Monday, October 16, 2006

Ebb and Flow

Or as this post was originally titled - "Eat Me Joffrey, No Wait I Take It Back!"

Oh man, its early. Early early early. It seems like everyone has five points. Teams that have had poor starts supposedly (Ottawa, Calgary) have one or two less points then teams whose fans are giddy (Oilers, Toronto).

Eric Duhatschek today talks about the shootout and how it skews everything. You look at the standings and even the teams who are playing poorly (Tampa - 13th in the East and Richard and St.Louis have one goal between them - have two points less then the Oilers) are racking up points. He puts forward the idea of revamping the standings so a regulation win would be worth three points and an OT win would be worth two points only. Of course it also reminds us about Dallas and how their point totals were inflated last season because they have some of the best shootout guys in the league. The difference between them and the Avs was far smaller then most thought.

Anyhow, I was cruising the blogs today and was once again reminded of the nature of being a fan. Where ten days ago there was nervousness there is now unbridled optimism (well, not from all quarters) Even Dennis at IOF is feeling pretty good about the 3 and 1 start.

And if the Oil come out of this home and home with nothing - well then the worm will turn.

Nothing wrong with that - its the nature of the beast. I'm an optimist anyhow and its a long season so no worries from this quarter.

What has interested me is how quickly Joffrey Lupul has gone from problem child and tradebait to part of the solution in five periods of play. I didn't see the five periods in question but essentially it boils down to young Lupul competing hard.

That's all it took.

Now, maybe I overestimate this but I figured Lupul's days as a floater were going to be short. Playing with Smyth and Horcoff and sharing the room with guys like Moreau, Pisani, Smith, Reasoner and Staios will do that. The coaches will have their say but in the end it comes down to your teammates and watching Staios take a puck in the face and not miss a shift likely made a slight impression.

You know what, he's going to get reamed on more then one occasion this season for leaving his A game at home. It happens. Does anyone recognize Ales Hemsky as compared to last season.

I think this might work out.

Anyhow, so far Greene, Tjarnqvist and Smid are exceeding expectations. Sykora, Thoresen and if its possible to say so, Smyth and Hemsky too.

At the other end - Torres, Moreau, Pisani and Stoll. Although two goals tonight or tomorrow from any of those guys and suddenly all is rosy.

In two weeks the names may be be completely reversed.

The guy on the hot seat - Bergeron. I figured him for a good year but he's struggling and his game on Saturday has posters howling for his head. With this guy I think his confidence is sagging - if he craps out tonight then rightly or wrongly wait to hear those boobirds come out.

And then what happens?


namflashback said...


the worst thing for MAB is that many of his most ardent supporters are amongst the IOF crew. Sadly, he isn't doing the things that are in his capabilities -- such as skating like a madman to move the puck up the ice. due to his size, he'll always have built in disadvantages, so his built-in advantages better shine through.

Somehow Rafalski, Sneidermeyer, Brian Campbell are all littler guys who are difference makers.

At least they are winning, and MAB was not the goat on the winning GA vs. Calgary. He might have worn the goat horns in Denver if not for the Smykora heroics.


Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Norm - and I am a fan of MAB as well, let me say first of all - I agree with what you are saying -

1./ Despite his size MAB can succeed.

2./ The team's winning keeps the critics at bay for now.

3./ He is not playing as well as he can.

I think that its a confidence issue - he struggled in the second half last year and of course in the playoffs as well. While Greene has come out and played with vigour and enthusiasm despite his own struggles, Bergeron is having a tough go of it.

The bigger problem is can they let him work his way through it? And can he regain it here or will he need a change of scenery? When the confidence goes its a hard thing to regain.

Scarlett said...

Totally right, he just needs confidence. The minute they removed him as Pronger's d-man partner last year, he's struggled. It's confidence. If he can get it back, he'll be fine. But can he, and in Edmonton?

Alana said...

MAB is bad luck, plain and simple. Also, he never moves his damn feet. As a result, he gets beaten. Badly. And often.

Anonymous said...

The minute they removed him as Pronger's d-man partner last year, he's struggled.

Wade Belak could play D in the NHL partnered with Pronger.


Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Hmmm, I think it was a post at IOF that showed that MAB's numbers sans Pronger were actually pretty decent.

Yep, September 27th - check it out.

MAB had some health issues for much of the 2nd half of last year. He then struggled somewhat in the playoffs - a different season altogether and not the first young dman to do so.

I also think he got unfairly roasted for what happened to Roli in G1. Shit happens.

Having said all of that, he's got to find his way back.