Oilers at Ducks, G2/08-09

This is Anatoli Semenov. He was an Oilers draft pick back when they were winning Stanley’s and had a bit of a career. He played much of the 1990s in the show and started his career with the Oildrop.

There was a time in this fair land that an honest hockey fan couldn’t really work up a lather about the Ducks. They were kind of silly, from their uniforms to their performance.

Those days are gone. Shooting Ducks is now considered sport of the highest order and a win tonight would be music to Oiler fans.

A quick note about the team: they won the first game while playing horribly but said all the right things. If we see sloppy play tonight and for the rest of the week then the people who believe this is a playoff team (me) are going to have to re-think the position.

A few roster items are coming in to view: Jason Strudwick’s simple approach is a perfect match for the Huddy regime and he appears to have knocked Ladislav Smid’s icetime upstairs and into a glass. A good sign for the veteran, yet another warning bell for this generation’s Alexei Semenov.

The Oilers will be on the road tonight, so protecting the kids won’t be easy. I’m also interested in seeing how MacT uses that 4line, as they got a lot of minutes against good people (as outlined by Jonathan over at ON) in a home game.

MacT’s a smart guy, so he must have his reasons.

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259 Responses to "Oilers at Ducks, G2/08-09"

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  1. Black Dog says:

    Hi hi ho ho my fine fellows. And Loxy.

    Another win. Poor start but individually and as a team they got better. This team has barely played at all, they’re just finding their legs.

    Horcoff looked terrific and his wingers showed signs of life.

    Kids did well although still often an adventure in their own zone. All three had standout defensive plays on the backcheck, Nilsson with two late plus his shotblock.

    Pisani, Brodziak and Pouliot certainly clicked and Pouliot looks like he is finally a player.

    Nice play by Penner in the last minute.

    Gilbert got stronger after a weak start. Grebs is going to get a big cheque next summer methinks.

    Its one thing for Selanne to blow by Souray but Travis Moen?

    Some breaks early on and a few in the third as well but the Ducks had their share too and I think we will see even better play this weekend.

    Certainly a fun team to watch.

  2. Mark-Ryan says:

    I’m not convinced either Moreau or Pouliot are better hockey players than Stortini.

    I am, however, convinced that Stortini is much, much better than MacIntyre.

  3. Black Dog says:

    kinger – I like that lineup

  4. Black Dog says:

    mark-ryan – not sure about your take on Storts/Moreau-Pouliot

    But MacIntyre is entirely pointless.

    Having said that I did like the doubleshifting – got guys into the game and made the kids on the 4th a lot more effective

  5. Dennis says:

    This team’s going to be fun to watch and they’re going to be as frustrating as hell as well.

    There are shifts when guys show that they understand the little things it takes to win: thinks like grinding it out and protecting the puck down low and backchecking to break up potential danger. And then there are times when they make the fancy plays and where the D acts willy-nilly and you’re just waiting for a GA.

    We’ve heard MacT talk about how they’re implementing a few new things this season and is one of them to constantly activate the dmen? Seriously, the D were all over the bloody place tonight.

    Some other things

    - some signs of life from 26 with the neat drawing out of the PKers before dishing to 71 for the goal plus two really nice backchecks. You want him to get comfortable early and that should be the case after tonight.

    - 71 scored and yeah that’s a big deal but that’s about the only positive thing from him.

    - Pisani has lots of nicknames but I’ll sudmit another one: Coke. As in, things go better with Coke. You put him with 51-78 and they look like world-beating forecheckers. 78 in particular had a great second half to the game, constantly pinning in the D and holding onto the puck to burn clock.

    - 44 has to be reigned in. He can play offense on the PP but he has to stay at home at EV.

    - 89 is so bloody smart that once he gets bigger and stronger and learns to read the tendancies of other players he’s sure to be a fine two-way pivot.

    - 51 looks to be the new RH draw guy.

  6. Scott says:

    Ched is reporting that Deslauriers is probably getting one of the two Calgary games

  7. Jonathan says:

    I’ve enjoyed a beer-aided game at an old friend’s place. Missed the first half of the first, which was probably worth missing. Some thoughts:

    - Cole looked much more comfortable. I’m still not sure he’s a fit with 10-83 but he’s definitely a keeper. Probably would look better at RW.

    - Robert Nilsson was all over the place tonight, in a good way. On a similar note, I think that Kid Line stays together for some time, since if any team was going to physically dominate them it would be Anaheim.

    - Jason Strudwick is going to be a top-4 defenseman at some point this year. LT’s been saying it, and I’ve believed it, but tonight confirmed it for me.

    - Good game from Pouliot. He had some fire, and he’s a nice fit with Brodziak. I’ll echo the comments above that like double shifting other forwards (83/34/12) on that line; it works great. Also, I think 78′s a better fit at LW than at RW.

    - This team’s going to have a nasty losing streak where they get what they deserve, rather than two wins from iffy games, so I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts.

  8. goldenchild says:

    78-51-34 looked very comfortable together, 78 and 51 both had terrific 3rd periods. I think MacT goes back to this at some point

  9. Coach pb9617 says:

    - 44 has to be reigned in. He can play offense on the PP but he has to stay at home at EV.

    Gilbert.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Also: I really, really dislike Carlyle/Anaheim. He’s got dirty players, and he lets them do dirty things.

    I don’t think guys like Perry/Getzlaf would get away with some of that crap under MacT.

    And Pronger sure didn’t.

  11. jon k says:

    Two years from the date he was acquired Nilsson may justify the Smyth trade by himself.

    Very enjoyable player.

  12. Bruce says:

    I won’t be upset to see Storts back in the lineup, but I don’t think anyone could make a good case that it hurts the team when he’s absent.

    BS: How about this? Last season Stortini led the team in PiM, fights, most hits/60, fewest GV/60, and fewest GA/60. He was pressboxed/farmed out for 16 games, and Oilers won exactly one of them outside the shootout.

    From what I saw SMac contributed exactly none of that tonight.

  13. Bruce says:

    Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Gagner – Cogliano – Nilsson
    Pisani – Pouliot – Cole
    Moreau – Brodizak – Mac/Storts

    Souray – Staios
    Grebeshkov – Gilbert
    Smid/Strudwick – Vishnovsky

    Kinger: To my eye that is pretty much the optimum line-up (the one 46, not 33).

  14. Ribs says:

    Great game.
    I loved the speed and puck support the kid line was showing off. How can anyone stop the undying wave of midgets?

    The top line looked like they were a top line that were being checked hard. Getting teams to focus on one line helps the rest of the team so this is a good thing.

    Strudwick looked pretty damned good tonight. I hope he can be consistent with his performance.

    It’s early but I’m getting pretty excited about this team. They’re loose and scrambly and can score. That’s my kind of team.

  15. spOILer says:

    Seemed to me Nilsson took a string of at least 3 shifts out of 5 in the last 10 minutes of the 3rd. Anyone else see this? I actually thought it was 4 of 7, but was in a Cochrane bar with no sound.

    Other than Horc, Oilers tried hard to muck every face-off in the last 2 periods.

    Does Penner strike anyone else as eminently coachable for a guy without that NCAA pedigree (Minot St notwithstanding)?

    Lubo's short side suicide pass to Moreau with 1.5 mins to go was near game suicide. Talk about riverboat gambler. I can see a few sit-downs with Messrs. Huddy & MacTavish. He doesn't look like a big problem though. He usually seems to have excellent position, and plays with MAB-like aggression but with far more tempered experience. If he can be coached… He remids me of a Ruotsaleinen (sp) though.

    As far as overall decision-making goes, there was a big difference at the offensive blue line in the 2nd half. Knew when to throw it in and when to hold it.

    Re: PP shot %age

    I'm wonder whether PP execution drives shot percentage on the PP, and not the other way around.

    Re: Pisani Pouliot Cole

    I've stated this flip before, so I agree wholeheartedly.

    That being said… After the first two matches, MacT might be onto something with Moreau Pisani Penner. They've done a good job of looking dangerous while sledding uphill. If they ever get the FOs down…

  16. Loxy says:

    Moreau should be no where but the PK and the 4th line.

  17. spOILer says:

    Moreau is under-rated, both on the ice and hot-wise, mostly because he can be injured by a stiff breeze or Nathan Lane’s perfume (injured lots… talk about your perfect stay-at-home player).

    Ethan’s biggest problem prior to the hollowing out of his bones was his propensity for 3rd period penalties.

    I’m willing to see if he’s still got it, and so far he looks like he does.

  18. raventalon40 says:

    Quote hbomb:

    Horcoff on pace for 82-goal season

    Yeah, so is Penner. Souray and Visnovsky are on pace to score 42 goals apiece, and Moreau will attain 82 assists. That’s not the end of it.

    At this rate, Visnovsky, Cole, Strudwick, Stortini, Pouliot are all poised to finish the season with a chilling -42. But don’t worry, Garon is on pace to win all 82 games and Grebeshkov will finish the season with 123 points – ALL ASSISTS! Move aside Paul Coffey? Stay out of my way Bill Ranford?

    Lol, on pace means nothing until you’re 5 games in.

  19. raventalon40 says:

    By the way, I don’t know if anybody else agrees but Nilsson looked pretty good tonight. Very versatile player.

  20. spOILer says:

    Not to mention Brunnstrom’s projections

  21. raventalon40 says:

    Btw, what do they feed Brunnstrom? Whatever it is, I need some of that.

  22. raventalon40 says:

    Fabian Brunnstrom:

    Yikes…. 240 goals. Watch out Wayne Gretzky, we have a challenger in the green corner!

  23. spOILer says:

    B-t-N had Nilsson with the toughest QUALCOMP after game 1. I would not be surprised to see that trend continue once game 2 is scraped and posted. Especially judging by the last half of that third.

  24. Phil says:

    Anyone else see that rush Cole had down the RW? It didn’t lead to much of a scoring chance, but you could see a comfort level that he hasn’t been on display thus far.

    He also set up the PP goal from his normal side. Ferraro touched on it in the first period – the habits he’s developed to make him a valuable power forward are taken away when he’s on the LW. I’m all for seeing him in his natural position.

  25. Aram Dellalian says:

    Hey O!

    I was at this game. After a terrible first period (except a brilliant power play), the Oil really looked amazing in the 2nd and 3rd. Great great stuff on both ends.

    I’m officially a 78 fan. The guy makes great use of limited ice time, and was always in the play. The kid line! UNREAL. Cogs looked brilllllllliant.

    Sourray…not so good on the defensive end, but he’s got awesome size -wish he’d do something with it.

    That first ducks goal. Lame. It wasn’t a true breakaway. Staios was right there but wouldn’t commit.

    Ahh…after 4 periods of not-so-good hockey, these last two of near-perfect play are really reassuring.

    Good stuff. Keep the blogs comin LT!

  26. raventalon40 says:

    kinger: it will be interesting indeed to see whether MacT changes the lineups in a significant way.

    spoiler: could this mean the beginning of the end of the pisani center experiment? i could envision something like this:

    Nilsson – Gagner – Penner
    Moreau – Cogliano – Pisani

    Not that I think Gagner is made of more 2nd line material than Cogliano, just that Cogliano seems like he could plausibly play the 3rd line role for a short time.

    Plus, Penner seems to be playing well so we should see if he can thrive on 2nd line minutes.

  27. Sean says:

    Wow 230 comments takes a while to read. Had a hockey game and missed the last 2 periods. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised at the result.

    I’m pro-Nilsson but I’m with PDO’s lines. Not yet but at some point this season I’d like to see.

    12-10-83
    89-13-26
    27-78-34
    18-51-46

    51 and 78 are interchangeable. I want to see another Euro play with Hemsky. Nilsson is all we got and I think he has the game to play with Hemsky.

    Oh ya and sign Cole before he gets RW minutes with 89.

  28. raventalon40 says:

    I don’t know if this is very relevant… but there is a Religion vs. Science debate going on and if anybody has an opinion please go here.

    Back to hockey: The great thing about having good depth is having the luxury of able to play your guys on almost any line and get production out of them. This would apply to Horcoff, Hemsky (started career on 3rd line), Cole (played on 3rd line in Carolina), Penner, Nilsson, Pisani, Gagner, and Brodziak. This is yet to be determined with Cogliano and Pouliot, however.

  29. HBomb says:

    RE: Nilsson. Based on Pierre Maguire’s draft day rantings and some of the scouting reports prior to the trade, I thought we were getting Sergei Samsonov (soft, one way 2nd line soft-minute muncher).

    Well, I must say I was mistaken….this guy is WAY better in his own zone than I ever thought he’d be.

  30. Dennis says:

    Surprisingly, 12 actually cares about backchecking and what happens in his own zone and I forget who they were playing but does anyone else remember a home game late last season when he dove in the N zone to break up a play? It was during the stretch of games where Cogs was OT magic so that should make it easier to pin down.

    I think that last night it looked like the Oilers have 11 guys that can play, 10 that MacT really has confidence in (we saw that he’s working in 51 as the right-handed faceoff guy) and he wasn’t shy about using a 4 line rotation late in a game where we’d hand two days off prior and there was really no need to spread around the TOI.

    There are some things that appear to be true:

    - 78′s third best position is as a RW

    - 26 looks better as a LW than RW

    - 34 makes everyone look good

    - 27 has worked well with 10-83

    - the Kids just know where each other will be and are guarenteed to produce two or three awesome scoring opps a game.

    - even with my thoughts based on last night’s game, 46 is still certainly a useful player.

    - I loved the idea of 33 as just a situational guy and then we can give the top sixers an extra shift here and there.

    So, the question is how do you accept all these truths and still put a line up together respecting these facts while also trying to get the most out of 26?

    This is what I really think it comes down to.

    MacT knows that 10-83 can survive playing the toughs and hee knows 26 has similar history so wrong-wing-be-damned, he sees the potential for that line to be a true PVP giant.

    On the other hand, the Kids can hold their own and 27 has worked well in the past with 10-83 so if you:

    - kept the kids together
    - went back with 27-10-83 on the first line

    then you know that a third line built around a 26-34 winger combo would be miserable to play against and you decide on 78-51 as it’s centre.

    Let’s say 51 for the hellofit and then you hope 18-78 have some chem on the fourth and then 34 and 83 draw in as the 12th forward along with their own duties.

    Of course you’re only gonna dress Smac against teams with toughs so he’ll never play against Col for instance and there are other teams that fit this bill.

    Overall, I love the forward corps but we still need a defender on defense and someone to stand up to Souray and tell him to calm the fuck down. Same thing goes for Vishnovsky.

  31. Lord Bob says:

    Fernando Pisani is Instant Chemistry. I think we all pretty well knew that already.

    I’m actually in Edmonton for two days right now, but I missed most of this game to watch Canada take on Mexico at Commonwealth Stadium (and I bet you didn’t even know there was a game. :P) Still, from what I did see at the bar afterwards, 78′s great game should go on 34′s resume.

  32. Phil says:

    - 26 looks better as a LW than RW

    Really? He hasn’t had a chance on the RW yet with the Oil. He was on the RW for his assist on the PP, and as Kinger pointed out, he had a good rush up the RW at one point, and looked more comfortable.

  33. Alice says:

    I’m not seeing how SMac (0 PIM) didn’t do his job – if nobody’s fucking with our guys because he’s on the bench, then that’s a Good thing. That nobody tested his fuse, and that he didn’t go out and try to make a name for himself day one, is just testament to some decent choices all around. Including sticking him in the lineup.

  34. Alice says:

    The other point being that in Ana Storts would have almost certainly Had to take a fight somewhere.

  35. Bruce says:

    Alice: So what’s your point? That the hypothetical Stortini fight would have somehow hurt the cause? That didn’t seem to be the case when he took down Laperriere in Game 1.

    Do you really think this is a better team with 11 forwards? I want a scrapper who can play the game. Stortini has made huge strides in this respect and has just turned 23.

    When 46 Has to take a fight and is in the box MacT can replace him by double-shifting Hemsky, Nilsson, Pisani, which is essentially what the coach did all night against ANA with SMac stapled to the bench. But with Zack in the line-up the Oilers can rely on 8-10 minutes of solid physical presence, offensive zone banging and defensive positioning. With SMac they can rely on … what, exactly?

  36. relic says:

    78′s great game should go on 34′s resume

    come on…

    give 78 credit for having a good game. last time i checked there were five guys on the ice during those shifts and they were all working pretty hard.

  37. Schitzo says:

    Bruce: With SMac they can rely on Hemsky, Penner and Pisani actually getting the minutes they deserve. I’d rather have 20 minutes of Hemsky and 16 each from Penner and Pisani than having to give some of that to Stortini.

  38. Bruce says:

    Schitzo: Do you really think this is a better team with 11 forwards?

  39. Scott says:

    I think the team may well be better off running out eleven forwards plus a fighter. I would think most forwards can handle between fifteen and twenty minutes a night. Giving your best players more ice should lead to better results.

    If guys (I’m thinking specifically of Hemsky) in the room are voicing concerns about feeling safe on the ice and feel better with Mac in the lineup, I think that has real and important value.

    The biggest problem is that if someone gets thrown out of the game, or injured and can’t return, playing with only nine or ten guys for a couple of periods is certailny less than ideal. But that shouldn’t happen often enough to be worth really worrying about.

  40. Quain says:

    Why don’t we dress only eleven forwards and get all three of our goaltenders on the bench! It’s perfect! Roloson is pretty crazy, I have to imagine running him out there when things get heated is a pretty good deterrent.

  41. Schitzo says:

    Bruce: If there was the risk of more than 5 minutes of overtime, I’d be terrified. Looking at last night’s shift chart, I’m not worried at all.

    Horcoff and Hemsky had 20 minutes each. The kid line all had 16. Pisani and Penner still only had 14minutes, likely because brodziak (13 min) and Moreau (16:30) took more of the SH time. Pouliot was the lowest real forward at 10 minutes, S-Mac had 3.

    If you’d rather see Stortini for 10 minutes a game, you need to steal 7 minutes of ice time from somewhere. Can you point to a single player on that list and say they saw too many minutes? The only one that jumped out at me was Moreau could have used 2 less, and after tonight, Pouliot could probably justify 2 more.

    Playing Stortini means that not only do you lose the nuclear deterrant, you steal minutes from a list of guys who all can say they deserve that amount of ice time.

  42. Doogie2K says:

    He’s got top-pair written all over him.

    I should hope so, since he’s been top-pair with Markov for two years now. ;)

    I think Hemsky misses all his buds. I saw an interview with him where he talked about losing alot of friends this year…

    I remember that interview, too. If that’s the case, then it’s something he has to get past, because that’s the nature of professional sport, and has been for most of his life.

    I’ve been screaming for years it’s the system that’s the problem and not the personnel….even in the Pronger year with Smyth/Hemsky, they were only 15th in a 30 team league. In other words, mediocre.

    They’re the antithesis of the Habs. They lost Souray and didn’t skip a beat.

    I agree. I thought with the departure of Smyth they’d stop going eternally to the “blast it from the point and pray for a defleciton” school of thought, and take advantage of all the skill down low. I haven’t seen a full game yet this year, so I haven’t seen the PP in all its inglory (unglory? disglory?), so I can’t comment, but I have to also agree with Tyler about Hemsky’s turnovers. It drives me batshit when guys stop five feet into the zone to make a play. That’s how offsides are made, you morons.

    As an aside, watching the Hitmen PP was something else last night. Sure, some of the dicks behind me were howling “SHOOOOOOOT,” but they were finding lanes before letting go, and the final result, three power-play goals in a 7-2 romp, proves that these kids probably know more about hockey — to say nothing of being better at it — than the leatherlungs in the crowd. (@Phil: On that note, Plante beat the everloving shit out of someone on the Cougars late in the game. Dunno what got into him — Mom thinks the guy took a swipe at someone on the bench after laying a high hit on Seabrook — but it was like MacIntyre on Vandermeer, redux. Damn near put the kid’s head into the boards at one point, and after about six or eight consecutive punches, the zebras had to pull him off; good thing or he might still be going.)

    As for the Habs, not only did they lose Souray, but Streit as well. Some were saying this time, they’re really going to fail, but I sure as hell haven’t seen it yet. Wonder if those folks have figured out yet that Kovalev and Markov are the real keys to that PP? (And hey look, Hamrlik is scoring again. Imagine that.)

  43. dubya says:

    Do you really think this is a better team with 11 forwards? I want a scrapper who can play the game. Stortini has made huge strides in this respect and has just turned 23.

    But Storts can’t even hold his own with most NHL middleweights, and I suspect his hug fests hurt morale more than help. Several Oilers have made the comment about wanting a heavyweight, including Hemsky. Stortini, for all his strengths, isn’t a heavy. No question he’s turned himself into a safe hockey player, and his hitting is nice. But I think Moreau (until he breaks) can pick up the slack on the hitting, and double-shifting the other RWs makes the 4th line better than it is with Storts. Then, on the rare occasion you need it, you have a class A goon to send a message as necessary (and that doesn’t mean fighting by appointment with the other teams heavy…that means sending messages as necessary to whomever is necessary, since it really doesn’t matter if he gets kicked out of the game).

    Time will tell. I think Storts is a decent player, but I’m not sure that the team isn’t better with part-time SMac…and I do think the players will feel better with him out there.

  44. Lord Bob says:

    give 78 credit for having a good game. last time i checked there were five guys on the ice during those shifts and they were all working pretty hard.

    Is there any current Oiler who Pisani hasn’t made look like the next Guy Carbonneau at some point?

    One of the numbers guys should crunch career GA/60s with and without Pisani for guys like Pouliot, Brodziak, Penner, etc., if that’s at all possible. I suspect we’d see a huge gap for kids, which narrows as they grow up and come into their own but remains for average players throughout (every great game Ethan Moreau has played for the last three years has been with Pisani on the opposite wing).

    The Pisani Halo Effect has been around for years, though, and I don’t think we should neglect it. That’s not to say Pouliot can’t play this game – we know he can. And guys learn from Fernando so it can be used for great purpose, too – if we run, say, 51-78-34 as a third line, we might end up with a sublime shutdown combo a few years down the road.

    Also, in five years I suspect I’ll be talking about the Brodziak Halo Effect in much the same way. Why is it that no matter what sack of crap he’s on the ice with we end up with a high-tempo game that sometimes pins the puck in the opponents end for a really long time?

  45. Schitzo says:

    Bob: Because after the first game where his linemates are shitbags, Brodziak sneaks into their room while they sleep and beats them half to death with a bar of soap in a sock.

    They play harder next game.

  46. Quain says:

    If we’re going to double shift our best players and that’s our reason for keeping Stortini out, why don’t we just double shift the entire first line? Or double shift Hemsky with Penner/Pisani when Horcoff needs a breather after a penalty kill. The reason to have a fourth line is to give you a certain element, usually the grinder/hitting game. If we’re going to double shift Hemsky and ignore the physical element, why don’t we double shift him with better players?

    I like having a line to provide that physical element (and I like Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini for it), but if we’re going to stick Hemsky with Poo/Brodz, I don’t see why we’re not sticking him with Pies/Pens instead.

  47. Gnash says:

    Particularly early in last night’s game, it looked to me like the Oilers were not skating well and many of the passes looked tentative. I’m reassured that things seemed to improve during the course of the game. In particular, I was extremely pleased to see some effective forechecking and some flow through the neutral zone. I still haven’t seen the top line ‘click’, but I’m hopeful.
    All of this said, the Oilers have had soft opposition to start the season. Anaheim played like the players were instructed to stay out of the penalty box at all costs. This probably toned down the physical part of their game and makes alot of the discussion about dressing MacIntyre a bit moot.
    Overall, nice to see some progress last game, but the boys must take another step forward vs. the Flames to have continued success. That said, Calgary’s defensive zone coverage has often looked terrible in their first few games, so there are definitely holes in their game as well.

  48. Schitzo says:

    Quain: I agree, Hemsky with Pisani/Penner would be a better way to get the third line some more minutes. But you’re right back to the same problem of dividing those minutes.

    Last night Penner and Pisani each got 14 minutes. If you put Hemsky with them for a couple of shifts, maybe you get them up to 16 minutes each, while Brodziak and Pouliot go down to 11 and 8, respectively. Fine. But you still haven’t found any extra time for Stortini to play.

  49. mc79hockey says:

    Playing Stortini means that not only do you lose the nuclear deterrant, you steal minutes from a list of guys who all can say they deserve that amount of ice time.

    I agree with the above thought completely; Stortini strikes me as a classic tweener – not a good enough fighter to be a fighter, not a good enough hockey player to be a hockey player.

    This is more aimed at Bruce than anyone else but I’m curious what you expect of Stortini this year. You’ve listed the following about him:

    Last season Stortini led the team in PiM, fights, most hits/60, fewest GV/60, and fewest GA/60. He was pressboxed/farmed out for 16 games, and Oilers won exactly one of them outside the shootout.

    I wouldn’t get too excited about the giveaways, as nobody has ever shown that they mean anything – fellow named Gretzky used to lead the league, IIRC and it’s hard to give the puck the away when you’re a zone behind the play. The fights and PIM shit leading the team…who cares. Someone would have and if he’s not particularly good at fighting, bring in someone else who will fight just as much. Anyone can get in a fight. Anyone can take a penalty. Anyone can take the same stupid fucking stick penalties over and over and over, Mr. Stoll.

    The two things there that might mean something are the Oilers record without him and his GA/60. Question for Bruce – is it real? Do you think that Stortini is that valuable a piece for the Oilers? Because if you don’t, it strikes me that you should acknowledge that when arguing in his favour.

  50. Schitzo says:

    I agree with the above thought completely; Stortini strikes me as a classic tweener – not a good enough fighter to be a fighter, not a good enough hockey player to be a hockey player.

    Louie Debrusk syndrome?

  51. Bruce says:

    This is more aimed at Bruce than anyone else but I’m curious what you expect of Stortini this year.

    Continued improvement.

    You’ve listed the following about him:
    //Last season Stortini led the team in PiM, fights, most hits/60, fewest GV/60, and fewest GA/60. He was pressboxed/farmed out for 16 games, and Oilers won exactly one of them outside the shootout.//

    … and I didn’t list the following because he didn’t (quite) lead the team. 2nd on Oilers in penalties drawn/60. 2nd on Oilers in total Hits. 3rd on Oilers in +/-. A good record in the physical game (PiM, hits), discipline (lack of instigator penalties and giveaways), agitating (penalties drawn), and defensive play (GA ON, +/-) is a pretty broad spectrum in my view. Check around the league, you won’t find very many agitators or goons atop their teams or nearly so in such a diverse range of categories.

    I wouldn’t get too excited about the giveaways, as nobody has ever shown that they mean anything – fellow named Gretzky used to lead the league, IIRC and it’s hard to give the puck the away when you’re a zone behind the play.

    Fair enough, to a large extent GV reflect possession, but the fact Stortini led the team on a per/60 basis despite his limited ice time supports my ongoing observation that he didn’t tend to do stupid things with the puck when he was out there. In my view he improved enormously in this dept. over the course of the season.

    The fights and PIM shit leading the team…who cares. Someone would have and if he’s not particularly good at fighting, bring in someone else who will fight just as much. Anyone can get in a fight. Anyone can take a penalty.

    I’m calling “bullshit” on this one, Tyler. Here’s the list of major penalties from 2007-08:

    Stortini 23
    Staios, Greene 5
    Glencross (CBJ?), Roy, Moreau 3
    Souray, Torres, Smid 2
    Brodziak, Penner, Gagner, Rourke 1
    All others 0
    ———–
    Oilers 51 (T-10th)

    Fact is in ’07’08 that Someone was Zack Stortini, who stepped up for his teammates on numerous occasions. I agree he is not a nuclear deterrent and maybe it doesn’t hurt to have one of those around on occasion, but in addition to Zack, not instead of. Stortini is a good enough player that he will actually be out on the ice making stuff happen, especially physically, and if situations develop, he’s ready, willing, and able to answer the call.

    The two things there that might mean something are the Oilers record without him and his GA/60.

    … and his penalties drawn, which set the stage for a few successul PPs last year. And his hits, in which Stortini finished 2nd on the team, despite having the 20th most TOI. This on a team that came dead fucking last in the NHL with 1130 hits, btw, far behind the league and less than 80% of the 25th place team. To take one of your most consistent hitters out of such a lineup is just silly IMO.

    Question for Bruce – is it real? Do you think that Stortini is that valuable a piece for the Oilers? Because if you don’t, it strikes me that you should acknowledge that when arguing in his favour.

    The honest answer is I don’t know. I argued vehemently in Zack’s favour early in 2007-08 before he had proven much of anything on the ice, and even I was frankly astonished at how suddenly he turned it around (+2/-9 in 2007, +19/-9 in 2008). I thought his performance down the stretch might win him a few fans, but I am shocked at the long knives that remain out for this kid. I mean, what the fuck do you want? He provides many elements that are otherwise Missing or in short supply on the team, he accepts his role without question, he’s an unselfish team player through anbd through, and as the season went on his line became extremely effective in getting the puck into the right end of the rink and turning the momentum of games.

    So what of those things can we expect from SMac? Does “who wins the fights?” really matter more than all of those hockey related issues? if so, somebody should whisper something into Coach Buchberger’s ear.

  52. Asiaoil says:

    I have no issues playing MacIntyre against teams with serious heavyweights and Stortini against the rest. We can run 11 forwards without a problem with MacIntyre in the lineup and even boost ice time for MAP and Brodziak over what they got last night. A 2-1 split of games between Stortini- MacIntyre seems about right and will keep both guys fresh and motivated.

  53. Alice says:

    //Fact is in ’07’08 that Someone was Zack Stortini, who stepped up for his teammates on numerous occasions.//

    No question about it. And he went Up – literally – against the big meat. Nobody here has the slightest doubt as to his character, but as to the role he was asked to play? Maybe that wasn’t quite right. And with all those other +’ives, maybe he should be in the 11 of an 11+1(knuckles) team. As knuckles he’ll take on the payback work, but that doesn’t equate to deterrence. What good’s the dance After Hemsky gets his face planted in the end-glass?

  54. raventalon40 says:

    Not to mention that Glencross-Brodziak-Stortini line wasn’t too bad, eh?

    Everyone talks about how good the Kid line was last year… this energy line was pretty good too. Would love to see Moreau replacing Glencross and running that energy line.

  55. Phil says:

    doogie2k: don’t know about you, but I was pumped when the oilers drafted Plante. He had such a beauty playoff that year. So glad he seems to be picking it up from 2 years ago.

    BTW – scored some free tix for the BOA tomorrow nite. Nothing quite like being one of the dots of blue in the sea of red. :D

  56. Phil says:

    … and now Plante has his first goal…

  57. Doogie2K says:

    don’t know about you, but I was pumped when the oilers drafted Plante. He had such a beauty playoff that year. So glad he seems to be picking it up from 2 years ago.

    And I was five rows from the glass for the whole thing. I actually noticed him more than Alzner that year, and from what I remember of comments made at the time, so did the Oilers scouts. Glad to see he’s not suffering any ill effects from his injury-plagued 2007-08.

    Nothing quite like being one of the dots of blue in the sea of red.

    I was there for the last preseason game. We actually got a fairly even call-and-response going with the Flamers in the nosebleeds at one point. Good times.

    and now Plante has his first goal

    And it was a nice one, too. Picked up his own rebound down low and beat a down-and-out Metsola. You think they’ve exorcised their demons against that guy from the ECF last year? ;)

    Also, as I noted on my site earlier tonight, he’s become a grumpy old man this year. Something like five fights, two sets of offsetting minors tonight alone, and a team-leading 36 PIM. In eight games.

  58. Bruce says:

    //Fact is in ’07’08 that Someone was Zack Stortini, who stepped up for his teammates on numerous occasions.//
    No question about it. And he went Up – literally – against the big meat. Nobody here has the slightest doubt as to his character, but as to the role he was asked to play? Maybe that wasn’t quite right. And with all those other +’ives, maybe he should be in the 11 of an 11+1(knuckles) team.

    Alice: Exactly. When Oilers are up against Calgary or Vancouver why the fuck would we be taking Stortini OUT of the line-up? Last year he drove those teams — and, importantly :), their fans — absolutely nuts. That he was doing double duty as both agitator and enforcer is a tall order for a 22-year-old kid, and Zack answered the call admirably in my view.

    As knuckles he’ll take on the payback work, but that doesn’t equate to deterrence. What good’s the dance After Hemsky gets his face planted in the end-glass?

    Funny you should mention that. At least Zack tried. Over the past two years I can remember three cheap shots in particular on Hemsky, two that injured him (Boogaard and Lapointe) and one that could have crippled him (Regehr). In the time since each of those incidents, Stortini has fought Boogaard twice, Lapointe twice, and Regehr twice. He couldn’t handle Boogaard — who the fuck can? — but he took down Lapointe on the night that Marty kneed Hemsky onto IR and again the next time they met; and this preseason he got the better of Regehr who left the ice with a bloody nose. Maybe it’s locking the barn door after the horse is stolen, but I think there’s a message in there that if you fuck with Ales you’re going to have to answer the call.

    The kid has all kinds of spunk and team spirit, and while I know those are archaic terms that reveal me for the old fuddieduddie that I am, they’re just as important to team chemistry as they ever were. Which is why I have all day for Zack Stortini.

  59. Coach pb9617 says:

    and I suspect his hug fests hurt morale more than help.

    Sometimes people don’t think posts all the way through before typing. This was one of those times.

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