Thursday, December 10, 2009

Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Lubomir Visnovsky.

Before Lubo came to the Oilers his name came up a few times amongst us (I seem to recall Dennis especially pushing him) as a guy who might be a good fit for the club. When he signed a longterm deal with LA it looked like any chances of that had gone out the window until Lombardi did the perfectly legal but quite skanky, trading the Slovak the day before his no trade clause kicked in.

Talk about violating the spirit of an agreement. Jeez.

The Lubo deal cost the Oilers a lot but most fans would tell you that they would do the deal over and over again. If Lowe had bothered to replace what Stoll and Greene brought to the club nobody would even question it.

Its not just what Lubo brings to the table, the terrific skating, the passing, the shooting, the underrated defending and strength. He played with Grebeshkov last year and the young Russian had a terrific year. This year Laddy Smid got the sweetest spot on the roster and the kid has turned into a world beater by any measure.

Its not the fact that for two years now when he is on the ice the Oilers massively outchance their opposition.

(I've no time for management's excuses but one wonders how last year would have turned out if Lubo had not been injured.)

Its the way he plays the game. The joy. The elan as he darts here and there, grinning, looking like a boy on a frozen pond as he slides away from a massive forechecker, darting up ice, spinning and dancing.

Ales Hemsky can pull you out of your seat with his genius.

Lubo makes the game so much fun to watch, perhaps even more than the great Czech winger.

Rudy Kelly over at Battle of California loved Lubo. Here are a few of his comments.

I love him too.

There I said it. It makes me no less of a man. And if you think it does, well ... you can eat me.


PDO said...

Said it over at LT's, but I guess it's more on topic here ;).

Is Lubo the best defensemen in the league right now?

I'm not saying he is, but I'm not sure it's an insane question to ask either.

You somewhat touched on it, but it's downright amazing that whoever the second best D on the club is is the guy playing with #71...

I have a feeling he'd be money in the shootout too.

Dakin said...

Unfortunately for him, you really have to be a fan of the game to recognize his genius. He is the "makes it look easy" type to perfection. A true pleasure to see. I wish so much that he was 3 years younger for when this team is good around him.

macaotim said...

I'm curious about his play away from the puck. Living overseas doesn't allow me to see the entire play like you can watching live or on HD) and I have always evaluated undersized guys on battling for pucks in the corners and in front of their own net. From what I can see, he seems to hold his own. Anyone have a good take on this aspect of his game?

Black Dog said...

Tim - he gets to the puck first a lot of the time but even when he doesn't he's quick and he's pretty strong, he tends to come out with the puck more often than not. Someone described a sequence a couple of games ago, he let the forechecker get to the puck first so he wouldn't get creamed, just followed him in, lifted his stick and he was gone.

Excellent in terms of positioning as well imo, body positioning I mean, generally on the right side of the play, if that makes sense

Black Dog said...

PDO - I'd say he's in the next tier, below the Charas and Prongers; I don't know that he can dominate a game defensively although when he's on the ice and he has the puck on a string I guess you don't have to play to much D

Dakin - yeah although we can always hope that he keeps his legs, if he does he might last quite a while yet

Swabbubba said...

Lubo love it is alright. I heart 44. Steady Steve is killing me though. I really do like how Smid has picked up his game of late. The Oilers are no floppers they keep on picking themselves up although maybe staying down would be the best idea.
Lets see if we can get another 2 in St Loo

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis said...

It was quite awhile ago while he was still a King when I looked at his numbers and I couldn't imagine how the Kings would give him up. And while I liked him last year I couldn't figure out how he had scored so many goals while he was in LA.

But this year he's bringing the offense big time and I imagine this is how he looked in the mid '00's while playing for LA.

He's fun to watch, he's as productive as fuck and he's been both a great compliment and mentor to 5.

And while this sounds bad:) inch-for-inch he has to be the strongest Oiler I've ever watched play.

Black Dog said...

Dennis - I read quite a bit of Rudy's stuff over at Battle of Cal. and I can't remember exactly but I think he wasn't a great fit with Terry Murray maybe? I think Rudy complained that Murray was trying to get Lubo to fit into his system rather than letting him do what he does best, which is wheel.

This all by memory so I could be absolutely out to lunch on this.

Anyhow I think that and the salary made them decide to move him, plus they have a few young guys who can move the puck on the way I think so that might have played a role.

Good trade for both clubs, hard to argue with LA's success this year.