BAD TO THE BONE

Lowetide
November 29 2013 07:21PM

On about day two of the National Hockey League's existence, someone said to someone "we need more size" and began a quest that continues to this day. The size/speed/skill prospect trifecta is so rare that NHL teams can go a decade or more without having one—Edmonton sent their last complete power forward away on November 15, 2000—and spend dozens of draft picks in vain pursuit of a successor.

DRAFTING COKE MACHINES IS A LONG SHOT

Jonathan Willis wrote an interesting piece on the subject of size recently, and it got me thinking about the discussion regarding the current Oiler forwards. Perron misses being a power forward because of size and speed (he's certainly skilled enough) but has a definite role in the physical side of the game. A line containing Perron has the ability to score and agitate, and offers the opposition a unique set of challenges. 

Tonight, Perron stood out in a big way, imposing his will on the other team, agitating the opposition and trying to get things going. He's also a good hockey player, so he's agitating other good players for the other side. The club could use more actual NHL players who have an edge, and size is fine but the idea is to acquire players who are difficult to play against, tough to defend, difficult to predict from shift to shift. 

AGGRESSIVE FORECHECK

Perron's style forces the issue, pressures the other side and causes errors, which means turnovers and chances off the rush. The NHL has all kinds of players who bring that extra element along with significant skill; I would include Sidney Crosby, Dustin Brown, Brendan Gallagher, Scott Hartnell, Ryan Kesler and others. How many of those would you consider power forwards?

This is an element the Oilers should have in spades, and they do get their chances, but there are also long periods when breaking out against Edmonton is a breeze (and at least some of this has to do with coaching style and the system played under a coach's direction) and tonight is a perfect example.

I think that sometimes when we say "the Oilers need to be more physical" what we mean is "why can't the Oilers be more aggressive on the forecheck, finish their checks and make sure that every pass is challenged when possible?"

That's a major area of opportunity, and Perron's really good at creating turnovers that can turn into chances. On a night like tonight in Columbus, when the Oilers aren't really interested in competing for 60 minutes, a player like Perron stands out in a good way.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

You can't just stand there and watch greatness walk away, playing NHL hockey requires a lot of work without the puck. The Oiler players have all of the skills, but for prolonged periods this season:

  • They have been passive defensively
  • They have looked like they are unsure of their next move
  • They have not  been making it difficult for the other team to execute passes
  • They do not look like they're engaged in each and every play in the game

The Nashville game was a golden example of pressuring, rolling four lines and allowing your best players to wheel.  It looked like the coach and players had finally arrived at an agreeable system, and the learning curve for both finally arrived at something that could be successful.

Tonight in Columbus, the Edmonton Oilers were miserable again. The Oilers need more guys who get agitated at losing, and can agitate the opposition and are actual NHL players.

More David Perron's, please and thanks.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 Team 1260.
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#51 Curcro
November 29 2013, 11:32PM
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Did anyone else notice that the 4th goal never actually entered the net?

Not that it matters, but apparently the person in the situation room in Toronto was asleep.

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#52 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 30 2013, 08:09AM
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@Bryzarro World

'Your.' I don't usually grammar Nazi, but if you're gonna respond with two words, you should probably get them both right.

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#53 Mikey
November 30 2013, 08:41AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

"..:Edmonton sent their last complete power forward away on November 15, 2000—and spend dozens of draft picks in vain pursuit of a successor..."

I'm no expert on oilers draft history, but please could someone list the draft picks that the oil have made - serious draft picks - ones in the first two rounds - who would fit the definition of being potential "complete power forwards"?

Because I can't think of any. And if I'm correct, and very few to nil have been then LOWETIDES assertion is wrong and it may in fact be a very damning indictment of management and scouting.

Dont' be so lazy, took less than 1 min. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/teams/dr00005632.html

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#54 Oilerz4life
November 30 2013, 10:10AM
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nunyour wrote:

yes please,someone like Tootoo.

The team as a whole needs to play with grit and toughness. So someone please explain to me how bringing in one Tootoo type player is going to change the whole Oiler culture now? The Oilers need a helluva a lot more sandpaper injected into their line-up than one guy, but we need tough hockey players, not cheap shot artists. So explain it to me then, how is that one guy, whoever it is, going to bring about that dynamic shift in Edmonton's game?

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#55 **
November 29 2013, 09:22PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Ever go to your buddies for a free B-B-Q and chew him out for cooking your steak medium when you wanted rare.

And I'm not too sure I've ever read a Wayne article....wasn't aware he wrote here

so basically you're dissing other nation members without even knowing what goes on here?. Get a clue buddy.

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#56 Alsker
November 29 2013, 10:14PM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

^ The Oilers do need more grit, obviously and toughness, but one Marchment type isn't going to make that much difference. The Oilers team you're referencing was tougher all around, from the forth line up. They could cycle the puck, play strong along the boards, behind the opponents net, etc. They played as a team. Total underdogs, but at least as a team they would compete and put in the effort, they had what this team is missing...heart. imo

True but it made it a lot easier for guys to play tough with a wild card in your hand. As for heart, what have any of the wonderbrats had to work for? 1st overalls, huge contracts, the white glove treatment by management,bahh, trade a couple of them and see what happens. Anyone who thinks Gretz just floated about and collected points is nuts. These guys(99,17,11,9,7) aren't in the HOF 'cause they're cute, they had drive,heart,and a willingness to do what it took to win. BUT they had a management team that understood what was needed to compliment them, unlike 6rings + co. who have no clue WTF is going on.

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#57 Wow
November 29 2013, 10:18PM
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Reid Wilkins....ugh

There's bad, and then there's BAD...Reid...ummm...maybe EPCOR?

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#58 Oilerz4life
November 29 2013, 11:31PM
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Alsker wrote:

True but it made it a lot easier for guys to play tough with a wild card in your hand. As for heart, what have any of the wonderbrats had to work for? 1st overalls, huge contracts, the white glove treatment by management,bahh, trade a couple of them and see what happens. Anyone who thinks Gretz just floated about and collected points is nuts. These guys(99,17,11,9,7) aren't in the HOF 'cause they're cute, they had drive,heart,and a willingness to do what it took to win. BUT they had a management team that understood what was needed to compliment them, unlike 6rings + co. who have no clue WTF is going on.

No doubt. The 80's isn't the same era team that Marchment played on but I agree with the whole white glove treatment point. On a side note, there's no chance a player would get away now, with the dirty stuff Marchment pulled off back then. I was at the game that he took out Greg Adams knee on knee and he did that stuff all the time, even against Weight, when he played against the Oilers at one point. Although I agree that the Oilers need a whole new level of toughness, I dont see that type of hockey being tolerated lol. Funny to think that the answer to Oilers problems would be to send out a cheap shot expert to defend our fragile team.

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#59 @Oilanderp
November 30 2013, 01:07AM
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Help me Obi Wan Kanobillguerin.... you're my only hope.

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#60 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
November 30 2013, 10:01AM
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Its only a game

Why you heff to be mad boys

We will win again*

* eventually

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#61 Johnnydapunk
November 30 2013, 06:10PM
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As much as the 6Rings circus does my head in, I hate the fact that a problem the Oil will always have is that it seems like Edmonton is on the No trade list for a lot of players, which means either, signing players to bigger contracts than other teams have to pay, and having a more of a limited choice of players who would come here on a trade. Seems like so many players have a trade clause in their contract that it can't be easy to get players we need here. Until the Oil become semi decent and give the impression that there is a chance to make a cup run, they will be stuck with a limited choice or players.

Doesn't help that 6Rings has burnt a few bridges in his reign of terror here which can't make trades or signings any easier.

Maybe that's why I'm annoyed but not apocalyptic about the Oil's sometimes painful play,we can only work with what we can get.

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#62 Hair bag
November 30 2013, 07:02PM
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roger wrote:

i remember that game being an unabashed doug weight fan, I was wondering why laraque didn't do anything. the next shift weight was on with marchment he tried to force feed marchment his hespler, oh good times.

Laraque was the worst enforcer ever, he was one of the toughest guys to ever play but he had no clue how to play his role. No one was afraid of him because he never held anyone accountable - he basically had staged fights against other tough guys. I never once saw him grab a Cooke or a Marchment, cheap shot artist, etc and put any fear into them for their actions. Other teams were afraid of guys like Probert, Domi, Brown because they went after anyone that messed with their teammates. Laraque was more concerned with getting in front of the media, still is....my rant is done. As you can tell I'm not a fan.

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#63 Greasy Goal
November 30 2013, 07:25AM
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We got a #1 Dman in 05/06 in Chris Pronger to replace either Staios or Smith on the top pairing, he wanted out after one year. We then got Sheldon Souray one year after, who was at the time in Montreal, a top NHL Dman. Busted/fell out with the coaches after a couple years. Ryan Whitney, who left Pittsburgh to mentor and lead a team to awesomeness busted his-ankle- i believe, and never came back to his pre injury form. Now we have... Petry and/or Ference as our number one D man? I mean common, there's regression, then there's that.

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#64 Lofty
November 30 2013, 07:41AM
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Jakethesnake wrote:

The biggest problem last night like lots of other nights is guys like Hall won't push back. I am a huge Hall fan but if he is ever going to be a star he needs to turn around and punch someone in the mouth. We like to compare him to Mes well that's what he did don't take crap. He's a grown man now. Has to stop taking cheap Sh.t from guys line Johnson. I can tell you my 17 year wouldn't take that crap. PUSH BACK.

Rebuild the rebuild!

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#65 Serious Gord
November 30 2013, 08:40AM
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Suck It wrote:

You have no idea.

Well, if you think that's the case - refute my point with FACTS rather than insults.

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#66 Mikey
November 30 2013, 08:53AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I looked at that list but other than looking at position and size metrics I don't know the characteristics of the player at the time of the draft. If memory serves from when I looked last night there may have been five or six forwards over 6' - two were centers - drafted by the oil in those two rounds since 2000. But how many of them were thought to be bidding "complete power forwards"? That's the question I would like answered. But on the face of it drafting only one ever two years maximum does qualify as much of an effort.

I would agree. Its because the Oilers follow the mantra. Skill and speed before need. Even if the player they need is ranked 5 or spots lower than the guy that is "better" at 18 years old.

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#67 roger
November 30 2013, 10:15AM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

No doubt. The 80's isn't the same era team that Marchment played on but I agree with the whole white glove treatment point. On a side note, there's no chance a player would get away now, with the dirty stuff Marchment pulled off back then. I was at the game that he took out Greg Adams knee on knee and he did that stuff all the time, even against Weight, when he played against the Oilers at one point. Although I agree that the Oilers need a whole new level of toughness, I dont see that type of hockey being tolerated lol. Funny to think that the answer to Oilers problems would be to send out a cheap shot expert to defend our fragile team.

i remember that game being an unabashed doug weight fan, I was wondering why laraque didn't do anything. the next shift weight was on with marchment he tried to force feed marchment his hespler, oh good times.

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#68 Dockstaff
November 30 2013, 10:34AM
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@Serious Gord

That's the tricky thing about drafting a power forward, there is no stat(s) to accurately show who is/isn't. You need aggressive with a touch of mean, goal scoring, defensive ability, and size. Most draftees are skinny kids that won't get real big until 21 or 22.

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#69 Jimmer
November 30 2013, 11:41AM
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I have a fever and the only cure is more Cow Bell....and David Perron.

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#70 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 30 2013, 12:15PM
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I can't get enough of that picture of Perron. I'd think twice before going near a guy with that look on his face.

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#71 @Oilanderp
November 30 2013, 02:44PM
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"The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it."

- Arnold Glasow

Don't trade a piece of the core for wins now. In the light of the years to come, it will be seen as a fool's move. Eventually these kids will stop looking around for someone on the team to do what needs to be done, and they will do it themselves.

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#72 Arius Mumin
November 30 2013, 03:02PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

"The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it."

- Arnold Glasow

Don't trade a piece of the core for wins now. In the light of the years to come, it will be seen as a fool's move. Eventually these kids will stop looking around for someone on the team to do what needs to be done, and they will do it themselves.

Either Hall or Eberle has to traded.

The recipe for success doesn't include both of them in it.

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#73 Suck It
November 30 2013, 06:28AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

"..:Edmonton sent their last complete power forward away on November 15, 2000—and spend dozens of draft picks in vain pursuit of a successor..."

I'm no expert on oilers draft history, but please could someone list the draft picks that the oil have made - serious draft picks - ones in the first two rounds - who would fit the definition of being potential "complete power forwards"?

Because I can't think of any. And if I'm correct, and very few to nil have been then LOWETIDES assertion is wrong and it may in fact be a very damning indictment of management and scouting.

You have no idea.

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#74 Serious Gord
November 30 2013, 08:50AM
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Mikey wrote:

Dont' be so lazy, took less than 1 min. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/teams/dr00005632.html

I looked at that list but other than looking at position and size metrics I don't know the characteristics of the player at the time of the draft. If memory serves from when I looked last night there may have been five or six forwards over 6' - two were centers - drafted by the oil in those two rounds since 2000. But how many of them were thought to be bidding "complete power forwards"? That's the question I would like answered. But on the face of it drafting only one ever two years maximum does qualify as much of an effort.

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#75 Bryzarro World
November 30 2013, 08:54AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

'Your.' I don't usually grammar Nazi, but if you're gonna respond with two words, you should probably get them both right.

It's not your fault you're a tool, it's your parents and the FOXP2.1 gene....

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#76 nunyour
November 30 2013, 09:30AM
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Alsker wrote:

We truly lack that one guy who shows 0 regard for his fellow man providing they wear a different jersey than his. Marchment was as dirty as they came and we sought him out because he was exactly what we required!!! Don Jackson wasn't dirty per say but reminded opposition forwards why the boards are made of wood and why the glass hurts whem your face is planted into it. What a difference that 1 guy makes on a team, not a coke machine that lumbers about aimlessly but the guy that punishes the other team because he enjoys it!!!We saw it for years in Regehr, remember, the guy every body hated because he wasn't on our team. Every guy on the team will play and inch or 2 taller and 20lbs heavier once MacT finds him and then we can start talking about turning the corner.

yes please,someone like Tootoo.

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#77 EHH Team
November 30 2013, 04:11PM
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@Serious Gord

Lowetide's statement was that the Oilers tried to draft power forwards; not necessarily that they turned out to be complete power forwards.

Paajarvi is 6'3" & over 200 pounds, so I think he fits into the range of size to be a power forward (given he doesn't play like one, at least at this point).

Moroz & Pitlick were both early second round picks, so they clearly fall into the range of Lowetide's pursuit narrative.

Even though Hall was considered the best player available, that doesn't remove him from the debate imo.

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#78 **
November 30 2013, 08:46PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

Your mom....

Dammit mom!, now there's 2 trolls out!

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#79 Randy
November 30 2013, 10:35PM
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Is Bill Ranford one of the best goalie coaches in the NHL?

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#80 **
November 29 2013, 11:29PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Oh if heard of wanye. It's Wayne I was curious about.

I have it under good authority I need to get a clue though.

Thanks for clearing it all up LT

Who let the troll out?

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#81 camdog
November 30 2013, 12:18AM
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@Curcro

Well i'll be darned.

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#82 Sliderule
November 30 2013, 07:50AM
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I don't know we're Eakins is coming from with fit.

Ference our most fit player from the testing has been playing like crap.

If Eakins meant stronger I get it.

RNH ,Eberle and Schultz jr get pushed around like weaklings in the corners.

These players will be retired before we draft a power forward so get them on supplements and in the gym.

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#83 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 30 2013, 09:00AM
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@Bryzarro World

Ouch, my feelers.

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#84 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 30 2013, 09:44AM
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@andrewmk20

That too, the special teams were just awful last night from top to bottom.

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#85 CMG30
November 30 2013, 11:05AM
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I Really have no problems with the Oilers drafting the most skilled guys first because there are no guarantees with the picks and that way you have the best chance to avoid a bust. (At least in the first few rounds, after that it's kind of irrelevant to me as most of them are a crap shoot anyway) The NHL is littered with teams that drafted for position over quality and a good many of those teams ended up worse for it.

Having said all that, when you draft for skill you're not going to have a balanced team and therefore you must be willing to move some of those guys for the pieces that you still need. Sadly, this part of the process takes patients because deals involving those caliber of players are not easy to make happen.

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#86 Oilerz4life
November 30 2013, 05:26PM
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oilerjed wrote:

Simple addition by subtraction. Every time you bring in one guy that is willing to play hard all of the time you can move out some half ass lazy puck dangling SOB(Hemsky- and its OK to throw him under the bus cuz he is my goat). That's how you change the culture. One better player at a time until the only players you have left are the ones who get it. Note to self management

I can see that, there is a whole lot of change needed, I think we are all agreeing on that, with needing more grit. I don't see just adding one guy doing much with this group though and I can't see a dirty player doing much good. Lol on the Hemsky point.

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#87 Dave
November 30 2013, 06:24PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Hall to me is a power forward. A power forward is a guy that can score just a easily as throwing a hit.

To me its more attitude than size and toughness. A prime example was Darcy Tucker........he scared guys with his skill and had a relentless ability to always finish his checks.

I for one could care less how the guy fights, for me it's always about showing up and never backing down. If there is one hockey metric that is totally under-rated and rarely if ever measured it's intimidation. I wish when hockey scouts went hunting they try and find the guy ( apart from hockey skill) that has demonstrated a complete will to win.......some call it heart.

Find me that guy Mac T? There is another Wedel Clark out there somewhere.

To be a power forward don't you need to be skilled and mean ?

Mark Messier / Gordie Howe.

Taylor Hall - not mean enough.

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#88 **
November 30 2013, 08:41PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Why you Heff to be mad?

I understand sticking up for your fellow man. But when that fellow man visits someone's blog and complains about the contents without adding anything of value what so ever , he should expect to be called on it.

I happen to like Lowetides contributions so I respectfully disagree with grumpy oil and yourself.

The very first article I ever read here was one by Wanye featuring some world class ms paint of a giant star shaped Jordan Eberle ( that was pretty much the worm that got me hooked). Yes I know what goes on at the nation.

My only question for you is when you call out one of the bloggers for quality of work why get your panties in a knot when the call is returned from another commenter. Time to relax I think.

* hugs *

So long as you stay in your cage, it's all good.

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#89 oilers2k10
November 30 2013, 06:07AM
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November 15th, 2000..now who might that be? Jason Arnott?

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#90 Stack Pad Save
November 30 2013, 08:14AM
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@Sliderule

I don't know if you understand how hockey is played, but if you spend more time with the puck, you have a greater chance of scoring, also you are more likely to get hit. Last night the Oilers only line with consistent possession in Columbus' end was the RNH-Hall-Eberle line and they consistently won puck battles. That is toughness.

The other scoring lines did very little of that.

What last nights game highlighted to me was that Columbus is another young inconsistent team like the Oilers and when you got some big, strong puck moving D-man, who are willing to engage you are going to be an effective team. Wish the Oilers had some more of that on the back end.

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#91 oildrops
November 30 2013, 08:33AM
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It was a good game last night.

We need size big time, the pp sucked, and the oil needed to play harder with the puck.

(A)Pronger would be so great, that guy is scary.

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#92 andrewmk20
November 30 2013, 09:41AM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

A lot of questionable penalties on both sides though. Refs were calling holds and hooks when players were just touching their sticks and gloves to the sides of other players.

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#93 EHH Team
November 30 2013, 02:07PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

"..:Edmonton sent their last complete power forward away on November 15, 2000—and spend dozens of draft picks in vain pursuit of a successor..."

I'm no expert on oilers draft history, but please could someone list the draft picks that the oil have made - serious draft picks - ones in the first two rounds - who would fit the definition of being potential "complete power forwards"?

Because I can't think of any. And if I'm correct, and very few to nil have been then LOWETIDES assertion is wrong and it may in fact be a very damning indictment of management and scouting.

How about: 2012 - #1 - Hall 2012 - #32 - Moroz 2010 - #31 - Pitlick 2010 - $46 - Hamilton 2009 - #10 - Paajarvi

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#94 Serious Gord
November 30 2013, 03:21PM
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EHH Team wrote:

How about: 2012 - #1 - Hall 2012 - #32 - Moroz 2010 - #31 - Pitlick 2010 - $46 - Hamilton 2009 - #10 - Paajarvi

So nothing before 2009? Paajarvi really?

Hall sort of, but was he picked because he was a potential power forward (which he doesn't seem to be now) or because he was the consensus number one?

Moroz and pitlick - sure but they certainly don't fit lowetides 13 year "pursuit" narrative.

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#95 Rama Lama
November 30 2013, 04:46PM
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EHH Team wrote:

Lowetide's statement was that the Oilers tried to draft power forwards; not necessarily that they turned out to be complete power forwards.

Paajarvi is 6'3" & over 200 pounds, so I think he fits into the range of size to be a power forward (given he doesn't play like one, at least at this point).

Moroz & Pitlick were both early second round picks, so they clearly fall into the range of Lowetide's pursuit narrative.

Even though Hall was considered the best player available, that doesn't remove him from the debate imo.

Hall to me is a power forward. A power forward is a guy that can score just a easily as throwing a hit.

To me its more attitude than size and toughness. A prime example was Darcy Tucker........he scared guys with his skill and had a relentless ability to always finish his checks.

I for one could care less how the guy fights, for me it's always about showing up and never backing down. If there is one hockey metric that is totally under-rated and rarely if ever measured it's intimidation. I wish when hockey scouts went hunting they try and find the guy ( apart from hockey skill) that has demonstrated a complete will to win.......some call it heart.

Find me that guy Mac T? There is another Wedel Clark out there somewhere.

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#96 Serious Gord
November 30 2013, 05:34PM
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EHH Team wrote:

Lowetide's statement was that the Oilers tried to draft power forwards; not necessarily that they turned out to be complete power forwards.

Paajarvi is 6'3" & over 200 pounds, so I think he fits into the range of size to be a power forward (given he doesn't play like one, at least at this point).

Moroz & Pitlick were both early second round picks, so they clearly fall into the range of Lowetide's pursuit narrative.

Even though Hall was considered the best player available, that doesn't remove him from the debate imo.

Lowetide said complete power forward - and that that was the quest and that dozens of picks had been spent on it. IMO anything later than the second round does not qualify as a serious attempt.

Pajaarvi has never in his career amateur and pro has ever fit the mould of power forward - he has nil physical game.

Lowetides narrative was since 2000 clearly that is a best debatable and mostly likely fanboy fiction.

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#97 mackb
December 01 2013, 12:03PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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cheers

I found this visual representation of the Oiler's "Rebuild" if they were a shed: http://imgur.com/a/wixkx/layout/blog

Good quality lumber, good quality nails and screws. All the right pieces. And Six Rings and his buddies hammering and sawing away...

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#98 nunyour
December 01 2013, 01:28PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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cheers
Oilerz4life wrote:

The team as a whole needs to play with grit and toughness. So someone please explain to me how bringing in one Tootoo type player is going to change the whole Oiler culture now? The Oilers need a helluva a lot more sandpaper injected into their line-up than one guy, but we need tough hockey players, not cheap shot artists. So explain it to me then, how is that one guy, whoever it is, going to bring about that dynamic shift in Edmonton's game?

One is better than none,and it's a start,it would be nice to see someone on the other team knocked on his ass,instead of the oilers all the time.As far as cheap shots,we are always on the receiving end of those too.

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