Saturday, June 17, 2006

Key Observations from Game 6

Obviously there was a lot of special teams minutes in Game 6, but the Oilers' staff clearly feel they're playing a tired team and that the Oilers now have the depth advantage up front. I haven't seen the post game minutes summary look like this all year.

At ES, all Oiler forwards fell in between 7:02 and 9:34 minutes played. This is a very tight distribution for the Oilers. Hemsky played the minimum at ES and the 9:34 belonged to Rem Murray, making it even more remarkable. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Oilers have rolled four lines like this since Reasoner left the squad and even then MacT didn't have much confidence in the fourth line all year. This is a significant factor in my opinion. The Oilers' gameplan was to skate them out of the rink tonight and they felt there was strength in numbers.

The second point has to be related to the power play. I told Dennis the other night that I thought the setup they used for awhile against Detroit might be the answer for the Canes cheating up high - Hemsky on the LW halfboards and Samsonov down low in the LW corner. It turns out that's what the Oilers' staff thought as well and I thought it looked pretty dangerous for most of the night. The PP goals came on the rush, but they looked dangerous when Hemsky and Samsonov were playing catch down in the corner and were unlucky not to bag a couple of goals from the setup. (The Hemsky-Smyth-Samsonov tic-tact-toe that Samsonov just missed would have been a thing of beauty.)

Lastly, I thought Dvorak had a strong game in particular. He was a little more aggressive carrying the puck and he basically finished that 3-on-1 chance that was denied by the stupid rulebook. (Speaking of that, if A=B and B=C can the NHL just get it together and declare that A=C? It's insulting to have things otherwise.)

Game 7 should be a heck of a game.


Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Ah yes Rem Murray...I forgot to mention it on my site but he links more and more Amish.

6/18/2006 12:22 am  
Blogger Dennis said...

Stop pimping RD there Cam. The guy has zero with it;)

Let's just hope he keeps setting up other guys.

BTW...Hemsky could've had four assists easy the other night. Puck on a string 4 sure

6/18/2006 10:17 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

I'm stealing my own post for tomorrow but Dvorak outscored several big names at ES this year including Iginla, Brind'Amour and Weight.

6/19/2006 1:01 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

On the disallowed goal thing, I don't know why the NHL hasn't just put a chip in the puck so that they know for certain if it has crossed the goal line. That's easy for me to say I know, but based on the fact that they were able to make the puck leave a blue streak on our television screens years ago, I have to think the technology is there. FIFA considered using similar technolgy for this World Cup, in that case the goal is indicated to the referee by transmitting a signal to his wristwatch, which is cool. But apparently FIFA were not "1000% certain" of the technology just yet.

I mean in this case it didn't really matter because of the lopsided score, but it will be a huge issue it happens in the third period of game seven with the score tied.

6/19/2006 9:11 am  
Anonymous Yanner39 said...

Vic - one of my buddies is friends with a guy who developed the goal nets that flash wildly when a goal is scored. I believe they tried them out in a few AHL games last season or the season before.

Anyways, one of the parts of this concept is just that - a chip in the puck that makes the posts flash when the puck crosses the line. So the technology is there. Why they are waiting to implement this is beyond me although the Oilers would be good poster children for this technology (see Minny game, the Chicago game, G6, etc...)

6/19/2006 10:51 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

One other thing to add. I don't think it was the score that dictated the ES strategy.

Rem's 5on5 minutes by period: 2.9, 2.2, 3.2.

Horcoff's 5on5 minutes by period: 3.2, 2.1, 3.0.

The other two centres have pretty much the same numbers. I'd call that rolling four lines all game. Of course there were only 32.7 5on5 minutes in the whole game, so I'm not discounting the impact that may have.

6/19/2006 12:11 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

mudcrutch79 said...
I'm stealing my own post for tomorrow but Dvorak outscored several big names at ES this year including Iginla, Brind'Amour and Weight.

Yeah, well he picked up more points/hr anyway and he played a fair number of games while injured or coming back after lengthy periods of IR. He's a guy to keep IMO and his poor year is actually a blessing in disguise because that might mean a $1.0-$1.2MM contract gets it done.

Same goes for Tarnstrom. There's no way he gets more than $1.5MM this year and there's also no way he puts up less than 4.4 PPP/hr next year with at least 250-300 PP minutes. I've been impressed with his EV play as well, so I'm already convinced he's a better option than Spacek. Spacek will get at least $2.5MM and won't be nearly as good as Tarnstrom on the PP.

Plus he'll be demanding a big paycheque where the Oilers can't reasonably give another one out. What I mean by that is the Oilers commit a significant portion of their payroll to the dmen already thanks to Pronger's big ticket. I can't see them giving any dman more than $2MM/yr.

6/19/2006 12:20 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Yeah, Jaro's gone. Yanner39, you forgot the Smyth goal in the shootout in Vancouver-they ended up counting that one, shouldn't have according to the rule but a chip would have solved it I think.

6/19/2006 1:12 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


I think that MacTavish has opted to move Hemsky up with Smyth/Horcoff and bushsit for the soft minutes. I haven't checked the numbers but it seems like that trio has gotten a shitload of offensive zone draws and Adams-Minutes(TM) this series. Also I've seen them out with Greene and Tarnstrom a lot which is sure sign of cherry minutes.

I'm sure the old school hockey fans love that, but personally I don't like that tack. It means you're sitting arguably your two best PKers (Horcoff and Smyth) in order to get them the shift after the CAR powerplay. And it limits their overall 5on5 minutes while MacTavish waits for the 3rd and 4th lines to march out there for the Hurricanes. And Laviolette is pretty sharp with his forward matchups and rolls with the D, sort of the opposite of Carlyle. Granted it's better now that Weight is out; now it's a bigger and softer target for MacT to hit with that troika. Still, personally I don't like it, I'd rather they tried and win with their best players.

Those guys are bound to look great playing against the schleps, but they need to deliver outscoring results for it to work. To a certain extent the eggs are in the one basket here. Mixed results so far. Scoring chance-wise they're probably on the wrong side of the ledger, but it's against stonehands types for the most part, so they haven't been hurt too much.

6/19/2006 2:35 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Vic: I don't doubt that has happened for much of the series, but I just checked last night and Hemsky had only one short shift (<20 seconds?) against the Adams duo. Likewise he only had one shift against Brind'Amour/Williams. (Pronger was matched hard against BA - 76% of 17's minutes. Peca was the strongest forward match - 60% of 17's minutes)

It looks like they went after Staal's line for G6 as Hemsky played 61% of his 5on5 minutes against Staal. (Again not many of these minutes - Hemsky only played 6.2 at 5v5)

If you're going to play this way, that's a pretty good target IMO. Staal has been nothing short of awful at ES this series to my eye. Could he be any softer on the puck? He's probably another likely candidate for a significant injury. (Horcoff seems to be just getting over something also - G6 was his best skating performance of the series by a large margin) Either that or he's been sheltered a lot - even two years ago when he got some credit for playing some real minutes as a youngster.

Regardless, I do agree with you about the tactics. Strength vs. strength makes the most sense to me and gives you more control over the game. You're depending more on bounces and posts otherwise IMO. Let's face it, I don't care what they do as long as they win. ;)

6/19/2006 3:43 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Good point on Horcoff Riv. I thought the same thing watching him the other night. Either way tonight, I'm looking forward to finding out who was playing with what.

6/19/2006 3:56 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Ya, I think last night was more of a departure towards the "roll four lines and punish them" thing that MacTavish likes when he can keep all the legs in the game.

Agreed on Staal too, he's probably going to be the best player in the league over the prime of his career, but right now he gives a lot back the other way. He's only 21 years old, he's already damn good and he's only going to get better. Rare to see a guy that young play the PP point so well. I read an interview with Williams from DET, during the WHCs, where he talked about how Lidstrom had really helped him learn how to become an effective PP point man. Staal is a helluva lot younger and without a tutor (possibly Whitney I suppose).

Really personable young guy too, my wife and daughter bumped into him in an elevator at the MacDonald Hotel before Game 3. Nice kid. I hope he has a terrific career ... and a terrible Game 7. :D

6/19/2006 4:03 pm  

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