Saturday, January 06, 2007

vs Vancouver

Some information from the game last night. First off, an arbitrary Saturday measurement of hard minutes vs the Canucks, which is just the sum of 5v5 icetime against Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Markus Naslund. Only as accurate as the shift charts.

No surprises on the forward side of the ledger, though surely if it was a home game MacTavish would have been able to avoid those two long, frightening shifts with Nedved vs Sedins, and he would have been able to keep them away from Naslund better as well.

On the defensive side it's a strange split. Granted Bergeron-Roy didn't seem to be on the ice for a bunch of own zone draws, still that's a lot more icetime than you'd expect them to see against quality. And the second pairing struggled, in fairness to Staios he was playing his first game on the left side all season, and Matt Greene isn't going to help anyone look good out there.

By the Goals+Shots+MissedShots metric, for the rookie Oiler Dmen in this game:

Hejda: +11, -13
Greene: +9, -16
Roy: +14, -7

I know that Roy was guilty of making a bad pinch in OT and Bergeron was guilty of poaching there, but still, an impressive season debut for Roy I thought. In the comments section at mudcrutch's site Dennis points out that Roy's modus operandi was to wait for pressure and dish it to Bergeron. Thing is, though, Bergeron always seemed to be getting puck from Roy with plenty of space.

Hejda looked really good out there in this one. It's easy to look like an ass when you play that much against the Sedins, and of course whoever gets the gig with Smith automatically ends up playing those kinds of minutes. He was the brightest spot on the night I thought.

I suspect that MacTavish has a mandate to play Smid and Greene 80 games each this year, that's the only reasonable explanation for the things we have seen this year. And Greene especially has really made strides this year, the step up from abysmal to merelybad is a big one methinks. Granted in a two steps forward, one step back kinda way. And last night was the latter.

I'm usually reluctant to peg all of the Oiler problems this season on the defense. But damn, if Smid stays out for a couple more weeks and Greene goes out with something minor that keeps him on the shelf for a while ... it's hard to imagine this would be a bad thing for the Oilers in the short term.

9 Comments:

Blogger SweatyO said...

I'll post it here because I want the people to know it:

Just looking at the raw, mass-consumption plus-minus, isn't in impressive that, at the halfway point, Jason Smith is only -1?

Considering the amount of bashing he's taking on the call-in shows and around the internet, you'd think the guy was still in double-digit minus territory.

Put this guy on the market, and as someone else said, you'd have 29 other teams calling to see what it would take to get him.

1/06/2007 12:29 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

I suspect that MacTavish has a mandate to play Smid and Greene 80 games each this year, that's the only reasonable explanation for the things we have seen this year.

Somebody read my comments at Ty's site ;).

We're on the same page here though Vic - MacT is a smart guy, and given the moves by the GM, it's the only explanation that makes sense to me.

- PDO

1/06/2007 12:40 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Considering that Hejda has never really looked out of place - since the preseason on, can there be another explanation?

If they had wanted to win games, he likely would have been in the lineup from day one, I think. And Smid would have been in the AHL.

Sounds harsh - obviously they want to win but until lately they had the best of both worlds - first place (albeit by very little)- and lots of ABs for the kid D.

Short term pain for what had better be long term gain.

1/06/2007 1:19 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

In house with one minor trade, say Brew for a pick, I think the best options would be:

Smith-Brew
Shaggy-Staios
Bergy-Hedjuk

1/06/2007 1:45 pm  
Blogger SweatyO said...

Dennis:

Since when did we acquire Milan from Colorado, and since when was he a defenseman?

1/06/2007 1:59 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Sweatyo:

I think he'd be a better option than half of our current D-corps anyway.

1/06/2007 2:24 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

Scotty Bowman once said of working with Roger Neislon that they both were both keen on getting the match-ups they wanted, but where Bowman was more interested in getting his best players against the other team's worst, Neilson was more intent on getting his freshest players against the other team's most tired. There's a funny story about Bowman firing Neilson as the head coach of the Sabres that Oilers fans and MacTavish supporters/detractors might appreciate. In the spring of 1981 the Sabres were playing the North Stars in the playoffs, and after a loss in Minnesota there's was a storied argument in a hotel parking lot between Bowman and Neilson with Bowman yelling at one point "You made Andre Savard out best player just to spite me! You're fired after this season, you're gone! I don't care if we win the cup!"

Back to my point though, I think as far as match-ups are concerned, both these men were right. I have a computer that crashes when I try to stream the games on Ched so all I can muster is a cursory glance at the NHL TOI sheets, and from that I've discerned that there's a higher benefit to shorter shifts. I'd say most goals for occur under fifty seconds and seem to happen more frquently as the shifts low toward the 25-30 second mark. The longer a shift at evens extends beyond 45-50 seconds, it seems the chances of a goal against greatly increases. Man if anyone were to collect that info I think it'd be damn interesting to look over;)

Anyway, I think there's alot of things to draw from this kind of stuff, and it pertains to the Oilers because the average time per shift seems to be heading north for two lines in particular. Tired lines stop being effective, they make more mistakes and are less able to compensate for them. I think it shows there's a point where you can say that the forwards are over pursuing (which ends with them tired and deep in the other end of the rink), trying to get a rush in after being hemmed in their own zone for an extended period (same result), and/or trying to force plays ie make something out of nothing(same kind if thing except this where some dude throws a pass through the high slot or loses it high in the zone during a change when the smartest easy play is a dump).

Just a thought.

1/06/2007 2:40 pm  
Blogger trader said...

Good analysis Dennis, just to let you know that Greene played the left side with Statios on the right last night.

1/06/2007 6:20 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

That was huge stuff by 25 last night for sure. While 2 was looking like the guy we had to bench early in G3 or 4, I forget which one, against Det last spring, you had Hejda going toe to toe vs the Sedins and not looking out of place. I know we saw Winchester looking like a force in late Nov so one game or even one stretch doesn't a player make but it's a helluva lot easier to break into the Oilers d crops than it is their forwards so Smid's injury should mean Hejda has the chance to impress.

And let's hope he makes hay until Smid returns and then I'm sure Laddie will do a great job unless he's gets another toothache that clouds his ability to stop Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette from making him look like a 12 year old:)

The analysis was Vic's BTW, Trader.

1/07/2007 1:09 am  

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