Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oilers/Preds? MacT Awaits His Response

I just finished a 27.5 hour "sentance" without internet access and boy it was rough;) I never did get a chance to read the Sun or Journal's aftermath regarding the loss in Chicago and I know you usually don't gain much insight from the dailies but I was thinking MacT would give us something to chew on after the Oilers had lost their fourth game of the year against some of the league's more pronounced weaker sisters, ie previous losses had come at the hands of the Yotes, Blues and Jackets.

MacT didn't disappoint me as he lambasted his new first line and really ripped into Horc and Lupul.

"Lupes was getting knocked off the puck, which is happening over and over again. For a guy that size, you have to win a few battles to have success at this level."

I don't know if Lupul was ever getting a totally free ride but if he was then these comments indicate it came to an abrupt end at the 29 game mark. The kid was always looked upon to provide offense but he did get to hide in the weeds a little when both 94 and 83 were in the lineup. He was doing very little with a lot of soft minutes but those days are over for the time being with him having ascended in 94's absence. I've been heartened lately by comments from Lupul which seem to indicate that he understands what will be expected from him while he's in Oiler silks. How he responds to MacT's first overt challenge might be a hint to the kind of player he'll end being.

"Horc took a couple of penalties in a row and then started trying to make some inadvisable plays. You know, 85-foot saucer passes and forcing things through instead of just playing together, playing the game with some continuity and trying to create offence that way instead of trying to get lucky.

"When we try to get lucky offensively, we generally give up a lot. It's a certain stubbornness. A certain amount of arrogance, I guess, that you feel like you're all of a sudden going to make that type of play. They just have to get back to playing a good team game instead of trying to get lucky."

There's an interesting relationship between MacT and Horc. 10's on the record as saying he was frustrated with how he was used early in his Oilers career, ie the diehards remember it as Comrie vs Horc in terms of offensive oppurtunity and development, but he also says he eventually realized it was for his own good. MacTavish also isn't shy when it comes to heaping praise on the MSU product and it's easy to believe that he's hard on him because he knows his potential is significant.

Finally, MacT pontificated on just exactly who drives the bus and subsquently who should get thrown under it when things aren't going exactly swimmingly.

"To single out somebody in a third- or fourth-line role would be absolutely unfair. To take out somebody in the first couple of lines would be more fair but could mean less production."

I can't say I totally agree with this assessment but I'm pretty much on board with it. To whom more is given more is expected and that axiom's applied in the NHL via TOI. Guys like Reasoner see their TOI swell with PK time but they aren't the ones expected to score and most pointedly aren't the ones expected to go toe to toe with the Havlat's and Ruutuu's. Or at least they weren't on Sunday night. The only quibble I have with MacT on this point is that at this point the Oilers 4th line is a bit of a problem. It's not getting dominated or anything but I know it's getting outscored and I'd imagine it's fairing quite poorly but in terms of SC's, scoring chances, for and against and also in the metric of shots directed on net. Of course all the injuries haven't provided MacT with many other options and overall he's right that the 4th line isn't having an overly negative effect on the team's current performance.

The Preds head into this one hoping that Arnott makes a super early return from his latest injury and he's listed as questionable. Vokun's still out but Sullivan and Legward are listed as probable and here's a look at their injury depleted lineup from last Sat's loss at SJ.

I read today where Radulov might draw pine if all three of the above draw in but that would be a shock from this end give he has 8 goals in 16 games and is a +7. I'd imagine he's seeing cherry min but he's been certainly captalizing on them. Oiler killers on the Preds include Kariya, Timmonen, Legwand and Arnott.

Over on the Oilers side there are only two guys who figure to be good bets to make an appearence or two on tonight's scoresheet, Jarett Stoll has 4 goals and 8 points in 9 career games vs the Preds and Petr Sykora has 6 goals and 14 points in 17 such contests.

There's no accounting for luck and the Horcoff pass that lead to the 3-1 goal might've been monstrous and overall the discipline was sorely lacking, that being said you'd have a hard time convincing anyone the Oilers didn't have more Grade A scoring chances in their loss on Sunday night. I don't know which way Ms. Luck will swing tonight but MacT has clearly challenged his club and the anticipation regarding their response makes this game worth watching.


Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

No Arnott or Sullivan tonight. I know the Preds still have Kariya, Erat and to a lesser extent Radulov, Hartnell and Legwand...but missing those guys takes a little bite out of the Preds.

Then again we're missing 83 and 94 so what do I know;)

I forgot it's a PPV cast tonight and I hate those. The Oil puss out and won't go into the room for comments after they lose and in the timeouts Mark Schultz makes me wanna pierce my own eardrums.

12/12/2006 6:06 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Oilers controlled the play for the first 10 min and then the Preds for the last 10. Oddly enough though the Preds had more shots in the first 10 and Roli was letting out a few very greasy rebounds. I see the shots are at 14-8 Oil but it didn't seem like that kind of chasm from this end.

Just a few notes:

- I know the Oilers D isn't that great at the outlet pass but did anyone else see that supposed wounded duck 21 threw up the middle and then he had to block the pass off the turnover? Off the top it looks like a terrible play by 21 but 22 has to come back closer there and help Smith out.

- LT's always talking about 78's ability to take a pass and he showed that just before he let that backhand go. That was a super weakass backhand though. He's not playing with a lot of talented guys but right now 78 looks like a big body and nothing more.

- 10 must lead the fucking league in blown chances from five feet or less...brutal.

- Speaking of brutal..when was horse collaring allowed in the NHL? I can't believe McGeough let that play go when 16 was hauled down.

12/12/2006 6:55 pm  
Blogger theDrizzler said...

Hey kids, thanks for the nod dennis.

Of course now I'm killer busy and were getting worked. AND WE'VE tied it now?

I wish I was home listening. GOILERS!

12/12/2006 7:22 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

That shift where the Oil tied it was like a minor hockey shift. I can't believe a) that they scored twice in 50 seconds and b) how open Pisani was on that goal. You don't see eitehr of those things outside of peewee generally speaking. I hope Smithson's parents are watching - there was a very nice shot of him blasting over to the boards to breakout and just leaving Pisani all alone.

Boy, the Oilers really fuck the dog on the whole "See the game without commercials!" thing. Instead of Jussi telling us about Christmas gifts that no one gives a shit about and Petr Sykora talking about his commie Christmas Eve meals, would it kill them to break down some video, talk about shit that's happening on the ice or something?

12/12/2006 7:25 pm  
Blogger kinger said...

Has the 2nd been as bad as it sounds Dennis?

12/12/2006 7:27 pm  
Blogger theDrizzler said...

Boy, the Oilers really fuck the dog on the whole "See the game without commercials!" thing.

Hey MC79,

Being forced by the league to cheer for the 'Nucks with regards to PPV, I assure you, they aren't doing any better.

12/12/2006 7:29 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

I can't fucking believe that we're icing this goddamn 22-20-78 line. Or that MacT puts them out for defensive zone draws, along with Smid. He might as break one of their arms or something, just to up the degree of difficulty a little more.

12/12/2006 7:29 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

On the note of refs and Horcoff chances from in close, apparently the league has apologized for the disallowed goal against Chicago on Sunday. Just think about how that might have changed things for a second....

I am not watching the game, but it sounds like Tjarnqvist is turning the puck over to the Preds every damn time he ends up with it on his stick. Am I hearing right?

Fuck do we need someone competent to play with Smith...sooner rather than later, Kevin!

12/12/2006 7:30 pm  
Blogger theDrizzler said...

what? 14 gets 5 for fighting? was there lots of slapping and hair pulling?

12/12/2006 7:30 pm  
Blogger kinger said...

How's the 2nd been?

12/12/2006 7:32 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Greene is having a shit game tonight. He looked stunned on the second goal against and just had a nice giveaway.

12/12/2006 7:32 pm  
Blogger Scarlett said...

It was really a fight. Torres is actually awake tonight. Shocking.

12/12/2006 7:32 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Hasn't been that bad. The Preds just aren't that good though, so I don't know how much weight to give it.

Geez - Kariya has six goals this year. And he just got outmuscled by Joffrey Lupul.

12/12/2006 7:34 pm  
Blogger kinger said...

I can't fucking believe that we're icing this goddamn 22-20-78 line. Or that MacT puts them out for defensive zone draws, along with Smid.

I agree MC, looks like MacT is trying to sneak in some development while still trying to win games against good teams.

A fairly ill-advised policy.

12/12/2006 7:39 pm  
Blogger kinger said...

I can't fucking believe that we're icing this goddamn 22-20-78 line. Or that MacT puts them out for defensive zone draws, along with Smid.

It looks like MacT is trying to sneak in some development for the rooks against one of the better teams in the West.

An ill-advised policy in my opinion.

12/12/2006 7:41 pm  
Blogger kinger said...

I can't fucking believe that we're icing this goddamn 22-20-78 line. Or that MacT puts them out for defensive zone draws, along with Smid.

It looks like MacT is trying to sneak in some development for the rooks against one of the better teams in the West.

An ill-advised policy in my opinion.

12/12/2006 7:42 pm  
Blogger kinger said...

I can't fucking believe that we're icing this goddamn 22-20-78 line. Or that MacT puts them out for defensive zone draws, along with Smid.

It looks like MacT is trying to sneak in some development for the rooks against one of the better teams in the West.

An ill-advised policy in my opinion.

12/12/2006 7:43 pm  
Blogger kinger said...

Wow, go Blogger. Please delete the reposts Dennis.

12/12/2006 7:50 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

We don't have a whole lot of other options but that 4th line is brutal right now. Their Corsi numbers have to be shitacular at best. You might be able to get these guys 5-8 min at ES when you're at home and you have the last change but MacT's been caught with his fourth line pants down the last two games against first Savard and now Trotz.

Nice job by 14 in the period. The Smithson line's been running around all night so 14 blasts LT's Hamhuis and Weber stands up to him. Torres gives up a few inches and a lot of pounds but he still soundly decisions him. I love that stuff. One thing I gotta keep track of for a game or two before 83 and 94 get back is I gotta do my own count of how many checks.

Way too much time being spent in the Oilers zone and we're gonna get a bad bounce sooner or later.

Oh..and before I forget to mention...nice to see James Norris Smid pick up his first goal in the NHL!! Yes it's credited to the Preds but he was the one who scored dammit!!

On another note...could someone check to see just how many times the Oilers ice the puck per game? Are these stats even kept?

Mason's let out a couple of terrible rebounds so we've got a chance for sure.

12/12/2006 7:55 pm  
Blogger theDrizzler said...

re: 22-20-78,

Had a chance to see their unveiling in Vancouver last week and they were by far the most entertainment for the amount of ice they got. I'd rather see something else out there but the options seem a little thin these days. And I enjoy watching the trial by fire.

12/12/2006 7:58 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

O...where did you hear this shit about the NHL apologizing and why do we get fucked like this every year? Last year you had the no goal on Peca in Min and this year we've already had the McGeough goal and that's as high profile as Lohan's crotchless attire...

12/12/2006 8:08 pm  
Blogger theDrizzler said...

Home now Dennis, thanks for the updates. Too bad we lost it.

12/12/2006 8:41 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Dennis: they had that bit about the officials fuck-up on either the TEAM or CHED (can't remember which) during the pre-game shows this afternoon.

Bullshit is bullshit, and that's twice we've been assfucked by the stripes this year. Once is too many.

Did I hear right on the radio? Horcoff and Tjarnqvist the culprits on the winner for the Preds? As soon as 83/94 get back, we've got to get Horcoff with those two to get them going. Keep 14/16/34 and give them some of the tough minutes, and give Pouliot a chance to center Sykora/Lupul on a buttersoft minutes line.

If Joffrey keeps this up, he's going to eventually get his ass run out of town faster than you can say "Tommy Salo's wife".

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

Welledy welledy welledy...

Not much of a response by the 10 line. Here's a hint for Horc: If you're consistently unable to capitalize on five foot shovel jobs it MIGHT be a good idea for you to not look like Pavel Brendl on the game winning goal. I don't know what the fuck he was doing there on that last goal.

MacT challenged that line and it came up short. The Stoll line has now had one of it's pieces score a goal in the last five games and the Horc line's lagging behind. The 4th line appears to be a huge problem on the road but we'll get to that later. 83's practicing in full gear and the dailies said he should be back by the 21st or 23rd. I wouldn't imagine he's much farther away if he's out there taking a spin with the pads on.

He needs to hurry back soon and hopefully 94's soon to follow..a return for the NYE tilt in Cgy would be a worst case scnario at this point, no?

12/12/2006 10:13 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

That might work SO. That leaves 20/22 on the bench and a "4th line" of 28-19-26. I don't know who's getting the tougher matchups right now...10 or 16 though I'd say opposing coaches would still rather run at 16 when they get the last change. They might rethink that though with the recent success of the Stoll line.

I wouldn't be averse to going back to the old 91-10-83 line in a PVP mode but I'm here to tell you right now that I wouldn't expect a whole helluva lot out of a 71-78-15 line and it could be nightmarish on the road.

And I'd also be shocked if 20 was benched in favour of 78.

I'm not waffling here, or at least I'm trying not to;), but this team still needs to get healthy and get another dman,,one at least, to improve the backend. Then again we still have 20 guys who should be able to score 20 goals apiece but Horc keeps missing glorious chance after glorious chance and Lupul looks like he's struggling to find his place and 71 overall looks a bit lost without Hemsky.

And the team that could keep the shots to the outside in three games and a row and could avoid giving up the in close jobs just disappeared tonight. That's not to say Roli had a tonne of action but still...

12/12/2006 10:19 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Dennis: the real disappointing thing for me isn't losing to Nashville. They're a hell of a team and Mason was hot tonight. What pisses me off is that IF the Oilers had brought that effort to Chicago, they would have walked into Nashville 2-0 on the roadtrip.

Still 3W-2L through 5 games without 83/94


That's what they finish with going into Christmas. Lord knows they should get 3 wins out of that stretch (Phoenix, Minny, and a split with the Avholes).

As for 83 being almost ready, play it safe and don't "Mike York" this one MacT. Keep Hemsky shut-down until the Kings game on the 28th. You play it conservative with your tactics, let's see you keep that MO when it comes to dealing with bringing players back from injuries. Because lord knows the Oilers have fucked up in this regard in past years...

As for trade needs, I'm looking at this team right now and seeing the need for a center with top-six upside plus grit, a top pairing d-man, and another d-man of veteran quality. Step one is for Lowe to call LA and see if MAB, Schremp, and a 1st lands Visnovsky and Conroy. Pre-emptive strike, if you will. Overpay a bit if you have to (i.e they want another pick or a middling prospect like Brodziak, pull the trigger).

12/12/2006 11:03 pm  
Blogger Asiaoil said...

It's been an ueasy for me - I just don't like this team much to tell you the truth - definitely the not ready for primetime players.........

Last years bunch were a hoot to watch - tough as nails and ES monsters - and we creamed good teams with just a little too much youth like SJS and ANA. Now we are the ones with a too much youth in the wrong places (defense) and our top line wingers are bother hurt. It's seriously not much fun watching Lupul, MAP, Torres, Stoll, JFJ, Smid and Greene trying to figger shit out most nights - but that decision was made the day we traded FCP for kids and there's nothing to be done about it. I'm actually stunned as hell we are still in the fight for first (thank you Roli, thank you Roli repeat 10 times.....)

Oh well - a little over 2 months until xmas....err.....trade deadline.

12/12/2006 11:59 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

The problem goes back to camp.

1. There is not enough NHL defenseman. Surely to GOD ALMIGHTY people know what happens if you don't have enough of them. I miss Crossanov. Kariya would have been sucking a Sher-wood on that play last night.

2. This team is not a great fit for the coach. I'm not just making this up (wrote about it on my blog "Can MacT coach Harvey's Wallbangers?" in late summer or early fall) but there are too many guys who are never going to check. You can teach Joffrey Lupul about positioning without the puck just as quickly as the Yankees and Indians taught Otis Nixon to hid ground balls instead of lazy flies.


Ask the Boston Bruins about the day Ken Hodge learned to use his big body and play effectively without the puck.

Google it.

You get nothing for a reason.

12/13/2006 7:31 am  
Blogger Asiaoil said...

I'd cut Lupul a bit more slack LT - our beloved Ryan Smyth was a disaster area away from the puck for quite a while in his younger days. Lupul needs the time and space to learn the hard lessons - and one shot scorers who play a 2 way game are not created quickly in this league.

12/13/2006 12:43 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

Joffrey Lupul and Ryan Smyth were not similar players. Lupul isn't going to be a checker, he just isn't.

Otis Nixon hit those lazy flies his hole career, but it took Buck Rodgers to find a place for him (bunt, late inning pinch-runner). Otis made millions out of it and the Expos got an exceptional talent. Lou Frazier got some checks doing the same basic thing.

Lupul isn't going to be a checker and I doubt he even becomes average at positioning at any time. He's a sniper, a scorer. The Oilers are better off sending him away than trying to turn him into something he's not.

It's like driving a Mercedes to the gravel pit.

12/13/2006 4:59 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Just one question LT...

Will that Mercedes ever go fast enough that you don't give a shit you can't haul timber in it?

Because when it comes to Lupul, I doubt it.


12/13/2006 9:08 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

If you're starting to get paid in Edm, ie like Stoll to a lesser extent and Smyth, Hemsky and Horcoff to the somewhat extreme, then there better be something special about you. I guess we could throw Pisani in there too.

You either gotta be a bull at ES, make the ST hum or just be a special talent who isn't really subject to the usual MacT law, ie Hemsky.

Lupul doesn't appear to be special in either of those areas plus he's already getting paid so right now it's a race to see which of him or Stoll are eventually sent out for that young and cheap dman.

MacT isn't picking on the local..everyone has to pay the price besides Ales and I think we'll give him a pass. So Lupul either starts scoring in bushels or he makes hay somewhere else. I'm saying he caves and asks for a trade in the very near future.

12/13/2006 9:33 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Asiaoil said...

I'd cut Lupul a bit more slack LT - our beloved Ryan Smyth was a disaster area away from the puck for quite a while in his younger days. Lupul needs the time and space to learn the hard lessons - and one shot scorers who play a 2 way game are not created quickly in this league.

I think that's a really sound comparable AO. Smyth was beyond terrible without the puck and a giveaway king to boot. Just terrible.

Just a gut feel thing, but I think the stint at centre really did a lot for Smyth's overall game. Thing is, we all know that Smyth knows which way is up in a hockey game, and that he's a guy who wants the team to succeed, and he works like a dog on his game. Does Lupul have those same traits? How about Smid and Hemsky? Actually Hemmer probably gets the LaFleur pass here on talent alone, but hopefully he wants to be like Forsberg more than he wants to be like Jagr. How about Raffi and Stoll? Pouliot? Jacques? Greene? (Damn that's a long list of young players, how the eff is this squad leading the division? Oh ya ... Roloson)

The leaders of this team are pretty well established (Moreau, Smith, Staios, Pisani, Smyth) and most if not all of them look like they are going to be around for a while. More than any coaching staff could, these are the guys that determine what's acceptable as an Oiler and what isn't. They set the tone for practice, off ice, and in game work ethic, to a large extent anyways. They establish the culture of the team, and surely they will have an impact on the way these kids develop and which ones are cut loose early.

Good game vs Nashville though. Fun to watch, tonnes of chances at both ends of the rink. I thought the Oilers had the edge. I actually thought the Horcoff and Stoll lines both played well and outchanced the bad guys. As has been said, great game by Torres, good scrap too.

12/13/2006 10:17 pm  

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