Oilers at Blue Jackets, G19/08-09

Before Ken Hitchcock arrived in Columbus, the Blue Jackets didn’t have a personality. Teams are like that until a strong leader (or talent) joins the crew and the team starts doing spectacular things.

The Buffalo Sabres had a personality the moment Gilbert Perreault swooped behind the net to grab the puck and dash up the ice, whereas the Vancouver Canucks (who came into existence the same day as the Sabres) wouldn’t really have a personality until 12 long years later (courtesy Roger Neilson).

The Jackets are a team on the rise and have spent much of their money wisely in recent years. It’ll be on display tonight as the Edmonton Oilers and their mountain of good copy fly into Ohio.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a personality. Finally.

The Edmonton Oilers have an injury that will impact their depth up front. Despite having a pedestrian start to the season and despite playing out of position for much of it, Fernando Pisani is a useful NHL player and the Oilers will miss him.

Going into tonight the Blue Jackets are ahead of Edmonton by 1 point (both clubs have played 18 games) and there are rumors of a shakeup in Columbus if things don’t go well over the next few days. The situation with the Oilers is so public that I’m not going to bother repeating all of it.

Suffice to say that the Oilers need to win this hockey game tonight.

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316 Responses to "Oilers at Blue Jackets, G19/08-09"

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  1. Dennis says:

    Not sure how much patience I’ll continue to have if MacT keeps playing 89 with 83.

    Home coaches will never let 83 play against soft opp so whatever line he’s on will always face tough comp when we aren’t playing at Rexall.

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough but now it’s almost a given that Mac goes back to 10-83, right? And then 18-78 as the genesis for the second tough min line? This puts 17 on the top wing and 26 with 18-78 and we’re back to the Kids with the shelter.

  2. Dennis says:

    Sorry, that should read 27 as in Penner.

    17 The Kurri would be a real nice help about now though:)

  3. Swabbubba says:

    Well lets win one for St.Fernando. Penner should draw in after being in woodshed. I hope he plays with some sort of enthusiasm. Can we put a bounty on some strong body checks I had it at 8 was surprised when they announced 13.

    Why is Pouliot on 2nd PP. Put Reddox out there

  4. hunter1909 says:

    It’s a good thing Pisani got hurt last night.

    Now for the third straight season, we can all go back to focussing on injuries instead of non-issues such as how the team plays hockey.

  5. Black Dog says:

    hey hunter, if you ever paid attention you would know that there are a lot of critics of how the Oilers have done things over the last few years here, maybe read some old posts before you go spouting off your mouth about people making excuses

    a lot of people have taken Lowe to task here and a lot have done the same with macT

    they did a good job in 2006, credit where credit is due, but those days are gone

    the interesting thing is that I recognize you as someone who used to come by now and then and actually add something to the conversation with smart inciteful comments

    and now when I see your name I just skip right over it because I know its just going to be some smartass remark that adds nothing to the conversation

    so maybe instead of wasting everyone’s time by typing dozens of ridiculous comments try and add something useful, would you?

  6. Lowetide says:

    hunter: get a blog and use it. Seriously.

  7. Black Dog says:

    dennis – well, RW suddenly goes from being a real strength to having a hole there

    I would move Gagner back to the wing but I guess we will see what this year is about now. If he stays at centre with Hemsky that its another development year, if they move him back to RW then they might be serious about making the playoffs

  8. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide and Black Dog:

    You’re both right. I’ve ran out of anything new or interesting to say about this situation. Everything to say has been said.

  9. Schitzo says:

    As long as MacT isn’t stubborn, I think we’re finally in the right spot for depth.

    Two RW who can hold their own (83, 26) and one to shelter (89).

    3 LW who can hold their own (27, 18, 12) [Maybe that's being generous to Nilsson, but I think he's just about there]

    And the same centre depth that we knew in July would be the death of us. Looks like Poo is going to have to get the big push.

  10. pboy says:

    I think it’s fair to say at this point that MacT is on his last legs with this team. He’s had a 9 year run and that’s pretty amazing length of time for a coach in any professional league in this era.

    I’ve been trying to figure out who is going to replace MacT at the helm and if history repeats itself and it almost always does, look for the Oilers to tap someone from within the organization who has zero NHL head coaching experience.

    Glen Sather – 1st time NHL coach
    John Muckler – coached 1 year with Minnesota in the NHL ***The most qualified person who the Oilers have ever hired to be head coach.***
    Ted Green – 1st time NHL coach
    George Burnett – 1st time NHL coach
    Ron Low – 1st time NHL coach
    Kevin Lowe – 1st time NHL coach
    Craig MacTavish – 1st time NHL coach

    There are experienced coaches out there who are looking for work; Pat Burns, John Tortorella, Bob Hartley, Ted Nolan, Paul Maurice, etc, etc…… How come I don’t think any of them will be behind the bench for my beloved Oil anytime soon though?

  11. GSC says:

    MacTavish isn’t going anywhere unless he decides to on his own. I firmly believe that he has job security in Edmonton for as long as Kevin Lowe and Co. are in control.

    Here’s to hoping I’m wrong and Tambellini is able and willing to make a change behind the bench. Sometimes it’s more about lighting a fire under a team’s ass and the Oilers definitely need some of that right now. It’s year 8 of the MacT era, and nothing seems to be different than it was to begin with (other than the fact he has MUCH more talent to work with).

    How much longer are we to remain patient and wait for these supposedly can’t miss prospects to pan-out? Chicago has the same crop of young talent and wasted no time in finding an established coach in Quenneville to shake things up from early on. Who says the Oilers can’t do the same?

    I sincerely wish it wouldn’t come to this, and we could all kick back and say that the last man to go bucketless must have done so because he’s just that damned smart and has plenty of extra brain cells to spare. But the reality is that the Oilers are fading fast and with the season still young there is plenty of time to right the ship (see: Capitals, Washington).

  12. Kish says:

    Interesting, who could be the next coach of the Oil? (i know this is premature, but work is slow)
    Tortorella, Maurice and Burns would be great fits, imo. Torts might be a bit, um, high event for the Oil right now, but I think you need someone from outside the org at this point.
    The theory being that you can make it work by starting as a hard-ass and get softer over time, but it never works the other way around. When you’re a players coach, nice guy, how can you all of a sudden turn into a dictator (ie toss a player under the bus in the most public way)?

  13. Bruce says:

    PBoy: Nice list, with an unmistakable pattern. You forgot one though.

    One has to go deep into Oilers WHA history to find a coach with a significant (if peculiar) NHL track record.

  14. Rod says:

    Anyone surprised it took an out-of-town reporter to question MacT throwing Penner under the bus? Not me.

    Obviously there’s room for 27 to improve, but the public nature of MacT’s comments…not good. Making it worse of course is that MacT didn’t acknowledge the blender and lack of PP time. To me, Penner has been OK this season. A season with only 5 home games so far. Three of those were “single game homestands”, which means those were just another spot on a ridiculous road trip. Wasn’t the goal to survive the first two months? Aren’t they doing that?

    Again, room for improvement with Penner, but that’s true of pretty much every player on the roster (like maybe, Cole). That MacT lost sight of all that, and instead turned one player into a whipping boy? Nothing but rough water ahead. The one steering is in a panic.

    Lines I’d go with:
    12-10-83
    27-89-26
    18-51-78
    85-13-46

    Not so sure those would work against the Wings. Columbus though? Why not?

    Watch MacT insert Boulerice though instead of Penner. Happened against the Avs…

    (Yeah, I’m late to MacT’s scapegoating of Penner. Great thread the other day.)

  15. Scott says:

    So is somebody going to get a call up or does Smid just come off the IR and Reddox extends his stay?

    I know that waiver eligibility is going to be a problem, but maybe Brule deserves his shot now. There is room on the roster for him into January with Pisani gone, and we can all just hope the goalie situation is fixed by then to free up a more permanent spot.

  16. pboy says:

    I saw Watson on the list but I figured with Sather aboard, Watson’s input must have been limited at best…..lol

    I think it’s too bad that Hitchcock already has a job, that’s a guy I’d like to see coach the hometown team.

  17. oilerdago says:

    Scott, I think schitzo has it right – this injury unclogs positions. Too many of the same kind of player in the wrong place is not the issue anymore.

    Whether they play better starting tonight or not…

    That said I don’t think they call someone else up unless MacT feels it’s time to put another person in the PB. Sooner or later, Penner has to come out. Or does he?

  18. Dennis says:

    If you’re really looking for a positive out of all of this, it’s that this isn’t your older brother’s Pisani.

    He did have some hills to climb, like trying to play pivot, but he was getting outchanced on a regular basis and there were more than a couple of games where I wondered aloud what was wrong with him.

    BTW, here’s a look at the chances for/against heading into the game on NJ, Nov 9th. Vic was cool enough to keep a running tally and he posted them over at MC’s place in the comments section of the NJ game summary; as mentioned before, these stats Don’t include the NJ game.

    SC+ SC-
    5 Smid 22 26
    10 Horcoff 59 40
    12 Nilsson 51 44
    13 Cogliano 42 35
    18 Moreau 36 63
    24 Staios 37 45
    26 Cole 37 49
    27 Penner 44 36
    33 MacIntyre 5 5
    34 Pisani 27 51
    37 Grebeshkov 41 44
    43 Strudwick 30 34
    44 Souray 56 44
    46 Stortini 3 8
    49 Peckham 0 4
    51 Brodziak 25 30
    71 Visnovski 71 47
    77 Gilbert 55 61
    78 Pouliot 30 25
    83 Hemsky 53 40
    89 Gagner 51 37

    Now, I know that not everyone believes in this, more on that a bit further down, but I think it lines up in a lot of ways and this shows that a few guys were getting killed in terms of chances for/against. A lot of can be summed up by who’s taking draws at the dangerous end of the ice and who’s playing tough opp and in those cases we can say that such assignments really weren’t warrented. Pisani being one of those cases; Moreau and Cole the others and with those guys getting killed in a handful of games and handling tough opp it’s no suprise they’re the dogs on this list.

    But I haven’t posted the sums for the Col and Det games but 34 was 11/9 in the first three games following Vic’s posting; at NJ, NYR and TO. So perhaps he was coming along and was buoyed by no longer having to play centre or perhaps the bigger sample size holds the most truth. In my heart I want to believe that he was about to right the ship but at his age there’s every chance we were witnessing the beginning of the end for him as well. At least in terms of how effective he has been in the past. And of course if someone wants to dig into the last three seasons to show his EV +/_ and qualcomp stats and compare it to the quality of team he was playing on and in the end make me feel better about his near future, then I’d be glad to read it.

    I know there’s a trickle down to who takes his tough min but at first blush the place we’ll really feel his loss is on the PK. He’s only been on for one GA, I had to look at that several times myself, so how much worse could our PK be?

    We might be about to find out.

    But I would hope that this is the kick in the ass that MacT needs to stop fucking around and try and win and let Gagner develop at his own pace.

    I will be optimistic for once and believe macT goes with sensible lines and in hopes of that I’m calling a win tonight because I’m also hoping Garon gets the call and I’ll wager he’s due for a good performance. Besides, we’ve scored just eight regulation goals in our last four games so we should be ready to “break out”:) to the tune of three or four.

    I’ll call 4-2 Oilers with two goals on the PP and of course CBJ picks up a PP as well.

    Garon makes 28 saves for the victory.

    Note: I reserve the right to change my mind if MacT pulls any fuckery with the lines and/or netminding choice.

  19. Dennis says:

    Rod: the connection there is that a guy from Winnipeg is talking about macT picking on a guy from Manitoba.

    At least that’s how I read it.

  20. Doogie2K says:

    the Edmonton Oilers and their mountain of good copy

    My, the season has brought out the bitter sarcasm in you, LT. ;)

    I keep underestimating this Jackets team, but after the game we saw last month, I don’t think that can be done anymore. There’s no saying that this is a sure playoff team — I’d consider them a bubble team, much like Phoenix and (sigh) our Oilers — but I don’t think they can be written off any longer. I still don’t know that they’re very deep, but they’ve got something for Hitch to work with now, though I question the assessment that they’ve been spending their money wisely. Have you seen Mike Commodore’s contract?

    @pboy: Bruce beat me to Bugsy Watson, but for the record, here are their WHA coach hirings, who generally weren’t any more experienced:

    Ray Kinasewich: First time major-pro coach (it was the first season of the WHA)
    Brian Shaw: First time major-pro coach
    Bill Hunter: Founder/owner and first time major-pro coach (and unqualified disaster)
    Clare Drake: First time major-pro coach
    “Bep” Guidolin: As noted by Bruce, the most experienced pro coach the Oilers have ever hired, with four seasons in Boston (1972-74) and Kansas City (1974-76).
    Glen Sather: First time major-pro coach (and player-coach at the end of 1976-77)

    Now, granted, some of those guys had loads of experience elsewhere (Clare Drake, for example, needs no introduction), but it reinforces the point is that the Oilers tend to go off the board and promote “prospects” to coach instead of going for “retreads.” Other fun fact: of those WHA guys, only Sather had a pro coaching career after Edmonton, and it was relatively brief (90 games in New York over two years).

  21. HBomb says:

    It’s a good thing Pisani got hurt last night.

    Even by internet standards AND considering he’s having a down year so far, this is a painfully dumb statement to make.

  22. CrazyCoach says:

    Hey Kish,

    I agree with your theory on starting out hard and softening up later on in the season. I had a great mentor once when I was an assistant who said, “It’s always easier to loosen your grip on players than it is to tighten it.” That always served me well. I don’t sit in the dressing room or even in the Oilers pressbox, but MacT seems to want to tighten up instead of being a hardass right from the start. Penner is thinking two things a) time to get moving or b) Screw you in your blue canoe and I’ve got 4.25 MIllion reasons why!

    Part of me says there’s 30-35 million “screw you”‘s going on in that dressing room right now.

    Pboy I like your list and perhaps like to once again voice my support for Ted Nolan. I know he has this reputation as a GM killer and relies on veterans like you wouldn’t believe, but the man has proven himself time and time again.

  23. Doogie2K says:

    In my heart I want to believe that he was about to right the ship but at his age there’s every chance we were witnessing the beginning of the end for him as well. At least in terms of how effective he has been in the past.

    I personally wasn’t prepared to write him off while he was at C, and was willing to give him ten or fifteen games back on the wing to “right the ship,” as you say. After all, if you’re going to compare two samples, you might as well compare them at a comparable size. Now, with the injury, he’s got one more thing to come back from that he didn’t particularly need.

    As for 34′s EV+/- and QualComp, well, BTN only goes back two years, but here we go. Minimum 40 GP, 10 min/night EV, forwards only:

    2007-08: -0.36/60 (7th); 6th in QC
    2006-07: -0.33/60 (5th); 1st in QC

    You can see why his performance suffered, given that he was coming off colitis, but it’s still a drop. As always, your mileage may vary.

  24. rickibear says:

    “There are experienced coaches out there who are looking for work; Pat Burns, John Tortorella, Bob Hartley, Ted Nolan, Paul Maurice, etc, etc…… How come I don’t think any of them will be behind the bench for my beloved Oil anytime soon though?”

    The answer! Only one of them can have the word good used to describe them.

    The one you can, may have Barry Melrose syndrom. Out of hockey too long.

  25. Conan says:

    So as soon as Traktor quietens down this hunter guys starts hijacking threads?

    Hunter, you pretty much ruined the game thread last nice. It’s like you’re some kind of spammer or something.

  26. goldenchild says:

    Some good stuff here as usual from the group.

    A couple of quick thoughts,
    1. this schedule is just unrelenting I cannot remember playing so many B2B’s and they never seem to line up correctly. I mean they were pob losing in Det regardless of sched but now playing the BJ’s on the 2nd night makes this game that much tougher.

    2. I think macT is a good coach but he can;t continue trying to accomplish getting the kids ready for 2011 and winning in 2009.
    This team needs some confidence and needs to win now.

    3.Gagner should be playing soft minutes, 10 and 83 need to be reunited and how much more of 71 and 44 on the PP do we need to see before we can say it doesn’t work. They both make 5mil+ it shouldn’t be such a blow to either of their egos to come out for the 2nd min of the PP.

    4. We need to get Garon some action, if this team is a playoff team which I think it is, it will be with both Garon and Roli playing.

    Oilers win 3-1.

  27. Doogie2K says:

    Pat Burns hasn’t been out of hockey that long; his last year was the one before the lockout, so it’s been only 4 1/2 years. He’s still of reasonably current vintage (and won in ’03), and he got his feet wet on Hitch’s staff at the Worlds last spring.

    Compare his record to Melrose’s, and it isn’t even close. Melrose, his nemesis in ’93, had one good season and two mediocre ones; Burns had three seasons that saw him make the conference finals or better, and only two of thirteen seasons were sub-.500 (including a sterling .719 in his rookie year with the Cup finalist Habs in 1989).

  28. Dennis says:

    I’ve been watching them here and there for the Torres/Peca reunion tour and those guys are teaming with Modin to play the toughs and then Nash and friends come out.

    A look at their last home game will tell us how they match lines and D though I’d imagine that Commodore and that piece of junk Hejda are playing the toughs.

  29. Kyle says:

    It seems to me there are a lot of people all of a sudden absolutely convinced MacT has lost the room mainly because of the Penner verbal explosion.

    Sure MacT has seemed a little more cantakerous this year, and yes there is new management and ownership, (and expectations) but I think it might be a little premature here to start his funeral march. This isn’t a Stanley Cup team in the first place and as long as the Oilers are competitive (and let’s face it they mostly have been) I believe MacT needs to be given time. He’s got a lot of new personelle and he’s still testing where everyone fits.

  30. Dennis says:

    GC: I remember that you liked The Wire so that means you have good taste when it comes to TV shows so perhaps you should check out Brotherhood.

    IMO it’s the best show that no one’s watching.

  31. jdrevenge says:

    I’m kinda leaning towards hoping they lose and keep losing until something changes in regards to the culture of the club. (change of coach, change of players)

    There is something very mediocre haunting this club and its giving me the willies. IMO something does have to change. Not for the sake of change but to start something fresh with a solid core of guys before the season floats by again.

    LT you’re prolly right in saying Macs made his bed.

    Habscheid is coaching junior right now… Crawford is working for the CBC… Burns is about due for his last run.

    While i think that Macs calling out of players is warranted it does spell doom for the coach. As its all or nothing. If they dont produce hes a goner.

    Seeing the look on Coles, Rolosons and Moreaus faces last night seemed to show an extreme amount of frustration. These guys seem to be on the verge of giving up.

    I’m almost at the just traded Smytty dont wanna but still do watch stage.

  32. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide:

    Having been suggested to be my you to make my own blog, I just did.

    It won’t ever be as nice as yours, and probably won’t be popular either, but wtf.

    I’ll leave you to go my own way, now.

    Hunter

    PS: Thanks for not banning me(although I’m sure you would sooner or later)

  33. rickibear says:

    “(Yeah, I’m late to MacT’s scapegoating of Penner. Great thread the other day.)”

    Pretty much Bang on Rod!
    Welcome back!

    PS: I thought about this last night.

    Speaking from team play experience. There are players who generate the same upper level results as your teams other best, without putting in the same work as the others.

    These guys are accepted but internally questioned. The other players want more because they know it is there.

    They know it makes for a better team.

    I would be OK with the Penner PB. I am sure the players are as well.

  34. Schitzo says:

    If Smid’s healthy, I’d play him at 4LW and tell him that Torres is all his.

  35. rickibear says:

    “Compare his record to Melrose’s, and it isn’t even close.”

    Doggie the point was about length out of the game. Melrose and Nolan the last to come back. Not good optics.

    5 years may not be that long.

    Though only getting past the third play off round with teams .66 or better is an endorsment of team talent. His teams .55 to .61 (0/9)

  36. Bank Shot says:

    If Smid’s healthy, I’d play him at 4LW and tell him that Torres is all his.

    Yea. We wouldn’t want to interupt the chemistry in the massive vortex of suck that Strudwick and Staios have going on.

  37. Doogie2K says:

    @Rickibear: Fair enough; my real point was that 4 1/2 years is a lot less than the ten-plus Nolan and Melrose were out. It just struck me that Burns had a far better record than Melrose, and had gone deep much more recently, and would therefore be more in tune with how modern players work.

  38. goldenchild says:

    Just thinking, in terms of callups with this being a long term injury does a Brule callup now make sense? A guy that can prob fit in on the bottom 6 and play a couple of diff positions and reportedly brings some edge?

    Dennis, the Showtime show about the Irish mob family in Boston? I watched a few episodes season 1 but I think it was up against HBO sunday so I lost interest. I will take a look again, I hear great things about Mad men on AMC but have not watched that one either. I am liking True Blood on HBO, not normally into that kind of stuff but a very well done show with great acting plus the sneaky hot Anna Paquin, check it out.

  39. Dennis says:

    GC: Mad Men IS it right now, no question. I just figured you would have seen that by now. BTW, all the eps are available on ctv.ca

    As for tonight, MacT is fucking going with Roli again so I’ll say we lose 4-3 in the SO.

    MacT is slowly but surely losing me. Throughout all the rash and stupid decisions by Lowe, I could always count on MacT to have better sense.

    I don’t know if that’s the case anymore.

  40. goldenchild says:

    Agreed there this should be a no brainer for Garon unless something is going on that we don’t know about. Makes no sense.

  41. mjsh says:

    A couple things. First of all, I hope some one takes on Torres for the punch he threw at Smid. Secondly, if Rolly is really back in the net, it would appear that Garon is in a worse position than Penner. Based on what I have read here, Brule should be called up as well and Jesse the stick man should be sent down. Seems to me you can’t do that, you have to send him back, but I do not think he belongs with the Copper and Blue.

  42. Asiaoil says:

    Yeah I heard we had some guy who did pretty well in net last year hanging around…..what was his name again? Sheeesh…..

  43. Slipper says:

    Dennis: Brotherhood is a pretty good show. A little slow moving. I’m guessing people who believe season 4 and 5 of The Wire were anywhere near as good as seasons 1 and 3 will like it.

    The best shows that nobody watches, though? That is easily a 3 way tie between Dexter, Rescue Me and Battlestar Galactica.

    Special mention to Californication. Very funny.

  44. Slipper says:

    Can people actually be banned from Blogger comment sections?

  45. Bruce says:

    Again, room for improvement with Penner, but that’s true of pretty much every player on the roster (like maybe, Cole).

    Rod: No kidding. Cole has been getting the free ride for the most part, although I see Matheson took a shot at him in today’s Journal: “… several players were invisible, especially Erik Cole, who played 17 minutes and didn’t have a shot on goal.”

    To my eye Cole’s had more time with cherry linemates than Penner. Their assignments have varied over the course of the season, but I’d have trouble accepting that Cole has had the more difficult assignments overall, or that he has done more with them. Certainly Cole has had far more powerplay time than Penner (60 minutes to 24).

    According to BtN Cole has faced the slightly more difficult QC (+0.05 to 0.0) but has had much better QT (+0.39 to +0.07). Those Quality rankings have been fluctuating so wildly in the early season I don’t put a lot of stock in them (yet), but they don’t support any notion that Cole is eating up the tough minutes.

    On the season both have 3 goals while Cole has 2 assists to Penner’s 1. Whoop-de-do.

    Looking deeper, Cole is -4 and Penner +6. By Dennis’s scoring chance metric, Cole is -12 and Penner +8 as of a few games ago; and by Vic’s Corsi number Cole is -9 and Penner +25, so obviously those +/- rankings aren’t totally a fluke. I was expecting a little more out of Erik, truth be told.

  46. Coach pb9617 says:


    I would move Gagner back to the wing but I guess we will see what this year is about now. If he stays at centre with Hemsky that its another development year, if they move him back to RW then they might be serious about making the playoffs

    I’ll bang the drum again:

    Horpensky
    12-13-26
    18-51-78
    85-89-46

    Gagner is not playing like a top six player right now and there are six guys that have been. Leave him at center and let him eat up the softest of competition.

  47. godot10 says:

    I think MacT has to make the playoffs to keep his job. If the Oilers fall out of the race, then a change could happen in-season.

    I think MacT is showing signs of burnout as coach of the Oilers. I think he is a more-than-adequate NHL coach but both the Oilers and him may need a change. Still, I think he has probably got the job as long as the Oilers are in the playoff hunt (as he should).

    I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but I wouldn’t mind Pat Burns. No to Tortarella. No to Hartley. No to Maurice. No to Quinn. Yes to Tippett, if he gets fired.

    I would go:
    27-10-83
    12-13-26
    18-51-78
    85-89-46

    Take the pressure off of 89 and let him play centre (I want him playing centre, not wing) on an easy minute line with energy wingers. And give him PP time.

  48. Dennis says:

    Bruce: We know that 26 started with 10-83 while 27 started with 18-34 and they were playing the toughs so I can get behind your idea that 27 has had the hardest road. And my patience is wearing thin with him but I’d say the journalist wolves haven’t been out yet because the brass has put the word out to be easy on him just in case they’d like to resign him.

    Would you doubt that for a second?

    Personally, I’m running out of patience with him and other than being really good at drawing penalties I haven’t seen a lot to get excited about. In fact, very early on I pointed out that he’s not overly smart when his line gets hemmed in his own zone. I’d say he’s a Torres type when it comes to driving the results: the puck’s in the other end because he’s hard on it but not because he knows how to relieve pressure.

    Slipper: Dexter has WAY more buzz than Brotherhood; that’s evidence by the 12 ep order as opposed to just eight for Brotherhood. But yeah I’m a fan of that show as well.

    As for Californication, I watched it Before I knew Duchovony had a sex addiction:) The overt use of drugs and the availability of stranger sex is to the point where it has to be satirical but if you never wanted to be Hank Moody, then you forgot what it was like to be in your mid 20′s:)

  49. Matt N says:

    The list of players who haven’t performed up to expectations or contracts is pretty long.

    Cole, Horcoff, Penner, first 10 games of Hemsky, Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Smid and Garon

    Nilsson, Fernando, Stortini, Staios, Roli and Poo have been OK at best

    Only Moreau, Visnovsky, Souray, Strudwick, JDD have been all we expected and more

    That being said this is still a 500 hockey team who has had an unbelievably brutal schedule. Which is pretty amazing given the list of underperformers

  50. Coach pb9617 says:

    Anyone surprised it took an out-of-town reporter to question MacT throwing Penner under the bus? Not me.

    Even worse was that any national media type agreed with the move without asking why.

  51. Bruce says:

    I’d say the journalist wolves haven’t been out yet because the brass has put the word out to be easy on him just in case they’d like to resign him.

    Would you doubt that for a second?

    No.

  52. Coach pb9617 says:

    As for tonight, MacT is fucking going with Roli again so I’ll say we lose 4-3 in the SO.

    I’m not really bothered by that. He was fine last night.

    I just hope he can finally get the damned lines together.

  53. mc79hockey says:

    Secondly, if Rolly is really back in the net, it would appear that Garon is in a worse position than Penner.

    Hrudey was shitting all over Garon for his mental toughness on HNiC the other night, which I made fun of because Hrudey is doing this from a TV studio in Toronto. I suppose it’s possible that Hrudey has talked to Oilers staff who aren’t happy with Garon. If they aren’t happy with something he’s doing, it might explain why he’s been passed over a few times.

  54. Black Dog says:

    Anna Paquin. Hubba hubba.

  55. Jonathan says:

    I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but I wouldn’t mind Pat Burns. No to Tortarella. No to Hartley. No to Maurice. No to Quinn. Yes to Tippett, if he gets fired.

    Make that two, with a possible “yes” to Ted Nolan/Mike Sullivan.

  56. goldenchild says:

    Not to go all Hunter and Hijack the thread but Dennis started it :) Slipper I like Californication but if we’re talking about the best comedy that not enough people watch it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
    Sons of Anarchy on FX is a new show I have watched a few times that looks to have potential.

    Now back to Oilers talk, is the goalie choice tonight MacT trying to force Lowebellini’s hand in getting down to 3 goalies or does he just have 0 faith in Garon which I guess is kind of the same thing

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    Godot10, you are a VERY smart man :)

  58. Steve says:

    This goaltending business reminds me of the end of last season, where Garon had come off some really good play and MacTavish inexplicably
    i. made some comment to the effect that the Oilers were going to need Roloson (at that point the clear backup) to put together a string of wins, and
    ii. insisted on starting Roloson (who did in fact put together a string of wins).

    Turns out Garon was injured. It just seems like that has to be the case this time too; he hasn’t been *that* bad, and plenty of Oiler goalies who have been that bad haven’t sat this long.

  59. St George says:

    According to BtN Cole has faced the slightly more difficult QC (+0.05 to 0.0) but has had much better QT (+0.39 to +0.07). Those Quality rankings have been fluctuating so wildly in the early season I don’t put a lot of stock in them (yet), but they don’t support any notion that Cole is eating up the tough minutes.

    On the season both have 3 goals while Cole has 2 assists to Penner’s 1. Whoop-de-do.

    Looking deeper, Cole is -4 and Penner +6. By Dennis’s scoring chance metric, Cole is -12 and Penner +8 as of a few games ago; and by Vic’s Corsi number Cole is -9 and Penner +25

    For us newer readers, is there a cheat-sheet somewhere explaining these stats and where they can be found? Perhaps an old LT post somewhere?

  60. Jonathan says:

    This goaltending business reminds me of the end of last season

    Ditto.

  61. Black Dog says:

    Regarding Cole the fact is that he looks like he is working harder.

    Well, he actually is working harder but back to point.

    Penner, like Frank Mahovolich or Mario Lemieux, is a big guy who eats up a lot of ice so even when he is working hard he doesn’t look like he’s working hard.

    Compared to a little guy like Powder or somebody like Stortini who is all arms and legs akimbo or Cole churning along the boards or towards the net Penner is always going to come up short in people’s eyes.

    Its all moot anyhow because he’s a lazy good for nothing (Alex Steen? Puhleeze!) but I thought I’d throw that out there anyways.

  62. Bruce says:

    We know that 26 started with 10-83 while 27 started with 18-34 and they were playing the toughs so I can get behind your idea that 27 has had the hardest road.

    Yeah, I think so. I do know that Hemsky was 0-for-October while the Cole experiment was failing, but once Penner got installed on his line Nov 1 in Carolina 83 started to play W-A-Y better (at least for a while; I’m just now watching the video from last night and Ales was having a horrible time out there, both ES and PP).

    As for the PP, I will keep harping on it cuz I just don’t think I’m wrong on this one. As mentioned above Cole has had an hour of PP time, with all of 1 goal and 1 assist. Penner is a proven PP performer with established rates easily double of Cole’s actual production in what has become a prolonged experiment. Our PP hasn’t been the worst aspect of our team (unfortunately), but I expect you’ll agree it is less than the sum of its parts. At 17.3% it ranks 16th in the NHL, the definition of mediocre; whereas we have enough proven talent that that unit should be upper third of the league. I was counting on it to be an aspect that helped us win some games, and we especially need it given the planet-scaled ball of suck that our PK has become.

    I would argue that all five of 27-44-71-83-89 fit my definition of “powerplay specialists”, and given that they play complementary positions I have been calling for that unit since the day of the Visnovsky trade. If anything we have found out that 71 and 44 maybe belong on spearate units, but it seems to me that the most effective Prongerless PP during the MacT era was after Horc went down last year and 89 took his spot between 27 and 83. All three guys played to their strengths, with Gagner using Penner quite a bit on down-low plays while Hemsky shot quite a bit through Penner screens. Gagner also picked up his share of garbage, especially longer rebounds to the goalie’s right. The additions of two big-money point men should not detract from this chemistry, even in an either/or situation.

    27-89-83 might not work at ES, but they were a damned effective trio on the PP last spring. Of all of the things MacT has tried early this season, why the fuck he would fuck with a trio that was fucking working baffles me enfuckingtirely. Sometimes a little continuity can be a good thing.

  63. Rod says:

    Wow. Garon better be injured. Otherwise there’s no excuse for going with Roli yet again. Only one more game in the next week (vs. Det)…so there’s no point sitting Garon tonight and playing him Thursday.

    Big problem with the Garon is injured theory though. Why put an injured goalie as backup, with a healthy JDD in the PB? Or is he hurt too?

    The Hrudey comments have already been brought up. I thought Hrudey was nonsensical. Hrudey claimed that a 3-goalie system worked for him, so it should work for Garon. Um, yeah, but Hrudey was the #3. That’s the only guy it works for.

    Battle through it my ass. Garon was awesome to start the season, but didn’t get to keep going. Everyone else kept going with wins. Then there’s Roli. Lose, and keep playing, no matter how long it means Garon is on the shelf.

    Again, looking at the schedule for the next week, and how long Garon has already been sitting, it makes no sense to start Roli tonight.

  64. relic says:

    for those who brought up Pete Peters earlier (I was and still am skeptical about goalie coach criticisms, however…)

    a bit from MacTs pregame podcast (paraphrased) “… Pete let’s us know when a guy is ready for a start… physically and mentally… Mathieu is getting ready…”

    whether this means Garon is hurt or Peters doesn’t think his head is in it right now, who knows?

  65. T. says:

    I truly believe Garon to be hurt. There is no other explanation. I actually still really like Roli, and have no problems with him getting in on some games but this is a long time not to play a goalie.

    I really want a reunion of Horpensky but do you take a guy out of the PB and insert him on the top line?

    And I’m no sports psychologist but I’m not sure how hard I’d want to work for a coach who called me out this vehemently in public. Work to prove him wrong – sure but FOR him (which is what is desirable in the long run) – not so much.

    And finally – why not put Sam on the 4th? Maybe if he’s out there skating circles around the softies, he’ll find some magic… it’s a tough one because he is doing and saying much of the right stuff.

    my two bits.

  66. T. says:

    One more bit: I lived in Moncton while Nolan coached the Wildcats and I don’t think I’d say no on him as a coach.

    He has alot of the blue-collar-ness that I associate with being an Oiler but works relatively well with young and skilled types as well.

  67. CrazyCoach says:

    Why Kelly Hrudey has a job is beyond me. I think he’s part of every TV Networks plans to put third rate goalies in front of TV cameras.

    Mind you, Ken Dryden was a good goalie, but his TV skills are right up there with Nixon’s sweat stains.

  68. Jonathan says:

    Why Kelly Hrudey has a job is beyond me.

    Oh, I don’t know – it isn’t like Don Cherry or Keith Jones are any better.

  69. Bruce says:

    Compared to a little guy like Powder or somebody like Stortini who is all arms and legs akimbo or Cole churning along the boards or towards the net Penner is always going to come up short in people’s eyes.

    BDHS: Don’t disagree. To my eye Penner is above all a cerebral player, and when that is packaged in a huge body criticism always ensues. But there have been many such players who have been effective besides the Hall of Famers mentioned like Mario and the Big M. Guys like Tim Kerr, Peter McNab and Dave Andreychuk were effective scorers “despite” their reputation of being gentlemen (or oversized pussies, depending on your take :). McNab’s career high in PiM was 24, for goodness sake, playing on the Big Bad Bruins.

    Again I will make the comparison between Penner and former Oiler Mike Krushelnyski, who was a smart, strong player who some people hated cuz he didn’t hit much, didn’t (appear to) skate fast, and didn’t (appear to)work hard. What he was very good at — getting his big body where it could do the most good — went largely unrecognized.

    I remember Bill James once making a comment about Amos Otis playing the game with his head and playing percentages and how some fans never forgave him for it. One anecdote was along the lines of Otis playing a line drive off the top of the wall perfectly and holding the guy to a single, and some fans around James criticizing AO for not crashing into the wall to attempt the catch.

    James furthered the argument that playing the percentages included not just game situation but big picture considerations including the risk/reward of (not) making a play that might cause an injury.
    To briefly explore this sidetrack of thought, obviously hockey is not a perfect parallel, there are times where Harm’s Way is the only place to get the job done. But Cole has missed 10-30 GP in 4 of the past 5 seasons, while Penner’s enforced absence marks the first time he has missed since he reached the NHL in 2005-06. Their differing styles of play may have something to do with that. Whether that makes Penner a heady player or an oversized pussy is a matter of opinion, but I’d rather have 80 games of Dustin Penner than 60 games of Erik Cole, let’s put it that way.

    I do think there’s a happy medium in there, Dustin needs to use his strength to be effective, he can’t be getting pushed around by the Alex Steens of the league, that’s for sure. One thing on which MacT and I entirely agree is that Penner is capable of better, and If this benching lights the pilot it’ll have been a good move. No reason why it needs extend beyond the two games; as soon as tonight I’d like to see 27 bulling around the china shop like his job depended on it.

  70. Sean says:

    LT – Your boy Pouliot is starting to look much better. Creating chances but much like Horcoff he cant buy a goal.

    I’d go 27-10-83. Unless Penner is Tinman then my guess is he has a good game.

    2nd line I’d go 18-13-26. I like Morreau and Cole together and Cogs had a good game last night.

    85-51-78
    12-89-46 to round it out.

    Fernando’s injury is Reddox’s opportunity.

  71. Kris says:

    Man, we really have no insight as to what’s going on in the minds of the Oilers players, coaches, and brass. None. I mean, no Garon? When you’re looking to shake things up? Weird.

    I mean, what do sports journalists get paid for other than investigating what’s going on with the team. Weird stuff happens, and the papers say nothing. Nothing.

    In San Francisco, reporters got a hold of leaked grand jury testimony to go after Bonds. In Edmonton, reporters are worried Stortini will beat them up. (I get that this is a hyperbolic way to put things, but still…)

    I can’t help but think reporters think their role is to sell and not investigate the Oilers, because they’re still worried that the Oil might up and move to Seattle or something.

  72. Black Dog says:

    Bruce – the thing is I am not one of these guys who wants or needs to have Penner out there smashing faces for me to consider him to be effective. I would guess you feel the same.

    Like Tom Gilbert – I like when he shows a physical side but he is an effective player without it as long as he’s playing with confidence (which he is now) and its not necessary. Not everyone can be Jason Smith out there and that’s perfectly fine.

    He just has to show some try. I remember the playoff run when he was just up with the Ducks, iirc, and he was running rampant in the offensive zone. He was too big to contain and he just kept getting the puck and trying to drive the net. It was a terrifying sight because he could not be contained.

    I just want to see him use his size and do so on a consistent basis and I would argue that macT would be happy with same.

  73. hunter1909 says:

    conan: Sorry about that. I just got carried away watching the game.

    I seriously don’t want to piss everyone off in here.

  74. Bruce says:

    Why Kelly Hrudey has a job is beyond me. I think he’s part of every TV Networks plans to put third rate goalies in front of TV cameras.

    CBC has a three-goalie system too.

    As a retired batshit-crazy goalie myself, I have to admit I’m pretty disappointed with the quality of the goalie commentators. John Garrett just drives me right around the bend, Glenn Healey is almost as obnoxious, Greg Millen is bland, and Hrudey has run out of things to say. Davidson was pretty good but has been kicked upstairs. Of all of the current talking masks I like Panger the best, which is damnation with faint praise if I’ve ever done it.

  75. Coach pb9617 says:

    I really want a reunion of Horpensky but do you take a guy out of the PB and insert him on the top line?

    Like Noah said to god:

    “Riiiiiiiiiiiiight”

  76. Coach pb9617 says:

    Of all of the current talking masks I like Panger the best, which is damnation with faint praise if I’ve ever done it.

    He’s more groupie than announcer.

  77. doritogrande says:

    This team needs a Darren McCarty type player for the 4th line. Oh wait, he’s available. Fancy that.

    As for the “Garon is injured” family, this can’t be the case. If so, you’d like to think that management would have the smarts to put him on IR so they could recall a normal compliment of forwards for emergency situations.

    Like I said last night, this seems like a frivilous stand-off between player and coach. MacT obviously does not want three goalies and would rather have that 13th forward (I’m not counting the likes of Smac and Paul Bunyan as forwards for the record), but Tambellini doesn’t want to run the risk of Deslauriers being claimed off waivers. In an act of seemingly sheer defiance for his GM, MacT is going back to his ol’ reliable in nets while avoiding giving Garon ice-time that would be beneficial to management the ability to analyze if he is going to be a good fit for the next contract. I firmly believe that with Pisani getting injured, Tambellini now calls up The Hockey Jesus as another sort of “Fuck You!” that MacT will have to manage. He’d then HAVE to play one of Penner, Boulerice or Schremp.

    At least that’s how I’m seeing the scenario.

  78. doritogrande says:

    “Like Noah said to god:

    “Riiiiiiiiiiiiight””

    HAHAHAHAHAHA. The first think I thought of was “Hey MacT…how long can you tread water. HaHaHaHaHa.”

  79. Kyle says:

    Here are Bob McKenzie’s thoughts on the matter and if there’s one media guy I would bank my money on it would be McKenzie.

    http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/clip113486#clip113486

  80. Doogie2K says:

    Yes to Tippett, if he gets fired.

    And Godot gets the award for sneakiest awesome idea of the day. Isn’t the PP one of Tippett’s specialties? A guy I know who likes the Kings said something about that being the thing that really went in the tank when Tippett left the AC post in LA for Dallas.

    @St. George: QualComp is an index that tries to measure who gets the hardest minutes, while QualTeam tries to measure who has the best linemates. Larger positive numbers indicate each of those things, respectively, and larger negatives, the opposite; 0 is your midpoint. They’re best used when comparing within a team. As for Corsi, that’s the sum of shots on net, missed shots, and blocked shots (Fenwick is just shots + misses); usually expressed as a +/-. That and Dennis’s scoring chances (published at mc79hockey.com) are commonly used as an approximate index of “what you create minus what you give up,” in the coach’s words.

  81. Kyle says:

    Can someone explain to me why they think MacTavish, who after 8 odd years of being so reliable and rational, has become so absolutely irrational? Because most of the conspiracy theories absolutely depend on that premise.

  82. Traktor says:

    WOW. Roli gets the start again tonight.

    I never thought it was possible but MacTavish is a bigger idiot than I originally thought.

    If someone wrote a handbook called 20 ways to get fired in before December then MacTavish has nailed about 17 of those requirements and still has a few weeks to go.

    What an absolute joke.

    Even MacT’s biggest supports wont find a way to rationalize this bushleague coaching.

  83. Dennis says:

    I honestly don’t know what to make of those Mac comments re: Garon. I’m hoping it means he’s got a nagging injury because any other possibility means the brass have gone off the rails.

    On 78: he’s got a lot of friends in these places but he’s had a bunch of scoring chances in the last few games but he just can’t click. it reminds me of 51′s early ’08 season campaign; of course at least Brodziak could hit a post:D

  84. Scott says:

    Management is not actively fighting, though they may have some disagreements. What the hell kind of dysfunctional manager doesn’t talk to him employees if he thinks they’re doing a bad job. If Tambellini really wants to see Garon play in net, he can just tell MacT to play Garon and I assume, given Smid’s treatment in 06-07, that MacT would, perhpas unhappily, comply.

  85. Bruce says:

    Bruce – the thing is I am not one of these guys who wants or needs to have Penner out there smashing faces for me to consider him to be effective. I would guess you feel the same.

    BDHS: Exactimundo. That’s just not his game. He is nonetheless a “power forward” whose game is somewhat similar to his namesakes in basketball. He needs to use his size, strength, and willpower to establish position and win a bunch of battles, and he’s certainly never lacking in the first two of those attributes. I’d like to see him bring his hit rate back up — he was around 1.2 Ht/GP last season, just 0.8 this. He’s not a mean guy, but when he finishes the check the other guy stays hit. You don’t need to take penalties to play a harder game.

    I really want a reunion of Horpensky but do you take a guy out of the PB and insert him on the top line?

    Why not? It’s not like any of the other guys carpe‘d the diem in his absence. The Captain has to know he’s a temporary square peg and the good of the team is paramount.

    “Dustin, bygones are bygones. You’re in the line-up, you’re playing with Horc and Hemmer, you’re on the first unit PP, and you better bring your A game” seems like a pretty reasonable game strategy to me, as well as sound personnel management. After his week of tough love MacT might do to try a little tenderness and give the big guy a fair shot to make amends. Ultimately they’re going to need each other.

  86. Jonathan says:

    WOW. Roli gets the start again tonight…

    Even MacT’s biggest supports wont find a way to rationalize this bushleague coaching.

    If Garon’s healthy, I agree.

    If Garon’s injured, and I firmly believe that’s the case, it makes sense. And it’s pretty much the only situation where it does make sense.

  87. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce you forgot the rest of that Penner pep talk.

    “If you don’t, lots of luck playing in Springfield and guess what? Homer Simpson won’t be there to watch you!”

    Not that that statement would ever occur.

  88. Sean says:

    Dennis: Ya 78 misses the net while Horcoff hits crest. Conklin actually made a good save on the 2 on 1 last night where Pouliot shot. Got such a small piece of it that it looked like another miss.

  89. Sean says:

    I really want a reunion of Horpensky but do you take a guy out of the PB and insert him on the top line?

    NHL players who get benched typically come back pissed off and play well. Although in Penners case, it might be for just 4 games.

    Also, you have a much better chance of making your move (benching Penner) look good if you put him with 10-83. Not that MacT’s job is in question or anything ;)

  90. Traktor says:

    I don’t think he’s injured. MacT took out Garon when hewas 3-0 with a .941 sv% and to me that’s just as bizarre. This joke organization was more worried about finding a backup goaltender than it was retaining the only reason that we didn’t finish in the lottery last year.

    People were saying that MacTavish’s loyalty to Roli was a huge flaw before the season even started and this just highlights all those comments true.

    The sad thing is that I knew this would happen. MacTavish has zero foresight and it’s come back to bite the Oilers. Another self-inflicted wound.

  91. B.C.B. says:

    maybe the oilers should try to convince the NHL that Garon is mentally injured (he can take up so IR space, and we can send him to Springfield for a conditioning stint). Seriously, if Sather was here, he try that.

    the Lost of St. Fernando is not a good thing, now Poo is going to get more ice time (and he was even on the Power Play last night).

    PS: The only good about driving 6 hours to Detroit to watch the Oilers was at Joe Louis they sell 24 oz. Molson Canadians for $8.50

  92. Jonathan says:

    MacTavish has zero foresight and it’s come back to bite the Oilers.

    I worry more that he has too much foresight sometimes; Gagner’s (in particular, the other kids as well) development has been priority #1 this season and last, and it’s at the point now where it may be time to cut back developmental thinking and focus on just winning.

  93. Oilmaniac says:

    My 2 cents,

    I Totally agree with the second guessing of staying with Roli on the B2B… arnt they all supposed to be rotating, or has MacT figured he may hurt his goalies confidence doing that… I thought one of the other two, Garon presumably… after a hard loss like last night, isnt there a greater chance of Roli giving up if the team starts flat again…

    anyways, all speculation..
    Im guessing 4 goals against,
    we’ll see what the O brings..

    oh, i said before that it looked like penner and hemmer had chemistry (im still thinking of the rush that penner assisted on gilberts goal).. anyways, my guess is he’ll be on the third or fourth line but I’d still like to see him on a line w hemmer *if/when he pulls it together*…

    shit, last thing… i didnt see that game last night but did pisani go down chasing an icing.. just wondering if i’ll see it on coaches corner on Sat… cheers,..

  94. Bruce says:

    Bruce you forgot the rest of that Penner pep talk.

    You’re right, CrazyCoach; I’m definitely trying to accentuate the positive at this point, maybe cuz there’s not enough of it.

  95. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce here’s the positive: We don’t care so much about where we’ve been, but are more concerned about where we are going!

    How’s that?

  96. Alice says:

    Wrt being effective without looking busy, I couldn’t believe how many Avs couldn’t find their way around Souray on Sat nite. He’s hardly moving but they kept running into him – like he was half a mile wide, the Queen Mary.

  97. Bruce says:

    Now I’m shaking my head. I’ve defended MacT starting his goalie BtB after a win before, but last night we lost 4-0. If the standard is play goalies until they lose, well Roli lost. And “tied” the one before.

    Roli is 39 years old and showing it. The last time MacT gave him three starts in 4 days it didn’t end well: after giving up 1 goal in Carolina and 4 in Philly, CBJ got to him for 5.

    This time he gave up 2* to Colorado and 4 to Detroit, and we expect what sort of different outcome against CBJ??

    Private to MacT: you’re losing me here. Some of this stuff makes no fucking sense.

  98. Bruce says:

    Bruce here’s the positive: We don’t care so much about where we’ve been, but are more concerned about where we are going!
    How’s that?

    CC: That’s it exactly.

  99. Kris says:

    How about this for a fourth line:

    Garon-Roloson-Deslauriers

    We’ll put Boulerice in net.

  100. Cory Klein says:

    Penner and MacT saying the right things pre-game.

    MacT also saying of the 3 or 4 guys they rely heavily upon, 1 or 2 of them need to be better.

    The decision in goal is still baffling though.

  101. Bruce says:

    He’s hardly moving but they kept running into him – like he was half a mile wide, the Queen Mary.

    Ha! Nice obs Alice. Some guys just have that knack. I remember the old defence pair for Philly that had two guys who played that way, Brad (Skate Guards) Marsh and Kjell (The Skating Tripod) Samuelsson. Each guy took half the ice away and there was no way through. Between them they had eight arms, five sticks and seven skates, all of them Size 13 or greater.

    I hated the Flyers but I loved watching those guys ply their trade. Must have been the old goalie in me.

  102. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce, you are right about being more positive. The Oilers realistically are playing right about where their talent/experience/systems would have them.

    Players will improve over time, so here’s looking to 89, 27, and 78 getting their groove back.

    As a coach, sometimes the only thing you can do is keep playing them and hope for the best and hope they play out of it. I remember Slats saying that about Coffey way back in the day. Coffey was the most talented/frustrating player ever to lace on the skates. He could make the best play and the worst play all in the same shift.

    Wonder if that’s what MacT is feeling now?

  103. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce you’d love me playing front of you then. I have Brad Marsh feet and Randy Gregg passing. ha ha ha

  104. Traktor says:

    Yeah watching MacTavish put all his eggs in the Gagner basket is concerning to me as well. There’s a fine line between learning other things about the game and getting Brule’d and losing your mojo and right now Gagner playing heavy minutes is doing more harm than good for both the team and Gagner.

  105. Bruce says:

    As a coach, sometimes the only thing you can do is keep playing them and hope for the best and hope they play out of it. I remember Slats saying that about Coffey way back in the day. Coffey was the most talented/frustrating player ever to lace on the skates. He could make the best play and the worst play all in the same shift.

    Peter Gzowski on Mark Messier, fall 1980: “He can be the best player on the ice, or the worst, and sometimes he is both on the same shift.”

    It wasn’t just Coffey, and it isn’t just rookies, it’s young players, and we got a lot of them. If anything MacT is/appears to be running out of patience, when he may need his greatest reserves of it. Hell, we’re all impatient, but these things do take time.

  106. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce,

    This is MacT’s biggest test I guess. I have tried to be positive, and I feel sorry for the guy. You see the frustration he is wearing. I really hope he isn’t fighting for his job.

  107. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    A little bird told me that Garon is recovering from a nasty flu, and Peters doesn’t think he’s ready to start yet.

    I listened to MacT’s pre-game podcast and noted some awkwardness when discussing G-tending, but nothing to sink teeth into.

    I sense a bag skate coming after Thursday. Empty the tanks… get the brains thinking of nothing but survival… rehydrate… protein… sleep… The next day everyone will have rubber legs and sticks, and the inability to focus on more than simple thoughts. Time to break out the kid gloves and the basics. Followed by a couple of days of working on structure/support/trust and we could see a decent team come out of the long break. …what an absurd schedule…

    L8r
    Louise

  108. Phil says:

    Wow, 110 comments already…

    Anyway, tonight’s game will be very interesting, to say the least. If ever there was a game where the odds were stacked against a team, this is it. The coach is acting desperate, the team isn’t, a gruesome injury the night before to a spiritual leader, a 39 year old goalie trying to carry the load on back-to-back nights, and, to date, not many players pulling their weight consistently. A character-revealing game to say the least. I really want to believe that they won’t fold like a lawnchair, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

    (btw, thanks for the Garon tidbit, Louise. I miss reading your posts here…)

  109. Rod says:

    Sadly, even if Garon is hurt/sick, there’s still numerous questions marks before this makes sense. Why not put Garon on the IR? After all, there’s only one more game this week. Columbus is a lot closer to Springfield than Edmonton. Use the opportunity–open roster spot–to send a message to another skater (PB trip). Or was it wrong to PB/scapegoat Penner?

  110. Bruce says:

    IceDragoon: Ah, there you are, I for one have been missing your “calm feet” around here. Hope all is well.

    Thanks for the word on Garon, that is the only thing that makes sense. Still, I would start JDD tonight all things considered. He’s won 2 of his last 3 starts, Roli none.

  111. Lowetide says:

    Louise: I simply must insist you post more often. Completely reasonable thought re: bag skate and then starting over again.

    I bet MacT does exactly that, too.

  112. Bruce says:

    Penner & Boulerice in, Pisani and Stortini out. I was going to predict that this morning … Zack went to bat for Lubo last night but he came out second best with the crafty McCarty. He had some good shifts later, but the die was cast.

  113. PDO says:

    Hey, look at Penner screening the goalie and the Oilers getting a goal ;)

  114. Bruce says:

    Penner on the PP, heavy shade in front, and bang! in the net it goes. Who’d’a thunk it?

  115. Coach pb9617 says:

    Showerhead, if you’re out there, that Souray goal is exactly what we talked about last night.

    Big butt in front and the play is away from Souray, not going through him.

    Maybe they did actually watch that youtube I linked to in the Wings GDT.

  116. Bruce says:

    Visnovsky stripping Brassard was a thing of beauty.

  117. Bruce says:

    High percentage shot by Cogs there. :)Great pass by 44.

  118. PDO says:

    Great finish for Cogs, on a pretty damn nice pass from Souray.

    Of course, as a I type this, and I have licked his game tonight, Penner has a full head of steam and still gets caught up to on a partial break. Damn.

  119. Bruce says:

    What does it taste like?

  120. PDO says:

    Cheesy.

  121. Scott says:

    That was quite a setup by Souray.

    The Oilers are certainly playing well tonight. Everybody seems to be coming out hard, which has been a rarity in the first period this year.

    I have seen the fourth line out against Nash at least once, which is never good in terms of bench management.

  122. heed says:

    free pressbox ice cream sandwiches?

  123. PDO says:

    Horcoff is having another good night… his legs are pumping and he’s a turnover machine. I think he’s off the schnide (sp?) by the end of the night.

  124. Bruce says:

    To call Moreau “sluggish” on that sequence would be a compliment. Ugh.

  125. PDO says:

    And as I type that, he takes a dumbish penalty. Of course, Huselius looked like he got shot.

  126. Coach pb9617 says:

    Ayeayeayeayeaye

    Stop pressing and just chip it out, Moreau. Damn when the vets try to carry it out of the zone, the whole team is pressing.

  127. PDO says:

    I’d like to see Cogliano start using his teammates a bit more on odd man rushes…. he had Penner with him there and didn’t have to beat his man one on one.

    Great play by Pou saves a goal.

  128. Bruce says:

    PK’s getting better. Only two golden scoring chances that time. OK, maybe three.

  129. Tuco says:

    It seems as though the sky might not be falling just yet. I was pleased with the maturity that Penner showed in response to MacT’s over-the-top criticism. Great first period so far. Or maybe just a really terrible start by CBJ.

  130. Bruce says:

    27-10-83

  131. PDO says:

    Is it just me, or does Evanka Osmak look damn fine tonight?

  132. mc79hockey says:

    Shots are 12-3 at evens according to NHL.com. Is the consensus that that doesn’t reflect the play?

    (Listening to the radio at work)

  133. Jonathan says:

    I’m surprised none of the Pouliot fans around here mentioned that goal he saved.

    Not bad at all, and good to see him on the PK.

  134. PDO says:

    MC.

    I’d say Columbus had a slight lead on the play… but they are throwing absolutely EVERYTHING at the net.

  135. Jonathan says:

    I’ll second PDO’s comment and add that the Oilers passing has been very good – Hemsky on the powerplay opened up the points for Souray’s cannon, and Souray’s wicked pass gave Cogliano an empty net to shoot at.

  136. Lowetide says:

    I don’t know where that period was mailed in from but thank the hockey Gods for it.

    Lots of try, plenty of speed and good decisions and then some touch around the net (Cogliano’s goal was a real nice play).

    You can see what they’re doing in Columbus though. A nice team growing there.

  137. Scott says:

    MC,

    Definitely not that lopsided. I think they’ve played quite well especially compared to a lot of first periods this year. They’re certainly not allowing many high quality scoring chances at even strength and they’ve managed to score on one of their EV chances. The score always colours my glasses though.

  138. Derek says:

    No comments on the look on Penner’s face after the games first goal?

    Not even a fist pump, someones pretty unhappy.

  139. Lowetide says:

    Penner isn’t exactly an open book in the facial department. I think he had a very good period overall, lots of effort and worked hard.

  140. RiversQ says:

    Penner looks motivated.

    Nice PP goal – funny what happens when you let Hemsky do his thing instead of everything. Coach is right – Souray would have to shoot twice as hard as he does to consistently beat a goalie that doesn’t have to move. When Hemsky has that pass plus the Penner screen that’s tough to match.

    Re: Penner I think the expectation is that he win puck battles. You don’t have to hit to do that all the time.

  141. Bruce says:

    Shots are 12-3 at evens according to NHL.com. Is the consensus that that doesn’t reflect the play?

    CBJ carrying the play alright, but look like Oilers in that they’re missing the net on the best chances.

    Roli’s been solid, and lucky. He did the old snow angel one time — he learned that in Buffalo — and the puck somehow came out from under him and didn’t hit him and bounce into the net or go right to a CBJ stick. Pouliot with a hero play on another play where Roli appeared beaten. Huselius put away a shot last game just like the one he missed on that last powerplay, and the puck ringed the boards and went out, no harm done.

    Oilers haven’t had that many chances but they executed perfectly on both goals. PP is 1-for-1 with 1 shot … just how you draw it up. Both teams are absolutely flying out there, it’ll be interesting to see how the Oiler legs stand up. Columbus has been off since Saturday.

  142. RiversQ says:

    Nice play on the Cogs goal but brutal own zone coverage by CBJ. Souray could have passed a beach ball in there. Hitch will have something to say I’m sure.

  143. Dennis says:

    I had the chances at 11-5 CBJ, 9-4 at EV and 2-1 ST, but I have to check just to see if all those chances were actually directed on net; I believe that the plays in question came from dangerous areas but I’ve just got to check to see if the shots didn’t deflect off opposing sticks. Besides the two goals I had the other Edm chances as 12 and 13 missing the net and then 85 sweeping out for an uncontested wraparound.

    Some other stuff:

    - Roli almost made things hard with an awful rebound off a shot off the right wing

    - Here we are 19 games in and we Finally get my request for six fucking forwards on the penalty kill and pressure down ice. 10 gets the gate so it’s 51-85, 13-27 and then 18-78. And then, yes, 78 saves a goal and I’m hoping that’s the kind of thing that keeps him in the lineup but I still fear for his long term security given the way Mac’s running his lines again tonight.

    - Souray Has to be top five in iron drawn this year.

    - I counted at least twice where Nash got out against our 4th line.

    - 13 sure seems to find himself in the dangerous areas, doesn’t he? He missed the net, Yawn, from the slot a few shifts before he scored the goal.

    - Hitch seems fine with the Malholtra/Chimera combo going against 10-83.

    - That PP goal just looked so easy.

  144. Coach pb9617 says:

    I just thought of something after that power play goal.

    This guy looks a helluva lot like this guy. Quiet and calm like an assassin too. Wonder if he’d kill and loot too?

  145. PunjabiOil says:

    Is it just me, or does Evanka Osmak look damn fine tonight?

    It rained in the amazon today.

  146. PunjabiOil says:

    On an unrelated note, Mike Brophey thinks Souray should be a candidate for the 2010 Canada Olympic squad.

  147. Coach pb9617 says:

    Is it just me, or does Evanka Osmak look damn fine tonight?

    Better than the short bus kid from last night.

  148. Coach pb9617 says:

    I’d say Columbus had a slight lead on the play… but they are throwing absolutely EVERYTHING at the net.

    Cbus’ Corsi advantage is asinine right now. There have been about a half-dozen shots sticked down not counted as blocks.

  149. Tuco says:

    85-13-26 has looked strong and seems to be gaining confidence with each shift. The effort is there and the results are starting to come.

  150. Coach pb9617 says:

    Not even a fist pump, someones pretty unhappy.

    See my post above. He always looks like Speirs.

  151. Kyle says:

    The composure Gilbert had on that out is why he got that raise.

  152. devin says:

    Ooh- did anyone else see Gilbert just pull a Lidstrom? What a beauty little deke and spin there to get away from 2 forecheckers. That’s what we all want to see from 77…

  153. Kyle says:

    On an unrelated note, Mike Brophey thinks Souray should be a candidate for the 2010 Canada Olympic squad.

    I assumed he was on crack, otherwise I would have to assume he has no business being on tv.

  154. RiversQ says:

    One other thing about Penner:

    Vic’s Zoneshift thing had Penner way on the negative according to slipper yesterday. I haven’t checked but if that’s right Penner’s minutes couldn’t have been that tough.

  155. Bruce says:

    Now there’s a play where Penner needs to finish the check. Had the guy dead to rights in front of the players’ bench and just pulled up. He doesn’t need to kill the guy, just assassinate him. :)

  156. Bruce says:

    Horrible play by Cogs. Maybe you try that if you’re down 2-0, but with a two-goal lead it’s just a bad play.

    Uh, heads-up play by the CBJ defender there.

  157. PunjabiOil says:

    I assumed he was on crack, otherwise I would have to assume he has no business being on tv.

    I don’t think it’s that far fetched. Souray has been Regehr this year with offense. Now Brent Burns, Shea Weber and Mike Green will challenge for a spot, but Souray will probably be in the mix.

  158. Kyle says:

    Horrible play by Cogs. Maybe you try that if you’re down 2-0, but with a two-goal lead it’s just a bad play.

    That’s a bad play at any time, that was just poor on-ice awareness. He knew he had 3 oilers in front of him which means there could only have been one behind, AND it’s a really high risk low reward play. That puck needs to go deep.

  159. Tuco says:

    Visnovsky has looked solid. One of the smoothest skating d-men I’ve ever seen and has a knack for mitigating risk when he picks his spots for pinching/rushing. He tries to do too much at times, but definetely not blatantly as some.

  160. RiversQ says:

    Yeah the shots don’t quite jive but CBJ is carrying the play. You’d have to be a hopeless homer listening to Rod to get that confused.

  161. Bruce says:

    Was that Molhotra with the lob pass? That was brilliant.

  162. PDO says:

    Next goal here is huge…

    And Lubo just saved it off of Rick Nash’s stick on a beautiful block.

    I’d say whoever gets it is taking two points.

  163. Tuco says:

    case in point. what a smart block

  164. Kyle says:

    I don’t think it’s that far fetched. Souray has been Regehr this year with offense. Now Brent Burns, Shea Weber and Mike Green will challenge for a spot, but Souray will probably be in the mix.

    Souray has been not bad, but he’s still really one dimensional. Canada has so many better options (you mentioned three of them).

  165. Bruce says:

    One dimensional Souray is not. He’s got a pretty good shot for the Queen Mary.

    Oilers D is playing pretty well as a unit. All six guys have made good plays under pressure at different points.

  166. Coach pb9617 says:

    Mac is being outmatched on every change in the second.

  167. Bruce says:

    Great double effort by Brassard to keep that puck in. Kid is impressive.

  168. Bruce says:

    Bad instincts by Penner to chase that puck with Moreau ahead of him. Made for an easy, and wide-open, 3-on2 going the other way. A guy who’s not used to playing 4-on-5 makes that mistake.

  169. Kyle says:

    One dimensional Souray is not. He’s got a pretty good shot for the Queen Mary.

    I remember when a lot of people thought Bryan McCabe should make the Olympic Team in 06 – he did and he was a disaster.

  170. Tuco says:

    That was a thing of beauty, and something that’s been missing most nights. Working it from the half-boards or down low for the one-timer out front. We generally haven’t had the net presence and/or cycling ability to pull it off.

  171. PunjabiOil says:

    As soon as Pouliot scored, i was reminded of this post from Black Dog Hates Skunks

    http://www.blackdoghatesskunks.com/2008/03/lowetide.html

  172. B.C.B. says:

    Good for Poo.

    I can only imagine Lowetide . . . Are you celebrating with champagne or a full 6-pack?

  173. Scott says:

    Jeepers. First sequence with some pressure and then boom it’s in the net. Nice goal and all, but if you’re the Blue Jackets, you are one frustrated group.

  174. PDO says:

    Great finish by 78.

    Excellent work by all three of those forwards there. What a sick pass by 13.

  175. Bruce says:

    Kyle: McCabe was indeed a disaster. Nor am I saying Souray is one of the 7 best D with a Canadian birth certificate. But he is NOT one dimensional.

  176. Bruce says:

    “Penner just blocks him from getting any further and Columbus will have to regroup.”

  177. Coach pb9617 says:

    Has Nilsson been benched?

  178. PDO says:

    12 is on the ice right now… he just doesn’t PK.

    How dumb of MacT to start Roloson tonight.

  179. Bruce says:

    Coach: I think it’s been penaltiesd more than anything. Cogs came out of the box on to join 10 and 78 for that goal.

    There’s Row-bert now.

  180. Kyle says:

    Kyle: McCabe was indeed a disaster. Nor am I saying Souray is one of the 7 best D with a Canadian birth certificate. But he is NOT one dimensional.

    I would disagree – take away his boomer and that big season in Montreal and most of us would only know his name in passing. I’ll admit he’s looked better this season (having a really good game today for instance) but I have a hard time erasing Spezza on Souray or the other, you know, 10 years of his career.

  181. Bruce says:

    Deluxe breakout pass from Pouliot to Nilsson. Nice composure at times tonight.

  182. RiversQ says:

    Bruce you’re nitpicking here. Souray does exactly one thing at an elite level. (elite relative to the NHL) that doesn’t mean the rest of his game is chopped liver but he’s not exceptional at anything else IMO.

  183. Scott says:

    Souray Has to be top five in iron drawn this year.

    Dennis, is that posts that the opposition are hitting or him drawing iron on his own shots?

  184. Bruce says:

    E-83. Turnovers at the blueline are one thing. Turnovers at the blueline with a three-goal lead are the sort of mistakes veterans shouldn’t be making.

  185. Coach pb9617 says:

    How do a gritty pair like Strudwick and Staios let two forwards behind them and into the crease? They seem like they are lagging behind the last few.

  186. RiversQ says:

    Spezza?

    We don’t have to go that far back – 44 did get fucking smoked by Svatos the other night.

  187. Scott says:

    Turnovers at the blueline with a three-goal lead are the sort of mistakes veterans shouldn’t be making.

    Bruce, which game situations do you consider less egregious times for these kinds of giveaways? Down one or two trying to catch up late?

  188. Coach pb9617 says:

    E-83. Turnovers at the blueline are one thing. Turnovers at the blueline with a three-goal lead are the sort of mistakes veterans shouldn’t be making.

    Little things like that are happening often. Vets offsides, vets can’t clear, TOs at the blue line, though mostly from 89, not clearing the net, crossrink passes.

    I think it’s those things that make everyone around here wonder what’s going on with the team and Mac.

  189. Bruce says:

    Rivers: I would consider Souray’s “active stick” in the defensive zone to be a cut above. He’s broken up a few plays tonight by getting a piece of the puck and that’s pretty typical for him. He’s not without his weaknesses, that’s not what I’m saying at all. He’s a high event player, very proactive in all three zones. I find him damned interesting to watch, not always in a good way.

  190. Kyle says:

    Spezza?

    We don’t have to go that far back – 44 did get fucking smoked by Svatos the other night.

    Well, technicaly I called into evidence the other 10 or so years of his career as well, but your point stands.

  191. Bruce says:

    Bruce, which game situations do you consider less egregious times for these kinds of giveaways? Down one or two trying to catch up late?

    Very late. Down 2 in the last 5 or 10 minutes, down 1 in the last 2 or 3; you have to start making low-percentage gambles, more aggressive pinching, cross ice passes, something to force the offence. Up 3-0 late in the second is the time to not take such risks.

  192. goldenchild says:

    Does Roli got another 20 mins like this?

  193. Coach pb9617 says:

    GC, the boys need it. If he pulls this out, the bag skate might not happen.

  194. Lowetide says:

    Any game Pouliot scores immediately passes GO and heads right to the memory banks.

    Lubo is ridiculous.

    3-1 after two and you just know the third period is going to cause blood pressure spikes.

  195. Scott says:

    I remember when
    McCabe makes Olympic Team
    what a disaster.

    But two goals tonight
    McCabe hopes for twenty-ten
    Stuck with Panthers – saved.

    Sheldon Souray though
    Plays on Canadian team
    Remember Brewer

  196. Dennis says:

    Are you there, God? It’s me, Marc Pouliot;)

    I think that 78 is like a banjo hitter with a good OBP in the NL who’s hitting 8th. You can keep putting him just ahead of the pitcher and grumble when he doesn’t score runs but if you put him ahead of a few boppers then he’s gonna score you a few runs. He’s not gonna make guys of his own ilk go but he can hang with the brothers. And in fact those two plays where he curled to the left of the goalie and set up 10 for slot shots is the exact same play he used to set up 34 for that goal earlier this year in the second half of the BOA. Check it out online if you don’t believe me.

    Scott: I mean in terms of posts Souray’s hit. I mean doesn’t it seem like a high number to anyone else.

    And, yeah I made a little note to talk about the beauty play by 77 to the left of Roli with the Nash line out taking advantage of the 89 line. I call that play the Lidstrom and it was the frequency of that play that made me believe in 77 last season as an actual defender. BTW, anyone notice the 71/37 and 44/77 pairings towards the end of the period.

    Also, the guy that 27 didn’t bury was that old overrated, greedy piece of junk Jan Hejda. And this is why 27 will always have guys picking at him because he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and his effectiveness is limited because of it.

    BTW, I had the chances for that period 8-4 CBJ pending review; 4-3 Edm EV and 4-0 CBJ ST.

    So that’s 19-9 CBJ after 40. We’re winning, and I’m not gonna turn that down, but you’ve still got the lines shagged and that shift by 78 shows he has top nine and/or top six tough min potential.

    13′s had an interesting game with some nice plays and a goal and then he takes a bad penalty and throws the puck back against the flow that leads to an odd man rush. It’s the perils of youth and everyone knows we’re gonna see a lot of that.

  197. Bruce says:

    Score by period: EDM 2 CBJ 0; 1-1
    Shots: 4-15; 4-14
    Hits: 11-10; 10-5
    TK: 5-3; 0-3
    BS: 9-6; 2-5
    Faceoffs: 8-13; 9-11

    They’re still hitting, but it looks like Hang on Harvey for the third period. Let’s go, Roli!

  198. Coach pb9617 says:

    Three things jump out at me:

    Reddox is having a fantastic game. Hemsky is fighting it. Lubes is having another very good game.

  199. Scott says:

    Remember when we were waiting for an injury so that the lines could finally start making sense. I’m pleased that Erik Cole is okay.

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