Running Their Show?

Lowetide
October 21 2011 07:46AM

One of the popular phrases in Oilerville is "getting their show run" in reference to the Oilers being unable to execute and match the physical play of their opposition. Is that a phrase we can apply to coach Tom Renney, too?  

So far this season, the Edmonton Oilers are Ryan Smyth's team again. #94 was flying (as he has all season) and his line was making good things happen. At the same time, the line of RNH-Hall-Eberle was playing a secondary role, and as the game wore on the gap in TOI became more severe. There are several possibilities for this action by the coach:

  • Renney was coaching to win.
  • Renney was using playing time as a teaching tool.
  • Renney was line matching and Minnesota was dictating the chord changes by pushing their top line out again and again.

All of those are good reasons for a coach to double shift his veterans, and we also have to add in Taylor Hall's recent flu and RNH's tentative play for (now) the last 2 games. However, that's the "saw him good" analysis; let's run a few numbers and see who is getting the results offensively (all numbers via behind the net.ca):

Ryan Smyth

  • EV TOI: 15.48
  • Qual Comp: 3rd toughest among forwards
  • CorsiRel: -12.7 (11th best among forwards)
  • EV points-per-60: 2.58 (2nd best among forwards)
  • Zone Start: 38.2% (3rd toughest among forwards)

This is a very strong line. The CorsiRel is negative, but good God man look at the situation: Smyth is starting in his own zone much of the time, playing the toughest available competition and posting an outstanding point-per-60 number. Ryan Smyth has turned back time (in the good way, not the Cher way) and is the best Oiler forward (in my opinion) early this season. Gabe Desjardins would want me to mention this is a very small sample size and we shouldn't read too much into the early returns.

Taylor Hall

  • EV TOI: 12.96
  • Qual Comp: 9th toughest among forwards
  • CorsiRel: 21.7 (2nd best number among forwards)
  • EV points-per-60: 0.93 (7th among forwards)
  • Zone Start: 62.5% (2nd easiest among forwards)

Again, this is a small sample size, but we do see that coach Renney is giving the kids all kinds of opportunity against the soft parade (when possible). Hall's CorsiRel is exceptional, but given the situation we can't give the kids too much credit for it. The results are better 5x5/60 points for the other two kids and Hall is clearly fighting it a little in the early going. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

 

I think my first reaction ("Renney's getting his show run!") is not supported by the math. He's actually going out of his way to give the kid line a chance to impact offensively at evens and until last night aside the playing time was available in spades for the group. 

A few other things: Ryan Smyth is loaded for bear. His early season performance is running circles around his previous seasons and his 5x5/60 number is outstanding. I think we should alter our expectations of Smyth--he's clearly in great shape and a man on a mission--for this season. Expecting him to play a secondary or support role to Taylor Hall may not happen. This may end up being Ryan Smyth's team for the entire year, he's playing that well.

On the other hand, Taylor Hall and the kids should be fine--especially if they get these cherry minutes--but the early season struggles may continue and Sam Gagner's return to the lineup may impact Ryan Nugent-Hopkins status on the roster. Up until this week, I felt (and still feel) the Nuge belongs, but he played just 10:43 at evens last night and if he can't be among the top 6F options at even strength then sending him back is the better plan.

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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 Pajamah
October 21 2011, 07:52AM
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F**k, I Should Try to read the article first

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#2 Matt Henderson
October 21 2011, 07:53AM
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Gagner's return moves Lander out, IMO.

Kid Line

Horc-Jones-Smyth

Gagner-Hemsky-MPS

Bel-Eager-Omark

That's how I see it. Not in that Order, but those would be my line combos.

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#3 Pajamah
October 21 2011, 07:56AM
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I like how Renney is coaching this year, and at a cursory glance, the last two comebacks we've allowed have been more of being unable to execute defensively, or sheer f**king luck (see: Heatley, Dany)

If our defense stays solid as a whole, the offense is just too good to stay this quiet.

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#4 mayorpoop
October 21 2011, 08:03AM
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i dislike how Renney has coached so far. far too much protect and shelter and not near enough trying to win the war by sending out the bullets in the gun.

soft minutes yes they are getting that, but do they need that?

win face-offs? yes Horc and Belanger can do that but do they have game changing offense, i think not.

Horcoff is playing well but should still be on the third line not every line all the time. jeez.

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#5 Tyler
October 21 2011, 08:05AM
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One of the popular phrases in Oilerville is "getting their show run" in reference to the Oilers being unable to execute and match the physical play of their opposition.

No.

"Something Bob Stauffer says a lot that MAKES MY EARS BLEED IT'S SO GODDAMN AWFUL..."

Yes.

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#6 freeze
October 21 2011, 08:09AM
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The team looked defensively sound for a good 50 minutes of hockey last night. Khabby was rock solid for 59 mins. This newfound defensive play is hampering the offence a bit and I believe it will turn around. The team is getting some grade A scoring chances and they will soon get rewarded. MPS was flying last night and playing with some grit. That line seems so close to breaking out. I think having Gagner back and giving RNH the odd night off will be very beneficial to his development.

Smytty has been fantastic but man, he looked slow last night. Barker is awful. He seems unable to make a quick decision in either zone and often elected to do nothing but hold the puck on the boards. Not a fan of that signing. Thank god Tambo didn't give him a 3 year deal like Eager.

I noticed that both Hall and Horcoff were dragging and behind the play. Hopefully they start feeling better before Saturday. The Rangers look strong and the team will need to be 100% into that game.

edit: Why can't this team make a pass! The passing in the last two games has been just horrid. Constantly into the players skates, ahead or behind. And all too often the forward in the neutral zone is standing still. I hope that is driving Renney crazy too!

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#7 gcw_rocks
October 21 2011, 08:09AM
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Line should be:

Hall - RNH - Eberle (the soft minutes line)

Smyth - Horcoff - Gagner (keep Gagner out of the circle, lessen his defensive responsbilities)

MPS - Lander - Omark (see what they can do, use Belanger when the zone start is in the defensive zone)

Eager - Belanger - Jones (use Belanger on the PK a lot)

PS - I was pleased the Oilers gave Barker a shot, but unless there is some significant improvement in the next two weeks, he needs to go down to OKC so Petry can work with Sutton.

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#8 freeze
October 21 2011, 08:13AM
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@gcw_rocks

Those seem like solid lines. Add Hemmer to that list and I like our chances against most teams in the league.

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#9 jayoilfan
October 21 2011, 08:13AM
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What a load of horsesh!t! I am sooo pissed at the game last night. again, they couldn't hold it together till the end.

All things considered it was and extremely unlucky bounce.

The Oilers played a very good defensive hockey game. It is the offense that has dissappeared. I thought Taylor and all the youg guns would be scoring in bunches. Mind you the last two games have seen goaltenders playing lights out which won't happen all the time.

Hopefully it is a different story against the Rangers, I've got tickets and I do not want to be dissappointed. Please for the love of God and all things Holy, score more than twice in a game!

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#10 Matt Henderson
October 21 2011, 08:14AM
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@Tyler

I blame Bob Stauffer for having to hear the word "Smurf" in reference to every smallish player on the team, no matter how well they play.

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#11 dohfOs
October 21 2011, 08:15AM
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My take on the Lander/RNH-"situation" can be found over at Swedish Oil.

I guess this is what the other teams have been talking about, that something called depth. Never knew it would be such a problem to have one..

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#12 Oilers Coffey
October 21 2011, 08:21AM
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I am of the side that says let the kids play! This is still a year that has all the pundits picking the OILERS as a lottery team, I honestly think the team is progressing. The team found ways to lose last year, but now it's like they need to find that killer instinct! They need to find that next level to keep the petal to the metal and put teams away in the third. It's coming but the kids are the future, they gotta learn this too!

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#13 Zamboni Driver
October 21 2011, 08:25AM
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Oilers Coffey wrote:

I am of the side that says let the kids play! This is still a year that has all the pundits picking the OILERS as a lottery team, I honestly think the team is progressing. The team found ways to lose last year, but now it's like they need to find that killer instinct! They need to find that next level to keep the petal to the metal and put teams away in the third. It's coming but the kids are the future, they gotta learn this too!

"The team found ways to lose last year, but now it's like they need to find that killer instinct!"

Errrr....Kinda like yesterday you mean?

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#14 michael
October 21 2011, 08:31AM
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freeze wrote:

Those seem like solid lines. Add Hemmer to that list and I like our chances against most teams in the league.

Add Hemsky? You assume he will be healthy enough to be added at any point this season. He can't even pass the puck without reinjuring his shoulder. I have little faith that Hemsky will provide anything more than 30-40 games this season and maybe 25-30 points,maybe.

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#15 Matt Henderson
October 21 2011, 08:42AM
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@michael

That would be 25-30 more points than Omark, Lander, or Paajarvi are on pace for...

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#16 freeze
October 21 2011, 08:44AM
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@michael

Not assuming just hoping, praying!! He is a fantastic player when he isn't broken and this team needs another player at that level. I really hope he signs at the same cap hit and can get his health in line. We don't need a free agent, he is our Hossa! That said, I am pretty sure he will want too much money and we'll send him away for a bag of magic beans.

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#17 VK63
October 21 2011, 08:48AM
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@Matt Henderson

Im sure Bob has other words in mind but that entire neutered by the boss thing gets involved.

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#18 @NateInVegas
October 21 2011, 08:48AM
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The Oilers need to be more physical. (Omark is useless)

I thought Belanger and Paajarvi played well...

Tom Renney & Tambellini seem like nice guys, perhaps the team takes on their personality a little too much?

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#19 Harlie
October 21 2011, 08:48AM
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Stauffer was livid last night during the end of the 3rd and into the overtime to the shootout at Renney. He was upset that we were in protection mode for the last 5 minutes of the game and the overtime and that RNH wasn't sent out once. And then when RNH was sent out for the shootout Bob said "you think RNH is going to be able to do anything now that he has sat on the bench for a full 20 mins of real time? The kid is cold now". I totally agreed with Bob. But to my eye, it looked like we were in defensive mode from the start of the 3rd period.

C'mon Renney let the kids run! Let them make mistakes or let them be hero's.

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#20 Sean17
October 21 2011, 08:49AM
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I agree with a few other comments here that the passing has been terrible.

Hall's stick is too long. He's trying to make plays in tight but his stick is way out in front of him.

Paarjavi was flying last night! I think he will have a big game soon.

With the Oilers one goal per game efforts i am not sure if King Henrik will be the goalie to get some goal droughts ended.

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#21 mayorpoop
October 21 2011, 08:50AM
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@Matt Henderson

even you have have to admit that the 1 time that line of swedes was put together looked good. granted it was 1 time. even Omarch looked ok.

you don't need to worry Renney will in no way put them in a position to produce offense or at least have the chance to.

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#22 Talbot17
October 21 2011, 08:50AM
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After the last two games do you keep RNH or Lander? Just get a back vibe when Renney decided to not play that line down the stretch...

The teams got to get going sooner or later here. Should almost think about Petrell swap with Harki, install some energy into this team

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#23 mayorpoop
October 21 2011, 08:52AM
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Lt,

you know people are pissed when not one person haas mentioned or seemingly cares about Mila Kunis. what a cowgirl.

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#24 Matt Henderson
October 21 2011, 08:52AM
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@mayorpoop

They did look good, and then Renney went right back to Belanger with them. Puzzling.

Still. One of these days production has to beat out style.

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#25 J
October 21 2011, 08:57AM
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Hi Lowetide. You said a few weeks ago you were going to "try" not to post the sexualized pictures of women. You haven't done that. So, I'm finished visiting this site, as well as your blog.

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#26 Matt Henderson
October 21 2011, 08:58AM
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J wrote:

Hi Lowetide. You said a few weeks ago you were going to "try" not to post the sexualized pictures of women. You haven't done that. So, I'm finished visiting this site, as well as your blog.

Thanks for letting us all know.

The candle-light vigil will be held tonight in Emily Murphy Park.

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#27 fuzzy muppet
October 21 2011, 09:04AM
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Archaeology

The Tre Kronor line had chemistry in the pre-season also.

Maybe it's a case that Renney will have problems sheltering two lines.

Whatever it is, they need to get Paarjarvi to start creating chances. He looks like he has zero confidence. It's disconcerting.

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#28 VK63
October 21 2011, 09:05AM
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@Matt Henderson

will there be gurls?

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#29 Pucker
October 21 2011, 09:10AM
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And in addition to everything else above criticizing the Oiler's game . . . they're still playing soft.

I'm sure Minny prefers playing in the safe confines of Rexall vs the Saddledome.

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#30 Pucker
October 21 2011, 09:13AM
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J wrote:

Hi Lowetide. You said a few weeks ago you were going to "try" not to post the sexualized pictures of women. You haven't done that. So, I'm finished visiting this site, as well as your blog.

I don't know who she is but I'm buying her CD

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#31 fuzzy muppet
October 21 2011, 09:13AM
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PUCKER

At one point in the game the hits were like 16 to 3 in favor of the wild.

I thought they wanted this team to be tougher to lay against?

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#32 mayorpoop
October 21 2011, 09:17AM
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@J

yes the pictures are sexualized, and yes they really serve no content to the blog, but why are you so offended?

i find that when someone talks to me or i see things that offend me i look away or don't listen. i am not fixated by what offends me but what i appreciate.

LT writes really good blogs and to judge him/villify him because of pictures is overly sensitive and really quite immature.

best case scenario is for you to not read anymore if you won't read what matters and ignore what bothers.

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#33 Bob Cobb
October 21 2011, 09:19AM
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"Up until this week, I felt (and still feel) the Nuge belongs, but he played just 10:43 at evens last night and if he can't be among the top 6F options at even strength then sending him back is the better plan."

Funny, I made a comment after the Flames game that I had a gut feeling the Oilers were going to send RNH back once Gagner got back and keep Lander and got ripped for suggesting it. Lowetide suggest's it might be the better plan to send RNH back under certain circumstances and no one says a word, I guess my intuition isn't as out of whack as everyone thinks.

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#34 madjam
October 21 2011, 09:20AM
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What's worse ? The movies Ground Hog Days , Fifty First Dates or the Oilers rendition of both with their elongated version of how to lose the Tame Way -Oiler Style . Well i guess we could state the obvious and just have the Oilers tackle the opposition with only a second left to preserve a win .

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#35 Harlie
October 21 2011, 09:20AM
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and if anyone thinks that hockey isn't a game of intimidation they didn't watch last night. Lander was pestered and prodded and chirped at and threatened all night. Plus he got rocked into the boards on a bit of a late hit. Kudos to him for getting back up and showing no fear. Last night we could have used a beat cop to go out there and have a bit of a chit chat with Clusterbuck and and a few other Wild's.

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#36 Let's Rebuild
October 21 2011, 09:21AM
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It should also be noted the Oilers have only played top tier goaltenders so far this year. Fleury, Luongo, Rinne, Backstrom (x2), Kipper. Eventually we will play against some lesser tier goalies and the goals will come just fine.

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#37 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 21 2011, 09:21AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Thanks for letting us all know.

The candle-light vigil will be held tonight in Emily Murphy Park.

Better alert the local police and get a permit. The place is going to be packed. I'll be down there early to get a good parking spot.

I'm starting a "Come back J fund" under the title "Moral Scolds are People Too, People who NEED to Constantly Tell Everyone How Disappointed We Have Made Them" - you can donate to

comebackJ.com (not a real website)

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#38 Chris.
October 21 2011, 09:22AM
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Last night sucked. If Smyth really bears down and makes a play at the blue line with 27 seconds left the Oilers win that game. Instead he dumps the puck into the bench giving the Wild an absolutely golden offensive zone draw. Then Renny compounds the situation by calling a timeout! (The Wild had already burned theirs) Unbelievable. We GAVE them their offensive zone start. We GAVE them their timeout. Then Khabi GAVE them the shortside.

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#39 mayorpoop
October 21 2011, 09:23AM
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@Bob Cobb

i think they are setting him up for failure. easier to send someone back when you try to prove (unsuccessfully) that he doesn't belong.

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#40 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 21 2011, 09:27AM
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RNH vs Lander... I could go either way, but I'm leaning toward sending Lander. He looked amazing last night (is that the first time he's had serious minutes, or was that line just firing?); RNH disappeared a bit. but he wasn't out there nearly as much.

The real problem is that contract situation with RNH. he plays 9 he stays, right? and that eats a year into his contract (that's big money a few years down the line).

I guess two questions: 1) who helps the NHL team more over the course of the year? and 2) whose development will be hindered more by making the move?

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#41 Bob Cobb
October 21 2011, 09:27AM
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@mayorpoop

They're not setting him up for failure, if they were he wouldn't be playing with Hall and Eberle. Renney is coaching to win and the last two games the only line that seemed to struggle was the Hall RNH and Eberle line and yes I am taking in to account that Hall didn't play in Calgary, in my opinion at least RNH has struggled and why waste a year of his contract. I guess this would be a point in the for category of allowing 18 year old's to play in the AHL against tougher opponents than in Jr with the ability to call him up if needed.

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#42 Clarkenstein
October 21 2011, 09:28AM
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LT is the "camel toe" in honour of Dany Heatley or Bob ("Where I'm going with this question...") Stauffer? Renney has a tough job. Matching lines while trying to "protect" the kids while trying to win while trying to keep everybody happy....

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#43 Quicksilver ballet
October 21 2011, 09:28AM
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Nothing says fail better than leaving the quickest line on the bench for OT. Really admire Renneys willingness to pin the tail on these donkey veterans (cept for Ryan Smyth of course) We shouldn't be surprised, they've never been able to achieve much on their own unless they've had better players surrounding them.

4,93 and 14 must certainly realize by now these veterans are just a bunch of bumps desguised as an NHL team. Minnesota, BLASPHEMY!

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#44 FastOil
October 21 2011, 09:29AM
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I don't think it is safe to assume that we have loads of offense waiting to break out. There is more to scoring than having talent.

Smyth is a perfect example. He shouldn't score. He isn't fast really, has a terrible shot and can't deke. He isn't a playmaker. What does he have? How does he do it?

One aspect most scorers seem to have is a hunger for the net, an aggressiveness to score. Hall and Eberle have it in spades. RNH probably. I don't see that enough in Gagner, MPS and even Omark. MPS and Omark work hard, have the skill, but don't attack the net enough. Omark seems aggressive at times but not in the right areas.

Gagner and MPS are young and it may come from them. Omark (who I like) isn't really young. I commented on a Lowetide post that Omark will be in trouble if Jones outscores him (because he is so small) and got a predictable response.

Well it's early of course, and MPS with that size and speed has time to find his game. Gagner I think needs to have a very good year to solidify his spot going forward. Linus better get on his bike soon. I would prefer to keep a player like him who has a very interesting skill set, but if he can't bury the biscuit semi-regularly he'll be back in the KHL before too long.

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#45 DoubleJ
October 21 2011, 09:31AM
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The problem with over loading the vets is that injuries and running out of gas will happen. You can't hold onto a one goal lead and hope and pray for a win.

This team is not built to play that way. Renney will lose the team if he thinks this is the way to play these young offensive forwards. This will end up dividing the room by favoring the vets everytime there's a close game. It happened to MacT and history will repeat itself.

I think it will change once Gagner and Hemsky get back into the game. There will be even more offence on every line.

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#46 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 21 2011, 09:31AM
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The vets have looked good: Smyth, Horcoff, Belanger, even guys like Sutton played well. But I still think Renney could have played the kids more last night in the 3rd.

sidenote: is it just me or was Lander having a hell of a time drawing a penalty last night? he really got to the Wild, must be a pain to play against... I thought Eager would fill that role more.

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#47 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 21 2011, 09:32AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Gagner's return moves Lander out, IMO.

Kid Line

Horc-Jones-Smyth

Gagner-Hemsky-MPS

Bel-Eager-Omark

That's how I see it. Not in that Order, but those would be my line combos.

I kind of like the idea of putting Gagner where Jones is and having Belanger center MPS and Jones. Belange is too good for 4C.

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#48 freeze
October 21 2011, 09:33AM
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@J

Good, we don't need your kind here. Keep up the nice pics LT!!

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#49 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 21 2011, 09:34AM
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Tyler wrote:

One of the popular phrases in Oilerville is "getting their show run" in reference to the Oilers being unable to execute and match the physical play of their opposition.

No.

"Something Bob Stauffer says a lot that MAKES MY EARS BLEED IT'S SO GODDAMN AWFUL..."

Yes.

And unfortunatly the fan base is filled with Stauferists

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#50 mayorpoop
October 21 2011, 09:35AM
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@Bob Cobb

understand your point but if he keeps getting stapled to the bench while on a line with the other kids then that reeks to me of possible a set-up.

news reporter - "why did you send RHN to junior"

Renney/Dithers - "well we put him on line to succeed but they just didn't get it done and his face-offs are horible."

news reporter - "actually you stapled him to the bench alot and he plays a great 2 way game and produced as much as anyone else. do you think his face-off will improve playing against lesser quality?"

Renney/Dithers - "no more questions"

ok so today i am a conspiracy guy, we all have our days.

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