Do you remember your English 10 teacher? Mine was Mrs. Stroud and I couldn’t stand her obvious bias. The first essay I wrote I got 69%, and every one after that was within three percent + or -. I had 85% in grade nine English, and I got 84% in English 20, so I couldn’t understand how I became such a bad writer over that one summer. Of course my other grades weren’t stellar, but that’s not my point.
My buddy always got 80+ on his essays so late in the semester, to prove my point, we wrote our own essays and switched the names. I still got 71 and he got an 84. When I told the principal what we did, and how Madame Stroud was clearly biased, he wanted proof. Well, since in my time we didn’t have a home computer, I wrote on paper and then typed it at school. I always threw my paper away like it was some big accomplishment having it typed. Needless to say nothing happened, and Stroud hated me even more after that.
My point is, as humans we are all biased, but teachers (My mom is one, and she just got her doctorate so don’t take offence, teachers) and coaches have to try to hide and ignore those biases. Craig MacTavish has to find a way to put his frustration and bias towards Dustin Penner aside, for the sake of his team (and possibly MacT’s job).
Ales Kotalik is not working on the first line, and there isn’t time to find out if the chemistry will develop.
“I think you can see chemistry in one game, and it’s there or it isn’t,” said Thrashers head coach John Anderson.
Anderson is in his rookie season in the NHL, but he won four championships in the AHL so he knows how to determine chemistry and a winning formula.
This is not the time to send messages or get the point across to players. The Oilers are in a dogfight for the playoffs and they have only won three of their past 11 games. A few more losses and they will be in chase mode once again.
Ice your best line-up, your best possible combinations and go from there.
Put Penner back with Hemsky and Horcoff. Move Kotalik back to his natural right wing along side Gagner and Nilsson. Leave O’Sullivan with Cogliano and Pisani because they have chemistry and then you have Moreau, Brodziak and Stortini as your energy line and potential shut-down line.
If Penner has one of his “going-through-the-motions” games, sit him and promote O’Sullivan there and Moreau up to the third line. There are lots of options within the game to get guys going. Make it a healthy and competitive atmosphere. Play whichever line is going, and if it is a different top nine forwards every night that play in the final ten minutes, so be it.
Sure, Penner can be frustrating, but he has also shown in the past that after a benching he can go on a productive ten game stretch, and right now you need him to be productive. Like it or not, he is your best option on the first line. You said it yourself earlier this year, so go with you gut.
Kotalik wasn’t lighting it up before he came here, so help him out and put him back on his right wing, and more importantly play him on the left point on your first PP unit. Your PP has stunk for the past month. You are 6 for 51 in your past 13 games, so it clearly isn’t working.
You are six points back of Columbus all of a sudden for 6th spot, and that is the spot all Albertans want. Fans don’t want 7th or 8th, they NEED 6th place.
Our economy is in a bit of a dip, it’s not warm enough for girls to wear summer dresses yet, they’re trying to take fighting out of hockey, and the Oilers have the most clothed ice girls in the league. Give the fans something to cheer about, check your pride and ice your best possible lineup.
LOYALTY IS TAUGHT
While many of us have bemoaned that there is too much loyalty within the Oiler organization, yesterday’s actions by the former GODFATHER of Oilerville showed where Lowe and company learned it.
Glen Sather, who orchestrated and conducted the glory days of the Oilers, stood up for his buddy Peter Pocklington and forked out a cool million for Puck’s bail. That is loyalty.
Whether you like Pocklington or not, Sather’s gesture re-affirms the depth of the Boys On The Bus loyalty. A true friend is one who stands beside you in a time of need, and Pocklington definitely needs one, and has a pal in Sather.
I understand where Lowe and MacTavish got their loyalty from, so if anything MacTavish owes it to Lowe to play Penner and try to save face for his GM.