AT RANDOM: STORTINI GETS RYPED

Robin Brownlee
January 28 2011 12:08AM

I've got to admit I was a surprised by the venom spewed in the direction of Zack Stortini on blogs and call-in shows in the wake of his fight with Krys Barch in Dallas Wednesday.

I'm not sure what Stortini was thinking in his bout against Barch -- I'll ask him after the all-star break -- but it looked to me like he was trying to imitate the kind of defensive posture that Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks used so effectively against him.

Whatever Stortini's reasoning, it didn't work. He got mocked by Barch after the fight, laughed at by a couple of Dallas players, according to what I've been told, and righteously ripped by Oilers fans, who seem to be focusing a lot of pent-up frustration in the direction of No. 46.

There's no question Stortini embarrassed himself with the peek-a-boo tactics he tried against Barch -- I'm guessing he'd like a do-over -- but I'm still surprised by the pointed criticism he took in the aftermath.

I won't go on about what a tough job Stortini and other enforcers have again because he is being paid good money to do a job, and I'm not going to scold our readers for venting, but let's not lose perspective. He lost a fight and looked bad doing it.

What I'm wondering is if he's lost coach Tom Renney.

DOES STORTINI FIT?

I believe Stortini can be a useful fourth-line player on this team, but what I think doesn't matter spit. What matters is what Renney believes and I wonder what was going through his mind on the flight home from Dallas.

My perception, given how many times Stortini has been a healthy scratch this season, is that he was already on thin ice with Renney. I don't know that, but I think it. Could Wednesday have provided Renney with a mental "last straw" as it regards Stortini's usefulness to the Oilers?

As much as I think toughness is an important element in the line-up of a team, particularly one with as many young, smallish players as the Oilers have, I have my doubts there's a need (not to mention room on the roster) for Stortini, J.F. Jacques and Steve MacIntyre.

I'd still keep Stortini over Jacques and run him in tandem with MacIntyre, but that's just me. Again, what matters is Renney's vision, not mine. I can tell you that Jacques has some backers in hockey ops and, to be fair, he seems to have been coming on of late. Simply put, Stortini couldn't have trotted out his failed Rypien imitation at a worse time.

WHERE HE BELONGS

I'm not sure what prompted Jonathan Willis to re-state his position the Oilers and Magnus Paajarvi would have been better served by having him serve another year in the minors or the SEL, but it's a position that makes no sense to me, given what I'm seeing from Paajarvi.

Willis is certainly entitled to his opinion, but I'm suspicious of a premise that hinges on the pitfalls of "burning" a year of an entry level deal when we don't know with any certainty whatsoever what this team and the salary cap will look like a full two seasons from now.

I get the theory, but I feel the same way about this approach as I did when it was applied to Taylor Hall. "Sorry kid. We think you're ready to play in the NHL, but you're going to the minors because there's a bigger picture to consider." Want to guarantee a kid and his agent start eye-balling the door as soon as they get a chance? This is the way.

Unless my eyes are failing me, Paajarvi has overcome a so-so start and has been coming on. I've liked his game a lot of late, and that tells me he is settling in with new teammates and a new city. That's a step he has to make. Isn't that what development is about?

Even with limited ice time and very little time on the power play, Paajarvi is on pace for 30-32 points. Fifteen of his 19 points have come at even strength. Certainly, there's room to grow, but Paajarvi doesn't look out of place to me.

THE WAY I SEE IT

-- I think Ryan Jones has been a pleasant surprise, but I'd like to see him spend more time crashing and banging and less time casting the stink eye at referees when somebody knocks him on his ass and he doesn't get the penalty call he things he deserves. Jones spends too much time for my liking casting longing glances at the referees when somebody starches him. It seems to happen at least once game. Stop begging. Pick yourself up and go back at somebody.

-- I'm assuming Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky and Gilbert Brule will be ready to play after the all-star break. Eberle and Hemsky are no-brainers when it comes to dressing if they're ready to go. Brule? Not so much.

-- Memo to Renney: More Devan Dubnyk, Linus Omark and Jeff Petry in the final 33 games. Less Nikolai Khabibulin in goal and Ladislav Smid on the second-unit power play.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show 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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#1 Scott in Grande Prairie
January 28 2011, 11:10AM
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Yikes.

Kelly Buchberger is lucky there wasn't an Oilers Nation website 15 or 18 years ago.

All of the supposed fighting experts would have had a field day with Bucky. I'm pretty sure his career win-loss fighting record was pretty bad and many would be suggesting he punched above his weight division way too many times and got punished for it.

But he answered the bell. That's why we respect Bucky.

That's kinda what it's all about, guys. Answering the bell. Stortini answers the bell, most of the time (I would suggest to you that the only time that he doesn't is when his coach yanks that short leash he seems to be hooked on).

But I'm not sure if I'm qualified to determine whether or not Stortini should have done this-or-that during the fight. Instead, I'll just tip my hat to him for daring to jump in. Just like I tipped my hat to Bucky back in the day - when we all knew he was gonna lose.

And let's not give too much credibility to Krys Barch. If you ask some of the real fighting experts, he's the guy you should be criticizing, not Zach.

Chances are, if Donald S. Cherry mentions this fight on Coach's Corner Saturday night, the first thing he'll do is Barch for taunting Stortini. That's a MAJOR breach of the fighting code.

But showing up to fight, no matter how you well you fight, is the code.

Thank you Bucky and thank you Storts.

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#2 Travis Dakin
January 28 2011, 01:30AM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Stortini should have used his FISTS more.

*I can't believe I actually just did that*

Also, I agree with literally everything you said. Is there any way you can get to the bottom of why Stortini has been on such a short leash, outside of the "crappy skater" thing Renney trotted out earlier?

Sometimes you just make me sad.

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#3 Wäx Män Riley
January 28 2011, 02:58AM
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Raine Snow wrote:

Stortini is a young guy, and we tend to forget that. However, I've yet to see much improvement in his game over the last couple of years. Be it fighting, agitating, and overall hockey skills...he really hasn't developed all that much, if at all.

I understand there isn't much to improve on when it comes to one dimensional players (such as Stortini); but in the last couple of years have we seen much improvement with anybody?

I though Renney was suppose to be a teacher.

You know.... until this comment, I have never known how old he is.

He is 25.

My guess was closer to 35. He looks and plays closer to 35. Sorry Zack.

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#4 Aleslav Smidsky
January 28 2011, 01:23AM
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If Zack is getting laughed at while wearing an Oilers sweater, then the Oilers them selves are part of the joke. That includes his teammates on the bench. I wonder how it makes the rest of the Oilers players feel when they're sitting on the bench watching and listening to it. He is proving more and more useless as time goes on, enough is enough.

Willis' article and view on Paajarvi is as pointless as an Eklund, Dreger and/or Friedman trade insights.

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#5 Pilgor09
January 28 2011, 01:35AM
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Stortini looks like the Undertaker. But he fights like Rey Mysterio JR.

I think JW article was one of the worse things i've ever read on ON. It was kind of embarrassing actually. Why do the Bruins have Seguin up WIllis? They don't need another centre and they could have saved a year or 2 on his contract keeping him in junior......... When a guy is getting hat tricks in pre-season, what kind of message are you sending when you send them down. I agree he started off real slow, but his play as of late with Omark and Gags has been dominating at times.

I guess everyones entitled to their opinion though so who am i to judge......

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#6 Sloppy Joe
January 28 2011, 09:03AM
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In the 90s, the oilers would be losing a game, Buchberger would pick a fight with someone, inevitably get his ass handed to him, and we all heaped praise on him for his heart. I don't think I ever saw him win a fight.

I think there's a bit of a double standard here.

I see Stortini as more of an agitator than an enforcer, and I disagree with the posters who say he doesn't draw penalties. He does, and I think he is good at it. Copper & Blue did an article in December where they crunched numbers on this (I don't personally understand the math, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt), and Zorg was apparently among league leaders re the differential between penalties drawn vs. penalties taken: http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/12/9/1860818/the-black-art-of-drawing-penalties-oilers-edition

I agree that it's frustrating to watch him fight becuase he never fights to win, he only fights not to lose - if that makes sense. But I don't personally see his role as being the guy who kicks asses and takes names. He's a 4th line checker who draws penalties, and is always game to fight even though he's usually on the losing end.

SMac is the guy who's supposed to kick asses and take names. Problem is (1) he is abysmal at all other aspects of the game, and (2) the only guys who will fight him are the other legitimate heavyweight goons in the leage - e.g. Ivanans and Boogaard - and those guys do it in staged fights as opposed to 'heat of the moment'. In a most games, the other team doesn't have one of these guys, there's nobody on the other team who will fight SMac, so there's no real purpose in having him out there.

As far as toughness goes, I'm disappointed in Vandermeer this year. I understood that part of his role was toughness, and I know he is a good fighter. So query why Vandermeer doesn't thump Fistric in the Dallas game after Fistric (1) elbows Ginger to the head in the corner, or (2) elbows Jones to the head in front of the net. I think Vandermeer has only dropped them 1 time all year.

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#7 Scott in Grande Prairie
January 28 2011, 11:35AM
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What do you say when the other teams rip Stortini for his fight?

Well, see you next time. And say hello to Steve MacIntyre.

You're all missing the point, guys. Stortini's teammates, if they're decent teammates, will be greatful that he chose to fight - they won't be sitting there marking the fight on scorecards.

Stortini's "antics," if you wish to call them that, were to simply try something that he thought might either help him win the fight or keep him from getting pummelled. Nothing wrong with that and, like I say, Donald S. Cherry, if he chooses to focus in on the fight at all, won't be focusing in on that.

Zach Stortini did what hundreds of thousands of hockey players have done before him. He stepped in for his teammates and lost a fight. Nothing wrong or dishonourable with that.

Barch and his teammates are the ones in the bad - you don't taunt someone after a fight ... especially from the bench and especially if your name is Steve Ott.

No matter what, though: Steve Macintyre has to dress next time against Dallas (they play again, right?).

The real wrong will be if Renney doesn't dress Smacintyre for the next game. The code demands it because Dallas is in the wrong.

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#8 Aleslav Smidsky
January 28 2011, 02:45PM
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Here is a thought.

If the guy you are replying to wrote more than 5 paragraphs or a story, dont quote him. Just reply to him, I'm sure he will know what you're talking about.

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#9 Cru Jones
January 28 2011, 12:19AM
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@jeanshorts

"Memo to Renney: More Devan Dubnyk, Linus Omark and Jeff Petry in the final 33 games. Less Nikolai Khabibulin in goal and Ladislav Smid on the second-unit power play."

Yeah, what he said.

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#10 jake
January 28 2011, 07:53AM
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Reagan wrote:

My guess is that storts has a nice holiday booked for him and his girlfriend and he is going to propose. Hence he was shielding his face from getting mangled by Barch.

I thought he may have gotten popped early and was hurt and was just riding out the bout.

A buddy and I were talking yesterday and he mentioned something similar to what you are saying. Not sure if true but apparently Penner is getting married and maybe Stortini is attending and he wanted to save his face.

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#12 Chaz
January 28 2011, 08:31AM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Renney say recently (Within the last couple of weeks) that he would be playing Big Mac for the rest of the year? Not saying he alone would have changed the dynamics of the Dallas game, but if a coach is going to come out and say something like that, he should live up to it.

He also mentioned sometime before X-mas that he needed to play Doobie more, but we've only seen this recently, in my opinion after way too much Khabby.

Far be it for me to tell someone like Renney how to coach, but if you're going to talk strategy in the media, you should follow through with your plan, or don't mention it in the first place. It's confusing to me, I can only imagine how it must mess up Big Mac and Doobie.

TR also mentioned not coaching through the media this year. While I know he was referring to getting negative on his players this way, he should also apply that rule to misleading them with false promises. Keep it to yourself Tom!

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#13 BUCK75
January 28 2011, 08:40AM
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I like Stortini, you can't argue about his effort level or his desire to improve. He is a totally different player than he was 3 seasons ago. He is a better skater, but he hasn't improved at fighting as much as his skating has. For him to be a useful part of this team I think he has to beat a few people up, I don't remember many times where he has got the better of his opponent.

When he fights, he reminds me of Buchberger. Buchberger didn't win many fights but he was an effective 3rd or 4th line guy who could skate good & kill penalties. I could handle a guy who wasn't a really good fighter if he was important to another part of our team's success. Stortini clearly doesn't have much value to the coach if he isn't playing physical or fighting.

A good guy, good interview from what I have heard of him on the radio. But it wouldn't hurt my feelings if we tried finding a new person to fill his role.

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#14 Albertaboy111
January 28 2011, 10:18AM
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Jiri Dopita wrote:

He tried a new fighting technique and it didn't work - big deal! How much impact does a player winning or losing a fight have on the outcome of game? I'm not sure, maybe some in terms of its affect on momentum but I think that's open for debate.

You know what has more affect than the outcome of a fight? A power-play goal!I'm surprised that nobody has pointed out that in the process of losing that fight Stortini earned the Oilers a power-play(Barch got 2,5 and 10). If the Oilers score on the power-play and stage a comeback it's a great a job by Stortini.

This team has a lot of issues, Stortini isn't one of them. He's an adequate 4rth liner. He's certainly more effective than SMac or JFJ.

I agree 100%. Zack is good at what he does. He is having a rough year this year, and I think that stems from a lack of confidence from the coach. He is still a valuable player, who goes out and does the job we ask him to every night, and with gusto to boot. I think all the Stortini haters on here would do well to remember last year, when there was one guy on the ice every night you could count on to give it his all. On a last place team, where many nights most of the team just gave up, that showed me all I need to know about Zack's character as a player. And that is why I won't jump on him for having one bad fight, or even a bad couple games.

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#15 Scott in Grande Prairie
January 28 2011, 11:48AM
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To clarify: I'm not comparing Bucky to Storts on hockey-playing ability.

Bucky was far more useful as a hockey player. Hands down. End of discussion. 'Nuff said.

But in the ugly, unforgiving game-within-the-game that is fighting, Bucky and Storts are not all that dissimilar. Both have/are sticking their noses into a lot of tussles they don't belong in.

And that's a pretty big thing, in my mind. It isn't a "part" of the fighter's code. It is the code.

All this dissection of whether Zach should have done this-or-that, or led with a jab or stuck his head here or there or hung on at this point or not-hung-on at that point are all armchair-quarterback stuff that I'm quite frankly not qualified to weigh in on.

All I know about fighting is what Grapes has said about it: the most important part is the gesture, not the outcome.

And all I'm saying is that, regardless of whether or not Storts is gonzo at the end of the season, or whether or not Renney likes him or not, as a fan, I appreciate the gesture of an overmatched fighter stepping up.

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#16 Crash
January 28 2011, 02:26PM
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Scott in Grande Prairie wrote:

What do you say when the other teams rip Stortini for his fight?

Well, see you next time. And say hello to Steve MacIntyre.

You're all missing the point, guys. Stortini's teammates, if they're decent teammates, will be greatful that he chose to fight - they won't be sitting there marking the fight on scorecards.

Stortini's "antics," if you wish to call them that, were to simply try something that he thought might either help him win the fight or keep him from getting pummelled. Nothing wrong with that and, like I say, Donald S. Cherry, if he chooses to focus in on the fight at all, won't be focusing in on that.

Zach Stortini did what hundreds of thousands of hockey players have done before him. He stepped in for his teammates and lost a fight. Nothing wrong or dishonourable with that.

Barch and his teammates are the ones in the bad - you don't taunt someone after a fight ... especially from the bench and especially if your name is Steve Ott.

No matter what, though: Steve Macintyre has to dress next time against Dallas (they play again, right?).

The real wrong will be if Renney doesn't dress Smacintyre for the next game. The code demands it because Dallas is in the wrong.

With all due respect Scott, I think you're missing the point that at least some of us are saying....with Bucky back in the day he was a useful player, no matter how many times he lost a fight, he still played a regular shift and was a valuable member of the team, killing penatlies or even moving up onto a higher line if need be, similar to Ryan Jones.

This Oilers team is getting its show run on a regular basis, it also never initiates the physical game and trys to run another teams show. This team needs some guys that can answer the bell when the other team starts to try to run their show, this team needs to have some guys that can initiate physical play and take it to the other team. This team needs to make Rexall place a rink that other teams dread coming into.

I'm sorry, no matter how much anyone loves Stortini cuz he's a great guy, which he is, the fact is he brings next to nothing that would add to winning ways. His skating is weak, he doesn't produce goals or assists, he doesn't pound the other team with body checks, he doesn't scare anybody or intimidate, he doesn't win a fight to pick up the team and add momentum regularly, and now with losing badly and being embarrassed against a guy who is so much smaller than him it's, well, it's just plain demoralizing to watch as a fan. And no one can tell me that it's not demoralizing for the bench to watch continually, no matter what they say to the public. Did you see the Calgary bench after SMAC laid out Ivanans? They were sunk, there were no banging sticks on the boards, no nothing, it demoralized them. With Stortini it's one let down after another in that department.

I'm also not saying it's just Stortini, it's the whole 4th line, Stortini, JFJ and Fraser need to be replaced, with some nasty, with some push back, with some initiate.

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#17 victorious secret
January 28 2011, 04:00PM
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@ Crash x2 Also, for those claiming that "good teammates" love it when Storts stands in there for a pummeling, you are probably right. However, respecting a guy for getting his lunch handed to him on a repeated basis, and being inspired by that same act are two entirely different ideas. It is very, very difficult to get motivated when your "tough guy" gets man-handled almost every fight.

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#18 jeanshorts
January 28 2011, 12:17AM
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Stortini should have used his FISTS more.

*I can't believe I actually just did that*

Also, I agree with literally everything you said. Is there any way you can get to the bottom of why Stortini has been on such a short leash, outside of the "crappy skater" thing Renney trotted out earlier?

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#19 Raine Snow
January 28 2011, 12:45AM
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Stortini is a young guy, and we tend to forget that. However, I've yet to see much improvement in his game over the last couple of years. Be it fighting, agitating, and overall hockey skills...he really hasn't developed all that much, if at all.

I understand there isn't much to improve on when it comes to one dimensional players (such as Stortini); but in the last couple of years have we seen much improvement with anybody?

I though Renney was suppose to be a teacher.

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#20 kawi460
January 28 2011, 12:46AM
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I also agree, as Iam no expert on NHL fights i think Stort was trying to do exactly what Rypien does, the difference is Rick has faster hands than Stort..... wasn't his dad a champ at boxing?

In the next few years if the oil make the playoffs, i can see Stort cracking the line up and being a usefull fourthline checker... he seems to get under the skin of the opponents more than Mac and JF.

As for MPS, he deserves a spot on the team just as much as the other rookies, i thought it was unfair for willis to compare him to Nillson.

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#21 kawi460
January 28 2011, 12:48AM
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IMO, Stortini isn't a great fighter to begin with; that being said I'm glad he's trying different techniques. He should watch and learn from Godard tapes as he is about the same size.

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#22 TonyT
January 28 2011, 02:11AM
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I liked Stortini's game last year, as he looked to be progressing into being a half-decent checker. However, this year he seems to be late to his check, and ineffective as an agitator/fighter. Stortini may be the most agitating forward, but he may also be the most heavily mocked.

@ Brownlee

Why can't Brule take Fraser's spot?

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#23 Bucknuck
January 28 2011, 03:22AM
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i have always liked stortini. He's tough, hussles his ass, and gets beat on regularly for his trouble. I pick him over jfj just due to the injury thing.

He's not untouchable, but I don't understand Renney's problem.

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#24 Reagan
January 28 2011, 06:51AM
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My guess is that storts has a nice holiday booked for him and his girlfriend and he is going to propose. Hence he was shielding his face from getting mangled by Barch.

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#25 victorious secret
January 28 2011, 06:53AM
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The 3 things I look for in an effective agitator/fighter are:

1. Is he intimidating/annoying? Sorry, but Storts has more opponents laughing than worrying. He can get under the skin of an opponent now and again, but doesn't do it frequently enough to be effective.

2. Can he beat the heck out of someone to get his team pumped up? Storts does NOT have this ability. While admittedly he occasionally has to fight guys bigger than he is, even when he is on a level playing field he doesn't seem to have the punching power or technique to survive. I've played on teams where your "tough guy" gets pumped - it's deflating.

3. Does he crush a few of the oppositions key players with a thunderous hit or two? Again, Storts is not capable of this. He is not fast nor coordinated enough to do any damage with a body-check. As a contrast, consider Peckham's ability, and desire, to crush the star of the opposition whenever he can.

Considering all this, I agree with Renney's take on Storts' ability to contribute to this team. Also, in my opinion, since Smack fills at least #2 (and sometimes #3) he is of more value in this role. Even JFJ, of whom I'm no fan, at least can provide the occasional crushing hit.

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#26 book¡e
January 28 2011, 07:00AM
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I think that Storts is a useful 4th liner for reasons OTHER than fighting. I think he wants to be that player. I think Renney considers him a fighter and doesn't think he is a great fighter and thus - he sits, etc.

Sometimes coaches have a vision for a player that does not line up with the player (see MacT - Penner).

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#27 Jonathan Willis
January 28 2011, 07:15AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Has Tom Renney said anything specifically about Stortini that has you wondering, or are you going mostly from his ice-time this season?

I agree with your take, I'm just curious if you're going on a little more than those of us who don't talk to the players/coaches.

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#28 sizedoesmatter
January 28 2011, 07:18AM
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I agree stortini Is not a good fighter he is very good at agitating.when I watch the Rangers I,m willing with all my Willpower that somone will crosscheck avery in the teeth.Thats what zack should work on.losing fights is not a great tactic.

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#29 Oilcruzer
January 28 2011, 07:19AM
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RB. Nicely done. =============

Stortini. This is not the Son of Curt Brackenberry.

As a "What The Heck Was That?" game flow changer... Very good.

As a checker... Maybe average. As a scorer... Terrible. As a playmaker... Very poor. As an enforcer... Embarrassing.

Seriously, there must be hundreds, if not thousands of players available, at that skill level or better.

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#31 Shane
January 28 2011, 07:40AM
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I find it funny that people expect Storts to be some sort of 'tough guy' but really he's just a yapper. He's just an uglier less talented version Matthew Barnaby. Lol

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#33 Jiri Dopita
January 28 2011, 07:50AM
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He tried a new fighting technique and it didn't work - big deal! How much impact does a player winning or losing a fight have on the outcome of game? I'm not sure, maybe some in terms of its affect on momentum but I think that's open for debate.

You know what has more affect than the outcome of a fight? A power-play goal!I'm surprised that nobody has pointed out that in the process of losing that fight Stortini earned the Oilers a power-play(Barch got 2,5 and 10). If the Oilers score on the power-play and stage a comeback it's a great a job by Stortini.

This team has a lot of issues, Stortini isn't one of them. He's an adequate 4rth liner. He's certainly more effective than SMac or JFJ.

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#34 Jonathan Willis
January 28 2011, 07:53AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Fair enough. Thanks.

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#35 Oilers4ever
January 28 2011, 08:00AM
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I think the answer to what should happen to him and everything is else quite simple: What is he being paid for? To be just a banger and fighter or someone who can contribute more by skating, scoring chances, etc? If it's just the first one alone then punt his arse because compared to Big Mac, he can't fight his way out of a wet paper bag. Big Mac would have whipped Barch's derriere and likely Barch wouldn't have even started the fight. People tend to fight the Oilers less from what I've seen when Big Mac plays.. so if you want the enforcer role only, then Big Mac is the guy to have. (This is another area where I see this team missing Souray, two legitimate fighting contenders, although Vandermeer impressed me in that game)...

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#36 Milli
January 28 2011, 08:10AM
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I have always been a Storts fan but that fight was BAD! I can see Renney's frustration grow with that and at the same time, JFJ's game has come around nicely. Too bad. I'm thinking there is no chance Brule takes Omarks spot that for sure!

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#37 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 28 2011, 08:13AM
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Raine Snow wrote:

Stortini is a young guy, and we tend to forget that. However, I've yet to see much improvement in his game over the last couple of years. Be it fighting, agitating, and overall hockey skills...he really hasn't developed all that much, if at all.

I understand there isn't much to improve on when it comes to one dimensional players (such as Stortini); but in the last couple of years have we seen much improvement with anybody?

I though Renney was suppose to be a teacher.

Here we go blaming the coach!!

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#38 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 28 2011, 08:20AM
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I'm not overly suprised at how much venom was spewed towards Stortini, for the must part I think fans project their insecurities/short-falls onto the team.

More then likely the ones whining and crying the loudest about Stortini are the same ones that would turtle if Omark were to come after them.

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#39 Ted Sheckler
January 28 2011, 08:21AM
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The facts are he isn't a playmaker, he isn't a scorer, can't kill a penalty and he is a terrible fighter. So why is he in this league? There was a time when he could make the occasional big hit but that was a long time ago, now he runs around trying to make the big hit and everyone knows what he's up to and use it against him to get him out of position. The majority of the hits he throws are borderline interference calls he runs across the ice to try and make the hit which turns into a shove, then he's out of gas and out of the play. He then goes to the bench doing that annoying move of waiving his hand for a change. There is no reason to keep wasting the teams resources on him. I don't know what's worse him being clowned by Barch or crying on the linesmans shoulder after Rypien beat him up.

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#40 Ted Sheckler
January 28 2011, 08:50AM
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@buck75 Comparing Buchberger to Stortini is like Gretzky to Gord Mark.

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#41 misfit
January 28 2011, 08:52AM
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triple post

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#42 misfit
January 28 2011, 08:55AM
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oops

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#43 misfit
January 28 2011, 08:55AM
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I never want to see Smid on a powerplay, but with Petry, Gilbert, and Foster all being RH shots, I wonder how much that plays into the decision.

I don't know why they just don't try a forward on the point instead. Reddox has played the point a little in the AHL (and with the Pats if I recall), but I can only imagine the backlash from Oiler fans across the country if Renney ever put Liam on the powerplay. Shades of Toby Peterson.

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#44 rubbertrout
January 28 2011, 09:22AM
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BUCK75 wrote:

I like Stortini, you can't argue about his effort level or his desire to improve. He is a totally different player than he was 3 seasons ago. He is a better skater, but he hasn't improved at fighting as much as his skating has. For him to be a useful part of this team I think he has to beat a few people up, I don't remember many times where he has got the better of his opponent.

When he fights, he reminds me of Buchberger. Buchberger didn't win many fights but he was an effective 3rd or 4th line guy who could skate good & kill penalties. I could handle a guy who wasn't a really good fighter if he was important to another part of our team's success. Stortini clearly doesn't have much value to the coach if he isn't playing physical or fighting.

A good guy, good interview from what I have heard of him on the radio. But it wouldn't hurt my feelings if we tried finding a new person to fill his role.

Amen brother. I did a long reply post but for whatever reason it was rejected.

I'm far to lazy to re-type it.

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#45 Death Metal Nightmare
January 28 2011, 09:27AM
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i agree with all your points today except the Stortini one. i understand using these types of players this year because its all they have for now but everyone on that bottom line (Fraser, Mac, Stortini and JFJ) have to go. none of them are NHL caliber players at doing anything consistently.

Fraser has been very pedestrian in every department. his fight against Niskanen (fairly soft kid) was a complete embarrassment and shows he has no business fighting at all. if were going to give players like this credit because theyre bad and do Crazy Things to keep a roster spot, thats just dumb. "he blocks a few shots and gets punched in the face for us. thats a goddamn hero, my friend." no, its sad. 3 games in the playoffs last year earned him a contract. stop handing out contracts to players like that over playoff performances. theyre a chimera.

Mac. shouldnt be on NHL ice. nice story. knocked a dude out. great. move along. having him and Stortini on the ice together is an AHL joke.

Stortini. embarrassing himself for years. had an OK season last year and when Glencross was around to use speed on the forecheck. this year he came out of the gate like his spot was earned and he was playing casual. deep down, i think he knows its not but thats how he came of in interviews before the season started and during game play. hes also too slow.

JFJ - has the tools, has played OK here and there but is he really going to put it together? doubt it.

the Oilers, as ive said a million times, need to start thinking about building a real bottom 6 for championship level hockey. smarts, speed, tenacity, violent, just enough skill to make teams pay.

none of the dudes above have any of that total package. so build it.

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#46 Crash
January 28 2011, 09:50AM
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I'm not one to rag on players so it pains me to say that Stortini is not effective in his role. Excellent post #13 by victorious secret that spells it out quite well. Stortini doesn't skate well enough to be effective as a crasher and banger, he isn't a scorer, he isn't a set up guy, he doesn't scare anyone on the other team and he apparently can't really win a fight to lift his teammates. Watching that Dallas game the other night was deflating for me as a fan to watch so I can imagine how it must feel on the Oilers bench regardless of what they might say. Same thing when they played Toronto and he allowed Orr to beat him up, it was deflating. There are numerous other examples. He's been mocked before as well. Fraser getting beat by a soft Fin didn't help either.

I don't think this should come down to a JFJ or Stortini battle. In actual fact going forward beyond this year I hope they are both replaced, in fact the entire 4th line needs a makeover with Stortini, JFJ and Fraser all being replaced with guys similar to Kenopka, Eager, Chris Neil. This team needs an injection of nasty with some ability to play. The Oilers need some more grit, some more push back when the other team tries to run our show. Or even some initiation for a change would be nice. I'd still hold on to the big enforcer SMAC for a nuclear deterrent.

One thing I would like to see with the present group is at least once in awhile with some of our bigger guys (ie: Penner, Gilbert). When your team is getting pushed around and you're already beaten on the scoreboard, just once or twice use your size and bop someone. Grab a hold of a guy like Morrow or Langenbrunner and just give it to him. Get pissed off for a change. I mean even Gagner threw his gloves off and was ready to take a beating from Sutherby the other night because he was pissed off.

Totally agree with RB on the more of Dubnyk, Omark and Petry the rest of the way and to no more Smid on the PP. Try a 4th forward for cripe (not a word) sakes. I believe Dubnyk is legit and is ready to take over this team between the pipes. Also agree about Paajarvi having been here all season. And the last agreement is on Jones, I too would like to see more crash and bang out of him, more grit. I like what he has brought overall but he needs to get grittier to help this team.

Last point, Oilers need to focus on going to the damn net, crowding the blue paint and getting pucks there. Not just hard slappers from the point but from anywhere on the ice and not just on the PP, even strength too. If you have traffic you can create goals from anywhere. Most of the teams nowadays do this, especially the good teams. This is how you score in todays game with the freakin' goalies being so big and their equipment being even bigger. If goaltenders can see the puck, they WILL stop it. It won't matter how many good players the Oilers get, they won't score as much if they don't do this...they do talk about this quite a bit but then they don't do it.

*endrant* thanks for listening :)

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#47 T.C.
January 28 2011, 10:08AM
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Still love Bigmac!just wish he would crush people more.instigate more people into fights, force them to.If he is only going to play 4min a night make it worth while.

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#48 db7db7db7
January 28 2011, 10:11AM
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What do you guys think the Oil would have to give up for Ryane Clowe? With Clowe we could get rid of all these 1 skill players.

Ryane Clowe Left Wing Height 6.02 -- Weight 225

13-25-38 67 PIM

According to hockeyfights.com he has not lost any of his 9 fights this year. http://www.hockeyfights.com/players/1524/fightcard/reg2011

I say trade Hemsky for him.

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#49 common sense
January 28 2011, 10:29AM
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Have to disagree with you about Jones looking at the ref. That was a pretty ugly Fistric MMA takedown of Jones in the slot and no penalty to boot. I think I would've stared at the ref on that play too. I would've played Smac daddy in Dallas last game instead of either Frenchie or Hugs. Simple history would've dictated such. Surprised the coach didn't anticipate and proactively insert Smac daddy instead of plying the usual "we won last game so I'll go with the same lineup" mantra....

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#50 Dan the Man
January 28 2011, 10:32AM
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I have defended Stortini on here a number of times and I really liked the way he was coming along last year but that fight was tough to watch.

I respect his gamesmanship, he doesn't back down from anyone but he is not a good enough fighter at this point to be the designated tough guy.

I'd be OK with him in an agitator role where he would occasionally fight.

I almost think other teams tough guys look forward to fighting him to some extent.

On a different note...who comes out when Hemsky, Eberle and Brule come back?

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