Wings at Oilers, G73/08-09

The Detroit Red Wings have a wonderful history, certainly the finest and richest among American hockey clubs.

Detroit has known Stanley a bunch of times, and although there was a long time between drinks the team has been “in the range” for the championship for over a decade now.

Detroit’s Stanleys came in 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008.

That’s 11.

Gordie Howe was on the 1950 team, and also played for the 1952, 1954 and 1955 team. The Wings were also in the SC finals a few times. Quite a few times: 1934, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1956, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966 and 1995.

That’s 12.

The Red Wings have done well since expansion. If they win a pennant, Detroit is probably going to win the Stanley (80% of the time) and their fanbase has enjoyed a ridiculous run since the mid-90s.

Here are the pennants winners (finalists in each conference) since the 1967 expansion:

  1. Montreal (11): ’68, ’69, ’71, ’73, ’76-’79, ’86, ’89, ’93
  2. Boston (7): ’70, ’72, ’74, ’77, ’78, ’88, ’90
  3. Edmonton (7): ’83, ’84, ’85, ’87, ’88, ’90, ’06
  4. Philadephia (7): ’74, ’75, ’76, ’80, ’85, ’87, ’97
  5. Detroit (5): ’95, ’97, ’98, ’02, ’08
  6. New York Islanders (5): ’80, ’81, ’82, ’83, ’84
  7. Dallas (4): ’81, ’91, ’99, ’00
  8. New Jersey (4): ’95, ’00, ’01, ’03
  9. Calgary (3): ’86, ’89, ’04
  10. Chicago (3): ’71, ’73, ’92
  11. New York Rangers (3): ’72, ’79, ’94
  12. Pittsburgh (3): ’91, ’92, ’08
  13. St. Louis (3): ’68, ’69, ’70
  14. Anaheim (2): ’03, ’07
  15. Buffalo (2): ’75, ’99
  16. Carolina (2): ’02, ’06
  17. Colorado (2): ’96, ’01
  18. Vancouver (2): ’82, ’94
  19. Florida (1): ’96
  20. Los Angeles (1): ’93
  21. Ottawa (1): ’07
  22. Tampa Bay (1): ’04
  23. Washington (1): ’98
  24. Atlanta
  25. Columbus
  26. Minnesota
  27. Nashville
  28. Phoenix
  29. San Jose
  30. Toronto

My guess is that Boston wins their first pennant in almost 20 years and that San Jose wins their first. We’ll see.

Detroit’s goaltending was poor last night in Calgary but they made it close late. They have supreme talent up front and a very nice blue, and tonight’s game is very likely an L for the Oilers. If they do win, it would be a major blow to the team’s chasing Edmonton for the final playoff spot.

And it might just be a preview of RD1 of the NHL’s playoffs, spring 2009.

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302 Responses to "Wings at Oilers, G73/08-09"

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  1. Icecastles says:

    Hopefully Detroit is a bit tired from the Calgary match, but I suspect that’s a lot of wishful thinking on my part.

    From interview yesterday:
    Interviewer; “You said Roli is a warrior. Can you expand on that for me?”
    MacT: “He’s a battler.”

    For all his shortcomings, there is no coach in the league who is more fun in an interview. If he goes in the summer, I will really miss his one-liners and stories. Also in the interview high praise for Penner in the Minnesota game. Nice to hear, and it sounds like the coach has started to have some genuine confidence in his team again.

  2. Schitzo says:

    Ooohhhh… MacT is so fired now.

    “I’m just trying to do exactly what they want. I’m becoming a checker,” Hemsky said with obvious displeasure after Monday’s practice.

    As per the Journal

  3. oilerdago says:

    Schitzo: I still don’t see Lowe leaning on MacT to fire him, but I do see MacT “resigning” and being given a different role in the org. Call it an “face saving option”.

    The last 10 games were already going to be interesting to watch, now I’d say even moreso.

    Regardless of the chatter, the Oil need to find a way to win tonite. Just win the darn game guys.

  4. Yeti says:

    I think if MacT were to resign he would look to coach elsewhere.

    Hemsky’s comments to the press made him sound like a real whiner. I know that Dan Barnes tried to soften the interpretation, but, wow, those comments were ill-timed given Hemsky’s poor run of form and the need for the team to pull together.

  5. St George says:

    As Lowetide mentions, Calgary looses handily last night if Osgood doesn’t give up 3 easy goals and get himself pulled. The odds of having that happen twice in a row seem low.

  6. Lowetide says:

    I think we need to put these things into perspective. Hemsky is frustrated, says some things. Nothing really changes.

    Or does it?

    Oilers need the second season in order for MacT to stay. Any quitters? One thing for sure, all eyes are on Hemsky now.

  7. quain says:

    Hemsky’s comments to the press made him sound like a real whiner. I know that Dan Barnes tried to soften the interpretation, but, wow, those comments were ill-timed given Hemsky’s poor run of form and the need for the team to pull together

    I was terrified by Schitzo’s short quote, but I think I love the full quote. Hemsky’s basically declaring that he wants to be double shifted every game down the stretch. Maybe he could’ve tarted it up a bit, but any time your best player says ‘I want to put the team on my back’ you have to love that mentality. Of course, a lot of Hemsky’s current issues are probably traced to him trying to do too much, but still: good attitude. Now, just suck it up, play dump and chase, and let the offense come.

    I loved all the TSN talk last night about Detroit being screwed on goaltending because Osgood has been terrible. Conklin has gotten a pretty sizeable portion of games and has looked pretty solid. Obviously, you want to take your veteran into the playoffs, but it’s not like the second bullet in the chamber has been a weak one.

  8. Doogie2K says:

    If not for the ‘obvious displeasure’ bit, I’d have assumed it was Hemsky continuing MacT’s joke from last week. Apparently not.

    Also, they say there was more respect back then, but that first picture looks like it’s in danger of becoming five for boarding. Tsk, tsk, Mr. Hockey.

  9. Doogie2K says:

    @Quain: Is the full quote in print/online anywhere? (I unsubscribed from the podcast months ago.)

  10. quain says:

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Hemsky+feels+underappreciated/1421448/story.html

    “I’m just trying to do exactly what they want. I’m becoming a checker,” he said with obvious displeasure after Monday’s practice. “We’re just doing what we have to do to win games. I’m not complaining. It’s important to win the games. I just don’t feel as important as I did before when they were riding me. I don’t feel they use me as much as they did before. If they don’t give me the confidence or trust me, I will never be playing the way I was before, the way they want.

    “I’m just saying I don’t care about points. I know I didn’t play my best hockey. I can be better and I know they will need me. But they have got to show me they need me. Ride me. It’s 10 games. I will feel important and I will get better every game.”

    I guess I should adjust my comments a bit after reading it again: he does come off as a tad bit selfish/whiny, but I still think the main thrust of wanting to get out there and carry the team is a good sentiment. If he starts playing better, otherwise we’re all screwed.

  11. quain says:

    http://tinyurl.com/cqtdgm

    There, that link should look a little better.

  12. HBomb says:

    The full Barnes article on Hemsky.

    I think he’s just a tad frustrated with himself right now.

    BUT, if there is a disconnect between the coach and the player, Lowe and Tambellini better not side with MacT, a middling-to-mediocre NHL coach based on results the last nine years.

    Sorry folks, I know some of you are fans of the guy (including you Lowetide), but making sure Hemsky is productive has to take precedence over keeping MacT employed.

    Otherwise, we truly are the Leafs.

    Let’s just hope this is nothing more than frustration, because if Hemsky were to ask for a trade, I’d be physically ill.

  13. HBomb says:

    Damn, Quain beat me to it, but I’m leaving my link up, dammit!

  14. HBomb says:

    A quick glance at the fanboards for response to this story, and one of the first posts I see?

    Yeah, this is apparently all Shawn Horcoff’s fault, because he’s not the true number 1 center Hemsky needs to play with.

    To quote Lowetide himself…

    Jesus.

  15. quain says:

    I never understood how you could link Hemsky’s poor performance to Shawn Horcoff. When Hemsky is performing, he’s taking the puck into the zone, skating around, and finding someone to get a chance. When Hemsky is doing poorly, he’s taking the puck into the zone, and immediately turning it over.

    Shawn Horcoff’s net interaction in the poor performance scenario is mostly recovering the puck in the defensive zone, passing to Hemsky, watching him turn it over, cursing, and then trying to recover it again.

  16. Sean says:

    Hey all from Prague! Been watching some SEL games (no Omark unfortunately) and Extraliga match coming up tonight! Got a couple spare hours and been skimming over the last couple game threads.

    Good read on Hemsky. Overall it positive and I’m sure we’d complain if he wasnt frustrated. I got an archive of Babcock/Lidstrom quotes with respect to team D over point production (heres a few). A lesson that Yzerman learned the hard way and left behind nicely. In short I’m glad Hemskys being forced to play D and that he wants to carry the team.

    Big game tonight. Too bad the Flames didnt lose so Detroit could come in half asleep.

  17. Mr DeBakey says:

    “I know that Dan Barnes tried to soften the interpretation”

    You don’t know that at all
    Its a “story”
    And they’ll spin that story until the shiny side is facing out

  18. doritogrande says:

    “I just don’t feel as important as I did before when they were riding me. I don’t feel they use me as much as they did before. If they don’t give me the confidence or trust me, I will never be playing the way I was before, the way they want…..”I’m just saying I don’t care about points. I know I didn’t play my best hockey. I can be better and I know they will need me. But they have got to show me they need me. Ride me.”

    Does Hemsky sound like a pissed off girlfriend not getting any lovin’ to anyone else? Because that’s all I hear from that.

    I don’t like the nature of these comments. He’s getting an attitude that he should be placed above the team. Someone should quickly point out to the scarred Czech that hockey is a team game that isn’t all flash and sparkle. Has someone allowed Rob Schremp to talk to our star or something?

  19. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    HBomb said…
    A quick glance at the fanboards for response to this story, and one of the first posts I see?

    Yeah, this is apparently all Shawn Horcoff’s fault, because he’s not the true number 1 center Hemsky needs to play with.

    Actually not a very representative sample of comment elsewhere but don’t you think Hemsky might be having a little more success if he had line mates that could actually offer him a viable offensive option when he has puck possession in the O zone?

  20. Scott says:

    Hbomb,

    Which post are you talking about? Sounds crazy.

    As for Hemsky, I’m curious as to what exactly he’s talking about with regard to needing to play more. At least for the last ten games, excluding the romp in Colorado, he’s played between 17 and 21 minutes every games and he’s never been taken off of the first PP unit. His EV time has never dipped below 13 minutes. Last game he only played 13:14 but also managed 4:44 on the PP. This is pretty much the same situation all the way back to January. I wonder if he’s referencing actual ice time or if he’s just making reference to a feeling he gets from the coaches. He has taken a couple of SH shifts over the last couple of games so maybe that’s what he’s referencing?

  21. Yeti says:

    “I know that Dan Barnes tried to soften the interpretation”

    You don’t know that at all
    Its a “story”
    And they’ll spin that story until the shiny side is facing out

    Mr DeBakey – Barnes was repeatedly stating throughout the article that, although Hemsky’s comments sound sucky and self-important, they shouldn’t be interpreted in that way. That’s called trying to soften the readership’s interpretation of the comments regardless of whatever it is you’re trying to say.

    Personally, I’m glad that Hemsky wants to be the go-to guy, but it isn’t like he’s seen some serious reduction in ice-time and he’s still the main pivot for the powerplay. So what is this really about? Frustration and bad choice of words, hopefully.

  22. Coach pb9617 says:

    I don’t like the nature of these comments. He’s getting an attitude that he should be placed above the team. Someone should quickly point out to the scarred Czech that hockey is a team game that isn’t all flash and sparkle. Has someone allowed Rob Schremp to talk to our star or something?

    I’m not seeing how his comments translate to your definition. Hemsky’s pissed because he’s going PvP and not scoring [mostly because he doesn't have Penner and no one can win the battles on the boards and corners now] so he’s annoyed with the coach. The coach is asking the first line to play to a never-ending deuce and have the other lines outscore. If you were the premier scorer on a team, one that’s got proven outscore capability, you wouldn’t be annoyed with this strategy?

    All of blogdom has been annoyed with the coaching decisions for quite some time. Hemsky voice frustration at being turned into Jay Pandolfo and HE is to blame?

    I don’t buy it.

    Hbomb has taken up beating on the Horpensky drum and he’s right. Put the proven PvP outscore line together and be done with it. The coach should be able to put his petty little fight aside and put his ego aside and field the best possible team. I’ve long resigned myself to this not happening because I don’t think the coach has the ability to make himself or his ego secondary in any way shape or form.

    Hemsky is right – he’s on a checking line now.

  23. George B says:

    Hmm…this is eerily like Gaborik in Minnesota, with style of play.

    Is this more about MacT coaching Hemsky to play a style of game that he doesn’t like? By coaching him to be a two way star, does that leave a bad taste in his mouth?

    Sometimes players need to be “the man”, and maybe Hemsky is to the point where he wants to carry the team, but the style of play inhibits his ability to do so?

    I have oft mentioned that MacTavish coaches all players to play in his image. This is more evidence to that.

  24. Scott says:

    Hemsky is right – he’s on a checking line now.

    To be fair the O’Sullivan-Horcoff-Hemsky line has played very well together. I’d be very surprised if Hemsky’s complaint was about his linemates since he doesn’t really indicate that in what he says. If it is about linemates, I’d guess that he actually wants another chance with Kotalik rather than another chance with Penner since it seems like that was the role the team had envisioned with Kotalik before he was acquired.

  25. quain says:

    Good lord, what system is Hemsky being expected to play? The one where he cleans up after his turnovers at the blue line?

    And if he’s so upset about being on a checking line, why doesn’t he try turning the powerplay into a league average one.

  26. LMHF#1 says:

    I’m not sure why you’re picking SJ LT…they still have all the traits that have led to their shortcomings before.

    What’s the reaction if Hemsky has a huge game tonight?

  27. Thrillho says:

    How can your best player wanting to be your best player be a bad thing?!? And stating it publically to boot.

    I don’t think it sounds selfish at all.

  28. mc79hockey says:

    I think that the shootout thing might be bang on. We don’t know who was supposed to shoot third in Chicago, do we? Was it home.

    In any event, the story really does seem to be that well liked 25 year old says something dumb. We’ll see if there’s any real problem. I doubt it.

  29. HBomb says:

    Scott: commentary from a fan on another un-named website that can’t get through a post-game review post without mentioning Shawn Horcoff sucks. Ever. Fanboards in general suck these days.

    FCM: Horcoff’s shown that he can produce with Hemsky. In fact, there’s no player on the team who has better chemistry with 83 over the past few seasons. He’s not the problem and is a very viable option for Hemsky – he knows how to play with him.

    LW? Perhaps an upgrade on Penner could be had (Gagne, Frolov and Kovalchuk are all ideas that come to mind), but when you look at the success the Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky trio has had, maybe the issue is that the coach, for some unknown reason, has little desire to put his best option for a #1 line together nowadays. Horcoff’s having an off-season, Penner’s had his struggles, yet when 83 is given those two, they get results, plain and simple.

    This is either one of two things:

    - Hemsky frustrated with himself and blowing off steam.

    - Hemsky frustrated with MacT’s tactics.

    That’s the way I see it.

  30. Scott says:

    Scott: commentary from a fan on another un-named website that can’t get through a post-game review post without mentioning Shawn Horcoff sucks. Ever. Fanboards in general suck these days.

    I guess I was wondering if you could provide a link so that I could evaluate the comments of their own merit. By the sounds of things it’s mostly like as Coach is to being pro-Penner (and he has his reasons, most of them good) so this commenter is to being anti-Horc (and I have no idea on his reasons).

  31. HBomb says:

    Scott: If he actually wants to be “the man”, that means he wants to be Zetterberg/Datsyuk and not just a Daniel Briere. If he wants to play with Kotalik, he’s asking for the latter assignment. That would worry me, although I don’t see that as being the issue here.

    The more I think about it, the more I buy into mc79′s line of thinking to a point – this is about a frustrated player blowing off steam. Your mileage may vary on the sources of those frustrations.

  32. pboy says:

    And therein lies the problem. Risebrough and Lemaire are old pals from their playing days in Montreal. So if the Wild miss the playoffs, does Risebrough dismiss his friend? Does he hope Lemaire just walks away, thereby saving him the grief of having to fire an old friend? Or does he try to convince Lemaire to loosen up just a little bit.

    That’s from a Sportsnet article about the Wild. Sounds exactly like what the Oiler’s might be facing in the off season. I wonder which club will handle this better?

  33. dstaples says:

    I’m a big fan of this awarding the “pennant” idea. It’s a way of rewarding teams of real accomplishment, such as the ’06 Oilers, that beat out 15 teams, more than the original six teams beat out to win their Cups. Excellent idea you’ve been pushing LT.

  34. HBomb says:

    Scott: As per your request. Draw your own conclusions, but I was curious to see how far I could make it into this particular discussion without someone taking a shot at Horcoff for Hemsky’s struggles. One reply was all it took.

    Neither of those guys has been great shakes together lately, but they’ve got a long record before that of having success together.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the season we hear about Hemsky having a wrist problem and Horcoff suffering from lingering effects of his shoulder surgery last year and having to play excessive extra minutes. By my eye, this is more than just two guys in a rut because they’re not rolling sevens (not to say they’re not putting in effort). It’s especially noticeable in Hemsky’s game – he’s gone back to passing up opportunities to shoot to instead try and deke through two defensemen and a goalie, and his passes aren’t as “on” as we’re used to seeing. That screams wrist injury to me, and when you look at the fact he hasn’t been great shakes since the Chicago game in early February when Byfuglien bowled him over….

  35. Coach pb9617 says:

    By the sounds of things it’s mostly like as Coach is to being pro-Penner (and he has his reasons, most of them good)

    Elect Coach! He’s Pro-Penner!

  36. quain says:

    Or does he try to convince Lemaire to loosen up just a little bit.

    Or does he consider giving Lemaire more to work with than a bunch of retreads, Mikko Koivu, and the notoriously fickle groin of Marian Gaborik.

    Lemaire getting cut loose would be the greatest thing to happen to the Northwest in years. Minnesota would be fun to watch and would probably spend a few season in the wilderness trying to figure out how to turn defense into offense with nothing more than a bunch of ugly girls and an empty bottle of Jack.

  37. Bruce says:

    Quain: Well said on the powerplay issue. in the last 16 games Hemsky has 0 goals, 0 primary assists, and 2 secondary assists for 2 points in over an hour of PP TOI.

    You want to be the go-to guy? Get something done.

    At evens, you want to be the best? Then you better be prepared to play against the best. Do you suppose the guys he’ll line up against tonight (presumably Datsyuk and/or Zetterberg) complain because they’re on the checking line? From what ‘ve seen, they just go out there and damn well check. And score besides.

  38. dstaples says:

    That was the best of 15 teams, I meant.

  39. bookie says:

    I think that its hard to fully interpret comments like this coming from someone who has English as a second language. I think the brunt of it, is that Hemsky is a bit frustrated with himself and moreso with some of the coaching. The magnitude of that that frustration is difficult to interpret though because of the langauge issue.

  40. rickibear says:

    This is either one of Three things:

    - Hemsky frustrated with himself and blowing off steam.

    - Hemsky frustrated with MacT’s tactics.

    - Hemsky is pissed because Horcoff came to him and stated,”Listen turnover boy, I have to take ever tough draw on this team and play 20 minutes a game. Having to chase the puck after you lose it in your one man cycle doesn’t cut it buddy. Plus shoot the friggin puck on the PP it will prevent the other team from backing off you, creating more room.”

    That’s the way I see it.

  41. Coach pb9617 says:

    I’m a big fan of this awarding the “pennant” idea. It’s a way of rewarding teams of real accomplishment, such as the ’06 Oilers, that beat out 15 teams, more than the original six teams beat out to win their Cups. Excellent idea you’ve been pushing LT.

    Same here. I’ve already got friends using pennants as the silver standard.

    It’s especially noticeable in Hemsky’s game – he’s gone back to passing up opportunities to shoot to instead try and deke through two defensemen and a goalie, and his passes aren’t as “on” as we’re used to seeing. That screams wrist injury to me

    Screams “lack of room” to me.

    Lemaire getting cut loose would be the greatest thing to happen to the Northwest in years.

    The question becomes — does he coach Montreal or Ottawa?

    Quain: Well said on the powerplay issue. in the last 16 games Hemsky has 0 goals, 0 primary assists, and 2 secondary assists for 2 points in over an hour of PP TOI.

    I thought that coaching was at fault for the power play and penalty kill? Maybe the coaching and system at work there is part of the issue?

  42. HBomb says:

    Hbomb has taken up beating on the Horpensky drum and he’s right. Put the proven PvP outscore line together and be done with it.

    I’m with Scott in having liked O’Sullivan’s game so far, and having been moderately impressed with O’Horcsky as a unit.

    HOWEVER, I can’t stand this constant lineup experimentation. Yes, we’ve got new players to work with here, but the focus right now has to be on winning hockey games. You give your team the best chance to do so by having your best forwards going (Hemsky being number 1 on this list), and to do that, why not play him with the players he’s had the most success with?

    O’Sullivan can roll out with Cogliano and Pisani on the 3rd line. That combo seemed to work nice from what I saw at the Atlanta game about 10 days ago. Better yet, IMO, could be O’Sullivan-Pouliot-Cogliano…..

    27-10-83
    12-89-21
    19-78-13
    18-51-34

    Pretty good “fourth” line in that setup, methinks. Plus the “third” line wouldn’t exactly need to be uber-sheltered.

  43. hunter1909 says:

    Prediction number 4 – Wings will win easy.

    Prediction record 3-0

    Hopefully they(Wings) won’t be laughing among themselves as they rack up easy goals, like they did earlier in the season.

    Yeah Hemsky is a whiner. So let’s all start villifying him, just like Lowe and MacT etc need us to do.

  44. HBomb says:

    Coach: If Minny fires Lemaire, besides it being a stupid move, I guarantee he’s hired in Montreal as coach within about 5 minutes.

  45. bookie says:

    Having re-read the article, I have a few more comments.

    First, I have noticed a change in play over the last 5-6 games. The speed has increased and the passing has improved. Some others have noticed how the breakouts have changed. I have also noticed how the Power play has a lot more motion. What is the root of this change. I think that it is that the previous RULE of ‘pass it to hemmer’ has been removed.

    I think that this rule was put in place about 1/3-way through the season when Hemsky was playing godlike. The team abandoned team play and decided that they needed to build the game completly around their star. I think that this focus on Hemsky led to his being less effective because things became monotone when he was on the ice. The Hemmer on the boards pass to Souray or Horcoff PP was the epidimy of it. So the plan has changed and ‘pass to Hemmer’ is only one of many options now.

    This has allowed a greater level of dynasim from the other players on the ice with Hemsky. Just for fun watch some video from a month ago and now. The difference is striking. Other teams could kill our play just by taking care of Hemsky.

    Hemsky feels frustrated because he is no longer the only ‘go to’ option.

    None of this is meant to diminish the talant or importance of Hemsky. He is a fantastic player, but I beleive that he needs to be more a part of the strategy as opposed to the entirety of it.

    The same was true for a while of Souray, it was as though all of the other D-men were forbidden to shoot on the PP. Recently though, we have seen this change as well. The dynmic is better when the goalie and dmen on the other team actually have to concern themselves with the odd PP shot form Gilbert or Grebs.

  46. pboy says:

    HBomb: He walked away from that job once before even though he was being pretty successful.

  47. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    This is Hemsky whining cause he is not feeling important enough. He has not seen reduced play time, or reduced PP time, so I would think this is due to being left out of the last two shootouts and his buddy being the hero. Sounds pretty petty and selfish to me.

    I hope he regrets the press he’s gotten on this and takes it out on the wings with a five point night.

  48. Cory Klein says:

    If Lemaire is done in Minnesota, it will be called a retirement and he’ll be done for a couple years minimum.

    I’m not sure MacT can be dismissed under those same circumstances.

  49. HBomb says:

    Scott: a post-script to the link I posted for your consumption. Keep checking back there for the next few hours as that discussion progresses, it promises to only get more out-to-lunch and comical.

  50. RiversQ says:

    Regarding Hemsky: I actually think the problems starting when they started riding him. I seem to recall him getting a few 20min TOI games in a row and then starting to decline. Not sure if he has been injured during that time and since then, but it’s certainly a possibility. This is all anecdotal, so your mileage may vary.

  51. Scott says:

    Yeah HBomb, thanks for posting the link. My introduction to hockey-on-the-internet was the blogs so I’ve really never seen such an anti-Horcoff sentiment. The treatment of Horcoff is like being in a bizarro Oilers-internet world.

    The Oilers do have a bit better chance with the Wings on the back-to-back tonight. Hopefully they can pull it out. If they do a look at the standings will probably be pretty relaxing. If they don’t, that same look might be a bit more stressful.

  52. Schitzo says:

    I was terrified by Schitzo’s short quote

    Quain: Just trying my best to save everyone the need for a cup of coffee this morning :)

  53. HBomb says:

    RQ: Interesting observation.

    I stand by what I said earlier – that February 3rd game against Chicago, I was there. Chicago’s “big Dustin” rocked 83 that night, and he has not been the same since then.

    Watching his play suggests nagging wrist injury. Might be something else. Who knows.

    Play him power vs. power with HorPen and ride him hard on the PP. If he needs less minutes, well, maybe move up Pisani for the odd shift with 10 and 27 in the 3rd period.

  54. jon k says:

    I think Gagne should stop being mentioned as even a target. He’s just potted 30 goals, again, and has one of the lowest EVGA/60 in the league as a forward.

    Has been one of the best 2-way wingers since the lockout, excepting his concussion problems.

  55. HBomb says:

    Yeah HBomb, thanks for posting the link. My introduction to hockey-on-the-internet was the blogs so I’ve really never seen such an anti-Horcoff sentiment. The treatment of Horcoff is like being in a bizarro Oilers-internet world.

    Scott: the ironic part of it all is that particular website is where a lot of the guys who are Oilogosphere regulars (Dennis, Vic, speeds, RiversQ, etc.) started out when they began commenting on this team we all love (but doesn’t always love us back).

    The mods over there do a damn fine job in terms of keeping the discussion respectful, but the traffic jumped in 2006 (funny how that works), and with more good commentary came more of what I like to call “white noise”.

    You read some of the stuff that’s there now, and you come away convinced that not only is Tom Gilbert worse than Marc-Andre Bergeron defensively, he’s also the reason for multiple forms of cancer. It’s that over the top sometimes.

    Oh well, c’est la vie…part of the natural evolution of things, I suppose.

  56. knighttown says:

    Count me among the group not impressed with Hemsky’s comments. I liken this to the day Terrell Owens arrived in San Francisco. It took some time but eventually the ball started to go away from Jerry Rice.

    A couple of times, on the power play, I’ve noticed Sam creep up from his spot on the goal line and actually replace 83 on the half boards. Hemsky reluctantly left the puck there and went to the down low spot vacated by 89. You’ve got to assume this is a direct order from the coach to “mix things up a little” at about the 1 minute mark of each PP.

    Picture Shaq circa 2001 posting up, calling for the ball, getting the pass and drawing an offensive foul. Next possession, same scenario and Shaq clangs a turnaround jumper.

    However, the 3rd time down the floor, Shaq calls for the ball, Dereck Fisher pauses, looks at Phil Jackson and then hands it off to this new rookie, number 8. Kobe proceeds to hit an 18 foot fade away while holding himself in the air for about 3 minutes.

    And we know how this turned out.

    Hemsky’s been pulled from the shootout, and is now just another option on the PP and he doesn’t like it. However, the reality is that the team is probably playing its best hockey of the season so Penner can stay on with Brodziak (3rd line in my books) and Hemsky can keep dropping down to block shots. One thing he should have learned in 06 was that at this point in the season, you accept your role.

  57. RiversQ says:

    coach said…
    [mostly because he doesn't have Penner and no one can win the battles on the boards and corners now]

    This is just silly.

    Penner’s value does not come from puck retrieval. He simply does not get involved in a lot of battles on the boards or in the corners.(Unless he already had the puck going in there. Then he seems willing.) I don’t see him winning back possession of the puck very often in any of the three zones.

    Penner’s value is keeping the puck in the O-zone and that’s a different thing – it’s about retaining puck possession once you’ve already got it. He is definitely outstanding at that. Penner needs linemates that can get the puck back (Horcoff) and then get it through the neutral zone (Hemsky – definitely the most effective and reliable on the team in that zone with the puck and I’m starting to think without the puck too). That’s why that line has been successful. Of course Hemsky’s playmaking helps too – a rising tide lifts all ships so to speak.

    From what little I’ve seen of the past few games, the Pennerless first line has been playing reasonably well but has a total crap shooting percentage in that time. Despite Penner’s contribution being missing, I think their production will come anyway.

  58. HBomb says:

    jon k: In theory, Philly shouldn’t even consider dealing Gagne. Briere and Lupul are more obvious cap-relief salary dumps – even Hartnell could fall into this category (he’s already set career highs in goals and points and might fall into that “sell high” category). Logic would dicatate that Philly builds their team up front around Gagne, Richards and Carter.

    In reality though, if no one’s going to take either of those contracts, they may not have a choice but to deal Gagne.

    I’d be surprised if it happens, but not partcularly shocked either. Stranger things have come to fruition.

  59. RiversQ says:

    Oh, I forgot that Penner has considerable value in front of the net too. He’s no Smyth, but he’s pretty effective there as well.

  60. HBomb says:

    Despite Penner’s contribution being missing, I think their production will come anyway.

    Certainly would be a nice time for them to get hot, going into the playoffs.

    Because if the Oil get to the second season and the first line isn’t going, they’re sunk before they leave the harbor, so to speak.

  61. RiversQ says:

    Lemaire getting cut loose would be the greatest thing to happen to the Northwest in years. Minnesota would be fun to watch…

    Uh, Minnesota’s already fun to watch. Seriously.

    Since the lockout they’ve had teams with plenty of speed and they counterattack. I don’t have a problem with them at all. They get fairly passive early in the 3rd with a lead, but there is a long list of NHL teams that do that.

  62. Coach pb9617 says:

    Penner’s value is keeping the puck in the O-zone and that’s a different thing – it’s about retaining puck possession once you’ve already got it.

    And how is that different from winning battles along the boards and in front of the net, which he’s doing? Six of one, half-dozen of another.

  63. Matt says:

    HBomb: I totally know what you mean. That site has become a decrepit, festering, anti-Oiler breeding ground.

    No player is ever in the right and there’s always a scapegoat.

    2 words. Mob mentality.

  64. knighttown says:

    @ HBomb

    Play him power vs. power with HorPen and ride him hard on the PP. If he needs less minutes, well, maybe move up Pisani for the odd shift with 10 and 27 in the 3rd period.

    You do realize that it is possible to play three players together on the first line who are not #1 on their positional depth chart? I mean, it’s one option (say Ottawa) but just as many teams spread their talent through their lineup especially heading into the playoffs.

    Assuming the Top 9 all play similar even strength minutes, can you acknowledge that trying to get balance and production from all three lines is, maybe not what you’d do, but far from insanity? I mean, they’re playing pretty well right?

    Parise/Elias, Zetterberg/Datsyuk/Hossa, Sedins/Sundin. All of these are tandems or trios that rarely see the ice ALL together except on special teams. If our Top 9 is 83, 10, 89, 27, 19, 21, 51, 34 and 12, with 18 and 13 playing plenty then I’m Ok with it as long as we’re playing well.

  65. HBomb says:

    knighttown: I agree with what you’re saying, but my argument is still “go with the combinations that work”, and hence it’s why I’m a big proponent of Horpensky being together.

    I’m bullish on it for a reason: I want to see the team win, and having those three together as a power vs. power unit helps with that objective.

  66. RiversQ says:

    Coach pb9617 said…

    And how is that different from winning battles along the boards and in front of the net, which he’s doing? Six of one, half-dozen of another.

    It’s very different – he doesn’t go get the puck as you implied. The battles for loose pucks just don’t happen with Penner and haven’t for two solid years. I don’t expect them to happen and I’m not sure it matters.

    The problems with the first line are pretty overblown IMO. They certainly aren’t explained by Penner winning puck battles that he doesn’t get involved in.

    I think Penner’s ability has to do with some of the problem and so does SH% of course.

    Another key issue is that forwards tend to take a long time to adjust to new teams and systems after a trade. Replacing Penner who already knows what to do with Kotalik or O’Sullivan in their first 5-10 Oiler games is bound to cause some problems.

  67. Coach pb9617 says:

    And how is that different from winning battles along the boards and in front of the net, which he’s doing? Six of one, half-dozen of another.

    Just as an FYI, I wasn’t talking about defensive zone from the beginning. I was talking about the offensive zone play. And if you aren’t seeing him get into corners and on the walls and winning pucks, you’re playing gunny in mac’s boot camp.

  68. relic says:

    sportsnet reporting 78 was lining up beside cogs and pies in practice. No Zorg, poor Bruce… :)

  69. Lord Bob says:

    HBomb: I totally know what you mean. That site has become a decrepit, festering, anti-Oiler breeding ground.

    No player is ever in the right and there’s always a scapegoat.

    Like all of you, I blame Shawn Horcoff.

  70. CrazyCoach says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the season we hear about Hemsky having a wrist problem and Horcoff suffering from lingering effects of his shoulder surgery last year and having to play excessive extra minutes.

    I wouldn’t be surprised either. Horcoff and Hemsky are the kind of players who would really downplay a nagging injury just to play, even to the point where they hide the injury from trainers and coaches. Both simply like to play.

    The hard part about a nagging injury or returning from injury is the psychological aspect of being injured. The game-readiness may not be there just yet and trying to play through it doesn’t help the issue, particularly when your play is slipping.

    Use the old coach rule for returning:
    -100% pain free
    -100% strength
    -100% Range of Movement
    -Psychological readiness for game-like situations.

  71. Matt says:

    LB: I think Shawn Horcoff whiffing on 5 star chances is a direct correlation to Craig MacTavish’s coaching.

    Instead of blaming Horcoff for whiffing, I’m going to blame Mac-T.

  72. RiversQ says:

    Coach pb9617 said…

    Just as an FYI, I wasn’t talking about defensive zone from the beginning. I was talking about the offensive zone play. And if you aren’t seeing him get into corners and on the walls and winning pucks, you’re playing gunny in mac’s boot camp.

    I was talking about all three zones – if Penner has the puck, he’s incredibly tough to knock off of it. I don’t consider those puck battles, that’s just keeping the puck.

    If Penner doesn’t have the puck he’s not usually first to the puck in the corners or along the boards and that’s Job 1 when it comes to winning battles for loose pucks. Puck battles are about 50/50 (or 30/70, or 70/30) situations when the puck is up for grabs. When it’s already on your stick, that’s a different thing entirely.

    Like I said, Penner gets the results (although there’s definitely some situational dependence there), so you can’t argue with it.

    I find the Penner-as-Paul-Bunyan stories as entertaining as the next guy, but sometimes it would be nice if the situation were characterized accurately. Just being the mirror image of the MacT caricature, doesn’t really help the Penner camp, IMHO.

  73. Dennis says:

    I think we can chalk this up to a kid blowing off some steam and being frustrated because the points aren’t coming but we’ll know more by the time the summer comes.

    If he doesn’t make a trade request, we can chalk it up to him just being frustrated. If, OTOH, he does request a trade, he’s unhappy with the coach and the system.

    The major things I take from this is it almost seems like he’d rather not play in a PVP role; thus the comments about being a checker. But to counter that, what are his giveaway totals compared to other skilled PVP guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk?

    And, as Scott raised, his TOI totals aren’t different to the point where 83 has an actual point in this regard?

    It’s either a youthful outburst, frustration over a dry spell or there are some real problems.

  74. quain says:

    Like all of you, I blame Shawn Horcoff.

    That’s what the Lowe-Tamb-MacT triumverate wants you to think! I’ve done my research and by discovering their secret of communicating through divots I figured out the true culprit for all this heartache:

    Manny Ramirez! He’s a chemistry killer!

  75. Matt says:

    CrazyCoach:

    It’s like when I woke up today. I nearly broke my toe yesterday after jamming into a weight on the floor.

    I have to go up a total of about 15 flights of stairs daily, so it’s a hassle.

    Now imagine if my speed going down the stairs is the key to making the bus in time.

    It’s the same thing with Hemsky. If he’s got something hampering him, he just isn’t the same.

    He’s the type of player that needs to be 100% to produce.

    Guys like Moreau and Staios don’t need to rely on speed and skill, so they can play through some sever injuries.

  76. CrazyCoach says:

    RiversQ-Yeah when you have the puck that’s technically known as puck protection, and not technically a battle for the puck. When it is loose it can be classified as a battle. You are 100% right.

  77. CrazyCoach says:

    I Agree Matt. Something just isn’t clicking with Hemsky right now and as Hbomb said earlier, it wouldn’t be too surprising if we find out in the off-season that Hemsky played hurt after the Buyfuligien hit. Horcoff I also suspect has something lingering.

    I just think their minds are not 100% as well. Some players are able to really play through injuries and some aren’t. It’s not a knock on their character or skill level. I have just found that’s how it is. Some kids I’ve coached look like Claude Lemieux on the ice and will stay down from a small hit, while others never stay down. When you get to know them better, you know which love being on the ice in the last minute of a game and which ones don’t.

  78. Traktor says:

    Hemsky is getting the 11th most EV minutes per game out of RWers around the league so I don’t think it’s a matter of ice time that has Hemsky riled up.

    I think it’s obvious that this is an issue with how the coach feels about Hemsky’s game – MacTavish even admits it in the same article – “We need him to give up less in his pursuit of offence in certain situations.”

    You can’t get any more clear cut.

    Which is why Hemsky also said “I’m just trying to do exactly what they want. I’m becoming a checker.”

    Sounds like MacT wants him to get it deep, saw off the opposition and gut out 2-1 shootout wins.

    I don’t think this outburst happens though if Hemsky is still playing with 27 and 10. Hemsky commented about 1 month ago after constantly being shuffled around that he doesn’t like new linemates all the time and that it takes a while to know what each other is going to do. Well over this past month he has seen time with 10 and 27, 10 and 19, 12 and 89, 10 and 21 and there is probably a couple other combos that I’ve missed as well.

    I think realistically Hesmky is just like many of the fans out there that wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep if MacT was removed and he is now blaming the coach for his struggles even though that isn’t the case for the most part – it’s not like Hemsky is forbidden to dangle or waste 15 seconds on the PP doing figure 8′s.

    So what do we do now?

    Well you know our egotistical coach is too stubbern to put 27 back on the 1st line and that’s really our only PVP option.

    What’s the point of playing Hemsky with 10 if 83′s job is going to be playing safe, not taking chances and generally just try to kill the clock? Seems like a waste to me.

    Wouldn’t a better idea be to play 34 with 10 to shut down top opp and then let Hemsky terrorize the secondary?

  79. HBomb says:

    sportsnet reporting 78 was lining up beside cogs and pies in practice. No Zorg, poor Bruce… :)

    This is a combo I’ve been wanting to see for awhile, so needless to say, I like it.

    Penner as the 4RW still baffles me, but if that line is used to take some tough matchups away from the top line, I’m OK with it.

  80. RiversQ says:

    Dennis said…

    The major things I take from this is it almost seems like he’d rather not play in a PVP role; thus the comments about being a checker.

    The progress that Hemsky has made as a player is incredible.

    As I mentioned above, he’s a pretty awesome player in the neutral zone at this point. I know people bitch about his turnovers, but the number at the blueline have plummeted since early in his career and I think he’s very reliable at this point. For much of the first half of the season, he was settling for a couple of dump-ins per game, which again is incredible IMO.

    I’m very satisfied with Hemsky’s progress as a player. Heck, even Fenwick at BofA was wondering who the best RWer in the NW division might be in 2009-2010 given Hemsky’s ascension and Iggy’s inevitable slow decline. That should say something.

  81. HBomb says:

    What’s the point of playing Hemsky with 10 if 83′s job is going to be playing safe, not taking chances and generally just try to kill the clock? Seems like a waste to me.

    Wouldn’t a better idea be to play 34 with 10 to shut down top opp and then let Hemsky terrorize the secondary?

    And with this, we arrive back at something that was discussed here last week or the week before.

    Penner-Horcoff-Pouliot
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Hemsky

    That would work, assuming they could cobble together a second tough minutes line out of what is left (probably some combination of Moreau/Broziak/Pouliot/Cogliano….Nilsson and Kotalik obviously aren’t going to play that role.

    Great idea in theory (count me as a fan of the combination of 10-34…if that’s 2/3rds of your second line and they’re drawing the toughs, you’re not in bad shape), but do the Oilers have enough experienced and capable guys such that this doesn’t become an Easter line when it comes to outscoring the toughs (i.e. all the eggs in one basket)?

  82. slipper says:

    I Hemsky commented about 1 month ago after constantly being shuffled around that he doesn’t like new linemates all the time and that it takes a while to know what each other is going to do

    Link?

  83. more green says:

    LT, that picture is just amazing. Where do you find that stuff? I didn’t even know hockey ever looked like that. Chain link fences around the rink? Crazy. And that ref. This looks like it’s out of Sin City.

  84. Dennis says:

    Riv: Yeah, I agree, but something’s certainly up with him somewhere.

    I think Trak has a lot of good points in this thread. MacT wants 10-83 to play the tough opp to a standstill and then hope the 89 and Co lines to make the difference.

    I don’t think 34′s the guy he was but if that was the case, maybe you Could use 10-34 Plus to shut down the toughs and then an 89-83 combo could go after the soft.

    Then again, with all this being said, if our PP was a little better or our PK wasn’t fucking abysmal, the current plan at EV wouldn’t even be discussed at this point, no?

  85. Traktor says:

    “Link?”

    Video interview on edmontonoilers.com about 1 month ago.

    I’m not the best a finding things through goggle so maybe you can help me out here.

  86. Doogie2K says:

    The question becomes — does he coach Montreal or Ottawa?

    Lemaire’s already done Montreal once and, from what I recall of a Gazette podcast earlier in the season, wants no part of it again.

  87. quain says:

    I’m still hoping for an interview with Horcoff that results in the polar opposite outcome:

    “I’m just saying I don’t care about points. I know I didn’t play my best hockey. I can be better and I know they will need me. But I’m just so tired. Can’t I play on the fourth line for a bit? It’s 10 games. I will feel important and I will get better every game. I just want to sleep!”

  88. LMHF#1 says:

    Riv: Penner’s got to learn to put the puck in if his value’s going to be in front of the net. He’s not even adequate at banging in garbage right now and can rarely find the puck.

  89. Bruce says:

    There was a bit on TSN last night where Gagner was heaping credit on Nilsson for his recent outburst, which has seen Gags score over half of his goals for the season in the last 10 GP. I doubt MacT will be separating them anytime soon. That said, I’m still nonplussed as to the removal of Pouliot from that unit when all three were playing well.

    As for the choice between 78 and 46 tonight, last time we played the Wings Poo and Zorg were the best two Oiler forwards in the game (each 1-1-2), so I guess which ever one you pick you can’t lose. I would actually lean towards Poo in this instance cuz Detroit is the least fightingest team in the league (just 10 fights) so Zack’s, uh, prowess in this dept is likely not needed; OTOH, one could argue that if Zorg starts running around Detroit doesn’t have the answer for him, or might even be forced to add toughness to their own game day roster at the expense of skill.

    Just sayin’, probably just ramblin’. I don’t know what the answer is, I think both guys deserve to be in there, but the addition of Kotalik has resulted in a supernumerary situation of qualified forwards.

  90. Coach pb9617 says:


    I was talking about all three zones –

    Yeah, I’ve made my peace with Penner’s defensive zone play. He’s going to try to get a stick in a lane or chip a puck out of the zone and hope to go the other way. That’s fine, as long as he’s still winning the war.

    if Penner has the puck, he’s incredibly tough to knock off of it. I don’t consider those puck battles, that’s just keeping the puck.

    Agreed.

    If Penner doesn’t have the puck he’s not usually first to the puck in the corners or along the boards and that’s Job 1 when it comes to winning battles for loose pucks.

    I disagree, in speaking about the offensive zone. He gets there first and if he doesn’t he’s going to tie the puck up long enough for support to arrive.

  91. Coach pb9617 says:


    This is a combo I’ve been wanting to see for awhile, so needless to say, I like it.

    Me too, though nly if 78 is taking the damned faceoffs.

    Penner as the 4RW still baffles me, but if that line is used to take some tough matchups away from the top line, I’m OK with it.

    Fat-bottomed wings, you make the hockey world go ’round.

    Lemaire’s already done Montreal once and, from what I recall of a Gazette podcast earlier in the season, wants no part of it again.

    Ottawa it is then. Pascal Leclaire will be an all-star.

  92. Traktor says:

    Pregame is up and MacT comments on the Hemsky issue.

  93. Coach pb9617 says:

    “I’m just saying I don’t care about points. I know I didn’t play my best hockey. I can be better and I know they will need me. But I’m just so tired. Can’t I play on the fourth line for a bit? It’s 10 games. I will feel important and I will get better every game. I just want to sleep!”

    “Do you know what it’s like to be hunched over at the waist like a coal miner for half of the game? My back hurts and I get dizzy if I stand up too fast!”

  94. Woodguy says:

    Penner-Horcoff-Pouliot
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Hemsky

    If I’m coaching against that team, I’m sending out my Regehr/Sarich type combo against O-G-H every time, and you will rarely beat me by outscoring me and I will pound those guys senseless every chance I get.

    If you are playing on the road they will never see anything but the 1-2 pairing.

    A key component to getting soft minutes is getting the 3-4 or 5-6 pairing.

    Having 89/83 on the same line loads too many eggs in one basket, and everyone will want to make an omelet.

    I like the idea of getting Hemsky some softer minutes, but this won’t get that done.

  95. George B says:

    Bruce, good point about playing Storts to run some havoc. Nice to have a shift disturber with no one to give any retribution.

  96. quain says:

    I like the idea of getting Hemsky some softer minutes, but this won’t get that done.

    Woodguy covered basically what I wanted to say, but couldn’t word, and then wandered off to get a Coke.

    What Hemsky needs for softer minutes is a second tough minutes line so that MacT can sneak 10-83 out against weak opposition occasionally, double shift them, or just double shift Hemsky here and there.

    When you have two guys you trust, and then ten guys who you’re terrified are going to burn the house down if left alone with a magazine and a stick, well, those two guys are never going to get to have any fun.

  97. Coach pb9617 says:

    Riv: Penner’s got to learn to put the puck in if his value’s going to be in front of the net. He’s not even adequate at banging in garbage right now and can rarely find the puck.

    10 and 83 are at their best with Penner. It’s a GAG line by the numbers, whether Penner is scoring the goals or not.

    That said, I’m still nonplussed as to the removal of Pouliot from that unit when all three were playing well.

    Mac couldn’t HS Kotalik – the GM just wasted a 2nd round pick on him.

    I like the idea of getting Hemsky some softer minutes, but this won’t get that done.

    Why? Horpensky is a proven top line, hard matching outscoring line. Gagner is already eating the softs up this month and Cogliano would too if he was on a wing with, say, Pouliot and O’Sullivan.

    27-10-83
    18-51-34
    12-89-21
    19-78-13

    That’s a team that could win some playoff games in 71 were in the lineup.

  98. Dennis says:

    I like the look of those lines, Coach, but it would really depend on if 18-51-34 could handle secondary toughs.

  99. RiversQ says:

    LMHF#1 said…
    Riv: Penner’s got to learn to put the puck in if his value’s going to be in front of the net. He’s not even adequate at banging in garbage right now and can rarely find the puck.

    That may be so, but Penner is routinely a great big bother around the crease. Whether that’s tying up a defenseman (or two) or bumping the goalie a tad, or being a screen, he certainly adds value there.

  100. Bruce says:

    Yeah, I’ve made my peace with Penner’s defensive zone play. He’s going to try to get a stick in a lane or chip a puck out of the zone and hope to go the other way. That’s fine, as long as he’s still winning the war.

    ESGA ON/60
    (Forwards, 10+ GP)
    ———————-
    2.09 Penner
    2.23 Gagner
    2.24 Cogliano
    2.32 Horcoff
    2.36 Nilsson
    2.41 O’Sullivan
    2.41 Moreau
    2.42 Hemsky
    2.42 Pisani
    2.50 Pouliot
    2.51 Brodziak
    2.64 Kotalik
    2.71 MacIntyre
    2.82 Reddox
    3.40 Stortini
    3.48 Brule
    ——-

    Coach: I’d call that winning the war.

  101. Bruce says:

    And I’d call this winning the other war:

    ESGF ON/60
    (Forwards, 10+ GP)
    ———————-
    2.95 Penner
    2.70 Horcoff
    2.69 Stortini
    2.65 Gagner
    2.63 Hemsky
    2.59 Pisani
    2.54 O’Sullivan
    2.53 Nilsson
    2.51 Brodziak
    2.41 Moreau
    2.41 Pouliot
    2.38 Reddox
    2.33 Kotalik
    2.31 Cogliano
    1.74 Brule
    0.90 MacIntyre
    —–

    #1 — with clearance — at both ends of the ice. I find it fucking hard to belive this guy has been pressboxed three different times this season.

  102. relic says:

    @Coach

    Woodguy was talking about how 83 getting softer minutes playing with 89 wouldn’t work. He didn’t mention the horpensky unit.

  103. Woodguy says:


    27-10-83
    18-51-34
    12-89-21
    19-78-13

    I really really like those.

    Why? Horpensky is a proven top line, hard matching outscoring line.

    I agree that Horpensky has sawnoff well against the toughs, but its never a bad thing to try to get Hemsky some soft. If 89 is starting to eat the soft, then 83 would feast.

    Problem with trying to get 83 soft is that against a good coach he is going to put his 1-2 out there every time 83 is on the ice so getting him soft is tougher than it looks.

    One reason I really like your line up is that either 12-89-21 or 19-78-13 is going to see a 5-6 pairing fairly regularly if 18-51-34 goes out against toughs.

    I think 19 is miles better than 12 though….

    19 has actually lead the team the last 3 games in ESTOI

  104. RiversQ says:

    I hesitate to do this but oh well…

    Coach pb9617 said…

    Yeah, I’ve made my peace with Penner’s defensive zone play. He’s going to try to get a stick in a lane or chip a puck out of the zone and hope to go the other way. That’s fine, as long as he’s still winning the war.

    Now this is fascinating.

    I don’t know much about hockey, but when it comes to the whole team/player/coach dynamic, I have a smidgen of insight. Basically all coaches in pretty much all team sports throughout history have had a tough time letting an individual player walk when it comes to putting in the work.

    So… if you readily admit to the above deficiency in Penner’s game, then why are you so mystified in MacTavish’s dealings with Penner all year?

    The “winning the war” bit really gets me because in their own zone, it’s not Penner winning the war, it’s the other four guys. As a player in a team sport, having to do extra work to cover for a teammate’s laziness/stupidity/etc on a regular basis made me absolutely livid. Particularly defensive work because it’s more physical and you tend to take punishment to do it properly.

    His teammates must really like the guy, because if we can notice it from our living rooms, there must be more than a few raised eyebrows from dudes in Oiler jerseys on a lot of nights.

    From my perspective, it seems Penner and MacT kind of deserve each other. Stubbornness is a trait they both share…

    …with LT. ;)

  105. RiversQ says:

    Bruce: Let’s see the faceoffs with all of that. I know the splits away from 10-83 were seriously skewed to the offensive zone in the first half of the year. I think that’s tweaking the GA big time.

    I have always been a pragmatist when it comes to this game and same goes for Penner – the guy should play and he should play with 10 and 83. It’s not traditional defensive hockey, but keeping the puck in the other end works great.

    However, it’s clear to me anyway that the issues are there and they probably had to be dealt with in some way. Perhaps if Penner grew up a little nad met them halfway this problem never would have happened. It would be a huge shame if he left town in the offseason under these circumstances.

  106. Woodguy says:

    MacTavish’s response according to Gregor on ON:

    “I find that players that are a little more difficult to manage, I’d rather have the difficulty managing players that will go play the game the hard way and go to the tough areas, than a guy who is super easy to manage and sometimes don’t go to those tough areas.

    “I respect the way he plays. Character to me is how you react in certain situations on the ice. I’m totally supportive of the way he plays the game, and with the toughness that he plays the game.

    “I’m not managing his ice time any differently lately. The last guy I really worry about confidence wise is him, because he is so skilled. He has been playing fine in my estimation. The way he has started the last few games, he has been outstanding. He hasn’t got anything offensively to show for it, but he has been playing fine.

    “You look back after you hear the comments about the way he has been used, and I did sit him down in the Colorado game when we were up 7-1, and probably in hindsight maybe that should have been the time to play him, but I didn’t see him lacking confidence because he is still making plays.

    “I support the player. I’ve had him for seven years. I understand where the player is coming from. These comments could be malicious at times, but I really don’t view it that way with him. You may think I’m just saying that because he is a good player and I’ve got to have a good relationship with my best player, but I’m not. I like the player and I always have. I owe him a lot, and he will have my support in this situation.”

  107. HBomb says:

    Penner-Horcoff-Pouliot
    O’Sullivan-Gagner-Hemsky

    Dammit. When I said this, I meant to say Pisani, not Pouliot.

    My apologies for the confusion, Gentlemen (and ladies, if there are any in the house this afternoon).

  108. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    pis instead of poo…hehe

  109. Coach pb9617 says:

    So… if you readily admit to the above deficiency in Penner’s game, then why are you so mystified in MacTavish’s dealings with Penner all year?

    Because the guy makes the players around him better. It’s that simple. The numbers on this don’t lie. Every number shows that the team produces offense and prevents GA when he’s on the ice. Every one. He doesn’t play defense as well as he should, but when he’s on the ice, the puck is tilted to the offensive end, even when he’s out there with Moreau and Brodziak.

    He’s not a guy that will work below his own end line. He’s not a guy that is going to be first man back on the backcheck. So what, there are plenty of guys in the league that fit this bill. He does backcheck, he does get back into the zone, he does use his girth to move people and move the puck out. He’s not Pisani, and you know what, that’s fine. He’s bad to the people that want to see slobber and limbs flailing, so what?

    Is preventing goals by keeping the puck in the offensive end somehow worse than a nice backcheck to prevent a goal?

  110. Coach pb9617 says:

    I have always been a pragmatist when it comes to this game and same goes for Penner – the guy should play and he should play with 10 and 83. It’s not traditional defensive hockey, but keeping the puck in the other end works great.

    Oh. Well then never mind!

    However, it’s clear to me anyway that the issues are there and they probably had to be dealt with in some way. Perhaps if Penner grew up a little nad met them halfway this problem never would have happened. It would be a huge shame if he left town in the offseason under these circumstances.

    Exactly, and that’s what is going to happen. Maybe he’ll never skate around like a madman in his own end, but he’s valuable – very valuable to the team and especially the first line and power play. Not playing him there to teach him a lesson is great if he were 22. You have what you have and live with it.

  111. Black Gold says:

    With the 6th-12th team all within 8 points I thought I’d put a few things together and see if anything drastic popped up. See if maybe there’s some teams that have a tougher go of the final 10 games of the season than the others. Turns out the only thing I learned from this is it’s hard to format a table when you can’t use tabs or extra spaces. Haha.

    Column 1: Games against teams more than 8 points behind them
    Column 2: Games against teams more than 8 points up on them
    Column 3: Games against teams within 8 points of them
    Column 4: Previous 10 games
    Column 5: Games against teams above them in the standings
    Column 6: Current Pts.

    ____- + = P-10 > Pts
    CBJ 1 0 9 7-3-0 3 82
    EDM 2 4 6 4-2-4 5 79
    NAS 0 5 5 5-2-3 7 77
    MIN 1 4 5 4-3-3 8 76
    ANA 3 3 4 5-4-1 6 76
    STL 1 3 6 5-4-1 6 75
    DAL 1 2 7 4-5-1 6 74

    Controlling Your Own Destiny:
    Games vs. each other.

    ____ CBJ-EDM-NAS-MIN-ANA-STL-DAL
    CBJ –*—–0—-2—–1—-0—-3—-0
    EDM –0—-*—-0—–1—-2—-0—-0
    NAS –2—–0—-*—–1—-1—-0—-0
    MIN –1—–1—-1—–*—-0—-0—-1
    ANA -0—–2—-1—–0—-*—-0—-1
    STL –3—–0—-0—–0—-0—-*—-1
    DAL –0—–0—-0—–1—-1—-1—-*
    ___________________________________
    TOT -6—–3—-4—–4—-4—-4—-3

    Everything could change very quickly with 40% of these teams’ games coming against each other. That’s a lot of 4 point games.
    Looks like Nashville could be in tough, with 5 games against teams 8 points or more above them and no games against teams more than 8 points behind them.
    Hopefully CBJ keeps on rolling w/ 6 games remaining against teams in this race that aren’t EDM.

  112. quain says:

    Well, I think we’re all agreed then! All in favour of accepting that Penner’s ceiling as a player is a better version of Robert Nilsson say ‘Aye!’

  113. RiversQ says:

    Coach: There was a tonne of info in the faceoffs at the midway point that didn’t support your arguments.

    It’s easy to do the Tom Tango With-You-Without-You thing by just looking at the GD or the Corsi, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. When Penner was involved in a line in the first 40-50 games, the coach tended to use them differently and that skewed the numbers. I’ll have a look at it and post it at IOF if I get a chance.

    He’s bad to the people that want to see slobber and limbs flailing, so what?

    I’d wager it has mattered to his teammates this season. That’s a harder thing to dismiss.

    Is preventing goals by keeping the puck in the offensive end somehow worse than a nice backcheck to prevent a goal?

    Nope, not at all. There are no style points.

    Although there probably is some difference in relative value though when you factor in where the shifts are starting.

  114. danny says:

    I gotta say that Hemsky/MacT thing, although being downplayed sure seems like a pretty good peek behind the players only doors.

    My interpretation of what Hemsky said, lies within the ‘If he wants me to be a checker ill be a checker, i want to play more’ field. Which is basically a public pout-session, but I think it demonstrates clear frustration with how hes being used.

    Where theres smoke, theres fire, and 83 is obviously discontent with MacTs gameplan. The coach tread pretty lightly in response as well, so you know the danger alarms are ringing in MacTs ears. Hes not on steady enough ground to withstand a salvo from his teams best player, especially if it seems to confirm any suspicions that he is misusing his roster makeup.

    Wasn’t that on-ice after practice meeting between Hemmer/MacT regarding the powerplay, and Hemmers advice gave the system a nice little shot in the arm? (just going by memory ill have to look it up to be sure)

    Anyhow, very interesting series of events. MacTs response spells *fragile* , i just don’t know if it pertains to his job security or hemskys confidence,

  115. bookie says:

    Penner should corsi better Hemsky the Horpensky. Fire Mactaschemp sucky but ruined coach old boys club. Rolioldie but goodie.Reddox hard work and Moreu penalty easier easykill dumb.

    Sorry, but it is all starting to blur together…

  116. RiversQ says:

    Wasn’t that on-ice after practice meeting between Hemmer/MacT regarding the powerplay, and Hemmers advice gave the system a nice little shot in the arm? (just going by memory ill have to look it up to be sure)

    I can vouch for that.

    As for the rest, I’m a little puzzled by the comments because they don’t make much sense and therefore I tend to dismiss them as emotional.

    Hemsky clearly fancies himself as an elite player. The true elite players play against the best opposition. I think there have been some comments from the Oilers in that regard with Hemsky in the recent past, although I could be mistaken. It just doesn’t make sense for Hemsky to complain about that IMO.

    PP time? Maybe. PP role? Maybe. Offensive zone EV faceoffs against 4th liners icing the puck? Maybe (I really don’t recall who gets these cherries).

    But the whole “playing the best equals checker” thing seems nonsensical to me. I find it very hard to believe a player who started playing for MacT as a 19yr old and ever since would see the game that way.

  117. Lowetide says:

    MacTavish’s response according to Gregor on ON:

    “I find that players that are a little more difficult to manage, I’d rather have the difficulty managing players that will go play the game the hard way and go to the tough areas, than a guy who is super easy to manage and sometimes don’t go to those tough areas.

    “I respect the way he plays. Character to me is how you react in certain situations on the ice. I’m totally supportive of the way he plays the game, and with the toughness that he plays the game.

    “I’m not managing his ice time any differently lately. The last guy I really worry about confidence wise is him, because he is so skilled. He has been playing fine in my estimation. The way he has started the last few games, he has been outstanding. He hasn’t got anything offensively to show for it, but he has been playing fine.

    “You look back after you hear the comments about the way he has been used, and I did sit him down in the Colorado game when we were up 7-1, and probably in hindsight maybe that should have been the time to play him, but I didn’t see him lacking confidence because he is still making plays.

    “I support the player. I’ve had him for seven years. I understand where the player is coming from. These comments could be malicious at times, but I really don’t view it that way with him. You may think I’m just saying that because he is a good player and I’ve got to have a good relationship with my best player, but I’m not. I like the player and I always have. I owe him a lot, and he will have my support in this situation.”

    That right there is why I think MacT is a great coach. Life isn’t black and white, it’s shades of grey. Smart, smart man.

  118. danny says:

    RQ: it was definitely an emotional thing… hes outright frustrated. The question left for me is wheres the frustration coming from? His performance? The coaches system?

    It may even be as shallow as not being used in the shootouts since the deadline.

    Hemsky isn't a north<->south guy like Modano under Hitchcock. Thats what the Oil have been grooming him for since his rookie season IMO.

    So theres probably a little bit of conflict between what hes expected to do, and what his instincts are.

    MacT running Moreau out in the final minutes when you need a goal must urk 83 more than a little though.

  119. Tyler says:

    I know that some of the baseball types here know of John Brattain through various internet fora. He apparently just passed away.

    Awful news. A very funny guy. I think I’ve linked some of his stuff savaging Loria around the ‘sphere before.

  120. rickibear says:

    Bruce your two Ev play post just show us how the outscoring EV+- is. Just fill the positions baased on rank and you come up with an intresting line-up:

    1lW Penner +.86; +.01 Comp
    1C Gagner +.42; -.02
    1RW Hemsky +.21; +.02

    2LW Nilsson +.17; -.02
    2C Horcoff +.38; .05
    2RW Pisani +.17; .04

    3LW Cogliano +.07; -.03
    3C Brodziak +.00; -.07
    3RW O’Sillivan +.12; -.03

    4LW Moreau +0.00; +.01
    4C Pouliot -.10; -.06
    4RW kotalik -.31; -.05

    1st line secondary tough
    2nd line Power
    3rd line soft
    4th line Hide.

    We have 10 guys even or outscoring at even strength.

    Do you know how many teams have more than that? 2

  121. Wil says:

    MacT "oh smooth skating one, for you GF/GA > 1"

    Hemsky walks away thinking: I'm not scoring, so I must reduce GA… I am checker?

    MacT walks away thinking: Message delivered, he will increase GF…

    As soon as Hemsky scores a goal or two he will be happy and this will be a non-issue (fingers crossed)

  122. Coach pb9617 says:

    It’s easy to do the Tom Tango With-You-Without-You thing by just looking at the GD or the Corsi, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. When Penner was involved in a line in the first 40-50 games, the coach tended to use them differently and that skewed the numbers. I’ll have a look at it and post it at IOF if I get a chance.

    In the first 18 games, when Penner was bouncing around lines other than the first and was playing the off wing he was still good.

    # % Def Faceoffs
    51 58.97%
    46 53.06%
    12 47.86%
    10 46.11%
    34 44.72%
    Team 42.77%
    18 40.28%
    78 39.82%
    26 38.78%
    13 38.38%
    89 38.26%
    83 37.13%
    27 37.00%

    Penner, Cole, Hemsky, Cogliano, Gagner all being used the same way.

    # Zoneshift
    51 28
    10 22
    12 11
    78 10
    83 1
    46 0
    89 -2
    18 -4
    27 -9
    34 -11
    13 -11
    26 -17

    He’s no Pouliot, but neither is Hemsky. And he’s not as bad as Cogliano or Cole.

    10GF, 4 GA, 25 Corsi. Outshooting, outscoring. What else would you ask of a guy not on the first line? He gets benched here too. It’s his fault for the Oilers start.

    Off of the benching, Horpensky is reuniuted:
    # % Def Faceoffs
    12 52.78%
    89 47.06%
    10 46.96%
    51 45.21%
    13 44.07%
    18 43.43%
    78 43.18%
    27 42.53%
    26 41.30%
    83 40.71%

    43 40.35%
    88 37.50%
    85 32.26%

    Penner, Cole, Hemsky, all being used the same way.

    # Zoneshift
    10 21
    27 17
    85 14
    26 14
    18 7
    51 5
    5 0
    83 -1
    78 -3
    89 -8
    13 -10
    46 -10
    12 -11
    88 -19

    And look at the evens:

    11 GF 3 GA. Corsi of 44!

    The next game they get smoked by the Hawks and Penner is blended during the game. He’s thrown under the bus, HS’ed and moved around again.

    So what, exactly, about Mac’s use of him is so far afield? What, about those results has made him the whipping boy?

  123. Bruce says:

    Bruce: Let’s see the faceoffs with all of that. I know the splits away from 10-83 were seriously skewed to the offensive zone in the first half of the year.

    RQ: Sure. I think the same way, but didn’t bother to go deeper cuz I figured Penner’s faceoffs (a mild negative at ~0.9 D:O) and QualComp (a mild positive at +0.01) were close enough to the middle as to not make much difference, especially in a list of all forwards. But since you asked:

    Horpensky: 95 D, 107 O = -12

    Penner otherwise: 137 D, 152 O = -15

    Hemsky otherwise: 178 D, 159 O = +19

    Horcoff otherwise: 323 D, 168 O = +155

    So a significant but small difference for Hemsky, and a huge gulf from Horcoff. You’ll get no argument from me that Horc’s workload is incomparable, that he does by far the heaviest lifting on the team including faceoffs, QualComp, TOI in all three situations, and so on.

    BtN has Penner at +12, Horcoff at +6 and Hemsky at +3 in EV GF/GA. While a difference of 6 goals might possibly be explained by a difference of 167 faceoffs, as with Horcoff, I wouldn’t want to attribute a difference of 9 goals to just 34 faceoffs as is the case in a Penner-Hemsky comp. I’d be surprised if with a brute-force analysis one could establish a coefficient of as much as 0.1 between faceoff location stats and actual GF/GA. Certainly nowhere near 0.25.

    Anyway, it’s not about whether Penner is better than Hemsky. It’s about whether Penner is delivering the results. +12 in what can hardly be described as protected minutes seems pretty alright to me.

  124. Bank Shot says:

    Another key issue is that forwards tend to take a long time to adjust to new teams and systems after a trade. Replacing Penner who already knows what to do with Kotalik or O’Sullivan in their first 5-10 Oiler games is bound to cause some problems.

    Mostly just on Oilers’ teams.

    Seems like everyone else traded at the deadline (Kunitz, Guerin, Recchi, Antropov, Cole, Jokinen, Vermette) have produced great instant results for their new teams.

  125. Coach pb9617 says:

    I’d wager it has mattered to his teammates this season. That’s a harder thing to dismiss.

    I was going to go into a post about floaters and selfish players that have been prevalent throughout the game and have been successful, but I’m worn out after that last post and there’s no use. I give in. Penner lost the room. Clearly.

    After driving those results for the first third of the season, the team was pissed at him and asked the coach that hates him to make him the scapegoat.

    Since then, his Zonestart is +1 and his Zoneshift is 0. Not protected at all.

    He’s the only forward that is outshooting, the only one with a positive corsi and he’s still outscoring since he was blended and blamed for the for the Chicago blowout.

  126. Lowetide says:

    Glad you’ve come around, Coach.

    :-)

  127. Lowetide says:

    George Kell died today. He used to call the Tigers games on WDIV years ago and of course was a tremendous ballplayer. Al Kaline was his partner, they were wonderful to listen to.

    One day, years ago, in (I think CHicago playing the White Sox)it was a lazy afternoon of ball (mid-week) and the Tigers were in the field, Jack Morris on the mound. Morris stood on the mound for a long time, at one point turning to LF (while still on the mound) and I swear the running verbal went like this:

    Kaline: There seems to be a disturbance out in the left field bleachers.

    Kell: Mumble.

    Kaline: A couple of crazies are out on the field, running around.

    (long, long pause, Morris is now definitely looking to left field, where Tigers OF Kirk Gibson would have been).

    Kaline: Kirk Gibson is ha—

    Kell: Isn’t anybody gonna help Gibby for Christ sakes!!!!!!!

    I swear it’s true.

  128. Bruce says:

    LT: Don’t leave us hanging. Was Gibson:

    HAving a heart attack?

    HAlf cut?

    HArrassing the blond on the first row?

  129. Coach pb9617 says:

    George Kell died today. He used to call the Tigers games on WDIV years ago and of course was a tremendous ballplayer.

    Tigers fans are spoiled rotten. Kell and Harwell are probably the best broadcast media twosome ever.

  130. Lowetide says:

    The story goes that Gibby thrashed a couple of hooligans but baseball stretches the truth sometimes.

    :-)

  131. jon k says:

    Online feed should be on here:

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/red-wings-live

  132. gogliano says:

    The MacT quotation really is fantastic; he basically says “character is displayed by how you play the game,” which is what is relevant here.

  133. Bruce says:

    Well (sigh) I’m off to my meeting. Should be back just in time to watch the rebroadcast on TSN2 (I’ve learned to really like that three-hour time lag).

    Enjoy the game everybody. Goilers!

  134. bookie says:

    Sombody score so that we can get on with the oilers game

  135. bookie says:

    Joseph drinking the same stuff as Rolison?

  136. relic says:

    cheers jon.

  137. danny says:

    Minny lost. Huge.

  138. bookie says:

    Minny lost. Huge.

    Huge Opportunity, lets see what comes of it…

  139. oilerdago says:

    That was a terrible sequence. MacT needs to think a little deeper about who’s out against Zetterberg’s line. 3 chances to get the puck out and the results a penalty.

  140. reijo29 says:

    Bad Turnovers that Shift by Gags then Kotaik & Nilsson gets the penalty.
    Yikes.

  141. Derek says:

    They actually didn’t look that bad until Kotalik couldn’t figure out how to making the clearing pass.

  142. Ribs says:

    That really is a great quote from MacT.

  143. oilerdago says:

    Do we decline the penalty here or actually make something good happen?

  144. Quinn says:

    Just finished reading /Outliers/ by Gladwell – interesting insights which have some application to hockey (beyond his opening example of hockey players generally being born in the months following the cutoff for minor hockey).

    Basically, the book backs up what MacT quotes, as was alluded to, that hard work determines outcome. Gladwell shows that talent only gets you in the door, hard work separates the losers from the winners (oh, and luck, timing, genes, socio-economic status and social IQ too). Once you’ve read the book, you realise why Schremp will never go anywhere.

  145. Quinn says:

    BTW, interesing hockey game so far.

  146. HBomb says:

    Long 5-on-3 early. GOTTA make this count.

    Smart use of the time-out by MacT.

  147. oilerdago says:

    Grebs! Good things happen when ya shoot the puck.

  148. Black Gold says:

    Awesome.
    I was getting worried. :)

  149. Quinn says:

    Classic example of actually shooting and how it gives the puck a chance to go in.

  150. HBomb says:

    5-on-3 was junk. 5-on-4 worked.

    Outshooting the Wings, up by a goal after one. I’ll take that any day of the week.

  151. Quinn says:

    An odd ending to the period – a PP goal against the Wings and Kotalik throws a hit. /cue twilight zone theme/

  152. PunjabiOil says:

    GREBESHKOV IS…WHO WE WANTED JONI PITKANEN TO BE!!

  153. Coach pb9617 says:

    I woke my son up on the 5-on-3. “No swearing in the house, even if it’s just “damn” Dad!”

  154. PunjabiOil says:

    1-1 late third for Nashville and Anaheim…fuckkkkk….that mutt, Anaheim I’m worried about. A not too difficult of a schedule.

    Dallas has an easy schedule too, so it’s good Vancouver is shutting them out.

    St. Louis and LA tied at 0 after 40.

    A win today would be vital.

    TSN does a pimp job broadcasting the NHL, but what’s with the behind the net powerplay cam?

    Will be interesting to see which Canadian team will be on TSN should the Oilers make the playoffs. TSN and CBC will have a draft for broadcast choice.

    CBC Picks 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th.
    TSN takes 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th.

  155. Coach pb9617 says:

    Just finished reading /Outliers/ by Gladwell – interesting insights which have some application to hockey (beyond his opening example of hockey players generally being born in the months following the cutoff for minor hockey).

    Quinn, an interesting rebuke of Gladwell .

  156. speeds says:

    I don’t know if I’ve seen a more static 5 on 3. Admittedly I’m not an NHL coach, but it seems to me that such a PP setup doesn’t make as much use of the 2 man advantage as would be the case with more motion.

  157. Chris says:

    I think we might want to slow down on planning the parade route as the power play scored on Ty Conklin. Looking back into the mists of time that’s not exactly the greatest of accomplishments in Edmonton.

  158. jon k says:

    Rand Simon has an interesting view on the effect of a player’s birthdate on his chances of making it in hockey:

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/21499-Rand-Simons-Blog-Hockey-ageism-hurting-kids-chances-for-success.html

  159. Gord says:

    I said before the season started that a realistic expectation for Grebeshkov was 5 goals…. :-)

  160. Quinn says:

    Coach,

    a very interesting critique, since it addresses the nagging questions I am left with in my head after reading it.

    The book did fit with my continuing disenchantment with the idea of /free will/ or a human beings own ability to determine their fate through sheer willpower.

    But the most instructive was the notion of the 10,000 hours of practise and how it was the minimum required to achieve mastery in any field. After that, talent, et al must take over to separate the Gretzky’s from the Pouliots (sorry Marc).

  161. Steve says:

    Rand Simon has an interesting view on the effect of a player’s birthdate on his chances of making it in hockey:

    …which is cribbed from, and attributed to, Gladwell.

  162. Gord says:

    Actually, I sad 5 goals & 30 assists… :-)

  163. Dennis says:

    I’m checking the play-by-play for the 3.5 min I didn’t get to see before TSN switched to Edm and it shows the Oilers only have two shots attempted at/on net that I missed: a 46 footer from 34 and then 80 footer from 43.

    So, maybe that 34 shot was a chance if there was a screen or he was dead on with the tender but from what I saw, I had the chances 9-6; 2-6 EV and 7-0 ST.

    I’m not complaining because the Oilers haven’t been able to win many games due to their ST but the Wings did carry the play at EV.

    One other note: 10 must be having wrist problems. he’s getting absolutely nothing on his shots.

    PJO: i forgot that’s how the networks divvy it up this year; thanks for the reminder!

    If the current four Can clubs in the playoffs remain there, I say CBC takes Mtl-Van as it’s first two picks, TSN takes Cgy 3rd and then CBC gets the Oil.

    It basically comes down to the 2nd overall pick between Cgy and Van and that will be decided by which market draws the best ratings.

    Habs will be first pick for sure.

  164. PunjabiOil says:

    I don’t know if I’ve seen a more static 5 on 3. Admittedly I’m not an NHL coach, but it seems to me that such a PP setup doesn’t make as much use of the 2 man advantage as would be the case with more motion.

    Yup. That was a terribly executed 5 on 3. Hemsky was being effectively wasted – no cross seam passes, no movement – just get the puck to Souray.

    Surely even Sheldon must be embarrased by that gesture.

  165. Quinn says:

    Interesting article Jon – just another reason for keeping my two older sons out of hockey (may and july birthdays) – quite aside from the insanity of the minor hockey system and the demand it places on families. (please don’t hate me ‘sphere)

    Also, it backs up why I tell every parent I meet who has a boy born in the later part of the year to delay school by a year. Just gives them a better chance for success.

  166. Ribs says:

    I wonder if they shouldn’t just tell Sheldon to aim and fire for some shin pads right off the bat on the power play. Tell Grebs to retrieve the rebound and get the Pk’er thinking twice before he steps in front of the next one. At least they’d get some shots away instead of passing it around to the pylon players.

  167. Quinn says:

    How on earth do we get Strudwick out on the ice at the same time as Datsyuk?

  168. bookie says:

    I would love to see the Oilers bump the wings off in round one again. Roli is playing Hot, Wings have goaltending that they are not 100% confident in – sound familiar?

    I would just like to see Hossa’s face. Then I would like hte Oilers or Penguins go onto the cup. I understand Hossa’s decision, but I still would like to see him regret it.

  169. bookie says:

    I don’t know if I’ve seen a more static 5 on 3. Admittedly I’m not an NHL coach, but it seems to me that such a PP setup doesn’t make as much use of the 2 man advantage as would be the case with more motion.

    They are back to their old ways – give it to Hemsky and nobody move…

  170. Ribs says:

    They are back to their old ways – give it to Hemsky and nobody move…

    That’s the way he likes it, dammit!

  171. oilerdago says:

    Be nice to get another goal here.

  172. Quinn says:

    I think the Masai are the only people on earth who don’t know that all you have to do is cover Souray on Edm’s pp to keep it from scoring.

  173. Chris says:

    Ah you see we run the power play as Hemsky passes to Souray or Horcoff for a one timer so often that those rare times when someone like Grebs shoots its going to go in by virtue of catching our opposition off guard.

  174. Lowetide says:

    Well if you’re looking for a penalty that won’t be killed, that’d be it.

    Detroit is the new Montreal in this way.

  175. Chris says:

    Oh how we tempt fate.

  176. Quinn says:

    Is it just me, or does Roli look exceptionally angry/intense this evening?

  177. Chris says:

    Roloson really has been playing with that Patrick Roy like impregnability during this last stretch of games.

  178. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: I know he’s an ex-Oiler, but I freaking hate Kirk Maltby.

  179. Scott says:

    I would just like to see Hossa’s face. Then I would like hte Oilers or Penguins go onto the cup. I understand Hossa’s decision, but I still would like to see him regret it.

    Why on earth would you begrudge a guy taking less money to have a chance to win the Cup. I don’t begrudge guys taking the money, but I certainly don’t frown on them for wanting to win.

    Also, the Penguins? I dislike them very much. In addition to employing Matt Cooke, Malkin is a dirty kid. His hit yesterday at the end of the Kings game was pointless. Clearly intent to injure.

  180. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: It’s the teeth. There’s 400 of them.

  181. Scott says:

    Anaheim wins over Nashville in the shoot-out. The Ducks have a pretty soft schedule relative to the rest of the bubble and a pretty decent record against the West. St. Louis also picks up two points. The Wild and Stars regulation losses leaves them in a pretty bad spot now.

  182. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: OK then, apparently more teeth means bigger douchebag. Got it.

  183. Lowetide says:

    Think Osmonds.

  184. HBomb says:

    Osmonds, as in Donny and Marie?

  185. Steve says:

    Man, this has late third period loss written all over it. Just saying.

    Also, Scott, I think bookie was explicit that he *didn’t* begrudge Hossa his decision, just that he’d like it to have been, in hindsight, the wrong decision. What Oiler’s fan (except for one hoping for failure to instigate housecleaning) wouldn’t?

  186. PunjabiOil says:

    God, I’ve been a nervous trainwreck throughout the game.

    A win tonight will be instrumental. Anaheim keeps clawing back up – winnners of 3 straight. They also play us twice, including the Oilers 3rd in 4 nights on Friday. Their tough games include SJ (home and road) and Vancouver (road)

    It was important Nashville only picked up 1 point though. If they tie the Oilers in points, they will advance in the tiebreaker.

    I’d like to secure a playoff spot by the time the final 2 games against the Flames roll around. We should also somewhat hope the Flames take the division, and those final 2 games are meaningless to them.

  187. godot10 says:

    //I’d like to secure a playoff spot by the time the final 2 games against the Flames roll around. We should also somewhat hope the Flames take the division, and those final 2 games are meaningless to them.//

    **depending on how close the Canucks are to them.

  188. Scott says:

    Also, Scott, I think bookie was explicit that he *didn’t* begrudge Hossa his decision, just that he’d like it to have been, in hindsight, the wrong decision. What Oiler’s fan (except for one hoping for failure to instigate housecleaning) wouldn’t?

    I hope for it only in the sense that I hope the Oilers win. Nothing to do with Hossa himself though. I think Bookie’s point was begrudging Hossa’s choice in and of itself unless he happens to be a huge Penguins fan as well as an Oilers fan.

  189. Dennis says:

    That was a selfish penalty by 78 and it came just after him and 13 double-teamed the Wings down low which eventually lead to a slot chance by 34.

    All the same, that wasn’t a Stephen Hawking penalty taken by 44 either and his penchant for taking a dumb penalty a game has gone pretty much unnoticed, IMO.

    Chances: 4-15; 4-7 EV; 0-8 ST

  190. Quinn says:

    PJO,
    you need to find a zen place on the Oil making the playoffs. If they make it, good. If not, MacT is not coach next fall, good.

    It sure takes the edge off these games for me.

    That, and a resignation that we always lose to Detroit and anything better than a reg time loss is a good thing, helps too.

  191. Aram says:

    you suck conklin

  192. Icecastles says:

    Here we go…. poke check. Too bad. Nice PK though – team seems to be playing for one another a lot more these last several games. Confidence is definitely the highest it’s been this season, I think.

    Now please please please can they capitalize on one of these chances! Roli is mind-blowing, but he doesn’t get a lot of shutouts.

  193. bookie says:

    For just a second Staois looked more like Hemsky than Hemsky.

    Does Rolison know that NOBODY find that baseball swing puck thing ‘cool’. It just looks stupid and accomplishes nothing.

  194. Chris says:

    Man that Staois deke has to be the weirdest thing I’ve seen since JFJ scored a goal. It reminds me of the play where Bobby Orr briefly possessed the body of Matt Greene

  195. Dennis says:

    The Roli-bat hasn’t hurt us yet and I kinda think it’s a cool little wrinkle. It gets the fans going a bit too and that’s always enjoyable from a watchability perspective.

  196. Ribs says:

    ♪ M is for muffin, it’s good enough for Smid ♫

  197. relic says:

    Dennis, that was a total dive, didn’t deserve a penalty. Even the red wing announcers called it a dive by maltby.

    Bookie, I think it’s cool, well not the worst play that could be made anyway, he’s pretty consistent at getting it out and down…

  198. Icecastles says:

    I find it cool, Bookie. It shows that he’s feeling confident… and badass. I like badass goalies. Not Gerber-badass though. That’s more dickish than badass. :)

  199. bookie says:

    I hope for it only in the sense that I hope the Oilers win. Nothing to do with Hossa himself though. I think Bookie’s point was begrudging Hossa’s choice in and of itself unless he happens to be a huge Penguins fan as well as an Oilers fan.

    I totally admit that I am being petty here and that from Hossa’s perspective I fully get why he did what he did, BUT in the future I would like players facing that decision to feel that the Oilers may be worth the risk.

    Just like I actually understood Pronger’s decision and had no real problem with it (its a business and he held the cards). At the same time, I would have loved to have seen him regret the decision.

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