Pennant Race

This is Gene Mauch, who should be the patron saint of lost causes (but hey, Jude got that one) and is most certainly the one man who got more out of little on the baseball diamond.

I knew Gene Mauch well as a baseball fan. He taught me about platooning, using the bench, the importance of veterans and that you can never (ever) have enough pitching.

This Oiler season is starting to remind me of the NL East in 1973. It was a crazy summer that wasn’t decided until the sun faded and the cool winds blew. Allow me to list the final standings:

  1. New York Mets 82-79 (–)
  2. St. Louis Cardinals 81-81 (1.5)
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates 80-82 (2.5)
  4. Montreal Expos 79-83 (3.5)
  5. Chicago Cubs 77-84 (5)

Only the lowly Philadelphia Phillies were out of the race and even they were starting to build toward their world championship club that would bear fruit in 1980. The Expos were the surprise team because it was still an expansion club and their starting pitching was a mess (Bill Stoneman was their ace starter and his arm fell off early) and they had no obvious hitting stars.

They did it using 4 vital things: Mike Marshall in the bullpen (14-11 w/31 saves in 73 appearances), phenom Steve Rogers arrived in time to go 10-5, Ken Singleton had a stunning offensive season (123 walks, 103 rbi’s, 100 runs scored, .425OBP) and Gene Mauch platooned that team to death.

And they were in it, baby. They brought in people (including Felipe Alou) during the stretch run and they played their hearts out. I can still remember the names:

  • Jorgensen and Breeden were the platoon at 1b (combined for 90 rbi’s)
  • Ron Hunt at second when healthy and when he was not, two of the most glorious names in baseball history–Pepe Frias and Larry Lintz–filled in.
  • The fiery Tim Foli at shortstop. No one fights in baseball, they brawl. Everyone jumps on everyone else. Foli fought. I remember him fighting more than a couple of times. Fists and bruises. He was a beauty.
  • Bob Bailey at third. Bob Bailey couldn’t play third base well (or really at all) but my God could that man hit a baseball.
  • Ron Fairly in LF. Fairly had the most beautiful lefthanded swing, it was gorgeous. I don’t follow baseball anymore but there’s probably some lefty batter who makes a fluid motion from beginning to end that looks like every movement is perfectly choreographed. It was a sight to see.
  • Ron Woods and Boots Day in a centerfield platoon. Woods was a fleet player who didn’t have a great bat, and Day could barely play CF but Mauch was always trying to get more lumber in the lineup. A very unlikely platoon.
  • Ken Singleton was a wonderful player, he really was. Patient and strong, he could beat you with a walk, a double and rip a homer too. He was not a good runner and only average in the field even as a young man, but lordy he was a key player for the Expos in 1973.
  • The rotation had veterans Steve Renko (who could hit a little), Mike Torrez (who had some poor outings that summer), Balor Moore (who was my favorite player, he was kind of like Billy Wagner if he’d been, you know, good) and Ernie McAnally who always lost (at least that’s how I remember it). Plus Steve Rogers, whose “exhale” on the mound must have broken his ribs a few times.
  • Mike Marshall was an ass but man could he pitch. He had a weird screwball pitch that behaved strangely but apparently looked exactly like his slider (this is from memory so don’t quote me on it) and MLB hitters had no answer. Mauch also used a bunch of other guys in the bullpen but I can’t tell you much about them without checking and that would ruin the fun.

Anyway, that pennant race was just about the most fun I ever had as a baseball fan. Nothing mattered, not school, not homework, not the chores (we had goats and had to bring coal into the house every night) not even girls (that would happen later–Mauch was gone by then). I carried that pennant race with me in my brain everywhere I went that summer and it was pure joy.

I’m starting to feel the same way about this team. Don’t ask me why, this season is just like many in the MacT era–but for some reason this team has captured my imagination and they matter to me. A kid like Cogliano, who plays in front of his family (apparently, his whole family) and puts on a wonderful performance. A kid like Gagner, who has had a dreadful season but remains confident and is eventually rewarded with a nice little streak on the road which is long overdue. A kid like Liam Reddox, who matured late and must pinch himself when thinking about those Stockton road trips that weren’t that long ago. These kids are the modern Steve Rogers, the new Balor Moore, the latest Pepe Mangual.

Plus the veterans: Fernando Pisani trying to stay healthy and contribute (and you know what? he does. Smart, smart guy–future coach), Dwayne Roloson willing this team to another deep spring, Shawn Horcoff doing the Dad work, Ales Hemsky batting cleanup. These are the Bob Bailey’s, the Ron Fairly’s, and in Hemsky’s case the Ken Singleton’s.

A hockey or baseball season is a massive investment when done right; for Oilers fans of this era it’s an “all or nothing” proposition. I’m older now, a husband and a father and grownup matters take much of my day.

Still, there’s not a lot of difference between watching Steve Rogers find his way as a rookie and seeing Sam Gagner struggle as a sophomore (Rogers would struggle too btw). It’s an emotional investment and a fan must choose well.

I did. And I have.

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218 Responses to "Pennant Race"

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  1. HBomb says:

    Great analogy as always LT, but just one question – did that Expos squad have an over-sized manager & media whipping boy?

    Is the media and MacT seeing something differently than I am? After every game, I’m looking at the numbers and seeing Penner in the black for scoring chances and Corsi, then looking at the shift chart and seeing him getting benched. What the hell is going on here?

    This has become a personal vendetta by a coach hanging on by a thread (Robert Nilsson falls into this category too). It’s illogical and is becoming downright ridiculous.

    We KNOW that Penner with Horcoff and Hemsky is a VERY good first line in a power-vs-power role. Why the hell are they not playing together, I ask?

    Worst case scenario right now actually involves the Oilers making the playoffs – Lowe will use it to leverage a new contract extension for his buddy MacT, Penner will get sent out this summer for 30 cents on the dollar after two seasons, and he’ll go somewhere and pot 30 next year, while the Oilers remain mired in mediocrity until the day Craig MacTavish is replaced as coach in spring of 2013.

    I like this team too – a lot. I’d love to see them make the playoffs and get the kids (Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert, etc.) experience it. But the poison pill with all that is that this team wouldn’t get the change behind the bench that many (including myself) think it desperately needs to be able to take the next step in the next couple of seasons.

    I’ll qualify this by saying that I’m OK with dealing Penner with a defenseman (please not Gilbert or Visnovsky), and a youngster (PLEASE not Gagner) in order to land a big-time scoring LW (hello Ilya….). Either that or have Tambellini convince Lombardi that Penner plus Nilsson is good return for Alex Frolov….

  2. eidy says:

    too bad we don’t have a gene mauch.

    really, the way this team is being run is mind boggling. i watched the game via pvr, which gave me a chance to go back and see the tale of the whipping boy. during the first 2 periods (minus the shift with 2 min left) the 13-34-27 line i thought was the most consistent and most troubling for the leafs. He had a bad shift, but i would think the turnovers by 83 this game or 89 at various times during the year were no worse. now i am not suggesting that anything different should be done with 83 or 89, but give 27 some rope. he is a frustrating player at times, but i really don’t think he’s any more frustrating than 83. he is an all world talent who seems to lack consistency as well. however, after a few giveaways he isn’t sent to purgatory. We do have too many small forwards and one thing big pens does is open up some us and really i thought that line was our defacto #1 last night. I don’t know how this bridge can be mended between mact and 27 or 12 and now between the media and 27, but in a few years, i think that losing him this summer will be regrettable.

    another thing, it was my understanding that when the other team ices the puck and has to keep its players on the ice it was supposed to be a disadvantage, but without being able to win a faceoff, that is not the case. i think we should decline the icing and just let the other team bring it out from their end, at least it would help the flow

  3. Lowetide says:

    I know Penner is gone and it is certainly likely that the Oilers won’t get 100 cents on the dollar for him.

    My question is, how many big forwards have flourished under this coach? This goes back to my theory that the team has added players (skill and size) when this coach is most comfortable with actual NHL players who are established veterans before they get here.

    If the coach stays, get more Pisani’s.

  4. HBomb says:

    It doesn’t appear that MacT even wants to give Penner enough rope to hang himself with.

    Possibly because he’s currently fashioning his own noose.

  5. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: I’d prefer ‘change the coach’.

    More Pisanis, eh? That would help ANY coach. But really, there is only one Fernando….let’s not be crazy here.

  6. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: I think we should worry at least a little about who they’d bring in. Maybe I’m stubborn (don’t answer that) but imo Penner isn’t the hill you die on–Gagner would be.

    If the Oilers make the playoffs and then extend MacT while sending away Penner, I’m fine with it.

    And I do agree that his handling has been awful this year.

  7. eidy says:

    during the game last night they mentioned that the oilers have been outshot is in 47 of the 65 games this year. that’s just over 72%. playing with fire when the starter walks the first batter every inning.

    does anyone think that if mact goes that penner would ever be given a fair shake by the media or average fan? i never liked the signing, but i think you try to play the hand your dealt. you can’t spend all your time complaining about getting a pair of 9″s when it sure would be nice to have aces.

  8. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: Obviously I’m opposed to simply promoting Buchberger or something like that.

    I’m OK with MacT stayiing if they’re not willing to go “outside the box” for a replacement (i.e. not an existing assistant, and not a re-tread).

    I’d like Pat Quinn, to be honest.

    And of course Penner’s not the hill to die on – I’m OK with him going as part of a package this summer for a 1LW. Dream scenario would be Penner, Souray and (if a kid is necessary) Cogliano for Kovalchuk. Or the previously mentioned Penner/Nilsson for Frolov “dream trade”.

    Either way, as long as they have the dough to ink Bouwmeester on July 1st. I swear, if he does want to come here, you CANNOT let that opportunity pass by just because you’ve already got a decent top four – guy is too good to say no to.

  9. Lowetide says:

    eidy: He’s played well. The Oilers have reduced his value and played with his confidence in every way possible.

    AND it’s been going on for awhile:

    http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2008/11/once-more-to-wood-shed.html

    I said it before, I’ll say it again. The Edmonton Oilers management aren’t the good guys anymore, not the class act. Say what you want about Sutter in Calgary, at least he’s consistent.

  10. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: Agree on JBo.

    What about Daum? He seems to have a way about him. Schremp is becoming nasty in Springfield for crying out loud.

  11. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Interesting stuff from Larry Brooks at the NY Post this morning:

    “The Post meanwhile suggests Jagr want to negotiate out of his current contract, suggesting if the Edmonton Oilers were to fire Craig MacTavish as their head coach at season’s end – should they miss the playoffs again – and hire former Rangers coach Tom Renney Jagr could sign with them.”

    Could Jagr choose the next head coach?

  12. Lord Bob says:

    My question is, how many big forwards have flourished under this coach?

    Discounting young guys currently on the team, Georges Laraque is the only one that comes to mind.

  13. eidy says:

    i remember the article well. seems like the coach has tried numerous hills to die on this year and no-one can take the fatal shot. he seems to have some sort of forcefield that bullets and penetrating journalist questions can’t conquer:)

  14. Black Dog says:

    LT – who was the guy that Mauch only brought in to mop up during blowouts??

    I’m enjoying this season. I wish the team was doing better and its frustrating because I belive they should be six to eight points better

    Just a number I’ve pulled out of thin air mind you – I just think they have given away far too many games due to indifferent play and poor use of personnel

    It would be interesting to know if the disconnect between management and the coach is as large as many here believe.

    I just find it strange to see how he ignores developing kids in favour of vets (Strudwick) or out and out bizarre experiments (Pisani at centre)

    Strange days.

    And the whole Penner thing is beyond.

    Having said that Kotalik is supposed to be indifferent and soft and he showed more jam and hit more guys last night then Penner does in weeks.

    And I know what the numbers say.

  15. Black Dog says:

    Hbomb – btw I figured out the whole sunrise thing last night after I hit the hay.

    A few drinks and age left me confused ;)

  16. HBomb says:

    FCM: Renney would be an interesting choice that I could get onside with, but I don’t want them signing Jagr if it is going to interfere with adding Bouwmeester.

    I repeat – IF they have credible info that Edmonton is J-Bo’s choice, he has to be the A-1 five-star priority this summer.

  17. goldenchild says:

    There are some things to like about this team, its obvious how much they neeed 89 to create offence for this lineup to work, when he does they look like an actual NHL team.
    I’m a 78 fan so maybe I am biased but he has looked very good the last few games, strong on the puck, seeing the ice well, going into tough areas and even gtaking some draws. He’s never going to be a front line player but he is a useful top 9 NHL forward that can play in a lot of diff roles. Actually anyone notice the imporved play of 78 and 13 since our captain went down? I’m sure total coincidense but still its noticeable.
    I still can’t believe they didnt get a D-man that would make 43 the extra I mean seriously how did that not happen?
    I would feel a lot better about our playoff chances if 43 was the extra and we had a goalie that could give Roli the night off once a month.

  18. godot10 says:

    How could you not mention John Boccabella! -).

  19. iSite says:

    Long time reader, etc.

    LT – I have to comment that this post is a perfect Sunday read. Thank you. The analogy truly invokes. Looking forward to that book for my upcoming Sundays.

    I’m a massive english football fan (don’t hold it against me) and carry many fond memories of title races, where I can remember the twists and turns, dropped points, crucial non-calls, more than my own personal exploits. Memories that define me (is that sad?).

    One of Penner’s shifts last night has stuck with me. With 13 and 34, he skated around (insert long complacent strides here), had two glaring fly-bys where the Leaf D should have been pasted. He watched 13 and 34 do some work, never touched the puck until, on a back check when 13 and 34 had already made a change, he finally got hold of it and quickly made a blind back pass at the defensive blue right to a Leaf player.

    He’s out of sync, being misused and misusing himself. It’s a complete waste. The powers-that-be clearly want more from their first line then what 27-10-83 can provide, which is understandable yet puzzling when they have delivered the most based on the alternatives. But MacT has to try Kotalik, right?

    Penner will be peddled for less and MacT must take blame here, and I think he would.

  20. Schitzo says:

    By the way, I just wanted to state how happy I am that it only took MacT 65 games to try Pouliot on the draws.

    Of course, Pouliot probably forgot to express his gratitude through song last night and will be pressboxed for the remainder of the season.

  21. goldenchild says:

    Also and I know Dennis has been bangin this drum all year, why is it that on a putrid PK where we have seen everyone from Gags and Penner that Pou has not been used at all even though in the past he has done a pretty solid job?
    This has not been Mac-T’s best year, between his refusal to keep Horpensky together, taking Penner off the PP, watching 13 get abused on the dot, using 34 at center, I mean you can’t tell me this team woudn’t have another 6-8 points banked if he ran the team without such obvious blunders.

  22. godot10 says:

    In an era of free agency, one has to get 100% return on the trade of young cheap talent.

    100% return on a veteran is not essential, because a salary dump free up money to sign a replacement.

    Suppose Penner gets traded to Florida for the negotiation rights to Jaybo.

    Penner is a useful hockey player. MacT has no clue how to use him effectively. So Penner, running an effective power play, and properly utilizing backup goaltenders are three things that MacT is totally clueless about.

    MacT has highlighted more of his own weaknesses this year than his strengths.

    My greatest fear about replacing MacT is that we might end up with Tambellini’s best bud, Marc Crawford.

  23. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: You’re probably thinking of Dale Murray. :-)

    godot10: John Bocc–a-bell-aaa! You’re absolutely right, completely forgot about the catchers. Lordy.

    One thing I believe to be true about all organizations is that when you have so many youngsters coming in at the same time it becomes impossible (or very unlikely) to suss out things in time.

    The Houston Astros traded pennants to Baltimore, New York and Kansas City in the 1970′s because they had so much talent coming through the system.

    And I’m not kidding. It was maybe the best procurement department in history. Seriously.

  24. knighttown says:

    Spectacular post LT. I’m glad you got that in about posting from memory. In this day and age of Google very few people are willing to give up that much brain space to store trivial knowledge but I appreciate the fact that you sacrifice, say, the Periodic Table for Ken Sigleton’s OP.

    I’m probably a decade younger than you so my emotionally connected teams happened around 1987. Since its March, anyone here remember that Michigan Wolverines basketball team with Rumeal Robinson and Glen Rice? In baseball, I was certainly the only die-hard Minnesota Twins fan in Nova Scotia. Kirby Puckett was my all time favorite baseball player. Name me another HOF athlete in the work-out era that looked less threatening then Kirby. Real, real tough last few years of his life.

    In basketball, I was a Bad Boys fan but truthfully loved the ultimate Good Guy, Isaiah Thomas, who didn’t turn into a jerk until much later. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice and John Taylor and Ronnie Lott carried the day for my San Francisco 49ers.

    When you’re 12 or 13, its quite acceptable to have a “favorite” and across the sports world, the two guys I “was” when playing sports were Jari Kurri and Seve Ballesteros. In fact, loving Kurri probably hurt my hockey career as I had a psychotic aversion to taking penalties like I figured my Lady Byng winning idol did. Hard to go into the chicken wire rinks of Sydney Mines and New Waterford if you don’t take your pound of flesh.

    On to this team. I jumped off the couch when Cole scored during the Nashville game the other night and I remember telling myslef that was the first time I’d done that since the Spring of Saint Fernando. I’m ready to fall in love with this team again and as much as anger says missing the playoffs begets firing MacT begets improving, this team needs a playoff game.

  25. dave says:

    The question I ask is where would Pouliot be if he had played there all year. MacT compared him to Carboneau but did’nt play him there? I think we should really tip our hats to the Vets if we make the big show cause they will rally this team despite coaching.

    Last nights PP’s OMG, we are at an all time low. I mean even 83 looked uncomfortable last night.

  26. goldenchild says:

    Knighttown, I idolized Isiah, played point, wore 11 all through high school but he always had a high jerk quotient, he just did it with a smile on his face haha. He was the Baby Faced Assassin a decade before Marco Antonio Barrera made that his moniker.

  27. pboy says:

    I am watching the Rangers – Bruins game right now. I’ve seen the Rangers play 3 or 4 times previously this year and they are playing what looks like a totally different style. That’s the difference a new coach can make. Pierre “He’s a MONSTER” McGuire was interviewing Boston head coach Claude Julien on the bench and Julien was saying that the Rangers are using a new forechecking gameplan and it’s causing problems so far for the Bruins.

    The Edmonton Oilers are in need of a new voice behind the bench and are desparately in need of a new system. We might not have the lowest rated PP in the NHL but I can’t imagine there is a poorer looking man advantage over the last 10+ games and for most of the season it’s looked like a dog’s breakfast. Why? We have all of the tools to have a dominant powerplay but it just hasn’t happened for us.

    It’s okay for the head coach to play favorites, experiment with players out of their comfort zones, designate a few whipping boys and force a player out of town when the team he is coaching is responding to his moves and winning but when that team is losing, the head coach goes job hunting that off season. That’s just the way it goes for every other team in every other professional sport.

    The 1973 Expo’s were a team of your youth who were overacheiving and playing above their heads and stood out to the point that you are still remembering them with a smile on you face 36 years later. Gene Mauch didn’t make the HOF and he didn’t even finish his career over .500 but he had made a reputation for himself as someone who was able to think outside the box “small ball” and for being able to get the most out of his players. You can’t honestly say that of Craig MacTavish. It’s time for him to go at the end of the season.

    I am a huge baseball fan also and my team is the Red Sox. 1986 was the first year I watched a World Series and Wade Boggs was my favorite player. 2004 was an adventure that I will never, ever forget. The biggest difference between the 2003 and the 2004 teams was a managerial change. Almost the whole team was brought back (Schilling was an addition and he pitched amazing but Pedro’s dropoff that season negated alot of what Schilling brought) but all of a sudden the team had a mental toughness they hadn’t had before.

    Do I honestly think that changing head coaches is going to make the Oiler’s cup contenders next year? No, I don’t. But I do think that one of the reasons that we are fighting for our playoff lives this year is because weird and out of character coaching decisions have squandered some much needed points throughout this season.

  28. pboy says:

    Isiah might just be the perfect point guard in the history of the NBA. He could break you down with his dribble and get into the paint to either score or distribute. He played tough defense and his attitude was followed by his whole team. He was a playmaker for the first 3 quarters and an unstoppable clutch score in the 4th quarter. He was also a huge prick but he was a winner and everythings forgiven when you win.

    LT: Don’t forget about the Astro’s contribution the the Big Red Machine during the 70′s…….Joe Morgan

  29. Yeti says:

    Another angle to consider is what Lowe makes of the use and abuse of Dustin Penner. Lets face it, the offer sheet for Dunkin’ Dustin is one of the pivotal gambles of Lowe’s tenure as GM, and it’s not reflecting well on him right now. I know that common wisdom is that Lowe and MacT are tight, and that MacT plays a role in player procurement, but it strikes me that MacT has been giving the finger to management over their choice of players on numerous instances this season (not least the insistence on playing Pisani at centre; treatment of Penner; the ongoing goalie situation; and MacT clearly didn’t want anything to do with the likes of Boulerice). At some level do you have to think that the coach-management relationship isn’t as cosy as we assume?

  30. Lowetide says:

    knighttown: I looked up the stats. :-) Also, I always used to spell Ernie McAnally’s name wrong so looked that up to, and the bullpen was a moving target (they traded Mike Marshall for CF Willie Davis winter 1973) so although I remember Murray and Stanhouse and Marshall, I can’t remember whay year had John Strohmayer and what year had John Montague.

    But if you give me a year I can do the starting lineups and most of the pitching staff right up until I met my wife (three weeks after Rick Monday hit the HR).

    I think people are turning on MacT a little too much here. Let’s think for a second about how many kids he’s run through here since the Pronger trade. I honestly think that it’s expecting too much from any coach (or manager) to identify all of the elements correctly in-season. He has bias, but everyone this side of Mohandas has some guilt there.

    MacT may be fired, but this isn’t a one-man clusterfuck.

  31. knighttown says:

    Good post Dave.

    This is not to pick on you LT, but as the most vocal member of the group who feel Tambellini gave MacTavish a nearly impossible situation by not giving him a 3rd line center, what say you to Ron Wilson and his team’s performance.

    Holes in italics for the Oilers as defined by players not being good enough for their role

    1C-Horcoff
    2C-Gagner
    3C-Cogliano
    4C-Brodziak
    1LW-Penner
    2LW-Nilsson
    3LW-Pouliot
    4LW-Moreau
    1RW-Hemsky
    2RW-Cole
    3RW-Pisani
    4RW-Stortini

    1D-Visnovski
    2D-Souray
    3D-Gilbert
    4D-Grebeshkov
    5D-Staios
    6D-Smid
    7D-Strudwick

    I count 2 positions in the lineup where you can say we have a below average occupant for the slot.

    Holes in the Leafs lineup

    1C-Matt Stajan
    2C-Mikael Grabovski
    3C-John Mitchell
    4C-Boyd Devereux
    1LW-Jason Blake
    2LW-Niklas Hagman
    3LW-Alex Ponikarovsky
    4LW-Nik Kulemin
    1RW-Lee Stempniak
    2RW-Jeff Hamilton
    3RW-Jamal Mayers
    4RW-Ben Ondrus

    1D-Thomas Kaberle
    2D-Pavel Kubina
    3D-Mike VanRyn
    4D-Jeff Finger
    5D-Luke Schenn
    6D-Ian White
    7D-That Swede (Frogren?)

    The team below is the team that should be outshot in 47 of 65 games. The team above is a Top 6 forward or two away from being a very good team on paper and should damn well be more than a handful of points ahead of Toronto. This should have been one of the best Oiler teams of the decade and Ron Wilson would have this team battling for the division title.

  32. Lowetide says:

    knighttown: The Oilers have devoted thousands (THOUSANDS) of at-bats to kids. Boyd Devereaux might be a wasted lottery pick but he’s going to pick up his man and make sure that the puck is between his mark and himself forevermore.

    MacTavish gave up a bunch of his comfort food for raw vegetables. Just did.

  33. pboy says:

    LT, I wouldn’t say that MacT should get all the blame but when you have a team that is spending close to the cap and they are teetering on the brink of barely making or missing the playoffs, the head coach is the man with his head on the chopping block. That’s the way it works in professional sports, be that right or wrong.

  34. B.C.B. says:

    Since every tread is about coaching these days, I have come up with a proposal (and I will say I was a pro-MacT fan till about a month ago, and now I am a fence sitter)

    Oilers:
    Head Coach: Geoff Ward
    (I don’t think the Oilers brass will go total outside the organization, so Ward is a good choice since he has worked with the Oilers in the past, and is not a boy-on-the-bus: two year contract)
    Associate coach: Charlie Huddy
    (I really think the defense plays a good system, and a lot of the marks goes to this man, Lowe may find the Vet Ds, but Huddy gets the most out of them)
    Assistant Coach: A NHL verteran, like Perry Perm
    (Again, I am not exactly sure who, but this man does seem like he has a good track record: this years NHR PP being an exception: two year contract)
    Video Coach: A CHL veteran
    (I don’t know exactly who, but I am sure Ward does. I want a coach with a proven record of developing players and getting a high level out of them: I am thinking a Dale Hunter from the London Knights, but he might have to be the assistant coach not a video coach, for him to take the job: two year contract, unless Hunter then three)

    AHL
    Head Coach: Rob Daum
    (He is good, I like him for being more then the Bears old head coach. Good at developing players, and good tactically. First call up i we fire someone: two year contract)
    Assistant Coach: Bucky
    (Demotion for this man. This way he can learn the hockey systems better, under a good supervisior, plus adds that NHL player experience to the AHL team. He didn’t do so well this year, but could be part of the future if he wasn’t rushed)

    Others:
    Billy Moore: given Daum’s old professional video scout job. He also works the western games in person. He is getting old so limited travel, but has been a good worker for the Oilers (so they need to reward him some how), but changes are a coming.
    Pete Peters: Fired him, and replace hime with a new guy. I have no idea who, but Peters has not developed a goalie ever . . .

  35. Black Dog says:

    LT – flawed team agreed but the use of the personnel has not been up to snuff and this is coming from a guy who has always liked MacT as coach

    what are your thoughts on MacT and Lowe? Honestly. Do you think that there is a disconnect there?

    This team (and the past two) were constructed to give kids ABs and yet we see 43 over 5, Fernando at centre and so on.

    I know MacT is trying to win here but if you’re developing guys why not, um, develop them. And all of them.

    Or was he told – here’s what you get – a raft of kids and btw you better make the playoffs?

  36. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: I think the entire organization is already in transition. Seriously. I think that Lowe has given up tremendous power over this season and that the Oilers will change a lot of things this summer.

    I don’t think this lineup will have as many kids next season, and I believe some of the really good youngsters will be leaving.

  37. Black Dog says:

    LT – no kidding, huh. Who are you thinking?

    I see Nilsson.

    Grebeshkov or Gilbert I guess. I’d prefer they move Souray but he strikes me as being a guy they want to keep.

    The whole Smid situation worries me although they’d be foolish to move him.

    And Penner although he’s not a kid.

    Who else? Or I guess the question is who are you thinking?

  38. PunjabiOil says:

    Smid shoots down the trade request rumours:

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/OILspills/1366601/story.html

    “Some guy is just writing some (crap) on the Internet about me asking to be traded,” he said after Saturday’s morning skate. “You know Edmonton. There’s lots of rumours. I don’t even pay attention to it, but my girlfriend called me yesterday to tell me I wanted to be traded.”

    Smid had said in the off-season that, if he wasn’t going to fit into their plans, management could consider moving him.”

  39. Mr DeBakey says:

    Mike Marshall was an ass but man could he pitch.

    I can remember Bryan Hall making snarky comments about Marshall on his noon 'casts. I always assumed it was because Marshall was painted as a good guy in “Ball Four”.

    Its been a nostalgists dream around here the last couple of days – Mauch, Keon.

    I lucked into a nostalgists TREASURE TROVE this week at the Library.
    A 4-disc set of the 1974 Canada-Russia series.
    This is the WHA Canada team.
    I've only watched the first two games so far.
    Its all there:
    -Cheevers in his stitches mask
    -46 year old Gordie Howe “taking the man”
    -19 year old Mark Howe with a beauty pass for an assist
    -Bobby Hull scoring goals on the ice & fussing with his hair on the bench
    -Golly Gee, is that Howie Meeker doing the colour? – Johnny Esau & Don Chevrier taking turns on play-by=play
    -The beautiful to watch JC Tremblay [with Pat Stapleton] playing every second shift, and the entire 2 minutes on the Penalty Kill
    -the great 70's fashions and hair styles – people wore suits to hockey games in 74
    -Josef Kompala

    Highly recomended

  40. knighttown says:

    So 8 teams had a realistic chance of earning one of the four remaining playoff spots since the All-Star break. The straight W-L records of the group:

    Vancouver- 12-4
    Nashville- 13-7
    Columbus- 10-7
    Dallas- 11-9

    LA- 9-9
    Anaheim- 8-9
    Minnesota- 8-10
    Edmonton- 8-10

    The Oilers and Wild have the least wins, most losses and worst record since the All-Star break. Standings are just a snapshot in time and I’d bet a few rubles that the four playoff spots go to that top group. They certainly have an excellent chance and it really depends on what Calgary wants to do with those last two games, but the performance since the ASB has not been good enough.

    In fact, the Oilers are extremely lucky to be this close. Every year, a few teams separate themselves after the break and fortunately this year only Vancouver has found real traction. 90 points may just be enought for the first time since the lockout.

    Now or never boys.

  41. knighttown says:

    Knighttown said:

    “8 teams had a realistic chance at four playoff spots”

    That’s not true. Phoenix had the 5the 5th spot at the break and shit the bed.

    And that’s me quoting me!

  42. Dennis says:

    LT: I really wonder why you’re so hesitant to look ahead to a new coach.

    The Oilers spend money and they don’t make the playoffs so how much worse off would we really be?

    That’s what it’s really boiling down to for me.

    You can say that he gets a bit of a pass by perhaps being told to do things like play 13 as a pivot but then there’s other things like 5 vs 43 and the use of 27 that tells you we’ve probably seen enough.

    Plus, the man could rightly be fired for ST play alone.

  43. Black Dog says:

    knighttown – the Oielrs haven’t gotten any traction but I think some of those numbers have to be put into context too.

    LA and Dallas were really hot and then started to slide. Now Nashville ahs been going at a pace that is also probably not sustainable.

    I think Vancouver and the BJs are in and the Oilers fight for one of the last two spots. I do think they have a decent shot even if they continue at a mediocre pace. The Ducks have thrown in the towel. Dallas is really beginning to miss RIchards. The Wild have a brutal schedule.

    And I can’t see the Preds keeping it up.

  44. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: Well I think we should probably start talking about one of Gagner, Cogliano or O’Sullivan leaving town. With Cole dealt and Penner the “Hernandez with sideburns” to MacT’s Monty Burns they’ll want a big fellow.

    My bet is that some of the names we’ve been throwing around (Spezza, Jagr) will come true.


    RE:SMID

    Robin Brownlee didn’t make it up. I’m not telling you who told me last summer but the individual is extremely connected and it was “around” after the draft.

    So Smid can deny all he wants, where there’s smoke there’s fire and Brownlee (to my knowledge) has never been careless with his reputation in the industry.

  45. dave says:

    The CRAZY thing with MacT is if you really wanted to finger management, you would play the roster provided to you in its most natural fit and have holes get exposed.

    And the problem I see is that the only gaping hole is 3C. We know we would get worked on that spot. But I can’t help but wonder if Poo, Brodz (or even Penner…he is also a + player at that position as well) were used to death.

    We would have had to make a trade to aquire or whichever kid was hung out to dry would be a hella better by now. If we continue to have Cogs in that role we are looking at Marchant V2. Not the worsed thing but I’m sure we are hoping for more. (and you know MrT is pining for a Marchant)

  46. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – if LT is right and Tambellini is in charge, truly in charge that is, then MacT is truly on his own

    And will be judged on W-L as well as expectations.

    Even if they eke out a playoff spot I’m not sure if he stays.

  47. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: MacT is a helluva coach. The one time they gave him actual NHL veterans in numbers he got to G7 SCF.

    That’s not nothing.

    PLUS, Lowe gets his boot upstairs because he beaks off on Burke and the organization decides to go all Trudeau think-tank on all the decisions but the cheques still cash just fine.

    Meanwhile, MacT gets the shiv? There’s a lot wrong with that.

  48. Black Dog says:

    dave – well there are a couple of issues I think going forward, aside from the coach.

    As LT said they need some size up front in the top six, someone who plays their size.

    If they keep the top four D and Smid then they need to replace Staios with a cheaper alternative and then I would guess Theo would be the 7th man.

    Probably another big forward for the bottom six, likely a centre I guess.

    If O’Sullivan plays with 10 and 83 then they have two spots with Sam. I would think that Cogliano would have one of those but maybe not.

    Oilers were insistent that 13 and 89 were not going to be on the table.

    I would prefer that but they will need to replace Penner and you have to give to get.

    Unless they sign Jagr straight up.

  49. Black Dog says:

    LT – of course there’s a lot wrong with that – I think you’re preaching to a lot of the converted when you say that.

    You still haven’t answered my question – ;) – do you think there’s a real disconnect between management and the coach? I think they hung him out to dry in some respects but that he, out of stubbornness or pride or ???, has made things worse.

  50. PunjabiOil says:


    Robin Brownlee didn’t make it up. I’m not telling you who told me last summer but the individual is extremely connected and it was “around” after the draft.

    To what extent was this trade demand request?

    Was it strictly due to on-ice, or did the city factor in? And has he changed his stance?

  51. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: No. I think Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish have the ear of Katz and are absolutely on track if they make the playoffs.

    Penner will be “the guy who never got it–maybe it was our fault with all that money” and they’ll go hard after a star and Roloson.

    And the kids are in a spot of bother imo with this organization. Nilsson, Pouliot, Penner, one of the imp F’s.

    Gone. Michael Corleone settles all business, with Dustin Penner as Mo Green.

  52. HBomb says:

    With Cole dealt and Penner the “Hernandez with sideburns” to MacT’s Monty Burns they’ll want a big fellow.

    LT: I believe it was Mattingly with the sideburns.

    BDHS: I repeat – if they can get Bouwmeester, forget Jagr, UNLESS they can get him for Penner-money (4 million per) or less.

  53. Black Dog says:

    Hbomb – agreed and then they can move one of the four for a forward

    LT – Mo Greene, nice.

    I like O’Sullivan but 13 and 89 are ahead of him, I believe, considering their age.

  54. Lowetide says:

    PJ Oil: No clue. It wasn’t offered to me.I was asking about another young D (Peckham) and the information was offered to me.

    HBomb: Damn. I think you’re right. Mattinglingling. He had a nice swing too.

  55. Dennis says:

    LT: I’m not saying that you’re not right – you know I’m gonna side with MacT over Vish Throttler eight days of the week – but something has to change somewhere.

    You know I’ve always wanted Lowe to pay the price and I’ve battled everyone in the process or trying to prove why I think he should go down but he’s out of reach now.

    The killer with the Oilers is there’s always building and hardly ever enjoying. The Oilers nearly won the Cup in ’06 but how fucking long did we know we needed netminding and how long did Lowe wait to address it?

    And now we cut some of the legs out from under the ’09 playoff run by dealing Cole for 0′Sullivan. The kid was already suffering from a holdout decision and now he’s gotta get used to new surroundings. The time it takes maybe suck away the points we need. I know there’s a good chance he’ll outperform his pact in ’10 or ’11 but by that time we’ll have lost one of 13-89 anyway. Plus, in the immeadiate future there’s trouble ahead with 27 and would wind up being a case of us paying him 2.12 mill Not to play in Edm.

    Everything we’ve seen from the goal-differential to chance-differential tells you the club’s even lucky to be where they are right now.

  56. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I could get behind a new coach because it’s like painting the house: new, fresh, exciting.

    Except.

    Wow, the Hawks have some woman trying to score from center. She’s a beauty. MAN!

    WHat was I saying?

  57. Lowetide says:

    I don’t think this team runs with all of O’Sullivan, Gagner and Cogliano for a long time.

    What would O’Sullivan and Gilbert get you in the PF department?

  58. Bruce says:

    LT: Great post. I was a Cards fan then as always, but the Expos were my #2 team throughout their history, and the Wednesday night game of the week was by-appointment viewing.

    I still remember that horrible trade of Mike Marshall for Willie Davis and how Jim Fanning said Davis would save 45 games with his glove. Now this was before Bill James but any idiot could see that even an exceptional centre fielder would come up an order of magnitude short of such a ridiculous expectation. Marshall had been in the top 5 for Cy Young voting and the top 10 for MVP voting each of his last two years as an Expo, and the next year he pitched a still-record 106 games and 208 innings which surely is the record for relief pitchers as well, won the Cy Young, led the Dodgers to the World Series, and made “kinesiology” a household word. Whereas Willie Davis had one inconsequential year in Montreal where he contionued his career-long habit of never laying off a pitch. A terrible deal.

    I never think of Balor Moore without thinking of one of the great razzing sequences in my experience as a sports fan. Balor pitched all but 7 of his 180 career games for either the Expos or the Blue Jays, and I watched altogether too many of his games (career record 28-48, 4.52). The strapping lefty had control problems his whole career, including 109 BB in just 176 innings in 1973.

    Anyway sometime in the early 80s Moore showed up in Renfrew Park, pitching for the Vancouver Giants. He was having a hell of a time getting the ball over, and round about the 4th or 5th inning he was clearly running out of gas having run his pitch count well into the triple digits. More importantly the game was dragging past the two-hour mark and about 6 beers deep for my seatmate, a large man with a voice capable of filling Northlands Coliseum let alone the cozy confines of Renfrew (the Jarry Park of Triple A). After another delay as the Vancouver manager visited Moore on the mound, my pal started in on him.

    “Hey Balor! You couldn’t make it in Montreal!”

    (Moore throws Ball One)

    “You couldn’t get it done in Toronto!”

    (Ball Two)

    “It’s not going well in Vancouver!”

    (Ball Three)

    “You’re not cutting it in Edmonton!”

    (Ball Four)

    “What’s next? MOOSE JAW!?”

    (Whereupon the manager popped out of the dugout to remove Moore from the game, at least one batter too late from Balor’s perspective.)

    It was cruel, but the timing was absolutely sublime. One of the great serial heckles of all time. I was in hysterics, and the memory makes me giggle to this day.

  59. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: God forbid they trade Gilbert. Seriously.

    Too good a contract on too young a player. You keep him around and sign Bouwmeester, you’re set for quite awhile in terms of a top blueline pairing.

  60. Dennis says:

    89 isn’t Crosby and I didn’t believe in dealing off the future once it was decided that 71 was done for the season.

    Still, Guerin had an assist on Thurs and this afternoon he has an assist, a goal and he also set the screen for a 4-on-3 Gonchar PPG.

    The pens are only going to have to give up a 3rd rounder for him if they win a round – one of the biggest bargains of the day that no one talks about – so how much further ahead are we in ’09 if we keep Cole and do the same deal for Guerin and go 27-10-83 and Guerin-89-Cole?

  61. Bruce says:

    re: Smid. LT, was that little birdie whispering in your ear what started all those “Smid is gone” assertions on this fine blog? Just wondering.

    As for changing his tune, today’s comment in the Journal would certainly appear thus. More likely, any and all trade requests were probably “IF” statements, as in “IF you’re not going to play me, I want a trade” as opposed to unqualified trade demands.

    Shitty timing for his latest knock. He was coming off the strongest stretch of games in his career (3 GP, 0-4-4, +5) and never lasted a shift. But with the raising of the dreaded “c” word, he’s probably facing at least a little more time in the PB.

  62. Black Dog says:

    Agreed on Gilbert. I think they have to keep him and Lubo.

    I would move Souray first of all. I like what he’s done but the contract, his age and injury history make him the prime guy to go.

    Likely it will be Grebs though.

  63. Black Dog says:

    Bruce – Brownlee rebutted Ireland today and said the crux of the matter was that Smid looked at the depth chart and wondered when he was going to be able to move up the ladder.

    So not a “get me out of here I hate this place” request, fwiw.

  64. Scott says:

    Hey Bruce,

    I did a follow-up on the discussion you and Slipper had a few days back about Horcoff and face-offs. If you want to read the whole thing you know where it is, but here’s the short version:

    % of Oiler dzone draws Horcoff is on the ice for after Friday’s games: 45.28%

    Next closest forward on any team: Jeff Carter, PHI, 41.52%

    Forwards that lead their team in dzone draws: Horcoff, Carter, J. Staal and… Richard Park (extra points if you the team).

  65. Coach pb9617 says:

    Don’t ask me why, this season is just like many in the MacT era–but for some reason this team has captured my imagination and they matter to me.

    It’s had the exact opposite effect on me.

    during the game last night they mentioned that the oilers have been outshot is in 47 of the 65 games this year. that’s just over 72%. playing with fire when the starter walks the first batter every inning.

    does anyone think that if mact goes that penner would ever be given a fair shake by the media or average fan? i never liked the signing, but i think you try to play the hand your dealt. you can’t spend all your time complaining about getting a pair of 9″s when it sure would be nice to have aces.

    Guess who isn’t getting outshot?

    I said it before, I’ll say it again. The Edmonton Oilers management aren’t the good guys anymore, not the class act. Say what you want about Sutter in Calgary, at least he’s consistent.

    You did say that, and it gave me pause, but I passed on it at that time. You were and are right though. You’re one of those “there is no spoon” hockey guys, I think.

    Having said that Kotalik is supposed to be indifferent and soft and he showed more jam and hit more guys last night then Penner does in weeks.

    And I know what the numbers say.

    He’s floating and getting outshot and outchanced, you mean, right?

    When you’re 12 or 13, its quite acceptable to have a “favorite” and across the sports world, the two guys I “was” when playing sports were Jari Kurri and Seve Ballesteros.

    Weird, me too. Ballesteros’ ability to create shots is something that I don’t think I’ll see in my lifetime. I’m sure my kid will, but that dude had a brain that operated in a 7th dimension.

    In fact, loving Kurri probably hurt my hockey career as I had a psychotic aversion to taking penalties like I figured my Lady Byng winning idol did.

    Kind of the same here too :)

    up until I met my wife (three weeks after Rick Monday hit the HR).

    The good lord tooketh away before he gaveth, eh?

    Let’s think for a second about how many kids he’s run through here since the Pronger trade.

    How many are truly a developmental success? He’s run as many off as he has through.

  66. HBomb says:

    Ok, separated at birth, NHL coaches edition 2.0.

    Bruce Boudreau, meet thy doppleganger, Don Rickles.

  67. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: No, I just never felt he was going to be good enough for top 4D.

    It’s not a sin, he’ll have a fine career and btw Smid has certainly shown more this season.

    However, if we’re honest, is he going to play top 4D next season? And he’s rfa this summer, right?

    I don’t think he’s going to be here moving forward. I like him fine, though.

  68. Lowetide says:

    Coach: Re meeting my wife after the Rick Monday HR. She still remembers that I flat out lied to her when we started going out. Her Dad is at least as much a sports nut as me, so early on she asked if I followed baseball.

    I said no.

    Which was true, I’d sworn off baseball. :-)

  69. PunjabiOil says:

    But with the raising of the dreaded “c” word, he’s probably facing at least a little more time in the PB.

    According to sportsnet, he expects to miss no more time and will likely be back against Montreal.

    I don’t really see Smid moving to be honest. They’ll sign him to a respectable deal (1.75M/yr – 3 years).

  70. eidy says:

    i hope that nilson draws back in next game. it seems to me that he would be a natural fit with 13-34. as much as he has been played with gagner, i think 13 is a better fit as he is always flying and 12 is always looking for an outlet pass. my personal opinion is that they have better chem than 12-89. of course id have to look up the numbers unless someone already knows.

    maybe 27 will be with fido, but i hope they put out on the 4th. i preferred 22 instead of 85 there just because i like a large 4th that can dominate and 27 or 22 fits the bill better. i don’t really have any complaints about 85, just a preference

  71. Lowetide says:

    PJ Oil: If Ritch Winter (Smid’s agent) will sign off on that then the Oilers would certainly do it.

  72. slipper says:

    This should have been one of the best Oiler teams of the decade and Ron Wilson would have this team battling for the division title.

    Insane.

    I think people can be a little loosey goosey when rating the players on the teams they root for. Rating players isn’t about name recognition, it’s about performance.

    Matt Stajan is outshooting and outscoring every center on the Oilers. Yet he is the one out of his league at his position? While Cogliano and Broziak are solid?

  73. Bruce says:

    Bruce: No, I just never felt he was going to be good enough for top 4D.

    Are you talking about this year (agreed, better avoided though he wasn’t a disaster when 71-37 went down)? Or, like, ever, in which case I strongly disagree. I think he’ll be a top pairing guy eventually, and is ready for top 4 service very soon. I think Ladi will play better still with more ice time and responsibility. He’s maturing nicely.

  74. rickibear says:

    How many players not fully physically and mentally devloped, Under 27, are we relying on in the stretch run?

    From oldest to youngest:
    Penner 26Yr
    Gilbert 26Yr
    Hemsky 25Yr
    Grebeshkov 25Yr
    Nilsson 24Yr
    Sullivan 24Yr
    Brodziak 24Yr
    Reddox 23Yr
    Smid 23Yr
    Jacques 23Yr
    Pouliot 23Yr
    Storitini 23Yr
    Cogliano 21Yr
    Peckham 21Yr
    Gagner 19Yr.

    And people are complaining about consitency.

  75. Bruce says:

    I did a follow-up on the discussion you and Slipper had a few days back about Horcoff and face-offs. If you want to read the whole thing you know where it is,

    Scott, yes I do but others might not. Outstanding work.

    Confirms what I expected but was too lazy to find for myself, namely that Horcoff’s workload is an outlier even among the defensive specialists.

    Should be required reading among the mouth breathers* who continuously call out Horcoff for lack of … whatever it is he apparently lacks. Of course, it requires a triple-digit IQ to follow along.

    (*During a break last night I steeped out to my car to catch the score, and caught a couple of callers complaining about how shitty the Oilers played and how Horcoff in particular Sucked and the Oilers would be better off if he was injured and in the press box blad-de-blah-blah-fucking-blah, and then I found out that we’d won 4-1 and Horc had 2 points and I just shook my head. Again. I can’t listen to that talk radio shit, raises my blood pressure by 50 over 30 every time.)

    Your stats on Jeff Carter are a bit of an eye-opener. What a stud.

  76. Scott says:

    PJ Oil: If Ritch Winter (Smid’s agent) will sign off on that then the Oilers would certainly do it.

    What do you think would be market value for Smid LT?

    I think [Smid will] be a top pairing guy eventually, and is ready for top 4 service very soon.

    I don’t think Smid is ready. His stint in the top four with Visnovsky out wasn’t inspiring and he hasn’t been consistently outchancing the opposition on the third pairing either. I know that he’s playing with dregs as much as he’s playing against them but I haven’t seen anything from Smid this year to convince me that he’s ready to step into a top four role.

    I repeat – IF they have credible info that Edmonton is J-Bo’s choice, he has to be the A-1 five-star priority this summer.

    Assuming that he will be looking for some term, how do you move the deck chairs around to fit him in? Given how much is already invested in the D I don’t think he fits unless you move two of the current top four, probably Souray and Grebeshkov. Even then, if you sign Bouwmeester at 7M you’ll have three guys at 16.6M. If the cap retreats to 50M by 2010-11 I’m not sure that we can afford that on the back end without going cheap everywhere else. They certainly won’t be able to add Bouwmeester and a 1LW that makes more than Penner. How do you see Bouwmeester fitting in HBomb? What price would be too high for you?

  77. Bruce says:

    Scott: I am projecting. Smid will be better next year than he is this, just as he is better this year than he was last. Just turned 23, and just reaching the 200 GP threshold. I won’t deny he’s been a bit of a project, but in my view he’s coming along nicely.

  78. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: I hope so.

    Scott: The problem with Smid is that he’s already played so much that he’ll get paid that much in the summer.

    The bigger problem for him imo is Peckham but that’s for the fall and at 1.75M he can be traded fairly easily.

  79. Ribs says:

    I can’t listen to that talk radio shit, raises my blood pressure by 50 over 30 every time.

    Ha, I listen in after games once in awhile just for laughs really. The Horcoff bashers call up every night I think.
    I’m so glad I have you guys to read daily.

  80. Scott says:

    Scott: The problem with Smid is that he’s already played so much that he’ll get paid that much in the summer.

    I don’t see what Smid or his agent will look to and figure they can get money. I figure the market will bear no more than 2.5M for Smid on a long-term deal from someone that sees a top four talent (2nd round pick compensation). But on a shorter term deal what does he have that Matt Greene didn’t have when he signed for 1.2M over two? I think it’s very reasonable to expect Smid getting a two or three year contract for 1.5M or less if he isn’t able to find someone to give him an offer sheet.

  81. slipper says:

    Smid is a good whipping boy if you’re looking to put the screws to Lowe for the Pronger return, but I think sometimes people get blinded by the fact that he was involved in that trade. The guy is going to have 400 NHL games under his belt when he reaches the useful age (25) for most NHL defensemen. Obviously that’s a good thing.

    I might get flamed for this, but is you stay the course with this player the long term reward may be a serviceable defender in the same vein as this guy. Well, maybe the “lite” version.

    Scott: Great work on the faceoffs thingy. It must have taken quite a bit of time. You are hardcore.

  82. Mr DeBakey says:

    $1.75 for Smid?

    I was thinking $4mm over 3.

    But even at $1.75
    They’re crazy if they trade Smid before Staios.
    After next season, Souray has to go.

  83. HBomb says:

    Scott: The longer the term, the less the cap hit with Bouwmeester.

    He’s the type of guy I go long term with. Offer him sixty over ten or something like that to keep the cap hit down. If he’s truly gung-ho on coming to Edmonton, he’d be receptive. I’d go as high as seven million per season though.

    If you can make that work, you trade one of Souray or Visnovsky (Grebeshkov doesn’t make a big enough difference, and Gilbert is untouchable, or so I’d hope), preferably 44, either this summer or next.

    He’s too good to pass up, plain and simple.

  84. Lowetide says:

    The problem is that he played a full season in the AHL at 19 and then at 20 he was in the NHL. So that’s two ticks right there and since that time he’s played two more NHL seasons (when this one is done).

    As for comparing Greene’s salary, well it’s impossible. Greene is 3 years older in NHL terms and played exactly 27 regular season games before Smid was a rookie.

    If an organization was interested in being able to sign Smid to a value-wise deal, they should have done exactly the opposite of what EDM did when he came here.

    Another season in the AHL at 20, then bring him to camp and have him battle for a starting job.

    Now he’s going to get paid:

    Current Salary: $952,000
    NHL seasons: 3
    NHL games played: 200+ by season’s end.

    Perfect storm. Plus Ritch Winter.

  85. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Bruce said…
    I did a follow-up on the discussion you and Slipper had a few days back about Horcoff and face-offs. If you want to read the whole thing you know where it is,

    Scott, yes I do but others might not. Outstanding work.

    Confirms what I expected but was too lazy to find for myself, namely that Horcoff’s workload is an outlier even among the defensive specialists.

    Should be required reading among the mouth breathers* who continuously call out Horcoff for lack of … whatever it is he apparently lacks. Of course, it requires a triple-digit IQ to follow along.”

    You know, it’s unfortunate that you feel the need to label and insult the intelligence of those who disagree with you. It says, to quote LT, more about you than it does about them.

    Wittgenstein has done some interesting work in dogmatism you may find interesting.

    BTW, Horcoff lacks the consistent offensive output necessary to achieve diety.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled self congratulation.

  86. Scott says:

    Slipper: Thanks. I also agree that staying the course with Smid is wise, but he hasn’t shown that he should be able to handle top four minutes next season. I would target the year after as his first consistent top four season. If he can’t handle it by then, well, then there’s a problem.

    LT: I see your point with regard to GP but almost all of the D that get paid at a young age are also bringing some offence. I can’t think of too many examples of high picks playing in the NHL in their early twenties that bring as little offence as Smid. The guys I can think of are Steve Eminger who signed for one year at 1M after his entry-level deal, Trevor Daley who signed for three years at 2.3M but they both brought significantly more offence than Smid. I don’t think the Greene contract is too far off, but even if you just split these two guys you get 1.65M over 2.

    Hbomb: If you take Bouwmeester at 7M and move out Souray’s 5.4M that doesn’t do anything to solve your cap problems in 2010-11. Another defender will need to be moved out or you’re going to be skimping in other areas. Let’s say you have a budget of 50M, which is quite possible over the next couple of years:

    15M first line
    7M second line
    8M bottom eight forwards
    15M top four D
    3M bottom three D
    2M goaltending

    Where do you get the money from to afford Bouwmeester (7M), Gilbert (4M), Visnovsky (5.6M) and another top four defender (1.4M). You need to find 3M from somewhere else in the lineup and I don’t really see where we can afford it especially if we’re thinking of replacing Penner on the top line by a more expensive item. I’ve also skimped pretty hard on the goaltending in the model to the point where it’s possibly uncomfortable for many. I just don’t see where another big name D fits unless you dump at least two and maybe even three of the guys we’re paying now (if you include Grebs).

  87. Scott says:

    FCM: I recognize your comment was directed primarily toward Bruce but I did want to say that I was measuring Horcoff’s load as a defensive player on this year’s Oilers and comparing him to other players shouldering similar burdens around the league. I’m certainly not trying to deify him, but I do think he’s the most valuable forward on this team right now in spite of his low offensive output.

  88. Coach pb9617 says:

    “Hernandez with sideburns” to MacT’s Monty Burns

    Mattingly?

  89. Mr DeBakey says:

    you feel the need to label and insult the intelligence of those who disagree with you

    As someone who has a very clear idea of what Horcoff doesn’t bring,
    “mouth-breathers” sounds pretty accurate.

  90. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    FCM: I recognize your comment was directed primarily toward Bruce but I did want to say that I was measuring Horcoff’s load as a defensive player on this year’s Oilers and comparing him to other players shouldering similar burdens around the league. I’m certainly not trying to deify him, but I do think he’s the most valuable forward on this team right now in spite of his low offensive output.

    No disagreement from me Scott.

    I guess I was just a little irked by the need to vilify those who can also recognize Horcoff’s shortcomings.

    Some obviously can’t.

  91. Woodguy says:

    Interesting stuff from Larry Brooks at the NY Post this morning:

    I found his information about Jagr for this year interesting as well:

    ” According to a well-placed source, Jagr was attempting to negotiate his way out of next season’s obligation to Omsk so he could have signed with Edmonton last week, a day or two before the NHL trade deadline.

    The contract with the Oilers, we’re told, would have included a “poison pill” obligation of upward of $7 million for next year in order to discourage the competition – specifically, Pittsburgh – from claiming Jagr on waivers upon his return to the NHL”

    If there is one thing about Kevin Lowe, he likes to swing for the fence.

    Pronger, then trying for Jagr, then Hossa, now Jagr again.

    He will make sure the Oilers are in the Jbo sweepstakes as well.

    When he was way behind the count he swung hard and connected on an outside pitch (Penner) that is starting to tail off into foul territory, but for all of his strikeouts, he keeps swinging.

  92. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Mr DeBakey said…
    you feel the need to label and insult the intelligence of those who disagree with you

    As someone who has a very clear idea of what Horcoff doesn’t bring,
    “mouth-breathers” sounds pretty accurate.

    And what would you be basing your dogmatism on?

  93. Mr DeBakey says:

    dogmatism?

    Sorry
    My karma ran over my
    dogma

  94. Bruce says:

    You know, it’s unfortunate that you feel the need to label and insult the intelligence of those who disagree with you. It says, to quote LT, more about you than it does about them.

    FCM: Point taken. I thought it was clear that “mouth breathers” diatribe was referring to the radio callers mentioned in the paragraph immediately following the one you quoted. The two I heard last night were appallingly ignorant about hockey to the point that I drew conclusions about their general intelligence. My bad.

    Horcoff is a long way from deity, but he’s an excellent player who does one hell of a lot of the heavy lifting on this team. Scott’s data shows pretty convincingly that his defensive workload is extraordinary not just within Edmonton, but in the NHL period.

    Such stats are not boxcar numbers so require a little more in-depth understanding than the radio callers I heard demonstrated. But I’ll stick to my main point that such analysis should be required reading for any normally knowledgeable fan who thinks Horcoff is some sort of underachiever. As for anybody who states the team would better off with him in the pressbox, sorry, but that’s just stupid.

  95. hunter1909 says:

    Mets fan here.

    Never could stand the Expos.

    Oilers play like last night they’re a very good playoff opponent .

  96. Ribs says:

    hunter – I hope they get the Leafs crossover matchup then.

  97. Lowetide says:

    Hunter: Mets fan? Are there any?

  98. Coach pb9617 says:

    And people are complaining about consitency.

    Consistency in coaching, not the players.

    FCM: Point taken. I thought it was clear that “mouth breathers” diatribe was referring to the radio callers mentioned in the paragraph immediately following the one you quoted.

    It was Bruce.

    I have a really weird feeling about this stretch run. A feeling that this stretch run is going to determine a large portion of the future of this franchise.

    If they get the 8, the coach stays. Bad enough. If they get the 8, there is going to be little reason, in their minds, to trade Staios. If they get a Wings team with no goalie, and pull an upset, Staios and Moreau are here until the end of their contracts and the coach gets a three year extension.

  99. Woodguy says:


    15M first line
    7M second line
    8M bottom eight forwards
    15M top four D
    3M bottom three D
    2M goaltending

    I’ve seen your propsal a couple of times now Scott, and I think your 2M Goaltending is almost impossible to acheive.

    I just look at every team in the league, and the only teams that get there, or come close are:

    1) Colorado with Budaj and Raycroft. Total 1.5M Ranked 26th in Goals Against

    2) Detroit 2.2 with Conklin and Wasgood, ranked 21st in goals against.

    3) LA 2.6 with Erberg and Quick, randed 14th in GA

    4) Nasvilee 2.3 with Ellis and Renne, ranked 10th in GA

    5) TBL, 1.6 with Smith and Ramo. Kolzig was 1.5….ranked 28 in GA

    The Oilers may be in a position to get cheap goaltending with an older Roloson and JDD or Dubnyk, but its pretty rare/impossible for an NHL team to spend only 2M on goaltending.

    I like your concept though.

  100. Coach pb9617 says:

    Those numbers on Staal are pretty impressive, considering that he’s spent 114:16 on Malkin’s left wing this year.

  101. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    FCM: Point taken. I thought it was clear that “mouth breathers” diatribe was referring to the radio callers mentioned in the paragraph immediately following the one you quoted. The two I heard last night were appallingly ignorant about hockey to the point that I drew conclusions about their general intelligence. My bad.

    Horcoff is a long way from deity, but he’s an excellent player who does one hell of a lot of the heavy lifting on this team. Scott’s data shows pretty convincingly that his defensive workload is extraordinary not just within Edmonton, but in the NHL period.

    Such stats are not boxcar numbers so require a little more in-depth understanding than the radio callers I heard demonstrated. But I’ll stick to my main point that such analysis should be required reading for any normally knowledgeable fan who thinks Horcoff is some sort of underachiever. As for anybody who states the team would better off with him in the pressbox, sorry, but that’s just stupid.”

    Ah, now I feel better :)

    As an old radio guy myself Bruce, opening up the lines to random callers is like handing a loaded handgun to a monkey.

    But, I’m a little surprised you still feel a need to defend Horcoff from the rabble…perhaps a gnawing of insecurity?

    Should you ever be a of a mind to do the work, (I looked at it earlier in the season) perhaps you could do a comparo with Henrik Sedin.

    While I know Henrik doesn’t have to bear the same load foisted on him by Lowe the Magnificent this season, Henrik is a very similar player in many ways and yet is nearly a PPG year after year.

    I’m working from the assumption that Horcoff’s lack of offensive output has cost the Oilers 3-5 wins this season which, of course, would make a huge difference. (not all goals are created equal)

  102. Scott says:

    The Oilers may be in a position to get cheap goaltending with an older Roloson and JDD or Dubnyk, but its pretty rare/impossible for an NHL team to spend only 2M on goaltending.

    Fair criticism. I’m just not sure where to take the money from to put it into goaltending. Where would you want to spend less? Mostly, I think that we need to recognize that the team operates within the constraints of the cap when we’re talking about which players we’d like the team to go out and get. With someone like Bouwmeester it would require decisions on a lot of other players. If we end up moving Penner it will be difficult to fill the 1LW slot and be the better for it at the same price point. I think those are the issues going forward.

  103. Lowetide says:

    FCM: Horcoff’s offense has cost the Oilers 3-5 games? I’ve got all night, please–share.

  104. Mr DeBakey says:

    No need to apologise Bruce,
    most of us got it

    4,100,000 Jagr – 5,500,000 Horcoff – 4,100,000 Hemsky
    2,925,000 O’Sullivan – 1,625,000 Gagner – 1,750,000 Kotalik
    2,500,000 Pisani – 1,133,333 Cogliano – 825,000 Pouliot
    668,333 Jacques – 600,000 Brodziak – 774,783 Stortini
    508,333 Reddox – 707,850 Potulny

    5,400,000 Souray – 5,600,000 Visnovsky
    2,750,000 Grebeshkov – 4,000,000 Gilbert
    1,750,000 Smid – 833,333 S.Y. Guy
    600,000 Peckham

    2,666,667 Roloson – 625,000 Deslauriers
    Total $52,068,116

    Gone in this scenario:
    Moreau, Strudwick,Staios, McIntyre,
    Nilsson,Penner
    Not bloody likely, right?

  105. Scott says:

    Those numbers on Staal are pretty impressive, considering that he’s spent 114:16 on Malkin’s left wing this year.

    Just to be clear Coach, the numbers are for forwards in general, not for centers exclusively. For example (by memory) Carter and Richards are really close together for faceoffs for Philly, so they’re probably playing together a whole bunch.

  106. Icecastles says:

    Who wants to bet that this Minnesota/Anehiem game goes to OT? Nobody ever wants to help us. At least Dallas lost today.

  107. Dennis says:

    I love JB but I’m not sure how we fit him in here unless we move a lot of pieces around.

    I really want to keep 71, I want to move 44 and the other two guys depend on the money – 37 vs 77 – and somehow I don’t think it’s all gonna work out.

    Plus, we’re looking at more upheaval with MacT forcing MGMT’s hand with the way he’s using 27.

    On Smid: this isn’t baseball so a guy doesn’t just get paid because he’s into his arbitration years. I like Scott’s point about just how many defensive dmen really get a bump?

  108. Scott says:

    DeBakey: I think the major issues here are getting Kotalik and Jagr to both take a pay cut and getting Grebs to go for under 3M seems unlikely given his offensive output this year. Then, you also have a hole on 1LW the next year with Jagr (presumably) leaving. There’s also the issue of having 10M+ in salary out the door without taking any on, which would be pretty difficult to accomplish.

    The cap for next season is probably going to be very similar to what we have seen this season, so you’ll probably have a bit more cash to work with then you will for the 2010-11 season. That’s one reason I think Jagr on a one-year deal could be fabulous.

  109. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Lowetide said…
    FCM: Horcoff’s offense has cost the Oilers 3-5 games? I’ve got all night, please–share.

    Well I’m glad you have all night and perhaps all week because it’ll likely take me that long to look at the scoring opportunities he’s botched in critical situations.

    Unfortunately, nhl.com doesn’t keep track of whiffs on prime setups.

    Now that’s an advanced statistic.. :)

    See you in September.

  110. Icecastles says:

    Lowetide said…
    FCM: Horcoff’s offense has cost the Oilers 3-5 games? I’ve got all night, please–share.

    I’ve got to side with LT here – that’s one hell of a stretch. Unless you are saying, “If only Horcoff had scored nine goals, we’d have beaten Chicago at home,” or some milder version of that.

    Sure Horcoff has shortcomings, I don’t think anyone here is denying that. But I think he’s one of the last players on this team you can pin the losses and inconsistent season on. Is he blameless? No, noone on the team is completely blameless. Joey Moss maybe. But let’s maintain some perspective.

    And I know I’m pretty new to LT and am maybe overstepping my bounds by saying it, but let’s leave the name-calling and passive aggression (“only an idiot would call someone an idiot” kind of posts) for the CBC and Edmonton Journal boards – I come here because guys like LT, Coach, FCM, HBomb, Dennis and so many others know a lot about the game and the team, and write so intelligently about it! We’re all so far above the level of flame wars.

    We should direct our hatred somewhere it’s deserved.

  111. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Okay…everyone who doesn’t think the Oilers would have more wins if Horcoff could convert on enough chances to be a consistent 30 goal scorer please raise your hands.

    (no need to rehash the old outscorer argument…it’s a matter of degree like most things.)

  112. hunter1909 says:

    Mets are my ny team, for the NL lol, im really a red sox fan but wtf

  113. HBomb says:

    FCM: You want to count how many goals against Horcoff has saved us with play in the defensive zone while you’re at it?

    I’d expect someone like yourself to be more than willing to present a balanced analysis.

  114. Coach pb9617 says:

    Fair criticism. I’m just not sure where to take the money from to put it into goaltending. Where would you want to spend less?

    Change it so that the top six makes 20-22M, rather than breaking out the first and second lines.

    Each of the top teams has at least one underpaid/outperformer in the top six, sometimes two. San Jose has Setoguchi and Clowe. Boston has Kessel and Krejci. The Caps have Backstrom and Laich.

    Last year the Pens had Malkin and Sykora, the Wings had Zetterberg, Holmstrom and Franzen.

    Just to be clear Coach, the numbers are for forwards in general, not for centers exclusively.

    Yeah, but when he’s on left wing, Malkin is taking the draws, and Malkin doesn’t start in his own end.

  115. Bruce says:

    I’m working from the assumption that Horcoff’s lack of offensive output has cost the Oilers 3-5 wins this season which, of course, would make a huge difference.

    I’ll see your assumption and raise it to the 4-6 wins that Horcoff’s defensive output has caused the Oilers.

    Who knows how many wins (or losses) really, but let me back up my wild-ass guess with a smidgen of statistical support. Here are defensive recods expressed as EV GA/60 in the first column. The second column is the ratio between faceoffs taken in the defnsive zone vs. the offensive zone. (Min 40 GP, 10:00 TOI)

    Gagner ***** 2.13 *** 0.81
    Horcoff **** 2.19 *** 1.53
    Penner ***** 2.29 *** 0.90
    Cogliano *** 2.34 *** 0.76
    Hemsky ***** 2.38 *** 1.04
    Nilsson **** 2.41 *** 0.76
    Moreau ***** 2.44 *** 1.12
    Pouliot **** 2.60 *** 0.86
    Brodziak *** 2.69 *** 2.27

    Brodziak has an even more ridiculous ratio of own-zone draws, but has the bottom ranking on the GA metric to prove it. Horcoff is far ahead of all other forwards in own-zone duties, yet has the second BEST defensive rating on the team.

  116. gary b says:

    Stars lose, Wild beat Ducks.

    Oilers now have games in hand on Dallas (1), Nashville(1), Columbus (1) and Anaheim (2). Even in GP with Minnesota.

  117. Lowetide says:

    Anaheim is bleeding openly now. Cut above the eye no corner man can solve.

    :-)

  118. Bruce says:

    FCM: You want to count how many goals against Horcoff has saved us with play in the defensive zone while you’re at it?

    HBomb: You beat me to it. Seems a pretty self-evident point, doesn’t it?

  119. hunter1909 says:

    Pat Quinn alumni Edmonton Hockey star, takes over the following at training camp:

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    Nilsson Cogliano Schremp
    Moreau(lol) Gagner Pisani
    Kotolak O’Sullivan Stortini
    MacIntyre Pouliot Brule

    Pretty decent forwards. I take everything back I foolishly said about Kevin Lowe.

  120. HBomb says:

    HBomb: You beat me to it. Seems a pretty self-evident point, doesn’t it?

    Thinking otherwise would be cherry-picking to the n’th degree, Bruce.

    Horcoff is not Ilya Kovalchuk. In some regards, this is a bad thing. In others, it’s a very good thing.

  121. Asiaoil says:

    Well LT I feel exactly the opposite about this team – from the coach who has put on a clinic in terms of how not to motivate either vets or prospects, the gaping veteran leadership vacuum that is Moreau and Staios, and the disinterested management that ignores gaps and keeps trading away bigger gritty vets for more smaller, younger, offensive players even though we have a bushel of them already. The best thing that could happen to this team is miss the playoffs and toss MacT and his cronies (except Huddy) out of the car. But this will happen anyway as half of the team would be happy to miss the playoffs if it meant MacT gets canned.

    Getting Kotalik and chasing old man Jagr means only one thing to me – mgmt is worried about Hemsky’s commitment to the program. But they could fix that by getting a coach who actually understands something about motivating athletes and building chemistry – MacT is a total bust at this unless he’s working with guys he likes or with players who don’t need any help motivating themselves. Rotten apples in this barrel and the stink won’t go away until they are cut out.

  122. Lowetide says:

    Schremp? Holy hell. Hunter, he’s a canary in a coal mine.

  123. Scott says:

    Change it so that the top six makes 20-22M, rather than breaking out the first and second lines.

    That’s a fair change to make if it helps you to see how to spend more clearly but it doesn’t actually save you anything from the budget as I had it laid out. If you want to put more into goaltending you’ll need to put less than 21M into your top two lines or take money from another line item.

  124. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    HBomb said…
    FCM: You want to count how many goals against Horcoff has saved us with play in the defensive zone while you’re at it?

    I’d expect someone like yourself to be more than willing to present a balanced analysis.

    I understand that..COMPLETELY. (sorry to shout)

    But there are players who who do that and also produce offensively.

    Good grief. Ryan Kesler is having a great season and there’s Parliament kids.

    The balanced analysis is Horcoff is an elite defensive player and his inability to produce offense is a huge issue.

    Unless you believe the Oilers don’t need offense from anyone who’s not a defenseman..

  125. HBomb says:

    FCM: I seem to remember Horcoff being near a point per game last year at injury (when he wasn’t playing every last difficult minute the team had to offer), and I also remember him being in the 75 point range in 2005-06.

    Can’t produce offense? Or guy having an off year for a multitude of reasons?

    I think it’s the latter. Even in a “down” year, he’s going to end up where, 55-60 points? 17-20 goals?

  126. Coach pb9617 says:

    4,100,000 Jagr – 5,500,000 Horcoff – 4,100,000 Hemsky

    Jagr doesn’t play LW well at all.

    How bout this for some next year fun?

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Cogliano-Dubinsky-Pisani
    Gaborik-Gagner-O’Sullivan
    Pouliot-Brodziak-Stortini

    Grebeshkov-Gilbert
    Vishnovsky-Klesla
    Smid-Peckham

    Roloson
    Labarbera

    $54,206,000

  127. Coach pb9617 says:


    That’s a fair change to make if it helps you to see how to spend more clearly but it doesn’t actually save you anything from the budget as I had it laid out. If you want to put more into goaltending you’ll need to put less than 21M into your top two lines or take money from another line item.

    21 in the top six gives you another million in tending.

    20 gives you 4 total. Now you’re talking. But you also need to find two young top sixers or a young top sixer and a born-again retread that can boogey.

  128. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    4,100,000 Jagr – 5,500,000 Horcoff – 4,100,000 Hemsky

    Jagr doesn’t play LW well at all.

    How bout this for some next year fun?

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Cogliano-Dubinsky-Pisani
    Gaborik-Gagner-O’Sullivan
    Pouliot-Brodziak-Stortini

    Grebeshkov-Gilbert
    Vishnovsky-Klesla
    Smid-Peckham

    Roloson
    Labarbera

    $54,206,000

    Obviously you take the only guy who can score and give him third line minutes.

    You’re the real Craig McTavish, right?

  129. Bruce says:

    I might get flamed for this, but is you stay the course with this player the long term reward may be a serviceable defender in the same vein as this guy. Well, maybe the “lite” version.

    Slipper: Won’t be me flaming you (this time :). I’ve been searching for a good upside comp for Smid and Regehr is pretty darn good. First round pedigree, similar size and mean streak, similar early-career boxcars (single digit points, mediocre-to-poor plus/minus), similar steady learning curve. The key as you say is staying the course.

  130. Oilman says:

    Hunter: Mets fan? Are there any?

    Now now LT, it’s the first sensible thing I’ve ever seen hunter write:o)

  131. Mr DeBakey says:

    I think the major issues here are getting Kotalik and Jagr to both take a pay cut and getting Grebs to go for under 3M seems unlikely given his offensive output this year.

    I agree on Jagr
    Don’t disagree on Grebs, and
    Disagree on Kotalik.

    With the cap dropping,
    guys like Kotalik are skating on thin ice.
    I’m not sure the Oilers would go higher the $3.5 over 2 years.

    I’ve thought a good comp for Smid might be Al Hamilton,
    big with some offense

  132. quain says:

    I’m completely convinced that Dustin Penner’s five o’clock shadow has cost the Oilers 4-9 wins. It’s just fact, idiots.

  133. relic says:

    don’t see many canucks games but hasn’t kesler’s offense got a bump since he started to line up with sundin and face the secondary lines? 10 of his 19 goals have come since jan.31. While impressive, as per scotts analysis, his defensive load is significantly less than horcoffs, likely b/c the nucks have sedin and to some extent johnson to help.

    horc has only 5 fewer goals but has been facing the toughest night in night out. seemingly the heaviest workload of any centre in the league.

    kesler is a nice player though and you do horcoff no disservice with the comparison.

  134. Coach pb9617 says:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Cogliano-Dubinsky-Pisani
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Tanguay/Guerin/Jagr
    Pouliot-Brodziak-Stortini

    Grebeshkov-Gilbert
    Vishnovsky-Zanon
    Smid-Peckham

    Roloson
    Labarbera

    $51,856,000

  135. Bruce says:

    Just a heard a great stat on TSN: the last time the Flames won in Atlanta was when they were the Atlanta Flames. April 1980! They continued the drought today with a resounding 5-2 defeat to the lowly Thrashers. Tee hee.

    Had a chance to watch some of the Dallas-Montreal game on NHL Network. Dallas was leading 1-0 late in the first when Montreal took 4 penalties in very rapid succession, resulting in a 5-on-3 for 3:24, one of the longest two-man advantages I’ve ever seen. Dallas mustered all of one shot in the entire 204 seconds… it was so bad I invoked the term “Oiler-like”. Sure enough Montreal tied it right after returning to even strength and rolled to a 3-1 win. The arena sounded like a tomb.

    Nice to know some of the other playoff contenders are capable of screwing the pooch occasionally.

  136. knighttown says:

    @Slipper

    Matt Stajan is outshooting and outscoring every center on the Oilers. Yet he is the one out of his league at his position? While Cogliano and Broziak are solid?

    Either you’ve misread my post or you’ve gone off the deep end. Matt Stajan is #1C on the depth chart. I’ve said that he is a below NHL average #1C. Which of these guys are worse players than Matt Stajan?

    -Malkin
    -Thornton
    -Getzlaf
    -Savard
    -Datsyuk
    -Bacstrom
    -Carter
    -Lecavalier
    -Roy
    -H. Sedin
    -E. Staal
    -Ribiero
    -M. Koivu
    -Toews
    -Kopitar
    -Zajac
    -Spezza
    -Arnott
    -Horcoff
    -Gomez

    I mean, that’s 20. I don’t give a shit whether he “outchances the opposition”. Matt Stajan is not an above average number one center.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Sometimes we look so closely at the BTN numbers we forget what our eyes tell us when we watch the game.

    And yes, I’d say 10 goals, penalty killing and decent physical play is enough to make Brodziak an above average 4C.

    Cogs at 3C? Debateable, but he’s leading our centers in goals with 15 and ranked number 51 in the NHL among centers. If goals were all that mattered, top 75 would be the line for “above average number 3C” so it’s hardly insane.

    Gagner at #2C is definitely below par, as is Nilsson.

    @LT

    The one guy you pointed out, Devereaux, is one of the few guys I agreed is fine for his #4C position.

  137. Coach pb9617 says:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Cogliano-Brodziak-Pisani
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Tanguay/Guerin/Jagr
    Reddox-Pouliot-Stortini

    Souray-Gilbert
    Vishnovsky-Grebeshkov
    Smid-Peckham

    Roloson
    Labarbera

    $53,406,000

  138. Lord Bob says:

    Off-topic: for those of you for whom baseball still exists, you might be missing a hell of a game. Australia leads Mexico 12-7 in the seventh inning and is playing one of the most remarkable games of baseball I’ve ever seen: their fielders basically don’t know what they’re doing but they’re throwing themselves around, snaring balls in the dirt, and hitting the hell out of the Mexican pitchers.

    This is why I still sometimes love baseball.

  139. mc79hockey says:

    Okay…everyone who doesn’t think the Oilers would have more wins if Horcoff could convert on enough chances to be a consistent 30 goal scorer please raise your hands.

    All other things being equal, the Oilers would have more wins if anyone had more goals. There aren’t a hell of a lot of guys who average 30 a year, or .37 a game – here’s the list. Horcoff would be getting paid a lot more if he scored 30 AND did the other things he does.

  140. knighttown says:

    @Coach

    That’s beyond weird that we both grew up Kurri/Ballesteros fans. Do you like Peanut Butter too?

    Looking at it now, Seve was another one of my faves, like Puckett and Zeke Thomas whose life after 40 wasn’t the smoothest. Forgot how to play golf and now has/had some issues with brain tumours.

    At least Kurri’s done well post retirement, although he does look a little bloated.

  141. Coach pb9617 says:

    That’s beyond weird that we both grew up Kurri/Ballesteros fans.

    My great uncle was/is a giant in the world of golf journalism and always wrote and spoke glowingly of Seve and Arnie. His behind the scenes stories likely turned me into a Seve fan.

    As for hockey, Kurri was hockey to me and I bore the hell out of younger people now when I talk about him.

    In baseball, it was Nolan Ryan, Nolan Ryan [my son is a namesake of his] and Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog, a man that would love Cogliano and would have had two kid lines to fly, a Dowd – Walz – Skrudland line and a whole bunch of grizzled dmen with a body part falling off if he were a hockey coach.

  142. slipper says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Sometimes we look so closely at the BTN numbers we forget what our eyes tell us when we watch the game.

    Oh yeah, I forgot to watch the games again.

    My bad.

    But fuck it, Toronto has been a superior team to Edmonton all season long with the exception of goaltending. We’re talking a 40-45 goal swing at even strength. So that’s what? 11 wins.

    Edmonton has a -214 differential thus far this season. So you maybe someone is rating too high for potentional or some other crazy thing they see when they turn their head just a certain way and squint their eyes really hard?

  143. Bruce says:

    LB: Thanks for the heads-up. Tuned in for the end, which came early due to the mercy rule as Australia pulled off the upset in a major way, 17-7, with a WBC record 22 base hits. The coup de grace was a three-run bomb that sailed right over the pitcher’s head, over the centrefielder’s head, and directly over the 409′ mark in straightaway centre. That ball was absolutely crushed.

    Now it’s on to play Cuba on Tuesday, where I suspect the Aussies might encounter a somewhat stiffer test. Last time I checked the Cubans had reached the final of their last 37 major tournaments. Gold or silver, thirty-seven tourneys in a row. Wow.

  144. slipper says:

    Ha. Ryan Smyth is 22nd in goals per game since 2006.

  145. Dennis says:

    LT: Oilman has a Vince Coleman signed Clorox Bleach bottom;)

    KT: Have You seen the trim Kurri rolls with these days? And he’s still pulling that while being a fatso! Don’t cry for that dude.

    Also, try not to read too much about Puckett because that guy was a bad fucking man.

  146. Bank Shot says:

    Horcoff's big production years came A) in the highest scoring season in forever B) and the season he filled his stick with magic Mexican jumping beans.

    I think it's likely that those seasons were the outliers. He's a good player, but his contract is a little fat compared to his peers (Langkow, Dumont), and he's not the guy to carry a line offensively.

    Blaming him for all the teams problems makes as much sense as blaming Moreau for the same.

    Moreau gets all kinds of grief over his underlying stats, but Pisani has been putting up worse corsi numbers for the last two seasons, his GAA per 60 is higher, and his quality of competition is in the same range.

    Yet, one is a hero and the other a zero. I guess everyone needs a scapegoat.

    Speaking of underlying stats, I like them, but I'm not sure they give much more of an accurate picture then the boxcars. A different view, sure, but they are susceptible to their own flaws based on team role, and coaching among other things.

    I don't think Matt Greene for example goes from bag of shit, to solid shutdown defender in a single offseason.

    I really don't want to see the same thing happen to Smid. The whole point of rebuilding and missing the playoffs for consecutive seasons is to develop players that will play their entire career in your city and give you a long window to win. If the Oilers are just going to keep trading the players they developed for veterans on the downside of their career it kind of defeats the purpose.

    Also-> Anyone think O'Sullivan could be the next Lupul/Penner? He's gone from over 3 shots a game in LA to 1 shot in two games so far. Lets hope it doesn't continue, but its pretty common with this team these days and if it does happen I want to be able to say I was in on the ground floor.

  147. Icecastles says:

    Bank Shot: I think your analysis is wrong on every player you named.

    Horcoff
    So you are saying that the ‘magic jumping beans’ explain away his high point tally how? If he had two good years in a row, he had two good years in a row. It’s not like other people were scoring his goals in 05/06.

    Moreau
    I don’t think many people give Moreau grief for his underlying stats: he’s not a skilled playmaker, and that’s not the role he’s expected to fill. People give him grief for his selfish play, attempting to so often go in alone rather than making a timely pass, and most importantly his frequent selfish and unnecessary penalties. All of these things would be bad enough, but they are unforgivable in a captain.

    Greene
    With Matt Greene, again, I’m not sure where you are getting the ‘bag of shit do shutdown defender’ complaint. He wasn’t a bag of shit when he was here, he was young and still developing. He’s having a much better year in LA, much how his second year here was better than his first. Defensemen take a few years to develop, and he has a lot of future. They knew that when he was traded: that’s how Lowe managed to get Visnofsky for him and Stoll.

    O’Sullivan
    Then with O’Sullivan, after telling us that we rely too heavily on the stats for Moreau (which really have nothing to do with why so many of us have a big problem with him), and that Horcoff is overrated despite his stats, you are concerned that he may be the next Lupul/Penner (two completely different scenarios by the way), based on a stat garnered from only two games played, one of which he played after only two hours sleep!

  148. hunter1909 says:

    I cant be a yankees fan i got into the red sox lol

    mets are ok so long as they are winning which is about every 20 years

  149. knighttown says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to watch the games again.

    My bad.

    But fuck it, Toronto has been a superior team to Edmonton all season long with the exception of goaltending. We’re talking a 40-45 goal swing at even strength. So that’s what? 11 wins.

    Edmonton has a -214 differential thus far this season. So you maybe someone is rating too high for potentional or some other crazy thing they see when they turn their head just a certain way and squint their eyes really hard?

    Whoa Slipper. Truce man. All I’m trying to get across is that based on the number of players they have playing above their expected position in the depth chart, the Leafs have overachieved and the Oilers have underachieved. To me, that’s coaching.

    I believe what you’re trying to say is that I’m overrating the Oilers individually, so let’s get at that then. Here’s the depth chart with the italicized players playing above their pay grade. Where are the overratings?

    1C-Horcoff
    2C-Gagner
    3C-Cogliano
    4C-Brodziak
    1LW-Penner
    2LW-Nilsson
    3LW-Pouliot
    4LW-Moreau
    1RW-Hemsky
    2RW-Cole
    3RW-Pisani
    4RW-Stortini

    1D-Visnovski
    2D-Souray
    3D-Gilbert
    4D-Grebeshkov
    5D-Staios
    6D-Smid
    7D-Strudwick

  150. Coach pb9617 says:

    Also-> Anyone think O'Sullivan could be the next Lupul/Penner?

    Comparing Penner to Lupul says more about the person making the comparison than it does about Penner.

  151. Steve says:

    Knight Town – in identifying the players playing above their pay grade, I don’t know how you italicize Nilsson but none of Cogliano, Hemsky, Smid, Grebeshkov, or Horcoff (the latter’s still on his $3.6 million/year deal, recall).

    Nilsson’s been the victim of MacT’s doghouse, for sure, but I think he’s been playing like a fourth liner, and he’s being paid the same way. Cogliano’s barely over $1 million, but could score twenty goals and is far from being a one dimensional player. Grebeshkov’s making $1.5 million.

    I’m not quibbling with your underlying point, because I’m not smart enough to, but some of your italicizations seem really weird.

  152. Steve says:

    Wait, I think I misunderstood you, and that you were actually identifying which players were getting underpaid based on the lineup spot they occupy. That makes more sense. But is Nilsson really our second line left-winger? For that matter, is Penner really our first? The blender makes these assessments so complicated.

  153. Coach pb9617 says:

    For that matter, is Penner really our first? The blender makes these assessments so complicated.

    I think we need to update our terminology on MacTavish’s propensity to change lines by the shift.

    Tornado? Hurricane? Cyclone? Typhoon? Whirlpool? Toilet?

  154. Icecastles says:

    Coach: how about the MacTavish Garburator?

    From Urbandictionary.com:
    garburator
    A canadian word that involves garbage disposal through your kitchen sink! When you turn it on, it makes a loud grating noise and… bye bye garbage!

    It works on so many levels…..

  155. Scott says:

    I believe what you’re trying to say is that I’m overrating the Oilers individually, so let’s get at that then. Here’s the depth chart with the italicized players playing above their pay grade. Where are the overratings?

    Before responding I just wanted to ask if you’re organizing the lines based on their ability to play tough minutes or based on a more traditional definition of Scoring Line 1, Scoring Line 2, Checking Line, Energy Line.

    If it’s the former then I’d say that Gagner and Nilsson are the only two that one should not have expected to cover that bet in the off season.

    If it’s the latter, as I suspect it is, then I think you probably could have expected Gagner and Nilsson to do well against the soft but that you overrate the ability of Cogliano and Pouliot to take on the toughs.

    Basically, this team doesn’t have two lines that can take on the toughs, which is often an issue at EV. That said, I agree with your overall point that Toronto has overachieved this season (so far) but I’m not sure that I’d say Edmonton has underachieved. In terms of standings points, they’re about where I expected them to be. In terms of how they got there (Corsi, SC and Goal differential), they’ve underachieved. The PK has underachieved. The PP has underachieved, but it’s at the point where I expect this.

  156. Sean says:

    I think we need to update our terminology on MacTavish’s propensity to change lines by the shift.

    Lets call it coaching… Every coach in the league does it. On coming here:

    “I had many different linemates this season because Terry Murray switched things up quite a bit.” – O’Sullivan

    “(Buffalo coach) Lindy Ruff changes lines so often you can’t really say who his linemates were. They’ve just about played with everybody here. LOL.” – Kotalik

  157. Oilman says:

    LT: Oilman has a Vince Coleman signed Clorox Bleach bottom;)

    I’ve also got the bleach boys greatest hits album:o)

  158. knighttown says:

    @Scott

    Thanks for trying to understand where I’m going with this. It appears very likely my post was one of those that was crystal clear to me but gibberish to everyone else and when strong posters like you and Slipper and LT himself aren’t getting it then the messenger didn’t deliver it well. I certainly didn’t help things by using the term “pay grade” since I never even considered salary.

    I’m looking at an organizational depth chart. This is not lines and does not reflect power vs. power or “killing the soft”. The Hockey News uses depth charts and I assume all NHL teams do to. Here is an example.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/depth-charts

    At right wing, our depth chart was Hemsky, Cole, Pisani and Stortini. That also happens to be the way they lined up in the batting order, but it doesn’t have to be. Left wing is a clusterfuck, but I have Penner as the most important followed by Nilsson, Poo and THE CAPTAIN. You could reverse that and be more accurate for this weeks lineup or remove Nilsson and input Reddox but my depth charts reflect how things looked at the start of the year.

    When I italicized a name, I did so because I believe that player is well below average for his position on the depth chart. Therefore Gagner is graded against the NHL’s 2nd line centers and Cogliano is graded against the 3rd.

    Gagner vs. Legwand, Sundin, Zetterberg, Mike Richards, Drury, Krejci, Brad Richards, Brind’amour, Langkow. He can’t compare at this point. It doesn’t mean he plays against them but he’s compared to them.

    Cogliano gets an easier comparison vs. the leagues 3rd line centers such as Stamkos, Reasoner, Stoll, James Sheppard, Korpikoski etc. It’s not clear that he wins that battle but I’d say he’s in the middle of that pack.

    I hope that makes sense.

  159. bookie says:

    I think we need to update our terminology on MacTavish’s propensity to change lines by the shift.

    Lets call it coaching… Every coach in the league does it. On coming here:

    Ok, maybe some of you who know how to do it can go back and check a few different teams to see how other teams compare.

  160. Sean says:

    Ok, maybe some of you who know how to do it can go back and check a few different teams to see how other teams compare.

    That would be an interesting exercise. The TOI info is all there and you could go by variance in linemates by player. Not a trivial task but definitely doable. Some coaches are forced to change up lines due to who plays PK and PP and some just change it up for different looks. The problem with MacT is not that he switches lines but that he’ll go and put a guy like Peterson or Reddox on the top unit – and I got no problem with Reddox.

  161. knighttown says:

    Lets call it coaching… Every coach in the league does it. On coming here:

    “I had many different linemates this season because Terry Murray switched things up quite a bit.” – O’Sullivan

    “(Buffalo coach) Lindy Ruff changes lines so often you can’t really say who his linemates were. They’ve just about played with everybody here. LOL.” – Kotalik

    Did Kotalik really say LOL?

    I agree with this post. I really don’t think MacT blends any more than anyone else. The trend in the NHL seems to be pairs not trios and the Oilers have used 10-83, 46-51, 13-18 and 89-26. You can now expect 13-34 to get some time. Everyone else rotates around those pairs.

    I follow the rest of the NHL and I see this trend all over. Sedins with a revolving door…now Burrows I think. Zett/Dats together and then apart. Always drama in Ottawa with the Big 3 together and apart.

    There are definitely some trios that always play together, usually on the good teams:
    Zajac-Parise-Langenbrunner
    Savard-Kessel-Lucic…although did Recchi just play on that line?

    Any others?

  162. Scott says:

    Knighttown: Yeah, I think I’m following you, but I do definitely find it more helpful to look at the situation based on roles. Do I have a line that can take on the toughs? Do I have a line to do the secondary toughs? Do I have a line that can take advantage of soft matchups? Those three are essentail and I think that we came into this season missing the middle one.

  163. Yeti says:

    While we can talk about the messed up lines, the lack of jam, etc, etc, the key thing that was going to define this team’s relative success over the season was special teams. That our PP isn’t top ten in the league is shocking, especially when you look at the potential based on personnel. Likewise, the PK simply had to be better – even just somewhere towards the middle of the pack. If those two things had been at those attainable levels we wouldn’t be talking about line combinations for a tight playoff race. The ticket would have been booked.

    Is this not the single greatest failure of both team and coaching? And given that the PP has been stuttering for half a decade, is this not a failure of management to bring someone in who actually knows what they are doing?

    Any chance of a post specifically on special team woes, LT?

  164. Sean says:

    Knighttown: I’d suspect your right about their not being many trios that stay together. I cant think of many that have stayed together longer than 10-15 games. If they are, their likely to be a shutdown line where a coach wouldn’t care about matchups. But I’d agree, pairs are definitely more prevalent.

  165. quain says:

    the key thing that was going to define this team’s relative success over the season was special teams.

    This.

    For all the caterwauling about… just about everything, this team is +6 at ES and, +40 at 5v4, and -61 at 4v5 for a -15 overall. Obviously, special teams are part of the game too, but we clearly have the players to win hockey games and the failure to win (or tie) special teams likely comes down more to system than it does to personnel.

    Of course, our SF/SA numbers show us playing a bit over our head at ES, but doesn’t this team always?

  166. Sean says:

    Yeti, thats a good point about the special teams. I’ve heard MacT say in pre/post game comments that special teams and goaltending win 90% of games. And Roli has been great so the special teams is a failure. MacT wasn’t deal AK suited but the special teams need to be better.

  167. Sean says:

    Of course, our SF/SA numbers show us playing a bit over our head at ES, but doesn’t this team always?

    Make it all the way to the finals getting outshot and lose when you start outshooting the opponent. Go figure…

  168. godot10 says:

    //That our PP isn’t top ten in the league is shocking, especially when you look at the potential based on personnel.//

    The Oilers had an NHL average power play with Hemsky and Pronger, and an average NHL power play with Hemsky and Visnovsky. i.e. With Hemsky and one good defenseman, the Oilers have the ability to gain the offensive zone fairly easily, and Hemsky’s “pass-only” strategy from the sideboard becomes somewhat “effective” if he has one good puck mover at the point.

    If the Oilers are healthy Hemsky and a good PP defenseman will get you to average. One needs coaching to get it into the top ten.

    Pronger would always hit Hemsky with speed through the neutral zone with a tape-to-tape pass, and this would allow the Oilers easy access to the offensive zone. It didn’t begin to get shut down till the Anaheim series, and Carolina really focused on shutting that pass down, and it really killed the Oilers power play in the SC finals because of it.

  169. Bruce says:

    Anyone think O’Sullivan could be the next Lupul/Penner?

    Well he’s the third young winger to show up here after posting exactly one season of decent boxcar numbers in southern California, so there are parallels, although any mention of Penner and Lupul in the same breath gives me pause.

    He’s gone from over 3 shots a game in LA to 1 shot in two games so far.

    I remember that shot, in fact in the GDT I mentioned something like “I guess that’s how you get to 200 shots” because it was about the third best option he had at that moment, plus it was a muffin. My point was that’s not MacT hockey.

    Toronto has been a superior team to Edmonton all season long with the exception of goaltending. We’re talking a 40-45 goal swing at even strength. So that’s what? 11 wins.

    Slipper: Do you really put all that on goaltending? For sure some of it is, but just as surely some of it has to do with style of play and to some extent coaching philosophy. The Oilers’ approach appears to emphasize shot quality over shot quantity, at both ends of the ice. Oilers have outshot their opposition just 17 times this year, yet have won 32 games. The Leafs, judging from evidence seen as recently as Saturday, like to shoot from everywhere (poster boy: Jason Blake), and have outshot their opponents 39 times yet have posted just 26 wins.

    At evens the Oilers are indeed -214 on the shot meter, but +8 where it matters, on the scoreboard. The Leafs’ numbers respectively are +89 and -21.

    The difference in PDO numbers is pretty stark:

    EDM: .927 + 9.0% = 1.017
    TOR: .900 + 8.1% = 0.981
    ————————-
    DIFF .027 + .009 = 0.036

    At face value the difference between the two is 75% on the defensive side, but again I ask, is that all goaltending? On Saturday Toronto outshot Edmonton 40-18, but outchanced by just 21-14, and when it came to quality chances Oilers had two clear breakaways (both were goals) and I don’t believe Toronto had any (haven’t watched the third period yet). And that’s without counting a play like Hemsky walking right in and being pokechecked by Gerber as either a shot or, by Dennis’s stern standards, a scoring chance. Whereas if Hemmer gets around Gerber his shot has a very high probability of going in the net.

    Oilers may have been fortunate to win 4-1, but if you think Toronto was 2.22 times better as the shots clock would indicate, well, I would beg to differ. (As usual :)

  170. Sean says:

    LT, Columbus is 50:1 to win the cup this year. Plus most sites offer 30% signing bonus. Go put $100 down and if they win, throw a huge party when you convert your blog.

  171. namflashback says:

    from the Oilers on twitter:

    Monday lines: 21 10 83 / 12 89 78 / 19 13 34 / 85 51 46 // 24 44 / 77 37 / 5 43

    Penner continues to receive the beat down.

  172. Bank Shot says:

    Bank Shot: I think your analysis is wrong on every player you named.

    Horcoff
    So you are saying that the ‘magic jumping beans’ explain away his high point tally how? If he had two good years in a row, he had two good years in a row. It’s not like other people were scoring his goals in 05/06.
    .

    He didn’t have two good years in a row. He had a career year in a season when career years were the norm. Then he had an “off” season, then he was on pace for a real good season bouyed by an unsustainable shooting percentage, and now he could possibly have a sub-sixty point season again. The two 70ish point seasons look like the outliers.


    Moreau
    I don’t think many people give Moreau grief for his underlying stats: he’s not a skilled playmaker, and that’s not the role he’s expected to fill. People give him grief for his selfish play, attempting to so often go in alone rather than making a timely pass, and most importantly his frequent selfish and unnecessary penalties.

    Except for the penalties those are all “saw him good” arguments. The stats put Moreau and Pisani in the same boat.


    Greene
    With Matt Greene, again, I’m not sure where you are getting the ‘bag of shit do shutdown defender’ complaint. He wasn’t a bag of shit when he was here, he was young and still developing.

    The numbers all said Greene was the worst Oilers defender. Maybe you aren’t aware of them as I don’t think you posted here or at IOF at the time.


    O’Sullivan

    We’ve had forwards come in frequently lately and fail to produce boxcar numbers. Lupul, Cole, Penner. O’Sullivan could be another. The guy was relying on tonnes of shots on net to keep his numbers up, and if he doesn’t get chained to Hemsky I don’t know how he’ll get that many here.

  173. HBomb says:

    nam: I will call utter bullshit if Penner’s HS’d again.

    Simply put, the guy doesn’t deserve it.

  174. Bank Shot says:

    Bruce: O’Sullivan was shackled to Kopitar as well. His three most common linemates in LA over the last two and a half years were Kopitar, Brown, and Frolov.

    Its pretty clear which guy Lombardi thought was hanging on coattails.

  175. DBO says:

    Eventually someone has to call MacT on this bullshit with penner. he may not be playing great, but ice the damn team most likely to win. How in the hell can you bench penner when he gives you a chance to win. I think Willis at ON had a good breakdown of kotalik’s numbers and how far behind he is penner in terms of EV scoring. And although he has played better, does Pouliot deserve 2nd line minutes? Not to mention 2nd PP time? At this point I expect the 3rd line to outscore and outplay the 2nd line. That 3rd line with o’Sullivan, Cogs and Pisani should also be our 2nd PP unit.

    Not sure if I can handle another year of a Mact coached team.

  176. kamus says:

    If the Oilers miss the playoffs, and MacT is fired as a result he will have only himself to blame.

    It’s one thing to have a team with holes, it’s another to keep creating new ones yourself.

  177. quain says:

    New audio up on the Oilers site. Penner sounds pissy and it’s fun.

  178. Doogie2K says:

    Detroit 2.2 with Conklin and Wasgood, ranked 21st in goals against.

    To be fair, that really should have worked. Osgood was three months removed from being a good goalie on a Stanley Cup winner, while Conklin was solid in extended relief for Pittsburgh and, last Saturday’s stinker against Nashville notwithstanding, has been similarly solid as the de facto 1B for Detroit this year.

    On Smid: My thinking on him is, whatever he’s played, the bottom line is results, no? Has he put up the boxcars, never mind the underlying numbers, to demand more than third-pairing money? Is there any way Winter can reasonably argue that Smid deserves more than $1.5M on the basis of “potential?” I mean, I like how the kid’s grown, but why the hell are we so worried about a #5 defenceman getting paid at this point?

    Okay…everyone who doesn’t think the Oilers would have more wins if Horcoff could convert on enough chances to be a consistent 30 goal scorer please raise your hands.

    Okay, everyone who thinks it’s a reasonable expectation for someone taking nearly half of the team’s defensive-zone faceoffs, and half again as many defensive-zone as offensive-zone draws, to score 30 goals, raise your hand.

    Huh, imagine that.

    As stated by many others before, the Oilers would have more wins if the PP and PK weren’t absolute shit for significant stretches of the season. If they had played to their abilities/potential, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all, because we’d be ahead of Vancouver and making funny faces in Calgary’s rear view mirror*. Maybe we should be picking on that instead of Horcoff’s largely-justifiable drop in production.

    * – As evidence, back in late December, I did some rough math on Tyler’s site and found that the shitty PK alone had cost the Oilers four points to that point already, based on the assumption that they “should” be a top-ten unit. Looking at it now, and simply using the NHL’s percentage metric instead of per-60s because I’m lazy, I have the Oilers losing 16 goals to a top-ten PK (they’ve recovered of late; it was 12 goals in late December) and 11 goals to a top-ten PP (it’s stepped into an elevator shaft lately; it was fine in December, IIRC), for a 9-10 point swing now, using Tyler’s 3 GD = 1 PT rule of thumb, more if you think that’s conservative. Even if we reduce the PP expectations to “average,” it’s still seven goals off, for a 7-8 point total swing. For the record, Vancouver is six points up on us, and Calgary is 14 up.

    Moreau gets all kinds of grief over his underlying stats, but Pisani has been putting up worse corsi numbers for the last two seasons, his GAA per 60 is higher, and his quality of competition is in the same range.

    Yet, one is a hero and the other a zero. I guess everyone needs a scapegoat.

    It’s a fair point, though I’d like to see a full, healthy season from him in his proper position at 3RW before I make final judgment. Last year he came back from colitis at long before anyone expected (hell, the fact that he came back at all is as much as I could’ve hoped for), and this year, he was stuffed into a role he wasn’t equipped for, then got hurt just as he was getting back to doing what he does. (Besides, how many dipshit penalties have you seen 34 take, versus how many 18 takes? It’s like no one told 18 that you can’t do that stuff anymore.)

    Anyone think O’Sullivan could be the next Lupul/Penner? He’s gone from over 3 shots a game in LA to 1 shot in two games so far.

    Helloooooo small sample size.

  179. rider guy says:

    Carbonneau gassed in Montreal, as per tsn.ca. Gainey takes over.

    Just what the Oilers need before playing the habs tomorrow night is a team with a big time wake up call.

  180. DBO says:

    So if the Habs can fire Carbonneau with all the injuries they have faced and he sill has them in a better position then the Oil. Why the hell can’t we fire Mact for inconsistent play and shitting the bed on a number of occasions.

  181. dubya says:

    Wanna bet Carbo has made less bizarre decisions than MacT this year?

    Along that line, Penner is likely to be a healthy scratch tomorrow.

  182. Bruce says:

    I’d like to see a full, healthy season from him in his proper position at 3RW before I make final judgment.

    I’d like to see a full, healthy season from either 18 vor 34, period. What really sucks is that at any given time we’re paying ~$4.5 MM for One of them.

  183. mc79hockey says:

    Yeah, the Penner interview is awesome.

    “I guess you’re in a position now where all you can do is play your way out of it?”

    Great question Stauffer.

  184. Dennis says:

    I was emailing with Staples about this today but, IMO, things could be even worse for 27. All it would take is for someone to write about 94′s comeback season and then it would be over for 27.

    Personally, I just wish that MacT would look at 27′s salary as a sunk cost and just try and get the most out of him as long as he’s an Oiler. The best move for the Oilers would be to just put that 27-10-83 line back together and run them PVP. That’s worked far more than it hasn’t and then you run from there. Then at the end of the season, if you don’t feel he’s worth the money, you go and make that known and then you try and move him. Or you suggest it.

    But, no, MacT feels like his personal mission vs 27 can be ran in-season without it making an impact on the team.

    Anyway, if you thing things are crazy now, just wait until 18 gets back and we have even More forward options.

    Oh, and Patrick O’Sullivan?

    Anytime you’re ready, bud.

  185. Mr DeBakey says:

    I’d like to see a full, healthy season from either 18 vor 34

    Its worse than that
    After the Cup run
    Pisani, Moreau, Stoll, Torres & Staios
    were all signed to be the veteran core around which there would be the unannounced re-build.

    In the next two seasons,
    how many games did all 5 dress?
    How about 4 of the 5?

  186. Dennis says:

    34 is as humble as fuck and doesn’t take stupid penalties.

    He’s a lot easier to like.

  187. Sean says:

    What does Penner say around the 1 minute mark in that interview? “..same ole Edmonflow”?

  188. DBO says:

    Jonathan Willis put this link in his comments section about how players do with and without penner. Damn. Please send this to mact
    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/200809players/player0604.php

  189. Coach pb9617 says:

    New audio up on the Oilers site.

    Listen to the coach in the interview. Guess who was behind that 2nd for Kotalik?

  190. DBO says:

    coach: too lazy to check. hemsky or Mact?

  191. Bruce says:

    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.

    And MacT is fucking benching him? That is unfuckinbelievable.

  192. Coach pb9617 says:

    coach: too lazy to check. hemsky or Mact?

    The coach.

  193. pboy says:

    “I don’t want to get into it too much with Dustin,” MacTavish said. “We’re at a critical time and we can’t wait for players’ games to round into shape. We need guys to perform.”

    How many points have the Oilers pissed away this season by having Gagner play the hard and not producing (and I get that the kid’s 19 years old and he’s been more than a little unlucky and I’m also a big believer in his future, so don’t bother explaining all that to me) and letting Cogliano get eaten alive in the dot? So for those guys, it’s on the job training but for Penner who has been much more productive, we just can’t wait for him “to round into shape”. Please explain to me why Oiler fans shouldn’t call out Craig MacTavish as a huge fucking hypocrite? Maybe if the head coach of this team did have his head up his ass for most of the season, all of these points at the end of the season wouldn’t be so absolutely critical. Points at the beginning of the season count the same as the ones during the stretch drive.

  194. Unleaded says:

    I was interested in looking at the numbers for the Players Bruce mentions earlier, and actually adjusting them for Defensive Zone Draws.

    If we assume that there is a direct correlation between Own-zone draws taken, and Goals against (which we know doesn’t exist, but for the sake of playing with numbers, let’s assume there likely is SOME correlation) we can adjust the GAON for the ratio of O-Zone Draws and D-Zone Draws.

    Assuming that each player takes the same number of O-Zone and D-Zone draws, the numbers look like this:

    Nilsson****3.17
    Cogliano***3.08
    Pouliot****3.02
    Gagner*****2.63
    Penner*****2.54
    Hemsky*****2.29
    Moreau*****2.18
    Horcoff****1.43
    Brodziak***1.19

    Granted, these numbers are not fully accurate, but they are definitely interesting. I think they support a lot of the impressions many of us have had about where the arrows are pointing for most of the young guys we are giving at-bats to.

  195. DBO says:

    really MacT?

  196. DBO says:

    Are you this stubborn? this pig headed? Come on KLowe, pull a Gainey

  197. relic says:

    The Hemsky GF in that chart is so pronounced it’s shocking.

  198. DBO says:

    I just want to cheer for this team and not get frustrated. Not yell at the TV and scare my wife. Not shake my head constantly when faced with MacT’s odd choices. how is Columbus doing?

  199. Unleaded says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=270525&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_nhl

    So, if Carboneau gets fired, where does that leave Craig?

  200. Doogie2K says:

    Wanna bet Carbo has made less bizarre decisions than MacT this year?

    From what I’ve seen so far, that’s a yes. Basically, it seems to me that Carbo was killed by injuries, Kovalev, and a lack of a PP point option, and at most, I’d say he had control over one of those things. Shame, I thought he had learned a lot in his time there and was making strides.

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