Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Few Things About A Few Things

This is stolen from Speeds or RQ who stole it from Cam Cole. In any case it's a good idea so here we go.

- You see the picture that accompanies this post? That's the guy I think will decide how this series plays out at even strenght. Datsyuk looked better in Game 3 than Game 2 but here's just the latest example of how we shouldn't expect a guy to be at full productivity when he hasn't been practicing and/or playing down the stretch. Henrik Lundqvist with the Rangers is another example of this. Heading into the series I overrated how effective Datsyuk would be and I thought the Oilers would make their hay with the 12-16-83 line against Yzerman-Lang-Williams but the opposite has been true. Both Yzerman and Williams have been producing scoring chances and it's only for the indifference and malaise of Lang that the Oilers haven't payed. If Yzerman man can't play in Game 4 and a Mark Mowers type has to draw in then the Oilers might finally have a decided advantage in the line matchups.

- Stoll just doesn't seem to fit in with 12-83 as his wingers but they haven't played together a whole lot either. I don't know what will change first: their chemistry or their linemates. I thought Stoll played a defensive first game in G2 but last night he was looking to create chances and he found himself with a couple of chances to score. If Moreau comes back then the Oilers basically have three centres and 10 forwards overall who are useful. I don't know if MacT will continue to roll four full lines or if he'll go with 10 forwards and two other guys taking the odd double shift.

- It's time for Samsonov or Hemksy to do something, create something, make someone look foolish and make the twine bend. Overall I haven't been overly impressed with Samsanov as people can tell from my previous entries. I think he's good but I think he can be better. He's like that fat girl who needs to lose just 15 pounds and she's be smoking. What's 15 pounds? Probably 5 hard weeks of cardio and dieting. But she doesn't want it bad enough and neither does Sergei in my estimation. As for Ales I keep reminding myself how young he is and reminding myself there's only so much he can do by constantly taking people wide and by not improving his shot.

- The Red Wings are deadly on the powerplay. Deadly in terms of you're shocked when they don't finish a game with at least 20% effectiveness and deadly in terms of how my heart races when they throw the puck around the offensive zone. All this without Datsyuk being at his best.

- The fans pay the freight but they don't play the games. It's clear that the Oilers will have an excellent chance to complete the upset if they continue to trap. I'd bet more than a few dollars they'll play a hard trap once Game 5 comes around on Saturday afternoon at the JLA. But in the here and now the Oilers seem easily swayed by the Rexall fans impatience that's indicated by how nuts they become when someone throws a big bodycheck.

- Two things I can't stop thinking about and talking about: Why isn't Tarnstrom on the PP and when will Rem Murray be yanked from the lineup?

7 Comments:

Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

As always - great post Dennis.

- Yzerman's availability tonight and for the rest of the season is key for the Wings - can they win without him? sure but it will be a lot harder I think

- agreed on Samsonov and Hemsky, moreso on the former, until Stoll's goal I barely even noticed he was playing; Hemsky needs a little more confidence, I think he's playing well (better anyhow) but he's got to make something happen offensively

- with MAP out with Mono I think Rem draws in again

- I think MacT has little confidence in Tarnstrom, I don't think he had a shift after the midpoint of the 3rd

- a lot of people were talking about how the Wings looked fresher as the game wore on - 4 lines vs 3, 6d vs 5

- this is where Marty Reasoner would have helped - oh well

4/27/2006 6:25 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Agreed on most of these Dennis. Certainly the Oilers need a little extra something on the PP. I'm not even sure what Tarnstrom will bring other than he takes care of the puck really well and his PP numbers are phenomenal, but surely it will be better than Spacek's current contribution. The other option is to get Stoll or even Horcoff back out there and play them as pointmen.

One positive thing on the PP that I saw, might also get Hemsky and Samsonov back into the equation... There was a nice play where Hemsky drew the low man in the box on the left half boards and then threw it down low to Samsonov in the corner. He had time and space and ended up just going right to the net. I think this play has potential to create some PP goals - work the box until Samsonov has a little time in the corner and then let him create. There's a lot he can do from that area of the ice.

As for the fans and the gameplan, I don't really see it that way. Personally, I think the Oilers approach is to trap and selectively forecheck in certain situations. I'm not clear on the criteria right now, but it's undoubtedly related to the DET d-pairing, the quality of the dump-in and which corner. Certain players like Smyth appear to have a green light as well. My opinion is that this is a pretty damn difficult system that requires a heck of a lot more discipline than just trapping 100% of the time. If they can keep the focus, then it's the ideal way for them to play.

I think the Oilers have done well on the PK too, but you're absolutely right that they need to keep the PP opp down.

I can't wait to see Moreau back in the lineup. If he stays out of the box (big IF) he's a nightmare matchup for Babcock. Even if Murray stays in the lineup, a Moreau return tips the balance in favour of the Oilers at ES.

4/27/2006 11:48 am  
Anonymous lowetide said...

I think RQ nailed it with regard to the trap/forecheck. Don't know the ratio or why they flip (I do know it's the center and suspect Vic is right when he talked about Lidstrom or control=no fly and anything else you're Dave Keon) but Rivers has the heart of it.

I'm not as down on Ales but he's going to very quickly get the rep. as the NHL's prettiest coach killer if he keeps up with this three second attention span crap.

4/27/2006 12:13 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

I remember that 12 drive to the net as well but here's the way I saw it.

Hemsky fumbled the puck and Chelios bite up high to try and seperate him and bang Hemsky found 12.

I think it was just on the fly and reactionary.

Murray's a gimp and Harvey's on the limp;) and 26 has looked alright so MAP must be in knots over the oppurtinuty he's missing. There's no way he wouldn't have drawn in tonight.

Agreed on the system being a hybrid and the only time I saw our trap being broken clearly was twice when Lidstrom found Cleary in full flight down the right wing. Just excellent passes.

4/27/2006 12:36 pm  
Anonymous lowetide said...

Dennis, I keep meaning to ask you. Do you follow Cleary more closely because he's from your part of the planet?

Have to admit I'm impressed with his jam. LOTS of kids get a chance and blow it, get another and blow it but are never heard from again.

Cleary isn't the top line guy once thought, but if he were from my community I'd be proud of him anyway.

How do you feel about him?

4/27/2006 12:59 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

I don't know what he's like now but he used to be a pretty big arsehole. My good buddies GF's brother was pretty tight with Cleary and played ball hockey with him in the summertimes and Cleary had that sense of entitlement and partied to no end. That was back in the Hawks days. I think he had a bit of a dose of reality when he was dealt to the Oilers but he had to be traded from here because he was making too much money to be a plumber. Many people forget though that before he left he played on the STD line with Horc and Marchant and those guys did a good job in a shutdown role. Remembering that it didn't surprise me that he could do a job on the 4th line of a good time. As an aside you'd always like your bottom six forwards to be your PK and that's almost how the Wings have it these days. I'd love that...you don't burn out your top nine and who are the guys that get cold when a lot of PP's are called? The 4th liners and in this case they stay warm with a PK shift.

He seems to have found a home in Det though. As for me being prouder of him? Not really.

BTW Ryder plays in my slo pitch league in the summer and Newfs don't really subscribe to the hero worship. Mike plays his two games on Thurs night and then sticks around for a beer and to me and most of the guys he's the fellow that hits leadoff and plays left centre. I did hang out with him a couple of times a few summers ago to pick his brain on Rita and some guys, ie that's when we had the the split affiliation with the Habs for the FIRST time:D

But I dunno...I'm not provincial like that. I'm prouder of being a Canadian than I am of being a Newfoundlander. That's not a smack against this place...it's just that I look at the bigger picture.

4/27/2006 1:24 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Just a thought but what about putting Pisani back at centre on the fourth line if Moreau can draw back in?

They could go with something like this:
94/10/26
12/16/83
18/37/20
14/34/27

That's a hell of a lot better than having Murray out there and they could probably give the fourth line extra minutes by double shifting Dvorak there.

4/27/2006 3:17 pm  

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