Monday, January 01, 2007

Wake Up MacT.

My gripes:

1. The Sykora - Horcoff - Hemsky experiment should have ended before we went into Calgary. Judging by their plummeting plus/minus, this line is not ready to go up against teams second bests. I've watched every Oiler game this season, and one fairly consistent pattern I observed was that more often than not when we are running around in our zone desperately trying to get the puck out, Sykora and Hemmer are on the ice. Now I'm a big fan of Hemsky, and I think his overall game has come a long way, but I still don't think he is ready to play tough minutes. Right now all I see is Horcoff's talents being wasted on a line that really shouldn't be relied on to play defense.

2. You struck gold with Torres - Stoll - Pisani, and you're still losing games. You tried to go into the year with Moreau - Stoll - Pies as your shutdown line, preferring to run checking vs power. That experiment didn't work out too well, all three players were in the minus when Moreau went down with his shoulder injury. After a few weeks of the blender, you came up with a gem. I'm not really sure why this line is performing so much better with Torres in Chopper's place, but I would speculate that Stoll has been playing at a much higher level since Moreau went down. To be honest, in the first 10 or so games of the season, I was really disappointed in Stoll. I had high hopes for him, believing he could step in and take Peca's role on the team. If I were asked to find a silver lining in the current mess, it would have to be the emergence of Stoll as a center that can play tough minutes.

3. The kids aren't ready; there is no way that JFJ should see the ice at the expense of Patrick Thoreson. Thoreson's offense may have tailed off in the last month and a half, but he still remained responsible in his own zone (+1 in 32 games). I Can't say the same for the -8 in 17 games Jean-Francois Jacques. You're kidding yourself if you think Thoreson doesn't give you a better chance to win.

4. Everyone knows we need to make a trade. We have good organizational depth at forward and a couple NHL ready 5-6 defensemen in our system. Use these assets to make a deal for two defensemen and a depth forward (just rentals).

5. Start relying on your horses. Put Horc and Stoll with quality ES line mates and let them drive the results.

My proposals:

Right now:

Smyth - Horc - Winchester/Pouliot
Match up against 2nd bests.
Torres - Stoll - Pisani
Tough minutes, out there against the opponents best.
Lupul - Sykora - Hemsky
Butter soft minutes; even if it means they play only 10 minutes ES a night.
Petersen - Reasoner - Thoreson
Whatever is left over.

In the next two months:

1. Deal Roy, Winchester and Anaheim's '07 first to St. Louis for Brewer and Dvorak.
2. Deal JFJ or Brodziak and a 2nd to LA for Sopel.

Come playoff time:

Smyth - Horcoff - Dvorak
Torres - Stoll - Pisani
Lupul - Sykora - Hemsky
Moreau - Reasoner - Thoreson
PB: Petersen and Pouliot

Brewer - Smith
Sopel - Staois
MAB - Greene
PB: Smid


Doogie said...

You want another silver lining? Smytty's two last night puts him #1 overall in GPG among players with at least 25 GP.

kinger said... a contract year.

The glass is indeed half empty.

Mr DeBakey said...

The problem I see is that you've solved the problem this year.
What about next year?

I think the Oilers need to add a good, in his prime, top-4 Dman.

As you point out, rentals are more expensive this season, so why not go the extra step to add someone who'll be around for two or three seasons past this one?