DEFENCE FIRST: EAT YOUR BROCCOLI

Robin Brownlee
October 21 2011 06:14PM

Coaches preaching defence-first hockey to their players aren't the exception, they're the rule. Tom Renney of the Edmonton Oilers isn't different or odd or out in left field by insisting on that approach.

Whether it's Renney or Craig MacTavish before him, defence-first hockey makes sense. It's the right thing to do. Sort of like when mom used to insist you eat your broccoli or peas before even thinking about that big slab of pie you were eye-balling. Reasonable. Boring. Necessary.

As is often the case, the issue of defence-first hockey and the ability to sell it to a group of players, particularly a group of youngsters like Renney has on his roster now, comes down to a matter of degree.

Players will accept the dutiful teachings of a coach, they will choke down their veggies, if it means getting that pie. In hockey terms, it means ice time and a chance to get down to the other end of the rink once in awhile and have some fun with the puck. Snap it around. Score some goals.

Finding the balance is the trick.

WALKING THE LINE

As I watched Renney dole out his ice time -- the only real currency an NHL coach has these days -- on the way to a 2-1 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild at Rexall Place Thursday, I couldn't help but wonder if he'd stepped over the line. Too much broccoli.

With Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins getting more pine time than ice time against the Wild -- a team capable of inducing coma among fans like no other with defence-first hockey -- it brought back memories of the stifling, "eat your veggies" days of MacT.

"We started placing a premium on playing defensive hockey a couple of years ago," Renney said. "We've really tried to create a defensive foundation that we can build our whole game from.

"I think we're in a good place this early in the season, but we still have a lot of work to do. In no way, shape or form should it distract at all from offence."

Sounds good, in theory.

ON THE CLOCK

At the end of the night, two-way veterans Shawn Horcoff (23:52) and Ryan Smyth (22:30) had played a whole lot more than any of the kids -- Hall (14:21), Eberle (13:24) and Nugent Hopkins (13:22).

Horcoff and Smyth had some PK time thrown in there at 3:33 and 2:21 respectively, while the kids had none. Renney gave Hall (2:41), Eberle (2:39) and Nugent-Hopkins (2:39) more looks on the power play. Horcoff had 2:18 and Smyth just 48 seconds.

For even minutes, the breakdown was: Horcoff 18:01, Smyth 20:21, Hall 11:40, Eberle 10:45 and Nugent-Hopkins 10:43. While I've liked what Smyth and Horcoff have shown, I'd have preferred to see the kids coming through the gate a little more often. A lot more often, actually. Judging by the call-in shows Thursday night, fans agreed.

Renney, of course, has games to win. After five straight years out of the playoffs, that's no small consideration. He obviously liked his team's chances better Thursday with Horcoff and Smyth on the ice.

Today, and as an aside that has generated some buzz, Renney talked about the possibility of sitting out Nugent-Hopkins against the New York Rangers Saturday, in part to make room for the return of Sam Gagner. On the face of it, not a big deal, really.

Then again, that, like Renney's choice of who he sent over the boards against Minnesota, would likely be about as appetizing to many Edmonton fans -- those longing for excitement and something to yell about -- as more broccoli when they hunger for pie.

I'm with them on both counts.

GREAT ONE SAYS . . .

As part of a wide-ranging interview with Darren Dreger of TSN, Wayne Gretzky weighed in on Nugent-Hopkins.

"I really believe he's one of the best young players we've seen come into the game in a long time," Gretzky said.

"And the great thing for him is he has two other young guys in Taylor Hall and [Jordan] Eberle that are really outstanding players and really good young men and they are in the right scenario."

Sound like somebody ticketed back to Red Deer?

JOB OFFER?

As part of his interview with Dreger, Gretzky suggested he'd had offers of front office jobs from both the Oilers and the Kings, but pointed out he's not interested in jumping back into the grind full-time. Gretzky told Jason Gregor and I the same thing weeks ago before he came to town.

Given Gretzky's ties to Edmonton, I'd suggest the Great One has a standing offer, as opposed to being pitched a specific job recently -- the message being that anytime he wants to get back in, he'd be welcomed by Kevin Lowe and owner Daryl Katz. That's been discussed more than once and it remains on the table.

THIS AND THAT . . .

-- Will lightning strike twice? Will No. 28 hit the lottery two years in a row? Too early to tell for sure, of course, but I've liked most of what I've seen from Ryan Jones so far this season.

Jones, coming off a season in which he scored a career-high 18 goals, a feat widely panned as luck and happenstance by many advanced stats men, has scored a couple of goals and, all in all, been pretty good.

While projecting based on only six games is goofy -- Jones won't scored that 27-goal clip he's on now -- I can see him, like I said in pre-season, slotting into the 15-18 goal range again. I'm thinking 16 would be dandy.

-- I'll take substance over style on the bottom line every time, and that's why I'm conflicted about Linus Omark.

On one hand, you'd have to be dumb as a post not to recognize Omark's obvious offensive creativity and ability to play like he has the puck on a string. He's had some dazzling shifts this season.

On the other hand, Omark is without a point in the five games he's played this season. All told, he's scored 5-22-27 in 56 games. Omark's calling card is putting up points. He'd best get on with it. Close doesn't count.

-- Like I pointed out on Twitter last night, Horcoff, Eberle, Eric Belanger, Omark, Anton Lander and Magnus Paajarvi have combined for 0 goals in 35 man-games. Mitigate that with any numbers you'd like, if you're so inclined, but that's not nearly good enough.

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 Archaeologuy
October 21 2011, 07:03PM
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Welcome to the Dark side of the Linus Omark camp. We have complimentary punch and cookies.

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#3 Archaeologuy
October 21 2011, 07:25PM
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@Oilers G-that un-retired Haiku writing MotherF^%$er

Asparagus flavored.

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#4 michael
October 21 2011, 07:26PM
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What a load. Renny does not have to win diddly squat in my opinion. His freakin job and his only job is to see the development of Hall,Eberle ,RNH,MP.and Lander. If he isn't doing that then put him on a bus to the KHL.Couldn't give a bulls balls for 2-1 shootout loses to the Minny's and suchlike. Especially if Horcoff and Smyth are being given the lions share of the ice time. Are we sheeple that we need to fed the same old coaching cliches game after game justifying the defense first philosphy that "wins hockey games". Go feed that muck to the scribes to fill up thier columns after "good efforts" and "we came up short" games like we have been treated to this past week. Taylor Hall,Eberle and RNH have to be 20 minute a night guys. They to be to learn and to develop. Do you bench a Taylor Hall or do you challenge him to perform. This kind of bleating I am hearing from Renny echos alot like a coach who's coaching to lose and not to win. Tambo better be watching because this rebuild isn't about to occur if his best horses are kept in the barn.

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#6 David S
October 22 2011, 01:25AM
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So everybody here knows the "young guns" just went through almost two full games of "let them run" and came up stone cold empty, right? Just curious.

How is Renney going to get any respect in the room if he doesn't do anything and everything possible to win? The reason we lost the last two games is because we didn't put pucks in the net. Renney was doing his part by putting the vets in during the latter stages of the game, and we came within 1.5 seconds of winning with that strategy.

RNH has been ridiculously bad on faceoffs and Hall (probably still sick) and Eberle were coming up dry. And if you watched the latter part of the third period last night, you'd know we spent most of the time in OUR zone. So much for putting RNH out there with his 24% FO stat.

The fact of the matter is, Renney didn't staple RNH and his crew to the bench last night - they did it to themselves.

Another grueling reality is that it's entirely possible RNH is not quite ready for the show.

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Free punch and cookies?

hey Arch, Where do I sign up?

are there cupcakes too?

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#8 sizedoesmatter
October 21 2011, 07:58PM
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I think six games is too early to get overly excited about any players. one year we got off to a 6 and 0 start and finished last. getting the team to stick to a game plan is very important.The young players will be just fine.I would like the team to be able to play as good as a defensive game as the top teams play.

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#9 michael
October 21 2011, 08:15PM
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Even Gretzky couldn't score from the bench. Ditto for Messier, Kurri and Anderson.I'd accept another 60point+ season if it meant that we saw Hall, RNH,Eberle,MP and Lander continue to gow and develop. I want pie 24/7/365. I want that. I as a fan have suffered the past years for it. I want to know that when I plunk down my 200 bucks for a pair of seats that I am paying to watch Hall and the above mentioned. Horcoff and Smyth are our past and our present but Hall etal are our present and our future. Renny new he would never be the guy to take them to the Cup. he was hired as the guy to teach and to take the lumps that come with the growth and development of a young team. This team will eventually learn how to win and to trust in oneanother. Many of the faces will be gone.Many more will become household names. Renny's job is to ensure that that transition takes place. Take wins and shove them where they belong. The Leafs are prime examples. The Flames are right there. We were there too. Mediocre teams alaways struggling at the edge. I want to the Detroit Red Wings. I want us to fly withthe stars not drudge in the dirt. we have to learn to walk before we can run. But as with any child you have to let it learn from its mistakes. You have to give that child freedom to succeed. RH gets 3(2) goals in a game them goes to less than 11 minutes of ice time. That just cooks me. As a fan that is not acceptable. Losing 2-1 to Minny with our best horses on the bench was not and never will be acceptable. Renny can coach defence with MacT in Chicago if thats what he wants. For years we shouted that MacT turned ur best players into 3-4 line checkers. Is that going to be allowed to happen again with RNH and Hall? Let them play and let the chips fall where they may. I can accept that. If it means another 30 th place finish so be it.

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#10 FastOil
October 21 2011, 09:26PM
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IIRC the last time we were good it was offense first, then learn how to play defense.

Thing is, defense is learn-able. Offense not as easy. I am concerned the guys who are supposed to carry the torch won't learn how to bring their maximum offense in their formative years.

I don't want RNH learning the NHL game as a perimeter player. Or Hall being asked to do too much while he is still sorting out how to adapt his high octane game to the NHL.

Pajaarvi needs to learn how to attack without mercy before anything else. Omark needs to use that drive and energy to see the puck in the net, one way or another.

Screw defense. All out offensive attack for a year, let's set the tone for the boys. Take another high lottery, get a proper defensive group (at least short term until others are ready) and then work more on the team system.

It's a waste this year because Tambellini hasn't provided the necessary elements in the back to sustainably grow the team system, at least for long. Frustrating the young guns, finishing in a bad standings position is the outlook from being a defensive team right now.

I want to win and climb the standings, but only on the right terms in the right time, which isn't this year as the roster has been made.

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#11 Dennis
October 21 2011, 10:18PM
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Renney should never coach to win games. Screw that noise

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#12 jdrevenge
October 21 2011, 10:40PM
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I'd be shocked if Renney's shelf life had him leading this team into the promised land.

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#13 DSF
October 21 2011, 10:51PM
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Dennis wrote:

Renney should never coach to win games. Screw that noise

Especially when it results in a loss.

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#14 Dangerous Neil
October 21 2011, 06:15PM
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EDIT: Someone came on and changed my post. Evidently my account is hacked. Who can I contact to fix this?

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#15 AussieOil
October 21 2011, 06:45PM
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Great article Brownlee. Been tough to watch the Oil trying to protect the lead, on the other hand we have been complaining (as fans) for lack of defense for past number of years. I think once the puck starts going in we will see some higher scores. They definately haven't capatilised on their chances yet

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#16 Wanyes bastard child
October 21 2011, 07:24PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Got asparagus?

Early summer the girlfriend picked up some really fresh asparagus at the strathcona farmers market. Drizzled with olive oil, slight salt and pepper on the grill.

Did steaks with them and a homemade bernaise sauce... I been spoiled on asparagus ever since, they were that good!

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#17 Mitch
October 21 2011, 07:24PM
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Another great article Brownlee, if RNH goes back to Red Deer it's all political to do with the WJC in EDM stats don't lie and he leads the team in scoring and probably still will by the 9 game mark.

I've watched 4 pathetic games this year, and trying to hang on for dear life for the whole game don't win anything, again just look at the record. I don't call that defensive hockey.

If its me I try Gagner on the wing with Lander and Pajarrvii, drop Belanger to 4th line. Sit out Omark I've had enough of his spinning and twirling already, go to the net. Keep D the same and rotate the goalies.

Yes there is half the roster that must find there offensive game.

Anything that involves Wayne Gretzky being part of the Oilers Organization is good news, this is something that I can see happening but probably when they go into the new building. But I always enjoy Waynes conversations with media clearly the best spokes person in the world for the game.

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#18 AussieOil
October 21 2011, 07:27PM
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Omark is a poor man's Hemsky.

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#20 LoDog
October 21 2011, 07:46PM
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Excellent piece Brownlee, one of your best imo.

I think sooner rather than later Renney will find some balance.

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#21 ubermiguel
October 21 2011, 07:48PM
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Do you not see the connection between "Coaches preaching defence-first hockey to their players aren't the exception, they're the rule..." and "Horcoff, Eberle, Belanger, Omark, Anton Lander and Magnus Paajarvi have combined for 0 goals in 35 man-games."?

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#22 godot10
October 21 2011, 07:59PM
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Ryan Jones has 1 goal and an empty net goal. Some media types should get some perspective.

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#23 Gerald R. Ford
October 21 2011, 08:01PM
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"The broccoli must die." -Stewart Gilligan Griffin

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#25 book¡e
October 21 2011, 08:38PM
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Screw you Renney and Robin and the rest of you too - I WANT MY PIE!

(note - I am sorry for my poor attitude and unpleasant ways - pie makes me crazy though)

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#26 Dipstick
October 21 2011, 08:43PM
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Pie! Heck, we haven't had any food for a few years already. I'll gladly take anything I can get at this point.

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#28 Brew46
October 21 2011, 08:47PM
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is it just me? but is renney even starting to look like mac T, his hair has gone like 6 more shades of grey in 1 season, all he needs is the glasses.

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#29 Smokey
October 21 2011, 08:48PM
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I agree with Michael on RNH. If the Oil wanna get me to pony up for those minipacks this year, then it becomes more plausible with the kid in the line-up. Renney stapled his skinny ass and his other young horses to the bench. It made Renney look like a fool, and now hes hinting at putting him the pressbox. The last two losses are on Renney for not playing his horses, and he got burned. If Rexall wants my money play the kids. Enough nonscence already...

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#30 Dipstick
October 21 2011, 08:55PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Thats a beer to go with my smoke! Figuratively speaking, I am happy to watch the team be competitive.

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#31 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 21 2011, 09:05PM
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@ Arch it won't be long before we've got him run out of town. I'm thinking somewhere around game 35 when he's got 4 goals and 16 points.

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#32 Light, Sweet, Crude
October 21 2011, 09:08PM
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Good article, Robin.

As for the amount of Bench the kids saw last game, did anyone notice how rough that stuff was? I know they can probably, or at least need to be able to handle it but Hall was not 100%, and without him that line lacks some punch. I don't have the stats around to prove it, but it did look like they were getting it socked to them a little in chances, or at least hemmed in more than you'd like. This benching will hopefully make them more aware that come heck or high water they need to perform.

If the team would have survived the last .5 seconds of that game I don't know how much criticism Renney would be getting today. I totally agree we need more offense, and the Kid line seems to be where it come from but it isn't going establish over night. Bench them when they need it. Makes sense to me, I guess.

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#33 knobby
October 21 2011, 09:46PM
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The above analysis was a good read. I do think it is worthy to note the overall defensive performance, faceoff stats and improved PK are attributable to Renney's coaching and the team as well. He may be somewhat comparable to MacT but to me the difference is this team has bought in. The resulting improvement in Smid and Gilbert should be an indicator. On the other hand I would suggest respecfully that MacT's methods didn't turn out all that well.

I have noted several players approached RNH on the ice after whistles with lots of yapping and apparent challenges. Glencross actually looked like he was trying to challenge RNH to a fight. Last night it was Brodziak of all people coming up to RNH. Why are their collective heads not rolling around in dumpsters this morning? Not one Oiler even skated over to them to have a word...is it coincidence RNH has been a ghost in the last two games and now is rumoured to be a passenger in the pressbox for Saturday night?

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#34 Harbinger
October 21 2011, 10:07PM
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Knobby, that's a damn good question. How long would it have taken Semenko or Brown to sort it out? Muni, Jackson, Fogolin, Gator? Unfortunately, Hordichuk is out with a bad knee, maybe for a long time. Time for a pep-talk Coach Tom, maybe say a few words about team building. . .

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#35 Gretzkin
October 21 2011, 10:14PM
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I honestly know a guy who has been struck by lightning twice. No joke. Jones has better odds and historical scoring prowess. I'd put him in the 16 to 19 range again.

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#36 Puritania
October 21 2011, 10:55PM
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Gretzkin wrote:

I honestly know a guy who has been struck by lightning twice. No joke. Jones has better odds and historical scoring prowess. I'd put him in the 16 to 19 range again.

I used to work with a fellow who got hit by lightning three times. His nickname was Sparky.

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#37 DoubleJ
October 21 2011, 11:09PM
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Light, Sweet, Crude wrote:

Good article, Robin.

As for the amount of Bench the kids saw last game, did anyone notice how rough that stuff was? I know they can probably, or at least need to be able to handle it but Hall was not 100%, and without him that line lacks some punch. I don't have the stats around to prove it, but it did look like they were getting it socked to them a little in chances, or at least hemmed in more than you'd like. This benching will hopefully make them more aware that come heck or high water they need to perform.

If the team would have survived the last .5 seconds of that game I don't know how much criticism Renney would be getting today. I totally agree we need more offense, and the Kid line seems to be where it come from but it isn't going establish over night. Bench them when they need it. Makes sense to me, I guess.

If only we could have survived the last .5 seconds last game? It's not surviving we're supposed to be winning. If only we could have survived the last 6 minutes of that Calgary game?

Good teams don't play this way. They don't survive games they win them. There's a difference.

I called us losing last nights game as soon as I saw the first double shift of Horc in the third.

And also what great mind thinks it's easy to put a player in the shoot out after he's sat for over 20 minutes. He did it with Omark last year too, that's not smart playing.

Put Horcoff and Smyth in the shoot out if that's who's going to win (not lose) you the game. I love how those guys played by the way.

One thing is foresure going to happen if Renney keeps playing Horcoff and Smyth this way, 1) injuries and 2) they will run out of gas. Michael in post 9 summed it up perfect.

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#38 Greg Stink | ESPN
October 21 2011, 11:26PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Ryan Jones has two goals.

You stick with the "he got lucky" and "he'll score seven this season" crowd. I'll go with 15-18 and we'll see how it plays out between now and April 7, OK?

Yours truly, Some Media Types

PS "Will lightning strike twice? Will No. 28 hit the lottery two years in a row? Too early to tell for sure, of course, but I've liked most of what I've seen from Ryan Jones so far this season."

Perspective, no?

Well said.

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#39 Eulers
October 21 2011, 11:54PM
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I'm not hitting the panic button after one game or six. This team is not going to lift the Stanley Cup this year. If Renney feels he needs to light a fire under our teenage saviours, then I am okay with that. Renney doesn't even make my long list of flaws with this team.

Mercifully, this list has shrunk over the past two years. Speaking of which, isn't it nice not to totally suck on special teams for a change?

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#40 Death Metal Nightmare
October 22 2011, 12:02AM
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anti-Omark is boring. hes not the problem. hes a complimentary player on any team. not a "carry the load" guy. the problem is, this team has garbage C-tier vets that cant help kids out. it just so happens that the Oilers have 2 kids who can create offense on their own a bit. that leaves for little scoring and bad execution. but hey, deflect these problems to Omark for being stuck (along with the rest of the "n00bz" to the NHL) with pandered turds that are turned into local superheroes.

boring analysis. most of the players on this team shouldnt be here (Horcoff, Smyth, etc) in 3-4 years "when the team is good" (thats really far away in some respects). making the correct personnel decisions until that time is the only thing worth discussing.

should Omark be here? maybe not. but neither should 85% of the matrix of horse crap that everyone is trying to learn within against their opponents.

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#41 Suntory Hanzo
October 22 2011, 01:00AM
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Heading to the black frog. Any oilers guys in van around for support? Wearing the black paajaarvi shirt.

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#42 Clarko
October 22 2011, 03:55AM
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@David S

Wow...RNH has a couple of mediocre games and you're ready to send him down? Ridiculous to think the guy with the most goals on the team (I know its early) is not NHL ready. Why? Because he is poor on faceoffs? So you would rather see Horcoff leading all forwards in icetime just because he can win faceoffs?

I agree that Renney has to do everything to win, but turning our young guns into Smyth/Horcoff clones isn't going to work...those guys have been in control for the last decade or so and we have always been a mediocre team. I'm tired of our scorers having to "earn" their icetime, while the veterans like Horcoff, Smyth, (Pisani and Moreau when they were here) are all entitled to the icetime. Why didn't we bench Smyth when he took two penalties against the Canucks that led to their first two goals. Why isn't Horcoff benched when he clearly lost his man in the defensive zone to let the Canucks score a critical goal to tie it up? Why isn't he benched due to his lack of offensive productivity with 0 goals and only 7 shots on net in 6 games with easily the most icetime among forwards?

This whole idea that the gritty players get all the accolades from the coaches is growing tiresome after the last 2 decades of it. Afte the lockout, "defensive" teams don't win Stanley Cups anymore. They just have to be defensively responsible. But they all have had an ability to score because skill wins now like it did in the 80's. As long as guys like Horcoff are getting the majority of the icetime, this team is going absolutely nowhere!

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#43 dohfOs
October 22 2011, 04:07AM
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Tend to agree with David S. RNH isn't only a treat to watch, he's also somewhat of a liability, especially when it comes to taking a F/O in our own zone.

Renney need to sit RNH to get a look at the team without him and whether Gagner holds up or not but first and foremost to get a look at RNH on more road games. We can protect him all we want at home but playing away from Rexall won't be the same. We need him to survive that too, and so far I can't say he have.

RNH needs to show us he's not a liability and that he indeed can contribute to the Oilers on the road. If he can't, that could in a worst/bad-case scenario be 50% of the season were he isn't a NHL'er and maybe, just maybe he would be better of with another year in junior. Especially when we already have one more rookie center whom it might have more sense in keeping around. I for one wouldn't like either one of our captain or Belanger, a regular 40 point producer and best F/O-guy to be a 4th-liner. The only way to get around it in my eyes is to make Gagner or RNH a winger for the season, but that spot on the wing will also almost get too crowded.

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#44 Clarko
October 22 2011, 04:42AM
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@dohfOs

Our captain and Belanger aren't 1st or 2nd line guys either though. Not on a good team anyways and that's what I thought we were trying to become.

RNH should stay because he will improve. Hard to believe a guy with 5 points in 6 games is all of a sudden the goat and in Renney's doghouse and he is ready to say he isn't NHL ready...especially since he doesn't get nearly as much icetime as others who have produced far less. How fickle are Oilers fans as they were ready to hang his numbers from the rafters just a week ago after the game against Vancouver, and then now he isn't ready to play in the league.

I am excited to watch games this season because of the hope that RNH, Hall, and Eberle bring us. Instead, I'm tuning into the Horcoff/Smyth show as the Oilers play the trap, don't forecheck worth anything, and try to win games 1-0 and 2-1. This team has played garbage hockey over the past decade trying to grind out every win.

Oh, and putting RNH in the shootout after he hasn't stepped on the ice in half an hour was brilliant as well. I he hasn't "earned" his icetime in the last 10 minutes of the game, he hasn't "earned" the right to be in the shootout either. Renney could at least try to be consistent when sending the message.

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#45 Oilcruzer
October 22 2011, 05:40AM
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Some comments...

O'Mark is a quality "who else we got" player, but he best ring the bell once in a while.

Jones has much less talent and does much more with it.

That game coulda shoulda been 4 - 4 and shootout. Eberle missed two easy ones, the cross bar with lotso room top right come to mind.

Khabby was simply very good.

Hall/RNH/Eberle were not magic this night, and Hall was clearly go hard and then out of gas - A for Effort - C for Results... but we don't know... maybe the matchups were really that bad. I recall some really big boys taking runs at the little guys. Mighta been protection.

RNH is far from a liability. His hockey sense covers about 16,000 sq uare feet or so.

Empty net goals are easy but you have to be sharp to create the conditions/jump on the opportunities. If you can't force or take away the puck, you won't get very many.

Two Late Losses like that sting. They are also great motivators - early in the season that is.

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#46 Robin Brownlee
October 22 2011, 07:41AM
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Lots of fair comment in the last few posts here. It's not black and white, and that's the point I was trying to make.

Renney can't just play the kids, no matter what the situation. If he sends out RNH for a face-off in the final minutes and the puck ends up in the net off the draw, he gets torched: "What's Renney thinking. . . ?" Others will say, "How will RNH learn to excel in critical situations unless you put him in critical situations . . ?" That's fair, too.

Defence-first isn't a lot of fun to to watch, especially when that "be responsible" style is being applied during a stretch of seasons in which the team hasn't been very good. A lot of fans say, "Just give me something to cheer about, win or lose." Others, though, lean more toward results -- "Get in a playoff race. I don't care how."

The best of both worlds, obviously, for fans is having a team that hangs fire on the attack every shift and wins. Fans here remember what that was like, but it's been almost 25 years.

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#47 a lg dubl dubl
October 22 2011, 07:59AM
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I still think that once ST gets the boot, it'll be Gretzky who'll be the next GM of the MIGHTY OIL! book it.

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#48 michael
October 22 2011, 08:08AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Like I said earlier, I agree with your sentiment, but Renney has to be aware of resuts. Not every fan agrees with your "30th place so be it" position. He is walking a line between development and what's good for the franchise in the long term and immediate results, which are part of retaining gainful employment.

Paragraphs are your friend.

One day I'll figure out how to use this thing called a computer and be able to format my comments properly. Till then I do my best.My 8 year old has an Ipad for cripes sake for school. The entire class uses them and then downloads special projects on them for presentation to the class. My friend is the principal of St Clement. By junior high the kids are expected to hand thier work in via computer only. No dog chewed,cat vomited,breakfast stained homework anymore. Tech is a good thing. One day I'll learn more.

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#49 Robin Brownlee
October 22 2011, 08:12AM
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This from VanDiest st The Sun this morning. It sure sounds like a page out of MacT's coaching manual . . .

“It’s important to know that we’re coaching to win, too,” Renney said. “As much as those three kids with Ryan can help generate offence, it’s also a case of what you take, but what you leave.

“We have to work that angle, as well, and make sure that he continues to make a solid contribution to our team, so at the end of the day when you look at his situation specifically, we look at the body of work here and determine whether he’s going to stay here or we have to send him back. I want to make sure that we’re able to go after our games as well at that same time not having given the kid the short-end of the stick in terms of his evaluation to be here.”

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#50 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
October 22 2011, 08:18AM
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At this point the fans are starving for a good team and I, for one, am happy to eat broccoli so long as Momma Tambo promises some nice pie. Problem is Momma Tambo and Papa Lowe have proven to be sh!tty parents in the past. They've given us blueberry pie and took it from us mid-bite and replaced our dessert with dog turds for 5 years straight.

I'm afraid they're going to turn our kids into dog turds but this is the right way IMO.

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