he would choose to do it after this game as opposed to the 100 or so that came before is a mystery, though.

    They lost 1-0 in OT.

  139. HBomb says:

    Oilers Fenwick was -14 headed into tonight….

    Split out over seven games, that doesn’t seem so bad. What’s the definition of Fenwick again, just to refresh my tired mind?

  140. Phil says:

    To me, it sounds like MacT is more frustrated with his player types than with any particular players.

  141. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    I am still waiting for someone to show me a list of 30 guys who are better all-around centers than #10.

    Start here:

    Datsyuk
    Zetterburg
    Crosby
    Malkin
    Lecavalier
    Savard
    Statsny
    Gomez
    Koivu
    Koivu
    Sedin
    Brind A’mour
    O’Sullivan
    Getzlaf
    Madden

    Throw in Toews, Berglund and Staal just for fun.

  142. Jonathan says:

    Datsyuk – yes
    Zetterburg – not a centre
    Crosby – yes
    Malkin – yes
    Lecavalier – no (all-round, not chances for and against all night long. Then again, I’ve never liked Lecavalier’s game, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge this one)
    Savard – yes
    Statsny – yes
    Gomez – no
    Koivu – no
    Koivu – no
    Sedin – no
    Brind A’mour – not at this stage in his career (IIRC, he hasn’t played the toughs in quite some time)
    O’Sullivan – NO
    Getzlaf – he’s never played the toughs, and until he does, it’s just a “probably”
    Madden – no

    By my count, five, and I’ll give you Lecavalier (truly amazing offensive talent) and Getzlaf, so 7. Perhaps Staal, not Berglund, and not Toews yet (but soon).

    So, that’s 8. 22 to go.

  143. PDO says:

    Berglund and O’Sullivan?

    Lol.

  144. Scott says:

    Well HBomb, I don’t disagree with you about Horcoff, but I don’t think he’s automatically a lock for one of the best thirty centers in the league. Here is my list of thirty-five guys that will at least give him a run for his money. My basic method was to select guys that I think one could make an argument for as being a better overall player than Horcoff. I’ll let you pick six and we’ll see if Horcoff can make it into the list:

    Ryan Getzlaf, Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, Derek Roy, Eric Staal, Rod Brind’Amour, Paul Stastny, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Brad Richards, Mike Modano, Pavel Datsyuk, Anze Kopitar, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mikko Koivu, Saku Koviu, Tomas Plekanec, David Legwand, Jason Arnott, Patrick Elias, Zach Parise, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher, Mike Richards, Olli Jokinen, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Brad Boyes, Vincent Lecavalier, Mats Sundin, Henrik Sedin, Marty Reasoner.

  145. Bank Shot says:

    Oilers Fenwick was -14 headed into tonight

    Which likely puts them near or in the bottom third of the league.

  146. Scott says:

    Also worth noting, currently Horcoff is slated to be one of the twenty highest paid centers next year. That’s par. It’s no longer over-achieving.

  147. kinger says:

    Peter Forsberg (injuries)
    Mike Modano (age)
    Pierre-Marc Bouchard (obvious)
    Mikko Koivu (unproven talent)
    Saku Koviu (age, injuries)
    David Legwand (obvious)
    Mike Fisher (obvious)
    Brad Boyes (he’s not a center)
    Patrick Elias (career on downslope)
    Marty Reasoner (obvious)
    Henrik Sedin (with his brother he is better, without, not so much)

  148. Traktor says:

    “Shawn Horcoff ain’t the fuckin’ problem with this hockey team right now.”

    Isn’t the adage your best players need to be your best players?

    He’s on pace for 30 points. Clearly he is part of the problem.

    Let me know when he cracks 5 EV points for the year, so far he has 1.

  149. Sean says:

    Bruce: This is really late but I’d use 46 against the teams with more skill, the softer ones where an agitator is more effective (ie Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa). Against a team like Philly, Calgary or Anaheim I’d like to dress the toughest man on the ice. The kids dont need people taking 15 ft runs.

    Against the tweeners, I’m impartial right now. From what I’ve seen, 46′s game is an upgrade on 33 but barely. I like double shifting 83/10/whoever better. On the flip side 33 is a huge upgrade as an enforcer compared to 46 and of late has connected on a few solid hits. I’m not giving up on 46, I like his character and work ethic. But I do think 33 has earned a good chunk of his minutes.

  150. Scott says:

    I think it’s pretty important to decide what the criteria is for gauging what it is we’re talking about in terms of centers. Are we looking for a player better for one game? One season? For the duration of his extension? Obviously that’s going to have an impact.

    That said, regarding Kinger’s list, here are the point totals since the lockout:

    Sedin: 239
    S. Koivu: 203
    Boyes: 191
    Modano: 187
    Bouchard: 183
    Horcoff: 177
    Elias: 174
    Forsberg: 144
    Fisher: 139
    Legwand: 136
    M. Koivu: 127
    Joke: 81

    The good part of this is that it takes injuries into consideration in terms of games played lost, so Horcoff passes the five requisite players by this measure to get into the top thirty, but it’s also not so obvious that he’s up on Bouchard. Who plays center in St. Louis? I thought it was Boyes.

    The same list by +/- since the lockout yields this:

    Sedin: +36
    Forsberg: +35
    Bouchard: +28
    Modano: +24
    Fisher: +23
    Legwand: +21
    Elias: +21
    M. Koivu: +14
    Boyes: -9
    S. Koivu: -15
    Horcoff: -22
    Joke: -43

    I realize that there needs to be some context added here, but when Horcoff is only beating the joke, he’s just not doing as well in his role at even strength as the rest of the guys in the list. He’s really only within throwing distance of Koivu and Boyes.

    Horcoff is a good player, but I don’t know that his status as top thirty in the league should be written in stone.

  151. kinger says:

    Who plays center in St. Louis? I thought it was Boyes.

    Andy McDonald.

    Take H. Sedin out of your equation. Again, as an individual asset Horcoff is the better player.

    Mike Modano is almost 40.

    Bouchard isn’t a center.

    +/- is useless without context.

    Maybe S. Koivu is better, as for the rest, I think it’s pretty clear that Horcoff is the superior player.

  152. raventalon40 says:

    Boyes is RW

  153. shep says:

    jonathan:

    zetterberg is a center.
    the lines in detroit are:

    holmström-datsyuk-hossa
    samuelsson-zetterberg-franzen
    hudler-filpula-cleary
    maltby-draper-kopecky

    vs chicago, maltby was out and mccarthy replaced him on the 4th line.
    check the shiftcharts here: link

    also: Z with 107FO in 7GP

  154. HBomb says:

    Isn’t the adage your best players need to be your best players?

    He’s on pace for 30 points. Clearly he is part of the problem.

    Let me know when he cracks 5 EV points for the year, so far he has 1.

    He could be producing more, but at least he’s working hard, has generated some chances, etc. He’s got a track record.

    He might be PART of the problem, but much like Hemsky, he’ll turn it around. The guy has got a track record.

    Given this team is clipping along at 2 goals a game, which is nowhere near good enough, who would be immune to taking heat out of the forwards? Lots of guys have been playing better than their numbers show, but no one is producing on a regular basis as of yet.

    This is why I keep saying it: let’s wait for the 20 game mark at least before we really start cutting guys to shreds. Detroit’s in town on November 20th for game 20….the Oilers are off for almost a week after that. By then, I think things might start to even out a bit.

    Scott: your plus/minus list is interesting, but if you take out the 2006-07 season, where Horcoff (along with Jason Smith and Pisani) took an absolute beating trying to play the toughs on a beat up team with not enough NHL players (especially blueliners), he’s what, -2? This is one of those things I don’t like about plus/minus – people quote it like it’s gospel as to whether or not a guy is a good two way player (see where Vanek finished in Selke voting that same season, despite getting butter-soft opposition with the Sabres most nights).

  155. Doogie2K says:

    There’s some sort of Oilers’ spite going on over at the Pensblog. Go check it out.

    Actually, that’s just them reacting to one of the new douches on the block at ON. Pay it no mind.

  156. anonymous says:

    OK, so that prospect didn’t make much of #27, but the Oshawa Generals are retiring his #2 on Nov. 27th:

    http://newsdurhamregion.com/article/109245

  157. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, big whoop. He’s been retired from hockey for 20 bloody years and they retire the number now?

    Marginal prospect for that team, they’re just doing it now because he’s probably done something nice in the community or he’s a good person.

    Hockey talent? Marginal.

  158. HBomb says:

    Your sarcasm amuses me Lowetide.

    Hockey talent? Marginal.

    Relative to whom? Gretzky?

    Ok, as for the Horcoff debate, I did a pass through the league, and here’s the guys currently playing center that I’d clearly take over Horcoff (salary and age notwithstanding).

    SE Division: E. Staal, Lecavalier
    ATL Division: Crosby, Malkin, Drury, M. Richards
    NE Division: Spezza
    CEN Division: Datsyuk, Zetterberg (he is playing center right now)
    PAC Division: Thornton, Getzlaf, Kopitar, B. Richards
    NW Division: Stastny, Sakic (yes, still)

    That’s my “big 15″. Include Sundin (if he decides to play again) to make it 16. My next tier of centers includes Horcoff.

    Derek Roy
    Scott Gomez
    Patrice Bergeron
    Marc Savard
    Nicklas Backstrom
    Jason Arnott
    David Legwand
    Jonathan Toews
    Jordan Staal
    Patrick Marleau
    Daniel Briere
    Mike Modano
    Henrik Sedin
    Mike Ribeiro
    Olli Jokinen
    Daymond Langkow
    Mikko Koivu
    Shawn Horcoff

    (in no particular order).

    That’s 18 guys. At absolute WORST, he’s 34th in the league, and I’d argue him as being better than a good chunk of the guys on that list (in fact, the four guys I’d consider taking over him would be Toews, Staal, Backstrom and Bergeron, mostly due to age/upside considerations).

    Conclusion? In my books, he’s somewhere between 20-30th in the league. On a good day, maybe as high as 15th (even guys like M. Richards and Getzlaf out of the “sweet sixteen” are still learning at this level and are prone to screw-ups).

    But you know what? 20th-30th is still a first line center. If Gagner can in 2-3 years become a guy in the 10-20 tier (which I think he can), this team will have two of the top 30 guys in the league, which is huge when it comes to trying to have the pieces in place to make a run at Stanley (generally speaking, championship teams have quality depth at center).

  159. Bruce says:

    Yeah, big whoop. He’s been retired from hockey for 20 bloody years and they retire the number now?

    LT: Heh, try 30 bloody years. Well over 40 since he played for the Generals. Time flies, eh?

  160. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: lol, I kept hoping someone wouldn't recognize him but everyone is too smart.

    Bruce: Man. I know it was a long time ago but 30 years? Come ON! :-)

    He was my hero. Seriously. I'm a grown man and have been for a long time but I cried the day this happened and tear up every time I see this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6BfmHqXmyg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9FccMPkNNw&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPCIcxMbjWE&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guxyY6QA0nU&feature=related

    And that fuck Alan Eagleson can kiss my ass.

  161. Scott says:

    Well, okay then, it looks like a new list will need to be developed as I apparently listed some non-centers (I don’t think anyone called me on Parise yet, but I don’t think he’s playing center either).

    Re +/-: It’s not totally useless without context. We all know the limitations, but it does tell us how well someone is doing in their even-strength role. Horcoff is breaking even when you don’t include the year he didn’t play as well. He’s not elite at the PP, so it’s not as though he makes it all up there either.

    So, here we go, the agreed upon sixteen: Eric Staal, Vincent Lecavalier, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Drury, Mike Richards, Jason Spezza, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf, Anze Kopitar, Brad Richards, Paul Stastny, Joe Sakic.

    And now, the next best fourteen, excluding Horcoff with small justification:

    Derek Roy: Point totals give him a slight edge in a few more games but about two less minutes per game. +/- Roy cleans Horc’s clock. I don’t know if Roy is playing the toughs or not, but I suspect in 18-20 minutes he’s seeing them some and 51-0 over two and a bit seasons is a pretty brutal beating.

    Rod Brind’Amour: If upside is a main consideration, then this guy is out, but it would bring a bunch of younger guys in. His performance since the lockout has been better by a smidge and I’m not at all Horcoff is going to be better in a one year snapshot this season.

    Jason Arnott: A guy that’s similar to Horcoff in points, seems to take on the toughs in Nashville and has a lot more success than Horcoff in doing it.

    Olli Jokinen: My understanding is that he usually takes on the toughs. His lowest point total since the lockout is 71 and he has a high of 91. Horcoff ranges from 50 to 73. +/- discarding their worst years? 14-0 Jokinen.

    Saku Koivu: To my mind this one is a matter of preference, but I certainly don’t think there’s an argument that Horcoff is clearly superior.

    Peter Forsberg: Is it because he isn’t playing that people don’t want to include him? When healthy he’s clearly superior to Horcoff, but he’s not healthy as often as one would like. If just depends on how much you value that.

    Patrick Marleau: People complain about Marleau, but he’s certainly a valuable player. In terms of value Horcoff is better, but based on straight skills, I think this one is probably a wash.

    Mike Modano: I understand that the guy is old, but… he’s outpointed Horcoff taking some tough minutes in Dallas since the lockout and he’s well on his way to doing it again. Plus-minus comparison throwing out the “bad year” for each one: 35-0 Modano.

    Scott Gomez: He certainly seems comparable to Horcoff. Not the strongest argument to be made I suppose, but he has been a good player since the lockout and should be good going forward.

    Henrik Sedin: saying he makes it with his brother but not without is a total cop-out. Really? How much have you seen him play without his brother? Does he make it if he gets to play with Hemsky instead of his brother? Does he make it if he’s playing with Heatley? First-line centers play with good players! They shouldn’t be disqualified because they happen to be related.

    Mikko Koivu: He’s on the upslope of his career, his play against the other team’s best would suggest he’s handling similar minutes to Horcoff and has, generally, handled them better.

    Marc Savard: Since the lockout, I think it would be tough sledding to argue Horcoff has outperformed Savard. Well over a PPG each year and two ninety point seasons. This one, to me, is clear.

    Daniel Briere: Isn’t taking on the toughs, but he’s generally keeping his head above water at even strength (17-0 in +/- discarding poorest seasons) and is consistently outpointing Horc.

    Patrik Elias: Quality all around. He and Horcoff seem quite similar. Another one that may be a wash.

    None of this is to say that Horcoff is a bad player. He’s not. He’s a good player. But he’s not a lock as a top thirty center in this league. He’s certainly not a lock to provide value on his contract which puts him top twenty starting next year.

  162. HBomb says:

    HBomb: lol, I kept hoping someone wouldn’t recognize him but everyone is too smart.

    The fact he started out as 27 with the Bruins is obscure-but-well-known hockey trivia, it seems.

    I wish I had been around to see him play. There’s two guys that were “before my time” that I wish I could have seen in their primes, based on what I’ve been told and what I have read: Orr and Jean Beliveau.

    Might be time to finally watch the “Best Of Bobby Orr” DVD I purchased awhile back…..

  163. Bruce says:

    LT: Orr announced his retirement on November 8, 1978, 30 years ago next Saturday. If CBC is on the ball — always a doubtful proposition — HNiC should do a feature.

    Orr was effectively finished as an NHLer after the 1974-75 season, in which he somehow played 80 GP despite very serious knee issues. “When you are young, you think you can lick the world, that you are indestructible … But around 1974-75, I knew it had changed. I was playing, but I wasn’t playing like I could before. My knees were gone. They hurt before the game, in the game, after the game. Things that I did easily on the ice I could not do anymore.”

    For all the things that he “couldn’t do”, in 1974-75 Orr led the NHL in scoring, posting incredible totals of 46-89-135, +80. That was his career high in goals, a record subsequently broken by Paul Coffey in 1985-86 and otherwise not even approached.

    orr was to play only 36 more games between various surgeries over the following four years, still posting excellent numbers (11-34-45, +18) despite almost literally playig on one leg. And he had that last hurrah in the ’76 Canada Cup.

    And that fuck Alan Eagleson can kiss my ass.

    Mine too. What a prick. A brief summary of Eagleson’s maltreatment of his greatest client, including the sell-out to Bill Wirtz and his financial skulduggery (read on below the stats) can be found here.

    As an historical reference point, Orr’s retirement annoucnement came within a week of the WHA Oilers acquisition of Wayne Gretzky. The two never played against each other; and while it was my privilege to see the Great One play live over 500 times, it is a profound regret that I never once saw Bobby Orr.

  164. Bruce says:

    Bruce: Thank you! It seems that, along with attempting to learn to play guitar or waking up three towns over without a clue what happened to get you there, learning to appreciate the legends is one of those things that every guy has to try at least once in life.

    Showerhead: You’re welcome. At least you young fellers have video footage to review of guys before your time. Whereas the guys who were hockey stars before mine, like Rocket Richard, are mostly still photographs and words on a page.

    Speaking of video footage, this morning I came across this link to a Bobby Orr DVD set, likely the one HBomb alluded to immediately above. I might think about ordering that one myself … at his greatest Orr was an unbelievable player. (An overused word, I realize, but not by me. In his case though, it’s warranted.)

  165. Bruce says:

    Patrik Elias: Quality all around. He and Horcoff seem quite similar. Another one that may be a wash.

    Scott: Elias was never a centre. He’s played LW his entire career. Over the years he’s had success playing on a line with two of the other centres detailed in your post, namely Jason Arnott (the A Line) and Scott Gomez (the Egg Line).

    As you suggest, Elias is “quality all around” and in that sense is comparable (although more accomplished) to Horcoff. I’ve had both on my keeper league hockey pool team for essentially their entire careers, and both rank among my favourite active NHLers. Beauty players.

  166. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce and LT,

    I am fortunate enough to have seen Bobby Orr play on TV in the 70′s. He was a hell of a hockey player. The only other guys I saw who remotely came close to Orr’s skating skill, was Paul Coffey. I think it’s a bloody pity that the NHL today seems intent on diminishing it’s past.

    There is a special place in Hell for Eagleson, right beside Bill Wirtz, and Gill Stein. I have read two books on the Eagle and what he did to players was absolutely criminal in every sense of the word. Just google the sad story of Ed Kea. It will break your heart. I could never understand how a man who headed the players union could be an agent, and then be tasked by the NHL Owners to find a pension plan for the players that had to be approved by the owners? Eagle had his hands in every pocket. I was glad when Carl Brewer and Co. took his sorry ass down.

  167. Jonathan says:

    “Shawn Horcoff ain’t the fuckin’ problem with this hockey team right now.”

    Isn’t the adage your best players need to be your best players?

    He’s on pace for 30 points. Clearly he is part of the problem.

    Let me know when he cracks 5 EV points for the year, so far he has 1.

    Ignoring the fourth line, Oilers with equal or fewer even strength points than Horcoff:

    Hemsky: 1
    Cole: 0
    Gagner: 1

    The line of Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky is pretty clearly the problem here, and to my mind there are three possibilities:

    1) Horcoff is a pece of garbage.
    2) Cole and/or Hemsky are pieces of garbage.
    3) A variety of factors (possible injury to 83, 26 playing out of position, slow starts for all three) means that the line needed changing.

    I know which answer I’m picking. I’m not sure which answer you’re picking, Traktor, but I’m sure it’s right, given the vast hockey knowledge you’ve shown time and time again.

    I’m sure the Oilers would have beat Boston if MacTavish didn’t start Roloson.

  168. Scott says:

    Well, if nothing else, I’m learning a lot more about what positions guys are playing on other teams this year. For some reason I thought that Elias had moved to center after Gomez left, but it looks like that just never happened. Alas.

    Anyway, with my new-found need for an Elias replacement I will nominate Patrice Bergeron who’s recent history, neck injury excluded, is very similar to Horcoff. They each clock between 0.8 and 0.9 PPG (Bergeron with a slight edge), and they each have one terrible +/- season (overall since the lockout Bergeron again has a slight edge). He seems like an able stand-in, though here again it would seem like a draw rather than a clear win for either candidate.

  169. Traktor says:

    I’m definitely not as smart as the guy who thinks Malik is a top pairing defensemen because he looks good on a spreadsheet.

  170. Jonathan says:

    I’m definitely not as smart as the guy who thinks Malik is a top pairing defensemen because he looks good on a spreadsheet.

    A defenseman who can handle top opposition, not automatically the same as a top pairing defenseman, although Malik certainly held that role for a while in Vancouver and did a nice job balancing out Jovanovski.

    As I’ve said before, off-ice issues are the biggest problem with Malik.

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