Friday, January 04, 2008

Halfway Done - Sucking as Few Suck Suck

Thank Dog for the Juniors. Once again the Oilers lick big bag. Speaking of licking bag did anyone see Jarku Ruutu tune up Darcy Tucker last night. If I had dropped dead on the spot it would have been with a gigantic smile and a big boner. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Anyhow, here are the grades as I see them at the halfway point and yes this is based on expectations, contract and results.
Ownership - F - What bugs me is the spin. I don't blame them for trying to make money or for having self interest. I do blame them for making Katz out to be a big bad bogeyman who will move the team at the drop of a hat. Painting yourselves as the white knights who saved the team while musing on huge debt financing to buy the team and build an arena and slagging the guy who is trying to negotiate a purchase in good faith is amateurish at best. EIG saved the team but this Butler guy is shining the silver cup of that legacy with a cloth covered in shit. Nice.
Management - F - For the second straight year Lowe has put together a team with huge holes. While last year's team had a joke blueline this year's squad is still weak back there while also lacking honest to goodness NHL players up front. As noted in the post previous to this one Lowe has demonstrated absolutely no plan. He has one of the highest payrolls in the league and no results to show for it. Have they won ten games in regulation in the last sixty? Ottawa tied the can to Muckler after a SCF appearance. Dallas fired Armstrong despite a number of years in the playoffs. Lowe gets a four year extension. Of course that goes back to ownership.
Coaching - C - While I often wish that Ken Hitchcock or Andy Murray was an ex-Oiler MacT has this pile of crap pretty competitive nearly every game. Charlie Huddy deserves credit for getting Pitkanen back on track and for the work of Tom Gilbert, I would say. The PK, as usual, has been good. Some of MacT's decisions (Tarnstrom WTF) don't make me happy and the PP, which cost this team the Cup in '06, is still a gigantic clusterfuck but he's taken a towering glass of assfuck and turned it into, well, not Gritstone but maybe Coors Light? Its crap but its better then drinking what comes out of a bum after someone has taken a trip up the old dirt road.
If you know what I'm saying.
Roloson - D - Roli is done and that makes me sad. And they're getting squat for him with that contract so dream on.
Garon - A - If it wasn't for Garon this team would be so far out of it Pronger could have redone his basement in Steve Stamkos' favourite colours right after Halloween. Because of him there is still a chance that Lowe won't look that bad. Is he a number 1? Maybe not. But like Hejda was, he is a terrific under the radar pickup.
Gilbert - A+ - Rookie is on pace for ~ 30 points, plays in the top pair against tough opposition, stays out of the box. Going to get a big fat contract and anchor the Oilers' blueline for years.
Pitkanen - A - Big Finnish weirdo makes Lowe look like genius. Also going to be a rich man after this season. It had better be Oiler money that makes him so.
Staios - B - Like Smith last season, Staios has become a whipping boy among fans, in this case because Smid has had to carry his ass night after night. ;) Stevie is Stevie. He has cut down on the mistakes of yesteryear. He's no Lidstrom but he's a nice solid second pairing guy. Too bad he has nobody to play with.
Souray - D - Has been surprisingly ok in his own end but as the team's highest paid player he should have fifteen goals and be their best defenceman. Plus he should have played every game. Oh, last year was a career year offensively and he's injury prone? Who knew?
Greene - C+ - Before the freak injury Greene was showing improvement. He's a bang it out guy but that's ok. At least he's figured out how to stay out of the box.
Tarnstrom - C - Dick is Dick. He's no star on the back end but he's a better option then a couple of the other clowns. Why they don't let this guy run the PP is beyond me. Probably wondering why the fuck he signed up for this shit. Oh yeah, the money is pretty good. He's tradebait.
Smid - F - Should have been in the minors last year. Decent start when he was called up but has gotten progressively worse. Elemental shit too. Only saving grace is that he's so young. Have to admire his willingness to mix it up and after that fight the other night maybe Stortini should worry about his job. But honestly, he's crap.
Grebeshkov - D - Who knows with this guy? I certainly don't.
Rourke - A - Seriously, when you're the tenth man in the organization and you come in and do nice solid work on the third pair then you deserve an A.
Roy - incomplete - Bad Luck Schleprock.
Horcoff - A - A little slump now but remember that little bit of hope we had a few weeks ago? That was Horcoff's doing. Does it all. Maybe not an elite offensive centre although some of the numbers tell us otherwise. Certainly an elite centre in this league based on everything he does.
Penner - B - He's getting there. My guess is he pops around thirty. Considering he came in out of shape and has been asked to play tough minutes and a pile of them one has to like where he is getting too. It was rough at first but he's no Lupul. Thank God. Honestly seeing how far he has come no complaints.
Hemsky - B - Almost there. Imo, he's taken another step. Worry about his health though.
Nilsson - C+ - Wish we's see more but he's better then expected in his own end.
Gagner - C - He's been awful but its a C - he's barely 18. What the hell can be expected?
Cogliano - C+ - Nice start, then a lull, showing life again playing with Moreau and Pisani (no shit). He'll be ok.
Brodziak - B - How many kids is that now? Any wonder why this team is so crappy? Kid makes the team, hangs in there, does the dirty work. Good role player. Maximum effort every night. Good on the PK.
Sanderson - F - Still has some legs but he is so done. Nice career is over. Some say he will bring a return at the deadline. Come again. Scratched 4th liner on this team. Are there sixty rounds in the draft? Maybe they'll get a 44th rounder?
Reasoner - D - Almost done and certainly cannot do what is being asked of him - tough minutes and so on. Great guy and its too bad.
Stortini - C+ - For effort. Certainly not for talent.
Torres - C - - First ten games I thought Raffi had turned it around. You big tease. But he knows what to do in his own end and too few do on this team.
Stoll - C - Sure he's an F but I'm not going to hack on a guy trying to come back from concussion. Friends of ours are friends of an NHLer whose career was ended by concussion. He was fucked for a long time. Serious pain. Depression. The whole shebang. He's been terrible but circumstances count in this case.
Pouliot and Jacques - F - Had their shots and blew it. They're gone.
Thoresen - C+ - He is what he is. Wish he was 6'1. Didn't sulk when he got sent down and has come back nicely. Work work work.
Pisani - A+ - What else? Masterton please.
Moreau - incomplete - Has to stay healthy - four games back - two goals, two assists, drew the penalty in OT v. the Blues. Bad penalty too against the BJs but overall the guy is a big plus. Has to stay in the lineup.
So overall this team is going nowhere fast but a quick look at the roster tells you why. Kids everywhere you look. Its impossible to hide so many guys that need to be hidden and when you need a goal, after the first line who do you send out? Moreau, Pisani and Cogliano?
Its all on Lowe's shoulders. And for all of you guys who think he is doing such a great job, for the last fucking time, the team did not have to be this bad! Last year or this.
Oh well, at least these guys are pretty fucking funny.


Iffy said...

Nicely done. Loved the bit about Pronger and Stamkos... Well hated it actually cause it's so true.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much agree with your assessments except for Roloson. Yeah, he was disappointing at the beginnning but he did bounce back and has played well. If he was truly 'done', that wouldn't have happened. And I give him points for being a team player and not sulking.
I give him a C+.

Anonymous said...

good job buddy, dont know if I agree with the Staois thing. He sucks nearly as bad as Smid. But the rest sounds right.

Mr DeBakey said...

"At least four in front unless it's two huge ones."
- Marty Reasoner with the winner

A] Horcoff, Hemsky
B+] Penner
B] Gilbert, Pitkanen, Garon
B-] Nilsson
C] Thoresen, Reasoner, Staios
C-] Souray, Torres, Pisani
D+] Brodziak, Roloson, Tarnstrom
D] Gagner, Smid, Stoll
D-] Grebeshkov, Sanderson, Cogliano
F] Stortini

I threw this list up on HF Boards the other day.
I wanted to see if could stir up the "kids'" fans with all those Ds for their Darlings.
Sadly, I failed

Lowetide said...

Pretty much agree with your takes BD. I'd only add that imo Gagner's C- is a pretty strong season.

He shouldn't be here and he's bleeding points. But he can get around on some fastballs.

Black Dog said...

anon#1 - its the contract; this team needs excellent goaltending to win most nights and for 3.9 per Roli's not giving them enough of it; take the contract out of the mix and he's a C

anon#2 - have to agree to disagree on that one

mr d. - why so low for Brodziak and Cogliano? And Pisani as well for that matter? Curious as to your take. Agreed on the Reasoner comment - that was brilliant.

Black Dog said...

LT - you and I were typing at the same time - actually Gagner is a C for me (I have a - after every one because I am a dope, two -- if its a minus - got that?! :))

He's 18. I have no complaints. Probably be best if he were in junior but when they kept him I had no beef with it so what can I say now.

And he's helped win them five games in the shootout so there is that to consider as well.

He's a good one. Just a little out of his league right now although he looked nice on the PP last night when I saw him.

Scott said...

I guess Staios should be given some slack because of the fact that he's been baby-sitting Smid a lot of the time, but that doesn't change the fact that his results have been poor in doing so. Staios is on the ice for way more goals against than goals for, he certainly isn't helping the younger player look comfortable, and all of this is happening while playing less than the other team's best most of the time. To be honest, I think that's pretty terrible for the second highest-paid d-man on the team and for someone pulling down 2.9 this year (2.7 cap hit I think). He just hasn't contributed in a significantly positive way to the team results so far this year and I think it's very reasonable to think that he should be. A "B" rating for Staios seems like a mark for past-service. What has he done well this year? I think a "D" is more reasonable, or maybe a "C-" taking his partner(s) into consideration.

Mr DeBakey said...

When I did my bell curve,
it had to lean way over to one side.
Otherwise ir wouldn't reflect the Oiler's record

Somebody had to go in those columns.

I also tried to stay away from conditional grades
- he's playing well for an 18-year-old...
- if it weren't for that damn Ulcerative Colitis he'd of been a B+...
and so forth

Mr DeBakey said...

"I guess Staios should be given some slack because of the fact that he's been baby-sitting Smid a lot of the time"

Staios with Smid
368:19 ES min
23 GA
1.249 GA/20

Staios with the other Guys 339:54 ES min
14 GA
0.824 GA/20

With Smid, Staios is -10,
without he's -2

Gord said...

But like Hejda was, he is a terrific under the radar pickup.


Looking at the defense (I agree with your analysis) - I imagine Hejda on that list instead of Souray.

We would be set with two mature defensive defensemen. We would have Pitkanen & Gilbert starting to take over the power play - cap space to die for...

Black Dog said...

yeah Gord Souray hasn't really been half bad, I will admit, but the juice on the PP has not been there. Hejda wasn't a great puck mover but neither is Sheldon and of course the difference is in the price. Four more years at 5.4 - at least Roli comes off the books next year

mr d. - but he has ulcerative colitis!

It will be interesting to see what happens in the second half. Stoll may be coming around and Staios playing with Souray has been a decent pairing so far. They're still short of NHLers up front though.

Anonymous said...

Well, that was depressing.

And to think, I was told this blog was 'whimsical'. For shame :)

lol, my confirmation word is Vanex