TAKING AND MAKING A PASS

The first hockey I recall came to me in black and white. Gordie Howe was a Red Wing, Dave Keon a Leaf, and everyone on the ice could take and make a pass. When we talk about the ‘olden days’ it’s usually with an eye to nostalgia—the good old days—but I’m absolutely certain we could learn something from those passing teams of the past. Why were they better at passing and control? A few reasons. First, teams employed policeman or enforcers, but they could play the game.

1970-71 PIM LEADERS

1970-71pimsThese are the pim leaders in 1971. Among forwards, Dennis Hextall (78, 21-31-52), Pete Mahovlich (78, 35-26-61), Dan Maloney (74, 12-14-26), John Ferguson (60, 16-14-30) and Reg Fleming (78, 6-10-16) all had enough skill to play on the top 3 lines (although Fleming and Ferguson were in their final seasons, Ferguson was carried around by rookie Reggie Houle that spring).

2012-13 PIM LEADERS

2012-13pimsThe 1970-71 list had five defensemen, those men have been replaced by 4th line forwards. Colton Orr (44, 1-3-4), Mike Brown (39, 1-1-2), Zenon Konopka (37, 0-0-0), Richard Clune (47, 4-5-9), BJ Crombeen (44, 1-7-8), Frazer McLaren (36, 3-2-5), Jared Boll (43, 2-4-6)—seven men on the list—are guys who would not have played a regular shift in 1971 (back then they had three forward line and two spares, mostly penalty-killers and young players).

The Hextall’s and Mahovlich’s aren’t here now, but there are four guys with enough skill for top 9F’s: Chris Neil (48, 4-8-12), Brandon Prust (38, 5-9-14), Ryane Clowe (40, 3-16-19) and Steve Ott (48, 9-15-24). I’m maybe stretching a little with Prust, but you can argue he meets the Fleming-Ferguson-Maloney edge of the comparable.

Bottom line: the days of Dennis Hextall and Pete Mahovlich having enormous pims and point totals over 50 are rare indeed, and defensemen are all deemed too damn valuable to spend their lives in the penalty box.

fraser

That doesn’t mean they can take and make a pass, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean they can make a play under pressure when they possess the puck.

Ryan Stimson and the folks over at In Lou We Trust did a brilliant thing with passing during the recent Oilers-Devils game and reminded me about the evils of bad passing. Among the conclusions Mr. Stimson reached:

  • If this game was any indication of the Oilers season, it’s no wonder they are so terrible. The Oilers defensemen attempted 104 passes in their own zone, and a mere thirty-two passes elsewhere on the ice
  • Of the twenty total shot attempts generated and nine total shots generated for the forwards, the top line of number one overall draft picks generated twelve of those shot attempts and eight of those shots.
  • Of all the passes attempted in the offensive zones of both teams, the Devils controlled 63% of them. That is territorial dominance.

I’m not going to steal any more of the work from the blog, but strongly encourage you to read it. Man this is the good stuff! My conclusion is that the Oilers lack enough actual NHL players and lack enough players who can take and make a pass. They could also use an upgrade on decision-making in several areas.

New Jersey has been a strong contender for the Stanley in the past 25 years, the Oilers have been experts in picking the puck out of their net. There are lots of reasons, but puck possession and passing are huge items.

Hey, I’m on the radio today. Paul Almeida and I will be on TSN 1260 at noon for two hours of sports talk. We’ll be talking Olympics, trade deadline, Oilers in the last 22 games and some soccer too! I hope you can tune in to Saturday Sports Extra with Lowetide and Almeida at noon. It’ll be fun!

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107 Responses to "TAKING AND MAKING A PASS"

  1. LP says:

    LT, can we really compare the game from the 70s to today? Even the game from the 1990s is a far cry from the speed and skill of 2014 in general.

    I fully agree the Oilers need more actual NHL players, and yes, knowing how to make and take a pass is crucial. (especially under MacT)

    My point is, slow down the pace of the game today and passes are a lot easier to make. Speed and skating are now essential for all players, including defense.

  2. Captain Smarmy says:

    Contract 6-10 teams and everyone would be able to take and make a pass again.

    There were likely hall of fame calibre players that never touched an NHL rink back in those days. I read an article on the Bentley brothers where they said the best brother never played NHL because he got more money playing senior men’s on the prairies.

    As another aside that is sort of on topic. I watched some Eric Lindros highlights last night and it’s sad how bad a lot of players were after all the expansion in the league. Just a pile of guys who couldn’t play hockey and just tackled people. Prime Lindros in today’s league would be awe inducing you wouldn’t even know or care about Milan Lucic. (and Scott Stevens would be in prison instead of playing hockey)

  3. rickithebear says:

    While i enjoy watching a puck passed around.
    i enjoy oilers shots going in a net @ even 98/100
    The other two own goals.

  4. KSC10032 says:

    Well, as another old-timer (60 this fall) I remember all of these guys.

    Of this 70/71 list, only Ferguson and — to a lesser extent — Maloney, were ever genuine enforcers.

    Fleming was an agitator, Barrie (future WHA Oiler) an undersized D/RW who tried to keep up by out-battling bigger opposition, and Dorey was constantly taking PIMs because he was in over his head on the kiddie corps Leafs bluelines that LT has often referred to. Magnuson was just as challenged one-on-one, defensively, and was the Buchberger of his day in his willingness to fight — and lose to — pretty much anybody.

    The others took a lot of penalties because of how the game was played. Hextall especially would have taken @ 175 of his 217 PIM due to his widely varied repertoire of stickwork. (he’d slash his mother, just for practice). Similarly, Plager was a chopper of the first order.

    Pete Mahovolich, an excellent playmaker, always skated like a man falling down a flight of stairs, and got a lot of “clumsy” penalties accordingly.

    The game was so different then, and — while we like to remember the Beliveaus and Keons — it was a helluva lot less skilled and speedy than today’s NHL — and it was pervasively dirtier.

    I’m nostalgic for that time too, but today’s average NHL player is light-year’s better — in all aspects of the game — than his 1970 counterpart.

  5. LP says:

    2 – 0 Finland leading over the US in the 2nd.

    Good luck to the US (you’ll need it).

  6. eidy says:

    I was looking through the draft eligibles and Nikita scherbak is interesting. He looked great at the top prospects game. He is rated as a late first round pick, but is from Moscow.

    Scherbak 54 gp 26 g 43 a 69 p. good enough for 18th in whl and top rookie by a mile. Plays for Saskatoon and they are terrible. His 69 points are higher than the next two players still with the club. He is in on 39% of Saskatoon goals. Right now he is a one man show.

    Other comparables in the dub
    Reinhart in on 43% of his clubs offence 89 points
    Virtanen 25%, 62 points
    Draisaitl 41%, 81 points

    Other comparables
    Chase 72 points and 29% of their offence
    Moroz 58 p and 23%
    Samuelson 78 p and 31%

    Russian factor might allow him to drop and he could be a steal

  7. Woodguy says:

    Captain Smarmy,

    Contract 6-10 teams and everyone would be able to take and make a pass again.

    I think there are enough hockey players in the world that this isn’t true.

    Employing players who can’t take a pass and make a pass is a choice.

    Look at the roster for ANA, CHI one facepuncher on each team, who don’t always play, but everyone else can play hockey.

    Let’s look at the Oilers roser (as per oilers.nhl.com)

    Forwards:

    JORDAN EBERLE  
    SAM GAGNER  
    LUKE GAZDIC  
    BOYD GORDON  
    TAYLOR HALL  
    ALES HEMSKY  
    MATT HENDRICKS  
    JESSE JOENSUU  
    RYAN JONES  
    RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS  
    DAVID PERRON  
    RYAN SMYTH  
    NAIL YAKUPOV  

    Dmen
    ANTON BELOV  
    ANDREW FERENCE  
    MARK FRASER  
    PHILIP LARSEN   **
    MARTIN MARINCIN  
    JEFF PETRY  
    COREY POTTER  
    JUSTIN SCHULTZ  
    NICK SCHULTZ  

    From the above list, players who can’t make a pass, take a pass on a regular basis:

    Gazdic
    Hendricks
    Joensuu
    Jones

    Ference (not awful, not good though)
    Fraser
    Potter (similar to Ference)
    N.Shultz

    8 players on the active roster who in my opinion can’t take a pass and make a pass with any kind of regularity.

    That’s awful roster construction.

    I know that LT’s initial post was more about face punchers but one of my biggest pet peeves about this team is the lack of hockey players.

    This team will continue to languish in the bottom of the NHL until they fix that.

    And fix the goaltending.

    Seeing as MacT acquired everyone on the above list except Potter and N.Shultz, I’m not sure I will hold my breath for a better bottom 6, particularly the 4th line and 3rd pairing.

    It may not get better as it seems that MacT like his gritty, crusty, jammy guys and is blind to how they get killed almost every night.

  8. Caramel Obvious says:

    Captain Smarmy:
    Contract 6-10 teams and everyone would be able to take and make a pass again.

    There were likely hall of fame calibre players that never touched an NHL rink back in those days. I read an article on the Bentley brothers where they said the best brother never played NHL because he got more money playing senior men’s on the prairies.

    This is false. Over the long run expansion has no noticeable effect on the quality of play. None.

  9. Lowetide says:

    KSC10032:
    Well, as another old-timer (60 this fall) I remember all of these guys.

    Of this 70/71 list, only Ferguson and — to a lesser extent — Maloney, were ever genuine enforcers.

    I would think Maloney represented the definition of an enforcer. I don’t recall the year, but believe he was actually charged with assault (or some such) against a Toronto Maple Leaf.

  10. Captain Smarmy says:

    Woodguy,

    Just to add I think there is enough talent in the world for the 30 team NHL as well as a competitive KHL. If we look at the original 6 days there were likely plenty of all-star caliber players that never got a chance to play.

    Have a 20 team NHL might mimic those days with plenty of NHL calibre players on the outside looking in.

  11. Woodguy says:

    Captain Smarmy:
    Woodguy,

    Just to add I think there is enough talent in the world for the 30 team NHL as well as a competitive KHL. If we look at the original 6 days there were likely plenty of all-star caliber players that never got a chance to play.

    Have a 20 team NHL might mimic those days with plenty of NHL calibre players on the outside looking in.

    I agree 100% that 20 NHL teams would certainly raise the average ability level of NHL players.

    Employing players like Jones, Petrell etc is a choice though.

    The team I cheer for knowingly signed those two players twice each.

    Man.

  12. Captain Smarmy says:

    eidy:
    I was looking through the draft eligibles and Nikita scherbak is interesting. He looked great at the top prospects game. He is rated as a late first round pick, but is from Moscow.

    Scherbak54 gp 26 g 43 a 69 p. good enough for 18th in whl and top rookie by a mile. Plays for Saskatoon and they are terrible. His 69 points are higher than the next two players still with the club. He is in on 39% of Saskatoon goals. Right now he is a one man show.

    Scherbak is interesting. First and foremost where on earth did the Blades find him? He wasn’t on many teams radar and I don’t believe he was on any scouting organizations radar.

    As to how he plays. He looks big on the ice. Tall and lanky so you can envision him filling out and being a 200+lb player. He’s on the perimeter a lot and he sort of coasts around like a shark but he lulls you into thinking he’s lazy and doesn’t engage. When he gets the puck in the offensive zone he tends to really amp it up and attack.

    And you’re right the Blades are terrible. So bad.

    Funny aside. I know some people that work for the Blades and they told me a funny story where a scout (i think) came up to Scherbak and mentioned that Paul Coffey saw him play and was really impressed. Someone else asked Nikita if he knew who Paul Coffey was and he nodded and said. “Legend.”

    *on edit* same guys told me everyone likes Scherbak he’s a nice kid that wants to play in the NHL. I’m always impressed with these kids that leave home to come to a foreign country and excel at the game. I never really think of them as KHL flight risks. If the opportunity and the money is there they’ll stay.

  13. KSC10032 says:

    Lowetide,

    I always remember Maloney — to an even greater extent than Ferguson — as a player who could fight, rather than a fighter who could play.

    Certainly, he could play the protector role, but he was an excellent scorer and cornerman as well. Similar to Gillies and Secord in terms of role, but not as good a skater.

    Maloney spent a lot of time on the top two lines of the teams he played for, and was effective in doing so.

    Later in his career, there seemed to be more focus on his fistic attributes.

    One of the things that today’s fan may be less familiar with was that fights were — for the most part — more spontaneous, and way less “staged”. Today, most fights are thug v. thug, often pre-arranged to some extent. Then — if you got “dirtied” — you’d slash back and drop the gloves and go. Enforcers were there to step in against the hit and run Avery-types, or the guy who’d chop the team star.

  14. Caramel Obvious says:

    Players learn to play in the NHL in the NHL. If you reduced the number of teams you would also reduced the number of opportunities to learn and consequently you would reduce the number of “NHL quality” players.

    Another way to put it is that “NHL quality” isn’t a matter of biology or some other defined finite quality. It is something that is developed. As a result, within the mean part of the curve we are discussing, the relationship between the number of quality players and the number of teams is Panglossian.

    If you expanded (slowly) to 40 teams this would not reduce the quality of play at all. Similarly, if you contracted (again slowly) to 21 teams the quality of play would not improve. This is pretty much undeniable, it has been confirmed empirically in every major sport, and it is supported by robust theory.

  15. David says:

    This is why I’d be so hesitant to trade Klefbom,,Marincin, Gernat, Simpson as part of packages. Help is on the way. Draft Ekblad and Irving and keep the pipeline of defenseman who can take and make a pass coming.

  16. Melman says:

    Woodguy,

    It seems counterintuitive that if skill is in such short supply on this team 2 of its 3 Olympians are expected to leave at the deadline. Right or wrong there is an irony to it.

  17. thebiggestmanintheworld says:

    I don’t blame guys like Gazdic, Hendricks, etc…..for playing like they do.

    They are pretty much forced to abandon any sort of puck skills, in favour of making their dream come true.

    Its not the players that really want to play like this. Its management. The old guys that played with someone like that, or watched his dad play with one. The coach wants guys smashed, and guys like Eberle might break a nail.

    You think Gazdic wants to go out and focus on fighting the other teams tough guy?

    I’m pretty sure he’d like to try and up the point totals, but he knows what pays the bills.

    This “problem”, is really just a result of LT’s old-timey “goons”. This is the evolution.

    People try copying the success, but instead of having 30 Lucic’s to go around, quite a few teams get stuck with Gazdics( talk to your doctor, prescriptions available), Sestitos, John Scotts, etc.

    The old boys at the top in the NHL need to change their preception of what “makes up” a successfull team before guys like this change how they play.

    Let the Gazdics dangle!

  18. VanOil says:

    I can not speak to 70s PIM leaders being able to take or make a pass.

    I can say the 1992-93 rookie of the year had a season for the ages. He followed it up with one of the greatest careers of all time. I will miss him when he is gone.

    Teemu Selänne – Suomi – Legend

    edit: In a 26 year National team career Teemu is over point per game player.

  19. admiralmark says:

    Of Corsi they can’t take a pass! Thats why we’re looking at a lottery pick yet again. I think when the phrase scorched earth rebuild is used there should be a separate terminology to describe the Oiler version. Tambellini left this team so bereft of real lNHL talent that the 5 year rebuild became a 7 year rebuild.

  20. rickithebear says:

    what wins games?
    Passes or Goals?
    EVG:
    Hall 16 18th
    Perron 15 22nd
    Eberle 12 59th
    RNH 10 104th
    yakupov 7 177th
    Hemsky 6 207th
    Gordon 6 207th
    Gagner 5 227th
    Smyth 4 268th
    Arcobello 3 298th
    Jones 2 337th
    Jeonsuu 2
    Gazdic 2
    Hendricks 2

    ten top 180 needed.

  21. Ryan says:

    Woodguy:
    Captain Smarmy,

    Contract 6-10 teams and everyone would be able to take and make a pass again.

    I think there are enough hockey players in the world that this isn’t true.

    Employing players who can’t take a pass and make a pass is a choice.

    Look at the roster for ANA, CHI one facepuncher on each team, who don’t always play, but everyone else can play hockey.

    Let’s look at the Oilers roser (as per oilers.nhl.com)

    Forwards:

    JORDAN EBERLE
    SAM GAGNER
    LUKE GAZDIC
    BOYD GORDON
    TAYLOR HALL
    ALES HEMSKY
    MATT HENDRICKS
    JESSE JOENSUU
    RYAN JONES
    RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS
    DAVID PERRON
    RYAN SMYTH
    NAIL YAKUPOV

    Dmen
    ANTON BELOV
    ANDREW FERENCE
    MARK FRASER
    PHILIP LARSEN **
    MARTIN MARINCIN
    JEFF PETRY
    COREY POTTER
    JUSTIN SCHULTZ
    NICK SCHULTZ

    From the above list, players who can’t make a pass, take a pass on a regular basis:

    Gazdic
    Hendricks
    Joensuu
    Jones

    Ference (not awful, not good though)
    Fraser
    Potter (similar to Ference)
    N.Shultz

    8 players on the active roster who in my opinion can’t take a pass and make a pass with any kind of regularity.

    That’s awful roster construction.

    I know that LT’s initial post was more about face punchers but one of my biggest pet peeves about this team is the lack of hockey players.

    This team will continue to languish in the bottom of the NHL until they fix that.

    And fix the goaltending.

    Seeing as MacT acquired everyone on the above list except Potter and N.Shultz, I’m not sure I will hold my breath for a better bottom 6, particularly the 4th line and 3rd pairing.

    It may not get better as it seems that MacT like his gritty, crusty, jammy guys and is blind to how they get killed almost every night.

    It’s a recurring pattern with the Oilers unfortunately.

    They either add players who have the coveted size but can’t actually play hockey to balance out their roster of small, skilled forwards (Gazdick, MacIntyre, Joensu) OR they simply add players who can’t play at the NHL level to fill out their roster (Hamilton, Acton) OR they employ once capable players who are not past their best before date (Nick Schultz, Andrew Ference),

    AND they play players above their level of ability (every dman, Jones, Hendricks)…

    Not a recipe for success.

  22. gvblackhawk says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    Players learn to play in the NHL in the NHL.If you reduced the number of teams you would also reduced the number of opportunities to learn and consequently you would reduce the number of “NHL quality” players.

    Another way to put it is that “NHL quality” isn’t a matter of biology or some other defined finite quality.It is something that is developed.As a result, within the mean part of the curve we are discussing, the relationship between the number of quality players and the number of teams is Panglossian.

    If you expanded (slowly) to 40 teams this would not reduce the quality of play at all.Similarly, if you contracted (again slowly) to 21 teams the quality of play would not improve.This is pretty much undeniable,it has been confirmed empirically in every major sport, and it is supported by robust theory.

    So if the NHL expanded to 300 teams, and I could make the NHL, that would make me an NHL quality player….because I would develop into that.

    Makes sense.

  23. sliderule says:

    This topic seems to be about how bad our bottom six and defence are so I thought I would look at team stats.
    Top six scoring forwards on top scoring teams
    Hawks 2.16 g/GM
    Blues 2.0 g/GM
    Ducks 1.95 g/GM
    Oilers 1.56g/GM
    You can see the oilers top six scoring forwards are not even close to the top teams.If the oilers are going to contend Hall ,Nuge etc are going to have to score way more.
    Our bottom six and defence are not that great but they average out at .3g/game less than those top teams which is a almost half of the gap our top six would have to make up.
    I think that those who think that adding one player is going to make a difference are dreaming.If the oilers are to improve it is going to have to come from mostly within the players on the team and farm.

  24. rickithebear says:

    admiralmark:
    Of Corsi they can’t take a pass! Thats why we’re looking at a lottery pick yet again. I think when the phrase scorched earth rebuild is used there should be a separate terminology to describe the Oiler version. Tambellini left this team so bereft of real lNHL talent that the 5 year rebuild became a 7 year rebuild.

    I saw 3 blackhawks fans t shirts in disney while I had my oilers T on.
    we discussed the CHI rebuild model.

    there responses were pretty mirrored.
    What sucking for …… years. 10, 13, 15.

  25. Woodguy says:

    Melman:
    Woodguy,

    It seems counterintuitive that if skill is in such short supply on this team 2 of its 3 Olympians are expected to leave at the deadline.Right or wrong there is an irony to it.

    They keep repeating the same mistakes then act surprised when the results don’t change.

  26. Woodguy says:

    thebiggestmanintheworld,

    The old boys at the top in the NHL need to change their preception of what “makes up” a successfull team before guys like this change how they play.

    BOS wins the Cup and NHL execs talk about size in the top 6, even though they weren’t overly big and their best players were the smaller ones.

    LAK wins the Cup and NHL execs talk about size on all 4 lines.

    CHI wins the Cup twice and no one talks about skill on all 4 lines.

  27. Woodguy says:

    Ryan: It’s a recurring pattern with the Oilers unfortunately.

    They either add players who have the coveted size but can’t actually play hockey to balance out their roster of small, skilled forwards (Gazdick, MacIntyre, Joensu) ORthey simply add players who can’t play at the NHL level to fill out their roster (Hamilton, Acton) OR they employ once capable players who are not past their best before date (Nick Schultz, Andrew Ference),

    AND they play players above their level of ability (every dman, Jones, Hendricks)…

    Not a recipe for success.

    The worst is that MacT got us all excited with his “size without skill is useless” talk, then every action after it makes you question on whether or not he actually believes it.

    Given the Ference contract, close miss with Clarkson and the willingness to take on Hendricks for 4 years I’m not holding my breath that MacT will add useful NHLers in the prime of their career.

  28. hoser313 says:

    Can we sign that Finnish 4th line? Like all of them? I think Kevin Lowe was at almost all of the Olympic Games so hopefully the Oil brass noticed that there are other ways to construct a 4th line.

  29. DeadmanWaking says:

    Bruce is so busted.

    “Hemsky’s goals all game in two elimination games”

    “trying to do too much a time or too”

    This is precisely how it comes out when I attempt almost-sober typing myself.

  30. hoser313 says:

    sliderule:
    This topic seems to be about how bad our bottom sixand defence are so I thought I would look at team stats.
    Top six scoring forwards on top scoring teams
    Hawks 2.16 g/GM
    Blues 2.0 g/GM
    Ducks 1.95 g/GM
    Oilers 1.56g/GM
    You can see the oilers top six scoring forwards are not even closeto the top teams.If the oilers are going to contend Hall ,Nuge etc are going to have to score way more.
    Our bottom six and defence are not that greatbut they average out at .3g/game less than those top teams which is aalmost half of the gap our top six would have to make up.
    I think that those who think thatadding one player is going to make a difference are dreaming.If the oilers are to improve it is going to have to come from mostly within the players on the team and farm.

    The Oilers have a secondary scoring problem. It’s a much bigger issue than not having enough Brandon Prusts on the team. The second line needs to score with a lot more consistency.

  31. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    This topic seems to be about how bad our bottom sixand defence are so I thought I would look at team stats.
    Top six scoring forwards on top scoring teams
    Hawks 2.16 g/GM
    Blues 2.0 g/GM
    Ducks 1.95 g/GM
    Oilers 1.56g/GM
    You can see the oilers top six scoring forwards are not even closeto the top teams.If the oilers are going to contend Hall ,Nuge etc are going to have to score way more.
    Our bottom six and defence are not that greatbut they average out at .3g/game less than those top teams which is aalmost half of the gap our top six would have to make up.
    I think that those who think thatadding one player is going to make a difference are dreaming.If the oilers are to improve it is going to have to come from mostly within the players on the team and farm.

    Big thing with the Hawks is how Quenville uses his 4th line.

    Scroll down to the Vollman chart here: http://www.extraskater.com/team/chicago-blackhawks/2013

    Hawk’s 4th line of Bollig, Smith and Kruger are good enough hockey players to be given the horrific dzone starts to free up the other 3 lines to get the offensive zone starts.

    That is miles, miles, and miles away from icing a 4th that needs to be sheltered and only played against other team’s bad players.

    By icing good hockey players on their 4th line who are good enough to do the heavy zone start lifting, they give their other 3 lines, full of good NHL players a massive advantage in terms of zone starts which translates into more offence.

    Seeing Bowman and Quenville taking this tact and then watching the Oilers 4th and looking at the types of players that MacT adds, I don’t think the Oilers will ever catch CHI.

  32. Caramel Obvious says:

    gvblackhawk: So if the NHL expanded to 300 teams, and I could make the NHL, that would make me an NHL quality player….because I would develop into that.

    Makes sense.

    Go read my post again. I responded precisely to this objection.

  33. The Great One says:

    Woodguy: The worst is that MacT got us all excited with his “size without skill is useless” talk, then every action after it makes you question on whether or not he actually believes it.

    Given the Ference contract, close miss with Clarkson and the willingness to take on Hendricks for 4 years I’m not holding my breath that MacT will add useful NHLers in the prime of their career.

    An old friend always tells me “when assessing anyone, disregard what they say, and watch what they do”.

    Very applicable to MacT I think.

  34. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy:
    thebiggestmanintheworld,

    The old boys at the top in the NHL need to change their preception of what “makes up” a successfull team before guys like this change how they play.

    BOS wins the Cup and NHL execs talk about size in the top 6, even though they weren’t overly big and their best players were the smaller ones.

    LAK wins the Cup and NHL execs talk about size on all 4 lines.

    CHI wins the Cup twice and no one talks about skill on all 4 lines.

    So they were different?

    But 9-10 top 180 EVG scorers.
    Prevent the opposition to the perimeter.
    See a theme!

  35. David says:

    The Great One,

    The MacIntyre signing still boggles my mind.

  36. gvblackhawk says:

    Caramel Obvious: Go read my post again.I responded precisely to this objection.

    I just re-read it and your flawed logic remains flawed.

    You are essentially arguing that there is no limit to how many players can be added to the NHL without affecting the overall quality of the product. You argue that the only determining factor is time — it must be done slowly. However, all the time in the world will not allow for the development of an ECHL quality player or a beer league quality player into an NHL quality player.

    Your perception of overall quality has not decreased with expansion but absolute quality has definitely decreased.

  37. book¡je says:

    Since 1980, the league has grown by 50% in size. However, with the addition of Russians and Europeans, population growth, and the growth of the game in the USA, there are well over double the number of players to draw from in the talent pool. In other words the League would have to have to add another 10 teams to get to the same level as 1980.

  38. BONVIE says:

    It’s really easy for all of you to blame the 4th line players and depth players for Oilers losing games, but the truth is the games are won by the players that get the ice time. When our top two lines and top two defense pairs are able to score more goals then they give up we will win games. It matters very little who fills out the bottom of the roster.

  39. eidy says:

    Captain Smarmy,

    Thanks for the insight. Hopefully MacT continues to look to Russia as he did with slappy and Yak2

  40. Hammers says:

    BONVIE:
    It’s really easy for all of you to blame the 4th line players and depth players for Oilers losing games, but the truth is the games are won by the players that get the ice time. When our top two lines and top two defense pairs are able to score more goals then they give up we will win games. It matters very little who fills out the bottom of the roster.

    Tend to agree but face it our 4th line doesn’t cut it especially when your oldest player plays out of position on that line (94) . I don’t envy McT and the decisions he has to make . Dumping players is easy getting better replacements is hard .

  41. FastOil says:

    Woodguy,

    You’re on fire today WG, much truth in what you’re saying.

    As many do they misconstrue size and demeanor, luck and effort. 4 lines and 3 pairs that can play would be a nice thing!

  42. The Great One says:

    David:
    The Great One,

    The MacIntyre signing still boggles my mind.

    Totally a knee jerk reaction.

    But then you combine that with the big dollar pursuit of Clarkson, the acquisition of Hendricks on a 4 year deal and the conning employment of Gazdic, Ryan Jones and Joensuu, I think there is some cause for vigilance.

  43. Caramel Obvious says:

    gvblackhawk: I just re-read it and your flawed logic remains flawed.

    You are essentially arguing that there is no limit to how many players can be added to the NHL without affecting the overall quality of the product.You argue that the only determining factor is time — it must be done slowly.However, all the time in the world will not allow for the development of an ECHL quality player or a beer league quality player into an NHL quality player.

    Your perception of overall quality has not decreased with expansion but absolute quality has definitely decreased.

    Think about it some more. Eventually you’ll figure it out.

  44. gd says:

    Sometimes I think the only difference between the Chi rebuild and the Oilers is the difference between Keith/Seabrook and Petry/Smid. Keith and Seabrook were drafted by the same regime that picked Barker 3rd overall.

    I also think LA and St. Louis most important move was staying bad until 2008 when they got their elite Dman in the draft.

    That 25 minute a night, do it all, Dman solves a lot or organizational flaws.

  45. gvblackhawk says:

    Caramel Obvious: Think about it some more.Eventually you’ll figure it out.

    Answered like a person who is completely clueless. If you can’t explain your position, then you are not half as smart as you think you are.

    And I’m not surprised by that. Lots of words with little to no substance is what I’ve come to expect from you.

  46. Caramel Obvious says:

    gvblackhawk: Answered like a person who is completely clueless.If you can’t explain your position, then you are not half as smart as you think you are.

    And I’m not surprised by that.Lots of words with little to no substance is what I’ve come to expect from you.

    And did explain my position. The fact that you aren’t smart enough to understand it isn’t my fault.

  47. Caramel Obvious says:

    In case anyone is curious, it comes from Tom Benjamin. I’m having trouble posting the link but if you go to his site and search talent dilution you can find it. It’s a definitive article. There aren’t two sides to this.

    And the reason has nothing to do with number of players playing hockey, either in North America or Europe. There is basically no correlation (none) between number of people and quality/excellence sports, in art, in philosophy, in anything.

    There is a reason that shorstops came from San Pedro de Macoris and that ancient Athens with its population around the size of Red Deer produced more great philosophers in three generations than North America*, with its hundreds of millions of people, have produced in three centuries.

    Tradition and opportunity are the independent variables of excellence.

  48. Henry says:

    book¡je:
    Since 1980, the league has grown by 50% in size.However, with the addition of Russians and Europeans, population growth, and the growth of the game in the USA, there are well over double the number of players to draw from in the talent pool.In other words the League would have to have to add another 10 teams to get to the same level as 1980.

    I think this is the correct observation. Hockey, particularly defensive hockey, is played much better than it was in previous generations. Luc Robitaille gave an extended radio interview a few months back and stated that when he broke into the league he could count on 2 or 3 defensemen on most teams that were tough, but not able to skate well. He lit those guys up.

    I was a youngster during the early seventies years LT cites in his piece. The later seventies teams had Montreal and the NYI with good players top to bottom. They dominated teams with holes.

    I’m not sure that dilution from team expansion is responsible for Hendricks, Ference or Jones being in the league. These guys seem like pretty good NHL players to me and likely would have skated well enough fit in well in previous generations. They may not have been playing in their mid-30s though. The problem with these guys on the Oilers isn’t that they can’t make a pass, it’s that they aren’t better than the other Pacific Division team’s guys in the same spots in the order. The league is very good overall and it is hard to excel. Good enough to play isn’t good enough to win, that is management’s problem.

  49. Pouzar says:

    gd:
    Sometimes I think the only difference between the Chi rebuild and the Oilers is the difference between Keith/Seabrook and Petry/Smid. Keith and Seabrook were drafted by the same regime that picked Barker 3rd overall.

    I also think LA and St. Louis most important move was staying bad until 2008 when they got their elite Dman in the draft.

    That 25 minute a night, do it all, Dman solves a lot or organizational flaws.

    This.

    I’ve tried to explain this to the “we have no top end talent” camp.
    Never mind our top end talent compares just fine at similar points in their careers to the CHI guys.
    But if the Oilers had anything close to Keith/Seabrook riding shotgun with the kids we would
    not be knee deep in this sh!t show(yes I get we may not have been in a position to draft the kids if we had those guys beforehand). I guess we are re-building from the forwards back to goal.

    I hear you on the “25 min a night” d-man. We can all see the lack of chaos in Marincin’s game and it’s a beautiful thing to see. Come on down Klefbom!

  50. gvblackhawk says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    In case anyone is curious, it comes from Tom Benjamin.I’m having trouble posting the link but if you go to his site and search talent dilution you can find it.It’s a definitive article. There aren’t two sides to this.

    And the reason has nothing to do with number of players playing hockey, either in North America or Europe.There is basically no correlation (none) between number of people and quality/excellence sports, in art, in philosophy, in anything.

    There is a reason that shorstops came from San Pedro de Macoris and that ancient Athens with its population around the size of Red Deer produced more great philosophers in three generations than North America*, with its hundreds of millions of people, have produced in three centuries.

    Tradition and opportunity are the independent variables of excellence.

    Your reference is BS. The fact that you are comparing performance of artists and philosophers to athletics is stupid. You cannot objectively measure ‘excellence’ in art and philosophy — it is too subjective.

    And other than teaching philosophy in university, the only people who have the time to sit around and philosophize in North America in the last three centuries are the unemployed and schizophrenics.

  51. The Great One says:

    Pouzar: This.

    I’ve tried to explain this to the “we have no top end talent” camp.
    Never mind our top end talent compares just fine at similar points in their careers to the CHI guys.
    But if the Oilers had anything close to Keith/Seabrook riding shotgun with the kids we would
    not be knee deep in this sh!t show(yes I get we may not have been in a position to draft the kids if we had those guys beforehand). I guess we are re-building from the forwards back to goal.

    I hear you on the “25 min a night” d-man. We can all see the lack of chaos in Marincin’s game and it’s a beautiful thing to see. Come on down Klefbom!

    The difference is the Blackhawks drafted Keith and Seabrook BEFORE their young forward core.

    And, of course, Tallon was able to add some pretty vital pieces in Brian Campbell, Dustin Byfuglien, Marion Hossa, Patrick Sharp et al.

    Drafting their young core was the easy part but putting together a championship contender is the hard part.

    That’s where MacT sits right now,

    Duncan Keith was drafted in 2002, Seabrook in 2003 and the Hawks won the cup in 2009/10.

    If the Oilers are on a similar path, climbing up from obscurity to a cup, I think the analogous time line would be the Oilers drafting Gagner in the top 10 in the 2008 draft.

    The Oilers should, by that timeline, win the cup next season.

    Problem is they rebuilt the team bass akwards.

  52. hunter1909 says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    Players learn to play in the NHL in the NHL.If you reduced the number of teams you would also reduced the number of opportunities to learn and consequently you would reduce the number of “NHL quality” players.

    Another way to put it is that “NHL quality” isn’t a matter of biology or some other defined finite quality.It is something that is developed.As a result, within the mean part of the curve we are discussing, the relationship between the number of quality players and the number of teams is Panglossian.

    If you expanded (slowly) to 40 teams this would not reduce the quality of play at all.Similarly, if you contracted (again slowly) to 21 teams the quality of play would not improve.This is pretty much undeniable,it has been confirmed empirically in every major sport, and it is supported by robust theory.

    Okay then what happens if hypothetically you were to take 100,000 Scottish boys and transplant them to Brazil? Would Scotland football still blow?

  53. Jon K says:

    Great post, LT. I think it really encapsulates one of the major issues for the Oilers of the past seasons. Poor passing, in general, seems to result from the combined inability of many roster players to take and make a pass, along with careless puck management by some of the more skilled players. We are starting to see better puck management from the team as a whole now, I think. However there remain many players who cannot play with the puck for the life of them, including some recent acquisitions (i.e. Fraser).

    I remember that Lidstrom (if I am recalling correctly) used to talk about how the Red Wings didn’t accept poor passing, not even in practice. Missed passes even there meant doing the play over again. He seemed to imply that if you couldn’t accurately move or accept the puck you couldn’t play on the team.

    Hopefully we see this issue being taken more seriously by management and reflected in offseason transactions. Retaining Hemsky would be a start.

  54. hunter1909 says:

    Caramel Obvious: ancient Athens with its population around the size of Red Deer produced more great philosophers in three generations than North America*, with its hundreds of millions of people, have produced in three centuries.

    I once read a book that mapped out human population growth since the imaginary beginning. It’s unbelievable how few people there used to be in the world, up until the Industrial Revolution.

    Athens might not have had ten million people, but it was running the world at the time. North America, a relative new entity, hasn’t even grown out of it’s hunter gathering stage. It still thinks it’s always right, and everyone else is still jealous of it, for example.

  55. hunter1909 says:

    Compared to overpopulation, every other problem facing mankind becomes trite.

    This is the exact reason no one in power dares confront it.

  56. The Great One says:

    hunter1909:
    Compared to overpopulation, every other problem facing mankind becomes trite.

    This is the exact reason no one in power dares confront it.

    I’m reminded of P.J. O’Rourke’s “All the Trouble in the World”

    Especially the chapter entitled “Just Enough of Me…Way Too Much of You”.

    The author ponders some of the most densely populated places on the planet including London, Manhattan Island, Tokyo and others like Bangladesh and Mexico City and wonders why over population is a problem is some of those locales but not in others.

    It appears that political systems have a far more significant impact than sheer numbers.

  57. Woodguy says:

    rickithebear: So they were different?

    But 9-10 top 180 EVG scorers.
    Prevent the opposition to the perimeter.
    See a theme!

    Yup.

    Theme is more Actual Hockey Players that you have, the better.

    Who knew?

  58. spoiler says:

    Passing in their own zone has been a problem for the Oilers throughout the rebuild.

    But it is tough to put this completely on a lack of passing ability or on poor defensemen.

    LT made a glancing reference to Decision-making above, but doesn’t elaborate or explore this option much. This is something that many of us have been talking about all season long.

    You have to give defensemen good options to move the puck. Good options don’t include pulling a George Costanza during a house fire whenever you feel like vacating the zone. If there are that many missed passes in their own zone, the receivers are as much to blame as the passers. And if a pass is contested you have to come to the puck harder than the checker, if you want any hope of getting said puck.

    Since about Christmas there has been more effort it seems to support the Dmen in their own zone, and more success in the W-L column. Eakins’ message seems to be sinking in slowly. We’ll see if it continues.

    Now, I’m not saying that personnel shouldn’t be improved… of course it should be. But improving personnel is a slow, incremental process. You can’t wave your magic NHL2014 wand and turn over half your team for incredibly better players, despite the bitterness some have expressed above that this hasn’t yet happened. You get a player who is a little better than what you had, and then when the opportunity comes you swap that player for someone who is a little better than him, rinse repeat. Dirty Laundry takes time, especially when drafting and developing is part of that process..

    But the players they do have, especially the younger ones, need to learn how to play responsible hockey and no roster turnover is going to improve the errors of that youthful exuberance and inexperience. Only time and games and coaching and a lot of bitter lessons along the way are gonna get it done. And that’s all right in the short term… there’s no learning without mistakes. But in the long term they’ve got to graduate to smarter hockey.

  59. Woodguy says:

    BONVIE:
    It’s really easy for all of you to blame the 4th line players and depth players for Oilers losing games, but the truth is the games are won by the players that get the ice time. When our top two lines and top two defense pairs are able to score more goals then they give up we will win games. It matters very little who fills out the bottom of the roster.

    Go look at the link I posted on how CHI deploys their 4th line to the benefit of the other 3.

    It matters a lot who fills out the bottom of the roster when they are Actual Hockey Players.

  60. David says:

    gd,

    Nurse-Ekblad?

  61. emonkee says:

    Hi LT, been a long time reader of yours…and your radio show…like your post yesterday, guys like C. Hamilton may or may not be resigned again…

    Should the oilers fill his spot with college, more established players?

    I was randomly searching in the NCHC on hockeydb.com, clicked on St. Cloud State, and found that their top 2 players (Nic Dowd and Jonny Brodzinski), age 20 and 23, both listed as C, 6″ and above, closed to 200 lb, scored more than a pt a game…… both signed by the LAK.

  62. The Great One says:

    Woodguy: Go look at the link I posted on how CHI deploys their 4th line to the benefit of the other 3.

    It matters a lot who fills out the bottom of the roster when they are Actual Hockey Players.

    The Malhotra Manouever ®

  63. hunter1909 says:

    The Great One: The author ponders some of the most densely populated places on the planet including London, Manhattan Island, Tokyo and others like Bangladesh and Mexico City and wonders why over population is a problem is some of those locales but not in others.
    It appears that political systems have a far more significant impact than sheer numbers.

    These places are defacto unlivable.

    Millions upon millions of tourists wasting jet fuel for essentially no other reason but to sit by a swimming pool with an alcoholic drink, has a lot to do with it. Meanwhile, developers flatten and overdevelop every formerly nice spot to go to relax which provides the coup de grace.

  64. Cameron says:

    The overall quality of players in the NHL is light years better than it was in the 70′s, and I have a hard time comparing them rationally.

    In the 70′s you had actual NHL players who were literally unable to skate backwards, but nowadays you have 4th liners who have a skill level that would have put them in a top 6 role in the 70s.

    Gretzky used to lick his chops whenever a huge defenseman went over the boards for the opposition, he knew that a guy that big was likely drafted for his size and not his skill, so he would go right at him (someone above recorded a similar observation from Robitaille). When Gretzky was playing the gap between the best and worst skater on a team was enormous, but that gap has been radically closed.

    Factor in as well;

    - Players are on the whole bigger, stronger and faster from the top of the roster to the bottom
    - Offseason training, fitness culture, and improvements in diet
    - Far deeper talent pool with international players
    - Improvements in coaching strategy (video! the Trap!, etc.)
    - Increase in size and decrease in weight of goaltender equipment (remember when guys wore brown leather pads that got wetter and heavier as the game wore on? Remember when you could see daylight under a goaltenders armpit? When a trapper was closer in size to a baseball mitt? For giggles google images of Patrick Roy in his rookie year vs his last, the difference is both stark and depressing)
    - Composite sticks vs Wood.
    - The ascent of the specialist ‘goon’.

    The game is now much more professional, players are more athletic, games are better coached, and the overall quality of play is much, much higher.

    The one area where you could point to a degradation is at the very bottom of the roster where coaches like to hide a nuclear deterrent or two, but I strongly suspect that todays ‘pure goons’ would have still found a way to play in the 70′s.

  65. The Great One says:

    hunter1909: These places are defacto unlivable.

    Millions upon millions of tourists wasting jet fuel for essentially no other reason but to sit by a swimming pool with an alcoholic drink, has a lot to do with it. Meanwhile, developers flatten and overdevelop every formerly nice spot to go to relax which provides the coup de grace.

    “Crowded as the country is, is overcrowding even its main problem? Hong Kong and Singapore both have greater population densities (14.315 and 12.347 per square mile, respectively) than Bangladesh, and they’re called success stories.

    The same goes for Monaco. In fact, the whole Riviera is packed in August, and neither Malthus nor Ehrlich have complained about the topless beaches of St. Tropez.”

  66. emonkee says:

    Woodguy,

    Yes WG, I meant both drafted by LAK, not signed….

    I suppose LAK like looking for prospects from that conference

  67. Woodguy says:

    The Great One: The Malhotra Manouever ®

    But even more so.

    AV knows how to maximize a roster.

    A shame for Dys fans that they lost him and got Torts, who uses his best offensive players in every situation and his lesser players hardly at all.

    Running that roster ragged.

  68. jp says:

    The Great One:

    The Oilers should, by that timeline, win the cup next season.

    I dunno if that’s realistic, but I like your optimism.

  69. BONVIE says:

    Woodguy,

    We have actual hockey players on our fourth line, if your team has fourth liners that are outplaying their contacts that much that they can play against other top lines and not get scored on thats a great asset for the coach, and he no longer has to worry about line matching on the road. With at least 95% of teams in a salary cap world the 4th line will be inferior players to the top lines of the other team making probably 5 times their salary.

    Oilers don’t have an elite Defenseman to insulate all the lines and they have some very weak 2nd line players that haven’t learned to make a play on the wall. Yakapov is the first to come to my mind, as with him its a glaring weakness you see on every shift, he’s not a good option for his Dmen for the first pass leaving the zone., although he’s much improved in the last 8 or so games I’ve seen.

    We also have a veteran(Hemsky) who has wonderful skills who still hasn’t figured out when he need to make the simple pass or dump ins. Teams that are willing to dump in and recover when the defending teams are stacking the blue and playing their d with very tight gaps entering the blue, will find that they will give themselves a lot of extra room to dangle once they have dumped and recovered a few times. Good teams all use a mix even the skilled teams know sometimes you need to dump and chase. My preference is to use players like Hall with speed to gain the blue but you have to work with what your given.

  70. Woodguy says:

    BONVIE:
    Woodguy,
    Oilers don’t have an elite Defenseman to insulate all the lines

    Quality Dmen will certainly help.

    In CHI, Hjarlmasson and Oduya currently have the heaviest Dzone starts.

    Not stars, not expensive, just good hockey players.

    We have actual hockey players on our fourth line, if your team has fourth liners that are outplaying their contacts that much that they can play against other top lines and not get scored on thats a great asset for the coach, and he no longer has to worry about line matching on the road. With at least 95% of teams in a salary cap world the 4th line will be inferior players to the top lines of the other team making probably 5 times their salary.

    Not asking the 4th line to beat the other first ilnes.

    CHI’s 4th line isn’t beating other team’s 1st/2nd.

    What they are doing is not drowning, which is what you are after.

  71. SaskFan says:

    Hi all, new poster been reading for about a year and a half. Love your stuff LT.

    A little off topic but I see yakimov rated much higher than slepeshyv on this site, yakimov may become the better player but slepyshev’s shots per game is at 1.6 per game in 10:19 while yakimov’s is at 1.3 in 9:55. Their boxcars are Yakimov: 7 5 12 .36ppg 15.9% Shooting percentage
    Slepyshev: 32 3 5 8 .25ppg 6%

    So basically yakimov has been lucky and slepyshev unlucky. My take is that they are similar level prospects. Only big difference I see is position and size

  72. Lowetide says:

    SaskFan:
    Hi all, new poster been reading for about a year and a half. Love your stuff LT.

    A little off topic but I see yakimov rated much higher than slepeshyv on this site, yakimov may become the better player but slepyshev’s shots per game is at 1.6 per game in 10:19 while yakimov’s is at 1.3 in 9:55. Their boxcars are Yakimov: 7 5 12 .36ppg 15.9% Shooting percentage
    Slepyshev: 32 3 5 8 .25ppg 6%

    So basically yakimov has been lucky and slepyshev unlucky.My take is that they are similar level prospects. Only big difference I see is position and size

    I think Yakimov’s size and position (C) are key elements in his ranking, and Slepyshev is older (he was passed over in his first year).

  73. Henry says:

    The Great One,

    Malthus was a far-sighted guy, but he probably could not have conceived of Brigette Bardot.

  74. SaskFan says:

    Lowetide,

    Ahh I forgot about him getting passed over. Definetly give the advantage to Yakimov then

  75. hunter1909 says:

    The Great One: The same goes for Monaco.

    This hardly constitutes a credible example.

    Instead, try watching that Grace Kelly movie(no idea what the title is, Lowetide should) where they hang out in sports cars on the Cote D’zur eating chicken. Then, go there today and see a concrete jungle that’s replaced everything but the ocean.

    Repeat everywhere and anywhere else that was touted as a cool, relaxed place in the postwar era. Las Vegas is another perfect example. A former paradise of sorts turned into a gigantic concrete nightmare.

    Obviously slobs wouldn’t know or care at any of the differences. Particularly fat ones who push everyone out of the way at the hotel breakfast buffet.

  76. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    hunter1909: Instead, try watching that Grace Kelly movie(no idea what the title is, Lowetide should) where they hang out in sports cars on the Cote D’zur eating chicken. Then, go there today and see a concrete jungle that’s replaced everything but the ocean.

    To Catch a Thief.

  77. BONVIE says:

    Woodguy,
    Luke Gadzik is a mere -5, playing exclusively on the 4 TH line and some of those games were with the minus making machine named Nail Yakapov. Will Acton ended up with a minus 1. Ryan JONES is one of the only plus players on the team playing even some tough checking line minutes.

    Our 4th line is not drowning never has been, the Oilers problem is our best taking up the minutes and the salary is not outplaying all of the other teams best. Especially in such a tough division cant expect these barely 20 year olds to outplay the other teams top lines while trying to carry certain linemates that are small and weak defensively.

  78. Ryan says:

    BONVIE:
    Woodguy,
    Luke Gadzik is a mere -5, playing exclusively on the 4 TH line and some of those games were with the minus making machine named Nail Yakapov. Will Acton ended up with a minus 1. Ryan JONES is one of the only plus players on the team playing even some tough checking line minutes.

    Our 4th line is not drowning never has been, the Oilers problem is our best taking up the minutes and the salary is not outplaying all of the other teams best. Especially in such a tough division cant expect these barely 20 year olds to outplay the other teams top lines while trying to carry certain linemates that are small and weak defensively.

    If you’re pulling out plus minus stats to make a compelling argument, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    Acton got torched playing the dregs.

    The reason his plus minus wasn’t so bad is because he averaged 5.65 minutes per game.

    He also had a on ice save percentage of .938

    Despite limited minutes against the dregs, the oilers were outsot by 21 more shots per 60 minutes with him on the ice.

    Will Acton is not an nhl hockey player nor is Gadzik.

  79. DeadmanWaking says:

    Staples has apparently also indulged in a celebratory moment.

    bash-you-threw-the-boards

    Why I’ve come to come love this version of Team Canada

    He doesn’t comment on the Merkin’s medal-round famine, and their toilet bowl plunge from feast to least.

  80. VanOil says:

    I think we can square the circle of WG’s Chicago 4th line is good enough to take tough zone starts, DSF’s The Malhotra Manouever ® crooked zone start Center and LT’s taking and making a pass with the current roster.

    Deploying a line up as follows (which I believe LT himself suggested previously, if it was someone else my apologies)

    RNH-Hall-Yak
    Gagner-Perron-Eberle
    Lander-Pitlick/Arco-Hemsky
    Gordon-Smyth-Hendricks

    Most recently Eakins has been playing with some crooked zone starts and has always had crooked TOI. Kind of a witches brew of Tort’s overworking and Vigneault’s zones. TOI wise Eakins for most of the season went 1st >20min, 2nd 15min-ish, 3d 12min-ish and 4th <5min give or take some special teams and 3 minutes in the Blender .

    With the above line up I would like to see 1st 18-20min, 2nd 15-18min, 3d 10-12min and the 4th 7-10min. The Blender being put on pause until after the TV time out in the 3d period when losing. Deployment wise Gordon-Smyth-Hendricks could handle 100% own zone starts and at 7-10 minutes a game Gordon could sub in for Gagner for the odd 5v5 draw for the second line. This could happen right now – no trades need. 4 lines of hockey players that can take and make a pass.

    Upgrade Gagner to a non-injured Gagner, a big but skilled Brock Nelson or a Elite skilled Sam Rienhart and you have a playoff caliber offense. The D is another story.

  81. Ryan says:

    BONVIE:
    Woodguy,

    We have actual hockey players on our fourth line, if your team has fourth liners thatare outplaying their contacts that much that they can play against other top lines and not get scored on thats a great asset for the coach, and he no longer has to worry about line matching on the road. With at least 95% ofteams in a salary cap world the 4th line will be inferior players to the top lines of the other team making probably 5 times their salary.

    Oilers don’t have an elite Defenseman to insulate all the lines and they have some very weak 2nd line players that haven’t learned to make a play on the wall.Yakapov is the first to come to my mind, as with him its a glaring weakness you see on every shift, he’s not a good option for his Dmen for the first pass leaving the zone., although he’s much improved in the last 8 or so games I’ve seen.

    We also have a veteran(Hemsky) who has wonderful skills who still hasn’t figured out when he need to make the simple pass or dump ins.Teams that are willing to dump in and recover when the defending teams are stacking the blue and playing their d with very tight gaps entering the blue, will find that they will give themselves a lot of extra room to dangle once they have dumped and recovered a few times.Good teams all use a mix even the skilled teams know sometimes you need to dump and chase. My preference is to use players like Hall with speed to gain the blue but you have to work with what your given.

    To clarify, I don’t disagree with everything you’re saying and actually think you’re bang on in many areas.

  82. art vandelay says:

    Compared to overpopulation, every other problem facing mankind becomes trite.

    Las Vegas … A former paradise of sorts turned into a gigantic concrete nightmare.Obviously slobs wouldn’t know or care at any of the differences. Particularly fat ones who push everyone out of the way at the hotel breakfast buffet.

    These places are defacto unlivable. Millions upon millions of tourists wasting jet fuel for essentially no other reason but to sit by a swimming pool with an alcoholic drink, has a lot to do with it. Meanwhile, developers flatten and overdevelop every formerly nice spot to go to relax which provides the coup de grace.”

    Wow. So much Marxist bull.sh1t.

    There’s a straightforward way for people worried about over-population to put their money where their mouths are: kill yourselves. Leaves more water, oxygen and resources for the rest of us.

  83. Lowetide says:

    This blog in no way endorses Art Vandelay and his political views or solutions to world problems.

  84. BONVIE says:

    Ryan,
    Ryan ACTON played exclusively 4th line minutes so how could you discount a good plus minus every line but the dregs as you refer to them is a step up in quality.

    Where plus minus has to be tempered is checking lines or some teams 2nd lines playing top lines, but when your on the fourth the easiest deployment the coach can give you is the other teams fourth line.

  85. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    BONVIE:
    Ryan,
    Ryan ACTON played exclusively 4th line minutes so how could you discount a good plus minus every line but the dregs as you referto them is a step up in quality.

    Where plus minus has to be tempered ischecking lines or some teams 2nd lines playing top lines, but when your on the fourth the easiest deployment the coach can give you is the other teams fourth line.

    Who’s Ryan Acton?

  86. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Who’s Ryan Acton?

    Former Marlie trainer.

  87. The Great One says:

    Lowetide:
    This blog in no way endorses Art Vandelay and his political views or solutions to world problems.

    “Being gloomy is easier than being cheerful. Anybody can say “I’ve got cancer” and get a rise out of a crowd. But how many of us can do five minutes of good stand-up comedy?”

  88. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Barons up 2-1

    stretch (musil, fedun)
    Pinizzotto (arco, horak)

  89. The Great One says:

    hunter1909: This hardly constitutes a credible example.

    Instead, try watching that Grace Kelly movie(no idea what the title is, Lowetide should) where they hang out in sports cars on the Cote D’zur eating chicken. Then, go there today and see a concrete jungle that’s replaced everything but the ocean.

    Repeat everywhere and anywhere else that was touted as a cool, relaxed place in the postwar era. Las Vegas is another perfect example. A former paradise of sorts turned into a gigantic concrete nightmare.

    Obviously slobs wouldn’t know or care at any of the differences. Particularly fat ones who push everyone out of the way at the hotel breakfast buffet.

    “We’re told cars are dangerous. It’s safer to drive through South Central Los Angeles than to walk there.

    We’re told cars are wasteful. Wasteful of what? Oil did a lot of good sitting in the ground for millions of years. We’re told cars should be replaced with mass transportation. But it’s hard to reach the drive-through window at McDonald’s from a speeding train.

    And we’re told cars cause pollution. A hundred years ago city streets were ankle deep in horse excrement. What kind of pollution do you want?

    Would you rather die of cancer at eighty or typhoid fever at nine?”

  90. VanOil says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    I do not begrudge the Cult of Hockey boys the odd celebratory beverage, not that you are suggesting such a thing. There well formed, largely fact based, articles making it to the national pages (virtual as they may be) is a feather in there collective caps.

    As it is ours as denizens/consumers of the Oilogosphere. Many a former broadcaster and journalist road the coat tails of the Gretzky Dynasty onto the national stage and the hall of fame. The Cult of Hockey is riding the coat tails of another phenomenon, the rabid Oilers fan base looking for answers to there suffering. Some of us have sought fact based answers, some of us not, but all of us participate well beyond what mental health or common scene would dictate.

    We provide the market place for wonderful blogs like LTs, innovative investigators like Dellow and Parkatti, and bar room brawls (in a good way) like ON and C&B. Plus many others. It has already affected how Oilers fans like myself view and consume hockey. It is likely to eventually sprawl out and effect how all hockey is viewed and consumed every where. So good on us, we should clasp the opportunity to celebrate before we return to the Oilers regular scheduled misery.

    Congratulations to the Cult of Hockey for getting there hard/innovative work recognized.

    Congratulations to the Oilogsphere bloggers writ large who have influenced there work.

    Congratulations to us the denizens of this bizarre space, sharing our suffering and providing viewer/readership levels that are impossible to ignore.

    I will toast you all tonight, win or lose, because I will enjoy and appreciate what I am seeing so much more from what I have learned here, at the Cult and other such same places. Cheers.

    pre-edit-edit ~ I can’t help but think how much better written and possibly bizarre this tribute would have been had DMW himself written it. I just chose a version of ‘there’ at random and stick to it, he could chose won(sic) for ironic incorrectness and make it work.

    p.s. Black Russians and Essperso geared up pre-game and in the intermissions. Poutine Potato Chips for the national pride and rhyming slang to snack on. Wasabi burgers and Belgium beers as homage the the international games. And Molson Canadian over-marketed and over-priced celebration bottles upon victory. Swedish meatballs banished until the next Ikea trip.

  91. The Great One says:

    Darnell Nurse with 2 PP assists tonight in SSM game against the Erie Otters.

    Now 12-35-47 on the season.

  92. Woodguy says:

    BONVIE:
    Woodguy,
    Luke Gadzik is a mere -5, playing exclusively on the 4 TH line and some of those games were with the minus making machine named Nail Yakapov. Will Acton ended up with a minus 1. Ryan JONES is one of the only plus players on the team playing even some tough checking line minutes.

    Our 4th line is not drowning never has been, the Oilers problem is our best taking up the minutes and the salary is not outplaying all of the other teams best. Especially in such a tough division cant expect these barely 20 year olds to outplay the other teams top lines while trying to carry certain linemates that are small and weak defensively.

    Whoa.

    +/- argument.

    You win.

  93. The Great One says:

    VanOil:
    DeadmanWaking,

    I do not begrudge the Cult of Hockey boys the odd celebratory beverage, not that you are suggesting such a thing. There well formed, largely fact based, articles making it to the national pages (virtual as they may be) is a feather in there collective caps.

    As it is ours as denizens/consumers of the Oilogosphere. Many a former broadcaster and journalist road the coat tails of the Gretzky Dynasty onto the national stage and the hall of fame. The Cult of Hockey is riding the coat tails of another phenomenon, the rabid Oilers fan base looking for answers to there suffering. Some of us have sought fact based answers, some of us not, but all of us participate well beyond what mental health or common scene would dictate.

    We provide the market place for wonderful blogs like LTs, innovative investigators like Dellow and Parkatti, and bar room brawls (in a good way) like ON and C&B. Plus many others. It has already affected how Oilers fans like myself view and consume hockey. It is likely to eventually sprawl out and effect how all hockey is viewed and consumed every where. So good on us, we should clasp the opportunity to celebrate before we return to the Oilers regular scheduled misery.

    Congratulations to the Cult of Hockey for getting there hard/innovative work recognized.

    Congratulations to the Oilogsphere bloggers writ large who have influenced there work.

    Congratulations to us the denizens of this bizarre space, sharing our suffering and providing viewer/readership levels that are impossible to ignore.

    I will toast you all tonight, win or lose, because I will enjoy and appreciate what I am seeing so much more from what I have learned here, at the Cult and other such same places. Cheers.

    pre-edit-edit ~ I can’t help but think how much better written and possibly bizarre this tribute would have been had DMW himself written it. I just chose a version of ‘there’ at random and stick to it, he could chose won(sic) for ironic incorrectness and make it work.

    p.s. Black Russians and Essperso geared up pre-game and in the intermissions. Poutine Potato Chips for the national pride and rhyming slang to snack on. Wasabi burgers and Belgium beers as homage the the international games. And Molson Canadian over-marketed and over-priced celebration bottles upon victory. Swedish meatballs banished until the next Ikea trip.

    If you use “there”, instead of “their” inappropriately often enough, the English language is fluid enough to adapt.

    In fact, we should all celebrate the movement for a common spelling of “there”, “their”, and “they’re” since the human brain should be adaptable enough to discern the context of the word when used in differing situations.

    If the Eskimos can utilize scores of words to mean “snow”, then perhaps the English language will morph into a more user friendly version.

    Of course, “The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax” attempts to throw frozen water on the whole debate but can you imagine being a speaker of Cantonese trying to make sense of the “Th” word?

  94. The Great One says:

    Nurse with his 3rd assist.

  95. The Great One says:

    Platzer with his 20th goal.

  96. The Great One says:

    Arcobello with 1G and 1A.

    Now 11P in only 5GP.

    Going to be a tough choice between he and Lander for a call up.

  97. Caramel Obvious says:

    gvblackhawk: Your reference is BS.The fact that you are comparing performance of artists and philosophers to athletics is stupid.You cannot objectively measure ‘excellence’ in art and philosophy — it is too subjective.

    And other than teaching philosophy in university, the only people who have the time to sit around and philosophize in North America in the last three centuries are the unemployed and schizophrenics.

    The fact that you think art and philosophy are “subjective” shows how little you know. Do you know what even a single word you are using means?

    hunter1909:
    Compared to overpopulation, every other problem facing mankind becomes trite.

    This is the exact reason no one in power dares confront it.

    The demographic trends are headed in precisely the opposite direction you are suggesting. Large areas of the the world (the important places) are facing a serious depopulation problem that cannot be addressed by increased levels of immigration. Indeed, it might not be too far to suggest that compared to depopulation, every other problem appears trite.

  98. VanOil says:

    If there is a world wide apocalyptic depopulation that leads to a Marxist revolution of fancy stat hockey players using a unified version of ‘there’ in there locker room interviews this site is the place to look for the 12th monkey. His name may or may not be Captain Art he will be a Great One buried in the Roman way in a Wooden coffin listening to old man rock while beautiful women shed tears and some one Speed-ily computes his cap hit while suffering a Steve Smith.

  99. BONVIE says:

    Woodguy,

    Exactly no sense in over analyzing something as simple as how many goals against did you give up compared to how many goals did you and your line mates score, because when your talking about the fourth line it’s just that simple.

  100. gvblackhawk says:

    Caramel Obvious: The fact that you think art and philosophy are “subjective” shows how little you know.Do you know what even a single word you are using means?

    The demographic trends are headed in precisely the opposite direction you are suggesting.Large areas of the the world (the important places) are facing a serious depopulation problem that cannot be addressed by increased levels of immigration.Indeed, it might not be too far to suggest that compared to depopulation, every other problem appears trite.

    Performance in art and philosophy cannot be measured or tested objectively. That is a fact. None of your internet rambling will ever change that. You can choose to remain contrarian to every other viewpoint presented on this blog, but that does not make you appear intelligent — just stubborn and foolish.

    Btw, philosophy in this day and age is a complete waste of time. Math and science will have solved the issue while folks like you are still talking about it. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  101. stevezie says:

    gvblackhawk: Btw, philosophy in this day and age is a complete waste of time.

    This is demonstrably false. I think you are defining the word far too narrowly.

    Caramel Obvious: the important places

    Dangerous phrase, my friend.

  102. stevezie says:

    The Great One,

    While I am not taking Hunter’s side, the quote you use doesn’t so much back you up as hilariously demonstrate the kind of deliberately myopic thinking you are often accused of. Your original point is more applicable than I think you even meant it, however.

    hunter1909,

    Overpopulation is actually pretty easy to solve- educate the women and feed and shelter everyone. To my knowledge, applying these two solutions has never failed to curb birth rates. Takes a lot of political will, however. “It appears that political systems have a far more significant impact than sheer numbers” is equally true for predicting/creating/reducing overpopulation as dealing with it.

    Normally I avoid the non-hockey discussions, but it is only because I like them and don’t want to be personally responsible for sending the board off-topic. No one is posting at this hour, so I hope I’m safe.

  103. stevezie says:

    gvblackhawk: And other than teaching philosophy in university, the only people who have the time to sit around and philosophize in North America in the last three centuries are the unemployed and schizophrenics.

    For example, this opinion is philosophy. I would say objective refutations could be made.

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