Butterfly On A Wheel?

Decades ago Frank Mahovlich used to get bad press. “Don’t wake up the Big M, let him sleep!” people used to say, and he skated in a smooth glide, as if the wind had blown him into scoring position.

The little men of the world always look like they’re putting out maximum effort (Tie Domi looked like he was passing a kidney stone in full stride), while men like Dustin Penner (with long strides that often look plodding) are easy targets based on visual evidence.

Which is why God invented math. Math helps us measure tangibles, like goals, assists, plus minus and the like. Advanced statistics (like Corsi and GF/GA ON) add color to the B&W of the boxcar numbers that have been available since the first hockey card.

By any measure, Dustin Penner is a useful hockey player. He has scored 37 goals in his almost two seasons in Edmonton, a number that trails only Ales Hemsky (41) during that time. Dig a little deeper and we see his Corsi is splendid (+8.3/60, best on this team), his GF/GA ON (36-28) is excellent and that he plays against some of the toughest opposition the Oilers have faced this season (while playing with good linemates–a clear recognition of his value).

Why then has he been sent to the pressbox by Craig MacTavish? Is it personal? Does the coach really believe two turnovers in one game merits a sit?

This could be worse: the organization could side with Penner and leave MacTavish as a sitting duck (ala Jimy Williams announcing Jorge Bell would DH) for the rest of the season. It could work out if the team goes on a winning streak. It might be the prelude to a “summer of blame” where the coach’s job is saved because these bad people poisoned the water hole (and will be removed).

However, it looks to me like a very smart man (Craig MacTavish) is wasting effort on something that doesn’t matter and could in fact hurt his job standing. If your employment is at stake, why on earth would you enter the fray shorthanded? The alternative explanation is that the Oilers keep their coach even if they don’t make the playoffs, which means no one season really matters for the Edmonton Oilers as long as the OBN keep their jobs.

Which makes us the Cubs.

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88 Responses to "Butterfly On A Wheel?"

  1. spOILer says:

    Wow, Carbonneau gone. Just before we play the Habs too.

    I think the issues with Penner are physical play and consistency from shift to shift. He’s proven in the past that he will raise his game when whipped. Why not bring out the whip then?

    It’s not a question of whether he brings value, but is he bringing ALL his value?

    And do we know his effort level in practices? Always a MacT bugaboo.

  2. Marc says:

    A propos of nothing, here's a great clip of a Ajax – Volendam match where the Ajax fans chant 'Ohhhhhhh….Pizza!' every time Volendam's somewhat chubby keeper kicks off.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjY3lgl05VE&feature=related

  3. HBomb says:

    Seriously, keeping MacT even if this team misses the playoffs would be a gigantic kick in the balls to the fan-base.

    It should be the other extreme – we should be at a point where not even a playoff appearance guarantees that he sticks around.

  4. Scott says:

    He’s proven in the past that he will raise his game when whipped. Why not bring out the whip then?

    I think this is false. Dustin Penner’s scoring chance summary in the two games immediately after his benching he was -6 in terms of scoring chances. In the six games prior he was +7. But he did get a PP goal after that first benching if I recall correctly. Last game he had precisely 0 minutes on the PP. I think what helps Penner to be effective is putting in situations in which he is successful. The pressbox isn’t one.

  5. Eskimo44 says:

    The thing id say about penner is that hes certainly a useful player but he has higher end capabilities than he shows. The coaches job should be to get the most from a player not just get him to an acceptable level.
    Their has to be more urgancy in his game. When penner keeps his feet moving, and im not referring to his stride, and is physical because of it i see a player who could compliment hemsky like bertuzzi did naslund he just seems to lethargic at times. One night hes an allstar in his own right then the next 5 hes a complimentry player.

  6. spOILer says:

    This move might be as much about getting Nilsson back on the ice. One of the skilled guys has to sit. It can’t be one of the newbs… Penner had one of his weaker games, so why not him? All of the skilled guys should be thinking about accountability right now because one of them is going to be sitting every game.

    I really have no problem with this move at all.

  7. spOILer says:

    Scott, why the different sample sizes before and after? You might have a legitimate point, but that difference raises questions.

  8. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think the issues with Penner are physical play and consistency from shift to shift. He’s proven in the past that he will raise his game when whipped. Why not bring out the whip then?

    Bull.

    He was doing just find on the second and third lines when he was first escapegoated.

    When he came back from the press box, Horpensky was reunited. Horcoff and Hemsky caught fire. Was it the benching or was it the obvious move of finally putting Horpensky together. Seems to me “a very smart man” set it up so that he would look like a genius for doing what he should have been doing for 19 games, instead of looking like an idiot for not playing Horpensky. Downright Machivellian.

    Ales Hemsky is the 9th best ES scorer in the league with Dustin Penner by his side.

  9. spOILer says:

    I was also thinking back to comments made about Penner’s efforts by other coaches. This hasn’t just been MacT’s strategy.

  10. Scott says:

    Their has to be more urgancy in his game.

    I don’t think the Oilers have the time to worry about this. What they need to do is win games and Penner gives them a better chance at doing that than do half of the players drawing in in his stead.

  11. Scott says:

    Scott, why the different sample sizes before and after? You might have a legitimate point, but that difference raises questions.

    Well, I tend to think that if you’re benching a player that is a mainstay in the lineup it’s based on some lengthy assessment of their play. If you expect a reward from benching said player, I’d imagine that reward would be immediate. You want him to be fiery when he gets back into the lineup. But if you’d prefer to even it up, in the two games prior he was Even.

  12. spOILer says:

    As you state coach, “it seems to” you. And that’s about all we can say. To go on and make a judgment on that “seems to”… well it seems to be a bit of a stretch.

    Not saying you’re wrong. I’m saying that I, like you, can’t know for sure.

    We do know that we have had at least one other of Penner’s coaches corroborate MacT’s strategy with Penner. We do know that Nilsson has probably languished long enough in the PB.

    So, who comes out of the line-up then? Does replacing Zorg with Nilsson give Nilsson a fair chance at success when he returns to the ice?

  13. Scott says:

    So, who comes out of the line-up then? Does replacing Zorg with Nilsson give Nilsson a fair chance at success when he returns to the ice?

    I think the issue is which player gives the team the best chance to win. Do you think replacing Penner with Nilsson gives the team a better chance to win? Do you think Reddox over Penner is wise? How about Pouliot over Penner? Or Stortini? I think there’s a place to find for Penner. He’s shown he can play well with Stortini and Brodziak. If you’re really intent on punishing him, demote to the fourth line and if he shows “effort” or what have you, then you can promote him up the lineup. I don’t think there’s any good reason to believe benching him is in the best interests of an Oilers win, even if you believe in the “effort” narrative.

  14. Icecastles says:

    Scott said…I don’t think the Oilers have the time to worry about this. What they need to do is win games and Penner gives them a better chance at doing that than do half of the players drawing in in his stead.

    Agreed. If you’re playing well but not with ‘urgency’, who cares? It is like a team winning a game 1-0 due to solid defensive play, and the coach ripping the players a new one because they should have won by scoring seven goals and playing a fast, freewheeling game.

    It’s not the beginning of the season where thy can be tuning their game and finding ways to win “their way”. They just plain need to find ways to win, regardless of how it happens.

    LT has a hell of a point – the ‘saw him good’ approach is fine, but that’s subjective, and numbers are not. When virtually every metric shows him as being successful, it’s time to lay off and accept that, while he’s not playing the coach’s style of hockey, he’s doing what he needs to. And unless you are goiong to make the argument that one of Reddox, Pouliot, Stortini, MacIntyre are going to score more goals and more effectively reduce scoring chances by the opposition’s top line, he needs to be playing.

  15. spOILer says:

    Scott, I believe making all the skilled players aware of the consequences of indifferent play gives the team the best chance to win. I believe freeing Nilsson and letting the skilled players know banishment isn’t forever is a good idea too.

    I also don’t think it was so much the number of the two giveaways as it was the nature of the two giveaways. That’s pure speculation on my part, but damn those two particular giveaways appeared to be the very definition of careless indifference.

    Is MacT out to deliberately lose games to support his own possible biases? Does anyone really believe he’s an idiot, or doesn’t care about making the playoffs? Is this possibly a matter of The Coach going against our own personal bias towards numbers, rather than whatever it is that MacT sees going on from his much closer vantage point?

    I really don’t know, but I’ll be watching the rest of the season with great anticipation to see how it works out. And I’ll make my own judgement on MacT then.

  16. Coach pb9617 says:

    Does replacing Zorg with Nilsson give Nilsson a fair chance at success when he returns to the ice?

    Does benching Penner give the team’s unquestioned superstar a chance at success?

    Hemsky w/o Penner: .650 GF/20 — 180th in ES scoring

    Hemsky w/ Penner: 1.258 GF/20 — 9th in ES scoring

    Hemsky w/o Penner: -0.15
    +/- per 20 — 157th in +/-

    Hemsky w/ Penner: 0.514
    +/- per 20 — 15th in +/-

  17. spOILer says:

    And sorry, got to go. Have had no interweb at home this past while, so you haven’t heard much from me lately. Unfortunately, they’re actually kicking me out of work (if you can believe it) and I hear a beer calling my name.

    OK. That might actually be a chorus of beers.

    Best to all.

  18. godot10 says:

    //Their has to be more urgancy in his game.//

    Translated: Look good rather than be good. Look busy, accomplish little.

    Penner is more zen. One has to look at the forest (team results) when Penner is on the ice, rather than the tree (Penner himsefl).

    Yep…I believe that the coach could do things to make Penner better and look better, but Penner as he is now, is being unfairly scapegoated.

  19. godot10 says:

    //Do you think Reddox over Penner is wise? How about Pouliot over Penner?//

    Actually, it was when Penner was demoted to play with Brodziak and Stortini that got those two out of the funk they were in for most of the season.

    Is it surprising that Pisani started looking like Pisani when Penner was move to his line.

  20. Scott says:

    Scott, I believe making all the skilled players aware of the consequences of indifferent play gives the team the best chance to win. I believe freeing Nilsson and letting the skilled players know banishment isn’t forever is a good idea too.

    I agree that this is a worthwhile endeavour, but I don’t think that you need to sit Penner in order to bring Nilsson back into the lineup. Reddox was in last game and could easily come out for Nilsson. So could Pouliot. Even Stortini. You can put Nilsson in Penner’s old spot and give Penner the fourth line.

    Is this possibly a matter of The Coach going against our own personal bias towards numbers, rather than whatever it is that MacT sees going on from his much closer vantage point?

    I’m sure that this is true. I don’t think MacTavish is a stupid person and that he does want to win. But this decision does not jive with that goal.

  21. Rod says:

    spOILer said:
    As you state coach, “it seems to” you. And that’s about all we can say. To go on and make a judgment on that “seems to”… well it seems to be a bit of a stretch.

    Not saying you’re wrong. I’m saying that I, like you, can’t know for sure.
    —-
    Um, well, coach did lay out the facts quite clearly. Prior to the initial press box stint–and the completely unecessary public lashing–Penner was not playing to the left of 10-83. Penner was on other lines, and those lines were outchancing the opposition. Upon returning to the lineup, Horpensky was re-united. And Penner’s scoring numbers increased. Who’d have guessed?

    Despite the changes in linemates, you’ve concluded it was the whipping that did the trick. Wow. Coach countered your flawed conclusion–with facts no less–and you’re saying we can’t know? Come on.

    Then there’s the numbers, which LT provided in his post. And Scott.

    Believing that Penner has been scapegoated this year is not a stretch. Or that MacT has turned Penner into his whipping boy. All of that is completely obvious.

    Believing an explanation despite evidence to the contrary, now that’s a stretch.

    Nobody is saying that Penner is perfect, or that he’s above rebuke (in the room) by MacT. As others have pointed out:
    - the team has a better chance of winning with Penner in the lineup

    At this point in the season, that’s all that should matter.

    Of course MacT doesn’t believe in losing the game on purpose. We’re saying he has a blindspot re: Penner. Penner is playing well. By many metrics his lines have outchanced and outproduced the opposition. Hemsky is clearly better with 27 on the port. That MacT can’t see through his bias is a problem. That’s the point.

  22. devin says:

    Penner is more zen.

    Not that I don’t think MacT is making a poor decision by benching 27, but in a team environment there are certain attitudes and examples that have to be set.

    Penner’s interview today demonstrates in a small way that his character isn’t as beneficial to the team as it could be. Penner is pulling the “woe is me” angle, and regardless of whether he has a good reason to, he’s wrong to have this mindset.

    It’s a weakness and professional failing of MacT’s to focus too much on attitude and potential instead of results. At the same time it’s a weakness of Penner’s to not be facing adversity with the optimal attitude. The guy gets paid well and should be professional enough to fight for his team instead of pulling the whole “the problem isn’t me” angle.

    I’m a big fan and proponent of Penner’s, so don’t get me wrong. But he has to man up and realize that he likely won’t get respect from this coach whatever he does, and light a fire and fight for his team instead of his ego (even if the coach is incapable of doing the same).

  23. Rod says:

    @devin
    Easier said than done when you’re constantly scapegoated. I agree that it would be great if Penner would just take this latest round and “suck it up”…but that’s asking an awful lot given what’s gone on this year. To Penner’s credit, he’s kept quiet until now.

    All of that said, I haven’t heard the interview. Any links?

  24. St George says:

    Rod: oilers.nhl.com I believe. There is an interview there though I haven’t listened to it.

  25. dave says:

    I don’t care what line he plays on, but point blank play him on the 1st unit power play. damn!

  26. Rod says:

    Well, I found this one:
    Mar. 9: Off Day – Dustin Penner

    There must be another one, because that one didn’t sound like the one devin described.

  27. Calvin says:

    When you guys are discussing a player like Moreau (bad) or Penner (good) I like to go to the http://www.hockeyanalysis.com site and see how the player looks in terms of “player rankings”.

    A quick glance tells us that Patrick O’Sullivan is a player.
    PATRICK O’SULLIVAN 1.17 1.05 1.11 2362.16

    And Kotalik … not so much (but not terrible).
    ALES KOTALIK 1.04 0.95 1.00 1629.06

    The wrong guy is on the first line, I’d say.

    The rankings are something of a “big picture”, smearing out some of the noise (a very good thing).

    Another thing I find interesting is the Contribution vs. Overall Rating. This is essentially ice-time vs a player’s performance, including a correction for strength of opponent/linemates.

    Generally the players with better “overall ratings” get more ice time (barring injury), with a slight difference between defensemen and forwards (less time generally).

    What I’d like to suggest is that one can look over this relationship and get a sense of what the coach is all about.

    The Flames are an interesting example. Phaneuf is top of the list for ice time, but his “rating” is behind Regehr, Sarich, etc. The forwards make a bit more sense: Iginla leads the way, with the excellent Cammalleri right behind him. Overall, however the ice time is not that strongly related to their performance – there are a few poor players getting lots of ice time (Bertuzzi) and a few good ones not getting much (Lombardi). I don’t know the injury history, which might explain this.

    If I was to comment on this team’s coach I’d say that the coach plays favorites OR there have been a lot of injuries screwing with the icetime.

    On to the Oilers…

    This coach seems to also play favorites but to my eye a lesser extent. Visnovsky seems to get a tiny bit too little ice time compared to Souray and Gilbert, but this is probably due to injury. Horcoff is played to death, but it is a good decision to do so. Penner scores higher than Hemsky, but gets slightly less ice-time but not significantly.
    The anomalies show up with Staios (played too much by far) and Reddox near the bottom of the list.

    Overall I’d say the oilers coach seems to be playing the good players a lot and reducing the ice time of the poor players. In other words, he seems to be making good decisions.

    Except for his love of Steve Staios.

    (from a long-tme lurker).

  28. Black Dog says:

    To play devil’s advocate a little.

    I concede the math.

    I believe that MacT thinks the math could be a lot better. Simple as that.

    He has mentioned that he thinks Penner is only scratching the surface of what he can offer.

    That’s the rub.

    Now is he cutting off his nose to spite his face? Yes and that is not smart in itself. Benching a guy who brings what Penner brings because you think he can do better is a dangerous ploy. Its not like he’s replacing a guy like Jacques with Reddox.

    As LT says this is the hill he has chosen to die on.

    I understand his motivation, to a point, but this isn’t a very good idea.

  29. kris says:

    I don’t think MacT is benching Penner because Penner looks lazy when he plays; we should give MacT more credit than that. In fact, there’s no way MacT can’t see that Penner contributes more offensively and defensively -whether he’s on the first line or not- than at least some of the forwards on the team: Reddox, Stortini, Pouliot, Nilson, etc. I mean the guy has 14 goals and is a plus player; you don’t need to look hard to see he contributes.

    So, the benchings have to be about intangibles, e.g. Penner’s relationship with the team, his “attitude” displayed in practice, the expectations arising from his signing, his fitness level, and so on.

    But this is exactly why his benching is so disturbing: the Oilers can’t afford to sit anyone who contributes solidly, possibly excellently, when they’re in a pitched battle for 8th place.

    That’s arrogance and this club isn’t good enough to back up that kind of arrogance.

  30. Rod says:

    Then there’s MacT:
    Mar. 9: Off Day – Craig MacTavish

    “It’s a critical time…”

    Exactly. Put the best lineup together. Part of that is a PP with Horpensky (27 in front), and 21-44 on the points. Especially no 24. It’s too critical a time for the coach to fall into biases and blindspots with players.

  31. mjsh says:

    I remember the big M’s time in Toronto very well. He did take a lot of heat and he was an effortless skater. I cannot remember if he had the did not care attitute that Penner seems to have. My issue with Penner is that he has occassionally show that he has a lot to give. While his numbers do look decent, it also looks like he could be even better than the Vancouver version of Bertuzzi. I also remember that it took Bertuzzi a long time to figure things out too. All this before the Moore thing of course.

    It is a supprise to me to see Carbonneau gone. I sure hope that Les Canadiens don’t show a big burst tomorrow night or else the Oil are le toast.

  32. Coach pb9617 says:

    2007-2008, just for comparison:

    ALES HEMSKY w/ Penner 589:02 1.019 ES gf/20

    ALES HEMSKY w/o Penner 485:28 0.700 ES gf/20

  33. Bank Shot says:

    Scott, I believe making all the skilled players aware of the consequences of indifferent play gives the team the best chance to win.

    I agree, but Mactavish tends not to punish the guys he likes, and I think that erodes the effectiveness of his carrot and stick system.

    Hemksy can make 6 giveaways in a row and not miss a shift. He hasn’t finished a check since the playoff run, and Horcoff never does either. Moreau can take a thousand penalties.

    Penner is told to be more physical, presumably because he’s big. Why is he the only top six guy expected to play outside his comfort zone?

    Compared to a team like Detroit where the top players are expected to do everything a 4th liner needs to do, there doesn’t appear to be the same accountability in Edmonton.

  34. Dennis says:

    MacT either thinks he can fuck around and still win or he knows he doesn’t have a worry if he Doesn’t win.

  35. Doogie2K says:

    Penner is pulling the “woe is me” angle, and regardless of whether he has a good reason to, he’s wrong to have this mindset.

    It’s wrong to feel slighted when you’re unfairly made the scapegoat for an entire season? Really? Furthermore, how do you know he doesn’t have half the room on his side?

    I believe that MacT thinks the math could be a lot better. Simple as that.

    He has mentioned that he thinks Penner is only scratching the surface of what he can offer.

    That’s the rub.

    He’s got a funny way of showing it. As you and others have pointed out, putting someone outside of a position where he and the team’s best forwards have had their best results over the last two years doesn’t seem like how you get the most out of him. Surely a professional coach of over ten years’ combined experience can put two and two together.

  36. Rod says:

    mish said:
    While his numbers do look decent, it also looks like he could be even better than the Vancouver version of Bertuzzi.
    —–
    Um, leaving aside the subjective nature of whether Penner is trying hard enough, I’ll agree that Penner could be better. Course, what player on the team couldn’t be?

    Point is, 27-10-83 is a very good line. To quote Coach pb9617:

    Does benching Penner give the team’s unquestioned superstar a chance at success?

    Hemsky w/o Penner: .650 GF/20 — 180th in ES scoring

    Hemsky w/ Penner: 1.258 GF/20 — 9th in ES scoring

    Hemsky w/o Penner: -0.15
    +/- per 20 — 157th in +/-

    Hemsky w/ Penner: 0.514
    +/- per 20 — 15th in +/-

    Sure they could be better. But 9th in the league in scoring rate @ ES is nothing to sneeze at. How they’re better with Penner out of the lineup at this stage of the season is beyond me. Not to mention the poisoned atmosphere that MacT is seeding back in Rexall first time 27 steps on the home ice. Guaranteed Arnott treatment.

  37. Coach pb9617 says:


    Of course MacT doesn’t believe in losing the game on purpose. We’re saying he has a blindspot re: Penner. Penner is playing well. By many metrics his lines have outchanced and outproduced the opposition. Hemsky is clearly better with 27 on the port. That MacT can’t see through his bias is a problem. That’s the point.

    Quite often, throughout history, military commanders have come up short when assessing generals because of personal weakness. Napoleon could not dump Eugene, even though Eugene was a terrible tactician.

    On the other side, Hitler kept dumping on Rommel once things went bad, even though Rommel was outmanned, outgunned and completely overmatched.

    If MacTavish was trying to conquer Europe, Penner would be Rommel and Moreau would be Eugene.

    For the military historians, Stortini is Nathan Bedford Forrest.

    We’re saying he has a blindspot re: Penner.

    It happens to those in command all of the time, just because he’s a coach and not a general doesn’t mean it’s not happening to him.

    Excellent post, BTW.

  38. hunter1909 says:

    I would tell Craig that he’s not going to coach the Oilers ever again, but he’s got an assistant coach job with Pat Quinn, as long as he wants.

  39. hunter1909 says:

    I thought Oilers looked good against Toronto. They usually look 5 places higher in the standings when they play the east.

  40. anonymous says:

    The Mac-T moral:

    If you’ve got a big wheelhouse and can effortlessly be in the right places … you’ll get 30 minutes on the ice as a offensive defender OR 60 minutes in the press box as a forward.

  41. MikeP says:

    Let’s get this straight. The contingent of what I’ll call Penner-bashers – a label of convenience rather than description – would think that Penner’s being benched, and deservedly so, because he’s shown he can offer more. Reddox gets to keep playing because while he’s probably a 10-15 goal a year man – tops – he skates really fast and bounces off of guys on the walls and in the corner.

    So we’d rather have a guy whose max effort is 15 goals, than a guy who has scored 29, simply because that guy who has scored 29 once did, and the other guy skates hard?

    Do we really want this team to win, or do we want it to go down swinging valiantly?

    Like LT, I’ve been watching this team a long time, and I’ll tell you which I’d prefer. Goals in the back of the other team’s net, no matter how they got there or who put them in.

  42. MikeP says:

    “For the military historians, Stortini is Nathan Bedford Forrest.”

    I really hope not.

  43. Rod says:

    There I was about to post that I agree with hunter for once… Quinn would be an absolutely excellent coach for this team.

    And then hunter said the Oil looked good against TO. Um, if getting outchanced and horribly outshot, combined with an abysmal PP equates to looking good, I guess we agree on that one too.

  44. knighttown says:

    “For the military historians, Stortini is Nathan Bedford Forrest.”

    Ah yes. He was termed “General Hugs-A-Lot” if I’m not mistaken.

  45. devin says:

    It’s wrong to feel slighted when you’re unfairly made the scapegoat for an entire season? Really? Furthermore, how do you know he doesn’t have half the room on his side?

    This is my point. In 99% of situations it’s ok to feel slighted. God knows if it was me I’d be flipping the bird at MacT in public. But in this case, no matter how much shit you’re being made to carry, you have to battle. These guys are called “pros” for this reason – they can put the team above themselves and realize that it isn’t a democracy.

    MacT is painfully wrong here in my view from a hockey perspective. And there’s no time left to fuck around because every game is critical. But as someone who plays on an extremely competitive hockey team, I’m just trying to offer a different perspective on this, because I’ve encountered exactly this scenario (very recently) and as frustrating as it is the only option that doesn’t make things worse is to eat shit and save the payback for your opponents…

  46. Ender says:

    Re: Stats vs. Seen Him Good –

    I know I pop in every once in a while to say this, and as such, I’ll be brief, but correlation does not equal causation.

    It’s entirely possible that Penner and Hemsky complement each other. It’s also entirely possible that they do not. When you’re talking about a team game, I’m sorry, but your numbers dont prove a damn thing.

    That is all.

  47. knighttown says:

    Say you’re auditioning for American Idol. You’ve got an excellent voice but Simon Cowell thinks you’re too laid back and asks if you even want to be here. You say that you do and that music is your life. So they let you go to Hollywood and tell you to step it up.

    In the first stage of Hollywood week, you sound pretty good but still look like an accountant up there so they take you aside and ask you to work with Ms. Bird on spicing up your routine. You get assigned to your group for Group Day and while they burn the midnight oil practicing, you’re tucked into your cozy bed by 10 o’clock.

    The next day you forget a line. Nothing drastic. Just a line and you’re shocked when you get sent home.

    Dustin Penner could not miss the optional practice on Friday. Just couldn’t.

  48. knighttown says:

    So Ender. Is there any way to know if Alex Ovechkin is a good goal scorer? Could be just lucky or maybe goalies suck whenever he plays.

    I’d say two seasons of Penner-Hemsky data make a pretty compelling argument.

  49. Ender says:

    KT:

    Ovechkin is consistent with the numbers. it doesn’t seem to matter which goalie he’s playing against or who his linemates are. it just happens.

    If you can make the same argument about Penner, or Penner/Hemsky I’d love to see it. They’ve played together for a fraction of the games of each season against different goalies who have had different players in front of them on different shifts while Penner/Hemsky have been fed the puck by different defensemen.

    Maybe it all comes out in the wash and maybe it doesn’t, but none of the stats I’ve seen seem to account for the numbers that matter – points – against differing qualities of goaltenders.

    Hell, take it one step further. How much better does the rest of the team do when Penner is on line 1? Do his numbers on the ice indicate him being cancerous on certain lines?

    Or how about just games won with Penner on line 1 vs. Penner not on line 1.

    I mean, the optional practice thing has already been mentioned. Nobody here knows what his attitude is like in the room, but I doubt anyone would argue he’s developed since signing here. He’s not getting better, he doesn’t seem to care/try. Isn’t there a point where the math becomes irrelevant and you need to ask whether it’s worth investing the time in him when he doesn’t want to invest the time in himself?

    Genuinely, isn’t that the coach’s prerogative? Or should that be superseded by math?

  50. Doogie2K says:

    So Ender. Is there any way to know if Alex Ovechkin is a good goal scorer? Could be just lucky or maybe goalies suck whenever he plays.

    Holy non sequitur, Batman.

    I mean, I agree that the numbers point a certain way, but at the same time, it’s not like they’ve played together every game for two years; there’s large gaps in there. It’s actually a much smaller sample size where all three play together than you imply, and being a condesencing twat doesn’t help your counterargument in the slightest

  51. Coach pb9617 says:

    It’s entirely possible that Penner and Hemsky complement each other. It’s also entirely possible that they do not. When you’re talking about a team game, I’m sorry, but your numbers dont prove a damn thing.

    The only two players with a higher GF/20 than Hemsky with Penner from 2007-present are Malkin and Datsyuk.

    Hemsky without Penner’s closest comp is Matt Cooke.

  52. Doogie2K says:

    The only two players with a higher GF/20 than Hemsky with Penner from 2007-present are Malkin and Datsyuk.

    Hemsky without Penner’s closest comp is Matt Cooke.

    Whoa there. Matt Cooke? Are you serious? Even granting if the exact numbers are the same, haven’t you just stripped away every bit of context there is between those different players? Again, the numbers do suggest that Penner does compliment Hemsky, but those comparisons just aren’t valid.

    And after reading about the optional practice, which I didn’t know about before, is it not possible that at a certain point the numbers have to be overridden by off-ice considerations? I know a lot of people here are allergic to intangibles, but they exist.

  53. bookie says:

    I have been frustrated at times with Penner and I agree that sometimes the stats don’t paint a clear picture, but the numbers put up by coach are pretty convincing.


    Hemsky w/o Penner: .650 GF/20 — 180th in ES scoring

    Hemsky w/ Penner: 1.258 GF/20 — 9th in ES scoring

    Hemsky w/o Penner: -0.15
    +/- per 20 — 157th in +/-

    Hemsky w/ Penner: 0.514
    +/- per 20 — 15th in +/-

    They are pretty overwhelming and they are from a large sample of games. It is pretty hard to ignore.

    Penner did not show up for the optional, its clear that he has decided that this is not his gig anymore. He is tired of being the whipping boy and he very well may be correct. So, it appears that Penner and MacT have a bit of a stand off going.

    I generally ignore all of the lost the room’ type rumours that go around (and maybe I should here), but I think that there has been enough evidence (cole interview, moreau interview, other comments) that there is a small group of ‘MacT hardworking guys’ who are very ‘serious’ and perhaps another group that like to play tape hockey in between periods of a close game.

    I wonder who KLowe is sympathetic too, his old buddy MacT has not used his toys the way that Lowe hoped…

  54. bookie says:

    And after reading about the optional practice, which I didn’t know about before, is it not possible that at a certain point the numbers have to be overridden by off-ice considerations? I know a lot of people here are allergic to intangibles, but they exist.

    Yes and no, imagine if it was Cole in this situation. we would perceive it differently as we would give greater creedence to the player (at the expense of the coach).

    Some guys are difficult to coach and its difficult to get the best out of them, but you do have to wonder when more than half the team is that way. That does indicate that the coach is not having the success that is required at the elite level. OR it suggests that this team is perhaps so difficult to coach that no other available NHL level coach could achieve success with them.

  55. Coach pb9617 says:

    The only two players with a higher GF/20 than Hemsky with Penner from 2007-present are Malkin and Datsyuk.

    Allow myself to quote myself.

    There are only seven forwards with a better ES GF/20 than Horcoff with Penner in each of the last two seasons. Arnott, Crosby, Datsyuk, Hemsky w/ Penner, Iginla, Malkin, Ovechkin.

  56. Doogie2K says:

    They are pretty overwhelming and they are from a large sample of games. It is pretty hard to ignore.

    If those quoted numbers are just from this year, that’s not really a huge sample, given how much bouncing around Penner has done, but looking over the two years, it does appear that the most potent troika this team has put out is 10-83-27. I wouldn’t outright deny that — I’m more of a believer in what the numbers can tell us than Ender, though I also acknowledge that they don’t tell us everything, unlike many others around here — but I’d also point out that that’s as much an indictment of who’s been replacing 27 on that line (mostly 85) as it is a defence of Penner. And I’m not saying Penner isn’t right to feel slighted, but at the same time, in light of this, maybe MacT has a point in benching him.

    The way I see it, the only reasons to bench a player as useful in his position as Penner are A) the coach has lost it, or B) the player has lost it. While I’m generally inclined to believe A is the case, given the overall evidence, I think we’ve been hasty to discount B. Maybe Penner’s blowing off optional practices because MacT’s been fucking him over this year, but maybe MacT’s also got good reason to bench/demote Penner. We don’t know everything that happens behind the scenes.

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    He’s not getting better, he doesn’t seem to care/try

    To quote Bruce from the previous thread:

    Oilers forwards 5v5 (per TOI.com)
    ———————————

    Goals
    —–
    1. Penner +12
    1. Horcoff +12
    3. Hemsky +10
    (Horpensky +16)
    (Team +8)

    Shots
    —–
    1. Penner +33
    2. Hemsky +13
    3. Horcoff +10
    (Horpensky +64)
    (Team -214)

    Fenwick
    ——-
    1. Penner +64
    2. Hesmky +13
    3. Horcoff 0
    (Horpensky +97)
    (Team -267)

    Corsi
    —–
    1. Penner +88
    2. Hemsky +47
    3. Cole -6
    (Horpensky +129)
    (Team -296)

    Penner is #1 in all categories, not just among forwards (shown) but among all Oilers. BtN shows him #1 among Oiler forwards in GF ON/60, and #3 in GA ON/60. On the powerplay, he ranks #1 on the club (40 GP, 1:00 toi) in both GF ON/60 and +/60.

    Admittedly none of these are personal statistics, they all reflect what the team does when he’s out there. Which is to say, better. The team always “seems” to do better with Dustin on the ice.

    To quote LT:

    He has scored 37 goals in his almost two seasons in Edmonton, a number that trails only Ales Hemsky (41) during that time.

    You can check previous posts in Penner discussions by myself and rickibear that show that Hemsky’s goal scoring counting numbers damn near triple with Penner on his wing. You can check previous threads that show Hemsky to be a 95-100 point player with Penner on his wing and a 65-70 point player without. Horcoff goes from a .75 PPG player without Penner to a .95 PPG player with Penner on his wing.

    The Oilers first line averages more than a goal per game with Penner in there with Horcoff and Hemsky. Without Penner, they average .70 GPG.

    Penner makes Hemsky a top 10 ES forward. Penner makes Horcoff a top 20 ES forward.

    What you’re going to do is argue against every useful measure of a hockey player, because…

    I’m sorry, but your numbers dont prove a damn thing.

    You choose to back that argument with:

    Nobody here knows what his attitude is like in the room, but I doubt anyone would argue he’s developed since signing here. He’s not getting better, he doesn’t seem to care/try.

    Just to be clear, this is what you’re doing, right?

  58. Coach pb9617 says:

    Whoa there. Matt Cooke? Are you serious? Even granting if the exact numbers are the same, haven’t you just stripped away every bit of context there is between those different players?

    It’s juxtaposition. Hemsky is on the ice for more GF at ES than all but two forwards in the entire league when Penner is with him. Without? He’s on the ice for as many GF as Matt Cooke.

    It’s jarring, yes, and a bit unfair, yes, but it’s true. Hemsky’s ES GF numbers the last two years without Penner are pretty shitty. And this year, he’s not sawing off the comp, either. He’s losing the ES battle without Penner. 15th highest + in the league with him, a minus without.

    And with that, I need to go play some poker to calm down.

    Best of luck to Craig MacTavish in the stretch run.

  59. Bryanbryoil says:

    Hbomb-Seriously, keeping MacT even if this team misses the playoffs would be a gigantic kick in the balls to the fan-base.

    It should be the other extreme – we should be at a point where not even a playoff appearance guarantees that he sticks around.

    Dennis-MacT either thinks he can fuck around and still win or he knows he doesn’t have a worry if he Doesn’t win.

    The Cubs indeed. It’s been painfully apparent for YEARS that MacT doesn’t have to answer for a God damned thing, he can do as he pleases without having to look over his shoulder. Katz has a chance to push the issue this offseason, if not, there’s no difference between Katz and the EIG in terms of holding management accountable.

  60. Oilman says:

    So if we’re the Cubs, is MacTavish our Steve Bartman?

  61. Ender says:

    Just to be clear, this is what you’re doing, right?

    Actually, no.

    Look. I know I’m generally unpopular around here, but seriously, you’re arguing against something I was never arguing. If you’ll look back at what I wrote, I was arguing about context. I even gave examples of specific context, which have been ignored. Instead you keep bringing up the same numbers.

    And that’s fine. I just don’t think that your numbers back your conclusion. I’m not arguing the contrary, but rather pointing out that this isn’t a binary thing. It’s not “either Penner is stirs the drink” or “Penner doesn’t stir the drink.” There are a bunch of variables you’re outright ignoring (and your numbers are outright ignoring) and I’m just trying to point that out.

    Now, if you can cut other players out of the equation, like Horpensky – Visnovsky vs. a Luongo-calibre goalie, I’m willing to listen. However, goaltending across the league does not conveniently average out exceptacross an entire season. However, this line isn’t playing an entire season together. Seriously, go back and look at the teams that they played against together. Now look at the teams they played together against and got a point.

    Not saying you’re necessarily wrong. Just that you’re making very specific conclusions with data that’s very general. In science, that’s generally a bad thing. Maybe it’s a wash here. Just saying it’s something to keep in mind.

  62. bookie says:

    aybe Penner’s blowing off optional practices because MacT’s been fucking him over this year, but maybe MacT’s also got good reason to bench/demote Penner. We don’t know everything that happens behind the scenes.

    That is absolutely true! I have said before, I would love to have 5 minutes of honest opinion from each of the players.

    Failing that, I have to go with my best guess, and my best guess feels that MacT’s long tenure has allowed his quirks (all people have some achilles heel type of quirks that will get us if we don’t contain them) to grow at the expense of his personal discipline and balanced coaching.

  63. eidy says:

    sometimes this team makes me very angry…..

    i don’t know how they can pull it togethor for the last stretch and penner may need be back. he sure sounds like he has had enough from king mac.

    too bad, hemsky will suffer and how hemmer goes so go the oil

  64. eidy says:

    ouch.. stoll would be 2nd on our team in goals. that is not a good sign for our team. good to see him bounce back and no one misses him more than 10. i wonder if horcoff would give a million and a half back to get some help.

  65. Ribs says:

    Here’s some math…Our top paid forward on this team has 0 points in his last 9 games.

    Top line or not, I think it’s fair to expect more.

  66. Rod says:

    @Ender:

    To conclude that the numbers are all entirely meaningless (as you have done) means you’ve also assumed a lot of other conditions.

    For example, that 27+83 played a significantly greater amount of ES with 71 than 83 did apart from 27.

    Or that 27+83 played against weak goalies, while 83 and 27 were separated against the good goalies. That would have to be one heck of a coincidence there Ender. Especially considering that 27+83 didn’t play together until after the famous benching (in other words, all the good goalies early, and then nothing but weak goalies later). Not very likely.

    Much more likely to have been the case that:
    - defensive pairings were sufficiently random
    - goalie opposition was sufficiently random

    At least sufficiently random to explain away the different in ES GF/20 when together and apart:
    - 83 with 27: 1.258
    - 83 without 27: 0.650

    Hemsky drops in half without Penner? Part of that difference may well come from goalie opposition and defensive pairings, but those factors cannot account for that difference..

    As well, the significant amount of time they haven’t played together provides more support for the numbers. If nothing else, it’s something to compare against (i.e. Hemsky with other players). If it was totally Hemsky + Penner for two years, we’d have nothing much to compare to. As it is, we do. And the difference, particularly this year, is rather striking. By a number of metrics, not just one.

    Take a look at this page and tell me the numbers are completely meaningless:
    Dustin Penner

    You’ll also note from that page and Hemsky’s page that the each have generally played the same amount of time with each defenseman. The largest difference is that Penner has played more minutes with Smid (with better GF/20 results too).

    To me, your arguments are on shakier ground the numbers themselves. That doesn’t mean the numbers are infallible. However, the sheer number of metrics that consistently point the same way indicate that Penner is a complimentary player, especially one on a line with 10-83. Far fewer assumptions in those numbers than simply assuming everything is meaningless.

    Just saying these numbers have some merit, and are far from useless.

  67. Ender says:

    Here’s some math…Our top paid forward on this team has 0 points in his last 9 games.

    Top line or not, I think it’s fair to expect more.

    Honestly, i was surprised to learn today that Penner is our highest paid forward this season.

  68. Ender says:

    Just saying these numbers have some merit, and are far from useless.

    I don’t think I said they’re meaningless. Pretty sure that I said they don’t prove anything.

  69. Ender says:

    Actually, you’re right. I should qualify that. I don’t think the numbers that are being presented regarding Penner here and elsewhere are, as a general rule, proving what they set out to prove. The numbers have merit. That said, if you ignore the context you’re making some pretty crazy assumptions. Those crazy assumptions might be right, but they might not be.

  70. Ender says:

    Sorry for the tons of posting.

    To conclude that the numbers are all entirely meaningless (as you have done) means you’ve also assumed a lot of other conditions.

    Honestly, if that’s what people are getting out of what I’m saying then I should stop. Maybe I’m poor at explaining myself, but for some reason people seem to argue against me while arguing against things I’m not saying. I don’t know why people build straw men against me so often, but whatever. It’s a moot point. There’s no point me bothering to continue.

    Sorry for the interruption all.

  71. Rod says:

    Ender said:
    That said, if you ignore the context you’re making some pretty crazy assumptions. Those crazy assumptions might be right, but they might not be.
    —-
    Nice way of sliding by without addressing the “crazy” assumptions you’ve made (which I pointed out in my previous post).

    You earlier pointed to:
    - opposition goalie
    - defense feeding the puck

    Of course they aren’t perfectly randomized. However, are they not sufficiently randomized? Maybe not for a ES GF/20 difference of .1 (or even .25). However, given their ice-time and a difference of 1.256 (27+83) to 0.65 (83 without 27), isn’t that a big enough difference to conclude the two are complementary players?

    Do the numbers mean that 27 makes Hemsky twice as good? No. However, they clearly point to 27 making 83 better. How much? We’ll never have a set of circumstances perfect enough to weed out other variables. That said, it would have to be one hell of a coincidence to account for that difference. At least from where I’m standing.

    Ender will probably say I still don’t understand… Oh well.

  72. Rod says:

    Ribs said:

    Here’s some math…Our top paid forward on this team has 0 points in his last 9 games.

    Top line or not, I think it’s fair to expect more.
    —-
    First, why does Penner’s contract have anything to do with anything at this time of year?

    Second, Penner has contributed to goals scored, he just hasn’t gotten any points for it. For example, does Pisani have that open ice for his goal vs. TO without 27 parked by the crease?

  73. Ender says:

    @Rod

    I wasn’t making assumptions because I wasn’t arguing that anyone was wrong. I was saying that those things *might* bring up new, contrary data, and to dismiss them out of hand is a bit negligent if you’re trying to prove anything.

    So yea, I guess one could say you still don’t understand. If you wanted to.

  74. St George says:

    Take a look at this page and tell me the numbers are completely meaningless:
    Dustin Penner

    Interestingly, when you look at the Hemsky version of that page (http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/200809players/player0614.php), the same dynamic exists for Gilbert and Grebeshkov w/Hemsky … GF/20 that are significantly higher when they are on the ice.

    I am not statistical wizard, but I do know enough to believe there is information there that would prevent you from concluding this was an all-Penner phenomenon.

  75. Icecastles says:

    MikeP said…So we’d rather have a guy whose max effort is 15 goals, than a guy who has scored 29, simply because that guy who has scored 29 once did, and the other guy skates hard?

    Exactly. MacT says (on the subject of benching Penner) that it’s too late in the year for someone who is trying to find their game, but it seems to me that his decision-making flies in the face of this. Accept that at this point in the season, a player’s game is what it is. Don’t bench him in some bizarre attempt to bring his game or his motivation level along. He is basically saying that 15 goals is better than 20 goals, if the guy getting the 15 goals works harder for them.

    That’s great if you’re coaching peewee, or even junior, but in the NHL it is, pardon my language, f**king retarded. And it’s a recipe for failure. Trade the guy, don’t renew his contract, find ways to help him produce. But don’t sewer your own chances just to prove a point about effort when you’re battling for a playoff spot.

    Ribs said… Here’s some math… Our top paid forward on this team has 0 points in his last 9 games.

    You’d think all that time on the bench and playing on the third line would translate to in increase in points. It’s hard to up your scoring when your ice time is reduced.

    This whole Penner/MacTsoap opera has become such a vicious circle: Penner underperforms, so MacT demotes him, benches him or rags on him. So Penner gets despondent and doesn’t show up to optional practices or brings his bad attitude to the rink. So MacT sits him out entirely. Okay, so Penner’s a crybaby who feels sorry for himself and needs to suck it up. We know this. There is no point wishing it were otherwise, because he obviously isn’t going anywhere, at least not in the next 17 games.

    So the coach can either:

    (a) Acknowledge that the current strategy is not only failing, but actually making things worse by tanking the confidence (hence productivity) of someone who should be a top-line forward and poisoning the dressing room with the back-and-forth antics. Thus, the coach swallows his pride and finds a new way to motivate him or at the very least accepts that Penner will be a good but not great player. Find a long-term solution in the off-season and for now, work with, not against, what you have.
    or
    (b) keep stubbornly banging his head against the wall thinking that the same actions will somehow yield different results, meanwhile allowing the season to tank because he’s chosen the wrong hill to die on and has let it spill over into team morale and a real and measurable ability to win games. Unless the benched player is either going to benefit from the benching (which doesn’t seem to happen) or be replaced by someone with better production (those guys are all already playing), there is no advantage in doing it. And any leadership role I’ve had, I sure as hell haven’t seen team cohesion and morale go up when you rag on one guys and repeatedly make him feel like shit, whether he deserves it or not. The only message that sends the team is that the guy in charge is incapable of fixing his problems.

    In a tangential matter, it would be enlightening to see someone keep a stat for players on the ice in front of the net screening shots when goals are scored. There is of course no assist awarded on the play unless they touched the puck on the way in, but it is such a vital role in scoring goals. Could be telling in the case of a guy like Penner.

  76. Bruce says:

    In a tangential matter, it would be enlightening to see someone keep a stat for players on the ice in front of the net screening shots when goals are scored. There is of course no assist awarded on the play unless they touched the puck on the way in, but it is such a vital role in scoring goals. Could be telling in the case of a guy like Penner.

    Icecastles: David Staples has been doing that very thing on Cult of Hockey in 2008-09. Dustin Penner does indeed perform very well in his “Unofficial Assists” metric.

  77. Wil says:

    Perhaps there are other ways of looking at this… We’re all wondering if he has lost the room, what if MacT is benching Penner so that he doesn’t lose the room.

    If the vets/hard workers/people that MacT loves view Penner with distain because of his floatiness, and the kids look at Penner and see a skill guy with a big contract and a poutine iv… perhaps MacT feels he can’t let Penner off the hook. It would tick off the vets and send the wrong message to the kids.

  78. godot10 says:

    //If the vets/hard workers/people that MacT loves view Penner with distain because of his floatiness, and the kids look at Penner and see a skill guy with a big contract and a poutine iv… perhaps MacT feels he can’t let Penner off the hook.//

    Almost every Oiler player of significance is more productive offensively with Penner on the ice than with him off. Only an idiot would not want to play with Penner. Defensively, it doesn’t seem to matter.

    The only conclusion that can be drawn from the data is that Penner makes any fivesome he is on better offensively and no worse defensively.

    Penner should be the guy that one wants as a linemate. That big “floater” makes his linemates play better offensively.

    It really isn’t surprising that Pisani got his first goal on return when Penner was creating space for Pisani in front of the net. Nope, Penner didn’t get an assist for it. He didn’t hit anybody. But he put himself in a position that allowed his teammate to succeed offensively.

    In the offensive end of the ice, Penner goes to the right spots, the spots which make his unit successful, but which doesn’t necessarily pad his own stats.

  79. Wil says:

    There are some comments in the gdt (unleaded) that suggest that perhaps Hemsky doesn’t want to play with Penner… I’m not saything that’s true because I don’t know, but it would explain some things…

    What I do know is that the hard data (stats) tells me that players perform better with Penner. I believe (perhaps incorrectly) that many in the Oilers organization recognize this.

    So if Penner is being benched in the face of hard data, then we have to look some where else. The soft stuff (not stats) is effort, chemistry, trust etc.

    The only other option is that MacT doesn’t have a clue, which love him or hate him I don’t believe at all.

    //Only an idiot would not want to play with Penner//

    I worked with girl once who was so talented and driven… and dispised that no one wanted to work with/for her, even though she did great work and got others to perform as well… Is there no possibility that there are some on the team that don’t want to play with him and that MacT recognizes this?

  80. geowal says:

    I’m left wondering if someone shouldn’t try to educate someone from the media, maybe Ryan Rishaug as he seems to like to irritate MacT anyways, as to these sorts of metrics and how well Penner does in them. All this in the hopes that someone might call MacT on it.

    I don’t know if it’s possible to email these guys, or if they’d even read it. Probably wishful thinking.

  81. Master Lok says:

    LT, I think the obvious explanation for MacT’s decisions on Penner – is that MacT doesn’t think that your math is a reason for why Penner should be on the ice.

  82. Master Lok says:

    LT,
    I’m curious- can you do the same math stats for Pisani? (corsi etc.) How does pisani compare with Penner?

  83. Master Lok says:

    Despite all the “big math” numbers – how about the simple math number – Penner hasn’t scored in NINE games?

  84. godot10 says:

    //Despite all the “big math” numbers – how about the simple math number – Penner hasn’t scored in NINE games?//

    That is an individual stat. Do you want Penner do become an individualistic player rather than a team player?

    The stats show that almost any 5-man unit on the Oilers will score more with Penner on it than when Penner off it. That is a team performance stat.

    Penner makes the team better.

  85. Ribs says:

    First, why does Penner’s contract have anything to do with anything at this time of year?

    The guy’s being paid to put up points. There has to be some kind of accountability there from him.

    Second, Penner has contributed to goals scored, he just hasn’t gotten any points for it. For example, does Pisani have that open ice for his goal vs. TO without 27 parked by the crease?

    Yes? I see what you’re getting at but this is a bad example. He wasn’t helping anyone on this play.
    Underlying numbers are important but someone has to put the puck in the net. It’s supposed to be his job, and he’s not doing it. Simple as that.

    You’d think all that time on the bench and playing on the third line would translate to in increase in points. It’s hard to up your scoring when your ice time is reduced.

    Stortini’s got 4 points in his last 9 games with less ice time.

    I don’t want to make excuses for MacT because I’d prefer to see Horpensky back in action as well, but some blame has to be laid on the big guy. He needs to get on some scoresheets.

  86. Bruce says:

    He needs to get on some scoresheets.

    Penner has posted a +1 on four of the last 8 gamesheets. The other four he was even.

    Since the loss in San Jose, Penner is 8 GP, 0-0-0, +4. That looks pretty alright to me, lack of scoring be damned. The O linemen don’t have to score touchdowns to help the cause.

    8 games without a minus is not to be sneezed at, especially during a scoring drought. Admittedly he was lucky not to get one last game when he did make a couple bad plays, but for the most part he’s defensively responsible and has the record to prove it. Again, that’s not a player to be benching. Not now.

  87. Rod says:

    @Ribs:
    The guy’s being paid to put up points. There has to be some kind of accountability there from him.
    Absolutely, accountability needs to be there. Consistently accountability would be nice though. My point is that the amount of the contract is hardly relevant in terms of player accountability. Results on the ice is what matters, especially at this time of year.

    If you want to hold someone accountable for the amount of the contract, look at the GM that offered it. It’s not like Penner was a camp holdout. (Yes, I know they can’t do that anymore, but if he was a holdout, I’d understand your accountability angle. As it is, it’s misplaced).

    Yes? I see what you’re getting at but this is a bad example. He wasn’t helping anyone on this play.
    —-
    To me it was a good example. Penner was in front of the net, and two TO defenders got confused about which one should take him. That gave Pisani all sorts of open ice.

    I’m sure we agree it’s all about results. Point is, Penner’s line–whichever one it is–has generally contributed positive results. Even though he’s in a scoring slump. See Bruce and godot10′s recent posts. The team is better with 27 in the lineup. Period.

  88. Ribs says:

    8 games without a minus is not to be sneezed at, especially during a scoring drought.

    It’s great for him that he can play well defensively. It’s just that we’re not talking about JF Jacques here. Penner needs to score some points.

    I don’t know if sitting him is the best option, but when does the drought end? 9 games is a loooong time to go for a guy who should be the leading goal scorer on the club. He wasn’t playing on the top line in Anaheim and still managed to score, why can’t he do it here?

    I’m convinced MacT would move him back to the first line if he showed some fire and put up some points on any line he’s plunked onto. If MacT doesn’t see him helping his linemates in every other way possible, what else is he left to do? And again, why can’t/doesn’t he do it?

    My point is that the amount of the contract is hardly relevant in terms of player accountability. Results on the ice is what matters, especially at this time of year.

    I dunno, if I’m buying a Corvette over a Vespa I’d be kind of pissed off to find the Vespa keeping pace with me driving down Calgary Trail at top speed.

    You can say it’s a bad contract and say the expectations are too high but it’s not as unrealistic as it could be and at the end of the day, it’s his name on the dotted line.

    To me it was a good example. Penner was in front of the net, and two TO defenders got confused about which one should take him. That gave Pisani all sorts of open ice.

    He confused the defense by standing completely still? Wow, that is skill! I kid…

    I’m sure we agree it’s all about results. Point is, Penner’s line–whichever one it is–has generally contributed positive results.

    And how much more positive would the results be if he was scoring some points with his line(s)?

    In any case, I hope he comes back blazing like he did last time and keeps it going into the playoffs.

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