Blue Snow, Blue Monday

This is Rick Monday. He’s just killed me. A series of unfortunate decisions led to the moment in time when Rick Monday hit the Steve Rogers pitch to Pluto and ended the dreams of Montreal Expos fans in 1981. And beyond. WHY did Jim Fanning bring in Steve Rogers, a starter? WHY did he keep him in the lineup after Ron Cey hit a long fly ball to deep left the previous at-bat?

Why oh why oh why.

The Edmonton Oilers are not (despite some who say it) burdened with a Jim Fanning “gut feel” gunslinger manager. The Oilers coach (Craig MacTavish) has over an 8-year span (’00-’08) made mostly rational decisions and on the biggest stage (Stanley Cup playoffs) pushed the right buttons in series against Detroit, San Jose and Anaheim. I’m also prepared to suggest that despite his choice of backup in the fateful G1 SCF that spring, the fault for the Stanley loss doesn’t fall at the feet of the head coach.

Since the Chris Pronger trade, this club has been in development mode. Thousands of at-bats have been given to Ladislav Smid, Matt Greene, Marc Pouliot, Tom Gilbert, Brad Winchester, Robert Nilsson, Kyle Brodziak, Zack Stortini, JF Jacques, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Liam Reddox, Jeff Deslauriers and a few I haven’t mentioned here.

While doing that, the Oilers have also tried to put a winning team on the field. They have some veterans who are long in the tooth (Roloson, Moreau, Staios), some who are in the heart of their careers (Horcoff, Cole), a few hired guns (Lubo, Souray), a mess of kids (above, plus Grebeshkov) and even one guy touched by God (Hemsky). They’ve even spent money, lots of it.

The Oilers have one fatal flaw: they never had had a balanced team. Because of the aggressive development group each season there has always been a gap here or there. One year it was the goaltending, the next it was madness on the blue, this season it’s veteran NHL talent who can help the PK. It’s a simple error to fix, and in fact the Oilers should have the people on-site to do the job. However, Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios seem to have lost a step overnight (I remember it happening to Jay Bell like this, one day he just couldn’t play shortstop anymore) in this regard and the kids can’t puck up the slack.

You’ve heard me talk about “replacement level” talent from time to time, players who are NHL average and can be had for very little. All sports have these players, often they travel from team to team because although valuable they can also be replaced easier than guys who perform at an above average level. As an example, Mike Sillinger has changed teams many times over the years despite obvious and measurable value. Why? Because a team dealing him picks up an attractive prospect or pick in exchange for someone they can replace in many ways during the summer. Maybe the Islanders use Tambellini in that role next year, or bring back the new Wes Walz or sign Marty Reasoner.

None of it matters, except to say that Mike Sillinger and members of his family are readily available at any time in the NHL. So, if that’s the case why in hell are the Edmonton Oilers standing pat?

They are bleeding out. Not because they don’t have talent, not because the defense is too young, not even (this time) because they’re developing too many kids at one time (which they are) but because they don’t have anyone to make the simple play.

Ball on two hops to second base. Flash leather, lazy throw to the bag, umpire raises his hand and the runner relaxes because he’s dead. He runs it out because of his training but he knew it was over before he ran halfway down the line.

They’re pissing away a season because they can’t find a replacement level player to do a job that requires less actual skill than pretty much anything else a major league player is asked to do. Is killing a penalty easier than scoring a goal? Stopping a breakaway? Making a butter pass to the slot in the split second window when the play is available?

You know the answer. You know the answer. So what are we waiting for? Blue Snow?

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89 Responses to "Blue Snow, Blue Monday"

  1. DBO says:

    macT’s comments after the game about needing someone to win a faceff or kill a penalty, and that if no one does it they’ll bring someone in who can lead me to think they are going that direction. but to your point LT, what the frick are they waiting for? I know we are all arm chair GM’s, but it’s been obvious since before the season started that we needed a thrid line center to play PK, take key faceoffs and bring some physical play. And like you said, they can be had for a mid round pick or a prospect who will never see the light in our lineup (of which we have a bunch). So who do we target?

  2. stubby says:

    I think Sillinger had some off-season hip surgery. Dipietro and Zubov are examples of guys who have undergone a similar procedure and are still affected. Personally I find someone besides Sillinger. I just checked he’s out with a ‘hip injury’ and on IR from Dec 30.
    I didn’t watch many TB games, was Gratton really not NHL caliber any longer?

  3. Dennis says:

    It seems like a few fellows have shown up late to the PK Pity Party but I’ve been pointing at this scab every since I started counting scoring chances over at Ty’s site.

    I noticed just how much we’re giving up and how it wasn’t a coincidence that we were giving up a lot of PK goals. The Oilers D doesn’t always do a good job stopping screens and the forwards have pretty much given up blocking shots and in some instances, Modano’s GW in Dal and Lee’s GW the other night vs Ott, vet forwards like 10-18 have totally lost their cool and have been more out of position than a virgin at a swinger’s party.

    The killing points from my end is that it’s been happening for awhile now and certainly long enough to have been addressed. You’ll have some fans plus potential bigwigs like Gregor and Brownlee calling for the big trade but I really don’t think that’s necessary.

    I keep saying it over and over but here we go again.

    - Take the 12 forwards we had last night.

    - replace 67-85 with 83-78.

    - Now, look at this new 12 and replace 43-46 with two guys who can win a faceoff and kill a fucking penalty. It doesn’t have to come from a big trade and though 37 plus for Vermette and then moving 5 into the top four might not be a bad idea, I really don’t think a big move’s necessary.

    27-10-83 can run at EV and now we’ve got some 89-26 chem so we’re looking at two lines that can score at EV plus a PP that will certainly do enough to get us into the playoffs.

    But it’s all pretty much pointless if we don’t fix the PK. I’ve mentioned Devereaux before but what kind of a job did he do killing penalties with TO last going off? And are there any more guys out there in the minors who can do the same? Is it time to look again at Chris Gratton?

    We don’t know if MacT’s taken his concerns previously to Lowebellini but last night he took them public. I haven’t read the papers today but I listed to his audio and he even went out of his way to ignore one question and bring it back to the fact they can’t kill a penalty.

    Now it’s how we address it or if at all. And if we DO bring in new personnel, can some of the beaties give us a fucking story about why we no longer block shots? It has to be an org decision, no?

  4. DaHoosman says:

    The problem with this team is the problem I had with the last of the Brosnan Bond films. I just kept waiting for it to get good because it had all the elements: action, a capable person playing Bond, a somewhat plausible storyline, gadgets and international locales. But casting Denise Richards as one of the Bond girls was unforgivable (an American woman should NEVER be cast) and the actual writing was weak.

    This version of the Oilers has the same glaring deficiencies as outlined in the post, but, who wants to bet that Tambo and KLowe are banking on getting Pisani back as looking like a “trade”. His game seems to be exactly what the Oilers are missing now, and waiting for him to get back, although, in my opinion, ill-conceived, might be what’s holding them back? Is Pisani enough? With the current play of a captain who’s influence seems to be on par with good ole’ cap Jason Varitek and Steve Staios somewhere in Jason Smith’s vacation house, I don’t think so. A trade is needed.

    But come’on guys … it’s a Bond film. We know these characters. Give it time, it will get good. We’ve seen good ones before. Why would this be any different? Does anyone think this is NOT the thought process of the Tambo, KLowe, MacT mind meld that happens in these discussions?

  5. oilerdago says:

    Well written LT. It has been obvious since training camp that while there is more talent, there are a couple of major flaws.

    We’ve tried plugging the PK from within to no avail. Pisani was not the answer before and is not now. The point has been beaten over and over here and in other places.

    No doubt that MacT’s comment last night was pointed again at Lowe and Tambellini. It’s not the first time (started last summer w/keeping Reasoner) and it continues.

    But I’m finally of the mind that the issue is not MacT’s ability to coach. We can debate whether he’s reached the point of diminishing returns coaching this team, but he’s still a capable guy (sorry Hunter).

    That’s why I think part of his comments last night were to the more reasonable fans that he’s as exasperated as we are with this situation.

    With time running out on this season (don’t let the standings fool us), we’re letting points slip through our fingers that will come back and bite us in the end.

    It’s really time for senior management to earn it’s keep now.

  6. DBO says:

    So here are the top faceoff guys in the league (everyone who has more then 55% according to NHL.com)
    1 Radek Bonk 63.6
    2 Rod Brind’Amour 63.2
    3 Antoine Vermette 62.1
    4 Kris Draper 60.5
    5 Manny Malhotra 58.6
    6 Pavel Datsyuk 57.9
    7 Jarret Stoll 57.6
    8 Boyd Gordon 57.2
    9 Patrice Bergeron 57.0
    10 Maxim Lapierre 56.0
    11 Keith Tkachuk 56.0
    12 David Steckel 55.4
    13 Joe Thornton 55.3

    Vermette may be available for an offensive defenseman, while Malhotra might be available since he’s a UFA next year, although with Columbus surging I doubt they deal him. Bonk could be had for next to nothing, although he doesn’t bring much more then winning faceoffs. An interesting name is David Steckal from the Caps. He’s 6’5 222 lbs and is a 2001 draft pick. Size, still young (26) and cheap (one more year at $750K) and he’s 4th on the team in hits with 45 (which would put him 3rd on our team).

  7. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I think you have to cut the coach some slack early in the season, no?

    A year ago he ran (up front) the following on PK:

    1. Reasoner 3:10
    2. Stoll 2:53
    3. Moreau 2:48
    4. Horcoff 2:47
    5. Brodziak 2:31
    6. Pisani 2:28

    This season when Pisani was healthy (these numbers are 13 games in) it looked like this:

    1. Brodziak 3:06
    2. Horcoff 2:52
    3. Moreau 2:52
    4. Pisani 2:40
    5. Penner 2:00

    So year over year Horcoff, Moreau and Pisani get the same TOI and he asks Brodziak and Penner to chip in.

    Now we’re well into the season, Pisani has been injured and the top 6F look like this:

    1. Horcoff 3:15
    2. Brodziak 2:51
    3. Moreau 2:35
    4. Pisani (inj) 2:24
    5. Reddox 1:17
    6. Penner 1:10

    Cogs is also over a minute (1:01) now.

    So, Dennis, to your point. I think you can reasonably argue that MacT felt the orginal 5 listed would (sooner or later) get it done. We talked early in the season about needing a RH center but imo this PK problem wasn’t evident at game 13.

    WHEN did you question it?

  8. hunter1909 says:

    MacT is a capable guy with Pronger on defence and a balanced team like in 2006.

    What MacT cannot seem to do is mentor the elementary class he’s been handed this season.

    Personally Mr.Oilerdago, I’ve stopped worrying about MacT. What concerns me is the bush league management “style”(for lack of a better word), the team has been suffering from since the Messier for Nichols trade.

    That’s the unforgivable thing.

  9. Lowetide says:

    hunter: That Messier trade was a bad day. Probably the worst for me as an Oilers fan. It was give up day, really.

    I think Lowe-MacT was a breath of fresh air and a brand new day, but as with everything you develop a past. The handling of the Comrie fiasco, the attention paid to things outside the standings (outdoor game, Olympics) and the general Oiler attitude re: the arena are all galling for sure.

    The Oilers are not a classy organization at this time. That I can certainly agree with. I’m not certain we can tie the Messier trade to this administration though.

  10. Asiaoil says:

    Well written LT – there is an obvious pattern to the mgmt of this team and it’s not flattering. Leave big gaps in the lineup unfilled at the start of the year and then ignore the problems until the deadline. Maybe they get filled – but usually we are out of the running by then. If VAN did not fall off a cliff in the spring of 06 – the SCF team would have missed the playoffs – all for Lowe’s inability to get off the pot and fix a problem before March.

    Dennis should not however pump up his take on this too far – there were plenty of us warning about the bottom 6 and faceoffs in the summer – the PK issues are just one facet of that problem. Basically from last years team we sent off 4 NHL forwards (Stoll, GlenX, Torres, Reasoner) and replaced them with kids and disappointments in Moreau and Cole. That’s a downgrade from a forward group that was pretty damn mediocre to begin with and there was no reason for it.

    The only reason to not fill these obvious holes last summer is for Lowe to be incompetent or not care. There are no other options when the problems are so obvious to so many. Add the fact that the coach has pretty much exhausted his limited bag of motivational tricks and you get a squad like this one. The problems are pretty easy to fix – but IMHO the tough part is you need to ditch the GM and coach to do it – Lowe and MacT are the problem rather part of any solutions at this point.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Borrowing a quote from one of my June 30th posts:

    Notice any glaring weaknesses? I’d argue that there are three, the same three I’ve suggested all off-season, although the order has probably changed a little:

    1) 3rd line centre
    2) Tough-minutes defenseman
    3) 2nd line left wing

    Those holes are based on a lineup with Torres, but without Pitkanen or Cole. All of these are obvious things – and all of them are still obvious holes in the roster.

    In fairness, I thought the PK would be fine anyway, because MacT has always coached a good PK. Still, that checking line centre and capable defenseman would help out there tremendously.

    I was far from alone in saying this – I think the majority around these parts thought we needed pretty much the same parts.

  12. Lowetide says:

    I honestly don’t recall a lot of posts in the summer specific to the PK. Or even in the early fall.

    This seems to be a two-pronged issue:

    1. We all agreed about a need for a veteran C (prefer RH) in summer.

    2. Pinpointing the PK problem came after the season.

    I’m not terribly concerned with who came first as opposed to identifying a point at which we could measure it (and then follow the coaching moves from there).

    The PK was the suck BEFORE Pisani went down. RIght? But we could probably argue the coach thought they’d find the range.

    So, from the Pisani injury forward we know:

    1. The PK was bad with Pisani and
    2. Pisani was hurt.

    So, with that as a backfrop:

    1. How many games since that day?
    2. How many PK goals against since that day?
    3. How many flushed W’s since that day?

  13. Schitzo says:

    The PK was the suck BEFORE Pisani went down.

    That’s kind of the galling part. Pisani himself was only on the ice for one GA before he got hurt. – it was the 4-5 minutes of PK per night he wasn’t on the ice that we got killed.

    So he gets hurt, and all of a sudden you have 7 minutes a night of PK time instead of 4 or 5 where Saint Fernando isn’t watching over his own zone… and they expected the PK to get better? Ballsy assumption.

  14. DeBakey says:

    I would think Grebeshkov would be more than enough for Veremtte & his .54 Pts/60.

    Aren't puck-moving Dmen the New NHL's golden boys?

    If they move Grebeshkov, they'll have to find another useful Dman; if they don't they're leaving themselves short at the back.

    Would going-for-the-Cup Montreal like a Moreau?

  15. Lowetide says:

    I think Peckham would be an obvious #6 option at this point.

    Falcons plus minus currently (Peckham facing toughs based on Jonathan’s terrific post the other day)

    Wild +8
    Basillion +1
    Peckham EVEN
    Hrabal EVEN
    Young -4
    Bina -8
    Roy -14
    Chorney -21

    Roy is struggling this season, too bad. He’d be an obvious solution if he were playing well.

  16. Asiaoil says:

    LT – the PK is just a symptom of the general state of our bottom 6. We ditched Marty, GlenX and Stoll in the off-season and Pisani is now hurt. That’s a lot of NHLers to lose off a team with not enough to begin with. Moreau is the only guy who came back but he’s been out for 2 years and hasn’t been a lot of help (no surprise).

  17. Asiaoil says:

    DeBakey – Vermette would be useful but he makes $3 million next year.

  18. Lowetide says:

    Asia: I understand your point and I’m not making mine well. Here’s what I’m trying to say:

    1. We all agreed in the summer that a RH C, burly LW and perhaps a gritty D should be added.

    2. We also agreed that w/o help it meant that MacT would ride one of Brodziak or Pouliot up the middle. He ended up using Pisani which further complicated it.

    3. The Oilers started poorly on the PK and THEN stepped into the elevator shaft.

    I don’t dispute any of it. What I’m saying is that other things have happened along the way:

    4. Moreau and Steve Staios have done a “Jay Bell” which is to say they stepped on the field one day and found they were unable to make the play across their body from deep short running toward the left-field foul line (which is the most difficult SS-to-1B throw) and the Oilers were left with extremely few options in this area.

    Knowing all this, WHEN did it become an issue to us? Because if it’s an issue to us then the organization must have been aware of it.

    Dennis suggested he becamse aware of it around the time he began counting scoring chances. Based on MC’s site and Dennis work there his counting starts pretty much at the beginning of the year. Pisani played 7 OCT games and 9 in NOV and his final game 17 November.

    So when Dennis says he noticed it early, would that be November 1? 10th? And I do think it’s important because there’s a big difference between waiting for things to shake down and looking the other way.

  19. Dennis says:

    LT: I started out assuming our PK would be fine this season because it’s always Been fine.

    Of course I knew we needed a vet secondary tough min pivot OR we needed 51 or 78 to be able to assume the role but it wasn’t until the games began that I decided the PK was going to be a constant mess. I’m not sure of which game it was but I remember doing a brief summary after one game in particular and saying I didn’t think things would improve. Whether that was before the game Pisani went down in Det, I’m not really sure.

    I will look it up though.

  20. Traktor says:

    MacTavish probably had 75+ different players at his disposal over his time as the head coach.

    At what point are we going to stop saying the players aren’t good enough.

    How many students need to fail before you question the teacher?

    Does MacTavish have the perfect lineup?

    How many businesses wait 8 years for the perfect storm before they expect results.

    Every single year I’m writing about the self-inflicted wounds delivered by the coach. Every year! This year is no different.

    - Penner was 12th in the league in PP goals last year and he was taken off the PP.

    - Despite overwhelming evidence that Smid was playing well the start of the season he was taken out of the top 6 rotation and replaced with Strudwick.

    - Studwick and Staios bled goals and MacT was talking to the media like they were world class.

    - Instead of using the preseason to try different combos MacTavish forced Cole where he didn’t belong. 10 games into the season and Cole was still playing out of position.

    Any idiot would have predicted that Cole and Gagner would mesh well but it takes MacT 30 games to use common sense.

    - Garon was the only reason we didn’t finish in the lottery last year, and started off the season 3-0 with a .941 sv% but after a couple average games MacT shredded him publicly.

    - MacTavish told the media and fans that they need to readjust their expectations of Penner because he was playing him in a checking role with Moreau. Then when Penner doesn’t produce offensively he gets called out by the coach. He was +8 at the time of his benching.

    - MacTavish took a player that was +8 out of the rotation of a club losing at EV.

    - Penner Horcoff Hemsky looked like a solid line when they were together last year yet it takes MacT 30 games to put them back together.

    - MacT tried to turn Smid into a LW even though Stay and Struds were bleeding profusely.

    - MacTavish refusal to roll with Brodziak and Pouliot even though they’re much better options than Pisani.

    -Liam Reddox isn’t good enough to play on half of the teams in the NHL yet he is good enough to play 1st line on Edmonton because he played like Bucky and MacT when they were younger.

    -Edmonton had their best development year ever when they employed a coach who had 20+ years experience coaching kids. MacT goes and fires him for a useless idiot, Bucky, who’s only experience was a complete disaster – 1 season in the NHL where he was last or close to it in most categories.

    - MacTavish’s hard line stance on Moreau.

    People need to stop looking at what MacT doesn’t have and start looking at what he’s getting out of what he does have.

    There’s only 4 or 5 players on the team playing up to their potential and people still think MacTavish doesn’t have enough resources to be successful.

    MacT even said himself that this team can compete for the division. Of course he’s too fucking moronic to know that by saying so he put the weight of the world on a bunch of kids shoulders. That’s something to say in the dressing room not to the media. Another self-inflicted wound.

  21. Dennis says:

    Traktor: A lot of good points there to be sure.

    But, there really doesn’t appear to be enough here to kill penalties and the only other thing no one will ask about is why we no longer block shots? Are there all that many team who can ice successful PK units Without blocking shots? And did we stop because we didn’t want to risk injury?

    LT: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=2972#more-2972

    Here are some of my comments after the early season win in Philly:

    __ The first easy answer is that Garon’s PK PCT was as rare and unrepeatable as Ty predicted and that accounts for a big drop. The other explanation is that 16-19 out and 27-89 in isn’t a good trade-off and if you put both together I think we’ll have the awnser. I’ve been keeping close eyes on 27 and I find he’s oft out of position and that’s a big problem. Plus, we’re breaking in 51 as well so it’s really too many holes to plug.
    I don’t really expect the PK to come around until and/or if these kids grow up fast OR MacT puts 13 in for a go or gives 26 or 78 a chance.

    __So, yeah, looking at it like that and considering the club did a great job killing penalties in Car then maybe a good streak is afoot; something that would go a little way towards getting us middle of the pack.

    But then when I look at the personnel we’re using and I’m not sold. I think it would make more sense to invest is us remaining a power at EV and a 12th overall PP than it would for us to rise anywhere about 15th on the PK.

    And I think that’s being a big generous__

    I’m not really sure where our PK stood at the time but I already had the knives out.

  22. Jonathan says:

    I agree with all of Traktor’s case-by-case points above except this one:

    Liam Reddox isn’t good enough to play on half of the teams in the NHL yet he is good enough to play 1st line on Edmonton because he played like Bucky and MacT when they were younger.

    Reddox is a perfectly serviceable 4th liner, and was put on the top line (IMO) because MacTavish was using Penner/Horcoff/Reddox to check the Spezza line and didn’t trust his other forwards with that defensive responsibility.

    Honestly though, the fact that this team still hasn’t made a trade is galling. A change needs to be made; I think a trade should be pursued first, but they’re running out of time.

    Firing the coach may be the best option at this point.

  23. Quinn says:

    One thing I noticed at the game last night (a real fun time being an Oiler fan in the Saddledome!) was the lack of compete. Not so much the individual failings, but how little hustle and puck pursuit I saw. The Flames got several goals simply by beating Oilers to the puck.

    This is an interesting point to me, not that the personnel at necessarily the problem (because Strudwick, who I hate, played really well last night) but that there seems to be a lack of heart to this team. I don’t want Ryan Smyth back, but you have to admit this team tried a lot harder following his example. The leadership on the team just can’t seem to get the rest of them to try as hard as they need to.

    So, if picking up a Malhotra (hits and wins faceoffs) or someone else will help this, I say do it. But not more pluggers who can’t lead by example (Reddox, Strudwick, etc, etc).

  24. slipper says:

    Hands up for anyone who hasn’t noticed the penalty kill sucking for a long time now.

    I think Asia hits the nail on the head. That bottom 6F is thin on experienced NHL’ers.

    You do that Visnovsky for Stoll/Green trade over and over and over again, but you have to replace the minutes of out going players. When Phoenix acquired Jokinen they lost Ballard but replaced him with Saurer through the FA market. When the Oilers let Reasoner and GLenX walk and traded Stoll it left gaping holes in the roster. Atleast a half dozen guys arounf here have been saying the same thing since July: those minutes don’t board the plane with the traded players.

    After Pisani went down you’d thik that LowBellini would address this problem but so far they seem content to sit on their hands. Maybe Brodziak, Moreau and Cogliano can turn this ship right on their own. Once again in Edmonton hope has become a plan.

  25. Traktor says:

    Dennis: If we’re not blocking shots that’s the only tell one needs. That’s either systems or not caring. Both fall on the coach.

    We can upgrade the PK but as I’ve said before it would be like fixing the breaks when you have engine problems. Sure it would be nice to stop at stop sign but what good are new breaks when your car doesn’t even start?

    The bottom line is we’re not winning the cup this year regardless who’s on the PK so spending assets to fix it would be like spending your last 20 bucks buying ladies drinks that aren’t going to sleep with you. Save your assets for when you have a chance.

    From your side of view I can totally understand the frustration.

    Fact: our PK sucks

    Fact: guys that can win draws and PK efficiently can be had for mid-late round picks.

    The fact that we’ll go out and pick up bowl of rice and not take a flier on Gratton is indefensible.

    This team could get the Dean McAmmond for Rob Schremp tomorrow. This org doesn’t know if it’s coming or going though.

    Jonathan: How many coaches under the same circumstances would use a tweener like Reddox on the first line with Horc and Penner? Probably the same amount that would use Stortini to shutdown Crosby. If this was an isolated incident it would be one thing but I’ve seen this before with Toby.

  26. DeBakey says:

    A few things:

    Horpensky was put together before 30 games

    MacT did not try to turn Smid into a LW. You can disagree with why MacT did it, but if you don't know what he was doing then you weren't paying attention

    Interesting comments about Strudwick this week. They highlight a weakness [and strength] about MacT. He likes guys who maximize their abilities
    He likes Horcoff, Hemsky & Strudwick; he liked Thoreson & Rourke.
    On the other hand, guys like Nilsson & Penner make him mental.

    I think he need to look a little more at what he has, and not what might be.

  27. Traktor says:

    “You can disagree with why MacT did it, but if you don’t know what he was doing then you weren’t paying attention”

    I know what he was doing. He was trying to fill one hole but ended up creating 2 holes. Much like when he moved his best checking RW to center. Instead of a hole at 3C he had a hole at 3C and 3RW. Otherwise known as a self-inflicted wound.

    MacTavish had 2 children but only a limited amount of food. Instead of feeding one of them enough to survive he split up his food to both children but it wasn’t enough for both so they both died. Sure he didn’t have enough food to keep everyone going but his mismanagement of what he did have is ultimately the demise of the family/team.

  28. namflashback says:

    Grr, there is alot of good meat in this comment thread that keeps getting steered into anti-MacT rhetoric.

    Various posters: we know your opinion on the MacT matter, can we discuss the more interesting issue at hand here? PK is killing this team. Not lack of “one-shot scorer”(tm) or anything related to that.

    To sum:
    PK. It took until now for the coach to publicly mention it. I recall a couple of MSM paragraphs discussing it about 5-8 GP ago. Other than the specific and obvious recognition of roster imbalance (which goes back to the summer), Dennis smelt something foul back to beginning of November.

    Assuming Lowebellini and MacT are on the same page, they began their evaluation at about the same time the MSM got word. Is it personnel or is it a bad streak.

    Dennis could tell at about the 10 GP mark via the Scoring Chance numbers. About 15 games before the braintrust did.

    That’s significant. Esp. since we know that they (the team) tracks scoring chances too.

  29. Lowetide says:

    namflashback: Yes. That looks like the timeline, which means:

    A/ They’re dummies.

    B/ Old-freaking-boys club.

    Ethan bleeds Oil so we’ll just go ahead and be the Exxon freaking Valdez.

    I don’t really see another answer. MacT isn’t stupid.

  30. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Thanks for that. Terrific information. Are you eventually going to packet this info after the season (I hope, I hope)?

  31. Art Vandelay says:

    “A series of unfortunate decisions led to the moment in time when Rick Monday hit the Steve Rogers pitch to Pluto and ended the dreams of Montreal Expos fans in 1981. And beyond. WHY did Jim Fanning bring in Steve Rogers, a starter? WHY did he keep him in the lineup after Ron Cey hit a long fly ball to deep left the previous at-bat? Why oh why oh why.”

    Captured it perfectly, LT.

    Half of O’Leary was piled into the Team Teaching Room to watch that game on one of those old Magnasonic 18-inchers with the bleached out colours. People who’d never even watched a baseball game before were crying. Blue Monday got its own yearbook page, as I recall.

  32. rickibear says:

    “How many students need to fail before you question the teacher?
    ….

    ….That’s something to say in the dressing room not to the media. Another self-inflicted wound.”

    Traktor: That is the year.

  33. DeBakey says:

    I think Peckham would be an obvious #6 option at this point.

    Touble with that is WHEN the injury comes.
    You’ve already made your #7 guy your #6, now what?
    All your shoring up at forward goes for nought.

    Those jerseys the Black Hawks were wearing today were killer.

  34. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide:

    I thought the EIG were good guys, committed to keeping the team in Edmonton, which I still do. Shame they weren’t there in June 1988.

    I also thought Lowe was doing a good job too. You know, keeping the team going until the new CBA.

    Then, after 2006, it started to dawn on me: Maybe Lowe simply wasn’t capable of putting together a cup winner with or without the components he kept telling everyone he needed.

    Everyone goes on about “2006″, without bothering to wonder why the Oilers went into the playoffs without a decent backup goalie. In business, it’s like ordering a container load of goods from China, without bothering to pay for insurance. Sure, it’s unlikely to happen that one needs insurance. It’s just that without it, you can go bankrupt if anything happens to your goods.

    This shows Lowe up as a gambler, but not a smart one. Lowe is the guy who talks too much in a poker game, REALLY enjoys himself, and then by the time it comes to make the serious bets he invariably puts all his money into a full house – only to discover that the quiet guy is holding 4 of a kind.

    And as for MacTavish and his favoritism…there is literally nothing I know that drains the spirit out of anyone, than knowing that no matter how hard they try, the boss prefers his little pets instead.

  35. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide:

    Of course Lowe and MacTavish have nothing to do with the Messier trade. Then again, they followed Messier out of town, then returned, much like local Edmonton rock musicians who head to the big city for a few years or even months, then spend the rest of their lives blowing up their modest achievements.

    Not that Lowe and MacT are hockey failures, quite the reverse, but I’ve been hearing this “We might leave town” threat from both of them off and on for quite a few years. It’s pretty obvious to me that both of them feel incredibly full of themselves, something I find both funny and disgusting.

    Now Katz owns the team, at first I thought great. Then I see the way the season is headed, and I’m getting a big deja vu from the way Sather and Jim Dolan the Rangers owner deal with one another. Dolan treats Sather like a rock star, who can do no wrong. Sather for his part, agrees with his boss.

    I know a lot of Ranger fans, the hardest of the hard core ones who go to the games at the garden, who have been tearing their hair out over the past several seasons, as the Rangers, like the Oilers, keep putting out poor teams. Even this year, the Rags are soft and almost certainly going to get booted in the early rounds.

    So what happens if Katz, who in the end is just another boring and dull businessman, turns out to be as star struck as Jim Dolan?

    What is likely to happen is, Lowe gets to keep putting his kid through private schools, which no doubt is his first priority, the Oilers continue to wallow and make the flames fans happy as pigs in shit(which I know for a fact they are), while Oilers fans who can think for themselves simply start to walk away from this disaster.

    That’s what bothers me.

  36. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide:

    Then there’s the red herring about how players dont want to play in Edmonton.

    Who the fuck doesn’t want to play hockey in a hotbed?

    What players really don’t want, is to play for a team that stifles creativity, goes into every season with enough holes to drive the Queen Mary through, and fucks up the development of every skilled draft pick, while driving said players out of down tarred and feathered by a grovelling local media, all the while bemoaning the fact that they never can seem to get any skilled players to join them.

  37. Dennis says:

    LT: Actually, Scott and Bruce did a very good summarization at around 27 game mark and I’m not sure where it’s posted but one of the things the numbers indicated was that 89 wasn’t nearly the terrible PKer that I thought he was; at least in terms of chances/against per game.

    Anyway, my whole thing has been to do the legwork with the charting and then depend on the kindness of Oilogosphere strangers to lift and seperate:) And so far guys have done that and I think they believe in it enough that they’ll keep doing so.

    Personally, it’s been harder to keep on top of it than I thought. Not in terms of the actual logging because Vic’s provided me with a new site that does all the sussing on an individual game basis so now what I’m doing is charting and then typing it into the sheets. But the deal is that it sucks to follow a mediocre team and with the holidays in full bloom I’ve been out and about more and I’ve been taping the games. Usually I’ll sit down with a notebook and log times for scoring chances and then basically it’s all done by the end of the game. But now I’ve got losses to the Sens and Flames that I have to watch in order to track and I’ll do it to try and keep the set as complete as possible – I’m missing the win in STL and it looks like I’ll miss the Boxing Night win in Van as well – but knowing you have to rewatch losses is a bit of a downer.

    But I will carry on:)

    In the meantime, we don’t need a big shakeup, we just need to find some role players. This team looks promising at EV now that things are beginning to break for 26/89 and the PP will do enough to certainly not be a hinderance.

  38. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Good stuff. I find the Oilers reminding me more and more of the Expos about 1982. A first basemen who can’t throw or hit for power, a second baseman (Doug Flynn) who can’t hit a lick and then on the other side of it a kickass OF and a beauty catcher.

    I remember very well Bill James writing something like “it’s a damn shame to lose your division because the general manager can’t find a replacement level second baseman.”

    It was in reference to Doug Flynn and it applies here too. I mean, lordy, how many years did we wait for Hemsky and now he’s here and we have the sports car to get the girl but someone forgot to put in winshield wiper fluid so we drive in the ditch?

    Cripes!

  39. Lowetide says:

    Hunter: Excellent 3 posts there. In regard to Katz I think we have enough information to be concerned. The offer to BG at Body by Bennett (match Habs with extra year) is alarming.

    Alarming.

  40. DeBakey says:

    things are beginning to break for 26/89

    Which is a partial response to an earlier question about young Thor Reddoxxson playing on Horcoff’s line. MacT wanted to keep the other lines together.

    Put away his famous blender
    so to speak.

  41. hunter1909 says:

    Re the Expos:

    Thank fuck I’m a Red Sox fan.

    LOL

    Of course until recently that blew too

    :p

  42. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think Sillinger had some off-season hip surgery. Dipietro and Zubov are examples of guys who have undergone a similar procedure and are still affected. Personally I find someone besides Sillinger.

    I like that LT changed the concept of “Reasoner” to “Sillinger” and it’s still not understood that it’s a conceptual player.

    Perhaps we should stick to “Wes Walz” from now on.

  43. PunjabiOil says:

    Word out of Minnesota is that Gaborik might be out for the year.

    That would be something – Gaborik loses out on a wealth load of money by rejecting the generous contract offer by Minnesota. Minnesota meanwhile loses out any possible return they could have obtained by trading Gaborik.

    As for the Oilers situation, they’re playing well despite the losses in my opinion. I really see them going on a run. That said, this team could have won division had Lowe fulfilled his responsibilities.

    Aim high (Hossa, Jagr) or do nothing. Pretty much sums up Kevin Lowe’s summer.

  44. Coach pb9617 says:

    Pisani was not the answer before and is not now.

    Whoa, what now?

    Pisani isn’t Marty Reasoner, but he’s certainly going to help tremendously.

  45. Black Dog says:

    Dominic Moore.

    Good man on the PK.

    Good faceoff man.

    Hard worker.

    Good citizen.

    Playing for a rebuilding team looking for kids/picks. The cost would not be prohibitive.

    That is all.

  46. Coach pb9617 says:

    Honestly though, the fact that this team still hasn’t made a trade is galling.

    It’s coming. My email to the front office was read.

    You’re dead on though – I fished out at least 8-12 guys (Reasoner, Silliger, Weight, Marchant, Malhotra, Peca, Slater, Fiddler, Zigomanis, Halpern) that can help immediately, and Dennis found Devereaux in the AHL. The Wes Walz that we’re looking at can be had for next to nothing.

    That doesn’t include guys like Armstrong, Hunter, Handzus, Horton – guys that can be targeted.

    There are guys out there for nothing – the Islanders want a 2nd for Weight (though that screws up my Zherdev, Dubinsky offer sheets at the same time). For the guys that require assets – the Oilers have ‘em: Nilsson, Grebs, Schremp, one of the three poofs on the blueline in the AHL.

    These are out there and nothing is going on except some psyops stuff from the organization about all of the inquiries out JDD.

    Overpay for Walz and a dman by a bunch and get them to take Staios or Moreau and get this team to the playoffs. Now.

  47. Coach pb9617 says:

    Horpensky was put together before 30 games

    They were put together in the 19th or 20th game.

  48. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Overpay for Walz and a dman by a bunch and get them to take Staios or Moreau and get this team to the playoffs. Now.

    Walz is retired. And no one will take Staios or Moreau in return with those bloated contracts.

  49. Lowetide says:

    “Walz”, “Sillinger” and “Reasoner” don’t actually mean those players, they’re just men from that family.

    Let’s call him “Jim Dowd.”

  50. Coach pb9617 says:

    LT – have a peek at the comments on Jonathan’s last entry. Does this new info change the take on Wild?

  51. Coach pb9617 says:


    Let’s call him “Jim Dowd.”

    *sigh*

    I thought sure this would be solved with “Wes Walz”. What about “Brian Skrudland”?

  52. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @LT

    The Waltons aren’t accessible unless you can convince Howson his team is out of it. It isn’t.

  53. Lowetide says:

    Coach: I like Wild (have him ranked in the top 10) and based on Jonathan’s number he does appear to be playing tougher competition than Chorney.

    Which makes me wonder why Wild is the one who has been sent to the minors. And it also tells us Chorney is failing miserably against poor opposition.

    Which is mind numbing.

  54. Dennis says:

    Coach: I remember watching devo play a few games with the Leaves and he was a buzzsaw so I’m not surprised that he was a decent option on the PK.

  55. Asiaoil says:

    LT – no I’m not disputing a thing – you’re bang on with this thread.

    I’m just saying that by disembowling the bottom 6 – nobody should be surprised that the PK is trash – those are the guys who do that job. Marty, Stoll, GlenX gone – Pisani and Moreau stayed but both had serious health issues and any sane manager should have considered these guys questionable – a bunch of unproven kids. With that mix an ineffective PK is no surprise – but adding Bucky the Human Tool in place of an actual coach didnt help.

    No the real problem – as outlined in detail by Traktor – is MacT and Lowe. Getting rid of these guys is the next step because progress certainly wont happen while they are in place. They are what they are and that level of performance just isnt that good.

    For the record I wanted Malhotra in TC and another big tough winger who could play tougher minutes – thought the defense would be OK as Smid seemed ready to break out.

  56. Bruce says:

    Actually, Scott and Bruce did a very good summarization at around 27 game mark and I’m not sure where it’s posted but one of the things the numbers indicated was that 89 wasn’t nearly the terrible PKer that I thought he was; at least in terms of chances/against per game.

    Here is that thread. It’s interesting to compare the scoring chance rates of the Oilers PP and PK units generally. In the latter unit, Staios and Horcoff among others are really faring poorly.

    Dennis: Chin up. I find watching losses on tape delay upsets me a lot less than when I watch them live (as in the last two nights when I was totally pissed off at the team in general and esp. the failure of the PK at the critical juncture in the third period). On tape delay I switch into analytical mode which is easier on the blood pressure.

    Besides the scoring chance stuff, I’ll be interested in your take on the Oilers lack of compete that has been alluded to by a couple people.

  57. Kris says:

    I don’t like a lot of what Lowelinni and MacT have done recently, and this season is really souring me on hockey and the Oil, but I’m not so sure I agree with the consenus here.

    Adding a couple of defensive, veteran forwards or a Staois upgrade might get this team a low playoff seed, but not much more. And if we add a Sillinger, we’ll be adding cap space, taking ice time from developing players, and giving up players who could be added to a trade for a bigger fish.

    I think we all recognize that the Oil won’t really be a threat in this league until they get a 35 plus goal scorer to play with Hemsky. And we’re really going to need a star goaltender sooner than later. (The problem is that the players Lowelini is probably offering, Grebs, Nilson, Schremp, Brule, Cole, Penner etc. aren’t really that valuable.)

    I think Lowellini gets this and is thinking two years down the road. That is, they’re going to keep developing Poo, Smid, Gagner, Cogs, and they’re going to keep trying to add a big name player via trade or free agency.

    But I differ with most of you because I think this is the right move. Smid is on the verge of becoming our shut down guy and Gagner and Cogs have shown the potential to be able to anchor a good second line. Poo will be ready for the 3 C spot in a year or so.

    But here’s where things get hard; I now think we really need to move a few truly valuable players in order to get a really great player. My bet is Pisani, Gilbert, and Horcoff would buy a lot from a team on the verge of a cup. And we can probably afford to trade Souray, whose stock has never been higher, given that we’ve got Lubo, but only of we get something really great in return. (A goalie?)

    But yeah, all this losing sucks, and it would be nice to have a decent team -or at least a decent PK- this season. Sigh.

    ——-

    Sometimes I think I’d rather see this team win a presidents trophy than a cup. I know that’s blasphemy, but I get to dream my own dreams.

  58. Coach pb9617 says:

    Coach: I remember watching devo play a few games with the Leaves and he was a buzzsaw so I’m not surprised that he was a decent option on the PK.

    Speaking of which – the last dude to miss as many shots as Cole was Dvorak.

  59. Asiaoil says:

    I stil don’t think it so hard – but it is for the coach and GM. Another coach might try Nilsson Horcoff Hemsky with Penner Gags/Cogs Cole as the 2nd line. That’s pure skill with a two-way rock on the top line – and tons of muscle with a bit of skill on the second. To fix the bottom 6 you keep the kids Poo, Brodziak, Stotini plus Pisani when he gts back – pick up a guy like Malhotra and a fast gritty vet in the GlenX mold and your good to go. Trade Moreau at the deadline to a team making a push.

    A top 4 defense of Lubo-Smid – Gilbert-Souray is fine. Trade Staios at the deadline to a team needing a dman to free up cap space for Smid/Grebs. Pick up out usual UFA 3rd pair guys in the summer

    Goaltending is a mess but one guy changes everything – leave it for the summer as well.

    I’d be active trading – but with an eye to next year as much as this year – but I doubt anything happens with Lowe asleep at the switch for another month.

  60. Coach pb9617 says:

    But here’s where things get hard; I now think we really need to move a few truly valuable players in order to get a really great player. My bet is Pisani, Gilbert, and Horcoff would buy a lot from a team on the verge of a cup.

    This entire post is mind-boggling, but the above reads like Darren Pang on some sort of hallucinogen. What team is going to give up a truly great player on the verge of winning a cup?

  61. Ribs says:

    Wow. Solid thread, men.

    I’m just saying that by disembowling the bottom 6 – nobody should be surprised that the PK is trash -

    I think we all have to be kicking ourselves for not realising this sooner. That’s including the Oilers management squadron.

    MacT has always been able to produce PK’ers out of thin air it seems. I can’t be mad at Lowe for not believing the coach could work his magic with guys like Brodziak (who seemed on his way last year) or Poo or even a guy like Stortini. I believed it too.

    Brodziak has been super on the dot but can’t seem to handle full PK duty. Why not? Everyone keeps listing off Reasoners and Sillingers and Jim Dowds but I’m not convinced Brodziak can’t mimic any of those players attributes. So why isn’t he doing it? Does it just take awhile for a young guy to learn these things? Should we replace him with a guy that will be here for a year and leave or wait it out?

    It’s a question I asked myself about the Matt Greene player type and I came to the conclusion that we should get a steady vet instead of waiting around, like everyone else does. Does the same apply to PK’ers (3rd Liners)?

    If Detroit is the team to copy, we should be collecting all of the old cheap guys for the bottom end and replace them as need be. I don’t think this is the way the current management wants things to be done and to some extent I can’t blame them for that either. Winning a cup like the Ducks did just doesn’t seem right.

    So what do you do? Most would say that this is turning into a wasted season so far but I’m not so sure. The roster has undergone some serious changes since last season and it also is relying on young men to duplicate one year successes. They are not faulting so badly that I can truly consider the season toasted.

    So, do you stay the course for the season? It’s a development year and we were being silly thinking otherwise. Blame it on the hype, I say.

    …Or, do you trade for some vets, hope your youngin’s can take you somewhere into the playoffs, and clean up the surefire mess afterwards?

    I’m still not sure. I don’t see the needed vets out there that everyone seems to claim is available for pennies and shoestrings. Show me.

  62. Coach pb9617 says:

    I’m still not sure. I don’t see the needed vets out there that everyone seems to claim is available for pennies and shoestrings. Show me.

    Ribs, see above through the course of the thread. There are a number of pennies and shoestrings guys listed.

  63. Bank Shot says:

    The thing that gets me is that down the stretch in 06-07, the Oilers seemed to do a better job killing penalties then this season.

    Granted without taking into account the number of times shorthanded, and the rule changes, the Oilers allowed 16 shorthanded goals in their last 19 games. The OIlers this season have allowed 42 in 36.

    Take a look at who was killing penalties for the Oilers in their last 19 of 2006-2007:

    Horcoff (missed two games)
    Pisani
    Reasoner(missed 9 games)
    Petersen(no real experience killing penalties in the bigs)
    Thoresen(rookie)
    Pouliot(rookie)
    Brodziak(rookie)

    Smith
    Greene(sophmore)
    Smid(rookie)
    Syvret(rookie)
    Gilbert(rookie)
    Roy(rookie)

    The current roster should be clearly better regardless of rule changes, or a couple of injuries. That’s why I’m not sold on it being an issue of lack of personnel for the Oilers.

  64. hunter1909 says:

    “Sometimes I think I’d rather see this team win a presidents trophy than a cup. I know that’s blasphemy, but I get to dream my own dreams.”

    LOL

    When exactly was the last time the Oilers opened a playoff series at home?

    Also, exactly which teams have been waiting to open a playoff series at home as long, or even longer than the Oilers?

    I’ll bet it’s a very short list.

  65. knighttown says:

    Coach:

    What about “Brian Skrudland”?

    I’m pretty sure Skrudland retired a few years ago, but if he’s available he’d be solid pick up.

  66. Ribs says:

    Ribs, see above through the course of the thread. There are a number of pennies and shoestrings guys listed.

    All I see is a bunch of guys that either would (maybe) marginally help the roster, guys past their prime who wouldn’t help at all, and guys that no one has moved or tried to get so far this season. Are we the only team in the league with a bad PK?

    Heck, we are in some pretty lofty company at the low end of the PK% tree right now.
    24. Detroit
    25. Colorado
    26. Carolina
    27. Dallas
    28. Edmonton

    Have any of those other teams signed or acquired, or even attempted to get anyone that you’d put on any of these lists since the season began? Are their GM’s all bums?

    The only guys I’ve seen mentioned here that make any sense are Mike Peca and Todd Marchant. I don’t think either player is coming back and they’d be costly to acquire. I’d be interested in Jeff Halpern if he didn’t just have knee surgery.

  67. Matt says:

    When exactly was the last time the Oilers opened a playoff series at home?

    Also, exactly which teams have been waiting to open a playoff series at home as long, or even longer than the Oilers?

    I don’t know the answer to either of these specific questions (and I’m not going to look it up), but the last time the Oilers won their division in the regular season was 1987.

  68. Dennis says:

    Kris etc all: I can see the point about building to the point when the kids are ready to help out 10-83 and that’s nothing new because we’ve been building for the future since 2002.

    But, my plan is to replace 43-46 with minor league vets like Boyd Devereaux so I really don’t see how my idea would disrupt anything

    BS and the PK then and now: the first thing to consider is that back in ’07 every mad adv didn’t start with the O zone draw. So, that’s certainly something to consider. Also, what were Thor’s rates both as an Oiler PK guy and as a Flyer PK guy? I’m here at my sister’s and this comp’s getting on my nerves so I’m limiting my time online;)

    And I remember 78 being a decent enoug ’07 PK option but that seems to have been thrown to the wolves. I know he was on the ice for a PKGA in Colu but outside of that I don’t remember him being in the rotation. Thankfully we’re pretty much eliminated 27 from the mix but as I said earlier it looked like 89 could have a future on one of those units.

  69. knighttown says:

    Traktor:

    Good post above and I (for one) think you know your hockey and are a good part of this blog. However, that analogy about “feeding the children equally” is the single worst analogy that has ever been uttered in the history of humanity. Anyone with kids knows how you handle the “Sophie’s Choice” scenario. You feed them both equally until you run out of food and then you remove your least important organs and feed them those one at a time until sweet, sweet death takes hold.

  70. knighttown says:

    @Dennis

    I think the Devil’s Advocate to your “replace 46/43 with two guys that can kill a penalty” view is the “the system is fucked and you could put Paul Coffey skating Octopus on our PK and it would still suck” point of view.

    We acknowledge we have some players that have proven they can kill penalties that just aren’t (Horcoff, Moreau, Pisani pre-inj). Why aren’t they? Plus, we’ve got a half dozen guys that have the same skill set as Boyd Devereaux don’t we? Or am I underestimating what Boyd Deveraux brings?

    So either something is wrong with the system/coaches that have cuased coaches that have coached successful penalty kills to slip or the opposite, something is wrong with players that have proven they can kill penalties so that they no longer can. Two points of view and all things being equal, I blame Buchburger:)

  71. HBomb says:

    Knighttown: I’m of the “the system is FUBAR” stance. The Oilers are not pressuring the points on the PK, they’re not blocking shots….the personnel could be better, yes (the “veteran RH C who can win some draws” would be great), but this team is not doing things the same way as they have in the past.

    If it is true that they handed over the PK responsibilities to the guy who replaced Rob Daum on the staff, then yes, I do blame Buchberger, mostly because I continue to ask “what makes this guy qualified to be an NHL coach”?

    Then again, the only qualification to be an Oilers coach is that you played for the team at one point as a 3rd or 4th liner or are from somewhere around the Edmonton area. Actual qualifications? Bah! What do we know? Clearly nothing, since we didn’t win five rings as an NHL player two decades ago…..

  72. Jonathan says:

    I know “Brian Skrudland” wasn’t meant to mean the actual Brian Skrudland, but I know for a fact he’s an oilpatch guy now.

    He’s been a corporate salesman for the last three years at the company I work for.

  73. knighttown says:

    @Jonathan

    Any chance Skrudland can still kill penalties?

  74. Bruce says:

    my plan is to replace 43-46 with minor league vets like Boyd Devereaux so I really don’t see how my idea would disrupt anything

    Dennis: Your plan would turn One of the softest teams in hockey into The softest team in hockey. Which would pretty much disrupt everything.

    Here’s an idea: instead of dumping guys who play other roles, replace one or two of the current penalty killers with guys who can actually kill penalties.

    As an aside, I’d love to watch an actual game between your idealized roster and mine. As the late, great George Carlin put it: “I’ll bet you ten times out of ten, Nicky, Vinnie, and Tony would beat the shit out of Todd, Kyle, and Tucker.”

  75. Kris says:

    Coach:

    “This entire post is mind-boggling, but the above reads like Darren Pang on some sort of hallucinogen. What team is going to give up a truly great player on the verge of winning a cup?”

    Yeah, actually I’m Panger using a pseudonym. :)

    Listen, ‘on the verge of a cup’ was a poorly chosen phrase -I was thinking a good team might be willing to give up a budding star, for some of our better players- but this really has nothing to do with my larger point, which is that we need to hunt for bigger game than Sillinger on the trade market.

    You see, this team with a better PK (let’s say 80%) would probably have had roughly 10 fewer goals against. That would bump our GA/G down to about 2.75, which is just middle of the pack in the NHL: about 13th in the league.

    But we’d still have a pop gun offence: 2.75 GF/G, which is 17th in the league.

    What does a team with the 17th worst offence and the 13 best defense get? Oh, I think we know this one. A chance at the 7 or 8th seed playoff spot. Maybe the league will call it the Oil spot in honor of our annual craptasculence (sp?).

    Again, we need a big trade to bring in a 35 goal scorer to make us a top-notch offensive team or a superstar goalie to make us a top-notch defensive team. There’s no denying it anymore.

  76. Kris says:

    Dennis:

    I like what you’re saying. Adding a 4th line guy who can kill penalties to replace Stortini sounds good and can’t hurt.

    But our current roster of PK’ers -Poo, Brodz, Reddox, Gagner, Cole, Horcoff and even Moreau- skate as well as Devereaux and other minor leaguers and can “think the game” as well too. (This is why they’re not in the A, after all.)

    Thus, the problem here has to be the coaching and so I’m not sure how much good your plan will do either.

  77. Traktor says:

    “I like what you’re saying. Adding a 4th line guy who can kill penalties to replace Stortini sounds good and can’t hurt.”

    I’ll go with Bruce here as say that moving Stortini would be wrong.

    Find me a list of players that hit everyone in sight, fights anyone who challenges and ISN’T a liability in their own end.

    Most guys in his role can’t be trusted, nor do they have composure that Stortini has. Quite remarkable hockey sense for a guy who looks like a caveman.

    He may not be graceful but he’s damn effective. This team needs more of his kind not less.

  78. Jonathan says:

    I’m going to agree with Traktor and Bruce here, too – Zack Stortini isn’t the problem on this team.

  79. Kris says:

    Let’s see, keep Zarathustra Stortini or move him?

    —-

    Hmm…, the Titanic is sinking, but I think this deck chair needs to go over there…

  80. knighttown says:

    Knighttown said-”the system is fucked and you could put Paul Coffey skating Octopus”

    …and that should have read “A Paul Coffey skating Octopus” which makes so much more sense than “Paul Coffey skating octopus”.

    Nice job Knighttown. You shit on Traktor’s Sophie’s Choice analogy and then you come out with this gem.

  81. Doogie2K says:

    Now, look at this new 12 and replace 43-46 with two guys who can win a faceoff and kill a fucking penalty.

    Well, replace 43 with 34 when he comes back and shuffle the lines accordingly; 34′s no centre, but he’s established his level of ability on the PK, so once he gets his legs under him, he should help stabilize things. Then you’re really only looking for your face-off man, though I’m not sold on replacing 46 per se: he’s actually been doing his job well since coming back, which is more than I can say for O Captain My Captain.

    But casting Denise Richards as one of the Bond girls was unforgivable (an American woman should NEVER be cast) and the actual writing was weak.

    That’s not the last Brosnan Bond film; the last one had Halle Barre and a great setup but ruined it by going back to the same old bullshit. But I agree, The World is Not Enough was not the franchise’s shining moment.

    Would going-for-the-Cup Montreal like a Moreau?

    No. Just…no. Actually, despite my initial assessment, it seems Montreal could probably use Souray more than anyone else on this roster. That PP has no real shooters and Kovalev’s been getting mobbed as a result.

    I thought the EIG were good guys, committed to keeping the team in Edmonton, which I still do.

    So committed that Cal Nichols was subtly threatening to move the team if the salary cap went above $40M at the BoG in Feb. 2006? For all the mistakes Lowe’s made since June of that year, I have to wonder how many of them were entirely his doing and how many of them were the EIG closing the books on his hands. True, Katz is beginning to show his own warts, now that the honeymoon period’s over, but I doubt we’ll ever hear him tell us that the team might not be able to continue operating in Edmonton without X, Y, and Z.

    Even this year, the Rags are soft and almost certainly going to get booted in the early rounds.

    Fun fact I learned while writing a post today: the Rangers have already given up eleven shorties. How the hell do you manage that in less than half a season?

    Brodziak has been super on the dot but can’t seem to handle full PK duty.

    His 41.2% on the PK (just ahead of Horcoff’s 40.7%) would beg to differ. Since 10-51 split the lion’s share of PK draws 60-40, those numbers would also help explain a great many things.

    I’m pretty sure Skrudland retired a few years ago, but if he’s available he’d be solid pick up.

    /sigh

    Because people keep insisting on making this mistake, the quotes mean the playertype, not the player. “Reasoner”, “Sillinger”, “Walz”, and “Skrudland” all mean basically the same (type of) guy.

  82. Master Lok says:

    how is the personnel in the bottom six MacT’s fault? Lowebellini to be sure, but I think most people remember MacT’s very public demand that Reasoner be re-signed.

    I think there’s a disconnect between Lowe and MacT. Lowe wants a high skilled team. MacT likes skill in his top six but also wants some draft horses who can slug through the mud when the going gets tough.

  83. relic says:

    doogie: i think it’s safe to say the poster had their proverbial tongue in their cheek when they suggested skrudland might not be a bad idea.

    at least i hope so…

  84. Doogie2K says:

    @Relic: I should assume that, but I’ve seen that mistake made enough times the last week, ironically or not, that it’s starting to drive me nuts.

  85. Dennis says:

    Bruce: Yeah, I wouldn’t mind watching that game either:)

    Look, I’m not as anti-Stortini as other folks are but I’m just working from what I know Might happen. I could just as easily say take 12-18 out of that top 12 but I doubt that would happen.

  86. JB-"jiggyman" says:

    “Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios seem to have lost a step overnight”

    I’ll disagree, they’ve both lost numerous steps in each of the last three seasons.

    Moreau more-so due to injuries. It’s like his game has yet to evolve to the “New NHL”. Right now he’s a 3rd-4th line tweener on a team truly considered a contender. I’m still completely against a team of young skilled players having to look up to a guy such as our captain though. It doesn’t even matter what he’s saying the locker room. He has to lead by example on the ice. He’s simply not the captain for this team imo.

    Staios is the one that gets me. The guys been simply bad for years now. I’ve identified us needing a Staios replacement (veteran shutdown D who can PK) for over two years. His play has been on such a steady decline that I’m shocked more haven’t seen this coming. I was laughed at for suggesting Staios was the anchor on the Smid-Staios pairing last year. This season it looks like Staios needs Smid far more than Smid needs an error prone, “defensive” dman, who lacks skills, and bleeds goals against in all situations.

    I’d look to our defense who play the PK rather than the forwards, as the source of the problem. Both our C’s sit around 40%… Say they’re both sitting at 50%, our PK problem still hasn’t been fixed. The face-off issue is slightly overblown imo.

    As good as Souray has been for us offensively, I don’t ever recall him being praised for his solid PK/defensive skills in general. The fact that we consider him our best option pretty much sums up our PK issue right there. Combine that with our second best option in disaster that is Steve Staios, and you’ve got a predictably horrible PK regardless of who the forwards are.

    Nothing new from me though. I sound like a broken record stating we need a leadership overhaul and a Steve Staios upgrade ASAP.

  87. Dennis says:

    Jiggy: To be fair, I can turn on Souray at the drop of a hat;) but he did have really good PK numbers last year, didn’t he?

    I blame most of the PK woes on not blocking shots and not pressuring down-ice and that falls on the forwards. But, the D haven’t been all that great at preventing screens, either.

  88. Doogie2K says:

    The faceoffs aren’t the big problem, no, but they are part of the problem. With every PK starting in the defensive zone, the more times you start with the puck, the more times you can clear it and kill 15-20 seconds with minimal effort — and the fewer times you get hemmed in or wind up giving up a goal right off the faceoff, as we’ve seen a few times this year.

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