Flames at Oilers, G3, 09-10

Sometimes I say things out loud often enough that they become (to me) true. One of them is “there are probably 60 players in the AHL who could play in the NHL in a support role” and this season it looks like the Oilers are going to test the theory.

Ryan Stone and Jean-Francois Jacques have some NHL qualities and some things that grade out at below average. However, Pat Quinn decided in training camp that the team needed size and strength up front to protect the minute men and that meant playing time for the two gritty wingers.

Things are breaking right for both, as injuries to veteran forwards and bubble players means extended looks for them. Eventually I’d expect one or the other will be placed on waivers and either head to Springfield or another NHL city. Eventually one or both will end up having a Toby Petersen-style career: famous enough to get chance after chance in the NHL despite being about as good as 5-dozen AHL regulars.

Ales Hemsky is due. Baseball announcers used to say that about big league hitters who were in slumps. If we can agree that a MLB regular gets about 4.3 at-bats a game, then Hemsky is about 8 at-bats into his season with one rbi and very little to show for his efforts. I’d bet a lot of money on his having a big game in the next week or so and then settling in at a slightly-less-than-point-per-game pace before finding the range in a real way as we approach Christmas.

Having said that, the last team on planet earth I would pick for Ales Hemsky to have a breakout game against is the Calgary Flames. And if he does have a big game tonight, how much of the credit will we give to Dustin Penner?

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329 Responses to "Flames at Oilers, G3, 09-10"

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  1. quain says:

    I think the better question is, if Hemsky has a big game, how much of it was simply having a competent left wing? Hemsky and Horcoff haven't been good in the first two games, but JFJ just looks terrible. It's amazing to me how people accept JFJ up there, but Liam Reddox was obviously the result of dementia… amazing what a couple extra pounds does for your cred.

  2. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think the better question is, if Hemsky has a big game, how much of it was simply having a competent left wing?

    Penner has been more than competant thus far, he's been the best Oiler.

    Hemsky and Horcoff haven't been good in the first two games, but JFJ just looks terrible. It's amazing to me how people accept JFJ up there, but Liam Reddox was obviously the result of dementia… amazing what a couple extra pounds does for your cred.

    I'm not sure where this canard came from. Reddox played exactly 28 minutes with Hemsky last year in the middle of a rotating lineup.

  3. grease trap says:

    I give credit to Penner giving up beer in favor of crushing his enemies, seeing them driven before him and hearing the Lamentations of their women.

  4. Alice says:

    This is a day late, but to the magazine ads, if any of you have seen This one:

    "He was a hardworking farm boy. She was an Italian supermodel. He knew he would have just one chance to impress her."

    Then you must read this:
    http://tinyurl.com/rc83ld

    >>
    I said, “I would like to buy some propane!”
    Ho detto, “Vorrei comprare del propano!”

    Of course you can’t understand me. That is because I am talking in Italian.
    Certo lei non può capirmi. Sarà perché sto parlando in italiano.

    Laugh if you wish, Owney, but someday I will be having sex with a beautiful Italian supermodel in Milan, Italy, while you are still here sweeping fertilizer pellets off the floor.
    Rida se vuole, Owney, ma un giorno farò sesso con una top model italiana a Milano, Italia, mentre lei sarà qui a spazzare via le palline di fertilizzante.

    Etc. Now if I were BD I could tie that into the Edm Oilers somehow ~

  5. Woodguy says:

    amazing what a couple extra pounds does for your cred

    I think that should read:

    amazing what checking and punching Robyn Regehr does for your cred

    Regehr didn't do his usual abuse of Hemsky in game 1. For a lot of fans that was enough.

    He was terrible against the Stars though.

  6. quain says:

    Penner has been more than competant thus far, he's been the best Oiler.

    I wasn't even commenting on Penner's game, I was commenting on JFJ being far below average. So yes, moving from the worst left wing on the team to the best will likely show some returns above average, but my comment was moving from the worst left wing to any left wing would show returns.

    I'm not sure where this canard came from. Reddox played exactly 28 minutes with Hemsky last year in the middle of a rotating lineup.

    Yes, I know that… and yet it gets repeated constantly as reasoning behind MacT losing his mind. Although, I was commenting about Liam Reddox on the top line, not just with Hemsky… and that experiment lasted to the tune of an hour and a half (depending on how much you want to attribute to Horcoff freelancing on faceoffs).

  7. doritogrande says:

    If Hemsky's "due", then what about Horcoff? He's doing the little things well enough, but he's got to produce too with that shiny new contract.

    I actually liked Jacques lining up on the 1-line if for no other reason than to spread the scoring around to all 4 lines. We may not have the talent that Detroit does, but I love that we're playing their kind of system.

  8. hunter1909 says:

    This is a very big game for the Oilers tonight. Win, and they even up the BOA series and go into the black point wise; lose and not only they're playing .300 hockey, but impotently watch as the Flames rocket to the top of the Conference.

  9. quain says:

    If Hemsky's "due", then what about Horcoff?

    That line goes as Hemsky goes. If Hemsky is on, then they either score goals or we bitch that Horcoff is blowing his chances. Until Hemsky is on, they're terrible.

    I was supportive of the Gagner-Hemsky dyad just so we could get Horcoff on a different line to see what he could do sans Hemsky, but still with offensive players.

  10. knighttown says:

    @Quain

    Let's give it a few games shall we. We're averaging 29 shots per game and what, 4 goals?

    Nothing says that your three best players have to play on the same line. Many teams do this (Gomez, Gionta, Cammi) and many don't (Kane/Toews, Zetterberg/Datsyuk, Frolov and anyone, Elias and Parise, Lecavalier/St. Louis). Quinn doesn't want to so that leaves us looking at our options for 1L:

    -Jacques
    -Moreau
    -Stone
    -Penner (listed at RW)
    -Cogliano
    -Nilsson

    Rule out Cogs and Nilsson because of the size through the lineup stuff. That leaves the 4 big men and I expect they all might get shot. Penner would almost certainly get the most production from that line but would we be back to the equivalent of Spahn and Sain and pray for rain? No balance.

    With the other 3…shit, who cares. We know we have crappy left wingers. It's a black hole for talent but Quinn has decided he's going to let our mountain men LW's ride shotgun to the "minute men" up the middle and on the right.

  11. quain says:

    Rule out Cogs and Nilsson because of the size through the lineup stuff. That leaves the 4 big men and I expect they all might get shot.

    I don't accept your restrictions. We have four legitimate LWs, by your depth chart, and then JFJ and Ston. One is hurt, which is fine, but I have no idea why the top line has a guy like JFJ (one point more than I've scored in 62 fewer games) on it when a guy like Nilsson sits in the PB. It doesn't have to be Penner, both Nilsson and Cogliano could have a shot in my eyes, Penner has just tested best.

  12. quain says:

    I should say, I don't accept Quinn's restrictions. If we really are constrained by his desire to have a big guy on each line, then he needs to stop being constrained by it and Nilsson should slot in to his spot.

  13. Schitzo says:

    I should say, I don't accept Quinn's restrictions. If we really are constrained by his desire to have a big guy on each line, then he needs to stop being constrained by it and Nilsson should slot in to his spot.

    Is this Quinn's version of playing Pisani at centre?

    To me, this feels like a coach who has requested a certain type of player from the GM, hasn't gotten what he wanted, and is sticking with his system despite lacking the horses just to prove a point.

  14. Phil says:

    @grease trap – beauty Conan reference. Is it Lamentations or 'lemon tastings'? I can never tell ;)

  15. Coach pb9617 says:

    Yes, I know that… and yet it gets repeated constantly as reasoning behind MacT losing his mind.

    I'm the at the front of the bus on the MacCrazy crosstown, but that's not why. It's a non-starter.

  16. NBOilerFan says:

    hunter1909 said…
    This is a very big game for the Oilers tonight. Win, and they even up the BOA series and go into the black point wise; lose and not only they're playing .300 hockey, but impotently watch as the Flames rocket to the top of the Conference.

    A bit early to be to be referring to a game as "very big", but agreed the divisional games are all important due to potential 4 point swing from the outcome.

    Interesting we have heard a few players say in recent interviews (Comrie the most recent) how wins in October are just as important as wins in Feb-Mar. Well, that is even more true considering that we play 7 of our 24 divisional games in Oct, that is almost 30% of the divisional games.

    Another interesting thing I saw in the schedule, we play the Flames 3 times in Oct (3 games within 3 weeks), 2 times in Dec (2 games in 4 days), and once in Jan. We don't play the Flames at all in Feb, Mar or Apr (or Nov).

    The other divisional games are pretty evenly spread out, especially Vancouver where the only month we don't play them is Feb.

  17. knighttown says:

    Thanks quain, for clarifying.

    But again, it seems to be working. I watched the Dallas feed the other night and they were amazed with how much tougher the Oilers were to play against. In fact, they blasted Dallas for not getting the puck in deep and showed numerous times the Oilers did the chip-and-chase.

    JF Jacques is a marginal NHLer to be sure and he's no friend of mine but don't kid yourself, Robert Nilsson stands on the edge of AHL oblivion too. He brings NOTHING to the table except points and when that is the case you'd better:

    a) produce more than 0.5 PPG
    b) not get outscored too badly(which he doesn't, in fairness)

    Hey, I like Nilsson and I'll be the first to demand he gets in there after a week of 3-1 losses but I like what this team is doing offensively.

    Now can we discuss the defense pairings?

  18. knighttown says:

    Not in response to quain, but along the vein, I must say i'm pleased with apparant strategy that the Oilers seem to be employing. Last year my biggest complaint was that the Oilers were too stupid or stubborn to create (or stick to, I suppose) a game plan to counteract any given night's opponent.

    Against Chicago and Buffalo we'd play run-and-gun resulting in two of the worst blowouts in team history. Against Dallas, Calgary, Vancouver and Nashville we'd show how tough we were and spend the night chasing Ott, Regehr and Tootoo. And getting 13 shots on net.

    I called them the Edmonton Doppelganger for their abaility to play exactly the way their opponents did, only slightly worse.

    Edmonton Crappelgangers?

    Dallas' defense is young, slow and not particularly talented so we threw the blitz at them resulting in dozens of turnovers. This kept their massive and talented forwards out of our zone, at least for awhile.

    Where Quinn will really impress me is if we come up with a game plan against another team that is completely different. (I'm no coac) but perhaps put Nilsson in against Detroit to control the puck more against a puck possession team?

  19. Phil says:

    On Oct. 26th last year, LT had a post dealing with Hemsky and his slow start ("Why Hang Tom Dula?"). My comment was this:

    "The frustration with Hemsky is that he is now in his 7th professional season, and he's making the same mistakes he made as a rookie. Trying to out dangle the entire opposition every rush, putting people offside by going east-west at the blue line, failing to recognize when to just dump it past the defender and go get it. Not to mention the blind passes to no one, and his allergy to shooting. Stop me if you've heard this one before – "The definition of insanity is doing things over and over…". Unless he changes his game, I just don't see how he can take this next step expected of him."

    In my opinion, this still applies. Granted, with a new coach, he's trying to learn a new system. But if anything, the new system should be catering to his strengths more than the old system. And I don't buy that it's the quality of his linemates. If he's so brilliant, he should be making them better, not the opposite.

    I guess I'm in the minority amongst Oiler fans, but I just don't think Hemsky will ever be that PPG+ player everyone's holding out for.

  20. bookie says:

    I called them the Edmonton Doppelganger for their abaility to play exactly the way their opponents did, only slightly worse.

    There have been a few interviews with players that have supported the notion that the game plan changed significantly every night. Tom Gilbert not long after the firing was one of them.

    I think that such an approach is very difficult because as Quinn has been stressing, you need some behaviours to become automatic. Difficult to do if you keep changing styles. Clearly some adjustment is needed, but not constant re-invention.

  21. hunter1909 says:

    Hemsky's problem is, he's basically never played with anyone approaching his talent level. On top of that, his only previous NHL head coach was a plugger's plugger – absolutely, totally, and completely unaware of anything resembling offensively driven hockey.

    In short, Hemsky has received virtually zero NHL level coaching other than how to play without the puck in a defensive manner. And even less time played with anyone capable of playing to his strengths. Not much point in being talented when you're surrounded by non-talent.

    Give the guy a couple of months to blossom under the new system, geez you guys.

  22. CrazyCoach says:

    Phil, I have to agree with you. Hemsky is in his 8th season and really hasn't produced like he should. People around the entire league always talk about how exciting he is and talented, but when does that materialize into some actual points? Everyone gets on Horcoff for his supposed lack of production, but he does great shutdown work.

    I'm also really tired of hearing how Hemsky needs a LW to flourish. I do remember a certain Oiler centre who had BJ Macdonald, Dave Semenko, Jaroslav Pouzar as LW and it never seemed to drag him down.

  23. Schitzo says:

    On top of that, his only previous NHL head coach was a plugger's plugger – absolutely, totally, and completely unaware of anything resembling offensively driven hockey.

    Well, except for the season MacT hit 30+ goals, and the other six seasons he hit 20+.

    How many times has Hemsky hit 20 goals, again?

  24. kris says:

    Is Hemsky a 6MM dollar player? I mean, everyone says he's a serious underpay at 4MM, so they must assume he's at least a 5MM dollar player.

    If he is and Horc is, then he and Horc should be able to generate ES offense, PVP, even with garbage on the LW. No? (Can't the Sedin's do that? Iginla and Langkow?) Otherwise, once Hemsky exits this contract, he won't be a player who brings more value than his cap hit.

    I'm not saying that's a reason to leave Jacques on L1. What I am saying is that if Horc and Hemsky need a 4-5MM dollar winger to succeed, we have massive, unsolvable cap and roster problems going forward.

    That is, when Hemsky and Horc are making 11.5MM, and our top line is making 15.5MM, how are we going to get under the cap and have decent scoring depth? Our top 4 D-Men aren't exactly a bargain either.

    Moreover, what are we supposed to do when Penner is injured? The whole top line goes down?

    I dunno, I think Horc and Hemsky can do well without Penner, and they may have to so we can have some scoring depth. If they can't, we have serious roster problems that will require making serious trades.

  25. DBO says:

    with more balance in the lines this year (at least Quinn wants more balance), would it not make sense for this to be the year that you get Hemsky away from horcoff? Not a shot at Horcoff, as he is by far our most complete player, and our top centre. but would it not make sense to try someone else with hemmer?

    Assuming our 4 centre's are Horc, gagner, comrie and Brule who would be more appropriate? Gagner and hemsky had no chemistry in pre season, but I wonder how much of that was Gagner pressing too hard and having a poor camp. Once Pisani comes back I hope to see this lineup (and still keeping the one big guy per line idea, with Pisani considered a "big guy")

    Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
    Cogliano-Horcoff-Pisani
    Jacques-Comrie-O'Sullivan
    Moreau-Brule-Stortini

  26. NBOilerFan says:

    More interesting stuff (at least to me) even though its a very small sample size, but the Oil-Flames stats comparisons heading into the game are:

    Record:
    Cgy 3-0 (6 pts)
    Edm 1-1 (2 pts)

    Shots/Game
    Cgy – 24
    Edm – 29

    Shots Against/Game
    Cgy – 35.3
    Edm – 27.5

    Faceoff %
    Cgy – 45.6
    Edm – 52.1

    However, these are the difference makers;

    PP %
    Cgy – 71.4
    Edm – 25

    PK %
    Cgy – 75
    Edm – 55.6

    Again, a very small sample size (so no need to get to worked up about them) but special teams are so damn important in this game nowadays. Its' often the difference maker.

  27. kris says:

    I also think it might be wise to put Penner and Horc together against the toughs and hide Hemsky so he can destroy weaker comp. That really might be his forte.

    I absolute hate the idea of Comrie and Hemsky, or Gagner and Hemsky, but it might damn well work.

    Penner-Horcoff-Pisani
    O'Sullivan-Gagner-Hemsky
    Jacques-Comrie-Cogliano
    Moreau-Pouliot-Brule
    Stortini-Stone

    I know, there's no size on L2, so I haven't met the Quinn criterion.

    I think that first line can score, cycle, forecheck, and generally give the best players in the league nightmares.

    The only problem is one of our little centers has to play with Hemsky and score. Not sure if that will happen.

  28. NBOilerFan says:

    I'll add the following stats as well:

    GF
    Cgy – 13
    Edm – 8

    GA
    Cgy – 9
    Edm – 8

    PPG
    Cgy – 5 for 7
    Edm – 2 for 8

    PK Goals Against
    Cgy – 2 for 8
    Edm – 4 for 9

  29. Phil says:

    @kris re: Hemsky's linemates –

    Exactly. If Hemsky can't produce when he is the 'best player' on his line, then he's not an elite player, he's a support player. And it's not like he's ever given less than the best linemates available on his team.

  30. Mr DeBakey says:

    his only previous NHL head coach was a plugger's plugger – absolutely, totally, and completely unaware of anything resembling offensively driven hockey.

    That's the biggest one of them all.

    I mean
    Look at Hitchcock- how many 50 goal seasons?
    And Bylsma. He's broken, what, 3 of Gretzky's records?

    Hemsky
    his PPG has remain flatish, albeit against tougher comp – 0.951, 0.828, 0.959, 0.917
    But, his GPG has improved steadily – 0.23, 0.20, 0.27, 0.32

  31. shanetrain says:

    Its time for the Hemsky love affair to come to an end. This team will not win championships if he is the face of the beloved Oil.

    Love the way Penner has come out of the gate but he needs to sustain it.

  32. quain says:

    I dunno, I think Horc and Hemsky can do well without Penner

    Well, so do I, but the fact of the matter is with JFJ the hypothesis is closer to 'I think Hemmer and Horc can score 4 on 5 just fine' than 'I think they can do well without Penner.'

    You're needlessly handicapping your first line while you're pressboxing a guy who makes $2MM and can actually play hockey. And if the end point is trading the guy making $2MM in the PB, why not stick him on the top line and make him look good for a few games?

  33. Perry K says:

    doritogrande said…
    If Hemsky's "due", then what about Horcoff? He's doing the little things well enough, but he's got to produce too with that shiny new contract.

    Horcoff peaked just before he got injured 2 years a go. I have seen no signs of that form even coming close to being repeated.

    What was the injury? Was it ever fully healed?

    May be we should quit crying about a decent 3rd line checking center. We have the best in the whole league playing on the first line. I would like to see if we can get this line up.

    POS-Comrie-Hemsky
    Penner-Gagner-Cogliano
    Moreau(Stone)-Horcoff-Pisani(Nilsson)
    JFJ-Brule-Zorg

    The way we roll all the lines any way, the TOI shouldn't be an issue. The only negative(?) could be that there is no "BIG" man on the top line. But that hasn't been that big a deal in the past!

    Just my 2 cents.

  34. kris says:

    I wouldn't go that far shanetrain. I think Hemsky can produce pretty well with different linemates.

    He just hasn't shown that 2 games into this season.

    There are better players than Hemsky, but he's elite, especially on the PP.

  35. quain says:

    Let me pose a question:

    Is there a forward worse than JFJ on this roster? Excluding Ryan Stone? Completely exlcuding any cap hit discussion.

    I can't think of one, so the second question is: Why is it a good idea for JFJ to be on the top line.

  36. kris says:

    Quain,

    Nilsson looks pretty poor this season to me. I certainly don't see any reason to think he'd do well with Horcoff and Hemsky against tough comp., especially since they're struggling themselves. I guess you never know until you try, but I don't see Quinn trying it anytime soon, and I imagine Nilsson is gone thye moment there's a taker. IMO, anyway.

    Perry,

    I'm getting deja vu… :)

  37. quain says:

    Per Tencer:
    Strudwick in for Smid; Moreau back in. Forward lines shuffled including Penner back on top line.

    Reposted because there was originally a joke about MacTavish being back, but then I noticed Penner was on the top line so I knew it couldn't be true.

    Nilsson looks pretty poor this season to me.

    That's fine, move Cogliano up, drop JFJ down, make it work. There's enough LWs above JFJ that you have a lot of options.

    Quinn apparently agrees and puts Penner back on the top line. Clearly that means I win any and all arguments and you all owe me your pudding cups.

    Clearly.

  38. Schitzo says:

    In for Smid? Or in for Staios?

  39. Yeti says:

    JFJ on the top line would – if it worked even partially well – solve so many issues for this team that it was worth a look. It's a bit like Pisani at centre from last year: had it worked, it could have helped resolve other massive imbalances throughout the lineup. Of course, it didn't work, and neither did Pisani. The question is, how long will it be persevered with. To my mind, it already looks like it is over. We have the rise of Dustin, or Pennerection if you like, taking place. It's an obvious solution, but ultimately it just means there are now issues at other parts of the roster.

  40. hunter1909 says:

    Maybe reading comprehension levels are not quite so high as imagined in here, but I was actually(ahem) refering to the previous coach's COACHING philosophy.

  41. Kenny Powers says:

    Hunter: Pat Quinn's totals in the NHL:

    1968-69 Toronto Maple Leafs 40 GM – 2 G – 7 A – 9 P – 95 PIM

    1969-70 Toronto Maple Leafs 59 – 0 – 5 – 5 – 88

    1970-71 Vancouver Canucks 76 – 2 – 11 – 13 – 149

    1971-72 Vancouver Canucks 57 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 63

    1972-73 Atlanta Flames
    78 – 2 – 18 – 20 – 113

    1973-74 Atlanta Flames
    77 – 5 – 27 – 32 – 94

    1974-75 Atlanta Flames
    80 – 2 – 19 – 21 – 156

    1975-76 Atlanta Flames
    80 – 2 – 11 – 13 – 134

    1976-77 Atlanta Flames
    59 – 1 – 12 – 13 – 58

    So from your argument, all of our players should be a bunch of knuckle draggers that don't even know that the offensive zone exists.

    As an aside, Quinn only played for organizations that I despise, Leaves, Flames, and Canucks. There's something not right about this.

  42. Schitzo says:

    No, Hunter, you actually called him a "plugger's plugger". Man up, don't backpedal when someone points out that it was clearly incorrect.

  43. hunter1909 says:

    schitzo: FYI, that retort of yours left me feeling quite a lot like the time when a floozy kneed me in the groin – while we were arguing drunkenly on the street. Back when I was but still a youth.

  44. Icecastles says:

    Phil said… I guess I'm in the minority amongst Oiler fans, but I just don't think Hemsky will ever be that PPG+ player everyone's holding out for.

    A minority, but not quite as small a minority as you'd think. I've been saying this for a long time and I've heard a few others say it too. Iirc, Hemsky wasn't even in the top 50 goal-scorers in the league last season. For a relatively one-dimensional player, that potential simply HAS to turn into something more than what it has been. And the clock is ticking.

    Hemsky has incredible natural skill and so when he was younger, he didn't have to work as hard at the little things as many other players. I keep waiting for the light to go on and for him to realize that if he wants to get to the next level, he's going to have to change that, but I think his career is closing in on the point where he will always be the type of player he is now. That's not to say he won't get somewhat better or worse, just that habits and philosophy get harder to change the older you get.

    Lastly, to echo what someone here said over the summer, we all go on about how he just needs the right on-ice partner to push him over the brink to superstardom. Well, if there is someone on the ice making his linemates that much better, then that player, not Hemsky, is the superstar.

  45. hunter1909 says:

    I couldn't give a rat's ass about MacTavish's offensive prowess as a player. Anymore than I care about Gretzky's offensive prowess as a player, when stringing him up as a poor coach.

    The fact is, MacTavish was a fucking useless coach at teaching offense. Hemsky's game has suffered as a result.

    Also, having no one but pluggers(yes mister 7 million a year counts as one of those/ plus the OIlers post dynasty saint Ryan Smyth) to play with also has been a serious ipediment to Hemsky's progress.

    Just like Jimi Hendrix would have suffered, had he been forced to play in the Edmonton music "scene".

  46. Schitzo says:

    Also, having no one but pluggers (yes mister 7 million a year counts as one of those…)

    Man, if Horcoff came near a point per game in two different seasons, MacT must be a heck of a coach to get that kind of offense out of him.

  47. kris says:

    Is there a forward worse than JFJ on this roster?

    If we go by preseason and the first couple of games then, IMO, Jacques is playing better than:
    Stone, Brule, Stortini, Macintyre, and Moreau. That's basically all the guys who bring physicality other than, to a lesser degree, Penner.

    Maybe Jacques isn't a top 9 player. We'll see. But if you wanted to add physicality to each line, he wasn't a crazy option for L1 given his play in the preseason and given his competition.

    That said, I'm excited to see Horpensky again. If Quinn can keep the rest of the lines running with our best 3 players on L1, we're okay.

  48. gogliano says:

    I think we need to calm down a bit in terms of assessing Quinn's strategy. Quinn is clearly going for balance on the roster, with the intention of largely rolling four lines, and while it might not be optimum strategy for one game, it might be one for sustaining a high level of effort through an 82 game season; the pluggers play enough to keep their game sharp-and get rewarded when they play well-and the top line guys don't get overplayed.

  49. Alice says:

    Hunter sed:
    that retort of yours left me feeling quite a lot like the time when a floozy kneed me in the groin – while we were arguing drunkenly on the street. Back when I was but still a youth.

    If she was still called a "floozy" then we must be talking about Quinn's youth, no??

  50. Kenny Powers says:

    Shame on MacT for not forcing McPhee to give us Ovechkin to play with Hemsky.

  51. kris says:

    I'm going to stop posting now, because I'm babbling. But is this bottom nine too thin to win:

    Cogliano-Gagner-Stortini
    Jacques-Comrie-O'Sullivan
    Moreau-Brule-Nilsson
    Stone

    Like I say, putting our three top players on L1, really hurts the bottom 9.

  52. Bar Qu says:

    Why is it when the team has scored 8 goals in 2 games the discussion has centred around how to score more goals? Shouldn't it be more about how to keep more goals out? Why obsess over Hemsky when the defense (or lack thereof) is what is what caused the loss.

  53. Icecastles says:

    Bar Qu: Because the top line has been conspicuously absent from the score sheet. The odds of continuing to score 4-5 goals a night without Hemsky/Horcoff producing are not great.

  54. quain says:

    Why obsess over Hemsky when the defense (or lack thereof) is what is what caused the loss.

    If you check Dennis's scoring chances charts, the top line is causing a lot of the problems as they've been outchanced in both games while the other lines are either even or outchancing themselves. Solving the top line should, theoretically, solve some of that problem.

    Pucks don't go in our net just because the defense is terrible, they go in because the forwards can't keep the puck out of the defensive zone.

  55. knighttown says:

    Keep babbling Kris, I like your train of thought in this thread.

    Qauin…you won the battle, but not the war. Your Horpensky better produce. Especially considering this is a road game and the thought of Brule-Jacques-Nilsson getting stuck out there against Iginla and Jokinen makes me physically sick.

    Or Langkow-Bourque.

    Or Glencross-Boyd-Conroy

    Or Nystrom-Sjostrom-Prust

    Oh Christ, just play 3 lines.

  56. Bruce says:

    Is there a forward worse than JFJ on this roster?

    Steve MacIntyre. A bit too soon to make quite such a confident statement about Ryan Stone or Gilbert Brule as two examples, those are the guys JFJ will be scrapping with for ice time. Maybe Stortini too, although IMO Zorg has it all over all of those guys (excepting Stone, who has a tiny sample size of games I've actually seen him) when it comes to consistency of effort and performance.

    JFJ was afforded a great opportunity to step up, unfortunately had a miserable time of it on the 1Line, especially in the most recent game where he looked completely out of his league. But I'm all for giving the guy more opportunities to fit in a little down the depth chart.

    Knighttown: Despite all logic, reason and history suggesting this should be a road game, it's actually here in Edmonton.

  57. knighttown says:

    "Why obsess over Hemsky when the defense (or lack thereof) is what is what caused the loss."

    Maybe you didn't catch the news? Strudwick is in and Smid is out. Problem solved.

    (searches for Facepalm emoticon)

  58. Phil says:

    Also, having no one but pluggers(yes mister 7 million a year counts as one of those/ plus the OIlers post dynasty saint Ryan Smyth) to play with also has been a serious ipediment to Hemsky's progress.

    Let's look at an example of an elite player stuck in a 'Defense First' system.

    Marian Gaborik has laboured his whole career in what was arguably the league's most defensive-minded system, under whom most would argue is the league's most defensive minded coach.

    Despite this, and despite being injured what seem like every other day, in 8 seasons, he's scored 30 or more goals 5 times (including 30 goals in 48 games in 06-07!), and has been over 1 ppg in each of the last 4 seasons. And this despite having no other player on his team even come close to threatening the 1ppg mark (with the exception of Rolston in 05-06, he was at .963ppg).

    Marian Gaborik is an elite talent. Elite talent shows through, regardless of situation. Kind of like how a 15 year old kid can buy a $5 dollar guitar, and change rock and roll – despite the massive odds against him.

  59. Bar Qu says:

    Because the top line has been conspicuously absent from the score sheet. The odds of continuing to score 4-5 goals a night without Hemsky/Horcoff producing are not great.

    The flames are 3-0 with Iginla's line barely registering. I believe the talent of Horc and Hemsky will allow them to play out of the slump (O and D). So, if the 3 other lines are picking up the slack why wreck them to fix One line?

    Its not that I don't see the other perspective, but I don't agree with it. The defensive game is what killed the team last year, that is what I want fixed this year.

  60. logical thinking says:

    Hemsky has not looked good in the pre or regular season. Horcoff only has only 1 shot in two games. JFJ is getting the blame but thats not right at all. JFJ just needs to shoot the puck more. Just give him a little more time and I am sure Lowetide will be his biggest fan.

  61. DBO says:

    Lines as per gregor at ON.

    Dustin Penner will skate with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. Sam Gagner will centre JF Jacques and Patrick O’Sullivan, while Mike Comrie moves to the LW beside Gilbert Brule and Ryan Stone. Andrew Cogliano is back in the middle between Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini.

    so to recap

    penner-horcoff-Hemsky
    Jacques-Gagner-O'Sullivan
    Comrie-Brule-Stone
    Moreau-Cogliano-stortini

  62. DBO says:

    oh and Strudwick is in, Staios is out, not Smid.

  63. Promethian says:

    grease trap,

    Your Conan reference made my day. I feel like a part of a (slightly) larger cult now.

  64. Jonathan Willis says:

    Fun stat of the day:

    In three of the four seasons that Craig MacTavish coached prior to the NHL lockout, the Oilers were a top-ten team in scoring.

    Now, stats aren't any fun without context, so let's add one more fun stat, for context: excluding 2000-01 (Doug Weight's last season) the top scorer for the Oilers never reached the 65-point plateau.

    Now, given those two numbers, I challenge anyone to give a coherent argument that Craig MacTavish had no idea how to play offensive hockey.

  65. Alice says:

    Now, given those two numbers, I challenge anyone to give a coherent argument that Craig MacTavish had no idea how to play offensive hockey.

    Rob Schremp.

  66. Schitzo says:

    Damn you Alice, why'd you have to go and light up the Schremp-signal?

  67. Jonathan Willis says:

    Alice:

    Surely you mean that MacTavish doesn't know how to play Rob Schremp hockey.

  68. Woodguy says:

    To aid the discussion:

    EV GF/20

    Hemsky with Penner 1.224
    Hemsky without Penner 0.712
    Difference 0.512

    Hemsky with Horcoff 1.047
    Hemsky without Horcoff .496
    Difference 0.551

    Now that might just be a function there were no better players to play with on the Oilers than 27 & 10.

    Someone show Tom Renney this stat please:

    Hemsky with Staios 0.55
    Hemsky without Staios 1.057

    $%&%#&^@%&

    I like Comrie with Hemsky better than Gagner if you are going to move Horcoff simply because Comrie shoots more, and goes to the net and shooting areas well without the puck.

    Gagner and Hemsky play slightly different variations on the same game, Comrie's game compliments Hemsky much better. Comrie is way better and smarter without the puck (both offensively and defensively) than Sam is. (I have no doubt Sam will be good without it eventually, but today he is not nearly as good as Comrie)

    I'm all for getting Hemsky away from playing tough competition, but know that you can't hide him from #1 defensive pairings. Keep him away from the best opponent forward lines should be tried though.

    Funny. You look at BTN's 2008 QualComp rating and Hemsky comes out at a -0.001, no where near a lot of other top names.

    Here are some names and QualComps from the top of the list:

    Alfredson 0.067
    Kostitsyn 0.064
    H.Sedin 0.060
    Malkin 0.060
    Zetterberg 0.058
    Richards 0.058
    Franzen 0.057
    D. Sedin 0.057
    Roy 0.054
    Armstrong 0.054
    Crosby 0.049

    Maybe Hemsky is already sheltered, and what you see is what you get?

    Also Crazy Coach:

    I'm also really tired of hearing how Hemsky needs a LW to flourish. I do remember a certain Oiler centre who had BJ Macdonald, Dave Semenko, Jaroslav Pouzar as LW and it never seemed to drag him down.

    It helped having Calligan with MacDonald and it really,really,really,really,really, helped having Kurri with the other 3.

    It also helped being the best player of all time.

  69. DBO says:

    Mirtle has a great post up about what the top 5 teams spend, and how it is distributed.

    Avg % Avg %
    Forwards $33,220,239 58.5% 4.5%
    Defencemen $18,386,166 32.4% 4.6%
    Goaltenders $4,901,000 8.6% 4.3%
    Buyouts $515,000 0.9%

    Avg % Avg %
    Starting 6 $33,249,434 58.5% 9.8%
    Top F line $18,380,268 32.4% 10.8%
    Top six F $26,402,768 46.5% 7.7%
    Top D pair $10,610,833 18.7% 9.3%
    Top four D $15,692,500 27.6% 6.9%
    Starting G $4,258,333 7.5% 7.5%
    Bottom 11 $10,153,804 17.9% 1.6%

    A few interesting things in comparison to the Oil. we spend $31 mill on our forwards and $22.8 on our defense. top teams spend on average $18.3 million on their top line, we spend $13.85 (cap hit). We seem to spend our money on our top 4 dmen ($18.5 mill) and our bottom 11 – 3 d and 8 forwards ($13.6 mill). So we spend 30% more on our bottom 2 lines and bottom d pair (with the subs) then the top team. one big reason we are a cap team, we overspend on the bottom players.

  70. Black Gold says:

    Now, given those two numbers, I challenge anyone to give a coherent argument that Craig MacTavish had no idea how to play offensive hockey.

    I find any brand of hockey that misses the playoffs three times in a row very offensive. :p

  71. Alice says:

    I just missed seeing his name in here every day, so I took the opportunity to roll a little grenade into the den.

    And it's ok, Robbie is playing tonight, going to take Ottawa by storm. Which means Hunter's friends will need to train up on the defibrillator…

  72. HBomb says:

    Ok, Stauffer has the lines as such (from Oilers Lunch):

    Horpensky
    JFJ-Gags-Cogs
    Comrie-POS-Stone
    Captain Stupid – Creme Brule – Zorg

  73. Temujin says:

    HBomb, you ought to write book filled with just your comments from this blog.

    Titled "High on Lowe Tide"

    It would be comedy gold.

  74. quain says:

    NHL_Oilers: Quinn: lines were done at the morning skate "to fool the Calgary team".

    I'm firmly convinced that having MacTavish and Quinn on a reality show or doing joint pressers would be up there with Chris Rock and Rob Schremp in terms of hilarity.

  75. NBOilerFan says:

    Alright, make yoru wagers (I'll hold all the money), who has teh correct starting lines,

    Per Gregor:

    Jacques-Gagner-O'Sullivan
    Comrie-Brule-Stone
    Moreau-Cogliano-Stortini

    Per Stauffer:
    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Jacques-Gagner-Cogliano
    Comrie-O'Sullivan-Stone
    Moreau-Brule-Stortini

  76. DBO says:

    stauffer just corrected himself saying O'Sullivan with gagner

  77. HBomb says:

    I feel sorry for whichever young center is stuck playing with Moreau.

  78. hunter1909 says:

    "If she was still called a "floozy" then we must be talking about Quinn's youth, no??"

    LOL well I would have called probably her a tart, but that terminology isn't exactly common in these parts.

  79. hunter1909 says:

    Rob Schremp's probable all three stars of the game debut tonight really seems to have me all fired up for some reason, although I don't quite understand why.

  80. jon k says:

    NBOilerFan:

    What those stats tell me is that both teams are probably due for a healthy dose of regression to the mean.

    Calgary looks like they're going to suffer more for it though.

    I think it's interesting that sometimes team weakness can be so apparent on its face (the Oilers), and at other times it can be so difficult to discern until the teams play. I'm referring of course to the Flames and Canucks.

    To this point the Flames have intensity and faceoff issues and have benefitted immensely from puck luck. The Canucks defence on the other hand is not quite as steady as it was previously thought and might be their achilles heel of sorts.

    Granted I'd still take either team over ours 9 times out of 10.

  81. Woodguy says:

    Horpensky
    JFJ-Gags-Cogs
    Comrie-POS-Stone
    Captain Stupid – Creme Brule – Zorg

    I like that better than the first set put up.

  82. Dennis says:

    I only believe in guys being due when they've been hitting the ball hard and considering that the 10/83 duo have been soundly outchanced in the first two games of the season – and are probably playing hurt – I'll have to see them drive the bus for a game before I believe they're about to do just that.

    So, after all this hubbub, what Are the real lines?:)

  83. Icecastles says:

    Bar Qu said… I believe the talent of Horc and Hemsky will allow them to play out of the slump (O and D). So, if the 3 other lines are picking up the slack why wreck them to fix One line?

    Hell of a good point. I can agree with that. Still don't think Hemsky is an elite talent though. ;)

  84. hunter1909 says:

    Hemsky's an occasionally wonderful player, but nowhere near the superstar so many Oilers fans have hyped on his narrow shoulders.

    Maybe it's semi-conscious driven guilt from all the former adulation that's behind this sudden anti-Hemsky ranting.

  85. DBO says:

    Hemsky is our best player for sure, but woudl anyone deal him? we go through this all the time, just wonder what we could get for him? could we fill the holes we have?

  86. Black Gold says:

    EV GF/20

    Hemsky with Penner 1.224
    Hemsky without Penner 0.712
    Difference 0.512

    Hemsky with Horcoff 1.047
    Hemsky without Horcoff .496
    Difference 0.551

    I don't think it's fair to bring up how much better hemsky is with penner without bringing up penner zone starts. Maybe there's correlation between penner having a higher zone start and his success with hemsky and horcoff.

    Hemsky and Horcoff get a offensive zone faceoff, give them penner, hemsky and horcoff get a defensive zone face off, give them brodziak or someone who isn't penner.
    Maybe that'd skew the numbers to make Penner look like the difference maker when it's rly just a reflection of what real estate they're given with and without him.

    Is there any stats to check zone start vs. time on ice together?

  87. Dennis says:

    I finally saw the lines:

    27-10-83
    22-89-19
    32-67-91
    18-13-46

    So,

    - the 10 line is bonafide and that should be alright eventually.

    - 89's playing well but 19's shooting pct looms large and let's see how 22 reacts.

    - the 67 line is basically a lost cause

    - 13's played sometime with the 18-34 combo and that wasn't any great shakes so I don't expect this new line to tear it up.

    Bottom line? Even if both 18-34 comes back to the lineup and remains healthy, we should still deal one of the Dmen for a real forward.

  88. Black Gold says:

    If 19 shoots from anywhere, doesn't it make sense to put him with ppl that'll goto the net with conviction?
    I wonder how 91-19-46 would do..

  89. Phil says:

    Hemsky is our best player for sure, but woudl anyone deal him? we go through this all the time, just wonder what we could get for him? could we fill the holes we have?

    It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) – It all depends on the return. If you could land a legit, 2-way, scoring centre (not a shot at Horcoff), for Hemsky+, then sure. Think Jeff Carter or the like. That's a pipe dream though.

    In reality, you're not going to be able to get value for him, especially when you're so close to the cap.

    Not to mention that the team can't seem to swing a trade for lesser parts, like a defensive defenseman or a Marty Reasoner.

  90. spOILer says:

    Pouliot has re-injured his pubes, according to The Sun.

    Staois out to protect a noodle still soggy from the match in Dallas.

    Hilarious reading in the papers over the past week about how much Quinn and MacT agree…

    Cogliano remarked that MacT always told him to learn from other garbage goal guys like Comrie and Quinn has done the same.

    Then there was the comparison to MacT's comment last year after the 4-0 start about bad habits and poor defensive play and Quinn saying essentially the same thing after the first two games this year.

  91. spOILer says:

    If those are the lines and Sutter rolls out his pairings the same way he did last game, it will be Phaneuf's turn to be punished by Penner and Regher's turn to be jacked by Jacques.

    And for the love all that is Eddie Shore, either keep Strudwick away from Iginla at EVs, or don't let him past our own blue line.

  92. bookie says:

    Hilarious reading in the papers over the past week about how much Quinn and MacT agree…

    It looks like they agree a lot on individual players, but Quinn is emphasizing constant repetition of systems play (training until it becomes natural) and the need to play as a team more than MacT typically did. I think the biggest change may be Quinn's devotion to a consistant style of play and MacT's approach to changing gameplans based upon the opponent. I can't find the interview (maybe removed from Oilers site), but Tom Gilbert spoke after the MacT firing that the team changed game plans every night and had no style of play to identify with. Quinn seems to be targeting that as the key to change. I hope he is succesful with it.

  93. Woodguy says:

    Hemsky and Horcoff get a offensive zone faceoff, give them penner, hemsky and horcoff get a defensive zone face off, give them brodziak or someone who isn't penner.
    Maybe that'd skew the numbers to make Penner look like the difference maker when it's rly just a reflection of what real estate they're given with and without him.

    Is there any stats to check zone start vs. time on ice together?

    I know that some guys here have the zone start coverage.

    If 27 wasn't with 83 and 10 was in defensive zone coverage, its doesn't show in the numbers.

    I don't think the difference between 10 and 27 on those stats is significant, so I wasn't highlighting 27, but rather both players.

    Like I said though, that might just be a function of better players not being available to play with on this team.

    To say what a high end shooter like Heatley, Parise, or Kovalchuk might do to his numbers is unknown.

  94. boopronger says:

    i would trade hemsky straight up for Dustin Brown.

  95. Dennis says:

    It seems like I am always picking up for this guy:) but even though I've never had the same injury as 78, I have been injured in that area before and let me tell you, it's pure hell.

    It happened while I was at the gym and attempting an exercise on an ab machine and because I'd been doing like 150 situps-a-day for like 2 years before I even started at a gym, I figured I would be Boss when it came to this piece of equipement. Well, I set the gauge too high and when I did the first crunch, I could literally feel something tear.

    This was just before christmas and I was gonna stay away from the gym for a couple of weeks anyway so when I finished up that day, I said I'd take awhile off and hopefully this would heal (I had finished my workout after feeling this tear because you never really full the full effects of an injury until the adrenaline wears off, anyway).

    So, for a week I'm a little sore but then I start my christmas drinking and my stomach literally grinds everytime I take a drop and the next morning it's like I'm pissing honest-to-goodness fire.

    Note: I still powered through because it was Christmas;)

    Anyway, as soon as I got back to town after the holidays, I tried out the gym again and wound up in the absolute racks-of-pain for a full week. I remember going to the gym on a Monday and for the first next few days I could hardly get out of bed. I mean I had shooting pains in my stomach, groin, my balls, my ass and even in the head of my Brian Burke! The #1 and #2 bodily functions were resolute murder and I didn't know what was going on.

    Note: I hope LT's daugther isn't reading this!

    So I go to the doctor and he says it's likely prostatitis and it's either from a muscle pull or an infection. I get a bunch of bloodwork done – if you have this, you want it to be from an infection because that's the easiest way to treat it – but no such luck, it's a muscle pull.

    So the doctor tells me no physical activity for six weeks and even when I resumed that, I should consider giving up alcohol and caffeine for an even longer period of time.

    So, because I'd been in such rough shape before, I went from early Jan to early June without drinking a beer because I was fearful of bringing the pain back upon myself. And because I wasn't hungover or hungover hungry, I eventually worked out like never before and went to the gym six days a week and was in the best shape possible.

    Note: my friends kept going out once a weekend but I've never been one to go out without getting hammered:)

    Also, do you know what the doctor suggested would sooth flare-ups?

    E-jackulation!

    So, the girlfriend wasn't overly happy about that but I certainly was:D

    The moral of this story is I don't know what's going on with 78 but I feel bad for the kid and I felt like sharing.

    Go Oilers?

  96. Schitzo says:

    Jesus Dennis, you really channelled your inner Black Dog on that bit of sharing.

  97. Woodguy says:

    Dennis:

    Wow.

    I cringed.

    clap,clap?

    No, a muscle pull.

  98. DBO says:

    different note but Rockies trying hard to blow this lead. 5-4 in the bottom of the 8th, Philly just dinged one. Nice finish to this one.

  99. Icecastles says:

    I'm starting to suspect that before long the MacT defenders (and admittedly, I was one for a long time) are going to be giving us things like "Quinn said we need to score more goals than the opposition and MacT said the same thing so that must mean they see the team the same way." I just don't get it. They coach(ed) pretty much the same team. So yes, from time to time they are going to notice similar things.

    But one coach wants more grit so puts a grinder on every line, and one coach wanted more grit so he rode/benched/demoted the guys who weren't giving it to him. Even if they weighed 90 pounds and would likely hospitalize themselves playing that style (not that we've had many injuries in the last couple years….).

    Not trying to start yet another MacTavish thread here, just trying to put some perspective on when Quinn says something like Cogliano needing to learn from garbage goal guys.

  100. Phil says:

    I went from early Jan to early June without drinking a beer

    Is it just me, or is this fact the most horrific part of Dennis' story?

  101. Dennis says:

    Woodguy: It was as bad as it sounds; shooting pains that made just about everything uncomfortable.

    Regarding the not drinking, my buddy worked at a bar and they had all this draught beer that was about to expire so he strikes a deal with his bosses and invites all his buddies there for an all-you-can-drink soiree for $20. I remember this – and, wait for it – I can tie it together with 78 because it was the night in '05 when his and Crosby's Q team played Schremp and the London Knights.

    Anyway, all hands are there and everyone's getting tore up and I'm shooting pool and counting the minutes until I can go home without looking like a sook.

    I walked home from the bar and waited for the VCR to stop whirring (it was '05 and I was still following the Expos/Nats and John Patterson was pitching against the Mets)

    As I rewound the tape to fast-watch the baseball game I had one of the most serious mental alchohol-withdrawal pangs I ever experience.

    But it wasn't worse than a flashing pain through the balls so I waited another few weeks before I picked up the bottle again;)

  102. Jfry says:

    i always find it interesting when people say that hemsky has never had anyone of his skill level to play with…as an "excuse" for his production.

    it always makes me think of preseason when coachs always talk about guys like sugar tits and rowbear and mention their "skill level" …

    i think there's a big difference between skill level and results and for me the results are starting to suggest that Hemsky will never live up to his skill level, regardless of what left winger we try to blame.

    also, interesting giving our GM and LT's posts a year ago…Sugar Tits is in tonight, while Tamby is sitting. looking to the NYI boards, they speak about Tamby like we all used to about RS. pretty funny, all in all.

    and on the hemsky front. i'd rather hemsky learn to score 30+ goals than get 90 points. a 30 and 30 player is exactly what this team needs…it would also mean that he's skating in the correct portions of the ice (ie. not being pushed to the boards and then around the net). for the most part i believe other teams have learned to defend against Hem'r now that he's our "ace".

  103. pboy says:

    I would like to bring up an important matter. We still don't have a "Victory" song and that bothers me. First they don't re-sign Kotalik and I lose Icecastle's techno beat after an Ales2 goal and now we don't have any Hall & Oates to enjoy. WTF.

    Dennis: I must have cringed 3 times just reading that. Did it reoccur at all or once it healed you were all good?

  104. Lowetide says:

    Can you imagine what we'll be talking about when I'm 80 (and you're all 50)?

    "I put my teeth down and then grabbed a hammer. Now, I'm used to swinging a heavy hammer and this was one of those lighter jobs the wife used to use for banging in those tse-tse nails. Anyway, I broke my teeth…."

  105. hunter1909 says:

    They need to enlist some kind of top line UK music people to setup the Oilers music, with some kind of futuristic and annoying racket that will amuse/annoy and unsettle the opposition. The Oilers team, will get used to this and be unaffected by it.

    Otherwise they might as well just keep playing the opening music to "Green Acres", or whatever they call that dated nonsense they call arena music.

  106. Bruce says:

    Hemsky and Horcoff get a offensive zone faceoff, give them penner, hemsky and horcoff get a defensive zone face off, give them brodziak or someone who isn't penner.

    Black Gold: More like, Horcoff gets an offensive zone faceoff, give him Hemsky and Penner. Horcoff gets a defensive zone faceoff give him Brodziak AND someone else. I see where you lump Hemsky in with Horcoff here and it doesn't wash. Hemsky had slightly tougher assignments than Penner, but Horcoff had WAY tougher assignments than both of them.

    Don't have the stats handy but as I recall it was Horcoff ~ +150, Hemsky +9, Penner -35 or some such. Explains some of the difference between Hemsky and Penner (shots, Corsi, GF ON, GA ON, all in Penner's favour). It doesn't quite explain why Hemsky is beyond reproach and Penner an underachiever, as some in the MSM and elsewhere would have it. Nor does it explain why Horcoff is overpaid at $5.5 MM, as the whole world would have it.

    BTW, I just now came across this nifty new Zone Start feature at BtN, which confirms that 53.3% of Penner's non-neutral-one faceoffs were in the offensive zone; 49.3 of Hemsky's, and a lowly 40.2% of Horcoffs, which squares with the above. Way to go, Gabe Desjardins! that is a wonderful addition.

    Hemsky played flat competition last year, easily led the Oilers with a QualTeam of +0.26, started in the middle of the ice and finished the season +1. The preferred unit was 27-10-83-37-71 which was pretty close to the four best teammates he could have hoped for. Once 71 went down and 27 went elsewhere, the results went away.

  107. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Jean-Francois Jacques 2 0 0 0 -2 2 PIM
    Ryan Stone 2 0 0 0 -1 5 PIM

    Is in the lineup

    Robert Nilsson 1 0 1 1 1 0 PIM

    Is out of the lineup

    I'm sorry, but now it's just
    straight up WTF.

    Nilsson played well, and was a great piece of an important goal last night. That with playing 10 minutes only.

    It now sounds like a stupid embargo on Nilsson.

    I don't think at this point, either Stone,Jacques and Moreau have been any better than Nilsson, exept for the domain of ''I'm big'' and ''I'm the captain''.

    Jacques failed to do anything worhtwhile on the best line, that with having one point in almost a full NHL season.

    This doesn't make any sense.
    I know i'm biased toward Nilsson, but that's just straight ridiculous.

  108. pboy says:

    Or possibly the coaching staff thinks this game is going to be extremely physical and they are trying to limit the amount of smaller guys in the line-up and Nilsson will be back in when they are facing more of a finesse team?

    I thought Nilsson played alright against the Stars but he wasn't so fantastic that Quinn/Renney are out of their minds for not giving him the Cal Ripken here.

  109. Master Lok says:

    Dennis,
    inner Black Dog indeed. Your story reminds me of when I was bedridden in the hospital. If you ever find yourself in that situation, and the nurse notices that you have been having difficulties urinating… I suggest try HARDER. You do not want to try their option.

  110. grease trap says:

    I dunno…

    What does this nurse look like?

  111. hunter1909 says:

    Schremp dominating the game in Ottawa.

  112. Lowetide says:

    Riight. He has played well, though. A nice clearing play and forechecking well, plus a couple of skill passes.

    Not bad, not bad.

  113. Icecastles says:

    Louis Debrusk, on the pregame video recently posted, looks right into the camera and asks, "How important was the victory for him [Khabibulin] in the shit-out?"

    That would be a bad enough oops on a live broadcast, but for the editors to fail to catch it as well….

  114. Steve says:

    Jean-Francois Jacques 2 0 0 0 -2 2 PIM
    Ryan Stone 2 0 0 0 -1 5 PIM

    Is in the lineup

    Robert Nilsson 1 0 1 1 1 0 PIM

    Is out of the lineup

    I'm sorry, but now it's just
    straight up WTF.

    Lisa needs braces…sample size! Lisa needs braces…sample size!

  115. Dennis says:

    PBoy: It has come close to recurring but it never really fully catches ahold.

    Now, If I try crunches or sit-ups for more than 2 days in a row, I'll feel it; and I've never been able to squat a really heavy amount. My legs could handle a lot more weight but my core gets a bit wobbly so I just do heavy reps and lighter weight.

    Also, if I binge drink for more than two days in a row (this no longer happens unless it's a special summer's weekend or it's Christmas, I swear:) then I'll get the distant early burning and I'll have to lay off all potential irritants for a day or three

    I had never heard of this condition before and it was one of the most annoying things I had ever gone through. One thing I didn't mention was the constant "dribbling" resulting from the weakening of the muscles. I'd take a whizz and I'd just be there shaking it and shaking it trying to get all the liquid out or else you'd go and sit back down or stand up and bam, here comes the dribbles.

    MLock: Thank you for a tip that I hope I never have to use!:D

  116. Black Gold says:

    Nice post Bruce. Didn't know BtN had Zonestart info. That's pretty awesome.

    So the only player seeing more defensive zone starts was Brodziak and he faced the easiest competition and broke off evenly.
    Horc saw the second most d-zone faceoffs, played against the hardest competition and finished 4th in outscoring and corsi? Wow, 5v5 he's in a different league.

  117. Black Gold says:

    Edit: second most d-zone faceoffs

    …based on percentage.

  118. pboy says:

    Dennis: If what Pouliot is going through is similar to what you've had to deal with, it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to get back into the lineup and how he is able to play once he's back? Obviously this team could really use a healthy Marc Pouliot to help with the FO's and penalty killing, so if he's out for a long stretch it could speed up that trade that has to becoming down the pipeline; Offensive D for forward help.

    Off topic but I hope Strudwick has a solid, low event game and makes Quinn/Renney hesitate just a little about rushing Staios back into the line-up. I know it's only two games into the season but Steady Steve is a notoriously slow starter and I don't think the Oil can afford to wait 35 or 40 games for his game to round into shape like they did last season. He's always been a gamer and willing to sacrifice his body for the team but his inability to make even the simplest of passes and his decision making make me wonder if the team wouldn't be better off with Steve and his contract in Springfield?

  119. danny says:

    Those pelvic injuries makes you appreciate not being a woman eh Dennis?

    I normally wear the snug athletic style boxers. Last month however, my fiance bought me a set of the loose fitting kind. I wore them for 3 consecutive days until they were all in the laundry basket.

    I find the freedom of that style a little uncomfortable. Free balling? No thanks.

    The next day I had a dull ache in my lower pelvis with intermittent sharp pains that travelled directly through a few areas which sharp pains aren't invited. These pains were brutal. I was in agony for a few days so I decided to go see a doctor. (I've visited a doctor approximately 3 times in the past 12 years).

    It turns out theres a small muscle that resides down there somewhere inside. It can be pulled should your boys be hanging strenuously. Considering mine enjoy the comfortable confines of fitted boxer briefs, they werent ready for the outside.

    I reckon they're kinda like poor old Brooks from Shawshank redemption. They're so used to the inside now that a bit of freedom was quite the adjustment. Theres a definite hanging joke to be made here but it escapes me at the moment.

  120. Bruce says:

    Nice post Bruce. Didn't know BtN had Zonestart info. That's pretty awesome.

    I sent a note to Gabe complimenting him and asking if the data is all face-offs or just start of shift face-offs (a key distinction) and we said it will be all face-offs. He said this feature just went up today, so he was happy somebody noticed. :)

    BTW, in giving props to Gabe I would be remiss in not giving credit to Vic Ferrari's pioneer work in this statistical area. I suspect we are just beginning to scratch the surface of its potential. I'm really looking forward to being able to use the sortable function to test across teams and the like.

  121. kris says:

    It turns out theres a small muscle that resides down there somewhere inside. It can be pulled should your boys be hanging strenuously.

    It's called the 'cremaster.'

    No kidding, before I knew what the word meant, and I went to go see an art exhibit called 'The Cremaster Cycle.' at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

    All I'll say: Wish I had known what a cremaster was before I went.

  122. Bruce says:

    Horc saw the second most d-zone faceoffs, played against the hardest competition and finished 4th in outscoring and corsi? Wow, 5v5 he's in a different league.

    Yup. Unfortunately, the "$7 million!!!1!1" crowd has trouble figuring out sophisticated concepts like "cap hit", so I don't think some cocktail of goal differential, Corsi, QualComp and ZoneStart is likely to hold their attention, however much it might impress you and me. :p

  123. Woodguy says:

    Nice post Bruce. Didn't know BtN had Zonestart info. That's pretty awesome.

    2nded, thanks for the update Bruce.

    I was using that page, but never looked to the right! HA.

    Also,

    I agree with you that when thecaptainethanmoreau shoots the puck wide, or like usual the goalie is just able to get his crest in front of the puck, it can be a useless play. So I understand you not liking low percentage shots.

    However, when the shot is low and hard and designed for rebounds, and your teammates are trained to automatically to go the net, I believe that play is always superior to just dumping the puck into the corner.

    I will win you over on this!!

  124. flamingpavelbure says:

    Steve: Just read the rest of the post.

    Doesn't mean because you suck humongously in the best condition possibles for only 2 games, that it's meaningless.

  125. hunter1909 says:

    Yeah that $7 million's hard for us to take.

    Definition of delusional: Watching Okoposo score for the Islanders and literally hallucinating Schremp's number on his back.

  126. doritogrande says:

    Goddamn. You have to catch that ball. I want hockey!

  127. Dennis says:

    I'm not sure what 78's going through but he's a guy who might be able to win a faceoff or kill a penalty; though he never really figured in MacT's PK plans for the last two seasons even though he did some decent work there in the Titanic season of '07.

    Regarding the TOI of the D, I still think it's all about not wanting to rush 71 to what will be his eventual role: tough min D.

    Though, if he does it he's probably gonna have to learn how to play with 37/77 because his game suffers when with 44 and I doubt 5's ready to take on the toughs.

  128. doritogrande says:

    So I know everyone's thrilled with the development of MPS, but I've yet to see anyone point out that Teemu Hartikainen has 6 points (1-5) in his first 10 games.

    Combine this with the offensive prowess of our CHLers Eberle and Cornet and we have a lot of nice offensive talents bubbling under.

    Makes one forget about Olivier Roy's season to date.

  129. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Can someone shoot a feed for the game? Or is it on CBC?

  130. McKenzie says:

    So much for horpensky.

  131. doritogrande says:

    Jacques with a DANGEROUS hit.

  132. doritogrande says:

    Ferfuxsakes. We've got last change, and who do we match Iginla with?

    freaking Gagner.

  133. Scott Reynolds says:

    Hemsky and Jacques offside. We should start a pool. How many offsides while Hemsky carries the puck over the blueline.

  134. PunjabiOil says:

    I don't understand the logic of Jacques on the first line. Just absurd.

  135. Icecastles says:

    channelsurfing.net says they're carrying the feed, but when you click on it, you get Tampa Bay's game. wtf.

  136. Icecastles says:

    How many offsides while Hemsky carries the puck over the blueline.

    I know there are some math guys on this board, but there's no effing way I can count that high.

  137. Temujin says:

    2300 viewers on the atdhe feed, mine's is a little choppy :=(

  138. Woodguy says:

    I like th way Vis is skating.

  139. Woodguy says:

    Khabby best player so far.

    60 foot bank pass on the tape by Grebs. Sweet.

    Oilers look overmatched in their own zone.

  140. doritogrande says:

    I guess I have to get over the luxury of having a goaltender who absorbs rebounds. Bulin's rebound control is…how to say…lacking?

  141. doritogrande says:

    Penalty in the offensive zone?

    I call Moreau!

  142. Icecastles says:

    Wow. Got the feed *just* in time to see Moreau take a stick penalty. So glad I got to see that. Fucker.

  143. McKenzie says:

    The Captain making an impact….good lord.

  144. Hoos says:

    I think this is Moreau's way of telling the team their PK has to be better. Come on guys, he's a leader, ensuring they get more PK practice time.

    Right?

  145. flamingpavelbure says:

    I'm having the impression, the only reason why Moreau isn't a scratch, is because he's the captain.

  146. doritogrande says:

    Maybe we all mis-heard Quinn today when he said Penner would be on the top line.

    Cuz he's with Horcoff on the top "PK" line.

  147. NBOilerFan says:

    Is Knighttown on here?

    Does anyone here have Cenyter Ice and outside of Western Canada?

    I have Center ice and its blacked out, but this is a new provider. The previous years I had Center Ice, I never experienced blackouts on the CI channels for Edonton games. I called them and they say they are blacked out.

    In the Dallas thread, Knighttown agreed that it was the same for him… no blackouts.

    Anyone else blacked out on CI?

  148. doritogrande says:

    Yeah. Ok. That makes up for it.

    Moreau on the breakaway.

  149. Icecastles says:

    Okay, he's forgiven. THIS TIME.

  150. Hoos says:

    See guys, captain's plan works.

    THE CAPTAIN MOREAU LEADS BY EXAMPLE!

  151. Woodguy says:

    Just like thecaptain drew it up.

  152. McKenzie says:

    HAHAHA! That jerk. Nice finish.

  153. Yeti says:

    Good bloody shift.

  154. PunjabiOil says:

    Smid definitely looking more assertive this year.

  155. Icecastles says:

    These new-look Oilers might not be a significantly *better* team (we can answer that later in the season), but I think it's safe to say they are infinitely more fun to watch this year.

  156. doritogrande says:

    Oh Lubo!

  157. Icecastles says:

    Visnofsky! Beauty!

  158. Temujin says:

    Wow, that was Stellar Vish right there.

  159. McKenzie says:

    Oh that was smooth.

  160. Woodguy says:

    I love Vis.

    That is all.

  161. doritogrande says:

    Moreau (Brule, Grebeshkov)
    Visnovsky (Comrie, O'Sullivan)

  162. PunjabiOil says:

    Looks like his shoulder is fine.

  163. hunter1909 says:

    Moreau with the biggest goal of the year.

  164. pboy says:

    I just finished swearing about the stupid penalty by theCaptainethanmoreau about 15 seconds before he scored. If he scores a goal for every stupid penalty he takes in the offensive zone this year than TGO's 92 goal record might be in jeopardy.

    Beauty by Lubo.

    Smid looks good so far IMO. He just looks like he is a little more confident with the puck and a definitely more decisive with his decision making. Plus he is still the king of the after whistle facewash, which is probably why I like the guy so much.

  165. doritogrande says:

    Evander Kane with his first of what will be many NHL goals.

    I'm think I'm going to love watching him play for the next two decades or so. Like Jarome Iginla, only he doesn't play for the Flames (knock on wood).

  166. Dennis says:

    NB: I live in NF and and I have CI on BEV and right now I'm watching the game CI #10 so I'd have no idea why you'd have a blackout happening in NB.

    Looking at that shot from 71, it must have been the way he rolled when he scored a combined 35?? goals in the '06 and '07 seasons.

    That was a great finish to that period – I had the Oilers with the last 8 chances – but priot to taht I had them down 2-8.

    And I believe
    the majority of the chances came from either 18 or at least when his line was on the ice.

    Anyway, that was a great way to finish and 22 gets rewarded for his dirty work and that along with the PPG should give him positive reinforcement. Lost in the first couple of sucktacular play from JFJ were two or three instances where he had the soft dumps timed perfectly and he'd beat the D to the puck.

  167. doritogrande says:

    Oh fuck. Oh fuckohfuckohfuckohfuck.

  168. McKenzie says:

    oh please no

  169. doritogrande says:

    Souray down!

  170. Scott Reynolds says:

    Well it's a good thing we've got decent depth on defense!

  171. Scott Reynolds says:

    The linesman won us that faceoff with his skate.

  172. doritogrande says:

    Well it's a good thing we've got decent depth on defense!

    Do we really though? It's the third game and we're already using our 7th man. Now we have an injured Souray. Add to this the injury to Peckham, who still hasn't played since training camp?

    I'd say more depth needed.

  173. jdrevenge says:

    Stone to line 1. He thinks the game more like Smytty than anyone that's been up there IMO. That's Hemmers comfort zone.

  174. PunjabiOil says:

    That's a good trade-off

  175. doritogrande says:

    Captain-brawl doesn't exactly work out as Moreau planned it. Buddy just got rag-doll'd.

  176. Icecastles says:

    The linesmen seem to be breaking the fights up way too early this year. That scrap had something left in it.

  177. PunjabiOil says:

    Will Souray be back in this game? He appeared to get up on his own, so an leg/ankle injury can be ruled out.

    Just hope it's not a concussion.

  178. hunter1909 says:

    LMAO Iginla is a classy guy. He could have killed thecaptainethanmoreau but let him retire with his dignity intact.

  179. Icecastles says:

    Buddy just got rag-doll'd.

    I dont know, he went down, but got back on is feet pretty quick… if the linesment hadn't intervened the fight would likely still go to Iginla, but I think Moreau would have had a bit better showing.

  180. Scott Reynolds says:

    Do we really though? It's the third game and we're already using our 7th man. Now we have an injured Souray. Add to this the injury to Peckham, who still hasn't played since training camp?

    I'd say more depth needed.

    I don't know too many teams that have a 9th dman that they're particularly comfortable with. For us that's probably Dean Arsene and I think he'd be fine filling in for a game or two until someone is well enough to play. The depth comes from guys in the 5-6 spots who can play top four minutes without being overly exposed.

  181. Icecastles says:

    LMAO Iginla is a classy guy. He could have killed thecaptainethanmoreau but let him retire with his dignity intact.

    Iggy is a smart guy. He knew the best way to weaken the Oilers was to make sure their captain doesn't go on the IR. Iggy likes getting powerplays.

  182. Thrillho says:

    As for the CI thing, I'm in NS and can't get it either. I called Eastlink and they just said that there's a problem with the feed. No mention of a blackout, which would be foolish really. That's the whole point of CI..getting out of market games (ie. they're always blacked out on SNET West).

    Had CI for 4 years and never had a problem with it before, I think it's just a problem for tonight unfortunately.

    What happened to Souray?

  183. SK Oiler Fan says:

    I guess Moreau was doing his job, but that was a bit wierd. Not as if Iggy had any thoughts of injuring Souray. Kind of an oops play. Dangerous, but an oops.

  184. SK Oiler Fan says:

    terrible call. This is the NHL

  185. doritogrande says:

    Well, MacT went on record on yesterday's Quiz saying that Horcoff was the game's best 5-on-3 PKer.

    It's gonna be tested here.

  186. NBOilerFan says:

    Dennis said…
    NB: I live in NF and and I have CI on BEV and right now I'm watching the game CI #10 so I'd have no idea why you'd have a blackout happening in NB.

    Thank YOU!!!

    I was talking with the CSR when you posted that. I never had this issue in the past, I've had CI with both BEV and Rogers, but I now have Bell Aliant TV as a provider. This is teh first year they are offering NHL-CI.

    She was writing up a ticket when i saw your email and I told her what you said and she wrote it in as well. I already told her that I never had this issue before with the other providers (heck one year I saw all but 2 Oiler games – how could that be with blackouts).

    And the other thing I told her was that if I go to a channel not showin gthe game its says…

    NHL Center Ice Package

    October 8, 2009

    NHL 10
    NHL H4

    9:30pm EST

    Calgary vs Edmonton

    AB, SK, MB, NWT & Nunavut sees it on SNETW & SNH-W

    … which means, in those provinces you have to go to SNET-W to watch the game because the NHL-CI feed is blacked out, but all other provinces should stikll get the GI-#10 channel feed… like you are.

    Anyway… thanks for responded… appreciated! And sorry to hear aboutt your past groin injury… other then the one positive spin off (hint girlfriend), that really sounded painful, and sobering (literally).

  187. doritogrande says:

    Nik's feelin his oates tonight. Great save.

    AW fuck. Another defenseman bites the dust?

  188. SK Oiler Fan says:

    wow. Great anticipation by Khabby.

    He looks big tonight

  189. Icecastles says:

    Much as I loved the guy, I have to admit that that last sequence is exactly the kind of play Roli would have let one in on.

  190. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Huge kill. A bit lucky on a couple cross crease passes though. Puck rolling

  191. Scott Reynolds says:

    Gilbert with a ballsy (but IMO correct) retrieval of his stick while the 5v3 was winding down.

  192. kris says:

    How bad was the Iginla hit?

    I can't watch and am listening to Rod "Hyperbole" Phillips call the game. He basically described it as Iginla stabbing Souray in the teeth repeatedly.

  193. SK Oiler Fan says:

    And they follow up a huge kill with the worst PP I've seen so far

  194. Scott Reynolds says:

    How bad was the Iginla hit?

    I didn't really think it was bad at all. Looked like Iginla tripped him by accident and then followed Souray into the boards following the puck. Both guys seemed off-balanced.

  195. flamingpavelbure says:

    Haha, i like how we're actually kicking Calgary's ass, and things aren't near as bad as the apocalysp the majority of people predicted.

  196. NBOilerFan says:

    Thrillho said…
    As for the CI thing, I'm in NS and can't get it either. I called Eastlink and they just said that there's a problem with the feed.

    That makes more sense actually here as well. Because what it is saying is that the "signal temporarily unavailable", but the Ottawa games actually said on the screen "Ottawa games blacked out in your area" or something along those lines.

    Yea… exactly, if all Snet-W games are blacked out, I'm canceling…lol. What good is that to me. Like I said in the above post, I've had CI through both BEV and Rogers and didn’t have any blackouts. But the CSR wasn't able to help much other then to put it into a ticket…. we'll see what comes out of it.

  197. Scott Reynolds says:

    To clarify, the results of the hit seem to be real bad. I'd guess that Souray's not playing because they're worried he may have a concussion.

  198. doritogrande says:

    How bad was the Iginla hit?

    Horribly dangerous, but it was a Hockey type of play. Souray was down and stayed down for about 2 minutes. Iginla essentially took Souray's feet out with his stick 3-4 feet from the boards.

    For what it's worth, Iginla laid out into the boards too, headfirst.

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