O Captain, My Captain

Jason Strudwick
March 11 2013 11:15AM

Shawn Horcoff has been a lightning rod for fans frustrations for the last few years. With the big contract he received from the Oilers has come a lot of abuse. In my opinion, it’s unfair.

Yes, his salary is higher than you would like, but has that salary had an impact on the Oilers salary cap? Have they been unable to re-sign other players due to salary cap issues? It wasn't like they were trying to sign big free agents and his deal got in the way. His contract has been an easy target. Defending his deal is not the purpose of this though.

Shawn Horcoff returned to the lineup in Chicago. The impact of his presence in the lineup was immediate. The balance in the lines jumped off the page! With him out of the lineup the third line has been a mess. Coach Krueger has tried many combos and none have had much success or chemistry.

One example of this was the Yakupov, Belanger and Jones line. This line got nothing accomplished. It is not that I don't think each player has some value, but they are each so different as players that chemistry never was going to develop.

Against Chicago, Horcoff was played between Hemsky and Hall. I liked the way this line looked. In his rookie season Hall had success playing with Horcoff. Hemsky has played with the captain many times in his career. All three are familiar with each other and bring a unique set of skills to the line. Hall is the passion and attack. Hemsky is the sexy and slick weapon. Horcoff brings tremendous hustle, will and defensive awareness that every line requires.

It was very interesting for me to see the line Krueger put out at the end of the game against Chicago to protect the one goal lead. It was Horcoff's line. Having Horcoff out there is a no-brainer, he is your strongest and best defensive center. Hemsky is a veteran that has done the job in the past. But Hall is the surprise.

This kind of ice time for Hall indicates to me how much confidence the coach has in Hall to make the smart plays with the puck. Hall still has a ways to go in my mind to fully understand how to protect the lead at the end of the game, but obviously Krueger sees the potential there.

Reports out of Chicago mention a meeting that Horcoff organized for the team Saturday night in the hotel. It is not unusual at all for the captain to call this type of meeting.

Horcoff would have started the meeting. I bet he discussed the way the team has been playing and what has been missing from the group. I am guessing he challenged each players' pride to raise their game up and to compete.

In these types of meetings anyone can speak after the captain. Usually it starts with the veterans and other captains. Not everyone likes to speak, but those who do speak very honestly. I have been in meetings were two guys got into a "F... You!" contest.

Meetings allow players to vent and usually clears the air in a dressing room. When a team is winning everyone is buddy-buddy. When a losing streak strikes players tend to go off into little groups and bitch about other players and their personal lack of ice time. If it continues unchecked it can really do damage in a room. Bitchy, whiny clicks are a telltale sign of a group of losers.

Don't get me wrong, this meeting isn't going to send the Oilers on a twenty-four game win streak. It is good, however, for the younger players that will be the only leaders at some point to see how to respond when the team is on the express of a losing streak.

Finally....

The pairing of Potter and Whitney has not worked this year. They just don't complement each other. I can't quite put my finger on it,but they just seem to be more often than not working against one another rather than in unison. They shouldn't be playing together and were finally split.

I see improvement in Ryan Whitney's game. He has been producing points. In his mind he isn't contributing if he isn't getting points. His confidence should be on the mend and on the rise. This would be huge for the Oilers. The rest of his game should fill out if that happens.

I like what Krueger did in Chicago by splitting up Potter and Whitney and pairing them each with a Schultz. Justin S. played with Whitney, N. Schultz ended up with Potter. I thought Potter looked more relaxed with Nick. Sometimes playing with a guy like Whitney can throw a guy off. Whitney has been struggling and his body language has shown that. A guy like Potter can misinterpret that as being directed at him. He isn't sure enough of himself in the NHL to realize he is just got his own issues on the ice and that Whitney's frustration has nothing to do with him.

Overall I thought the pairings were better lat night than they had been in the last week, however, the bar wasn't set super high during that time. If Dubnyk is out for any amount of time, they will have to play their best defensive hockey of the year.

One Last Thing....

Did anyone else see those great retro uniforms the Kings were wearing on Saturday. I love those!

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
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 Locksmithluke
March 11 2013, 11:29AM
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Fist game back and Horc puts in a grinder!! I don't care what any of his critics think! The man bleeds copper and blue, I love the guy!!

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#2 Walter Sobchak
March 11 2013, 12:40PM
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@nuge2nail

I am all aboard getting Weber, but no way in hell do you sacrifice this years first rounder, not a bloody chance.

You need to fill 3 center postions.

Gagner - Horcoff and Belanger you need this pick in the worst way.

I would offer, Petry-Gagner-Hartikinen or Paajarvi and next years 1st plus second and that should get you Weber.

Hemsky for a first round pick this year will get you Horcoffs replacement in Bo-Horvat

Keep Smid.

Your centers could look like this

RNH - Barkov - Horcoff - Horvat

Not to bad.

D looks like this.

Weber - Schulttz - Smid - Schultz sr - Klefbom - Fistric

much better defence.

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#3 Spydyr
March 11 2013, 12:45PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

The problem with the oilers is the Defence. They cant find the forwards in transition and more often than not turn the puck over. Smid and N Shultz are solid 5/6 options on a good team, and are over whelmed playing 1/2 roles. Smid is going to ask for top 4 money, while hes only good enough to play 5/6.

DEADLINE TRADES: Hemsky for a late first rounder + prospect. Smid for a late first rounder. Jones for a second rounder. Whitney for a third rounder. Belanger for a third rounder. Khabibulan for a sixth rounder.

The Vets are useless.

Than TRADE all Three First Rounders, all Three Second Rounders, both Third Rounders and Paajarvi, Omark, etc for Shea Weber-if preds dont make the playoffs.

Teams will be looking to dump salary with the cap going down and good players will become available. The picks will help us shop at the draft. The cap space will allow us to trade for or sign the missing peices. Which is obviously size.

Maybe 8 draft picks fo one player is an overpayment, maybe we need to add some NHL players to make the trade work, either way if a player like Weber becomes available - unload the truck into Nashville and make it happen.

This team needs an overhaul, we need another defenceman who can play 26+ minutes that isnt a rookie. Than we need to add a couple players like Ott, Glencross and Simmonds and maybe we wont be so easy to play against.

Weber, J Shultz, Petry, N Shultz, Fistric, Klefbom....

One can only dream....

@nuge2nail

"Than TRADE all Three First Rounders, all Three Second Rounders, both Third Rounders and Paajarvi, Omark, etc for Shea Weber-if preds dont make the playoffs."

You are drunk.Time to go to bed.

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#4 geoilersgist
March 11 2013, 02:06PM
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@nuge2nail

I like your idea of getting Weber but its a pipe dream and this isn't NHL13

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#5 Wäx Män Riley
March 11 2013, 06:09PM
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@nuge2nail

There is nothing on this roster that The Oilers can give up to get Weber. It works on Xbox, but giving your entire draft and a couple busts won't get Weber.

You know why?

He is probably the best D in the league and Poile knows this.

Tambo: Hey David. It's Tambellini.

Poile: Who?

Tambo: Stave Tambellini, you know the GM of the Oilers.

Poile: What? I thought that was Kevin Lowe

Tambo: No, I'm the GM. That's what is says on my office door. I signed Khabibulin. I signed Belanger, and convinced him to stay for 3 years.

Poile: Uhhhh.... ya.. umm... good moves, Sam Tombelli.

Tambo: That is Steve Tambellini. Anyway, let's talk about trading Weber.

Poile: No

Tambo: I'll give you our entire draft and this amazing player named Omark that can't make our cub so he is sitting in Switzerland. But he is really good, you should see what he did on YouTube.

Poile: No. And, what's a YouTube?

Tambo: Our ENTIRE draft!

Poile: I might get 2 players out of all those picks, but I know I have the best D in the game.

Tambo: But, but, it worked on Xbox. The boss's kid told me so.

Poile: *zzzzzzzzzzzzz* (dial tone)

Tambo: Dave? Dave you still there? What is this buzzing? Ricky!! Does buzzing mean he said yes?

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#6 Archaeologuy
March 11 2013, 11:32AM
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The Contract is ridiculous but the Hockey Player is still valuable. I'm no Horc apologist but the team is so young that the injection of professionalism and experience into the lineup looked like it took immediate affect.

How good he does in front of the net on the Power Play is really underrated. If Hartikainen wants to have a lengthy NHL career he can start by watching video on what it is that Horc is doing. He isnt overly noticeable like Holmstrom or Smyth in his prime, but something is going right when he's out there.

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#7 Racki
March 11 2013, 12:09PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Just want to throw this out there. But if Whitney continues to play good and seems to be back into form from before injuries do you really need to trade him? What if he is willing to sign for say 3.5mill a season cap hit for 3-4 years? If Whitney is playing good I would rather have Whitney at 3.5-4.0 than having to pay Smid that much when he can't move the puck.

Not saying I don't like Smid I just don't think he is a top4 and worth that much.

I think there is always two ways to think about it... either you think of it as "this guy has higher value in a trade than he has in a while".. or "this guy has higher value to this team than he has in a while".

I'm not sure that Whitney's good play will last, so I'd personally choose the latter. I think Whitney is a good "locker room" guy though and good personality, so I wouldn't be upset if he was kept on. But I don't see Ryan Whitney ahead of Smid at all. Smid plays the heavy and hard minutes. For all the times you might think Smid gets beat in those situations, I'm pretty sure Whitney or Potter or someone like that would get murdered.

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#8 Will
March 11 2013, 02:47PM
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@A-Mc

Ya I'm with you here. There's a nice moment in episode 2 of Oil change with Dubnyk talking about how Smid is a goalie's dream defender. Moreover, for Dubnyk personally he knows Smid and exactly what he's going to do, which allows Dubnyk to eliminate some possibilities when facing shooters.

Smid is quite simply a warrior and is one of the great things about the Pronger debacle. That he has finally developed into what he is, you would want to trade him is ludicrous.

I think all fans, ALL of em simply need to give up on the idea that somehow we are going to trade for one of the best players in the league. It didn't happen with Getzlaf -- who signed Crosby money -- and it definitely wont happen with Weber, as his contract actually will make a team worse by virtue of not having enough money to hold onto other players. Not to mention, everyone forgets the biggest reason why Nashville is a perennial contender: it isn't Weber; it isn't Rinne; it's Trotz. Like Tippet in Phoenix, the system they play (boring trap) allows defenders like Weber and goalie's like Rinne to do what they do. Weber (though amazing) on the Oilers would not be worth his price.

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#9 Spydyr
March 11 2013, 05:42PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

How can your arguement go from we are giving up too much for Weber, to now why would Nashville do this trade?

Would 3 first rounders one being a lottery pick in the best draft since 03, and three seconds not be enough?

Is it an overpayment, or underpayment...

Im confused to what your thinking because you contradict yourself from comment to comment.

Hemsky-First rounder Smid- First rounder Jones-Second rounder

Add up the three picks with the three we have and we have a package of picks at the draft that can fill the holes we need to fill. It could be all the picks for Weber, it could be less picks for Yandle, it could be even less picks for Burns, or a multitude of picks for Erhoff.

Im suggesting we stock up on picks, and trade them at the draft similar to the way the Jays did this year. I know its a different sport but the idea is the same. Picks are traded at the deadline because teams dont want to trade away roster players. Picks are traded at the draft to teams who spent too much on free agency, and are looking to dump salary and make some changes.

Its not rocket science.

Your right I am confused with all your PlayStation trades.My bad.

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#10 Rob...
March 11 2013, 10:36PM
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@NewAgeSys

Your post was too long to read so I copied it and pasted it into Google translator, chain converted it into three other languages and then finally back into English... it came out as 'I like soup!' I concur, so I gave you props.

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#11 OilClog
March 11 2013, 12:04PM
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@Phixieus666

.. Dubinsky or Bozak as 2C over Gags??? Ummm

Horcoff on a value contract??? How? And why is Petrell on the team still?

Is that you Steve?

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#12 T__Bone88
March 11 2013, 12:13PM
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@Phixieus666

Yes the 5.5 mill for 2 more years is not ideal but it was the fact he was paid more than 6 million a year for what he did I think had more people complaining. However his contract is somewhat beneficial now in trade value to lower spending teams like NYI and FLA in that his cap hit is higher than salary.

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#13 nuge2nail
March 11 2013, 12:25PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

The problem with the oilers is the Defence. They cant find the forwards in transition and more often than not turn the puck over. Smid and N Shultz are solid 5/6 options on a good team, and are over whelmed playing 1/2 roles. Smid is going to ask for top 4 money, while hes only good enough to play 5/6.

DEADLINE TRADES: Hemsky for a late first rounder + prospect. Smid for a late first rounder. Jones for a second rounder. Whitney for a third rounder. Belanger for a third rounder. Khabibulan for a sixth rounder.

The Vets are useless.

Than TRADE all Three First Rounders, all Three Second Rounders, both Third Rounders and Paajarvi, Omark, etc for Shea Weber-if preds dont make the playoffs.

Teams will be looking to dump salary with the cap going down and good players will become available. The picks will help us shop at the draft. The cap space will allow us to trade for or sign the missing peices. Which is obviously size.

Maybe 8 draft picks fo one player is an overpayment, maybe we need to add some NHL players to make the trade work, either way if a player like Weber becomes available - unload the truck into Nashville and make it happen.

This team needs an overhaul, we need another defenceman who can play 26+ minutes that isnt a rookie. Than we need to add a couple players like Ott, Glencross and Simmonds and maybe we wont be so easy to play against.

Weber, J Shultz, Petry, N Shultz, Fistric, Klefbom....

One can only dream....

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#14 DevoKnows
March 11 2013, 01:31PM
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Once again, another article that tries to make Horcoff out to be some Great leader or value to the team. Absolute hilarious!!! A great leader would have had the meeting before the road trip, it was a "do or die" road trip. Not when the teams about to rebound from a season all time low! With the Oilers already hitting rock bottom on this road trip, and the Hawks on a low after there great run, this was inevitable. Chicago media was already predicting a flat performance, as no team can keep that pace up all season. In the first 10 minutes, everything and anything the Oilers did, came up "Roses". Oilers are still very competitive team, you can't keep them down forever! This had nothing to do with Horcoffs "so called leadership meeting" What he did do, was add a little spark to the team, well so did Smytty after sitting a couple games. Coincidently, you felt you had to do an article on Smytty after he sat too. That's great, but that's all it is, a small spark Anyways, I guess you realized I'm not a big Horcoff fan, I just tolerate him like 85% of the rest of fans. I feel with his contract, it's helped influence the Oilers into making bad decisions in the past, Without the big long contract, would we still have Cogliano? Would we have drafted a big offensive center man in the last two years? Still not even positive Horc was the right choice for the C, part of me thinks they did it to help justify the stupidity of contract! Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in, Now Let's Kick Some Col Ass!!!

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#15 A-Mc
March 11 2013, 01:43PM
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@nuge2nail

I gotta say that i think you're completely out to lunch with the Trade for Weber scenario.

First, i think you're drastically overpaying.
Second, i think you're drastically over-valuing weber
Third, You're taking 4 roster players and getting 1 in return. You've now created 3 holes.
Fourth, You have Smyth/Belanger/Horc who could exit the league any year now and you've got no replacements for them in the works and no picks to work with to 'grow' them. READ: more holes.

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#16 A-Mc
March 11 2013, 03:03PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

We arent talking about Whitney of 3 years ago making 4 million. We are talking about the Whitney of the last two years making 4 million. Either way Weber.Fistric is better than Whitney.Smid - regardless if we could travel back in time and transport the Whitney of old into todays game. Smid in 634 NHL games has put up 60 points and is a minus 44. Im thinking he is a big reason the team cant score 5x5. His point totals suggest he cant make a play.

This comment is revealing to me about where your at with respect to how you assess and value players.

Talking about points and Smid in the same sentence doesn't make any sense to me; he's not here for points, he's here to be hard to play against and lock people down. he isn't the best in the league but he's no chump.

With a team that lacks heart and grit, you're looking to trade away 2 guys (Smid and Jones) that represent everything the Oilers NEED MORE OF.

Jones and Smid play with Jam every night. They also throw hits and block shots like a champ.

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#17 A-Mc
March 11 2013, 03:53PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oilers Domination To Follow

I am suggesting we trade the players with value for picks, because playoff teams dont do hockey trades for rentals. They trade picks and prospects for rentals.

Than you trade the prospects and picks to fill in the Gaps at the draft, when picks are worth a premium and teams are looking to dump cap.

Its not rocket science.

The idea of Currency exchange (player --> Picks --> Player) is definitely a valid one. It definitely comes with an added perk: picks afford teams a 'choice' in whom they acquire. So for that reason alone, it might be a good strategy.

The difficulty is making sure you're not undervaluing guys in the initial stage of the exchange. The Player --> picks, phase needs to be done with perfection or the entire process fails miserably.

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#18 nuge2nail
March 11 2013, 05:09PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Let me fix that for you, for accuracy's sake:

"Adding a No.1 blueliner (insert Weber type here) and subtracting a #4-6 blueliner in Smid, a 2nd liner in Hemsky, a potential #3-4 in a recovering Whitney, a 3rd Line grit player in Jones, a 1st rounder and 2 second rounders) is a step in the right direction..."

-no thx.

Oiler Domination To Follow

Let me fix that for you, for accuracys sake:

"Adding a No.1 blueliner(runner up for the Norris in 10-11, and 11-12) and subtracting a #4-6 blueliner who is going to ask for #2/#3 money(Smid), a 5 Million dollar injury prone second liner who is coming off his worst year(Hemsky), a 4 Million dollar defenceman who is a healthy scratch more than a regular on the worst team in the Western Conference(Whitney), and a career third liner(Jones), plus a first and two seconds from a team filled with young talent from a decade rebuilding with first round picks... is a step in the right direction"

-Thx

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#19 Spydyr
March 11 2013, 05:24PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

"I can't subscribe to the philosophy that it's OK to sell out everything to attain a top dman. "

I dont understand how selling everything while keeping Hall, Hopkins, Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, J Shultz and Petry can be used in the same conversation. We are keeping our 7 most talented players while picking up the runner up for the Norris that last two seasons, and potential captain of Canadas next Olympic Team.

Im not saying lets trade Eberle + Gagner to bring in Weber, or Petry + Yakupov... Im suggesting we trade the spare parts that are not part of the long term plan, while we still have a chance. Hemsky gets injured, or Smid asks for too much money and we are left with NOTHING. Whitney is not resigning here, why would he, hes a healthy scratch more than he plays. Again, on the worst team in the Western Conference. Jones is the only guy I will miss and he is replaceable, if hes not than I hope he never retires or gets hurt again.

You answered your own question " Im suggesting we trade the spare parts "

Why would Nashville trade one of the top 5 defencemen in the game for spare parts?

Lets trade Omark, Jones and Gagner for Crosby too.Man we will be awesome.

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#20 NewAgeSys
March 11 2013, 10:00PM
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Whitney didnt understand the concepts and parameters of Gapping as applied to his personal toolbox and how Ralph wanted gapping applied -- coaches issue.

Potter is more adept at taking the puck straight at the forecheckers, attacking them and beginning the playaction off of both the breakout pass and the sprint upice. He is more versatile than Ryan Whitney was. Both are big and lanky like we want with a long reach but they utilise their spheres of influence very differently. One is a two dimensional thinker{Potter} one is a one dimensional thinker{Whitney}, both are capable NHL defensemen when utilised within their capabilitys. This 2-D ability Potter was able to project was a big part of our limited winning results last year when Whitney was out of the lineup.

The EXACT execution we are looking for today is on tape over six games last year Struds, everything we need is there. The coaching staff simplified the gameplan to adjust for Ryans absence and all of the Rookies, and unwittingly they hit the system execution jackpot, now I am sick of posting the history of this so please tell your friends to look back at the wins we had last year in a stretch and replicate the exact steps they took then. Watch the tapes, and look for the compensatory tactical line combo and system adjustments the coaching staff made and analyse what those adjustments did to the system we were useing "when Whitney was healthy" , because we still use the same basic system. Replicate the correcte sequential set of dynamics that we initiated then NOW, and the teams system woes are over, we will immediatly look like Chicago results wise and have the potential to finish a cup run like LA did, these are all the same systems.

The 1st line lost its dynamic structure it had established last year when Hall decided to diversify his game and initiate and target indivdually his linemates dynamic positions and opportunitys, he tried to provide a more two-dimensional attack and he did a great job, but in doing so he had to MONOPOLISE the dynamic playaction tactics and opportunitys like Hemmer needs to to be at his best, he had to take more than his share of these dynamic opportunitys and he hasnt been able to produce a correspondingly high number of points, only his solid avaerag with more assists than goals, this is why the line is not clicking. All they need to do is put the chain back around Taylors neck and tell him hes not anywhere near ready to be a center in the NHL yet. Taylor gave us an excellent opportuity to understand what a naturally creative 3-D thinker like Nuge and Gagner can do pointswise in terms of balancing and managing a lines consistancy of production. Hall tried to basiclly replace Nuge as the 1st lines catalyst and he did it effectively by brute force but he couldnt balance or manage the lines production overall anywhere near as well as Nuge dooes. This is because Hall produces all of his points the same way as Hemmer does, by moopolising both the puck possesion/zone entrys and primary shots, Hall was able to replicate a 2-D performance. But this isnt a 3-D performance as Nuge and Samwise provide, the 2-D perspective does not have the balance of attack and the creativity and puck movement between linemates that the full 3-D perspective applies. Nuge was born a 3-D thinker like Gretz was ans Samwise learned it like Messier did. Hall is far behind these two and just learning how to develope a 2-D perspective but is fighting his way up as fast as he can.

The 2nd line needed MPS since the 3rd game in and I campaigned for this addition since that game , I also immediatly saw the void we had in tertiary scoreing and advised that we drop Hemmer to the 3rd line so he could apply his one-dimensional scoreing there. Hemsky can score NHL goals with very few opportunitys in hand and can give us perfect depth, not to mention Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky have historic chemistry and if you add Whitney feeding them breakout passes they are able to execute the fastbreak option of this system as good as anyone in the NHL if they are all together.

Hemsky and MPS each traverse zones differently, and have similar sucess rates, with the main differential being that Hemmer NEEDS to monopolise the possesion of the puck to get his results and MPS is more creative and shares the puck much more to get as i said similar results and I think MPS traverses zones and spreads defenses out much much better than Hemmer does ,MPS uses his size and speed not just his speed.

We gain immediatly in these areas with the addition of MPS to the 2nd line , we immediatly achieve better puck dispersion and more laterally balanced zone pressure and we add what is now undoubtably a power forward presences to the line, MPS has matured in my opinion more overall in terms of NHL physicality than all of his peers.

With MPSs defensive mindset added to the above dynamic factors we have a perfect fit, this combo allows us to unleash both Yakupov and Gagner as legitimate and serious scoreing threats for 60 mins., and disperses and manages the puck in ways that allow this double pronged scoreing threat to consistantly produce results without comprominsing system integrity defensively.

So really Jason, we mismanaged the 1st line from day one by not keeping Hall reigned in and managed properly and by denying by proxy control of the lones dydnamic execution to Nuge the rightfull catalyst. We recieved scoreing from the 2nd line consistantly all year long and Ralph rode the Hemmer factor to long, he didnt aknowledge the real reason the 2nd line was produceing and that is gagners dynamic leadership not hemmers skillset. As a result Ralph refused to drop Hemsky to the 3rd line to give us depth and balance to start the year, he got nervous when he noticed our inconsistancy early and he panicked he thought if he screwed with the 2nd line we were totaly screwed so he kept Hemmer there as a safety net for himself to maintain that individual lines offense we had as opposed to putting him on the 3rd line to increase the entire teams overall offensive projection.

In my opinion the catalyst of our line combonations dyslexic perefomances has been Ralps committment pre-season to his "pairs" concept, this is a great concept applied in a different manner, but with our system it is not going to work because it removes our ability to create flexible line dynamics, it has been a failure and has really held us back from evolving our team line chemistry which is the first step in the Stanley Cup direction for ant team or system. I appreciate Ralphs innovative approach and i am pretty sure I know where he came up with the concept but i dont believe the concept was designed to fit into a system like the one we use, and I dont have the time to explain it in detail.

We are taking much to long to find our way dynamicly speaking, we are missing a huge dose of Intuative Dynamic Analysis organisationally, this quotient is not bottled and sold and must be mined like gold. And it can either take decades for a team to find the right balance or they can strike it rich and hit a vein or huge nugget of influence that can catapult them as LA was catapulted last season. Everyone needs to develop the same intuition the same instincts the same reflexes the same mental pressure release valves system wise and then we will begin to see winning results. The team needs to get on this exact dynamic page I just described now we need to see what path they chooses to take to get there, there are many paths to choose from some short and some oh so long. There are elite NHL players who play long and decorated careers and never ever hit that motherlode or balance and win a championship and there are Rookies that step right into it. But the most important thing to remember is that this dynamic is reproducable and that there have always been Dynastys who dominate decades not season, and this should give us confidence that we can find this equilibrium and begin our own Dynasty ASAP.

I like how much you refer to the use of the stick Struds, and i am with you 100%, but you might want to use a tactic terminology with the kids you teach that will help them get on the same dynamic page as you are on, instead of overcomplicating the issue just tell them that their stick is like the paintbrush they use to fill in the circle around them that is just like the one they see on their video game screens around the men, and tell them that that area is called their "sphere of influence" trust me they will get it, I coached a few teams myself back in the day, ha ha ha, and once they understand what their sphere of influence is you wont need to overmanage the focus on stick application as it will be already ingrained in their thought process and they will already be visualising their personal spheres of influence when they are on the ice. This means in short Struds that they will manage their stick positions constantly and instinctively as they skate around and present their spheres of influence to the puck. They wont have to think about it, it will be included in how they are dynamiclly interact with the playaction. The Oilers were managing their spheres of influence much better last game, much better and it really helped them out. Their stick positioning was accurate and early as a group and as a result there stick/puck pressure was generally triangulated and super effective.

Jason if you havent watched the movie "Kicking and Screaming" then go to all extremes to rent it ASAP, and if you can Tweeter or whatever to the Oiler buddies you have to watch it , it might take us to the next step all on its own as it pretty much describes the dynamic sequence of eents our team is going through now. And unbelievably they show the FlyingV-Door play and an excellent exampleof "stacking" players and relaying the puck, two of the best tactics out there to overload a team with good N/S system strength.Tactics we need to use consistantly and many times mismanage, its just a priceless coincidence but well worth watching.

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#21 @Oilanderp
March 12 2013, 12:11AM
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I like Horcoff. Keep going, Whitney. I like Taylor Hall. I like Oilers.

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#22 The Soup Fascist
March 11 2013, 11:31AM
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Ok. Let's agree Horcoff is a useful player with a bad contract. This is a contract that runs two more years. The Oilers are in a bad position. They either miss out on the opportunity to rid themselves of a millstone contract or pay to get rid of a useful player they do not currently have a replacement for. Pick your poison.

If you were subjected to a lobotomy and were suddenly in the role of GM of this team Jason, what would you do?

Sounds like you are on the "pay dat man hees money" team. Will that be an issue in the next 2 years for attracting UFAs or resigning young talent?

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#23 Will
March 11 2013, 11:37AM
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In my opinion, the Horcoff contract is more a lightning rod for the Lowe management team, and is another consistently glaring item that fans and media like to reference when presenting evidence of what bad management we have.

However, in equal measure, I think most fans who actually watch the games and pay a little bit of attention, know that the team is better with Horcoff than without. If not for the simple fact that without him, like you said, our third line is a mess. Having two lines that don't have to constantly go out and try to score while also trying to shut down the other team's best players is huge.

Horcoff brings a lot of difficult to quantify attributes to the team. I think his stretch away from the team shows how far away the team is from being either Hall or Eberle's. I'm not sure the other veterans will respond well to the kids, and having Horcoff their is nothing but good for the team. And like you said, his bloated contract has never hindered the team too much (maybe the dollars weren't their to qualify Glencross, not sure).

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#24 Jay
March 11 2013, 11:38AM
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Doesn't he get in the way of our goal of getting 6 1st overall picks in a row?

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#25 Racki
March 11 2013, 11:50AM
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Always enjoy your articles Jason.

I immediately approve of and love any post that speaks highly of Horcoff. Tired of the abuse he takes from fans. But I do think that the loudest people are always the negative people (just noticed the poll.. I'd say that emphasizes my point). I know there are lots of people that like and support Horcoff. But he does take more abuse than anyone. I don't really care how much money he makes. Yes, by NHL standards it is far from a value contract, but as you noted, it isn't standing in our way of signing anyone else.

I thought he had a really good start to the game. Towards the end, it looked like he showed some fatigue and he was doing too much by carrying the puck up ice and trying to beat guys 1 on 1 rather than making safer plays. It cost him vs. Hossa (although we ended up with a PP there) and also nearly cost him another time. But overall, it was great having him back.

I also am completely infatuated with Mike Brown. I liked the trade from the start, but Leafs fans were right.. after a few games, people will love him.

Lastly, Ryan Whitney has been playing his best hockey lately in recent times. He is helping showcase his trade.. it's necessary. As for Corey Potter, it's good that he's on a value contract, cause I think a lot of nights he looks shakey. I'm anxious for Fistric to be back (tomorrow?), and look forward to Peckham returning to form.

I think this team has a decent maybe 17-ish guys.. they could stand to have some upgrades, but the main group is good.. it all falls apart when one or two guys get hurt though because we really have crap all for depth in most roles/positions

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#26 Phixieus666
March 11 2013, 11:51AM
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Well that game last night was a cluster f*ck. But they did win and I saw things I liked.

Nuge and Harti, liked they way these guys work together.

Gagner and MPS, I think thats enough said those two are looking really good playing together and MPS is looking like he did in his rookie season.

Whitney and J. Schultz, really liked this pairing and I hope Kruger carries all these pairing for at least another 3-5 games. need to spend time together to get the chemistry going.

And Mike Brown, this guy is just the perfect 4th liner, he knows is role, and his timing for things like fights has been perfect. Any offense he brings is just icing on the cake.

Still a lot of pieces need to be moved out but you can see how things are starting to fall into place.

Would it be possible to keep Gagner and use him on a third scoring line with MPS and lander????

Hall-Nuge-Harti

Yak-Acquired Center(Dubinsky/Bozak)- Eberle

MPS - Lander/Gagner - Lander/Gagner

Brown - Horcoff(on reasonable contract) - Petrell

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#27 OilClog
March 11 2013, 11:55AM
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It's pretty obvious all these young guys are fans of Horcoff, he wouldn't of remained captain if they weren't. As difficult as it's been for the last 12 years being a Oilers fan, Horcoff has been through it all with us.

At this point it's no more "f@CK!N$ Horcoff!" it's "COME ON HORC!" it's weird almost alienish.. He deserves it though, he bleeds blue and copper just as much if not more than Smyth.. I'm almost going to say more. Watching the broken knuckle captain go after Shaw last night, made everything easier to accept. He isn't one of the players that needs a new team.

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#28 T__Bone88
March 11 2013, 11:56AM
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I wonder if people will calm down about salary next year when his actual salary is only $4 mill then $3 mill in the last. Sure his contract looks bad but when it was signed he was actually playing as a 1st/2nd line centre in his prime getting 50 or more points. If the oilers are not in a cap limit situation he should definitely stay, however if they can find a similar caliber player at a lower cap hit maybe go with that player. Horcoff is still valuable to this team.

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#29 Phixieus666
March 11 2013, 12:00PM
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Racki wrote:

Always enjoy your articles Jason.

I immediately approve of and love any post that speaks highly of Horcoff. Tired of the abuse he takes from fans. But I do think that the loudest people are always the negative people (just noticed the poll.. I'd say that emphasizes my point). I know there are lots of people that like and support Horcoff. But he does take more abuse than anyone. I don't really care how much money he makes. Yes, by NHL standards it is far from a value contract, but as you noted, it isn't standing in our way of signing anyone else.

I thought he had a really good start to the game. Towards the end, it looked like he showed some fatigue and he was doing too much by carrying the puck up ice and trying to beat guys 1 on 1 rather than making safer plays. It cost him vs. Hossa (although we ended up with a PP there) and also nearly cost him another time. But overall, it was great having him back.

I also am completely infatuated with Mike Brown. I liked the trade from the start, but Leafs fans were right.. after a few games, people will love him.

Lastly, Ryan Whitney has been playing his best hockey lately in recent times. He is helping showcase his trade.. it's necessary. As for Corey Potter, it's good that he's on a value contract, cause I think a lot of nights he looks shakey. I'm anxious for Fistric to be back (tomorrow?), and look forward to Peckham returning to form.

I think this team has a decent maybe 17-ish guys.. they could stand to have some upgrades, but the main group is good.. it all falls apart when one or two guys get hurt though because we really have crap all for depth in most roles/positions

Just want to throw this out there. But if Whitney continues to play good and seems to be back into form from before injuries do you really need to trade him? What if he is willing to sign for say 3.5mill a season cap hit for 3-4 years? If Whitney is playing good I would rather have Whitney at 3.5-4.0 than having to pay Smid that much when he can't move the puck.

Not saying I don't like Smid I just don't think he is a top4 and worth that much.

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#30 Phixieus666
March 11 2013, 12:05PM
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@T__Bone88

Its not the actual dollar value that matters to anyone its the cap hit of 5.5 for another 2 seasons.

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#31 Walter Sobchak
March 11 2013, 12:08PM
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I like Horcoff for what he brings, but the Oilers will need to start looking at replacing these players via draft or trade.

The kids need to make their own identity as painful as maybe to watch, they have to become the force that drives the machine going forward.

Horcoff salary may actually become an issue, so the money he makes does matter unfortunately.

So, you can choose a player whether its Gagner or Horcoff, even one of the 5 kids having an inflated contract will matter soon.

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#32 Phixieus666
March 11 2013, 12:13PM
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OilClog wrote:

.. Dubinsky or Bozak as 2C over Gags??? Ummm

Horcoff on a value contract??? How? And why is Petrell on the team still?

Is that you Steve?

I only have Gags on the third because i think there needs to be a center with size that can win 50%+ of the faceoffs on the second do to the Nuge. I just don't want to trade Gags

Horcoff can be replaced but would need to be a really gritty guy, maybe a Brown but bigger.

Petrell is good because I don't think he will ever get more than a million in a contract and he can kill penalties if a prospect comes up thats better he is the perfect type of player to sit in the press box

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#33 andrewmk20
March 11 2013, 12:13PM
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@The Soup Fascist

I've been wondering about the possibility of them moving Horcoff at the deadline. I know that the tradecenter guys said Chicago is looking at a third line center and Horcoff fits the bill. Then Chicago could use their compliance buy out on him and from there the Oilers could talk to him to see if he's willing to come back. Given that Chicago has only 2 possibilities for a buyout (olesz and montador) I wonder if the Oilers could get Montador back in the deal and get an immediate upgrade for the third unit right-handed dman to replace Potter.

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#34 Klima's Mullet
March 11 2013, 12:15PM
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Jason, I cannot agree more with your assessment of the Kings jerseys on HNIC....too awesome! About the captain...the most interesting thing about him is how different the powerplay looks with him in there...him and Nuge have some sort of clairvoyance.

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#35 OilClog
March 11 2013, 12:18PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

I only have Gags on the third because i think there needs to be a center with size that can win 50%+ of the faceoffs on the second do to the Nuge. I just don't want to trade Gags

Horcoff can be replaced but would need to be a really gritty guy, maybe a Brown but bigger.

Petrell is good because I don't think he will ever get more than a million in a contract and he can kill penalties if a prospect comes up thats better he is the perfect type of player to sit in the press box

Petrell can't kill anything other then his own teams chance of winning, the guy is a dead zone. At least 6 times in the 3rd last night, he failed to clear the puck from his own zone.. horrible.

I don't think Dubinsky or Bozak are upgrades on Sam other then height.

If the Oiler were really smart, they would find a legit #1 center that pushes Nuge down to the #2 spot for the next few seasons. Allowing him to grow and fill out eating 2nd tier competition.

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#36 Quicksilver ballet
March 11 2013, 12:22PM
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Wonder where Horcoff was 10 days ago when this group could've used this airing of the grievances meeting.

Management probably instructed him to wait until it was too late.

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#37 Walter Sobchak
March 11 2013, 12:33PM
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andrewmk20 wrote:

I've been wondering about the possibility of them moving Horcoff at the deadline. I know that the tradecenter guys said Chicago is looking at a third line center and Horcoff fits the bill. Then Chicago could use their compliance buy out on him and from there the Oilers could talk to him to see if he's willing to come back. Given that Chicago has only 2 possibilities for a buyout (olesz and montador) I wonder if the Oilers could get Montador back in the deal and get an immediate upgrade for the third unit right-handed dman to replace Potter.

I really like this idea too, I thought about it earlier during the lockout when the thought of an amnesty clause was being thrown around.

I don’t know if the NHL will approve of this but it maybe one of the first loop holes.

I like the idea.

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#38 Lochenzo
March 11 2013, 12:37PM
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Definitely having second thoughts about a Horcoff buyout. The record with Horc out of the lineup is atrocious. He's the captain and he's willing to do the spade work out there. It might set this team back to part ways with Horc this summer, at a time when the team should be stepping forward.

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#39 Mumbai Max
March 11 2013, 12:57PM
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I am all over the Weber plan. Pay WHATEVER it takes and get him. Instant contender. Remember what Pronger did for us? Same result. Sign Smid, then package him, Eberle, and a pick and/or prospect. That should do it. A stud D is the key missing component to contend in the next couple years. They are few and far between. Nashville will want to move him for sure. Lets hold our nose and do it.

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#40 Spurzey
March 11 2013, 12:58PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

The problem with the oilers is the Defence. They cant find the forwards in transition and more often than not turn the puck over. Smid and N Shultz are solid 5/6 options on a good team, and are over whelmed playing 1/2 roles. Smid is going to ask for top 4 money, while hes only good enough to play 5/6.

DEADLINE TRADES: Hemsky for a late first rounder + prospect. Smid for a late first rounder. Jones for a second rounder. Whitney for a third rounder. Belanger for a third rounder. Khabibulan for a sixth rounder.

The Vets are useless.

Than TRADE all Three First Rounders, all Three Second Rounders, both Third Rounders and Paajarvi, Omark, etc for Shea Weber-if preds dont make the playoffs.

Teams will be looking to dump salary with the cap going down and good players will become available. The picks will help us shop at the draft. The cap space will allow us to trade for or sign the missing peices. Which is obviously size.

Maybe 8 draft picks fo one player is an overpayment, maybe we need to add some NHL players to make the trade work, either way if a player like Weber becomes available - unload the truck into Nashville and make it happen.

This team needs an overhaul, we need another defenceman who can play 26+ minutes that isnt a rookie. Than we need to add a couple players like Ott, Glencross and Simmonds and maybe we wont be so easy to play against.

Weber, J Shultz, Petry, N Shultz, Fistric, Klefbom....

One can only dream....

Please Mr Stumbelinni, pull this one off as soon as possible so that you will be fired the very same day.

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#41 Quicksilver ballet
March 11 2013, 12:58PM
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@Spydyr

You must've taken Tambellinis inspirational "Winning at Losing" seminar last summer eh? Sooner or later management will punch that accelerator. Could happen this summer, with a move very similar to this.

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#42 zenoil
March 11 2013, 01:04PM
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He played one good game. Wow!! Look at his plus minus (all minus) the last few years. He is the best third line option by far, but he still is sub par on so many levels. Barf.

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#43 Hammers
March 11 2013, 01:10PM
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Great article and ALL players should be rated with what they bring not what they earn . This includes guys you need to let go. ie, Belanger, Eager & Pettrell to name 3 If a GM gives good or BAD contracts that's the GM's fault not the player or his agent .I still feel the team needs a heart transplant or at least a talent transplant .ps size comes in time so just look at Gags . Nothing to do with talent but a lot with maturity.

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#44 nuge2nail
March 11 2013, 01:20PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

@spydyr @spurzey

You do realize that the first rounders im proposing are picks we dont have yet?

Essentially we would be trading this years first, Hemsky(we have Yakupov and Ebs as RWS), Jones, Whitney and Smid, plus two seconds for WEBER. Weber being the best defensemen for team Canadas gold medal team, and yearly Norris Candidate.

You would rather keep the players listed above rather than bring in Weber, or keep the picks and wait 3/4 years before they make the NHL, and another 2/3 years for them to learn the NHL game?

You would have to be a wizard to keep the core 7:Hall, Hopkins, Eberle, Shultz,Yakupov, Gagner and Petry and pull of a trade for a Norris Dmen, but it seems possible.

The reason you stockpile draft picks and prospects in year 4 of a rebuild is to bring in immediate help at the draft, not draft and wait 4 years of more rebuilding. How many first rounder 25-28 become impact NHL players, and how many second rounders become game changers? You can easily find similar talent in free agency.

If we keep the players above, we are not getting better. If we keep the picks, consider this the third rebuild in 6 years(3 firsts in 07) and if we trade the picks and fill in some holes, well than maybe just maybe our talent will be lucky enough to feel the electricity in the city and building come playoff time.

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#45 Spydyr
March 11 2013, 01:21PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

You must've taken Tambellinis inspirational "Winning at Losing" seminar last summer eh? Sooner or later management will punch that accelerator. Could happen this summer, with a move very similar to this.

No,i'm against a massive overpay that will gut the team moving forward for a contract that will ruin the whole salary structure on the team.

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#46 A-Mc
March 11 2013, 01:27PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Just want to throw this out there. But if Whitney continues to play good and seems to be back into form from before injuries do you really need to trade him? What if he is willing to sign for say 3.5mill a season cap hit for 3-4 years? If Whitney is playing good I would rather have Whitney at 3.5-4.0 than having to pay Smid that much when he can't move the puck.

Not saying I don't like Smid I just don't think he is a top4 and worth that much.

I don't think he can salvage his trade value in 23 games to warrant a re-sign at 3.5-4M/yr. But! This plays well for the Oiler's because if they did think of re-signing him with the belief that he will get better, they could probably push for a 2yr 2M/yr deal.

Lets face it, right now he is a 5/6 guy. You don't pay 5/6 guys 3M+.

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#47 Spydyr
March 11 2013, 01:27PM
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@nuge2nail

@ nuge2nail

I'm confused first you said trade away all our first three rounds of picks for three years moving forward:

"Than TRADE all Three First Rounders, all Three Second Rounders, both Third Rounders and Paajarvi, Omark, etc for Shea Weber-if preds dont make the playoffs."

Now your saying :

"Essentially we would be trading this years first, Hemsky(we have Yakupov and Ebs as RWS), Jones, Whitney and Smid, plus two seconds for WEBER"

Am I missing something here ?

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#48 Team Hall
March 11 2013, 01:28PM
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I agree 100% that those purple LA Kings jerseys are the best. They should bring those back full time, no more mid90's black and silver. yuck.

Retro unis across the league. Boy I miss the north stars and whalers jerseys the most. Beautiful. Works of art.

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#49 Team Seguin
March 11 2013, 01:30PM
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In fact, maybe the hurricanes could wear the old Whalers jersey on retro night, and Dallas could bring back the old north star jersey.

No california seals or rockies jerseys, those were awful from the getgo.

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#50 nuge2nail
March 11 2013, 01:39PM
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@Spydyr

Oiler Domination To Follow

The Three First Rounders im talking about would all be in the 2013 draft. All the picks im talking about would be in the 2013 draft.

The picks would be from trading Hemsky, Jones, Smid, Whitney, and than the first and two seconds we currently own.

Essentially trading spare parts into picks, and packaging picks and prospects to bring in salary from a team looking to dump it because of owner restraints.

Nashville missing the playoffs would open the door for the Oilers - a once in a lifetime opportunity you might say.

Remember what Pronger did for the back end, the stability he created. Weber would have the same effect, and allow the rest of the D to play against soft competition. Also his shot from the point, and J Shult wrister would be deadly on the PP.

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