Mighty Oil need quality scoring chances

Jason Gregor
November 03 2009 12:25PM

The Oilers have the day off before getting back on the ice to prepare for the New York Rangers. I wonder what they will do on their off day.

Maybe they should go to the gun range and take shooting practice, because the Oilers either can’t shoot straight or won’t shoot. They have out-shot the opposition a grand total of ONE time in their first 15 games, and that was the first game of the year v. the Flames.

Since then, they have tied in shots twice; 28 apiece in a SO loss to Calgary and 32 a side in a 6-4 win over Columbus. In the other 12 games they have been out-shot and out-chanced significantly. They’ve averaged 23.5 shots while surrendering 35.6 shots a game in those 12 games.

Do they really expect to win when they give up 12 more shots a game?

Shots don’t always reflect how many quality scoring chances a team generates, but the fact is the Oilers don’t generate lots of quality chances, and lately they don’t get garbage goals either.

You have to earn your breaks in the NHL, and the Oilers aren’t doing that.

The defencemen haven’t been able to consistently get shots through from the point. Did you see Brendan Witt’s two goals last night? They weren’t Sourayesque by any stretch. He just put them on net and got lucky.

And the Oiler forwards aren’t winning any battles down low. They haven’t been making smart dump-ins either. They dump the puck when no one is on the forecheck, and it results in an easy turnover for the opposition. Right now the Oilers offensive problems are more because of a lack of brains rather than effort.

Insanity

How many times does Robert Nilsson have to make a blind back pass to the opposition before he realizes that it’s a low percentage play? Nilsson is now a team worst -9, with one empty-net goal in ten games. He doesn’t play physically, he doesn’t score and he doesn’t want to make the smart play. He isn’t a puppy — being cute won’t warm the hearts of his coaches or the fans.

He just doesn’t seem to understand what he needs to do to contribute in the NHL. If his high-risk plays were working and he was producing, the coaches would still cringe, but they would see results. The fact is he isn’t producing and his cute passes aren’t working.

I think we saw the end of Nilsson last night in Long Island.

Mike Comrie will return to the lineup on Thursday, and barring another flu attack or multiple injuries I don’t see how or why Pat Quinn would put Nilsson back in the lineup.

Staios improving

Steve Staios could play as early as Thursday v. the Rangers, and that's why Theo Peckham was reassigned to Springfield. Staios has long been a whipping boy for many of you in the Nation, but I’m guessing you’re begging for his return now. He isn’t the best passer, but he competes harder than most of their current blueliners, and his grit, determination and willingness to do anything to win will be a welcome return to the backend.

He won’t help the offensive woes of the Oilers, but he should give them a bit more fight shift-to-shift.

With a woeful 1-5 record on the road, and five of their next six on the road, the Oilers have to find some chemistry quickly, or once again they will find themselves in chase mode in the playoff picture.

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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 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 12:30PM
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Well the flu excuse is just about done, but now maybe Horcoff is out? And while some people want that I don't see how we are ever going to get back on track.

And that picture above is exactly what we are doing, shooting it right at the opposition and not the back of the net.

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#2 Librarian Mike
November 03 2009, 12:31PM
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~C'mon Jason, he's just playing 'Rob Nilsson' hockey.~

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#3 Offthebandwagon
November 03 2009, 12:36PM
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I hope its the last we see of Nilson, or at least the last we see of the so-called kid-line. They were brutal last night. I thought Quinn was into balanced line-ups. To me it seemed like a hail-mary attempt to generate offence that backfired miserably.

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#4 Poo Czar
November 03 2009, 12:38PM
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Gregor thinks Nilsson is cute! *tee hee!*

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#5 Milli
November 03 2009, 12:41PM
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I too hope for Nilson to be gone and Staois to be back in. We need some crust, we need to start to drive the net, where is that team that played the first few games gone? Any word on Stone? Any word on Horc?

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#6 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 03 2009, 12:45PM
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Poo Czar wrote:

Gregor thinks Nilsson is cute! *tee hee!*

My girlfriend's been calling PDP "Pretty Dustin Penner" lately. I draw the line when she starts calling him "Big Sexy".

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#7 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 12:50PM
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This has been a frustrating start to the season. Last night the Oilers finally got a lucky goal and guess what? The Islanders get two. Maybe I'm blind or something but this team is pretty much the same team that we had last year. Sure Penner and Smid are playing great but that's just natural progression. I think for Penner it has more to do with almost getting traded and actually working out in the offseason more than the fact that MacT isn't the coach. I have not seen the Pat Quinn effect yet.

If this continues a lot of people are going to look stupid for blaming it all on MacT. Maybe it was time for a change but the coaching staff shouldn't have been the only one. This team is wrong in so many places and if things keep going like this we might have to start rebuilding again. Guys that we thought will lead us to a new future are not looking so good right now i.e. Cogs, Nilsson, Gilbert. Gagner is the only one who has a bright future in my mind. So much for the optimism after 2007-2008.

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#8 Giggsunited
November 03 2009, 12:52PM
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I dont think Quinn will deal with another month of this crap! I can't believe Mac T dealt with this garbage for 2 years. If anyone says it's too early to jump on them then maybe you didnt watch one game last year. I was not blinded by the 6-2-1 record (actually maybe a little bit) because we still got out played and the last 5 losses gave me that cringe/rip my F&^%king eys out feeling that I had last year. Why is it when one player steps it up a notch (Penner), we have to have a player blow jock straps in return? (Gilbert). I'm not suggesting we blow up the whole team and trade them all, or strip the C off of Moreau like some stupid ideas that have been tossed out there, I'm suggesting we should..................... maybe there not stupid after all. Thats my rant for the year!

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#9 Ogden Brother
November 03 2009, 12:59PM
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Giggsunited wrote:

I dont think Quinn will deal with another month of this crap! I can't believe Mac T dealt with this garbage for 2 years. If anyone says it's too early to jump on them then maybe you didnt watch one game last year. I was not blinded by the 6-2-1 record (actually maybe a little bit) because we still got out played and the last 5 losses gave me that cringe/rip my F&^%king eys out feeling that I had last year. Why is it when one player steps it up a notch (Penner), we have to have a player blow jock straps in return? (Gilbert). I'm not suggesting we blow up the whole team and trade them all, or strip the C off of Moreau like some stupid ideas that have been tossed out there, I'm suggesting we should..................... maybe there not stupid after all. Thats my rant for the year!

It's a little early yet, but if the team is in the 10/11/12 spot (and more importantly playing like they have been the past 2 weeks) around the TDD, then it's probably time to blow it up and go full rebuild.

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#10 Nick Dynasty
November 03 2009, 01:00PM
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In addition to the lack of offense, the turnovers in our end are just killing us. Maybe Huddy is the coach we should have kept from the MacT era and not Bucky. Huddy turned Gilbert and Grebeshkov into the puck moving defensemen we saw last year, and look at them now. I was expecting Grebber to lead the OIL in +/- this year after finishing +12 last year and yet only 15 games in he's already at -8.

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#11 Giggsunited
November 03 2009, 01:02PM
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How is it early still? you mean waiting since Oct 08 is still jumping on them too soon? lol

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#12 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 01:02PM
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The Good news is next year we have 3 guys, (Eberle, MPS, Omark) who could replace some of the slackers on this team. Let's just say that it won't be that difficult for them to crack the lineup. All they have to do is be able to shoot a puck towards the net and they automatically are better then 90% of the players on this team.

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#13 Bar Qu
November 03 2009, 01:07PM
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Isn't the problem that the team is giving up sooooo many shots? Not that they are not getting enough shots? I mean, you can still outshoot another team with 20 shots, if you limit them to 17. Right?

Calling for more offense on this team is the equivalent of chasing big name superstars in the off-season and ignoring low-priced quality UFAs who might really help the team. It is simply a strategy that doesn't work and ignores the real problems of the Oil.

But, that's just my opinion.

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#14 freeze
November 03 2009, 01:07PM
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There was no urgency in their game until the last few minutes; not good enough to win in any sport let alone make a two goal comeback. Quinn's presser last night was classic, he layed it out there. Even some good pokes at Wanye's goat.

You hit the nail on the head, Jason. None of the point or slot shots get through to the net. No slappers or even wristers. Brutal and hard to watch. No wonder the shot totals are so low in every game. Reminds me very much of last year.

*shudder*

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#15 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 01:07PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

It's a little early yet, but if the team is in the 10/11/12 spot (and more importantly playing like they have been the past 2 weeks) around the TDD, then it's probably time to blow it up and go full rebuild.

Too late to do a full rebuild, they should've done it a couple years back but it is too late now.

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#16 Offthebandwagon
November 03 2009, 01:08PM
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This year`s start closely mirrors last year`s in many ways. After 15 games, the win percentage is much the same. The only real changes have been in some of the line-ups and the approach Quinn has taken to line management--that`s why I found the reuniting of the kid line and the Hemmer-Horc-Penner line disconcerting. It seemed like Quinn was abandoning some of the strategical approach he brought into the season. As for the off-season movement, I think there must be a three-year plan in place here or something. Allow some of these contracts to expire, resign the key youth (I would say Gagner and Brulet at this point), and develop Eberle and Svenson. Unless we all want to be Leafs fans, patience is a virtue.

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#17 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 01:09PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

The Good news is next year we have 3 guys, (Eberle, MPS, Omark) who could replace some of the slackers on this team. Let's just say that it won't be that difficult for them to crack the lineup. All they have to do is be able to shoot a puck towards the net and they automatically are better then 90% of the players on this team.

I don't see Eberle and Omark helping this team. The problem we had is too many small guys that play to small, adding two more isn't going to help us anytime soon. Do any of those three play 2-way hockey? Because that is another major problem that we have from most our skilled forwards.

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#18 freeze
November 03 2009, 01:10PM
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Nick Dynasty wrote:

In addition to the lack of offense, the turnovers in our end are just killing us. Maybe Huddy is the coach we should have kept from the MacT era and not Bucky. Huddy turned Gilbert and Grebeshkov into the puck moving defensemen we saw last year, and look at them now. I was expecting Grebber to lead the OIL in +/- this year after finishing +12 last year and yet only 15 games in he's already at -8.

Really? I think Huddy was one that really needed to go. Our D is always touted as a strength but Quinn doesn't think so. In several pressers he has talked about our D not playing properly. They always want to carry the puck instead of making the quick outlet pass. They did learn that from somewhere.

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#19 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 01:12PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

Isn't the problem that the team is giving up sooooo many shots? Not that they are not getting enough shots? I mean, you can still outshoot another team with 20 shots, if you limit them to 17. Right?

Calling for more offense on this team is the equivalent of chasing big name superstars in the off-season and ignoring low-priced quality UFAs who might really help the team. It is simply a strategy that doesn't work and ignores the real problems of the Oil.

But, that's just my opinion.

Even when we were scoring we had an unsustainable shooting percentage. Recently it has caught up to us and we've been getting out-shot out-chanced and putting up zeroes. Your not going to allow less then 20 shots per a game. Not in this league.

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#20 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 01:14PM
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freeze wrote:

Really? I think Huddy was one that really needed to go. Our D is always touted as a strength but Quinn doesn't think so. In several pressers he has talked about our D not playing properly. They always want to carry the puck instead of making the quick outlet pass. They did learn that from somewhere.

Add to it that they don't know where to be and what to do with their sticks when they don't have the puck and I think we can see where part of the problem is. Everyone thought that Souray, Lubo, Gilbert and Grebs would be fine in the top 4, but how the hell can you expect 4 offesnive d-men to handle the pressure of the course of a year? Said a long time ago, that one of those 4 need to be moved.

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#21 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 01:14PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I don't see Eberle and Omark helping this team. The problem we had is too many small guys that play to small, adding two more isn't going to help us anytime soon. Do any of those three play 2-way hockey? Because that is another major problem that we have from most our skilled forwards.

Well not this team. Next year's team. Pretty much every small guy on this team with the exception of Gagner needs to go. Then we can bring in some bigger players somehow and add one of those players to complement the team.

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#22 Giggsunited
November 03 2009, 01:14PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

Even when we were scoring we had an unsustainable shooting percentage. Recently it has caught up to us and we've been getting out-shot out-chanced and putting up zeroes. Your not going to allow less then 20 shots per a game. Not in this league.

Deja vu! Is this a 08 thread? I swear its 09'?

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#23 Shawn Cronin
November 03 2009, 01:21PM
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Backup Goalies: Good stuff. copy the link and paste it into yur browser.

http://communities.canada.com/theprovince/blogs/kurtenblog/archive/2009/11/03/list-getting-to-know-your-backup-goalies.aspx

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#24 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 01:23PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

Well not this team. Next year's team. Pretty much every small guy on this team with the exception of Gagner needs to go. Then we can bring in some bigger players somehow and add one of those players to complement the team.

So we have Gagner, O'Sullivan, Cogliano, Comrie and Brule(who I don't consider small, because he plays bigger.) Eberle and Omark might be better then Comrie next year, but even that is a stretch. Eberle and Omark need a year of AHL to play with men, so that they can use to it otherwise we are going to end up with more Gagner and Coglianos that get thrown around their first few years in the NHL. Just don't think we should even be thinking of those guys making the NHL next year.

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#25 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 01:25PM
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Maybe Eberle does but Omark is already playing against men and has been for a while and so is MPS.

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#26 MattL
November 03 2009, 01:26PM
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freeze wrote:

Really? I think Huddy was one that really needed to go. Our D is always touted as a strength but Quinn doesn't think so. In several pressers he has talked about our D not playing properly. They always want to carry the puck instead of making the quick outlet pass. They did learn that from somewhere.

Are you kidding? Gilbert and Grebs were WAY better last year. Under Huddy, our defense was always overachieving IMO.

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#27 Giggsunited
November 03 2009, 01:27PM
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Why is Omark even a option with people right now? because of youtube?

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#28 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 01:29PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

Maybe Eberle does but Omark is already playing against men and has been for a while and so is MPS.

Not sure that the KHL or SEL is as physical as north american hockey. If anyone I give MPS the edge, he is doing quite well in his league and has more size.

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#29 Offthebandwagon
November 03 2009, 01:30PM
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@Jmask5

I don`t see Omark ever helping this team. He`s too small, unless we suddenly aquire a whole team of bigger, stronger play-makers to make space for him. I think next year Svenson and Eberle will have a decent shot if they both develop as they should. Eberle could have almost made it this year if there was space for him.

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#30 Hemmercules
November 03 2009, 01:33PM
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Hopefully we don't have to use Nilson again, that guy is so frustrating. I still can't figure out why Quinn keeps giving the kid line a shot after they were so terrible in the Detroit and Boston games???

I'm praying that Staios will make some sort of impact but I fear he won't. Post concussion Staios can't be any better than pre concussion Staios. Look for a few extra panick slaps around the boards for sure. If he can take some minutes from Gilbert/Grebs/Chorney and play tough that will definately help though.

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#31 lol
November 03 2009, 01:38PM
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With the lack of consistency, scoring chances and overall underachievement, clearly this is all Craig MacTavish's fault. I mean look at the constant changes in line combination's. People say the changes are due to the "flu" or "Swine" flu, but obviously this is not the real reason behind the line combination's. Remember last year with the constant changes in the lineup? Who's doing was that? Craig MacTavish. Coincidence? Hardly.

Obviously MacT was able to infiltrate the Coach's playbook and replace the real notes with his own. With Quinn and Renney behind the bench and with the number of elite players that we have finally relieved of the "Defense First" mentality of MacT, the Oilers should be 15-0-0 right now. But because of that damn MacTavish and his sabotage, the Oilers are where they are now. MacTavish should be removed from broadcasting on TSN. FIRE MAC T.

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#32 Ender
November 03 2009, 01:38PM
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Scorecoff Hemmercules wrote:

Hopefully we don't have to use Nilson again, that guy is so frustrating. I still can't figure out why Quinn keeps giving the kid line a shot after they were so terrible in the Detroit and Boston games???

Just a guess, but I think Quinn was basically saying to Nilsson 'This is your last chance; sink or swim'. There was no way Nilsom could play on the top line, so Quinn gave him what he thought would be Nilsson's next best shot at succeeding. I think we saw how it went. Gregor is right. Pretty sure we'll see Reddox back in the line-up before we see Nilsson again.

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#33 Bar Qu
November 03 2009, 01:40PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

Even when we were scoring we had an unsustainable shooting percentage. Recently it has caught up to us and we've been getting out-shot out-chanced and putting up zeroes. Your not going to allow less then 20 shots per a game. Not in this league.

Jmask please meet point. Point jmask.

You play better defensive hockey then you do not have to worry as much about having a 4 goal night to beat the opposition. Yeah, 2-1 wins aren't as 'exciting' as 6-5 shoot-outs, but some teams have done very well with that for a long time.

(NJ, MN among others)

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#34 Offthebandwagon
November 03 2009, 01:41PM
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@Hemmercules

I agree that it can`t hurt. Staios and Stone coming back in should add some grit. They aren`t exactly game-breakers, but we do know what they bring. Plus, if what we need is players driving the net, Stone was doing this very well. It was making some room for O`Sullivan. The components some of these players were bringing is underrated.

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#35 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 01:42PM
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Ender wrote:

Scorecoff Hemmercules wrote:

Hopefully we don't have to use Nilson again, that guy is so frustrating. I still can't figure out why Quinn keeps giving the kid line a shot after they were so terrible in the Detroit and Boston games???

Just a guess, but I think Quinn was basically saying to Nilsson 'This is your last chance; sink or swim'. There was no way Nilsom could play on the top line, so Quinn gave him what he thought would be Nilsson's next best shot at succeeding. I think we saw how it went. Gregor is right. Pretty sure we'll see Reddox back in the line-up before we see Nilsson again.

At this point I really wonder if Nilsson cares? He already knows that we can't trade him, because he would've been gone by now. What's the worse that can happen we send him to the minors and he gets paid 2mil to play in the AHL? Odds are once his contract is done he is gone back to europe where his style is better suited.

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#36 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 01:46PM
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Offthebandwagon wrote:

I agree that it can`t hurt. Staios and Stone coming back in should add some grit. They aren`t exactly game-breakers, but we do know what they bring. Plus, if what we need is players driving the net, Stone was doing this very well. It was making some room for O`Sullivan. The components some of these players were bringing is underrated.

"making room"

I think that is exactly what was happening when we had someone on every line that was hitting. The hits open up room and they wear the opponent down. But what can you do? With the flu and injuries it isn't exactly a time where you go and replace Stone for a week.

The team has already adressed the lack of physical depth by adding physical career AHL players in Springfield. It may not look like much now, but if our AHLers play with more grit, you don't think they will play like that when they are called up?

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#37 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 01:52PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

Jmask please meet point. Point jmask.

You play better defensive hockey then you do not have to worry as much about having a 4 goal night to beat the opposition. Yeah, 2-1 wins aren't as 'exciting' as 6-5 shoot-outs, but some teams have done very well with that for a long time.

(NJ, MN among others)

Sorry, I'm not following you here. You think the Oilers should win games 2-1 because Minny and New Jersey have had success doing that?? Are you high by any chance? First of all that style hasn't done crap since the lockout. Look at the teams that have won the Cup recently, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Carolina. All those team could score goals in bunches and took shots in bunches and had both good defense and offense. Being a one dimensional team won't get you anywhere.

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#38 Hemmercules
November 03 2009, 01:56PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

At this point I really wonder if Nilsson cares? He already knows that we can't trade him, because he would've been gone by now. What's the worse that can happen we send him to the minors and he gets paid 2mil to play in the AHL? Odds are once his contract is done he is gone back to europe where his style is better suited.

Good calls from both of you. Its crazy that Reddox would be a welcome change right now if he played with some intensity. I keep forgetting about Stone too, like you said above, he makes alot of room.

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#39 Hemmercules
November 03 2009, 01:58PM
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comment #38 should include Enter the Dragon's comment as well. not sure why it didn't quote it??

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#40 Ogden Brother
November 03 2009, 02:08PM
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~Just what we need, an injection of youth!!~

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#41 Ogden Brother
November 03 2009, 02:09PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

It's never too late, trade Souray/Vish and maybe Hemmer, collect top 5 picks for the next year or two and your off.

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#42 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 02:15PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

It's never too late, trade Souray/Vish and maybe Hemmer, collect top 5 picks for the next year or two and your off.

I'd prefer to keep Hemmer as he is what 26? He'd be pretty close to his prime by the time the rebuild would be complete. Not sure why we can't continue how we are right now.

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#43 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 02:16PM
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Unfortunately there are no teams willing to give up potential top 5s anymore. The price is way too high.

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#44 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 03 2009, 02:19PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I'd prefer to keep Hemmer as he is what 26? He'd be pretty close to his prime by the time the rebuild would be complete. Not sure why we can't continue how we are right now.

To add kinda hard to move Horcoff, Souary and Lubo with their NTC/NMC.

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#45 Ogden Brother
November 03 2009, 02:22PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I'd prefer to keep Hemmer as he is what 26? He'd be pretty close to his prime by the time the rebuild would be complete. Not sure why we can't continue how we are right now.

Ya I'd hesistate on moving him, but if the return was suffecient (say similar to the TO package for Kessel from a bottom feeder). I'd field offers.

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#46 Ogden Brother
November 03 2009, 02:23PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

Unfortunately there are no teams willing to give up potential top 5s anymore. The price is way too high.

I'm talking about what would be our own top 5 pick(s).

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#47 Ogden Brother
November 03 2009, 02:24PM
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Can't see Horc going anywhere, but I don't think you'd have too much trouble convincing Lubo/Souray to go somewhere warm where they can win.

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#48 Ogden Brother
November 03 2009, 02:24PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

To add kinda hard to move Horcoff, Souary and Lubo with their NTC/NMC.

Can't see Horc going anywhere, but I don't think you'd have too much trouble convincing Lubo/Souray to go somewhere warm where they can win.

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#49 BarryS
November 03 2009, 02:25PM
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You know, I realize the players have families and all but the way they played lately seems to me they need practice time more than day off time. Given the number of bad passes you'd at least think they could have a few dozen passing drills today. Someone should make some short of long distance shock machine so the coach could push a button and gave a player a shock everytime he makes a dumb play. Of course a couple players would end up glowing like lightbulbs but then maybe they could see the puck better.

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#50 Jmask5
November 03 2009, 02:31PM
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BarryS wrote:

You know, I realize the players have families and all but the way they played lately seems to me they need practice time more than day off time. Given the number of bad passes you'd at least think they could have a few dozen passing drills today. Someone should make some short of long distance shock machine so the coach could push a button and gave a player a shock everytime he makes a dumb play. Of course a couple players would end up glowing like lightbulbs but then maybe they could see the puck better.

Yeah what is it with this team and the bad passing. Its one of the first things you learn how to do in Hockey and we here we have Veterans who can't make a consistent 10ft pass. Probably one of the biggest reasons we aren't getting shots and are being kept to the outside is the amount of bad passes.

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