Thursday, May 04, 2006

Patrick Marleau: Internet Message Board Superstar

I'm going to love this series. Ron Wilson is a clever bugger, a new school guy, as a bench coach he's similar to MacTavish in a lot of ways. And though I doubt it's a hugely popular subject, I won't be able to stop myself from tearing apart the way these guys run the bench (both shift away from the young'ins at game 81 of the regular season btw).

Anyhow, Marleau is from Meadow Lake Saskatchewan, right near the Alberta border. Maybe that's why he gets so much love from Oiler fans, I dunno. In any case it's always gotten on my tit a bit. So here's some perspective, from the last game against the Sharks at Rexall. Below is the shift chart for Marleau (dark green) and Thornton (dark red). This goes from the start of the game to the first penalty, then the middle part of the game is chopped out (it had seven penalties coming fast and furious there, so it gets pretty muddy with the matching) and then it carries on from the end of the last penalty to the end of the game.

Time to play "Spot The Pattern" :-) No prizes today.

Thornton is a dominant player of course. Playing the shift after him usually means that you come onto the ice:
1. With puck possession.
2. At the same time that the other squad's best 5on5 players are leaving the ice.
3. When the players that are coming onto the ice are the guys that the other coach really wants to make sure don't play against Thornton.

A little off track now, but just some other bits and pieces:

- On this night Pronger and Spacek saw the most of Thornton, though not a hard matchup like we'll see this series at home.

- On this night Smyth and Horcoff were the forwards that saw the most of Thornton. And big Joe had an unlucky night against them (outdone 8-1 by Ruff's 'shots directed at net' metric) ... at all other times Thornton was dominant by this measure. Again not a hard match by MacTavish here (43% of Joe's icetime against Smyth, 42% for Horcoff).

- I remember this game pretty well I think thought (stunning goal by Hemsky to win it late) and I would have sworn that the 94-10-83 troika played as a unit all night, but Pisani marches in with more minutes against Thornton than Hemmer according to the TOI and ShiftChart sheets from Presumably defensive zone draws are the reason, I haven't checked yet, and in any case I'm sure that Hemsky will have forgotten what Thornton looks like by the end of this series ... it's playoff time now guys and gals. :-)


I'm going to love this series. Ron Wilson and Doug Wilson are clever effers I suspect, and though they aren't related they must be as close as brothers judging by the way that Ron overplays the kids at critical times during the regular season (i.e. S.J is better than their record shows).

In short: It's going to be great hockey, and the team that hits the fewest goalposts will probably win the series. Seriously.


Anonymous lowetide said...

Great fishing around Meadow Lake. You're right Vic, Marleau is a great player.


5/04/2006 12:18 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

These guys scare me. They're beatable, of course, but its going to be a tough slog. I'm thinking Peca is going to see a lot of Marleau.

Assuming MacT goes with the same lines as R1 Samsonov and Hemsky had better make some hay. Especially if Alyn MCCauley's not playing.

They had a terrific run from about Xmas on - were they the top team (or 2nd after the Wings) after Jan 1st?

5/04/2006 12:20 pm  
Blogger Steven said...

Interesting stuff as usual Vic. I know Marleau is probably over rated by everyone considering I know he's never seen tough 5 on 5 minutes in his entire career but how do you think are they going to match lines then?

From R1 usually MacT would play the Samsonov-Stoll-Hemsky line right after Zetterburg (or Datsyuk's?) line and get the match up of Williams-Lang-Yzerman.

However in this case would be be comfortable playing those guys head to head against Marleau right after Thorton's shift? Or would be try to slide Peca-Pisani-Torres (Or Horc assuming he doesn't go Power vs Power) into there?

Then of course you run the risk of getting that Stoll-Samsonov-Hemsky line dog tired and stuck out there against a fresh Thorton.

I didn't really keep a close watch on the SJ-Nash series but I noticed a few times (and probably from listening to TSN's announcers) that a lot of the time Wilson was double shifting Thorton's line or only playing three lines.

In the end I wonder if MacT will just roll his foward lines and make sure he has Smith-Pronger on Thorton, Spacek-Staios on Marleau and keep Bergeron-Tarnstrom away from them both.

In any case I think its going to be some interesting match-ups and an interesting series.

5/04/2006 12:37 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Ninjasteve?! Good to see you around. While it's even better if you start your own blog, should you decide against that then let one of us here know and we'll click the button so you can start threads here. Same goes for a bunch of other guys of course, I assume that you know who you are.

5/04/2006 1:42 pm  
Anonymous lowetide said...

I'm just being a dink, vic. :-)

Marleau is in the family of guys I don't like (indifferent about what happens when he doesn't have the puck) but somehow I like him, don't ask why.

I know just the day you're speaking of btw, and agree it's good for the soul. I used to go up there when I was a kid with my Dad and think about that area a lot since he passed.

When my Dad was in his 20s (in the 1930s) he got a job "hacking ties" up at Midnight Lake for the railroad and went back to Midnight, Loon and Meadow Lakes all through his life no matter where he was. I went with him many times. Turtle Lake too.

He always enjoyed it, I'm sure for those reasons. Nice to do things with your hands now and then that don't involve a keybaord, steering wheel and pressing down the power window to order a double-double.


5/04/2006 1:47 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

Yeah it will be awesome to see how the lines are matched. Right now the Oilers have three lines that can score, ie Horc's and Stoll's and Peca's but not Peca doing the scoring;) and the Sharks have two.

I guess their third line if everyone's healthy would be Goc-Smith-Neminen. That line will work hard and I guess we could make McCauley their 10th forward. Moreau would be the Oilers 10th forward and I'm assuming Dvorak moves up to the top line and that Winchester/BG and Murray/Harvey compile our 11th and 12 forwards. The Oilers have been able to shove 26 with 94-10 though and manage to get bye against a much better team so I'd say the Oilers can certainly roll 4 lines and the Sharks cannot. And I don't think they will and especially at home.

The Oilers have the depth on SJ though and the Sharks PK sucks. Matchups will vary from home and road but at home it's once again up to the Stoll line. They didn't do much last time outside of G6 though.

Vic did you get the blog entry I sent last night?

Finally...I said I was gonna do this and I had some notes written down for G5 in Det but in this series I will take a look at the linematching for one game in SJ and one game in Edm.

5/04/2006 2:06 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Just noticed your post now and put it up. This is no skin off of my nose, it takes just a minute for me to log on in your name and post your stuff, but sweet Jebus ... can't we figure out why blogger won't let you post yourself?

Are there any computer-clever people here that are able to explain why this posting thing isn't working for Dennis?

5/04/2006 4:02 pm  
Blogger Steven said...

Hey Vic,

Yup its me :)

I've actually been really enjoying reading Lowetide's, Mudcrutch79 and your blog a ton since they've been up.

I was thinking about starting my own blog but I know I'd be too lazy to update frequently.

In any case I wouldn't mind posting a few things here and there but I know I tend to enjoy reading the stuff you guys put up and commenting on it rather than starting anything up.

5/04/2006 4:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WARNING- Predictable Oiler fan defending Marleau post -WARNING

I think that Marleau playing the shift after Thornton has more to do with his linemates as it does with him.

He's been playing with Bernier and Michalek, if I remember correctly, who are both rookies.

Marleau's icetime is similar to how Stoll gets sheltered as much as possible by MacT. Stoll's not necessarily sheltered because of what type of player he is as much as it is about who he has on either side of him.


5/04/2006 4:51 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Ian, I'd be more inclined to agree with you if this Marleau usage was isolated to this season. I'm quite certain it is not. One thing is different this year though for sure - Marleau does more with the soft minutes than he ever has in the past. He's probably better now but is he worth worrying about? It's a good question.

5/04/2006 5:55 pm  
Anonymous MikeP said...

rivers - he's a pretty consistent 20-30 goal man, of course he's worth worrying about. Worth worrying about much? Well, the Oilers did a pretty decent job of containing Detroit's scoring, they should be able to contain guys like Marleau pretty easily too. Either throw out Stoll's line and go 2nd on 2nd, or throw out the 4th line and let Moreau and Dvorak feast. Or play Peca against Thornton and see how he does, and put on 94-10-?? for Marleau. The possibilities are endless!

Playing line matching is much more fun when the team doesn't suck.

5/04/2006 6:33 pm  
Blogger Kyle Kosior said...

I really like the column. Good points on
everything. I think Marleau is from Aneroid (SW Sask, though still not too far from AB). Jeff Friesen is from Meadow Lake.

5/04/2006 9:59 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


I'm not pissing on Marleau, he's a good hockey player and I wish he was an Oiler. Just hoping to bring some perspective in order to counter the madass Marleau/Oiler-Fan love-in, that's all. :-)

5/04/2006 10:43 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Thanks. I guess I should have checked first. :-)

Completely off topic now, but on Friesen: I've always thought he was a good player, and I think he's a UFA (will be this summer, this time I checked) that would probably like the idea of playing in Edmonton. And coming off of a fairly poor year the price should be right. Looks like the Oilers are already knee deep in LWers right now I know ... still, that could change, and maybe he's good on the offwing too (has a good wrist shot so it might suit).

5/04/2006 10:51 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

vic - Friesen is definitely a pretty good player but apparently his attitude in Washington was the shits - I mean, really bad - don't know if I want a guy like that on the club especially if he's taking icetime from a kid or replacing Moreau - maybe he could play the right wing I guess but has he ever?

I think he gets a few offers this summer though - he's a clutch player for sure

5/05/2006 7:52 am  
Anonymous namflashback said...

I was actually surprised when I saw the final stats for the series and Samsonov had something like 5 or 6 points. So he contributed much more than I thad thought since I felt he was pretty invisible. Maybe more "behind the scenes" than invisible.

I know that Moreau hasn't been the same since the ankle injury, but he has always been a big gamer, I'm looking forward to him making an impact this series.

That and the idea that Dvorak can't continue to keep looking so dangerous then missing the net.

5/05/2006 11:22 am  
Anonymous MikeP said...

black dog - you can't replace Moreau, not with a guy like Friesen, anyway. Take away his roster spot, sure, but not replace. Totally different roles. Replace Samsonov? Maybe. I think we know what we've got with Sammy though, and I'd rather keep him than take on an unknown with Friesen. (That being said, I've always kind of liked him, and if Sammy leaves, assuming Friesen doesn't cop a 'tude, trying to get him wouldn't piss me off.)

5/05/2006 5:40 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

mikep - agreed, Freisen is no Moreau, what I meant is if he comes in and plays left wing I don't see him on either of the first two lines or the fourth so that means Ethan's spot - I wouldn't make the move anyway - one spot the Oil are strong at is left wing - even if Sammy leaves

5/06/2006 8:36 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

Dvorak has played nearly his whole career looking dangerous yet being unable to score goals;)

5/07/2006 7:50 pm  

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