Mr. Gregor's Report Card

Jason Gregor
November 21 2008 02:43PM

What's the most dreaded day on the calendar? Report card day.

The quarter pole is here for the Edmonton Oilers, and they sit with a decent 9-9-2 record. They’ve played 14 games on the road. The next quarter of the season will see them play 13 home games, so at the halfway point of the season they will have played 21 road games and 19 at home.

With 20 games in the books, here is my quarterly report card.

A+ Ales Hemsky. On many nights he has been a freedom fighter offensively. 17 of his 21 points have come on the road. He is currently 14th in league scoring, and 8 of the players ahead of him have a teammate in the top 13. He has more assists than any other Oiler has points. So far he has been their runaway MVP.

A Sheldon Souray. Souray has blended the defensive game he played early in his career with the offensive game he learned in Montreal , to become a solid contributor in both zones. He is currently 5th in scoring amongst defensemen and only Shea Weber has more goals than Souray’s seven. Souray is healthy and it shows with two fights so far this season.

A Ethan Moreau. The captain is on pace for 20 goals and a career best 40 points. As usual he gives a solid effort every night. He has been rewarded with good play by playing along side Hemsky for the past five games, but if the Oilers plan on having a better second quarter he needs to be on the 3rd line. Moreau’s effort and contributions don’t seem to change regardless of his linemates, something that many of his teammates need to install in their game.

A- Jason Strudwick. The journeyman rearguard has been a pleasant surprise. He has suited up in 17 games so far, which is probably 8-10 more than the organization expected. He is playing a steady 15 minutes a night, is only -1 and has been physical enough. You rarely notice him on the ice, which means for a 6th D-man he is doing his job.

B Dwayne Roloson. The 39 year-old wasn’t supposed to have appeared in nine games already, but he has and has been good. He has a respectable .913 save % and hasn’t had a noticeably bad game. I don’t expect him to play in nine of the next 20 games, but he has proven that if the team needs him he will show up and at least give his team a chance to win. All three of his loses have come in games where the Oilers got shutout, so when they score he either wins or they go to OT.

B Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers. The rookie has been solid in all five of his appearances. He has shown that if called upon he can keep his team in the game. His back-to-back wins v. the Devils and Rangers were huge performances. His play should allow GM, Steve Tambellini to try and package either Roloson or Garon.

B- Andrew Cogliano. He has been the most consistent and productive of the three Kids. He is the only one of them on pace to surpass his goal total (18) from last season. Cogliano has a quiet five goals, which puts him tied for 2nd on the team, and he is producing with the fewest minutes of any of the top nine forwards, averaging 14:16 of icetime a game. The one area you would like to see him improve is by using his speed to be a bit more physical. His speed alone should allow him to rub a few more guys out, but Cogliano is the only Kid who hasn’t suffered anything resembling the sophomore Jinx.

B- Steve Staios. Staios is playing just under 19 minutes a night and since being paired with Strudwick they have been a solid #3 pairing. Staios is +1, continues to block shots, and brings a consistent effort most nights. He only struggles when he tries to do too much, and as long as he keeps it simple he is effective. You never question his willingness to compete, and he has played solid while dealing with a tough family issue.

B- Steve Macintyre. The tough guy endured eight years in the ECHL and AHL, to finally make it to the Show, and in the 10 games he played he made an impact in most of them. He understands his role, and I think surprised more people with his ability to make a big hit. He will have to realize that he doesn’t have to just stand in and take punches in every one of his fights, but it is hard to criticize him for that. Expect when he returns that he will learn to let a few punches role of off him, rather than just stick his head in on every shot. He has been the only warm and fuzzy story for the Oilers this season.

B- Lubomir Visnovsky. One of the hardest guys to grade, because his game leaves you wanting more, yet when you look at his production he has been decent. His 12 points puts him 17th amongst defencemen, and he plays 24:29 a game. He doesn’t get involved physically, but rarely do you see him manhandled by an opposing forward. He quietly puts up points, and he is on the ice for more goals scored than he is against. The big knock so far is when he looks like Boris Mironov and Roman Hamrlik by constantly missing the net.

B- Tom Gilbert. After last season and the big contract, expectations were high this season. He had a horribly slow start, but found his game in the middle of their seven game road trip. He has been much better the past eight games and is on pace for 44 points. Like Grebeshkov you would like to see him shoot a bit more. 29 shots in 20 games for a guy who plays over 21 minutes a night is not enough. He isn’t flashy, but when on his game he has a great stick in the defensive zone. At 6’3” you would like to see him lean on some forwards a bit more, but that is a disease that seems to have infected too many of his teammates as well. You wonder if playing with Souray will toughen him up a bit. I would like to see him become more noticeable in games, but his offence is decent considering there are two D-men with more points than him.

C+ Denis Grebeshkov. I know Wanye will think this is a Baaaaaad rating, but he is close to getting a low B in the next quarter. I gave him a C because he only has 12 SOG in 17 games. He has been on the 2nd PP unit all season, but he can’t even average a shot a game, that is unfathomable. He has eight points in 17 games, so his offence is good, but he has to start and become at least a threat to shoot the puck in the offensive zone. Once he does, his teammates should benefit, because the opposition will have to respect his shot, and that should open up some ice for the other four Oilers playing with him.

C Shawn Horcoff.  Simply not good enough for a guy who made the All-Star team last season. While his effort is rarely the issue, his finish, execution and overall ice awareness has been lacking. Two even strength goals is unacceptable from your #1 centre, and he needs to get better in the draws. He is 50%, but it seems that he loses the important ones more often than he wins them. Missing the final 30 games last year seems to have hurt him a bit, but he needs to handle the puck much better in the 2nd quarter.

C Zack Stortini. At least Stortini knows his role on the team. Yes, he hasn’t improved as a fighter; in fact, it looks like he is losing confidence in his ability to chuck them. But when he plays you notice him. He yaps at the other team, and most importantly he tries to get the most out of his limited ability. It is hard to criticize a fighter, because many of us would never have the balls to do what they do. I don’t care if you won a fight outside of On The Rocks or the Barry T’s back in the day, the fact is most guys wouldn’t do it. He chooses that role, so he has to improve at it, if he wants to stay in the league. I suspect he will continue to work with Rocky Thompson on improving his fighting game. The bonus about Stortini is he has a knack of pissing off the opposition, something that few of his teammates have learned to master or even attempt.

C Ladislav Smid. Smid has only dressed for nine games, but you get pretty much the same 12 minutes from him every game. At least you notice him trying to get involved physically, which is rare on this team. He was close to a C+ just for his effort as a forward v. Detroit . He had two shots, missed the net on two chances and didn’t make any major mistakes. I’m not sure how long they will keep him there, but he showed some versatility, and more importantly, the willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win. He went out of his comfort zone to ensure he was contributing, something that many of the forwards need to do.

C- Robert Nilsson. Nilsson has showed flashes of brilliance, but unfortunately they have been rare sightings. Consistency is still his biggest challenge, and outside of the three games where he was demoted to the 4th line, he has been in the top nine forwards. Nilsson is another forward who has to compete harder. Last year when he played his best hockey he was forechecking and laying the odd hit, and this year you can tell when he is in the game because he engages physically. When he doesn’t, he doesn’t seem to be in the game. His struggles are closely connected with his buddy Gagner, and if both can rediscover their game, the Oilers could climb the standings.

C- Fernando Pisani. I know he played centre most of the time, but outside of the faceoffs, he was adamant it wasn’t that big of a deal. Rarely did you see him make a mistake in his own zone, but rarely did you see him make a play in the offensive zone. Most game he plays his minutes, and outside of the PK, you rarely notice him. He skates well, has a good shot and a very quick release, but we don’t ever see him take advantage of those assets. He will be out until after Xmas, but when he returns he will be back on the wing and he has to prove that the 2006 playoffs weren’t the only time in his career that he can be counted on to be an impact player.

D+ Sam Gagner. I know the kid is only 19, but based strictly on icetime and production he is what he is so far. He’s had two glaring giveaways that resulted in late game losses, and it seems that he has learned from it. He still hasn’t found the confidence he had last year, but he is still getting ample opportunities to play himself out of this funk with 16:44 of icetime per game. He needs to play with the same edge he had in the final 30 games of last season. He rarely got knocked off the puck, was tenacious and you sensed he wanted the puck in key situations. The most disappointing part of his game so far is his inability to shoot the puck with any conviction. Not once has a goalie had to make a tough save of a Gagner shot, he needs to work on his shot, but you do wonder how much of that is due to his lack of offensive confidence. If Gagner ever gets going he will make his linemates better.

D+ Kyle Brodziak. The former 7th rounder has the size and strength to be more of a factor every night. In 19 games he only has nine hits. That is unacceptable for a 4th liner. He is supposed to be an energy guy, and the most frustrating part is that he has the tools to be that player. Confidence seems to be his biggest hurdle. His game changes the minute he scores a goal, but he can’t be that fragile. His role on this team is not to score goals, sure it helps, but he needs to find ways to be confident about his game regardless if he is scoring or not.

D Dustin Penner. The big man epitomizes what is wrong with this club. Too many nights he goes through the motions and you don’t even notice him. While some didn’t like how MacTavish ripped him publicly, it did spark Penner. The game in Columbus proved that if he wants to skate, go to the tough areas and be noticeable, he can. If anything, that game showed the fans that Penner has much more to offer than he has shown so far this season. I don’t expect him to have that type of game every night, but at least seven out of ten would seem realistic. He will never be mean, but at least he can show he is interested most nights.

D- Marc Pouliot. I still don’t see what the organization likes so much about this guy. He has no PIM, only eight hits and one goal. Please tell me what he brings every night. Please I beg you. He epitomizes the safe player, and there are way too many of them. How many times will the captain have to say, “Guys have to realize they aren’t going to be 30-goal scorers in this league, so they have to find other ways to contribute.” You know he is talking about Pouliot, Brodziak, Nilsson etc with those comments. This team has too many guys like Pouliot, so he should try to re-invent himself to make himself more valuable. But I doubt that will happen.

F Erik Cole. Don’t give me the excuse he started camp and the regular season on the wrong wing. He was playing with their best player, Hemsky, and he still didn’t produce. The last 15 games he has been on the right side, and seeing him use his size and speed has been about as rare as watching the Oilers play a complete game. So far Cole has been a bust. The only area of his game that is even noticeable on the score sheet is hits, and none of those 38 was a bone-rattler. He needs to regroup during this five day lay off and come back with some spice in his game. He is averaging the 5th most amount of PP time on the team, so he can’t really complain about opportunities. While others who struggles early, Cogliano, Nilsson, Horcoff, have gotten a bit better, Cole seems to be going in the opposite direction. You wonder if Eric Staal made him that much better or if Cole just isn’t comfortable yet in Edmonton . They need him to wake up soon and start making an impact.

F Mathieu Garon. He started well in his first three games, but since then he has been below average. Sitting out the game in Chicago should not have affected him that much. You can argue all you want that MacTavish should have played him, but it was one extra day or rest. Since missing that start, he just hasn’t looked comfortable. This is his chance to be a proven #1 goalie. Pete Peeters said you can’t declare a goalie a true #1 until he does it for two consecutive seasons, and that will be Garon’s challenge for the next 60 games. He will get the start against the Kings on Wednesday and if he plays well, expect the team to ride him. He can easily erase a disappointing start, with a string of solid efforts.

Note: Reddox, Boulerice and Peckham didn’t play enough to garner a ranking.

C is for COACHING. The coaching has been average. Playing players out of position hurt some guys, but MacTavish’s willingness to give the kids a long leash could pay dividends down the road. I applauded his calling out of Penner, but I doubt you will see that become the norm. He has double-shifted Hemsky at times to try to spark the offence, and he has sent subtle messages to guys like Brodziak, Nilsson and Stortini that they have to find their role on the team. We will see how he does in the next 20 games with so many of them at home, and if he can get better matchups for this team.

Grade as a team: B-. Playing 14 of 20 on the road, and 20 games in 39 days and coming away .500 seems pretty decent. The major problem is that their home games have been some of their worst. They need to find a home identity soon, especially with 13 of their next 20 at Rexall. This team is still too soft. Outside of Moreau, Stortini, MacIntyre and Hemsky none of their other forwards are hard to play against right now. They have too many players who seem comfortable playing just hard enough so it looks like they are trying, but not hard enough to piss off the opposition. They have to become a harder team to play against.

Some other first quarter rankings

A for the girl who flashed at Rexall. Her assets were bigger than A’s, but most importantly, they were worthy of a pick-me-up to the crowd.

D for Rexall management. A six month ban? Come on, that is a bit harsh for a two second flash that most people didn’t see. I could understand two months, but six was over the top.

F for Pensblog. The lamest attempt at cheap shots I’ve ever read. My 12-year-old nephew has carved me better than a Mr. Clean reference. The fact they got their nose out of joint because one of their blogging brethren had been slapped on the wrist was comedy.

E for effort, but D- for trying, Bagged milk and Jean Shorts. While myself and Brownlee appreciated you having our backs, it made us look like the guy who would yap at a guy across the bar, and then when confronted would hide behind their big buddy. Trust me, getting chirped by some closet Crosby lover, who has to have one picture for every ten words written to spice up his article, didn’t bother me. In fact it was comical. All-for-one-and-one-for-all is a great concept and it is nice to know that you have our back, but next time let us at least get in the first shot.

A+ to the NATION readers and contributors. While I rarely engage in the game day threads, the comments make me howl, well, except Wanye’s, because I’ve met him and frankly there isn’t much substance. He does work hard, and is kind of like the Sean Avery of the Internet world. Some hate him, most of his verbal attacks are way offside, yet you respect his ability. The only thing is he went to Phoenix and LA and didn’t even get a phone number from some aspiring actress who was his waitress. At least Avery gets with the ladies!

 —Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6pm on TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Jonathan Willis
November 21 2008, 08:38PM
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Gagner is still a prospect because he lacks an identity.

Do you mean an identity, or a one/two-word title that sports fans can label him with.

Oh, yeah Hemsky. Passer. Doesn't shoot.

Oh, yeah, Moreau. Grinder.

Oh, yeah, Perreault. Face-off man.

Something like that? Because presumably, he has his own identity which is just a touch more complex than whatever single-line title the fans settle on.

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#52 Halfempty
November 21 2008, 08:47PM
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pros-pect 1. Usually prospects. a. an apparent probability of advancement, success, profit, etc. b. the outlook for the future 2. anticipation; expectation; looking forward 3. a ptential or likely candidate.

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#53 Halfempty
November 21 2008, 08:52PM
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I'm through looking at this team through a set of thick beer goggles. I like the back end. Wish we had a truly hulking evil stay a home defenceman. I wish we has a true number one goalie. I wish we didn't pick up Cole. Why have two first line right wingers when you don't have a first line left winger or a top flight center. I wish Moreau could force the Kids to hit. Score. Hit. Or Sit!

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#54 Halfempty
November 21 2008, 09:04PM
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C'mon Willis. Who gets 16 plus sugar minutes a night for twenty games, scores only one goal, isn't required to be physical, and takes no heat unless said player is still a prospect being developed on the fly? I don't want to label Gagner. I want him to show us something on a night to night basis. Wayne Gretz said this guy is not a Prospect. If that is true and we are to consider him in the same light as roster players from around the league it is time to give those minutes to someone who is producing. Lucky again for Gagner no one else is.

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#55 Jonathan Willis
November 21 2008, 09:11PM
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...we are to consider him in the same light as roster players from around the league it is time to give those minutes to someone who is producing.

Yes. Look, MacTavish knows a lot more about developing young players than I do, but if a guy isn't producing something, he needs to get bumped down the roster a bit.

Now, my definition of producing something is a little broader than "score or hit", but Gagner's tailed off - the underlying numbers were there to start with, even if the results weren't, but they've tailed off too.

If a guy like Gagner is going out against other team's second/fourth lines and not producing, maybe he needs a night in the pressbox. Or an evening on the fourth line.

MacTavish has made Gagner's development the centre point for this team, and it's costing the team points. Guys whine about Pouliot's powerplay time, but that's much more defensible than Gagner's PK time.

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#56 Halfempty
November 21 2008, 09:23PM
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To be fair it was Wayne who said Gagner was "hardly a prospect" Every year it's the same for me. Summer-Do you think we can get (fill in) October- Excuses. Youth. New Faces. November- Bitter disappointment. December to the Trade Deadline-Can we trade for (again fill in the blank) Trade deadline to season end- Hope. then bitter disappointment. Repeat above.

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#57 Halfempty
November 21 2008, 09:27PM
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When a player is slumping they are asked to simplify their game. When a fan is slumping we simplify our complaints. Hockey people always talk about doing the "little things". This team needs to start taking care of the big things. PK, faceoffs, HITTING, Skating in all THREE periods, etc.

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#58 Halfempty
November 21 2008, 09:29PM
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Thanks for the free therapy. I will check this site out again. Hopefully the team pulls it together soon and I can sign in as Halffull. Cheers!

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#59 Bruce
November 21 2008, 11:20PM
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In the first 20 games Hemsky has a 10-game goalless streak and an ongoing 6-game goalless streak and he gets an A+ ???!!!

In October (i.e. half of those 20 games) he had all of one (1) even strength point.

Hopefully his play improves/becomes more consistent in the second quarter. If it does, what sort of mark does he get?

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#60 Jerry MacWire
November 21 2008, 11:24PM
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C- Jason Gregor - When will HDNET get a real announcer for their local MMA fights? Sorry Jason, I like you on the radio but you mad skilz on HDNET are less than l33T.

B+ Dan Tencer - Since the arrival of Bob Stauffer you have become less protective of the Oilers. I now can listen to your broadcast for at least a half an hour before I change stations hoping that The Team gets a full time evening regular.

A+ Bob Stauffer - Did a yeoman's job filling in for Rod Phillips while he was on the IR. You really put me in the game while I was driving home from work. Great work! I don't think we need to worry about what happens to the radio broadcast when Phillips retires.

C+ DavidS - I really can't read your blogs for two reasons. That awful Canwest site is molasses slow and so poorly laid out and the horrible graphics make Oilersnation look like the Cistine Chapel.

D - John MacKinnon - Paranoia about bloggers who don't have a degree from J school doesn't attract readers, it repels them. Why are their opinions any less valid than yours? Good thing your blogs are hosted on Canwest, hardly anyone gets to read them.

Who else? I am getting sleepy...

MacT: MacWiresy, hustle, hustle hustle

MacWire: Zzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzz

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#61 Fiveandagames jerk alter ego who couldn't resist
November 22 2008, 09:37AM
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BEST THING EVER ON THE OILERS WEBSITE....

OMG best thing ever, SMACKINTYRE reading to second graders!!!

HILARIOUS!!!

http://oilers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=5&id=26094

Best part is Sam Gagner being Baby bear....only thing that could have been better is if Grebeshkov was one of the three billy goats....HA best thing ever!

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#62 milli
November 22 2008, 10:02AM
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I agree, Pouly ain't the problem. Gagner lacks identity??? I think this whole team lacks an idenity. Hell, I'm starting to lack an identity. My wife says I drink too much on game days, so to even it out, I now drink too much on off days. When they win, I drink like they won the Stanley Cup, cuz I don't know when they will win again. When they lose, I drink like it's game 7 of 06 all over again. I sure hope they fire CracT, and don't hire Simmer or Mess (much as I love him) or they don't lure Gretz outta Phonix. HIRE AN ACTUAL COACH, A GUYS WHO'S BEEN A GOOD COACH, NOT A PLAYERS COACH, BUT A WINNING COACH. Then, and only then, will i consider curbing my alcoholism.

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#63 Halfempty
November 22 2008, 10:40AM
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The Oilers have a dysfunctional top six. Four years later management is still looking for someone to skate with Hemsky. MacT is skating Moreau on the FIRST line! The group is definately weaker than the sum of it's parts. Call it chemistry or whatever: this team is heading for an 80 point season unless something changes. Tough schedule...So What! What happens if the injury bug hits again? Key players have been healthy and 20 points is all they accumulate by the quarter pole of the season. Pick two goalies. Pick any two of your group of playing prospects and move the others for some help up front...or be willing to stay the course an accept the fact that this is another development year.

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#64 Sean
November 22 2008, 01:40PM
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Nice list Gregor! I just did a similar ranking yesterday. Am I allowed shameless plugs? Our lists are very similar with the only real differences being Staios and Strudwick (and my picture is hotter).

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#65 Dennis
November 22 2008, 02:35PM
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I should really do this "Fire Joe Morgan" style because there's so much that I can part apart that it's quite simply jarring.

but I'll just get into a couple of things and maybe it will be the jump-off point and maybe it won't.

Anyway.

Gregor: during the OTL vs the B's, which was one of the games 89 cost us with a stupid play, Thomas made not one but TWO great saves off shots from Sam Gagner. So, there you go.

As for your grade of Strudwick, are you grading him on the role he's playing and/or the money's he making? If 43 can be given an A for playing third pairing min and not getting killed then who can you slam Pouliot for doing the same thing during top nine TOI? Neither of them plays tough minutes so why is one thing acceptable for one guy and not the other?

Jefferson: speaking of Pouliot, go back to last Sat's game against the Avs and remember when 37 jumped off the right point on the PP and Budjai stopped him? Guess who made a nice pass from the left of the tender to set up the play? It was Marc Pouliot!! My stars!!

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#66 Mark
November 22 2008, 03:27PM
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Jerry Macwire,

You are an idiot. Your posts are stupid every time. Do us a favour and leave.

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#67 Jason Gregor
November 22 2008, 03:34PM
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Dennis,

So Gagner had two good shots, are you saying his shot scares anyone right now? That is that point.

As for Strudwick, to me he has exceeded expectations, and on this team this year that is a rarity. And Strudwick has done more. He one less point that Pouliot, and his career high is 7 points so he is on pace for a career year.

Pouliot looks like he might get better in the next quarter, but for a guy who is on the 4th line, he has never been an energy player. That is why both he and Brodziak got a D in my book. Whether they like their role or not, they have to learn to play it. You can have a team with 3 Pouliot's on your fourth line, and I'll take 3 who bring energy, grit and a presence anyday.

I'm surprised Pouliot's grade is so frustrating to Oiler fans. No one has yet to answer exactly what he does.

That is the point. Do I think Pouliot is responsible for their record? No, but I also don't think their record is that bad. My grade on Pouliot was based on what you expect a 4th line player to be, and he hasn't done any of it. Same reason Gagner got a D, because he hasn't contributed in the fashion he is capable of, or in the fashion the team wants him to.

And just because he made one really nice pass doesn't mean I would give him a B.

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#68 Jason Gregor
November 22 2008, 03:59PM
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Just because Pouliot made a nice pass I wouldn't give him a B...can't wait until we get the edit button on the new site..haha

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#69 Chris.
November 22 2008, 04:08PM
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It's funny how Pronger turned into Cole And Smid. Smid; so easily displaced by a $700 000 UFA signing. Cole; deadline trade bait. If a guy like Strudwick can appear out of thin air and fill valuable minutes maybe it is time to start swinging for homeruns during the draft. Use UFA's to fill the bottom end of your roster and focus on high risk high reward type skill players for top six forwards and top d pairings. Memo to Katz: More Euro Scouting Please!

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#70 Dennis
November 22 2008, 07:11PM
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Gregor: my point on your criticism of 89 is that, pardon my expression, but you were talking out of your ass:) You said you couldn't think of two times that netminders had to make a tough save on him and granted I don't miss much but I could think of two in the same game:)

So you're grading 43 higher because he's close to having a career year? Wow, you aren't asking for a lot because his career year isn't like Janet Jones Gretzky the year she scored 92 goals now is it:) And it seems like he's getting a high grade because he's exceeding low expectations and that's fine if you want to grade everyone else on the same curve. So, to that end, with all the guys getting the time to score like 10-83-27-the kids; a guy like 78 isn't expected to do anything more than be a low even gut who holds the fort until the big guys come out and swing it back. And the kid does that. And if you want to name three fellows other than 78 who you'd rather have and you want to damn him by that reasoning, find three guys who are making less money and have the same underlying numbers.

Oh and I never said the kid got a B for making a nice pass but I was hitting up the guy who said he didn't bring anything to the PP. Listen, you guys have to be more on the ball to get weak sauce like that past me:)

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#71 george
November 23 2008, 12:44AM
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If the boys go 15-5 for the next 20 games, will fans like "half empty" wear their keyboards out typing the praises of the team ? By all accounts we've had a tough start, but we're only 4 wins back of division leading Vancouver, who've just reeled off points in 7 straight. I'm thinking we're a minor tweak to the roster, and a couple of gritty wins away from going on a good run. p.s. why is everyone so bitter?

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#72 Bobby McFerrin
November 23 2008, 01:33AM
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Totally disagree with Horcoff. He has been nothing but brutal this season. He should be right there with Erik Cole. I keep thinking that he will turn around but we are nearing the end of November and he looks slow, can't win face-offs, fans on most Hemsky seam passes and most of all his give aways are almost worse then Hemsky's. If it wasn't for Souray's play we would be right there with L.A in the standings. Souray for A+!

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#73 Jerry MacWire
November 23 2008, 08:50AM
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Jerry Macwire, You are an idiot. Your posts are stupid every time. Do us a favour and leave.

HOOK! LINE! and SINKER!

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#74 Rick
November 23 2008, 02:15PM
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Dennis Says: November 22nd, 2008 at 7:11 pm ... a guy like 78 isn’t expected to do anything more than be a low even gut who holds the fort until the big guys come out and swing it back. And the kid does that.

...

I have to ask, who exactly set such a low expectation for Pouliot?

This team is missing a few elements, atleast one of which is expected to come from the so called bottom six forwards.

And for clarity, none of the elements missing include merely killing time until the top six get back on the ice.

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#75 Jason Gregor
November 23 2008, 02:26PM
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Dennis,

So you think Pouliot has made the same impact as Strudwick? Not even close.And because you remembered two so-called good saves that Tim Thomas made, all of a sudden Gagner has been great. The fact is the Kid has done nothing. You think he has been better than a D, then I guess you should stop sleeping in your Gagner jersey.

I can name many players I'd rather have than Pouliot in the role he is supposed to play on this team. Is he suited to be an energy guy? No, but when the coach puts you in a role, then the player has to adjust, because Pouliot has produced nothing that suggests he should be in a scoring role. I will take Adam Burish, Colin Fraser, Ryan Carter, Rick Rypien. Why? Because they bring energy and that is what your 4th line is supposed to bring.

Unless Pouliot starts to score, he is not an energy guy, so he doesn't fit the role. And by being an energy guy, I don't mean just hitting and fighting. Make it hard on the opposition, and so far Pouliot and Brodziak haven't done that. Neither has Penner, Cole and others thus the poor grade.

And thankfully we have you, the ulmighty, to make sure we don't have weak sauce. Because your arguements are so rock solid themselves.

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#76 Jonathan Willis
November 23 2008, 02:51PM
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the ulmighty

I think you mean "the almighty", Jason. Could be wrong, of course ;)

For me, being on the 4th line means being able to outplay other teams 4th lines - pretty simple, really. It's not so much energy as being more effective than the same guys on the other team.

I like Pouliot, but I don't think he's a scorer at the NHL level. I do think he can evolve into a top-nine forward at some point, maybe in a Sami Pahlsson-type role. Nothing to get excited about, unless your team doesn't have one.

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#77 Doogie2K
November 23 2008, 05:28PM
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I have to ask, who exactly set such a low expectation for Pouliot?

Well, MacT likened his upside to Guy Carbonneau, with the implication that he's not going to score much (Carbo never exceeded 60 points in the highest-scoring era of modern hockey, making him a 30-40 point guy today), but he's not going to give much up, either (three-time Selke winner during the same era). So, to answer your question: the coach.

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#78 Dennis
November 23 2008, 09:46PM
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Jason: my point was you just can't throw things out there on blogs because there are a bunch of us who watch all the games and it appears some of us see just as much if not more than guys who have press passes:) You're saying that 89 hasn't made goals make two good saves all season reminds me of listening to Pierre McGuire talking about the Oilers: if McGuire is selling lies about the Oilers, isn't he doing the same about other teams? So, it doesn't surprise that you're wrong on at least two guys.

As for Strudwick, he's done a bang up job while playing against nobodies while the rest of his D partners play the toughs. But, you know, you go on believing what you believe:)

As for Rick Rypien, I'd rather have Mark Rypien. The only thing the non Super Bowl winning Rypien has done is check Roy from behind and give him one of his 189 concussions.

JW: I believe Draper and Maltby were voted most "energetic" last season by the NHLPA and both Datsyuk and Zetterberg said they would not have been able to win without them. Oddly enough Selanne said the same thing about Brad May after the '07 Cup and don't get Rod Brind'Amour started on Craig Adams!!

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#79 Jason Gregor
November 23 2008, 10:57PM
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Dennis,

I guess only you can just throw things out. Because clearly you see the game so much better.

If Pouliot is so good, how come in 20 games he has 1 goal, yet Rypien has 2 in only 5. And Rypien is considered the toughest middleweight to light-heavyweight in the league. He knows how to play the role of energy guy.

But I guess Pouliot is a better energy guy in your mind, because clearly the stats show it, and there have been so many times that Pouliot has made a play that changed the momentum of the game.

You can have the safe player, I'll take a true energy guy to be on my fourth line.

So I guess every 3rd pairing of D-men in the league are easily replaceable. The fact is Strudwick was put in a role and actually fulfilled that role.

Believe what you will, and keep telling yourself that you see the game better than most. Based on your incredible insight I'm sure I will be interviewing you as a scout in the near future.

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#80 Jonathan Willis
November 24 2008, 08:04AM
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RE: Jason Strudwick

Third-pairing defense isn't the toughest job in hockey, but at least Strudwick's doing a better job of it than the old Cross/Ulanov pairing. Or, for that matter, Matt Greene.

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#81 Rick
November 24 2008, 08:23AM
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Doogie2K Says:

Well, MacT likened his upside to Guy Carbonneau, ....

...

I am not sure what I should be more amused at.

That Guy Carbonneau's career description has been reduced to simply a 30-40pt guy in this era or that on any level, the way he is currently playing, Pouliot resembles Carbonneau.

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#82 Tyler
November 24 2008, 10:46AM
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If Pouliot is so good, how come in 20 games he has 1 goal, yet Rypien has 2 in only 5.

Do you really believe Rypien is a better goal scorer Jason, or is this sports radio, and you're just saying this to be controversial, draw interest and argue about something?

You wrote a piece about shooting percentage in the pre-season that was very good and pointed out how volatile it was and now you're on about some guy who currently sports a 66.7% shooting percentage on three shots. Did you believe what you were saying then or do you believe what you're saying now? I don't see how you can reasonably believe that there's any relevance to Rypien having two goals to Pouliot's one AND believe what you wrote about shooting percentage earlier this year.

And Rypien is considered the toughest middleweight to light-heavyweight in the league. He knows how to play the role of energy guy. But I guess Pouliot is a better energy guy in your mind, because clearly the stats show it, and there have been so many times that Pouliot has made a play that changed the momentum of the game. You can have the safe player, I’ll take a true energy guy to be on my fourth line.

Rypien better make everyone else feel a hell of a lot more energetic, because in his 27 game career, the Canucks have been outscored 11-3 while he's on the ice. He's had the better goalie behind him too. The Canucks have been outshot by a pile. Hopefully the Sedins et al. are energized by trying to come back from a goal against.

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#83 Deans
November 24 2008, 11:09AM
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The Oilers terrible PK is a huge problem. Guys are afraid to play with an edge b/c the Pk cant bail the team out like in years past.

I gotta agree with JG on Pouliot. The guy brings nothing to the game. What does he do exceptionally well? He isnt a shutdown guy, he isnt a energy guy and he sure as shit isnt an offensive threat. People always say Shremp must be a top 6 guy to be effective but if you put him in Pouliot's slot, at the very least Schremp is an offensive threat on a team in desperate need of secondary scoring. Schremp can also play point on the PP. He could take Grebers spot and maybe that second unit would actually be able to get some shots on net.

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#84 Chris
November 24 2008, 11:46AM
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Why do so many people feel motivated to defend Pouliot? He is not an important cog in the machine. He doesn't contribute much and isn't asked to. MacT Likes Pouliot. I'm sure if they are both still here come Christmas they will exchange gifts.

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#85 Cam
November 24 2008, 12:38PM
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Jason Gregor,

Good work on the grading. I am happy someone is giving Hemsky some credit.

He was expected to get at least a point per game - 21 pts in 20 games.

He was expected to score twenty goals - he is on pace (5).

He was expected to be the difference maker some nights - he has.

How is that not an A+?

Also good to see how well Moreau is doing. It looks like people have stopped beaking about trading him. We need big, hard hitting, gritty, experienced guys like Moreau.

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#86 Dennis
November 24 2008, 12:58PM
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Tyler:

How dare you use easy-to-measure stats to disprove Rypien? To be fair you should try and calculate some kind of energy metric!

Gregor: anytime you want to know something about the Oilers all you have to do is ask:)

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#87 - OilersNation
January 12 2009, 03:09PM
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[...] Fresh off the presses! Here is the second quarter report card for the Oilers. A reminder that this is a quarterly report, and not a midway ranking, and you can see their respective grade from the first 20 games here. [...]

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