Dweller on the Threshold
















I’m a dweller on the threshold. I’m waiting at the door
I’m standing in the darkness, I don’t want to wait no more.

-Van Morrison

It’s difficult to identify the exact moment when a first round pick passes from prospect to suspect. Some–like Ales Hemsky or Sam Gagner–soar early, all of their arrows taking flight. Others–like Andrew Cogliano or Jordan Eberle–progress in predictable, positive fashion and one gets the sense over time that they’ll eventually make the grade and have long NHL careers. Sometimes they take a long walk off a short pier–Jesse Niinimaki would be a recent example.

Marc Pouliot is none of those things. He belongs to the Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert family of prospects who endured difficult injury and saw their NHL careers threatened at an early age. In the case of both Ranger greats, the injuries were extremely difficult but they recovered and went on to become legends in the game.

For Marc Pouliot, that’s the dream to hold on to these days. He’s an injury prone forward who’ll miss another major portion of another season, and this time there are other options and he’s unproven to the man in charge. Marc Pouliot is looking professional extinction square in the eyes and the road back is far from certain. Better to invoke the names of Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle than to obsess about Henry Boucha or Pierre Mondou.

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47 Responses to "Dweller on the Threshold"

  1. flamingpavelbure says:

    Well, one thing's sure, with the same exact stats, team will be more likely to take a chance on a 1st rounder, it's an advantage he will never loose.

  2. Dennis says:

    We'll always have JFJ;)?

    Unless the club makes a trade – which seems unlikely – then young 67 has until Jan to show that he can chip in with some offense while being defensively responsible.

    Quinn mentioned today that the org saw 78 as a roster player going forward so I doubt another injury will change that perception. But if 67 takes this opp to try and become a two-way player, then 78 will be seen as nothing more than depth instead of top 12 and then we can say that this injury finished him.

    Or maybe they just keep him around for the rest of the year and he replaces 91 for 2011.

  3. quain says:

    On the plus side, the question 'is Pouliot really an NHL player?' gets shelved for two months. One less argument to repeat!

  4. Lowetide says:

    The one thing this injury does is make him affordable. :-)

    He makes $825,000 this season and one would guess that's the outer marker for next season. Plus he's not far from UFA status believe it or not. Crazy.

    Dennis: I was going to bring JFJ into the conversation because they are similar to Gilbert/Ratelle in terms of having terrible luck injury wise as young prospects. Plus those two had a linemate (Vic Hadfield) who was somewhat similar in talent to Jacques (Hadfield had a big slap shot and was a better puck handler but Jacques has some things).

  5. Black Dog says:

    Well that solves the Nilsson issue as well, they can keep him without making that decision, and if there are more injuries as there certainly will be then they may not have to do anything about him until next summer.

    This is Brule's chance. I'm not really a fan yet but he has put up some numbers early and a big issue since Glencross got sent away has been the bottom of the roster adding offence.

    So if he can get it together on the defensive side of it then he will likely have a career.

    Poor MP – star crossed.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Looookingg good, Mr. Osgood!

  7. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: One area Brule seems to be good at is getting himself into quality offensive positions. Pouliot could be a little wooden in those areas and his shot didn't strike fear in the hearts of NHL goalies.

    That's why I always liked him better as a center, and if he does make it in the show I'd bet it will be in the middle.

  8. Bookie says:

    How does Black Dog=BDHS

    Just curious – I am sure I am just missing a little history here.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Bookie: Don't ask Pat McLean that question. He'll keel you.

  10. Jonathan Willis says:

    From Brownlee:

    Certainly, Pouliot's injury and upcoming surgery buys the Oilers some time, at least until Fernando Pisani's bad back comes around, but I'm not hearing from anybody in the know that this spells the end of his time with the Oilers.

    When somebody's got to go, and that time is coming, Robert Nilsson or Steve MacIntyre will draw the short straw before Pouliot does.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan: Thanks for that. The one thing we know about Brownlee is that he DOES talk to people in the know so that's encouraging news.

    Still, Brule's getting all the at-bats at center, plus Stone & Jacques are getting a chance to shine too.

    Do I sound like Poo's Dad? :-) Maybe a litte.

  12. Bookie says:

    Got it, he hates skunks!

    Should've checked the profile first!

  13. doritogrande says:

    Not that it's worth anything, but we're top-10 in the NHL's power rankings.

    Take THAT Flames!

    I think it's a blessing in disguise for Pouliot that he's taken with another injury. He wasn't going to draw into this line-up at any time in the near future. By January, Quinn might be so sick of Brule (Or Comrie, or Stone) that Pouliot might just be a better option.

  14. Ribs says:

    I think Pouliots pretty safe right now. Injuries will happen and there will be room.

    Kytnar traded to the Giants? Didn't see that one coming. Maybe Springfield/Stockton would have been the better idea after all.

  15. Black Dog says:

    Flames losing again.

    Sabres steamrolled the Wings. With Franzen out now as well as Hossa, Samuelsson and Hudler that's forty percent of their goals at EV gone last year.

    That's a lot of goals.

    And this just in – the Leafs suck. They really suck.

    Bookie – its a long long story.

    Actually they all are.

    You're still dead though.

  16. Black Dog says:

    LT – well I will give it to Brule, he's putting points up and its not in a "what he got two goals" type of manner? He has the instincts.

    Jacques too.

    Confidence and opportunity.

    And so far Quinn has managed to move guys about and he is getting the results. One guy gets bumped down and another moves up and takes it and runs with it.

    I've always cheered for Pouliot, here's hoping he comes back better than ever.

  17. Ribs says:

    Nice to get some confirmation on Pouliot never really being on any kind of bubble from management.

    "Our management really likes him, and really, in their mind, had him as part of our roster going forward…"- Quinn on Pouliot and training camp.

  18. Woodguy says:

    BD,

    One hopes Poo will get the "new lease on life" like a myriad of the current rosters players seem to be enjoying as well.

    So, is Colorado for real? Besides getting the best SVG% free agent goalie available, what's up with their current run?

    Also,

    Not to hate on Gregor, I think he conducts some of the best interviews in town, but he was punching Poo's ticket out of town all camp.

    HE WAS WRONG!!

    He's good for day to day stuff with the team, but I don't think he's as plugged in as he thinks.

  19. Lowetide says:

    You know, I shouldn't but do giggle when reading YOU ARE WRONG on the internet highway.

    On another note, Oiler fans are kind of funny too (in the same way George Thorogood's friend was funny in One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer).

    Wept for Schremp, but cackling because Pouliot is hurt. Strange brew.

  20. rider guy says:

    Not only did the Flamers lose, but the 2 goal scorers for Columbus were Christine Huselius and Anton Stralman, both former Flames. Wouldn't want to be sitting next to the Sutter bros on the flight tonight.

  21. Icecastles says:

    Watching the dying minutes of the Toronto/Colorado game. I was thinking the Leafs' PK is worse than Edmonton's…. then I realized the Leafs were the ones with the man advantage. Ouch.

  22. SK Oiler Fan says:

    CBJ hit 2 posts and had a sure goal called back as well.
    Game wasn't as close as the score.

  23. FlamingPavelBure says:

    I will just really laugh for my life if that Toronto pick comes out to be Taylor Hall. XD

  24. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Kytnar goes from Mooner to Don Hay. That's two well respected, expereienced junior coaches to have developed under.

  25. kris says:

    Three Words:

    "Marc Antoine Pubiot"

    That is all.

  26. SK Oiler Fan says:

    While we're talking Dub: Brandon with a bit of a slow start for a Memorial cup contender. Rajala with good numbers though.

    4Gp: 2G, 3A, +4, 4PIM

  27. Bookie says:

    And this just in – the Leafs suck. They really suck.

    It should be fun to see what Brian Burke does when he comes to a team that isn't 90% of the way designed for him.

    CBJ hit 2 posts and had a sure goal called back as well.
    Game wasn't as close as the score.

    I still predict that in a month, all of the off-season Flames admirers on this site ("Calgary is just so dreamy with their Bouwmeester and their Jokinen – I just love Master Sutter so much" – paraphrased) will be digging back into their summer comments and deleting them or at least feeling untold shame for their disloyalty.

    My prediction may not be logical, but it come from my gut and I only drink Oilers Koolaid so…

  28. Woodguy says:

    Wept for Schremp, but cackling because Pouliot is hurt. Strange brew.

    When presented with a shiny new nickel or a dusty old dime, kids with no concept of the value of money take the nickel every time.

  29. Alice says:

    Logical?
    It's the Calgary Flames. You can hate them any way you like, logic be damned. Fuck's sake, people: there's 28 other squads you can use your brain against.

    It's a no-brainer.

  30. Jfry says:

    does anyone know anything behind the kytnar trade?

    on the surface it could look a little weird that he's been traded 3 times in three years. is there a reason he's only played 3 games this years? i haven't been following closely.

    thanks

  31. uni says:

    One of the few good things JFJ (the other one) did decently in Toronto was drafting. It's not awesome, but it's better than the Leafs were used to for a while.

    I still think Stralman's outlier is a Kaberle type player with a better penchant for scoring goals. Now flipping 2x 7th round picks isn't bad for a 2nd, but I still think that was a bad move by Burke and subsequently by Sutter for a 3rd.

    Stralman may be a bust, or turn out to be a Nathan Dempsey, but he has a 50% chance of being the next Kaberle.

    Also someone in need of a sound European veteran defensive defenceman might look to poaching Jonas Frogren from Toronto. Small sample size, but his outliers scream Hedja tree defenceman. It's almost criminal that Garnet Exelby draws into an NHL lineup instead of Frogs.

    At least the Oilers never landed any of their white whales, ala JFJ and his Moby Goalie, first Raycroft then Toskala, zoinks.

  32. Ducey says:

    Went to see the Oil Kings game Monday. Schenn looked real good. Rajala and Glennie did not.

  33. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Jonas Frogren is NOT Jan Hedja.

    He's already 29, and fully developped.

    Yet from the 10 to 15 games i watched him playing, he was generally outmuscled by the other team's forwards, something that Hedja certainly isn't talked about for.

    But he sure made me laugh when he tried to go physical on Kovalev, and Kovvy deked him like a school boy, or just went tankmode and go right trough.

  34. doritogrande says:

    Brandon with a bit of a slow start for a Memorial cup contender

    Being the closest Dub franchise to me, I get some pretty good info on them during the hockey season.

    I don't think they're WHL contenders this year by any stretch of the imagination. There's no goaltending to speak of yet, and they're going to have to rely on their offense to get the job done, I'm not sold on the D except for Colby Robak. They'll be there though as the host team. You know, that one that typically gets blown out in each game.

    I've never really been a fan of either Schenn or Glennie either. IMO last year they were benefitting from playing on a very offensive-minded team.

  35. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Yah, judging by Brandon's goals against thus far, keeping pucks out of their net will be an issue.

    Being the Memorial cup host, and McCrimmon's past history of loading up I'm thinking they will address the D / Goal at some point.

    Most of the preseason predictions had Brandon winning the east did they not?

  36. Kristopher Milligan says:

    Not to be off topic.
    But i just noticed that Jordan Eberle happens to be leading the entire WHL in ppg with 2.4

    The next highest is 2.0

    I wonder if he has surpassed junior ranks?

  37. SK Oiler Fan says:

    RE Kytnar:
    He started slow then had an abdominal injury. That's why he has only played 3 games.

    The Blades guessed he was going to Springfield so they didn't account for him being one of their overagers. His age was the reason he was traded.

  38. kris says:

    Ouch.

    Tucker scores a goal and assist against a Leafs team that's still paying him a million bucks a year.

    That's gotta suck.

  39. spOILer says:

    When MAP's pubitis first reared its ugly head, we kinda knew based on other tales about the same affliction, that he might be out longer rather than shorter.

    Nowadays, we don't even know if it's a hernia or pubitis or what the real nitty gritty is (and that might be a good thing), but we do know he's not centering any threesomes for a good long while.

    I actually hope he flaccids the whole season away, for his own health and the health of Ziploc futures, and I hope that he's now committing himself to being back, bigger and better than ever, for TC next year. If his swimmers can tread water then, fine, give him another shot at it.

    Sadly, he's our one legit RH FO option, and pro sports being the Moulin Rouge that it is, I think they might try to use him again too early… to their own greater cost.

  40. uni says:

    FPB: Well to start with, Jan Hedja is actually 31 years old, 6'3" and 223lbs or so.

    Jonas Frogren is indeed around 29 years old, and at 6'2" 203lbs or so isn't exactly a munchkin.

    I'll grant that we have a small sample size, and I'll not even take into consideration any time for adjustment to the NHL game, or the fact that Kovalev can make many defencemen look silly, as indeed we've seen Souray look silly around Spezza at one time.

    Frogren had damn fine underlying numbers. His zone shift shows that he was on the ice for the most defensive zone faceoffs of any other Leaf player over his 41 games, and indeed his DZ differential was highest for any Leaf including those that played all 82 games, and he still ended up usually in the offensive zone and had a very respectable -6.6 Corsi.

    Considering how he was used, I'm inclined to believe that Wilson saw Frogren as a viable defensive specialist and the numbers back up what the coach seemed to think.

    Faceoffs DZ:86 OZ:67

    Shift Endings DZ:128 OZ:129

    ZoneShift 20

    Corsi -6.6

    Glovetap to this blog for crunching the numbers on Vic Ferrari's site:
    leafs.hockeyanalysis.com

    So 'saw him bad' aside, I think an NHL team could do worse than to take a flier on the guy.

  41. Bling says:

    I'm not a huge fan of Pouliot, but I wouldn't count him out yet. He's suffered through some strange shit injury wise and has somehow emerged as a better player for it.

    The evidence for that is pretty strong – injured as an 18 year old, followed it up with a nice year on Crosby's wing; team MVP his first year in the AHL; clawed his way back onto the big league roster after suffering through a bout of mono.

    He certainly has gumption.

    We'll see how it plays out, but yeah, I wouldn't count him out yet by a long shot.

  42. uni says:

    Oh I should mention that Frogren's shifts were with dregs against dregs, so grain of salt an all. At the very least he's a decent 5-6 D, better than Excelby at any rate.

    Still hoping the Oilers find that next Hedja or Kurt Sauer out there. Then again if Smid has really put the pieces together and finally has sustain, then they may not need to.

    Pouliot I have absolutely no feel for. Dude always struck me as vanilla, I like vanilla and all, but there's nothing there that made me excited about him or down on him as a prospect.

    I've rooted for the kid and would like to see him establish himself, as with all Oilers prospects and the majority of prospects in general.

    Sure would be nice if he was one of those incredibly late bloomers, but I just don't seem him emerging as a solid scorer, or a solid defensive specialist.

  43. George B says:

    I think it odd, like LT said that some are cheering Poo's injury while lament the departure of Sugartits.

    I fall into another category altogether. The "Why the 2003 draft make me want to jump of a bridge?" category.

    Funny though, this season when I heard that JFJ was going to start on the top line, I hated Poo a little less.

    Hopefully he gets healthy and becomes an NHLer. I still have doubts.

  44. Jonathan Willis says:

    Toronto is going to be just fine.

    I think I'll write something about that tomorrow.

  45. Forain says:

    LT,

    Pouliot being a "dweller on the threshold" makes him sound kinda… creepy. :)

  46. NBOilerFan says:

    Explain something to me… the Oilers organization was really high on Pouliot…. and dealt Brodziak??

    Just another example of how inept this organization can be. Pouliot should have been dealt, not Brodziak. Mind you, Poo wasn't worth anything of trade value, which is why he's still here.

    I much preferred Brodziak to Pouliot, but I was also just fine with Pouliot & Brule fighting it out for the 4th line C spot. Mind you, that was right after Brod was dealt and I assumed they were going to fill that spot with a bonafide NHLer. Silly me.

    I've been a huge advocate for both Brule and JFJ since before TC…. so I'm certainly happy for what Brule has shown to date. Though he still has plenty of room for improvement. However, he seems to understand what the organization wanted from him and is trying hard to be that player… which is what I feel Pouliot failed at.

    Saying that, I think Pouliot is still a useful valuable player on this club as a 12th-14th forward player who is a cheap option to stick into the lineup in any forward situation and he should fair reasonably well. That has value…. but to me, that's the max for him.

    Certainly very unfortunate for him to sustain another long term injury… but hey, we get to point to that as another excuse for his lack of ability on the ice. I'm not trying to be an A-hole here, certainly injuries have hampered his development to a certain degree, but I think too much blame has been credited to that, instead of his inability to step up and take the role that was given to him over the pasty several season.

    And yes, LT, you have sounded like Poo's father for much too long now, actually probably more like a brother.

  47. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Not saying Frogren is worst than Exelby or any tool they have on Toronto's defense.

    Just that, he would do pretty much the same job than staios, a little bit worst, but cheaper.

    Same things could be said for two, defensive minded, offensively, not real good, and even if supposed to be phyisical, no one's really afraid of Jonas Frogren (Please don't come up with a video of 1 hit).

    Just popping up that, people constantly bitch on Staios, but Frogren is pretty much the same, at a smaller scale.

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