Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Model

Missed last night's game. Out on the town again. Staggered in at 2:30 or so and caught the "highlights".
Two steps forward earlier this week and playing a redhot Flames squad tonight, well it may be two steps back.
Watching the game tonight. Watching the Sens/Habs game right now. Looks like the Sens may be ok. 8-2 with Spezza and Fisher still out of the lineup.
Looking at the Sens' lineup and for that matter that of the Habs is interesting.
The Senators have a couple of youngsters on the blueline in Pressing and Meszaros. Of course there is Redden (his absence from the lineup early this season being an obvious reason this team struggled), Phillips, Volchenkov and then the free agent they picked up - Corvo.
No rookies. And every single one of them can move the puck. Volchenkov is likely the weakest in that area, I'd guess, but the rest of them are all quite good.
Another thing to note - even with Hossa and Havlat moving along in the past couple of years this team is loaded with players they have drafted and developed. Very few exceptions to this. And while the Oilers have improved in this area a look at the Sens' roster shows you how far they have to go. Obviously they benefitted from years of being terrible but in recent years they have made a lot of hay from the draft despite picking a lot lower.
A couple of other interesting things to note. The Sens lost Chara and Havlat last summer. They had a slow start but now they look like they will be a threat again this spring.
And even with Spezza and Fisher in the lineup this was a team that looked thin up the middle. Always strong on the wings they have tried to make due for years with a pivot roster that included Todd White and Brian Smolinski as well as Fisher. Last season they picked up Tyler Arneson in the hope he would make a difference but of course it was disaster. Spezza's arrival helped but while Fisher is a terrific player, he is best suited to a third line role.
So what does Muckler do - gives up a guy who will likely never play for the Sens for Comrie.
Lowetide has called this Oilers' season a failure due to management. Certainly this team has been mediocre for the most part since a nice start. The offence has not performed to expectations but watching the Senators and Habs play (Souray just blasts a shot over Emery for a goal) you can really see how much of that stems from the backend.
But with two or three rookies in the lineup every night and the team's best defenceman not noted for his offensive prowess :) what else can be expected?
And hindsight is 20/20 of course. Everyone knew Lowe was gambling, figuring this team would be where it is at this time, in the mix, and then he would make his move. But we are waiting and waiting and waiting and teams are still hanging around (noted today that Phoenix may actually be a buyer rather then a seller this season) and he would have been better off moving earlier because now the price is going up.
Anyhow, back to the Sens and to the Habs whose lineup is also filling up with homegrown prospects. The Sens have eased guys in over the years, given them the opportunity to succeed. Playing a twenty year old in your second pair is likely not doing that.
So it appears Lowe has gambled and lost. The team is still in play, really, and if he picks up the two Dmen this team needs then we may be able to look back and marvel that he did it again - he had it both ways - developed his kids and still put a team together that is very competitive. But its looking more and more like nobody is going to be available without an overpay.
And if Smyth moves on then you have to replace thirty to forty goals and if Sykora follows suit then you've got holes all over and you may as well bring up all of the kids - Brodziak, Schremp, Pouliot, Gilbert - all of them - and see what you've got.


uni said...

Negative black dog makes me sad. Well realistic black dog makes me sad. What happened to the blue skying delusional patty I used to love haha. I still believe Lowe's going to pull it off. Just you wait and see, he's going to grab 2 D for a bag of pucks and Crossanov even though they don't even play for us anymore. And Smid is going to come back from the All Star break and morph into Lidstrom with a mean streak...just you wait and see...oh'll it's time for me to go drink some more happy juice.

Black Dog said...

Well, you never know uni - still six weeks to the deadline and the BJs are down Nash and Federov and the Hawks are sliding again with Havlat out and apparently the Kings are down to their fourth string goalie. So Lowe might be able to bring someone in without giving away the farm.

I can still bluesky with the best of them but this team needed Roli on all of the time and they needed a lot more vaunt - they haven't gotten a lot of 6-5 wins, which is what a lot of us were expecting.

They're still in the mix but with Shaggy out and Smith and Staios both apparently playing through ailments things aren't looking pretty.

Funny though - eight out of a possible ten points in that last stretch and everyone's convinced the sky is falling. Weird, huh?