Legend has it that Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda was worried about Orel Hersheiser’s egghead appearance and lack of aggression off the mound early in the pitcher’s career. Lasorda’s solution was a burly nickname: Bulldog.

I think perhaps the Oilers next coach might want to try the same thing with Marc Pouliot. The former first round pick hasn’t delivered on early promise but does have some nice things on his resume. Craig MacTavish’s exit could be confirmation of his “marginal NHLer” status or it might be perfect timing for a guy whose progress up to this point has been measured by sundial.

In 07-08, Pouliot’s numbers looked pretty good albeit in a small sample size:

  • Boxcars: 24gp, 1-6-7 -1
  • Corsi: 3.4
  • GF/GA ON: 10/11
  • 5×5/60: 1.55
  • Quality of Competition: dregs
  • Quality of Teammates: dregs

He played in only 24 NHL games in 07-08 and he wasn’t a high event offensive player against the bottom feeders but he held his own. The Oilers have had worse prospects.

In 08-09 he played more:

  • Boxcars: 63gp, 8-12-20 +1
  • Corsi: -4.4
  • GF/GA ON: 25-26
  • 5×5/60: 1.67
  • Quality of Competition: dregs
  • Quality of Teammates: 3rd level

He played with against about the same quality as Andrew Cogliano and had the identical Corsi and they were extremely close in 5×5/60. At MacT’s last press conference he did say that Pouliot had made some progress and we know that the player and coach had some differences in philosophy with regard to Pouliot’s ideal slot in the batting order.

We have to assume Pouliot will get the hint and show up in NHL-level shape this fall. A new coach might mean a fresh start for this player and that could mean an increase in responsibility and the arrival of Pouliot after a long incubation period. And a strong nickname couldn’t hurt.

I suggest Sledgehammer.

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