Leafs at Oilers, G16/08-09

This is Frank Mahovlich. He played in an era when giants roamed Left Wing in the NHL. In the early 1970s the position boasted all kinds of depth, from the superstars (Bobby Hull, Frank Mahovlich, Johnny Bucyk, Rick Martin, Bill Barber), the cornerman to the stars (Wayne Cashman), the skilled checkers (Craig Ramsay, Don Marcotte, Bob Gainey, Ross Lonsberry) and the good scorers (Paul Henderson, Lowell MacDonald, others).

There was a long period after that where the NHL didn’t seem to produce many good LW’s, or at least not as many per capita. However, the NHL currently has some real gems (led by Ovechkin, Parise, Zetterberg, Kovalchuk, Vanek, Heatley, others) and this season there are some new men laying claim to the position.

The two teams we are seeing tonight are not flush in left wingers. The Oilers have guys like Dustin Penner, Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani (moving over from center) all of whom are useful NHL players.

The Leafs have names like Jason Blake, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nikolai Kuleman and Ryan Hollweg.

According to nhl.com, here are the top 20 point getters among LW’s this season:

  1. Semin (WSH) 27
  2. Parise (NJD) 17
  3. Doan (PHX) 16
  4. Gagne (PHI) 16
  5. Vanek (BUF) 15
  6. Heatley (OTT) 15
  7. Tanguay (MTL) 15
  8. Kariya (STL) 15
  9. Kovalchuk (ATL) 14
  10. Close (SJS) 14
  11. Kozlov (ATL) 14
  12. Cammalleri (CGY) 14
  13. Naslund (NYR) 13
  14. Whitney (CAR) 13
  15. Morrow (DAL) 13
  16. Ovechkin (WSH) 13
  17. Nash (CBS) 12
  18. Ponikarovsky (TOR) 12
  19. Chimera (CBS) 12
  20. D Sedin (VAN) 12
  21. Hudler (DET) 12

Ethan Moreau is the top scoring LW on the Oilers currently, with 9 points.

As for the game there are several things going against the Oilers tonight. First game back after a road trip is a tough game, the Leafs are way better than expected and the kid in net (if he plays) cannot sustain the Bernie Parent calibre goaltending.

Still, this is a pretty good hockey club despite the flaws. Should be a good game tonight, with the only real negative being the number of Leafs fans in the house.

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221 Responses to "Leafs at Oilers, G16/08-09"

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  1. Jonathan says:

    This loss is no big deal.

    It is, because the Oilers are a better team than Toronto. This was a winnable game, and the Oilers dominated in the first. Most frustrating loss of the season (to date).

    Our top 4 defense is a forward line and has little to no business trying to stop the other team.

    What?

  2. Doogie2K says:

    Regarding my own earlier comment, here is the article I read on podcasting with Skype.

  3. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    Johnathan:

    Souray, Vish, Gilbert and Grebs will get you more points than they will stop if you let them, so let them…

    and the loss is not a big deal. first game back against the oilers of the east. they are the highest scoring fastest team the east has to offer and they can beat any team any night. I am no TO lover, but they are playing the way that we should be playing. If they had the talent that we have they would be scary, and that is how we should be.

  4. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    Sorry LT, I am not backing these comments up with any numbers, and the numbers may totally disagree with me, but it is just my feelings on the oilers today…tomorrow, who knows ;)

  5. Dennis says:

    We can talk about everything else as much as we want, and God knows I do;), but as long as the PK is THIS bad, you’ll have to be superlative on either the PP and/or at EV take make up that difference.

    What’s the record of teams once they give up a PK goal? What’s the difference when you give up TWO PK goals?

    You can dance around it all you want but we’re not going to be anything more than mediocre if we don’t try something different with the PK. That being said things have been tried like taking 89 and 27 off the unit but MORE things need to be tried. I’ve always thought this team’s PK works best when we use six forwards and down-ice pressure; and it only stands to reason that you’ll have the energy TO down-ice pressure when you’re using six guys.

    But MacT’s pretty much going with the same MO and it’s getting him nowhere.

  6. DBO says:

    Smid on IR, Reddox recalled. Is this a slight to Schremp, since he’s been playing well and doing everything they ask? Or do they just want reddox since he duplicates the skill set of Glencross?

  7. Dennis says:

    dbo: not really sure. the first thoughts that came to my mind were:

    - Tambellini has constantly stated that when they’re bringing up guys from the A, they’re not gonna ask square holes to find into round pegs; that’s my way of putting it but he said offensive guys will be recalled for offensive guys and played with offensive players and the same holds true for defensive players.

    - Reddox up means either trouble for Pouliot or Stortini and/or it means that Boulerice will only be dusted off for certain games given the fact we’re now carrying 14 forwards. Schremp isn’t saddled with the waiver restrictions like Brule but it’s an interesting move nonetheless; Reddox seemed like he was going the way of old news after having some buzz in ’08 but not even the slightest bit of noise in the ’09 camp. And now he’s the first recall from the forward side? Odd to say the least. Unless he’s being brought up to kill penalties which I understand he’s been doing for the Falcons.

    - Right now we’re going with 14 forwards, 6 D and 3 goalies. I just don’t think it makes any sense to be going with the bare minimum of dmen. We’ve already had two of those guys go down so now if it happens on a game day skate then we’re gonna be playing that game with 5 dmen.

    Does that piss off/confuse anyone else?

  8. Black Dog says:

    dennis – well, the lack of good sense when it comes to the roster has carried on for a while now so its no surprise

    talking about the past where kids were left to rot in the PB for weeks on end at the beginning of the season

    now there are three goalies which is just too much – now I can understand the org.’s feeling that they want Dubnyk to get the lion’s share in the AHL and also the fact that even now I’m certainly not comfortable trying to make the playoffs with Garon plus JDD or Roli plus JDD

    but it just strikes me as poor roster management

    the callup of Reddox is interesting but it makes sense especially if they are trying to bring a little energy and play a guy who might help the PK – Schremp of course does not fit the bill

    we’ll have to see who sits Saturday; despite the decent start this team just seems in a funk, trying to be too cute

    wonder if Nilsson gets bumped up and Pouliot sits – talk is Boulerice is going to play, according to Ireland, but I cannot see them bringing up Reddox to have him sit

  9. PDO says:

    Just a point on the two PK goals..

    Goal #1) is all on #18. That pass was his responsibility, and he had his stick on the wrong side of the passing lane. I can hear my novice coach saying your head should always be on a swivel…

    Goal #2) is all on #51. 10 hit him with a pass and he whiffed on his chance to clear.

  10. Bruce says:

    Any word on Smid’s actual condition? Seems to be a carefully guarded secret. Does anybody know if he’s tying his own shoes at this point?

    God damn that Raffi Torres anyway, that’s at least the third guy he’s shelved with concussion (Michalek, Williams, Smid, others??). I don’t recall ever see a guy get clocked quite like that while both were chasing down a shoot-in; some thought it was an accident but I thought Raffi just slugged Ladi for absolutely no reason; at best he was not in control and recklessly endangered an opponent.

    Too bad, Smid was just starting to get it going and now he’s on IR with the dreaded C-word hanging over him. Shit.

  11. Dennis says:

    Bruce: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Mr. LT tempted fate by not posting a picture of Raffi in that night’s gamethread;)

    But, yes, he gets a knock on the head just when it looks like he was getting his head around the game.

    Pat: with Vic’s site we can see if this theory holds water but IF 12′s getting a bump in place of Pouliot — and this isn’t to say that 78′s been any great shakes with 27-13 — we can see if that troika’s ever clicked before. I really don’t think they have but now it’s easy to tell.

  12. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – speaking of square pegs and such

    Penner is the one – the guy just doesn’t seem to fit anywhere – he hasn’t played great in the past with the kids and the experiment in October was awful

    I know MacT is trying to get Gagner going and they need him too but Horcoff and Penner would strike me as the best linemates for 83 for now anyways. That line really got going before Horc went down last year.

    Pisani hasn’t been great shakes so far but the guy has been out of position all year – I’d like to see him with a couple of kids – Gagner and Nilsson being the best bets I would say.

    And then Cogliano with Moreau and Cole.

    I’d prefer to see Pouliot in that last spot to give it a try but until someone gets hurt I think those are the top nine forwards.

  13. PDO says:

    BDHS,

    I really like those line combo’s… gives Cogliano two reliable forwards, but some offensive flair still. Horcoff and Hemsky should be able to cover for Penner a bit, and Gagner played some of his best hockey with 34 on his line…

  14. Matt says:

    others??

    He also knocked David Moss out of a game last season with a head shot.

    And I’m certain that this list still isn’t comprehensive. But, hockey’s a fast game, you have to learn to protect yourself, blah blah blah…

  15. Black Dog says:

    pdo – well, if the plan is to go ahead with Gagner and Cogliano as centres and you have Horcoff then you may as well play them at centre

    and in each case you have some reasonable wingers with them and NOBODY is playing out of position

    that drives me crazy

    now if the idea is Gagner is going to be a winger then suck it up and see if Pouliot or Brodziak can do the job between Pisani and Moreau, and have Cogliano centre Cole and Gagner or switch Pisani and Cole in that lineup

    but I am thinking the idea is Gagner and Cogs as centres down the road so if that is the case play them at centre, protect them as best you can and stop screwing around

    as for Penner, the only time he has really done anything is when he played with Hemsky and Horcoff so choices are limited there.

  16. Bruce says:

    as for Penner, the only time he has really done anything is when he played with Hemsky and Horcoff so choices are limited there.

    Let’s not forget he scored 29 goals playing mostly with Marchant and Parros. As an Oiler, no doubt his best time came with 10 and 83 last December-January, but once Horc went down Penner and Hemsky didn’t really click at all at evens, and their line with Stoll had the Minus Touch.

    So if 10 and 83 are to be split up, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put Penner back with Horc, since they clicked before. Something like this:

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

    Not sure about that top line, but Ethan and Sam were the only guys who scored last night, both assisted by Ales, so why not continue that experiment for now. Moreau certainly provides protection for Gagner, who in turn provides offensive support for Hemsky.

    I’m not the first to suggest that “second” line combo, but i sure like it. A beauty group for power-v-power, who can seriously outscore if the other coach chooses not to match up with them. The third line is a nice blend of two way players which would give Nilsson a chance to be the offensive catalyst with two guys who aren’t entirely clueless in the offensive zone. And Cogs’ speed would add a dimension to the “energy line”. Among the young centres 13-51-78-89 only Cogs shoots left and might most easily make the conversion to the port side. If it gets him off the faceoff dot, so much the better.

    Of course my preference is to give all four lines plenty of ice at evens, maybe not 11 minutes each but all in the 9-13 range. Special teams would account for the other ~16 minutes a night, and a guy like Horc who plays on both units would still be getting his 20 minutes a game.

  17. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    I like it Bruce, Make it so

  18. CrazyCoach says:

    I see the lightning have issued Melrose his walking papers. Is anyone surprised?

    The new ownership in Tampa is a joke. They promised to bring REAL hockey to Tampa, then proceed to drop Dan Boyle and Brad Richards and hire Melrose as coach.

    I’ve met one of the owners of the lightning and believe me, he should stick to property development and for the good of the game, leave hockey immediately.

  19. Black Dog says:

    Rumour is they may not be able to meet payroll this week, Tampa that is.

  20. Doogie2K says:

    Actually, Richards was a deal made by Jay Feaster at last year’s deadline, but I agree that the way Feaster and Boyle — Boyle especially — were treated is shameful.

  21. Bruce says:

    “Shameful” = a $40 MM contract and then traded the fuck out of Tampa to a serious contender. I’d say it worked out OK for O’Danny Boyle.

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