LMHF Report Webcast Link

2/27/09

Blow it up?

To be clear, I am not recommending this approach but rather raising it as a possibility.

In the NHL as it currently stands cap space has value if you can use it. Let's assume the Oilers can use it and that therefore it is worth something to them.

Our mission: the Oilers aren't winning the Stanley Cup this year and don't have the core to immediately contend. Rather than go through a painful 5 years and waste Ales Hemsky's contract entirely, let's reload instantly and make a new team.

Remember; in this reality cap space has value, so view all trades in that context.

OUT:

Dustin Penner to someone for a draft pick.

Steve Staios and Ethan Moreau to a contender for a pick and a prospect.

Robert Nilsson for a young defenceman.

Erik Cole for a draft pick (note; in this type of thinking, trading Cole actually isn't a huge priority because he's off the books regardless)

Marc Pouliot for a 4th rounder or a similar prospect with a different skillset.

Zach Stortini traded for a better hockey-playing version of himself or a pick.

Strudwick is not resigned.

Jacques is released or bought out.

Roloson is not resigned. He's traded to a contender if possible.

So here's what we're left with:

------- ------ Hemsky
Cogliano Horcoff Pisani
------- Gagner -------
------- Brodziak -------

Still in the mix/on the bubble: Schremp, Brule, Potulny, Lefebvre, Reddox, MacIntyre

Souray-Gilbert
Visnovsky-Grebeshkov
Peckham-Smid

I like our D, they're quite good. Sign a different vet to play #7. But make him actually be the #7 and have SOME exceptional asset rather than just being BLAH.

The role of goalie is open.

There...cap space galore and freedom + a butt load of picks that can be swapped for players.


New Team:

Clemmensen
Conklin (so sue me; he's a good goalie and deserves to make things right here!)

I'm not a big fan of spending a lot on goalies because I think it's a lot more of a crapshoot than many others do. I'd also be looking at Antero Nittymaki or a trade for Chris Mason who's signed for another year at 3 mil. For you Conklin haters: 22 wins, 6 SOs, .918 save percentage and Osgood isn't even close. He's a good goalie.

D stays pretty well the same as I noted.

Cammalleri (he's still the right guy for the job a year later. Backup would be Havlat)
Connolly (won't get a huge deal because of past, which is overblown. So skilled. Backup plan would be a trade)
Hemsky (Duh)

Cogliano-Horcoff-Pisani (This puts Horcoff in an appropriate role and gives him solid guys to play with. I like Cogliano's speed better coming off the wing).

Bell (Take a chance on someone like a Mark Bell for this spot. Our Bubble guys could also compete)
Gagner (can't give up on this kid. Don't do it. He will be EXCELLENT)
Guerin (tutor the kid, provide toughness, shooting, leadership. Backup here would be to try to get Sykora back and get a big guy for LW)

Ian LaPerriere (He can shoot and is a pain in the butt to play against)
Kyle Brodziak (Kept, I really like his game)
Chris Neil (No-brainer)

There...now we're harsh to play against, can shoot the puck, and have an offensive unit to play with Hemsky. Am I under the cap? I have no idea. If I'm not, shave on the fourth line.
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So that would be my plan if we were down for tearing the place to the ground.

LMHF Game Report #30

EDMONTON OILERS ZERO…none…nothing…0

VS.

COLUMBUS BLUEJACKETS …the biggest 1 of the year so far
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I’ve said it before, I’m sure I’ll say it again, I just didn’t want to have to say it again at this point in the season because I really really shouldn’t have to.

This is one of the games where there’s just not much to say. We played horribly and put forth no effort. We didn’t execute anything resembling a game plan, we had no superlative individual efforts to rescue us; not that it likely would have mattered because 1 on 5 doesn’t work too well.

I suppose the D did pretty well for themselves. Though they also allowed 3 clear breaks which is pretty bad. Columbus didn’t exactly have a ravenous attack tonight. They waited and we allowed them to wait. They certainly used their size advantage. Rick Nash appears to have a come a long way as a checker using his size. What the heck was Gilbert doing on the Torres goal? I really don’t know.

There’s really no sense going into individual player performances in any depth because there’s just nothing to say. Pretty much every forward made innumerable mistakes and lazy plays. No one carried any momentum over. Ales probably played one of the worst games I can remember…but then again he’s out there on his own right now and instead of diversifying they’re trying to lean more on him. You can see how frustrated he is. Penner isn’t making easy plays to score in front and looks totally disinterested. Horcoff is offensively lost and has zero confidence. He’s back to telegraphing every play he makes. Our second line is disturbingly soft and not dependable whatsoever. Cole does what he can but most nights he’s it these days. I’m sure Moreau-Cogliano-Pisani will be fine but they were nothing but passengers tonight with Moreau taking another penalty at absolutely the wrong time. The fourth line isn’t going to save you on a night like this.

I was glad that Souray jumped up some more. He was nearly effective enough to win this tonight. Gilbert was good other than his play on that winner. I liked Peckham’s effort a lot; he’ll be good for us next year as a Matt Greene type that is MUCH better with the puck. I look forward to him. Strudwick was pretty decent again. Smid skated the puck really well but needs to figure out an offensive zone pass. Staios was absolutely terrible for about 8 of his minutes. That’s not going to work. He’s probably half-dead from being skated into the ground though.

Sorry I couldn’t analyze this one much more guys. It kills your soul to watch a team with so much on the line give such a pathetically executed and low energy effort.

Yet…nothing will change; because the coach has essentially given up and the management thinks the Kunitz’s of the world will fix this team. Nobody gets it at all. That’s tragic because we should have been a REALLY good hockey team in a year when the top 3 teams in the league are incredibly vulnerable to playoff nerves/collapse/goaltending issues.

Til Saturday; which could go a long way to determining what happens next week.

I’m completely lacking excitement right now. My boss brought his kid to his first game this year tonight…poor kid probably wished he was at home playing street hockey half-way through. His friends would have put forth more sane plays and a better effort.

2/26/09

Pre-deadline must-wins

Well, it doesn't have to be said that we need to find a way to win this game. I suspect that way will involve Ales Hemsky in some notable fashion tonight as he always seems to play well against Columbus and carried us to our last victory over them. He needs to have a bog performance.

Right now we have a substantial problem generating goals and nothing is being done to fix it. The impact of the losses we've suffered on D with regards to our offence is being felt substantially.

I have a feeling we'll need at least 4 goals and probably 5 in order to win tonight.

If Andrew Cogliano can carry over his strong play from last game and Erik Cole can chip in a goal, we're proobably in good shape; but there are too many players on this forward roster right now who have such minimal chance of contributing to the offence tonight.

I hope Steve MacIntyre plays; we seem to be better with him in the lineup for whatever reason. I suspect he would due to the Columbus lineup.

Should we win these next two games; we are surely in the thick of the battle for 6th. This means in my opinion that you've got to act at the deadline as though you're trying to win the Cup. Not all-out crazy insanity go for it; but sensibly and smartly. Use the extras we have (and we do have extras) to capitalize on value out there. It's always tough to speculate exactly who's available and what's going to happen; but being that my Ottawa prediction is still very in question, they COULD be a prime target. I just don't know if they're actually going to sell or not. If they do; the targets are obvious:

Chris Neil
Filip Kuba

The Islanders are a much safer bet.

Guerin
Weight
Park

In the west, Colorado, PHX and St. Louis all could be targets. They have many assets worth looking at. Adding Jordan Leopold would be a good move.

As for us; should we be buyers I think we have to look at these guys on our roster and determine if they can/should be moved:

Cole - obvious, he's a UFA
Nilsson - Ever going to turn the corner or no?
Pouliot - Get something while you can
Penner - If you can move him and get the cap space for next year, it may give you room to land a star
Any pick but the first - would be in play for me depending on the player

We need to make a call with regards to goalies as well. I have to wonder if there isn't an upgrade out there somewhere. It's really too bad that Florida has climbed back into the playoff picture...I really could have seen a blockbuster deal at the deadline with them involving Vokoun and Bouwmeester.

There'll be some big surprise; that's for sure.

What I secretly hope: Pronger to Edmonton. Boo him all the way to the Cup clowns.

2/24/09

LMHF Game Report #29

EDMONTON OILERS 5

VS.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3
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This game was really really embarrassing for two reasons:

- First of all, Tampa is embarrassing because no team with that much talent should be putting forth such a pathetic effort. We should have been up about 5 or 6-0 in the first because all Tampa wanted to do was stand around in its own zone looking lost and alone. That was one of the saddest periods of hockey I’ve ever seen at any level. I also would like to profusely apologize for recommending that this team acquire Marek Malik. I did not do my due diligence on this guy this year and I’m very glad he plays for teams other than ours. Had our coach been smart enough to run Hemsky out every time Malik touched the ice; they would have had a hard time keeping this to single-digits even though Ales didn’t have a good game. I’m thinking of trying out for the Lightning as a defenceman next week.

- Second, to us, because beating Tampa by 1 plus an empty net goal with 1.8 seconds left is incredibly alarming and sad. We realistically could have lost this hockey game late were it not for Vinny taking a shot of the back of the ankle. In the first we looked ready then decided that it was going to be easy and backed off. Seeing how many times you can get Peckham, Strudwick and Stortini the puck is all well and fun, but it’s not acceptable in the first period of any game. For the next two periods our team struggled to get back on track and never really found a flow of any kind. Putrid T-Bay goaltending assured that we won the game but that is truly it. What is wrong with these guys that they can’t bring any kind of offensive energy to a game where they have the chance to grab some points.

Moving on from the points of embarrassment to utter lunacy: starting an old man in goal until he dies is not funny, not good hockey, not sane strategy. It should be grounds for getting a coach fired. Not starting Jeff Deslauriers, Dany Sabourin, Bill Ranford or Kari freaking Takko in this game was INSANE. Period. This guy can legitimize a Roloson start at any time until the man’s heart stops beating. We had a perfect opportunity to rest a goalie who is already tiring considerably and didn’t even think about it…I want to throw things, hit things, and yell at things because of this…how can this possibly be SANE???

How do we improve our PP? Apparently the coach’s answer is to send another guy to the front of the net and further isolate our passing options to Hemsky-Souray-Gilbert. Umm…yeah…that’s going to work on a cold day in sub-prime hell…

I have a really hard time complaining about a ‘W’. In the end its all that matters; but this one I’m pretty negative on because we executed like crap against a horrible defensive team, showed little to no focus and killer instinct, and our top line looked really mediocre. I’m not happy with this.

Oilers goal #1 - Very simple really; puck bounces past Malik, who turns on his flashers and prepares to back up…just as the beeping has started Cole is 15 feet past and ripping a great little wrister by an overmatched goalie.

Oilers goal #2 - Gagner with a good little dig on the boards, Strudwick’s open; sees that Ramo has generously left half the net open and delicately places a slapshot I timed with a wind-up stopwatch into the side of the net.

Tampa Goal #1 - What exactly Dwayne Roloson was doing flopping around and diving trying to block a pass way out of his net I have no idea. If he could get across the net in less than a fortnight he wouldn’t have to dive way out of position to make the initial save. If he had a brain he wouldn’t have dove at the pass leaving his next totally defenseless against Murphy’s easy shot.

Tampa Goal #2 - Bad pass by Cole, mistake on the reception by Hemsky, great shot by Stamkos. Not sure what happened to Staios…was he just getting on or trying to head off and blew it? Missed that at the game and video doesn’t have it. He was pissed. Either way he’s out of position or the guy who changed for him was.

Edmonton Goal #3 - Moreau and Stortini drive the net; Souray rips it through Ramo. It was about time that Souray scored…he was getting all kinds of shots away but having what I thought was a horrid game.

Edmonton Goal #4 - More bad goaltending; good job getting the puck to the net and nice patience by Cogliano to take the puck out of the goalie’s equipment jumble (if Penner could do this he scores 4 tonight in the first 2 periods) and make sure he finishes clean.

Tampa Goal #3 - What exactly the four Oilers (Souray, Staios, Horcoff and Brodziak for those scoring at home) were doing on this one I have no idea. Roloson was out to lunch too as he had no puck control or idea where the puck even was the rest of the time. Pure scramble boneheadedness. Plays off the faceoffs like this are why I don’t like the way MacTavish throws centers over the boards all the time, every game, in every situation.

Edmonton Goal #5 - Another addition to the “things I can do better than _____” category for the evening was watching Shawn Horcoff be unable to score AGAIN on an empty net with a skater guarding it. Thankfully for him Vinny Lecavalier blocked the tying goal and Sheldon Souray cleaned up the mess for his fifth goal. Horcoff screwed up after Hemsky made an excellent play to get him the puck as well. Brutal.


Our Best Tonight: Cogliano, Stortini, Cole, Gilbert

Andrew stood out by far as our best player tonight and it wasn’t even close. The main thing that he added to his game this evening was a lot of patience with the puck that led to really solid plays on a night when we had a lot of time and space. He was using his speed very effectively to hit the holes out there. Even off the bench he was coming in fast. Loved the shift where he made the nifty play to keep it in at the blue and created offence. Certainly could have had a more productive night point-wise with a break or two. Also drew a couple penalties. Nicely done.

Stortini continues a strong stretch despite a wholly inappropriate role on a line that needs to be scoring for the club to succeed. He’s keeping things simple and focusing on driving the net, which he certainly knows how to do. This is leading to success and that’s great.

Cole was perfectly suited to take advantage of the TBay D and did at least the once. He was also a little physical and at least played with some intensity out there. He wasn’t spectacular, but he was good.

Gilbert is doing the best defenceman we have going right now. Easily. He’s just so solid back there and is preventing anything from happening along with his partner Smid. He’ll chip in with assists because he’s a good passer but mainly he’s just playing a really simple and effective game based on puck control and good positioning. Very nice. Honorable mention to Smid who has stepped up HUGE as I have noted before, and continues to do so.

Our Worst Tonight (remember, this doesn’t mean they STUNK): Souray, Roloson, Staios

Souray is an incredibly controversial pick I’m sure; but I thought that despite two goals he wasted so much puck possession with BAD shots from positions he cannot score from that he deserves some flack tonight. He’s a vet and knows better than to be shooting from so far out and while standing still. He needs to jump into the offence and he didn’t do that AGAIN. His D wasn’t impressive and he needed to be more physical in front of his net and in the corners tonight. He’s better than that. Great stats night; but not great play.

Roloson’s probably dead-tired, but he can’t be flopping all over the place or allowing horrible rebounds. He wasn’t THAT bad, but he certainly wasn’t good. Good the old man a rest already; the team can win with someone else too; that’s allowed.

Staios I thought was slow and didn’t contribute to moving the puck; plain and simple.

Ineffective: Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky

These guys looked like nothing but an overrated checking line tonight. They all played alright in their own zone as a unit but Ales looks hurt and a little lost. I’m not sure what’s going on but the Oilers have changed their neutral zone attack strategy and it’s thrown this line off something fierce at even strength. They needed to get out more against Malik which would have really helped, but in a game where these guys should each get three points and take a third period rest, they were near-useless offensively. That’s a pretty substantial problem. Horcoff needs to focus on his shooting which we’ve covered here before, but tonight just reinforced that. He’s got confidence issues this year if he can’t even best a guy with no pads on at least twice already. Penner looked pretty invisible. I can see the TBay D being able to play against him though because they are at least sort of large.

Best Game: Strudwick-Peckham

Easily their best game as a unit. Theo’s confidence in taking shots and holding on to the puck that key extra second was probably helped by a game like this where he’s given some space and time. Strudwick’s always going to be the same and play the same game, but he did alright for himself tonight.

The rest: Gagner, Nilsson, Moreau, Reddox, MacIntyre, Brodziak

Thought Sam played okay. Too many turnovers but he’s remaining aggressive which is a positive sign. Hopefully we can get him to work extremely hard on his shooting in the offseason.

Nilsson wasn’t dangling like I thought he might try to tonight. Couldn’t really seem to get his feet moving in the open space like Cogliano did.

Moreau could have scored a couple and looked really miffed when his wrister hit the bar in the third. Ethan needs to remember that even though he scored 20 once, he’s not a scorer first. Back to basics for you Ethan, then place your shot from a good position.

Mac did his job and did well in his fight against Koci. Should have got the chance to go at him again however as he remained an idiot to us for the rest of the game. Coaching mistake here.

Liam played another really solid game in his appropriate role. Loved the sacrifice shot block. Good on him tonight for sure.

Brodziak continues to play well in a crummy role and go unrewarded. He should be playing with Moreau and Cogliano. No doubt whatsoever.
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Like I said, just not that happy with this one; initial reactions might be over-harsh on the Souray and Roloson, but the reaction to the team’s overall performance I stand by.

2/22/09

LMHF Game Report #28

EDMONTON OILERS 2

VS.

CALGARY FLAMES 3

In a freaking shootout…
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Tonight was a really intense and enjoyable game for a lot of reasons that happened to end the wrong way. I’m quite conflicted about how to describe this one as it all sort of changed on a dime yet the plays of the game before that don’t change.

The story tonight I suppose has to be our lack of ability to execute on the PP. Tonight we had timely opportunities with the man-advantage include an utterly horrible 5-on-3 that likely cost us the game ultimately. There’s no excuse for such a bland effort; I enjoyed that we sort of tried to break into the zone in a different fashion including a dump-around to Hemsky while he was actually skating to chase a few times, but the dedication just is not there as a unit. Calgary was pressuring Hemsky and the high point intensely yet we refused to use our skill guys down low to make a play. I just don’t understand. 5-on-3 we refuse to collapse the box. Souray won’t step into the holes and rip it. 4-on-3 we can’t do anything. It was shameful.

In my Player Reports section I’m going to say that Roloson had a good game. What I’ll cover here is the fact that letting in Calgary’s goal was patently unacceptable. He went down WAY too early again and Lombardi did the blatantly obvious thing. I could also dog him on the Bertuzzi SO goal but I won’t both because I still believe the SO is a stupid way to decide games like this; I would’ve watched that game til 6am if I had to.

The last 10 minutes of the game were pretty sad. We sat back and didn’t pressure in the offensive zone whatsoever. We were hoping for a miracle rush that didn’t come. We almost allowed several clear breaks late and into OT. HOW does that happen? Totally unacceptable.

This team does not have the horses right now. We played the crap out of everyone tonight. Our D cannot hack it. We need a trade immediately for someone; anyone that can eat minutes. If this game didn’t prove that to the management nothing will. They were going to win and simply ran out of gas.

With that said, the men we did have weren’t managed properly. Between Moreau, Cogliano and Brodziak ESPECIALLY who got an absolutely shameful 8 minutes tonight, they could have carried some more of the load for certain. Horcoff, Hemsky, Cole all played incredibly high amounts of time. In a game as intense as that you have to balance the load a tad at some point in the game. Ales was toast at the end...Cole didn’t get played in OT as much as he needed to be…our horses weren’t ready when we needed them because of mismanagement.

Seriously…Brodziak with 8 minutes…unbelievable.

We needed to win tonight very very badly. We played better than them. We lost.

It was frustrating what happened in the SO, but those moves all could just have easily worked as not. Anyone dogging them for trying those is silly enough to dog them for walking in and shooting straight away.

PLAYER REPORTS
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Hemsky

- I thought he had a really strong third period and was good from his defensive zone to the opposition half-circle all night. He wasn’t that great getting in to and making things happen in the offensive zone though. He scored a HUGE goal when we needed in the most on a great shot though, which is certainly what your best players have to do. He’s the only guy on our team who could beat Mikka with a shot like that and he did. He looked really tired at the end of the game though, and a little out of sorts with all the moving around on different lines he did tonight. It didn’t make much sense to me.

Horcoff

- Well, at the very least he put in a monumental icetime effort tonight. Should Brodziak have got some of that though? Absolutely. Going 23-and-9 on the dot is pretty damn impressive. His plays to set up both goals; a great little pass play to Hemsky and excellent work along the boards to get the puck to Cole complemented the little things he did very well tonight. The only things I’ll fault him on are not converting a great cross-ice feed from Hemsky in the second and still standing too far from the net on the PP. We need the coach to let him ease up though; as he can’t take this beating and win us games.

Cole

- Great game from Erik; I hope this is the start of a real bounce-back for him. He was burning by the defencemen on his wing all night and driving for the loose pucks. His goal was a great example of his shooting ability and we need to see that more often which means him in open ice close to the net more often. I’m convinced he would have scored if given more time in OT because that was just the game he was playing tonight. This is why I hope we keep him. He’s capable of this. I really didn’t think his breakaway should have drawn a penalty; and he should have been able to finish.

Penner

- Tougher to judge Dustin. He didn’t take near enough of the high-end ice-time split in a game like this. He made a really excellent and fundamental hockey play on Cole’s goal to create a distraction and screen in front of Mikka. He also got beat to SO many pucks in corners and along the boards that he didn’t earn much out there. He’s REALLY gaining the ire of the fans. He drew a nice penalty by driving the net but look like he gave up on a bunch of other ones. He also made an utterly spectacular fake and pass to Gilbert who JUST missed his slapper and didn’t put it in. Such an enigma this guy.

Gagner

- I thought he really stepped up and handled far too much ice time for his own good tonight. He made smart decisions with the puck and adapted to what was given to him. He really showed his versatility tonight. Well done but not flashy.

Nilsson

- He had his moments in the corners and off the rush; but lagged significantly on the PP. I don’t think he’s a half-boards guy. With that said, I wish we’d ditch the half-boards approach entirely.

Moreau

- He made a huge mistake tonight that needs to be noted. On the Flames first goal, Smid was in the process of handling the 2-on-1 perfectly with Gilbert caught. He was heading to aggressively pressure Sarich and in doing so attempting to stop the 2-on-1 at the weak point. This is how you do it when you’re in a bad spot. That changed when Moreau, instead of going as hard as humanly possible towards Iginla like he needs to, and had time to do in order to get in the way of the pass/stick, he yells at Smid and gestures towards Iginla, distracting him and throwing off the play, allowing a bum d-man to get the puck to Iginla who scores. BIG mistake from Moreau. He also took a stupid penalty. Not a good night. He still should’ve played more minutes though. No choice tonight.

Cogliano

- If it is true that MacTavish is still taking out a penalty in LA on Cogliano and it cost him minutes tonight, it may have cost us the game. He looked pretty good tonight, moving with speed through the neutral zone and getting open for passes, but didn’t play anywhere near enough to make the difference he could against a Calgary D that is ripe for being burned by speed.

Stortini

- Played almost as much time as Brodziak, Reddox, with no benefits to the team and no effective play. He can’t be in this role and us have a successful night.

Brodziak

- Frankly wasted in a game where we needed him. He looked fine in the limited time he had.

MacIntyre

- Liked his limited play. Definitely too bad he didn’t score on his good chance in front of the net.

Reddox

- What amazing play by him in the third. He was out there throwing hits, chasing the puck down and providing speed an effort when we were running incredibly low on gas. He also came really close to scoring a couple different times and would have generated a goal if his linemates were a little more on the ball. Great and appropriate effort from him tonight. One of the few players who was used correctly.

Smid-Gilbert

- They were our best pair and played an excellent game. Smid has stepped up immensely and Gilbert is just that good. Smid’s skating with the puck into the offensive zone is great; but he needs to combine it with his superlative passing skills and make a play every now and then. Gilbert was probably an inch away from connection and a goal on the pass from Penner. He needs to help us out with some creativity on the PP.

Souray-Staios

- They needed to be better. Souray had a ton of chances to step in quickly and fire an amazing shot but he looked oddly timid and slow this evening in the offensive zone. He also was fairly weak defensively. Even with that, he played okay, that’s why he’s an all-star. Staios on the other hand made an absolutely stupid play as he selfishly pinched for a hit with barely any time on the clock and almost cost us the game. This was despite having no chance at the puck. It was boneheaded. He also wasn’t good with the puck and could have been better defensively.

Peckham-Strudwick

- I really like the way Theo’s coming along, but he almost cost us the game with his big giveaway in the third. Thing is, you can tell this pair has been told to fire it up the boards. It was like a freebie to Calgary every single time they tried to get it out. It was STUPID and it was clearly our strategy. The insanity of this method of play boggles my mind.

Roloson

- He played really excellently for 2 and three-quarter periods. Made plenty of high-grade saves and kept us in the game when we made mistakes. We didn’t make a lot of them, but he made some good saves aside from what I’ve identified previously.
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Totally unacceptable loss on home ice tonight and I think you can see in my analysis where I believe the blame lies.

2/18/09

It's almost that time again...

We all are likely to be soon subject to the return of a man who may soon become the least statistically productive player in NHL history. He is only 8 more games from having played the most NHL games with ZERO points.

And because of a combination of contractual stupidity and a coach who borders on the crazy sometimes, we will likely have him return soon to the Oilers lineup.

This is a joke. A sick one. That we're all forced to watch.

Forget all the games he's taken away from guys who should have had a chance. Forget the Parise thing. Forget all the forwards on the farm and the bubble (I would wager there are 6-8) who deserve the shot more than he does.

This isn't JFJ's "fault" and I don't blame him for anything but his poor, unfocused and generally "I'm scared to be here" NHL play. This guy is how our coaching, scouting and management fails us from time-to-time.

There is no way this guy should get another chance with us.

But he will. That's sad. I'm glad he's recovered from his injury, but he should be doing it for some other team as a trusted AHL vet.

If he does get his chance here or somewhere; here's to 9 more games of nothingness. Sadly Jean, its the only NHL record you'll ever get.

Wednesday that should be Tuesday

Being that this is only the second day of the work week I'm counting it as a Tuesday.

I called the TEAM last night for the first time. I had the strange predicament of having co-hosted a live radio show several times but never actually calling in to one. I was just in the right mood I guess...a caller angered me in saying that Detroit and other really good teams play a "simple" game.

BULL.

Watch them play. Tell me how many of Marian Hossa's 30-odd goals are ugly and not the result of elite talent utilized masterfully. Tell me that Henrik and Pavel play "simple". You've got to be kidding me...Just because your (crummy) coach told you that simple hockey wins when you were 10 doesn't mean it automatically fits into an elite-level NHL team.

Anyway, I hope my rantings were mildly more entertaining and informed-sounding than the other callers...it sure is slim pickings sometimes. I had the great fortune of coming right after Adil which both gave me the great fortune of thinking about how to say what I wanted to for a little bit longer and being juxtaposed with a man who knows not what he speaks about.

I stand by what I said, and to that end, we need two defencemen. NOW. Not later. NOW. We also need a goalie. Sorry Jeff, the coach isn't going to start you and we need some security.

Marek Malik for a 3rd.

Paul Ranger for Taylor Chorney, Mathieu Roy and Marc Pouliot. (This likely needs to be improved substantially)

Alternatively, a deal for Malik, Ranger and Kolzig could work. Say what you will about the guy's performance but he could back up for a decent team in a pinch.

Actually, I'd claim Manny Legace on re-entry waivers.

Later in the year when COL has slipped out for good I'd take a shot at Jordan Leopold and Ian Laperriere.

And trade for Comrie.

That is all for the trade thoughts this week. I don't know how we're going to manage another good winger because our strength to trade from is now decimated by injury.

--------------------------------

Loved Theo beating on Claude. Claude has to get suspended for hitting both officials doesn't he?

We should have won last night. I don't know why we reverted to being the gang that couldn't shoot straight again suddenly. That was tremendously upsetting. ZERO execution on a lot of chances against a team that showed again why I say they're out and out EARLY in the playoffs.


BOLD PREDICTION: Ottawa has turned the corner. They make it. Barely.

2/12/09

LMHF Game Report #27

EDMONTON OILERS 7

VS.

MONTREAL CANADIENS 2
----------------------------------------

Umm…wow.

I should start with the fact that I was having a really horrendous day yesterday. Work was driving me nuts and I had to stay at the office until about 30 minutes before the game. That’s not very normal to me so I went to the game hungry and annoyed.

Very shortly I was experiencing a mood that was on the rebound. The Oilers were experiencing pucks that were on the rebound.

The Oilers were pumped and a little angry from the get-go. Plekanec’s slight tap on Roloson’s pads might have been the spark that set loose the blaze quite frankly. There certainly was atmosphere in that arena last night. I remembered MTL fans as more considerate though; this game featured less of those and more of the jerks who booed the Oilers like it is a Montreal home game, and sing that stupid SOCCER song. Get over yourselves. Pasting the Habs was thoroughly enjoyable because there were so many twerps in the building.

I didn’t realize how Montreal’s so out to prove they’re tough; it was borderline silly. Between Plekanec and Komisarek and Tom K they looked like first class dopes out there. Loved the Carey Price fist pump though when he stopped that long shot when we’d scored 7 goals. He’s human, not a pretend-robot like some of them try to be.

It’s kind of funny; everyone dogs Price for that game and doesn’t give near enough credit to our players. They did two of the most important things when it comes to goal scoring on a bunch of occasions last night, and that netted us 7 in less than 46 minutes.

1 - a combination of timing and positioning that places you in ideal position to get rebounds. The main attribute of this is not getting too deep or too close to the goalie.

2 - actually executing and putting the puck in the net rather than whacking the puck into the goalie. We’re really bad for just hacking away and hoping. Hemsky’s goal was a perfect example of what you should actually do. Cogliano did what I’d describe as “lurking” just long enough before pouncing on his opportunity.

These things are important. And they aren’t about luck. Not one bit.

Brodziak’s goal; now that was a break. But he took advantage and was in the right position.

Oilers goal #1
- We were getting a little frustrated early and not capitalizing. I was fairly alarmed when this goal took 3 or 4 easy chances missed on this shift before we actually scored (yet there are somehow only 2 “scoring chances” on the mc79 blog). Credit to the whole line for working the play down low, sticking with it and eventually to Gagner for not giving up his position and finishing the play. The MTL D looked horrendous on this play; I felt bad for Price here.

Oilers goal #2
- This was a hideous shift. Not in terms of being bad but just in terms of horribly ugly plays going on including bad passes and comical skating. It ended very appropriately, and I called that we’d score on this shift. BAD play up the boards by Higgins, Gilbert does the right thing keeping the puck in and sending it through to traffic but not a block, and we get a bit of a lucky tip that flips up and in. Lucky Stortini!

Oilers goal #3
- I really liked this goal. Moreau takes a good pass with speed after some good skating coming up in the play, then fires it and follows up with Pouliot who jumps in rather than sitting back; Cogliano reads the situation perfectly and uses skating and timing to get to the puck and scores. Say what you will about Price on the play, but where were the checkers? And why were so many MTL defencemen on their butts sitting there after goals tonight. They drop WAY too often as a group.

Oilers goal #4
- Hemsky begins the play with his trademark skate and curl from the half boards, passes to Horcoff who’s now open, Penner drives though the front of the net while the puck heads back to Hemsky on a pass that was just okay…but Hemsky being who he is takes his time, sets, and finds what’s left of the empty net while more MTL defenders hit the ground…idiots…

Montreal goal #1
- Really unfortunate (but at least it didn’t matter). Roloson with at least 3 bonehead decisions on this one; but I guess every goalie gets a freebie in a 7-2 win.

Oilers goal #5
- Great break off the linesman of course; but we actually took advantage and got the bonus goal. That’s what good teams do. Truthfully, Price shoulda stopped him as Brodziak telegraphed the heck out of his move but maybe the rolling puck confused him (???)

Oilers goal #6
- Another goal as a unit from our top line led by the wonderful work of Ales Hemsky in the neutral zone. Horcoff made the play along the boards and got it back to him, then Ales wisely got the puck to the net where Penner had drifted down into a great position and scored. Ugly rebound on an awkward play, but at least Penner put the puck where it had a chance to go in. I’m a little alarmed that Dustin didn’t look the least bit excited.

Oilers goal #7
- It is a good day when the screening duo of Stortini and Reddox nets you two goals. Credit once again to them for being in the right place and Gilbert for getting a nice shot towards the net. At this point MacTavish had started easing up on the Canadiens, which I didn’t particularly like, but understand from an injury perspective.

Montreal goal #2

-Who cares, we had 7 at the time.

PLAYER REPORTS

Ales Hemsky

- I thought Ales had a productive but not amazing game. He probably wouldn’t have been my first star (Gilbert, 22 minutes and 3 assists) but that’s okay. His dangle on Komisarek was very nice, though I wish he’d have cut in and gone top shelf forehand for the goal. He loves backhand for whatever reason even though he has an amazingly reliable forehand from in close. His goal and assist were just more examples of why he’s an excellent player. If he’d played more minutes I think he gets at least 4 points tonight. The first line was working pretty well offensively but didn’t need to carry any weight. He needed to be a little better on our 5-on-3, though I also blame Horcoff (who was in a totally useless position) and Penner (who wouldn’t move) for that shift. Ales made a couple defensive plays early as well that should be noted. Good game but not great. He scores when we need it though.

Shawn Horcoff

- He had a pretty good night I suppose and certainly got the chemistry on the top line going again. He got about 4 minutes less then he has been lately which I’m sure was appreciated given that he was coming back from an injury. I enjoyed his board work on the Penner goal and his defensive work racing back to the puck after Roloson made a tough save in the first. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back in the coming games and if he can remember how to execute on his scoring chances. He didn’t actually get that many tonight so there’s no need to worry or analyze them at this stage.

Dustin Penner

- I just don’t know…he was positionally effective and figured prominently in the two goals his line scored, but he also looked lazy and disinterested on the ice at many times. We need to find a way to get Dustin having fun out there again. Hopefully a re-invigorated top line will do it as I am still not convinced we’re going to nab an LW soon.

Erik Cole

- Oddly quiet game from him; I barely even remember seeing him aside from some pushing and shoving as well as the PK. I suppose he only played 12 minutes but still you’d think there would have been more from him in a game like this. His line played okay though.

Sam Gagner

- I liked the game Sam had. His positioning was really solid and he was confident with the puck out there. He was also really excited about scoring which was good to see. Sam’s neutral zone play is where I find the best indication of how he’s doing at any time. If he’s carrying the puck and making moves past defenders, you know he’s more confident and sure in his game. If he’s moving the puck and not holding on to it for very long, you know he’s having difficulties. Tonight he was skating with it.
Robert Nilsson

- He moved with speed and confidence with the puck. Both are very key to his game. He walked away with only the one assist on the stats sheet but I think he played a pretty solid game.

Moreau-Cogliano-Pouliot

- This line back together played a pretty solid game based on their ability to go through the neutral zone making the play to Moreau and then following up on the drive. Have you noticed that 3 out of the 4 Oilers lines seem to head down the left side of the ice an inordinate amount of the time? The only exception is Hemsky and half the time he crosses over anyway. Any idea why this is the case when we’re stronger on the right side? Getting a good effort from these guys makes the first and second line’s jobs a lot easier. I’d really like to add a stong veteran RW to play with them though…that Pisani guy could be handy.

Stortini-Brodziak-Reddox

- The Reddox era may have ended with a slight bang in terms of his goal, and he did some good work along the boards, but certainly nothing special. Stortini did a solid job of going to the net and plunking himself there most of the night. Brodziak played a solid game capped by his breakaway goal.

Roloson

- Really good in the third when he got to pad his save percentage. Not so good on the first MTL goal; and certainly not 3rd star. He played fairly well tonight though and looked motivated from the get-go which is always key with him.

Grebeshkov

- He was playing fine until that ugly play behind the net. Total BS play. I really hope he didn’t mess himself up good; but it looked like he sure did. We need him or to get on the phone landing defencemen immediately!

Souray

- I really thought he’d be better. He focused on tough play in the corners and in front of the net which I liked; but he didn’t get his shot away at opportune times and didn’t jump into the offence despite having a number of chances to do so.

Strudwick

- Not very good…he played okay with the increased time but he’s just not able to cut it back there. Like I said, he actually is a better forward which is very odd…

Staios

- Stevey was just okay I thought. He’s usually better in games like this and took that high-sticking penalty. He wasn’t physical, didn’t move the puck all that well and didn’t wind up on the plus side of things…bleh.

Smid

- Stepped up pretty well, especially in the physical department. He didn’t need to pinch much tonight and was responsible not to take the extra risk out there. He could really be our saving grace if this injury situation is as bad as it looks like it will be. Good luck to him and I hope the points start coming.

Gilbert

- Solid as a rock defensively, skated well and moved the puck, and got it to the net. Like a young Eric Brewer only at least 5 times better. Great game from Tom.
-------------------------------------------------

Only time will tell if this is just another meaningless game or the start of some reliable confidence for this team. Let’s hope it is the latter.

2/9/09

Kickin Around

I've noticed that a couple new followers have joined the blog, which is awesome. When you only have a few adding another couple is a massive percentage increase. Everything great started small at one point.

This weekend we saw exactly why I completely object to a team built and coached around one player to stifle the opposition. It just doesn't work. Also, suddenly having zero capable offensive lines causes nothing but trouble. I'm not sure why the line that surfaced against Minnesota wasn't Penner-Cogliano-Hemsky or better yet Hemsky-Cogliano-Cole, but with Hemsky slumping a tad lately and the other team's D able to key on him, we're having a really rough go. He's offence. Horcoff's defence. That's our forward "team". And it ain't cuttin it.

The Detroit game I refused to watch after we were down a man and allowed a goal so fast. I knew which team showed up to play that game and wasn't interested in whatever was impersonating hockey on that ice. Say what you want about the injuries, there just aren't excuses for coming out that listless. Being delusional enough to think Detroit wasn't relaxing and that the Oilers were "coming back" makes me afraid at how out of touch with reality our coaching staff and team have gotten.

Trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results is called insanity I believe. That's what we've seen this season and that's especially what we've seen in Minnesota over the years. We're not worse than the Wild, not by a longshot, but we show up, play the same game every single time, and lose.

The feeling that there will be a shakeup on this team comes and goes by the day it seems. Right now it sure doesn't feel like we're willing to do much of anything. Sometimes you have to "lose" a trade to win it is kind of my view. You won't get what a lot of people consider value, but in the end the only value is a 'W' in the standings and whatever gets that done is what should have value.

Sometimes that's as simple as a composition in the team. Or staff.

Right now, it is clear we need another defender who can eat up big minutes. We have no hope with Staois having to step up so much. Smid isn't ready either and Strudwick isn't a capable NHL defenceman outside of a few minutes a night.

Why did Theo Peckham only play 7 1/2 minutes against Detroit? There would have been no consequences for playing him a ton once we were down. Might as well with the way things were going.

Its almost futile making suggestions at this point; we just keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

I don't expect to have time for a trade prop tomorrow due to work so I'll throw another couple out there for you today:

Ladislav Smid, Marc Pouliot for Paul Ranger.

Grebeshkov, Nilsson, Penner, 2nd ('09), 2nd ('10) for David Booth and Jay Bouwmeester

Jacques and Roy, 5th for Weight.

Moreau for Kozlov (ATL)

I may have lost my mind; it's been a long day at work.

Booth-Weight-Hemsky
Gagner-Cogliano-Cole
Kozlov-Horcoff-Pisani
Moreau-Brodziak-whoever

Souray-Gilbert
Bouwmeester-Ranger
Staios-Vet not named Strudwick

2/3/09

(early) Tuesday Trade prop

I'm not usually one to throw out blockbusters, but both the Oilers and the Sens need a HUGE shakeup, so here goes:

TO EDM

Spezza
Fisher
Neil
Kuba

TO OTT

Penner
Pouliot
Staios
Nilsson
Horcoff
Chorney
2nd

I'm probably crazy. And yes I know Neil and Kuba are UFA. I want a lil flexibility next year.

LMHF Game Report #26

EDMONTON OILERS 1

VS.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 3
---------------------------------------------------------

First off; if one more media person or coach says a word about freaking “jam” I’m going to start hucking smuckers. Shut up about whatever the heck jam is and fix your offence/criticize the lack of offence. This team’s had nothing outside of essentially one guy since the all-star break. Sickening.

They clearly haven’t learned a bloody thing from the Buffalo game.

MacTavish exemplified why I want him fired in his comments after the game tonight. He was on his usual blah blah blah’ing with no emotion left within him whatsoever and claimed that what his team needed to do to get by the skilled Hawks was bang the puck up the boards. Seriously…

Skill teams feast on that style of play. That’s how you lose 10-2. That’s how you lose 9-2…and this doofus doesn’t know enough about breakouts to realize that the simplicity and stupidity of his breakouts IS THE PROBLEM??? My gawd…

Tonight we played a better team that played well but not great. We got good goaltending for one period that should likely have been enough to give us at least a shot in this game. We played horrible offensively because neither of the two middle lines could get it going, the fourth line played well but had Stortini on it and therefore was one man short, and the top line has no chemistry with Nilsson, the offence keys on Hemsky and lets Horcoff miss chance after chance.

The end.

PLAYER REPORTS
----------------------------------------------------

Shawn Horcoff

- Those of you who have followed these reports have surely seen the slow ascent of Shawn Horcoff to a hockey player I respect. This occurred because he worked on and succeeded in the areas I said he was lacking in and I gave him his due. The last year has seen him go from fully respected to having earned a second chance to recover…down to where we are again. Lately; Shawn Horcoff flat-out sucks again. The “stats” guys won’t tell you this because they think that the 5 wonderful chances he flat missed this evening are positives for some stupid reason. They’re not. Him completely whiffing a puck in the slot is a scoring chance and was not a positive. Wasting great breaks generated by your superior linemates by taking horrid shots or missing the net is a chance and is not a positive. He had 3 glorious chances in the first and screwed them all up royally. This was the most important part of the game and his lack of execution cost us dearly. He was also overskating his checks and not carrying the puck well. Back to the drawing board Shawn; this team has thrown its lot in with you and you need to improve something fierce these days.

Ales Hemsky

- Ales didn’t play a very good game either. He wasn’t horrid and really only had the one chance to score (which he should have, he can’t be missing those) but Chicago was really able to key on him due to his line being so inept and uncoordinated. They also took physical liberties with him early on in the game that were tolerated by our squad. We laid one big hit and they fought us. They ran our best player 3 times (and Gagner once) and we did a whole lot of stinking nothing. Despite all the factors that worked against him tonight, he still needed to be better. The puck wound up in lower quality places than usual with Ales tonight. He did make a couple very solid defensive plays however.

Robert Nilsson

- How do you go from being in the doghouse to automatic first line duty because the coach is punishing the only forward with effective size on the team? That’s the wacky world of the Oilers! Robert had no business playing on this line at this stage with his confidence low and his game at about a medium pace, so I expected and got just about nothing from him tonight. Hemsky and Horcoff would have had to have whales of games to carry him against a Chicago squad that was really and willing to win tonight. He needs to make a more dynamic play on a couple rushes tonight as that’s where he can really shine and he simply did not. It’s okay for him not to shoot and to wait; but then make a marvelous read and a pass rather than a crummy forced pass or a giveaway…too bad for Robert. I don’t think there’s a place for him right now.

Ethan Moreau+Steve Staios

- Ethan played a really solid first period along with his crew and got a lucky goal for their trouble; I thought JUST maybe they’d be able to carry us long enough to get the game to the more capable lines and win this thing, but I was wrong. Instead a shift his line took with 4 minutes to go in the second period changed this game for good. After than shift the whole team pretty well quit for the night and went home. Why exactly I really don’t know. Ethan was caught out back taking a leak while Dave Bolland wound his watch, checked the wind, consulted his shot consultants, itched his back, changed sticks 3 times and fired a shot through apparent teammate Steve Staios’ perfect screen of the goaltender to give Chicago the lead. I don’t know what Moreau and Staios thought they were doing on that shift, Staios having made a horrid play earlier in the shift and then plunked himself square in front of Roloson checking no one in particular. That shift killed this team tonight. These two are supposed to be veteran leaders and instead they’re missing checks, screening goalies and smashing sticks in front of their frustrated netminder??? Unacceptable. Staios forced the play (in the bad way) all night and it resulted in nothing productive whatsoever. This includes his idiotic attempt at a forward shift in the third. Moreau hung it up for the night after his ugly shift. Just pathetic guys.

Andrew Cogliano

- Andy’s seen his play drop off a little lately and that’s sort of okay with me as he should not be expected to carry this team. I’m sure he’ll bounce back soon but he spent tonight largely missing pucks, overskating, and not gaining any of his trademark neutral-zone speed. The Hawks were shutting us down badly with good positioning and quickness in the neutral zone and Andy could have been a guy to break that cycle; but he shouldn’t have to be THE guy.

Marc Pouliot

- He’s slumping, there can be no doubt of that. A big guy who could really have complemented this effort against Chicago tonight but was INVISIBLE out there. Too bad but again, too much is being asked of him. He should be a PB/fourth line guy at best and instead he’s replacing Stoll/Reasoner minutes.

Kyle Brodziak

- Better game from him, though I don’t think he’s been that bad lately. He was the best of the fourth line tonight but really needed to cash in on a chance or two. I don’t know how he could have done anything but score as there’s no assisting the two big galoots playing with him.

Dustin Penner

- He’s frustrated and you would be too. That’s still no excuse for coasting which he did at numerous times tonight. He looked good down low a few times but how could you not surrounded by the likes of Stortini and Ben Eager?

Stortini

- Pass. He just got in the way. If Brule is in this spot these guys score tonight.

Cole

- At least he never quits. He drove hard, tried to get things done even though he was being stifled. Didn’t blow chances and didn’t do anything stupid.

Gagner

- Great to see Sam moving well and looking pretty good. I think he’ll get going on the road trip pretty well judging by tonight’s start. He wasn’t good on the PP but he and Cole almost scored their first shift and looked good again.

Potulny

- He did alright out there, and at least he’s better than Reddox. With that said, needs to not be on our second line.

Souray

- He’s in a scoring slump and I think it’s connected to him being forced to take too many snapshots and slappers from the far right point. There’s no flow to center ice with him lately. It may be tougher for him with Visnovsky out but maybe he steps up?

Smid

- He was okay but was stuck to a partner having a putrid night and suffered some because of having to run around covering Steve’s butt.

Gilbert

- Looked a touch shaky but improved as the game went on. You can tell the last game really shook his confidence. He made a couple really solid defensive stops though.

Grebeshkov

- Played pretty well. The pressure will be on him to step up his play in Lubo’s absence. I think he can do it.

Visnovsky

- Crap. Well, those of you who don’t appreciate this guy are about to see how important he really is to this team. Our D just got tons worse which isn’t good because that’s all we have going for us…he’s also a massive part of our offence which is struggling even with him…this is NOT GOOD. Call up Peckham. Strudwick can’t hack it every night.

Roloson

- He was really good in the first and made enough saves that we should have had a lead. In the second however his play dropped off and he lost focus. The Hawks first and third goals went right through him again bringing our 4 game running total to at least 7. That’s not good enough. He’s not good enough. Not to say that we would have won, just stating that he’s not good enough for us to win consistently with him.
-------------------------------------------------

Well…I think they’ll bounce back well on the road. We play with a different strategy on the road for some reason. What I’d do? Well I’d fire the coach and bring in a staff that has a different strategy and a different ethic. I’d move for a center and a defenceman if I could too. On the minor level; send down Reddox and Potulny and call up Brule and Schremp. Also call up Peckham. I don’t care if they don’t all play every night.

I’d also make MacIntyre the lineup defacto rather than Stortini. If Z isn’t getting people kicked out; he’s ineffective.

Pass the peanut butter; I've had enough of this jam crap.

2/2/09

This and that

Sorry for the lack of a game report after Sunday's game. I got home after the Superbowl Schmoz and sat down to write only to find my wireless wasn't working...

A few thoughts I guess:

-Horcoff had another horrible game converting chances.

-How many more goals are going to go straight through Roloson??? The D played great yesterday aside from Gilbert and yet 2 more go right through him.

-Everyone has a day like Tom had yesterday. Nothing goes right and it just gets worse. He'll bounce back well.

-No offence against a weak team. Brutal. Moreau took stupid shots all night and did nothing but give NSH the puck. There were many perfect examples of possession and shots in the offensive zone that wound up being negatives rather than positives. I believe the "stats" would somehow show that Horcoff and Moreau had solid games; they simply did not.

Aside from the game, I'm never a fan of skating individuals after a practice and having them singled out like that. Especially when two of them are being asked to play WAY over their heads and doing alright at the moment. Work with them don't skate them. If you need to discipline them find another way, though you shouldn't need to discipline these guys at this point.

The Chicago game scares the crap outta me right now...