Questions That Need Answers: Fifth Edition

Jason Gregor
March 25 2009 12:17PM

whatabmact

When MacT inevitably does get fired, who would you peg as the front runners for Tambellini to replace him with? Does he draw from his Vancouver days to bring in Marc Crawford? Does he go with former teammates? I know he's played with current NHL coaches, Joel Quenneville (unlikely since he's HC of Chicago) and Mike Kitchen (possibility since he's an AC with FLA)? Personally, I'd like to see him go after Brent Sutter if he chooses to resign from NJ. What do you think? —Dino

MacTavish won’t get fired; he will leave on his own. I had a conversation with a member of the Oilers’ organization last week and I left with the feeling that it will be MacTavish’s decision if he comes back next year or not.

If they miss the playoffs, I think MacTavish will resign. But if they make the playoffs it will be interesting if his mindset changes. When MacTavish got his four-year extension in the summer of 2006 he admitted at his press conference that if the Oilers had missed the playoffs, before their magical run, he would have moved on.

MacTavish will eventually get into management for some team, but it’s hard to figure if coaching is out of his blood right now. If he resigns, does he move into a management role or does he look for a coaching position around the league? I sense he still enjoys coaching and his decision will depend on how they do in the playoffs.

As for potential replacements, I don’t see any of the current assistants being promoted. Marc Crawford has ties with Tambellini, but I don’t see him coming here.

Brent Sutter’s name will come up, but I’m hearing that he might just go back to the farm and coach the Red Deer Rebels. He owns the Rebels, and this past year they had close to 1,000 season ticket holders not show up for games periodically. The business side of the Rebels is weighing heavily on his mind, not to mention he misses his family.

If Sutter resigns in NJ, like everyone expects, and the Oilers are indeed looking for a new coach next year, you can guarantee that the Oilers will give him a call to see where his head is at.

Front-runners could be Geoff Ward, assistant coach in Boston; Paul MacLean, AC in Detroit; and possibly a guy like Don Lever, AC in Montreal who played with Tambellini in Colorado. The Oilers won’t even hint at who they are interested in since MacTavish is still their guy.

Which players in the AHL do the Oilers have under contract for next year, and do they have any good new players coming in next year? —Alan

The guys under contract for next year are: Peckham, Sestito, O’Marra, Paukovich, Lerg, Trukhno, Chorney, Hrabel, Bendfeld, Wild and Pitton. They will want to re-sign Brule, Dubnyk Potulny, Stone, Schremp and Spurgeon. It will be interesting if Schremp re-signs or elects to go Europe for a season or two.

They will need to sign some veteran D-men. Jake Roberts is a tough, solid AHL D-man, and they will desperately need some experience on their blueline next year. As for kids coming out, Jeff Petry is a possibility. Linus Omark is someone they would love to bring over from Sweden. Milan Kytnar from the Saskatoon Blades might go down there as a 20-year-old. Chris Van De Velde has one year left at North Dakota, but if he elects to leave he would help a lot.

It will be interesting to see what the Oilers decide to do with Alex Plante. If the Hitmen win the Memorial Cup, I think he goes to the AHL for sure next year, and even if they don’t I think playing in the “A” as a 20-year-old would be more beneficial in his development. The other possibility is Riley Nash, but I’m hearing he will stay in college and hopefully put on more weight and get stronger.

My buddy, who loves Crosby, says that Ovechkin scores more goals than anyone because he plays in the SouthLEAST division. Is this true? —Adam

Ovechkin scores more goals than anyone because he is better than them, plain and simple. But for argument sake let’s look at it.

To date Ovechkin has 51 goals. He has scored 13 goals in 19 games within his division for a 0.68 GPG average, and he has 38 goals in 56 games outside of his division, for a 0.67 GPG average. In fact, the Caps are 12-7 v. their division, 12-4-3 v. the NE and 12-2-4 v. the ATL division.

They have scored 61 goals in their 19 divisional games for an average of 3.2 GPG, and in the 56 against the rest of the league they have scored 179 for a 3.19 GPG.

The Caps have fewer points from divisional games than they do against the rest of the East, so is their division that weak? The stats prove that this season Ovechkin and his teammates don’t pad their totals because they play in the Southeast.

Last year, he had 22 goals in 24 divisional games, and 43 in the other 58 for a 0.91 GPG within his division and 0.75 GPG outside his division. It helped him a bit last year, but definitely not this year.

If the NHL were to once again engage ESPN in contract talks to show games in the US what arguments could the NHL possibly make to encourage ESPN to invest back into the NHL product? (Obviously ratings is not one of those arguments). Do you have any idea what kind of data or information the NHL could use in forming their arguments? —Clarke

The NHL gets more money from Versus than they ever did from ESPN.

Versus is starting to get into more homes every day, and in a few years it quite possibly could be part of the basic cable package. Staying with them, with the money they get compared to ESPN paying them nothing, makes better business sense.

I don't see the NHL having any numbers/stats that could sway ESPN into thinking that buying the rights back would make any sense. Ratings aren’t high and their ticket sales haven’t jumped enough in the States to make the ESPN executives believe that fans are flocking to the NHL.

I don't see the NHL and ESPN being together again in the next two years at least, and probably longer.

Why do people who sit at the back of the plane immediately stand up when the plane reaches the gate?

I don’t understand why so many of you do this. You end up standing for ten to 15 minutes waiting for the people in front of you to get off. Are you in that big of a rush to grab your carry on luggage? Do you think if you stand up first you get off first?

Unless you have made a deal with the flight attendants to let you off first so you can make a connecting flight, standing up first accomplishes nothing. In fact, it makes it harder for those in front of you to get out of their seat and grab their bag. Sit your ass down, relax and wait for the rows in front of you to leave.

Have questions that need answers? E-mail Jason Gregor at jason@justagame.ca.

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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 albundy
March 25 2009, 10:23PM
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They can get off on their own if you get it

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#52 Dennis
March 25 2009, 10:26PM
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Gregor: Yes, it's hard to quantify and that's the thing, I know. I can get down with "energy" guys if they hold serve - and that point I'll just call them low-event - and I could really believe in these guys overall if they could make a difference on the PK unit.

But I have a hard time believing in fellows that just go out there and bang around for 7-8 min at EV and come out somewhat under the minus line.

GSC: Glencross had some great counting stats down the '08 stretch and those proved somewhat repeatable given what he's done ~70 games into the season. So, he looked to be more than just "energy" and he's certainly been valuable for the '09 Flames.

All that being said, there was a piece in the Cgy Herald just like week where Glencross himself was talking about his little stint on the first line and he said that wherever he landed, he was always mindful of his plus minus. So, that really goes back to outscoring as much anything else.

You can Google for that article if you don't believe me.

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#53 GSC
March 25 2009, 11:27PM
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Dennis wrote:

GSC: Glencross had some great counting stats down the ‘08 stretch and those proved somewhat repeatable given what he’s done ~70 games into the season. So, he looked to be more than just “energy” and he’s certainly been valuable for the ‘09 Flames. All that being said, there was a piece in the Cgy Herald just like week where Glencross himself was talking about his little stint on the first line and he said that wherever he landed, he was always mindful of his plus minus. So, that really goes back to outscoring as much anything else. You can Google for that article if you don’t believe me.

I'm not disagreeing with you at all, I'm simply noting that many perceived Glencross as replaceable and that his stats weren't indicative of him being worthy of the raise he received in Calgary.

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#54 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 26 2009, 01:31AM
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"I’m not disagreeing with you at all, I’m simply noting that many perceived Glencross as replaceable and that his stats weren’t indicative of him being worthy of the raise he received in Calgary.|

Those people were obviously f'ing idiots and didnt see what he brought to our fourth line. A scoring touch, an identity, and a force to be reckoned with on most nights. Glencross brought what this team has sorely lacked all year long.

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#55 Jon
March 26 2009, 08:54AM
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Dennis wrote:

Glencross had some great counting stats down the ‘08 stretch and those proved somewhat repeatable given what he’s done ~70 games into the season. So, he looked to be more than just “energy” and he’s certainly been valuable for the ‘09 Flames.

He did have great counting stats, but it seemed like every other person would point to his shooting percentage and say 'it's not sustainable!!'. And they were right, but they couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that a player can still be useful with a sub-10 shooting percentage and sub-20 goals over the year.

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#56 Stall35
March 26 2009, 09:00AM
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Not sure is anyone else has seen this but its priceless!!...haha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss1JTK7JUts&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%

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#57 Dennis
March 26 2009, 09:33AM
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Hejda was a harder gem to identify but we had both him and Glencross for a trial run and for whatever reason we didn't bring them back.

Hejda left in the summer of '07 and maybe that was a by-product of him being one of the 100 or so D we had that year that wasn't adept at making a first pass. So, MacT went out and started focusing on puckmovers or offensive guys and somewhere along the way, Hejda got lost.

With Glencross, I just wonder if the Oilers came to a decision that there was only so much money they could spend for bottom sixers like 18 and 34. Sure, it all happened during the chase for Hossa and you'll hear that there wasn't money for anyone but if the Oilers were confident enough that Glencross could be the new Moreau or Pisani, they could've tried to turf one of the older guys.

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#58 topshelf FMNF
March 26 2009, 09:49AM
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@ Dennis: I thought the Oilers were not going to spend that money on Glencross but instead use it in the ridiculous attempt to land Hossa. Is that false?

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#59 Jonathan Willis
March 26 2009, 09:55AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

He has coached four years in the NHL, and he made the playoffs twice. He has won one round in the playoffs. His regular season record is: 148-140-40…Winning % is .511

And this is the problem with judging head coaches solely by winning %. Nolan spent fully half of his NHL coaching career with that joke of an Islanders team. It's a miracle that he's above .500 at all.

In any case, his junior numbers are far better; his overall record there is 226-144-27, and that's including an 18-42-6 record in his rookie year as coach with a rebuilding Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds team.

His problems with management have got him blacklisted, but that's no reason to downplay his abilities as a coach.

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#60 Jonathan Willis
March 26 2009, 09:59AM
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GSC wrote:

Couldn’t agree more about the energy factor. See: Glencross, Curtis. Numbers weren’t there, but anyone with an eye for the game could see that he was a great fit in the lineup and was well worth the $1.2-$1.3 MIL he’s now earning with the soon-to-be Northwest Division Champs.

Energy isn't a bad thing, but Glencross's real value is as an outscorer. Energy's everywhere - hell, half of the AHL roster would bring you energy (Brule, Stone, Sestito, Spurgeon, Lefebvre, Paukovich, O'Marra) and the minor leagues are filled with these guys. Energy is easy to find.

But a player who outscores his opponents at an NHL level is a little more elusive - it's a positive for the team that he brings energy, but let's not get confused about which of the two is keeping him in the NHL.

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#61 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 26 2009, 10:05AM
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And not to mention Glencross made the 2 guys he played with exponentially better. In that stretch last year, that 4th line was a threat some nights whereas they are mostly invisible this year.

As far as everyone has said, we were waiting on Hossa, Glencross's group were waiting on us, and in the meantime Calgary offered his group a 3 year deal. What sickens me about the whole thing, is why did we just resign him and deal with the 1.2 million later? In my opinion one of the biggest Kevin Lowe blunders I can think of.

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#62 RossCreek
March 26 2009, 10:06AM
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Perry Pearn or Dale Hunter anyone?

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#63 Colin-FMNF
March 26 2009, 10:30AM
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The most important questions of the day:

When will the GDB be up today?

Why doesn't McD's serve breakfast after 11?

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#64 Jason Gregor
March 26 2009, 10:48AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

hell, half of the AHL roster would bring you energy (Brule, Stone, Sestito, Spurgeon, Lefebvre, Paukovich, O’Marra) and the minor leagues are filled with these guys. Energy is easy to find.

You seriously don't believe this statement do you? None of those guys, outside of Brule, have the ability or speed to play in the NHL. Energy isn't just the ability to hit someone. It is the ability to change the momentum of the game back in your favour. The willingness to play hard every shift.

Stone can't skate fast enough to hit anyone, Paukovich is softer than Penner, O'Marra is just plain lazy right now, Lefebvre is not an NHL player. Spurgeon is a good faceoff guy, but doesn't bring a physical side to change the pace of a game.

If you think those are energy players, you are mistaken.

If an energy player ends up -2 on the year, but kills lots of penalties for your team, he will stay. You want people to accept stats more, which is fine, but then you need to understand that energy isn't graded solely on stats. You have to watch a game to see how it unfolds.

Pisani can be a useful player that outscores the opposition, but he will never be considered an energy guy. That isn't a knock on him, that is a fact. Moreau on the otherhand might not outscore the opposition, but his contributions to the team are just as valuable. And if you look at their regular season totals, Moreau scores just as much as Pisani.

While the stats might show otherwise, Moreau is coveted by many other teams. I have spoken to many opposing scouts in the pressbox the past few years, and every one of them asks how Moreau is playing. Outside of Hemsky, and lately Gagner and Cogliano, no forward attracts more attention/questions from opposing scouts.

His energy is consistent every game. Sure he takes aggressive penalties, and sometimes dumb ones, but his ability to compete every shift is what makes his a valuable energy guy. Dogged determination, and an NHL skill set is what keeps him in the league. The players you mentioned aren't NHLers, and outside of Brule and maybe Spurgeon, none will play in the NHL.

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#65 Jonathan Willis
March 26 2009, 11:43AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If an energy player ends up -2 on the year, but kills lots of penalties for your team, he will stay. You want people to accept stats more, which is fine, but then you need to understand that energy isn’t graded solely on stats. You have to watch a game to see how it unfolds.

I don't think we disagree here Jason - an energy guy who ends up -2 on the year (for most teams, Detroit and the like excepted) is probably doing just fine (not outscoring, but holding his own), and if he's a good PK guy he has lots of value. But a guy like Curtis Glencross is far more valuable than say Eric Nystrom not because he provides energy but because he's outscoring.

Basically, what I'm saying is that of the two (outscoring/energy) outscoring is the more valuable trait to possess. You call Lefebvre "not an NHL player" and you're right, but it isn't a lack of energy that keeps him out of the league - he changes momentum with big hits and fights and hard work; he just doesn't have the talent.

BTW, Paukovich isn't soft - he's one of the dirtiest players in the system and he likes to hurt people. His problems don't stem from a lack of aggression.

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#66 dbushie
March 26 2009, 02:49PM
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How bout steve ludzik as a coach. I like him on his show and he seams to like schremp.

or possibly don hay of the vancouver gaints. I like the job he did there because the gaints are a top team every year.

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#67 Dennis
March 26 2009, 04:38PM
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I haven't said this before but 18 has definitely kept his word to Gregor as per cutting down on dumb penalties. So, kudos to him for that and it makes it much easier to like him.

And it's also nice that in his stead, 44 has picked up the pace for dumb penalties!

I doubt there are scouts who watch as many Oilers games as actual fans and I'm not sure if they'd like 18 as much if they had to watch him every game. he no longer grades as a plus PKer and there's no way he'll replicate his '09 goal scoring given all the weird goals he's scored this season. Plus, he's gonna have a hard time covering his contract.

Gregor: I guess '06 is the ultimate for every point but if you equate energy with grinding, there's no way that the old Torres-Peca-Pisani troika wasn't money any way you cut that line.

And I"m gonna be really interested to see if Brule can make it as anything other than a scorer. I don't think he's smart enough to play in a role where you're only looking to hold serve.

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#68 Jason Gregor
March 26 2009, 04:49PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

BTW, Paukovich isn’t soft - he’s one of the dirtiest players in the system and he likes to hurt people. His problems don’t stem from a lack of aggression.

Hitting from behind a few times doesn't make him physical. He has had a few blatant cheap shots on his resume, but all the scouts I talk with say he doesn't hit consistently and rarely brings energy. You are correct that he has a reputation of the cheap hit-from-behind garbage, but he doesn't bring an energy to the game.

It's too bad. If he channelled his size and nasty side into a consistent effort he could be effective. He might get another one-year deal with the Oilers, just because he might GET IT and be consistent, but right now his energy level and consistency is no where near where it should and could be.

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#69 Jason Gregor
March 26 2009, 04:58PM
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dbushie wrote:

or possibly don hay of the vancouver gaints. I like the job he did there because the gaints are a top team every year.

Look at Don Hay's career...when he coaches in the pros, either NHL or AHL he has never won a round in the playoffs in five seasons.

He is a great WHL coach, but he deals better with kids rather than men. I can tell you with certainty that he will not be on the short list, when the Oilers eventually get around to looking for a new coach.

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#70 dbushie
March 27 2009, 12:15PM
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@ Jason Gregor: Jason Gregor wrote:

Look at Don Hay’s career…when he coaches in the pros, either NHL or AHL he has never won a round in the playoffs in five seasons. He is a great WHL coach, but he deals better with kids rather than men. I can tell you with certainty that he will not be on the short list, when the Oilers eventually get around to looking for a new coach.

Thats to bad about don hay not being considered. I thought he would do good with edmonton because of our abundance of young developing players. Maybe even help with brule since he coached him before.

How bout Steve Ludzik than.

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#71 Quicksilver ballett
April 06 2009, 02:31PM
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I gave it 6 months before i decided, but i think 1260 can do better than Jason Gregor.

Bring in Murph or give it to Brownie.

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