Riddle Me This, Batman

It looks to me like these Oiler kids are in a period of transition. Last year and earlier this one, it was a lot about protection and offensive success. As we roll along late into year 2 for Hall and Eberle, we ask the question made famous by George Bush: is our children learning?

This old joke from our friend Sean helps us frame the issue: there is an expectation about where the joke is going and it is followed by the unexpected and yet delightful (hopefully) punchline. The expectation for the young Oilers was a season on the soft parade, scoring goals against the other team’s less talented and more fragile groups. However, as the season wears on the math from behind the net is sending us some interesting data.

QUAL COMP 11-12

As we might expect, Horc-Smyth-Hemsky are handling the tougher minutes, but the kids are second and it looks like Hall is closing on Smyth in terms of qual comp. How does this compare to the way things swayed one year ago?

QUAL COMP 10-11

A year ago, Hall and Eberle were the top wingers in qual comp, suggesting the Oilers are better able to handle matchups with Ryan Smyth back and Ales Hemsky healthy. Does that make sense?

ZONE START 11-12

Belanger, Jones, Horcoff, Petrell, Smyth, Paajarvi and Hemsky are underground this season at zone starts, with 10 and 20 sheltering the two rookie centers heavily. Eberle and Hall also get an enormous push in 11-12–that’s not quite Sedin-level but it’s getting there!

ZONE START 10-11

A year ago, the forwards were far more even in their zone starts, with all of the top 9 forwards between 48% and 54%. Jordan Eberle had a much tougher zone start as a rookie than he’s seen in year two. Looking at these zone starts, I wonder how much of this season’s success was sacrificed to bring along Lander, and when we look at everything this summer a big part of the conversation should revolve around ZS’s for veterans Belanger and Horcoff (and why it was this way).

CORSIREL 11-12

Fun to see Hall run away from the crowd, although he was at 22.4 one month ago. This graph lines up perfectly with what our eyes tell us: Hall’s scooting, Hemsky’s trending, Gagner, Eberle, RNH and Sideburns are progressing while Horcoff, Smyth and Belanger pay for their zone starts and qualcomp.

CORSIREL 10-11

Nice rookie season from Hall, Eberle too and of course Linus the Lucky. You know, looking at last season’s CorsiRel it kind of splits at Brule and from him on down the Oilers flushed 7 guys–all but Ryan Jones. Hmmm. Maybe the are into advanced stats.

Anyway, if you’ve followed this far perhaps you can riddle a few things for me:

  1. Are the Oilers bringing the kids along in the best possible way?
  2. Should these zone start dynamics remain?
  3. Should the Oilers add a veteran winger to cover off the tough minutes along with Smyth and Hemsky?
  4. What in the hell did Paajarvi do to Tom Renney?
  5. Omark: wtf?
  6. Can you help me explain Lennart Petrell?

Thanks in advance.

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58 Responses to "Riddle Me This, Batman"

  1. D says:

    1. Are the Oilers bringing the kids along in the best possible way?

    Probably not. Hall, Eberle, and RNH are a given. The handling of MPS and Omark is questionable.

    2. Should these zone start dynamics remain?

    As the kids get better at their game, the dynamics should evolve naturally.

    3. Should the Oilers add a veteran winger to cover off the tough minutes along with Smyth and Hemsky?

    No. Time to concentrate on defense and goal.

    4. What in the hell did Paajarvi do to Tom Renney?

    I don’t think Renney understands to what extent the Edmonton market cannot tolerate his “let’s learn defense” style of hockey. Many Edmonton fans would rather lose again 6-5 than win 2-1.

    5. Omark: wtf?

    That’s for sure.

    6. Can you help me explain Lennart Petrell?

    They must see something in him that the rest of us are missing.

  2. knighttown says:

    Favorable zone starts can be interpreted in two ways:
    1. Sheltering OR
    2. Exploiting

    People can’t possibly believe the Sedins are being sheltered by their zone starts can they? It’s the exact opposite…the Sedins are put out there in to expoit the inherent advantage an offensive zone faceoff. I think the use of H/H/NH in that role is primarily exploiting as well. it also makes in a no-brainer because 20 and 10 are much better in their own zone (like Malholtra in Vancouver) so for this team it makes perfect sense to have very divergent Zone Starts.

  3. knighttown says:

    I’d say, as a general rule, top-9 forwards with easy zone starts are “exploiting”. Defensemen with easy zone starts are being sheltered.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Knighttown: Point well taken and let me re-phrase. Do you believe that using Hall-Eberle to exploit the opponent with plus plus zone starts is the ideal way to use them? Now and forever? I’d hope at some point one or both (or RNH) could be used to outscore the other guy’s best straight up.

  5. mattwatt says:

    6. Can you help me explain Lennart Petrell?

    Yeah, for sure. Renney is smoking acid, in regards to Petrell.

    Feel like that sums it all up.

  6. DSF says:

    Lowetide:
    Knighttown: Point well taken and let me re-phrase. Do you believe that using Hall-Eberle to exploit the opponent with plus plus zone starts is the ideal way to use them? Now and forever? I’d hope at some point one or both (or RNH) could be used to outscore the other guy’s best straight up.

    Why?

  7. Lowetide says:

    DSF: Why?

    One would hope that one of these kids would eventually develop into an outscorer against tough opponents. Put another way: what are the odds that Edmonton will one day have the kind of depth required to place the Sedins in their current slot?

  8. mattwatt says:

    In all seriousness Lowetide, this has been a major point of frustration for me as late. In your previous thread, I posted that a bottom six of:

    MPS-Horcoff-Omark
    Jones-Belagner-Eager

    Would be far more effective than the current one. If injuries occur in top-6, both Omark and MPS have shown the ability to play with talent and be effective enough to not bleed all over the ice, and both Eager and Jones can slot in above if need be. It is just this constant rolling out of both Jones, Eager and Petrell gets old when both MPS and Omark are left to work on their craft in the AHL.

    Feel like both Swedes have shown that their ceilings are higher than that of Jones or Eager, so why not give them the chance to prove it? It is as if this club has put a premium on “work-ethic and grit” before “talent.”

    Which is strange, because you could never infer that from Tambellini’s comments when he has a press conference.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Mattwatt: I hear you. I would have thought that not only Paajarvi and Omark would be solid Oilers this seaosn, but also Hartikainen. But Petrell and Lander won the day and the club has had a blackhole 4line all year imo.

  10. DSF says:

    Lowetide: One would hope that one of these kids would eventually develop into an outscorer against tough opponents. Put another way: what are the odds that Edmonton will one day have the kind of depth required to place the Sedins in their current slot?

    LT, it really isn’t that difficult to create a bottom 6 that can perform that role.

    But you need a pro scouting staff and a GM that knows what they are doing.

    The problem is the Oilers are weak in both areas.

    What Gills is doing is a good case in point.

    Malhotra hasn’t been the same player since his eye injury but the Canucks were still feeding him to the lions on a nightly basis. (11.2% OFF Zone starts!).

    That meant Vigneault had to have Kesler shoulder more of the defensive load since Cody Hodgson couldn’t handle it.

    His solution…Sami Pahlsson.

    With Pahlsson in the mix, The Canucks can not only take a lot of pressure off Malhotra but also free up Kesler for a more offensive role…watch his numbers take off.

    Earlier, in the last thread, I had mentioned that there was still a lot of work to do on the Oiler forward group, and there is.

    While the top 6 is coming along, the bottom 6 is pretty much junk but other than some astute scouting and a GM who knows what he is doing, it isn’t all that hard or expensive to fix.

    Problem is, a few players in the Oilers bottom 6 have been handed contracts they don’t deserve. (Horcoff, Jones, Eager, Hordichuk and Belanger.)

  11. DSF says:

    mattwatt:
    In all seriousness Lowetide, this has been a major point of frustration for me as late. In your previous thread, I posted that a bottom six of:

    MPS-Horcoff-Omark
    Jones-Belagner-Eager

    Neither Paajarvi nor Omark are suited to a bottom 6 role (nor a top 6 role for that matter)

    In limited minutes, they both get outscored and, while they may look spiffy doing it, they really aren’t effective.

    If you play them to with -20 Horcoff, they will get their asses handed to them every night.

    Would be far more effective than the current one. If injuries occur in top-6, both Omark and MPS have shown the ability to play with talent and be effective enough to not bleed all over the ice, and both Eager and Jones can slot in above if need be. It is just this constant rolling out of both Jones, Eager and Petrell gets old when both MPS and Omark are left to work on their craft in the AHL.

    Feel like both Swedes have shown that their ceilings are higher than that of Jones or Eager, so why not give them the chance to prove it? It is as if this club has put a premium on “work-ethic and grit” before “talent.”

    Which is strange, because you could never infer that from Tambellini’s comments when he has a press conference.

  12. DSF says:

    Oops

    @ Mattwatt

    Neither Paajarvi nor Omark are suited to a bottom 6 role (nor a top 6 role for that matter)
    In limited minutes, they both get outscored and, while they may look spiffy doing it, they really aren’t effective.
    If you play them with -20 Horcoff, they will get their asses handed to them every night.

  13. knighttown says:

    Lowetide:
    Do you believe that using Hall-Eberle to exploit the opponent with plus plus zone starts is the ideal way to use them? Now and forever?

    As long as they employ Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger I do. If you don’t bury 10 and 20 in zone starts what value do they bring? You could give them a zone start of “opposition crease” and they still aren’t putting up numbers. Their only value is in a shutdown role.

    Power vs. power works if you’re set up like St. Louis or Boston, with balance throughout. Edmonton is emulating (or should be) the Vancouver model where guys have a role. Twins score. Malholtra stops people from scoring. Rinse. Repeat.

    Don’t you worry Mister LT, 4/93/14 will get lots of opportunity to face tough competition and grow because road matchups are going to be deadly going forward; now and forever, so yes, it would be nice if they could start winning those matchups.

  14. DSF says:

    knighttown: As long as they employ Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger I do.If you don’t bury 10 and 20 in zone starts what value do they bring?You could give them a zone start of “opposition crease” and they still aren’t putting up numbers.Their only value is in a shutdown role.

    Power vs. power works if you’re set up like St. Louis or Boston, with balance throughout.Edmonton is emulating (or should be) the Vancouver model where guys have a role.Twins score.Malholtra stops people from scoring.Rinse. Repeat.

    Don’t you worry Mister LT, 4/93/14 will get lots of opportunity to face tough competition and grow because road matchups are going to be deadly going forward; now and forever, so yes, it would be nice if they could start winning those matchups.

    This.

    Exactly.

  15. Lowetide says:

    knighttown: As long as they employ Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger I do.If you don’t bury 10 and 20 in zone starts what value do they bring?You could give them a zone start of “opposition crease” and they still aren’t putting up numbers.Their only value is in a shutdown role.

    Power vs. power works if you’re set up like St. Louis or Boston, with balance throughout.Edmonton is emulating (or should be) the Vancouver model where guys have a role.Twins score.Malholtra stops people from scoring.Rinse. Repeat.

    Don’t you worry Mister LT, 4/93/14 will get lots of opportunity to face tough competition and grow because road matchups are going to be deadly going forward; now and forever, so yes, it would be nice if they could start winning those matchups.

    Ah, good. I was worried there for awhile. :-)

  16. DSF says:

    Glencross with his 20th goal and 35th point in only 49 games.

    Jeebus.

  17. knighttown says:

    A few more Dennises tonight…

    -I almost commented the other night after the Jets game but never quite got caught up enough to do so; the Jones and Petrell goals were about the worst thing that could happen to those of us who think 23 needs a shot soon. Jones was on the outs and Petrell and his 4th line pals were starting to be so obviously overmatched that I think Omark’s flight was booked. One thing we learned about Renney from Omark’s treatment during the early season winning streak is that if a team (or line) has success (wins or goals respectively) he resets the clock on changing things around. Those goals bought 28 and 37 (and 16 by extension) 2 weeks of shit play at least.

    -Why has the NHL stopped calling penalties? I’m not claiming an anti-Oiler bias, the whole fucking system has changed drastically since January 1st. Remember the whole “stick parallel to the ice” rule being called for the past few years? 10 alone should have been called for 50+ of those penalties in February alone. No shit…for the first time in forever we have a brilliant power play and average penalty kill and now special teams don’t matter.

    - It’s a coin toss for me as to who is coming out of the West (and therefore winning the Cup). One side of the coin has two ugly mothereffin twins and the other has a 700 pound coach with a 400 pound brain.

    - That pass by 93 the other night when he took the four foot pass from 83 at the blue line and while looking 120 degrees away from 4 flipped a backhand pass 40 feet across the zone was…stupid. Good stupid. It was then followed up by the most ridiculous non-call I’ve seen in ages as (I’m not going to bother trying) Buff-Linn completely can openered the Nuge on the return pass directly removing a goal.

    -I’ve had shoulder issues and still to this day I can’t finish around the net like I used to. Just odd angles and the strength and leverage to roof it isn’t there. I think that might be why 83 can’t finish?

    -Does Theo Peckham still play for the Edmonton Oilers?

    -Every once in awhile a roster move is so fucking stupid I snap. Cam Barker playing over Sutton (and Peckham) is that spark for me currently. But this time I’m kind of enjoying it because I know Woodguy is taking it even harder. I feel I’m overreacting by kicking cats and stuff but I feel better knowing Woodguy is slaughtering an orphan for every minus 13 creates.

  18. Alpine says:

    DSF:
    Glencross with his 20th goal and 35th point in only 49 games.

    Jeebus.

    Yet fans will say we found our own Glencross in Jones. Glencross is far superior.

  19. Lowetide says:

    KT: In regard to the penalties, I think NHL GM’s have clawed back on the Shanahan business. that includes suspensions but I also expect Sather got in one of those meetings and went apeshit.

  20. Lois Lowe says:

    As soon as the Oilers get a decent powerplay, the league stops calling penalties. Figures.

  21. spoiler says:

    I think I’d like to see some #s on the penalty issue before setting off a meme.

  22. "Steve Smith" says:

    spoiler:
    I think I’d like to see some #s on the penalty issue before setting off a meme.

    Communist.

  23. Lowetide says:

    lol.

  24. spoiler says:

    A couple of real nice posts, KT.

    Barker is driving everyone nuts. I believe “Steve Smith” drove up to Falher yesterday. Can’t imagine why anyone would go all that way unless it was to find some young virgins to sacrifice.

    I’m not watching any more games that Barker plays. Didn’t watch last night. What’s the point?

  25. DSF says:

    spoiler:
    A couple of real nice posts, KT.

    Barker is driving everyone nuts. I believe “Steve Smith” drove up to Falher yesterday.Can’t imagine why anyone would go all that way unless it was to find some young virgins to sacrifice.

    I’m not watching any more games that Barker plays. Didn’t watch last night. What’s the point?

    There are no virgins in Fahler,

  26. DSF says:

    Looks like the Jets want to make the playoffs.

    7-0 over Florida.

    He’s no Gagner but Wellwood with 3 points.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Years ago, I worked at a radio station that suspended the morning man for the following joke:

    “The Moose Jaw parade of virgins scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. One of them broke her hip in the bathtub and the other one didn’t want to go alone.”

    True story.

  28. spoiler says:

    “Steve Smith”: Communist.

    Lol, sorry but Comrade Horcov very persuasive with Kalashnikov.

  29. spoiler says:

    DSF: There are no virgins in Fahler,

    So you live elsewhere?

  30. spoiler says:

    spoiler: So you live elsewhere?

    I keed, I keed.

  31. DSF says:

    Lowetide:
    Years ago, I worked at a radio station that suspended the morning man for the following joke:

    “The Moose Jaw parade of virgins scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. One of them broke her hip in the bathtub and the other one didn’t want to go alone.”

    True story.

    Years ago, I worked for a radio station that played George Carlin’s 7 Words You Can’t Say on Television.

    On a Sunday night.

    A United Church minister called to complain because he was driving home from church with his family when the offending broadcast occurred.

    When the DJ, who shall remain nameless, explained what Carlin was attempting to do by pointing out that words are only given power by those who are offended, the minister agreed and relented.

    I then pricked my finger.

    True story.

    But your Mom is a whore.

  32. FastOil says:

    Lowetide,

    To me there is a risk in designing and running a team with heavily defined roles. If you finish high enough in the standings, then the line change can be taken advantage of. But if you play a team higher in the standings, trouble. Vancouver is a perfect example. Home advantage, a few key injuries and game over. A team to me is better off with fully capable players that can fill a role above their normal place competently when the inevitable injuries come in playoffs. Boston vs Canucks showed well while a strong two way centre over time is more valuable than a highly skilled “offensive” centre.

    Another thing I’d like to mention is special teams. Regular season dominant teams quite often don’t maintain their pace in the playoffs, as averages come into play and opponents get a chance to key on systems, and basically just try harder.

    Strong 5v5 play is consistent in teams that win a lot. The Oilers have a long way to go, and perhaps some personnel changes to improve their possession game. Deadly off the rush for sure, hold the puck offensively, not yet.

  33. DSF says:

    spoiler: So you live elsewhere?

    Chick Norris, Stan Weir and I went on fishing trip near Fahler in 1979.

    There hasn’t been a virgin there ever since.

  34. Ducey says:

    DSF:
    Glencross with his 20th goal and 35th point in only 49 games.

    Jeebus.

    Glencross -8.7 Rel Corsi and a 24.4 % shooting percentage. 6 pp goals. 50.3 % offensive zone start. $2.55 Million per year for 3 more years
    Jones -1.1 Rel Corsi and a 13.7 % shooting percentage 43.9 % zone start. $1.5 million for this season.

    Glencross gets better zone starts and PP time and is riding a totally unsustainable shooting percentage. He plays better competition with better team mates. You give Jones the same PP opportunities and I expect he would be pretty comparable offensively to what Glencross would be doing with a normal shooting percentage – and without the big salary.

    Big win by MTL!

  35. "Steve Smith" says:

    Ducey,

    They’d never have won if Minnesota still had Schultz.

    (Source: Hockey Wilderness. I assume.)

  36. Schitzo says:

    Not to make comparisons to He Who Cannot Be Named, but that powerplay goal by Jones the other night was the type of goal that led to Bernie Nichols scoring 70 one season. Just stand there with your stick on the ice, and it’s a sure thing.

  37. spoiler says:

    Sam Gagner’s numbers are interesting. The narrative on this guy has been that his boxcars have been running in place because each year he’s been playing more difficult minutes.

    It looks like finally he’s facing the same level of minutes as he did the year before. TOI totals are similar, Qualcomp dead even, zone starts close… In terms of results, since about a month after his injury he’s improved greatly over last year. Even with that month, his pts/60 has stepped up nicely. If he has another month within 5-6 points of the last, I’d say he has turned the corner and ready to be challenged by the next level.

    And he is vastly improved on the dot. Full credit to him for improving an area of weakness allegedly difficult to improve.

    But he could use some size on the wing for him to take advantage of his talents.

    Hall and Hemsky are both bigger than Eberle. Hall’s strength and speed create space for Gagner and he knows how to exploit it. As I said in a prior thread, Gagner gives our two best players a better chance starting off the faceoff. I would really like to see the Cs flipped. Have Smytty babysit the Nuge. He can cycle and create distractions at the net while Nuge and Ebs wheel.

    Gives Nuge more protection too. Easier minutes. Fill his life with happy PP time and some 2nd line butter. The role being expected of him on the top line with Hall and Hemsky, especially on the road is unfair for a kid his age. And he’s coming off injury.

    Gagner up, Nuge down, Hall and Eberle where they are. Use the vet Cs to control the Zone starts.

  38. Schitzo says:

    FastOil: Lowetide, To me there is a risk in designing and running a team with heavily defined roles. .

    I agree. And, to point out the obvious, it’s even more dangerous when the players pencilled to fill that role are going to need everything to go right to actually pull it off (see Whitney as 1D, health permitting, and Lander as 4C, hopefully playing above his head).

    That’s what worries me the most about the team planning our defence three years from now in ink… who the heck knows if any of the kids will work out, much less the majority of them.

  39. DSF says:

    Ducey: Glencross -8.7 Rel Corsi and a 24.4 % shooting percentage. 6 pp goals. 50.3 % offensive zone start.$2.55 Million per year for 3 more years
    Jones -1.1 Rel Corsi and a 13.7 % shooting percentage 43.9 % zone start. $1.5 million for this season.

    Glencross gets better zone starts and PP time and is riding a totally unsustainable shooting percentage.He plays better competition with better team mates. You give Jones the same PP opportunities and I expect he would be pretty comparable offensivelyto what Glencross would be doing with a normal shooting percentage – and without the big salary.

    Big win by MTL!

    When Jones scores 20 goals we can talk.

    The only other 20+ goals scorer I can think of that is in Glencross’ pay range is Brurrows.

    Results matter,

  40. "Steve Smith" says:

    Against my better judgment, I decided to go see what the commenters at Hockey Wilderness were saying about Gilbert after tonight’s game. They are complaining that he was invisible.

    (He led the Wild in icetime.)

  41. Schitzo says:

    DSF: When Jones scores 20 goals we can talk.,

    He’d better not, I have a series of dinner bets that I start losing when he hits 15…. :(

  42. Lois Lowe says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Against my better judgment, I decided to go see what the commenters at Hockey Wilderness were saying about Gilbert after tonight’s game.They are complaining that he was invisible.

    (He led the Wild in icetime.)

    Over 26 minutes and even on the day is a solid effort IMO.

  43. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lois Lowe,

    Yeah, I’d think so. But the post’s author says that it’s good when you don’t notice defensive defensemen, but bad when you don’t notice Tom Gilbert. Or something.

  44. godot10 says:

    I think it is fine to deploy Hall and Eberle to exploit the opposition until the team is solidly competitive…i.e. capable of winning rounds in the playoffs.

    As one transitions to a SC contender, one stops doing that, because one will never win the Cup doing what Vigneault does with the Sedins, continuing to feed them offensive zone starts. In the Stanley Cup finals, your best players are going to have to start in the defensive end also. The Sedins have their Art Ross Trophies…time for Vigneault to do to them what Bowman did to Yzerman…i.e. make them complete players that he could throw on the ice in any situation and in the most critical situations.

    Vigneault should be feeding the Sedins more balanced zone starts, and more unadvantegous match ups now, so they get better, and playing against toughest competition he can give them. They should be doing some PK.

    In five years, you want Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, or Hall to be the best option in every critical situation.

    Are the Sedin’s, Vigneault’s best option like Yzerman became Bowman’s best option?

  45. Lois Lowe says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Lois Lowe,

    Yeah, I’d think so.But the post’s author says that it’s good when you don’t notice defensive defensemen, but bad when you don’t notice Tom Gilbert.Or something.

    According to that logic Barker played a helluva game yesterday.

  46. copperblueandwhite says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    “Steve Smith”:
    Against my better judgment, I decided to go see what the commenters at Hockey Wilderness were saying about Gilbert after tonight’s game.They are complaining that he was invisible.

    (He led the Wild in icetime.)

    He got caught out for a skate on the Desharnais goal (4th)….Minny will be right in the toilet next year…but I bet he gets an extension to 2018 at $4.5m plus….

  47. Schitzo says:

    godot10: I think it is fine to deploy Hall and Eberle to exploit the opposition until the team is solidly competitive…i.e. capable of winning rounds in the playoffs.As one transitions to a SC contender, one stops doing that, because one will never win the Cup doing what Vigneault does with the Sedins, continuing to feed them offensive zone starts. In the Stanley Cup finals, your best players are going to have to start in the defensive end also. ?

    Disagree – the Canucks had home ice in every series. A little better luck with injuries and the outcome could have been very different. (thank god for Kesler’s defective hip and Hamhuis blowing himself up).

  48. Schitzo says:

    Hey DSF, a serious question: I get that the Canucks got bigger with the Kassian pickup, but given that the SCF is only a couple of months away, do you think that 2009 draft pick Kassian will contribute more than what 2008 draft Hodgson might have?

    Or is this a case of the window being open for 2-3 years and this year isn’t the make-or-break deal?

  49. Kert says:

    Schitzo,

    I bet Gragani has a bigger impact than Sulzer would have had over the next few months.
    (To answer a different question than you asked)

  50. Schitzo says:

    Kert,

    Good point – but is he the real deal, or MAB redux?

  51. art vandelay says:

    The joke is:
    “I’m pretending this is a hockey team. Now build me an arena or I’ll move it.”
    The rest is pointless details fretted over my children.

  52. Schitzo says:

    FastOil,

    A follow-up re: defined roles. The other thing that drives me nuts about this team is that they allocate roster spots based on these narrow roles – “you’re the PK guy, Lennert. Hordi, you’re the agitator”.

    Build the best possible even strength team, and from those players establish your special teams. If that means Hemmer kills penalties, so be it. He’s good enough at reading the play that I’m sure he could cause chaos and break up passes.

  53. OilLeak says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Against my better judgment, I decided to go see what the commenters at Hockey Wilderness were saying about Gilbert after tonight’s game.They are complaining that he was invisible.

    (He led the Wild in icetime.)

    I just checked your exchange over at the WIlderness, pleasant bunch aren’t they?

    Gilbert is going to get a rougher time in Minny than he ever got in Edmonton, sad because the casual fan just doesn’t appreciate the genius that is Tom Gilbert.

  54. hunter1909 says:

    1- Yes. They’re essentially the boys on the bus 2.0
    2- Huh?
    3- Yes; 2 would even be better.
    4- Once gave Renney a look in practice or in the Rexall Place hallway or saw him buying viagra or…simply freaked him out for deep uncoscious reasons that Freud would only be able to uncover.
    5- Training Camp, with a new coach hopefully(I’ve decided Renney is gone as HC, and they’re bringing in someone hopefully not named Mark Messier).
    6- He’s a pretty good player from outside the box(Finland) who, in the tradition of great oiler Finns is emerging like something from out of the swamp. This is a Darwinian organisation.

  55. DeadmanWaking says:

    DSF,

    You realize, don’t you, that virginity tracks the birth rate? And that virginity has two poles?

    I’m reminded that there are African communities where personhood is achieved, not endowed. In the malarial savanna, bouncing back from cranial dislocation after transiting the vaginal canal does not count as a life achievement. No, you have to survive for some number of months or make it to some rite of passage before obtaining personhood.

    Similarly, a culture might consider virginity as something achieved, not endowed. But it’s hard to see how the achievement of virginity could come after passing through the age of consent, without violating extirpation for at least the lighting of a candle. I think in order to not involve the RCMP, you’d have to send the un-endowed out of town at a critical juncture. Otherwise there’s only two viable methods for virginity vanquishment: zero birth rate, or young people arriving at the age of consent as damaged goods. That hurts my brain. Maybe some clever theologian can figure it out.

    Sean: It’s simple Adso. You’re a virgin since anybody thought to ask your opinion.
    Adso: But … what about Friar Ruutyu?
    Sean: Adso, think for a moment. If you’re a virgin, how could he not be, on your account?
    Adso: You mean … I thought …
    Adso: But it hurt …
    Sean: Admittedly, that syllogism sits uncomfortably with many in our order.

  56. DeadmanWaking says:

    Lest we forget Camp Climax, yesterday I read a passage in Hitch 22 where he describes (in a ** footnote) his dear companion’s literary infatuation with Vladimir Nabokov:

    [Martin Amis] made himself master of the subject matter … wrote an essay on Lolita that was frighteningly exact, did everything except take up Lepidoptera. But the more Martin absorbed himself in the man’s work, the more it became borne in on him that the recurrent twelve-year-old-girl theme in N’s writing was something more alarming and disturbing than a daring literary one-off.

    You don’t say.

    My first crush was a lepidopterist, but I wasn’t even a virgin, and likely had not yet discovered the word (this was shortly after the sixties and the word was not spilling into childhood discourse). I saved a box of Smarties for a whole week (this shocked everyone, to take their reactions at face value); then we shared a birthday dinner together at the Husky Tower, after which I tore a gaping hole across the knee of my special green pants acting up like Tom Sawyer–in a rare display of age-appropriate behaviour. My mother, never one to sew twice, put the pinch on any sequelae. Close to a decade elapsed before my next date–at a three timezone remove–then there followed a painful, thrombotic interlude before I improved upon my skinned knee.

  57. DSF says:

    Schitzo:
    Hey DSF, a serious question:I get that the Canucks got bigger with the Kassian pickup, but given that the SCF is only a couple of months away, do you think that 2009 draft pick Kassian will contribute more than what 2008 draft Hodgson might have?

    Or is this a case of the window being open for 2-3 years and this year isn’t the make-or-break deal?

    Sorry for the late response.

    I expect Kassian will have more of an impact since Hodgson would likely have seen his ice time diminish in the playoffs.

    Hodgson’s biggest contribution would have been second unit PP so there is a danger the Caucks PP will suffer.

    In a very limited viewing Gragnani may help out there. Kid looked awesome last night.

    The Canucks window is as long as the Sedins remain elite.

    No one can really answer that .

  58. tubes says:

    DSF

    While the top 6 is coming along, the bottom 6 is pretty much junk but other than some astute scouting and a GM who knows what he is doing, it isn’t all that hard or expensive to fix.

    Problem is, a few players in the Oilers bottom 6 have been handed contracts they don’t deserve. (Horcoff, Jones, Eager, Hordichuk and Belanger.)

    How can you say Jones doesn’t deserve his contract? Faces uphill battles most of the time he gets on the ice, chips in with 15 or so goals, kills penalties quite well, hits…and has great hair.

    Belanger is a serviceable fourth line C and penalty killer. Winning faceoff’s have a fairly direct correlation with winning hockey games; do they not? He helps us out there and has contributed to our better PK.

    Horcov’s obviously overpaid but no one turns down a raise and Eager is playing decent hockey and not taking stupid penalties. Maybe a slight overpay there, but it’s Edmonton. Everyone has to be overpaid to come here.

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