Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

This is Ales Kotalik a couple of years ago in that beauty Sabres jersey from the French connection era. Kotalik has been moved off the top line according to this report which came about because of this article. If you’re too lazy to read what Willis & Ireland wrote, allow me to quote from the Joanne Ireland article:

Liam Reddox, scratched the last two games, was skating with Andrew Cogliano and Fernando Pisani on Sunday, bumping Marc Pouliot out of the top 12. Ethan Moreau was with Kyle Brodziak and Dustin Penner, while Patrick O’Sullivan practised on the top line with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. Ales Kotalik, Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson rounded out the trios.

Jonathan did a really nice job breaking down the pro’s and con’s of each line and there are some nice quotes from Sam Gagner in the Ireland piece. I’m not going to comment too much about the lines except to say there are things to like about all of them. For instance, if Gagner (who’s doing well lately) can help form a scoring line from Nilsson & Kotalik that offers all kinds of options for the rest of the roster.

I think the keys remain special teams (which we’ve beaten to death) and goaltending (which they’ve beaten to death by playing Roloson). As a fan, I’d like to see Marc Pouliot among the top 4 lines but it’s also understandable that if your front office trades for Kotalik you’re going to try and find him a place to play and flourish. I also think Zack Stortini takes a hit here but should draw back in (likely for Reddox) later in the week.

Mostly, I’m just happy that these lines make sense. Much of the season has been a mystery and I’m a little worried they’ll roll out some nonsense for the penalty kill tomorrow night. I’m also concerned that Ladislav Smid hasn’t been on the ice for a few days and that some of the teams below the Oilers in the standings refuse to cool off.

The bottom line is that none of this matters if they don’t win the game. And soon we’ll be adding two words to that sentence: in regulation.

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63 Responses to "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On"

  1. mc79hockey says:

    Roli sits against Chicago. You read it here first.

  2. HBomb says:

    mc79: Ya think? That’s guaranteed loss night.

    And it’s a PPV game – over/under on the residential buy-rate for that one is set at eight houses. And I’m taking the “under”.

  3. shepso says:

    LT, I’m the first to admit that the Poo is not my favorite player by any stretch of my imagination, but why on earth is he not in the lineup? That 12-89-78 combo sure looked pretty freakin amazing in Montreal, really the best line by leaps and bounds! AK has stated that he plays both wings, unlike Cole who had an outright preference for the RW slot. I get that the new guy needs to go somewhere, but really, the 3LW spot flanking 13-34 looks a whole lot better than the 2RW in my world. I hope this experiment works…
    I’m not gonna lie, I miss Stortini in there, a lot. He makes much more sense than 85 at this point in the season, but hey, if it works, sweet.

    mc79: Really? I kinda hope so too, but it’s really hard to give the old man a night off at such a critical juncture. It’s gonna be a rough couple weeks.

  4. Icecastles says:

    Shameless plug unrelated to the thread: I started a blog that everyone is welcome to take a look at called Hockeytecture. It’s kind of half about architecture school and half about the Oilers, which seems like a perfect fit in my overworked little brain. There is only one post up so far.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Icecastles: Cool. I’ll link it in the next couple of days (I have to do Gospel of Hockey and a couple of others too). btw, does your love shine like a diamond mine? :-)

    shepso: MacT (I suspect) thinks that line will put up more offense without giving up too much more going the other way.

    Having said that, I doubt they would consider HSing Kotalik.

    Yet.

  6. Scott says:

    I think Kotalik is the major monkey wrench in all of this. They traded for the guy and want to see him succeed. Putting him in soft minutes with the team’s hottest offensive player is a good place to see some of that success. I hope he works out there. I imagine Pouliot will draw in for Reddox (and maybe even take draws on Cogliano’s line) which would give them a stronger role (more defensive, but with some punch). Stortini looks pretty screwed to me unless the Oilers look “soft” some night. He’s probably out until we get to the Calgary/Vancouver/Minnesota games and even then they might (foolishly) dress MacIntyre instead.

  7. Traktor says:

    Cogs: 2nd highest goal scoring forward on the team.

    Reddex + Pisani: 11 assists in 65 games.

  8. Traktor says:

    *Reddox

  9. Icecastles says:

    Thanks, LT!

    This new line combination seems sound, but then again so many others have. I know that MacT is far from the only coach who keeps a blender in his back pocket, but it seems like there just isn’t enough of a chance for these units to gel and get used to playing to gether, hense, to find out if the new line is going to work or not.

    Even Horcoff sounded a little flummoxed by yet another total changeup – and he’s not one to leak signs of frustration to the press.

  10. Bruce says:

    Cogs: 2nd highest goal scoring forward on the team.

    Unless you’re measuring per unit ice time. Get this:

    Goals/60 (40+ GP)
    ———————–
    1.22 Hemsky
    0.90 Stortini
    0.84 Penner
    0.84 Cogliano
    0.83 Moreau
    0.77 Pouliot
    0.74 Brodziak
    0.66 O’Sullivan
    0.64 Reddox
    0.53 Horcoff
    0.45 Nilsson
    0.44 Gagner
    0.41 Kotalik

    Stortini looks pretty screwed to me unless the Oilers look “soft” some night.

    Which begs the question: WHY??!!

    MacT has lost me with this one.

  11. Coach pb9617 says:

    LT, I’m the first to admit that the Poo is not my favorite player by any stretch of my imagination, but why on earth is he not in the lineup? That 12-89-78 combo sure looked pretty freakin amazing in Montreal, really the best line by leaps and bounds!

    If you look at the last few entries and discussion at Gospel Of Hockey you can make a really good case for Pouliot not only staying in the lineup but deserving a MUCH bigger role on special teams.

    Which begs the question: WHY??!!

    That’s raising, not begging, the question.

    Unless you’re measuring per unit ice time. Get this:

    But if you’re measuring outchancing, Cogliano is 5th on the team, pulling the worst player on the team (Moreau) around the ice.

  12. Traktor says:

    Has Kotalik even been used on the point yet?

    Please tell me that MacT is playing him on the point.

  13. Ribs says:

    I’d like Poo and Storts in the lineup every night but I can see why they get replaced. Bodies need to get into games before someone gets injured and we try to head into the playoffs with guys who have been sitting forever.

    I’ve heard this cry for Kotalik on the PP since he got hear and I keep wondering to myself…Don’t we already have a shooter on the PP? I guess you could give him second unit time back there but I haven’t seen anything to suggest that any one of the defensemen on the PP are not doing their jobs effectively. It seems the forwards are the ones not getting pucks to the net.

  14. bookie says:

    I’ve heard this cry for Kotalik on the PP since he got hear and I keep wondering to myself…Don’t we already have a shooter on the PP? I

    The tricky thing is that most of the rest of the league know about our secret shooter from the point and have made our powerplay look pathetic by putting a pylon in front of him.

    Kotalik could either be a second shooter or a shooter on a second unit. If you watch his goal highlights, he scores pretty much all of his goals on the same type of set up (one timer from low point).

    Traktor – he played one or two shifts there, but didn’t score a goal so MacT felt like it was time to change things up!

    Speaking of which, I refuse to comment on the makeup of lines because those line combos will last about 6 minutes into the first period after which MacT will decide that line 2 needs more speed and line 1 needs more size and …. I think the best thing that could happen is if MacT only coached outside of gameday.

  15. Bruce says:

    //Which begs the question: WHY??!!//

    That’s raising, not begging, the question.

    Coach: Just answer the damn question. :)

  16. HBomb says:

    I don’t know what’s more frustrating:

    - Pouliot getting HS’d after a good run of games.

    - Penner still stuck on line four.

    - The fact that I cannot get the lid off my martini shaker, after it was jammed on too hard by an over-zealous party guest on Saturday night.

  17. HBomb says:

    Great success. Martini shaker is apart. Life is once again worth living.

  18. knighttown says:

    Has Kotalik even been used on the point yet?

    He’s been playing second power play, left point, just as you’d expect.

    You know how sometimes the second power play looks more dangerous than the first because they simplify things? Yeah, that is so not the case in Edmonton where the second PP is a shitstorm of shitacular proportions.

    Special teams GF/GA over the past few weeks?

    3GF/16GA

  19. knighttown says:

    Great success. Martini shaker is apart. Life is once again worth living.

    Penner’s still stuck on line 4…/life.

  20. HBomb says:

    knighttown: At least I can drown my sorrows watching Penner get pigeon-holed.

    Thing is, when that 4th line gets busted up, it will be Moreau moving up with Cogliano and Pisani, not Penner. Which means the ratio of vodka to other stuff in said martinis will double….

  21. Black Dog says:

    Hbomb – good thing, we were going to send in the troops ;)

    Hmm, lots of nudity in this Forgetting Sarah Marshall movie.

    But so far, I would not call this “good nudity”.

    Its bad. Harvey Keitel Bad!

  22. Coach pb9617 says:

    Thing is, when that 4th line gets busted up, it will be Moreau moving up with Cogliano and Pisani, not Penner. Which means the ratio of vodka to other stuff in said martinis will double….

    By Dennis’ scoring chances metric, Moreau is the worst player on the team.

    Not worst forward, worst player.

  23. Black Dog says:

    They’re blowing this season. Even with the personnel that MacT has been given they should be eight points better. I have no doubt that this is the case.

    I’ve come around to Bruce’s line of thinking.

    I am sad.

    Somebody.

    Hold.

    Me.

  24. knighttown says:

    So a few weeks ago I did a post that dispelled the myth that the Oilers were inconsistent, at least inconsistent the way it is commonly described on here as "The Oilers can beat a great team one night and then lose to the dregs 2 nights later."

    At the time, over the course of the study the Oilers winning percentage versus teams "better" or "worse" then them in straight wins & losses was:

    85% vs. worse
    27% vs. better

    The theory went that if the Oilers kept holding serve and beating up on the dregs they'd earn 95 points and qualify for the playoffs. Easily.

    Well, the last two weeks no go so well and NOW if the Oilers hold serve they'll end up with 89 points. Mirtle seems to be leaning toward 88 points as the cutoff now so the Oilers are still in incredible position but, By the Power of Greyskull, this team needs to win some of these soft games! Most other season, you go 1-5 over six games against bottom feeders and you can blow out the candles but this season is different.

  25. Traktor says:

    I was just looking around on behindthenet and now I’m wondering why Potulny didn’t get more of a look?

    Potulny QC: 0.09
    Reddox: -0.05

    Potulny PTS/60: 2.15
    Reddox: 1.27

    Potulny GFON/60: 2.87
    Reddox: 2.22

    Potulny GAON/60: 1.43
    Reddox: 2.86

    Potulny Differential: +1.44
    Reddox: -.64

    Potulny Corsi: -0.7
    Reddox: -20.3

  26. Alice says:

    Traktor,

    Those Are decent specs – is the sample size worthwhile though, or is this the numbers equivalent of ‘saw him good’?

  27. Phil says:

    In light of Atlanta, the #26 overall team in the league, winning it’s 6th straight game tonight, here are some fun and useless facts to brighten everyone’s day. These pertain to the regular season.

    Last time the Oilers won 6 in a row: March 2002.

    Number of 5 game winning streaks since the lockout: 3

    Last time the Oilers won 5 in a row: November 2006.

    Number of 5+ game losing streaks since the lockout: 6* (2x 5 gamers, 2x 6 gamers, 1x 7 gamer, and 1x 12 gamer!)

    *losing streaks include 1 point losses.

  28. Lowetide says:

    We’re flowing along pretty well at EVs, right?

  29. raventalon40 says:

    More time for Peckham, I ‘spose. I think O’Sullivan, one of the leading shot-takers, will find a home next to Ales Hemsky.

  30. HBomb says:

    BDHS: Forgetting Sarah Marshall was funny, but the fact we saw Segel’s wang in it made me decide to never buy or rent said DVD.

    It’s the opposite of that “Good Luck Chuck” flick – terrible movie, but plenty of naked boobs in it.

    And I was about ready to use explosives to get that damn martini shaker apart. Seriously.

  31. Traktor says:

    “We’re flowing along pretty well at EVs, right?”

    Not good enough to make up for our ST.

  32. Coach pb9617 says:

    Traktor, add to that Potulny, @ ES by Dennis’ metric:

    +Chances: 30
    -Chances: 24

    +Chances/15mins: 5.37
    -Chances/15mins: 4.3

    +1.07

    Small sample size, but he did well, very well, in his eight games.

    There are guys that have solid and positive underliers. And the more underliers that are put together, the more those guys point in the right direction. I think there are coaches that know about them and use them, and maybe a few organizations, but until the Oilers find one, we’re subjected to players that look like they try and players that the coach is comfortable with.

  33. Traktor says:

    Alice:

    Potulny’s sample size too small to vouch for.

    On the other hand we know exactly what we have with Reddox.

  34. HBomb says:

    Let’s just hope Potulny isn’t soon compared to Jan Hejda and Curtis Glencross.

  35. Coach pb9617 says:

    We’re flowing along pretty well at EVs, right?

    Except for Moreau, Pisani, Reddox and Hemsky since his separation from Penner.

  36. Dennis says:

    After saying the guy wasn’t gritty enough as a bottom sixer, 78 got a shot up top and showed a nice mesh with 89. But he still ends up being yanked because 85 skates fast for a small guy and the Oilers spent a 2nd rounder on Kotalik.

    That move really didn’t make sense considering we’d lost our best D and we’re thin on the blue plus we had 69 forwards up front. And this isn’t revisionist history from me because I looked at his numbers on that day and proclaimed him a 20 goal scorer who doesn’t do it against top opp.

    And now that move looks bad because it seems like 5 might have been playing with a concussion – MAcT mentioned a stiff neck but I think that’s a cover – and now it’s both 43-49 playing every day.

    And you’ll shake the lines like one of HB’s drinking trinkets but you won’t go back to six forwards on the PK.

    I’m ready for change whether we make the playoffs not.

  37. Dennis says:

    Pat: I really liked that movie. It’s not like I’m Harvey Milk;) but if I could handle a make-out scene between Franco and Penn, a couple of dong shots won’t bother me:)

    BTW, when I was younger and watching CBC-French, an early dong shot meant there would be muff galore! It was an excellent trade-off and I was disappointed that we didn’t get some Kunis later on.

    Still, a funny movie and it made me remember how much I missed Segal and Freeks and Geeks.

  38. Bruce says:

    Yeah, that is so not the case in Edmonton where the second PP is a shitstorm of shitacular proportions.

    Here’s the funny thing. For lack of a better definition, I would consider Hemsky’s unit to be the first unit, and any unit sans Hemsky to be the second. So here’s Hemsky’s stats 5v4 according to BtN:

    GF ON/60: 5.32
    GF OFF/60: 5.66

    Hemsky has been slumping badly of late, especially on the PP which has scored 1 goal with him on the ice in the past 12 games (Horcoff’s 5v3 goal against Atlanta).

    By the way, last year when our second unit really did suck donkey’s balls, here were Hemsky’s splits 5v4:

    GF ON/60: 7.90
    GA OFF/60: 2.81

    As went Ales, so went the PP. But this year, while the non-Hemsky unit has increased its production by +2.8 PPG/60, Hemsky’s own unit has fallen by -2.6 to pretty much negate those gains.

  39. HBomb says:

    That move really didn’t make sense considering we’d lost our best D and we’re thin on the blue plus we had 69 forwards up front.

    I don’t know if it’s as many as 69 forwards, but there certainly is something fishy about that move, I’d agree.

  40. Jonathan Willis says:

    We’re flowing along pretty well at EVs, right?

    27 goals for, 19 goals against over the last ten.

    The special teams have obscured some otherwise solid perfromances.

  41. Coach pb9617 says:

    Hemsky has been slumping badly of late, especially on the PP

    Because Penner was removed.

    which has scored 1 goal with him on the ice in the past 12 games (Horcoff’s 5v3 goal against Atlanta).

    With Penner on the ice…

  42. Coach pb9617 says:

    We all knew that 12-89-78 wasn’t long for it because that line consists of a whipping boy and a guy that the coach wants to make a 3rd line center, even though he won’t play him at center.

    It’s completely non-sensical and maddening, but 21 can’t get the scratch, no matter how much he deserves it because they just gassed a second rounder for him. They could have had Satan for free or even Vaananen for freaking free, but spent big on a guy that sucks at ES and is a point man on the powerplay.

    Even though Moreau is the worst forward on the team, he’s not taking a HS because he’s THE CAPTAIN and BFF with the coach.

    It leaves five guys:

    Penner – the most consistent forward on the team but the most hated by the coach. Not Souray, apparently.

    Pouliot – the should be third line center that the coach won’t use there.

    Nilsson – a forward with surprisingly good underliers but, like Penner, is a whipping boy.

    Stortini – a plugger, who according to Bruce would be a 60 point man if he had more TOI

    Reddox – the numbers are horrible, but the coach isn’t a numbers guy, and little Reddox has more try that Sisyphus.

    So Reddox will get his shots, undeserved, and guys that deserve TOI will see the box. It’s how it goes, even if it means breaking up a very productive line. Maybe the coach thinks that Gagner is carrying the line and can carry anyone with him if he gets soft minutes.

    The one thing that we can be sure of – ain’t no one happier than Cogliano to be free of that anchor wearing number eighteen.

  43. Ribs says:

    Coach ♥ Penner

  44. eidy says:

    has anyone looked at how forwards that came in under mact did before and after they left. if seems to me that he has done ok managing the kids, but can’t get the vets they brought in too excel (with the exception of glencross and the run of 2006).

    It seems to me that a lot of forwards have come in and never excelled with “the system”. seems to me if its not everyone else…..

  45. Alice says:

    This Penner fellow – sounds like he could round into a nice 4th-liner, given half a chance. Let’s Hope he gets invited to TC and has another chance to show his stuff!!

    IIRC, we (Cogs?) won a little streak of OT games last March. Took a while, but getting our Reversion to the Mean

  46. Scott says:

    Last time the Oilers won 5 in a row: November 2006.

    Seven in a row in May of 2006!

    And now that move looks bad because it seems like 5 might have been playing with a concussion – MAcT mentioned a stiff neck but I think that’s a cover – and now it’s both 43-49 playing every day.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Smid was playing with a concussion that they failed to diagnose properly and are now covering their tracks. Idiots.

    That said, it’s not a HUGE step down from Smid to Peckham I don’t think. Peckham is worse for sure, but I doubt it costs us much as Smid makes his share of mistakes as well.

  47. Bruce says:

    Eidy: GlenX was a rookie last year.

    Stortini – a plugger, who according to Bruce would be a 60 point man if he had more TOI

    Coach: Not 60 points, but at 2008-09 production rates, Zorg would score around 15-15-30 in a full season of 12:00 TOI all at EV. Or 10-10-20 at 8:00 per. Or 0-0-0 from the fucking press box.

    “It’s such a take-from-Peter-to-pay-Paul scenario, where you lose physical play to get a little bit of skill and lose physical play and get playmaking ability. It’s not ideal, but we’re still hoping we can mould something. We have a lot of bodies here.
    – Craig MacTavish

    But what’s the point of losing physical play and losing offence? Over his last 15 games Stortini is 3-4-7, +2 in under 135 minutes of EV TOI (9 minutes per). That’s north of 3.1 points per 60, for goodness sake. [Team leader = Hemsky = 2.20]

    Sure it’s a small sample size, but 15 games isn’t that small. Zack has been scoring, and pretty darn regularly. When you factor in all the other things, hits + fights + discipline + consistency + enthusiasm, it should be a no-brainer. It’s a worse team without him.

  48. Jonathan Willis says:

    Nilsson – a forward with surprisingly good underliers but, like Penner, is a whipping boy.

    I know you’re engaging in hyperbole, Coach, but Nilsson’s underlying numbers aren’t that nice – only one Oilers is less effective than Ales Kotalik at scoring even-strength points this season, and it’s Robert Nilsson.

  49. DBO says:

    FYI on the PP units. gregor’s show mentioned some changes.
    1st PP:
    Gagner, Penner, Hemsky, Greb and Souray
    2nd PP;
    Horcoff, O’Sullivan, Nilsson, with Kotalik and Gilbert on the point.

    As to the 4 lines. i like them for the most part, although why you wouldn’t just play Penner with Cogs and Pisani, and pouliot on the 4th makes me shake my head. Give Cogliano a winger with some skill (who can also take some facoffs if needed) and allow them to play a solid two way game and outperform big time. Then allow the 4th line to essentially be a shutdown line for tough faceoffs in their own zone (especially with Pouliot there, you wouldn’t need to double shift horcoff for every own zone draw, since both pouliot and brodziak can win a faceoff)

  50. DBO says:

    And just looking at the PP units, but does anyone else think those would make two solid EV strength lines? Ride gagner now and give him a shot on the top line, and play Horcoff in a lesser role to save him from dying from exhasution, while giving him two good players (o’Sullivan the trigger, and nilsson as hemsky lite).

  51. Coach pb9617 says:

    I know you’re engaging in hyperbole, Coach, but Nilsson’s underlying numbers aren’t that nice – only one Oilers is less effective than Ales Kotalik at scoring even-strength points this season, and it’s Robert Nilsson.

    His CORSI is marginally better than Cogliano and Pouliot with similar qualcomp, but better teammates. His CORSI is miles ahead of Moreau, Brodziak, Stortini and Reddox. He’s drawn even in the outscore department. He’s one of only four forwards with his head above water in the scoring chances department. As of last week is Dzone – Ozone was -42, which means only Cogliano and Gagner are protected nearly as much, but things aren’t all bad under the hood. He worked really well with Cole this year and about 2/3 as well without Cole. Cole was actually worse without Nilsson. Give him a chance to find another linemate or line.

    I really wouldn’t mind a 12-19-21 line to play soft minutes actually.

  52. Phil says:

    Seven in a row in May of 2006!

    I did say the streaks were for regular season. But you’re right Scott.

  53. slipper says:

    Not 60 points, but at 2008-09 production rates, Zorg would score around 15-15-30 in a full season of 12:00 TOI all at EV

    I’m pretty sure that you, Bruce, as much as anyone, knows that it just doesn’t work this way.

  54. slipper says:

    Let’s not ignore that Stortini has allowed 3.40 goals against per sixty (worst amongst any forward who has played more than 20 games) and negative 20 shots per hour (2nd worst) while playing the most soft and sheltered possible seven and half minutes a game.

    If his ice-time were increased that would broaden the strength of oppostion he faced which in all likelihood would drive down his point production (which is already inflated when you look at that atrocious Corsi or consider that the shooting % when he’s on the ice is the highest amongst any regular on the team at 12.7%) while giving him worse underlying results (yeah, I know, it’s hard to imagine worse!).

  55. hunter1909 says:

    Penner is like most giant sized players – they have a tendency to look lazy due to their slightly slower body mechanics. Meanwhile they take three strides and are as far down the ice as the Coglianos who take twice as many strides. So much of it’s in the perception.

    Penner is a highly intelligent guy. You can tell by the expression on his face. Another strike against him, probably.

    I think Oilers make 7th or 8th. I said it in January, and I say it now.

    That’s one of the perks of being insane, btw. The ability to hold a semi-rational thought despite outside pressure.

  56. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – agreed on the CBC French, back in the day boy you’d take it however you could

    Definitely enjoying the movie – I have it PVR’d so catching it a bit at a time, in between herding the little ones here and there

    Mila Kunis is sweet indeed.

    Big fan of most of the movies by this crew – 40 Year Old Virgin was the first and best but I’ve enjoyed the rest as well, except for the first half of Superbad, which lived up to its title.

    They’re prolific and that’s great. Keep churning them out.

    I forgot they did Freaks and geeks. Undeclared also had some good moments before it got cancelled.

    Anything that gives Carla Gallo screen time is ok by me. ;)

  57. Bruce says:

    I’m pretty sure that you, Bruce, as much as anyone, knows that it just doesn’t work this way.

    Slipper, I do know that, which is why I said “at 2008-09 rates” and why I also gave alternate production for 8 minutes a game, which is actually what he plays. Indeed he is halfway to 10-10-20 in about half a season of GP. Which isn’t half bad, especially when compared to the even-strngth production rates of the likes of Reddox, Nilsson and Kotalik.

    Let’s not ignore that Stortini has allowed 3.40 goals against per sixty (worst amongst any forward who has played more than 20 games) and negative 20 shots per hour (2nd worst) while playing the most soft and sheltered possible seven and half minutes a game.

    OK, let’s not ignore that, let’s address that. Firstly, let’s agree that some of it on both sides of the equation is luck, wide variations in percentages based on small number statistics.

    1) On the defensive side of the puck, that includes 3 minuses charged to Stortini on bad line changes. Most recently that occurred in Montreal when with Montreal in full possession of the puck at the red line, Pouliot inexplicably abandoned his post and glided all the way over for a far side change. By the time Stortini got over the boards the puck was in the zone and on its way to the net, with the goal scorer cruising unmolested up Pouliot oops make that Stortini’s wing. A 3-second shift, and he hasn’t played since.

    2) I’m much more interested in goal differential than shot differential. The same thing was said last year about the Crosstiniaks and “unsustainable” high shooting percentages, yet there it is again this year. In the absence of the grievously-missed GlenX, the duo of Brodziak and Stortini have started in their own zone 72 times, in the OZone just 43. They’ve been outshot 102-69, yet somehow they have managed to outscore the bad guys 11-7 with a Sh% ON of 15.9%. To me some of it is a style thing, they try to take the puck right to the goal mouth, generating very few shots but the ones they do get are dangerous cuz they tend to be right in tight to the crease with all sorts of traffic and commotion in the area.

    3) Finally, the “sheltered” ice time is a double-edged sword. Stortini has both the lowest QualComp (-0.11) and lowest QualTeam (-0.23) on the squad, and it’s hard to disentabgle the two. It’s not like he’s playing with Visnovsky and Horcoff against the dregs. He’s played more with Strudwick and Staios than any other defenceman, more with Brodziak, Pouliot, Reddox and Moreau (and Strudwick) than any other forward. For this reason one shouldn’t project production rates from a small-minutes fourth liner to a larger role, as you correctly point out. But you sure as hell can project it from a part-time role to a full-time role.

  58. Dennis says:

    Pat: Speaking of Undeclared, the guy who played LLoyd is now the lead in my favorite new show from the past while, Sons Of Anarchy.

    Not sure how much you’re into – or if you have the time for – episodic TV but it’s a series developed by Kurt Sutter: the guy who was second in command on The Shield.

    Check it out if you have time and you won’t be disappointed. All eps are available on ovtvguide.com if you shag around and try out out all the links.

    To finish on TV and Carla Gallo, she played a stripper in Carnivale, that was a HBO show that lasted two seasons and was pretty dense but was a favourite of mine.

    The show was outstanding and she goes full frontal.

  59. Dennis says:

    BTW, in regards to 78 and third line or secondary tough min pivots, I think those days are just about over in Edm.

    I imagine 13′s gonna wind up on 89′s RW and by the time both of them are really getting paid, those guys and 10′s line will be taking on the other teams top two lines and our bottom six will be guys who, hopefully, can kill penalties and win draws and are cost-effective and can hold close to serve.

    I know I’ve got a little bit of work to do on sussing out the scoring chance metric but by looking at the first year, it doesn’t make sense to pay guys like 18-34 in a tough min role. The teams who are most successful will have their highest paid players playing the other teams and then you either hope guys like 18-34 take big cuts in their next contract or you fill their spots with kids on entry level or AHL vets.

  60. Bruce says:

    our bottom six will be guys who, hopefully, can kill penalties and win draws and are cost-effective and can hold close to serve.

    Dennis: Sounds to me like you’re describing 78!

    Like you, I am incredulous that MacT has not used Poo in the PK role this season. He certainly can’t use the “If it ain’t broke” defence. One thing you and I are in complete agreement on is using 6 regulars on the PK with a 7th in reserve for those not-so-rare occasions that one of the 6 is in the box. (That would be you, Ethan, or you, Fernando.) Stretch it out in the up-ice pressure. Rather than changing all four guys every time you ice the puck, change one F on the way up the ice and the other on the way back after he’s chased the other guys around their end for awhile. But show a little more energy; both of our special teams units are far too static for my liking.

  61. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – yeah I’m aware of Carnivale and will definitely take a gander, I saw an episode or two and liked what I saw.

    Will keep an eye out for Sons of Anarchy. Jenn and I dig on good TV when we can find it and with the kids getting older and the baby sleeping through the night we’re getting to the point where we can actually watch a little.

    As for non Carla Gallo topics ;) it was the salary cap guy who talked about slotting guys and I think once the contracts for 18, 24 and 34 get moved/expire then we will see the last of those type deals. Of course Staios was a top four D when he got his deal and seems to have just suddenly stepped off the cliff. For that matter I think all three were statement deals, the Oilers let so many guys go over the years that keeping three veteran guys was in many ways showing the fans that those days were over.

    Didn’t hurt that they were all useful players at the time. I would bet that Fernando would have outperformed it if he had stayed healthy but sometimes so it goes. One more year and then hopefully he will be willing to take a cut and finish his career as an Oiler. It would be good to see.

  62. Dennis says:

    Bruce: Yes, 78 killed penalties in ’07 and then it was pretty much forgot about. Not sure if he did it much in ’08 but it doesn’t come to mind.

    But, you know, just like that, any PK experience he had was glossed over or forgotten about. Same thing goes for the way we used to kill penalties: six forwards and all kinds of pressure. I’m an Avery fan so I’ve been watching NYR since he came back and they use six forwards and it’s fun to watch. They are aggressive because they are using the legpower to do so.

    The fact that MacT won’t change back to what used to work is one of the reasons I’ve quit on him.

    Pat: Carnivale has a lot of back story – not sure if the HBO forums are still up but they used to fill in the spaces for me – but it’s really rewarding once you buy in. And Sons Of Anarchy has something for everyone. You’ve got comraderie and violence for the males, some guys for the ladyfriend to look at and overall, the characters round out by season’s end and the story arcs are quite satisfying.

  63. Black Dog says:

    I’ll check them out Dennis.

    Yeah I don’t get the whole PK. Its almost as if he’s having a snit because he lost Marty and Stoll, but a season long snit at that. This is one thing the club has done well as long as I can remember and yet here we are and there’s no shotblocking, no pressure downice, as you said, weird use of personnel again.

    I just don’t get it unless Buchberger has been put in charge but why then wouldn’t MacT step in.

    I don’t get it.

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