Monday, December 04, 2006

Opportunities



Its funny how soon we forget why the Oilers offence was expected to be so full of "vaunt".

Six guys who scored 20 plus goals last season. Two more who had 19 and 18.

Its not like we were projecting that this team would score a lot of goals because of a couple of guys who had nice numbers in junior (Schremp and Pouliot) and a guy who had some highlight reel goals in the Russian league.

But as it was pointed out today out of all of the vaunt only three guys are on pace to score twenty plus - Smyth, Sykora and Lupul.

And Lupul has to be the quietest twenty plus scorer in history. Except for his insurance goal against the Wings way back when, has he scored a goal that means a thing this season?

And now Smyth is out. And Hemsky. And Moreau. And the D is showing the cracks we figured it would. And there will be between six to eight rookies in the lineup tonight and every night going into the foreseeable future.

You can't hide them all. Especially with Peterson, a nice player but a role player, and the trio of suck - Stoll, Torres and Lupul.

A little cranky tonight. There's 5.4 million wrapped up in these three guys and not a lot going on. Horcoff and Pisani aren't doing a whole lot either but at least they look like they've played in the NHL before. They at least can take care of their own end.

So, for Thoresen and Winchester, Pouliot and Mikhnov and big Jacques, opportunity knocks. I don't think anybody honestly thinks that any of these guys is going to carry this team anywhere. (Of course there was a guy on the TSN message board whose response to Smyth's injury was that Schremp was finally going to get his shot - a guy who can't even cut it in the AHL yet - and he would be the saviour.) But for Patrick Thoresen a chance to maybe play some tough minutes with Reasoner, or maybe with Horcoff and Pisani, or maybe just a shot to provide some offence with Sykora. For Pouliot and Winchester the same - these guys are going to get the chance to strut their stuff because there's nobody else. We're an injury or two away from Stortini and Reddox getting a regular shift. For Jacques a chance to bang some bodies and get some icetime. For Mikhnov, perhaps a chance to get out there and show that he can has some skill. This team needs it.

For Stoll, Torres, Lupul, maybe time to grow up. MacT put it pretty straight when he said that there was one guy on the team who had been willing to get dirty to get goals - now that guy is on the shelf. And for all of the worries about Moreau and Staios' contracts and the chance that Smyth might get 5 plus and for that matter that Sykora has been awol snce he lost his right hand man, let me put it this way.

I'd rather pay Moreau and Staios 4.7M then Stoll and Lupul 4.5 if this is what we get from them. At least the first two bring it every night. And Sykora may not be doing much since Hemsky went down but at least he put up some big numbers while he was healthy.

And Smyth? Well without Smyth this team is in Coyote territory. I'd say waive Stoll and give Smyth 1.7M and Sykora the rest if I had my druthers right now.

Because honestly, when Marty Reasoner is getting more done at both ends of the rink at a third of the price of Stoll and a couple of raw rookies in Thoresen and Pouliot strike me as better options to play the tough minutes then something is seriously wrong.

If this stretch kills this team it won't be on the D, as thin as it is, or the rooks, or Roloson, if he should falter. It will be on the guys who are young, who are making good dough and who should be earning it. If this December turns into a freefall then they should take the fall.

Enough is enough.

2 comments:

Andy Grabia said...

Amen, brother!

Black Dog said...

Yeah, I've finally hit the wall with these clowns.

I'm easier on Horcoff and Pisani because they at least are doing something. They are underachieving as well but at least you get the impression that they are contributing something.

No way that this stretch would be such a concern if the guys who should be scoring were scoring.

And if the guys who were in the league for more then two months could be counted on to take care of their own zone.