One Man’s Junk

As rookie camp opens it signals the beginning of that wonderful period of time when the leaves turn and the town team arrives from all corners of the globe.

The Oilers were supposed to be “bigger and tougher to play against” this winter but look like the same popgun bunch they were in the spring. Edmonton has an amazing collection of people with the same skillset, something you don’t see often in sports because it doesn’t work.

About two decades ago the Kansas City Royals had a team made up entirely of hitters who refused to take a base-on-balls. Seriously. The 1988 outfield featured Bo Jackson (25 walks, 146 k’s), Willie Wilson (22/106) and Danny Tartabull (76/119) and the club also employed men like Steve Balboni (1/20), Jim Eisenrich (6/31) and Frank White (21/67). It was painful to watch, the team k/w total for the season was 944/486 and this was a good ballclub (84-77). The team that won the division that season had a k/w number of 926/580 and their OBP trumped the Royals (.336-.321) too. The Royals of that era had too many free-swinging right handed bats in the middle of the lineup.

The Oilers right now have too many undersized skill men with an indifferent attitude toward the finer points of the game or a lack of experience or both of those things. As Pat Quinn arrives on the scene and begins to see the talent in front of him, is he going to find enough men who are willing to do the things required to work his game plan? It’s one thing to say the club will be more uptempo and aggressive on the forecheck, but has Robert Nilsson shown an ability to do this? Andrew Cogliano?

Quinn will need to find somewhere to play Dustin Penner and reports have the canvas blank at this time. He could be 1line L or 3line R and anything in between. Quinn apparently wants to see several players at 1line L (Penner, Cogliano, O’Sullivan, Nilsson) and there have been hints that the only certain positions up front are the 3 and 4 line wingers (3: Moreau, Pisani and 4: Jacques, Stortini) although we’ve also heard Penner could be on the 3line.

Let me ask you a question: how many responsible men with a wide variety of skills are there up front for the Edmonton Oilers 2009? How many complete players?

I see Horcoff and Pisani, with Moreau to help some and O’Sullivan a guy who might be very valuable if he can play that uptempo style. Pouliot has shown some signs he’s getting there and Stortini remains a low event phenomenon. I’m not giving up on this team, but can we agree that Steve Tambellini must add some veterans to this group? Either a waiver toss from another team or a free agent signing even if it means burying a contract in the minors. Or a trade.

Because if the Oilers don’t improve in some important areas in the next 4 weeks, I think we’re going to hear things like “Steve Staios will take some shifts on RW tonight” and “we’re going to move Jason Strudwick to LW tonight.” Which is the kind of thing Craig MacTavish did not too long ago. I’m beginning to think the lesson for us this season is going to be that sometimes one man’s junk is actually another man’s junk too. The Edmonton Oilers are suffering from a terrible case of not enough NHL players.

Again.

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108 Responses to "One Man’s Junk"

  1. bookie says:

    Last years unbalanced team's problems were amplified by a coach who did not coach to the team's strengths and more importantly, coached in a manner that brought out the least in many of his players.

    I think that this team will be able to ride it out long enough for a trade to be made part way through the season to address weaknesses. If our players play better under Quinn's sytem, they may actually have some trade value.

  2. hunter1909 says:

    Herein lies the beauty of Pat Quinn:

    He knows more about hockey than all of us combined.

  3. linnaeus says:

    Lowetide – I'm not sure either argument you offer up in this post has merit. I mean that with no disrespect at all. Both points have become part of the collective wisdom of the online portion of Oilers fandom. We are, by consensus, blessed with too many players who duplicate each other's skill set and don't have enough NHL players.

    Let me see if I can't debunk both these myths.

    Starting with the latter, that we don't have enough NHL players. Now how on earth are we going to define NHL player. For purposes of this argument lets say an NHL player is anybody who has played two or more seasons in the NHL and whom another team in the league would claim on waivers if the players contract wasn't an issue. This removes financial considerations from the picture.

    Now here is the thought experiment. From this list who is that you think would clear waivers (contract issues aside):

    Horcoff
    Hemsky
    Penner
    Gagner
    Cogliano
    O'Sulllivan
    Moreau
    Pisani
    Pouliot
    Stortini
    Souray
    Visnovsky
    Gilbert
    Grebeshkov
    Smid
    Staois
    Khabibulin
    Nilsson
    Strudwyck

    Only two likely players on this years team aren't by this definition NHL players, JF Jacques and Gilbert Brule, both of whom are well enough thought of around the league that they wouldn't clear waivers if exposed. Please feel free to show me where my reasoning is wrong. Oh, and by the way, please include a list of all the teams with "all NHL player" lineups.

    Then there is this issue of duplicate skills. This time let's consider a series of questions. Is there anybody on the Oilers who duplicates Horcoff's skill set? If there was would we be looking for a 3rd line center? Is there anybody who duplicates Penner's ability to stand in front of the net on the power play? If there was would our power play have stunk so badly when MacTavish had that brain freeze and took him off the power play? Would we be looking for more size up front? Is there anybody in the NHL who duplicates Hemsky's rather tantalizing skill set? How about Souray, do we have anybody else on our roster who can play physical hockey and fire cannons from the blue line?

    I'm sure what you mean is that we have four forwards who duplicate some of the same skill set and are smurfs, ie. Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Gagner. Though even there the argument doesn't hold up. Cogs is terrifyingly fast and scores close in. O'Sullivan by all accounts when he is on is a fine two way player who loves to shoot the puck (anybody else on the Oilers forwards do that?). Gagner thinks the game better than most and probably all of his team mates. Nilsson was, two years ago, the best passer of the puck at even strength amongst the forwards, some of who don't pass enough. Maybe you could argue that Vis, Grebs, and Gilbert duplicate each other's skills. But statistically each is better at a different part of the game as you pointed out in your excellent reasonable expectation series of posts. Besides, which one would you get rid of if you were GM?

    So tell me, which of these players are true clones?

  4. godot10 says:

    The Oilers have too many players signed to add without substracting.

    If you add now, you might not substract intelligently, because you end up with too many bodies for the coaching staff to properly evaluate what you have.

    Lowe and MacT didn't do sufficient editing. They delayed making decisions (and giving opportunities to guys). Plus, they made the decision to go with Gagner and Cogliano, which exacerbated their indecisiveness on the other young guys, creating the mess that was left for Tambelllini.

    The Oilers are "pot committed" to Gagner and Cogliano. You shouldn't do anything that imperils their development.

    The Oilers have just a ton of guys they have to play to find out what they got. Adding more guys to the pot at this point, without subtracting just creates a bigger mess where it will be difficult to gain the information required to make correct decisions on players.

    The Oilers can probably add one forward without subtracting (i.e. a 3rd line centre who can PK), but I think the new coaches have to evaluate what they've got, and decide on all the question marks before the Oilers can intelligently move foward.

  5. Lowetide says:

    I don't think you can count Gagner and Cogliano as actual NHL players. They're developing and they are posting points but it's also true the Oilers bleed a lot when they are out there.

    That's my point. It's like this: the difference between Patrick O'Sullivan and Robert Nilsson is a lot, and not all of it is in the scoring.

  6. quain says:

    He knows more about hockey than all of us combined.

    So did MacTavish… it didn't make Penner backcheck or Horcoff shoot surer.

  7. Black Dog says:

    I can't speak for LT obviously but I think the issue is guys who can play a complete game. All of these guys play in the NHL and therefore are NHL players and yes each player is different in terms of specific skills.

    But the team is small and inexperienced up front. Put it this way, on the 2006 team who would you trust to put out against the other team's top players, guys who you did not worry about when Selanne or Thornton or Staal or, well, most of the Wings, were on the ice. Lets make a list – Smyth, Horcoff, Peca, Torres, Pisani, Moreau, Dvorak.

    That's seven forwards and on top of that you had a veteran in Samsonov, a youngster in Stoll who could win draws and play a role on special teams, especially the PK. And Hemsky who spent a good part of the year playing tough opposition.

    Now if the Wings throw Zetterberg or Datsyuk over the boards who do you trust on this club to face them? Horcoff, yes, and I do think that I would include Hemsky in that list. Pisani is a given. Moreau faced the toughs last year and bled chances against, iirc.

    Who else?

    I like the kids a lot but if they are out there against Iginla or the Sedins then they are going to be running around our end a lot.

    I think that Quinn is going to make a positive difference but this team lacked a couple of tough minute guys last season (and the season before) and they do so again.

  8. eggie says:

    Of recent memory, the 2006 Buffalo Sabres were also pretty small. They went onto win the President's trophy (and were very close to playing the Oilers in the final…).

    That team's top 6 forwards were:
    Danny Briere (5'10")
    Thomas Vanek (6'2")
    Chris Drury (5'10")
    Jason Pominville (6'10")
    Derek Roy (5'9")
    Maxim Afinogenov (5'11")

    I'm not saying the Oilers are going to do that. I remember the comparisons to the Sabres before the 2007-2008 season: the predictions that we'd rival the Sabres for most depth in the league and score 350+ goals…

    …but if the young guns produce this year, things could work out.

    Defensively, we're screwed. But if we can turn on the offense… so that we pump out more water than we take on… then we'll be ok.

    [/optimism]

  9. eggie says:

    "Jason Pominville (6'10")"

    oops :)

  10. HBomb says:

    Someone want to give me a good reason why Ethan Moreau is a lock as the 3RW? Anyone?

    The fact is, he's not good enough – if Moreau's in your top nine and is being relied upon for tough minutes, your team is in trouble.

    He's nothing more than a 4th liner at this point and is paid double what he should be. Tambellini's number 1 objective at this point should be to get two contracts off the books by October 1st if possible: Moreau and Steve Staios.

  11. hunter1909 says:

    Methinks Big Pat will use training camp and the first two months of the season experimenting to see what he's got and whatever he doesn't got.

    By Christmas or not long after, I would certainly expect a few changes to the current potential lineup.

    The thing is, after MacT's post 2006 cup run(yawns) astonishingly terrible coaching, no one actually knows which players(aside from MacT's shopteacher style pets) can actually play the game the way it's meant to be played.

    As no one really can put their balls on the line and say player A can play but player B cannot play, it's left to Quinn to sort everything out.

    Expect a 2005-06 type season, with more than a few bombshell roster changes coming up to and including at the deadline.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Among the forwards on this team, I think Pat Quinn can send out the following F's without really worrying about what the other team sent over the boards:

    1. Horcoff
    2. Pisani
    3. Moreau (mostly)
    4. Hemsky (with an explanation)
    5. O'Sullivan (with size a limitation)
    6. Pouliot (partly)

    Who am I missing? Penner can't be counted on all of the time, the kids are kids and Stortini can be exposed (as can all of the others).

  13. hunter1909 says:

    I think I could coach better than MacT did last year.

  14. OF17 says:

    Sign Rob Niedermayer, Blair Betts, and Radek Bonk to cheap, one-year contracts. Niedermayer would likely command about $1 million, Betts around 600K, and Bonk somewhere in the $1.4 million range. We'd be adding $3 million in salary, the equivalent of trading Nilsson for pick(s)/prospect(s) and Staios for a guy like Sean O'Donnell (adding picks as necessary). Leaving the Oilers with:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Cogliano-Gagner-O'Sullivan
    Niedermayer-Bonk-Pisani
    Moreau-Betts-Stortini

    That forward corps is good enough to make the playoffs, particularly the bottom six. There's a big veteran presence, with only Stortini still learning the ropes, and Horcoff wouldn't even have to PK, leaving him for a more offensive role. Bonk-Pisani and Betts-Niedermayer are excellent PK pairings. It would work wonders for the team this year and would bring a lot of cap flexibility for next year with so much money coming off the books.

  15. quain says:

    I'm sure you could Hunter… except you don't have eighteen timeouts a game to repeat the same inane points every five minutes and I don't think players are particularly motivated by the 'remember the 80's Oilers? WHY CAN'T YOU SCORE LIKE THEM?! LOSERS!' method of encouragement.

  16. rickibear says:

    1. Horcoff
    2. Pisani
    3. Moreau (mostly)
    4. Hemsky (with an explanation)
    5. O'Sullivan (with size a limitation)
    6. Pouliot (partly)

    Who am I missing?

    Jepers LT:Remember who are the only plus players the last two years.

    Horcoff and Nilsson.

    5 and 6! come on your back to the Silly man love.

    Nilsson-Horcoff-Pisani
    I have been preaching this as our PvP line.

    Linnaeus gets it:
    Nilsson was, two years ago, the best passer of the puck at even strength amongst the forwards, some of who don't pass enough.

    A supreme skilled passer feeding
    Horcoff 12.8 shooting %
    Pisani 13.3 Shooting %

    Thats a 60 goal line.

  17. Vince says:

    One thing I'd like to mention is that last year this roster was supposed to place 1st or 2nd the NW and 5th-7th in the conference. Are all us seasoned hockey fans that stupid that we all learned everything we know about hockey after last year's trade deadline or do we give this team a chance?

  18. DBO says:

    When LT says NHL players, he means players that can actully play in their own end and not get killed, who actually knows what their own blueline look like and who can get the puck out when it means taking a hit or making a defensive unselfish play to make it happen. Our young guys do not yet know how to make that happen 8 out of 10 times. that's why the AHL is a great learning league, teams force players to learn that side of the game. That's why a guy like Potulny or Stone will get a shot in camp to make the roster, since they have learned how to battle, bring a bit more maturity on the ice and have a bit more size, physical play and in Potulny's case goal scoring. In potulny's case, who is a more natural/gifted scorer on the oil? a player who shoots a lot, gets himself in position to shoot and actually pots some goals? I'd like to see him get a shot on a top 6 line, especially since he can play wing or centre and is responsible in his own end. And in Stone's case i'd rather see him then jacques, since he brings a nastier type game to go with solid skill.

  19. Black Dog says:

    According to who Vince? Nearly everyone i read figured them to be life and death for eighth with a few exceptions looking at the last twenty games of 2007/2008 as some sort of true picture of the club when the reality was that it was a run of extraordinary luck.

    I'd love to think that Quinn and Renney will make a big difference adn I certainly thought little of MacT's work last year but I see more of the same again this year.

    Wish I was wrong but a whole lot has to go right for this club to make the playoffs. Not much needs to go wrong for them to miss out.

  20. Lowetide says:

    rickibear: So, just to be clear, you're thinking Nilsson is a better bet than O'Sullivan and Pouliot in terms of complete player?

  21. Baroque says:

    Sign Rob Niedermayer, Blair Betts, and Radek Bonk to cheap, one-year contracts.

    I think Radek Bonk went off to Europe to play next year.

    Purely subjectively, when I think if someone is an actual NHL player or not, I think about how often he makes me feel nauseous when I watch him. If I feel like throwing up a lot, then I don't think he's quite ready. :)

    Of course, individual definitions vary a lot.

  22. Black Dog says:

    Baroque – yeah that's about right – I remember whenever Matt Greene was on the ice in the 2006 playoffs I couldn't even watch.

    Remember too folks that this club is down Kotalik and Brodziak as well, one was an NHL veteran, the second was a guy who could do a little in his own end, PK and win draws.

    I just wonder if this club flops again what the spin will be – four years out of the playoffs while spending all of that money. What a disgrace.

  23. Lowetide says:

    PLUS (and I'm now a broken record) there's injury concerns with regard to Pisani.

  24. OF17 says:

    "I think Radek Bonk went off to Europe to play next year."

    Hadn't heard that before. Just sub in Dominic Moore or Manny Malhotra then, whichever comes cheaper. The important part is that the third line center role is filled, not really who fills it.

  25. godot10 says:

    //So, just to be clear, you're thinking Nilsson is a better bet than O'Sullivan and Pouliot in terms of complete player?//

    It is more binary with Nilsson. It is all mental/desire with Nilsson. If Nilsson decides he wants to play on a consistent basic, he IS an NHL player.

    I think O'Sullivan is the most likely to become a reliable NHL player.

    With Pouliot, we find out in a couple of weeks, whether it was just MacT or not. If the Quinn's verdict on Pouliot is negative, I think we find out pretty quickly, by the end of training camp. I think the tell with Pouliot will be whether he is being used as a penalty killer or not. If he isn't being used as a penalty killer, then Pouliot has no long term future with the Oilers.

  26. Racki says:

    We can go down a list of players and pick on guys who aren't solid two-way players on this team. But at the same time, we can pick out guys who have the hockey sense to learn to be two-way players over time.

    I think there are some that show no signs of ever being better than average at one or even both ends of the ice. And those are the guys I would remove first (looking at you, Pouliot/Nilsson), and then bring in a solid savvy vet who can mentor the remaining players and pick up the slack for them in the meantime (thus easing the burden on our resident mule, Shawn Horcoff).

  27. linnaeus says:

    Lowetide,

    I still don't get your definition of NHL player. If I am hearing you and other posters here correctly the definition is can you hold your own against Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Ovechkin and Semin, Crosby and Malkin. Is that right? In that case there are a lot of guys who don't belong in the NHL playing in this league.

    I have another quibble.

    Bluntly, if we just make the definition of NHL player be that you have to backcheck relentlessly and never make a stupid bonehead play in your own end then the set of NHL players who can do that is much smaller than the set of all NHL players. If you also require that they can cycle tirelessly on the forecheck, don't over commit in the offensive end and go hard to the net then the total number of players in the league with this resume is very small indeed. Now try adding having some talent and size into the description. How many players are there in the entire NHL that fit the description?

    I'm just saying the definition of actual NHL player should surely be somebody who is more valuable to a NHL team than any one in the set of people not playing in the NHL. Since we have no way of working out if anybody is an NHL player based on that definition then we must rely on how the leagues GMs view talent. Thus returning to my original point. Which guy on my list would clear waivers if salary wasn't a consideration? Hell, even if it was.

    As for the kids and whether you could throw them out there or not in tough situations, you can't know until you try. It is all about the grit and fight and learning capacities of the individual players. MacT sheltered some of them a lot. Gagner has so much heart and smarts I wouldn't bet he wouldn't rise to the challenge. Penner wasn't horrible two years ago defensively as the 1L. Nilsson's a wild card but he understands the game well enough to be in the right place at the right time if he wants to be (as others have pointed out). Admittedly Cogs can't backcheck to save his life, but neither could Yvan Cournoyer when he broke into the NHL. As you say yourself, you never know when the lightbulb is going to go on.

    I sense in your posts a growing discontent with this team as it stands. I think maybe it is blinding you to the upside. I don't think that this team is good enough as it stands to make the playoffs. Frankly, I think we are in the same class as Atlanta. That said all we need is one of these kids to catch fire to turn us into legitimate playoff contenders. Just one. Even Pouliot turning into Guy Carbonneau would be enough.

    Is that likely? Quinn has a reputation for turning on the lights in players who have never gotten it before. Maybe he gets through to Pouliot and Penner, for example. If he does we will surprise a lot of people. I remain optimistic that all is not lost.

  28. Travis Dakin says:

    Black Dog- The banner on this very site said "second in the division, sixth in the confrence. book it." Right up until April so Vince does have a point. New motivtions and coaching surely will have an effect on this team. I've been thinking a lot lately. They surely can't be as bad as we think….. Right? FML

  29. Henry says:

    I've seen Malhotra a few times and he seems ok as a 3C, but not spectacular. If he's so damn good, why hasn't Howson kept him?

  30. Baroque says:

    I think, in terms of "enough NHL players" that not everyone on a team has to be that competent. Just about everyone has a forward on their team that makes them cringe, or a third-pairing defenseman that makes them want to gouge their eyes out with a plastic spork when he tries to handle the puck – the problem is when a team has so few competent NHL players that these guys have to play more than a few minutes a game.

    Enough actual NHL players for, say, the top two-thirds of the roster, fine – enough for just one forward line and a pair of defensemen is a problem.

  31. Moose says:

    I think I could coach better than MacT did last year.

    No you couldn't. That's just a simple fact.

  32. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    There seems to be a real dichotomy here. On the one hand, an obsession with scraping into 7th or 8th (why?) and, on the other hand it appears Tambellini and Quinn/Renney are prepared to use the upcoming season to assess the forward corp and start weeding the garden.

    For the long term prospects of the team, I have to throw my lot in with the Oiler brass.

    Adding a small piece here and there might make for a more interesting season but a little more short term pain while Tambellini and the boys unravel Lowe's mess will be a far more durable tonic.

    BTW, the guys who bet real money on the outcome of the season don't like the Oilers much.

    http://www.vegasinsider.com/nhl/odds/futures/

  33. DeeDee says:

    Last year we were being told this team would make a serious challenge for first place in the division.

    And seeing how that season turned out, its safer to predict an 8th-10th place finish and hope to be suprised.

    Hard to give up on them though, the coldness in the air, leaves are turning colour.

    And I see Lucy setting up the football and beckoning Charlie Brown over to take another shot at it, cause this time its REALLY going to be different…

  34. Jfry says:

    outside of arguing about players strenghts and age, etc.

    i think the real point is that tambo said we needed to make changes…and the specific items he listed off several months ago (center, size, nhl players) have not been adressed. retty plainand simple.

    i think quinn was hired for three years with the goal of accomplishing bigger goals in year two. this year is figuring out hich midgets stay and leave, i imagine.

    lt says never to trade young guys til you know what youre getting…this year i think there's going to be a lot at bats for the young kids early.

  35. Traktor says:

    Most of the players that "aren't actual NHLers" are the players that actually have some offensive potential.

    How many forwards have on Edmonton's roster have cracked 25 goals in a season? The only one is Penner and he only did it once, on another team.

    Manny Malhotra is not going to play on the 4th line and if he's your 3rd line C it means one of O'Sullivan or Cogliano is on the way out of town.

    Are we really in the position to be selling off potential for a quick fix?

    The only spot I can see that is open for improvement would be 4th line C and Pouliot is one of the more low-event players on the team.

    The only other thing I could justify would be bumping Moreau to the 4th line and bringing ina defensive player to play with Pisani. Hard to believe Rifles will be starting on the 4th line though and losing JF wouldn't particularly make sense considering he's the only player that fits Tambellini's "get harder to play against" direction.

    This team has too many needs and the way things are set up if you address a need you're stealing from Peter to pay Paul. The best bet is to role into camp with what we have and see where everyone is at.

  36. Racki says:

    @HENRY: Have you hecked out Columbus at center? They have (or had, since some are UFA) Peca, Vermette, Malhotra, Gratton. I think they can afford to drop a checking faceoff guy.

  37. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Racki said…
    @HENRY: Have you hecked out Columbus at center? They have (or had, since some are UFA) Peca, Vermette, Malhotra, Gratton. I think they can afford to drop a checking faceoff guy.

    Plus Umberger and Brassard.

  38. PDO says:

    Traktor:

    Cogliano will almost assuredly have to be moved to wing if he's staying here.

    Why not just move out Nilsson (bury him in the minors, whatever)…

    Your 2 C's are Horcoff and Gagner, and your 4 wingers are Penner, Cogliano, O'Sullivan and Hemsky.

  39. jdrevenge says:

    I find the contrast in expectations this year over last, stark. I'm approaching this season with the sense of wonder you talked about.

    I don't think we know enough about this team yet to make a decision either way. I get where you're going with this but… It's too tough to say. I think coming in with a coach, that will be assessing the team based on observation and not an emotional attachment, should help the players. Hopefully, that alone will be enough to get them into the second season.

    I think they've overloaded the team with contracts and could make some very important personnel decisions very early on. By dumping some players in the minors or letting them hit the waiver wire.

    I'm actually very excited to watch it all play out. We're in no way out of the woods yet but I think this season could go along way to shaping what kind of team we're going to be in the near future. More so than last season.

  40. bookie says:

    I think I could coach better than MacT did last year.

    No you couldn't. That's just a simple fact.

    For once I find that it is possible to defend Traktor here.

    Let pretend that Traktor replaced MacT last year and moments later turned to his 3 assistants and said – "ok, you guys are in charge, I am going to have a nap on the couch for the next 8 months". That could very much be better than MacT Coached last year.

  41. Smarmy Boss says:

    The Oilers are gonna spend another year wandering in the desert. I suspect Tambo is going to see what Quinn can get out of this bunch and keep those who "get it" and ship those that don't out of town.

    Sucks for people that want to win now but that's how its gotta be.

  42. Marc says:

    LT, Black Dog:

    You've both been banging the drum for management to address the unbalanced roster. So which kids are you ok with giving up on? Because it necessarily follows that more veterans means less at bats for the kids.

    A veteran backup means giving up on JDD without really knowing what he can do in the majors. A veteran centre means either Pouliot or Brule sits.

    Given the wailing and gnashing of teeth on blogosphere when the team got rid of Brodziak, who is at best a fourth liner on a good team, to clear room for Pouliot/Brule, both of whom have more upside would you honestly be happy to see on or more of Nilsson, Pouliot, Brule and JDD gone on waivers or for a low pick so there's room for a couple of veterans? Because that's what it will take.

  43. flamingpavelbure says:

    Bookie: Yes, it's probably right, sometimes, you shouldn't over do it. Sometimes, it's just good being a motivator, with super simple schemes, but when your able to get 100% each night out of your guys, it's tought to beat. I don't think MacT was really getting that out of Nilsson and Penner, by benching them and sitting them, and critizing them. Some guys just don't work that way.

    I think Linnaeus as been expressing right what i wanted to say. Just i add difficulty putting the words together.

    And for the 3rd checking center… why would we need that?

    Look at the Red Wings

    Dastyuk
    Hudler
    Filpula

    They don't have a checking line.

    Theyr just responsible as a whole, they use a simple system, that keeps the puck in theyr hands. And i think that system is perfect for the Oilers.

    Puck Moving Dmans? Checked
    Skilled Forwards? Checked

    That's the only way i can think of, that would compensate the weight, is by implemanting a system based on puck possesion and short passes, avoiding getting hit in the process, and mainly avoiding to be in our own zone.

  44. DBO says:

    i'll give LT and the posters credit. last year there wasn't the unbridled enthusiasm as some blogs concerning the expectations of this team. LT pointed out before training camp that we were unbalanced and not surprisingly we struggled in key areas in part to the lack of faceoff men and in part to veteran players who can play in our own end. Someone posted it earlier, but i like the idea of a defensive centre at 3C, and pair him with Nilsson and Pisani. Allows us to move Moreau to 4C and gives you more balance throughout the lineup.

    Cogs-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Penner-Gagner-O'Sullivan
    Nilsson-Malhotra-Pisani
    Moreau-Pouliot-Stortini
    jacques, Reddox

    you send brule down (freeing up $800K) and sign malhotra for $1.25 m (giving us just around $1 million in cap space). You have more balance throughout the lineup, defensively responsible players on every line, size on every line, and some skill on every line (4th line excluded). you can then sub in jacques for Nilsson if the mathcup is overly physical (moving Moreau to 3LW). Reddox can also step in at W if needed.

    PP
    - just use the top 2 lines as is.
    PK
    Horcoff, Malhotra, Pisani, Moreau, O'Sullivan, Pouliot/Cogs

    I am happy going into the season with that lineup. one signing, that is all I need and I'm happy., Funny how we had all these expectations/hope in the off season and I am reduced to being excited about signing one 3rd line player.

  45. Bruce says:

    Let me ask you a question: how many responsible men with a wide variety of skills are there up front for the Edmonton Oilers 2009?

    LT: Dustin Penner?

    Played all three forward positions and all four lines last year, and led Oiler forwards in +/-, ESGF ON/60, ESGA ON/60, shot differential, Corsi differential, and PPGF ON/60. At what point do you give the guy a little credit for being a decent player?

    Now factor in the 99.44% probability that he will have a better-to-much-better season under Pat Quinn.

  46. Smarmy Boss says:

    Tambo knows this team can't compete and he knows its unbalanced. Thing is they have to give up on some players and I believe they want to see what Quinn can do with all of them in case they give up on the wrong ones.

  47. Dustin says:

    Everybody is overreacting. We won't be terrible this year. We have a Better goalie who was won the Stanley Cup and been considered an NHL elite for years, with only a few bad seasons 4 or 5 ago, we have one of the most Solid defensive cores in the system and pretty much the Exact same forwards as we did last year. But they've all matured (hopefully/probably).

    Also, Tom Renney and Pat Quinn are Both better coaches for this team then Craig Mactavish, and I really think the young players will shine under Pat Quinn. And it really bugs me when people say he didn't focus enough on young kids in Toronto cause that was How many years ago and since he has spent time at World Juniors, not to mention he is an Olympic caliber coach.

    JDD had a full, solid, season practicing with an NHL Club last year and looked solid in every game I saw him in. If every player has to be "proven" by your guys' standards before they enter as a BACK UP goalie, then flonk me, because that is Reeeetardo. How can we comment on how a player has developed when we're judging them on how well they played on their AWFUL AHL team or in their 5-6 games the season before… Which were on par with most back up goalies.

    Honestly from last year, I see the Underachieving Eric Cole GONE, for a younger, cheaper player who better suits our style. And Blackdog, I really respect your opinion, but don't say "and Kotalik is gone too." He was here AFTER the trade deadline and didn't fit in as well as we hoped. And although he was big, he was probably the Softest player on the team. That's why not many teams wanted him. I do recall a scouting report saying something along the lines of "Wicked shot, but won't battle for the puck for the life of him". Which is dead on. Our roster is barely changed from last year. We don't have a small top 6, Hemsky and Horcoff aren't 'small' like the rest of the guys. Neither is Penner. So we have a Small Second Line or a Small left winger on the top line. So? Who says a 2nd Line has to be big? If guys like Mike York and Mike Comrie worked well with us, what makes you think the (Arguably) More talented O'Sullivan, Gagner, Cogliano, and Nilsson won't. If their developed right, they won't NEED to be big, because there Skills overcome that. Look at Paul Kariya or Theo Fleury.

    Everyone is just going stir crazy cause we're hockey fans who had nothing new over the summer, but we're fine. Our little guys will learn to play as tough as they can, and you Know we'll be a faster more In Your Face team under this system, as compared to Mactavish's, which didn't suit our players at all. It just really confuses me that even though our team has (one again) Arguably improved from last year, or atleast stayed roughly the same, that we can be in panic mode, when at the beginning of last year everyone was so Excited. We've grown up. 3 of our 4 coaches are better then Mac was. We're making the playoffs.

    LT- I read your blogs everyday and have never actually had the balls to comment on one, but the way all the oilers bloggers, and fans, are treating this is that this season is going to be Apocalyptically bad for the oilers. It could be.. I just don't see why. But then again I'm just a kid so I could be wrong haha. With the right coaching, I just don't see why Too Much Young Talent Players could be a bad thing.

  48. rickibear says:

    Complete players Are nice! I am about winning.

    You have a better chance of winning with Nilsson.

    2.9M for a low % shooter who plays his game out wide and real strength is PK. Cause scoring goals with efficientcy is not.

  49. kris says:

    Linnaeus,

    Not all meaningful concepts have precise definitions. Some vagueness is necessary. For example, I can't define precisely how many hairs a person has in order to be 'not bald' or how few hairs one has to have to be 'bald. But the fact that I don't have precise criteria for baldness doesn't mean I can't correctly call this person bald and that person not bald.

    That's exactly how it is with LT's concept of 'actual player.' It's not precise and it needn't be.

    If you want to be precise, I think you could say that X is an 'actual player' if they had a +/- of 0 or above while playing at least average competition, and not having the benefit of great teammates who inflate their +/-. Let's say to be an actual player you need +/- per 60 over 0 while having a QualTeam-QualComp differential that is close to zero or is very negative. (I realize that's pretty restrictive.)

    Out of all the Oilers regular forwards, the following had a +/- per 60 that was zero or above:

    Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Gagner, Nilson, Brodziak.

    Brodziak is gone. Both Nilson and Gagner had QualTeam numbers that were above their QualComp numbers.

    That leaves Horcoff, Hemsky, Penner.

    I realize that maybe my criteria are too restrictive, but when you look down the lineup you see a lot of guys who showed flashes but who got outplayed by weaker opposition, lot's of bad Corsi numbers too.

    If Cogliano, Gagner, Nilson, O'Sullivan, and Pouliot all take a step forward, this team will compete for a spot and will be tough to beat.

    But that was true last year, too. Odds are, maybe one of the young guys steps forward and the others keep getting beat up by the other teams veterans, and we lose games accordingly.

  50. flamingpavelbure says:

    Dustin: For Pat Quinn and the young guns, it's just false, Pat was actually getting blamed for playing Antropov and Ponikarovsky too much. Even this season, i think he could get blamed for playing Nilsson, Pouliot, Gagner and Cogliano too much.

  51. bookie says:

    Basically management sees this as a 'Do-over' with a different coach. As I have mentioned throughout the summer, that is in fact how I heard the Tambi press conference when he announced the MacT firing. The Oilers think that they have some assets in guys like Penner and they want to be certain of what they have.

    Lowe and Tambi selected these players and as such, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that they actually like these players and think they are good (one would assume that a GM would select players that they like). So, at the end of last season, they either had to say "Wow, we F@#ked up and picked crappy players" or "Wow, MacT really F#$ked up with this great bunch of players that we had for him"

    Odds are that their feelings were somewhere in the middle (and of course Tambi was not here when many players were brought in). Yet, it was clear that they wanted to see what they could get from this bunch. I am surprised that this surprises so many of you.

    Keep in mind that trades can happen durring the season too. The Oilers know this and I suspect that they think that they will get better return after some of their guys play in a system that displays their skills a little better.

  52. PunjabiOil says:

    BTW, the guys who bet real money on the outcome of the season don't like the Oilers much.

    http://www.vegasinsider.com/nhl/odds/futures/

    .

    Coincidentally, DashingsilverFox on HF also posted this link.

    Why the need to hide your identity?

  53. PDO says:

    PJO:

    I've called him on it several times… he'll completely ignore your post in all likelihood.

  54. bookie says:

    [Kotalik] was probably the Softest player on the team.

    Did people watch him play? He had more hits than most of the other Oilers. He dug in the corners better than a lot of our forwards. I did not want to keep him around because offensivly he was a 1 trick pony, but I do think its funny that this 'saw him soft' thing keeps getting attached.

  55. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    PunjabiOil said…

    Coincidentally, DashingsilverFox on HF also posted this link.

    Why the need to hide your identity?

    Ah, be nice to LT and come pick a fight over there if you need to.

  56. ian says:

    Do you think Mac T is checking out this blog and having a little chuckle to himself?
    Going back to Tambos' comments
    I do not think the Oilers have addressed the areas that he said they wanted to improve upon and given the cap room it is likely that a trade with some other team that is in worse shape than we are [Sharks]

  57. LMHF#1 says:

    I'll start out by saying I don't like complete players. Almost all except the elite guys are referred to as complete, not because the excel in everything but because they excel in nothing.

    Those that become elite and complete are guys that start out with huge offensive skill and then add parts while relying on their talents to get them through the learning process I find.

    You can have "complete-ish" guys on the blue line; but I really detest them up front. I want a max of 3 so-called complete guys on our roster.

    The Oilers real problem is a lack of defined guys with different skillsets. You need shooters, passers, skaters, a defensive guy (with the complete-ers taking care of the rest), maybe a hitter or a fighter or that Dino Ciccarelli guy who pops 25 from the front of the net.

    Your forward core then becomes unstoppable because you present too many different looks. There are nights when the shooters terrorize the goalie, nights of the passers setting up easy goals, nights of breakaways and one guy putting in three point-shot rebounds.

    Versatility is what it's all about. It'd be correct to say that we don't have that.

  58. hunter1909 says:

    Why would MacT chuckle at this blog? It's pretty well universally recognised he was an absolute and total dipshite last season, and since day 1 for many others.

    Since training camp is far off…oops close actually…I'll go out on a limb and say Oilers make the playoffs. Quinn will figure out how to make these young shell shocked guys believe in themselves, and if anyone knows psychology vis a vis the difference between winners and losers in sports/life/wherever, Quinn will fit that bill.

    Actually I never thought the Oilers were all that bad, but playing under a cranky coach/boss never brought out the best in me either.

  59. flamingpavelbure says:

    Is it me or, MacT was that kind of guy… that's not your friend, he's your coach. And that he kind of acted like it never could happen, you would never cross that bound with him. I think for some players, it's preferable having your coach as a friendly face, then someone you fear.

  60. linnaeus says:

    kris,

    I hate to start a war with people who are obsessed with statistics, and let me begin by saying that at least your definition has some rigor to it.

    However, you have chosen an example, baldness that nicely makes my point. You and I can say that somebody is bald or not, we don't need a definition, right up until the moment we disagree. Then we need a definition. Lowetide has said that we don't have enough actual NHL players, I disagree, in order to see who is right we need a definition.

    You've at least tried to provide one. The problem is that like most of the attempts at statistical analysis of hockey you have simplified a very complex and dynamic environment. In doing so you have relied on statistics that have not been shown to have a predictive value in the real world of NHL hockey. You've begun by using plus/minus which I think there is a growing consensus is a bit useless (read your Dave Staples). Then you've made a logical (and statistical) mistake by assuming a players quality of comp/quality of team says anything about a player.

    Dynamic environments with high contextural inputs don't lend themselves to individual performance analysis, which is why all the stats guys are blowing smoke and why qual comp/qual team are non-predictive, except in an absurd tautology.

    This is why we need not just definitions, but non-mathematical ones we can test empirically.

    I attempted to offer one earlier. I posted a list of all players with significant NHL experience on the Oilers. I then proposed we ignore the contract implications and imagine that each of these players were available on waivers. My question was, I was hoping for the bloggers here to be my research tool, which would get through waivers without being picked up by another NHL team? If they would remian in the NHl even if we gave them the heave ho then they are by my definition NHL players.

    The reason I don't accept your proposed definition, kris, is because all the numbers you talk about will be different for each of these players if they are placed on a different team. In order to meet your own criteria, those numbers would have to be transferrable to another team. They aren't, they merely attempt to quantify the players performance on the Oilers in 2008-2009 and thus say nothing about whether these players are actual NHL players or not.

  61. flamingpavelbure says:

    Well, let's take a Look at Kris' thing

    Waiver Wire

    Horcoff Grabbed
    Hemsky Grabbed
    Penner Grabbed
    Gagner Grabbed
    Cogliano Grabbed
    O'Sulllivan Grabbed
    Moreau Dropped/Grabbed with 1/2 salary going to EDM
    Pisani Grabbed with Medical tests
    Pouliot Grabbed
    Stortini Dropped
    Souray Grabbed
    Visnovsky Grabbed
    Gilbert Grabbed
    Grebeshkov Grabbed
    Smid Grabbed
    Staois Grabbed with 1/2 of the salary going to EDM
    Khabibulin Grabbed
    Nilsson Grabbed
    Strudwyck Dropped

  62. Mr DeBakey says:

    What a lot to digest!:

    Most of the players that "aren't actual NHLers" are the players that actually have some offensive potential.

    And that is exactly the problem.
    The last time potential won a NHL game was never.

    Now how on earth are we going to define NHL player.

    One without potential.

    We have a Better goalie

    Who?

    That leaves Horcoff, Hemsky, Penner.

    Yes. Plus Moreau & Pisani with the addition of good health and an NHL Center

    The Oilers can probably add one forward without subtracting

    Yes!. One without potential, Dominic Moore or Manny Malhotra.

    I'd like to mention is that last year this roster was supposed to place 1st or 2nd the NW and 5th-7th in the conference.

    No. Most said fight for a play-off spot. MacTavish said once “could challenge for the division”

    And in Stone's case i'd rather see him then jacques, since he brings a nastier type game to go with solid skill.

    I'm positive the Oilers don't like his skating. But, there's also Minard.

  63. Gerta Rauss says:

    Tambellini and Quinn/Renney are prepared to use the upcoming season to assess the forward corp and start weeding the garden

    This is what I'm hanging my hat on.

    I'm OK with this team missing the playoffs again,provided a year from now we're in a better place both from a player standpoint and a cap standpoint.

    Our team is so devalued right now we don't have much choice other than to play our way out of this,and hope we can move some of the deadwood(insert your favourite whipping boy here) at the deadline or next summer.

  64. Black Dog says:

    fpb – try not to be such a tool ok

    of course a lot of those guys are going to get picked up on waivers because some day they are going to be good players – Cogliano would get snapped up in a second

    don't be a jackass, use your head, the point is that these guys are still developing as NHL players

    Travis – you're right, LT did believe that but he was in the minority in the sphere, I would say, he's an incurable optimist, I used to be ;)

    Dustin – Thing is, Kotalik is a guy you could throw out there and he wouldn't get eaten alive. Same as Cole who he replaced, remember? Even though Cole did not do what we hoped (and producing offence while playing with Moreau and Brodziak would have been a miracle I think) fact is he is a proven veteran and if he was out there you knew you were going to be ok. He made mistakes but it wasn't like, say Lupul, remember – a guy who couldn't get it out of his own end, ever.

    Marc – well that's the rub, right? And Traktor has also hit the nail on the head.

    The Oilers can carry a line of kids and if they're killing the soft opposition then that is great. Much like Getzlaf and Perry did a couple of years ago, iirc. But they have to produce that offence.

    I'm not advocating trading all of the kids and replacing them with pluggers. You need guys to score goals to win. If they can play both ends of the ice all the better but Selanne jumps off the ice everytime Iginla jumps on and he's going to be a Hall of Famer so there you go. Ideally you have a club like Detroit where basically you have three lines who can play in every situation and everyone can score and check but that's not our present or likely our future.

    The problem with this club is that Lowe has tried to have it both ways for years now so you have big money invested in winning now and you also have a bunch of kids.

    I think Penner/Horcoff/Hemsky can do a fair job as a #1 line – they have in the past.

    I think having three kids playing the softs is absolutely fine – pick your three, it doesn't matter to me. Lets say the kid line from two seasons back.

    Now both of these lines' effectiveness are based on consistency from Penner and Nilsson, lets hope Quinn can get that.

    The issue lies with the remaining six. If O'Sullivan and Pisani by default need to take on some tough opposition then you need a centre who can handle that – can Pouliot do that? Brule? Rob Schremp?

    So bringing in a vet there might be taking ABs from Pouliot. So we need to decide on that. If winning now is more important then Pouliot's future ont his club then you need to bring someone in. Right? And this is if you decide that going forward you want both O'Sullivan and Nilsson. Do you? If not then you need another guy to play on this line as well.

    And then the fourth line has Moreau, Stortini and Brule or Pouliot again.

    Or a veteran to play centre who can kill penalties and win some draws.

    Am I negative about this team? Yes I am. We've had three bad seasons in a row and management keeps making the same mistakes.

    If they're going with kids then go with kids, that's fine.

    But it takes time to win with them.

    I hope I'm wrong but we saw this movie last year and remember they only really had Lubo and Pisani miss any significant time.

  65. grant says:

    I just think that it is hilarious that LT and the Oilbloggers have been beating the Malholtra, Betts, et al. drum all summer and management has yet to make a move. They even offloaded their 4C because they feel that they have depth at the position.

    I wonder if management actually signed Malholtra or Betts if it would be enough, or would you guys just find fault in their game too?

    Marc is right. Do you want to develop talent or do you want NHL calibre players to battle for the 8th seed? I'd rather give Pouliot, Brule, etc their at bats.

  66. Black Dog says:

    rickibear – I like Nilsson a lot – I hope that he can take that last leap this year and just come to play every game

    With him and Pouliot (and hopefully others) I hope it was coaching.

    Penner too although that's two coaches now for him.

    I think MacT did a rotten job last year and I hope that a coaching change will make a difference. When he was here though (in Toronto) Quinn had veteran guys all through the lineup. Hard on the puck, hard to play against. This team needs more guys like that. Just like the 2006 club had. They had some luck but there was a reason that team did so well. Veteran club and a hard club to play.

  67. flamingpavelbure says:

    Black Dog: Yes, but those teams were BEFORE the lockout, the one after, the leafs failed to do the playoffs.

    Nowadays, the average age of the players is way lower, and so is the age of the dominant players.

    In ''Hockey Le Magazine'' a french version of The Hockey News, they showed that.

    If we do

    (Before Lockout)

    PointsXAge For all players
    Then divided that number by all the points registered in the NHL.

    It gave aproximately 30.

    Saying that the most prolific players we're arround 30

    Now (After Lockout)

    They did the same thing after lockout, and the number resulting was 24,8.

    Veteran loaded team aren't as efficient as they used to be.

    The most prolific players are around 25 now.

  68. Black Dog says:

    grant – ok what's the line in the sand for this club to compete then? Two years? Three years?

    Why sign Khabibulin? Souray? Why trade for Visnovsky? All of these guys are going to be gone or far less effective three years down the road, no? Why not bring in cheaper alternatives? What happens if next summer someone offersheets Gagner or Grebeshkov or Gagner or all three and the Oilers lose one or two of them because they haven't the cap space? Because they just signed a 35 year old goalie to a four year deal.

    If we want the kids to get at bats then flush the vets and go with kids. With the vets we have they're going to be touch and go to make the playoffs. Why not go all the way and dump the lot of them and get some lottery picks?

    Myself if the difference between having some playoff hockey for the first time in four seasons (that's fourr seasons now) is Marc Pouliot or Gilbert Brule getting at bats I would say bring in some vets.

    I'm just pretty sick and tired of losing. You?

  69. Black Dog says:

    fpb – you're right its young man's game ina lot of ways but you had better have the right young men, no?

    Post lockout we have Carolina and Edmonton, both with fairly veteran clubs, Anaheim and Ottawa the same.

    Detroit also.

    Pittsburgh would seem to be the exception but get past Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury and nearly everyone else on that club is either a veteran – Gonchar, Orpik, Gill, Scuderi, Guerin, Kunitz, Satan, Sykora – or a younger guy who can play both ends of the rink like Talbot or Kennedy.

    Listen, I'm all for the younger guys and the Oilers have commited to this so that's fine. It certainly has worked out on the blueline. Three youngsters, three vets.

    But up front the issue is that all of the kids pretty well are either one dimensional at this point in their careers or just plain inexperienced. Sam Gagner is going to be a good player and I think he will be able to handle better players and soon. But they haven't the young guys who can take care of their own end of the rink and they haven't the veterans either.

    If the team is going to be shit its better to be young than old but here's the deal.

    2005/2006 – team needed goaltending after a few moths it became pretty apparent, Lowe waited until the last minute to address this

    2006/2007 – they shed some forwards and D who could play tough stuff, they were short veterans on D and guys who could move the puck back there as well, nothing was done

    2007/2008 – short of veteran forwards and defencemen, nothing was done

    2008/2009 – short of veteran forwards, nothing was done

    And let me ask you this, what kid forwards got their at bats playing tough minutes last year? Especially at centre. Brodziak, who has been moved. Cogliano. Pouliot barely got a sniff.

    Pisani got more icetime as the third line centre than Brodziak or Pouliot.

    So tell me where's the plan?

  70. Baroque says:

    Okay, I was waiting for someone else to point it out, but…

    Am I the only person who saw the title of the post and for a second wondered if I was on Black Dog's blog instead of Lowetide's?

    (Please tell me I'm not the only person.)

  71. Mr DeBakey says:

    I wonder if management actually signed Malholtra or Betts if it would be enough, or would you guys just find fault in their game too?

    Management haven't put together a play-off team for some time.
    If they had, there'd be way less fault finding.

  72. hunter1909 says:

    There wasn't any bloody plan, once Pronger left.

    And until coach Quinn evaluates the wheat from the chaff(I was watching a farming show today), there still won't be one.

    But once coach Quinn evaluates which players are keepers, and which players aren't going to be any use to him, then and only then the Oilers will be able to think about planning for that carrot again.

  73. hunter1909 says:

    "Am I the only person who saw the title of the post and for a second wondered if I was on Black Dog's blog instead of Lowetide's?"

    Nah. Black Dog always uses esoteric pics, while Lowetide usually keeps his eye on the ball at all times.

    Black Dog also starts his blogs by yapping about his family, or how he jacks off into baggies, or whatever. Lowetide sticks to hockey.

  74. Hockey Noob says:

    @Baroque, No. You're not alone, I also though I was at black dog's blog for a second. I too was waiting for someone to notice that he used 'junk' instead of 'trash' for that adage. For those who don't know what I am talking about, check out the urban dictionary, lol.

  75. Lowetide says:

    Holy crap. I went shopping for a desk for my son awhile ago and have been spending most of the day putting it (and a desk I bought for my daughter) together. Freaking allen wrenches, dowlings and jpegs. It was going slowly until I remembered to add beer. :-)

    Just a few comments:

    1. I definitely felt the Oilers would be better than they were a year ago. Pisani's injury and the Vis injury later had a major impact on the season imo and once again the team hasn't done enough to cover their asses veteran wise up front.

    I think Quinn will be fine with G and D providing Deslauriers can post a .500 winning percentage.

    The forwards are going to be a problem and the Oildrop are going to have to do what Tambellini's already done with the goofy 50-man list that hamstrung Lowe forever: cull.

    I agree Nilsson has some nice things, hell even Schremp has some nice things. But you can't play all of them.

    So, the Oilers need to decide that Gagner and Cogliano are the ones and that they'll also run with Hemsky and O'Sullivan in skill roles.

    That's enough, cut loose the rest and fill in with veterans:

    Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
    Gagner-Cogliano-(Dvorak)
    O'Sullivan-(Sykora)-Pisani
    Pouliot-Moreau-Stortini

    Dvorak serves as Pisani insurance and Sykora is there in case Cogliano or Gagner struggles. Nilsson is down the line, Brule spends a season in the minors showing better than he has, and Sykora also reminds Penner there are options.

  76. kris says:

    Linnaeus,

    1. I'll leave your comments about stats untouched.

    2. So the Oilers have a lot of forwards, who if they played on a better team would get better results. Okay, I agree to an extent.

    But how is that a defense of the claim that the Oilers have lots of NHL'ers who can break even against other NHL'ers.

    You're admitting everything to LT's claim that the Oilers don't have enough veteran players when you agree that our young forwards would do better if they were surrounded by vets.

  77. kris says:

    I mean veterans who break even against decent comp., of course.

  78. kris says:

    Oh and BDHS is on fire with the comments.

  79. Lowetide says:

    We didn't have baggies back then. Only brown paper bags and hats. Hats were especially effective when they belonged to someone else. And touques.

  80. Hockey Noob says:

    LT, one way or the other, I've been envisioning O'Sullivan at 3c with or without a roster change. I just can't see Quinn running with Pouliot/Brule down the middle on the bottom six. Sykora and Dvorak would be nice vet options to balance out the lines with that.

  81. Lowetide says:

    And that's my point. I mean, they fired the coach because he missed the playoffs, right?

    Now they hire a new guy and they say if Gagner develops AND Cogliano improves on the dot AND Pouliot can fill in AND Pisani stays healthy AND AND AND.

    I don't buy it. Quinn and Renney are going to flush some of these fellows.

  82. Black Dog says:

    Ah Hunter, you love it, you know you do. ;)

    And I was going to make a comment about the whole junk thing but for once I wanted to come off as someone menatlly older than 14.

    Thank God that moment has passed.

    Perverts.

  83. Marc says:

    LT:

    There's your answer right there. It makes zero sense to flush these players now when no one knows how they'll perform under the new coach and system. Once we get to December we should have a better idea of who can do what and what holes need filling.

    That's traditionally how Lowe has operated, and Tambo seems to have the same mindset. You obviously risk dropping points that can come back to haunt you in April, but the advantage is that you're making your deals with a much clearer picture of what you have and what you need.

  84. uni says:

    I was a fan of bringing back Dvorak ever since he left.

    Too bad he's signed for the next two years at 1.7 each in Florida.

  85. Lowetide says:

    Marc- Riddle me this: When you're a team that has an established habit of barely missing the playoffs, how arrogant does an organization have to be in order to begin the season two months after it starts?

  86. Black Dog says:

    And here's another fun fact. Remember after the Oilers beat the Wings – first playoff victory since 98, six seasons without a series victory.

    And yet despite the star players leaving every year, the reliance on kids and pluggers and has beens, those clubs made the playoffs four years out of six.

    Since 2006 despite having a cap and the ability to spend to it they are oh for three.

    So tell me again why I should think that these guys know what they are doing and that I should be optimistic? Convince me that these guys actually have a plan of some sort.

  87. Marc says:

    LT:

    It's a gamble. But so is trying to create a balanced team in the off season when the things can happen in the first game that upset all your plans. People get hurt. Rookies step up. Veterans fall flat.

    I'm all for building up the best, most balanced team you can in the summer, but not if it means giving up on players we have no idea what they are yet. Adding a veteran centre and back up goalie means goodbye to JDD and one of Pouliot or Brule. I want more evidence that they definitely can't do the job before I do that.

  88. Baroque says:

    Let the record show: any perversions I have I learned around these parts. :D

  89. Black Dog says:

    Marc – I hope you don't feel that I am piling on here.

    My question again is if they want to see if these kids could do the job why the Pisani experiment last year? He played more games at centre on a tough minutes line than Brodziak, Pouliot and Brule combined.

    If the organization wanted to see if these guys could do the job then they had to tell MacT to run with them and fire his ass if he refused.

    They decided to move Brodziak and that's fine. I don't agree with it but its not a huge deal. But if they saw Pouliot as a C then why didn't he play C. Same guys in charge last year as this.

  90. Black Dog says:

    Yeah right Baroque, that's what they all say. ;)

  91. Lowetide says:

    Marc: I think the Oilers have become victims of "that'll move the chains." They believe so much in their procurement staff that they seem afraid to let anyone go.

    They need to make a decision on people. As an example, do you believe a team like Calgary would still be pissing around with Schremp? He's duplicated all over the damn roster but they just signed him.

    I feel Tambellini got a lot down in the "bulling under" category of minor league contracts but lordy there are just too damn many Robert Nilsson's on this club.

  92. PunjabiOil says:

    Ah, be nice to LT and come pick a fight over there if you need to.

    That's okay. I'd rather not waste time arguing with someone who posts 700 plus times a month (24 times a day), little of which is substance, and most of which is universally panned as trolling.

    Vancouver Island must not be as exciting as you proclaim it to be.

    Carry on.

  93. Traktor says:

    PJO is just cranky because Edmonton is getting a new arena.

  94. PunjabiOil says:

    PJO is just cranky because Edmonton is getting a new arena.

    Really? They acquired funding for it? Has the first shovel been utilized?

    The plans and designs are all great and all, but the biggest hurdle will remain acquisition of funding.

    I like hockey, but when the province is cutting back on the essentials (read: Alberta Hospital bed for developmentally delayed individuals), it's absurd to allocate public funds to increase the revenues of a private investor.

    Patrick Laforge's suggestion in today's EJ that the Pittsburgh model appears good on surface. Failure to account for the fact these revenues are currently being designated for social programs is indicative of a zero-sum game.

    Carry on.

  95. Marc says:

    Black Dog:

    I think there are probably limits as to how far management is willing to intervene in the coach's decisions. Not signing Reasoner is on one side of the line, telling MacT to play Pouliot at centre is on the other. I guess you have to draw it somewhere.

    LT:

    Calgary have a different philosphy altogether. They've swung for the fences for four years running, giving up picks and prospects and cap space too try and win the cup. It's got them four first round exits. Maybe this year they make it. Or maybe Iginla and Conroy get hurt and they their already thin forward scoring vanishes altogether. And at some point in the next couple years, odds are they turn into Colorado, with a old, crappy, expensive team with nothing in the pipeline. It is a high risk, high reward strategy.

    Lowe has hedged his bets since 2006, neither committing to youth nor bringing in veterans to fill the obvious gaps. It hasn't paid off, but then again, neither has Calgary's plan. They do have flexibility though. They have youth to trade for veterans and veterans to trade for youth depending on how the season plays out. It's not like they're absolutely stuck with what they have now.

  96. godot10 says:

    //Marc: I think the Oilers have become victims of "that'll move the chains." They believe so much in their procurement staff that they seem afraid to let anyone go.//

    That was Lowe and MacT who put off opportunity and decision making.

    Not Tambellini. He has begun to clean up the mess Lowe and MacT left behind. First dump was Brodziak. And no new one-way contracts. More will be coming as Quinn separates the wheat from the chaff.

    Tambellini can't sign anybody because the cap is coming down next year, and he has to leave room for Gagner and Cogliano, in case people through offer sheets at them. And he has all these bodies on whom decisions have to be made in the next few months….Nilsson, Pouliot, Jacques, Brule, Schremp, Potulny, Reddox, etc.

    If you want to get out of a hole, the first thing you have to do is stop digging.

    Tambelllini has stopped digging. You seem to want him to keep digging.

  97. Lowetide says:

    I'd like my team to win, but they seem to like developing NHL players for other teams better. AND spending to the cap. Curious team this.

  98. Lowetide says:

    godot: Columbus signed their guy just the other day, that helps with cost certainty.

    Tambellini can offload salary be sending some of it to Springfield. This team was supposed to be different under Katz but apparently they too squeak when they walk.

    Every damn time I pick up the paper Columbus is doing something that is a high percentage play. Meanwhile our bunch is in the counting room pressing the money.

  99. quain says:

    I'm glad we're operating under the Grand Unifying Tambotheory here. We're finally committed to a plan! A plan! Develop the youth! Trade the youth for Heatley! Develop the youth! Sign Khabibulin! Develop the youth!

    It's the same go for it, no stop put another chair at the kiddie table plan that we've seen for the past three years. I have a hard time seeing a change.

  100. Lord Bob says:

    After this offseason, I'd like to kick Steve Tambellini in one man's junk.

    This isn't a lottery team, but it's a team that could be in the playoff hunt tomorrow if you put sixty percent of the people who write Oiler blogs in charge. This is unbelievably frustrating, and yet we hear things like "Oilers about to sign Comrie!" and "Oilers sacrificing all dignity to grovel at Heatley's toes!"

    It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

  101. bookie says:

    101 comments – I think the reality is that things are as hard to peg on this team as they have ever been. Being hypercritical or hyperexcited right now means that you are likley an extremist who would have that position regardless of what the state of affairs was.

    I think the shift from MacT is a bigger change than most coaching changes. Some coaches have a small impact on their team and others have a big impact. We are going from a big impact guy to a big impact guy.

    I am not saying it will be better or worse, just significantly different. For all I know, these players have great momentum to the paths that they are on (ala Schremp) and it wouldn't matter if you put Mickey Goldmill in their corner – they are going to be who they be!

  102. Lowetide says:

    You can slice it any way you want it, but Steve Tambellini hasn't improved this roster over the summer. Hasn't.

    And expecting Pat Quinn to turn Rob Schremp, Robert Nilsson and Zack Stortini into Todd Marchant, Rem Murray and Mike Grier isn't realistic.

    Steve Tambellini keeps talking about having too many contracts, why doesn't he send one to Springfield? Buyouts exist in other towns, hell the Oilers bought out Cleary.

    Organizations like the Oilers have a habit of treating talents like Nilsson as though they are precious and few. They aren't. Nilsson has oodles of talent and if the Oilers didn't have 10 other guys like him I'd be all over keeping him.

    But this team has 8 leadoff hitters and the pitcher, and they're not going to score as many runs as they should plus they lose on the leather too.

    And when Moreau starts talking about the kids not sacrificng enough to win then I suspect the wheels will fall off for this coach too.

  103. Coach pb9617 says:


    But this team has 8 leadoff hitters and the pitcher, and they're not going to score as many runs as they should plus they lose on the leather too
    .

    Is Jack Clark available?

    And when Moreau starts talking about the kids not sacrificng enough to win then I suspect the wheels will fall off for this coach too.

    We should have a pool on this.

    And bookie, I'm really enjoying your summer on the fence. It reminds me of
    this guy .

  104. pboy says:

    I can tell you, as a Habs fan, bringing a guy like Radek Bonk, it won't achieve shit. Okay, maybe it will get you a 8th spot, or just a tad closer to the playoffs, but that's pretty much it. Same for Dvorak, last time he tallied 50 points, it was in 2004. We felt the same, with too many young soft guys, we traded Ribeiro away… and boom, in our faces it blew.

    There's a lot more to guys like Dvorak or Bonk's game than how many points they put up. It's important that they can saw off the other teams better players, win important face-offs, remember to lock down the defenceman in their own zone, chip a puck out at an important time but don't get an icing out of it…. Points aren't the only way to determine a players value. Having a Bonk last year would have made a major difference in Horcoff's game. He wouldn't have had to take every faceoff, be asked to score and against other teams shutdown guys and then turn around and be the Oiler's shutdown center. He would have been able to get a little rest and he wouldn't have flamed out at the end of the season. Depth players are important pieces and they are often overlooked by fans who look at the Top 20 scoring leaders and make comments like "Vinny Lecavalier is a superstar!!!", not noticing that for every point he puts up, he's giving back to the opposition every night.

  105. DBO says:

    fpb: you seem to assume that the kids will get it done. I'm not (and I think most posters here) saying they don't have talent, but you only give a ton of at bats to kids if you are rebuilding. If the team came out and said this is a rebuilding team, then no one would bitch. however, signing a 35 year old goalie does not a rebuilding team make. this team needs 1 or 2 veteran players who can play both ways. A vet 3C and a solid two way forward with size and grit will help this team a lot. And in this economic and cap climate these players can be had for around a million each. you bury a contract like Nilsson in the minors because it allows you to make your team better. I'll take 8th and the playoffs over 11th everyday. LT is right when he says that this team treats our prospects like they are gold nuggets. guess what, every team has a robert Nilsson type. Good teams find balance, or at least depth and fill out their roster with veteran role players. We have 3 of those total (Moreau, Pisani, Staios). sorry, but we need a few more if we want a legit shot at the playoffs.

    If this team is making a playoff run (and I assume that is there plan) then they need a few more depth pieces. You send Nilsson down, not because he is crappy but because his salary allows you to fill other holes. you sign malhotra and betts, and suddenly your PK issues, along with your faceoff and grit issues are gone. you haven't dealt away your young talent, you have simply done what Detroit does, which is stash that talent in the minors until ready.

  106. Lowetide says:

    bure: Frolik was playing in the best possible circumstances (best linemates available) and Dvorak was not. This makes my point perfectly.

  107. bookie says:

    On the fence I sit, swaying radically from side to side at times…

    LT – The point is that they were a good enough team for 'around 8th' last year without the meltdown at the end (that locker room had a pretty huge coach/team divide by then). If there is any pickup due to a change in coach and/or due to a few guys being a year older, we are at least competative for a playoff spot.

    I just think there is more IF than there is certainty.

  108. quain says:

    This makes my point perfectly.

    ZoneStart and Corsi aren't hockey pool stats and therefore have zero impact on actual success. Thus, YOU ARE WRONG.

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