THE BOSS KNOWS BEST

Jason Strudwick
December 16 2011 09:37PM

The Oilers are in the middle of a tough stretch. They have dropped 5 of their last 7 and a quick look at the upcoming schedule suggests it doesn't get any easier.

In general, when a team is on a slide the players, coaches, media and fans come up with reasons for the lack of success. Power play, goaltending and mental breakdowns are just three examples we will hear often.

All good areas to look at but I believe the biggest issue preventing a team from turning it around is the ability to generate energy or passion from within the team.

When a team is winning the players can't wait to get to the rink. They feel fresher, the practices seem shorter and every game feels like it will turn into a win. Ask medical staff and they will tell you that they hand out less ice bags after wins.

After losses players sleep worse, some have trouble eating, the flights seem longer and the medical staff is way busier.

So the million dollar question is 'where does the energy come from to turn the ship around?'

LET'S ASK THE BOSS

This Bruce Springsteen song is one of my favourites. One line of the chorus is 'you can't start a fire without a spark.' I love this line. The Oilers need a spark and I know who can provide it.

GUY #1: EAGER 

GUY #2: HORDICHUK

These two were brought in to not only keep the opposing teams honest but to instigate physical play. They can get the passion flowing for the rest of the team with some hard hits, fights and chirping. These actions will get the bench going. Winning teams have a very vocal bench.

Eager is playing around eight mins a night and Hordichuk about five. Getting these two more ice time is a move I think is important. Yes, it will have to be taken from some other players but when the team gets rolling their time can be adjusted.

I firmly believe hockey is a game that requires both energy and passion. Without them digging out of a hole seems like a tough assignment.

Time to let Eager and Hordichuk run.

AND FINALLY

Patrick Kane's shootout move here against the Wild was one of the best I have ever seen.

Loved it.

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Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#1 Wanye
December 16 2011, 09:40PM
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BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN? AM I 76 YEARS OLD?!

Thank goodness *someone* had the sense to add in the real boss Rick Ross

Oh, also: FIST

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#2 Denis
December 16 2011, 09:42PM
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Damn my fist fail!!! Damn you Wayne!! *shakes fist just to add more fists*

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#3 Denis
December 16 2011, 09:47PM
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Denis wrote:

Damn my fist fail!!! Damn you Wayne!! *shakes fist just to add more fists*

Learn how to spell Wanye you bum! *hangs head in shame*

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#4 Wanye
December 16 2011, 09:42PM
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Denis wrote:

Jason, it's my fist time reading an article of yours. It's nice to have an inside voice on here. Hope things are going well in Sweden.

BUT WHAT ABOUT SPRINGSTEEN?

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#5 FastOil
December 16 2011, 10:01PM
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Having played elite levels in every sport that can be played in Canada including competitive drinking, I would have to agree that team confidence is key.

And that physical players that don't lose a given battle inspire team confidence. The question is will they both succeed? I think Eager can, being a beastly size and a hockey player, but Hordi? How about Eager and Tulipov, there are a couple of Ogres, and perhaps they could set an NHL precedent by fighting each other first, and then beating the daylights out of the other team. Talk about a change in tone for the Oilers.

Really, I should be GM.

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#6 OilerLand
December 17 2011, 12:56AM
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there are just so many boobs in the background it's distracting and awesome.

so awesome.

Jason Strudwick, can you please be our coach?

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#8 Robin Brownlee
December 17 2011, 10:29AM
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@Jason Strudwick

"The best player I have played with at getting the other team off their game is Sean Avery. I was always amazed how the he could get a whole team trying to kill him with just a small comment or slash. He truly is a genius in that department . . ."

I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact Avery is a dick through and through in every way you'd care to talk about.

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#9 a lg dubl dubl
December 17 2011, 10:35AM
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How come Renney doesn't let Eager and Hordichuck run rampant every so often? I get the instigator rule(which is dumb) but every so often just say owell we'll deal with the penalty just get us some energy.

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#10 Denis
December 16 2011, 09:41PM
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Jason, it's my fist time reading an article of yours. It's nice to have an inside voice on here. Hope things are going well in Sweden.

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#11 Denis
December 16 2011, 09:44PM
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Wanye wrote:

BUT WHAT ABOUT SPRINGSTEEN?

Can't beat The Boss! I always think of Adam Sandler's impression of him on SNL when I hear that song. Hilarious.

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#12 Slick
December 16 2011, 09:49PM
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Great point Strudwick, now the Oil just need you behind the bench to get the ball rolling!

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#13 Rob...
December 16 2011, 10:14PM
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Jason, if you'd humor me with an answer, was Steve MacIntyre one of those sparks of a season past? If so, was it the fights, the deterrent factor, or something else? If not Steve, who else provided that bit of extra something to spark the team, and through what actions? Who was the best that you've played with at providing that spark and how did they do it?

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#14 David S
December 16 2011, 10:28PM
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Who is this "Hordichuk" you speak of? Is he a part-timer?

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#15 Manfly
December 16 2011, 11:40PM
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Rob... wrote:

Jason, if you'd humor me with an answer, was Steve MacIntyre one of those sparks of a season past? If so, was it the fights, the deterrent factor, or something else? If not Steve, who else provided that bit of extra something to spark the team, and through what actions? Who was the best that you've played with at providing that spark and how did they do it?

Zack Stor....something, i can't remember....he used to hug opposing players to death...if that isn't a spark, i dunno what is!!

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#16 D
December 17 2011, 09:51AM
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The one player that comes to mind who used to fit this role to a T is Wendel Clark.

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#17 Dan the Man
December 17 2011, 10:53AM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

How come Renney doesn't let Eager and Hordichuck run rampant every so often? I get the instigator rule(which is dumb) but every so often just say owell we'll deal with the penalty just get us some energy.

I don't quite understand why the Oilers signed those two guys if Renney doesn't like playing them.

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#18 Rama Lama
December 17 2011, 11:02AM
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Jason it seems that you have it figured out when it comes to sparking a team, however it seems that Renny has not figured this out.

Hordichuck and Eager have only played one game together and they were not utilized effectively........IMHO. By this I mean should they not play a more regular shift and be cycled through some of the top lines occasionally? Semenko use to occasionally play with Kurri and Gretzky and when this happened it was amazing the respect and room they got on the ice.

Do you think that our tough guys are being effectively used to "generate this spark"' that you are referring to? It seems to me that there is a philosophical indifference to using tough guys by Renny and company.

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#19 Quicksilver ballet
December 17 2011, 02:36PM
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Jason, your buddy Devan Dubnyk isn't doing so hot. Are you guys in need of a goaltender over there?

Need someone here who can stop the puck. Doobey isn't cutting it.

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#20 Stan_the_Caddy
December 17 2011, 06:54PM
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Another beauty from Struddy!

I wonder how easy it is to stay in touch with the North American game over there in Sweden?

I also really enjoyed the Kane goal, he beat Backstrom like a Buffalo Cabbie!... Too soon?

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#21 Biowolf
December 18 2011, 12:09AM
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Mark Messier was rumored to abuse some of his team mates physically when they did not put out a decent effort. Someone like him is sorely missing on the current team. Some of these guys need a little fear to be put into their heart. How about Mark as coach and Doug as GM. Things certainly can not get any worse.

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#23 Rob...
December 20 2011, 12:46PM
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Thanks Jason, and Merry Christmas... only two more years to go before kids stop being interested in the wrapping paper and boxes and start enjoying their gifts.

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