Tom Renney In A Box (Part 2)

Lowetide
July 04 2010 11:26AM

In our final look at Tom Renney and his coaching tendencies while with the Rangers, we'll examine how he handled the defense, the goaltending and rode his stars on the powerplay.

  1. How did he handle the blue in NYC? In his first full season with the Rangers, he relied on everyone pretty much equally at EVs and PK. Six men were between 2:49/game and 3:36/game when the NYR were a man short that season. He did rely on Rozsival, Tyutin and Poti on the PP. Each of the following seasons was very similar, although he was relying on Rozsival (and later Staal) more than the others. This isn't Cito Gaston straight up but it's pretty straight up. 
  2. How does that apply to the Oilers blueline? For the purposes of this conversation, we're going to assume Sheldon Souray isn't on the team in '10-'11. I suspect he'll rely on Tom Gilbert (Gibby had a great run after the trade deadline, going 2-10-12 in his final 7 games), Kurtis Foster (3:50 a game on the Bolts PP--easily the top PP option) and Ryan Whitney on the powerplay. They would represent the Rozsival, Tyutin, Poti trio above. 
  3. What about the PK? Whitney and Gilbert played a lot shorthanded last season, but I think Smid should be able to increase his minutes (only 1:51 a game last year). Add the other new hire (Vandermeer) and Strudwick`s return (2:33 a game last season shorthanded) and they should be able to reduce shorthanded minutes from the top pairing.
  4. Who is the key to the Oilers D in 09-10? Smid. He had a nice season playing softer opposition with Lubo, and will play tougher opponents this year. I'm encouraged by his possible partners (Foster, Vandermeer); Smid's season with Staios (that was the "rip it around the boards season") didn't use his speed or puck handling ability in any way. Renney will like his toughness and if he can stay healthy (buddy gets hit a lot) while establishing himself as a top 4 defenseman the Oilers will have an exceptional value contract.
  5. What about the goaltending? Renney was appointed head coach with 20 games left in the 2003-04 season. The team's goaltending featured Mike Dunham (57gp, .896SP and this was his final season in a starting role); Jussi Markkanen (.913SP in 26GP before being dealt to the Oilers); veteran Jamie McLennan along with prospects Steve Valiquette and Jason LaBarbera. When the lockout ended, the Rangers had Kevin Weekes in the starting role and Henrik Lundqvist (an outstanding goalie in Sweden, his SEL SP's had been eye-popping for three seasons by now) as the backup. An early season injury to Weekes meant the rookie ran with the job for awhile. Lundqvist at the time: "You always want to be the No. 1 goalie, but there's so many games. I'm happy as long as we win. We've got a good start here, and so far we're on the right track. Hopefully we can keep it up, and then we'll see who's playing better. I will work hard for it, though." 
  6. So we should look to Sweden? Well maybe. My point is we shouldn't be surprised if the Oilers rip through goaltenders in the next two seasons. The Oilers should have no loyalty to any of the three goalies currently in the mix beyond giving them some starts in hopes they (the kids) play well enough to win the job outright. There's no reason to believe the Oilers have the next Ranford or Joseph on the roster currently, and until one of the kids grabs the starting job the Oilers should be looking to upgrade. Sweden, Finland, Russia, NCAA, look under every rock.
  7. What about his powerplays? He ran his best players ragged. In 2005-06, Jagr was in the top 10 in the entire league in powerplay minutes per game, with Nylander and Straka also in the top 50. Renney's button-down defensive style at EV strength meant special teams had elevated importance.
  8. How good were his powerplays? The season he took over the club finished 25th overall in PP %. In 05-06, the Rangers PP was 9th in percentage; the following season the club was 8th and in 07-08 it slipped to 22nd overall. In the season he was fired, the Rangers finished 29th overall in powerplay percentage.
  9. What the hell happened? Good players (in their prime) slipped away and were replaced by lesser players. From the Jagr-Straka-Nylander-Rucinsky era of the middle part of the decade until the 08-09 season (Gomez, Drury, Markus Naslund, Nik Zherdev) there was a downturn in roster quality.
  10. Well then we're screwed! Not so. Even in a season where the Oilers were craptastic, the PP was just a little below average (18th overall). This team has offensive talent.
  11. Like who? Ales Hemsky. He finished in a tie for 17th among forwards in total PP points in 08-09. Sam Gagner had a wonderful year (5.74 points-per-60 5x4 in 09-10).
  12. So Renney will make the PP better? He should be able to help (MacT's powerplays were awful) and there is a bunch of talent joining Hemsky (Gagner, Hall, MPS, Eberle, Gilbert, Foster).

In a very real way we're returning to a more button down, hands-on style which will remind us of Craig MacTavish. I think Renney's problem solving is superior and that the Oilers have much better talent coming through the system now. Its going to be an interesting winter.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#2 Quicksilver ballet
July 04 2010, 01:25PM
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It seems like so long ago that a goaltender was drafted into the NHL and made the club his very first year. If i'm not mistaken was Grant Fuhr one of the last few goaltenders to make this jump?

I get the feeling neither Deslaurier and Dubnyk are the Oilers goalie of the future. They have what seems to be an eternity (8 yrs) into Deslaurier and he may walk in a few weeks for nothing.

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#3 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 02:47PM
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Cocaine is a helluva drug.

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#4 Chris.
July 04 2010, 11:35AM
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LT. You are the eternal optimist... It's amazing how you always manage to be upbeat without sounding like just another deluded idiot wearing Oiler goggles. Welcome to Oilersnation!

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#5 jake
July 04 2010, 12:00PM
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@Lowetide

Lowetide: What was the Cito Gaston reference? Playing/relying on/loyalty to your veterans?

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#6 SkinnyD
July 04 2010, 12:00PM
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LT, do you think he's going to give the kids a relatively long leash to make mistakes, unlike MacT? Obviously he'll do what he can with line-matching to make sure they're not always out against Datsyuk and Zetterberg...

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#7 Jodes
July 04 2010, 12:02PM
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Speaking of goalies LT, I keep hearing about this "morality" clause that's suppose to be in Khabibulin' contract, and that the Oiler have an option come July 7th (if things go really south for him) to be free and clear of his contract.

Is there any truth to this rumour is it just speculation posted by Oilers fans in hope that they can be rid of his contract?

Thanks.

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#8 Chris.
July 04 2010, 12:12PM
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@Lowetide

I'm mostly curious to see how things shake down with Hemsky this season. One of the big critisms of Renny by NYR fans is the handling of Petr Prucha. Prucha (formerly the Prince of Pardubice east) broke into the league under Renny, had a thirty goal season, and then simply failed to progress. Prucha ran into some injuries; Renny stopped using him on the PP, and management delt a once promising player away... Given Renny's penchant for hard nosed play: I wonder if Hemsky is a Renny-type-player. I know Hemsky is a wonderful talent. I know Hemsky puts himself in harms way to make a play... But I also know Hemsky can be somewhat enigmatic.

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#11 Woodguy
July 04 2010, 12:21PM
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LT,

Another Hemsky question.

At the end of the MacT era, Hemsky started to bristle at being used as a "defensive forward"

Given that Renney is cut from the same line matching cloth as MacT and 83 is the Oiler's best(read:only) option for a tough minute RW, do you see the same issue cropping up again?

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#12 Dave
July 04 2010, 12:25PM
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Couldnt agree more with the comment regarding Smid being the key. I thought he showed huge potential when he joined the Oilers then took a couple of steps back and was talked about as being a shut down guy. I think his skating and passing ability give him the potential to be more then a one dimensional shut down type defenceman.

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#13 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 12:29PM
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Hopefully there's an improvement 5-3 and dare to dream a few more short handed goals.

The Oilers still look frighteningly awful in their own zone...

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#15 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 12:40PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Woodguy: We'll know right away at TC. If Hemsky plays with Horcoff then he's playing the tough minutes.

I wish they could afford to use Hemsky the way ANA used Selanne over the last few years (soft minutes) but this team doesn't have veteran 2-way players in the Dvorak-Marchant-Grier tradition.

I wish the Oilers had a legitimate shut down Dman...

I wish the Oilers had a scoring center who matches up against other teams #1's...

Are there really "soft" minutes when you're the 30th place team in the league?

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#17 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 04 2010, 12:44PM
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Which young goalie stays? Do they get anything for the castoff?

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#19 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 12:50PM
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There were 60 easy minutes last year, it was playing against Edmonton.

The Oilers aren't in a position to find easy minutes since they ARE still the minutes for other teams.

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#21 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 12:53PM
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Tim Thomas would be a great guy to have in net and in the room, it's unfortunate his contract negates it all.

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#22 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 12:55PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Nate: The coach still has to decide who to throw out there when the Thornton line is on the ice. The Sharks 4line is not as good as the Thornton line. I don't think Pat Quinn was much for the line matching, and that will make a difference.

Line matching is critical in "the new NHL"...

You could argue Pat Quinn's coaching purpose was to achieve the #1 pick and to provide clarity?

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#24 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 04 2010, 01:06PM
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I bet Tambo wishes that he never signed Khabbi, but hindsight is 20/20. It would seem that our cap number should be lower than it is, given the fact that we are in the mist of a rebuild. I wonder what the five year plan is, or if Rick Olychuk even has one. How does the cap relate/affect a rebuild?

What's an ideal cap number going in at this stage of the rebuild, or does it even really matter with Katz? We definately would remove Khabbi and Souray if given the chance, so I guess that would've been the ideal cap number for Tambo.

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#25 The Other John
July 04 2010, 01:14PM
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Damn LT

Now I have to check both sites daily!!

Loved the analysis of Renney. If you asked I expect that he may be the single biggest improvement for the Oilers from last season-- over Hemsky's return from injury and Hall's first season...an NHL coach that seeks active incremental advantages for 60 minutes each and every game.

We do need need a true shut down D man because I do not think of either Whitney or Gilbert fit that role. Not surprisingly we also need a 3rd Line RH center that is proficient in the faceoff dot

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#26 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 01:14PM
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Tom Renney's coaching goals this season should include a Calder Trophy winner and finishing no better than 25th while creating a competitive and fun atmosphere.

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#28 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 04 2010, 01:22PM
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Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene are who we need back in Edmonton. One can dream...sigh

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#29 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 04 2010, 01:28PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Thee ol' Jimmy Rutherford theory, except with goalies.

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#30 Ryan
July 04 2010, 01:30PM
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LT, what do you thinkof swapping huet for khabbi? To me this trade makes perfect sense. The hawks get 2mil in cap space to help with signing Niemi and the other rfa's. The oil get a healthier goalie and one year less term to help with their cap in the future.

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#31 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 01:32PM
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Lowetide wrote:

the Other John: GREAT to see you here.

Nate: The goaltending could make it happen, but there's a lot of talent on this roster. I'd probably pick them for 10th in the conference at this point.

LT

I've never heard of a more catastrophic injury than Khabibulin getting out of his car on a cold day... (mix in a car starter)

If the Oilers could move him for a young dman after 25-30 games Edmonton could snag 25th.

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#32 The Other John
July 04 2010, 01:35PM
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The return of Stoll would be absolutely perfect for the Oilers....slightly overpaid for what we would use him for here, now, but wonder if he could be pried out of LA?

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#33 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 04 2010, 01:39PM
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The Other John wrote:

The return of Stoll would be absolutely perfect for the Oilers....slightly overpaid for what we would use him for here, now, but wonder if he could be pried out of LA?

If there was a scenario where LA needed to drop some salary to acquire Kovalchuks services, then maybe...just maybe.

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#34 Jodes
July 04 2010, 01:41PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

It seems like so long ago that a goaltender was drafted into the NHL and made the club his very first year. If i'm not mistaken was Grant Fuhr one of the last few goaltenders to make this jump?

I get the feeling neither Deslaurier and Dubnyk are the Oilers goalie of the future. They have what seems to be an eternity (8 yrs) into Deslaurier and he may walk in a few weeks for nothing.

Here's where the Oilers not having a farm team/sharing a farm team for all those years have come back to haunt them, especially when it came to the development of our goalies.

I don't think we'd really be in this situation if we would have had our own team.

You would have thought management/owners would have tried harder to get a AHL franchise intead of splitting our guys amongt THREE different clubs..

But I guess they were trying to stay afloat pre-2004.

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#35 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
July 04 2010, 02:08PM
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R.A. Slapshotzky wrote:

Which young goalie stays? Do they get anything for the castoff?

judging by what goalies have been traded for in recent years (halak etc), i wouldnt hold my breath expecting anything in return for JDD or Dubnyk...

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#36 Crash
July 04 2010, 02:11PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

It seems like so long ago that a goaltender was drafted into the NHL and made the club his very first year. If i'm not mistaken was Grant Fuhr one of the last few goaltenders to make this jump?

I get the feeling neither Deslaurier and Dubnyk are the Oilers goalie of the future. They have what seems to be an eternity (8 yrs) into Deslaurier and he may walk in a few weeks for nothing.

I actually get this feeling that Dubnyk is going to be the real thing and it will be soon...

The last 2 months of last year have me encouraged...once he found his way in the league he showed that he belongs...

And he has the attributes of a successful NHL goaltender. He doesn't get over emotional and keeps his temper in check, he's sound positionally and he's big...his only draw back is his puck handling but there aren't many goaltenders that are great puck handlers and have all the other parts.

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#37 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 04 2010, 02:11PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

judging by what goalies have been traded for in recent years (halak etc), i wouldnt hold my breath expecting anything in return for JDD or Dubnyk...

maybe a bag of pucks?

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#38 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 02:16PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

judging by what goalies have been traded for in recent years (halak etc), i wouldnt hold my breath expecting anything in return for JDD or Dubnyk...

Probably why the Canucks haven't traded Cory Scheider...

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#39 pboy
July 04 2010, 02:37PM
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I don't have any insider info at all and I would never claim otherwise but I was under the impression that Stoll, Greene and Torres didn't all leave for strictly "hockey" reasons. If there is any truth to any of that stuff, I doubt the Oiler's would be looking to bring back any of those guys to sit in the same locker room with Hall, Eberle, MPS, Peckham or Smid.

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#40 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 04 2010, 02:41PM
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pboy wrote:

I don't have any insider info at all and I would never claim otherwise but I was under the impression that Stoll, Greene and Torres didn't all leave for strictly "hockey" reasons. If there is any truth to any of that stuff, I doubt the Oiler's would be looking to bring back any of those guys to sit in the same locker room with Hall, Eberle, MPS, Peckham or Smid.

I'm picking up what you're laying down, haha.

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#41 Heavyd
July 04 2010, 02:44PM
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@pboy

In the locker room those guys were great from what I have read and heard. Maybe Torres wasn't the same in the locker room, but Stoll and Greene were. And maybe they had problems outside the rink, but I think inside they were all good guys to be around.

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#42 Coco Crsip
July 04 2010, 02:55PM
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What happend to Mike Comrie?

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#43 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
July 04 2010, 02:56PM
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Coco Crsip wrote:

What happend to Mike Comrie?

kidnapped by a gang of angry midgets and forced into the seedy underground world of lady gaga and midget porn

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#44 Dylan Kelly
July 04 2010, 03:12PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

kidnapped by a gang of angry midgets and forced into the seedy underground world of lady gaga and midget porn

Poor hilary

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#45 Woodguy
July 04 2010, 03:14PM
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L.T.,

Re: finding more goaltending

Do you know if a team holds Dennis Endras' NHL rights? (German goalie who won MVP of 2010 Men's Worlds) I can't find anything on him regarding his NHL rights. (On a crackberry today though, not great for searching the Al Gore)

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#47 Bendelson
July 04 2010, 03:23PM
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The goaltending is certainly an issue.

I don't believe Khabi can be healthy as a #1. His highly questionable beginning to a highly questionable four year deal is an issue that is not going to go away (without a buyout).

Currently, I can't see a positive result in net this season save for DD possibly hitting his stride early and often and becoming our #1 (the right age for the rebuild).

It's been a long wait... and I actually think he can do it with a helpful, stabilizing veteran back-up.

I'd like to see them walk away from JDD (or a 2-way deal in OKC?) and sign a veteran back-up the minute the Khabi situation resolves itself (whether by injury or the legal system).

Ug.

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#49 JackBauer
July 04 2010, 06:32PM
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Welcome to our new blogger Overlord!! Mr. Tide will you be doing both ON and your own blog?

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#50 Nate Full of Hate
July 04 2010, 06:41PM
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Lowetide wrote:

The thing about Deslauriers is that he's inconsistent. He's like Darren Holmes when he was closing in Colorado.

He gave up homeruns on his first and last pitch of every inning?

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