Oilers at Canucks, G11, 09-10

Shawn Horcoff’s NHL career has been a very successful one. When he arrived fall 2000 (and was sent down) any fool could tell he played the game with enough skill and intelligence to make the show.

It didn’t take him long (24 games in Hamilton) to make the grade and Horc’s move up the team depth chart (4th line L to 1line C) happened in predictable fashion. His wide range of skills made him a big part of every team after the lockout, including the beauty team that went all the way to G7, SCF.

Oiler fans love him (hat tip to the ladies of Hot Oil for the photo of unnamed female flying the colors) and hate hit him (talk to any Oiler fan now and there’s either a degree of concern or disdain), sometimes in the same day.

Shawn Horcoff is in the middle of a terrible slump to start this season. 08-09 was a solid year (depending on the person you’re talking to) and we discussed it here. This is the important part of the post for today’s purposes:

  • How important is Horcoff to this team? Vital. There are several skills (size, intelligence, experience, faceoff skills, playing successfully with Hemsky) that are not duplicated on this roster.

The Oilers appear to have found another center who can play with Hemsky. That’s excellent, but the other items on the list still apply. Meaning that whatever else is ailing the Edmonton Oilers, they sure as hell better figure out what’s up with Horcoff. They’re not going too damn far without him and that’s for sure.

There have been rumors about a foot injury and that makes a ton of sense. When men Horcoff’s age fall away in terms of their established performance level, it is usually injury. If this injury is a long ranger, they’re probably wise to place him on the IR and get him healthy.

Except they can’t, because there is no replacement. Got Horcoff? Sure do. And once again, he’s the best possible option for the coach. Even on one leg.

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285 Responses to "Oilers at Canucks, G11, 09-10"

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  1. Black Dog says:

    He looks worn down a bit already. The new contract is weighing on him, remember after his last contract started he struggled for a while as well. Pressure on himself.

    And he's probably dinged up a bit.

    And his confidence is shot.

    So a few worries. ;)

    By my eye he has played a little better the last two games, I know not all agree but I think he's a lot more dogged on the puck and last night he was in the right place a few times.

    He has to get better or this club goes nowhere. Its one thing to provide solid play in the defensive end, win draws, forecheck hard and so on.

    But Horcoff's bag has always been the tough minutes outscorer and its hard to outscore when you aren't scoring at all.

    I think we might see Pisani on his line when he returns and maybe O'Sullivan as well. Maybe this will get things going for him.

  2. jdrevenge says:

    I'll agree with BD, he's always been an emotional player. He's the one that talks about seeing a sports psychologist every year. I think hes hurt but also feeling the pressure of the contract.

    If he doesn't have Hemmer throwing him beauty passes on the PP and 5×5 where does he fall in terms of point range? 50? 60?

    The amount of players that are hurt or sick right now is getting pretty ridiculous.

  3. oilerdiehard says:

    I thought the foot was tender from that shot he blocked a couple/few games back? That was the first I heard of anything of that sort on Horc.

    I actually thought he had one of his better nights last night offensively. I guess that is not saying a bunch but it was promising sign for me.

  4. NBOilerFan says:

    I'm with Blackdog that he almost appears to be a bit dogged already. He does have the most TOI of forwards and is close to his average of last year and I simply believe it is a bit too much for him.

    I also suspect that the foot is at the very least still uncomfortable and hampering things somewhat and perhaps there is even a fractured/broken bone that needs time to heal, but is not bad enough to prevent playing?

    But I agree 100%, we need him to start being just a bit better, he really isn't playing bad in my opinion, but he still needs to be better… and confidence and his contract are two important detractors.

  5. NBOilerFan says:

    I didn't read any of the game thread last night, but I thought Peckham played quite well for his first game this season and a BOA game at that. Both he and Chorney need more seasoning but the defense looks good. I'd e fine with both playing and Staios and Strudwick sitting.

    And after last night game it sure exposed not having Brule and Stone in the lineup. They add a lot of "crust" and we need a bit more of that. Including Penner, as good as he's playing, he still doesn't hit enough… he actually goes so far as to not take the hits that present themselves, which is something he needs to change. He doesn't have to become a huge hitter, but he needs to finish his checks and take the big hit when it presents itself.

    But hard to complain with his play all things considered.

  6. dubya says:

    If Sam Gagner goes 2 points in his next 10 (with a -5), are you gonna suggest that it's probably because he's injured? Or just that he's not a "real NHLer"?

    I'm mostly kidding, I don't disagree with what you wrote. But offensively, Horcoff has two different established levels (one closer to 0.6 PPG, one near 1.0 PPG, depending on the season). Sadly, it looks like the lower one might be for real.

    I actually think Horcoff might be shooting too much…he has a decent shot but not great, but he has so little confidence he's just firing it from anywhere. He used to be a decent playmaker, the game needs to slow down for him again.

  7. Lowetide says:

    dubya: I'm still not convinced Gagner is this good (80 points good). He's doing well in a defined role, but according to Desjardins "quality of competition" Horcoff is facing tougher competition.

    And doing it without Penner/Hemsky. Gagner hasn't proven he's the #1 center on this team, I'll say that much for sure

  8. Matt N says:

    I would really like to see Quinn/Renney experiment with a checking line centered by Horcoff. His skill set is made for this kind of role. I feel like he is miscast as a #1 Power vs. Power guy. I would like to see a line of Horcoff, Pisani and a tough minutes LW (Moreau, POS, Zorg??, JFJ) taking on the vaunt. Leaving Gagner, Hemsky & Penner to kill the soft and start in the O zone more often than not.

    I read another comment on this blog (I don't remember the commenter) who said

    "We can either have an average first line center or the best checking center in the league"

  9. Mr DeBakey says:

    Oh good
    A Horcoff thread

    This should be fun

    Too bad that dinger wasn't a goal.
    Could've skipped this.

  10. GSC says:

    The argument that the contract is weighing down on him is crap. He signed the damned thing, and the onus is on him to perform at that level. This is the salary cap era, folks. A player either produces bang for the buck, or his salary becomes an anchor that weighs the team down. Just because he's not producing right now doesn't make him unaccountable for it. "Pressure of the contract" is a weak ass excuse. He's a professional, it's his job to produce.

    Now, as for the argument that he's injured and stuck in a more defensive role, those are much more plausible. He's on pace to take even more draws than he had last season, and considering the Oil are still without a dependable 3rd line centre to lift the load off of Horc, there's reason to believe that Shawn's role will be on a shutdown line as long as 27-89-83 produce on the top line.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Matt N: I think Quinn/Renney may eventually go this way, but they need veteran wingers to play with Horcoff. Pisani is coming back, but we have no idea if he'll be any good (he was poor in TC). Ethan rifles is not going to help in this area playing the way he's playing and Stortini is a little shy on footspeed.

    I agree O'Sullivan may help and if Stone were a better player that would be good too. Jacques? I've always been a believer but he looks lost.

    And that's the other thing: how much of all of this is illness? I read this morning Jacques and Gilbert were really sick last night.

  12. Schitzo says:

    He signed the damned thing, and the onus is on him to perform at that level.

    You're right. If Kevin Lowe offered ME a $5.5 million dollar deal for next year, I'd turn it down because I couldn't live up to expectations.

    We should sign Gagner to a $10 million dollar a year deal, then he'll either perform like Ovechkin or it will be all his fault.

  13. Bruce says:

    I'm with BDHS that Horcoff has played pretty well the last two games. Better puck movement esp. in the offensive zone, but on a line with him, POS and thecaptainethanmoreau who is it who's supposed to be the finisher?

    Faceoffs last night are interesting:

    Horcoff 15/23, 65%
    Penner 6/10, 60%
    Gagner 3/10, 30%
    Cogliano 2/13, 15%
    Others 2/7, 29%

    At least "Skyrockets" Penner stepped up, but the others got killed.

  14. Black Dog says:

    GSC – you are absolutely right and I don't mean that as an excuse but as a definite cause of some of this, imo

    Fall 2006 he was squeezing the stick pretty tightly and later said he was trying to earn that whole contract every time he hit the ice.

    I think its more of the same. He's a smart guy and he probably knows the criticism that was out there before the season started and so he's trying to score thirty goals on every shift.

    He HAS to relax and of course his poor start has made it worse.

    He just has to settle down.

    Now if Gagner is for real and can murder the softs with Hemsky and Penner or at least take on reasonable comp. that's a big step for the club

    Its a start.

    So if Horcoff can saw off or, once again, outscore the toughs, then you've got the start of a really good club. Problem is who are the wingers?

    I'd have to guess either Pisani or O'Sullivan on the right. They need that LW though. I don't see anyone on this roster who can do the job, not right now.

    They need to find that guy because if you cobble a bottom six out of 67/13/18/46/ and then either Pisani and O'Sullivan plus Stone or Jacques then I think they're onto something.

    So who is the LW? Once again I say Ponikorovsky.

    Leafs can't score worth a damn. Would Nilsson plus a prospect or pick be enough to pry him away? He is a UFA next summer. Too little?

  15. Black Dog says:

    Bruce – I think between Horc, POS and the Pony I'm flogging right now (as opposed to the usual pony) I think you'd end up with 50 to 60 goals. All three guys are 15 to 20 goal scorers. Ponikorovsky has always been in that range regardless.

  16. Doogie2K says:

    Some of it's probably the contract, but he started the year with swelling on one foot. Dunno if that's the same foot he had that massive shot-block on that has probably been sore ever since (and re-aggravated last night, I'm sure), but I would not be surprised in the least if he's hiding a badly bruised or possibly broken foot. But like you said, LT, he's the best option for what he does right now, which is too bad, because two to four on the IR to heal would probably net us a much more effective player than what we've seen so far.

  17. doritogrande says:

    Pat, you still have a hand available to type with seeing that picutre?

  18. Rick says:

    With Horcoff, we should regard past performance as the judge whether he's doing well enough, rather than his salary.

    Sure, I think he's overpayed too, but his season isn't too far out of line from what we've seen the last two years. Maybe he needs a day or two to get healty, but the problem there is we literally have no one to replace him.

    Besides, our beyond-shaky defensive play from forwards and defenseman alike is a much bigger concern than Horcoff having a slow two weeks.

  19. RiversQ says:

    Great another matchup that isn't great for the Oilers. I would guess JDD gets the start tonight.

    As for Horc, I'm not worried. He's doing the heavy lifting as usual and doing reasonably well considering he's perpetually stuck with a boat anchor on LW. The complaints here have more to do with the fact that his sh% is abysmal – if he'd potted a couple of chances along the way (including the post last night as DeBakey noted) we wouldn't be talking about this right now.

  20. Bruce says:

    BDHS: Yeah, that's a 50-to-60 goal trio. I'm still frustrated with POS who seems to squeeze his stick ever tighter the closer to the net he gets. Gets the chances of a 30-goal man and has all the finish of a 10-goal plumber, so maybe 20 is realistic.

    I can see a line of (from L-R) 19-10-34 being pretty darn good, but would certainly be open to adding a guy with both size and skill like Ponikarovsky. Right now Penner is the only forward who brings both attributes.

  21. NBOilerFan says:

    @GSC – What are you talking about? "Unaccountable"… who said he's unaccountable? Yes, he signed the contract and yes he is a professional which is exactly why something like this can have some detrimental effect. Of course, if he was unprofessional and didn't get a rat’s ass, then he wouldn't be putting any pressure on himself.

    I’m not making excuses for him, all I am saying is that it can have an effect and I believe it likely is in some small regard. He wants to be a leader of this team, he signed the big contract that makes that a fact, and thusly he puts a lot of pressure on himself to be an impact player each game which can lead to simply trying to do too much on the ice.

    The year he put up the big numbers, he looked very relaxed out there to me and in my opinion he didn't look that relaxed at times last year and he certainly doesn't look it this year either.

    When you put too much pressure on yourself, you start gripping the stick too hard and start playing outside of your comfort zone and start trying to do to much and end up playing outside your usual game. This type of pressure from within can have as much effect as confidence has or a slight nagging injury. Add them together and things compound. The Professionalism means that he has to work his way out of it and overcome it and he will, but it still can be a factor.

    And simply saying that he’s a professional and it shouldn’t be so is crap, IMO. Its simply a fact, not an excuse.

  22. Woodguy says:

    And once again, he's the best possible option for the coach. Even on one leg.

    While I agree that 10 on 1 leg is a better option than most on this team with 2, I'm not buying that his injury is significant right now.

    When the Oilers were burying the Wild, 10 didn't see much ice after the game was decided and he ended the night with 16:41.

    Other mentioned that his "battle level" looked better last night, and I agreed with that. Also, like I ranted about in the GDT yesterday OTC put him out with 2 minutes left.

    Given that, I think he was hurt which contributed to the slow start, but he isn't as bad now as he was then.

    Then again maybe OTC tapped him on the back with 2 minutes to go and said "Leach's line, GO"

    Its entirely possible.

  23. Black Dog says:

    Woodguy – lol

    First ten games have been good by my eye really. I know its only two games but I think 27/89/83 can do a job, at least on the softs.

    And 5 has stepped it up so now I think we can say the club has five quality D. Plus Chorney has shown that he probably can play in this league. BTW Peckham will be fine as well once he gets some games under his belt.

    And Stortini and Stone look to be good options as role players. Not sold on JFJ – the game hasn't slowed down for him yet – but he has been better than I expected.

    So the next ten games will be about seeing if they can put a line around Horcoff that can produce some offence while taking on the tough sledding. I think Horcoff will be fine but if he has to drag JFJ around the ice with him then probably not so much.

    They need to figure a couple of wingers for him. Once they do then the puck will be in the right end of the ice and some pucks will end up in the net.

  24. spOILer says:

    Well, we played last night with 5 guys out injured and 5 guys sick, 3 of whom played.

    Seems like we posted tougher rosters during the pre-season.

    Still we can easily be under .500 by the end of this stretch.

    I think Horc has been a little better for the past bit, but really he's only played with an airbrake at LW. Gagner at least got Penner as his LWer.

    And I don't understand why Horc's game hasn't benefitted from the Mighty Quinn as his coach.

    I think RQ's right–a little different luck on 2 or 3 shots and maybe we don't need to have this conversation.

    But going forward, I have no idea what they're going to do about the Horc's portside. Seems either Pisani or OSully's going to have play on their off-wing. Still driving the damn bus on unbalanced wheels.

    I don't think there's any chance the Fire Hydrant trades with us. And we certainly don't want to be in the position of asking for one of his players.

  25. kris says:

    I'd put Cogliano on Horc's wing, try to get them both going:


    Jesus Christ this team needs at least one of Pisani, Pouliot, Stone back to help fill out the bottom 6. All three are a little more steady than Stortini, Nilsson and Moreau.

  26. Bruce says:

    And Stortini and Stone look to be good options as role players. Not sold on JFJ

    Me neither. Scott has summarized Dennis's scoring chances for the first 10 games, which shows the following at evens:

    Stone: +21 / -22
    Stortini: +17 / -19
    Jacques: +31 / -45

    JFJ had quite a bit more ice time so let's put that in a per/60 framework (again, all at evens):

    Stone: +14.6 / -15.4
    Stortini: +11.1 / -12.4
    Jacques: +15.4 / -22.4

    Despite JFJ's golden opportunity to play with (historically speaking) the two best forwards on the club, his offensive opportunities were similar to Stone's while his defensive numbers are friggin' disastrous.

    Which confirms my observation that JFJ is an extremely poor defensive player who has no apparent clue where to go in his own end. When the pressure is on he tends to drop to a spot right in front of his own net, expose his point open, and leave his centre at 6's and 7's as to where to go and who to cover.

    He needs to spend a little time watching Stortini who is a low-event player at both ends but keeps things simple in his own zone, covers his point man, and gets the puck out when it comes up his side. It's not rocket science, it's just attention to detail. JFJ is nowhere close to being there yet.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Visnovsky is an absolute killer. Did you see his EV number there? Beauty player.

  28. Bruce says:

    LT: Yup. Vis has been terrific the last couple weeks. He and Lubo are a nicely balanced duo.

  29. spOILer says:

    Vis distributed the puck like the penultimate midfielder last night. Seemed like he touched the puck on every play, even from the bench.

  30. Bruce says:

    Sorry, Lubo and Ladi are a nicely balanced duo.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: lol. I read it and knew exactly what you were talking about (Lubo and Ladi) but then I couldn't remember Smid's name. Old age….

  32. spOILer says:

    What does Denis Grebeshkov get one these days?

    With a choice of "spare" forward as kicker.

  33. Dennis says:

    Anyone else read today that the Kings are looking for a 50 point second line centre in return for frolov?

    And, then anyone else think about a 13 for Frolov trade?

    Sure, 13's had seasons of 45 and 38 points but we know it all has to do with icetime and if he got to play with brown and someone else for couple more min a game, I'd bank on him getting 50 points.

    He's a RW and I'm pretty sure he used to play tough min with 19 in LA so all of a sudden we have:


    Both those lines should be able to match so then we have 67 centring the third line and 91 with the fourth.

    There is an issue with Frolov's next contract, of course.

    I bring this up because, much like the folks here, I can't see there being a LW afoot that could round out the 10-19 combo. It's all well and good that the new 83 line has some chem but I'm really that 10's gonna go offensively astray without 83 running by his side.

    Right now it looks like we have:

    - five top six forwards who we can match.

    - 19 was playing fine with 27-89 but hasn't shown much of a chance to spark with 10.

    - there doesn't look to be a top six outscoring forward in the mix given that 18 looks to be on the downswing and we can't really trust 34.

    The good news is that if you believe in my scoring chance metric, the 10-19 combo has been sawing off the last two games so couple that with hopefully more production from the new 83 line and then we should be in OK shape for our third line to make some hay.

    Still, though, 10's either gotta go back to playing with 83, 19's gonna have to click with 10 or else we're gonna have to find another top six forward.

  34. kris says:

    Quite right Bruce,

    Let me take back what I said about Stortini:

    Corsi numbers suggest Stortini has been reasonably okay, while Jacque hasn't.

    Corsi numbers From behindthenet:

    Moreau -23
    Nilson -23
    Cogliano -23
    Jacques -17

    Stortini -12 (that's still bad, but a lot of the team is bad)

    On the other hand we've got:

    Stone -1.4 (sublime on this team)
    Comrie -6 (steady on this team)

    My point is just that we need a few more steady hands in the bottom 6, a la Stone. Of course, that's obvious to everyone but management.

    Stortini isn't exactly stabilizing any line he's on, but so far he's done better than many of teamates. That's not saying much though.

    Note to Tambellini:

    Moreau and Nilsson have to improve these numbers and their game in the next 5-10 games or you trade them both for a washing machine. (If they both play like this a bit longer, I bet they both would clear waivers too.)

    Seriously. Both guys are garbage. 4MM dollar garbage.

    I'd like to say Cogliano is just as bad, but he's getting all his time with the Moreau's of the team, and he's young, so maybe he can be forgiven. Hard to say.

  35. HBomb says:

    Dennis: I think Frolov's a LW, no? We could use one of those badly, as the current MO of this team is "whatever line Penner is on, that line is playing well, but beyond that…." We have one decent LW, in essence – JFJ is what he is (a 4th liner who got thrown in the deep end), and Moreau is just plain done.

    I wouldn't give up Cogliano for a pending UFA however. Not a chance. If you could get Frolov for less than that however (say Nilsson plus something, preferably Staios if you could sell LA on him), Frolov-Horcoff-O'Sullivan seems like the kind of line that would give some offense and play some tough minutes against just about anyone.

    If Lombardi thinks he's getting a 50-point player for Frolov, he's dreaming.

  36. Rob Gilgan says:

    Mr. DeBakey said:

    Too bad that dinger wasn't a goal.
    Could've skipped this.

    My sentiments prezactly. I thought Peckahm looked uncomfortable and Chorney looked too comfortable.

    And I'm confused. On the 1-1 goal, Bourque cross-checked Grebeshkov to the ice before grabbing the puck and heading up ice. Is there some reason that I'm missing that made that not a penalty? Not whining, hear, just confused.

  37. Scott says:

    Frolov is a LW (better for us) and is great along the boards (another thing we could use).

    But I'd be loathe to give up Cogliano for a player that has been called out by his coach and benched already this year, unless we really do believe in the magic of Pat Quinn and big unmotivated players.

    Make a pitch for Frolov when he goes UFA and has something to prove next year.

  38. Woodguy says:

    They need to figure a couple of wingers for him. Once they do then the puck will be in the right end of the ice and some pucks will end up in the net.

    LW is still a black hole on this team. Moreso than C I think.

    That's why I'm a big proponent of still doing a 3 for 1 deal, but targeting a Neal/Brown/Morrow type player.

    Obviously you give up less for Morrow than you would for the other 2, but its that type of player that this team is lacking.

    Tough, hands, good on both sides of the puck.

    OTC is trying to add grittycrustyjam to every line. I would be great if that player could score too.

    Quinn is on record as saying he'd rather get deeper down the middle than on the wings as you rely on the C more than L/RW.

    A healthy MAP may have made upgrading at the wing a slam dunk. Now…Quinn has a good point.

    Not too worried about 19 playing out of position on a 19-10-34 line. 19 has stated he comfortable on either wing, but it does put 3 left hand shots on one line.

    Is 37 for Morrow straight up a good trade for the Oilers? Morrow is 30 and making 4.1M until the end of 12/13.

    Both Neal and Erickson are playing tougher comp than Morrow….hmmmm.

    Man, Dallas has a great stable of LW.

    I'd do Cogs/Grebs/+ high pick (maybe Eberle??) for Neal. He's the real deal.

  39. Black Dog says:

    I'd stay away from Frolov at a big price – UFA and a guy who is inconsistent.

    Neal or Morrow would be great but either is a pipe dream.

  40. Woodguy says:

    Neal or Morrow would be great but either is a pipe dream.

    Morrow could be had.

    Neal and Erickson have been declared "untouchable" by Niewy.

    They really want someone to run the powerplay for them and move the puck.

    Not sure is Grebs fits the bill.

    Vis should be untouchable, but they might move Neal or Erickson to get him…….

  41. kris says:

    Totally tangential, but here's a hypothetical:

    If we keep getting outshot badly, with pretty much the same team as 08/09, and we start to lose accordingly, when do we start blaming the coaching?

    Whatever, you say about last year's Oilers, they actually did a good job outscoring teams at ES, and keeping the Corsi numbers decent too.

  42. Jon says:

    I would prefer to see us pull a small move and then get healthy:
    Nillson for Jeff Halpern

    Penner Gagner Hemsky
    PoS Horc Comrie
    Cogs Halpern Pisani
    Moreau Brule Storts

    That is a pretty solid line-up that could suprise.

  43. Lowetide says:

    kris: I'm not going to blame the coach no matter the outcome. The Oilers don't have enough players who are in the period of their careers where you can count on them.

    That's different than talent level. I believe Sam Gagner should be good for 60 points this season and be well on his way to being Vincent Damphousse or maybe Doug Gilmour. Does that mean he's more valuable right now than a player with less skill but 4 more NHL seasons?

    That's why I won't blame the coach. Too many players on the fringe, either youth (Gagner, Cogs) or experience (Moreau, Staios).

  44. Gerta Rauss says:

    And, then anyone else think about a 13 for Frolov trade?

    Yes,but i've been reluctant to express that publicly for the last week.

    Frolov would fill a need on this team right now,and moving one of the smurfs(Cogs) would allow us to keep the D intact for now.

    The asset managers will scream bloody murder–and they've got a point–but a smurf out and Frolov in and this team is that much closer
    to a playoff spot.

    I don't think Nilsson ++ gets it done.
    I don't think POS + gets it done either.

    Dangle Cogs and a take or leave it attitude and see if Lombardi bites.

    The Oilers would be taking all of the risk,but they get the more complete player out of the deal.
    And if he stinks,you move him at the deadline for a first round pick.

    But if he's successful,I think this team makes the playoffs,and who knows,maybe he buddies up with the other Russians on the team
    and signs an extension.

    It's a risky move,and not something I would expect from Mr Conservative,but the reward(playoffs) would be sweet.

  45. Jfry says:

    j willis has a nice article about frolov's value, which most people seem to be under-rating…he's a 30 goal, 70 point guy. at the deadline he's a huge chip, so i'm not sure why we'd get him for spare parts. besides lombardi has already collected all our favourite troops.

  46. dubya says:

    I'm still not convinced Gagner is this good (80 points good). He's doing well in a defined role, but according to Desjardins "quality of competition" Horcoff is facing tougher competition.

    And doing it without Penner/Hemsky. Gagner hasn't proven he's the #1 center on this team, I'll say that much for sure

    Sure, LT, I don't think Gagner's a PPG player either, but his "established" level of offense isn't far off Horcoff's 0.6PPG seasons. And if the first 10 games this season are indicative, it's trending up.

    Up until two games ago Horcoff was playing with Hemsky. It looked to me like Gagpensky drew Nash's line two games ago and Iginla's line + Regehr last night (just by my eye, maybe I'm wrong), so Horc wasn't (in theory, Iginla looked brutal) playing the toughest matchups. Which is likely why he looked better.

    Anyway, I'm not really arguing with your points. And I'm not sure I want Gagner to be a PPG player in this contract year, but he's done more with the offensive minutes than Horcoff has…Penner is a huge part of that, but 10 has been an offensive anchor a lot of the year. Now that I've ragged on him for a couple games, he'll probably score 4 tonight.

  47. PunjabiOil says:

    Brule is back in tonight as per Tencer.

  48. Traktor says:

    Trading Cogliano for a UFA is something the Leafs would do.

  49. kris says:


    Fair enough.

    But we were all ready to say that Quinn's strategies were working better than MacT's when the team was winning. (I thought the idea of balancing the lines was working well for a while.)

    If many of the same players see worse results under Quinn than MacT wouldn't the most reasonable explanation -barring injuries- be that Quinn's strategies were less succesful than MacT's.

    By "strategies," I mean concrete, observable things, like style of play, when do we trap, how we run our breakouts, line combos, how often we forecheck, etc. Those things do matter, regardless of unobservable and ineffable things like "motivation" and "inspiration."

  50. kris says:

    Dear God, I never thought I'd be relieved to hear "Brule is in the lineup tonight."

  51. RiversQ says:

    OTC is trying to add grittycrustyjam to every line. I would be great if that player could score too.

    Not really. Quinn is trying to avoid having to match lines and therefore he has to spread his shitty players throughout the lineup. Most coaches in this league just put all three spuds on one line and then give them 5min TOI/game. Quinn's trying to roll the lines and he's always 1-2 good players short, so this is what you get.

  52. RiversQ says:

    I like Frolov and I think Cogliano's still the forward candidate to move assuming you want a quality player, but they have to get a player under control for him. Cogliano's a bit of a misfit in this lineup, but he has definite value and he's slightly under thumb for four more years. You need a return for him with at least a couple of years left.

    I'd still like to move a dman to get something done. I'd move any of the top four to get a top six forward that's under control. Even 71 and I think he might be the best player on the team.

  53. kris says:


    Absolutely right. That's the difference between Quinn and MacT.

    Quinn's "balanced approach" worked for a while -maybe due to luck- and if we can can get healthy at F and/or add a reliable veteran or two, it might work again. (Pisani, Pouliot, and to a lesser extent Stone are all fairly steady.)

    But this strategy isn't going to work with all of: Always-lost-Jacques, KHL-Nilsson, Shine-Box-Moreau, and Get-me-out-of-here-I'm-a-scorer-Cogliano.

    With those guys and Strudwick-SMac in the lineup, the Quinn strategy is a farce. (Not that you can win at all with that kind of lineup.)

  54. knighttown says:

    A few comments from the past few days observations. Some are my own thoughts and some have been posted on here, overlooked and deserve a second mention:

    -What an awful matchup Calgary is for us. They've weeded out the small, soft and skilled guys (Huselius, Cammi, Tanguay) and replaced them with Ignila clones that are big, fast and physical.
    Our finesse defenseman can poke and reverse all they want but eventually Glencross, Nystrom and Bourque are going to catch them and the results last night were 3 direct goals against.

    -sure we need Horcoff to score but we need Cogliano to do something. 16:30 TOI, 0 shots, 0 takeaways, 0 hits, 0 blocks and 2 and 11 on the dot.

    -as much as I like Zorg, it seems he's destined to be a 4th liner. He'll do everything he can but -2, 1 hit and 0-for on the dot in 16+ minutes ain't great.

    -Visnovky's athleticism is breath- taking. There was a play the other night where someone blocked his shot and he was pivoted the wrong way to go backwards. He had the bigger forward with body position over his left shoulder between him and the puck. By all accounts the Jacket forward who had momentum and body position should have been able to jump past him and go in alone but within a second, Vis had ducked under the forward and come out on the puck side, taken two strides and skated calmly away with the puck.

    -And finally, are we any closer to agreeing that this mythical defenseman for a forward trade talk should cease? Smart teams have guys who can play all the way down to 10 on their depth chart because they know the chances of a defensman playing all 82 are much smaller than a forward AND because any defenseman who dresses is going to play more than about half our forwards. Hiding Steve MacIntyre is possible…hiding Alex Plante is not.

  55. Lowetide says:

    kris: I didn't give Quinn extra credit for the start. There's usually a honeymoon period when a new coach comes in and he's done what good leaders do (made changes that open up the windows and let fresh air in) but I've always maintained the problems MacT had were still here.

    The Edmonton Oilers are busy playing "So you think you can play" to a bunch of new hires every year while the Calgary Flames hire actual NHL players. Glencross is a perfect example of this but there are others.

    THIS is the problem, no matter the coach.

  56. kris says:

    Regarding trades:

    Not that it's the right thing to do, but I bet Tamb. is still hunting very big game.

    I bet he's trying to move:

    1.) One of:
    Grebs or Gilbert

    2.) And one of
    Cogliano, O'Sullivan

    3.) Plus prospects and picks as needed

    for a player he'll never get.

    If Horc and Gagner can do well as a one two punch at the harder minutes, and Brule and Pouliot are okay the rest of the time, are we okay at center? (Stone, Cogliano, and Comrie can all play backup C)

    What is our biggest need now?

    Another big left wing who can play multiple roles and play tough minutes?

  57. RiversQ says:

    Good points knightown. I think the Oilers' D can handle the Flames forecheck, just as long as they don't spend the whole game under siege. Which takes us back to the forwards – get the puck out, win some battles along the wall and keep them in their own end a little bit. The neutral zone and right at the bluelines is where the Flames forwards kill us, because that's where their forwards go right after our small forwards.

    This Oilers team has to be first to the puck all over the ice, because they don't win many battles. Van and Cgy are serious matchup problems because their forwards are bigger, relish the battle and they skate well enough to contest a lot of pucks.

  58. FlamingPavelBure says:

    KnighTown: Hmm what? 10 Up to 10 defensemans who can play? WoW talk about unreal pessimism on the Oiler's situation. I don't think any team can get 4 mans down on the blueline and get out of it by having all NHL'ers as replacements guys.

  59. kris says:

    Okay LT,

    Agreed. If we don't make the playoffs with this lineup it isn't Quinn's fault nor was it MacT's.

    But Quinn might be taking a bad situation and making it worse.

    He's said a few things recently that scare me.

    In particular, a couple of games ago, he said something like he doesn't like the defensive style of play some teams play (Minnesota?) where everyone softly collapses on the puck as the other team rushes in, in order to stop the rush and regain possession. This sounds nice and tough, but I don't know. I think he's saying he wants the defenseman to muscle guys off the puck one on one, and I'm not sure Grebs-Gilbert are designed for that game. They're cerebral players who did a great job last year defensively playing exactly the game that Quinn doesn't like.

    You have to have a style of play that your guys can play and the jusry is still out on who can do that better: Quinn or MacT.

  60. Lowetide says:

    kris: Oh yeah, agreed. We're probably going to see some perfectly good hockey players (Gilbert would fit the description) being sent away because they're not going to be able to play to the coach's preference.

    Having said that, the GM is the one responsible for that situation and has to have the courage of his convictions. The trouble there is that the coach gets frustrated and then we have the question about where Quinn would like to land (GM's chair?).

    Lots of questions.

  61. kris says:


    I think we'll trade a defenseman because the D we have is unbalanced. We have lots of puck movers, who take up lots of salary, each of whom can get something serious in return.

    It does make some sense to move a puck mover as long as one of the things we get in return is a reasonably cheap defensive defenseman and as long as the total return is excellent.

    With that, I'm going to stop with the posts for a while. Lazy Sunday…

  62. Lowetide says:

    kris: Agreed. A key element is "which defender?" and my list wouldn't include Lubo or Gilbert.

  63. Black Dog says:

    kris – if Gagner can take the step to play and contribute with 27 and 83 then I think the centre position looks better because that line should be able to do a job on all but the toughest comp, imo

    So then Horcoff ++ takes on the toughs which leaves Cogliano, Brule and Pouliot to take on the softs/dregs which I think they can do.

    At RW you have Hemsky, O'Sullivan, Pisani, Stortini, Stone – not too bad

    LW is presently the black hole after Penner. Moreau can do the job on the fourth line and Comrie can handle the soft stuff so someone has to play with Horcoff and handle the rough going.

    It isn't going to be Jacques or Moreau or Comrie or Cogliano.

    Do they move Pouliot to the wing?

    I think after ten games that's the biggest need. They could use a couple of guys like the Flames have, sure, guys like Bourque and Glencross and who knows, five games from now Gagner might have disappeared and Brule too but for now that is the biggest need.

    Big game is fine and good but this team has cap issues and you're probably moving two guys to get the one which means you've another hole then (if it were say Grebs and O'Sullivan).

    I think they need to go after a pending UFA whose cost will be reasonable or if you move Grebs then, as Riv said, you had better get someone who is under control for a number of years.

    Moving Cogs for Frolov is, as Traktor said, something the Leafs would do (like a third for Jamal Mayers).

  64. hunter1909 says:

    "I never thought I'd be relieved to hear "Brule is in the lineup tonight."


  65. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Anyone else here thinks Bourque's play was actually bullshit and should have drawn a 5 on 3 instead of a goal?

  66. Schitzo says:

    Question of the day: By percentages, how much of Gilbert and Greb's struggles are due to

    a) Minutes tougher than they can handle
    b) Playing too many minutes, period
    c) The pairing doesn't work
    d) The flu

    I'm hoping that the flu accounts for a significant part of their troubles, but I'm starting to wonder.

  67. GSC says:

    All I'm saying is that with a big contract comes big responsibility. It's up to Horc to live up to the expectations that comes with it, that's part of the deal. It has to be, otherwise a team is doomed as to managing the salary cap (as the Oilers have had problems with).

    There's no question Kevin Lowe receives some blame for this, although many would argue that the new Horcoff contract was fair market value (which might very well have been the case), but that doesn't absolve him from some responsibility there.

    I'm not saying that Horcoff shouldn't have signed that contract, it would defy human nature and common sense if he didn't. But with that comes expectations, and he has to at least come reasonably close to meeting them.

  68. PDO says:

    Horcoff, what?

    The more important question, is are there more pictures similar to the one at the top…

    Don't expect much tonight, any word on if JDD is getting the start?

  69. Black Dog says:

    Schitzo – Gilbert has played tough comp the last two years and handled it ok and last year he played more minutes than this (although he struggled once they really piled it on). Apaprently he does have the flu.

    Having said all that I think he and Grebs don't do well together. I think Grebs had his greatest success with Lubo and Gilbert did with Souray. Best would be to have Gilbert with Souray when he gets back and Grebs with the sixth man, Staios I guess.


  70. bookie says:

    I guess if I am giving Kudoos to Quinn and 'sans MacT' for Penner's turnaround, I suppose its only fair that I make the following statement.

    Craig MacT was the only think keeping Horcoff a top notch player, Pat Quinn has wrecked Horcoff.

    I don't believe it at all, but to be logically consistent, I guess I have to say that.

    I prefer the foot injury theory.

  71. bookie says:

    Just read through all of the comments.

    The daggers come out for Quinn because the team lost while half the team is fighting the flu. Nice logic.

    Everyone hates management again because the team has some weak players.

    If we win 6-1 tonight, are we back to the lovefest?

  72. Lowetide says:

    bookie: Daggers for Quinn? Show me where.

  73. The Elephant Man says:

    Nice Shirt.

    Listen, 10 games doesn't make a season.

    Horcoff is like your friend that chose to buy a house when the market was low; got married; and proved to everyone that if you really want success; it gets harder before it gets easier.

  74. kris says:

    Okay, I have nothing to do apparently.


    1.) I'm just imagining that the shot totals stay like this, and we keep losing as a result, and I'm asking: should the daggers come out for Quinn and when? True, I'm worried about some of Quinn's decisions, happy with others. It's not very controversial, but I guess I'm waiting to see what else he does for another few games at least.

    Nonetheless, the more games we get badly outshot, the more the skeptics like JW and Quain who say we're just getting lucky and riding high percentages are vindicated. I'll give it a few more games, but it's starting to look like we have a really talented team -Penner, Gagner, Vis- that can't defend or clear the zone and is going to get outshot and outchanced all year. Hard to make the playoffs like that even if we have a lot going for us.

    2.) Regarding your post on Horc and MacT. If you have to say something that is obviously absurd and false, in order to be consistent with prior things you've said, then one one of the prior things you've said must be false. Reductio ad absurdum and all that. I'll admit Horc was helped and taught by MacT, but he played well for years and the mere fact that MacT is gone shouldn't destroy his game, no?

  75. FlamingPavelBure says:


    Apparently, something may have been bubbling in Horcoff's mind.

    A feeling of treason.

    Apparently, Chris Chelios and Shawn Horcoff exchanged e-mails on how to get rid of NHLPA members and in particular, Ian Penny. Maybe a feeling of guilt for being in league with Chelios? Or anything related to that, i think (It was Gleen Healy right?) that retired itself from the NHLPA, he seem tired of that bullshit.

    (The link is in french, hope you can read it)

    But here's the translation anyway.

    ''From informations that RDS was provided with, Chris Chelios and Shawn Horcoff, had exchanges via e-mail with former NHLPA director Paul Kelly, on the best way to get rid of actual NHLPA management''

  76. FlamingPavelBure says:

    On revised note, Horcoff is not the traitor, it's actually the opposite, but, maybe it's still occupying a big piece of his mind right now.

  77. Lowetide says:

    In the pre-game audio on the Oilers site Renney talks about possibly shaking up the pairings on the blue.


  78. Dennis says:

    I guess I didn't state it strongly enough but I'd want a deal signed with Frolov before I moved 13 for him.

    But, if I could get him in ink past '10, I would most certainly do that deal.

  79. the 0 in 0rca is for 0 cups says:

    JDD is in tonight.

    he's undefeated and we only lose to one of two teams in this league anyway. and if those are the only two teams we lose to all year, we're looking a-ok.

  80. Lowetide says:

    FPB: Until we know exactly what happened with regard to the NHLPA I'm not going to comment on it. Except to say that that rds doesn't have an exceptional amount of good faith built up with the public.

  81. Woodguy says:

    -And finally, are we any closer to agreeing that this mythical defenseman for a forward trade talk should cease? Smart teams have guys who can play all the way down to 10 on their depth chart because they know the chances of a defensman playing all 82 are much smaller than a forward AND because any defenseman who dresses is going to play more than about half our forwards.


    Here is a list of Oilers who can take a regular shift and hold their head above water given their role.



    Coming soon: Peckham, Chorney
    Iffy fill in: Struds
    In the system:Petry, Plante, Wild, Motin

    So you have all 6 spots covered plus some depth for injuries (no team has 10 NHL defensmen)

    Gagner – 85% there
    Comrie – for the most part

    Coming soon: Cogliano, Brule, Pouliot, Stone (maybe iffy)
    Iffy fill in: Moreau, Zorg, JFJ
    In the system:MPS, Eberle, Cornet, Nash, Omark, Hartikainen, Lander

    Even if you only need "NHL Players" in the top 9 spots this team still can't do it.

    The forward situation is untenable at this point.

    The future looks good in terms of talented prospects, but today is terrible.

    Solidifying the 2LW position today will help this team win, and allow MPS to grow at his own rate and not get thrown onto 2LW as soon as he makes the team because he's the best freaking choice.

    There is depth in the defence to address this need, so you do it.


    Even John Fergeson Jr. wouldn't trade Cogs for Frolov.

  82. Lowetide says:

    Penner apparently under the weather but scheduled to play.

  83. Dennis says:

    LT: where did you read the bit about 27? BTW, thanks for the heads-up about Renney's pre game clip because I had forgotten to check in. One thing that he said that I hadn't heard before was he said they had to keep their shifts shorter and had to "out-change" the Dys.

    I have honestly never heard that phrase used before.

    To all: what kind of a contract would you need Frolov to sign before you dealt 13 for him? Or is a non-starter, no matter what?

  84. kris says:

    In 08/09 Frolov saw the toughest qual comp. amongst regular forwards on the Kings and had a +/- per 60 of (-.064) That was good for that Kings team.

    In 07/08 he saw easier comp. but was one of only a few Kings regulars to finish in the black in +/- per 60 and finished in the top 5 of Kings regulars in Corsi.

    Looks to me like he can do really well PVP and he's not that old. Scores well with a couple of 30 goal seasons.

    I'm with Dennis, if he can be locked up before the deal, or however they work that, I'd move Cogliano for him. (It won't happen though, cause Frolov will hit big as UFA, IMO.)

    Frolov is what we hope, I repeat hope, Cogs turns into, no? I know Cogs might be had for less for the next few years, which is the biggest factor in his favor. That's why I say what I say about the contract.

  85. kris says:


    Right on.

    Since we're building, it's not ideal to move young defenseman, but I don't think we can afford to move the older guys. We can't move Vis at all if we want to even sniff at the playoffs, and Souray brings a boat load, including size, PP and PK, breaks the cycle, and leadership.

    It's the whole build or win now problem again. We're probably better dealing the vets for a huge return of young talent and cap space, tanking again for picks, and trying to win in like 12/13. But it won't happen, so trying to keep the best young guys, while adding usefull pieces as we go is the next best option. Irritating to watch, but that's how it is.

  86. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I'd want 3-years for a signed Frolov. Even if it means offloading O'Sullivan in the summer.

    With regard to Penner, Matty seems to have updated a Journal online story in the last hour. The title of the article is "Flu still affecting Oilers ahead of Vancouver game" which is an awful title btw.


  87. PDO says:


    I'd say 4 years and $12,000,000 or so? It'd have to be on the cheaper end and there's no way it's anywhere near that.

  88. Temujin says:

    So you are all aware, young phenom Sergei Shirokov will dress for the Canucks tonight, replacing Kyle Wellwood who broke his toe in last nights game against the Leafs.

    I've referred to Shirokov as the next Pavel Bure, you all ought to be quite concerned.

    If the D pairings are going to be mixed for EDM, is there any chance Vishnovsky gets less ice-time?

  89. Woodguy says:

    I'd drive 13 to the airport if Frolov was on a 3 year deal.

    Cogas for UFA Frolov is asset suicide.

  90. Lowetide says:

    Springfield won their game this afternoon. Minard with the hat-trick and he's a guy the Oilers might use sometime this winter. Winning goal from Reddox and he's a fellow who might be useful.

    Finally, Aaron Sorochan stopped 29 of 31 shots to get his first AHL (and I believe pro) win.

  91. Woodguy says:

    Moreau for Forlov straight up.

    LW for LW.

    Somone call Smytty and have him vouch for 18's character.

    L.A. Is making a run and you can never have enough veteran presence.

    If you say it and think it enough ties, it can become true!! ;-)

  92. NBOilerFan says:

    Dennis said…
    Anyone else read today that the Kings are looking for a 50 point second line centre in return for frolov?

    And, then anyone else think about a 13 for Frolov trade?

    When I read that firsy paragraph, what popped into my head was that you were going to suggest a Frolov for Horcoff deal.


  93. Traktor says:

    Frolov isn't going to give up his UFA years for anything other than an overpay.

    If I'm his agent I think he can get Cammalleri/Gionta money in the off-season. Cogliano for Frolov and 5.5 million? Yikes.

  94. Gerta Rauss says:

    Cogs for UFA Frolov is asset suicide.

    It's murder Woodguy,murder

  95. knighttown says:


    I wasn't criticizing the Oilers for not being prepared to go 10 deep on defense, in fact, I would complement them on holding on to their defensive depth when all logic says they should have moved one for a forward. Thank the Lord they have the depth they do.

    @ Kris

    Yeah sure, i could get behind a change within our Top 6. Something like great d-man + crappy forward for good forward + good d-man works but there needs to be a Top 6 defenseman coming back.

    T. Gilbert + R. Nilsson to Dallas for N. Grossman + S. Ott

    Gilbert's the best of the group by far and Dallas has to be desperate for a Zubov replacement. Robidas gives it his all but he isn't the guy and Daley looks the part but doesn't have the mind or the hands.

    In Grossman we get a 25 year old 6'4" d-man with no offense to speak of but who leads the league in +/-. He does it against the toughs as well. Think Smid in a few years.

    In Ott we get a nasty SOB who is one of just a handful who scored over 20 last year while earning over 100 PIMs. One most teams he'd be irreplaceable but Dallas has a bunch of huge/rough wingers (Morrow, Neal, Erikson, Benn).

    Both of these guys would help us match up with Calgary and Vancouver better and that alone might be enough for me.

  96. NBOilerFan says:

    Lowetide said…
    The Edmonton Oilers are busy playing "So you think you can play" to a bunch of new hires every year while the Calgary Flames hire actual NHL players. Glencross is a perfect example of this but there are others.

    I know it's just Garrioch, but he continues to insist that he is hearing that the Panthers are shopping Nathan Horton even after Randy Sexton has denied it.

    What would it take to land Horton? Would Gilbert do it? Lubo? What about Cogliano plus?

    What does Florida need most?
    What would you deal for Horton?

  97. NBOilerFan says:

    Here is what Garrioch posted in the Sun…

    "League executives were having a good laugh at Panthers GM Randy Sexton’s “vehement” denial that he’s trying to deal C Nathan Horton. Sources say Sexton has been offering up Horton, but the GM told a Florida newspaper last week that’s not so. Told of Sexton’s statement, an executive said: “He’s not trying to move (Horton)? Yeah, right.” It’s easy for Sexton to deny trade talks; he can’t find anybody willing to take Horton’s contract, which pays him an average of $4 million through 2012-13."

  98. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Knightown: WoW, throwing a 40+ pointer at Dman and Forward, for a legit defender, and a guy, who only has one 40 points season under his belt and subjective to stupid penalties a la moreau?

    I think the lack of grit in this team may cause delirium that inflate it's actual value.

  99. Woodguy says:


    Ott is a UFA after this season, so you are just dumping 12's contract for one year of Ott, and trading Gilbert for Grossman.

    Don't like it, even if Grossman is on the last year of his entry level contract this year.

    You lose a valuable asset like a puck moving defenseman for a more readily available asset in a stay at home shut down guy.

    The Oilers can trade a PMD exactly once in the next few years and still have a mobile defensive core.

    They better not $%&*() it up.

  100. FlamingPavelBure says:

    NBOiler: Yes that and they loose in the playoffs when they realize they can't keep the pace with puck moving teams.

  101. Schitzo says:

    Just say no to players from the SE division.

  102. knighttown says:

    Knightown: WoW, throwing a 40+ pointer at Dman and Forward, for a legit defender, and a guy, who only has one 40 points season under his belt and subjective to stupid penalties a la moreau?

    I think the lack of grit in this team may cause delirium that inflate it's actual value.

    Here is the list of forwards that had more goals and penalty minutes than Steve Ott's 19 and 135. Don't blink, cause its a short one:
    -David Backes
    -Alex Burrows
    -Scott Hartnell

    He can hit, fight middle weights, score, play PP and play PK. He can play all three positions and one any of the 4 lines. If you think you could trade Robert Nilsson for him straight up, well, you couldn't. One trick guys who's only trick is to score 40 points in Top 6 minutes end up on waivers (or in Long Island),

  103. kinger says:

    Just a few comments:

    - Van has a pretty weak bottom six and just lost Wellwood for a few weeks. Our depth forwards should have an easier time than they did in Calgary.

    - Despite having a pretty mediocre game, 10 managed to saw off the competition at ES last night. Regardless, I hope Quinn goes with someone besides 18 on their LW. I'd actually like to see 46 be given a shot, I think he might be able to open some space for 10 and 19.

    - As far as the rest of the lines go 18-67-13 could have some success against the softs. Unfortunately that leaves 22-12-43 as the 4th line. Ugly.



    Folks, we could be in for a very long night.

  104. knighttown says:

    @ Woodguy

    As I said to FPB, Ott is not equal in value to Nilsson. In a capped world, a 2 million dollar Nilsson may have negative value. Seriously.

    Worst case with Ott is that his contract expires…you've still dumped Nilsson and if you don't want to give the 2 million to Ott you can give it to someone else or help pay for the raises on the team.

    I agree that you've got one shot to move a puck-mover and I think Dallas is the place. I've discussed packages for Morrow, Neal and Loui E. before but I don't think they're realistic. Ott's a guy that might be available and be able to do similar things.


    Dallas gets their puck mover and PP QB. We get more defensive balance between movers and stay-at-homes plus a gritty and versatile forward. Win-win.

  105. CrazyCoach says:

    Here's my two cents on Horcoff. Good quality player stuck in a slump right now. Good technical skills and great potential.

    Now if I were the Mighty Quinn, I'd have a come to jesus meeting with Horcoff and go over basic stuff, zone by zone, and name two basic tasks for each zone that are easily quantified by stats. Example in my own zone, I will not give the puck away in the danger zone (10 feet on other side of the blue line, and I will win 75% of my draws in my own zone. These tasks will be based on my perceived strengths.

    When it comes to the game, call these the ABC's 1,2,3's or whatever you want, but have the player focus on those tasks. When they accomlish them, take note and praise. I know it sounds like a bunch of mamby pamby BS, but I have found this technique works for players going through a slump.

    My experience with players in a slump is that they try to do too much to get out of the slump when in reality, they should focus on the basics and take solace in that. A word of caution though. This exercise should always be done with team goals and your goals as a coach in mind.

    Penner is a great example. This year he has, to my eyes, 1) driven the net when he has the puck, 2) utilized his strength and size to either protect the puck or gain the puck, and 3) shot the puck hard when he does get a chance. Everything else has been gravy and gravy has been pretty damn good.

    Just my two cents.

    Wish I could watch tonights tilt, but I have an assignment due on the challenges facing sports managers today. Anyone have any thoughts on that with say a new Edmonton rink in mind? Thanks in advance.

  106. kris says:


    I'd want more for Gilbert. Maybe you can make it work with picks.

  107. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Knightown: I don't think having major penalty minutes is a +.

    Seriously, you can be tough without being constantly on the bench. Dustin Brown had 64 last year and i think that's well enough.

    I'm sorry but i think counting minor penalties as a + is downright stupid.

  108. knighttown says:

    @ Woodguy re: going 10 defenseman deep

    It's all about math. You need to cover 120 minutes of defenseman minutes per night. Divided by 6 guys that's 20 each. Forwards should be 180 but remember that a forward sits on every PK so we'll call the average 165-170 minutes per night divided by 12 guys. That's 13:45 a night on average.

    Since the average D hit of 20 minutes is so high, only really minute munchers can go much higher than that but on this team most of our guys cap out around 22 so that means even the 6th guy needs to be well over 15 minutes including some serious PK time. We agree that all 6 defenseman are going to play?

    For forwards, if all 23 average 13:45, we know the top guys want to be up around 20 minutes quite comfortably so you could have 2 or 3 guys at 5 minutes and a few others below average with no burn out. Is it fair to say 5 forwards will play less than the 6th defenseman of a healthy Edmonton Oiler team? You don't have to answer because it is fair. That's how many played less than the 16:39 Smid played against Columbus.

    If we look at depth chart differently, by time on ice regardless of position, here's how it looks:

    1. Defenseman 1- 23:55
    2. Forward 1- 20:26
    3. Defenseman 2- 19:42
    4. Forward 2- 19:38
    5. Forward 3- 19:33
    6. Defenseman 3- 19:28
    7. Forward 4- 18:52
    8. Defenseman 4- 18:15
    9. Forward 5- 18:14
    10. Defenseman 5- 18:02
    11. Forward 6- 17:18
    12. Forward 7- 17:06
    13 Defenseman 6- 16:39
    14. Forward 8
    15. Forward 9
    16. Forward 10
    17. Forward 11
    18. Forward 12

    From here, we know that your 7th defenseman will play about 75% of the games in an average season, your 8th will play about 50% of your games and your 9th will play about 25% of your games.

    So the question remains, why are we worried about which forwards are 12th, 13th and 14th on our depth chart when defenseman 7, 8, 9 and 10 are going to play more minutes for us this year?

  109. knighttown says:

    Well that's a different argument FPB. For whatever reason, toughness and grit are measured by PIMs and guys that can do well in both categories have value.

  110. Doogie2K says:

    Just in time for last night's post, I was at the Hitmen game today and saw that the memorabilia guy by my section was selling a late-60s style Leafs jersey with "MAHOVLICH 27" on it. Of course, in reality, that jersey didn't have a name, but it was signed.

    I was there for the Beliveau signed picture, though. Mom's birthday's coming up, and she's the reason I root for the Habs, so…yeah.

  111. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Knightown: They'r also that stats called checks. I think a legit check is a bit tougher than cross checks and boarding calls… don't you?

  112. Woodguy says:


    You only get 72 games of Ott if that trade is made today and downgrade your defense. Its terrible.

    12 can be waived or buried.


    I'm not worrying about the 12-14th forwards, the Oilers have those in spades.

    There is no 2LW and that is a massive hole.

    You can fill that hole with Grebs/Gilbert, but getting 72 games of Ott is not filling that hole.

    That's worse than the Gilbert for Stafford deal. At least Stafford has another year on his contract then is an RFA.

  113. Woodguy says:

    Excellent point on the relative value on the 7th & 8th defenceman.

    I just think the Oilers have that as well covered as any the league.

    1LW, 3C and even 2RW is sketchy and those rank higher on your list than D7 and D8.

  114. Woodguy says:

    That should read 2LW, not 1LW

  115. Dennis says:

    I wouldn't pay Frolov more than 4 mill a year and I wouldn't let the contract go beyond three years; though I might push it to four if need be.

    That probably means you have to deal off 19 this coming summer but so be it.

    Then again, maybe I'm just over-valuing Frolov.

  116. Woodguy says:

    Ridiculous stat of the night:

    Hideki Matsui's career ALCS ave:

    Bases empty .313
    Runners On .378
    RISP .400
    RISP w/ 2 out .500

  117. Jasmine says:

    I've heard that Horcoff had a pulled groin earlier in the season. I also remember Horcoff leaving practice not too long ago because of a leg injury. The Oilers need to get Horcoff healthy and I'm not sure how he can get healthy if he's playing in every game.

  118. PDO says:


    The supposed dirty hit… right into his chest, and not even a second after the puck was gone.

    Atta boy Storts. Now get that punk Kesler.

  119. Bruce says:

    as much as I like Zorg, it seems he's destined to be a 4th liner. He'll do everything he can but -2, 1 hit and 0-for on the dot in 16+ minutes ain't great.

    KT: Hold the phone, that's a pretty harsh assessment.

    -2: Twice the Grebs/Gilbert pair had full control and coughed, and Calgary scored on the counterattack. The forwards had nothing to do with it, the bad stuff happened behind them.

    1 hit: The Calgary scorer awarded 7 hits total to the Oilers last night, which was pure bullshit. But no matter, the "1 hit" was a beauty, Zorg unloaded on Iginla as good as anybody I've seen in a long time, and Jarmoe had it coming after the way he ran Souray. Far more effective to drill him in the breastbone with a clean hit than to do the "I'll try to fight you but fall on my face again" routine that thecaptainethanmoreau did on Oct. 8. That hit was worth 10 normal hits AFAIC.

    0-for on the dot: Not exactly Zorg's primary job description.

    How about giving him a little credit for the 3 powerplays he caused (even without the high stick by Iginla that the refs missed)?

    This just in: sometimes stats don't tell the whole story. IMO Zorg was one of the better Oilers last night.

  120. PunjabiOil says:

    Eberle with 1G, 2A, 3PTS tonight.

    That's 24 in 11 games. Maybe he didn't take enough of a step forward last year, but has compensated for that in the current year.

  121. Dennis says:

    I know the NHL wants to make sure that the junior teams keep their players as long as possible but kids Eberle's age should be allowed to play in the AHL if them or their org want them to.

  122. Bruce says:

    The supposed dirty hit… right into his chest, and not even a second after the puck was gone.

    Right you are, PDO, and good timing. As I was saying on the Copper & Blue GDT last night, there wasn't even one steamboat between Iginla dumping and Stortini cranking him. Some Calgary fan was talking it up as a "mugging from behind" and such, to which all I can say is, watch the video, dumbass. And make sure to watch it in real time (like this little clip). It was a helluva lot cleaner hit than the one Iginla laid on Souray a fortnight ago.

  123. PDO says:

    What's with these idiots cheering "LOUUUUUUU" after every routine stop he makes?

  124. doritogrande says:

    How badly does Quinn hate Smac if he's playing Strudwick as a forward instead of him?

    Not that I'm saying it's a bad decision or anything…

  125. Bruce says:

    See where JFJ was on that defensive sequence? Edge of his own crease (again). You're a winger, dammit!

  126. doritogrande says:

    Horcoff out on the 5-on-3 instead of Gagner?

    Think that's to try and get him going, or just to win the faceoff?

  127. Woodguy says:

    19 can't take those low percentage shots on a 5v3

  128. PDO says:

    I never thought I'd say it, but we're shooting too much on the PP.

    O'Sullivan took way too many low percentage shots on a 5 on 3…

  129. PDO says:



  130. HBomb says:

    Frigging O'Sullivan killing off this 5on3 for Vancouver with a couple of "muffins" for Luongo.

    And twice I've seen Ryan Kesler trying to get in Hemsky's face after the whistle. I hope Stortini gets an opportunity to take care of that C-word.

    (Note: if we did an All C-word team, I am pretty sure half of it would be Canuck players).

  131. doritogrande says:

    Fucking brutal 5-on-3 here.

    We're shooting into bodies, passing through two opponents….

  132. doritogrande says:

    What's it going to take for 13 to get some powerplay time?

    Nilsson and Stortini chosen over him? Poor skill-management.

  133. doritogrande says:

    Clearly Jason Strudwick is trying to impress Mark Lee and Kevin Weekes.

    He just took Cogliano from behind, and didn't even buy him a drink first.

  134. Bruce says:

    HBomb: "Canucks" is a C-word. So's "Calgary", which is where the other half of your team would come from.

  135. dubya says:

    Fuck, even Gagner can win 5 on 3 faceoffs. The PP has been working because of the Hemsky-Gagner combo on the halfboards. So quick, change it and put our most snake-bitten "offensive" forward out in Gagner's place.

    And why is O'Sullivan on the 1st unit over Gilbert? Or Grebs? Or anyone who doesn't waste shots on a 5 on 3.

  136. Smytty777 says:

    It's early, but that is a huge opportunity lost. A 5-3 on the road with a chance to set the tone. I miss Souray.

  137. kinger says:

    Nice breakout by 18 there.


  138. PDO says:

    Did Theo Peckham just take a shift at LW?

  139. kinger says:

    Peckham playing forward?


  140. gogliano says:

    Vancouver broadcast: annoying as all hell.

  141. Bruce says:

    Peckham on LW. Renney must have thumb-wrestled for Strudwick on the blue.

  142. Woodguy says:

    49 takes a shift on 4LW.

    Cue MacT reference in 5…4…

  143. doritogrande says:

    HBomb: "Canucks" is a C-word. So's "Calgary", which is where the other half of your team would come from.

    Darcy Tucker.

  144. Bruce says:

    "Colorado" … OK

  145. HBomb says:

    The All "C" team will be a debate on Tipsyoil at some point soon gents. It has to be.

    It won't be all Flames and Canucks though. I wouldn't even rule out an Oiler cough*Moreau*cough making the team!

  146. Woodguy says:

    49 back ou with 41 on the D.

    Pretty weak call on 37 there.

  147. Icecastles says:

    HBomb: "Canucks" is a C-word. So's "Calgary", which is where the other half of your team would come from.

    As I mentioned on the GDT last night, how appropriate that the biggest 'C' on our team is… the 'C'.

  148. HBomb says:

    See what happens when the coaching staff changes but the one holdover is put in charge of the PK? Said PK remains equally as shitty as it was last year.

  149. HBomb says:

    Good tilt Zorg. I'll give him the decision over Hordichuk there. Well timed scrap.

  150. doritogrande says:

    Can't really fault Deslauriers on that goal.

    Of course Zack's gonna answer the bell. Attaboy Zorg.

  151. Icecastles says:

    Don't give yourself too much credit, Whoredichuck. He got cut last night, it's just re-opened.

  152. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Link for the game =D?

  153. gogliano says:

    The Canucks seem to fall down easy.

  154. FlamingPavelBure says:

    By the way, wtf is up with the NHL repetoring Robert Nilsson as a center? Last time he played there was like… in Long Island. It's like the Nik Antropov syndrom.

  155. kinger says:

    The call on 37 was legit, can't be making those sorts of mistakes 70 feet from your own net.

    I thought we played a pretty good road period. I actually thought the 5-3 was pretty good and O'sullivan nearly scored on one of the opportunities.

    It looks to me like this game is up for grabs. The Canucks don't look great.

  156. Icecastles says:

    FPB – live link. ATDHE.net is usually good too, but I can't get that one to come up for some reason.

    Gogliano – They take their clue from Luongo. If he weren't a goalie, he'd be an Olympic diver.

    Speaking of Luongo, did anyone see the tour of the Canucks' dressing room on the CBC site? Lu's stall is at the top of the oval of the room, with the Canucks logo on the floor facing him. Vignault: "Lu wanted it that way, so he got it." What a fucking leader.

  157. Bruce says:

    The one POS shot that got tipped was dangerous. The one right into the guy's pads right in front of him was not.

    Excellent defensive play by Nilsson towards the end leading to a 2-on-1 which was promptly botched because neither guy went to the net. Oilers don't have their offensive mojo going as yet.

    Pretty good tilt. Hordichuk must have caught Stortini right off the bat, but Zack came back strong. Let's hope Oilers can do the same.

  158. Bruce says:

    Horcoff 8/12, 67% on the dot. All others, 4/16, 25%. According to NHL.com, Grebs won a draw … did anybody notice that? I missed it.

  159. Icecastles says:

    HBomb: How do we become part of the chosen few to comment?

    Gotta get Sean Avery and Ruutu on there. And Ray Emery as backup G.

  160. Hockey Noob says:

    Can someone explain to me why Quinn/Renney relies heavily on Chorney and Strudwick on the PK?

    I haven't looked at the time on ice data lately, but it seems we rarely have Smid/Visnovsky on the Pks.

    Chorney left Grabner wide open in front of the net on the last PP goal by Vancouver.

  161. Derek says:


    Some teams use the entrance to their dressing room to display the past successes of the organization. Others use the wall on the way in to display all the butt ugly jerseys they've ever used.

  162. Bruce says:

    Yeah, Strudwick and Chorney did their best Red Sea impression on the goal. Nobody within spitting distance of the goal scorer, who happened to be camped out on the edge of the goal crease at the time.

  163. Dennis says:

    I had the chances as 6-7; 2-5 EV and 4-3 ST.

    I didn't mind the 19 5-on-3 shots so much but it would've been nice to mix it up and throw it wide to 83 over on the left side. In any case, that was a golden opp blown and we ended up on the losing end of the period because of it.

    Some other notes:

    - I have the Van feed and John Garrett is just annoying. I remember when he was being paid by the Oilers to defend Salo and I didn't like him then either. There was one play where 22 absolutely blasted a Dys D to the right of Luongo and Garrett pretended it didn't happen.

    - there were a couple of nice d zone plays down low made my 89. I think he'd turn out fine all around if he was bigger or stronger.

    - 27 looks lethargic so maybe that's the flu and on the other end, 77 looks like he's got some juice.

    - I guess this is the end of 33 if we're dressing a rookie D in his stead. I really hope he catches on somewhere else.

    Overall, a really poor period from the viewing perspective but the Dys look lax enough that a point may be in the offing; then again maybe not considering 27's been carrying a lot of mail and he's probably a bit ill.

  164. knighttown says:


    I don't have access but if you have a lottery pick in the C-draft, you could do worse than Steve Ott. He had not one but two suspendable hits last night. Impressive!

  165. Lowetide says:

    Mike Keane is on that team. Some Fancy Dan work by Hemsky there led to a beauty chance.

  166. Bruce says:

    Gags owned by Kesler there. Lucky it's not 2-0.

  167. Lowetide says:

    Deslauriers. Wow.

  168. Bruce says:

    That better be a fucking penalty. Ales wasn't close to the puck.

  169. Bob Arctor says:

    No Jason Blake in the all C-lineup?

  170. doritogrande says:

    Let's get a replay on that one, shall we?

  171. doritogrande says:

    Okay. Yeah. That's GI.

  172. Lowetide says:

    Zack on the PP: chopping wood.

  173. kinger says:

    That's a penalty I don't mind.

  174. Black Gold says:

    For some reason I dont mind Zorg doing that.
    There is a lot of game left.

  175. PDO says:

    You know, Zorg deserved the call.

    But give Luongo two minutes for flopping around. Again.

  176. doritogrande says:


  177. Schitzo says:

    That wasn't good

  178. kinger says:

    That breakout needed that famous clown song.

  179. Mr DeBakey says:

    Take that Peckham boosters!

  180. Lowetide says:

    Horcoff looked unsettled, Peckham sent an errant pass but I don't know how the hell that thing went in the net.


  181. Bruce says:

    How many goals have we allowed on deflections three-to-five feet above the ice this year? Seems like a hundred.

    Brutal play by Peckham, giving up possession for no reason.

  182. Black Gold says:

    Nice work horc on kesler.

  183. Bruce says:

    The really bad news is that Vancouver has flat-out Sucked to this point and lead 2-0. They are one butt-ugly team to watch.

  184. Lowetide says:

    Well I hope no one minds me saying but this looks like last season.

  185. Woodguy says:

    Quinn and Renney better spend a lot of practice time on defensive zone coverage, break outs and clearing the zone. Its been pathetic.

    Dys don't look goof, but the Oilers look worse.

  186. Icecastles says:

    Agreed, LT. I'm just going to really, really hope it's the combination of flu and injuries… which doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility.

  187. Kristopher Milligan says:

    what does 'dys' mean

  188. Icecastles says:

    Yeah. Schneider is Frank Fucking Mahovolich. These announcers are killing me.

  189. kinger says:

    Woodguy said…
    Quinn and Renney better spend a lot of practice time on defensive zone coverage, break outs and clearing the zone. Its been pathetic.

    I'm sure they have Woodguy, the coaching staff has been talking about working on it all season.

    At what point do we start to recognize that the problem may just be the personnel, not the coaching.

  190. Kristopher Milligan says:

    why is 49 playing with 83

  191. kinger says:

    Kristopher Milligan said…
    what does 'dys' mean

    I believe it's one of Dennis' tags.

    Pretty sure it's short for Dynasty's. I think it came about around the time Naslund Bertuzzi and Morrison were the 'best line in the NHL'.

  192. Bruce says:

    Clearing the zone is one thing, clearing the front of the net another. These free deflections are killing us.

  193. Mr DeBakey says:

    why is 49 playing with 83

    As long as its not 5,
    becuz that's very stupid

  194. Bruce says:

    Finally Vancouver cleared the zone for us. Good thing, cuz the Oil weren't about to make it happen.

  195. Kristopher Milligan says:

    It seems the oil are picking up the pace a bit. Nice hit by JFJ

  196. PDO says:

    This PP is pretty much the game.

    Get a goal late in the 2nd and we have life, don't and Vancouver will lock down the 3rd period…

  197. Lowetide says:

    What's crazier: Peckham on 1line LW or Reddox? Need a goal on this PP.

    By that I mean an Oiler goal. For Edmonton. The team in white scoring a goal. That goes in the Vancouver net.


  198. Woodguy says:


    Obviously the lessons haven't stuck yet. Gotta keep doing it until they get it. This team isn't this bad.

    L.T. – whadda ya mean it looks like last year….oh look the Macblend…errr Quinblender is out.

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