Sunday, October 07, 2007

Early Impressions - Nice Start For The Kids

Two games in and two wins and all is well in Oilerville. Hell, why not? Two wins is better then no wins and while we all know that its a long season getting two points from the Sharks and then outplaying the Flyers for another two is far better then a kick in the head.
Unless of course you are a Cubs fan, in which case getting kicked in the head is what its all about.
Going on the road and we'll see what happens when MacT doesn't have the last change.
So, ridiculous commentary from a guy who has seen TSN highlights and nothing else.
The first big question facing Lowe - what to do if in nine games Gagner has six or seven points? By all accounts the kid has played well. He's getting ten minutes a game at ES and has a couple of assists. He's helping the team right now. When Moreau comes back I presume the first man out will be Pouliot and Gagner and Cogliano will play with Sanderson or the captain. So, is this team a better one with Gagner in the lineup? And is the role he has now better for him then going back to London and ripping it up?
Only two games (have to keep telling ourselves that, right?) but there's Gagner and Cogliano, who also has a pair of assists and has played 15 and 12 and a half minutes in the two games. There's Gilbert, who has been fine. And there's Brodziak, a goal and two assists and on the ice protecting the lead last night. Nilsson has nothing to show for a couple of fine games but no complaints about any of the kids thus far.
Two years ago Geoff Sanderson scored twenty five goals. He had a rotten year last season but was struggling with a torn groin among other things. So far he has looked like more then a throw in so here is a ridiculously premature question. If he puts together a decent season do you sign him?
Looks like Marty Reasoner is back.
Maybe Jacques is just a top notch AHL player? Good on him for not sulking as he had the Gordie Howe hat trick in his first game back in the minors. And thank goodness the Oilers sent him down rather then have him sit in the PB for six weeks. Anyhow, he only had four minutes plus on Thursday (compared to Pouliot who played over ten last night); we're talking Winchester like numbers. Its going to be an injury (likely two if Sanderson sticks around and plays well) before he draws in and picks up big minutes with the Oilers. The LW picture for the Oilers - Penner/Torres/Moreau/Sanderson/Thoresen/Trukhno - I think JFJ is going to be the odd man out when all is said and done.
Interesting to note the way the Oilers have rolled the D the first two games. Last night Staios and Pitkanen faced Briere's line while Souray and Greene took on Carter, Lupul and Hartnell. Thursday Greene and Souray faced the Thornton line while they ran Staios and Pitkanen out against Michalek and various others. Don't know if its a question of figuring that Staios and Pitkanen couldn't handle the cycle of the Thornton line, if they just wanted to see if Greene and Souray could handle that assignment or if they are still trying to figure it all out.
Big challenge tomorrow in Detroit.
One last thing, nice moment last night with Smith. Good on the organization for putting together a tribute and great ovation from the fans. Hope to see the same for Smyth when he returns. Both guys left it all on the ice for the club for a long time.


Pat said...

I agree with you on Smith. I was more than ready to see him go, as I felt he was on the decline (at least with us). That said, he was a terrific player and captain, and put in a lot of solid years for us. A deserving guy. The tribute was classy.

That said, I really wonder whether Smyth gets the same treatment. I mean, he's equally if not more deserving, no? Whether or not he gets one will, I think, be a truer test of this organization's class. I mean, other than Lowe's off-script and remarkably forthright one-time confession to Jones and Matheson, the organization has otherwise been pretty eager to cast Smyth in a negative light. We'll see what happens.

Andy Grabia said...

I'd say they'd get murdered if they didn't do something for Smytty, but with the media in this town, who knows? I expect them to do something nice, though. Lowe should be a man and publicly apologize to Smyth for that shit he said, too.

As for Gagner, it's a good question, Pat. Real good question. It's similar to Staal in Pittsburgh last year. I think they have no choice but to keep him if he's playing that well. The interesting thing to me is how, if they do keep him, he holds up after 40 or 50 games. Problem is once he hits that wall, they won't be able to send him back. It's an interesting dilemma, one I'm sure the team is fine being stuck with. I just worry about that number he's wearing. It's bad karma.

rickibear said...

Does the LW depth get even more clouded if Mikhnov leads the RSL in scoring all year. Currently second and Linus Omark leads his team in scoring in SEL which he is currently doing.

Who do you send out next year? Not sign Sanderson? Send out Torres?
Do you ignore Omark and Mikhnov all together?

I agree with the Jacques call plus Penner and Sanderson can slot Right side if need be.

Comment on the Radio last night state Pisani is on new Meds and it is making a diffrence. They say he has lost alot of pounds.

Go to the oilers site first thing in the a.m. in the game recap page the game report section has video from oiler tv. It shows all the goals and exciting chances.

We would have to expect MacT to match the D based on the pairs strength going into this game. The oiler fans at work thought Tarnstrom pair would be the Briere match up. I like the fact that Pitkanens pair got the call.

Andy: You have to keep him for the 50 games and let him hit the wall. If he does not we have something very special.

Nice Collapsible Radio Flyer trike. My son rode it so much he wore his tires out.

I would hope this orginization shows the class that Ryan Smyth deserves.

Black Dog said...

I would think they'd have to do something for Smyth - so much coming from this org. lately has been about getting the fans, the players and people around the league excited about this franchise - the new dressing room, the big contracts handed out (rightly or wrongly) etc. If they snub Smyth after all his years with the Oilers what message does that send to players around the league as well as to the present squad.

rickibear - true about Penner and Sanderson although if Pisani were to ever come back and if Nilsson and Brodziak can keep it up the RW doesn't look as bad and it was earlier either. Don't know about Mikhnov coming back though - I would think last year left a sour taste in his mouth.

I think if Gagner hangs in there and has a good few weeks then they keep him, I really do. He's playing ten minutes or thereabouts a game - its not like they have him playing 20 minutes a game or so. I think he can handle it. If the team is playing well and he is a part of it I think he stays.

grease trap said...

I wouldn't touch this generation of Russians.

Anonymous said...

I teared up some with the Smith tribute, and it looked to me he was trying to keep his own emotions in check. That was well done.

JFJ had a Gordie Howe for SF? Good for him. This kid sure does baffles me.

I excited with the young guns, especially Cogs and Gagner. Anyone see how Pouliot was? Is he looking better? I'm still pulling for him.

I like Sandy here and am glad he had a great night. And yay Marty.

Detroit should be another good test, but I'm actually more curious about the Wild game coming up.

Black Dog said...

anon - apparently Pouliot had a strong game, battled well, looked good

I like him too but when Moreau comes back he will likely draw the short straw

A pile of competition on this team for icetime right now and I think its making a difference.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or did Pouliot work better earlier with Stoll and Torres? And Nilsson with Cogs? Actually, everyone seems to click with Cogs so far.

Black Dog said...

So Cogliano is like Pisani?

Vic Ferrari said...

Jacques is a puzzler. That pointless streak on the big club must have gotten between his ears. And he looked terrible doing it, granted I didn't watch many games after the All Star break last year. I can see why they kept him around though. He scored in the minors and he's physically huge, as big as one and a half people.

I mean for crying out loud he was playing AHL level competition quite a bit when he played for the Oilers. What keeps going wrong at the NHL level? OR ... how on Earth does he manage to do so well in the AHL?

The word 'enigma' gets bandied about by hockey fans, writers and commentators a lot. In hockeyspeak it means "frickin' foreigner!" 99% of the time. But to my mind, Jacques really is an enigmatic player

Pat said...

Vic, re: enigma = "frickin' foreigner!" 99% of the time

I've never thought of that, but it's pretty funny. It's almost the sort of project that you could envision being substantiated by a Lowetide or MC79 investigation.

Black Dog said...

One last comment on Jacques from this corner - McKeen's said the guy was miscast as a fourth line energy player - that he had to be in a top six scoring role.

I was out for pints with sacamano, mike w. and mc79 a couple of weeks back and put that argument forth - the counterargument is that if a guy can't play fourth line minutes how can you play him in the top six? If he is an NHLer he should be able to roll with those fourth line minutes and force the coach's hand.

But maybe he is a freak - maybe he needs the big icetime and better linemates to prosper - my fear is they send him to Phoenix, he gets that chance and he turns into John LeClair or Cam Neely.

Remember how awful Thornton was woth limited minutes with the Bruins in his first year?

Vic Ferrari said...

I can't get my head around that, Black Dog. I mean Jacques had been playing against schleps for the most part, and he's looked just awful doing it.

'Top six' players means 'good linemates', no? These guys usually play against the other team's best. The way that Jacques keeps screwing up ... that would be fugly. I mean if you give him good enough linemates and build the gameplan around him ... then sure he'll put up good counting numbers. But unless MacTavish has selected JFJ in a million dollar hockey pool, that isn't going to happen.

Black Dog said...

I know what you're saying Vic and I know what the guys were saying too - if you have it going on then you're going to make things happen against the other team's dreck - no doubt about it.

He's just a weird case and its all between his ears I would say - obviously he is not going to get time in place of Penner, Torres or Moreau (or Sanderson for now).

But he should be doing great on the 4th line - you look at how Cogliano and Gagner did at home in G1 and G2 - good matchups and they made things happen.