Monday, December 31, 2007

LiveBlogging: Oil @ Jackets.

With Matt out of town with the family, I'll be watching this one on sopcast. You can download the player here and find out what games are showing here. Tonights game is on channel 36000.

First period.

- I didn't expect to see Roli in net, you'd think MacT would have gone with Garon after the 5 goal Wild game.

- Pies is in the game despite the injured foot, that's good to see.

- Souray leads a rush and puts a weak shot on net. Honestly, I wish the guy would just stick to his strengths and avoid his weaknesses (carrying the puck up ice).

- Columbus announcers talking about how Hejda is logging a lot of minutes and leading the team in plus/minus. I'm lookin' at you Kevin Lowe.

- Penner gains position on Foote on a dump in but nobody comes in support. I'm not convinced Gagner is a great fit for this line, he's probably the weakest player on the team on the boards.

- 1-0 Jackets. A fairly innocent looking rush leads to a rebound goal. Can't really put that play on anyone, although the offensive cycle ended with Gagner being in poor position to receive a Penner pass.

- Judging by the early results, I'd say our chances to win this game are extremely poor. We have not managed to generate any offense (rush or cycle) and Columbus has looked dangerous on the rush.

- I'm really puzzled by the Roli start, I don't think the team feels as comfortable with him back there as they do with Garon. It's not that Roli is playing particularly poorly, rather, I think it's more that Garon has stolen some games, and the team knows they need their goalie to be exceptional to win games.

- Westcott takes a poor holding penalty on Nilsson, Hitch won't be happy.

- Souray sucks when he gets pressured on the PP. He needs time and space to either make a pass or take a shot. I think the guy at the opposing point really has to be comfortable handling the puck. Maybe Toronto would be willing to give up Kaberle for 'five assets'. I mean if five assets can get you Pronger why not Kaberle?

- Nash and Zherdev hem our top line in it's own zone for an excess of two minutes. It's not pretty.

- Souray takes a couple bombs at ES. The only problem was Leclaire saw them both and made what looked like two fairly easy saves.

- 18-28-46 is a very weird line. Still, they just put together the best offensive cycle I've seen so far in this game.


After we had watched Smid's game a few times last year, I remember a conversation between Matt and I about his upside. We didn't think he had the offense to be a guy like Kaberle, and agreed that Ohlund represented a fairly solid high point. I mentioned this comparison a month or so ago on HF, and some guy shot me down saying that Smid doesn't have the same physical edge. I beg to differ, the only positive thing I can see out of the young kids game this year is that he's playing a lot more physical. He just gave Rick Nash a couple shots to the back of the head during a puck battle behind the net. I think a lot of people forget that he's still just a 21 year old kid. I can remember that at 21 my body was still growing in terms of strength. Smid possesses a big frame and there is no reason he can't play with and Ohlund-like edge. I'm really interested to see how he plays with Gilbert. It seems to me that every guy that has played with 77 (Pitkanen, Tarnstrom, Grebeshkov) played their best hockey while paired with him. Perhaps I'm giving Gilbert too much credit, but I've certainly seen a pattern.

Second period.

- Grebeshkov with a stupid giveaway that leads to a Jackets rush and a Pisani penalty. He does at least one momentously stupid thing a game. I think the BoA glossary needs a new term.

- Columbus powerplay looks really good. Roloson bails out his team with a great save on a Chimera one-timer.

- 46 and 28 with another great cycle down low. I don't understand why ANYONE rags on 28's game. He always brings the effort and energy that you need out of your cheap 4th liners. Also, he's surprisingly strong on the cycle and brings a bit of offense.

- 1-1. Chopper bounces on a rebound in the slot. Great job by Staios to keep the puck in and by Souray to recognize that it was time to put the weak wrister on net.

- Chimera takes a hooking penalty on big Penner. Oilers powerplay.

- Columbus kills the first 40 seconds with up ice pressure. Souray with a bomb and Penner takes the puck to the front of the net.

- 2-1 Jackets. SHG. A harmless rush up ice turns into Souray committing at his own blue line leading to a Nilsson vs Nash mismatch on a rebound down low. Nilsson drops to block the shot and Nash goes top corner. Certainly a more experienced forward would have been all over Nash but Robert's effort was still there. He hustled back into the play and took away the bottom of the net with his attempted block.

2-2. Leclaire is handcuffed by a weak Staios shot. Merry Christmas Stevie.

- Jackets with some sustained pressure. Oilers get bailed out by a Delay of game call. Oilers PP.

- I think MacT has decided to leave Souray out for nearly the whole powerplay. I support his decision, it certainly isn't going to make the powerplay any worse.

- Horc gets stripped by Nash leading to a golden chance at the conclusion of the period. We really can't have our veterans making these kinds of mistakes.


A better period for the Oil. Some early pressure leads to some chances and a powerplay. Unfortunately, we gave up a shorthanded goal on one of those powerplays. Jackets recover and carry the last 8 minutes of the period. We need to come out fast and strong in the third. A regulation loss here would be heartbreaking.

Third period.

- Nash gets his stick up high on Horcoff. Oilers pick up a short 5-3. Hopefully we can see Souray at his best on this PP.

- I can NEVER understand why a team would dump and chase on a 5-3. The Oilers get lucky and manage to retrieve the puck.

- Stoll takes a slapshot that gets blocked and cleared down the ice. Bye bye 5 on 3.

- That was a pathetic powerplay.

- Columbus with more sustained offensive zone pressure. Horcoff with a RIDICULOUS give away to Nash in the high slot. Smid bails him out with a diving play to knock the puck away. Columbus broadcasters talking up Smid's performance.

- Gagner takes a lazy penalty and Columbus goes to the PP with a lot of momentum. We dodged some bullets in the first kill let's see if we can do it again.

- Columbus gets some sick pressure late in the powerplay. Lucky for us they couldn't seem to hit the net.

- Tarnstrom looks lazy out there. I wonder if it's a conditioning thing from sitting out, or if he's just not motivated to actually try out there. Perhaps both?

- I loved that down low angle of Stortini fighting off the Jackets defenseman on the cycle. You can pinpoint the exact moment the play broke down: right when he decided to chip it over to Gagner.

- Souray looking pilon-esque as he gets beat for a Jackets SC.

- Gilbert shows a lot of poise carrying the puck out of his zone. Matt and I were just talking on the phone and we discussed Gilbert's ability to take pressure off of his partner. I think his ability to win one on one battles and safely carry the puck out of dangerous areas really takes the panic out of his defensive game. There is a certain calm when he is on the ice

- Great cycle game by 18-13-34. Unfortunately, the momentum ends with Chopper taking a stupid penalty.

- Good start to the PK, Columbus gets setup with a 1:20 left. We manage to keep it to the outside and clear the zone. Columbus gets possession in the O-zone with 30 seconds left.

- 3-2 Jackets. Another Rolibound leads to an easy Nash goal. The real shame was that our PK looked far more effective than on the previous two kills. Just goes to show sometimes you do things right and your goaltender lets you down.

4-2 Jackets. Nash pots one into the empty net from just over the blue line. Nothing like a game versus the Oilers to cure a goal scoring slump.

- Some excitement in the last minute of the game, capped by what must be Souray's 10th missed shot of the game. The puck went all the way around the boards and out of the zone. I know he has a big shot, but it's painfully obvious that he needs time and space to make anything happen offensively. It's no surprise that he brings very little in terms of ES scoring, so why have the guy out there 6-5? Seems to me that most goals scored in 6-5 situations are bang bang plays down low. With 11 guys in the offensive zone, there really isn't much space to get stuff through.


Smid had a pretty good game. Just under 20 minutes, most of it as ES, even on the game. I didn't see any real holes in his game and he made a couple solid plays. In the last 7 games, the Oilers have been utterly terrible in the third period. I'm not sure anything can be done to help this problem, it looks to me like it's a product of too many kids and not enough vets. It's painfully obvious that we can't have guys like Hemsky and Pitkanen out and still expect to compete.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Stoll, Nilsson, Schremp, and Smid for Brad Richards.

Sanderson to PHX for a 4th.

Roli to PIT for a 2nd.

Sign Gilbert for 15.5 over 5.

Sign Pitkanen for 22.5 over 5.

Pray the salary cap goes up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Postgame: Oilers @ Blues.

Just a couple notes from tonights game:

- I couldn't believe how white my knuckles were after that two minute 5-3. Great job by Horc to knock down those two passes and get the puck out of the zone. Garon also came up with a couple big saves.

- Robert Nilsson continues to produce offense without hurting the team defensively. This kid really deserves some credit at some point. That pass to Fernie on the game tying goal was a beauty, he patiently out waited Walker to free up the lane.

- I really think Souray is the kind of guy that needs his coach to put him in a position to succeed. I think MacT needs to keep him off the ice at EV and run him dry on the PP and PK. Further, I don't think Souray should ever lead a breakout on the powerplay with Pitkanen on the ice, it just doesn't make sense.

- Pisani is playing great. I remember a specific play in the second where Nilsson skated into heavy traffic at the St Louis blue line. He got stuck and looked like he was going to turn it over, but at the last second he frantically threw it in Fernando's direction, who promptly got it in deep then went off for a line change. Certainly reminiscent of Smid and Staios' dynamic. I don't think it's any coincidence that Gagner and Nilsson have picked up their game since Fernando's return.

- Garon had a solid outing. The first goal was stoppable, but the other 3 were 5 star chances. His success in the shootout is actually starting to look repeatable; could it be that his unorthodox style is more effective in the shootout? All I know is that I feel pretty confident when we end up in a shootout. When the score was 4-3 for the Blues the cameraman on the St. Louis feed cut to some cute kid holding up a "It's my Birthday" sign. I joked to Matt that the kid was going to receive a shootout loss for a present. I'm glad I was right.

- Smid and Staios both had ugly games, but at least in the case of the former, we can expect some improvement over time. Unfortunately for Staios, he is unlikely to get any better. Steve made two egregious mistakes on the Weight tip-in goal. First he rung the puck around the boards late in a shift when he had time for a controlled breakout. Then, he left Weight uncovered and unchecked for the tip in.

- We have a legit top line that other coaches are going to have to respect. Penner managed to carry the momentum he gained while playing with Horc and Nilsson into his second stint on the PHH line. Further, Horcoff is excelling in a offensively focused role at ES, while still coming up big on the PK.

- Grebeshkov is great as long as you limit his ice time. He does create some offense and as long as you aren't asking him to check Iginla, seems to be able to hold his own in the D-zone.

- Pitkanen with another solid effort. Matt and I are both ecstatic with his ability to jump into plays on a consistent basis, yet still get back into the play when the puck heads back the other way.

- Tommy Gun had a bit of an off night, by my memory he made one rather big mistake that led to a giveaway and a SC early in the second. However, he still made a great play offensively where he stepped through three blues defenders and out waited another to setup Gagner on a beauty chance. It's too bad that a trailer had just got to Gagner to break up the play, it looked like we were going to get a solid SC out of Tom's efforts.

- Stoll and Torres continue to do very little. I missed the Dallas game, but if this was the kind of effort they put up, then those two still have a long way to go.

Friday, December 07, 2007

LiveBlogging: Blues @ Oilers.

- Missed the first 5 minutes of the game, Matt told me we were playing well.

- Great looking first powerplay, it's too bad Penner didn't read off of Hemsky taking it to the front of the net just as the man advantage expired, that could have been a pretty goal.

- Johnson had Garon beat, but put if off the side of the net. That would have been a real momentum killer.

- Horc hits the post with a great looking release. He has been great this season.

- 2-1 turns into a 1-1 down low for Thor. Cogliano makes an ugly pass and Thor doesn't much on the shot.

- 1-0 Blues - This game is looking High even so far. Stepniak makes a nice play as Rourke finds himself in no man's land. Boyes then cleans up the garbage.

- Hemmer and Penner on a 2-1. If Hemmer makes the pass, I think Penner puts it in, Matt agrees. Hemmer's second drawn penalty so far, he's having a solid game.

- Grebs and Smid out to start the PP on the point. Matt thinks it's a shorty waiting to happen. Next thing you know Johnson and McClement create a quality SC. Matt thinks that was a penalty on Pitkanen, he's happy we are still on the PP.

- Great chance and Gagner breaks his stick. Hopefully we'll start to capitalize on some of these opportunities. It's looking like another "blues backup" kind of game (fuck you Sanford).

- Nice little play by Cogliano to get Brodziak a nice chance

- 1-1 Beauty play by Hemmer. Gets in there to get the faceoff win, draws in basically the whole Blues team and dishes to Horc, who takes a great shot for the gaol. Kinger think Horcoff's shot has drastically improved since last year.

- I love watching Pitkanen play. Pinches down low to support the puck with such confidence, and he's got the skating ability to get back when things go wrong.

First Intermission 1-1
-Good period. I think the team deserves better than a tie game, and the St. Louis broadcast team agrees with me.

On Stoll and Torres, here is Kinger and my chat log from earlier today
Kinger: weird eh
Matt: Crazy.
Kinger: did you hear about that yelling match
Kinger: from last game
Matt: I heard. Not sure what happened there. There's so much hearsay in the whole thing. But this benching leads one to believe the hearsay may have some merit.
Kinger: yea i agree
Kinger: the fact that they both ate it
Kinger: leads me to believe in the stortini rumour a bit
Kinger: seems to make sense
Matt: Yeah.
Kinger: i can see raffi calling him out too
Kinger: and stoll backing him up
Matt: The timing is about right too. Because before Pies came back, who would they expect to have on their wing?
Kinger: the whole public side of it from MacT is a deflection
Kinger: i think
Kinger: about struggling or whatever
Matt: But with him back, they got pissed off when they still had Stortini
Matt: Yeah
Kinger: there must be a catalyst
Matt: I tend to agree,.
Kinger: i gotta say if it's true
Kinger: good move
Kinger: stortini has played with more balls than both those guys
Kinger: combined
Kinger: it's ridiculous for them to be calling anyone out
Matt: Agreed. You can't have guys questioning the coaching and blaming their teammates like that.
Matt: I don't care if they were playing well or not you can't have that.
Kinger: it's one thing for hemmer to say that stoll and torres needs to be better
Kinger: publicly
Kinger: or horc calling them out
Kinger: it's another thing to have the guys that you are counting on playing shitty and calling others out
Kinger: i mean don't get me wrong
Kinger: it's bad either way
Kinger: but it's especially bad if this is the case
Matt: I suppose. But I would be pretty choked at Horc if he was yelling at MacT on the bench about his anchor LW du jour.
Matt: Yeah, agreed.

Second Period

-WTF just happened? Garon gets dragged to the corner and manages to take a holding the stick penalty!

-Grabbing the stick is alright, but you gotta let go before you end up in the corner.

- Staios, great play on the PK. Good play by Marty to get it out on the next sequence

- Rourke makes a bad decision and decides to skate right in front of his net with McClement right on him. We normally like Rourke's brand of simple hockey, but he just doesn't have the foot speed to lose McClement on that play.

- Nice play by Smid coming out of his own end. He's had a strong game tonight.

- Another penalty drawn by a good shift by Hemsky and Horcoff. Brewer for holding. You could see it coming.

- Great play by the kids on the second unit. Kinger is furious McKee on the Blues didn't take a cross checking penalty for drilling Nilsson after he he took the shot on his chance in front. On the replay it looked absolutely vicious.

- Nice little bit on the Blues broadcast about Weight and Brewer signing autographs for 3rd graders in Edmonton.

- Kinger tells me Penner was awful against Pittsburgh, but we both agree he's looked pretty good tonight. If that pick can get out of the top 10, I'll be perfectly okay with that signing.

- Goalpost for Tkachuk on a wacky play.

- Oilers are getting killed on the draws tonight. The centers are getting waived out a lot as well.

- Couple ugly bounces here leading to sustained Blues pressure. Garon gloves it through a screen and gets a draw. Tkachuk vs. Gagner down low is a bad match.

- Blues powerplay looks pretty good. I don't like Pitkanen on the PK, I'd rather have him fresh for EV and the PP. When Souray returns, i'd like to see Staios - Smid and Gilbert - Souray as the top four on the PK.

Second intermission

Followed up a good first with a shaky second. Our PK looked pretty ugly.

Third Period

- "Pisani stole it", music to Oiler fan ears. His hard play on the board leads to a Oiler powerplay. Thank Doug, we know where your heart is.

- Intentional offside, that's a rare one. Matt is not convinced that Penner knew it was offside.

- Fans boo a terrible PP. A good choice.

- Looks like a pretty chincy call on Gilbert. 2-1 Blues just after the start of the powerplay. Our PK has looked pretty bad so far, it was liable to hurt us eventually.

- 3-1. Dougie gets lucky as the puck goes off Gilbert's pad and through Garon's legs.

- 3-2. Nilsson with his patented one timer goal. Great pass by Gagner to see the seam.

- Doug Weight almost quiets the crowd. Nice save by Garon.

- Pies on the top lines, let's see how this works out.

- 4-2 Blues. Kariya makes Penner pay for a mistake at the blue line.

- Matt thinks if we score 4-4 then on the PP we can win this. Lol.

- 4-3
. Marty puts in a nice pass from Horc. We're still in this.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Good.

1. Sean Horcoff: He's off to a solid start (2-4-6 ESP in 8 GMs), and doing everything the team asks of him. The man is pure hustle on the ice. I've seen him make a few mistakes in his coverage, especially on the PK, but beyond that his game has been very solid.

2. Tom Gilbert: Honestly who thought that going into this years TC that Gilbert would establish himself as an everyday player? Taking into consideration our plenitude of "puck moving" defenseman going into this years TC, it certainly surprised me that Tom managed to play his way onto the opening day roster. He makes smart plays with the puck in his zone, and is consistently good in his outlet passing. An extremely pleasant surprise.

3. Matt Greene: I watched him play terribly in both Vancouver pre-season games (one live and one on Snet Pacific). Both performances left me very discouraged; I really felt that Matt had turned a corner in the last 20 games of the 06-07 campaign. Sure the team was horrible, but Greene was logging 20+ minutes and looking damn good doing it. In the 7 games I have seen so far this year, I think Greene has played very well (<3 PDO). He has yet to take a penalty that I wouldn't want him to take (9 mins, a 5 minute fighting major versus the Dys and 2 roughing + 2 instigator last night vs the Flames for telling David Hale not to stick out his knee at Ales Hemsky). He plays the body well and is doing a pretty good job at puck separation in his own zone. He's not perfect by any means, but I think he's played well.

4. Ales Hemsky: Up until Lowetide posted something about the Law of Averages, our young Czech star was playing like a madman. Since then, he's cooled down from "unreal" to "best player on the ice". I am shocked by all the criticism I read of him on here. His shooting is WAY up this year; he's been taking the puck to the net and I'll have to agree with Lowetide, the results can't be far off.

5. Kyle Brodziak: He makes simple smart plays with the puck, and certainly will help this team win down the road. It's important for teams to have young cheap talent that can contribute in the W/L column, and I think this kid certainly fits the category. He's playing so well, the opposition has yet to score at ES while he is on the ice. That's gotta count for something.

6. Marty Reasoner: No longer known by my buddy Matt and I as "The Ghost of Marty Reasoner", he has re-energized his NHL career. Much like Brodziak, Marty has been making smart and simple plays with the puck, and often manages to put himself in the right place at the right time in both ends of the ice. I have been very impressed with his play so far this year.

6. Sam Gagner: Wow, this kid is something. Just three months after his 18th birthday, the guy has earned himself a spot on the Oilers roster. I have been absolutely blown away with this kids moxy; he really has displayed (at a young age) an ability to read and react to the play at a very high level. There is a lot of talk about players straight out of junior needing time to adjust to the speed of the NHL game. Sam seems to have completely skipped this stage of development.

7. Andrew Cogliano: I "saw him good" in Vancouver during the pre-season and commented here that: "Cogliano makes a difference out there, his speed really opens up on the ice. I think he should make the team" . After watching him in 8 NHL games, I gotta say that my analysis was spot on. Around game 2 or 3 of the season, MacT commented that Cogliano displays a rare talent that he hadn't seen since Mike Peca's time with the Oil. Specifically, he was referring to their ability to create instant offense at any particular time. This talent is very hard to find, and I gotta agree with MacT here: Cogs has it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Phoenix Game Day

The word over at Lowetide's is that the Hockey Jesus is getting the kind of linemates befitting our Lord and Saviour. Hopefully Robbie spends more time on his feet and less on his ass in this one.

Normally, I'd be concerned about a line featuring 3 players who have questionable defensive abilities on the road. Especially considering Hemsky needs to get his minutes at EV, no matter who his linemates are. However, it's against Phoenix. I'm pretty comfortable running our high-skill high-event guys against theirs, and they don't really have anything else. What match up against the Coyotes really scares you? Shane Doan is a nice player, but who else? Mike York was a hell of a player in Edmonton, but I'm pretty sure he spent the entire lockout eating delicious Belgian chocolate cakes. Wayne might end up running out guys like Hanzal and Mueller, and I'll take that match any day.

To me, this is really Schremp's shot right here. He doesn't have to score tonight, but if he doesn't at least show some flashes I'm going to transfer all hope and attention to a newer, shinier prospect. Somehow I don't think I'd be the only one.

Also: Sheldon Souray is hurt. I have no idea how to feel about this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

MacT Is Pissed.

Poor Ryan Rishaug.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

“Nothing too big, he hit me there’s nothing I can do about it,” Hemsky said. “I don’t think I can fight with him”

With a division tilt against Minnesota rapidly approaching this evening, all the talk in Oil town centers around the Wilds 'star' enforcer Derek Boogaard. Frankly, I think this years Oilers are better suited to punish Lemaire for putting the Boogie man out there. Speed was a factor in the preseason and in the first two home games, as long as we can keep the puck moving up ice, a guy like Boogaard turns from an asset to a liability.

I'll be liveblogging this game at 6:00 PM MT.

- Oilers spend 2 minutes running around in their own zone and get bailed out by a Wild penalty.

- Pitkanen with a nice rush early on the PP. I like that quick shot by Hemsky.

- Looks like they were able to get Souray a little more involved on the PP. That powerplay looked a lot better than the one we saw in Detroit.

- Hemsky with back to back ugly neutral zone turnovers. Second one leads to a Gaborik SC.

- Stoll with a nice play in the defensive zone, strips the puck and moves it up ice.

- With the exception of that play by Stoll, the Wild are winning all the battles down low in our zone. It's just a matter of time before they get one out of all this pressure.

- Greene makes a nice play breaking up a Gaborik pass then skating it to center and getting it in deep.

- Hemsky with a great individual effort capped by a Pitkanen scoring opportunity.

- Pouliot in the right spot in the defensive zone breaks up a pass to Gaborik. Cycle is really killing us though.

- Big surprise, the Wild score after 45 seconds of offensive zone pressure. 1-0 Wild.

- Nilsson takes a high stick, no call.

- Pouliot with some really nice work down low. 22-16-78 looking pretty good out there.

- Tarnstrom - Souray pairing shows up on an offensive zone face off with Gaborik on the ice. It will be interesting to see if MacT keeps these two together.


- Pouliot had a solid period, created some offense and was one of the few Oilers that looked decent in his own end.
- I thought Greene looked good again this period.
- Cycle is absolutely chewing us up. We are constantly one pass behind the play.


- Souray starts the period out there with Tarnstrom, looks like MacT may be tiring of the Goliath pairing.

- Some nice offensive zone pressure leads to an Oiler powerplay, nice shift for 8-19-51.

- 2-0 Wild. Oilers get caught watching as the Wild top line strikes again.

- The play has died a lot on Sanderson stick in the offensive zone so far this game.


- Not much
- The Wild look like a far better team.


- Way too many offsides, by my casual eye it looks like 8+ so far this game for the Oil.

- I'm tired of hearing Cuthbert and Healy chirping off about how great Backstrom has played. I can count the quality Oiler scoring chances on one hand. Mike Morrison would be sporting a shut out at this point.

- The kids are really looking like kids in this game. Watching Walz toss Cogliano off the puck behind the net makes me sad ;(

- Where are the hits? JFJ and Torres have done absolutely nothing so far this game.

- What's with the obsession with "blind passes" (Torres, Nilsson and Sanderson). The Wild seems to feed off that sort of junk.

- Some excitement at the conclusion of the game but the Oil show no finish. Another veteran team makes our young club look silly. It's not really worth getting into the goats of this game, pretty much everyone played like junk. Solid games from Hemsky, Horcoff, Roloson, Brodziak, Pouliot, and Reasoner.

Monday, October 08, 2007

LiveBlogging: Oilers @ Wings.

Thanks to Shaw Digital Cable finally offering a Center Ice package, I will be liveblogging a number of games from MattM's place this season. Tonights game should be a real test for the kids; no longer will MacT be able to shelter them from the Thornton's and Briere's of the league. As a side comment, I have been really impressed with Matt Greene so far this season. He looked utterly terrible in the preseason, but from what I saw in the season opener and heard about from the Philly game, he seems to have turned a corner. We'll see how he and the kids do tonight.

- TSN puts sportsnet west to shame in terms of production value, this broadcast is low budget all the way.

- Stoll messes up a clearing attempt and Pitkanen takes a hooking penalty, not a good start.

- Grebeshkov gets stripped behind his own net on the PK, not a pretty play at all. I'm surprised he drew in for Tarnstrom, possible injury?

- Pretty weak call on Staios, didn't look like tripping to me.

- Stoll makes a really soft play and fails to clear the zone, Roloson misplays a wrap around and it's 1-0 Wings. Taking two early penalties on the road in Detroit is a surefire method to get down a goal.

- Lazy stick by Maltby leads to the first Oiler powerplay. What the hell? Didn't Cleary touch that puck before Penner hit him. How is that interference? Either way, the oiler powerplay is negated. Also, it's good to see DP getting physically involved in the game, Hemsky needs someone on his line to put a scare into guys that take runs at him.

- 2-0 Wings. Grebeshkov looks like absolute suck as Chelios walks by him and gets 2 shots before potting the 3rd. So far this kid has NOT impressed.

- 2-1 Wings. The top line with some nice passing and Horc with the finish. Holmstrom takes a quick penalty and the Oilers go back on the powerplay.

- Powerplay ends with no real pressure, Kids have been invisible so far this game.

- Only down by 1 goal after being thoroughly outplayed.
- Brodziak made a couple really heady plays.
- Hemsky is flying
- The 'skilled' kids were invisibile
- Grebeshkov looked pretty bad.
- Ice looks really bad out there. The puck is bouncing all over the place.


- Ridiculous give away leads to a Staios penalty. 3-1 Detroit, this is getting ugly.

- Cogliano with a nice rush and shot playing between 14 amd 12. Looks like Stoll is either a victim of the blender or MacT has decided to give him a seat on the bench. Certainly has not been Stoll's best game thus far.

- Raffi gets his stick up and the Oil are down a man yet again. Greene wins a nice puck battle on the boards early on the PK. Horc makes a real nice play taking Holmstrom out in front of the net and negating a solid scoring chance created by Lidstrom.

- Hemsky loses the puck off of an Oiler offensive zone face off win, but has the sense to make a real nice play on the back check and pickup a man. This kid has come a long way.

- Puck is bouncing everywhere, Oilers get another post off of a tipped Chelios knuckle ball.

- Datsyuk makes the Greene - Souray pairing look absolutely silly. That's a matchup I'm sure that MacT wants to stay away from.

- 3-2 Oil WOW WHAT A PASS! Pitkanen threads the puck through 3 wings right onto Cogliano's stick and he makes no mistake and pots it into the open net. A nice reward to 5 minutes of Oiler pressure late in the period.


- Matt Greene is having a solid game.
- The Oiler defense has looked reliable at 5v5.
- The skilled kids came alive late in the period, capped by Cogliano's goal.
- Our PK has to do a better job clearing the puck and killing time. Detroit has had too many opportunities to setup and make plays in our zone.


- Holmstrom mauls Roli and takes a penalty. Ridiculous Wing pressure just before the call. Second unit powerplay needs some tweaking, perhaps Torres needs to plant his ass on the bench.

- 8-19-51 have looked sloppy on the cycle tonight. I'm seeing a lot of blind passes that aren't connecting.

- Even Nick Lidstrom can't get away with that kind of bear hug. We need to get Souray involved on the powerplay.

- Ugly, Ugly, Ugly. You can tell Souray wants to unleash the bomb, but the team isn't getting him the puck. What a terrible powerplay, second unit looks REALLY bad.

- Pouliot makes an awfully pretty play stepping through a few wings to setup Gagner for a nice scoring chance.

- The refs are really letting the 'boys play' here, couple hilarious non-calls for both the Oilers and the Wings.

- Cogliano really opens up the ice, with speed like that, it's hard for the Wings to keep him from gaining the zone.

- 4-2 Wings. Draper puts it into the net from just across the red line. A fairly predictable outcome.

Final note: The Oilers played pretty well all things considered; we're going to score a lot of goals this year, if we can find a way to limit the opposition from putting the puck into our net, we might be able to squeak into the post season.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Oilers @ Canucks: Preseason Recap.

I went to the game last night with a friend of mine and I liked what I saw. Here are a few things I noticed:

- Brodziak will make this team and dress on opening night. He looks like an NHL'er out there. His speed has improved since last season, and he puts himself in the right places.

- Cogliano makes a difference out there, his speed really opens up on the ice. I think he should make the team.

- I really liked what I saw out of Souray. His shot is huge and he stuck up for Gagner when Kesler took a run at him on an offside. There was one moment on a 1on1 between Souray and some AHL'er where I noticed his problem skating backwards. He kind of lost an edge and stumbled a bit. Beyond that, it was all gravy. I think he can be very successful playing 3-4 minutes at ES with a guy like Smid.

- Tom Gilbert is better than Matt Greene. Poor Tom Gilbert.

- The top line didn't do much at ES until the third, but that's because for the first period and a half MacT was running them Power vs Power versus the twins. Needless to say, the twins were chewing them up.

- I think Gagner should make the team and play soft minutes with Hemsky and Penner. Putting either Stoll or Horc with those two either forces you to take your two best centers out of the checking game, or puts Hemsky and Penner out there in a sitatution where they are not likely to succeed (tough minutes)

- Roy had a bad night. I think he should be sent down ASAP (I think he'll make it through waivers, and if he doesn't, no big loss)

- The Greene - Smid pairing sucks as much this year as it did last year.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kevin Lowe, Pirate

Damn. Twice now I've picked up the phone at work and had Kinger tell me Lowe has done something ridiculous. He's optimistic. As for me, not so much.

First off, I love that Lowe is willing to go for the RFAs. I may question his target and price, but his strategy and methods are, if nothing else, immensely entertaining.

Penner might be a solid player. He saw a lot of the soft minutes last year, but at least he got a taste of what riding shotgun with Todd Marchant is like. Getzlaf made that whole line look good, but I think I'd take Penner ahead of Perry for the Oilers. My main concern with him as a player was that in the playoffs he had about two games where he really impressed me. That being said, I do like the guy as a player.

It might be a little generous, but lets say he's an even bet to cover his contract number over the term. Then the issue comes down to compensation. Would you give up a 1st, 2nd , and 3rd for the guy? I think that the Oilers have the prospect depth that I'd toss the 2nd and the 3rd without a second thought. A mid to late round first and I think the prospect pool can absorb that. However, if that turns out to be a top 5 pick, this becomes terrible asset management.

What this really comes down to is how good that first is. Are the Oilers with Dustin Penner a playoff team? I have my doubts. Are they a lottery team? Lowetide seems to think so. I don't. Lets say I'm cautiously optimistic about this move as a whole, but I think this move has a much better chance of absolutely blowing up in Lowe's face than it does of turning out brilliantly.

I loved the Pitkanen trade, and I loved the Vanek offer sheet. I'm definitely behind the overall RFA raiding strategy. If Burke doesn't match, the Oilers will certainly be a better team next year. What this is really coming down to for me is this: If I told you two weeks ago that the Oilers were going to add 10 million dollars in salary for the next 5 years and send out a 1st,2nd and 3rd, wouldn't you have expected a better team than this?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Can Get Behind Anything

I was sitting at work the other day, and I got a phone call from Kinger.

"Did you see?"
"Oh god, you haven't seen it yet."
At this point I immediately pulled up and saw the lead story.
"Oh god no..."

I had spent the entire commercial/preview time at Transformers the night before explaining to my Flames/Pens sports bigamist friend that there was no way in hell Lowe was going to be stupid enough to give Souray the kind of money he wanted. That Lowe and Co. were too good at analyzing dmen to do something so clearly foolish. Desperation wouldn't overcome their good senses. But it did. At this point, Kinger has managed to talk me off the ledge and now I'm rationalizing the ways in which this is a good thing.

27/5 is less than I thought he was going to sign for originally. That's a little like putting your hand through a table saw and coming out the other side with your pinky intact, but it's still something.

Even if Souray's PP numbers regress to the mean somewhat, we should still be able to pencil him in for at least 15 goals and 25 assists. Now, that's still being reasonably optimistic, but that's what we're doing here.

Montreal was an incredibly bad ES team, overall. One hopes that this should deflate that +/- a bit, but based on the other information I've seen around the Oilogosphere, maybe not. However, when rationalizing something awful, picking your evidence selectively is critical. I don't really know that Souray is awful defensively. I think that he is. The statistical evidence suggests that he is, but I haven't seen enough of Montreal play to judge the context of those numbers. A friend of mine who is a Habs fan loves the guy, so there's something. It's enough to give me hope and some optimism. I'll let the puck drop for the 1st game before I decide that this is not going to work.

This doesn't completely cripple the team's budget. If Lowe gets Pitkanen signed to something long-term, that only leaves Stoll as a major re-signing for next offseason. Assume that his raise is covered by Tarnstrom walking and Gilbert likely getting his spot, then we have however much money we're willing to spend over where we are at now to upgrade on Sanderson. Based on the Vanek offer of 10 in the first season, that seems to be about 4 million real dollars. A 5.5 million dollar left winger would look like a good investment...

So that's the most optimism I can muster. It might not be all bad. Sadly, I'm getting pretty used to looking at this team's moves that way.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gino Odjick: My Hero.

I stumbled across Gino Odjick's SAS Wiki page the other night and quickly found myself overcome with laughter. Here are some of the highlights:

The Quotable Gino Odjick

* Gino Odjick returns to the Montreal Canadiens lineup tonight and, from the sound of things, he has a score to settle with Florida goaltender Trevor Kidd. "I figure (Kidd) will wake up (this morning) at 9:30 and read the paper at 10. That leaves him nine hours to learn the duck dance," Odjick said yesterday. "I haven't played in a week and all I've been doing is shooting at watermelons - because that's the size of his head." "I figure to get 10 minutes of ice (against the Panthers). That means I should be good for three shots. And I was hitting the melon often last week. I'm an Indian, so I'm good at hunting." Gino planned to have revenge on Kidd for comments he had recently made about Pavel Bure, despite the fact that Odjick and Bure were no longer teammates.
* Odjick said he hoped to return to the lineup this season: "If you can teach a dog to run after a ball in a week, you can teach an Indian to run after a puck in a month."
* Gino Odjick on the effect of his suspension without pay and its’ effect on his wife Jolene, "She won’t be able to play bingo or shop for a whole month. Maybe Colin (Campbell) will get what he deserves when I tell her she can’t play bingo or go to the stores. My advice to him is to run."
* Not a quote, but when Gino Odjick was in minor hockey he did not possess an appropriate set of formal attire for attending games . His coach ponied up the cash to get him a fine suit, and then the next day Gino arrived with the suit in tatters and stained with blood. Apparently Gino and his father had encountered a deer on the road and had hunted it down and returned the carcass to their pickup's bed for later consumption.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Can You Believe...

That if you exclude EN goals, the Canucks have scored 9 goals in their last 8 playoff games.

Oh, and they won 4 of those games.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Islander's First Round Pick.

The Islanders could pick anywhere from 11th-17th in the upcoming draft (if they miss the playoffs or go out in the first round). Let's take a look at the quality of players that have been drafted in these positions from 2001-2004 (2005 and 2006 are moot, it's too soon to tell whether or not these players will have an impact).

Legend: Impact Player - NHL Regular - BUST - Too Soon To Tell


11 Phoenix Fredrik Sjostrom
12 Nashville Dan Hamhuis
13 Edmonton Ales Hemsky
14 Calgary Chuck Kobasew
15 Carolina IGOR KNYAZEV
16 Vancouver R.J. Umberger
17 Toronto Carlo Colaiacovo


11 Buffalo Keith Ballard
12 Washington Steve Eminger
13 Washington Alexander Semin
14 Mtl. Canadiens Chris Higgins
17 Washington Boyd Gordon


11 Philadelphia Jeff Carter
13 Los Angeles Dustin Brown
14 Chicago Brent Seabrook
15 NY Islanders Robert Nilsson
16 San Jose Steve Bernier
17 New Jersey Zach Parise


11 Los Angeles Lauri Tukonen
12 Minnesota A.J. Thelen
13 Buffalo Drew Stafford
14 Edmonton Devan Dubnyk
15 Nashville Alexander Radulov
17 St. Louis Marek Schwarz G

2001 to 2004 mid range first round draft results:

Impact players: 9/23* = 39%
NHL Regular: 9/23* = 39%
BUSTS: 5/23* = 22%

* For obvious reasons, I subtracted the 5 too soon to tell players from the total.

I'm a pretty big poker player, and I love turning over AA all in preflop versus an under pair (KK, QQ, JJ). In this situation, I'm approximately a 5-1 favourite to win the pot. These are the same odds Kevin Lowe will have on draft day to turn the Islander's pick into an NHL regular or better.

Here's to Kev's rockets holding up.

Monday, March 19, 2007

MacT is the 2nd best coach in the NHL

Inspired by this article from the 4th period:

Here is my generic and useless list of the 'three things' NHL coaches have in common:

1. Obvious observation about how they work hard.

2. Obvious observation about how their interaction with the public is important.

3. Something stupid about how all coaches get fired.

Here is where I backtrack and say that retiring, stepping down and getting fired are the same thing. I don't bother to prove this, I just put it out there.

Here is where I assert that coaches have an impact on the game. I'm a really big deal you know.

Here i use the word "obstreperous" so that people will take me seriously.

Here I arbitrarily rank 30 NHL head coaches. I don't really have a formula; although I did ask some 'assorted hockey folk' I know to share their uninformed opinions. Here I make sure to attach the obligatory "one man's opinion line", just to make sure no one in their right mind takes me seriously.

30. Coach on a very bad team.
29. Michel Therrien. <--- I smoke rocks.
28. Coach on a very bad team.
27. Coach on a very bad team.
26. Coach on a very bad team.
25. Coach on a bad team.
24. Coach on a bad team.
23. Coach on a bad team.
22. Coach on a bad team.
21. Jim Playfair.
20. Brian Murray. <--- I smoke rocks.
19. Ron Wilson.
18. Coach on a mediocre team.
17. Coach on a mediocre team.
16. Coach on a mediocre team.
15. Coach on a good team.
14. Coach on a good team.
13. Coach on a good team.
12. Coach on a good team.
11. Coach on a good team.
10. Coach on a good team.
9. Coach on a very good team.
8. Coach on a very good team.
7. Coach on a very good team.
6. Paul Maurice. <--- I smoke rocks.
5. Coach on a great team.
4. Coach on a great team.
3. Coach on a great team.
2. MacT.
1. Jesus.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sykora Wants To Stay, But Is He Welcome?

Even with the Oilers out of the playoff picture a year after reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final and mired in the throes an eight-game losing streak, Sykora isn't counting the days until July 1 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team in the league. He says he wants to stay.

"I like it here," Sykora said Wednesday. "The first 40 games, when we had a healthy lineup, that was the best time I've had in hockey in a long time. I'm playing with players who suit me and playing the kind of hockey that suits me."


I wouldn't want to be in Kevin Lowe's shoes when this summer rolls around. On the surface, it seems to be an easy choice to resign Sykora. He has produced at a pretty good clip this year, and if he wants to return for around 3M, resigning him seems like a no brainer. However, as outlined in the post below, Lowe has approximately 8M to spend on 2F, 2D and 1G. If indeed Lowe does want to bring in a big name FA, it is unlikely that there will be 3M dollars to spare in the budget. The only other option would be to move a roster forward to free up budget space. Of the possible forwards (Lupul, Pisani, Moreau, Stoll, Torres), only Lupul seems to make sense. Unfortunately, his value is so low that a trade would pretty much be a salary dump, and I just don't think dealing him under those circumstances constitutes good asset management.

Personally, I'd let Sykora walk and use the money to patch up the blue line.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Money money money money, MONEY.

Let's check out the financial situation of the 2007-2008 Edmonton Oilers.
* Estimated salary.

Lock to make the team:
Horcoff: 3.6
Hemsky: 3.6
Moreau: 2.75
Lupul: 2.535
Pisani: 2.5
Stoll: 2.2
Reasoner: .9
*Torres: 1.9
8/9F @ 20M
Likely to make the team out of camp:
Pouliot: .9
Thoresen: 0.5
Jacques: 0.6
Nilsson: .9
4/5F @ 3M

Lock to make the team:
Staios: 2.9
Smith: 1.9
Smid: 0.7
*Grebeshkov: 0.9 (Lowe stated that he is signed to a 1 year deal)
*Greene: 0.9
4/7D @ 7.4M

Roloson: 3.6
1/2G @ 3.6M

Total committed Salary: 34M

Positions to fill:

Forwards: 1 top 9, 1 press box.
Defensemen: 2 top 6, 1 press box.
Goaltenders: 1 backup.
Budget: 34/42=8M (42M is a generous estimate)

How would you spend the cash?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Springfield Isotopes.

AHL sources say the Oilers will have their farm team in Springfield, Mass. where the league headquarters are, next season with, Tampa Bay moving to Norfolk, Va. The Blackhawks are pulling up stakes in Norfolk to move to Rockford, Ill., just outside Chicago.
- Jim Matheson

Good news from Today's journal, it looks like the Oilers will have a full AHL affiliate next year in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Let's take a look at the minor league depth chart:

Signed through next season:

C: Schremp (AHL), O'Marra (OHL), Pouliot (AHL->NHL), Almtorp (EU), Johansson (EU), Spurgeon (ECHL->AHL), Sestito (AHL->ECHL).
RW: Goulet (ECHL), Stortini (AHL->NHL), Bodie (ECHL->AHL), Thoresen (NHL)
LW: Reddox (ECHL), Jacques (AHL->NHL), Trukhno (QMJHL), Nilsson (AHL)
D: Gilbert (AHL->NHL), Svret (AHL-NHL), Young (ECHL->AHL->NHL), Bisallion (QMJHL)
G: Dubnyk (ECHL)


C: Brodziak (AHL->NHL)
LW: Radunske (AHL->ECHL), Mikhnov (NHL-AHL-EU)
RW: None
D: Roy (AHL->NHL), Grebeshkov (EU)
G: Deslauriers (AHL)

It's safe to say that the Oilers will resign all of the RFAs except Mikhnov. Whether or not he wants to come back to North America on a two-way contract still remains to be seen. Further, Grebeshkov left for the RSL last year after holding out for a one way contract, it's safe to say that he and the Oilers have agreed to a one way deal, so it's unlikely he will be in Springfield.

Unsigned that could go pro:

C: Cogliano (College)
LW: Pettersson (EU)
RW: McDonald (College), Umicevic (EU)
D: Chorney (College), Hrabel (EU)
G: Fisher (College)

Cogliano has publicly stated that he wants to play another year in college. There is a good chance the Oilers will sign Pettersson, Chorney, Umicevic, Hrabel, McDonald and Fisher.

Hypothetical minor league roster:

Jacques* - Pouliot* - Thoresen*
Nilsson* - Schremp* - Stortini*
Trukhno - Brodziak* - Pettersson
Spurgeon- O'Marra - Bodie
Reddox - Goulet - Umicevic
Almtorp - Johansson - Sestito

Gilbert* - Roy*
Svret* - Chorney
Bisallion - Young


*Players marked with asterixes will likely compete for NHL spots.

NHL Roster:

F: Hemsky, Horcoff, Torres, Moreau, Stoll, Pisani, Lupul, Reasoner, UFA 9/14 = 5 spots (2 PB)
D: Smith, Staios, Grebeshkov, Greene, Smid, UFA - 6/7 = 1 spot (1 PB)
G: Roloson - 1/2 = 1 spots

What I would like to see is Brodziak and Jacques in the PB while Pouliot, Nilsson and Thoresen make the line up. I'd also like to see us sign 2 UFA d men, leaving Roy, Svret et al in the minors. Deslaurier as a 25 game backup to Roloson would also be nice.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Patrick Thoresen: Norwegian Extraordinaire!

I thought Thoresen was one of the best Oiler skaters in last nights game against the Ducks. I really like this kid, he's struggled to score for 2+ months yet still has respectable numbers. That's quite an accomplishment for an undrafted player playing his first NHL season.

Desjardins has him 133 league wide in terms of adjust +/- (D and F)

Oilers when he is on the ice:

Oilers when he is not on the ice:

Adjusted ratio:

He's also middle of the pack in terms of quality of competition (281/619).

Very respectable indeed.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

UFAs To Target: Kimo Timonen.

I think Kimo Timonen would be an excellent free agent for Kevin Lowe to go after this offseason. In his post defending Smyth's value, Rivers commented that he has "a sneaking suspicion that if the Oilers do get a UFA, they'll make a major mistake on someone obviously not elite like Timonen." This got me thinking, is Timonen an elite player? From what I can tell, if Smyth is considered elite then so should Timonen. Frankly, I think that 5.5/5 would be spent wisely if we went after Timonen this offseason. He's 31, and I think it's widely agreed that defensemen begin to peak somewhere around 30 years old.

Let's shoot high here, and compare Timonen's and Lidstrom's 2006-2007 campaigns:

Numbers are courtesy of Gabe Desjardins via his site behindthenet

On ice GF/GA

Lidstrom: GF: 3.76 GA: 1.59 Ratio: +2.18
Timonen: GF: 3.90 GA: 2.50 Ratio: +1.40

Both players' numbers are very impressive. However, it's clear that Lidstrom holds a significant advantage.

Quality of Competition:

Lidstrom: 0.0818
Timonen: 0.0793

This is pretty much a wash, both players are playing tough minutes and outscoring their opposition.

Powerplay +/- over 60 minutes:

Lidstrom: +6.05 | Teammates: +5.04 | Ratio: +1.01
Timonen: +7.20 | Teammates: +5.40 | Ratio: +1.80

A clear advantage for Timonen. Moreover, his superiority is still evident when you take into account the superior teammates Timonen is on the PP with.

Shorthanded +/- over 60 minutes:

Lidstrom: -4.50
Timonen: -3.86

Another clear advantage for Timonen.

All and all it appears that Kimo Timonen is an elite player. He significantly outscores his competition while playing the tough minutes and excels on both the PP and the PK. Moreover, when compared to a future HHOF like Lidstrom, Timonen not only holds his own at ES, but looks like the better player on special teams.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ryan Smyth Tribute Video

Courtesy of Youtube's Hemsky

Ryan Smyth's Worth: A comprehensive analysis.

Lowe made the right choice.

I base my opinion on existing contracts, Kevin Lowe's budget, Smyth's production, his durability, his age, his status as an unrestricted free agent, his ability to play tough minutes while outscoring, his leadership and his loyalty to the team he clearly loves to play for.

1. Knowledge of Existing Contracts.

Best Examples:

Jason Arnott: Agreed to a five-year, $22.5 (4.5m/year) million dollar deal in this past off season. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

Arnott* - Smyth
Games: 824 - 770
Goals: 276 (0.33) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 368 (0.45) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 644 (0.78) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Arnott - Smyth*
Games: 81 - 72
Goals: 32 - 42
Assists: 44 - 30
Points: 76 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Steve Sullivan: Agreed to a four-year, $12.8 (3.2m/year) million dollar deal in the summer of 2005. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

Sullivan* - Smyth
Games: 597 - 770
Goals: 175 (0.29) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 274 (0.46) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 449 (0.75) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Sullivan - Smyth*
Games: 81 - 72
Goals: 23 - 42
Assists: 49 - 30
Points: 72 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Rod Brind'Amour: Agreed to a five-year, $18 (3.6m/year) million dollar contract in this past offseason. He was 35 years old when he signed the deal.

Brind'Amour* - Smyth
Games: 1187 - 770
Goals: 382 (0.32) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 599 (0.50) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 981 (0.83) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Brind'Amour - Smyth*
Games: 78 - 72
Goals: 31 - 42
Assists: 39 - 30
Points: 80 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Saku Koivu: Agreed to a three-year, $14.25 (4.75m/year) million dollar contract during last season. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

Koivu* - Smyth
Games: 569 - 770
Goals: 137 (0.24) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 323 (0.58) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 460 (0.80) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Koivu - Smyth*
Games: 72 - 72
Goals: 17 - 42
Assists: 45 - 30
Points: 62 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Daniel Alfredsson:
Agreed to a five-year, $24.7* (4.339m/year) million dollar contract the summer before the lockout. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

*Prorated to reflect lockout rollback

Alfredsson* - Smyth
Games: 629 - 770
Goals: 219 (0.35) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 350 (0.56) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 569 (0.90) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Alfredsson - Smyth*
Games: 72 - 72
Goals: 32 - 42
Assists: 48 - 30
Points: 80 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Martin St. Louis:
Agreed to a six-year, $31.5 (5.25m/year) million dollar contract in this past offseason. He was 30 years old when he signed the deal.

St. Louis* - Smyth
Games: 444 - 770
Goals: 140 (0.32) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 180 (0.41) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 320 (0.72) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
St. Louis - Smyth*
Games: 80 - 72
Goals: 31 - 42
Assists: 30 - 30
Points: 61 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

You can draw your own conclusions from this, I think things are pretty clear.

2. Kevin Lowe's Budget.

Although the salary cap was supposed to introduce parity for the Oilers organization, after two years under the new CBA it's clear that this team will not spend to the cap. Thus all monies must be spent responsibly, so that the team can remain competitive with other organizations that do spend to the cap.

3. Smyth's Production.

Over his career, Smyth has averaged 0.71 Points Per Game. Before this years campaign, his best year in terms of PPG was 2002-2003 where he scored 66 points in 61 games (0.92). This year, Smyth is exceeding this total, and is averaging a point per game. However, it's safe to say that in light of both his career PPG (0.71) and his output this season (1), that it's unrealistic to expect a continuation of the current PPG average throughout the length of a 5 year contract. It is prudent to expect Smyth to put up around 0.80 PPG during that term. Thus the contract should be structured around the expectation of 0.80 PPG. As you can see above, 5.75m/y will buy you a lot more than 0.80 PPG.

4. Smyth's durability

Not including his rookie season, Smyth potentially could have played 868 games at this point in his career. I am aware that this is an unrealistic expectation; however, my intention is only to use it as a basis to determine the percentage of games he has played in.

Potential: 868
Actual*: 786
Percentage: 91%

* Gives the benefit of the doubt that he will play the remaining 19 games this season.

This is a fairly good result. Smyth is neither particularly durable nor is he injury prone.

5. Unrestricted Free Agency.

All the comparable contracts I included were signed by unrestricted free agents. Refer to them for comparison.

6. Tough Minutes and Outscoring Ability.

Here is where you make up the ground between a Jason Arnott and a Ryan Smyth. Their numbers may be similar, but Smyth has taken a much harder road (especially in the last couple years). Still, is this ability really worth in excess of 1m dollars per season on top of the fact that Arnott outscores Smyth? I just can't bring myself to believe that it is.

7. Character and Loyalty.

The above is why I wouldn't have been upset if Smyth had signed for 5.4m/5. By all measurements, even that would have been any overpay. However, one that is understandable due to the intangibles that Ryan Smyth brings to a team. Can you put a dollar value on this sort of thing? Frankly, I think Kevin Lowe did, and that's why he went as high as 27m/5. It's just too bad that they couldn't work things out.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Thoughts On The Trade

1. It is clear that Smyth wanted a 5 year contract in excess of 25 million dollars.

2. Despite his heroics this season, his loyalty to the team and his ability to play tough minutes, Ryan Smyth is not worth in excess of 25 million dollars over 5 years.

3. On an open market, Smyth will more than likely be offered a 5 year deal in excess of 25 million dollars; however, unless you define worth as what the highest bidder is willing to pay, point 2 still stands.

4. It is unfortunate that Ryan's career year in terms of production is coincided with his first shot at unrestricted free agency. Taking into account past production, at best what Smyth can be counted on is an average of 35 goals and 70 points per year over the span of a 5 year contract. Is that kind of production worth nearly 6 million dollars per season? I don't think so.

5. The return is on par with what Forsberg garnered, and I have no reason to believe that the market would yield anything more in terms of asset value. Sure, at this point neither O'Marra nor Nilsson are sure fire NHLers; however, they both have significant upside and are more likely than not to become regulars in the big show. Matt would have rather seen a single prospect of a greater pedigree than the two we picked up. However, there is no evidence to suggest that such a prospect was available, nor do I think many teams would be willing to part with a guy that is pretty much a lock to be an impact player at the NHL level for 20 games of Ryan Smyth. I am thus forced to conclude that Lower garnered as much value as the market would procure.

6. It is better to get something than nothing.

7. Whether or not Lowe used up funds by overpaying members of this team is immaterial. Even if he did, one overpay does not justify another.

8. Thus I simply conclude that Lowe made the right deal.

LiveBlogging From The Frog #3: Yotes @ Oil

Messier's retirement went a bit long, got here an hour late and they still haven't done the anthem.

- Nice retro jerseys, too bad we can't see Smytty in Oiler orange.

- Roenick looks like he wants to cry. Nobody wants you JR, nobody wants you.

- Pisani on the left, odd.

- First 5 minutes have been pretty much devoid of any sort of flow. Ceremonies tend to have that effect.

- Nice chance for Pouliot, the kid has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He really seems to see the lanes well. (1st @ 14)

- First line looks good, even without Smyth. Nice pressure shift (1st @ 10)

- Svret takes a hooking penalty without negating the scoring chance, yikes. (1st @ 8)

- JR Slew foots Roloson, no call. 1-0 Coyotes.

- I really hope this game gets some flow, it has been a real snoozer so far.

- Phoenix just looked like they were on the powerplay circling in our zone against a tired fourth line (1st @ 3)

- Joffrey Lupul with a pathetic looking spin move. That's the Joffrey I know. )1st @ 2)

- Good scoring chance as the period comes to a close. Nice defensive play by Morris.

- I guess I should air in on how I feel about the trade. It seems to be clear that a 25 over 5 deal was on the table, and it is also clear that Smyth was not willing to sign for that price. When dealing with that length of a contract, it's fairly irresponsible to tie up anything more than that kind of money for that many years in a player like Smyth. Now don't get me wrong, Smyth is a great player that can put up very good numbers playing in a tough minutes environment. But he also plays the type of game that is very hard on the body. Whether or not Smyth will be a 5.75m dollar player 5 years down the road is a fairly easy question to answer. No. Up to this point in his career, has Smyth ever been a player that commands that much money? Also no. The guys career year coincides with his first shot and unrestricted free agency. Smyth is NOT a top 10 goal scorer in this league, nor is he any better than a point per game guy. He does not generate offense on his own; he is not a game breaker; he is not a player that commands close to 6 million a year. Lowe made the right deal.

- Oilers come out flying in the second, great chances for Hemsky and Lupul (2nd @ 20)

- Couple fights, nice to see that the Oilers give a shit.

- 2-0 Yotes, bad bounce right to some prospect. PK looks a bit sketchy tonight.

- Either that was a dangerous shot by Roy, or Cujo just plain sucks. (2nd @ 14)

- Nice stick by Greene breaks up a 2-1. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he's dealt over the summer for defensive help. (2nd @ 12)

- 3-0 Yotes. Hejda gets turned inside out by Steve Reinprecht. This could get ugly.

- Stevie takes a bad penalty. So far the Yotes PP has been tearing us up. This is like watching a lit cartoon bomb. The Oiler's fuse is getting real low. (2nd @ 10)

- Thoreson with a good chance on the PP. I still like this kid. (2nd @ 9)

- This is a pretty terrible game. (2nd @ 4)

- Jacques with the TKO on Boynton. Wow, he really landed a couple solid shots. (2nd @ 2)

- Did Gratton really just punch Jason Smith from the bench? That's crazy. (2nd @ 1)

Well, that's all for now, the battery is toast.

Friday, February 23, 2007

LiveBlogging #2 @ The Black Frog

Cam and Matt here again, doin' some live commentary from the Black Frog.

- Let's hope this game doesn't work out like the last back to back we played in Detroit.

- How was that not interference? Horcoff gets thrown down going to the net and the ref stands there looking stupid. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. Matt thinks that we just got away with a holding the stick (Staios) so I guess it's a wash.

- At least Horcoff's hooking penalty was in the defensive zone for once.

- Great, Reasoner puts us down two men for almost a full two minutes. Sigh.

- 1-0 Wings, Zetterberg makes no mistake and Holmstrom does his best Smyth impression. Hopefully we kill off the rest of this penalty.

- Let's see what kind of mettle the Oilers show. Down 1-0 on the road on the back end of a back to back, facing a very good team.

- Wow, what a weak call. "If that's roughing, then everyone should wear a skirt" - Ferraro.

- 2-0 Wings, I call shenanigans. Holmstrom with a great deflection on a well placed Lidstrom shot.

- Penalties are killing us, I've heard this story before.

- Hemsky draws a penalty and the Oilers 2nd unit hits the ice. A goal would be huge here.

- Hemsky heading to the dressing room, let's hope it's an equipment issue.

- 2-1 Wings, Thoreson makes a great play. Good pass by Horc... I got six million dollars... I got six million dollars.

- Kronwall leaves his feet and lays a pretty cheap hit on Lupul. Hopefully the Oilers powerplay wasn't negated by the ensuing scrum.

- Oilers on the PP, Lebda holds up Smyth for a few too many seconds.

- A Sean Avery-esque dive by Zetterberg negates the Oilers powerplay.

-I got six millions dollars... I got six million dollars. Ryan Smyth almost scores a shorty and draws a penalty.

- First period is over. If I were asked to sum up the period in two words, I would go with "terrible officiating". Hemsky still not back on the ice, I think safe to say he's hurt. Great.

- Yaa Hemsky!


- Lupul concussed on an ILLEGAL hit. I want Stortini in this game.

- Petr Sykora with some solid defense on a two on one there. The pass came across and Sykora got a stick on it to tip it away.

- Hasek is crazy.

- Oilers need to get the 5 on 5 going again. There's been too much running around in the defensive zone the last few minutes.

- Torres! Tie game. Good effort all around. Good pressure by that line leads to the goal. Thoresen is having a very strong game playing in Lupul's spot.

- Thoresen with a brutal giveaway at his own blueline. Leads to an unfortunate bounce off of Smith's leg and a goal against. Boo.

- Great save by Roloson at the end of the period. They've been resilient tonight, but I still think of these Oilers as the kind of team that will pack it in if enough things go wrong. If that one had gone in it could have been really demoralizing.

- Oilers go on the powerplay, First unit hits the ice, I'll settle for a good looking PP and some momentum.

- Ales Hemsky pulls a "Joffrey Lupul' as he skates the puck to his own blue line then proceeds to give it away. Second unit hits the ice and doesn't look so good.

- 3-3 Oilers score. Pouliot out waits Hasek and Reasoner puts it away. Nice work by the kid.

- Hejda ties up Holmstrom on a dangerous looking shift. If you look carefully, as the shot comes to Roli, Holmstrom is paying more attention to fighting Hejda than putting the puck in the net. That's how to play a guy like that.

- Regulation over, Oilers heading to OT. Wonder if we'll see Toby Petersen out there in the 4on4 situations. Frankly, I don't think it's such a bad move. We are not a great shootout team, so ending it in a 4on4 situation is probably our best chance at coming away with 2 points.

- This officiating is FUCKING terrible. Bush league NHL at its worst.

- Shoot out, Matt just commented that he was glad we decided to take in this game, I agree.

- I got 6 million dollars... I got 6 million dollars.

- Roli goes 3/3 and the Mullet Man comes through yet again.

- You know, intellectually I conceded that the Oilers would miss the playoffs two weeks ago, but emotionally I can't make myself feel that way. Every win is still so satisfying. The last two games this team has looked a lot more like the team that I spent last spring cheering. Not in skill, but in that they refuse to give up. Much better.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Just Close Eyes and Shoot

Usually I am just scoring during the practice.

LiveBlogging @ The Black Frog

Cam and Matt here, doin' some commentary from the Black Frog.

- We just arrived as the 2nd goal was scored on the PP. Smyth reminds me of Wayne and Garth in Wayne's World when they get their record company advancement. I got six million dollars... I got six million dollars.

- Shelly hit on Gilbert, Matt thinks he saw an elbow, I'm not convinced. Roy shows some 'mash' and lands some solid shots on Shelly. Shelly got the take down but considering who he's fighting, Matt and I give the decision to Roy.

- I fucking hate the instigator.

- Matt is happy the refs ruled that a high stick, he thinks the replay was inconclusive.

- Hitchcock is trying to turn Rick Nash into Mike Modano, good luck with that.

- Smid saves the day by clearing a sure goal out of the crease on the PK. It helps that Modin is not Ryan Smyth

- Pouliot looks good. Making good plays in both ends. Makes some mistakes, but he's young, it happens. Lupul finally gets his playmaking centre.

- Hemsky makes one too many moves, gives up the puck, goes for a 3 on 2. Story of his year, but I still love him.

- Thoresen vs. Nash? What the hell? Thoresen clipped him knee on knee. Can't fault Nash for going after him, but I'll take that trade any time.

- The broadcast just asked what the Oilers need at the deadline, a goal scorer, offensive defenseman, goalie, first round pick, or nothing. WE vote D.

- Cam told me not to be negative, so I'm not going to say anything about the Oilers' power play right now.

- Good first, I think. We only saw 1/2 of it, but we're happy.

- Cam is complaining that the broadcast guys are talking up the first goal stat. Considering how many leads the Oilers blow, he's probably got a point.

- Kevin Lowe apparently looks like Cam's grandpa at 48.

- Pay-per-view puts on a piece about a Zamboni obstacle course. People pay for this shit?

- 2nd period under way. Matt loved the stretch pass that turned into an icing. The Oilers should just concede the last 4 seconds and perform a proper break out (by proper I mean one that you generally see while other teams play).

- Lupul is really really ridiculously good at 'hanging out' on the opposing team's blue line.

- I thought for a second Jacques was gonna hit Norrena; Matt also thought he was lining him up. Imagine the shit show that would cause.

- Wow. Just wow. Hemsky fights off his check, gets inside into the slot and makes a great scoring chance out of nothing. I don't even mind that little 8 inch pass instead of a shot. That kid just has flashes of absolute brilliance.

- Hot damn, 3-0 Oilers, the play starts with a great defensive play by Joffrey 'Really Really Ridiculously' Lupul, and ends with Smid's first NHL goal. Sandwiched between those two unlikely events was an equally unlikely dangle and pass by Torres. What a goal.

- "Wow, this is actually looking like an NHL calibre powerplay, that's weird" - Matt

- What's with the goddamn spotlights. Every time Columbus has a scoring chance their lighting team jumps the gun. Reminds of that Calgary game (2nd in the season) where they ran that stupid red spot light for like 8 seconds on a shot that missed the net by 4 ft.

- Joffrey Lupul makes his second awesome play of the game; what the hell is going on?

- Horcoff with the DDT on the powerplay. Sean Horcoff don't take no crap from nobody, especially Norwegians named Olaf.

- Great shift on the PK for Petersen and Pouliot. Petersen gets in and puts a good shot on net for the rebound, then Pouliot kills 15 seconds fighting for the puck in the CBJ zone.

- That's the Joffrey Lupul we all know. Gets the puck right at the line and doesn't clear it.

- Nice to see Raffi Torres playing with confidence, dangling and making plays.

- End of the second. Another good period. Smid finally gets a goal. He was the last Oiler dman to get his first. Even Gilbert and Roy had scored before now.

- Cam is downloading Beauty and the Geek right now. I don't think I can respect him anymore.

- A gift on the PP right there. Good pass by Roli, Norrena trips on his own goal post and merry Christmas Horcoff.

- Hemsky looked like Superman on that shift "Get outta my way, Columbus!" - Cam

- The Oilers are a much better team without Nedved in the lineup.

- All the young guys doing their jobs tonight. Smid with his first goal, Pouliot playing well, and there goes Jacques causing some chaos on the forecheck.

- Unfortunately, the laptop battery is toast, and the barkeep only has plugs behind the bar. So with 13 minutes left, Matt and I are signing off. Matt's final comment: "it's nice not to be cheering for a bunch of losers for once."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dr. Defense or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hejda

I first saw Hejda play way back in the last game of the preseason that a friend and I attended in Vancouver. I really liked his game:

"Hejda was great, stopped Naslund 1on1 without taking a penalty. Best defender on the ice."

Since then I talked about Hejda after the Montreal game:

"Jan Hejda is the real thing. He's physical, can shoot and most importantly, his outlet passing has been VERY good. I know it's only two games, but with what I have seen so far, Hejda has been our best defenseman at moving the puck. If I had the choice between Tjarnqvist and Hejda, I would have to go with the latter. He has played with a lot of heart in his first two games, and shouldn't be taken out of the lineup while he continues to do so."

I thought Hejda played great against the Panthers, and I was worred about him drawing out in favour of one of the real rookies:

"Jan Hejda should stay in the line up. There is no reason why this guy should be sitting in the press box while we field Smid, Greene, and Tjarnqvist. He played a solid game tonight, just like every other game he's played this season. His key pinch led to the all important first goal of the game, and he covered very nicely for Greene's mess up by forcing Jokinen to the outside."

I was happy that Hejda wouldn't draw out when Smid got hurt in the Dallas game:

"Smid is out 7-10 days, at least that means Hejda stays in the line up."

Now, what I love about Jan Hejda is his ability to win battles in corners. The guy gives 100 percent effort when he goes in there, whether it be one on one or two on one. More often than not he is the guy that comes out with the puck. He's actually one of the best defenseman I have ever seen at winning puck battles.

On top of that, the guy has above average offensive tools. He can pass, and seems to grasp the concept that a weak shot ON NET from the point is more valuable than a rocket that misses by 10 ft (clearly he does not subscribe to the Jason Smith school of defense in this category). Moreover, as a 27 year old rookie, he's playing the 2nd toughest minutes on the squad behind Jason Smith, and still putting up a solid plus/minus.

I would love to see Hejda locked up for 3 years at 1.2m/yr, I think it would be a brilliant contract for Lowe to offer him. If you're looking for something to cheer about from this disappointing season, look no farther than the case of Jan Hejda.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bergeron Dealt To NYI

The Oilers sent defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron and a third-round draft pick in 2008 to the New York Islanders in exchange for blue-liner Denis Grebeshkov.


Let's face it, MAB has been given plenty of opportunities to succeed in his time with the Oilers, and with the exception of the odd top corner slap shot, he failed miserably.

He had a real tough start to the season, but he managed to get his shit together around game 10. For the next 20 odd games, he looked like a genuine NHL defenseman and powerplay threat. However, his last stretch of games have been nothing short of terrible.

Last 18 Oiler games (Up to and including January 8th):

Smith: 18 Games, EVEN
Hejda: 18 Games, EVEN
Staios: 11 Games, EVEN
Smid: 16 Games, +1
Greene: 17 Games, -3
Bergeron: 18 Games, -11

Also, it's not like he put up those numbers against quality NHL competition. According to Behindthenet, MAB has been playing extremely soft minutes this year:

Jason Smith: 16th
Jan Hejda: 28th
Ladislav Smid: 95th
Steve Staios: 122th
Matt Greene: 457th
Marc-Andre Bergeron: 517th

I think MABs recent stretch of poor play was the nail in his Oiler coffin. There's a point where you just have to say to yourself "this guy isn't going to get any better" and move on. Bergeron is a 26 year old bottom pairing defenseman, who possesses good tools but just can't seem to get his head in the game. Generally, if a player reaches that age and has not at the very least shown progress in his ability to think the game, I think it's time to move on.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Matt Greene Wants To Go On The Road.

Glad to see Matt is in good spirits.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rabble Rabble Rabble.

Rabble rabble John Stamos rabble chicken fries rabble rabble Jetsons rabble scroll lock rabble...

In all seriousness, it's time to realistic think about selling the valuable parts of the this team come the trade deadline.

The value variable is my estimation of their overall trade value on a scale from 1-10 (1 being nothing, 10 being multiple picks and/or quality prospects)

UFA assets and their value:

Sykora - Second round pick (7.5)
Smyth - First round pick or top 10 prospect (8.5)
Markkanen - Third round pick (6)
Tjarnqvist - Third round pick (6)
Petersen - Nothing (1)
Nedved - Nothing (1)
Hejda - Almost nothing (3)

RFA assets and their value:

Torres - 1st round pick and top 10 prospect (9)
Winchester - Almost nothing (3)
Greene - 1st round pick (8)

1 year left (UFA) assets and their value:

Smith - 1st round pick and roster player (9.5)

I think we should sell whatever UFAs we can, and try and sign Hejda to a cheap extension. Beyond that, the rest shouldn't be dealt unless a significant veteran defenseman is coming to the Oil as part of the deal.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I subscribe to the idea that if you don't have anything nice to say, it's best to say nothing at all. Getting Stevie back in the line up is a step in the right direction, but unfortunately the team no longer has any room for error. The next few weeks will determine the outcome of the season; let's hope it goes well.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chin Up, Soldier.

Listen up people, I know it sucks to watch your team lose. Last nights loss to the Wild and tonights loss to the Flames were very hard to swallow. However, it's important that we maintain our perspective through these tough times. First, we played very well vs the Wild. The only difference between a win and a loss was they capitalized on their opportunities and we didn't; it's as simple as that. Second, despite the fact that it was on the road in a tough building, tonights game in Calgary was certainly our best performance in a back to back game this year. You could tell the boys didn't quite have their feet under them in the first, yet they still managed to stay competitive.

I am confident that if we continue to play at this level for the remainder of the season, we will not only make the playoffs, but challenge for the division. At game 45, our top 3 lines are now just starting to find some chemistry. Moreover, for the last few games we have remained competitive despite having 4 rookie defensemen in our line up. There was a point in the season, somewhere around the loss to the Ducks in Edmonton, that the team was really struggling. At the time I was starting to think that we were going to have a real hard time being competitive this year. However, what I've seen on the ice since the Florida game leaves me far more optimistic.

So, keep your chins up fellow Oiler fans. Tough times may be upon us, but no one knows it better than those guys in the dressing room. They played hard the last two nights, and I think they deserved to win at least one of the games. It's unfortunate that things didn't work out that way, but it's important that we not lose our perspective. The team is playing well right now; and if they continue to do so, the points won't be far behind.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Oilers-Canucks - Post Game

Well, that sucks. The Oilers really could have used the extra point in this one. I think this means I'm going to have to quit my job. I work part time at GM Place doing the silent auction sales. Puts beer money in my pocket while I go to school. The problem is that most of the time I work in Section 121. How is this a problem? If the Oilers are playing the same night I'm working in this section, they lose. Only once have they won while I've been working there. Normally, I wouldn't be troubled by this sort of superstitious thing, but based on my power to predict overtime vs. Dallas (ask Loxy, it's true) I'm taking stuff like this a little more seriously.

This is going to be pretty positive, despite the loss, because I'm tired of being mad at this team.

- The team looked like they played fairly well overall, which is nice. The overall impression one gets from the last 3 games (yes, even the collapse against Dallas) is that the team is good enough to be winning games. Unlike, say, the last Vancouver game, where they looked like should be relegated to the AHL.

- Hejda is a pretty good dman. I have a sneaky suspicion that Smid will be one of the few Oilers not rushed back from injury. The optics of his arrival may prevent him from being sent to the AHL or sat for any length of time, but giving him a couple extra days to rest just makes good sense.

- It's nice to see the STP line being who I thought they could be at the start of the year. If Stoll had been playing this well when the goaltending was miraculously good, the Oilers would have had a much nicer cushion to completely blow with this losing streak.

- I didn't see Roy really screw up except on the OT goal. That's a pretty solid positive in my books.

Hopefully the team generally not looking like ass is a sign that this horrendous losing streak is over. Hopefully a 8 game winning streak is coming up. Hopefully that doesn't blind Lowe to the need for another good dman for this team.

And while I'm hoping for things, I'd like a pony.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stars @ Oilers: Post Game Comment and Video.

MattM and I decided to head down to the Black Frog once again this evening in hopes of catching another solid Oiler victory. While it was a wildly entertaining game, it was also a fairly disappointing performance by the Oil. Mistakes were made by just about everyone: forwards, defensemen, vets and rookies. Unfortunately on this night, Roli wasn't able to bail anyone out. A few observations:

- Horcoff looked great out there with Smyth and Lupul. He made a great deflection-pass to setup Smytty on Lupul's goal, and roofed a laser top shelf off of the rush. This line had a really solid night.

- Stoll's line kept up their stellar play. They were solid in the both zones all game, especially late in the third when we were looking for the equalizer. The STP line is pretty much gold.

- The Czechs weren't so great. They had a few nice offensive shifts, but didn't manage to generate any quality chances. Defensively, this line pretty much lived up to expectations: it was horrible. The second Stars goal was almost comical, Sykora is playing the role of the low man - generally the centers job in the defensive zone - and plays his check pretty soft behind the net. The Stars player throws the puck back to the point which results in a slap shot wide. Then two Stars then go behind the net to fetch the puck and Gator follows. The Star closest to Gator feeds it off to the 2nd man (the one that the low man is supposed to be on), which forces Greene to cheat away from the front of the net. Next thing you know, Mattias Tjarnqvist receives a pass in front of the net and no Oiler is within 5 feet. You can pretty much put this goal squarely on Sykora's shoulders. It was his responsibility to either check the guy behind the net or make sure Tjarnqvist was covered.

- Generally, a fourth lines job is to provide your team with some energy and not get scored on; any sort of offense is pretty much a bonus. Tonight, our fourth line didn't do it's job. In the first period, Jacques was out there throwing some hits and everything seemed fine. However, Dallas' first goal can pretty much be summarized as a couple rookie mistakes. First, Jacques missed a 3 foot pass deep in the Dallas zone, which then led to a 3 on 3 rush. Second, on that rush, Pouliot messed up his coverage and gave Stefan a clear lane to the net. Next thing you know, the Stars are back in the game.

- I'm pretty excited about the Smyth - Horcoff - Lupul line. It's just a matter of time before Hemsky and Sykora get their rhythm back. Sykora leads the team with 12 even strength goals, with Hemsky assisting on 8 of them. These two can do some real damage 5 on 5, regardless of who they are out there with. If they can get their shit together, our top three lines should be lethal.

- Gator got caught on a bad pinch on the 5th goal, it wasn't Greene's fault.

- Smid is out 7-10 days, at least that means Hejda stays in the line up.

- The tying goal is pretty much beyond words. I think the hockey Gods were evening up the McGeough score.