Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ending the Preseason as You Mean To Carry On

Or at least I hope so. The last game of the preseason is interesting, bench coaches need practice too, and it's generally something damn close to the opening day lineup played in a way that will mesh with what we see later. I mean you can forgive a guy for not getting his legs right in the shooting lane on the PK, it's preseason after all. But on the whole it should give us some important signs. Unfortunately I missed this one, had it in my head that it was tomorrow, was it on PPV?

Anyhow, here is a list of the minutes vs quality (i.e. Naslund, who looks to have played with the Sedins at 5v5 on a load-'em-up line)


About what you'd expect. Nice to see just one rookie D in the lineup. I'll assume that's the case all year unless they're playing CBJ or CHI, but I'm an optimist by nature. I expect that when Greene slots in it's on the starboard side of Bergeron and Tarnqvist moves up to play with Staios (Shaggy bumping over to the left side in those games? He's a vet, what the hey.).

I don't know, but I expect the icetime numbers aren't fair to Reasoner here, I'm guessing critical sitautions and own zone draws, plus first shift after the Oilers PP expires. Dude is in line for some brutal numbers this year, but he's valuable. I was sent a quote from Roger Neilson a while ago, adding the last shift of the period as important as the shift after special teams. Which makes sense, even though somehow I had never really noticed that. I mean that's probably another time when the best players are out there, because even if they're tired you know they have 15 minutes to rest coming straight away. If I ever get around to figuring out the logic for summing the "shift after your team's PP ends" numbers ... I'll run the "last 40 seconds of the period" as well. I'm sure we'll see a lot of the same players playing this gig leaguewide, just stands to reason. But I digress.

Sykora/Hemsky had better deliver with the soft icetime this year. That will be the difference IMO. If they aren't leading this team by a country mile at EV+/- by midseason (Like McCauley/Cheechoo in 03/04 for the Sharks) then there will have to be changes.

Kind of freaky to see the Oilers using 5 forwards on the PP as well. I assume this is Simpson's influence and that MacTavish will crush it early into the season. And it's probably too aggressive even for me, and this from a head coach who always preached the "safe pass" on the PP up until last season. I dunno, just doesn't all add up.

Looks like they rolled Smith and Staios down the right side. Good to see. Smith is the man back there, as it should be. And he easily eclipses his D partner Hejda if you account for the time he spent in the box and PKing. Still, there's no ignoring the fact that Hejda has faced far and away the toughest competition this preseason, and by some distance. And, like Jim Bouton, I don't have a damn clue what that means.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Hejda's tough competition is a trial by fire to see how solid he is. I have not seen him play. But he seems like the type of defender that should be invisible if he's playing well. His pre-season numbers are mildly positive so I think that bodes well for him. We won't know for sure until we see how he does against a team with 3 scoring lines.

re: post PP shift logic - there are 2 cases. The player following the PK is on the ice at the end of the PK, anticipating the end of the penalty, and the more common, change at the earliest convenience, within a pre-set time window. Let me know in this thread if you would like any help flushing it out with an ex-geek and we can take it offline. (I am certain that I do not know the language you are using to code this.)

10/01/2006 2:28 pm  
Blogger Doogie said...

I think you'll continue to see 5F's on the 5-on-3s, simply because the risk is (I would think) lower, while 5-on-4s will predominantly become 4F-1D affairs with Bergeron and Staios on the point, to keep the other guys at least a little honest. You obviously want to take advantage of your glut of talent up front, but not at the expense of a gratuitous number of SH breakaways.

10/01/2006 3:20 pm  
Anonymous Rod said...

> You obviously want to take advantage of your glut of talent up front, but not at the expense of a gratuitous number of SH breakaways. <

Yeah, but how does MAB help that? See:

- 3rd period, Game 1 of SCF last year: Puck jumps over Staios stick, and MAB is completely flat-footed. Break away, goal...

- this pre-season (one of the games against Calgary): Oil up two men, and they have 4F+MAB. If I recall correctly, wasn't exactly a breakaway, but MAB was again standing completley still at the blue line as the puck came out. 2F (Stoll and Schremp) beat MAB back, and Calgary scored a SH goal...while down two men...

Sorry, but if the choice is 4F+MAB, I don't see how 5F is more dangerous. Besides, I think they'd score more than enough to compensate for any "additional" liability with 5F. Given the current choices available on the backend, I hope they give 5F a chance.

- Rod

10/01/2006 3:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think G8 of the Ex season is pretty much a full on dress rehershal for the real deal...at least it was with the '07 Oilers when just about every job has been decided since G4 of the faux season.

So in keeping with that theme I'm thinking that if the Oilers went with the 5F formation during last night's ST play then we'll see it on Thurs night as well. I know I know...I'm shocked that MacT would try it as well but I think there are a couple of factors that have pushed him in this direction

1: We don't have a Dman who's a good PP guy. MAB can make it happen sometimes but he's just as likely to shoot it over the net or break his stick

2: Stoll was good on the PP last year and can handle the point AND Sykora's been doing that for awhile as well.

I'll be watching it closely of course and I'm afraid that we give up a shortie 5 games in and MacT mutters "I told you so" and goes back to wasting PP time on MAB instead of Stoll or Petr. S

Dennis

10/01/2006 5:28 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

I would say it's not the SH breakaways - it's the 2-on-1's and even 2-on-2's going the other way that are the scary things. The frightening scenarios revolve around watching your forwards getting beaten 1-on-1.

In fact, I don't think there's any rational argument that forwards will give up more breakaways on the point. If someone has one, I'd love to hear it.

10/01/2006 7:59 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

I agree with you Riv. I wonder though, if we aren't going to see fewer teams using their real scoring threats on the PK this year. I'm sure that Dallas is going to cut Modano's TOI on the PK. If this happens in other places where teams no longer have hte luxury of running deep with offensive talent, that should reduce the shorty risk.

10/01/2006 9:49 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

"I'll be watching it closely of course and I'm afraid that we give up a shortie 5 games in and MacT mutters "I told you so" and goes back to wasting PP time on MAB instead of Stoll or Petr. S"

Ya, that's my fear as well. Hell, everytime Hemsky had one of his PP shifts where the high risk passes didn't work, and he gave the puck away three times in a row ... I could just sense Craig "safe pass" MacTavish scheming up something. In fairness to the guy he never did, he gave Hemsky a lot of rope and the kid WAS the Oilers powerplay last year. So maybe he's changed his spots a bit here, who knows.

riversq:

Ya, I agree with you there. If anything I'd expect fewer. The weak side D tends to poach sometimes on the PP (Cherry made Bergeron famous for the SCF incident, but really, if Don wanted to highlight every time a player did that throughout the season ... he'd need his own network). Forwards usually seem to just play it by the book on that, dpends on the player for sure, but on the whole it seems that way to me. Dashing back as if they've dropped a twenny somewhere between centre ice and their own blue line. :)

The 1-on-1 situation is a little funky though. Not as bad if it's Steve Ott or Curtis Brown bearing down on them. But downright frightening if it's Mike Modano or Joe Thornton.

Five forwards seems a little too aggressive for my sensibilities. But the proof will be in the results, if they create enough extra scoring chances compared to the extra ones that they give up, then it's worth it. We'll see.

Mudcrutch's point that this lowers the icetime of the defensemen is really valid too though. It's a plus I hadn't thought of, but it makes sense to me.

10/01/2006 10:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 1-on-1 situation is a little funky though. Not as bad if it's Steve Ott or Curtis Brown bearing down on them. But downright frightening if it's Mike Modano or Joe Thornton.


...or Jason Pominville?


Alan

10/02/2006 11:02 am  
Blogger godot10 said...

Observations:

Carolina used a five forward power play a lot last year. Look where and what it got them.

Wade Redden on the power play didn't stop Jason Pominville from scoring the series winning goal shorthanded.

10/02/2006 11:26 am  
Anonymous namflashback said...

godot10 -- good point on Carolina, although it probably scared them alot in G5.

10/03/2006 11:01 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

anonymous said:

re: post PP shift logic - there are 2 cases. The player following the PK is on the ice at the end of the PK, anticipating the end of the penalty, and the more common, change at the earliest convenience, within a pre-set time window. Let me know in this thread if you would like any help flushing it out with an ex-geek and we can take it offline. (I am certain that I do not know the language you are using to code this.)


Ya, that logic makes sense, it's a helluva lot harder to quantify that though. I mean we could all watch the games, and depending how the PP ended we could all spot the time where we would say the "shift after" started, but it's not so easy to nail down with just the shift charts, which is what you would have to do unless you were willing to invest a shitload of time into it.

These little scripts are all written in VB by the way. Specifically the VBA language that comes packaged with MS Excel. Often I use the worksheets for input and output, but that's it. It would be better if it were written in PHP, but I'm not a programmer and am far too lazy to bother learning another language.

10/03/2006 11:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vic - I sent you some programming thoughts to your contact addy associated with this blog.

10/05/2006 10:01 am  

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