Right on Time?

Marc Pouliot seems to be finding the range. December 2008 has easily been his best month in the NHL (10gp, 5-1-6, +5) and he’s moving up the charts as an EV scorer for the club.

Since we don’t do this terribly often let’s run the numbers in several categories and see where the artist formerly known as MAP stands among Oilers forwards this season.

EV scoring
  1. Hemsky 8-8-16
  2. Penner 7-6-13
  3. Cogliano 6-7-13
  4. Moreau 5-7-12
  5. Horcoff 4-7-11
  6. Pouliot 6-3-9
  7. Brodziak 5-1-6
  8. Cole 2-4-6
  9. Pisani 2-3-5
  10. Nilsson 2-3-5
  11. Gagner 0-4-4
  12. Stortini 1-1-2
  13. Reddox 1-1-2

Pouliot’s December has him ripping up the depth chart and gives an indication that he’d probably do fairly well using some of Gabriel Desjardins’ numbers.

5×5/60 (excluding last night)

  1. Hemsky 2.09
  2. Penner 2.07
  3. Moreau 1.83
  4. Pouliot 1.74
  5. Cogliano 1.70
  6. Pisani 1.32
  7. Reddox 1.17
  8. Stortini 1.01
  9. Brodziak .99
  10. Horcoff .97
  11. Nilsson .76
  12. Gagner .67
  13. Cole .60

There are some butt ugly numbers there. You’d have to bet that some of the men at the bottom of this list (say 10-13) will improve those numbers over the back half of the season.

Corsi (not including last night)

  1. Penner 11.6
  2. Hemsky 11.0
  3. Horcoff 8.3
  4. Gagner 3.5
  5. Cogliano 1.7
  6. Nilsson -1.9
  7. Cole -3.6
  8. Pouliot -7.0
  9. Moreau -10.1
  10. Reddox -12.3
  11. Brodziak -15.2
  12. Pisani -17.9
  13. Stortini -19.7

The numbers here imply that the boxcar totals may not be completely accurate for our man Pouliot. He is not (according to Desjardins) facing the tough minutes and although he’s also being sent out with mid-level linemates the field is tilted the other way when Pouliot is out there. It isn’t a drastic number, but we’d hope it improves if this is indeed the point in his career when the light goes on for Pouliot.

Finally, based on the current numbers, and assuming Pouliot gets a boost in playing time over the final 45+ games, we can expect him to be around the 30 point mark by season’s end. In the “reasonable expectations” series before the year, I suggested a number in that range. You can read that item here.

If we agree that the August post is reasonable, then we can also state with confidence that at this point Pouliot is delivering as expected and has not (as yet) taken one giant offensive step forward. The fan in me would like to take issue, because the guy is scoring goals from places where previously he couldn’t get good wood on it and that’s a tell too.

We’ll see. It could solve a lot of problems if Pouliot turns into an end of the order RBI man (kind of like Tim Wallach in 1982).

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53 Responses to "Right on Time?"

  1. Asiaoil says:

    Morning LT – it’s actually evening in beautiful Bangkok but what the hay :).

    You and I have bled buckets for this guy over the years and so the results are welcome. I haven’t said much as the kid has burned me so often – it started to be hard to stay on-side but the results are welcome. The talent was always there – the smarts were always there – the size and passing were always there – it just never came together. Although I wonder if things may have been different without the terribly timed mono in the spring of 06. I still see the kid as a nice reliable 2nd line center in the Vermette mold – but with our abundance of young centers – it’s been hard to play him there. But he is far more effective at C than on the wing and always has been. Poo, Cogs, Gags, Brule, Brodz, Schremp – cripes what to do with all these guys.

  2. toqueboy says:

    @ asiaoil

    was in thailand for christmas during the tsunami a few years ago and was lucky enough to be travelling to phuket when the wave hit and had to change travel plans, obviously. i ended up on a small island called koh tao. i’ve since been back to the island on 2 other occassions, and it is without a doubt my favourite place on this delightful globe. if you get a chance, i highly reccommend it.

    @ lt
    sometimes it seems like you single-handedly will some of these guys to the next level. MP looks like a completely different player. amazing what a little confidence will do.

  3. PunjabiOil says:

    Another guy who has been pleasantly developing is Ladislav Smid. He’s been sheltered, but his 0.79 GAON/60 illustrates progress and development.

  4. Schitzo says:

    I wonder how long the trickle-down will take before the unwashed masses quit scapegoating the poor kid for the team’s collective woes.

  5. Asiaoil says:

    Hey PJO – yeah Smid is my other favorite hill to die on – but the results are finally there as well for him. He’s been around for a while but people forget just how young he is – and the 200 game rule seems to be working for him – just as long as MacT doesn’t make him a bloody winger again – god what a stupid idea that was. I’m hoping to see him and Lubo together full-time by the end of the year – that’s potentially a very balanced and very effective pair.

    As for MAP being scapegoated for the teams woes…that type of thinking (or lack there of) is a big reason why a ton of regulars on this site rarely show up on HF anymore. A lot of noise and not much content there these days.

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    My worry with MAP wasn’t his astute defensive play – my underlying concern was that he didn’t have the hands to generate enough offense to contribute to outperform the opposition. Obviously, his performance this month (5 goals) has largely dispelled that sentiment.

    RE: HF; what a joke that site is. I used to read most threads, but just visit on a pass-by basis, or put some of the HF clowns into their places.

    For example, refer to this [recent] thread (Souray vs. Visnovsky).

    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=587838

    I don’t have a problem with anyone having a different opinion, as long as it’s backed up. The support for Souray comes in the form of, “He’s the MAN!” or “Watch the games!”

    Amusing

  7. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    “As for MAP being scapegoated for the teams woes…that type of thinking (or lack there of) is a big reason why a ton of regulars on this site rarely show up on HF anymore. A lot of noise and not much content there these days.”

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone scapegoating MAP over there but his slow development, while many of his draft mates, for the most part, have gone winging by him, might lead a rational person to assume he’s part of the problem and not part of a solution.

    As you’ve mentioned yourself, he’s in a lineup of centres, none of whom, at this point, could be considered world beaters.

    Include Horcoff in the bunch and you’re looking at 7 centres.

    Where does Poo fit on a good hockey team?

  8. Dennis says:

    I didn’t really watch last night’s game – I caught some of it on my cousin’s laptop but drinks were flowing and signals were buffering and between it all I didn’t pay as much attention as I normally do – but I did see 78′s goal and it looked like he came in as the trailer off a line change and he scored it just a few feet farther away then the place he scored vs Phx. So, right there we can see patterns developing and most guys who get 20 goals will always get them from the same place.

    And I also mentioned how he’ll try the jam play on the PP and he’ll also try and feather the puck from behind the net into the right-slot. So, once again we see confidence developing to the point where he feels OK trying certain plays and the more success he has, the more muscle memory will take over.

    Now, even when I was boosting him I always wondered where the offense would come from; he looked like a low-event guy but a fellow who might be able to do it against tough opp. But now all worlds are open if the kid can put up 25 goals.

    Where he lands now is the next question. I still like his chem with 34 and the Oilers still don’t have a second line that can play against the toughs like 27-10-83 can so maybe that’s his role. Or maybe he gets to play with some of the talented guys on the secondary scoring line and then we build a secondary tough min line around 26.

  9. Lowetide says:

    If we look at Pouliot as the end of the EV offense, like this:

    Hemsky 8-8-16
    Penner 7-6-13
    Cogliano 6-7-13
    Moreau 5-7-12
    Horcoff 4-7-11
    Pouliot 6-3-9

    That means there’s two lines who can score because you’ve got the Hemsky line and then the line Cogliano’s on. We shouldn’t assume Moreau is among the top 6 at the end of the season, but there are plenty who can sub in from the also-rans:

    Brodziak 5-1-6
    Cole 2-4-6
    Pisani 2-3-5
    Nilsson 2-3-5
    Gagner 0-4-4
    Stortini 1-1-2
    Reddox 1-1-2

    Pouliot’s December not only puts him in the equation it also allows the people who can’t kick-start their bikes to get it going.

  10. Asiaoil says:

    PJO – got to admit I’ve watched a lot fewer games this season – mostly I’m tired of MacTs act. Not that he isnt a decent coach – he is – but the annual string of early season pointless decisions has gotten old. Examples this year not limited to Pisani at center, Strudwick’s ice time, Smid at forward, handling of Garon…..it’s just old and it costs us numbers in the win column. MAP’s use has also been affected since he plays wing more often than not even though he’s probably the team’s purest center aside from Horcoff. Give me Horpensky on the top line plus Nilsson-MAP-Cole on the second line and we are a tough matchup both home and away….but that just aint gonna happen under this coach.

  11. mc79hockey says:

    Re: MacT. I can at least see the other side on a lot of the arguments about him. That said, Vic used to point out in 2006 how MacT was running Hemsky against toughs most of the year even though Hemsky wasn’t really up to the task. It’s an investment that’s paid off; presumably there’s some similar thinking with some of the other stuff. Strudwick is fucking inexplicable, obviously.

    On the Garon thing though – why in the world would people think that he’s been wrong with that? Roli has fine numbers. There’s clearly something else up that we don’t know about.

  12. Dennis says:

    Roli has been pretty good; it’s purely anecdotal but I can’t think of too many games where I’m thinking that we didn’t do better because he let in a bad goal. I just wonder with Garon, though, if it isn’t a self-fufiling propehcy.

    He starts out fine then he slides a little and the Oilers start talking about how not being up to par and that seems to have been the case when we think of how he’s played since they basically shelved him after getting pulled in Pit. Then again I really haven’t looked at any numbers around the league either.

    Some of the things MacT’s done this year have been indefensible and it always seems like we’re fucking around at the pivot position. Years ago it was giving up the house for Comrie to first augment and then supplant Weight and later on it was wishes and prayers and Dopita. Then there was that time Smyth was gonna be a centre and this year it was 34. We can tie all of this together to say that maybe the reason Gagner has so much rope is they look at a potential 10-89 1-2 pivot combo and they’re willing to burn points in ’09 for what it might mean later. So maybe that’s the explanation for 89 but it does nothing to quell my anger over 43 being played ahead of 5. The 24-43 tandem was flat-out gross and was kept together for way too long.

    LT: OK, what you’re saying is you can build the secondary scoring line around 13. What I’m wondering is how does our guy’s EV numbers compare with teams currently in the playoff picture? Our sixth highest scorer at EV has just nine points. That has to be low, doesn’t it?

    Anyway, the way this looks is that MacT’s doing the right thing by playing 13-78 as a tandem and perhaps the key is 89 rounding out that troika and then 34-26 as secondary tough min wingers and we’re right back to looking for that third line pivot;) It would really help if 12 or 89 was having a decent year at EV because then we could roll 34-78-26 as the secondary tough min line.

  13. DeBakey says:

    Been watching Canada vs Davos at the spengler cup

    Niniimaa [hope I have enough vowels] scored for Davos while Salmelainen screened the Canada keper.

    And Riesen got an assist on the 3rd Davos goal

    Brad Isbister was player of the game for Canada in Game 1

    Go [former] Oilers!

  14. Lord Bob says:

    Niniimaa [hope I have enough vowels] scored for Davos while Salmelainen screened the Canada keper.

    How the hell does Tony Salmelainen manage to screen anybody? The main reason that he’s on the team is because they don’t need to buy him plane tickets since he qualifies as carry-on luggage.

  15. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Here are the NW division top 6F’s (by team) currently:

    Calgary
    1. Jarome Iginla 8-15-23
    2. Craig Conroy 4-14-18
    3. Rene Bourque 10-7-17
    4. Mike Cammalleri 7-9-16
    5. Curtis Glencross 5-10-15
    6. Daymond Langkow 7-6-13
    *Moss is also 7-6-13

    Colorado
    1. Milan Hejduk 8-10-18
    2. Paul Stastny 4-12-16
    3. Ryan Smyth 6-8-14
    4. Wojtek Wolski 5-7-12
    5. Ian Laperriere 4-7-11
    6. Tyler Arnason 1-8-9

    Edmonton
    1. Ales Hemsky 8-8-16
    2. Dustin Penner 7-6-13
    3. Andrew Cogliano 6-7-13
    4. Ethan Moreau 5-7-12
    5. Shawn Horcoff 4-7-11
    6. Marc Pouliot 6-3-9

    Minnesota
    1. Mikko Koivu 7-13-20
    2. Antti Miettinen 6-10-16
    3. Andrew Brunette 5-7-12
    4. PM Bouchard 5-6-11
    5. Eric Belanger 6-3-9
    6. Benoit Pouliot 3-4-7

    Vancouver
    1. Daniel Sedin 15-8-23
    2. Henrik Sedin 4-15-19
    3. Jannik Hansen 4-12-16
    4. Alex Burrows 6-8-14
    5. Ryan Kesler 5-9-14
    6. Pavol Demitra 7-5-12

  16. knighttown says:

    Boy it’s nice to have some semblance of a 4th line again and guess who had to get “demoted” to make it happen? I’ve said it since the fall of last year. Zack Stortini needs to play with Brodziak to be effective because as “complex” as Hemsky is to play with, Brodziak is that simple.

    -He’s the best “dumper” on the team. This under-appreaciated skill allows Zack to get past the blue line with a head of steam.
    -Brodz has the size and smarts to always take the puck to net off the cycle even if it is from directly behind. It lead to a goal the other night and has caused a few scoring chances since. Put the puck in the goalies feet and attack.
    -never makes high risk plays (and neither does Stortini) which allows our 4th line to play tougher minutes than most, like they did versus the Sedins last night. Puck is always going in the right direction and if it’s not, someone is always high.

    Sorry if this is off-topic but the Strudwick hate brought it out. I understand the hate was for him over Smid and I agree with it but Jason is as advertised, a 12th-14th forward and 7th defenseman. He’s fine.

  17. Bruce says:

    For example, refer to this [recent] thread (Souray vs. Visnovsky).
    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=587838
    I don’t have a problem with anyone having a different opinion, as long as it’s backed up. The support for Souray comes in the form of, “He’s the MAN!” or “Watch the games!”

    PJO: I do watch the games, and some nights, such as the last two games when Souray scored the game winning goal in each game with a trademark powerplay rocket, he IS the man. Sometimes the game can be reduced down to the basic fan level; and sometimes the folks on the ‘sphere, present company most definitely included, are guilty of overanalyzing.

    I haven’t read the referenced HF thread and I won’t, but to me unless you’re talking of dealing one of them at the deadline the idea of Souray vs. Visnovsky is silly no matter which side of the discussion you may assume is obvious. Point is, it’s Souray AND Visnovsky, they’re both Oilers, and this Oiler fan finds plenty in both to like, respect, and even admire. Neither is perfect but both are impact players. Both help the team.

    I do think they (and we) are better off on separate pairs, that way Oilers have an experienced, effective defenceman on the ice about 70% of the time, and if you include Staios in the mix the Oil have an experienced blueliner out there virtually all the time. (“Effective”? That’s another matter, although I sense Steve is stabilizing.)

    I wonder how long the trickle-down will take before the unwashed masses quit scapegoating the poor kid for the team’s collective woes.

    Schitzo: when I first read your comment I thought it applied to the “poor kid” mentioned in PJO’s comment immediately above yours, namely Smid. No matter which one you were referring to, it’s a fact both Smid and Pouliot have spent their share of time in the scapegoat camp.

    LT has made the case for Pouliot nicely in the post. In Smid’s case he is developing nicely, emerging as the go to defender in the third pairing. It’s no coincidenc e in my view that Staios’ play has “steadied” notably in the new partnership. Last night was a bit of a tough night for Ladi, he was on the ice for both Vancouver goals (and one Oiler goal) and he really got crushed when clearing the puck late in the third period. But there he was in the last minute fighting the big battles in front as Vancouver stormed the crease, ultimately making what could well have been a game-saving block of a very dangerous Vancouver shot in the dying seconds. It wasn’t game plan — he and Staios were caught out on a 2:00+ shift as the only time the Oilers cleared the zone they iced the puck — but Smid had enough of his wits if not his wind to make the big play at the end.

    I agree with Oilman that, in time, a partnership of Visnovsky-Smid would be an outstanding complementary pair. Experience, craft and savvy with youth, size, and aggressiveness, with enough pure skill and skating legs on both sides of the equation to really connect on the fundamental level.

    it does nothing to quell my anger over 43 being played ahead of 5.

    Sure thing, Dennis, you’ve always been Smid’s staunchest defender.

  18. dubya says:

    RE: HF; what a joke that site is. I used to read most threads, but just visit on a pass-by basis, or put some of the HF clowns into their places.

    For example, refer to this [recent] thread (Souray vs. Visnovsky).

    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=587838

    I don’t have a problem with anyone having a different opinion, as long as it’s backed up. The support for Souray comes in the form of, “He’s the MAN!” or “Watch the games!”

    Amusing

    Man, PJO you’ve got all the arrogance of Vic WITHOUT the intelligence and insight to make it tolerable.

    Several people have made good arguments on that thread, and your post ignores Souray’s higher GF ON, downplays the large difference in PP GF ON, neglects that Vis doesn’t play the PK, and makes no mention of toughness or hitting (granted, these are harder to quantify). Unless I’m mistaken (very possible), you also misread the QUAL COMP numbers as I believe Souray plays tougher comp.

    No doubt HF boards has its problems, but grow up. Running around considering yourself above an internet message board THAT YOU FREQUENTLY POST ON and referring to the other posters there as clowns is so fucking juvenile.

  19. Bruce says:

    Mr. DeBakey: I’ve been watching the Spengler Cup too, in fact will soon be making an Oil Droppings post on the subject. Today’s game is a beauty, Davos and Canada are for structural reasons by far the best rivalry, and they’ve been going at it hammer and tongs since the puck was dropped. Skirmishes, scrums and kerfuffles galore, with a penalty shot goal, a major penalty, a tonne of minors, and a fast skating offensive-minded game. And now, a tying goal, from captain Serge Aubin with 5 minutes left in the third. 4-4.

    Wonderful atmosphere in the building, too. Wouldn’t I love to go there some year to experience it first hand.

  20. boopronger says:

    punjab oil you gotta take it easy man. There will always be meatheads out there but i read that thread and for the most part it is actually a pretty good discussion. A few guys refuted your points pretty well.
    You did seem to have selective stats.

  21. Derek says:

    Good old Ninimaa coughs up the game tying goal from behind the net with 40 seconds left.

  22. doritogrande says:

    Some very interesting musings coming out of Jason Gregor over at ON today. Seems that Deslauriers will be sent down for a conditioning stint as soon as monday and has a chance to play in up to 8 games down there in the two week span. He’s also supposedly a hot commodity on the trade market.

  23. PunjabiOil says:

    RE: HF

    I don’t think I’m any more intelligent than the average hockey fan. I may come across otherwise, but I don’t honestly believe I’m smarter when it comes to hockey than the typical fan. Probably less so.

    So why the beef with HF?

    I don’t have a problem with anyone not being a fan of statistics, or the numbers. I do have conflict with those who completely disregard them, and go out of their way to argue that they are valueless, without even remotely trying to understand them. In short, those that tell you to “Watch the game” whenever you bring out numbers to support an argument.

    Among others on HF that I have beef with are those “fanboys” with respect to the arena saga. Telling an HF crowd that an arena will not spur investment, economic growth, and will have negligible benefits for the citizens at large is met with hostility. You are called an “internet troll,” or “debbie downer,” among other things. Of course those insults mean absolutely nothing to me – just in the same manner the term ‘HF clown’ shouldn’t bother anyone.

    For example, see today’s thread.

    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=587932

    Then, I love that classic argument in the debate, ”It’s going to get built, no matter what you say!” – great argument.

    As an aside, many of the moderators on HF are hypocrites. Give infractions akin to CFL refs; let other (worse) posts go without sanctions.

    That’s my beef with HF. While I still visit there, as it’s a great place to gather the latest Oilers news, and there are a considerable number of good posters over there, it’s becoming more and more of a joke.

  24. Doogie2K says:

    Brad Isbister was player of the game for Canada in Game 1

    And Dominic Pittis has three assists in two games.

    Last night was a bit of a tough night for Ladi, he was on the ice for both Vancouver goals (and one Oiler goal) and he really got crushed when clearing the puck late in the third period.

    Now, I watched that part of the game half-asleep at about 2:45 AM last night (GTA IV took precedence), but there were a pair of hits there that looked like they were either high or charges, including the hit on Smid. Did I imagine that, or is that what it looked like to you, too?

  25. Lowetide says:

    Doogie: The Canucks seemed to have a set “suicide” play where the defender comes in with bloodlust and creams the LD as he touches the puck.

    Quite effective, but not really hockey.

  26. Hemsky is a gangsta says:

    doritogrande: Gregor and Brownlee should start making seperate columns for their opinions and their inside information. The latter is worth alot, the former not so much…

  27. Traktor says:

    “Man, PJO you’ve got all the arrogance of Vic WITHOUT the intelligence and insight to make it tolerable.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Regarding Pouliot, who the heck ever blamed the teams struggles on him?

    A team doesn’t sink or swim based on 4th line talent.

    The fact is most fans that aren’t emotionally invested in Pouliot have trouble watching a guy that doesn’t produce offensively but has the same physical game as top 6 skilled forwards.

    He looks a little more physical and little better offensively but he’s not out of the woods yet – when you’re not great at anything you’re always in danger of being replaced.

    He’s not going to replace Horc on the tough minute line and he’s not going to replace Gags or Cogs on the soft line. The only spot is 3C and guys like Brodziak, Brule, Nash are all chasing him. He’s ahead of the pack but if stops to look at the scenery he will be passed.

  28. PDO says:

    Would anyone here have a link to a stream for UFC tonight?

  29. Asiaoil says:

    MC – sure MacT has his pluses but my point is that while his coaching level is competent – he continues to do things that are clearly dumb and do these things over and over. If he was a player we would say that he’s either dumb or stubborn. His handling of Smid, Cole, Strudwick and Pisani this year is clearly inexcusable for a veteran coach. I don’t like his handling of Penner either – the benching didn’t turn him around – using him properly with Horcoff and Hemsky did. MacT just doesnt like him or his game – but refusing to use him in a way that helps the team win (ie Horpensky) is just another example of MacT letting his personal feelings about players get in the way of winning.

    As for Garon – the fact that Roli is playing well has nothing to do with managing Garon. We have two decent goalie assets and one has been mismanaged in my opinion. You don’t cut up a vet goalie like Garon in public 5 games into the season – it’s petty and counter-productive – and we need both guys.

    So MacT has his solid points as a tactician and bench coach – but he let’s his personal feelings about guys get in the way far far too often and IMHO he’s not a great motivator. The best coaches – guys like Phil Jackson – understand that what you think about a player as a person is mostly irrelevant to maximizing his performance as an athlete. MacT has a comfortable little group of vets that he likes – and he seems to be less and less willing over the years to work with personalities that he doesn’t like and MAP fits that theme. Basically I think the Oiler’s room (coaching and core vets) is stale and too comfortable with mediocrity. MacT needs to go and we need a fresh approach – someone younger and not from the NHLs old-boy coaching recycling bin. The assistant coaches aside form Huddy are a disaster. Core vets need a change too with Moreau and Staios in particular needing to be moved out.

  30. Schitzo says:

    Regarding Pouliot, who the heck ever blamed the teams struggles on him?

    Sports radio show callers, mostly. There’s been nights on Tencer’s show where you’d swear Pouliot was responsible for the gretzky trade.

  31. Lord Bob says:

    Off-topic: watching ‘Slap Shot 3′, which I got for Christmas from someone I don’t like very much anymore.

    Can we start a fund to get Leslie Nielsen some decent-paying work so he doesn’t have to do any more of this crap?

  32. Lord Bob says:

    And, actually, can’t the Hanson brothers make money from autograph signings or something? Maybe get them the rights to those Chiefs jerseys you see people wear from time to time?

    This is just unacceptable. It would be like if Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Jari Kurri decided to play for a Central Hockey League team.

  33. Lowetide says:

    The funny thing is the original is STILL funny. You’d think Hollywood, after viewing the original and having 25 years to get a better script would have done better.

    But they can’t. Because hockey is an inside thing. You get it or you don’t. Remember the “we’ve got a lot of losses” speech?

    I’ve watched that scene with people who don’t understand why I’m on the floor.

    People who don’t get the culture are making the movie. That’s the shame. The original movie maker got it in spades.

  34. Lord Bob says:

    To be fair, if I’m honest, it’s better than Slap Shot 2 was.

    Damned with faint praise, I know.

  35. quain says:

    Regarding Pouliot, who the heck ever blamed the teams struggles on him?

    In all honesty I pray every night that Pouliot suddenly gets it and turns into Ryan Getzlaf, minus the bald spot and Corey Perry hooked to his hip.

  36. Tyler says:

    The funny thing is the original is STILL funny. You’d think Hollywood, after viewing the original and having 25 years to get a better script would have done better.

    But they can’t. Because hockey is an inside thing. You get it or you don’t. Remember the “we’ve got a lot of losses” speech?

    I’ve watched that scene with people who don’t understand why I’m on the floor.

    I generally impose Slapshot on women early in the relationship. You’re probably right about needing to know the culture of the sport but I find that it helps them with understanding when I’m telling a story and I end it with something like “So, you know, I felt shame” or refer to a situation that would make me go fucking bananas.

    What? Why yes I am 29 and unmarried. Why do you ask?

  37. Tyler says:

    AO – That’s as good a reasoning for fire the coach as I’ve seen. The only nitpick I have with it is that I find, as insane as some of his decisions seem, when you really go through it, you can usually sort out the thinking. Some specific comments:

    His handling of Smid, Cole, Strudwick and Pisani this year is clearly inexcusable for a veteran coach.

    I’m not really sure what to say about the above. Cole just doesn’t seem to have a spot where he fits on this team. MacT clearly wanted to run him with 83/10, which just didn’t work positionally. Considering that the forward corps is kind of a mix of bottom 6 types + Cogs after that, it makes things awkward.

    As far as Smid, Strudwick and Pisani go, it really seems to me that he does figure his teams out in time. I don’t follow enough other teams closely enough to know whether he’s got special problems in that regard. I can usually see the thinking – I figure Pisani was playing centre because there was nobody else, Smid was playing wing because they’re hamstrung by the goaltending situation if he wants to sit someone (IIRC, Smid drew in and Stortini sat; is Smid a better NHL forward than Stortini? Quite possibly). Strudwick is a little tougher but, again, he seems to have sorted it all out at this point.

    I don’t like his handling of Penner either – the benching didn’t turn him around – using him properly with Horcoff and Hemsky did. MacT just doesnt like him or his game – but refusing to use him in a way that helps the team win (ie Horpensky) is just another example of MacT letting his personal feelings about players get in the way of winning.

    Well, I’m not quite sure that that’s the right way of looking at things. MacT is using him in the way that helps the Oilers best win now. My take was that he’s a little frustrated because his flexibility in terms of coaching is limited because one of his guys needs special treatment to perform because of things that are entirely within his control (working harder). He took his crack at shaping the guy up and then did what was best for the team.

    MacT needs to go and we need a fresh approach – someone younger and not from the NHLs old-boy coaching recycling bin. The assistant coaches aside form Huddy are a disaster. Core vets need a change too with Moreau and Staios in particular needing to be moved out.

    I’m still on the fence, just because I think that the guy’s a good coach. If I had some faith that they’d do it right – hey, Ryan Huddy is now Oilers property! – I might come around to your view. As it is though, the guy’s an (IMO) above average coach with some flaws.

  38. Bruce says:

    I agree with Oilman that, in time, a partnership of Visnovsky-Smid would be an outstanding complementary pair.

    Oops, I meant AsiaOil.

    (IIRC, Smid drew in and Stortini sat; is Smid a better NHL forward than Stortini? Quite possibly)

    Another mean-spirited remark from MC w.r.t. my man Zack. That’s like saying my accountant is a better lawyer than you. Which is likely not true no matter how good of an accountant he might be, and no matter how shitty a lawyer you might be. :)

    The issue wasn’t Smid playing over Stortini, it was Smid playing up front while the advertised swing man Jason Strudwick played defence behind him. I’m a MacT guy myself, but that just made no fucking sense whatsoever, especially in light of the consistently terrible results the 24-43 pair was posting. In recent games MacT has switched that around, Struds is playing up front and Smid is patrolling the blue and the team is far better off for it. Unfortunately Struds doesn’t exactly bring GlenX type offence to the fourth line, but the trio of 43-51-46 has been reasonably effective, largely for the reasons pointed out by Knighttown in his insightful comment on Brodziak.

    As for Stortini, for all of his tribulations in the early part of this year as he tried to gain traction in the line-up, I note that now that he is finally getting a regular gig of 6-8 minutes a night, every night, he’s doing just fine. Since being reinserted in the line-up 6 games ago he has played 40:49, posting 1-1-2 and +3/-0, not to mention handling the seamier side of his position description with aplomb. Just like last year, when he started to get regular ice he stopped bleeding goals against, he started to bring more offence than anybody could reasonably expect, and hey presto! the Oilers fourth line is carrying its weight and more than its cap hit.

    I also note from LT’s post today that Stortini now sports a better ESP/60 rate than “top sixers” Shawn Horcoff, Robert Nilsson, Sam Gagner and Erik Cole. Tiny sample size of course — far TOO tiny in fact, when you consider all four of those “offensive” guys are less than 1 ESP/60. There’s just not enough points in the sample!

    Bottom line: if you want to find the culprits who are not pulling their weight at even strength, Zack Stortini isn’t the best place to start.

  39. Master Lok says:

    Would this hf thread count as Pouliot scapegoating? Or merely just Pouliot as not NHL calibre?

    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=573150&highlight=reasoner

  40. Asiaoil says:

    Hey Tyler – sure I agree that MacT is an above average NHL coach – but that may say more about a lot of the clowns who hold bench jobs in the NHL than it does about MacT. I’ve actually been a quiet MacT supporter until this year when the weird decisions could no longer be put down to youthful experimentation. I mean really – if wonks hanging around here know Coles is dodgy at LW, Penner can’t PK and Pisani isn’t a center – what’s the rational for MAcT wasting time with these moves? The public slap downs of certain players really amped up this season and it’s not something who has other motivations tools needs to do – it’s short-term gain but negative long-term.

    But the thing that struck me this year is that MacT has almost completely surrounded himself with mediocrity in the subordinate leadership positions. All the assistants aside from Huddy and even captain Moreau are far far from impressive. MacT has been playing scared for a while now and seems like he doesn’t want anyone in a position to challenge him – player or coach.

    We could do a lot worse than MacT – but that’s not a reason to stand pat when the right coaching move could really help improve the team – and besides it’s just no fun watching the NHL coaching version of Dead Man Walking.

  41. Bruce says:

    the annual string of early season pointless decisions has gotten old.

    AsiaOil: You wrote “pointless decisions” and I, ever the literalist, read “regulation losses”! Both interpretations apply.

  42. Asiaoil says:

    …..absolutely Bruce – this is a bubble team in terms of a playoff spot and throwing away points needlessly in Oct and Nov is beyond foolish. But the obvious does not seem to register for MacT all too often these days.

  43. mc79hockey says:

    Another mean-spirited remark from MC w.r.t. my man Zack. That’s like saying my accountant is a better lawyer than you. Which is likely not true no matter how good of an accountant he might be, and no matter how shitty a lawyer you might be. :)

    See, I’m pretty sure that, at the very least, you wouldn’t be a better lawyer than me, because that’s a terrible analogy.

    Does using Smid as a forward make sense? I don’t see where it does. Just purely on the basis of his ability to get to the puck though, I’d say that he’s probably a better forward than Stortini. The difference between the jobs of forward and defenceman in the NHL (particularly that of “forward who is expected to provide zero offensively”) is nowhere near the difference between the jobs of accountant and lawyer.

  44. Jonathan says:

    I don’t disagree on any particular point, but this is probably the most jubilation I’ve ever seen over a guy with ten total points.

    And since I’m swimming against the current, something is seriously wrong with Horcoff’s even-strength offense this year.

  45. Dennis says:

    - I’m glad that 5′s coming around but it’s his third season so he Should be doing well considering he’s only playing third pairing tough min. The guy’s about 175 games – that’s a guess – into his career so if he can’t handle third pairing min by now then he really wouldn’t be worth talking about. Now the question is do you want to pay him? Which is the same thing we were talking about with Matt Greene at the end of last season.

    - it was an earlier post in this thread but, LT, the way it looks is that EV scoring really isn’t the problem; of course we know it’s the PK.

    - I’m still a MacT guy but he has been doing the same thing for years early in the season that it’s starting to gall me. Of course if Lowe ever brought some balance to the roster than maybe he’d have more options. Then again, we’ve heard macT has more say about personnel as well so maybe he is more responsible for the roster makeup then his supporters believe. Then again2, we know he lobbied to keep Reasoner and that didn’t happen and our PK’s most likely suffering for it.

  46. Peter Robert Casey says:

    Hello there,
    I am Peter Robert Casey and I am a basketball columnist. I have initiated an idea to create a sports blogroll where bloggers from all sports disciplines could participate. All you need to do is to add my blog link to your blog and i’ll do the same. That way, we could have a mutual partnership and we could refer visitors to each other’s blog.
    Please let me know if you would be interested.

    Your’s in Hoops,
    Peter Robert Casey
    http://www.peterrobertcasey.com

  47. Yeti says:

    Hello there,
    I am Peter Robert Casey and I am a basketball columnist. I have initiated an idea to create a sports blogroll where bloggers from all sports disciplines could participate. All you need to do is to add my blog link to your blog and i’ll do the same. That way, we could have a mutual partnership and we could refer visitors to each other’s blog.
    Please let me know if you would be interested.

    I would like to be your mutual partner but I’m afraid I’m married.

  48. Bruce says:

    Just purely on the basis of his ability to get to the puck though, I’d say that he’s probably a better forward than Stortini.
    The difference between the jobs of forward and defenceman in the NHL (particularly that of “forward who is expected to provide zero offensively”) is nowhere near the difference between the jobs of accountant and lawyer.

    Tyler: OK, I see I'm not the only literalist around here. Granted one doesn't need to pass a bar exam to switch positions, but there's a lot more to being a forward than "ability to get to the puck", an area where Stortini has been doing just fine btw. In his first game experimenting at forward Smid took a needless hooking penalty that was caused by a defenceman's reaction where an experienced forward would just let the guy go. Wound up costing us a PPGA. To me that one wasn't on Smid, it was on MacT. Eminently predictable.

    As for our "forward who is expected to provide zero offensively", let me point out, again, that Stortini currently ranks 8th of 13 Oiler forwards in ESP/60. Not that his 1.01 is any great shakes, but the "forwards who are expected to provide a lot offensively and are actually providing close to zero" are a lot bigger problem at this point. I made a similar point at report card time when LT shat on Stortini for zero offence when the same four "top six" guys were floundering at < 1.00, and they're still floundering, to the point that Zack passed all of them on the strength of a two-game scoring streak.

    And since I’m swimming against the current, something is seriously wrong with Horcoff’s even-strength offense this year.

    Strong current, isn’t it, Jonathan?
    Much as it pains me to say it about my favourite Oiler, Horc’s ES production has indeed been butt ugly in 2008-09. He currently ranks at 0.97 ESP/60, despite the fact that his most frequent mates have been Hemsky (71% of Horcoff’s TOI), Visnovsky (48%), Penner (42%), Souray (40%), Gilbert (33%), Cole (31%) and Grebeshkov (31%). Horc’s been doing alright defensively but clearly he hasn’t been delivering the goods at the offensive end of the rink despite the primo linemates. We’re now 40% of the way into the season, and that needs to change.

  49. Bank Shot says:

    I sure hope Pouliot doesn’t hit thirty points this season. Not that I have anything against him, but a 30 point season earns you 2+ million dollars from the Oilers org, and they can’t afford to pay a guy like Pouliot that kind of scratch.

    He’s not good enough for the pp, nor the pk, and he doesn’t appear to have any passion for playing the shutdown role.

    If he’s to stay a useful Oiler he needs to make about what he’s making now or he’ll be shipped out to make room for those with more strengths to their games.

  50. PunjabiOil says:

    It would be interesting to see Horcoff’s EV numbers since he was re-united with Hemsky and Penner.

    Obviously it took him some time to get going with his shoulder injury, but there is something else that just doesn’t feel right.

    The Horcoff I remember would confidently rush the puck and gain the opposition’s zone – we haven’t seen much of that this season.

  51. Dennis says:

    I can’t sort the ’07 numbers but I seem to remember 78 being an alright PKer down that stretch when the lineup was depleted. So, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that he can’t kill penalties.

    And I also believe some good things have been happening as of late when he’s been on the PP.

  52. Bank Shot says:

    Pouliot’s been passed on the PK depth chart by both Brodziak, and Cogliano.

    He might be decent enough on the PK, but I don’t see any evidence to suggest that Mactavish thinks he’s good enough to be a penalty killer for the Oilers. Mactavish has shown more interest in playing Liam Reddox there.

    Considering Pouliot as a PK option for the Oilers is a stretch.

    Pouliot may also make the occasional good play on the PP, but I don’t see how he can carve out a consistent role on the PP, when the Oilers are stacked with players that are more suited for the role.

    Unless the Oilers drastically alter the makeup of their lineup, I just don’t see how special teams are in Pouliot’s future.

  53. Dennis says:

    BS: Well, macT makes the final call so obviously it doesn’t matter what any of us think:) but earlier on I was all about never having 89 on the PK again but when Bruce crunched my scoring chance numbers it showed that Gagner actually had some PP chops.

    So, what MacT does isn’t a always the right thing so I won’t get too caught up in his word being golden. Let’s not forget he always kept that 24-43 tandem together on D while 5 rotted away at forward.

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