This Generation's Stan Weir

Lowetide
July 07 2010 07:41AM

This is Stan Weir. He is a very important figure in Oilers history, because of his role on the first three Oiler NHL teams. He was a vital part of the group in 79-80, his role began to fade the following season (as detailed by Peter Gzowski in his classic book The Game of Our Lives).

Weir did the difficult work until the gifted kids could take on the chores, and in that way lives forever in Oiler lore. 

In the past few days, we've heard Steve Tambellini talk about adding a veteran presence (wanted a C, would settle for a W) and the truth is the club could use both of those player types (a Mike Peca and a Fernando Pisani).

Free agents don't flock to 30th place teams, but they will in future years with the opportunity to play alongside more mature versions of Hall, MPS and Eberle.

In the absence of this free agent signing (unlikely this summer as the quality UFA's slowly sign with other teams) the "Stan Weir" role will probably fall to Shawn Horcoff. He is the most complete player among the forwards (which is not the same as most talented) and he has displayed a willingness to do whatever is asked of him.

He has been to a SCF, he blocked a shot with his face in an important playoff game, he is a leader and he can help show the way. He did not (apparently) associate himself too closely with the veteran group (Souray, Moreau) that has been flushed (or will be flushed).

Horcoff will likely start the season on the top two lines, but as the kids develop (and possibly by next year) the trip down the depth chart will begin (as it did with Weir). By this time next season, Sam Gagner might be the 1C, the top 4 wingers might include Hall, MPS and Eberle, and Shawn Horcoff might be on the checking line.

Fans associate Shawn Horcoff with his massive contract and that's human nature. I do hope the boos give way to cheers at some point, as Horcoff's role on the new Oilers will be the most difficult one on the roster.

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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 TSN 1260.
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#1 Ball Buster
July 07 2010, 01:58PM
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Re: Plekanec and Kesler being 4 and 6 yrs younger . . . now they are. Horcoff signed his contract over 2 years ago, when he was 29.

The contract was offered on the basis of his 50 pts in 53 games in 2007-08. Coming off a Stanley Cup run the year before that.

Did Lowe overpay? Absolutely and the term stinks too. Did he overpay to the extent that the Oilers are saddled with a 4th line centre that can't win draws, can't skate and has no chance of ever scoring 10 goals again? Also no. But you read through this entire thread, and the other 5,000 of them scattered all over the Oilgosphere, you get past the two or three original thoughts on the issue and all you are left with is a whole lot of whining. Repetitive whining. The kind that gets most people slapped.

I thought we were all over this and moved on to better things? I thought we had accepted that he is going to be paid the money regardless and he will be with this team to the end of the contract, also regardless? All Lowetide is blogging on is the role of this player going forward. Doesn't matter any more what he gets paid.

I think Daft Punk said it best when they wrote: "It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter." and so on.

Horcoff on you and your family.

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#2 Wanye
July 07 2010, 08:09AM
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I am squarely in your corner on this LT. Horcoff may have had a bad year but he deserves far more love than he gets from Oilers Fans.

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#3 Chris.
July 07 2010, 08:26AM
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~But, But, whiffcoffsucks... He's the worst center on the Oilers, makes Hemsky bad, and he makes $7million bucks....~

*Back to vacant slack jawed mouth breathing stance*

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#4 Robin Brownlee
July 07 2010, 08:45AM
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LT: You're absolutely right. While there's reason for optimism with the new wave of Hall, Eberle and MPS etc., Horcoff is going to be a key transitional player.

He's well-suited to that role for several reasons, and I won't be surprised if/when he's named captain.

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#5 DonDon
July 07 2010, 09:42AM
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If I recall correctly, the Oilers billeted Gretzky during his first two years and I know the Winnipeg Jets did the same with Dale Hawerchuk. It ensured both had proper meals, sleep time and the players kept them out of the bars.

I recall after an Oilers game in Gretzky's first year that he was off to relieve the babysitter for one of the other player's kids while the players and wives attended a post-game party. In spite of his early stardom, Gretz seemed to have no problem with this. I was impressed and so was my wife.

I would hope the Oilers take due care of Taylor Hall and billet him similar to what happened to Gretz, Hawerchuk and Crosby.

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#6 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 07:53AM
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I am with you on this Lowetide, every teama has acouple if inflated contracts, I still say all you girls "shirts off for Horcoff!"

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#7 9 Inches Uncut
July 07 2010, 07:55AM
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I hope Horcoff has a nice rebound year. The team will need it if they're to go forward.

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#8 The Towel Boy
July 07 2010, 08:10AM
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For this team to be at all successful a guy like Horcoff is invaluable in my opinion. Even if his contract is a bit large, you can't deny that he's smart, articulate and has shown good leadership qualities. What more can you ask for?

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#9 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 08:15AM
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@The Towel Boy

50 goals

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#10 the tikk
July 07 2010, 08:17AM
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Work habits.

Horcoff doesn't have Hemmer's skill, but I've always imagined that if Hemmer had Horc's drive he'd have been Forsberg and back again already.

In short, Horc's a selfless, diligent, hardworking player that I'd rather have the kids trying to emulate than Magic Man Ales Hemsky.

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#11 Eddie Shore
July 07 2010, 08:19AM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

For this team to be at all successful a guy like Horcoff is invaluable in my opinion. Even if his contract is a bit large, you can't deny that he's smart, articulate and has shown good leadership qualities. What more can you ask for?

To play better than last year. Plain and simple.

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#12 Tracie
July 07 2010, 08:36AM
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it wouldn't upset me at all if Strudwick and Horcoff took a few of these kids into their homes and under their wing... get some home cooked meals and some great leadership examples instead of bar food and partying!

Any word on what the Oilers plan to do with the kids after hockey practice is over? I mean, Lemieux took Crosby under his wing...i think we need to have these kids house with some veterans instead of leave them out on their own...any thoughts?

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#13 Archaeologuy
July 07 2010, 08:53AM
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The guy hasnt been healthy for 3 seasons. HOPEFULLY his shoulder is finally 100%, then maybe he can get his mojo back. He finished the year on the 3rd line last year, unless he actually proves to be a better option in the top 2 then he should start the year on the 3rd line.

Contrary to what Chris might believe, I dont hate Horcoff. I just think he will never again be the guy he was in his prime before the shoulder injury.

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#14 Ender
July 07 2010, 09:02AM
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I won't be surprised when Horcoff is captain either. And if/when that happens, I don't view it as a bad thing. I think the kids could learn a lot from a guy who's willing to play through 3/4 of a season in pain every day, strapped together with duct tape and bailing wire after every game. Horcoff's performance was hampered last season, there is no doubt, but he personifies the term 'heart'. I hope the kids are taking notes.

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#15 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 07 2010, 09:30AM
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Lets keep expectations in check as to what 5.5 gets you in the ever inflating market....Even considering tangibles only.

According to NHL numbers Horc is now the 20th highest cap hit center in the league. Including the cap cheating deal of Savard he'd be 21st.

Theirs another 13 guys within a million (14 counting Franzens cap cheating deal) so to call him a million overpaid he'd need to slot in as the 35th highest scoring center.

21st highest scoring center in the league last year put up 65 points last year.

35th highest scoring center in the league last year put up 53 points last year.

I think it's pretty resonable to see him slot in somewhere between "fair value" and a million overpaid next year.

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#16 Archaeologuy
July 07 2010, 10:41AM
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@Chris.

I agreed with Quinn placing Horc on the 3rd line last year. He actually got better with a defined role. I even think his point production increased significantly with the move.

He wasnt bringing enough offense for the top 2 lines, his one-timer completely disappeared on him, and the play often died with him.

You know I havent been convinced his shoulder will ever be the same for a long time now. I hope he gets better. For now, I think the Oilers will rise and fall with Horcoff until the Kids really take over.

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#17 Dan the Man
July 07 2010, 10:49AM
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Thank you for writing this LT.

All that people focus on with Horcoff is his contract..like his contract is the reason we didn't contend for a Stanley Cup last year.

I agree that his AND Rehabibulin's are probably the Oilers worst contracts but they aren't cripplng so people should really let it go.

Chicago won a cup with 2 pretty brutal contracts in Huet and Campbell so who would you rather have those 2 or Horcoff and Khabibulin?

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#18 Ducey
July 07 2010, 11:00AM
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Glad the Oilers were in the mix for Neidermayer but did not get him. It shows Tambi is still pursuing character checker types (which is good) but other than being a character guy with a ring, I think Rob is done as player.

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#19 jesse r
July 07 2010, 11:22AM
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LT,

Glad to see you're bringing the gospel of Horcoff to the unwashed masses at ON ;)

I haven't had a chance to comment on your (partial) move to this site yet, but I wanted to say that I'm glad you figured out a way of making some money for your writing. You're the best Oilers writer in any medium, and if surfing to Oilersnation.com once a day (and all their sponsors' sites, of course) is what it takes to stay up on the conversation, then so be it. You don't owe the Oilogosphere anything. Keep up the good work.

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#20 rickithebear
July 07 2010, 11:40AM
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//Like I said, he's my goat because I think he failed to deliver what the Oilers desperately needed from him.//

At the end of the year Horcoff's production playing with Pisani and Moreau facing the other teams best at the end of the year: 23games 4goals 12 assists +2. Rest of the year: 54games 9G 11A -31

The difference? Renny running the lines at the end of the year.

The epic fail goat is OTC (quinn)

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#21 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
July 07 2010, 12:16PM
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Wanye wrote:

I kid you not, that is bingofuels ring tone. Last time we were in the same room I dialed him under the table just to hear it go off.

~was your mom looking over your shoulder for that sexually charged comment young man?~

"dialed" him under the table just to hear "it" go off?

...not that theres anything wrong with that...

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#22 Archaeologuy
July 07 2010, 12:39PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

5.5 million gets you about 65 points in todays NHL. So lets get a grip on reality here.

Yeah, but Horcoff produced half of that. The ire is deserved. Excuses or not, he was brutal last year. Maybe he bounces back this year.

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#23 Oil Fever
July 07 2010, 01:04PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

How about...

Smyth: 8x 20 or more goals with the Oilers

Horcoff: 2x 20 or more goals with the Oilers

Smyth: 4x 30 or more goals

Horcoff: 0x 30 or more goals

Smyth: actual 1st liner while playing in Edmonton

Horcoff: Couldnt stay on the top two lines of the 30th placed club in the NHL last year.

Finally someone who sees the reality of what Horcoff has done as a whole! I really do hope he has a stellar season this year, however, only time will reveal all!!

Go Rebuilt OILERS Go!!

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#24 jr_christ
July 07 2010, 01:07PM
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I completely concur with Lowetide in that we need to simply find a role for Horcoff at this point.

I'm sure anyone in their right mind would accept the contract Horcoff signed several seasons ago because, in Horc's eyes, it was a great offer. Nonetheless, that doens't mean that from our eyes it was a great offer.

However, Horc does win draws and has a decent one-timer from the hashmarks. IMO, I think Horc could become an amazing third liner like John Madden. Every great NHL club has something in common... a great 3rd and 4th line to complement talent upfront. I think if we stop pretending that Horc is a first line centre and develop him into a perennial PK / depth player we will continue to progress in the right direction.

At this point, we all know his contract is dismal for the cap. However, he does have a good attitude (from what I've read on here), and shows up to play every game.

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#25 rickithebear
July 07 2010, 02:19PM
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@GSC

The fact that your are part of the HF CLOWNS who:

1. Do not understand the Point production rates for the simplton review of hockey value. 1st line, 2nd line, 3rd line. But a 60 point guy is a third line center.

2. Do not understand the oilogosphere review of stats.

3.do not understand situational value of a player.

4. Do not understand that Zone play dictates results.

Well being accused of foot in the mouth from a HF CLOWN just makes me laugh. Shawn Horcoff generated .70ppg in the last 23 games of the year playing a Shutdown role facing the other teams best. With Pisani and Moreau being a mojor part of his wing play.

He is a 12.6% career shooter who averages 2.0 shots per game. That on average should yeild 20 goals/YR. He averages .48 assists/game which is 38 assits /year.

In start of his last two contracts he produced slow then moved into his .7-.96 point production range. Then being consistent over the rest of the contract.

I Hope for this over the next 5 years of the contract!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This would be accurate.

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#26 DSF
July 07 2010, 03:30PM
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@Archaeologuy

Horcoff has also never been nominated for the Selke (twice) and is not 25 years old.

At the end of Kesler's contract ($5M) he will be 31 years old.

At the end of Horcoff's contract he will be 37.

Kesler plays the toughest competition amongst Canuck centres (Qual Comp is 0.30 while Sedin's is -.013).

One of the major reasons Henrik Sedin just had an MVP season is because he had Kesler taking the heat off him

Kesler is an elite penalty killer, Horcoff is a big part of one of the worst PK units in the league.

Kesler is just now hitting his prime and his offensive production has gone from 16 pts, 37, 59, 75. Anyone see a pattern here?

Horcoff, in the same time frame has gone from 51, 50, 53, 36.

It should be noted that Kesler finished 10th in scoring by all NHL centres while Horcoff finished 64th.

Horcoff had a FO% of 46.4 Kesler was 55.1%

So, to summarize, anyone quoting Kesler as a comparable for Horcoff is out of their mind.

And, just for laughs, let's assume Kesler is worth the $5M he is being paid. If Horcoff and his agent had to take the above case to arbitration, what do you think an impartial arbitrator would award Horcoff?

And, no, Horcoff's cap hit doesn't much matter any longer because he's playing on the worst team in the league that just blew itself up, but, if the team was competitive, it would matter very much.

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#27 Downright Fierce
July 07 2010, 03:48PM
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Sigh. After a thread like this, I almost miss Traktor and Hunter's antics.

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#28 DSF
July 07 2010, 06:02PM
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Woodguy wrote:

Points per game in contract years

Horcoff (07/08) 50pts in 52 games = .94pts/gm

Kessler (09/10) 75pts in 82 games = .91pts/gm

Plekanec (09.10) 70pts in 82 games = .85pts/gm

And which way are their "arrows pointing"? And why would you chose an injury shortened (small sample size) comparision that is two years old to state your case?

Oh, it's because you don't have one.

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#29 DSF
July 07 2010, 06:06PM
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Woodguy wrote:

Yup, injuries are a bitch.

I hope he's better this year.

Context is important, and everyone forgets he was an allstar in his contract year and had a pts/gm ratio that was top drawer, especially for a tough minutes center.

He was an all star because the league has a tradition of including one player from each team whether they deserve it or not.

If his points per game is the top drawer context you want to use to lionize Horcoff, you must absolutely adore Kesler with his Selke nominations and his putting up similar numbers as a tough minutes centres, albeit at a much younger age.

10 percent cheaper too.

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#30 I am the Liquor
July 07 2010, 09:50PM
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rickithebear wrote:

The fact that your are part of the HF CLOWNS who:

1. Do not understand the Point production rates for the simplton review of hockey value. 1st line, 2nd line, 3rd line. But a 60 point guy is a third line center.

2. Do not understand the oilogosphere review of stats.

3.do not understand situational value of a player.

4. Do not understand that Zone play dictates results.

Well being accused of foot in the mouth from a HF CLOWN just makes me laugh. Shawn Horcoff generated .70ppg in the last 23 games of the year playing a Shutdown role facing the other teams best. With Pisani and Moreau being a mojor part of his wing play.

He is a 12.6% career shooter who averages 2.0 shots per game. That on average should yeild 20 goals/YR. He averages .48 assists/game which is 38 assits /year.

In start of his last two contracts he produced slow then moved into his .7-.96 point production range. Then being consistent over the rest of the contract.

I Hope for this over the next 5 years of the contract!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This would be accurate.

Well speaking of clowns, it was you that called Horcoff a top ten center in the league, not more than a year and a half ago, but now you are reduced to cherry picking twenty select games in a season to show that he produced at a .7 ppg.

Well done Bozo. Ive seen Nigerian emails that make more sense and have more credibility than the garbage that you try and pass off as reliable and unbiased statistics.

You hinder all those that are really trying to bring credibility to advanced statistics.

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#31 I am the Liquor
July 08 2010, 09:31AM
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rickithebear wrote:

Liquor: Tried two posts last night they did not go thru.

The reason simple look at playerws bother me. IE: your aproach.

Horcoff faces the other teams best. Is asked to take a heavy load of Defensive draws. Relied heavily on the PK and is given a secondary role on the PP.

It is your belief that situational play makes no differene.

Which means you believe That if Horcoff was facing the other teams easiest, Getting mostly Offensive draws, Not playing the PK and playing 1st PP. his results would be the same.

This is constantly argued on THE BOARD.

Horcoff has value. He needs to be used in a role that gives him a chance to be successful. Right now for him that would be on the third line as a checking center. Give him two defensively responsible wingers and let them face the best line on the opposition. This should be his role.

Forget about PP. Forget about prime offensive numbers. His primary role is to check and whatever he gets after that is gravy.

My problem comes with people that will skew numbers and try to make him look like something that he is not. He may have approached or even been a legit top line center right after the lockout, but he really isnt that anymore.

I believe injuries have played a big role in that. He will be 32 this year and he isnt getting any younger either. I expect that if he continues to struggle that this season or next season could be his last in an Oiler uniform.

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#32 Anonymous Coward
July 08 2010, 11:32AM
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Jesus Christ, reading this discussion has made me very aware of why LT fans were worried about him posting here. Far more vitriol, far less civil debate. Some of you guys need to calm the hell down.

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#33 Weirfan
July 07 2010, 08:14AM
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I agree 100%. Stan Weir is a prime example of a role that Horcoff should emulate. Hopefully the kids take enough of the spotlight off of him that he can just go out and do what he does best. The little things.

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#34 the tikk
July 07 2010, 08:20AM
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Almost forgot:

Ladies and gentlemen...

Shawn Horcoff!

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#35 Homie
July 07 2010, 08:29AM
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No one can argue with Horcoff's compete level, but you still have to execute. I think that most fans can stomach his contract if he gets 50 to 60 points, wins most of his faceoffs, is an effective PKer and can shut down some top centres.

The problem is, he failed miserably at all those last year.

I truly hope he can turn his game around because he is a key piece of the puzzle until 2015.

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#36 DC
July 07 2010, 08:32AM
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Chris. wrote:

~But, But, whiffcoffsucks... He's the worst center on the Oilers, makes Hemsky bad, and he makes $7million bucks....~

*Back to vacant slack jawed mouth breathing stance*

Worst center on the team? Are you drunk? Off year = yes. Over paid = yes. Worst center? No chance.

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#37 Tracie
July 07 2010, 08:38AM
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DC wrote:

Worst center on the team? Are you drunk? Off year = yes. Over paid = yes. Worst center? No chance.

The "~" marks mean he's being sarcastic...

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#38 Chris.
July 07 2010, 08:40AM
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DC wrote:

Worst center on the team? Are you drunk? Off year = yes. Over paid = yes. Worst center? No chance.

~:Denotes sarcasm.

I'm a Horcoff fan, and have taken a beating on this site over the last two years from the slack jawed mouth breathers who like to write things like: "Horcoff would be an AHLer on any other team."

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#39 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 09:00AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Props to you Brownlee!

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#40 Oiler_in_Mexico
July 07 2010, 09:02AM
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Excellent post LT. I sincerely hope Shawn retires as an Oiler. He is a smart man, a great player and an excellent member of the Edmonton community that we can all be proud of.

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#41 MrCondor
July 07 2010, 09:06AM
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Prediction: Spends the season 70/30 between the 2nd and 1st lines respectively. 60 points for this year but will still be a minus player because his young wingers will not be defensively responsible.

That might be optimistic, but I really want him to bounce back - He's a character guy and shows a lot of class.

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#42 GSC
July 07 2010, 09:20AM
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Horcoff will continue to be associated with his massively inflated contract, as he should be.

He's the highest paid forward on the club, and he was paid because of points put up in the prime of his career. Point being, he was paid to score. As Lowetide has argued time and time again, Horcoff is supposedly a 1st line centre. So, once he produces like a top centre, then I'll stop considering his $5.5 MIL cap hit.

I do agree that he will likely be named captain, however.

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#43 Senator Theo
July 07 2010, 09:25AM
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I really hope Horcoff has healed up somewhat over last year and we see a bounce back from him. Like others have said here, he has a passion for this team and he is going to be very valuable in this transition.

By the time the next few seasons are over, maybe we'll all find it in our hearts to "take our shirts off, for Horcoff" (via FLAMESSUCK).

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#44 Scott in Grande Prairie
July 07 2010, 09:30AM
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I guess it's OK to boo Horcoff if you paid money to go see him play, but lemme ask you (anyone) this:

Hasn't Horcoff been banged up over the past couple of years? Could that not be the reason why he hasn't produced as well?

I mean, it sounds like even his detractors are willing to concede that he's a "hard worker" who would be a good influence on the kids. Could they not also concede that he hasn't been 100 per cent healthy since, oh, 2007 or so?

And no, I'm not suggesting he's not overpaid. He is. But, at some point, we all have to get over that. He ain't going anywhere, so what's the point of booing him?

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#45 Cru Jones
July 07 2010, 09:35AM
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Towards the end of the year last year, Horcs (that really is a lovely nickname) had 16 points in 20 games or something, and was starting to look like his old self on the dot as well. While some people in Etown have quit their jobs to make bashing #10 a full-time gig, he's never been anything but the consummate professional. I'd be perfectly fine electing him as the new Captain of the Goodship Oiler.

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#46 dunnonuttin
July 07 2010, 09:37AM
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I don't know what it is about Horcoff's manner of speaking, but it drives me up the wall.

I aggree that he's probably the best option for captain going forward... I just hate the thought of listening to him talk after every game.

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#47 Racki
July 07 2010, 09:38AM
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This is a very good article. Good stuff, LT, and I agree. Horcoff is a good bridge (like Strudwick) between vet and rookie, and his work ethic has always been second to none. People do focus on his contract too much. He'll never live up to it, but it's something we're stuck with and have to move on from. Best bet is to use Horcoff in a situation where he can succeed and would be best for the team.

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#48 GSC
July 07 2010, 09:39AM
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Scott in Grande Prairie wrote:

I guess it's OK to boo Horcoff if you paid money to go see him play, but lemme ask you (anyone) this:

Hasn't Horcoff been banged up over the past couple of years? Could that not be the reason why he hasn't produced as well?

I mean, it sounds like even his detractors are willing to concede that he's a "hard worker" who would be a good influence on the kids. Could they not also concede that he hasn't been 100 per cent healthy since, oh, 2007 or so?

And no, I'm not suggesting he's not overpaid. He is. But, at some point, we all have to get over that. He ain't going anywhere, so what's the point of booing him?

If his health has been an issue (particularly his shoulder), then why didn't he sit out the remainder of last season and heal up? Why did he continue to play? If he's in that much pain and unable to perform, he shouldn't have been playing. He could have spent much of last season healing and working on that shoulder.

Instead, he played and that's the only thing that matters. Obviously he wasn't "injured enough" to warrant him missing games, so what else can we go on? He played, had an awful season, and that's that. Hold him to it rather than making excuses.

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#49 Bandwagon jumper
July 07 2010, 09:43AM
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Horcoff could be the heart and sole of the Oil this year. Some day, once we get past that big contract, Horcoff's efforts will be compared to Ryan Smith's.

Yes, I did just compare him to Ryan Smith.

Albeit just with respect to Horc's Heart.

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#50 GSC
July 07 2010, 09:45AM
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Bandwagon jumper wrote:

Horcoff could be the heart and sole of the Oil this year. Some day, once we get past that big contract, Horcoff's efforts will be compared to Ryan Smith's.

Yes, I did just compare him to Ryan Smith.

Albeit just with respect to Horc's Heart.

Smyth: .72 PPG

Horcoff: .58 PPG

Uh, no. And you added the "with respect to Horc's heart" bit after the fact.

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