When I was a kid, my Dad would talk to me about baseball. He’d whittle, or fix things (the guy was incredible, basically MacGyver without the mullet and bigger ears) and we’d talk about baseball. He played ‘hardball’ in a league around Saskatoon, and for me it might as well have been the big leagues. He was a catcher, and pegging second base during the dirty 30′s was something he was still talking about into the 1970′s. I was with him all the way.
In baseball, the key to pitching is upsetting the timing of the hitter. Big league pitchers can win ballgames throwing slop, because the pitches change speeds, locations, dart, dive, et cetera. Changing things up, that’s the key.
- Jordan Eberle: “We pot two quick ones and it’s looking good, then we got to our game of turning pucks over. Then we weren’t chipping it behind and we weren’t getting any zone time. That’s why they ran up the shot clock. We were giving them chances to get into our zone again, and we got a little undisciplined and they score three power-play goals.”
I think the Oilers are going to have to start using some slop—in this case the Ryan Smyth dump and chance sloppery along with the sexy heat (Hall or Hemsky or Nuge or Eberle gaining possession of the zone with magic) so the other guy doesn’t know what’s coming all the time. In the words of the great Billy Ashley, “I think the pitchers are reading me.”
- Dallas Eakins: “Our last power play was our best effort, but boy, it was a challenge early. And it wasn’t our setup … we couldn’t even get set up. We couldn’t get puck retrieval which is something we’re going to have to work very hard on the next few weeks.”
They’ll probably use Joensuu on the PP as a corner guy, maybe Gazdic, Smyth too although that’ll run him completely into the ground. Is Ben Eager still available? The perfect player for that kind of role is Smyth at 27, or the Wayne Cashman of my youth.
That isn’t the good hockey, the great hockey, but I think the Oilers need to add a Bryn Smyth to their rotation of fireballers. BP fastball, upset their timing. Then bring the heat, and oh baby!