Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tough Minutes

In June of 2006 if the Canes sent Eric Staal over the boards the Oilers could counter with Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth, Radek Dvorak, Chris Pronger and Jason Smith. If Rod Brindamour followed then out came Raffi Torres, Mike Peca, Fernando Pisani, Jaro Spacek and Steve Staios. And we haven't mentioned Ethan Moreau.
Tonight when Jarome Iginla hits the ice MacT most likely will have Staios and Joni Pitkanen as well as Horcoff, Torres and, um, maybe Ales Hemsky? When Huselius follows he will see maybe Marty Reasoner, Kyle Brodziak, Geoff Sanderson, Dick Tarnstrom and Matt Greene.
Feeling confident?
Ok. Any questions as to why this team is going to have a tough time winning games this season?


mike w said...

What if we cheer extra hard?

Mr DeBakey said...

But, why did they send to Schrempie???
He never hadda chance

Black Dog said...

Mr d. - you'd have to go to LT or IOF for posts on that. I haven't the foggiest clue as to what they are doing with these kids - up and down from the minors, in and out of the lineup. Pouliot out, Stortini in.

Me no understand.

Mr DeBakey said...

I noticed something tonight
Something quantifiable about this team compared to the Cup team.

On D:
a] Tarnstrom - Greene, Check
b] Staois - Pitkanen [Spacek], check
c] Gilbert - Grebeshkov [Pronger-Smith], Uh-oh.

Black Dog said...

yeah - its what we've been talking about all along - a lot of guys to run out there three through six but a big hole in that top two

Staios has been nice and solid - I really like his game this season - just keep it safe

Pitkanen has those brain cramps.

Tarnstrom and Greene had a nice game; Greene had Lombardi and Huselius try and beat him one on one and in both cases he just separated them nice and clean.

Gilbert looked fine. Grebs not so much.

Vic Ferrari said...

Grebeshkov is in a bit of a tough spot. I mean in a better situation he'd be playing in the bottom pairing, in a lot offensive situations, with a veteran to mentor him. Sort of like when Bryan Campbell was breaking in playing alongside Nummenin, while Tallinder's pair logged the toughest minutes and the McKee pairing took on the second toughest icetime.

There was a long stretch in the HNIC game where Grebeshkov's pairing was playing mostly against Iginla. Seriously.

I'd like to think that was Keenan's doing, but look who played the first shift after the Oiler's double length PP in the first. Damn! So Staios isn't ggod enough to play a guaranteed-IggyTanguay shift, even with several minutes rest?

What the fuck, Pat. I'm not trying to figure the Oilers coaching staff out this year. They're off the map. If this is innovative genius, it is very well disguised. I mean being unconventional in a way that makes others say "I wish I'd thought of that!" ... that's good. But being unconventional in a "maybe we should try wearing our underwear on the outside of our pants!" kind of way ... not so much.

C'est la vie Pat. The kids look great. I don't think anyone could have hoped for more from Gilbert, Cogliano, Gagner and Brodziak.

And Reasoner seems to be bouncing back. He still doesn't take the puck off his skates at speed like he did before he wrecked his knees, but his line is the one keeping the puck in the right end of the rink the most. The most by far. No other line seems to create much in the way of possession or 10 cent chances, these guys deserve props.

IceDragoon said...

Good day.

Pat... Have you checked out Vic's 'head-to-head TOI'
and 'shift charts'

In the topic below, you muse about Gagner playing the 'soft minutes'. I noticed him out against the Sedins part way thru the first Canuck game. Vic's sites confirm that MacT has shifted his matches at times, but for the most part, he's been content to match/leave matched the 10-27-89 line against the Sedins, Doan and Iginla.

Here's the top H-to-H-5x5 minutes against Iggy...

Penner - 7.5 - yikes
Horcoff - 5.2
Gagner - 5.0

Gilbert - 8.5
Grebeshkov - 8.4
double yikes

I haven't looked closely at the defense matchings, because the D still makes me dizzy. And, if I fall down I might break a hip.

I think Gagner will consistently contribute playing tough minutes a lot sooner than he should. His head's already there. He's a freaking kid savant, adjusting quickly to every new challenge. We'll have to wait on his physical maturity.


Apparently, Sunday's practice lines were... (I list centres first)

89-27-83 - JMC reunion
10-14-16 - Stoll playing RW
19-51-46 - Brodziak's pro debut at LW

Pitkanen tweaked a knee (perhaps watching Iggy score) and did not skate.

If MacT stays with these lines, it looks like he'll try to exploit some soft minutes. Gagner and Penner just might like having Hemsky and a little more room out there.

IceDragoon said...


Do you still think Staios may be hurt? Against the Flames 18:01 - 13:29 at evens... but... 22:17 - 18:41 at the Coyotes.

Pitkanen has been erratic. Perhaps the kerfuffle between MacTavish and Staios was because Stevie wants Smid back. ;-)

Thank you for many things, but right now... that underwear analogy. lol. This 'throw 'em in the deep end of the pool' coaching is frustrating to watch, especially after last year.

Have a good one.

namflashback said...

Its either MacT being lazy or allowing the matchups intentionally. He didn't even bother to try a change-on-the-fly with 77-37, several times!!! And we know he isn't lazy.

Was he trying to throw the game? Make Grebeshkov believe he is something he isn't?

Yet, it was 24-25 that surrendered the GA to that line. (Or maybe it was the JFJ suckage effect)

On a positive note, as BD states, young Matt Greene actually looked Gatorish on those plays versus Messrs. Tanguay and Huselius.

Black Dog said...

Vic - I did notice that - that Grebs and Gilbert were out v. Iginla a lot - Hughson actually noted that and he made it sound like it was the matchup MacT was looking for

Which to me is insane but they actually were evens and were not hemmed in a lot by the Iginla line, unlike say the typical Greene shift of spring 06 which ended in a penalty, an icing or a scoring chance

So they are doing something right.

Grebs' biggest problems seemed to be the puck - overskating it, fanning on it - maybe nerves? Noticeable mistakes - the type the MAB used to make - the type that makes you think they are playing worse then they are, if that makes sense.

Vic - agreed on MacT - a lot of the personnel decisions have left me scratching my head as well - Pouliot out time and time again, guys only getting a few minutes of icetime because the Oilers are "trying to win" but then sending out Gilbert and Grebs against Iginla

And the PP blender.


Kids have been great though and agreed on Marty's line.

Black Dog said...

nam - Greene has looked better

Louise - I strongly agree with your points on Gagner - he is an offensive whiz but he has nice hockey sense - watched him closely Saturday and he knows what he is doing out there.

Duhatschek says today that unless the wheels completely fall off Gagner will stay. Sounds good to me - what is he going to learn ripping up junior for another year?