A weekend out in Hogtown

Jason Gregor
February 09 2009 12:08PM

gregorhogtown

Monday musings from a hockey world so screwed up that it seems more people are for Sean Avery returning to the NHL than those who want to keep fighting in the game. Ridiculous.

Who cares about Avery? He’s a third line player. The fans don’t miss him, but I guarantee you most of them would miss fighting...

What’s the difference between Erik Cole and Ethan Moreau this year? Skate hard up and down the wing, neither passes very often and both have had a hat trick. Outside of $2 million more for Cole, I haven’t seen much of a difference.

In their three worst losses of the season, the Oilers have been outscored 27-7, yet Grebeshkov is +1 in those games. Unreal!

Sure Dwayne Roloson has made lots of saves recently, excluding the Detroit game, but it’s a bit disturbing that he’s letting in one softie a game. The Belanger goal was terrible yesterday.

The difference between a very good and elite player is Ales Hemsky. He is very good, but not elite just yet. He didn’t do anything on this three-game road trip.

Are the Kings for real? They just won in Washington and NJ. They’ve scored 28 goals in their last seven games and won six of them. They still have two five-game road trips and another six-game trip, but their offence has been really good in the last month.

For the [Off] the Record...

Flying the red-eye to Toronto is awesome. I can sleep on a plane, so the trip felt like a drive to Millet. Took off then woke up and we were there. I don’t know how people can drive in a city that big. You think the morning commute sucks here? You should see the carnage in Toronto. The freeways (yes actual freeways with no lights, unlike the garbage we have on the Henday) were jammed, and I saw more one-finger salutes in the hour trek to my hotel, than I have in the last six months on the Whitemud.

The Rush always stay at the Hilton on Richmond right in the heart of downtown, so everything you want is within walking distance... well except the TSN studio. They used to do OTR in a studio at Rogers Centre, but they recently moved the show back to the CTV/TSN studios in Scarborough. An hour cab ride.

I got to the studio at 3pm, and met the guy who set up my appearance on OTR, Collin Sood. I found out that he’s from E-town, and that he’s good buddies with some of my friends. He wants more western guys on the show. We probably met at some party in college but were too bombed to remember.

There’s a little green room where the guests sit and wait for the show or makeup. Yes, they like to touch up the guests. Michael Landsberg walks in and says hi. I had him on my show last year, but still said “nice to meet you.” I was distracted by the incredibly sexy assistant, Stephanie, a very nice girl and absolutely stunning. I think it’s a must that TV sport shows have a hot girl either on air or working behind the scenes. I can’t think of one that doesn’t. This is just another reason why sports broadcasting rocks.

I’m there for about 15 minutes, and finally Lewis Ratcliff comes out of makeup. I was juicing him pretty hard about that one. Just as he walks out of makeup Bob McGill walks in the green room. McGill grew up in Leduc, and I knew of him, so we start talking about Leduc, the Riggers and have some laughs. He has shed 25 pounds since being on the show last, so the crew is giving him props. His hat is what got him props from me. Not many guys can rock the Joey Jeremiah hat, but I thought he pulled it off quite well. I think it would be awesome if the Fedora made a come back. Who knows if the recession gets really bleak, maybe we should start wearing them to re-enact the ‘20s.

Collin says I have to get to makeup, so I make the 15 foot walk down the hall from green room and sit in the barber chair. Spring (great name for a makeup lady) dabs a few types of foundation on the chrome dome and in a matter of a minutes, I’m done. I still have no idea how Ratcliffe spent 15 minutes in here. I had just enough to cover the glare for the cameras, but was nowhere near Landsberg range. He doesn’t care what people think about his makeup, since everyone wears it. He just wears more. His son Cory works on the show, and he looked at least mid-twenties, so unless Michael started early he has to be close to 50. Looks good for the half-century mark.

We get called to the set. Landsberg is already in his chair, and looks fired up. The guy has loads of energy before coming on (in the green room they have these ENERGY balls... I wonder how many he eats before a show). Just before I went to makeup he gave me a quick inspirational speech about not holding back.

“Jump in the conversation early and often,” he said and then he punched my shoulder. He takes his show seriously, so now I’m thinking I better not be a lame ass. Then I’m thinking you just punched my shoulder. I love guys who get amped up before any sporting event, and Landsberg takes his show really seriously. I respect that.

Just before the show starts, he leans in and does the fist bump with every guy. He is really fired up. I wonder if MacT does this before games? If not, he should think about it, because all the guys are ready to go. Sure we are just talking, but I swear if he gave McGill the nod, Bobby would have dropped the Jeremiah and tossed some knuckles.

We do the first set, and during commercial Michael is pumping the guys up again.

“Good work guys... Gregor, Ratcliffe pretty good for your first time. Bobby good... John, be better,” he says laughing.

In John’s defence, he arrived a minute before the show due to traffic. They did his makeup in the chair on set, so he might have been rattled.

And just before coming out of break, the knuckle touch occurs again. I never would have picked Landsberg as a touch-knuckles kind of guy. But it was just a knuckle touch, no dynamite exploding after. I wonder why that is? I guess a knuckle touch is good, but exploding dynamite too personal.

The show was fun. Afterwards I wheel over to Sportscentre. Rishaug is in town working the desk, so he gives me a tour of their set.

The war room has at least 15 desks just for guys assigned to watch games and find the best clips. Then there are writers, producers, etc. There are at least 35 people in total in one big room, and each has their own desk. It’s a pretty unique set up.

Hockey fans have it best out west

Hockey fans have it way better out west. In Toronto you get the Leafs and nothing else. Here you can watch eastern games on TSN or Sportsnet and then the Oil, and if you are really bored the Flamers. Highlights from an Oilers or Flames game involve a 45-second package. No wonder all of the Oiler fans out east come to the Nation now.

We also have a way better airline. West Jet kicks all of the American airlines. WJ has TVs in every row, and the seats are at least three inches wider. Flying on Alaska or Horizon sucks compared to WJ, so chalk one up for the Canadian airline. And WJ has the sweetest smelling washroom going. None of us ever want to use the airplane john, but with an early flight some times your internal clock forces you too. And the WJ john was the best.

And finally we should send a petition to Mayor Mandel for more cabs. In Toronto when you leave the club at 2 or 3 am it takes you 30 seconds to get a cab. Here in E-town, they are as rare as an Oilers four-game winning streak. How often have you almost come to blows with some guy trying to get a cab? Or you do your best Donovan Bailey impersonation down the street to flag one. Would getting fifty more cabs on Friday and Saturday nights be that tough?

In the Big Smoke they are everywhere, not to mention the sweet polish sausage street vendors. Why don’t we have those? I love Funky Pickle Pizza at the end of the night, but the Polish sausages were money. And I saw one of the toughest cat fights ever on Friday night. These two ladies -- and I use that term loosely -- chucked them hard outside of the Century club. Normally watching two chicks go at it is a freaky turn-on because you hope they might start groping each other, but these two were throwing bombs. Both were bloodied after. Another reason why Edmonton ladies are better.

And the Oilers don’t practice today. They’re back at it tomorrow in preparation for their tilt against the Habs. No one is more excited about a possible Laraque/MacIntyre battle than Brownlee. He’s been talking about it all year, and I guarantee he will stir the pot in the next few days leading up to Wednesday.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Travis Dakin
February 09 2009, 02:17PM
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@ APE:

I tell you this now, as I said earlier... I would LOVE LOVE LOVE another 2-17 run. We got Gagner out of it (he is 19 people, he will be the franchise) and a good top 5-7 pick will really help us going forward and getting rid of some of the high slaries this team has will reall allow for some better players to be brought in.

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#52 APE
February 09 2009, 02:18PM
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At least then we would have a definate direction. This organization has been in limbo for years.

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#53 Cory Dakin
February 09 2009, 02:18PM
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For Tavares' sake I'm glad we're not talking about him.. MacTavish would claim he's a defensive liability and force him to spend six years in the AHL before trading him for a fourth round pick and a bag of pucks

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#54 OvenChicken8
February 09 2009, 02:19PM
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@ APE: I blame Pocklington :P

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#55 Cory Dakin
February 09 2009, 02:19PM
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And yes... It DOES seem like MacT will be here for at least 6 more years

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#56 APE
February 09 2009, 02:19PM
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@ Travis Dakin: I couldn't agree with you more.

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#57 Travis Dakin
February 09 2009, 02:23PM
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@ Cory Dakin: @ APE:

I was actually cheering the Wings so soundly beating them the other day. "EXPOSE THOSE WEAKNESSES!!!!" Not because I am a sadist or something. I bleed Copper and Blue. I just think this is not the team to mortage the future on for a few crappy pick ups at the deadline, only to be completely boot f*cked in the first round. Stop being the Leafs. Not good enough to do anything but too good to get anything.

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#58 oilerfan4life
February 09 2009, 02:36PM
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Why was this post initally posted by "bingofeul" and is not posted as Jason Gregor?

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#59 bingofuel
February 09 2009, 02:42PM
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@ oilerfan4life: Because when I put it online for Jason, I did so quickly as I was walking out the door to eat, and forgot to make Jason the author instead of myself.

MONDAY@#$!

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#60 Jonathan Willis
February 09 2009, 02:47PM
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@ bingofuel:

So you're one of those rare eating cyborgs, eh? Tell me, bingofuel, do you drink that low-calorie 5W-30 stuff, or the full-value 10W-30 like a man (er...male cyborg)?

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#61 bingofuel
February 09 2009, 03:43PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Hey man, at least part of me is organic. You need to feed the body.

And I always use 10W30, so I don't seize up. Thinking of going with a synthetic oil too.

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#62 Dennis
February 09 2009, 03:53PM
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JW: is that the same Dustin Penner the Oilers choose over Ryan Smyth?;)

There's no doubt that 26 isn't worth what he's being paid this year and I don't see him creating enough scoring chances to have confidence to bring him back next year. And we know just from the Ryder contract this past summer - taking into account what he'd done last season and not what he's done thus far - that there's always someone out there that will offer the big cash. So, yeah, I wouldn't bring him back next year and he's overpaid this season but so is 18 for that matter. Guy's what, -1 or +1 at real plus/minus and it's not like the old days when him and Marchant and Grier were playing tough minutes. The last time the Oilers were worth fussing about this guy was on the 4th line; I think that's telling.

I agree on the Roli thing and you're the first MSM guy that's said it AFAIK.

I'd love to hear why Avery's only a third liner though. He was -8 in real plus/minus playing toughs for the Kings in '07 and I can't find how he did once he went to NYR but I know he was +11 in terms of old-timey plus minus. Then last year he played on the tough min line and came up aces again.

You can say what you want about him off the ice but to bring it back, Ethan Moreau's a third liner at best and Sean Avery is certainly more valuable than that.

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#63 Ender the Dragon
February 09 2009, 03:59PM
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Dennis wrote:

Ethan Moreau’s a third liner at best and Sean Avery is certainly more valuable than that.

I'll say this; as much as I live and die with the Oil, I'd rather lose with Moreau on the team than win with Avery on the team. Every game, all year. The day any team puts their sweater on that man, that's the day they disrepect their organization and every other player who has ever worn their jersey. There is no place in Oilers colors for that guy. Boulerice was uncomfortable enough.

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#64 Rick
February 09 2009, 04:04PM
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Dennis wrote:

JW: is that the same Dustin Penner the Oilers choose over Ryan Smyth?;)

I thought Vanek was the guy they chose over Ryan Smyth.

Penner was plan B and as far as we know if the Oilers were choosing between Smyth and Penner, Penner may still have been plan B.

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#65 David S
February 09 2009, 04:16PM
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Dennis wrote:

I agree on the Roli thing and you’re the first MSM guy that’s said it AFAIK.

I agree with Dennis. The general consensus I've been following in the 'sphere is that Roli is good for 1 softie a game, which is something I've pretty much assumed too. That Gregor is talking about it openly is the first mention I've seen above the line.

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#66 B-rad
February 09 2009, 04:37PM
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The stuff about boston being interested.....is this a new thing? is there a link to an article or anything? If so post that biatch...

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#67 Smokin' Ray
February 09 2009, 04:47PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Smokin’ Ray wrote: Or… Hemsky can suck it up and ride shotgun with Gagner and Cole. But Hemmer won’t play the left side. Why not? Lord knows, he spends a lot of time over there anyways. Cole tried it. Hemsky’s turn. Ray, Nilsson has seven points in last seven games why do you want to break that line up?

No I don't. I like that line. I'm just saying that Hemsky can try something else if that can improve a line/team.

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#68 alphah
February 09 2009, 04:51PM
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Anyone who plays with Gagner this year and manages to survive deserves a medal. Our team is so chalk full of crap. We have used the kid gloves on the kids for a long time now, its time to expect results or start thinking about next season or start thinking about making some key trades.

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#69 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
February 09 2009, 05:05PM
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Gagner is actually being paid by the NHL to play this bad. Reason being is that the NHL wants to come out with a DVD labelled "Turnovers 2009" They need the material.

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#70 Dennis
February 09 2009, 05:31PM
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Ender: OK, how about this one. Who's a worst person: Jesse Boulerice or Sean Avery?

Rick: My point on 27 over 44 is the latter played tough min, was part of a great PK unit and you knew what you had. Lowe told everyone he didn't know the cap was going up:D and later on he end up spending just under a mill more to sign a project in Penner PLUS he gave up picks as well.

For the guys banging on 89, I'm frustrated as well but I'll wager you that 89's line generates more scoring chances for than they give up. The kid's '09 season finish resembles that of Elisha Cuthbert's headboard but the guy's creating chances and that's a positive.

No, the problem was that Lowebellini gambled that he could exploit the soft min that would be afforded because of 10 handling the toughs.

That's not working out but he's still a kid and he's not making as much as say Ethan Moreau, either.

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#71 Chris
February 09 2009, 05:46PM
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Hi Gregor. Caught some of the show before landing at my son's practice. Agreed with Ryan Rishaug when he suggested the Oil should consider selling at the deadline. Let's face it, the Oilers could trade away some of the future to get into the playoffs this year... Problem is, we are completely outclassed be the likes of Detroit, San Jose, and Chicago. When you look at the struggles the Falcons are having, and the fact that guys like Plante and Eberle are probably years away from contributing at the NHL level... We don't have a lot of future to waste on a guaranteed first round exit. Tambellini should man up, be realistic, and do the right thing; build up this team for next season. Few teams will actually sell: Let's cash in and improve for next year! New coach. New UFA partner for Hemmer. Better prospects at camp. Better first round pick. And most importantly, a better chance at breaking the cycle of mediocrity.

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#72 Jason Gregor
February 09 2009, 06:04PM
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Matty31 wrote:

Gregor….tell us about the dragons you slayed in T.O. I hear the chicks are snotty. In the clubs you could have busted out “hey ladies I was on off the record today….why dont you come back to my crib ill show you my signed landsberg hat!”

Never been one to kiss and tell...but I ripped it up with Ken Reid on Friday, and we pretty much annoyed any female that came by. It was a guy's drinking night.

BUCK75 wrote:

Also Robin or Gregor the hack blogger Eklund say Vermette to Edmonton. What is the word? As an aside I noticed the anomymous hockey blogger was doing some name dropping on the weekend. Spector & Matheson, were 2 guys he gets info from?!?!? He can’t be serious…

He reads Matheson and said that Matty is a great source for rumours. Matty said, "I don't want to be known for rumours, I'd rather be known for being right."

Matty doesn't talk to Eklund, and I doubt he will.

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#73 rindog
February 09 2009, 06:10PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Jason Gregor wrote:

Make up your mind. When he plays great it is because he carries Horcoff you say…now it’s his linemates? That is my point…He is very good, but not elite just yet. The elite players make those around them better. Who is Boston is so much better than Horcoff for Savard? The team is better, but how much of that falls on the playmaking of Savard. My point is Hemsky needs to be more consistent to be an elite player.

I have always stated that Horcoff gets HIS points because of Hemsky (and his gravy icetime).

Are you asking me if I think Horcoff is a better offensive player than Moreau or Brodziak???

Of course he is - it still doesn't change the fact that we need a top line player to play with Hemsky. Horcoff can compliment Hemsky to a small degree but isn't nearly the guy do the job long term (if we want to see Hemsky's full capability).

Marc Savard has a 1.15ppga average while Hemsky's sits at 1.02 after his 4 game little slide. I hope you would agree that Savard has way better options playing at way higher lever than what is surrounding Hemsky right now?

I think ragging on Hemsky for not being consistent (especially this year) is a little harsh. Four questionable games (when he has carried the team all season long, game in and game out) should be forgivable, shouldn't it? Especially when you consider that in 2 of those games our goalie was letting in goals like a shooter tooter!!! I think we could forgive him if he lost a little interest when every shot the opposition was taking was going in???

Maybe we should start talking about how inconsistent Iginla is for only have 4 goals in his last 21 games??? Maybe Getzlaf's one assist in the first 6 games of the season means he sucks too??? Did Ovechkin catch a lot of flack for being inconsistent when he scored 2 goals in his first 11 games?

Even GREAT/ELITE players have slumps, don't they?

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#74 Jason Gregor
February 09 2009, 06:15PM
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Chris wrote:

Hi Gregor. Caught some of the show before landing at my son’s practice. Agreed with Ryan Rishaug when he suggested the Oil should consider selling at the deadline. Let’s face it, the Oilers could trade away some of the future to get into the playoffs this year… Problem is, we are completely outclassed be the likes of Detroit, San Jose, and Chicago. When you look at the struggles the Falcons are having, and the fact that guys like Plante and Eberle are probably years away from contributing at the NHL level…

We brought up the idea of trading Cole, and Rishaug agreed with me that trading him at the deadline is the right move. This team is not going to repeat 2006. They aren't as gritty, big or as physical. They could trade Cole and still make the playoffs in my mind.

He has 1-1-2 in his last 11 games, and he is playing with a red-hot Nilsson.

The Oilers are 3-8 v. the top four teams in the West. Two of those wins came against the Flames in games three and four at the start of the year. In the eight losses they have been outscored 41-14.

I think the only chance they have is to face the Flames in the first round, and finishing 6th would be tough.

I know any team has a chance once they get in, but logic tells me this team just isn't good enough to win one round, nevermind three rounds.

I think trading Cole, because he won't return means at least they get something. And good point that this year might be a time that other teams could overpay, because there might not be a lot of teams who are willing to sell.

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#75 Chris
February 09 2009, 06:58PM
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@ Jason Gregor: Why not Staios as well, or maybe even Pisanai? To sign a guy like JayBow Or Hossa in the offseason, we are going to need some cap space. More importantly, these guys should have distortedly high value at the deadline.

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#76 World
February 09 2009, 06:59PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Chris wrote: Hi Gregor. Caught some of the show before landing at my son’s practice. Agreed with Ryan Rishaug when he suggested the Oil should consider selling at the deadline. Let’s face it, the Oilers could trade away some of the future to get into the playoffs this year… Problem is, we are completely outclassed be the likes of Detroit, San Jose, and Chicago. When you look at the struggles the Falcons are having, and the fact that guys like Plante and Eberle are probably years away from contributing at the NHL level… We brought up the idea of trading Cole, and Rishaug agreed with me that trading him at the deadline is the right move. This team is not going to repeat 2006. They aren’t as gritty, big or as physical. They could trade Cole and still make the playoffs in my mind. He has 1-1-2 in his last 11 games, and he is playing with a red-hot Nilsson. The Oilers are 3-8 v. the top four teams in the West. Two of those wins came against the Flames in games three and four at the start of the year. In the eight losses they have been outscored 41-14. I think the only chance they have is to face the Flames in the first round, and finishing 6th would be tough. I know any team has a chance once they get in, but logic tells me this team just isn’t good enough to win one round, nevermind three rounds. I think trading Cole, because he won’t return means at least they get something. And good point that this year might be a time that other teams could overpay, because there might not be a lot of teams who are willing to sell.

So in your opinion, what do you think that the Oilers will/can get for Cole?

Do you think that they have any other moves they are trying to make?

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#77 David S
February 09 2009, 07:00PM
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Da*n you Gregor and your logic. I'd really love to see Cole grow into the Gagner/Nilsson line. Something tells me that trio could really be something if they just had the time to mature. Robert is warming up and Sam looks to be doing the same. Biggest problem we have here is that we don't have the time to develop a squad in the same way teams like Detroit do. It's always sink or swim in Edmonton. Real shame.

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#78 Jason Gregor
February 09 2009, 07:35PM
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Chris wrote:

Why not Staios as well, or maybe even Pisanai? To sign a guy like JayBow Or Hossa in the offseason, we are going to need some cap space. More importantly, these guys should have distortedly high value at the deadline.

Good points..I think Pisani's 14 goal playoff could overrate his value, which is good for the Oilers, but it depends if he plays more than one or two games before deadline.

Staios could have value as well, and with the emergence of Smid I think they might move him...but if you move all of them then clearly they are saying no to the playoffs.

If they say no to the playoffs then they are basically saying bye to MacTavish, because I can't see them bringing him back next year if they make it this year. That will be the tough decision. That's why I don't see them being a complete seller.

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#79 Travis Dakin
February 09 2009, 07:41PM
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rindog wrote:

it still doesn’t change the fact that we need a top line player to play with Hemsky. Horcoff can compliment Hemsky to a small degree but isn’t nearly the guy do the job long term (if we want to see Hemsky’s full capability). Marc Savard has a 1.15ppga average while Hemsky’s sits at 1.02 after his 4 game little slide. I hope you would agree that Savard has way better options playing at way higher lever than what is surrounding Hemsky right now?

In case you forgot, The Oilers went to game 7 of the stanley cup final with Horcoff and Hemsky on their top line. Everybody has got to get off the Horcoff bashing wagon. He is quite capable. We don't need one player to be some 100pt producer to be successful. If you look at that 05/06 team, it was a deep roster. That is what matters. A supporting cast. I will continue to say it... It is guys like Penner, Nilsson, Pouliot and such that are bringing the team down. Horcoff IS a number 1 center. he needs a LW with heart.

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#80 David S
February 09 2009, 07:46PM
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Man. Montreal's really taking it to Calgary. Not giving me alot of confidence for the next game.

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#81 Chris
February 09 2009, 07:50PM
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David S wrote:

Something tells me that trio could really be something if they just had the time to mature.

By the time Gagner is in the prime of his career Cole will have gone downhill... Fact is, it looks to me like Cole's best years are already behind him: his numbers are in steady decline despite being only thirty years old.

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#82 Chris
February 09 2009, 08:02PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If they say no to the playoffs then they are basically saying bye to MacTavish, because I can’t see them bringing him back next year if they make it this year. That will be the tough decision. That’s why I don’t see them being a complete seller

I think you're right, Gregor. This is exactly what is wrong with the Oiler organization: letting frienships outrank what is best for the franchise. Based on what I've seen; I don't think you take a lot out of the lineup if you let Cole, Pisani, and Staios go. What if the young guys were to respond positively to the increased responsibility and make a serious push? This is the only scenario that could really save MacT... Who thinks that cashing in assets for a rent-a-player to push us into a five game series loss will save MacT's reputation with the fans?

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#83 Jonathan Willis
February 09 2009, 08:14PM
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Chris wrote:

Why not Staios as well, or maybe even Pisanai? To sign a guy like JayBow Or Hossa in the offseason, we are going to need some cap space. More importantly, these guys should have distortedly high value at the deadline.

So, if the Oilers trade Cole and Pisani, they're left with a RW depth chart consisting of:

- Hemsky - Stortini - converted centres - Reddox

One of Cole or Pisani can be dealt; not both, because dealing both decimates the depth on RW, which is the only strong forward position on this team.

As for Hossa, is he a LW? And if he isn't a LW, why would the Oilers chase him?

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#84 Lofty
February 09 2009, 08:36PM
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@ Travis Dakin: Lets not forget we scrapped into the playoffs in 05/06 and made some critical dead line moves to get there. Once your in the playoffs it is a new season and if you get hot you can go deep. Travis, if your team is not fit to make the playoffs because they only score one goal a game and allow 10 against the opportunity for a playoff drive will not be there. People like you are going to feel real smart when Hemmer gets so frustrated with his line that he asks for a deal out of town. With his effort and his skill he deserves a complimentary group of players to play with. Not a whole team, but simply a line that can play with some sort of plutonic production.

Detroit is not a great place to live because of crime and weather however, you don’t hear about players wanting to get out of town in any kind of hurry. Skill and success attracts more of the same and frankly the oil do not have much of either right now. It is time for this team to get rid of "the good guys" and keep/get "the good players."

P.S. The Oil’s problems are not as drastic as a World War but as a true fan, appeasement to 08/09 season is unacceptable and intolerable. The team needs to make some moves and cant afford to wait for “SLOPPY SECONDS” in early March. Tambo and “the boys” need to act and act fast!

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#85 Dennis
February 09 2009, 09:02PM
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Lowebellini really don't have to do an either/or when it comes to the deadline and buying or selling: they could do both.

Lowe's compared himself in the past - or his approach - to Billy Beane's so he could shed salary and vets while bringing back some as well.

Perhaps he moves 26 and brings in Guerin with the idea that he'd get more for 26 than he'll have to give up for Guerin so you move vet winger for vet winger and upgrade in prospects and picks in the process. Then you move out 18 and 24 because they're games are slipping and/or they have bad contracts but you bring back 19 to add some experience AND a top three pivot who can win faceoffs and kill penalties as well.

And for those that would debate moving Staios, the time without 71 should be a moratorium on what 24 has left. He's been a third pairing guy all season and he's not tearing it up down there and now he's been vaulted into the top four given that our best dman's on the shelf. So, I suspect he'll get close to railed and what some of us believe we can take from his third pairing performance will be obvious once and for all.

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#86 Travis Dakin
February 09 2009, 09:02PM
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Lofty wrote:

@ Travis Dakin: Lets not forget we scrapped into the playoffs in 05/06 and made some critical dead line moves to get there. Once your in the playoffs it is a new season and if you get hot you can go deep.

When I say that team was deep, I am talking about the team that went into the playoffs. They blew countless points that season due to Conkanen. The team that was assembled by the deadline was Deep. But they were built right. This team doesn't have the pieces in place that can have a run like that and a few pick ups like 06 wont make a difference.

As for your assessment of Horcoff, to say he is not a good player speaks poorly to your idea of what a good palyer is. Horcoff brings Everything you could want to the table as your first line center. What he, as well as Hemksy is missing is the LW finisher. Again, Horcoff+Hemsky+good LW (Smyth at the time)= success, stanly cup finals success. Penner should be your target.

The Oilers problems are DEEP as was so clearly demonstrated in the trashings to Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo. This is not a deep team. Get rid of the floaters like I said, find a Kovalchuk type finisher for the top line, balance out the line-up like 05/06 and boom, we are a contender again. I will gladly Take Horcoff into the playoffs as my number 1 center.

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#87 Pinto
February 09 2009, 09:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

- Hemsky - Stortini - converted centres - Reddox One of Cole or Pisani can be dealt; not both, because dealing both decimates the depth on RW, which is the only strong forward position on this team. As for Hossa, is he a LW? And if he isn’t a LW, why would the Oilers chase him?

Don't forget we could throw Strudwick or Smid up there as the coach thinks they can also play wing. If we trade Cole and Pisani and we are left with the list above, I think that says something of our depth in itself. I would keep Pisani as I think he is very useful defensively, alot moreso than Cole.

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#88 Dennis
February 09 2009, 09:09PM
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Lofty: If you remember the '06 regular season, you'll remember just how bad our netminding was. Lowe gambled on Conkkanen - and I thought it was a decent idea - but it backfired and while there was a stretch early in Roli's tenure where the offense dried up, eventually we started scoring again like we were early on and it all clicked.

Right now, is there any area as glaring and thus as easily that identifiablethat when addressed would vault us back to contention? Granted, some things could change like one of 89 or 26 picking up the goalscoring but even if that transpired we'd still need a vet pivot AND now we need a D for the top four if 71's gone for the long haul.

When you think back to '04 and the last season before the '06 run, that was a good team once you got past the goalie and once the Salo boil was lanced that spring, the club thrived.

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#89 Jason Gregor
February 09 2009, 09:54PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

As for Hossa, is he a LW? And if he isn’t a LW, why would the Oilers chase him?

Hossa shoots left, and while listed as RW on nhl.com he plays left wing. If he doesn't sign with Detroit the Oilers will go hard after him.

rindog wrote:

Marc Savard has a 1.15ppga average while Hemsky’s sits at 1.02 after his 4 game little slide. I hope you would agree that Savard has way better options playing at way higher lever than what is surrounding Hemsky right now?

Who are the players in Boston that are THAT much better than Horcoff? That's my point, none of them, and Savard still produces and makes them better, that's what good players do.

What about Iginla in Calgary...the year he scored 52, Craig Conroy was his centre. He is that much, or any, better than Horcoff? Or last year when he had 98 points...Is Langkow any better than Horcoff? Doubtful, and Horcoff isn't as bad as you think.

Whether you agree of not, he plays better with Hemsky than any other Oiler. They have chemistry. They need a LW more than a centre.

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#90 Jonathan Willis
February 09 2009, 10:05PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Hossa shoots left, and while listed as RW on nhl.com he plays left wing. If he doesn’t sign with Detroit the Oilers will go hard after him.

Thanks; I remember some confusion about his position last time around.

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#91 rindog
February 09 2009, 11:01PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

If you look back at my initial post (#9), I never said that Hemsky doesn't play better with any other Oiler player (meaning Horcoff). I simply said that I thought you were being a bit critical of Hemsky's play on the road trip given that he had to play with some pretty uninspiring linemates...

As far as Savard, when Horcoff goes out - Hemsky gets Brodziak or Moreau thrown with him. A guy like Savard has options like: Krejci, Kessel, Lucic, Wheeler, Ryder, Bergeron (all of whom have a lot of offensive upside). None of them maybe the great two-way player that everyone claims Horcoff to be - but they know how to handle a one timer, pick a corner and make a pass on the PP.

Hemsky has produced well with Horcoff no question, but since you brought it up, it should be noted that Hemsky did manage to produce earlier this year without him and he did manage to put up 26 points in 27 games without Horcoff last year.

If you are telling me that we can get a left winger (ie. Kovulchuk, Hossa, etc) that can play with both Hemsky and Horcoff and stay under the cap - I am all for it!!!

I find it hard to believe that we will be able to fit that in - so my suggestion is to try and move Horcoff (the likely $$ requirement in a package) for a bonifide topline player (left winger or center)?

Regardless of what chemistry Hemsky and Horcoff have, would you like to keep those two together and hope Penner or Nilsson can fit in on the left side? Or would you rather move Horcoff and have a Hemsky-Gagner-Hossa line (as an example) going forward? Penner, Nilsson & Cogliano could then play in role more suited for them (2nd line supporting offense).

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#92 Lofty
February 09 2009, 11:02PM
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@ Travis Dakin: Horcoff has no buisness playing on the first line of any team in the NHL. He is a 2nd to 3rd line player. 20 goals per season and a respectable +/-. He has little finish, poor faceoff stats and a BIG salary. The guy is going to make 7 MILLION DOLLARS next season!?!?

He is a good person and wears the Oil jersey with pride but that does not mean he is in the right place. The first line of every NHL team is built for scoring, the oilers is not. It is an impotent line that gets its points from Hemsky undressing the opposition and taking care of buisness hans solo.

It's not like the oil were filling the nets up when Smyth was in town.

It's easy to say the oil should find a "Kovalchuk type finisher" but that aint easy with Horcoff, Pisani, and Penner raking in all the $$$ (not their fault, KLowe.)

I also wouldnt go blaiming the tenders for the oils problems over the last 10 years. They have had respectable keepers every year but very little offense to back them up. Conklin seems to be doing alright for the wings? 7 losses 18 wins... then again like I said they score more than 1 or 2 goals a game so that helps

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#93 rindog
February 09 2009, 11:08PM
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@ rindog:

I would scratch that entire last paragraph of mine if we could somehow land Antropov and sign him fairly cheap ($4 million per)!!!!

Use Cole's money to sign him????

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#94 Travis Dakin
February 09 2009, 11:39PM
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@ Lofty:

Your interpretation of the team and the game of hockey pleases me. Your first line is NOT only about scoring. Plenty of teams, when given home ice advantage like to go power against power. That means that your first line better be capable of containing their top line. Shawn Horcoff is better than most other first line centers when it comes to being able to shut down a line and also bring the offense. When him and Hemsky and Smyth were together they were a dominant line but remember, only this year is Hemsky finally bringing his A game all the time. My understanding of your logic is that the Oilers first line is not the best in the league because Horcoff is a third liner? Ok…. But you see no problem with the left side? My friend, Penner is the weakest link on this chain. Far and away. I’m not saying Horcoff is the best player in the league. But I will say that he is top fifteen first line center in terms of offensive and defensive ability. He is the complete package. And above all else, he is a leader. Sure it would be nice to have Spezza’s 90 points, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want him killng penalties on my team or leading my youg guns. He’s one dimentional. But he’s got a great RW AND LW to play with.

Lofty wrote:

It’s easy to say the oil should find a “Kovalchuk type finisher” but that aint easy with Horcoff, Pisani, and Penner raking in all the $$$ (not their fault, KLowe.)

Like I said before, get rid of Cole, Nilsson and Pouliot and maybe one of the puck moving D man and there is your cap space right there. Also some dead weight gone too.

Lofty wrote:

I also wouldnt go blaiming the tenders for the oils problems over the last 10 years. They have had respectable keepers every year but very little offense to back them up. Conklin seems to be doing alright for the wings? 7 losses 18 wins… then again like I said they score more than 1 or 2 goals a game so that helps

Are you serious? Salo was above average for 2 years. Aside from that, the last time goaltending was solid before we got Roli and those two Salo years was in 98 with Joseph. I can’t believe you forget the debacle that was Conklin, Markanen and Morrison that was 05/06. That tandem easly cost 8-10 points that year.

And Conklin has had the two Stanley cup finalists as the team in front of him for the last two years… I’d say that gives him a little more flexibility than Edmonton did. And lets never forget game 1…. Never

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#95 rindog
February 10 2009, 09:11AM
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@ Travis Dakin: Travis Dakin wrote:

I’m not saying Horcoff is the best player in the league. But I will say that he is top fifteen first line center in terms of offensive and defensive ability. He is the complete package

What information are you using to come up with this ranking? There are 43 centermen in the league with more offensive production and 23 with a better +/-. Unless you consistently watch every other centerman in the league I would think your statement above is a bit bold?? I am not saying he isn't good, but what emphasis do you put on offense over defense for your #1 guy?

Travis Dakin wrote:

Sure it would be nice to have Spezza’s 90 points, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want him killng penalties on my team or leading my youg guns.

Why does your first line center have to be killing penalties? It is been stated by many people on this site that is wasteful minutes having your best offensive player on the PK. Why can't we save our #1 center for 5-on-5 and PP?

Travis Dakin wrote:

I can’t believe you forget the debacle that was Conklin, Markanen and Morrison that was 05/06. That tandem easly cost 8-10 points that year.

And yet both Markaanen and Conklin were both 3 games over .500 and Morrison was 10-4-2. Roli was only 1 game over .500 in his 16 starts that year.....weird???

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#96 OvenChicken8
February 10 2009, 09:31AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

And lets never forget game 1…. Never

Unfortunately that play is burned into my head, and I shudder everytime I think about it. *shudders*

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#97 Rick
February 10 2009, 09:34AM
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Dennis wrote:

Rick: My point on 27 over 44 is the latter played tough min, was part of a great PK unit and you knew what you had. Lowe told everyone he didn’t know the cap was going up:D and later on he end up spending just under a mill more to sign a project in Penner PLUS he gave up picks as well.

Obviously it's just speculation on my part but I think Vanek was identified as Lowe's target even before, or atleast by, the trade deadline that sent Smyth packing.

Now I probably don't need to say this because I doubt you hang on every word Lowe utters as being truthful but his comment about the cap was nothing more than a lame attempt at damage control well after the fact when his plan A failed and his plan B (there were rumours of a team trying negotiate an offer sheet with Parise at the time as well so Penner may have been plan C) left us all wanting.

My point being that it's not a fair argument to suggest the choice was Penner over Smyth because Penner was never the first choice and when Lowe was left scrambling to fill the spot Smyth was long gone to Colorado so it still wasn't about Penenr over Smyth.

The comment about the cap also doesn't have any bearing on the situation when you look at the 48 mil he still ended up dropping that summer unless it's simply to belittle Lowe.

Based on what has been ailing this club for the past three years I would take Vanek over Smyth in a heart beat. I think it would have been a good move, even considering the overpay on the contract.

Too bad Lowe's back up plans have sucked and Penner isn't his first one...the man just can't seem to pull his ass out of the fire while on the scramble. It's a shame really because from what is known his plan A's have looked like they could have been pretty decent.

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#98 Travis Dakin
February 10 2009, 09:50AM
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@ rindog: Name 14 other Centers in the league that you would want to handle the duties that Horcoff has to do on this team. I'm not talking just offensive power, that's easy. I'm talking about how Horcoff is used Every damn time there is a PP, a PK, an important offensive zone face off, and important Defensive zone face off. If he has had more than 20 seconds on the bench then MacT is sending hime over because no other player can handle what he does. Sure it's easy to say I'd like Spezza or Getzlaf to put up more points but the situation the Oilers have created for themselves means that they can't have just an offensive guy or they would be screwed.rindog wrote:

Why does your first line center have to be killing penalties? It is been stated by many people on this site that is wasteful minutes having your best offensive player on the PK. Why can’t we save our #1 center for 5-on-5 and PP

Our best offensive guy doesn't kill penalties. His name is Hemsky.

rindog wrote:

And yet both Markaanen and Conklin were both 3 games over .500 and Morrison was 10-4-2. Roli was only 1 game over .500 in his 16 starts that year…..weird???

Yeah it's weird how the team struggled all year and were desperate to get a goalie at the deadline to fill an imaginary gap. Too bad we had to ride Roli in the playoffs that year. I was so happy when he got hurt in game one and Ty Conklin was put in net only to be bested by Markannen in game two.

Point is that Goaltending was a huge issue that year. Which is exactly why they picked up Roli.

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#99 Travis Dakin
February 10 2009, 10:01AM
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I just don't know how people can argue with results. Horcoff was the number 1 center on the team that went to the Stanley cup finals. Nobody is saying there aren't better players out there. Yes his contract is high but he is fully capable of getting the job done. My point in all of this is that people need to get off the Horcoff bashing wagon. He is not the problem. It is a lack of balance and depth on this team. What's missing is heart, a top LW, a third line center who can kill penalties and win a face-off and a mean as hell shutdown Dman.

Better centers could be had but that would leave the real holes empty.

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#100 mwhite.dking@nf.sympatico.ca
February 10 2009, 10:18AM
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Rick: I like bringing up that comment because it's proof positive that Lowe gets a free pass and no one ever calls him on anything. That was a softball that he lobbed over the plate and the MSM let it split the plate for strike three.

And I'm not gonna give him much credit for having good Plan A's when one of those aforementioned plans included Lupul and Smid.

You get it done or you don't.

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