Hawks at Oilers, G50/08-09

Tonight, Edmonton plays a young team that looks for all the world like the early days of the Boys on The Bus Oilers.

Chicago has been close to winning the Stanley a few times over the last 48 seasons (since winning it all in 1961 when the fellow in the picture was 13). The Hawks were in the finals in 1962, 1965, 1971, 1973 and 1992. That’s 5 trips, or about 1 a decade. So they’re due big time, and of course the hockey Gods owe them a Stanley (this isn’t a Cubs-length drought but it’s epic) sometime before we all die.

I think this club does it and probably in the next 4 years. There is just so much talent and across positions and skill sets. If they spend their free agency money wisely (and get goaltending) they could have a Red Wing style run where Chicago celebrates two or three times over a 6-year period. If they ever got Roberto Luongo’s name on a free agent contract I’d follow the NBA until my pension kicks in.

As for the Edmonton Oilers, they’re a hockey club in trouble. Coach MacT has resorted to new forms of punishment, so if Dustin Penner comes out slow tonight we might see something similar to Warden Norton sending Andy Dufresne to solitary confinement.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008-09 Edmonton Oilers: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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283 Responses to "Hawks at Oilers, G50/08-09"

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  1. Dennis says:

    MacT confirms a separated shoulder for 71 and said he didn’t want to speculate on how long he’d be out.

    He is the 83 of our D so this is likely to sink us; if we weren’t already sunken.

  2. knighttown says:

    Nah Dennis, Roli was pretty damned good tonight. Sure the Oilers got some chances at the end that was lipstick on a pig, but if you’re generous to Huet, you’d say the goaltending was a wash.

    If only we knew someone who tracked scoring chances we could quantify who was the better goalie:)

  3. Ribs says:

    Huet was very, very good. The bounces were going his way every time it seemed.

    Well, we tried to skate with the fastest team in the NHL and their skill guys proved they were either better or bigger or in many cases both.

    This alarmed me early on into the game. They were trying to skate with the Hawks and just couldn’t do it and it really wore them down physically. I love a fast game but it’s probably not the best way to attack a team like this. I’d try to lull the young Hawks with some defensive play before turning on the jets after the first frame or so, myself.

  4. Coach pb9617 says:

    MacT confirms a separated shoulder for 71 and said he didn’t want to speculate on how long he’d be out.

    Sonofabitch. Wiggle room for the asshole when the team misses the playoffs. Miss the playoffs, sell off Cole, Roloson and Nilsson and hope that Moreau’s luck holds out long enough to sell him off too. No one will take Staios.

    In 30 years, this is easily the most negative I’ve ever felt about the Oilers, including Corson’s team.

  5. pboy says:

    Stop being silly. Cogliano must stay at center and lose 7 of 10 faceoffs indefinitely. If he loses 8 of 10, Pouliot gets the bagskate. Pouliot is just a jackass holding this team down. Useless piece of trash.

    I’d say Moreau gets the next chance on the 1line:

    Such a hard worker. A hard worker that only takes aggressive penalties and makes it easier for his teammates to kill them off. If he’s not working hard, Brodziak is sent to the press box. Brodziak is a hanger-on, completely unprofessional and can’t even hand the easy minutes of a 4th line.

    It would be even funnier if there wasn’t some not so hidden truth in there.

  6. Bank Shot says:

    Now, onto the game, was it just me or in the end didn’t Huet make more saves in close and tight than did Roli?

    Maybe, but I think some of the Hawks chances were missed.

    Like these two from the first period:
    34 1 EV 5:45
    14:15 MISS CHI #10 SHARP, Slap, Goalpost, Off. Zone, 48 ft. 19
    35 1 EV 5:49
    14:11 SHOT CHI ONGOAL – #10 SHARP, Wrist, Off. Zone, 13 ft.

    The Oilers were heavily outchanced tonight, and expecting Roloson to win with a shutout on the back of a fluke goal is not reasonable to me.

  7. knighttown says:

    Ribs:

    Exactly. Why do they continue to play to other team's strengths? Someone should be able to make a pile of money off the Oilers just playing over/under on Proline as you can just pick the style of play of the other team. Buffalo in town? Over. Florida? Under.

    And another thing. Even the Chicago announcers were shocked that MacT did nothing to get Hemsky away from Keith and Seabrook. Especially seeing how much Keith hates getting hit, just keep putting Stortini out against him and soften him up. MacTavish wonders why this team doesn't dominate at home:
    1. Don't impose their style of play, assuming it exists.
    2. Don't match/avoid matching lines.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    3. They suck.

  8. knighttown says:

    Oh Nilsson. Just checked in on your numbers Dennis and MacTavish really can’t go back to that combo again. Row-bert was truly awful (on paper), the line was awful and from where I was standing it looked like he did his curl back on a clear cut 2-on-1.

    That play, more than the The Gagner Drop Pass is my take home memory of the 2008-09 Oilers. Smid and Grebs should be bag-skated the next time Robert curls inside the blueline.

  9. Dennis says:

    BS: I should and certainly could be tracking this but it seems like a lot of teams have been drawing iron against Roli lately which says more about the goalie than it does the shooters.

    KT: I had the chances as 19-17 Chi at EV and as I said I can rattle off a few Weapons Grade stops made by Huet.

    Not to say Roli was junk but that third goal certainly was.

  10. PunjabiOil says:

    I didn’t watch the game (was sick) but now that 71 is done for a considerable amount of time (2 months?) are we sellers at the trade deadline?

  11. St George says:

    Lost in all the MacT angst, it occurred to me while I was watching the third period, is the same thing that occurs to me every time my beer league team gets steamrolled 8-1 … the Oilers just need better players.

    The D is clearly good enough (Lubo healthy). Roli is on a lot of the time, but not enough that we don’t need a proven capable backup, which we don’t have. And the O is lacking both coherence and any players of impact outside Hemsky. That just isn’t going to cut it against real teams. Better coaching/new coaching might help a bit, but it isn’t the systemic problem.

  12. Dennis says:

    SG: Also, it may be time to concede that 89 used up two years of luck in the ”08 season.

    The underlying numbers support him and chances happen when he’s out there but line drives are still just line drives when they keep finding gloves.

  13. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Lowetide said…
    I’d say Moreau gets the next chance on the 1line:

    Horcoff-Moreau-Hemsky

    There are 2 things wrong with this picture.

  14. Doogie2K says:

    Kariya and Co. are unbeaten in 15 of their 20 home games against Edmonton and 14-9-2 in their last 25 contests against the Oilers.

    Wow, that’s a trip back in time in so many ways.

  15. HBomb says:

    FCM: I’d say one thing. Horcoff-Hemsky are 2/3rds of a good first line if the LW is adequate.

    Right now, the only fit there is Dustin Penner. Put Moreau there, and that line starts losing the battle power vs. power, guaranteed.

  16. Bank Shot says:

    I should and certainly could be tracking this but it seems like a lot of teams have been drawing iron against Roli lately which says more about the goalie than it does the shooters.

    It was a legitmate scoring chance. Wide open slapshot from the top of the house. The second was the rebound off the post and the net was missed on a wide open chance.

    My point was that some more Chicago chances were also missed if the final tally only has a 3 chance difference.

    The Oilers were outplayed by a fair margin.

  17. oilerdago says:

    Missed all but the 3rd period w/my son’s hockey game tonite but from reading the thread it seems the Oil were outchanced, outskated and lucky that they only lost 3-1.

    That’s 3 of 4 lost since the break and now with losing Visnovsky you’ve got to wonder if they can re-group and make a last stand or implode like they did 2 seasons ago when they traded 94 to NY.

    Every time I want to write them off they pull of a miracle, but with the schedule ahead I doubt it.

    Regardless, lose the next two games and with the schedule after that, the pressure to NOT do something becomes to great.

  18. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    FCM: I’d say one thing. Horcoff-Hemsky are 2/3rds of a good first line if the LW is adequate.

    Right now, the only fit there is Dustin Penner. Put Moreau there, and that line starts losing the battle power vs. power, guaranteed.

    Hemsky is 1/3 of a very good first line if the LW is adequate.

    Hey kids…there’s Parliament.

  19. HBomb says:

    FCM: Horcoff isn’t the problem with this team right now. Not by a longshot.

    Once again, WAY too many passengers tonight. He wasn’t one of them. And neither was Hemsky.

    And frankly, neither was Nilsson either, I’ve liked his game lately. That trio didn’t exactly mesh tonight though.

    Blueline, outside of Gilbert, once again underwhelming. Gagner was so-so in his first game back. Cole put his effort in, ditto Moreau.

    In fact, I saw the same five guys playing hard I saw on Sunday – Moreau, Horcoff, Hemsky, Nilsson, and Cole. Add in a nice game from Gilbert perhaps. And Roloson was good.

    The fact that there was such a similarity to the last game tells me there’s a message not getting through there.

  20. HBomb says:

    I don’t get how people can ride on one player for not finishing when there’s a whole pile of other guys not generating chances period and not putting in effort at all on some shifts. Had a couple of absolute nimrods sitting behind me tonight that were quite guilty of this.

    Guys have nights where the puck doesn’t go in, and tonight, other than a fluky-ass Moreau goal, just like Sundday, no one finished.

    I’d think the guys who at least came close to scoring are the ones who should be cut some slack, no?

    With Visnovsky out for awhile, I think this team is fucked. Sell at the deadline: Roloson, Moreau, Staios and perhaps Cole if he’s not willing to extend. And prepare to turf MacT on Monday, April 13th. Time for real change.

  21. PDO says:

    Separated shoulder… 3-4 weeks?

  22. HBomb says:

    PDO: Yep, I think you’re in the right ballpark.

    If it’s full dislocation, he’s probably done for the season, because that sort of thing usually means torn tendons and surgery.

  23. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    FCM: Horcoff isn’t the problem with this team right now. Not by a longshot.

    Once again, WAY too many passengers tonight. He wasn’t one of them. And neither was Hemsky.

    And frankly, neither was Nilsson either, I’ve liked his game lately. That trio didn’t exactly mesh tonight though.

    Blueline, outside of Gilbert, once again underwhelming. Gagner was so-so in his first game back. Cole put his effort in, ditto Moreau.

    In fact, I saw the same five guys playing hard I saw on Sunday – Moreau, Horcoff, Hemsky, Nilsson, and Cole. Add in a nice game from Gilbert perhaps. And Roloson was good.

    The fact that there was such a similarity to the last game tells me there’s a message not getting through there.

    I really don’t care much about playing hard…I care more about results…not like MacT.

    If Horcoff converts one or two of those primo scoring chances in the first period, it might be a different game but he didn’t.

    The guy has no place on a skilled scoring line and the only PP time he should see is on PVR.

    Did you watch the game?

  24. quain says:

    FCM: I watched the game. Every skilled player blew a primo scoring chance: Cogliano, the SH% golden boy, blew one. Hemsky had a clear breakaway and couldn’t put it away. Gagner couldn’t bury one at two feet. Horcoff blew his share, but it’s not like he was the only one out there who couldn’t find the puck with two hands, a flashlight, and the return of the glowpuck.

    Unlike MacTavish, since you’re so result-oriented, you’d have Moreau out there with Hemsky. Lord knows that guy has nothing but finish.

  25. HBomb says:

    I really don’t care much about playing hard…I care more about results…not like MacT.

    If Horcoff converts one or two of those primo scoring chances in the first period, it might be a different game but he didn’t.

    The guy has no place on a skilled scoring line and the only PP time he should see is on PVR.

    Did you watch the game?

    I was at the game. And Horcoff actually helped create 2-3 decent chances, which is more than can be said about a lot of guys.

    Some nights, guys just don’t roll seven. But if they’re not even making it to the table to roll the dice period, there’s no hope to begin with.

    The fact is he’s playing on the first line power-vs-power PLUS is taking on extra defensive assignments when double shifted for faceoff duties, and he’s still a strong outscorer 5-on-5. Yet he’s the problem with this hockey team?

    Hogwash. Horcoff is a more-than-adequate first liner. IF there is a weakness on that first line, it’s LW, and even then, Penner’s probably getting treated a bit unfairly right now in some senses – he’s produced.

    It’s not line 1 that’s the reason this team is losing games, it’s lines 2-4 getting outchanced and outscored.

  26. St George says:

    FCM: Horcoff isn’t the problem with this team right now. Not by a longshot.

    Once again, WAY too many passengers tonight. He wasn’t one of them. And neither was Hemsky.

    This goes back to my beer league theory/analysis. When you need better players, one of the things you think is happening is that some of the players on your team are “passengers” or are not “putting in a strong effort”, when in reality they just aren’t good enough to be consistently effective. You can call it what you like, but it comes back to the same thing – for $50+ million, we just need better players.

    A wiser man once told me at the moment that we traded Smyth that the Oilers would need 4-5 years to get back into the playoffs. His rationale was that we had successfully shed most of the veterans that put us in a position to win, and those were hard to come by in the NHL. Looks like he was right on.

  27. Traktor says:

    Horcoff has the shooting touch of Shaquille O’neal right now.

  28. HBomb says:

    St. George: It’s pretty simple. Good teams have quality, experienced depth. No depth, no chance of winning.

    The Oilers are on the right track. Lots of good players. But a whole bunch of them haven’t even hit 200 NHL games played yet.

    When only one of your centers is above this mark, that’s going to cause you issues.

    Trading 3-6 young assets for Lecavalier isn’t going to make this team better sooner. In fact, it’s going to have the opposite effect.

    What’s better this summer? Re-up Grebeshkov and Cole plus maybe a 3rd line center UFA, or throw all that money into the one Marian Hossa pot? I like the former over the latter.

  29. HBomb says:

    Horcoff has the shooting touch of Shaquille O’neal right now.

    Ugly streak of rolling snake-eyes is what he’s in right now. But same can be said for a lot of guys on this team not named Ales Hemsky.

    Cold streaks happen. It’s a lot more tolerable when the guy is still sawing-off with the other team’s best most nights. He’s going to have to get his production going, but if you’re not giving anything up the other way, you’ll get more rope from the coach and fans, and rightfully so.

    Those pucks, or at least some of them, are going to start going in sooner or later. I’m more worried about guys who are on the ice getting outchanced and/or outscored by the other team’s 2nd and 3rd tier guys.

  30. Traktor says:

    hbomb:

    I’d like to believe that this is just a dry patch but I could have told you (and did tell you) before the season started that Horcoff would be putting up these numbers. Is it just a coincidence? He’s a 50-60 point talent.

  31. doritogrande says:

    Everyone jump back from the ledge, and take pride in what the prospects are doing:

    The aforementioned Milan Kytnar went 2-1-3 against Eberle(1-0-1)’s Pats tonight in a 6-2 Blades win. Though Eberle took the loss he was only -1 on the night while others got lit up for big -4s. However, does it concern anyone else that Eberle will probably be lining up in Springfield this spring? Team’s got the Minus touch.

    Alex Plante also in action, went 0-2-2 and +2 on the night.

    I’ve already bought into LT’s threat to talk about naught but prospects. With the loss of Visnovsky, I’m in “next year territory”.

  32. Oilmaniac says:

    “In 30 years, this is easily the most negative I’ve ever felt about the Oilers, including Corson’s team.”

    That says alot cus although I had hoped to one day see some reason to cheer for corson, it never came… Never once did I like that guy in oil silks…

    Also, wrt plante, im hoping that he will be a solid contribution to the falcons next year (assuming they’re still an oil affiliate).. but if ‘static’ quo remains the standard for this franchise, there is no reason to believe that team will be much better on the whole…

  33. Rod says:

    PunjabiOil said:
    I didn’t watch the game (was sick) but now that 71 is done for a considerable amount of time (2 months?) are we sellers at the trade deadline?
    ——
    Even with a healthy 71, the Oilers would be sellers. Given the schedule for the rest of Feb, the Oilers don’t really stand a chance of treading water in the standings. Without 71…forget it.

  34. Phil says:

    Lots of frustration amongst us Oilheads. I think it stems from more than just the present situation. We can all agree that even if there is a coaching change, there are a lot of things that need fixing. As St George said (above), simply put, this team needs better players.

    And this is the 8000lb elephant in every Oiler fan’s living room.

    - Top-tier free agents flat turn you down, regardless of money
    - Mid-tier free agents turn you down unless you overpay them
    - Prospect procurement department is hitting singles and doubles, but hasn’t hit a homerun in 27 years…
    - Quality players that you acquire lose their games and avert their eyes every time Principe sticks a mic in their face and asks “so… how do you like playing in Edmonton?”

    So, where is the hope?

    By the way, that ‘quantity for quality’ trade? Pure myth. Will never happen.

    (and now Tambellini will swing OV for Sugarboobies. Here’s to hoping.)

  35. Coach pb9617 says:

    The aforementioned Milan Kytnar went 2-1-3 against Eberle(1-0-1)’s Pats tonight in a 6-2 Blades win. Though Eberle took the loss he was only -1 on the night while others got lit up for big -4s. However, does it concern anyone else that Eberle will probably be lining up in Springfield this spring? Team’s got the Minus touch.

    Bring them into the organization. The coach will bag skate them for being ruined by Truitt. Insolent little pricks don’t deserve to play for this organization unless they are cutting up Moreau’s scrambled eggs and wiping the corners of his mouth after every bite. You know what? Just forget it, scratch them now and make sure they get the message.

  36. hunter1909 says:

    And Cole is as good as gone.

    Who in their right mind thinks he wants to stay here!?

  37. Coach pb9617 says:

    Assuming that these people don’t have developmental disabilities of some sort, there is a group of people that looks at the last four games and says “Horcoff is clearly the reason for this.”

    I was wrong, by definition anyone that does this has a disability of some sort. Blindness, syphilis insanity, Mad Cow, heavy drug use and full frontal lobotomy would all be rational explanations behind blaming Horcoff for the on-ice problems.

  38. Doogie2K says:

    If it’s full dislocation, he’s probably done for the season, because that sort of thing usually means torn tendons and surgery.

    I suppose torn tendons could happen, but the larger problem in a dislocated shoulder is tearing the ligaments holding the humerus in place against the scapula.

    I really don’t care much about playing hard

    That speaks volumes about you, really.

  39. HBomb says:

    Traktor: Last year, Horcoff was on an 80 point pace when he went down to injury. Good year offensively (benefited from having two other veterans on the squad playing centre, didn’t see super-tough minutes every night).

    This year, 60 point pace. Bad year offenslvely (seeing super-tough minutes and pulling double duty).

    We’ve seen both ends of the Horcoff spectrum in the last two years. Discounting one and saying this year is the truth about the guy is cherry picking. The answer is somewhere in the middle. He’s a 70-point player in an “average” year. This year is anything but average. Bottom line, he’s not the issue with this team. They need some guys to grow up and they need at least three more experienced NHL players (LW, C, D).

    A first line upgrade would be nice, but it’s a secondary need at this point, and the place to upgrade said line is at LW if a Frolov or Kovalchuk becomes available (but not at the cost of destroying this team’s depth – that’s counterproductive).

    Coach: there’s a group of people on another unmentioned fan-site who bitch about two guys after every game, win or lose: Horcoff and Gilbert. And it makes no sense. Actually, it makes perfect sense. New contracts, easy targets.

    Last night though, Penner got the Jason Arnott treatment in the building. Not nice to see at all. Fatass Terry Jones rips a guy, coach calls him out, fans turn on him, despite the fact that, results-wise, he’s been anything but awful this season. He’s in trouble as an Edmonton Oiler at this point. Any discussion of moves at the deadline has to include the possibility of Tambellini trying to move the 4.2 million dollar man.

  40. Doogie2K says:

    The thing is, MacT and Lowe talked at the beginning of the season about trying to expand Penner’s game, and it sounded like they were looking for him to become Mike Krushelnyski, which clearly has not worked out at all.

    Now, let’s go back and look at that Lowe quote I pulled, which I listened to about five times in order to transcribe it correctly.

    I think he’s showing his versatility. He’s done a pretty good job killing penalties, he’s going to get some power-play time. The opening-day roster can change…I suspect Dustin’s going to play all over.

    He’s sure as hell played all over, but not the way Lowe’s talking about here. He’s not been used as a utility forward, but as the coach’s bitch. Really, this guy’s a PP specialist and an adequate first-liner in the right situation, which exists with 10-83, so why the fuck are we doing this dance? Clearly, this is not working as intended.

    We brought him in last year to score 20+ goals, and he did that. If he’s not playing on the first line, then I think we have to reduce our expectations there…I just see him playing a lot of different places and being a pretty versatile player.

    Someone forgot to tell the fans. How many games has 27 played on the top line, anyway? 10? 15?

    I see he’s got a different step to him right now. He looks much more relaxed, and he’s in much better shape, so I think he’s going to have a good year.

    Insert “O RLY?” owl here. I mean, is he in shape and raring to go, or is he fat and lazy? Did something change between early October and late November, when he was first benched? Did he skip the gym entirely for those seven or eight weeks?

    Bottom line, we’ve got some serious inconsistency between the design laid out by the general mana–er, president, and the execution by the coaching staff, which is, ironically, perfectly consistent with how pretty much everything’s gone this year.

  41. Oilman says:

    BS: I should and certainly could be tracking this but it seems like a lot of teams have been drawing iron against Roli lately which says more about the goalie than it does the shooters.
    What?

  42. Oilman says:

    BS: I should and certainly could be tracking this but it seems like a lot of teams have been drawing iron against Roli lately which says more about the goalie than it does the shooters.
    What?

  43. Bruce says:

    Corsi numbers v. CHI:

    Horcoff -21
    Hemsky -21
    Penner +1

  44. relic says:

    oilman:

    as every old goalie will tell you, roli is giving them the posts.

  45. HBomb says:

    Bruce: I saw that last night in Dennis’ scoring chance post. A rare night in terms of getting outshot for the first line, but then again, it’s not the first line we’re used to. Nilsson wasn’t terrible by any stretch, but Horcoff and Hemsky (especially 83) were getting keyed on by Chicago’s defenders – they didn’t have much room to operate at all.

    As Lowetide so brilliantly said, those two need one of those big LW’s to create space for his linemates, but those are apparently hard to find.

    Enough of this “experimentation” and the like – 27-10-83 need to be put back together and LEFT together. We’ve got enough evidence showing they’re a capable power-vs-power trio that gets result, so MacT screwing around with it based on some “personal vendetta” against Dustin Penner is just plain stupid when it comes to the whole concept of trying to win hockey games.

    Stick with what works and is known to work.

  46. bookie says:

    Bottom line, we’ve got some serious inconsistency between the design laid out by the general mana–er, president, and the execution by the coaching staff, which is, ironically, perfectly consistent with how pretty much everything’s gone this year.

    I think it is possible that we have a good coach and good players, but that something has happened between enough players and the coach to result in an ineffective overall result.

    Yet, maybe some players like Penner and Garon are just difficult players and in fact we have MacT to thank for getting what we get out of them. Torres, Stoll, and others are doing about as well elsewhere as they did here (am I correct on this). Its not as though Marchant and others left the Oilers and became superstars. LaRoque did better here than elsewhere…

    With that said, if the Oiler fans turn on Penner, Horcoff, or anybody else, I am ready to give up on them (the fans that is, not the Oilers). Maybe we can start a Blog called ‘Oilers fans are truly idiots that make it difficult to attract talent to this team’.

  47. HBomb says:

    bookie: Penner got booed last night, loudly. And every time they announce Horcoff in the starting lineup at the game, you’ll hear a few leather-lunged mouth-breathers booing his name as if he just ran over their dog. Yet these are two of the guys who have actually produced and have had the puck going in the right direction this season, against the best the other team’s have to offer.

    Meanwhile, you see the continued worship of two Corsi sinkholes in Staios and Moreau because they’re “fantastic leaders” who “lay it all on the line”. Me, I’m more inclined to boo a fourth line LW and 5th defensemen making too much money and not doing their jobs well.

    Lots of stupid, stupid fans in Oiler nation these days, it seems. And the only people dumber might be some of the main-stream journalists.

  48. Oilman says:

    Enough of this “experimentation” and the like – 27-10-83 need to be put back together and LEFT together. We’ve got enough evidence showing they’re a capable power-vs-power trio that gets result, so MacT screwing around with it based on some “personal vendetta” against Dustin Penner is just plain stupid when it comes to the whole concept of trying to win hockey games.

    You know, I’ve been searching for this quote from MacTavish from this past summer where he said something along the lines of “Hemsky, penner, Horcoff have the potential to be the best line I’ve coached on this team”…it was pointed out as high praise considering Smyth,Weight,Guerin was one of the best lines in hockey in their last stint together. Apparently, the Oilers have wiped the internet of any trace of said quote – but they haven’t gotten to me yet!:o)

  49. HBomb says:

    Oilman: I remember something similar, but it was specifically about Penner and how he could end up being the best LW that MacT has ever coached.

  50. Bruce says:

    Enough of this “experimentation” and the like – 27-10-83 need to be put back together and LEFT together. We’ve got enough evidence showing they’re a capable power-vs-power trio that gets result, so MacT screwing around with it based on some “personal vendetta” against Dustin Penner is just plain stupid when it comes to the whole concept of trying to win hockey games.

    No shit. While to some people of narrow focus Hemsky carries the mail along with the puck, all the Team stats I can find about outscoring and outshooting suggest that these guys all do better when they are TOGETHER. It’s pretty freaking obvious to the unaided eye as well.

    Penner may not always bring his A game, but judging from last night’s performance, neither do any of them. Horc and Hemmer just got killed out there with a soft “skill” guy on the flank. As a fivesome with Grebs and (sigh) Visnovsky for most of the night, they were collectively very soft and came out on the wrong end of most of the puck battles and way too many of the physical battles. Penner’s ability to consistently win such battles in the corners and along the boards apparently does not count as physical play because there isn’t some nerdy guy in a polyester suit getting paid $50 a game to sit on the catwalk and count up those occasions on a stat sheet somewhere (a la “Hits”). And Penner’s ability to make space for Hemsky in particular by taking his wide body through the zone and/or occupying the goalie and as many as two defencemen at the edge of the crease has been a factor on numerous plays this year that ended up in a goal for Ales and a plus but no (official!) assist for Dustin. Of course Ales deserves credit for exploiting the lanes and holes but occasionally the O-line deserves credit for giving the QB time and space to do his thing.

    Stick with what works and is known to work.

    You mean like the pending reunion of Steady Steve and Stationary Struds?
    *shudders*

  51. namflashback says:

    HBomb,

    Absolutely correct on Horc at 1st ESTOI C. The supposed big guns at C are not all they’re cracked up to be.

    Traktor, you’re not wrong to want more boxscore performance from Horcoff, but value contracts are not to be found in the guys who are UFA. Find me one guy who was in his UFA years, who gets paid a ton less. You might not like it, but market rate at the time of the signing is what it is.

    At least it isn’t Chris Drury (32 pts) AND Scott Gomez (36 pts)at a cap hit of 7 each. Same rates as Horcoff, and their contracts are pricier.

    As HBomb as noted, this team is losing most nights because lines 2,3,4 can’t win their matchups. Line 1 can.

  52. Coach pb9617 says:

    As Lowetide so brilliantly said, those two need one of those big LW’s to create space for his linemates, but those are apparently hard to find.

    Nah. Check my link about the Columbus game in a post above. Nilsson cleared all of that space.

    all the Team stats I can find about outscoring and outshooting suggest that these guys all do better when they are TOGETHER. It’s pretty freaking obvious to the unaided eye as well.

    I haven’t updated the game by game stats since December 12th, but here’s what I posted then:

    Horpensky ’08, 46 games:
    Penner: 11G 16A 27 Pts 0.59 PPG
    Horcoff: 21G 25A 46 Pts 1 PPG
    Hemsky: 13G 32A 45 Pts 0.98 PPG

    Horpen ’08, 7 games:
    Penner: 4G 1A 5Pts 0.71 PPG
    Horcoff: 0G 4A 4Pts 0.57 PPG

    Horpensky ’09, 9 games:
    Penner: 4G 5A 9Pts 1 PPG
    Horcoff: 3G 8A 11Pts 1.2 PPG
    Hemsky: 5G 4A 9Pts 1 PPG

    Horpensky Total, 55 games
    Penner: 15G 21A 36Pts 0.65 PPG
    Horcoff: 24G 33A 57Pts 1.04 PPG
    Hemsky: 18G 36A 55 Pts .98 PPG

    Horpensky Projected through 82:
    Penner: 22G 21A 53Pts
    Horcoff: 36G 49A 85Pts
    Hemsky: 27G 54A 81Pts

    Of interest:

    Hemsky with with Horpen:
    9GP 5G

    Hemsky without Horpen:
    20GP 5G

    Also of interest:

    Since December of ’07, when to most people’s eyes Horpensky started to “get it”, they’ve played 29 games together:

    Penner: 24 Points
    Horcoff: 33 Points
    Hemsky: 34 Points

    91 Points in 29 games.

    I know these are small sample sizes and the erudite clique will nail me to the wall for basing assumptions on a small sample size, but the dropoff in this team and in each of them when they are apart is highly significant. When is they last time the Oilers had a line put up 91 points in 29 games?

    The first line is not now, nor has it been the problem for the last two years. Just put them together and let them play. Trade for Marty Reasoner and fix the PK dammit.

  53. HBomb says:

    Traktor: Andy MacDonald?

    Talk about apples to oranges.

    When in Anaheim, he put up points, but did he play anything resembling power vs. power minutes while doing so?

    Heck no. Two words: Sami Pahlsson.

    You’re quoting the boxcar stats of a guy who is known to have benefitted from the Anaheim soft-minute gravy-train. There’s a reason Horcoff is paid more – because he’s a more complete package of a hockey player.

    If he wasn’t, Anaheim wouldn’t have been so hasty to dump MacDonald last year when they needed to free up cap space to extend Getzlaf and Perry – he was a highly-replaceable asset.

  54. Traktor says:

    “When in Anaheim, he put up points, but did he play anything resembling power vs. power minutes while doing so?”

    The only time Horc has ever put up numbers is when Peca, Stoll, and Reasoner were taking the lions share of tough minutes.

    Horc and Mcdonald are the exact same player.

  55. Schitzo says:

    Horc and Mcdonald are the exact same player.

    No, Horc and Mcdonald are both equally good at exploiting soft minutes.

    We don’t have enough evidence to say McDonald can keep his head above water playing PvP like Horc does.

  56. hunter1909 says:

    Thankfully I turned it off right away after the 2nd Hawks goal, lol.

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    Updated numbers:

    Horpensky ’08, 46 games:
    Penner: 11G 16A 27 Pts 0.59 PPG
    Horcoff: 21G 25A 46 Pts 1 PPG
    Hemsky: 13G 32A 45 Pts 0.98 PPG

    Horpen ’08, 7 games:
    Penner: 4G 1A 5Pts 0.71 PPG
    Horcoff: 0G 4A 4Pts 0.57 PPG

    Horpensky ’09, 21 games:
    Penner: 7G 9A 16Pts 0.76 PPG
    Horcoff: 6G 12A 18Pts 0.86 PPG
    Hemsky: 12G 12A 24Pts 1.14 PPG

    Horpensky combined, 65 games
    Penner: 18G 25A 43Pts 0.66 PPG
    Horcoff: 27G 37A 64Pts 0.98 PPG
    Hemsky: 25G 44A 69Pts 1.06 PPG

    Horpensky Projected through 82:
    Penner: 23G 32A 55Pts
    Horcoff: 34G 47A 81Pts
    Hemsky: 32G 56A 88Pts

    Of interest:

    This season, Hemsky with Horpen:

    21GP 12G 12A 24Pts

    This season, Hemsky without Horpen:

    19GP 4G 15A 19Pts

    Also of interest:

    Since December of ’07, when to most people’s eyes Horpensky started to “get it”, they’ve played 41 games together:

    Penner: 31 Points
    Horcoff: 40 Points
    Hemsky: 49 Points

    120 Points in 41 games. Prj: 240 Points in 82 games

  58. HBomb says:

    The only time Horc has ever put up numbers is when Peca, Stoll, and Reasoner were taking the lions share of tough minutes.

    Horc and Mcdonald are the exact same player.

    Bull-fucking-shit. 2005-06, Horcoff and Smyth went head to head against the other team’s best night after night, and they put up pretty damn impressive offensive numbers while doing it.

    Horcoff, simply put, is the better player of the two.

  59. knighttown says:

    In fact, I saw the same five guys playing hard I saw on Sunday – Moreau, Horcoff, Hemsky, Nilsson, and Cole. Add in a nice game from Gilbert perhaps. And Roloson was good.

    @HB

    Are you honestly saying you didn’t think the Brodziak/Stortini/Penner line brought more effort or impact than Nilsson or was this an omission?

  60. Bruce says:

    KT: I was going to ask that exact smae question.

    HB: Right you are about 2006. As I recall Horcoff went head-to-head with Joe (Hart Trophy That Season) Thornton and clearly got the better of him as the Oilers ground the Sharks into tooth powder.

  61. kris says:

    Traktor:

    Exaggeration and axe-grinding don’t lead to understanding and truth.

    Everyone else:

    I think Horc.’s current offensive struggles are a problem for the team, obviously, but arguing about whether Horc. is a good player in an offensive slump, or an average offensive player showing his true colors is beside the point. (That question will answer itself in the next 50 games or so anyway.)

    At any rate, here are some conclusions we can all agree to:

    1. If Horc’s offensive struggles continue into next season, his contract will be a slight, I repeat ‘slight,’ overpay. The real problem is that we have too many overpays already.

    2. Horcoff’s exceptional offensive numbers last year suggest he can score more than he is, and that it is plausible -we can disagree on how probable- he will score at a higher clip in the future. If so, his contract will be an underpay.

    3. This team, as a whole, needs to generate more offense. As a team, we’re 19th in GF/60 5×5, even though this team was supposed to win with offense.

    4. Our problems scoring goals are pretty much endemic to the whole team, post-injury Hemsky excluded. Even if Horc had scored 5 or 6 more this season, we still wouldn’t have the offense we were hoping for. Not even close.

    5. It’s impossible to know whether our offensive problems are caused by poor coaching and systems play or by the offensive players we have being not as good as we thought.

    6. Whatever the case, there is little harm in finding a new coaching staff; even if the new coach sucks, we can try again in the off season.

    7. If we can’t sign or trade for a 35-40 goal guy, IMO, we won’t be an offensive powerhouse. If we aren’t an offensive powerhouse we need a dominant shutdown D-man and a serious 3rd line shutdown guy, and a better goalie to win close games. (This applies whether we are going to stay young or trade for vets.)

    8. I am now rambling. Big time.

  62. relic says:

    Kris:

    I like point 7, the oilers don’t need to be a boring defensive team either but don’t expect enough offense to cover up holes in your line-up. The ball’s in TamB’s court, continue waiting for that big fish or make a few solid moves.

  63. knighttown says:

    @ Coach and Bruce:

    Very rarely do statistical analysis (Coach’s Horpensky scoring summary) jive so well with observational analysis (Bruce’s explanation of why Horpensky works so well) as those past few posts.

    Mine eyes tell me Penner clears space and is very predictable***. Nilsson is a fine player in his own right (meh) but he is neither of those two things. Is it a coincidence the Hemsky took two of the biggest open ice hits of the year last night? Of course not. No one steps up on Hemsky. When both Horcoff and Penner come across the blueline with speed aiming for opposite posts the defenseman have to back off enough to give Hemsky that 5-10 feet of room behind them all. Nilsson might work there in time but THAT play won’t. Probably the best play would be to fake the pass to Hemsky with speed and go to Nilsson on the other side. Or Hemsky could use a give and go. It would take time…it’s called developing chemistry.

    ***I’ve discussed predictability in players before when commenting on why Brodziak is so good with Stortini. Brodziak always gets the puck in on a soft-dump to the corner on Zach’s side and therefore he can just keep his head down and go. Once they get behind the net they all know the puck is going to the crease so get there to bang it in. Penner actually works here too but at what cost to line 1?

  64. Coach pb9617 says:

    Kt:

    I posted last night:

    At least Nilsson is making all kinds of room for Hemsky to work with, just like he did for the final goal in this game.

  65. doritogrande says:

    - Prospect procurement department is hitting singles and doubles, but hasn’t hit a homerun in 27 years…

    By the way, that ‘quantity for quality’ trade? Pure myth. Will never happen.

    I’ll call you on these two points.

    1) Ales Hemsky. And that should be all I have to say. But, since you clearly need more evidence than that: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2001e.html

    Hemsky, drafted 13th overall, is third in points, behind only the #1 and #2 pick from that year. His 265 points are well clear of his closest competitor, Derek Roy (209 points, 32nd overall). He’s an electrifying talent, signed to a bargain contract and I struggle to think he wouldn’t go third overall if the draft was re-drawn at this point.

    That ball’s out of the park, not a ground-rule double.

    2)Lubo Visnovsky. Arguably the best offensive defenseman I’ve ever seen in Oiler silks. Coffey was before my time, and Pronger couldn’t do the kinds of things Lubo can with a 6’6″ frame. He’s barely ever out of position and has closing speed to rival any forward on the team. He doesn’t have Pitkanen’s size, and the record shows how badly I ranted over losing him, but he’s every bit as good as the big Finn.

    And what did we give up? Stoll and Greene, who combine to equal Visnovsky’s point total this year. Both were tradable assets on the decline in Edmonton and garnered us a fleecing of the Kings.

    I’d certainly call that a quantity for quality trade.

    Feel free to provide any evidence you can to find flaw in my arguments.

  66. Coach pb9617 says:

    Very rarely do statistical analysis (Coach’s Horpensky scoring summary) jive so well with observational analysis (Bruce’s explanation of why Horpensky works so well) as those past few posts.

    Hemsky’s goal scoring rates last year and this year with Horpen on his line are so far above his previous rates that it should be blatantly obvious to everyone in the organization. It should be so obvious that someone should mandate to the coach that the Horpensky line stay together for the rest of the year.*

    With Horpen, this season Hemsky scores .57GPG. Without, .26GPG

    With Horpen for the last two years, Hemsky scores .38 GPG. For the rest of his career, minus his rookie year to make it look even better for Hemsky, .21GPG

    30 goal scorer with Horpen. 17 goal scorer without.

    The coach probably blames Penner for Hemsky’s scoring falloff when he doesn’t have Horcoff and Penner on his line.

    *-It’s moot now, without Vishnovsky to bail them out, they’re hosed.

  67. Doogie2K says:

    (That question will answer itself in the next 50 games or so anyway.)

    You’re implying that we’re going back to the finals this year? Because that’s the only way we get 50 more games.

  68. Bill Needle says:

    Hey Lowetide, how are the Blue Jackets doin’?

  69. kris says:

    Doogie:

    No, I just picked a number. I could have just as well said 80, going well into next season.

  70. Coach pb9617 says:

    More fun with numbers:

    Hemsky’s SOG/G

    With Horpen: 3.28
    W/O Horpen: 2.57

  71. kris says:

    IMO, there are two line ups to shoot for via trade and free agency for next year:

    A.) Offensive.

    1. New 35 Goal Guy-Horc-Hemsky
    2. Penner-Gagner-Nilson
    3. Pouliot-Average Veteran- Pisani
    4. Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini

    Gilbert-Souray
    Grebs-Vish
    Smid-Peckham

    Rolli

    Trade Cogliano (sadly), Staios, Brule, Cole (pre-deadline), picks and prospects as needed to make it happen.

    B.)Balanced

    1. Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    2. Pouliot-Gagner-Nilson
    3. “Average 3rd liner”-”Excellent 3rd liner”-Pisani
    4. Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini

    “Dominant D”-Vis
    Grebs-Gilbert
    Smid-Peckham

    G: “Better than Rolli”

    Trade Cogliano, Souray, (tough losses)Cole, Staios, picks, etc.

    Sadly, I don’t think that Tamb. can pull either lineup off.

  72. Rod says:

    @kris:
    Regardless of whether TamB can pull off either lineup, there’s no way Moreau is relegated to the 4th. No doubt that’s where he belongs. Just not going to happen here. So he’s gotta be gone in either scenario.

  73. Rod says:

    There’s no question Horpensky is a very good line. With numbers to back up the observation, it’s mind boggling that MacTavish fails to make the same conclusion. Instead, he’s all set to scapegoat Penner and serve him up for the Arnott treatment. Two weeks from now, when he’s in the media asking the fans to go easy on Penner, MacTavish has no one to blame but himself.

  74. Bruce says:

    And what did we give up? Stoll and Greene, who combine to equal Visnovsky’s point total this year. Both were tradable assets on the decline in Edmonton and garnered us a fleecing of the Kings.

    DG: Visnovsky has brought everything we hoped for and more, but he wasn’t free. It was a good trade for both parties, not a fleecing either way.

    Some of us who lived through the growing pains of Matt and Jarret tended to see their limitations more than their potential.
    Kings (and their fans) seem happy enough with them, having seen fit to re-up both to 4-and-5 year deals which pay them almost exactly the same as Oilers pay for Visnovsky alone. Both are in their mid-20s and still maturing as players, whereas Vis is 32 and likely to begin his decline within his current contract. (And let’s not mention, become more susceptible to injury.)

    Stoll has had the bounce-back season many of us thought he never would, leading the Kings in +/-, second in GA ON/60 and third in GF ON/60. He also ranks first on the club in minus/60 on the PK. He ranks 6th in the league for faceoff percentage at 57.0% (min. 500 faceoffs).

    Greene meanwhile has played tough, Top 4 minutes, posting a solid plus, ranking second on the clubs in hits and leading in blocked shots by a wide margin a team that ranks second in the league in fewest shots allowed, a bare 0.1 S/G behind San Jose. He wears an “A” and seems comfortable in a leadership role.

    While Lubo Visnovsky has helped solve an Oiler weakness on the back end (at least up until now) the Kings have addressed — fairly successfully, one might argue –defence, penalty killing, faceoffs, physical play, and leadership. Hate to say it, but that list practically defines the shortcomings of the 2008-09 Oilers.

  75. HBomb says:

    While Lubo Visnovsky has helped solve an Oiler weakness on the back end (at least up until now) the Kings have addressed — fairly successfully, one might argue –defence, penalty killing, faceoffs, physical play, and leadership. Hate to say it, but that list practically defines the shortcomings of the 2008-09 Oilers.

    Still Bruce, I don’t think for a second Lowe doesn’t make that trade over and over again.

  76. Bruce says:

    As does Dean Lombardi. It was a good trade from the Kings’ perspective as well, is all I’m sayin’.

  77. kris says:

    Rod:

    I’m okay with that, I guess, if Pisani is on the right side and somebody solid is playing center.

  78. Doogie2K says:

    No, I just picked a number. I could have just as well said 80, going well into next season.

    Oh, okay, fair enough then. I wasn’t sure if you’d lost track of time because we we’ve been having so much fun around here. ;)

    Stoll has had the bounce-back season many of us thought he never would

    Well, it’s the sort of season I at least thought he was going to have last year, and even at the time of the trade still thought he had the potential for. I didn’t think it would come this year per se, but I honestly thought he still had it in him. Hell, you could say the same for Greene and the way he’s played.

  79. Schitzo says:

    Stoll has had the bounce-back season many of us thought he never would

    I’m happy for the guy, while being relieved that we weren’t the team to gamble on a 4 year deal hoping it would happen.

  80. doritogrande says:

    Bruce:

    I can see your points, and they’re made quite well. I still believe that it’s a great example of a quantity for quality trade.

    Do you not agree?

  81. Bank Shot says:

    I’m happy for the guy, while being relieved that we weren’t the team to gamble on a 4 year deal hoping it would happen.

    I dunno. The sphere has been in favour of dumping Stoll for years. There’s not nearly the same level of disinterest in Cole despite the fact that Cole IS getting paid to play soft minutes and not score.

    Which is exactly what the fear was with Stoll.

    Greene is developing like I thought he would and I spent alot of time defending him here and its nice to see the numbers finally bear out what alot of hockey people had to say about him. Good things in his future.

    If we revisit the moves of the offseason today I can’t honestly say that the Oilers would be worse off if they had kept Stoll/Greene and traded Pitkanen for Meszaros or Kuba instead of doing the Cole/Visnovsky deals.

    Stoll did everything Cole does, plus faceoffs, and he also produced just as well as Visnovsky does on the PP point.

    Greene would have helped fill the grit and PK void, and Kuba/Meszaros would have probably been able to plug Visnovsky’s ES minutes.

    Perhaps the Oilers would have been better served by building from within rather then chasing the big names again. One of which will surely leave after the season is out. The other may start to decline, and Stoll/Greene still have room to improve.

    Moreau likely would look alot better this season playing the second toughest minutes with Stoll rather then being stuck with Pisani at center, or with two kids. The Oilers would have been able to give those kids the soft minutes they need.

  82. Dennis says:

    I’m glad that the deal worked out for both teams because now Lombardi should be ready to deal with us again. For future fare it never helps to rape a GM in any kind of move. Sure, you love improving your team but it’s always better if the other guy feels like he made out alright as well.

    I don’t know for a second if the Kings wanted Greene over Smid but I said the Oilers had to choose between either/or and maybe it will turn out they made the wrong choice.

    Last going off last season I was one of the few who thought Stoll still had something left and I’m glad he’s productive again this year though without looking at TOI or anything I did an old-timey calculation from hockeydb and found his PPG has gone from .82, .72 and now .55; that’s the ’06, 07 and now ’09 seasons. I suspect that after next year we’ll know if Stoll can ever return to his 60 point ways.

    And I know we miss a lot of what he used to do but I wouldn’t spend a 3.6 cap hit on him to do it. but all the same I wish the guy the best.

    As for what 10 has and hasn’t done, if he’s overpaid then it isn’t by a fuck of a lot because while he’s killing me by missing all these big opps, he’s still ~ +10 while being trotted out against the other team’s best night in and night out.

    The stink eye should be turned towards the guys who aren’t eating the soft like they should be.

    Players like 26 and the Kids and everybody’s new favourite high event guy, Ethan Moreau.

  83. Bruce says:

    DG: Quantity for quality? Sure. It was a classic 2-for-1 trade, involving three real players and none of the usual magic beans. The Kings had more holes than players to fill them, and a couple of mid-20s guys entering their primes makes a lot more sense for a rebuilding team than an elite 32-year-old soon to exit his.

    Good thing we aren’t rebuilding. :d

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