Deep Thoughts VIII: the great race

Robin Brownlee
March 11 2009 12:40PM

pennerdoghouse

Not since Bob Stauffer and I attempted to propel our fat asses over 40 yards in a foot race without taking the twister at Edmonton Eskimos training camp a few years ago has there been a sight as sorry as the Western Conference playoff race the Edmonton Oilers are involved in.

Stauffer and I had an excuse. First, we're not very smart. Second, we were bored after watching countless days of drills. So, Bob and I decided it would be a good idea to provide comic relief for the players toiling under a blazing sun and embarrass ourselves by lining up for an, ahem, sprint.

We accomplished both in spades. Better still, we got to see the lowlights of the race -- Stauffer beat me by a stride despite catching his toe in his pants and cart-wheeling across the finish line -- on Global TV, complete with Chariots of Fire soundtrack, because Kevin Karius wasn't going to pass up a chance to make us look like the jackasses we are.

But what of the Oilers, who have clicked it into overdrive -- which I didn't know you could do in reverse -- and are racing backwards toward the playoffs like a runaway train?

Full reverse

Despite Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Oilers today sit in seventh place with 71 points despite a 3-4-3 record in their last 10 games. Can you feel the momentum?

While a 14-5-1 run in their final 20 games wasn't enough to get it done last season, it's beginning to look like playing .500 the rest of the way might do the job this time. I can only imagine that the Detroit Red Wings or San Jose Sharks hope it is.

With Detroit, San Jose, Calgary and Chicago locks in the top four spots and Vancouver having the inside track for fifth place, the final three playoff berths are being contested, so to speak, by Columbus, Nashville, Edmonton, Minnesota and Dallas.

Aside from the Predators, 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, and Columbus, 6-4-0, the rest of the field is making like the Italian Army. Minnesota, which will do an impersonation as road-kill for most of the rest of the season, is 4-4-2 in its last 10. Dallas has staggered to a 2-7-1 mark.

Despite picking the Oilers to finish ninth and miss the playoffs in pre-season, I can see them making it. As Stauffer proved, if your competition is bad enough, there's hope. If the Oilers are in a post-season spot today despite their last 10 games and a power play that's 1-for-31 the last nine games, maybe they can get it done with their toes caught in their cuffs, too.

Dog days still

I've always believed if it walks like a dog, barks like a dog and craps all over the yard like a dog, it's a dog.

And Dustin Penner, despite some reasonable statistical arguments to the contrary by Jonathan Willis before Craig MacTavish sat his lazy backside in the press box against Montreal, is a dog.

I'll concede Penner might be the most effective left winger, at least statistically, the Oilers have. Big deal. That doesn't change the fact he's an under-achieving, unmotivated player who has the physical attributes and skills to be better than he is. But nooooooo. He can't be bothered. That shouldn't be a revelation to anybody.

On November 17 I wrote:

If you look hard enough, which some people have, you can find numbers that show PDP (Poor Dustin Penner), still lugging that $4.25 million annual salary and all those unreasonable expectations like a millstone around his neck, isn't really THAT bad. Well, yes he is. PDP is in MacTavish's doghouse again because, well, he's a dog. He's a big player who plays small and who plays only when he feels like it. PDP is a player, it's obvious, incapable of consistent commitment, be it to an off-season training regimen or the pursuit of pucks, opponents and excellence on the ice. PDP is in the doghouse because he's not really interested in being the best he can be and because he doesn't play with the fire in his gut that many players, most of whom would give their left gonad to have his physical tools, do. PDP is playing in the NHL. He's wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. What? There's more?

Dollars and Sense

Now, I understand that it's not Penner's fault the Oilers unwisely chose to throw a stack of money at him via an offer sheet. I don't begrudge the big fella that dough. Anybody with half-a-brain would have grabbed that stack and run with it. Envy over Penner's wad has zippo to do with what drives me nuts about him.

I'll say it again: What grinds me is Penner shows no consistent inclination to earn a contract that was offered with the expectation he'd do his best and work to provide value in return, when I can think of dozens of players I've met over the years who'd do anything just to get a cup of coffee in the NHL at minimum wage.

So, forgive me when I feel the contents of my stomach rushing up my throat when I hear people trying to mitigate Penner's indifference or make it sound like he's somehow got a raw deal or has been picked on.

Sorry in Springfield

You know the situation sucks in Springfield when the Oilers are apologizing to fans of their AHL affiliate for an abysmal product even before the season is over. Such was the shame-faced admission this week.

“We are in the business of winning hockey games and we failed miserably in Springfield this season,” Oilers assistant GM and vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast said in a news release.

“On behalf of the Oilers we apologize to the fans in Springfield who have supported this team through a very difficult year. We will begin plans immediately in addressing the problems on the ice this season and promise that we will do everything we can to put a more competitive and winning team on the ice next year.”

One would hope those "plans" include providing talent capable of playing at the AHL level through the Entry Draft, which would fall to Prendergast and his scouting staff.

As it stands, the 19-37-7-2 Falcons don't have nearly enough of it. Thin to start with, call-ups by the Oilers, injuries and brutal seasons by the likes of Rob Schremp have made for a long season for the local faithful.

Pity Rob Daum, saddled with this gaggle of grunts since parachuting in for fired Jeff Truitt Feb. 10. Going into action against Hershey Wednesday, the Falcons have lost six straight and are 3-10-1-1 under Daum.

Fact is, Scotty Bowman couldn't coax this ECHL roster into the playoffs. I trust the Oilers brass will keep that in mind before laying any of the blame for what's been an unmitigated failure at Daum's feet.

I'm thinking somebody should get the proverbial can tied to their backside over the Springfield mess, but it isn't Daum.

Just asking...

Isn't it time Schremp and agent Scott Norton asked to be traded so they can get a second opinion?

With 7-32-39 in 54 games with Springfield, Schremp hasn't only stalled on the development curve, he's losing ground. In his first pro season, 2006-07, Schremp produced 17-36-53 in 69 games with Wilkes-Barre Scranton. In 2007-08 with Springfield, he had 23-53-76 in 78 games.

Schremp's seen limited duty in just seven games with the Oilers since draft day, including four this season, and produced 0-3-3.

How long will it take after the Oilers back into the playoffs with a 7-10-3 record in their final 20 games before I get the first e-mail: "Brownlee, you IDIOT, didn't you say they'll miss the playoffs?" I'd say the over-under on that one is about six minutes. How could I not believe?

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 swany
March 11 2009, 02:52PM
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Rick wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: The question becomes: Can that cap space be used better elsewhere? Given the past track record on July 1, I’d say no. Do we move him just to have 4 million in space? There is more than one way to use up that cap space, not the least of which is bringing in salary in a trade OR (and perhaps more critically) not using it at all and positioning the team to comfortably weather a drop in the salary cap. If the salary cap were to drop after next year would you rather blow Penner out of town now or be forced to move a guy with good value later because you’re over a barrel. Copmplicating matters even more is that Gagner and Cogliano need new contracts at that time as well.

The only good thing about Cogs and Gags is that the cap goes down for everyone, and unless they have great seasons the Oilers are in a good position, they are RFA's and with the cap falling the risk of offersheets will be minimal. I see the boys signing a 2 year deal at around 2.5-3 mil per. Of couse that depends on next years #'s

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#52 Hoodlum
March 11 2009, 03:07PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: This is a little off topic, but it's almost like EVERYONE knows there is no future in this organization for Rob Schremp, so why are they keeping him around?? Are they hoping that 1 more year he will turn into a superstar? Are they doing the same thing Ottawa did with Jason Spezza, by keeping him in the minors a little longer to really hone on his skills. Because I think we all know, Schremp is not Jason Spezza, and if we don't want him, why are we wasting his time and the organaizations by developing a guy we're not going to use?

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#53 GSC
March 11 2009, 03:23PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Robin,

While you're at it, how about a piece that rips Horcoff a new one, too? He's quite deserving of criticism, considering his numerous whiffs on one-timers (I've come to liken it to baseball, "...and Horcoff goes down swinging") and failure to produce the points expected of a 1st line centre and a soon-to-be $5.5 MIL cap hit player.

Someone in the know needs to call out the organization for throwing ridiculous contracts at marginal players, and we've got a good headstart. So, as Forrest Gump would say, "figured I've gone this far, might as well keep on goin'..."

-GSC

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#54 CurtisS
March 11 2009, 03:23PM
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Moreau says hes playing tomorrow

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#55 Robin Brownlee
March 11 2009, 03:44PM
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@ GSC: You have a point, but I've got more patience with Horcoff than with Penner because No. 10 gives you all he's got and he contributes in other ways when he's not scoring.

I don't blame Horcoff for getting a big contract anymore than I do Penner for signing his offer sheet. Who in his right mind would turn down that kind of money? Horcoff has what's essentially a non-tradeable contract, and that's a mistake on management's part.

That said, "trying hard" and "working hard" isn't enough and Horcoff should be expected to produce at levels at least equivalent to what got him the new deal in the first place. He's come woefully short on that front.

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#56 GSC
March 11 2009, 04:05PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ GSC: You have a point, but I’ve got more patience with Horcoff than with Penner because No. 10 gives you all he’s got and he contributes in other ways when he’s not scoring. I don’t blame Horcoff for getting a big contract anymore than I do Penner for signing his offer sheet. Who in his right mind would turn down that kind of money? Horcoff has what’s essentially a non-tradeable contract, and that’s a mistake on management’s part. That said, “trying hard” and “working hard” isn’t enough and Horcoff should be expected to produce at levels at least equivalent to what got him the new deal in the first place. He’s come woefully short on that front.

In the salary cap world, it's all about bang-for-buck. Neither player comes anywhere near where they need to be to justify their contracts. Like you said, it's not their fault for signing it (it's management's for offering it in the first place), but the onus is on them to produce.

I'm with you 110% on the "A for Effort" argument. Trying hard isn't going to cut it anymore for this organization, be it on or off the ice. I'm sick of hearing about how hard the powers-that-be tried to acquire a certain player, or how hard the team is trying to make the playoffs. You either deliver results or you don't. I don't need to consult a complex statisical formula to determine how good or bad a team is, I simply look at the standings and it tells me all that I need to know.

The Oilers are in playoff dire straits, again. They're stuck with big contracts for marginal players, again. As John Buccigross mentioned in his ESPN column, they're going to be average for a long time. Guess we should be used to it by now, and judging by some of the arguments advanced to justify paying players like Horcoff and Penner their respective salaries, we are.

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#57 CurtisS
March 11 2009, 04:06PM
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With Moreau in tomorrow I think I would try this

Sully Gagner Hemsky Moreau Horc Pisani Nilsson Cogs Kotalik Penner Brodz Poo

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#58 airbag
March 11 2009, 04:06PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

airbag wrote: I agree, Penner may be a lazy bum, but no way should he be out of the lineup. He is a big forward with decent hands, he should be top 6 every game. game days are not the time to teach lessons or make spiteful points. Remember that sick pass Hemsky made cross ice in the first, and Kotalik fanned on it, guess whose name went through my mind. Brad Isbister?

HAHAHAHAHAHA. I asked an actual question of you as well, about your article, why respond to my opinion instead?

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#59 CurtisS
March 11 2009, 04:08PM
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Swap Penner with Moreau if need to be for a true checking line.

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#60 roughneck
March 11 2009, 04:12PM
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second time today the word millstone occurs in a hockey comment. Both arguably in reference to PDP. And one from the blockheaded irishman... how ironical.

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#61 swany
March 11 2009, 04:21PM
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CurtisS wrote:

Moreau says hes playing tomorrow

where do you see this last I heard he needed a weeks rest then atleast 2 practises.

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#62 Jason Gregor
March 11 2009, 04:25PM
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I spoke to Moreau and he has been skating since Monday. He skated again today and feels ready to go for Thursday if MacTavish puts him in. Expect him to play tomorrow.

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#63 swany
March 11 2009, 04:27PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I spoke to Moreau and he has been skating since Monday. He skated again today and feels ready to go for Thursday if MacTavish puts him in. Expect him to play tomorrow.

Thanks just heard you update on the team great job.

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#64 Jeff B
March 11 2009, 04:33PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Thanks for the Moreau update - he really dodged a bullet. Any news on Souray?

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#65 Deans
March 11 2009, 04:35PM
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Anyone know about Souray? I heard a rumor that he tore his MCL last night

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#66 Word
March 11 2009, 04:36PM
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Deans wrote:

Anyone know about Souray? I heard a rumor that he tore his MCL last night

Hyper-extended knee. Questionable for Thursday.

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#67 Deans
March 11 2009, 04:38PM
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God I miss the days when Cory Cross was the town goat. Kinda the opposite of Penner. Worked hard, had minimal expectations and was vastly underpaid.

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#68 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 04:55PM
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GSC wrote:

Robin Brownlee wrote: @ GSC: You have a point, but I’ve got more patience with Horcoff than with Penner because No. 10 gives you all he’s got and he contributes in other ways when he’s not scoring. I don’t blame Horcoff for getting a big contract anymore than I do Penner for signing his offer sheet. Who in his right mind would turn down that kind of money? Horcoff has what’s essentially a non-tradeable contract, and that’s a mistake on management’s part. That said, “trying hard” and “working hard” isn’t enough and Horcoff should be expected to produce at levels at least equivalent to what got him the new deal in the first place. He’s come woefully short on that front. In the salary cap world, it’s all about bang-for-buck. Neither player comes anywhere near where they need to be to justify their contracts. Like you said, it’s not their fault for signing it (it’s management’s for offering it in the first place), but the onus is on them to produce. I’m with you 110% on the “A for Effort” argument. Trying hard isn’t going to cut it anymore for this organization, be it on or off the ice. I’m sick of hearing about how hard the powers-that-be tried to acquire a certain player, or how hard the team is trying to make the playoffs. You either deliver results or you don’t. I don’t need to consult a complex statisical formula to determine how good or bad a team is, I simply look at the standings and it tells me all that I need to know. The Oilers are in playoff dire straits, again. They’re stuck with big contracts for marginal players, again. As John Buccigross mentioned in his ESPN column, they’re going to be average for a long time. Guess we should be used to it by now, and judging by some of the arguments advanced to justify paying players like Horcoff and Penner their respective salaries, we are.

Some more numbers on Horc: 05/06

PPG (Min 41 games)

21. Lecavalier .94

22. Straka .93

23. Horcoff .92

24. Sedin .91

25. Alison .91

06/07

PPG

49. Weiss .65

50. Lang .65

51. Horcoff .64

52. Kozlov .63

53. Cajanek .62

07/08

PPG

14. Richards 1.03

15. Staal 1.00

16. Horcoff .94

17. Kopitar .94

18. Sedin .93

08/09

PPG (Min 25 games)

38. Tkachuk .70

39. Horton .68

40. Horcoff .68

41. Weiss .67

42. Kozlov .64

(this years numbers are a little off as I did this a few weeks ago) To even out the ebb and flow of an NHL season, let’s look at his rolling year averages. since the lockout:

3.5 year average placing: 32.5

3.5 year average PPG: .795

As mentioned yesterday, his cap hit is currently 17th highest amoungst centers for next year. After this years UFA period he'll likely be 19th (Sedin/Cammy) and maybe all the way to 23rd (Sundin/Sakic/Kessel/Krajek)

17th highest scoring center is at a .89PPG clip

19th highest scoring center is at .88 PPG clip

23rd highest scoring center is on pace .83 clip

Last year(when the contract was signed) Horc produced at a .94 PPG clip

2 years before that he produced at a .92 PPG clip

It's very resonable to see him back in that .9 PPG range next year.

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#69 swany
March 11 2009, 05:14PM
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Greg MC wrote:

Peter Pocklington arrested and charged with bankrupcy fraud. Good on him!

I undserstand why so many people dispise Peter Puck, BUT you can't take away that he was the guy that brought the Oilers into the NHL, and that he was the owner of the club for 5 yes 5 cups. Yet he has never been involved in any of the off ice tributes, would it be diffrent if he wasn't the guy to sell Gretz? It's been 21 years since that debacal of monumental porportions, I think he should get some credit for all the Oilers early success, as for his troubles now well atleast he still doesn't own the team thanks EIG.

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#70 CurtisS
March 11 2009, 05:29PM
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@ swany: Dont doubt CurtisS!!

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#71 Oilersordeath
March 11 2009, 05:43PM
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I can see Horcoff coming back to form production wise alot faster than PDP!

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#72 Robin Brownlee
March 11 2009, 05:53PM
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@ Oilersordeath: I don't see Horcoff ever covering his next contract because it's a big overpay even if you consider his best offensive season (2005-06) and take into account his minutes, face-offs etc.

But, assuming he isn't bumped from first-line minutes or doesn't miss chunks of a season like he did in 2007-08, I see Horcoff being a 65-70 point player for the next three seasons. If the Oilers find an upgrade on LW, then maybe the ceiling falls in the 75-80 category.

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#73 Oilersordeath
March 11 2009, 06:00PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Well put, I totally agree. I just hope this is a lesson learned the next time the Oilers want to throw a fat contract to some unproven bum!

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#74 Slurve
March 11 2009, 06:01PM
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I don't get why coaches lambaste their players through the media instead of having a mano a mano meeting with the player in question except that it sells newspapers. If my boss was pissed at me, I would hope he settles the issue with me rather than going over the PA system announcing "Attention staff...". Obviously, you risk a repercussion such as the player may perform worse because of the embarassment. Not all players or persons can be treated with the same whip and expect the same outcome. I see the Penner vs MacT issue not subsiding or going away soon. Penner has pride and this must affect him greatly that others might see it as lazy for his lack of effort.

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#75 Bad Seed
March 11 2009, 06:24PM
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I ask you this, RB, has anyone done a poorer job building an organization than our esteemed Kevin Lowe?

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#76 ultimateoiler
March 11 2009, 06:48PM
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What a mess! How do the Oilers clean up this. I agree with Brownlee. Horcoff is never going to cover his contract it is a big overpayment.He shows effort but not the skill level to merit the bucks. Penner to me is an enigma on Skates. When he so inclined once a year he shows you he has the ability but he has only shown us once this year. He seems destined to never achieve. My question to anyone out there is what plan to the Oilers really have? All I see are mistakes that make me think there is no plan.

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#77 Harlie Chuddy
March 11 2009, 07:02PM
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sameoldsameold wrote:

Excellent article again Brownlee, despite what some of the the potato-chip eating, pepsi slurping, basement dwelling populous thinks, best writer in town.

We're the guys that like him it's the suits that don't.

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#78 Harlie Chuddy
March 11 2009, 07:17PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

CurtisS wrote: @ Rick: I think all it takes is a different voice telling upstairs how the game needs to be played. IMO. Yes, I hear the voices upstairs as well.

it all makes sense now.

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#79 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 11 2009, 07:20PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

I sort of disagree with that. In 2007-2008 before he got hurt, the guy was above a PPG, and that was only playing half that season with Penner, and the full with Hemsky. I dont think he needs a competent LW to reach 75-80 points. He needs to play to his potential and Mactavish needs to stop overplaying him in non-offensive situations.

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#80 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
March 11 2009, 07:43PM
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ultimateoiler wrote:

What a mess! How do the Oilers clean up this. I agree with Brownlee. Horcoff is never going to cover his contract it is a big overpayment.He shows effort but not the skill level to merit the bucks. Penner to me is an enigma on Skates. When he so inclined once a year he shows you he has the ability but he has only shown us once this year. He seems destined to never achieve. My question to anyone out there is what plan to the Oilers really have? All I see are mistakes that make me think there is no plan.

The only way to clean up this mess is to start from scratch,No K Lowe, no mac T and a new scouting department. Has any one bothered to look at the Columbus organization and seen what Scout Howsen has done in a short period of time?

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#81 Archaeologuy
March 11 2009, 08:04PM
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Every time K-Lowe re-signs a player god kills a kitten. True story.

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#82 W.T.
March 11 2009, 08:24PM
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W.T. enjoying the sun in Mexico last week and this. You all got it cold there I hear. Seems to W.T, that KLowe is playing hide and seek? How you figure:

1. have Kevin P. say sorry to the fans today- hide 2. Klowe on CBC requesting people buy Oiler lottery tickets- seek 3. Klowe trade Ryan Smyth and doesn't show up on the ice for Messier celebration-hide 4. Klowe comes out swinging against Burke-seek 5. Klowe hasn't said a work about the Oilers results YTD- hide 6. Klowe signs Penner to a fair contract- so he says and is all over the radio with the big news-seek 7. Klowe shows up for Anderson celebration on the ice- seek. 8. Klowe says nothing during the trade deadline day-hide

W.T. just wondering how many fans still wish to play this game with Klowe?

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#83 Dennis
March 11 2009, 08:37PM
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RB: actually, I think 27 being the best LW option means the guy Should play no matter what. Every overall number - besides salary - supports playing him over the usual suspects that take his place when he sits out.

So, considering that his salary's a sunk cost, he absolutely should play over an 85 etc etc. I'm not saying the guy's worth his money but if that's the hill MacT's gonna die on, then at least play him the rest of '09 and then go to Lowe in the summer and strongly suggest that the guy be moved.

It hurts the club on-ice when he's benched for the kind of guys that replace him and that's what matters on March 13th.

As for 10 covering his contract, if he keeps at the pace of 50 pts in 53 games and he comes up ~15-20 playing power-vs-power, then I think he's covering his contract. There are guys like Pahlsson who did the tough sledding for peanuts but they are fucking and mucking far between.

Horc's '09 cap hit is 3.6 mill and despite the downturn in his counting stats, he's still +9 in actual plus/minus while slogging against the tough match-ups. The guy's covering this cap hit but outside of the last couple of weeks, he gets the smear because the secondary scoring isn't exploiting the soft min adv that his hard work is giving them.

Now, for the next one, he's gonna have to bump those counting stats and that might be a problem given he really shouldn't be on the PP any longer. Still, I wouldn't bet against him if he's healthy and, like I said, if 89 winds up with say 60 points and 10 has 60 points, we're gonna be in good shape and so much of the focus won't Be on 10.

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#84 Dennis
March 11 2009, 08:39PM
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This isn't a double-post; the previous one had a swear in it so I'm sure it will be deleted. It slipped in there somehow!:)

Anyway, the clean version:

RB: actually, I think 27 being the best LW option means the guy Should play no matter what. Every overall number - besides salary - supports playing him over the usual suspects that take his place when he sits out.

So, considering that his salary’s a sunk cost, he absolutely should play over an 85 etc etc. I’m not saying the guy’s worth his money but if that’s the hill MacT’s gonna die on, then at least play him the rest of ‘09 and then go to Lowe in the summer and strongly suggest that the guy be moved.

It hurts the club on-ice when he’s benched for the kind of guys that replace him and that’s what matters on March 13th.

As for 10 covering his contract, if he keeps at the pace of 50 pts in 53 games and he comes up ~15-20 playing power-vs-power, then I think he’s covering his contract. There are guys like Pahlsson who did the tough sledding for peanuts but they are fucking and mucking far between.

Horc’s ‘09 cap hit is 3.6 mill and despite the downturn in his counting stats, he’s still +9 in actual plus/minus while slogging against the tough match-ups. The guy’s covering this cap hit but outside of the last couple of weeks, he gets the smear because the secondary scoring isn’t exploiting the soft min adv that his hard work is giving them.

Now, for the next one, he’s gonna have to bump those counting stats and that might be a problem given he really shouldn’t be on the PP any longer. Still, I wouldn’t bet against him if he’s healthy and, like I said, if 89 winds up with say 60 points and 10 has 60 points, we’re gonna be in good shape and so much of the focus won’t Be on 10.

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#85 Dennis
March 11 2009, 08:40PM
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Ha, slipped it again.

here it is:

RB: actually, I think 27 being the best LW option means the guy Should play no matter what. Every overall number - besides salary - supports playing him over the usual suspects that take his place when he sits out.

So, considering that his salary’s a sunk cost, he absolutely should play over an 85 etc etc. I’m not saying the guy’s worth his money but if that’s the hill MacT’s gonna die on, then at least play him the rest of ‘09 and then go to Lowe in the summer and strongly suggest that the guy be moved.

It hurts the club on-ice when he’s benched for the kind of guys that replace him and that’s what matters on March 13th.

As for 10 covering his contract, if he keeps at the pace of 50 pts in 53 games and he comes up ~15-20 playing power-vs-power, then I think he’s covering his contract. There are guys like Pahlsson who did the tough sledding for peanuts but they are few and mucking far between.

Horc’s ‘09 cap hit is 3.6 mill and despite the downturn in his counting stats, he’s still +9 in actual plus/minus while slogging against the tough match-ups. The guy’s covering this cap hit but outside of the last couple of weeks, he gets the smear because the secondary scoring isn’t exploiting the soft min adv that his hard work is giving them.

Now, for the next one, he’s gonna have to bump those counting stats and that might be a problem given he really shouldn’t be on the PP any longer. Still, I wouldn’t bet against him if he’s healthy and, like I said, if 89 winds up with say 60 points and 10 has 60 points, we’re gonna be in good shape and so much of the focus won’t Be on 10.

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#86 Robin Brownlee
March 11 2009, 08:52PM
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@ Bad Seed: Sure, but that's faint praise, isn't it?

Chicago has been crap until the last two years. Phoenix, Los Angeles, Toronto, Florida, the New York Islanders and Washington (until Ovechkin arrived) haven't exactly been model franchises. Looking ahead, Ottawa, Colorado, Atlanta and Tampa Bay are headed the wrong way fast.

Still, your sentiment has some merit.

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#87 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 09:19PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ Oilersordeath: I don’t see Horcoff ever covering his next contract because it’s a big overpay even if you consider his best offensive season (2005-06) and take into account his minutes, face-offs etc. But, assuming he isn’t bumped from first-line minutes or doesn’t miss chunks of a season like he did in 2007-08, I see Horcoff being a 65-70 point player for the next three seasons. If the Oilers find an upgrade on LW, then maybe the ceiling falls in the 75-80 category.

I'm not really sure why you set the bar so high for a 5.5 million dollar player. 70ish points seems to be the average for that type of offensive production.

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#88 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 09:21PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Oops

70ish points seems to be the average production for that type of contract.

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#89 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 09:22PM
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@ ultimateoiler: The only way this is a "mess" is if you assume the team can go out and sign better players for the same or the same players for less $$$.

That simply isn't realistic.

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#90 Robin Brownlee
March 11 2009, 09:33PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

@ ultimateoiler: The only way this is a “mess” is if you assume the team can go out and sign better players for the same or the same players for less $$$. That simply isn’t realistic.

Well, everybody is operating under the same salary cap, so I think it's fair to assume you can look at the rosters of a lot of teams and suggest they've got better players for the same money, no? Lots of teams have spent more wisely than the Oilers.

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#91 Jason Gregor
March 11 2009, 09:58PM
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Slurve wrote:

I don’t get why coaches lambaste their players through the media instead of having a mano a mano meeting with the player in question except that it sells newspapers. If my boss was pissed at me

Is saying "he needs to be better" really slagging him?

And I know for a fact that they have had closed door meetings prior to going public. Actually at least two before the first time that Penner was benched for two games.

What do you expect the coach to say when a player is benched? I really like his game but sat him anyway. When the decision is made to sit the player a coach has to explain it to some degree.

Some will agree with stating it in public and some won't. That is fine, but don't believe for a second that is wasn't discussed privately first.

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#92 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 10:06PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: @ ultimateoiler: The only way this is a “mess” is if you assume the team can go out and sign better players for the same or the same players for less $$$. That simply isn’t realistic. Well, everybody is operating under the same salary cap, so I think it’s fair to assume you can look at the rosters of a lot of teams and suggest they’ve got better players for the same money, no? Lots of teams have spent more wisely than the Oilers.

Sure, some have some haven't. All those players aren't available though (in fact very few are). I guess my point is: We all know the chances of this team ever landing top tier UFA's is slim to nill (reference the last 2 July 1st's)and even if we do happen to land one, the overpayment will likely be worse then what the team has given to keep their own.

What's worse? Horc for 5.5 to 36, or Hossa at 9 to 38. Bringing in UFA's is a losing game. What we need to do is draft and develop our own.... if the last few years is any indication the team is starting to accomplish that.

Now assuming we concede that the big UFA (likely) isn't coming, the only salary cap risk comes from losing our own.

Grebs this year and Cogs/Gagner next year. We should be fine with room for Grebs (assuming the team wants to keep him ie: they don't try to unload a PMD for a stay at home guy)

Next year might be a little more dicey (assuming Cogs/Gagner progress) but even then, you have 16 months to deal with it, and at that time if the space is needed, you send Penner to the minors or trade one of Souray/Visnosky/Horcoff (for peanuts if need be). Worst case is one of Gagner/Cogs is cashed in for what likely would 2x1st+2nd+3rd.

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#93 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 10:19PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Hey Gregor, any chance you see one of O'Sullivan/Cogs/Gilbert cashed in for J Staal this summer?

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#94 RossCreek
March 11 2009, 10:29PM
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A few similar types:

Derek Roy - 4.0 Daymond Langkow - 4.5 Rod Brind'amour - 3.6 Brad Richards - 7.8 Shawn Horcoff - 5.5 Mikko Koivu - 3.25 Jason Arnott - 4.5 Chris Drury - 7.05

Couple bargains, couple overpayments.

The biggest problem with the contracts K-Lowe has handed out, at least to me, is the length. Six years for Horcoff! Starting next year! OMFG! Horcoff at 5.5 isn't necassarily terrible (although it definately isn't great by any stretch). The problem is at 35, 36, 37 years old, 5.5 is gonna be a little hefty for a 2nd/3rd line center.

The minutes and intangibles he brings are worth more than what his point total suggests, and with a legitimate scoring winger added to the mix, he is a good fit as their #1. Imagine Horcoff in between Hemsky & Kovalchuk... seems to me like he'd be a good fit, a defensive conscience to allow the 2 offensively gifted players to work their magic. The problem is with Hemsky & Penner (or whomever), Horcoff seems like a bad #1.

Its simple: find a legitimate scoring winger to play with Hemsky, and Horcoff is a good fit as #1 OR find a legitimate #1 center to play with Hemsky & whichever clown of the day you want.

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#95 RossCreek
March 11 2009, 10:31PM
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As far as Dustin Penner goes, yes he's lazy , but he's amongst their top 12 forwards (top 8) and should be in the lineup (if nothing else, at least ahead of "Softy toffee" Bobby Nilsson). How is it that Sam Gagner has not been sat in the press box for a game or 2? Ever? Even the great MacT sat one Ales Hemsky a few times if memory serves me correct. Its not about a tongue lashing or blunt message for Sam. Its about watching the game from up above, seeing things that you might not always notice. At least thats what they said about sitting Ales years back. Protect the kid that way. Don't send one message to Dustin Penner, then send another to Sam Gagner.

Penner said it himself - something along the lines of ITS TOUGH TO PLAY WHEN YOU'RE WORRYING THAT MAKING 1 MISTAKE IS GONNA GET YOU BENCHED. Especially when other players are not held to that same standard.

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#96 Robin Brownlee
March 11 2009, 10:36PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Penner said it himself - something along the lines of ITS TOUGH TO PLAY WHEN YOU’RE WORRYING THAT MAKING 1 MISTAKE IS GONNA GET YOU BENCHED. Especially when other players are not held to that same standard.

And it was tough to get used to playing more minutes . . . it was tough getting to know new teammates . . . it was tough moving up from the third line in a Anaheim and facing tougher competition in the top six . . . PDP.

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#97 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 10:36PM
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RossCreek wrote:

A few similar types: Derek Roy - 4.0 Daymond Langkow - 4.5 Rod Brind’amour - 3.6 Brad Richards - 7.8 Shawn Horcoff - 5.5 Mikko Koivu - 3.25 Jason Arnott - 4.5 Chris Drury - 7.05 Couple bargains, couple overpayments. The biggest problem with the contracts K-Lowe has handed out, at least to me, is the length. Six years for Horcoff! Starting next year! OMFG! Horcoff at 5.5 isn’t necassarily terrible (although it definately isn’t great by any stretch). The problem is at 35, 36, 37 years old, 5.5 is gonna be a little hefty for a 2nd/3rd line center. The minutes and intangibles he brings are worth more than what his point total suggests, and with a legitimate scoring winger added to the mix, he is a good fit as their #1. Imagine Horcoff in between Hemsky & Kovalchuk… seems to me like he’d be a good fit, a defensive conscience to allow the 2 offensively gifted players to work their magic. The problem is with Hemsky & Penner (or whomever), Horcoff seems like a bad #1. Its simple: find a legitimate scoring winger to play with Hemsky, and Horcoff is a good fit as #1 OR find a legitimate #1 center to play with Hemsky & whichever clown of the day you want.

Agreed and agreed. I'm far more concerned about Horcs term then his $$$. 4 years would have been plenty

Also agreed on either finding a High end #1 center to replace Horc or a high end LW to complement him. See if you can't pry one of Spezza/Heatly (prefferably Heatly) out of an Ottawa team desperate to shake things up/redistribute their cap.

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#98 Ogden Brother
March 11 2009, 10:40PM
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RossCreek wrote:

As far as Dustin Penner goes, yes he’s lazy , but he’s amongst their top 12 forwards (top and should be in the lineup (if nothing else, at least ahead of “Softy toffee” Bobby Nilsson). How is it that Sam Gagner has not been sat in the press box for a game or 2? Ever? Even the great MacT sat one Ales Hemsky a few times if memory serves me correct. Its not about a tongue lashing or blunt message for Sam. Its about watching the game from up above, seeing things that you might not always notice. At least thats what they said about sitting Ales years back. Protect the kid that way. Don’t send one message to Dustin Penner, then send another to Sam Gagner. Penner said it himself - something along the lines of ITS TOUGH TO PLAY WHEN YOU’RE WORRYING THAT MAKING 1 MISTAKE IS GONNA GET YOU BENCHED. Especially when other players are not held to that same standard.

Hard to feel sorry for Penner, the only reason he has to worry about making that one mistake is because he's consistantly been bad. If he put in the effort like the other guys, he wouldn't have to worry (like the other guys)

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#99 RossCreek
March 11 2009, 10:52PM
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JUST ASKING...

Grebeshkov @ 3 OR Gilbert @ 4

All things considered (not the least of which should be chemistry - how would the youngsters react to losing Gilbert vs losing Grebeshkov, and how much does that matter?), who would you keep? Who would bring more value - Gilbert @ 4 for 5 more years or a RFA Grebeshkov?

And after Peckham, which young blueliner(s) could be expected next? And how long til they're ready? Sounds like Jeff Petry is at least 2 or 3 years away and Taylor Chorney doesn't seem to be in a rush to get their either.

To me, they could use a big, tough shutdown type - say like Matt Greene for instance. Oooops.

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#100 RossCreek
March 11 2009, 11:25PM
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Kotalik-Horcoff-Hemsky Penner-Gagner-O'Sullivan Moreau-Cogliano-Pisani Reddox-Brodziak-Stortini Nilsson-Pouliot-MacIntyre

I say that, given those 15 forwards. Gilbert Brule (healthy) should be here. That one baffles me. Schremp is of no use to this team as is. I thought Ryan Potulny looked ok in his stint. I'd take him over "the Poulet". BOBert Nilsson is finished here, IMO. How about Ryan Stone? If Liam Reddox can be here, then surely Stone could have a look-see. Wouldn't he add a little more 4th line sandpaper?

So... thats Brule, Potulny & Stone over Nilsson, Pouliot & Reddox. Liam could make for a decent "swing guy"/"yo-yo" going up and down based on injuries/poor play by others.

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