Monday, November 13, 2006

The Very Good (A short post)

With the quarter pole almost upon us I wanted to take a look at the Oilers start as well as have a look around the league. So, without further adieu, here's what has been great for the Oilers so far.
The Start - The Oilers roared out of the gate and while some of the points they picked up were from games where Roli kept them in there until they found their legs the points still count in the standings. The flip side of this is that they apparently picked up some bad habits - when the bounces began to go against them and the slow starters didn't pick it up - well, things started to slide.
Smytty - With ten goals so far and fifteen points overall, Smyth has been, well Smyth. One of the few players who has had his motor running in almost every game and who has also produced, despite being moved from line to line in MacT's search for the answer, Smytty has been the man. And as a UFA next summer, he's picked a fine time to get off to a 40+ pace.
Can they sign him? Lets hope so (I'm a big Smyth fan and would love to see him be a career Oiler) but I also know that if they do it will be an overpay in years and by the end of it we'll be looking at a guy with a lot of heart, a lot of money but not a lot of legs left.
Petr Scorer - an afterthought in this summer's UFA feeding frenzy, Sykora is the Oilers' leading scorer. Good for him and good for the Oil this season but he'll be gone next summer. Oh well, at least one season of watching this guy - pure skill. Has been hovering around the top ten in scoring in the league all season.
Roli - you might quibble with the Anaheim game but for the most part Roli has been better then expected. A lot of those early points were directly due to his work and not a lot else. Not really much to say - he has been terrific and has given the Oilers a chance to win almost every night, including the Wings' game.
Your man Thoresen - a short dip after a great start but he still belongs in this grouping as he has had a strong return after being a healthy scratch against Montreal. Of course expectations are driving these reviews as well - the kid has been juggled into different roles and has done better then alright, especially considering his pedigree or lack thereof. Tied for fifth on the team in scoring, a well deserved plus five and a guy who has provided spark on most nights. Also took on noted Columbus dickhead Svitov after said underachieving former junior loudmouth tried to paralyze Laddy Smid. Can he keep it up? Lets hope so - one of few good news' stories this season.
The PK - Third in the league in basic % @ 91.5 or so - I'll leave it to the numbers guys to determine the rate per hour or whatever the most accurate measure is but its been great.
Next up - another short post - the good.


Vic Ferrari said...

Ya, agreed on all counts. I'd throw Winchester into that group as well.

Thoresen is the guy that has come completely out of the blue though. And I also loved the way that Thoresen took on Svitov.

In the "reasons for optimism" category, the guys who the Oilers are surely expecting more from; Horcoff, Pisani, Smith, Stoll, Lupul, Torres. They are all good hockey players, even the young ones have a few years experience. Surely they haven't fallen off a cliff, they aren't going to underachieve for the rest of their careers or anything. When they turn it around, even for a stretch, all will be well in Oilerville even if the current hot hands have cooled a bit.

Black Dog said...

For sure Vic, I almost rated Winchester in this group but I have him in the next (with a bullet).

He did nothing the first part of the first part of the season (?!?) and while I think that mostly had something to do with lack of icetime (a position he "earned" with a lacklustre camp) the fact is he wasn't doing much in that limited icetime. You could mark him as incomplete for the first eight games.

He's definitely been a nice surprise and hopefully he can keep it up.

As for the rest, well, most of them will get mediocre to fail for this first quarter but so it goes - guys will get it together, I think.

Scarlett said...

They will get it together. You just can't have that many players underachieving.

And perfect point about Thoresen. He came out of nowhere, and has been passed around more than, well you know. I like him and Winchester together (along with Reasoner), the fourth line is really clicking.