Monday, October 09, 2006

Remembering Soap Candy

Four goals have been scored by the Oilers this season. None were scored by a player on the roster last season (Sykora, Tjarnqvist, Lupul). Three goals have been scored against the Oilers this season. Each goal had either Smid or Lupul (or both) on the ice, if I'm not mistaken. Welcome to the team, boys. Nice of you to help us get acquainted right away. I hadn't really paid attention to Sykora or Lupul before. Smid looks exposed and I'm wondering why Hejda hasn't drawn in. Sykora looks great to me, and is it me or does he nicely swoop in behind Roloson to pick the puck up and bring it out of harm?

Lupul though. Conversation piece already it seems, but we knew the trade to get him would put him under the microscope. I'm supicious of the impression that youtube highlight reels leave; maybe if people start producing some lowlite reels too I'll feel better. Anyway, Vic's been basically slapping him around online all summer, so I was expecting to dislike him.

After the small sample of two games, though, I can say that he's surprised me: he seems much, much worse than I had thought. Awful along the boards covering the opposition D in his zone. And there he was racing waaay up the ice at the end of a long shift in which the Flames were putting heavy pressure on in the zone, not bothering to see if his team really had control of the puck or not. Sure, it's just two games, on TV no less. But that's a coin with two sides. It's a small sample but it doesn't seem like one has to go combing through dozens of games in order to selectively pick out some questionable plays.

That said, the guy was smart enough to come in in tight to put in the garbage in game 2, and the best part of his game that I have seen so far is his passing, which seemed pretty damn impressive to me. If he shoots better than he passes, I'm going to love seeing pucks go in off his stick. He's fast and has size. Right now, I'm just hoping like hell that he knows how to use these raw gifts, and is teachable. Did he run a cheapshotter last game? That would work in his favour too.

Did you ever eat soap candies? Anyone know where to get them now? They taste like soap, and not just a little like soap. The first impression is "yuck". Second is "eewww". Then you finish the bag and want more. If Lupul keeps this up, he could end up being both a favourite and a favourite whipping boy. I guess that's OK because I need something to fill that particular niche, which was made vacant by Laraques departure. Still, its stinging right now it's not looking great right that the Smyth+Horcoff pairing will be much of an ES force this year with him on the wings. If so, that's quite a negative impact. But where else do you hide him?


Blogger PDO said...


Hide him right there.

I don't like the way he plays at all. Cuts corners to score goals. Has done it all his career, and I'm worried thath e's never going to stop.


10/09/2006 11:38 am  
Anonymous The Rage said...

My dream trade deadline would be a defenseman capable of top four minutes (and if he can quarterback a powerplay that's a plus as five forwards still scares me almost as much as it excites me) as well as an outscoring RW. We would be SICK if we made that happen. Then we can dump Lupul onto the fourth line or something.

10/09/2006 12:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you even have a clue?
Smid looked fine given that he has to play with Staios.
Haven't seen him make any passes like Smith did at the start of game one.

10/09/2006 12:48 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

"Given that he has to play with Staios."


I don't even know where to begin with a statement like that.

I think it's been obvious to everyone that Staios is baby-sitting and Smid is using him as a release valve quite often.


10/09/2006 12:56 pm  
Anonymous the rage said...

People keep talking about how good Smid looks, but if he keeps putting up minuses DESPITE playing with a SOLID defenseman like Staois, then he's clearly not good enough.

Also, what is it with people not being able to sign their posts with a handle?

10/09/2006 1:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should realize that Staios is at best a #4 D-Man.
Your bashing of Smid the rookie is totally unfair. It is like a young kid getting in trouble because you leave him with a 9 year old babysitter(#4D) instead of one who is 15.(#1or#2)
Give the kid a break, he has looked OK given he has 2 games of NHL experience, its not like he is playing with a top D-Man that can help him get him out of trouble.

10/09/2006 1:41 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Why on earth would you put a rookie defenseman with a #1 defenseman? Do you want to lose every game as Smid gets bitch slapped around by Thornton and Sakic?

And why is it so hard for people to put a name at the bottom of their posts?

Staios is a legitimate second pairing defenseman, and Smid has rarely been on the ice against anyone considered a first liner. The fact that he's managed to make the last mistake before a goal two games in a row isn't a good sign anyway you slice it.

He's a rookie. They fuck up. A lot. The fact that you're blaming Staios for his mistakes is ridiculous.

I wouldn't be so shocked by your comments if you were typing like this!!! Because then atleast I would know who you are!!! And your over the top love for all things rookie wouldnt' be all that surprising!!!

Seriously though, Smid couldn't ask for a better baby-sitter. He still has a ways to go, and it's going to be painful to watch because this team is at contender level in goal and up front.


10/09/2006 1:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I am saying is that you are jumping on Smid, when on both of those goals other guys fucked up as well.
Staios for a veteran has his share of struggles, and not every goal these guys are on the ice for will be or is Smid's fault.
I like Staios I just think that at times he has his hands full just looking after himself.
As to your comment about a rookie with a #1 what about Pronger and MAB last year?
As to posting with no name..I do that to get 'rage' fired up...worked didn't it.

10/09/2006 2:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

94-10 used to have to carry 83 in their power vs power assignment last year and now it looks like they'll have to carry 15. I never liked Lupul right from last year's playoff series, his skillset is so one dimenionsal that he reminds me of Selivanov, and my first thought is that he was a pussy who'd disappear for long stretches.

It's an early sample size but I haven't seen anything that would convince me otherwise.

The good news from a balanced perspective is that early on 83 looks to have grown to the point where the 14-71-83 line should be able to hang with anyone and we know that a 94-10-34 line can damn well go toe to toe with anyone in the league. Now if we roll like that we're back to two damn fine lines plus 18-16 trying to roll with 15 on their line. But at home with the last change we'd still be able to match that 3rd line against the other team's third line which is gonna be a win win for us in just about all the applicable cases.

So...even though we've given 15 security I'd give up the idea of the three balanced lines and go with two super lines and a 3rd that can still chip in every now and then, though I'd still expect to get the most out of 15 and 16 when it comes to the PP. That means we're paying 15 to be a PP specalist basically but I can deal with that.

It's better than once again saddling Smytty and Horc with a +/- anchor.


PS: Mark me down right now as a guy who's conviced Lupul isn't ready to play in a hockey mad city that also doubles as his hometown. I think JL's pretty much an arsehole and so help him if he goes a long time without scoring goals and it's in the middle of the Oilers having a little slump. The knives will come out and I think he'll shrink like George Costanza in the Hamptons.

10/09/2006 4:07 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

Terrific item here oilswell. I like Lupul a whole bunch because the things he brings are so rare and imo a roster with a variety of skills is much more likely to succeed over all skill or all grit. We all wish that a roster made up of ruffians was good enough but it isnt unless you have Bernie Parent.

Actually, Lupul's early career is similar to a Parent teammate, Rick MacLeish. Couldn't check his hat but he could kill you just the same.

10/09/2006 5:37 pm  
Anonymous oilswell said...

People, there's nothing wrong with anonymous posting. Stupidity can be posted with a name. In fact, I can think of many specific names that I almost wish would post less; can't you? Smart, funny, or interesting posts are always welcome. And I can do without the crappy ones no matter who signs it. That said, maybe people can just put #1/#2, etc. for their name if they can't pick a nom de huile.

Regarding first anonymous's comments: I didn't realize summarizing objective facts relating to the early visibility of the new players counts as a shot at Smid. Mind you, I confess I don't really understand this business of how to correctly carve up slack*. Can someone explain why I need to cut any NHL player slack? One thing that does make a bit of logical sense to me is that one may wish to forgive Smid a bit because the poor guy is being handicapped by being paired with a proven sub-standard mistake-generator in Staios. You're supposed to cut slack to the player being saddled with the job of babysitting the inferior player, right?

Dennis, bk: I had similar lineup shuffling thoughts, in addition to slotting Sykora elsewhere (might look pretty fine with Horcoff and Smyth, say). Did it seem like MacT is using the old trick of putting the "checking line" out after the PP ends? Must be nice with Pisani and Moreau skating with a guy who can take a D zone faceoff if they are hemmed in by the opposition top line. I suppose if Lupul is skating with Moreau, Pisani could slot in there temporarily in the shift immediately after. Suddenly the deep lineup you just roll without thinking doesn't? Nice impact by Lupul if that's the case. MacT gave Hemsky (and Comrie, FWIW) lots of rope after the first bit, but I'm wondering if Lupul's game would't be helped more if MacT goes all Lemaire on his ass for a season.

* Yes, I've intentionally "butchered" this analogy. Hang with me on that.

10/09/2006 6:16 pm  
Anonymous Big T said...

For me, the jury is still out on Lupul. Not because I actually believe he might actually be an productive EV winger. I'm just hoping (praying) he can be taught.

I was at G1 and at a wedding for all but the last minute of G2. From what I saw of him I was absolutely horrified by his positioning (as well as many other E-town winger's) while the Oil were hemmed in their own zone. Horrified.

Floating up past the blue line when a pee-wee winger would know enough to have his ass stapled along the opposite boards. Oilswell is right - MacT absolutely needs to go all Lemaire on his ass... and then some.

And he needs to room with Pisani. Hopefully some of that "Fernando-goodness" will seep over to him in the middle of the night. Hopefully.


10/09/2006 10:41 pm  
Blogger allan said...

And maybe Fernando would have someone else to high-five when he wakes up in the middle of the night.

10/10/2006 12:00 am  
Anonymous uni said...

I liked the mention of Sykora defensively. He came up in the Devils system. Trap first, all defense, worry about scoring goals later. I really don't have that many worries about his defensive game. Now I'm not saying he's a Horcoff or a Moreau on backchecking and puck support, but he would be miles ahead of a Lupul or even Hemsky I'd have to think on an ES monster line with Horc and Smyth.

10/10/2006 3:13 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

I like the two lines things Dennis, but I wonder if it should be a H/R thing? Maybe go with the three lines on the road, where you might have trouble getting matchups and go with two lines at home when you're confident you can do it. At home, do what Vic suggested where Horcoff's line gets the Thornton match up and the Star Studded Extravaganza gets the shift after Thornton leaves the ice.

10/10/2006 8:38 am  
Blogger namflashback said...

riv, et. al,

MacT's post practice comments spoke of the fact that he "wasn't in a position to evaluate the ES play, because there wasn't enough of it" in the first two games. He also added that his initial impression was that not enough was done in those first two games to tell.

The positive of this comment is that reading between the lines he is definitely evaluating it and knows its deficient. The negative is that we will probably have to watch 94-10 drag 15 around vs Thornton-Cheechoo-Bell and against Sakic on Saturday. Please . . . stop . . . the experiment.

Maybe he goes 5 games before he forces it to tighten up?

10/10/2006 10:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RQ...yes I'd definetly switch things up depending on if you're home or on the road. The 2nd line would stay intact so it's only 15 and 34 who are jumping back and forth. At home we load up two lines and bet our 3rd line can outscore the other team's third line, against a powerhouse like SJ that means 18-16-15 vs Neminen-Brown-Grier for instance.

Then on the road we go back for balance and hide 15 with 94-10 and hope that Wilson and Caryle would go after the Skyora line.

I'm not surprised that there are some early knives out for Lupul though. It's not like we're the 85 Oilers mind you but there's enough scoring here that fans aren't likely to put up with a supreme floater like 15. We just came off a long run where just about everyone was down blocking shots and taking hits to make a play and here we've got a guy who looks to be the new BG in terms of ineptitude when it comes to getting the puck out of his own zone. And it seems like he's really not that interested in own zone coverage either.

This is gonna be interesting.


10/10/2006 10:52 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Dennis' last point is a good one and may be what makes or breaks Lupul - you have guys like Hemsky diving in front of shots and Smyth coming back after losing teeth etc etc - hell, we are seeing this trend continue already (Staios takes a puck in the face and does not miss a shift) this year, which I think is terrific.

Joffrey is going to have to astound and amaze consistently to get the fans, the coaching staff and his teammates to get onside with the BS side of his game.

Or he's going to have to change his game.

10/10/2006 2:31 pm  
Anonymous Big T said...

WOW, I've been reading all over the Oilogosphere about people already wanting to trade Lupul. Kinda jumping the gun a bit IMO.

I'm not impressed with his defensive effort, but that's not to say he doesn't have some very desirable skills.

He needs to be taught and MacT will do that. I'm still holding out hope that he learns to play on the other side of the puck.


10/11/2006 9:43 am  
Blogger KingD said...

For all of the fans, Lupul's and the team's sake I think 15 needs to be seeing the 3rd most min out of the RW troika, ie 83-34 being the other two, and then he gets to graze on the PP.

That puts 34 up with 94-10 and leaves the Czech-Mez line intact and makes it much easier for matchups.

10/11/2006 11:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing how many fans are already giving up on Lupul and/or Smid and we are a mere 2 games into the season.

Dan Tencer (630 CHED) asked Kevin Lowe himself about how long do you wait in the season (regarding the defense) before making a judgement on them or make a trade. And Lowe himself said "I don't think you really trully get a read on a team until you've seen them play 50 or 60 games... so people should buckle in and get use to the hockey team"

And Lowe and company should at least get much more respect then I've seen in here regarding players such as Lupul and Smid... these are two players that Lowe and the scouts have been very high on for many years now and obviously feel are huge key components to this team.... yet look at negative judgements... after just two games... and likely two TV games at that.

Let's try giving Lupul and Smid a more fair oppurtunity before casting such harsh judgements.

NB Oiler Fan

10/11/2006 4:47 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I think you've hit the important issue for the season, oilswell. It's these two players, and more specifically the way they are being played, that's just so important.

Not a knock against either guy for what they might become in the future (hopefully not-too-distant). Just that these aren't the kind of guys you add to a roster if you are in "win now" mode. In fact their the kinds of guys you trade for someone in their prime (SEE Anaheim).

And if you do have them, then the rest of the lineup had better be solid veterans so you can hide them deep on the roster or play them special teams (SEE Getzlaf and Perry).

I appreciate the sentiments of riversq, Dennis, and the others who are hoping they'll get bumped down. But I dunno, they didn't bump Hemsky down until the playoffs, or a game or two before. I'm bracing myself for the same deal with these two this season.

I hope it pushes them up the learning curve faster (it seems to have with Hemsky). And I hope that they can squeak into the playofs this season anyways.

It's going to be a bitchin' Oilers roster in a couple of years methinks.

What is soap candy and where can I buy it? A quick google doesn't turn up anything that looks familiar from my childhood.

If it was me that started this thread, I would have just deleted the posts from that 'anonymous' fuckwad. This isn't a democracy. :)

10/12/2006 5:06 pm  
Blogger lilcrow said...

a little late, and to deviate from the hockey topic (BUT GO OILERS GO!), you can buy soap candy at the little candy booth in Bonnie Doon and i believe they also have them at the candy kiosk in WEM. :)

i LOVE soap candy!

12/04/2006 9:01 am  
Blogger lilcrow said...

(p.s. soap candy is also known as "floral gums")

12/04/2006 9:07 am  

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