Hemsky's lungs and PK problems

Jason Gregor
January 02 2009 03:19PM

The cavalry isn’t coming and neither is Ales Hemsky. Hemsky spoke to the media today and he is still not feeling well enough to practice, so look for him to miss at least the next two games, and realistically the Vancouver game as well.

It doesn’t sound like a call up will happen, so the Oilers will go with the same lineup tomorrow, and the same lines. I asked MacTavish, now that Hemsky is out for the next few games, if he would put someone else on Horcoff’s right wing.

“Like whom?” he replied.

I suggested possibly Cole or Brule.

“Cole would be the guy, but they (Nilsson and Gagner) are playing well together. Brule. Is he ready for that? We will start him in a lesser role and see where he goes from there. If looks like he is having a dynamic game offensively then it will be an easy switch.

“So far Liam (Reddox) has done a decent job. He scored a goal the first game, and was instrumental in the goal that was disallowed, so it that would be a couple points in two games so that’s pretty good production. It’s something I’ll entertain but not at this moment.”

I haven’t been one to jump all over MacTavish, but this decision puzzles me. How will you know if Brule is ready unless you give him a shot? What do you have to lose? Or what about calling up Ryan Potulny, since he leads the Sprinfield Falcons in goals? I agree that the Gagner line is playing well, so there is no point moving Cole, but Reddox is not the answer. Brule might not be either, but I’d like to see that first before I make that conclusion. Give him a shot. But Reddox isn’t the biggest problem for the Oilers right now.

Their PK is atrocious. It has been all season, and it isn’t showing signs of improving. Of course, the face-offs are a major issue, but they are only part of the problem. Consistently the PK is giving up the seam pass, and with mostly veterans on the PK that is inexcusable.

“It’s been the main contributor for the last couple of loses. We need to have more of a presence in the dangerous areas where we are giving up those really good looks. We are hesitant on the PK and that is never good. We just have to focus more on individual assignments,” said MacTavish.

I asked him what he has to do different as a coach. Will he change the system or the personnel?

“I’ve seen teams that are chasing a strategy that works, and they never get there. Penalty killing is a very coachable area, and as a coach you should be able to identify the personnel you have and find a system that best suites their strengths. We (coaches) have to focus in on it more and try to improve it.”

What about the face-offs?

“You can’t do much there as a coach. You can work on it in practice, but ultimately that comes down to guys winning the draws. We might give Tyler Spurgeon a look to see if he can helps us, but ultimately guys have to improve.”

What about bringing in a specialist like Perrault?

“I’m always a skeptic. You wonder why a guy is not playing when he has those numbers in the dot. I don’t know him very well or his game very well -- the scouts would know better -- but the question is what you give up minus what you create. You bring a guy in like that who is out of a job for a pretty good reason and he has played on a lot of teams, and why is he playing on a bunch of teams? Probably because there are a bunch of weaknesses in his game that are hidden in those face-off numbers. Unlikely that we will do that (bring him in) but we do have to improve, so we will need to do something.”

Perrault would help them in the face-off circle, but not on the PK, which is the place they need the most help.

Then why haven’t they called up Spurgeon? They can’t keep waiting for these guys to win draws, because clearly it isn’t happening.

Other tidbits

Marc Pouliot is feeling better and will practice tomorrow, and he might return on Monday. Pouliot looked much better than Hemsky, so expect to see 78 before 83.

Steve MacIntyre will have his face examined on Jan 6, and if everything looks good he expects to take his visor of on the 15th and be ready for action. He says his orbital bone feels fine, but joked that he only thought it was a black eye to begin with so he’ll wait for the results before he gets too excited.

Many, including myself, have wondered how long Denis Grebeshkov wants to play in the NHL, or if he will go back to Russia and play in the KHL. While Wanye was cheering loudly as Grebeshkov recorded his first four-point night against the Flames, I wondered how long he would be in the Show.

“I want to play in the NHL as long as possible, because it is way more fun to play here than back home,” said Grebeshkov.

When the mic was off we spoke at length about playing back home, and I left with a sense he truly likes it here, but if he gets double the money back home he probably would go. He said he is looking at signing an extension in the NHL first. Either way, I don’t see him staying with the Oilers very long. He is a player that teams would have interest in, and unless Tom Gilbert gets moved, I suspect Grebeshkov will be the odd man out. The Oilers need some more size on their backend, and Grebeshkov has a good salary and he can move the puck. Which are two qualities that make him attractive to other teams.

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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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#1 Chris
January 02 2009, 03:41PM
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Great news for MacT who was running out of excuses!

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#2 rindog
January 02 2009, 03:48PM
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Jason,

How do you not just smack MacT in the head while your talking to him???

A couple of things....

I know you defended Reddox after the first game on the top line - but do you really think he played well (as a first line player)? He battled hard but didn't give any depth or offense to a supposed scoring line?

If MacT thinks he played well there - doesn't that speaks volumes as to how much MacT really doesn't get the offensive side of the game?

The answer he gave you is almost insulting. ("Like whom?")

Our biggest concern going in to the season is how we were going to get 7 players to fit into the top 2 lines.

Let's forget about Moreau and Pisani on the top two lines for now)...MacT now has 6 players available for the 6 spots and is still bumbling his way with the line-up.

Playing players out of position for kicks is moronic. Playing them out of their comfort zone out of necessity (injury) is called coaching.

I can understand wanting to keep Cole and Gagner together for the time being. If we wants to leave Nilsson with Cole and Gags - fine. So...by process of elimination, that leaves Cogliano. What is wrong with giving him a shot on the right side? Is it going to affect the dominance of the current 3rd line? Is Cogliano not as good of an option as Reddox? If Reddox is a good enough player that he can play out of postion temporarily - isn't Cogliano?

Also,

Wasn't it you who fired a verbal insult at me a couple weeks back for bringing up Perrault's name (when you were discussing Gratton)?

Either that means you agree with MacT's assessment (I sure hope not) or you too can see that the minuses a guy like Perrault might bring are no worse than a Strudwick, Reddox or Stortini.

I get a kick out of MacT's comment:

"but the question is what you give up minus what you create"

That is his new catch phrase and while it may sound good it makes no sense (when spoken by MacT). Unless you actually can evaluate what the players actually bring to the table you shouldn't be making comments like he did.

I would like to know exactly what he thinks a guy like Perrault would be giving up on a guy like Reddox? What does Reddox (insert any number of other names here)bring to our team that is so valuable?

The fact of the matter is - we have one less point than we did at this exact same time two years ago and 2 more points than we did last year. Are we seeing any type of growth at all?

I am having a tough time listening to MacT's ramblings when it is evident that he can't lead any team (regardless of the roster) to anything other than mediocrity!!!!

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#3 World
January 02 2009, 03:59PM
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I don't know how long the KHL is going to be around from the sounds of things. Isn't that league having financial problems already?

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#4 topshelf
January 02 2009, 04:01PM
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This is awful. Same old story from Mac T. Frankly, I'm sick of it. Shut up and DO SOMETHING already.

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#5 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 04:11PM
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@ rindog: I said Reddox played well in that game, but the Oilers don't have anyone else right now on the roster that can bring more offence, other than Brule. (Excluding Nilsson, Gagner or Cole.)

Cogliano is NOT a winger. He can't play the wing. He gets lost out there, and there is no reason to move him there. IF they don't call up Potulny or Schremp they don't have any other options with Hemsky and Pouliot out.

As for Perrault, he doesn't kill penalties, so having him win faceoffs five-on-five doesn't really help this team, because their PK is their biggest weakness.

Perrault is not the answer in my opinion. If he killed penalties then it would make sense, but five-on-five then you are taking minutes from Cogliano and Gagner and that makes no sense to me.

MacTavish did state he doesn't know his game, so I'm guessing then the scouts are the ones that don't want to bring him in.

Reddox had played all three positions in the past two years, so he can do it. Much like Pouliot or Brule or many others, but Cogliano can't and I don't need to see him on the wing. HE is best when he is in constant motion, and playing the wing would have him standing still much more.

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#6 TV
January 02 2009, 04:14PM
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Polutny has to clear waivers to be called up & I don't think they want to lose him & the offensive depth he gives the Falcons, so I don't think that is really an option? I do hope that KFC (Pouliot) is healed up & can replace Reddox on the 1st line instead.

I would hate to see Grebs go anywhere, I would much rather they sign him to a long term deal in the $3mill range max & trade off Gilbert to use him & another top prospect as the main cogs to some sort of package deal.

x6

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#7 Chris
January 02 2009, 04:18PM
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Roli has been good. Our D has been providing lots of offence. The PK is terrible. How much blame for terrible penalty killing should fall on the current Oiler defence? I've spent so much time being mad at our wussy and ineffective group of forwards I've given the back end a free pass... What is your take Gregor... In a dream world where trades still happen, should the Oilers trade for a shutdown D-Man to help the PK? Or is this all about faceoffs and lack of grit on the front end?

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#8 Dennis
January 02 2009, 04:22PM
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It only took 36 games but now the MSM are on MacT's tail about the PK!!!:)

The Oilers don't block shots anymore and I'd like to know how and when they came about that decision.

Also, it was a bad idea to lose two faceoff men and not replace them in the same summer the NHL decides that every PP begin with an own zone faceoff.

Now, of course if Kevin Lowe didn't know years ago that the cap was going up there's a real possibility that he's also not being informed of rule changes.

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#9 Wanye Gretz
January 02 2009, 04:23PM
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TV wrote:

I would hate to see Grebs go anywhere, I would much rather they sign him to a long term deal in the $3mill range max & trade off Gilbert to use him & another top prospect as the main cogs to some sort of package deal. x6

This statement marks the madness which has infected many of my fellow fans of the Oil. $3 million for Grebs? For what exactly?

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#10 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 04:23PM
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@ TV: They aren't that worried about losing him right now, with most teams at the 23 man limit or close. Remember it was only two years ago that Jason Pominville cleared waivers three different times and wasn't claimed.

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#11 TV
January 02 2009, 04:29PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

TV wrote: I would hate to see Grebs go anywhere, I would much rather they sign him to a long term deal in the $3mill range max & trade off Gilbert to use him & another top prospect as the main cogs to some sort of package deal. x6 This statement marks the madness which has infected many of my fellow fans of the Oil. $3 million for Grebs? For what exactly?

40 pt D'men make that these days & he's got a lot more potential to be tapped into still.

Madness has method 96% of the time & for 1 would think someone such as you realizes this as well..?

x6

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#12 rindog
January 02 2009, 04:31PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

It's a temporary fix!!!!

If they are not going to call up Schremp or Potulny they could have Cogliano step in there for a game or two.

Is Cogliano more valuable to our team playing with Moreau and Brule/Brodziak/Whomever or do you think he might be able to contribute a bit on the topline????

MacT has already proven that he has no issues with playing guys out of position.

If you are telling me that Cogliano can't go play a game or two at wing (when we are in a pinch) then HE really must not be the player everyone thinks he is???

If you are so sure tha Cogliano can't line up on the wing, then let Horcoff take the draw and then shift to the wing???

My point is.....we have options.

I could go on about the brutal player recognition within the organization....but I won't.

The fact of the matter is - we have guys like Schremp and Potulny in the minors. Why hasn't Reddox been sent down and one those guys brought up? Is it because our coach is happy with the job that Reddox has been doing?

I realize we have roster issues but there is still room to do some things???

I am not a Schremp fan, but if there ever was a time to call the guy up - when would that be?

As far as Perrault....If MacT doens't know his game personally, maybe he shouldn't comment. His speculation that other teams haven't signed him so he must be bad is laughable.

Whatever MacT and the staff are doing isn't working. It is up to them to do whatever they can to find out if Perrault (or another guy) might be an option.

If no one will trade with us - then we have to go find a free agent.

This is not all MacT's issue, but he is the guy teaching our players. He is also the guy that has not impoved our organization (on the ice) one bit in the last 3+ years....

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#13 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 04:33PM
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Chris wrote:

Roli has been good. Our D has been providing lots of offence. The PK is terrible. How much blame for terrible penalty killing should fall on the current Oiler defence? I’ve spent so much time being mad at our wussy and ineffective group of forwards I’ve given the back end a free pass… What is your take Gregor… In a dream world where trades still happen, should the Oilers trade for a shutdown D-Man to help the PK? Or is this all about faceoffs and lack of grit on the front end?

Trades don't happen at all right now and that sucks for the entire league. I think the D has to be accountable. Staios play 3:50 a game. Souray 3:49, Horcoff 3:15, Brodziak 2:51 and Moreau 2:15. Those are all veterans and have played this system before, and should be better. There is no cohesion on the PK, and that is inexcusable when you consider they are all veterans.

Their D has been weak, especially in front of the net and that is a problem, but continually they allow too many shots through from the point and that puts the D in a 3 on 2 situation too often.

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#14 rindog
January 02 2009, 04:38PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

I guess I should qualify everything I previosuly said with the notion that MacT doesn't want to expose Brule.

I love Brule and I think he can play there no problem.

But if he can't go up there - we still have other options...

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#15 TV
January 02 2009, 04:38PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

@ TV: They aren’t that worried about losing him right now, with most teams at the 23 man limit or close. Remember it was only two years ago that Jason Pominville cleared waivers three different times and wasn’t claimed.

Fair enough, but i still don't see why they need to lose a depth player like him for a chance at such a short spell Jason.

I could see him sneaking through & I'm not saying he is a coveted player, but they had a few better chances than right now to get him up before & passed on it, so why do it now for such an obvious few cups of coffee?

In turn, I would be quite interested to see how Robbie does without BOTH of his 2 linemates back in the nest? That could be a VERY telling tell in his game & continued development..?

x6

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#16 Tim S
January 02 2009, 04:52PM
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I don't understand not calling up Potulny, our best offensive player went down and he is replaced with Reddox? Really?? I could understand when it was 1 game, maybe even the 2nd game but we now know it is the next 2 and probably more, this reeks of concusion.

Who cares if Potulny needs to clear waivers, last time I looked winning games in the NHL is more important then in Springfield. If he does not clear at least we would be 1 more # away from the dreaded 50 contracts. Can we call him a depth player if we are scared to call him up?? If we were to call him up there would be a very good chance he could replace Reddox as the extra forward long term.

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#17 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 04:55PM
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@ rindog: So now you want to switch guys out of postion. Yet you ripped moving Cole, Penner and Pisani. THey all didn't succeed but now you want to move Cogliano. That is ridiculous. Maybe MacTavish has realized that moving guys doesn't always work.

Just because Cogliano can't play wing, means he isn't a player people think??? So Hemsky only play RW does that make him a lesser player. Cogliano is the only kid who hasn't taken a step back this year. I like his game and he has proven he can contribute without being on the 1st line. You need more than one scoring line. Moving Cogliano is a stupid move.

So you know more than over 300 scouts across the league? None of them think that much of Perrault, since no one has signed him. He isn't the answer either. Don't throw his name out because of one stat. Faceoffs. That is all he brings, and he doesn't kill penalties so it's a moot point. I don't see how MacTavish stating there must be a reason why no one wants him, doesn't seem that laughable.

It was one of the few things I agreed with him today. As for Reddox, like I stated, he shouldn't be on the 1st line. BUt I'd rather have him in the pressbox( and that is where he would have stayed had Hemsky not got hurt) than Schremp at this point. Now that they have had a chance to call up Schremp I could see it, but then he is playing on the RW and he has told me that learning the left side was hard enough. I've stated REddox isn't the answer, thus I can't understand why Brule isn't on that line. He has played 149 NHL games, I'd like to see how he handles the pressure.

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#18 Jordan
January 02 2009, 04:57PM
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Jason: Have you heard of any trades brewing? specifically spezza and vermette for horcoff and visnovsky ?

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#19 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 05:17PM
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Jordan wrote:

Jason: Have you heard of any trades brewing? specifically spezza and vermette for horcoff and visnovsky ?

Nothing like that at all. That would be tough for Ottawa to take on 11.1 million in cap hit for next year.

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#20 CurtisS
January 02 2009, 05:20PM
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@ Gregor

I have one question for you since you watch alot of practices.

Whos in charge of the PK?? I have a sneaky suspicion that Bucky took over the PK this season......Please tell me its not true. Or at least say whos in charge

Mact Bucky Moores Huddy

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#21 topshelf
January 02 2009, 05:41PM
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1 goal off his toe and one disallowed assist (so that isn't a point Craig) in two games on our supposed "first line" which was basically ineffective against Calgary. This earns Reddox more time on the "first-line"? I am with you Gregor. I am baffled as to why the coach wouldn't want to put an actual offensive (semi)threat into the lineup.

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#22 rindog
January 02 2009, 06:09PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Maybe those 300 scouts aren't scouting for a team that is desperate need of a veteran face-off guy???

I am not saying that Perrault is the answer. I threw his name out a few weeks ago as a possible solution. RB has since thrown out Malhotra. The one thing most can agree on is that we don't have that guy on our club right now!!!

As far as Cogliano goes...

I am not asking him to play out of position as a player recognition idea (like the Cole, Penner, Pisani, Moreau hiccups). I am asking him to help our team out short term.

Just for the record - is Cogliano really flourishing in his spot right now on the 3rd line? He has 1 goal (a bank in from behind the net) is -1 and has 5 shots on net in the last 3 games playing with Moreau, etc.

So is it really going to hurt him to move up for a game or two?? Maybe his speed will help shut down the other teams opposition (seeing has how MacT has decided to go #1 line vs #1 line even with Hemsky's absence).

I think the point you are missing is that our coach has grossly misjudged what player should be going into that spot?

Brodziak is a far better option than Reddox for crying out loud!!!!

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#23 Dennis
January 02 2009, 06:32PM
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While it is true that the D isn't clearing the front of the net like they seemingly use to, a lot of the damage is done by the time guys are walking in off the point with the PK forwards having once again been out to lunch.

Lee had a clear lane the other night for the GWG and Iginla was having an easy time of it on NYE and if those shots aren't being blocked or hindered by the forwards then there's shagall the D can do about it.

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#24 MikeP
January 02 2009, 06:40PM
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Jason Gregor is right, what's killing the team isn't the faceoffs (overrated), it's the penalty kill. I'm not sure where I'd put the blame, but I'd angle more towards the forwards than the defence. Souray's been a good special teams guy his entire career, although you can maybe point a finger at Staios having apparently lost a step this year.

Mostly I'd look at Moreau, who seems also to have slown down a bit, and a guy who isn't there: Pisani. Granted, they did well enough last year without Fernando, but defensive play is his bread and butter. Cogliano's getting a fair bit of PK time this season, and that's new to him - can't help. With Stoll's departure, Brodziak's getting more PK time too, and while he's not been bad, he's definitely a step down.

I haven't looked, but what's the SH save percentage relative to the rest of the league?

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#25 Cam
January 02 2009, 06:42PM
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rindog wrote:

@ Jason Gregor: I think the point you are missing is that our coach has grossly misjudged what player should be going into that spot? Brodziak is a far better option than Reddox for crying out loud!!!!

I don't think Jason missed that point at all. I think that was the main tenants of his post above was that he doesn't think Reddox should be there.

You, on the other hand, have suggested that we play players out of positions despite ripping on MacT for doing that very same thing. I agree that moving Cogliano to the wing is a stupid move.

Now you are saying Brodziak - who is the only guy currently in the lineup besides Horc who can actually win half his faceoffs - should play at wing. How is that smarter?

You don't split up 89-26-12, and playing people out of position won't work, so you have the choice of Reddox, Stortini, Strudwick, or Brule. That's not much of a choice, and I believe Gregor is saying that MacT shouldn't discount Brule before he gives him a chance (Jason Correct me if I am wrong).

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#26 humantorch
January 02 2009, 06:45PM
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The Oilers make me want to punch a baby.

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#27 Clarkenstein
January 02 2009, 07:12PM
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humantorch wrote:

The Oilers make me want to punch a baby.

Try some counseling...

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#28 digger12
January 02 2009, 07:31PM
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“So far Liam (Reddox) has done a decent job. He scored a goal the first game, and was instrumental in the goal that was disallowed, so it that would be a couple points in two games so that’s pretty good production. It’s something I’ll entertain but not at this moment.”

I find it kinda funny how MacT defends Reddox playing on the 1st line with that sort of thing, yet had no problem sending Schremp (3 points in 4 games) back to the minors.

I'll admit that Schremp didn't do enough in his last 2 games before being sent down to deserve a spot in the top 6, and it's on Schremp that he hasn't done enough since his demotion to force a callup, but it still smells of a double standard.

I imagine that's something Jason Chimera could relate to, eh?

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#29 Dennis
January 02 2009, 07:32PM
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Earl Weaver's a manager who'd start guys out in the pen before he put them in the rotation and while I certainly like what 67 has done in the A - and let's remember he should be tearing it up considering it's his third pro season - the 27-10 pair are playing top opp so asking anyone to hang in that role is setting one up for failure.

The bottom line is we're just hanging on by our fingernails at EV until 83 gets back and we can go back to using that unit in a power-vs-power role and thus let 89-26 take on the softies.

The PK is a whole different ball of wax. We can't win faceoffs and it doesn't appear there are improvements in-house; but the other thing is the club no longer pressure down-ice - they are quite content to let the other team set up - and they also no longer block shots. I'm not sure why those Oiler staples have been dropped by Gregor and Brownlee could certainly ask.

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#30 rindog
January 02 2009, 07:52PM
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@ Cam:

I realize that Gregor doesn't want Reddox there either.

The thing is - many people questioned Reddox going in there in the first place (Ottawa game). Gregor and others defended the move on air and on here.

My point is that the move should never have happened. We have far better options in that spot and Cogliano is one of them (short term).

I would love to see Brule go in that spot. But judging by Mact's comments - it isn't going to happen. So that leaves me to wonder why we can't (and haven't) had our top 6 or 7 forwards in those top 6 spots at all this year?

If Cogs is able to play on the 3rd line now - why not before the season started? Cogs was arguably 7th on the depth chart to begin the season and would have been the natural choice to go there (especially over Penner).

As far as Brodziak goes, he plays on the 4th line. If anything he might get put out with anotherline in a certain situation to take a draw and then he goes off (or on the PK). He could still do that if he played up on the 1st line.

Regardless of whether or not Cogliano is able to play the wing is irrelevant. We have already switched Schremp from center to wing (within the organization) for the long term. Why can't do it with a more established player for a game or two?

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#31 rindog
January 02 2009, 07:57PM
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CHECK THIS OUT:

Some guy posted this:

Dustin Schatz wrote48 minutes ago This is what im hearing...

Horc, Roli, Lubo, Staios FOR Horton, Vokun, Bouwmeester

Gilbert, Nilsson, Garon, 2nd rounder FOR Phillips, Vermette, 1st rounder

He said he got the info from Paul Kaus (supposed NHL agent).

Just thought everyone would like a good laugh....

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#32 rindog
January 02 2009, 08:04PM
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That should say Paul Kraus....

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#33 mjsh
January 02 2009, 08:41PM
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I posted last night about Gilbert, and Moreau and a pick for Phillips and Vermette. Maybe Kraus reads this...

LOL

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#34 Chris
January 02 2009, 08:52PM
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Thanks to the cap: it is difficult to grab prospects who can contribute during a rebuild; every team needs those guys. Thanks to the cap: it is difficult to trade roster players. Ironically, thanks to the cap: hockey was both saved and destroyed in Edmonton. We all like to think Katz loves the Oil more than his money... but as a business man I'm sure he appreciates the cost certainty the current collective bargaining aggreement provides, hence his willingness to purchase the club. But here is the rub; UFA's will play in Detroit or out east for a fraction of the salary required to lure them to Edmonton... and UFA's are getting younger every year. Couple that with stale coaching, mediocre drafting, terrible management, and demanding/ irritable fans like myself; you have a franchise in decline. Steady decline. My uneducated, unsolicited advice to Katz would be to blow up the management structure, hire the best people money can buy, get big and mean on the ice, rebuild with real talent through the draft. Five years of losing games and winning fights might be what it takes to save Oiler hockey and Katz can relaunch an actually competative team into RX2. It would be nice to actually HAVE a five year plan instead of a President/GM who lies about having a five year plan.

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#35 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 08:59PM
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Chris wrote:

Five years of losing games and winning fights might be what it takes to save Oiler hockey and Katz can relaunch an actually competative team into RX2. It would be nice to actually HAVE a five year plan instead of a President/GM who lies about having a five year plan.

While I don't agree to the 5 years of losing...(isn't that technically what is going on now), I strongly agree that this whole management team needs to be kicked out(aside from Tambellini), and get this rolling in the right direction. I don't think Katz has the hockey smarts yet but he better learn it soon. I posted before but does anybody think Katz should go down to the rink and kick a few garbage cans???!!

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#36 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 09:05PM
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CurtisS wrote:

@ Gregor I have one question for you since you watch alot of practices. Whos in charge of the PK?? I have a sneaky suspicion that Bucky took over the PK this season……Please tell me its not true. Or at least say whos in charge Mact Bucky Moores Huddy

It is a combination of Huddy and Bucky, but MacTavish, like last year still makes final decisions. He oversees every aspect of the team. What is funny is that their system was a passive one last year, and now they are still passive and it isn't working. They have to make some adjustments. I'd suggest being more aggressive on the PK to start.

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#37 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 09:10PM
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Unfortunatley boys and girls this up and down roller coaster won't stop anytime soon... I didn't want to agree with RobinB a few weeks ago but he hit the nail on the head...we are too high when they win and too low when they lose. I guess that is just a by product of winning 5 cups...we are still(after 19 years) accustomed to winning and that is all we want to see. We went dark for a year so that Edmonton could afford to pay for top players. Who do we have that is an elite player other than Hemsky??? When Hemsky's contract is up does anybody believe he will sign again...sadly NO! I can't believe that nobody wants to play here!!

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#38 The Warrior
January 02 2009, 09:13PM
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MacCrap has to go, he says PK is coachable? well he isn't doing his job. Its a sad state when TW can't enjoy oilers hockey with a cap team. We all got excited when changes happened in the off season from players to Management. Now how about the coach before TW thinks it's too late.

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#39 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 09:13PM
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@ Jason Gregor: Totally agree. There is something to be said about staying in the lanes and sticking with your assignments, but I think the best power plays out there are the agressive ones...make the other teams panic with the puck a bit instead of us looking like we can only skate in a 8 foot box!!

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#40 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 09:15PM
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Dennis wrote:

The bottom line is we’re just hanging on by our fingernails at EV until 83 gets back and we can go back to using that unit in a power-vs-power role and thus let 89-26 take on the softies. Very true. The PK is a whole different ball of wax. We can’t win faceoffs and it doesn’t appear there are improvements in-house; but the other thing is the club no longer pressure down-ice - they are quite content to let the other team set up - and they also no longer block shots. I’m not sure why those Oiler staples have been dropped by Gregor and Brownlee could certainly ask.

This is where I will disagree a bit. Last season the PK was very passive in their own zone. I just four Oiler games from last year over the holidays. (I know, lame, but I wanted a comparison) and the opposition spent lots of time in the offensive zone but never scored. I thihnk they got a bit fortunate with their results, and now they are using the same passive PK and are getting killed. As for blocking shots, Reasoner and Stoll to a lesser extent were good at it. It is a skill set, but also a mindset. The PK is nothing more than positioning and hard work within the frame work of the style of play you instile. I think that the system is flawed, but they also haven't replaced Reasoner and Stoll's shot blocking skill and willingness.

You are correct that in the last half of the season the Oilers pressured down ice much more, especially in stationary situations. If the opposing team swung with speed out of their zone, the Oilers swung with them and forced them to make a drop pass. That is where they got lots of turnovers. They were more aggressive in the neutral zone too, and now they are not. I have no idea why. I only get one of two questions a day in a scrum, so it might take a few days to get all the answers to the woes that are the Oil.

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#41 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 09:16PM
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R-DAWG wrote:

best power plays

SORRY I meant best PK

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#42 KayleW
January 02 2009, 09:17PM
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I don't understand all the calls to trade Moreau! He might not be having his best year but we are seriously lacking in grit and I don't think trading him helps us at all. We have some softish puck moving d-men and plenty of small forwards to use as trade bait. I don't think getting rid of heart and character is the right approach. I think our PK problems come down to coaching and grit (or lack thereof). Management needs to find a coach who can teach these guys how to PK, the players have to find the grit and determination to execute it! Sounds really simple I know!

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#43 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 09:19PM
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rindog wrote:

@ Cam: I realize that Gregor doesn’t want Reddox there either. The thing is - many people questioned Reddox going in there in the first place (Ottawa game). Gregor and others defended the move on air and on here. I defended his one game...I said he played well and since he scored it was hard to defend his spot there. I also said it SHOULD have been a one game thing. I never said I wanted or expected him to stay there. Brule is the ONLY and best option right now. Brule is better than Brodziak because he is more skilled, and better than Cogliano because of the position. As for Cogliano's numbers in three games with Moreau, that is too short of an argument. He is a ten goal guy, one goal every three games, and that is what he has done so his production is just fine. I don't expect him to be more than a 25 goal guy just yet.
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#44 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 09:20PM
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THIS is what I wrote from last post...somehow I screwed it up and didn't separate the quote I was referencing.

I said he played well and since he scored it was hard to defend his spot there. I also said it SHOULD have been a one game thing. I never said I wanted or expected him to stay there. Brule is the ONLY and best option right now. Brule is better than Brodziak because he is more skilled, and better than Cogliano because of the position. As for Cogliano’s numbers in three games with Moreau, that is too short of an argument. He is a ten goal guy, one goal every three games, and that is what he has done so his production is just fine. I don’t expect him to be more than a 25 goal guy just yet.

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#45 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 09:25PM
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If Mactavish has all these options with available call ups and we know him to be a constant line changer, why is it so difficult to get each guy up here for a 5 game stint. If things ain't workin now how much worse can it get. Plus you know your options for later in case of injuries.

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#46 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 09:28PM
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Is the reason Reddox is still up here because they had to sign him to the league minimum and they want to get their moneys worth??

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#47 Jason Gregor
January 02 2009, 09:33PM
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R-DAWG wrote:

Is the reason Reddox is still up here because they had to sign him to the league minimum and they want to get their moneys worth??

HE is on a two-way deal so it wouldn't matter, he makes just under 50,000 in minors....

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#48 Dennis
January 02 2009, 09:37PM
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Cool enough, Gregor.

Keep digging and see just why in the shag they changed their approach.

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#49 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 09:37PM
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@ Jason Gregor: Thanks, I was just wondering because if was making lots it may be harder to send him down...so having said that why don't hey give someone else the same chance?? Until Pisani gets back, which I think will be a while, we have a few guys that could be given a shot?? It sounds easier than it is I know but why can' they just bring guys up and down and try them out??

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#50 R-DAWG
January 02 2009, 09:39PM
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R-DAWG wrote:

because if was making lots it may be harder

because if HE was making lots it may be harder to send him down....I need to lie down!

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