Battle of Alberta Line Match-ups

Jonathan Willis
October 25 2008 04:03PM

So, I’ve been a really busy guy at my day job, and I haven’t been doing the line match-ups for the last few games. In any case, I’m just hoping that “better late than never” applies in the internet world, and posting the match-ups that Craig MacTavish went with in the home-and-home against Calgary.

As per my previous posts in this series, I’m using the one player (italicized) on each line who played the most with his other two linemates as the player I base my calculations on. Given that almost all of the time this player will spend 90 per cent + of his ice-time with his line, I feel that this is a fair compromise between accuracy and an insane workload.

October 17th – Edmonton at Calgary

Edmonton’s Lines:

Cole - Horcoff - Hemsky Nilsson - Cogliano - Gagner Moreau - Pisani - Penner Pouliot - Brodziak

Steve MacIntyre was on the fourth line for just under two minutes, playing only two shifts, so I’ve excluded him from this calculation. It almost goes without saying, but he didn’t see any time against Calgary’s top line.

Visnovsky - Souray Grebeshkov - Gilbert Strudwick - Staios

Sheldon Souray only managed a little under eight minutes of even-strength ice-time, so Lubomir Visnovsky played some shifts with other defenceman, averaging a little over two minutes with each.

Calgary’s Lines:

Bertuzzi – Langkow – Iginla Bourque – Lombardi – Cammalleri Glencross – Conroy – Moss Primeau – Boyd

Andre Roy played a little more than Steve MacIntyre, but still played about half as many shifts as Primeau and Boyd. Also, Cammalleri and Bertuzzi switched spots for a couple of shifts.

Sarich/Aucoin - Regehr Phaneuf – Vandermeer/Giordano

Keenan and Co. did some interesting things with their defence. While Aucoin and Giordano played about half of their ice-time with each other, Regehr double shifted with Aucoin, while Phaneuf did the same with Giordano

Match-Ups

Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky

Langkow Line: 31.1% Lombardi Line: 29.2% Conroy Line: 12.3% Primeau Line: 27.4%

Regehr Tandem: 56.1% Phaneuf Tandem: 43.9%

Nilsson – Cogliano – Gagner

Langkow Line: 27.8% Lombardi Line: 42.6% Conroy Line: 20.9% Primeau Line: 8.7%

Regehr Tandem: 41.1% Phaneuf Tandem: 58.9%

Moreau – Pisani – Penner

Langkow Line: 59.0% Lombardi Line: 15.5% Conroy Line: 25.4% Primeau Line: 0%

Regehr Tandem: 45.5% Phaneuf Tandem: 54.5%

Pouliot – Brodziak

Langkow Line: 23.4% Lombardi Line: 29.9% Conroy Line: 15.6% Primeau Line: 31.2%

Regehr Tandem: 20.9% Phaneuf Tandem: 79.1%

Visnovsky – Souray

Langkow Line: 36.0% Lombardi Line: 26.7% Conroy Line: 20.0% Primeau Line: 17.3%

Grebeshkov – Gilbert

Langkow Line: 57.6% Lombardi Line: 23.3% Conroy Line: 12.8% Primeau Line: 6.4%

Strudwick – Staios

Langkow Line: 24.5% Lombardi Line: 30.3% Conroy Line: 22.6% Primeau Line: 16.1%

Notes:

  • The line match-ups were no where near as rigid as they’ve been in some of the previous games. MacTavish obviously wanted to get his third line out against Iginla, and he also let the Kid Line get their feet wet against quality opposition but did shelter them to some degree.
  • Keenan obviously felt comfortable with either Regehr or Phaneuf out against most everyone, but with Regehr in the 1A role and Phaneuf in the 1B role.
  • Grebeshkov and Gilbert played a lot against the Iginla line, which really isn’t surprising, given Souray’s limited even strength ice-time.

October 18th – Calgary at Edmonton

Edmonton’s Lines:

Cole – Horcoff - Hemsky Nilsson –Cogliano – Penner/Pouliot Moreau – Pisani – Penner/Pouliot MacIntyre – Brodziak – Stortini

Grebeshkov - Gilbert Smid - Visnovsky Strudwick - Staios

Calgary’s Lines:

Cammalleri – Conroy – Iginla Bourque – Langkow – Bertuzzi Glencross – Lombardi – Moss Nystrom – Boyd – Prust

Sarich – Regehr Phaneuf – Vandermeer Aucoin - Giordano

Match-Ups

Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky

Conroy Line: 40% Langkow Line: 42.8% Lombardi Line: 9.3% Boyd Line: 7.9%

Regehr Pairing: 43.7% Phaneuf Pairing: 35.7% Aucoin Pairing: 20.6%

Nilsson – Cogliano – Penner/Pouliot

Conroy Line: 16.1% Langkow Line: 33.0% Lombardi Line: 22.3% Boyd Line: 28.6%

Regehr Pairing: 25.7% Phaneuf Pairing: 42.9% Aucoin Pairing: 31.4%

Moreau – Pisani – Pouliot/Penner

Conroy Line: 53.7% Langkow Line: 16.8% Lombardi Line: 16.8% Boyd Line: 12.6%

Regehr Pairing: 34.4% Phaneuf Pairing: 34.4% Aucoin Pairing: 31.1%

MacIntyre – Brodziak – Stortini

Conroy Line: 8.1% Langkow Line: 21.6% Lombardi Line: 27% Boyd Line: 43.2%

Regehr Pairing: 28.1% Phaneuf Pairing: 37.5% Aucoin Pairing: 34.4%

Grebeshkov – Gilbert

Conroy Line: 35.6% Langkow Line: 17.4% Lombardi Line: 26.5% Boyd Line: 20.5%

Smid – Visnovsky

Conroy Line: 23.1% Langkow Line: 37.2% Lombardi Line: 23.1% Boyd Line: 16.5%

Strudwick – Staios

Conroy Line: 27.1% Langkow Line: 39.0% Lombardi Line: 9.3% Boyd Line: 24.6%

Notes:

  • This line-up required quite a bit more sheltering than the one from the night prior. With Gagner not on the wing of the Kid Line, MacTavish kept their ice-time against Cammalleri – Conroy – Iginla to a minimum. Bumping Pouliot up the depth chart also meant that the fourth line had both Stortini and MacIntyre, who were kept away from top-tier competition at all cost. Brodziak saw a few extra shifts as a face-off man.
  • Given the extra sheltering, it isn’t at all surprising that the Horcoff line spent better than 80 per cent of the night against the Flames top-six forwards, and it’s even less surprising that MacTavish ran Pisani’s line out against the Iginla line whenever possible.
  • Looking at the defence, it’s quite clear that the by-committee approach will continue for the time being; MacTavish and Co. don’t have a top-tier shutdown defender in the line-up. Strudwick and Staios saw very little time against the Lombardi line; I’d guess that this was done to prevent them from being victimized by the quicker skating forwards (Lombardi and Glencross can both flat out fly, and Moss isn’t a slug by any stretch either).
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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 OIlersNinja
October 25 2008, 04:49PM
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Cole is out and Nilsson is on the first line. Interesting how this pans... Would anyone like a smoothie? The MacBlender is working overtime

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#2 jim
October 25 2008, 05:28PM
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OilersNinja: Do you mean Cole is out of the 1st line, or out of the line-up out? I haven't heard if he's injured or not. I actually like the changes, get everyone back to their more natural positions ans see if we can generate more even strength offence.

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#3 Antony Ta
October 26 2008, 04:16AM
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Cole looked great on the 3rd. Nilsson looked great on the 1st. Pouliot looked good but didn't convert. Gagner and Cogliano looked lost for a bit during the game but were otherwise not too bad. And great to see Visnovsky and Gilbert bailing out Grebs, who is trying to take on a more offensive role on the team.

It was tough to see Cole and Strudwick leave.

P.S. Ohlund is a coward, not taking off his helmet

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#4 David Staples
October 26 2008, 10:54AM
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Later is better than never. I thought you had dropped this, as it looks to be a lot of work. Much appreciated.

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#5 T
October 26 2008, 03:59PM
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am i crazy but i wanna see dustin penner and eric cole on the same line i dont care who the center man is. They suit each other we spent alot 2 get both of them here 2 years in a row and maybe cole will get penner playing tough. I know alot of the oilers are lacking intensity in their game...cough..cough..ALES HEMSKY..SAM GAGNER but how bout Ethan Moreau hes trying his hardest as captain and it seems like hes flying out there and with fire in his eyes. Is macTs' job as coach really safe if they keep losing cuz they got the personel but no execution...what will the 550th richest man in the world do with him?? can i get someone who knows to please help me figure these answers out

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#6 Dennis
October 26 2008, 08:50PM
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Great stuff, JW.

I'll take this and copy and paste it into my existing look at scoring chances over at Ty's site. Putting it all together should give us a better idea of where the bodies are being buried.

BTW, I have to swap hard drives and I couldn't bring along my contact list so send me another email and then I'll have you back on the list!

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