RE 13-14 LUKE GAZDIC: REDWOOD TREE

The Edmonton Oilers talked all summer about adding a physical presence, and then grabbed Luke Gazdic on waivers just before they broke camp and went north for the winter. Gazdic found a home in Edmonton, and may be here for a long time.

Luke Gazdic 13-14

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.62 (13th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: nil
  • Qual Comp: 15th toughest faced among regular forwards (fourth line)
  • Qual Team: 12th best available teammates among regular forwards (fourth line)
  • Corsi Rel: -16.5 (worst among regular forwards)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 36.8
  • Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -8.3
  • Zone Start: 52.5% (6th easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 43.8% (11th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 30/6.7% (11th among F’s >30 or more shots)
  • Boxcars: 67, 2-2-4
  • Plus Minus: -8 on a team that was -51
  1. What do these numbers tell us? At the hockey, this isn’t good.
  2. Is Luke Gazdic an NHL player? Sure, he just played 67 games.
  3. Come on, is there anything in these numbers that suggests he can play on an effective line? No. His WOWY Corsi for 5×5% is 37.2 and that’s beyond terrible. Even more damning, his teammates are better off without him in a big way.
  4. Example? Let’s take Martin Marincin, another rookie. The pair spent just over an hour on the ice together, posting a 41.7 Corsi for 5×5 %. That’s terrible. You wouldn’t re-hire that in a productive company. In 317 minutes without Marincin, Gazdic’s Corsi for 5×5 % was 36.3, that’s basically dereliction of duty. Marincin without Gazdic? In 621 minutes, 48.2%—on this team that’s a Calder nomination and a seat on next year’s Titanic.
  5. Is there any season in the Oilers recent past that is similar? Hmm. I’ll say Stortini in 2008-09. He scored 10 points that season, but he was playing with better men and the Corsi for 5×5 % (39.1) is not far afield. Plus I wanted to point out some funny wowy’s, including the Dustin Penner. Heh. Stortini had more effective seasons, and this fellow may have better ones, too.
  6. What did you say about the move when Gazdic was hired? The day after his acquisition: “I don’t think there’s any other way to frame this: the Edmonton Oilers are going to be a very physical team and the possession talk of summer has given way to something else this fall. The Sam Gagner injury may have long reaching impact on the Edmonton Oilers beyond the injury itself.”
  7. I don’t understand you. Yeah.
  8. I thought you liked him! You had him as a top 10 prospect in December! No, I listed him as the #18 prospect in the system for the winter edition. He would be in that range currently, although he’s no longer eligible (having played 50 NHL games).
  9. Why did you rank him that high? Two reasons. Having Luke Gazdic means the Oilers are less likely to spend a third round pick on Cameron Abney. Second, if the organization is committed to having a fighter they might as well have a good one.
  10. So you’re defending this player? I don’t need to, he’s on the team.
  11. Dammit! If you’re asking me if I’d rather have Mark Arcobello or Tyler Pitlick on the team, then the answer is yes. That isn’t the issue.
  12. What’s the issue? It goes back to the quote above, the one about “long reaching impact” because of the Gagner injury. The Edmonton Oilers—including Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins—are grappling with the idea of an enforcer, a one dimensional tough guy. The Kassian thuggery injured Sam Gagner, and ensured the team would play with a fourth line that looked a certain way. It was a very effective assault.
  13. Are MacT and Eakins wrong? They certainly are based on the ineffectiveness of the fourth line, and of course Kassian didn’t stop being a dink when Gazdic arrived on the scene.
  14. Then, what’s the trick? I’ve long felt (and said, there’s no issue from my end) Edmonton has completely missed the boat on all this physicality jazz. The key isn’t to have a fourth line guy who can come out after the carnage and blow his horn, the key is to have actual NHL players who can also impact the game physically. We watched Hemsky get murdered by Regehr for a decade, but the Oilers are (apparently) incapable of icing actual NHL players who can wreck Boring Monahan on one of his sorties.
  15. You’re advocating violence. No, I’m saying that hits, physical play and intimidation are part of the game. When you bring in a specialist, who isn’t good at the hockey, you weaken your lineup, advertise your next move, and allow the other side to outmaneuver you all dam day.
  16. What’s the solution? Finding physical players, actually not even that, finding men with size and skill to pepper into the current lineup. If you look at this like a baseball team, the Oilers have too many of the same player-type throughout the order. No leadoff guy, no cleanup hitter, no real structure, just a bunch of guys everyone agrees should do good things one day.
  17. What happens to Gazdic? Two year deal, $1.5 million at some point this summer, maybe even spring.
  18. Where does he play? Fourth line, with Gordon and Hendricks.
  19. MacT and Eakins are smart people. They’ll figure it out. Or they won’t, or maybe I’m wrong and this is a fantastic way to set up your team.
  20. You don’t believe that. No, I don’t. However, this isn’t my decision, it’s Eakins and MacTavish who are on the line here.
  21. Is there any good news here? Yes. Dallas Eakins discussing Mark Fraser: “I can easily stand here and argue “Yes, we need that.” We’ve got a guy back there that’s more than willing to fill the role  with Mark Fraser and, uh, one side of me says “absolutely, we need the toughness up front, we need it on our back end. But, Mark [Spector], I… and that’s the honest to God’s truth, there’s one side of me that says: “Yes, we need to old school it and we’ve got to have those guys.” And, then there’s another side of me looking at how teams are, some other teams are building and… I’m not sure.”
  22. What does that show? Progress my friend. Progress.
  23. What is the answer? I don’t know the exact solution, but it probably has something to do with sprinkling size and toughness through the lineup with actual NHL players. And, far from the enforcer role, the prickishness displayed by men like Robyn Regehr and Brent Seabrook and Kevin Lowe is his day.
  24. So, Darnell Nurse? We can call it that and wait for the day, but something tells me it’ll come sooner.
  25. How many games does Luke Gazdic play next season? 50.
  26. Why this song? It’s about loss and discovery, and a big damn tree.

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76 Responses to "RE 13-14 LUKE GAZDIC: REDWOOD TREE"

  1. Hammers says:

    I hope your wrong re # of games maybe 25 not 50 . If it’s 50 it means McT didn’t add another Hendricks type of player but he will get signed .It would also throw Gordon back to the 3rd line .

  2. Hammers says:

    Our bottom 6 could include Gordon / Hendricks / Arco / Lander / Clifford / Konopka extras Gazdic & Horak .

  3. Woodguy says:

    Apparently the Oilers want a fighter.

    They are not the only team that wants a fighter.

    Teams we admire hire these guys too.

    CHI-Bollig
    SJS-Brown
    STL- Reaves
    BOS – Thornton
    LAK – Clifford (to some extent)

    The question then becomes “how do you deploy this player without sinking your team”

    I think the key is to no play them with awful players.

    Much has been made about Gazdic’s sub-40 CF and with good reason. Sub 40 is just awful.

    Your discussion with Mike yesterday about this left me wanting more though.

    The context of “The Oilers were a 42% CF team” was completely missed.

    We need to look at RelCor, not straight corsi

    Being the designated fighter on the Oilers is probably the worst CF job in the NHL, maybe ahead of BUF or TOR (Scott was 39.5, Orr 39.1, McLaren 41.0)

    I brought up the progression of Bollig at Tyler’s place here: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=6869 back on April 1st.

    I have been thinking about this a lot and want to flesh it out a little.

    I’ll post as I can during the day, right now my daughter has my full attention.

  4. Woodguy says:

    I’ll start by re-posting what I wrote at Tyler’s:

    I know you are trying to control for team mates, but I still think there is a ton of team mate effects and past that “system effects”

    What I mean by system effects is that on teams like CHI and SJS, these are teams who employ good hockey players (for the most part) and who have played their system together for years and play it well. Generally everyone knows where to go and what they are expected to do.

    Those teams are also well coached, by the same coach, for years so the 4th line player, even with 3rd pairing D, is going to have a better corsi just because of where he is and who he’s playing with.

    Let’s look at Mike Brown as an example.

    Oilers last year
    38% CF overall
    With Smid 38%
    With Petry 43.7%
    With Nultz 45%
    With Potter 33%
    With Barbaro 25.4% (!)
    With Fistric 40%

    SJS this year:
    46.7% overall
    With Boyle 55%
    With Demers 47%
    With Stuart 47%
    With Vlasic 50%
    With Braun 47%
    WIht Hannan 45%

    Did Brown become a better player? No, probably not. I think its mostly due team mates and team system.

    Its interesting that if you look at the WOWY last year and this year for Brown, they average about the same.

    Using goalies as and easy proxy for CF% ON and CF% OFF we see almost identical numbers in EDM and SJS

    Goalie WOWY EDM
    Dubnyk -6.8%
    Khabby -6.1%

    Goalie WOWY SJS
    Niemi -6.5%
    Stalock -4.8%

    So Brown’s effect on his team looks to be almost identical (roughly -6% CF), its just that with SJS they are starting from a much better place than EDM.

    So where does make Gazdic good?

    No, but I think we can safely say that on a different team, his CF% contribution is better (seeing as most NHL teams are better CF% teams than EDM)

    Here is Gazdic’s Goalie WOWY (for CF ON/OFF proxy)

    Dubnyk -6.8%
    Scrivens -12.5%
    Brzy -11.3%

    So we see Gazdic having a more serious CF% effect than Brown. Given that he is a rookie, and by eye, not as good at hockey at Brown, that seems about right.

    To sum: I think team mate and “team systems/coaching” effects are next to impossible to actually remove and put a Gazdic next to a Bollig and Brown and say “he’s worse via straight corsi”

    Given that Gazdic outscored both Brown and Bollig in the AHL and is a rookie in the NHL I don’t think you can even say “he will be worse than these players in his NHL career”

    There can be an argument that put onto SJS or CHI and coached in their system for a year or two you might be comparing “Oiler Facepuncher X” to CHI’s Gazdic and showing why “X” isn’t as good as Gazdic.

    You can almost turn this into a Nature vs. Nurture argument and I don’ t think we can be entirely confident in what we see straight CF%.

  5. Woodguy says:

    2nd post at Tyler’s:

    Bollig’s rookie year was 43.8%CF (a whopping 103 5v5 min) Goalie WOWY looks like this:

    Crawford -8.9%
    Emery -10.2%

    Common line mates (top 4D and 4F)
    Olsen
    Oduya
    Hjarmlasson
    Leddy

    Mayers
    Frolik
    Hayes
    Morrison

    Bollig’s 2nd year was 57.2% CF (a whopping 196min 5v5)

    Goalie WOWY:
    Crawford +4.9%
    Emery +5.3%

    Common line mates (top 2D and 3F)
    Keith’
    Oduya
    Leddy
    Seabrook

    Frolik
    Krueger
    Shaw
    Handzus

    So what changed Bollig to give him a 13.4% CF boost?

    Team mates for sure, especially F. (Mayers vs Krueger take you pick)
    Not being a raw rookie a bit
    A year more practice in the system

    I wonder if we could take Bollig’s rookie year and make him look like dirt next to Shawn Thornton or similar.

    Again, not to say Gazdic is a player or will be a player, there isn’t enough evidence yet, but man playing on the Oilers for the Oilers as a rookie face puncher pretty much has the be the worst job in the NHL CF% wise.

  6. speeds says:

    Does the addition of Hendricks change anything?

    Maybe management felt they needed a MacIntyre or Gazdic prior to acquiring Hendricks, but I’m wondering if having Hendricks changes the equation at all, or if they look at trying to acquire another Hendricks type this summer, to play with Gordon/Hendricks on a new 4th line, and then using Gazdic in a more traditional 14th F role, playing 25 games or so?

  7. FastOil says:

    Good points WG. Gazzer is also a fair bit younger than the others excepting Clifford. I wonder if that makes a difference. Perhaps Moroz takes the role someday and actually contributes to the hockey thing as well.

    I hope the reality of the Kings makes an impression on the Oilers. Excepting their touched by gords Cup run, they don’t dominate on the score board even if they have gorgeous Corsi.

    Kind of the anti-Oilers, lots of big and gritty pluggers of decent ability, not enough attack. It will be interesting to see what Lombardi does, he seems to recognize it.

  8. misfit says:

    Great stuff WG! I’ve long felt the same way, but never would’ve been able to frame it as well or do the actual work looking at the numbers to see if that opinion had any actual merit.

  9. Lowetide says:

    WG: Why wouldn’t you just go out and get a better hockey player? I understand he was a rookie and certainly should have better days, but you’re starting from so far back.

    Why?

  10. Ducey says:

    Great posts Woodguy.

    If SJ can play Brown, (and went out of their way to trade for Brown) presumably there is a place for the fighter types in the game. Put Gazdic on with good players and he is going to find a role. It gets really simple – bang some bodies on the forecheck, post up in front of the net and screen out the sun, and get the puck out of your own end. The Oilers have had a ton of these guys over the years – Semenko, McSorely (at first) , Dave Brown, Big George – who were not asked to play a regular role. Their job was stripped down.

    Further, you have to remember that MacT went all in on Clarkson. This signals to me that MacT wants functional toughness. I think Gazdic was just an opportunity (to call it a plan would be too much as he was a late waiver pickup) to get a young player and see what he could do. Lets face it. If he hadn’t been able to fight he would have been sent down to OKC.

    The fact that they Gazdic for free allowed them to trade Brown for a 4th, and to keep Smac on the farm, so those are good things too.

  11. Dicky94 says:

    I’m going to get hammered for saying this, but I think Gazdic will turn into a decent fourth liner. He showed on a few nights that he can hit and make some plays. Playing with Gordon and Hendricks would help a lot too. Need to find a physical third line now.

  12. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: Why wouldn’t you just go out and get a better hockey player? I understand he was a rookie and certainly should have better days, but you’re starting from so far back.

    Why?

    Because Oilers.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Because Oilers.

    Ha! Okay.

  14. speeds says:

    Ducey:
    Great posts Woodguy.

    If SJ can play Brown, (and went out of their way to trade for Brown) presumably there is a place for the fighter types in the game.

    It shows that NHL teams (well, more specifically, SJ) believe they have a place in the game. It does not necessarily mean SJ wouldn’t be better off playing Havlat or Kennedy (both healthy scratches as far as I know?) in place of Brown.

  15. Clay says:

    They certainly are based on the ineffectiveness of the fourth line, and of course Kassian didn’t stop being a dink when Gazdic arrived on the scene.

    So exactly on point, LT.

    The role of enforcer is no longer relevant in the NHL. This player type grew out of a time when it was not uncommon for an “enforcer” to go out and cheap-shot the opposition’s best player, in retaliation for a shot at his best player. A spear or a blatant charge or an elbow.

    The game has changed. The things that used to draw a 2 minute or 5 minute penaltiy (or sometimes no penalties at all – see “Stevens, Scott”) now draw 10 game suspensions. If anything happens now that even hints at premeditated retaliation, the Bertuzzi vs Moore comparison is drawn immediately.

    So the concept of a tough-guy as a deterrent is simply non-existent. The Oilers could’ve had a Gazdic-MacIntyre-Brown fourth line in that final pre-season game, and it wouldn’t have prevented a goddamn thing. And, after the fact, the best one could hope for was that someone cleaned Kassian’s clock. But who cares about that? He doesn’t, his team doesn’t, why would the Oilers?

    Having Semenko used to mean that if you put Kurri out of the game, then Nieuwendyk was going to the hospital. Now all it means is that he and Hunter are going to punch each other for a while and sit for 5 minutes.

    I’m not saying I’m against it – I think it’s better for the game to take out all the goonery. I’m just saying that having a Gazdic on your team is self sabotage. Remember MacT’s words about the best some players could do on any given night was not be a liability? Having Gazdic goes 180 degrees against that commment. As does Fraser.

  16. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: Why wouldn’t you just go out and get a better hockey player? I understand he was a rookie and certainly should have better days, but you’re starting from so far back.

    Why?

    Is Gazdic better in the role (including the part about playing hockey) than anybody the Oilers have had since Laraque? Who are they going to get who is better than Gazdic? I’d say they want the role filled, and this is their best option right now. Isn’t one of the reasons you “like” him because it means that they aren’t going to spend assets trying to get another one?

  17. Hammers says:

    theres oil in virginia: Is Gazdic better in the role (including the part about playing hockey) than anybody the Oilers have had since Laraque?Who are they going to get who is better than Gazdic?I’d say they want the role filled, and this is their best option right now.Isn’t one of the reasons you “like” him because it means that they aren’t going to spend assets trying to get another one?

    Not Laraque but Stortini and LT is correct . He will be signed but hopefully only playing 25 games and not 50 .

  18. theres oil in virginia says:

    Hammers: Not Laraque but Stortiniand LT is correct . He will be signed but hopefully only playing 25 games and not 50 .

    I don’t see Gazic in the Stortini role. Hendricks fills that role. Gazdic fills the SMac role from that era. I think both current players are upgrades over those two.

  19. flyfish1168 says:

    I don’t mind the idea of playing Gazdic with Ebs and RNH a few shifts per game. It keeps teams honest and if Gazdic can create room for the other two why not. Semenko had a couple of 12 goals seasons playing alongside a couple of pretty good players.

  20. Dicky94 says:

    Hammers,

    He can rotate with Lander. Play him on the nights he is needed. He is needed some nights… Lucic.

  21. Bruce McCurdy says:

    theres oil in virginia: I don’t see Gazic in the Stortini role. Hendricks fills that role. Gazdic fills the SMac role from that era. I think both current players are upgrades over those two.

    I guess that explains why we’re all the way up to 28th.

  22. Ducey says:

    speeds: It shows that NHL teams believe they have a place in the game.It does not necessarily mean SJ wouldn’t be better off playing Havlat or Kennedy (both healthy scratches as far as I know?) in place of Brown.

    Its not just Brown. St Louis has Reaves playing a regular shift. He looks almost identical to Gazdic statistically from junior on.

    Why does Hitchcock play him over MPS?

    Its almost like the Spock vs Kirk debate. The stat guys look at it logically with their math and say no fighters. A lot of GM’s and coaches who are in the trenches see the need.

    You don’t see it on TV very often, but if you sit down by the benches you sure do. There is a ton of intimidation going on. I went to the St Louis game and Hitch-cock (who can be an A hole) obviously designed his team to intimidate, frustrate and infuriate their opponents.

    During the game they were sticking and cheap shotting the Oilers kids. On the bench they were constantly yelling at them about how they were going to kill them, how they were wimps (they used worse language), etc.

    If you are a coach or GM how are you going to deal with that? You know that its going to impact on the confidence and mindset of your young players. Obviously the best thing is to have a bunch of guys who can take care of business both on the rink and the ring. If you don’t have that, the second best thing is to have someone who can deal with the fighting. You have to respond in some way.

    Now the Spocks will point out that you just beat them on the scoreboard, go on the PP etc. That may work for a veteran team or a good team. If you don’t have a good team and its very young, you have to have someone for the young guys to lean on psychologically.

    I don’t think Gazdic will be a long term solution. I don’t think MacT does either. I expect that he will continue to add guys like Hendricks. But the tough ones who can play top 6 are very hard to get. So he will stick with Gazdic until something better comes along. He has to. For the sake of his young players.

  23. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Ducey:
    You don’t see it on TV very often, but if you sit down by the benches you sure do.There is a ton of intimidation going on.I went to the St Louis game and Hitch-cock (who can be an A hole) obviously designed his team to intimidate, frustrate and infuriate their opponents.

    During the game they were sticking and cheap shotting the Oilers kids.On the bench they were constantly yelling at them about how they were going to kill them, how they were wimps (they used worse language), etc.

    I don’t think Gazdic will be a long term solution.I don’t think MacT does either.I expect that he will continue to add guys like Hendricks.But the tough ones who can play top 6 are very hard to get.So he will stick with Gazdic until something better comes along.He has to.For the sake of his young players.

    How did Gazdic mitigate the situation vs. St. Louis? As I recall it was 0-3-0, 4 GF, 17 GA in the season series. So whatever intimidation he may have been providing, wasn’t working, or certainly wasn’t enough.

    You want to play with the big boys, you need some big boys who can play. That doesn’t describe very many players on the current Oilers roster. As LT puts it: “the key is to have actual NHL players who can also impact the game physically.”

  24. Dicky94 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Slow and steady. Lol

  25. Dicky94 says:

    We need to go after Ott this off season. He is driving Chicago crazy.

  26. speeds says:

    Ducey,

    I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. Is it that teams are making the right decisions involving these players, due to the information they have that we don’t, by being close to the action? Or is it that, because of their proximity to the action, they are making incorrect decisions that they wouldn’t make if they were to step back and view things from a more detached perspective?

  27. Ducey says:

    Bruce McCurdy: How did Gazdic mitigate the situation vs. St. Louis? As I recall it was 0-3-0, 4 GF, 17 GA in the season series. So whatever intimidation he may have been providing, wasn’t working, or certainly wasn’t enough.

    Maybe they do worse? Maybe the fact that Hall doesn’t get goaded into a fight or doesn’t have his will to play eroded is the advantage of having Gazdic there. We don’t know. I am pretty sure the problem wasn’t just Gazdic.

    I can say that Gazdic was the only one shouting back at St Louis. Hall and Ebs looked straight ahead and didn’t engage.

  28. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Ha! Okay.

    Well we (correctly) hammered on v4.0 for giving up assets for these guys and other near useless items (4th round pick in a deep draft for 10 games of Jerred Smithson says hello)

    MacT got him off the waiver wire.

    That’s some progress I guess.

  29. Woodguy says:

    So far in the thread we have people wanting Ott and Kenopka.

    Can I get a Colton Orr?

  30. theres oil in virginia says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I guess that explains why we’re all the way up to 28th.

    Am I missing the sarcasm in this statement? I think it’s funny that Gazdic draws so much conversation (from me included), while guys higher up the lineup don’t necessarily. I’d say Joensuu’s inability to fill his role affected the Oilers a lot more than Gazdic. I’m not even sure why you would make that statement, other than sarcastically.

    I agree that you should try to get guys who can impact the game physically and actually play hockey. I also agree that if you’re going to have an enforcer type, then he should be able to play hockey (at least at some minimum level). Those guys aren’t falling out of trees any more than PFs are or 30-goal scorers.

    The part I stridently don’t agree with is that Gazdic’s presence had no effect on Kassian. I’ve outlined that before and haven’t seen any credible argument against it. If your argument is that Gazdic is not effective at playing hockey, then I can’t say much against it, but if your argument is that Gazdic didn’t do the job he was brought in to do, then I’m thinking we were watching different game feeds.

    I’m not sure why we have to be divided into polarized, opposing camps on this issue.

  31. Dicky94 says:

    Woodguy,

    Ott can play the game.

  32. Mr DeBakey says:

    The Kassian thuggery injured Sam Gagner, and ensured the team would play with a fourth line that looked a certain way. It was a very effective assault.

    I’ve been wondering all season how Kassian’s stick to Gagner’s head differed from McSorely’s hit on Brashear.
    In both cases:
    - a deliberate swing of the stick at another player [ no attempt to play puck etc]
    - neither deliberately swung at the head, or so claimed
    - both caused a serious injury

    EPS should have been on this event like ugly on a Canuck.

  33. Lois Lowe says:

    Woodguy,

    Oh that Smithson trade was bad. Tambo even knew that he was going to miss some games due to the birth of his kid. That should have been enough to just quash the deal but 4.0 needed to show that he was willing to act at the deadline.

  34. Marcus Oilerius says:

    I was looking for some info on Krushelnyski when I found this David Staples article from 2007. The opening paragraph made me reach for a beer. No joke.

    The Oilers don’t have the bright future of either Anaheim or Pittsburgh, but all isn’t lost in Edmonton, says Jacob Dearlove of Bleacher Report. He rates the Oilers in the Top Ten when it comes to the future, slotting the team in at 9th overall, saying: “All but one of the Oilers five top players under 25 are already playing in the NHL. Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Ales Hemsky, and Dustin Penner are already contributing to the big team.”

    2007. Seven years ago, the future was hopeful. India Pale Ale, I need you now.

  35. theres oil in virginia says:

    Mr DeBakey,

    Because NHL? How about Cooke’s knee-hit vs Bollig’s knee-hit.

  36. J-Bo says:

    Here is a thought too…

    Matt Cooke is a thug. I don’t like him. However back in the day there were tons of players running around doing that and getting 2 minutes. We are in the middle of teams trying to figure out how to deal with the intimidation and headshots in an era where nhl player safety is supposed to protect them. Until players like Cooke and Kassian get kicked out pf the league for their dirty tactics the league will always need tough players and there just aren’t enough useful tough guys around to not have most teams employing the Gazdic’s of the world.

  37. Bruce McCurdy says:

    theres oil in virginia: Am I missing the sarcasm in this statement?

    If you are, I’m not quite sure how. It scored about 99.9 on my personal sarcasmometer.

  38. Bulging Twine says:

    Just fyi. This off of nhl.com. Perry Pearn talks about the Oilers defence:

    “You never have a good transition game without a group of defensemen that has some mobility and that can move the puck,” Pearn said. “Even a [Scott] Hannan in this group looks pretty good because the puck is moving quickly and it doesn’t expose the defensemen as much as it would if the puck wasn’t getting up the ice quickly. You can have a good set of forwards, but if the defensemen can’t get them the puck I think that ends up being your Achilles heel. A real good example of that is in Edmonton. The Oilers have some pretty good young forwards, but their defense isn’t at the same level as the forwards and consequently the forwards don’t get the puck. In this case, San Jose is doing a really good job of moving it smartly and quickly up the ice.”

  39. Marcus Oilerius says:

    J-Bo,

    You’re spot on.

    Kassian gets an 8-game rest. Gagner has 15 games lost to injury, is rushed back into the lineup, and is never back to full speed through the season.

    In the dirtiest, sneakiest, most deliberate hit I’ve ever seen, Matt Cooke severs Erik Karlsson’s tendon, and gets nothing. Matt Cooke. A hundred years of the NHL, and when did that injury ever occur before? Who raises their leg to check a guy? You set both on the ice, for maximum leverage. It just so happens to by Matt Cooke on Erik Karlsson, and this never-seen-before injury happens.

    The NHL is bush league when it comes to discipline.

  40. Caramel Obvious says:

    J-Bo:
    Here is a thought too…

    Matt Cooke is a thug. I don’t like him. However back in the day there were tons of players running around doing that and getting 2 minutes. We are in the middle of teams trying to figure out how to deal with the intimidation and headshots in an era where nhl player safety is supposed to protect them. Until players like Cooke and Kassian get kicked out pf the league for their dirty tactics the league will always need tough players and there just aren’t enough useful tough guys around to not have most teams employing the Gazdic’s of the world.

    I really disagree with this. The worst thing the NHL does is to scapegoat guys like Cooke and Torres while dirty players like Shane Doan and Duncan Keith are “good guys.”

    The problem more than anything is selective discipline. Targeting Kassian or Cooke with selective enforcement won’t change anything. Suspending Seabrook for 10 games in the playoffs would.

    The suspensions need to be larger and they need to be consistent. There isn’t anything complicated about this. I’d make the minimum suspension five games. Minimum suspension for a minor injury 10 games. Minimum suspension for a major injury 20 games. Increments go up in groups of five.

    So Bickell gets five games for his knee. Cooke would get at least 10, maybe 15. Seabrook would get 15. Kassian would get 20. If you want to have a playoff discount then divide the playoff suspensions by a half or a third. In any event, right now the punishments are meaningless because they aren’t severe enough. Make them credible and apply them consistently and the problem would go away in one season.

  41. Marc says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: Why wouldn’t you just go out and get a better hockey player? I understand he was a rookie and certainly should have better days, but you’re starting from so far back.

    Why?

    Because better hockey players are more expensive – they tried to get Hendrix in the offseason and he went for 4 x $1.85M. And there’s a good chance that a better hockey player in Gazdic’s role ie. limited minutes with poor teammates, is still a poor hockey player in corsi terms.

    All of the players that Gazdic was competing with for a spot on the fourth line – Jones, Joensuu, Lander, PItlick, Arcobello etc. got outshot and didn’t score much when they played limited minutes with poor teammates. They also don’t have any one skill that they do particularly well. Gazdic may have got outshot a bit more and scored a bit less, but he does do one thing particularly well.

    We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that in replacing a 37% corsi player with a 42-43% corsi player – which is what was available to Eakins – you might get outshot a bit less, but you’re still getting outshot. Ultimately, the coach chose a marginally less effective player who does one thing well, over slightly more effective players who do nothing particularly well.

    Given that even good teams (as Woodguy has demonstrated) value the skill that Gazdic is good at, it’s not really surprising.

  42. Hammers says:

    theres oil in virginia: Am I missing the sarcasm in this statement?I think it’s funny that Gazdic draws so much conversation (from me included), while guys higher up the lineup don’t necessarily.I’d say Joensuu’s inability to fill his role affected the Oilers a lot more than Gazdic.I’m not even sure why you would make that statement, other than sarcastically.

    I agree that you should try to get guys who can impact the game physically and actually play hockey.I also agree that if you’re going to have an enforcer type, then he should be able to play hockey (at least at some minimum level).Those guys aren’t falling out of trees any more than PFs are or 30-goal scorers.

    The part I stridently don’t agree with is that Gazdic’s presence had no effect on Kassian.I’ve outlined that before and haven’t seen any credible argument against it.If your argument is that Gazdic is not effective at playing hockey, then I can’t say much against it, but if your argument is that Gazdic didn’t do the job he was brought in to do, then I’m thinking we were watching different game feeds.

    I’m not sure why we have to be divided into polarized, opposing camps on this issue.

    I agree with this statement . Everyone forgets this was Gazdics 1st year in the NHL as an enforcer my problem was the # of games he got but maybe it was injuries to Joensuu / Pilick type 4th liners . I think Gazdic will be signed as basically he was a pick up that cost nothing and filled the fighter role .Just hoping next years team won’t need this type of player for that many games .

  43. theres oil in virginia says:

    Bruce McCurdy: If you are, I’m not quite sure how. It scored about 99.9 on my personal sarcasmometer.

    Sorry, I’m often dim when it comes to this…and other things.

    :)

  44. hunter1909 says:

    Caramel Obvious: I really disagree with this.The worst thing the NHL does is to scapegoat guys like Cooke and Torres while dirty players like Shane Doan and Duncan Keith are “good guys.”

    The problem more than anything is selective discipline.Targeting Kassian or Cooke with selective enforcement won’t change anything.Suspending Seabrook for 10 games in the playoffs would.

    The suspensions need to be larger and they need to be consistent.There isn’t anything complicated about this.I’d make the minimum suspension five games. Minimum suspension for a minor injury 10 games.Minimum suspension for a major injury 20 games.Increments go up in groups of five.

    So Bickell gets five games for his knee.Cooke would get at least 10, maybe 15.Seabrook would get 15.Kassian would get 20.If you want to have a playoff discount then divide the playoff suspensions by a half or a third.In any event, right now the punishments are meaningless because they aren’t severe enough.Make them credible and apply them consistently and the problem would go away in one season.

    Given the power to, this poster would have Women’s Studies taught to the players between periods. With penalties for not agreeing wholeheartedly with it’s “message”.

  45. delooper says:

    Gazdic would be a fine player on the Oilers if the Oilers had enough really good, complete players that could cover for him. The Oilers do not have those players yet. They have players that will grow into those kinds of really good players… eventually. But they don’t have them now.

    That’s why the comparison with San Jose and Brown is silly. San Jose has plenty of complete, good players now. They have room for Brown.

  46. DeadmanWaking says:

    There’s a saying: if you believe it’s real, it is real.

    If our young players believe the bench needs a Hulk on skates to dishevel the playing field, then maybe we do, at least until they grow up. Perhaps our young stars need their soother.

    It’s only sensible to keep them happy, lest they break into body language.

  47. G Money says:

    Some good points here. WG opens with a wicked Jose Aldo style jab-cross-snapping leg kick with his analysis of a rookie Gazdic. LT dances out of the way, then steps in and counters with a body hook, asking why you would do such a thing. WG elbow blocks and throws a Because Oilers uppercut (the ultimate finishing strike). The two warriors nod at each other in respect.

    Meanwhile in nearby venues, various posters throw the effective “facepunchers don’t help” 1-2 combo, while others use a sharp double-jab to driving elbow “facepunchers don’t matter” response.

    Caramel with an outstanding double looping arms “suspend everyone” soccer thug charge! Hunter, ever wily, goes all drunken monkey style and counters with a Women’s Studies nut shot.

    Your kung fu is strong today, everyone, your kung fu is strong.

    I did two Muay Thai sessions this week, so I’m too tired to fight. I will instead go all zen on you with a calming haiku:

    Gazdic a player?
    played 67 games but
    at hockey not good

  48. justDOit says:

    delooper:
    … San Jose has plenty of complete, good players now.They have room for Brown.

    Oh yeah.

  49. delooper says:

    Has Icecastles left for Ukraine yet? It’s getting a little more weird there.

  50. Woodguy says:

    Dicky94:
    Woodguy,

    Ott can play the game.

    Agreed that he in a class above the others I mentioned.

    That said he had a negative RelCor on an awful BUF team

    His play has fallen off a cliff, which happens to many physical F after 30.

    He’s also one of those dirty pricks like Cooke and Brown who target skill and never seem to have to fight the Gazdic’s of the world.

  51. Woodguy says:

    Is the Micheal Spacek playing for CZE in the U-18 Jaro’s kid?

  52. fifthcartel says:

    I agree there’s a lot more to worry about than whether Gazdic plays 5-8 minutes a night, but that’s just one part of the game MacT/Eakins are handicapping themselves.

    We know the Oilers are an awful team, but any roster moves that can make any sort of difference should welcomed. This is just another area where the Oilers are on the losing end, and they’re choosing to do so.

  53. Caramel Obvious says:

    hunter1909: Given the power to, this poster would have Women’s Studies taught to the players between periods. With penalties for not agreeing wholeheartedly with it’s “message”.

    Go fuck yourself. The quality level of your character is matched only by the deficiencies of your intellect. People who need to devote so much of their energy to breathing and staying upright should not waste any on having opinions. The ability to speak is wasted on you.

  54. Woodguy says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    lest they break into body language

    I love you.

  55. Woodguy says:

    Bulging Twine:
    Just fyi.This off of nhl.com.Perry Pearn talks about the Oilers defence:

    “You never have a good transition game without a group of defensemen that has some mobility and that can move the puck,” Pearn said. “Even a [Scott] Hannan in this group looks pretty good because the puck is moving quickly and it doesn’t expose the defensemen as much as it would if the puck wasn’t getting up the ice quickly. You can have a good set of forwards, but if the defensemen can’t get them the puck I think that ends up being your Achilles heel. A real good example of that is in Edmonton. The Oilers have some pretty good young forwards, but their defense isn’t at the same level as the forwards and consequently the forwards don’t get the puck. In this case, San Jose is doing a really good job of moving it smartly and quickly up the ice.”

    I want Pearn to be the Oilers special teams coach next year something fierce.

  56. hunter1909 says:

    Fans of winning hockey teams seem to understand the game better than fans of losing teams.

    This is a generalization, with many exceptions. Still, I’ve found that fans of say, the Blackhawks, or the Red Wings are able to take the long as opposed to the short view that fans of palooka franchises *cough oilers* never seem to get. This is understandable, since watching a poor sports team, like watching a business flounder has a tendency to drive one berserk.

    In my acquaintance there are more than a few Boston Bruins fans; every one of them wants Luke Gadzic on the Bruins. Go figure.

  57. hunter1909 says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    There’s a saying: if you believe it’s real, it is real.

    If our young players believe the bench needs a Hulk on skates to dishevel the playing field, then maybe we do, at least until they grow up.Perhaps our young stars need their soother.

    It’s only sensible to keep them happy, lest they break into body language.

    Individual people have this tendency to see life through their own prejudices, field of vision etc which in most cases is limited to school experience, at work where rumors are rife instead of hard, painfully truthful data. Human beings all, we shy away from what we feel uncomfortable with. In the case of the under 25 Oiler players, they’re literally getting beaten up night after night on the ice. Now, what sort of parents allow this? Why don’t Kevin Lowe and his cronies do anything to protect these innocents?

  58. Lowetide says:

    hunter1909:
    Fans of winning hockey teams understand the game better than fans of losing teams.

    In a world of crazy, this is Everest.

  59. misfit says:

    The Oilers just can’t win with these 4th line fighters. Gazdic should have been the end of it. He’s good at what he does. they got him for nothing off waivers, he’s cheap, and he’s no better or worse than the other guys around the league who do the same thing.

    The problem is, Mike Brown, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Steve MacIntyre, and Zach Stortini all should have been the end of the search too, but every year our management team still spends time looking for another one, even though they all do the same thing, for the same money, and do the same to help you win games (nothing).

    Gazdic had a pretty serious shoulder injury that apparently has a recovery of about 6 months. That puts his return to sometime around training camp/pre-season. Shoulder surgery is a pretty big deal for any player, but for a guy whose bread and butter is being bigger and stronger than other big and strong men, I worry that MacT and co. will feel they need to go out and replace him too. I just hope they were satisfied with what they saw from Pinizzoto and just keep him around just in case and not spend any real time and effort trying to find next year’s Luke Gazdic.

    If the Oilers want that type of player at the bottom of the roster, then fine. Go out and get one, just stop treating them like they’re an important piece to the puzzle. Replacing the worst 4th line goon in the league with the best 4th line goon in the league won’t make the 28th ranked team a good team. It won’t even make them the 27th ranked team (all else being equal of course).

  60. hunter1909 says:

    G Money: Hunter, ever wily,

    Trying to argue with some people, you might as well be in a thatched cottage surrounded by cannibals, milliseconds before fighting over the last bullet in the revolver.

    If Caramel Obvious(a notorious cannibal apologist) is there, I pretend to be calm, then say something like “Say, Caramel. What about that Kevin Lowe?” …then while he’s wondering what clever sounding thing to say I make my move for the revolver.

  61. icecastles says:

    delooper: Has Icecastles left for Ukraine yet? It’s getting a little more weird there.

    Not for a few weeks. Assuming I’m going back, which is up to the Feds at this point.

    Edit: I’m not too worried about the armed conflict though, if I get sent to Donetsk or the eastern regions… I got goalie pads, bitches! Bring it!

    Caramel Obvious: hunter1909: Given the power to, this poster would have Women’s Studies taught to the players between periods. With penalties for not agreeing wholeheartedly with it’s “message”.

    Go fuck yourself. The quality level of your character is matched only by the deficiencies of your intellect. People who need to devote so much of their energy to breathing and staying upright should not waste any on having opinions. The ability to speak is wasted on you.

    Damn, I’m missing a good thread here!

    I have to admit… I’m opposed to fighting in hockey. But every time there’s a fight, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs for them to rip each others’s arms off.

  62. VanOil says:

    My ideal bottom six has two lines with specific roles;

    A Shutdown Line, consisting primarily of veteran players that can handle tough zone starts against good opposition saving the OZ starts for the scoring talent in the top 6. On the Oilers this could easily be constructed out of Gordon, Hendricks an Lander. Gadzook has no role on a shut down line.
    A Kid/Energy Line, young guns not quite ready for prime time that get average zone starts against easy competition. Providing in house callup options for the top 6 and #2 special team options. Speed and big hits would be nice, the odd goal even nicer. Arco and Pitlick are a good in house foundation to this line with Kharia and Chase will soon be challenging for spots. Horak, Larsen and Pizzano could also serve time here if a Vet UFA or the #3 pick does not fill the spot. Gadzook has no role on a kid line he does not skate, pass or cycle well enough. The kids do not need a boat anchors they need life preservers. (Hire Malhotra for the Shutdown line and Gordon could take this ‘Horcoff’ role)

    MacT and Eakins do not have to work hard to fix the bottom 6. They just need to think hard on what wins hockey games. They can work hard getting a Defensemen and some coaching help for Eakins if they are able to make this mental leap. I have no problem with Gadzook earning his pay check from the press box and only dressing when playing Calgary, Toronto and Buffalo as we will hardly need talented players to beat them. 10 games would be just about right for Gadzook, 20 should be the top end. Sadly it will be many more than that.

    Note, Malhotra is a 6’2″ 220lb one eyed hockey player who is a veteran and a fitness freak. Not to mention one of the best face off men in the history of the league. a team with Malhotra in the bottom six might not win as many fights as a team with Gadzook there but they will win more games. Gadzook made more money playing hockey last year than Malhorta because hockey GMs (not just the Oilers) are not that rational.

  63. VanOil says:

    Red line has Reinhart now listed at the same 6’1″ a Draisaitl. Is there an accurate measuring tape out there?

    I have Reinhart as the BPA by quite a margin in the draft if Bennett and Ekblad fill the top two spots I could not pass on Reinhart for the big German. Way to much talent and pedigree to pass up. Either one of the WHL centers would be great additions to the the Oilers (preferably in a couple years). It is sad that Calgary may get one too.

  64. stevezie says:

    icecastles: I have to admit… I’m opposed to fighting in hockey. But every time there’s a fight, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs for them to rip each others’s arms off.

    Right? It’s the darndest thing.

    My biggest defence of fighting has nothing to do with tactics. I like the idea that, in the NHL, you have to back it up. If you puff out your chest and declare yourself cock of the walk, someone is going to make you prove it. I don’t like hollow men. In other sports you can pretend to be tough. In the NHL you have to be tough, and let others start spreading your reputation for you. This is old-fashion “honour” based nonsense, but it appeals to me.

    That said, even the NHL is moving away from this. Engineering the rules of fighting so that those who don’t want to fight don’t have to is great, because it keeps Brad Marchant from just jumping a Sedin, or Kassian from jumping Gagner, The downside is the hollow men, like Marchant or Kassian, don’t have to fight either. No one calls them tough, but what does it matter? The tactics they employ are effective for their team and lucrative to their bank accounts.

    Looks to me like we can chose between fighting, dirty play, or a less physical NHL. CO’s plan would work, because it would make extreme, but legal physical play too risky to attempt. Even honest physical play can go very wrong when conducted at high speed, and good players would just stop. I’m not willing to go there yet, but some of this concussion information is horrifying and we may not have a choice.

    Of course, calling a less violent NHL “women’s studies” shows a fantastic ignorance of both hockey and women’s studies.

  65. Lowetide says:

    VanOil:
    Red line has Reinhart now listed at the same 6’1″ a Draisaitl. Is there an accurate measuring tape out there?

    I have Reinhart as the BPA by quite a margin in the draft if Bennett and Ekblad fill the top two spots I could not pass on Reinhart for the big German. Way to much talent and pedigree to pass up. Either one of the WHL centers would be great additions to the the Oilers (preferably in a couple years). It is sad that Calgary may get one too.

    We spoke to Reinhart on the Saturday Sports Extra show today. He said he’s a hair below 6.01, and around 186 right now.

  66. prairieschooner says:

    In Soccer we talk about luxury players, these are players who are not complete players but may have a particular skill set that is desired.
    Teams can not have too many luxury players because other parts of the team have to be able to cover for the luxury players deficiencies.
    So the offensively gifted Sam Gagner is somewhat of a luxury player (I think it is tougher to carry a luxury player with 3 forwards.
    Luke Gazdic as an enforcer is a luxury player
    Justin Schultz is a luxury player
    There may be others to varying degrees but finding actual NHL players and keeping them will solve a lot of issues

  67. Rebilled says:

    Mike Babcock looks more and more like Abraham Lincoln as days go by.

  68. VanOil says:

    Lowetide,

    I will try and listen to the show. Thanks for the scouting!

  69. Pcot says:

    Caramel Obvious: I really disagree with this.The worst thing the NHL does is to scapegoat guys like Cooke and Torres while dirty players like Shane Doan and Duncan Keith are “good guys.”

    The problem more than anything is selective discipline.Targeting Kassian or Cooke with selective enforcement won’t change anything.Suspending Seabrook for 10 games in the playoffs would.

    The suspensions need to be larger and they need to be consistent.There isn’t anything complicated about this.I’d make the minimum suspension five games. Minimum suspension for a minor injury 10 games.Minimum suspension for a major injury 20 games.Increments go up in groups of five.

    So Bickell gets five games for his knee.Cooke would get at least 10, maybe 15.Seabrook would get 15.Kassian would get 20.If you want to have a playoff discount then divide the playoff suspensions by a half or a third.In any event, right now the punishments are meaningless because they aren’t severe enough.Make them credible and apply them consistently and the problem would go away in one season.

    Long time reader, first time commenting.
    I agree with longer and more consistent suspensions but have to disagree with suspensions being based on injury. This seems to me to be the biggest issue with how Shanahan handed out suspensions. Players must be suspended based on the act not the result. If the act was wrong and suspension worthy lay it on them thick, send the message. It is only letting a player get off lucky if they get no suspension, or a light sentencing when their victim is not injured. Unfortunately this issue likely has deeper routes as penalties are often handed out based on injury or apparent force of impact when a hit would be clean otherwise.

  70. One-Timer says:

    Pcot,

    I thought Shanny was pretty focused on intent to injure with his very specific analyses of players’ actions leading up to the incident. Then again, this was the same guy who thought Cooke “accidentally” sliced Karlsson’s achilles.

    Hey I’m new at posting here too. We should team up to convince Woodguy that the Oilers need Mike Brown back on the 4th line.

    * WG slams head on computer desk *

  71. Pcot says:

    One-Timer,

    Ya, he used that language often. Unless you can read minds it doesn’t do much for me. Not denying that intent to injure exists, but firmly believe if the act is suspendable, it should be so consistently.

    Haha, Oil need more size than Brown, size that can play! Let’s try to bring back JFJ!

  72. One-Timer says:

    Pcot,

    Agreed – every player should be responsible for all of his dangerous actions on the ice, intentional or accidental.

  73. "Steve Smith" says:

    Pcot,

    I actually mostly agree with this, but I can tell you that it runs completely counter to how the criminal justice system does things, just in case you think those guys know what they’re doing.

    (The analogy between NHL suspensions and the criminal justice system isn’t perfect, mind you – the difference that appears to me to be most relevant is that most people caught up in the criminal justice system are likely to respond less rationally to the system of disincentives that are put in place, by reason of mental illness, addiction, etc. But at least in principle, they have similar objectives, and similar mechanisms by which to achieve those objectives.)

  74. J-Bo says:

    With regards to tough guys, policing, and NHL player safety, I think the real point is that we are in this transition era where the league and NHLPA are becoming the sheriff’s in the old west town. The old west town used to just let the outlaws police the outlaws, but the townsfolk thought it was best to hire a sheriff to wrangle everybody and boost the local economy. The problem is that the sheriff is a little overweight and drinks too much and so the townsfolk don’t know whether they should hire their own personal bodyguards or hope the sheriff gets his problems sorted out! Therefore; however long it took to tame the wild west is about how long it will take until “enforcers” are no longer the norm in the NHL ;)

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