Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oilers/Blues: Post thoughts here..

I'd have the scoring chances at 6-3 for the Oilers in the first period. Very slow start and the best thing about the first 10 minutes was that the fact that the PA guy played Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" after the Blues took their first penalty.

Horcoff had a glorious one handed tip that went off the iron and I just don't know what else can go wrong for him scoring chance wise. Smyth tracked down Salvador just inside the St. Louis blueline on a play that once again reminded us that 94 plays the game like he's still 12 years old and he never gives up on anything. Torres almost had one squeek through Sanford and that was the good part. The bad part was he flubbed about three or four five foot passes.

Sykora had a shift that Kevin Quinn called interesting which is the novice way or describing a player as high event. Thoresen is back to gritting it out and him and Winchester have a nice little thing going and 26 has now entered the karma part of his streak of consistent play where he scores a goal even though he didn't play his best period.

Speaking of little things going...I wonder why MacT and Smid will tie the knot? MacTavish might want to revisit his McGeough comments because you'd have to be both blind and stupid to start a PP off with both Tarnqvist and Smid back on your points. I think the PP's reached the point of "it's anyone else's fault but Craig Simpson's fault" and we'll see some screwy things until it gets hot again. There's no question this unit should be way better but when you put out 29/5 on your points then it's just like throwing up your hands and quitting. If MacT believes the old addage that you win because you're best players are your best players than why is he throwing out a kid who couldn't even put up PP points in the AHL?

Jussi's in net for the Oil and doesn't look shaky at all. Granted he wasn't tested a great deal but he did nothing to make you feel uncomfortable either.


Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Scratch what I said about Jussi;)

11/12/2006 1:14 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

The two Oilers I feel for are Horcoff and Smith. Horc is going to have about a 40 point drop this season by the looks of it but he's not that bad a player. It looks like it's going to be one of those years.

And Smith gets a minus 1 in the first period is just completely wrong.

btw, Oilers lose this game going away.

11/12/2006 1:15 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

I think the Oilers should reacquire Bert Robertsson and then put him on the PP too;):D

They'll lose going away if the Blues start piling up SC's.

11/12/2006 1:27 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

We've all watched a lot of hockey here...when's the last time you saw an Oilers seemingly come out of nowhere like 26 looks to be doing right now? I'm saying it was BG back in his 13 goal season of '01. I mean Winchester's almost a threat everytime he's on the ice...that should be a joke but it's not.

WTF was the Stoll line doing on the ice for that Blues goal? The 19 line should've been on. 14-15-16 are sucking it up today so just sit them down.

Sanford made a little whiff on the second goal so that's nice to see but overall I can't see us winning this game. Jussi will find a way to let something in and/or we'll hit three posts in the third period. That being said maybe they grit it out and start something. It's not the skill guys who are getting stuff down's the Horc and Reasoner lines who are down in the trenches and winning the battles. If that's the gameplan then we have a chance.

Plus scoring a PP goal or not taking two penalties in the third would help as well.

11/12/2006 1:53 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Oh Jussi.

That's terrible

11/12/2006 2:13 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

It's beyond frustrating to watch this team right now. I know they're just 8-8-1 and not totally out of the playoff race and I know that guys like Torres-Horc-Pisani-Lupul won't keep sucking offensively like they do know. Ferraro is right that the luck just hasn't been there thus far but man oh man when's it gonna turn?

The latest piece of bad news is that Jussi's sucked in two of his three appearecnes so far and he didn't give the Oilers a chance today.

11/12/2006 2:28 pm  
Blogger Scarlett said...

Horrible game by Jussie and Torres. And yeah, what the hell was Smid and Tjarnquist doing on the PP? I really like Smid, but just no the PP. Or even better, Winchester/Reasoner/Thoresen on the PP with 4 min left in the game. Wrong.

So good news (and yes there is some), there is no way to go but up!

11/12/2006 2:54 pm  
Anonymous SweatyO said...

Gentlemen, may I present to you the dumbest post ever on Oilfans. This is the work of Droz, one of the stupidest newbies ever to come along to what I'd consider my "home site":

The powerplay has finally given up on the 5 foreward alignment. Took long enough, but I think its dead. Hemsky is off the PP, which is where he should stay until he accepts that we need "dirty" goals as much as any other team. It'll likely be a few more games until MacT notices that Stoll's one-timer isn't a benefit to a powerplay.

It's right there in the post game thread. It is mind-numbingly stupid.

Dennis, by any chance is this the sort of trash that has you not showing up on your old stomping grounds anymore?

I feel dumber for having quoted that....

That being said, it sounds like there is some very well justified venom being directed toward Lupul and Torres these days. The Horcoff bashing by some other guy is probably as unjustified as my calling for MacT's head over the whole PP and it's ineffectiveness.

11/12/2006 3:27 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Ya, one of those games. the Oilers had the better of the chances I thought, but no dice this afternoon. And Dennis, I think that Markannen should have had the first bad one, no doubt. But the second by Stempniak was just one fo those things, he covered as much of the net as he could and Stempniak's whack at it hit the perfect spot, just one of those things, at least from teh camera angles I saw.

The powerplay was rough. And any hockey town is going to bitch about special teams, but the fans have some ammo here. I wasn't expecting the Oilers PP to be great, but surely all of us were expecting more than this.

11/12/2006 4:09 pm  
Anonymous Sweatyo said...

Vic - we can complain about the special teams all we want, but punishing skill guys for underperforming by cutting their PP time, and then subbing in fourth-liners?

That's MacT ASKING for another loss. Give those fourth liners more ES minutes as a reward perhaps. This treatment of PP minutes as some sort of reward has to stop.

11/12/2006 4:13 pm  
Blogger Bank Shot said...

About Winchester:

I thought he showed some flashes last season, but he didn't get much in the way of a chance to adjust to the speed of the NHL game. He had some shifts were he was dangerous down low but struggled with his timing. He only played 8+ minutes 5 out of his 19 games and he recored 2 or more shots in each of those games. 9 of his games he played under 5 minutes of icetime which doesn't give a guy much chance to get his legs moving. Despite the minimal icetime he had 19 shots in 19 games so he was doing something with his icetime.

Instead of Winchester getting a better look early last season it was guys like Rita and Kolanos getting their 15 minutes of evaluation time. He was also usually teamed up with some combination of Laraque and Harvey which would hurt anyone's offensive game.

Anyways I don't mind him being out on the PP every once in a while, but I think he may be better utilized somewhere besides in front of the net. Brad has an absolute rocket of a wristshot and 2 of his 4 NHL goals have been scored with that wrister from somewhere out in the suberbs. Also his first NHL point was the result of Joseph not being able to handle the shot cleanly and Pouliot tapping in the rebound. Put him out in the deep slot and let his heavy shot create havoc in front for Smyth to clean up.

11/12/2006 6:19 pm  
Anonymous Bling said...

How are Droz's comments stupid?

I have no qualms about running a 5 forward PP unit provided that, well, it works. And right now it doesn't, so I think MacT is justified in throwing some different looks out there.

Hemksy has just been playing stupid hockey lately. Giveaways galore.
Same goes for the likes of Torres, Stoll and Lupul. I think MacT has gone above and beyond giving the skilled guys some slack; now is the time to tighten the noose and start cutting back on their minutes.

Management has bestowed 3/4 of that quartet with long term security, and it's high time they started holding down their end of the bargain.

11/12/2006 11:15 pm  
Anonymous Bling said...


Do you know for sure that throwing out the best 5 PP/Hour scorers equates to the best PP overall?

Make sense intuitively, I suppose, but the 5 forward Oiler PP hasn't approached respectability in ages. And how about those Sens? They went from one of the best PPs in the league last year to the bottom of the barrel this year. The only element that they lost there was Chara, and his PP scoring rate was quite low.

I dunno, it just seems to me that there might be more to power play efficiency than just the sum of individual PP/60 rates.

11/12/2006 11:25 pm  
Anonymous Julian said...

Rod : get lost, this is one of the best blogs out there, and if you have nothing to contribute, then don't. Why do you think I post here so rarely?
Can't blame the guy for not responding to someone who's just trolling. Until the dumbass at least learns to sign a name, that's all he's doing.

Bling : I think I recall MC doing a post comaring PP scoring rates between PPs involving 5, 4, and 3 forwards, and found little overall difference in their PP+/-. I think in Oilers case, there's a much bigger gap between which forwards they have available for the PP compared to which D they have, and the spread for most other teams.

11/13/2006 7:38 am  
Blogger allan said...

Vic- Maybe you need a laugh track. Apparently humour is a bit much for some people here. ;)

I wonder what impact the position a player is playing on the PP has on the scoring rates. For example, Petr Sykora seems to have moved from the point to playing down low a bit more recently.

It's probably fairly safe to assume that it would have some impact on his scoring rate (PPP/60 at the point vs. PPP/60 down low), but I'm curious about what impact it could have on the team's PP scoring rate.

Of course, it's not really possible to measure this sort of thing, short of rewatching every game with a stopwatch, but I think the apparent lack of variation in success rate between the 3, 4, and 5 forward units could be a result of the players at the point having a lesser impact on results than the players deeper in the zone. An extension of forwards driving results, to some degree.

Or maybe I'm just making things too complicated.

11/13/2006 8:58 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Bling, no argument for or against, I really don't know.

Mudcrutch had a terrific post on PP scoring rates with 2, 1 or 0 defencemen out there, by team. Probably a couple of months ago. And there wasn't much in it.

I think it boils down to your personnel. If I remember right Carolina and Atlanta used four forwards a lot, even 5 forwards on occasion. But when Laviolette was in NY he used 2D almost all of the time iirc (Aucoin, Hamrlik, ect). Same with Hartley in Colorado, he had Blake and Bourque for a while, Ozo before that.

I don't know if the Oilers have any good PP defencemen though. They have a couple of guys who can shoot but no really good puck movers.

In any case I tend to agree with Grabia, the Oilers PP is just too predictable. It's the point shot or occasionally the pass through the seam from the halfboards to the other opposite D. I mean when the puck goes low on the PP I don't think any of us are expecting them to try a cross-crease pass or a slot play. And I don't think that the PKers are either.

Having said that, I can't imagine that any PP with Hemsky on it will continue to be quite this bad for too much longer.

11/13/2006 9:03 am  
Anonymous SweatyO said...

Vic - I think you're dead on that it's more about the system than anything else. The puck bascially, once the Oilers get control, goes back around the top three guys (Hemsky-Sykora-Stoll) and Lupul/Smyth basically don't get involved. Slot play? Cross crease pass? Cue picture of Ralph Wiggum picking his damn nose to describe Craig Simpson's reaction to such notions.

Bling - Droz's stupidity is twofold:

1) If you are going to punish Hemsky and reward Winchester, do it at ES. In a game you are trailing but not out of, you need powerplay goals. Thus, you need your best guy out there. Hemsky's the kind of guy who can make you forget about a sub-par night with one or two plays (see game 6 vs. Detroit last spring).

2) A one time shot isn't an asset to a PP? As much as I hate that this is the Oilers ONLY PP play right now, it's not Stoll's fault. He's got a great one-timer and it would be a huge asset if the PP had a bit more unpredictability to it.

Fire Simpson!

11/13/2006 9:12 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Ya, I don't know if puck moving talent on the blue line really helps the Oilers that much, it's pretty much a pure shooting gig on a Simpson PP anyways.

Personally I was hoping that they would work out a deal with Tarnstrom this summer. But I'm not so sure that he's the type of pointman they want on the PP anyways. I'd like to see them work on fewer set plays and let Hemsky work on instinct a lot more. 83 has taken some criticism for PP giveaways lately, but I dunno, every time he tries an unlikely play, or a pass through skates to the slot ... the PKers resister that and it leaves a bit more room for other options the next time.

No prrof whatsoever, but I suspect that the Oilers coaching staff have analyzed a tonne of video and figured out what the highest percentage plays are to create quality scoring chances. The problem is that everyone knows what they are going to do (keep it on the perimeter, turn the box and try and get the point shot from somewhere in the mid-blueline area). And when the PK unit takes that away they seem lost.

11/13/2006 9:26 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


According to Ward Winchester has a helluva one timer as well. And, like Stoll (and unlike me :) ) it doesn't have to be dead centre in his wheelhouse for him to be able to get it away. The fact that he scored an obscene number of PP goals in his stint in the AHL last season would seem to support that. Still, the Oilers don't use shooters up front and already have Stoll on the back end. If I were Winchester I'd be working on skating backwards every day, when the coaches were noticing. And I'd be asking Huddy if I could do some Dman drills at practice. That way if Stoll ever got injured he might get his chance as a PP shooter.

Sometime in mid-October, in a game that was out of reach (home game vs PHX) they had Winchester in that role in a late PP. Right side point. He was banging his stick on the ice like a madman calling for the puck. Reminded me of those old Nike commercials with the pumped up guys yelling "Gimme the ball! gimme the ball!".

Powerplays are streaky things at the best of times. And I suspect that they promised Sykora he'd have the 1st unit pointman gig when he signed this summer, so that just might stick. And the PP will only be as good as Hemsky. And if, big IF, they're punishing 83 for not making the 'safe pass' enough on the PP, they could be in trouble deep with that unit.

11/13/2006 9:35 am  
Blogger Lowetide said...

No one wants to talk about this, but part of the problem with the PP is that Pronger was SO patient back there. A fwd had to commit (and by that I mean stride toward)to him before he moved and he had no fear at all so the F's had to respect that.

The D is window dressing on the PP and they can key on Hemsky. imo Stoll is a nice option back there and MAB is the other option. Put Hemsky, Smyth and Sykora up front with Lupul the first option after that.

Oilers are a one trick pony on the PP and #83 is easily read in spite of stunning talent. They'll figure it out when he does.

11/13/2006 9:51 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Ya, I agree on the impact of Pronger LT. Before he arrived here I wasn't so sure about his PP contribution, my memory had stored a bunch of clips of McInnis making plays on the Blue's PP, but none with Pronger. But he was a very effective PP player. Helped them gain the zone better as well. I think mostly he could just receive a pass so well, and that's a quality that none of the Oiler point options have besides Sykora.

Really I thought that the Oilers PP created the most last season down the stretch with Samsonov/Hemsky/Pronger all on the left side. For all the scoring chances they generated they deserved better results.

11/13/2006 10:00 am  
Blogger Andy Grabia said...

The thing I miss about Pronger is his ability to keep the puck in the offensive zone. The guy knocks practically everything down with his stick. It's an amazing skill that really no one else in the league shares.

11/13/2006 2:10 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

I'd forgotten about the Sammy/Hemsky combo on the left side..but they did have some nice chem going there for awhile. A few give and go's and the like. You guys are right that as 83 goes so shall the PP and I think we're the completion of the '08 season away from throwing out "he leaves you wanting more" when it comes to Hemsky. TO fans say that about Sundin and I tell them they're nuts but then I'll watch a TO game and he'll just shine and you wonder why he can't do it more of the time. Then again he hasn't had great linemates all the time and Hemsky has and of course Sundin's a lot older.

The last few games are a time when it's easy to get all over the kid but then in the last game Jussi sucked and Hemsky has nothing to do with that.

Regarding the PP...the Oilers could run a slot play with either Lupul or Sykora though I'd chose the latter because he gets his shot off quicker. One thing I've noticed about 71 is even when he isn't scoring he's still out there firing away and getting his chances though 83 will see to that and possibly to the detriment of both himself and the Oilers.

Anyway maybe the Oilers can pick up a point man and move 71 down low with 83-94.

One thing I'm wondering about PP strategy wise...I'll say the Oilers don't have too many plays or else they just let the guys improvise. I thought about that when the 4th line saw some time and 28 made a nice little slot play to 19. You don't see Hemsky or anyone else try that when they're on the PP so I'm sure it's not something the Oilers teach. The Oilers need to add a wrinkle or two for sure and yeah I think it's time to either fire simpson or take away the PP duties from him.

AG..44 is good at keeping the puck in but the best guy I've ever seen knocking the puck out of the air and then controlling it was Peca. He was wicked at it and I saw him do it the other night against TO as well.

Sweaty...there's a few reasons why I hardly ever post at OF anymore. I really don't wanna get into it. Vic PMed me about the blog thing just about the time the shine was coming off OF and I just made the jump I guess. Overall though MJ did and does a great was really the place where a few of us "met" and there's some good blogging going on right now and OF did and does have something to do with it.

11/13/2006 3:12 pm  

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