October 14 2008 11:34AM
Given that it’s the regular season again, there’s a ton of reporting on the Edmonton Oilers in the press, and I thought it might be nice this morning to touch on some of the quotes out there and try to get a read on what’s happening between the lines. Given that I’m writing it, I’ll also hit upon all of my favourite cowbells—my crusade for advanced statistics, my strange fascination with unheralded goaltending prospects, and of course, Kyle Brodziak.
Starting with the holy war that is advanced statistics, there’s a very interesting quote in this article by Rob Tychkowski:
"It's concerning for sure," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "Good teams don't get outplayed territorially, and that's reflected in shots on goal. It's not gone unnoticed by anybody."
MacTavish doesn’t use the term “Corsi numbers” here, but he’s certainly referring to the same concept. Corsi numbers have probably been explained better elsewhere, but basically what they are is all the shots (including missed and blocked) taken by a player’s team while he is on the ice minus all of the shots against in the same time frame. It’s meant to measure how often the puck is in the right end of the rink when Player X is on the ice, to show if he’s helping the team have a “territorial advantage” or not.
Speaking of Rob Tychkowski, he was busy this weekend, and he also had this article with yet another interesting quote from the head coach:
"The big anomaly was Shawn Horcoff, a 54% career faceoff guy who was 6-16," said head coach Craig MacTavish, who believes Horcoff, coming off of shoulder surgery, will only need a short time to get readjusted. "That will improve our numbers drastically." "We'll definitely analyze the numbers every game," said MacTavish. "Horc will have to improve, which he will, and we'll get Kyle Brodziak (4–2 against the Avs) some more faceoffs."
The article didn’t mention Fernando Pisani at all, which is surprising given that it dealt exclusively with face-offs. It does, however, mention Kyle Brodziak getting some more face-off time, which begs the question of how MacTavish would manage this. The way I see it, there are three ways:
- Give the fourth line more ice-time.
- Double-shift Brodziak.
- Move Brodziak up to the third line.
The first choice seems unlikely, particularly with Steve MacIntyre reportedly drawing in for Zach Stortini against Anaheim. The second choice is possible, but does the fact that Pisani wasn’t commented on mean that he may no longer be taking draws for the third line? If that were the case, Brodziak is the obvious candidate to be bumped up the depth chart.
Lastly, this wouldn’t feel like my miscellaneous article if I didn’t update everyone on Andrew Perugini. Scott Linesburgh reports that the Stockton Thunder have placed second-year ECHL’er Tim Boron on waivers, meaning that the goaltending duties will be split between Perugini and Bryan Pitton. He also offers this quote from Stockton head coach Chris Cichocki:
"It was crystal clear that the Oilers feel that both these goaltenders have a future with their organization and they want them to play," Thunder coach Chris Cichocki said. "You can't keep three. (Boron) played well for us. That's the tough part of this job, letting quality people go."
It sounds to me like both Pitton and Perugini are in the plans, and thinking about it now, I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that Perugini only got a minor-league deal, given that he’s a relatively unknown rookie pro, and that the Oilers are very close to the 50-contract limit. The fact is, he’s going to get some playing time, and if he performs, I think it’s reasonable to expect that he’ll be given opportunities to climb the depth chart.