Monday, December 04, 2006

Oilers at Canucks: Who's Lines Are These Anyways?

Here's a look at who TSN says will take the ice for the Oilers tonight and who they'll line up with:

10 has two new guys on his wing and he just started playing with 71 in the last game though he did start the season 15. 15-71 had a few games together early in the season as well. I'm really not sure about this one though because 10 has always anchored MacT's shutdown line but who really wants to see these guys go up against Nasdin?

19's back together with 26-28 and we can remember those guys being the Oilers best during the latter part of the Oilers first Eastern roadtrip and then doing some nice work in their first game back at Rexall. I think this sorta wastes Reasoner's ability to deal with tough matchups but then again the Canucks only have one line so lineup construction and matchup scnarios aren't as concerning as it would be if you were playing in SJ or Ana.

14-16 are back together and Pisani's with them as well. I think the last time these guys all played together was the 6-2 loss in Ana when they clicked for a goal and had a few other chances to boot. 14-16 have played together in a quite a few games and I remember Pisani being one of those guys who auditioned on their right side last year along with guys like Winchester and Dvorak. I don't think it worked out all that great back then and I can't imagine these guys being able to handle tough min now. They're gonna be high event and let's hope the pendeulum's at least swinging both ways.

22-20-78 are together on a line that really does absolutely nothing towards discovering the potential depths of Pouliot's offensive upside. The way they're using MAP is already frustrating and I can just imagine how I'll feel once they start really busting down his icetime or benching him alltogether before he's "not getting anything done." I don't think the guy's Wayne Gretzky but the last two games have seen him saddled with linemates more suited for Wayne Van Dorp.

You can see that Mihknov's out and I really don't understand why they called him up to sit. He's a guy trying to find his offensive legs in North America and somehow the Oilers feel he's better off practicing in the NHL then actually playing in the AHL. And this doesn't come from a guy who think's AM's the awnser to any of the Oilers problems and that he'd be able to chip in with a few points. I'd just as soon let him catch fire in the AHL and in his stead bring in a guy like Kyle Brodziak who's development is likely stunted by some NHL pressbox time and would be better suited to the role that Mikhnov will be asked to play whenever he does draws in.

Tonight's game will be like watching an exhibition games except some unfortunate people will have to listen to Jim Hughson call it. The Canucks outworked and outchanced the Oilers early in the season when Edmonton wasn't dressing half the AHL and now Lowe's Boys head into Van with less than a full squad and far from a barrel of confidence.

I see some guys who's opinions I value have started to fear the Dys because they believe that some of their offensive guys are immersed in slumps way past due and are about to break out. I can get down with that a little bit but I also think they're just icing a tonne of fellows who have less finish than Wilt Chamberlain's headboard.

They probably have enough to take down the Oilers tonight though. Edm's auditioning new lines and new players and I doubt the accompanying performance will draw winning reviews.


Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Shocking! The Oilers called up a player for no fucking reason. What is that, the fifth time this season?

12/04/2006 6:20 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Heh. Andy's mad.

I think Mikhnov draws in against the Canes - they will give him some serious icetime and shelter him all they can. Or they might just let him sit in the PB for the next three weeks.

Fuck around.

Rookie rookie rookie rookie rookie rookie.

As far as the eye can see.

12/04/2006 6:34 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Are these TSN lineup cards usually accurate, Dennis?

Intuitively you'd think that Horcoff is the natural guy for the Nasdin gig. But 10 has brutal career numbers against Naslund iirc, personally I don't worry about that too much, but most coaches seem to, they may very well be right.

But seeing Reasoner, the only other real option to go against Nasdin, seeing him playing with 26 and 28 on that list is a sure indicator that he's not getting the assignment tonight.

Maybe I was just noticing at the right times, but it seems to me that all the VAN lines except Nasdin are playing really conservative. Two forecheckers in but the third forward is staying so freaking high they may as well list him as a D on the roster sheet. And when you play with that kind of separation with the 2F and 3F, the 3F better be a centre or someone who can handle himself in his own end or the whole plan doesn't make much sense.

Point being that the only VAN line who is likely to take chances and leave you an odd man rush is nasdin. Best to have some players with some finish out against them maybe, I dunno.

Seems that way to me with Vignault's Nucks anyways. We'll see what they serve up tonight. I liked Crawford's style better.

12/04/2006 7:14 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Vic Said...

Seems that way to me with Vignault's Nucks anyways. We'll see what they serve up tonight. I liked Crawford's style better.

Especially the part about playing Cloutier as the #1? :D

I donno.. maybe I'm just being an arrogant asshole, but I'm not terrified about tonight; likely just because I haven't seen the last two games, but that's moot ;).

Vancouver has one line that'll kill you.. and that's it. We've got Roloson in net and Naslund is having a brutal season. I like our chances that someone like Joffrey can actually do something tonight.

Besides, Torres eats Dy's for breakfast.


12/04/2006 7:25 pm  
Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Heh. Andy's mad.

I am mad. It's been brewing all day, and I've boiled over. See, even my metaphors don't make any sense.


12/04/2006 7:35 pm  
Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Holy shit.

12/04/2006 8:15 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

That line info was good alright. MacT tried to get out 10 vs Nasdin and Vignault changed right away.

Two penalties right off the hop by the Oil and that was a blatent knee by 78. That's the second one I;ve seen from the Oil this year, ie Greene did the same to Higgins in Mtl, and I hate that stuff and I have to call it down the middle

12/04/2006 8:22 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

How's she look Dennis? Just following play by play online - took them long enough to get that first shot but they made it count.

12/04/2006 8:41 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

The only thing to like about that period was the score;)

Seriously...Nasdin is a threat every time and some of the other Van lines look occasionally dangerous but you don't really fret. Roli was always steady and sometimes spectacular. Horc was around the puck a lot and 16 threw a couple of big hits.

MAP looks invisible and 14 made a couple of clearing attempts that would curdle milk.

For the crew watching this on SNWest, ie I have SN Pac, is there any word on 94 and 83? Did anyone else notice Lupul's comments today when he said that both guys would be out "for awhile."

12/04/2006 8:50 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Looks like Horcoff is going to get leaned on heavily as long as they can - over 8 minutes icetime. And he's playing w/ Sykora and Lupul?

Sorry - I'm following this sucker on the interweb - trying to decipher the tealeaves. Looks like Peterson's seeing a little more icetime as well.

Those two early penalties really left a lot of guys sitting on the bench for a long time early on - that's a killer.

12/04/2006 8:56 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

The Sedins and Naslund are eating 14-16-34 alive! Damn are the Oiler lucky to even still be in this game, and it's only the first intermission. I thought they usually let up on the suck until the second.

The only two bright spots thus far are the PK and the goaltending, and somehow I feel there's an acute relationship between the two.

12/04/2006 8:58 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

The best thing about that period was Luongo's pads-from-the-makers-of-Super-Ball. That one rebound could have taken an eye.

12/04/2006 9:02 pm  
Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Three Canucks chased off with injury. Of course, they are "upper body" and "lower body" injuries. That has to be the worst addition to the sporting world this year. The league should make teams report all injuries.

12/04/2006 9:17 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

I have to watch the Dys feed so any interesting news from the Oilers bcast side of things?

12/04/2006 9:45 pm  
Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Not really. Smytty did an interview with Principe, and said he'll find out how long he'll be out tomorrow. Not that the team will reveal it, mind you. We still haven't heard squat on Hemsky's return time.

12/04/2006 9:58 pm  
Blogger Bank Shot said...

You know... Torres-Stoll played against the Sedins alot last year and killed them then and they are killing them again this year.

Maybe it's the Sedin's lack of speed that allows Torres/Stoll to own them while Edmonton's duo gets in trouble against other star players.

Or maybe they are just in the twins heads.

12/04/2006 10:04 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Two to three weeks, he said in the Sun today.

Smyth, I mean.

12/05/2006 10:15 am  
Blogger Slipper said...

The Oilers are finding themselves on the wrong end of the ice for all of the extended pressure. All this jive about the puck moving defender the Oilers need has me wondering if his addition will affect the Oiler forwards ability to give and receive a pass through the neutral zone. I can't think of a good D-man, who when hemmed in his own zone, is going to break free on his skates and bomb it deep to a streaking cherry picker. Instead I think they'd do just about the same thing the Oiler D are doing now and ring it out the boards, where it's usually a forward, and not another defenseman, that's manning the wall. It's at that point that much of the craziness ensues, in my mind. Trying to stick handle out of the zone through defenders, passing it across ice, behind the red line to a forward who's carrying no speed. Too often is the puck either not geeting out of the Oilers zone, or else it's getting stalled the the neutral zone (not deep enough for a full change) and it's coming back, or a gong show ensues ending in a desperate dump with no pressure. It's no wonder they're on wrong end of the shot ledger night in and night out.

These guys can score when they shoot, yet so many of the forwards are on pace for career lows in the SOG department. What drives that? Does having stronger defensemen allow forwards to forecheck more aggressively? Because it definitely isn't going to make the forwards handle the puck better in the neutral zone or make better decisions.

Positives? Horcoff is amazing and by my eye has been out chancing his opposition regularly this season. He's just a little jinxed in the result department, shooting at about half his career percentage. Roloson was pulling out all his signature moves against the Canucks. Moves I'd rather see him have to sell as little as possible outside of the playoffs. Last season bad goaltending overshadowed a solid team. Is it the exact opposite this season? When he's not on they look like garbage.

Weird and lucky game. Has there ever been a team that sows as much doubt in victory as the current Edmonton Oilers?

12/05/2006 10:46 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

All really good points slipper. I think the inability to sustain a forecheck is probably the biggest of the problems. That and poor puck support on the breakout as you say.

I heard Ryan Rishaug on the radio about two weeks ago, and his theory on the Oilers D was that the 3rd pairing was getting more minutes than most teams because they needed to shelter Smid a bit. Didn't sound right to me, I think Tjarnqvist (at least before injury) was the guy who was getting a hell of lot more icetime than he otherwise would have.

Anyhow, it inspired me to check. And the Oilers were just about spot on the NHL average for 3rd pairing icetime (going by the icetime for the 5th thru 7th D on each team for each game). Them and Buffalo were the mythical "average NHL team in this regard".

Calgary played their 3rd pair the least (somebody should tell Playfair that the playoffs haven't started yet ;) ).

Strangely enough the Oilers D had more first assists at evens than any other D corps in the league besides CAR. Dallas had the fewest. Which probably speaks more to the lack of puck support than the ability of the Oilers D to make the long pass. In short ... too many cherry pickers. And Smyth, bless 'im, he's become the worst Oiler guy for that since they removed the two line pass rule, at least by my eyes. Hemsky, Lupul, Stoll, even Sykora, Horcoff and Torres at times, this team has a lot of guys that do that too much IMO. Thank Christ it's not Uly back there this year being tempted. I guess you could call it "stretching the neutral zone", but I'm calling it cherry picking.

Thing is, it's a young team up front and at the back. More than any trade, what I think this team really needs right now is time. And a lot of it.

Another thing on the D ... when Bergeron isn't playing with Greene his outscoring and outshooting numbers go through the roof, that's generally icetime with Staios though, he's a good player. When Staios isn't playing with Smid the same thing happens, generally that's icetime with Tjarnqvist or Bergeron. When Smith isn't playing with Shaggy he gets killed in outshooting and outscoring numbers, because those are Greene and Smid minutes as a rule. Admittedly it's a really small sample size, but it meshes with what my eyes are telling me so I'm comfortable believing that it's representative.

My point: Lowe could acquire five Don Awrey's and it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference, because they won't play ahead of Greene and Smid anyways.

12/06/2006 8:54 am  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...'re thinking we'd be fine with a 21/29 and 24/47 top four? Then bring in a vet to play with 5 or 2? Most likely the former of course;) 2's been totally relegated to 6th dman at least at ES anyway. I'm guessing at the top of my head he doesn't oft crack the 11 min mark.

Anyway...I wish you'd post this stuff at HF because in typical HF fashion there are some dummies over there who can't drink the Smid Kool Aid fast enough.

12/06/2006 12:40 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I'm not knocking Smid, I think he is going to be a very good D one day. A Leopold or Brewer type maybe. The one thing that 20 year old defencemen have in common with each other and 22 year old football quarterbacks ... they almost all get a hell of a lot better over the next few years.

And you should stop reading HF Dennis, it'll drive you nuts. :)

Personally, I hope they want to keep Bergeron in an offensive role in the bottom six. He puts up Jovo type results in that gig, suits his high risk style. And I hope that they bring in a high quality veteran D as a rental at the deadline. Someone who can log tough minutes at evens, and if they haven't got a booming LH shot for the PP, then they should be a really good PK guy. There are always guys like that available in March though, and the asking price has been a 2nd round pick for as long as I can remember.

12/06/2006 1:21 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Vic, any chance you could grab some numbers for me?

Just Staios and Smid EV +/- together and apart. I'd like to shut a lot of people up... (damn HF! it does drive you crazy) :]

I like the idea of leaving Bergeron there.. I just want to bring in one D and let all the rest of the ripple sort itself out. Vishnovsky is the guy I'm in love with, but that's only because I can't see Michalek or Keith being traded. I wouldn't mind adding someone like Stuart either...

Anyway you cut it, what I want is someone to play with Smith and make his life easier. Once we do that we can put a real live hockey player with Staios, and Greene and Smid can split the rest of the games between themselves.

Way off on a tangent...

But what would anything think of trying to add someone like a Marco Sturm? Being right now we're paper thin on the left side, we could add Sturm and a defenseman and when playoffs rolled around we'd have a leftwing that included Smyth, Moreau, Sturm and Torres.


Anyway.. those #'s would be huge Vic. My assumption on it is that Staios is clearly being dragged down by the young Lad.


12/06/2006 1:30 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

"damn HF! it does drive you crazy"

The Oiler boards don't drive me crazy because I don't read them. That's the trick BK. The last time I got drawn into an HF discussion it was because apparently they had all agreed that Stoll was playing tough opposition last year. Sweet baby Jesus.

The wise thing would be to not be drawn into an argument there, some fans just want to root, root, root for the home team with others they find agreeable. But if you must, here ya go, at evens (For crying out loud don't link us, bk):

Staios + Smid: EV+13, EV-14
Staios + others: EV+4, EV-0
Smid + others: EV+3, EV-6

And for the helluvit, Bergeron and Greene:
47 + 2: EV+11, EV-8
47 + others: EV+3, EV-0
2 + others: EV+4, EV-7

Hopefully MacTavish plays Smid and Greene together for a stretch, just to help you win your argument. You'll see some ugliness then, shit that can't be ignored. ;)

12/06/2006 1:49 pm  
Blogger PDO said...


Thanks, and don't worry... no links ;). I mention it's from you, every once in a while IOF.. nothing else. I'd feel dirty if I didn't give credit, but I like the vibes we have going on here, and if it turned into HF mindlessness...

I may have to go cry myself to sleep.

Anyway, this should be interesting.


12/06/2006 1:58 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I don't need the credit, bk. It's a simple fact, where you got it from is not important.

Another funfact ... Jason Smith is EV+/- -2 at all times he is paired with a partner with a season or more of NHL experience. When you consider that he has played, far and away, the toughest minutes of the D corps this season, and that he and shaggy have been on the ice for an unfair chunk of the bad goals that Roli and Markannen have faltered on (granted the worm seems to be turning on that score lately, it always does), it doesn't seem so bad, does it? He'll get better through the year too, not a strong start as far as moving the puck forward for gator, I think the first game with the first shift giveaway and then the Markov on Stoll hit got him playing too conservatively. He'll be fine methinks.

I mean -2 wouldn't look nearly as bad in the paper would it?

12/06/2006 2:19 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

so Vic...what are you calling for here in terms of D aquistion? Keep 21/29/24/47 and say add a Brew? Smid would still have to play with someone and I don't see enough vet guys theren that we could waste one playing in the third tandem with Laddie.

BTW...a 2nd rounder shouldn't make Lowe get cold feet. I don't think this draft class is loaded and the Oilers have enough in the pipe that I think they can gamble on giving up a pick that's somewhere between say 48-60.

The only areas the Oilers really lack are on D and they're gonna HAVE to give up some prospects or some picks in oder to bolster that.

12/06/2006 4:37 pm  

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