Happy Halloween

The night hockey masks become a fashion option.

Be safe.

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87 Responses to "Happy Halloween"

  1. B.C.B. says:

    What is wrong with Gilbert? I was never head-over-heels for him, now I’d bench him for a week. Too many give aways, lowest +/- on the team, and one assist (I haven’t quite figured out advance stats, sorry # guys). At 4 mil/season, he is worst then Souray- who at least does something.

    I now seems like the Oiler should sign smaller term contracts (for big money I guess) to gage how these players are going to be after their first year. A player (not named Gagne) leaving their entry contract who want s a big money contract = 2 year deal, if they want tern = lower money. It is simple.

  2. Coach pb9617 says:

    LT, I’m considering wearing a bag on my head for Halloween :)

    Actually, Grebs should, not I.

    Frickin Grebs.

  3. HBomb says:

    What is wrong with Gilbert? I was never head-over-heels for him, now I’d bench him for a week. Too many give aways, lowest +/- on the team, and one assist (I haven’t quite figured out advance stats, sorry # guys). At 4 mil/season, he is worst then Souray- who at least does something.

    Gilbert’s problem is that he’s having to cover Grebeshkov’s ass all the time.

    37 is the problem on that pairing, NOT 77, at least that’s what I see.

  4. raventalon40 says:

    Hey LT check out this halloween mask here.

    Hbomb & coach: David Staples suggest otherwise on his blog.

    Happy Halloween

    (and pray for a win against the Canes!)

  5. TD Go Green Challenge says:

    Ha those wolf goalie masks and barfing pumpkins are awesome!

  6. raventalon40 says:

    I don’t think that’s a wolf, bro.

  7. Lord Bob says:

    I thought about dressing up as Ales Hemsky and handing out apple turnovers, but I got lazy. More’s the pity.

  8. Bob Arctor says:

    I thought about dressing up as Ales Hemsky and handing out apple turnovers

    The ability to levitate would be essential for that Ales costume.

  9. misfit says:

    I’m pretty sure that for Gilles Gratton, everyday was Halloween.

  10. HBomb says:

    raventalon40: with all due respect, I don’t care what Staples says. The error stat is meaningless in my books.

    Looking at only goals is too simplistic. How many times has Grebs screwed up this season and it hasn’t ended up in the net, either due to a teammate bailing him out or “dumb luck”?

    Lots.

    Bottom line for me, he’s nowhere near the d-man that Gilbert is now, and he’s not going to be anytime soon.

  11. R-Gib says:

    H-bomb: I respectfully disagree. I agree the 37-77 pairing looks bad this year, but I would put 2/3 the blame on Gilbert.

    Can’t make the first pass, over-extending himself positionally, awful in transition, etc. Poor ineffective play all-round.

    If I was coach, he would sit when Strudwick returns.

  12. Traktor says:

    The guy who bet against Horcoff and MacTavish is looking pretty smart right now.

    1 EV point from the undisputed 1st line C. What a player.

    Penner goes on the PP and sure enough we score. Who would have ever thought?

    Watching MacTavish and his apologists go down in flames will be the highlight of my season.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Let’s ask another question: on the goals last night, what could Gilbert or Grebeshkov have done better?

    And “not fall down” isn’t an option.

  14. Quain says:

    Let’s ask another question: on the goals last night, what could Gilbert or Grebeshkov have done better?

    Refused to play until MacT put Horcoff on the third line!!!

  15. Schitzo says:

    Traktor: 1 ES point puts him in the same elite company as Hemsky, Gilbert, Vish, Cole, and Gagner.

    Clearly all of those players are bums, eh?

  16. CM says:

    Heres a question for teh numbers guys…

    How man steaks have the oilers had where they have lost 5 or more in a row since MacT became coach…

    I’m starting to think that a monkey could do almost the same job as Mac with this team… Its easy to coach a team when everyone is on a hot streak but Mac doesn’t seem to be any good at coach this or any of the other past oiler teams out of a funk…

  17. Schitzo says:

    CM: In the case of Penner, too many steaks.

  18. raventalon40 says:

    hbomb: I’m not suggesting that you should or whether he’s correct.

    In fact, I respectfully disagree with both hbomb and r-gib – nobody has 1/3 or 2/3 of he blame or any arbitrary fraction. I would attribute the team’s horrible +/- to pursuing an offense first attitude to start the year when our D-coverage was obviously not up-to-snuff for such a tactic. (Sportsnet-W reported Oilers gave the green light to D-men to jump into rush for more offense, first game VS Colorado)

    This results in over-reliance on the PP which doesn’t record +’s for offensive production.

    I hear last night most of the goals scored against 37-77 were just plain bad luck. Don’t forget that the 4-0 start was also partly plain good luck, too.

    Visnovsky hasn’t looked that steady in his own zone at times either, but nobody is whipping the supposed big name acquisition as much as they are the “safe pairing” of 37-77 who have been:

    a)MacT’s go to guys besides 44-71
    b)pretty healthy for the most part
    c)flexible enough to play with other D-men when injuries are a factor

    I don’t know if I can prove this, but can someone check BtN blog to see what kind of competition 37-77 are facing this year? I would bet it is pretty tough.

    If this is true, 44-71 is well protected from all the PP minutes they play.

  19. Traktor says:

    Schitzo: If your point is Horcoff relies on other players playing well to produce points then I agree. He’s not like those other 1st line C’s that take matters into their own hands.

    I guess it’s the 19 year old Gagner’s fault that Horcoff is doing squat at EV.

    Pointing out the the whole team is struggling works for me though – kinda supports my argument that MacTavish isn’t getting the most out of his team.

  20. raventalon40 says:

    I wonder if Denis Savard would be willing to work under MacT as an assistant “offensive” coach, and leave the “defensive” coaching to Buchberger.

  21. Schitzo says:

    Can you provide examples of first line centres who “take matters into their own hands” and have linemates on both sides with dramatically lower ES points?

    We both know that good players feed off of each other to create offense. When nobody else is scoring at ES, how many points do you expect Horcoff (or any player!) to reasonably have?

    Please don’t insult my intelligence by asserting such blatantly wrong arguments and assuming I’ll buy it.

    And I don’t particularly care what axe you’re grinding against MacT, last time I checked he and Horcoff were two different people.

  22. Schitzo says:

    To answer my own question, I can’t think of anyone besides maybe Ovechkin and Crosby (2005-2006), and Kovy (all the time) who truly create offence out of nowhere regardless of what useless linemates they had.

  23. R-Gib says:

    LT – agreed, not much could have been done to prevent at least 2 of the 3 goals last night. That being said, and the -3 aside, 37/77 need to settle down and play smart hockey. Gilbert especially looks uncomfortable, unsure, unsteady – and IMHO has made more than his fair share of mistakes recently.

    Raventalon: I wasn’t attempting to assign a percentage of fault to each player. Sorry for the poorly worded thought. All I was trying to get across is: Yes, Grebs has looked shaky at times, but Gilbert has looked worse.

  24. raventalon40 says:

    Raventalon: I wasn’t attempting to assign a percentage of fault to each player. Sorry for the poorly worded thought. All I was trying to get across is: Yes, Grebs has looked shaky at times, but Gilbert has looked worse.

    I think it’s attributable to an overall inability to push or punish opponents and their cycle in the defensive zone. Our D is working overtime because we’re letting them skate circles in our own zone and we’re seeing the results. I say give Smid and Staios more minutes on the ES and give Gilbert-Grebs more minutes on the PP.

  25. Quain says:

    I don’t see how Gilbert has looked worse than Grebs. Grebs is showing shades of 2006-2007 Bergeron with his constant fumbling of the puck in the neutral zone for quick odd-man counterattacks. I don’t think Gilbert has looked great (I’m waiting for him to make one good, crisp pass), but he sure as hell hasn’t caused more havoc in the defensive end than Grebs.

    And if the offset to that is ‘well, Grebs makes up for it by being great in the offensive end,’ well, fine, but Gilbert is pretty clearly the one stuck trying to be Steady Steve while Grebs runs around. Hard to score points when you’re expecting someone to fumble a puck.

  26. Coach pb9617 says:

    Staples is cranking about +/- and who cares. Grebs has been plenty bad outside of just +/- thus far. When Strudwick gets his shoulder back in place, Grebs should spend some time with Smac in the PB.

    Souray, Lubo then Gilbert, Strudwick then Staios, Smid

  27. R-Gib says:

    Raventalon: Well put. Smid/Staios have looked solid, and would love to see more of them.

    Re: 37/77 more PP time:
    I don’t know about this idea. Maybe if we break them up along with 44/71… this would allow both big shooters a spot on the right side PP. 71 does look uncomfortable on the left side, and has voiced that he prefers the right for his shot.

  28. Traktor says:

    Schitzo: When Horcoff isn’t producing you point out 2 second year defensemen and and a 19 year old that aren’t producing. Whatever argument it is that you’re trying to convey I missed it.

  29. Coach pb9617 says:

    The guy who bet against Horcoff and MacTavish is looking pretty smart right now.

    Hey look kids, there’s Big Ben, and there’s Parliament.

  30. CrazyCoach says:

    Gilles Gratton was a different duck that’s for sure. If I recall one time he refused a start because he said the stars weren’t aligned properly. He used to come into the dressing room in between periods, strip right down to his birthday suit and then get dressed again. He was Clint Malarchuk before there was Clint Malarchuk.

    A few years back when there was talk about some looney cult in Quebec, I half expected to see Gilles Gratton involved.

  31. Doogie2K says:

    Penner goes on the PP and sure enough we score. Who would have ever thought?

    Everyone, if you actually read the comments around here.

    When Horcoff isn’t producing you point out 2 second year defensemen and and a 19 year old that aren’t producing. Whatever argument it is that you’re trying to convey I missed it.

    Clearly you were too busy cherry-picking to notice he also called out two other top-line forwards and a veteran O-defenceman.

  32. Traktor says:

    Coach: Have you purchased your fire retardant carhartts yet?

    You in particular will be a joy to watch.

  33. Traktor says:

    “Everyone, if you actually read the comments around here.”

    Which is why I find the support of Craig MacTavish so perplexing.

  34. Traktor says:

    “Clearly you were too busy cherry-picking to notice he also called out two other top-line forwards and a veteran O-defenceman.”

    I’m sure he would call out his own mother if it meant deflecting criticism from the 15th-25th best center in the NHL.

  35. Bill Needle says:

    MacTavish could call out his entire team and it wouldn’t matter, because they have stopped listening to him. The results on the ice prove it.

  36. Black Dog says:

    Holy Christ the threads here are getting as redundant as this summers’ debates on the value of statistics.

  37. Quain says:

    BDHS thinks it’s a first line blog, but it really belongs on the third line!!!

    You should try reading these threads at work. It’s like living Groundhog Day.

  38. Doogie2K says:

    Which is why I find the support of Craig MacTavish so perplexing.

    Again, if you were paying attention, everyone else here is baffled by the moves, and support for MacTavish is waning.

    I’m sure he would call out his own mother if it meant deflecting criticism from the 15th-25th best center in the NHL.

    What do you want to hear? Horc’s line hasn’t gotten it done at EV? No shit. But the team’s in a shooting-percentage black hole, Hemsky, Cole, and Nilsson have all had a ton of shots blocked, and the goaltending’s been shit while they’re on the ice.

    (As an aside, Vic, it looks like there’s something off with your script; every player on the team has 0 saved shots in this link, which makes no sense.)

    Holy Christ the threads here are getting as redundant as this summers’ debates on the value of statistics.

    Can you believe that was less than two months ago?

  39. Doogie2K says:

    Oh, and I forgot to point out, the “underlying numbers” that others around here like to use certainly shine on #10: best Corsi and Fenwick +/- of any forward. Can’t find the name of the faceoff script, though, so I can’t use that for anything.

  40. Dennis says:

    I didn’t get to this last night but someone talked about yet another Too many men penalty for the Oil and I have to admit that’s really starting to piss me off.

    Last night the Preds has Absolutely Nothing on the go until that penalty. Zero. Then they get a chance and all of a sudden they have life.

    As for 77, last year I fell in love with his poise — the way he could go back and take the puck and make the quick pass was what did it for me — plus his vision and his ability to jump into the play. This year the kid’s struggling like a motherfucker and that tandem was actually leaned on by MacT more last season than this season so he’s fucking up against lesser opp; as least in terms of first and secondary pariing.

    The difference is a precipitous drop in GFON/60 and that makes sense because Gilbert doesn’t look like he’s ready to jump into the play. He did it last night and found iron and I remember him doing it in another road game but that’s been it. It’s like 37 has the keys to the car and Gilbert’s back home on the porch wondering who’s screwing his daughter.

    Of course that doesn’t explain why he’s looking so bad in his own end when under pressure and containment.

    The first move that should be absolutely tried is that 37/77 are broken up and 24 gets promoted from the soft time. 5′s stay at home anyway so put 27 or 77 back with him and let 24 go up to second pairing min and put him on defending detail.

    I will suggest 77/24 but the ’08 numbers say that Grebs is the best overall dman and should be given the secondary min.

    In either case, I know this tandem worked last year but how long can we afford to keep this experiment going?

    Here’s my new line-up:

    83-10-26; if 83 Is that good, and I believe he is, then he should be able to play his off-wing which will enable 26 to play his correct wing and for the Oil to have a true PVP troika. Why hasn’t this been considered?

    12-89-13; keep ‘em together and just give them shelter. I think 12′s getting the point where he’ll soon be able to murder soft opp.

    18-78-34; everyone plays their true positions, 34 doesn’t get railed in the dot and we keep together the 78-34 combo which has shown chemistry that’s visible to everyone but MacT

    27-51-46; they all muck around and try to gain momentum and if someone up top falters, 27 gets the bump. You keep 27 in the game with first unit PP and you build the line-up without looking at contracts.

    PP: 27-83-89-71-44
    PP: 12-89-26 or 13 or 10; 37-77

    PK: 10-26; 78-34; 18-51. Try and milk the 78-34 combo, bring in 26′s impressive work ethic to a struggling unit and keep 51 to third pairing PK. And keep 27 away from this unit. His long reach is only valuable when he’s in proper position and that’s rarely happened to my eye.

    MacT has to make some changes or be damned.

  41. HBomb says:

    traktor: I’ll flat out say it – you’re a broken fucking record on this Horcoff thing. You should really consider going and joining the gong-show at HF or OF trying to nail the guy to the cross.

    He is a number 1 center by ANY reasonable measure, and outside of maybe the rare exception of a Crosby or Ovechkin, I never saw anywhere a job description that explicitly states a number 1 center needs to be able to make chicken salad out of chicken shit (i.e. produce if both his line-mates are playing like garbage).

    As someone else mentioned, this Groundhog Day crap is getting annoying.

  42. Traktor says:

    “He is a number 1 center by ANY reasonable measure”

    That says more about you than it does about Shawn Horcoff.

  43. Coach pb9617 says:

    I will suggest 77/24 but the ’08 numbers say that Grebs is the best overall dman and should be given the secondary min.

    His play this year suggests other wise. He should move to the bottom or the stands until his head gets on straight.

    I can’t believe I’m actually hoping Jason friggin’ Strudwick gets back on the ice as soon as possible.

  44. Coach pb9617 says:

    That says more about you than it does about Shawn Horcoff.

    Hey look kids, there’s Big Ben, and there’s Parliament.

  45. HBomb says:

    That says more about you than it does about Shawn Horcoff.

    Talk about the pot trying to call the kettle black. You’ve proven over the last week you’re about as clueless on this issue as it gets.

    I once again challenge someone to provide me with the list of 30 centers who are clearly better than Horcoff. No one has met the challenge to do so yet. When they do, I’ll accept the argument he’s not a number 1 center. Produces 60-75 points a year, plays against anyone, knows how to do it at both ends of the ice.

    Sidney Crosby, no. But pretty damn effective if you ask me. Having to watch people try to quote 10 games of stats to build a case against the guy is actually quite hilarious. Apparently the concept of “sample size” is lost on some folks, here and elsewhere.

    STFU.

  46. R-Gib says:

    Dennis: I like the idea of trying 83 on LW. Makes sense to me. Short of putting names in a hat and drawing for each shift the coaching staff have certainly demonstrated that they aren’t afraid to juggle the players out of their position up front. Also like the 18-78-34 combo. We saw it briefly for the second Calgary game (I believe) and I really liked what I saw.

    It would be nice to shake up the D pairings a bit… I guess there is no perfect arrangement and a few combination may get the job done…

    It will be interesting to see who sits when Strudwick comes back. I think Smid has earned a right to stay top six with his recent play.

  47. Traktor says:

    Coach: You still think we should have signed Clowe to an offer sheet?

    4 goals, 7 points in 11 games.

    Not looking like a bad play at the moment.

  48. Vic Ferrari says:

    Doogie:

    On the shots thing at timeonice.com:

    It's written in php, and I just switched $season="20072008"; to this season, for some reason the saved shots disappeared. Presumably the NHL changed their play-by-play sheet format a touch. I'll get around to looking at it eventually.

    And the faceoff zone stuff is here for where they started:

    http://timeonice.com/teamfaceoffs.php?team=EDM&first=20001&last=21230

    and where they ended:

    http://timeonice.com/teamxfaceoffs.php?team=EDM&first=20001&last=21230

    So Horcoff has been on the ice for more own zone faceoffs than any other Oiler, and he's ended his shifts in the good end of the rink 9 times more than in the bad end.

    Is it really that radical to think that Gagner, Hemsky, Horcoff, Nilsson and Cole have been the Oiler's best forwards? That the puck just hasn't gone in for them?

    It is likely that every player in the league will have an 8 or 10 game stretch like this. A few missed opportunities, puck luck isn't there other times, and whammo … a streak of sub enforcer level on-ice shooting%. Shit happens.

    And it will almost certainly happen to Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Iginla, Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Lecavalier, the Sedins, Getzlaf, Koivu, Briere, Kovalchuk, etc. at some point this year. It almost always does for everyone. Granted, it's a bit less noticeable in February, especially if your team manages a few wins while it's happening.

    Hell, it's probably already happened to one or two of them by now, I haven't checked. And it when it does happen, it won't mean they're crap, and won't even mean they've been playing badly. Hopefully their fans don't throw themselves off of buildings, and hopefully their detractors don't bother to build statues of themselves. Because it's just one of those things.

  49. St George says:

    Anyone notice how Stoll is doing in LA? 9 games, 4G 2A and +3 on a supposedly “bottom” team.

  50. Conan says:

    I’ve been quietly reading this blog for over a year now. It’s better reading than either of the local dailies, and I’ve learned a lot about hockey from Lowetide and everyone else. BTW, Lowetide should be making money doing this. Seriously, this stuff is more value-added than what the dailies print, IMHO.

    The one thing that’s started to detract from my enjoyment is this traktor guy. Traktor, are you a spoiled 9-year old single child or something? Can you please stop harping on the same old thing, and constantly taking a bitter tone? You’re much closer to a troll than anything else.

    Why don’t you stop being a detriment to this blog by changing your tone or not posting anymore? You did, after all, promise to stop posting a few games back.

  51. Traktor says:

    hbomb: I’m going out on a limb here and assuming that you know a 1st line player with PP minutes will produce more than a player playing on a checking line with PK duties.

    You have cases where players like Vermette have more EV points than Hossa but because he doesn’t get 1st line minutes and heavy PP minutes he doesn’t look as good if he would have recieved Horc minutes.

    That’s a big problem when looking at Horcs numbers compared to other centers. Out of the 30 or so centers that got 1st line opportunity Horcoff was in the 25-30 range. Nothing to brag about.

  52. Traktor says:

    conan: My apologies. I’ll shut it down.

  53. goldenchild says:

    Conan, Tractor quit posting here last week after his feelings got hurt. This guy must be a copycat.

  54. HBomb says:

    That’s a big problem when looking at Horcs numbers compared to other centers. Out of the 30 or so centers that got 1st line opportunity Horcoff was in the 25-30 range. Nothing to brag about.

    I’d challenge that as being utter bullshit if we’re talking about last season. You project Horcoff’s points-per-game out over a full season last year, and he’d be around 77 points. Tied for 12th in the league among centers.

    Even if his pace had cooled off and he had finished with 70 points (a very conservative estimate), he’s tied for 21st. Above him on the NHL.com list for centers last year included a guy in Vinny Prospal who didn’t even play center (he was a LW in TB and PHI), and one guy named Mike Ribeiro who shot 25.2% that I wouldn’t take over Shawn Horcoff in a million years, 83 points notwithstanding.

    25th-30th in the league, eh? Once again, the tires of the Traktor are covered in manure.

  55. Vic Ferrari says:

    st george:

    From the highlight reels it looks like Stoll has locked up a spot as PP point man on L.A.

    And by the numbers it looks like Handzus is getting the tougher defensive assignments. Stoll has been on the ice for more offensive zone draws than D zone ones as well, it was really the opposite last year as an Oiler, to an extreme.

    Plus he’s got an on-ice shooting% of 16.7% … anyone want to bet on that holding up? :)

    Last year he player tough minutes and rolled 11s to boot.

    This year he’s got better icetime to get positive results with, and so far at least, he’s rolling 7s like crazy.

    Good for him. Decent player I think. Glad he’s not an Oiler with that contract, though.

  56. Vic Ferrari says:

    HBomb:

    That stretch last year when the Horcoff/Hemsky/Penner really put up the points they were getting softer icetime than usual. That’s when MacT had Reasoner/Stoll/Thoresen and was leaning on them heavily. And that’s probably the only stretch since his rookie year that Horcoff has started in the good end of the rink more than the bad end.

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    HBomb, I’ve got:

    Arnott
    Crosby
    Datsyuk
    Getzlaf
    Koivu
    Malkin
    Richards
    Spezza
    Thornton

    Modano [Emeritus]

  58. Coach pb9617 says:

    Coach: You still think we should have signed Clowe to an offer sheet?

    4 goals, 7 points in 11 games.

    Not looking like a bad play at the moment.

    ARGH!

    Thank you for stealing my thunder in the upcoming Sharks GDT.

  59. knighttown says:

    Dennis: Re Hemsky position change

    Not against Ales going to LW, but what I’ve been pushing for awhile now is moving Ales to center. If you go through the top guys in the NHL in Assist to Goal Ratio (and I have), virtually all of the “leaders” play center. Ales is usually in the rarified air of 3:1 or even 4:1, which is inhabited by the Henrik Sedins, Joe Thorntons, Sidney Crosbys and Marc Savards. Centers get to see the entire ice surface and can distribute the puck to both sides while right wingers have a big wall beside them.

    Conversely, “many” right wingers score more goals than assists, or at least are in that area of 25 goals:35 assists.

    Round peg, square hole?

  60. HBomb says:

    Vic: well aware that Horcoff actually saw something resembling “soft” minutes last year. The guy is a tough minute player without question.

    Maybe he’s 20th-30th in the league in centers when the points are totalled up, but being able to do that while, for long stretches, taking one some nasty head-to-head matchups is what makes him valuable to a hockey team as a top line guy.

    He’s been taking the toughs too so far this season, correct? With the line-juggling going on, it’s tough to tell sometimes. One thing I am pretty sure I’m seeing is that MacT hasn’t been hiding the kids every waking moment and that Gagner in particular is seeing some pretty stiff challenges for a 19-year old.

  61. HBomb says:

    coach: Lecavalier? Eric Staal? Which Richards have you got there, Mike or Brad? If Sundin plays, he’s on that list too.

  62. HBomb says:

    coach: I went back and found in the comments from the Bruins game thread my list of the top 15 centers who are clearly a notch above Horcoff:


    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)

    Mats Sundin, if he comes back, would make sixteen. I’m writing off Forsberg as being “done”.

    And which Koivu do you refer to?

  63. Traktor says:

    hbomb: It’s kinda like arguing that Gus Frerotte is a starting NFL QB because there isn’t 32 better quarterbacks in the NFL right now.

    It’s not saying much.

    The problem is there’s more 1st line center vacancies than 1st line centers and we don’t have the defense to win with Trent Dilfer as our QB.

  64. HBomb says:

    The problem is there’s more 1st line center vacancies than 1st line centers

    This is a statement I’ve had internal battles over and have had to make peace with, and I think you need to as well.

    The simple fact is that there’s not 30 Joe Thorntons or Sidney Crosby’s out there. First line center is top-30 in the league. And in my books, Horcoff brings a diverse enough toolbox to the table, in addition to some above-average offensive abilities, to be included in this class.

    The same argument exists for #1 defensemen. Trying to come up with the list of the top 30 D-men in the league might even be a tougher exercise, but I’d argue that Visnovsky is a #1D based on the requirement that ever team has a 1D, even if there aren’t 30 “elite” blueliners out there.

    Semantics is what we’re getting to here. How do you generally get one of those super-elite guys? Barring Mike O’Connell going on a bender and you making a phone call to chat at exactly the right moment, you have to draft one. Those guys generally don’t hit the UFA market.

  65. raventalon40 says:

    r-gib, dennis:

    I think there’s already too much of us trying “fix what aint broke.”

    What I really mean to say is: why break up what’s working for what isn’t? The 37-77 pairing was a bit lucky to start the year but they were a good reason why we started the year so well. They haven’t been great all the time but neither has the rest of the team.

    When the rest of the team saw a few injuries we came out of it okay (Pisani, Souray, Staios, Strudwick, etc.) but so far MacT has had to lean on his veterans because they were his go-to guys.

    They are still his go-to guys and it should stay that way.

    We need to work on the questionable elements and not the ones that work. Keep 37-77 together buy play with the powerplay alignments, as r-gib was suggesting.

    Horcoff and Hemsky’s early struggles are not so much attributable to inability to perform so much as a rotating membership on the LW.

    They’re in the top 30 of whatever list you want to make, I would agree with that. But they’re not the Sedin twins and a rotating membership on that LW spot is going to hurt the team more than help it. Just stick with Penner and let’s get this show on the road.- Cole has shown that he plays better on the 3rd line and we just need to figure out the kid line and Pouliot/Pisani/Brodziak.

    Also, I would elect to give Smid more ice time and perhaps alternate in Strudwick whenever one of the other guys has a bad game.

    Lastly, MacT should not only bag skate them but have a grueling practice on line-changes and PP skills. Yeah, it’s elementary stuff, but if I were MacT I’d do whatever I could to keep my job. If MacBlending the lines isn’t working, we need to find out what worked in the past and go from there.

    Done like dinner.

  66. Traktor says:

    “This is a statement I’ve had internal battles over and have had to make peace with, and I think you need to as well”

    I am at peace with this, which is precisely why I’m trying shutdown Thornton rather than outscore him.

    You think Horcoff on a checking line is a waste, while I think it gives us the best chance to win.

    If Moreau, Horcoff and Pisani can take the Crosby’s and Thornton’s to a draw or even take -1 then Hemsky, Cole, Pennner and the kids SHOULD be able to beat up on the secondary units.

  67. mc79hockey says:

    Apologies for the self-promotion, but I took a look at each team’s worst and best 8 game stretch last year. Shit like this isn’t that unusual.

    As for traktor, as absolutely annoying as the guy is, I just trust that he’ll be around here when the team has a small sample in which they’re hot, and that he won’t be screaming sample size if and when people shove it in his face.

    Speaking of which…Cogliano’s shooting percentage is down to 13.3% there Traktor. Do you care to continue acting like an absolute dbag as you were earlier this year and tell the stats guys how wrong they all were there to say that it would fall? Ridiculous sample size, to be sure, but Christ, I waited about three times as long as you did to declare victory, so you can hardly complain.

  68. Traktor says:

    MC: If you want to look at a larger sample size like, Horcoff’s career numbers or MacTavish’s best 6th place finish in 7 years that’s fine by me. I’ve been saying the same thing for 3 years now and have no problem eating crow.

    Also my main point in regards to Cogliano is shooting % doesn’t matter. All that matters is that is that he can continue to generate scoring opportunities at will. You asked me and I told you I thought he would always be around 15%. 13.3 isn’t that far off.

    I never once told the stats guys that they were wrong for predicting that Cogliano would slump. What I said was the stats guys were wrong by basing there opinions from a grid. Anyone who watches the game should know that the majority of Cogliano’s shots are going to be high quality thus should have a high shooting percentage thus why I said the ability to generate high quality scoring opportunities is more important than a number on a stat grid.

    I believe Vic or another stat guy did some research and found out that Cogliano lead the Oilers in lowest length to net per shot which basically summed up everything I was saying before.

  69. Traktor says:

    I think it was like 5.7 meters per shot but I could be wrong.

  70. Traktor says:

    MC: Your 8 game sample obviously holds more weight when this team flirted with a lottery pick 2 seasons in a row. It’s looking more and more like the norm.

  71. HBomb says:

    I am at peace with this, which is precisely why I’m trying shutdown Thornton rather than outscore him.

    About 90% of NHL coaches would disagree with you, I suspect.

    Why do you think Babcock throws Datsyuk out head-to-head with the other team’s best forwards?

    Because he knows he has a better chance to “outscore” by getting the puck down the ice and actually scoring goals than having a checking line trying to saw-off 0-0 with him.

    I repeat: using Horcoff in this manner is a WASTE, especially considering that it probably won’t win this team any hockey games.

    This team’s best option is to build one of it’s two top lines around a combination of Horcoff and Cole and run that line out against whomever the other team’s biggest threat is. The reason MacT stuck with Cole on LW for so long was because if it had worked, he would have had a pretty damn nice power vs. power trio of Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky.

    The other reason I don’t like it is playing Horcoff on a checking line means his offensive numbers likely go south, giving a whole bunch of people such as yourself the opportunity to bitch about how he’s a waste of money. Let him do the job he’s completely capable of – outscoring in a power vs. power role.

  72. Traktor says:

    “Why do you think Babcock throws Datsyuk out head-to-head with the other team’s best forwards?”

    Datsyuk is one of the best players in the world and Detroit’s 1st line is arguably the best line in hockey. I’m agree 100% with Bobcock’s methods.

    I don’t have a uniform game plan and every team calls for different tactics.

    It’s like the Ryder Cup. Why in the world would you play your best player against Tiger when 3/4 times Tiger wins regardless. Mike Bobcock has Tiger on his team.

    “The other reason I don’t like it is playing Horcoff on a checking line means his offensive numbers likely go south”

    Personally I’m worried abot team play than individual outputs.

    “giving a whole bunch of people such as yourself the opportunity to bitch about how he’s a waste of money.”

    Show me where I said he’s a waste of money. What I said is he should be in a shutdown role. Why?

    Well because it easier to be young and produce points than it is to be young and stop the opposition.

    Pisani at C is a joke and so is expecting one of the kids to stop Croby on the checking line.

    “Let him do the job he’s completely capable of – outscoring in a power vs. power role.”

    I agree. Except I’m not fooled as to believe Hemsky can survive PVP.

    We simply do not have good enough players to win a PVP battle. Horcoff is a 65 point Center. Hemsky hasn’t scored in 18 games and is a turnover machine that refuses to block shots and is clueless in the defensive zone. Do we even have a first line LW? No!

    Expecting to win a PVP game is wishful thinking at best. It’s not going to happen.

    It doesn’t matter if its:

    Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky

    or

    Moreau – Horcoff – Hemsky

    We’re going to lose the PVP battle regardless!

    The thing is Penner – Hemsky playing against 2nd/3rd lines gives us much more of a chance to make up the difference than Moreau – Pisani does.

  73. Traktor says:

    Moreau Horcoff Pisani
    Penner Cogliano Cole
    Nilsson Gagner Hemsky

  74. Bruce says:

    I don’t know if I can prove this, but can someone check BtN blog to see what kind of competition 37-77 are facing this year? I would bet it is pretty tough.

    Welll not according to BtN, which currently rates the defencemen thusly for QualComp:
    1.Smid 0.22; 2.Strudwick 0.17; 3.Visnovsky 0.13; 4. Souray 0.10; 5.Gilbert 0.06; 6.Grebeshkov 0.02; 7.Staios 0.00.

    … and for GA ON/60:
    1.Smid 1.11; 2. Staios 1.44; 3.Strudwick 1.55; 4.Visnovsky, Souray 1.66; 6.Grebeshkov 2.31; 7.Gilbert 2.33.

    What's worse, those numbers are BEFORE last night's game, which pushed 37-77's GA/60 down to (calculating from NHL.com) 3.26 and 3.29 respectively, while their defence mates polished their haloes at better than 1.5, or in Smid's case, 0.87 ! Small number statistics of course, it would just take one night like G&G had last night to pull Smid down to earth. Similarly, QualComp numbers are stretched out of shape in the early going too. But so far the combo of the two stats suggests that Smid and Strudwick are playing great defence against the toughs while Gilbert and Grebeshkov are struggling mightily against the scrubs.

  75. HBomb says:

    Except I’m not fooled as to believe Hemsky can survive PVP.

    I disagree on this, because he has done it in the past. Right now though, I’d like to see what he could do on a pure skill line.

    Penner Horcoff Cole (power vs power)
    Nilsson Gagner Hemsky
    Cogliano Pouliot Pisani
    Moreau Brodziak Stortini

  76. Scott says:

    bruce,

    How is it that Staios is so far separated from his two primary defence partners this season on QUALCOMP?

  77. Scott says:

    And as I wrote that I remembered the Smid/Vish games when 44 was out… but that shouldn’t affect the numbers too much as Staios was still with Strudwick for those games.

  78. Doogie2K says:

    @Vic: Thanks for giving me that. It’d be really handy if there were a FAQ up on TOI.com with a list of the scripts and their variables, so more people can make use of the tool.

    Anyway, using the team faceoffs script, we have:

    Gilbert +9
    Smid +3
    Grebeshkov E
    Strudwick E
    Staios -6
    Souray -6
    Visnovsky -17 (!)
    =====
    Team (Garon + Roloson + JDD) -8

    Gilbert’s been out for a lot of D-zone faceoffs, but not Grebeshkov, relatively speaking. Looks like they’ve been split up at times late in games, based on some of the shift charts (I see it in both the VAN and COL games; that’s as far back as I’ve gone).

  79. kinger says:

    This is going to sound crazy and maybe it is, but I feel more comfortable with 37-77 in their own zone than I do with any other pairing.

    Yes it’s true that both have had significant gaffs with the puck, but the majority of the time they support each other well and make crisp outlet passes. Maybe it’s just that I’m used to Oiler’s D handling the puck like a hand grenade in their own zone. I certainly don’t get that impression when 37-77 are on the ice.

  80. Bruce says:

    PP: 27-83-89-71-44
    PP: 12-89-26 or 13 or 10; 37-77

    Dennis: 89 on both units?

    I keep thinking if we put that first unit together as you have laid it out, on frequent occasions there might not be any need of the second unit. The apparition of Penner looming on the edge of the crease as Souray unleashed three bombs, eventually resulting in our only goal last night, has done nothing to dissuade me from this opinion which I (and many others including you Dennis) have held since about five minutes after the Visnovsky deal.

    Last year Penner led the team and finished 15th in the NHL with 13 powerplay goals, and his screens and distractions at the goal mouth were key to numerous others. I just don’t fucking get why MacT is parking Penner’s ample ass on the bench instead of in the goalie’s face where it belongs. :)

  81. Coach pb9617 says:

    http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2008/07/reddox-may-go-runner-runner.html

    In which I talk about the offer sheets to Clowe and Ehrhoff and Traktor agrees.

    What a bargain either of those sheets would be.

    Gah.

  82. Coach pb9617 says:

    coach: I went back and found in the comments from the Bruins game thread my list of the top 15 centers who are clearly a notch above Horcoff:

    I don’t believe Vinny is clearly above. He’s better offensively, but not in his own zone. I think that Drury and Stastny are in the equal range of Horcoff. Brad Richards has become craptacular in his own zone and I’m referring to the little Koivu in my post.

    I would agree the number is somewhere between 10-15.

  83. Coach pb9617 says:

    This is going to sound crazy and maybe it is, but I feel more comfortable with 37-77 in their own zone than I do with any other pairing.

    That is crazy. Last year, I can understand this, but this year? 37 handles the puck like he’s a tourette’s patient.

  84. Dennis says:

    Bruce: I don’t get a lot of things about MacT lately and he’s starting to lose me.

    Someone said it Just before I did but I think he’s worried more about optics and reputations than he is about winning.

    This might not end well for him.

  85. Bank Shot says:

    MacT has made some strange decisions to start every season it seems.

    In the past it always seemed to be Lowe’s fault for forcing him into things, but perhaps that is just how MacT operates.

  86. Bruce says:

    How is it that Staios is so far separated from his two primary defence partners this season on QUALCOMP?

    A good question, Scott. Given the tiny sample size (9 games), the fact that Staios, Strudwick and Smid have all missed at least a couple games each, and perhaps especially the fact that the pairs got mixed and matched in the two games where guys left early (Souray in Calgary, Strudwick in Vancouver), the whole shebang is probably out of whack.

    Moreover, the whole system of rating the competition likely comes down to who’s hot, not necessarily who’s best. I would handle all such information with caution for a few weeks yet.

  87. McKenzie says:

    there goes Staois trying to glove the puck in the crease again…

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