Predators at Oilers, G34/08-09

This is Dolly Parton. Her story is probably the most inspiring in country music history.

Born into real poverty, she had looks, talent and brains (first in her family to graduate high school) and more than that an incredible desire to succeed.

When she arrived in Nashville, women were show-biz ornaments and add-ons and as such she began a professional involvement with Porter Waggoner. His conduct (and her strength during their professional breakup) is the stuff of legends. One career going up, the other sliding down. A Star is Born, country-style.

Do you know about country music lyrics? They’re either so bad they’re funny or so good they speak directly to you and have real emotional power. Because of people like Dolly Parton (and Kris Kristofferson and Rodney Crowell) country music is a thousand times better than it was 40 years ago. I haven’t met many people in my life who could have combined talent and clarity at such a young age, put pen to paper and composed “I Will Always Love You.” She wrote it at age 27, and according to Parton she wrote it for Waggoner. The Whitney Houston version is among the top-selling recordings of all-time. Thanks, Porter.

I’ve been thinking about the Oilers and “clarity” lately. They look a little shy in this area, they’re definitely on the Porter Waggoner side of the universe. We’ve talked many times since the lockout Stanley run about “balance” and huge holes in the roster. We’ve compared the current Oilers to the old-timey Expos who insisted on playing Hubie Brooks at SS whilst wasting the CF at-bats.

There is some evidence now that Craig MacTavish is locked and loaded for 08-09. He’s stopped using Jason Strudwick as a defenseman, the goalie situation is calm and decided, the PP seems to have some hop and the PK some direction. The Oilers need to go on a roll pdq, in fact rfn. Among the very best indicators is that coach MacTavish has sussed out the roster and knows who he can count on.

Good news for some, bad for others. If they can beat Nashville tonight the Oilers will be in the middle of a very nice run with winnable games straight ahead. If they can’t win tonight, they’re back to porridge, back to zero clarity, back to bad lyrics, back to the Carroll County Accident.

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207 Responses to "Predators at Oilers, G34/08-09"

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  1. Sean says:

    Wow its getting ornery in here…

    The coach is in peril here and the needs are plenty obvious. I think they make a trade in the next 10 days.

    LT: I’d agree the needs are fairly obvious but IMO the Oilers biggest needs were Gagner and Cole bouncing back. Granted its just one game but its a great start. We are getting our veteran who kills penalties (Pisani) shortly and the lineup seems to finally have started to gain some traction. Assuming we’re trading Nilsson, does this team really need another C playing wing? I’m more inclined to seeing the Oilers roll the dice on the current roster for the home-stand.

    Although how could any Oilers fan not like the idea of Peca back in the mix …

  2. Dennis says:

    Sean: For sure. The biggest problem at EV this season has been all the time wasted on 26 and 89 so if those guys start chipping in then here comes a bump in GF.

    Now, when 34 comes back, here comes a decrease in our GA. I was all against 34 early on in the season but he was righting the ship just before he got hurt so we’ll be helped by his return.

    Of course I really don’t see how we’ll improve the PK to the rate where we don’t have to grit our teeth everytime someone winds up in the box.

  3. PunjabiOil says:

    The biggest problem at EV this season has been all the time wasted on 26 and 89 so if those guys start chipping in then here comes a bump in GF

    I'd also argue Horcoff has been a problem at EV, in terms of generating offense. His 1.07 EVGF/60 rate needs to improve. He doesn't seem as confident as previous years in carrying the puck and gaining the opposition's zone. That said, he deserves the benefit of doubt due to coming off a major injury.

    The latest Pisani update has him out indefnitely (previously it was 2-3 weeks), so he should be back soon. 1 week after starting to practice?

    http://oilers.nhl.com/team/app?articleid=345028&page=NewsPage&service=page

  4. Dennis says:

    PJO: Yes on 10′s lack of EV scoring but the other half is he’s playing toughs and he’s keeping the score honest. That has to be factored in.

  5. Sean says:

    Dennis: Looking into the impact that one player could have on PK results has been on my todo stack for a while. I’m not convinced one player will make a huge improvement. Granted the value of a dominant center on the dot would be higher this year with the rule change but your talking 50% vs 60% in less than 100 PK minutes so far this year. I think a good PK is a result of good team systems (coaching) which is something the Oilers under MacT have typically done well. With all the Oilers new PK personnel it could be a matter of learning the systems. Again we’re talking under 100 minutes this year per player.

    In 2007, Pisani was the 6th best penalty killer in the league but Stoll/Reasoner were not there. Would that mean Pisani is a better PK player? I dunno…

    PS what source do you guys use for FO% stats?

  6. Bruce says:

    I’d also argue Horcoff has been a problem at EV, in terms of generating offense. His 1.07 EVGF/60 rate needs to improve.

    PJO: Just a slip of the fingers I’m sure, but it’s important to make the distinction that Horcoff’s ESP/60 is 1.07, whereas his ESGF/60 is 2.41. So the Oilers are scoring with Horc on the ice, he just isn’t very involved in the scoring plays. Overall his rate of +2.41/-1.74 = +0.67/60 is the third best differential on the team, behind only Dustin Penner (+3.21/-1.83 = +1.38/60) and Lubo Visnovsky (+2.36/-1.39 = +0.97).

  7. Doogie2K says:

    PS what source do you guys use for FO% stats?

    I just get ‘em from NHL.com. Here are the Oilers’ numbers.

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