GDB 52: Moving in Different Directions

Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009 10:44AM

NHL/

With Lubomir Visnovsky already injured, and Tom Gilbert likely out after getting hurt against St. Louis, the Oilers have recalled their best AHL prospect, defenseman Theo Peckham. Peckham has two NHL games to his credit, one against Columbus at the tail end of last season, and one against Pittsburgh earlier this year.

J-F Jacques is once again ready to play, so he takes up a roster spot while on his two-week conditioning stint with Springfield. His activation and the recall of Peckham necessitated sending down Ryan Potulny.

Also injured for the game against Detroit this afternoon is Shawn Horcoff, the only centre on the team with more than two seasons of NHL experience. With him out, the top line spot between Penner and Hemsky needed filling, something Kyle Brodziak did for the end of the St. Louis game. Craig MacTavish’s comments before the game indicated that he was likely to leave Brodziak in that spot, at least to begin with.

It’s an opportunity for Brodziak (the first words out of Brodziak’s mouth when asked were “It’s a big opportunity for me”). I’ve commented before on how he’s been used this season, but it’s worth repeating. For the vast majority of the year, he’s been saddled with inferior linemates (MacIntyre, Stortini, etc.) but that’s only part of the problem. Brodziak’s been starting in the defensive zone more than any other player on the team. Of his 314 non-neutral zone draws, 219 of them have been in the defensive end. That means that he’s had 124 more defensive zone draws than offensive zone draws; the next nearest Oiler is Shawn Horcoff with 86. No other player on the team has more than 40.

It’s a measure of the trust that MacTavish has in those two players that they are his go-to guys for defensive zone faceoffs.

Checking in on the other end of the blender, Marc Pouliot will centre Steve MacIntyre (asked about MacIntyre playing against Detroit, MacTavish said “we don’t have anyone else”) and Zach Stortini on the fourth line tonight, and MacTavish hinted that he didn’t trust them to play much at all against Detroit, saying that they’d likely sub in on other lines. After saying that he didn’t like Pouliot at centre, MacTavish expanded that he felt Pouliot, for all his improvements ‘needed something he can provide every night, whether it be a better defensive game, a more physical game, or more consistent offensive contribution’. He summed up by saying that while Pouliot was improving, but that his game on a whole was “vanilla”.

The bottom line though is that this Edmonton Oilers team isn’t at nearly the same level of the Red Wings when healthy, and they aren’t close to that tonight.

On the Red Wings front, significant players in Tomas Holmstron (groin) and Brad Stuart (ribs) won’t be playing this afternoon. Marian Hossa, who turned down a massive contract from the Oilers this off-season, is leading the Red Wings in goals (28) and comes to town amid rumours that he and fellow pending unrestricted free agent Johan Franzen are negotiating extensions with the Wings. The real news is that the Red Wings are hoping to sign the two “for a package price of around US$10-million per season.” The other thing worth noting is that Albertan Chris Osgood, suffering through a poor season, is not expected to start tonight, making room for ex-Oiler Ty Conklin, who has been very good over the past two seasons.

Because I’m incapable of predicting an Oilers loss, I’m going to call it a 3-2 win with Kyle Brodziak leading the way offensively and Dwayne Roloson making 436 saves (give or take 5). Chime in with your predictions below.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#51 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

seriously if we lose this by more than 5 goals is somebody going to get fired?

Avatar
#52 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
February 07 2009, 01:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I want to here Mac Ts post game today. I am hoping the wings win big time maybe then someone at the head office will do something,thats wish full thinking on my part, management and the coaching staff have their heads so far up their asses that they cant see what evryone else sees that this team is brutal!!!!

Avatar
#53 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I think I'm blaming Stortini for that third goal against, although the camera angle wasn't good enough to be sure.

Anyone else notice how Brodziak keeps getting tossed out for those defensive zone draws?

Avatar
#54 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

It's pretty sad that Chelios is playing better than any Oiler.

What does that say about this team?

Avatar
#55 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Brodziak is going to get a TON of faceoffs today.

Avatar
#56 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: He doesn't like schremp or Brule either Why dosent he play them.

Avatar
#57 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis:

Brodziak keeps jumping the gun on the draws.

Avatar
#58 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: I think the wingers are f n him up..

Avatar
#59 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Bru Man:

Brule is a waivers issue, pure and simple.

Compare Pouliot's AHL play to Schremp's some day and you'll see the rather clear difference.

Why he isn't playing Potulny's a better question, but while Pouliot's looked bad so far, he's shown some stuff before and he probably wouldn't clear wiavers.

Avatar
#60 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Pouliot sure looks lost out there though.

Avatar
#61 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

And what the hell is up with Sportsnet blocking the HD feed for the west? There's nothing like viewing a team sucking in HD.

Avatar
#62 Deans
February 07 2009, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: Brozs has been terrible at the def zone draws all year. While I havent seen any stats on this I believe his off. draws have been decent.

Avatar
#63 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan Willis wrote:

Pouliot sure looks lost out there though.

He's been lost since his concussion. He's not worthy of a roster spot at this time IMO.

Avatar
#64 DK0
February 07 2009, 01:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

WE WANT TEN!

Too soon?

Avatar
#65 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The reason Poutlny is sent down is because JFJ is on the roster on a reconditioning stint so he takes up a space and they needed to bring up Pekham so they had no room for him...

Plain and simple Oilers have to make a move.

Avatar
#66 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Deans:

His faceoff percentage overall is over 50%, although I haven't seen a breakdown on offensive/defensive zone success rates.

I would suggest that losing a defensive draw is much more obvious given his wingers and the sheer volume of faceoffs he takes, though. Without any evidence, I'm inclined to think he's over 50% in his own zone.

Avatar
#67 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Fiveandagame:

That's the reason alright. My question is why Potulny and not Reddox?

Avatar
#68 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: Ya your right...Does Potulny have waiver issues after 10 games??

Avatar
#69 Deans
February 07 2009, 01:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: Good point on his wingers. PLaying with two knucledraggers can definatly hurt the ole stats column.

Avatar
#70 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Fiveandagame: That’s the reason alright. My question is why Potulny and not Reddox?

Thats been the question all year Jonathan....all Year....

Avatar
#71 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Bru Man:

I think so (I bleieve it's 10 games or 30 days), but I believe that only applies for consecutive games, not total games played, whereas Brule's getting close to his 160 NHL GP limit.

Unless Potulny plays in 10 consecutive games or is with the team for 30 consecutive days, I don't believe he needs to clear waivers. If anyone can confirm or deny that, I'd appreciate it.

Avatar
#72 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Also, Valterri Filpulla falls over really easy.

Seriously, I'd wager I could have stayed on my feet after that "crosscheck".

Avatar
#73 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 07 2009, 01:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Imagine my disgust when I come into work to slack off and watch the game....3-0 Wings??????????? uggg.

Avatar
#74 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

4 - zilch.

This is a fun game.

Avatar
#75 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

wow.

Avatar
#76 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Detroits 4th liners on the PP.....sigh

Avatar
#77 Deans
February 07 2009, 01:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Sportsnet should just switch to the Flames

Avatar
#78 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Deans: yeah, too bad it's PPV.

Avatar
#79 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: I am serious if we get blown out does somebody get fired?

Avatar
#80 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 07 2009, 01:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

2 powerplay goals, yikes....

All hail MacT! Let resign him for another 5 years.

Avatar
#81 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis: So now what Jonathan ..4 zip..I wanna see heads fly!! Blood shed..they gotta be more physical especially because of the beating..

Avatar
#82 Milli
February 07 2009, 01:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

WE WANT TEN TIME!!!

How many games can you be blown outta before changes are made?

Avatar
#83 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Staios looks angry today. He's agitating all over this shift.

Avatar
#84 Greg MC
February 07 2009, 01:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

These guys don't play for each other a fair bit of the time. There must be some of these players who really don't like their coach/and or teammates.

Avatar
#85 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I want to see the old Whalers record broken. Seriously.

Maybe then, jock sniffing Katz will realize that this team simply isn't good.

Avatar
#86 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I wonder if Babcock feels bad? Maybe he could put one of his forwards in net so it isn't so embarrassing.

Avatar
#87 Jonathan Willis
February 07 2009, 01:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Bru Man wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: So now what Jonathan

Same as five days ago.

I'm going to start prefacing posts with stories of coaches being fired.

Avatar
#88 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 07 2009, 01:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

No seriously, I want to hear the excuses coming from this garbage. I want to hear the excuses the Mactavish apologists have for why this team is unprepared, once again, to play the Wings.

Avatar
#89 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

the moderation filter is a little strict guys.

freeze wrote:

I wonder if Babc*ck feels bad? Maybe he could put one of his forwards in net so it isn’t so embarrassing.
Avatar
#90 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

This is one of the hardest teams to be a fan of. At least in the 90's the guys put a solid effort in every game. This is beyond embarrassing.

Avatar
#91 Sing A Song For SingSing
February 07 2009, 01:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan Willis wrote:

This is a promising start, isn’t it? This is the kind of game you start Deslauriers in because Roli needs a break at some point, and the odds are pretty ugly.

We gon' ride it 'till the wheel fall off.

Avatar
#92 Andrew W
February 07 2009, 01:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan,

You wrote:

"Regarding Brule:

Columbus atrociously mismanaged Brule - they turned a guy who scored nearly a goal per game (not point per game, goal per game) in his final junior season into a fourth line plugger. They did it by playing him before he was ready, which resulted in a nasty series of injuries, and then by continually throwing him into 4th line NHL situations rather than letting him play an offensive role in the AHL. While doing it they used up nearly all of his waiver eligibility.

At this point, I think he’s better off playing offensive minutes in the AHL than defensive minutes in the NHL - so if they leave him there for a bit for his long-term development, I’m OK with it."

Do you think that there's any risk that the Oilers might be doing this with any of their young players, in particular Gagner? It's not the same type of mismanagement, as he's clearly being played in an offensive role, but he's also not consistently playing at a high enough level to be a legitimate 2nd line centre (at this point).

My question is this: do you think that Gagner's development is being stagnated by playing against competition that's too tough for him? It's easy to sit on the sidelines and speculate, but I can't help but wonder from time to time if he might have been better served by continuing to dominate at a lower level before coming to the NHL.

I can't remember when or where you mentioned it, but fully agree that development is almost as important as picking wisely in the draft. The two players in the Oilers' system who seem to have suffered through the worst development processes are Brule and Deslauriers. I'll be curious to see if either one of them are able to recover in the long term, either with the Oil or any other teams. As an bonus question, how do you see their careers progressing? Do you think either of them would be better served by another season in the AHL next year?

Avatar
#93 freeze
February 07 2009, 01:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer: oh, but, but, but it's the injuries! the injuries, yeah, the injuries.

Avatar
#94 David S
February 07 2009, 01:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ok. So I don't get it. This game is a throwaway and tomorrow's game is winnable. So why aren't we sacrificing JDD in this one?

Or does MacT figure Roli will get pulled after the first anyway so he gets a hard practice before JDD comes in to get his butt kicked?

Avatar
#95 Andrew W
February 07 2009, 01:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

And yes, these thoughts are a convenient distraction from the monstrosity of a game that is at hand...

Avatar
#96 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

And the Ducks are ahead of the Flames. This is shaping up to be a good day. A visit from the Mother in Law should make it the perfect day!

Whoever invented alcohol... thank you.

Avatar
#97 Bru Man
February 07 2009, 01:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Wej: jock sniffin..lol thats awsome.. dont let him hear that he might get his lawers after you ...lol just ask the radio station in Calgary.. that made up that song...lol what a gong show..

Avatar
#98 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 07 2009, 01:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The MacT apologists actually cant make an argument for him without bringing up the cup run.

Avatar
#99 Fiveandagame
February 07 2009, 01:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

have the Oilers touched the puck?

Avatar
#100 Wej
February 07 2009, 01:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ David S:

Because MacT can't coach if his life depended on it.

Rob Daum needs to be behind the bench ASAP. He was a huge reason the guys played like they did going down the stretch.

Comments are closed for this article.