GDB 67: Moreau and Souray in it to win it

Oilers Captain Ethan Moreau

The Oilers looked like a team a few days before the start of the season, with 24 players, five coaches and third goalie Floyd Whitney on the ice for the morning skate today. They went through a bevy of cross-ice and two-on-two, and two-on-one passing drills. Sad thing is they didn’t come close to scoring as often as Peter Pocklington has been charged by creditors.

Sheldon Souray was out there and took part in every drill so he will suit up tonight. Ethan Moreau also skated hard, while wearing the darkest colour-tinted visor I’d seen, so expect him to play as well.

Moreau’s visor makes him look a bit like a Euro, but he insisted his game won’t change due to the visor.

What will change is the lineup. Moreau and Penner will dress tonight, and they’ll play on the same line with Kyle Brodziak.

21 – 10 – 83
12 – 89 – 78
19 – 13 – 34
18 – 51 – 27

This is how they will start but if the Kovalchuk – White – Little line gives the Oilers problems don’t be surprised to see Horcoff, Moreau and Pisani become a trio to try and shut them down.

MacTavish admitted the lines could become very interchangeable tonight. Altanta coach John Anderson told me yesterday on my show that he likes to juggle his lines a lot, so expect to see many different combinations tonight.

A Horcoff – Moreau – Pisani trio could become reality down the stretch as a shut-down line.

Don’t think MacTavish doesn’t listen to the radio or read the Internet based on his comments today. He was asked about O’Sullivan and his overall game.

“I’m trying to find offensive opportunities for O’Sullivan. I want to get him some power-play time. I’m not going to pigeon-hole him as a checker just yet, that’s apparently my expertise to turn offence into checkers. He is in the process right now, (he laughs) but hopefully he has more goals in him.”

It looks like MacTavish is going with his most offensive unit of the season. The competition for ice-time tonight should be fierce, and if players are going early MacTavish said they will play more.

The Thrashers are playing well right now, going 6-3-1 in their last ten, with Johan Hedberg between the pipes, so the Oilers can’t overlook the lottery-bound Thrashers.

Their top line of Kovalchuk – White – Little have combined for 82 goals and 183 points, compared to Hemsky – Horcoff – Penner’s 49 goals and 128 points. Look for Souray and Staios to match up against that line.

  • Barry S

    Stat Freaks

    Anybody who knows anything about stats knows they flaw is context. for instance, in the records of replacement coaches referred to above. Chicago is invalid due to sample size of games coached by replaced coach. Montreal by sample size of replacement coach. Actually, the same can be said for all the teams. As well, there is no indication of lineup changes, comparative strength of opposition between coaching tenures. etc. Long term analysis of any coaching records (or team, for that matter) in any sports show the tendency is towards a five hundred record over time. Scotty Bowman's coaching winning records per team ranged between 41.5% St Louis and 66.1% Montreal and is overall is 58.2%. The question is, who is the better coach Scoty St. Louis, Scotty Montreal, or Scotty Bowman and is 58.2% anything to brag about?
    One might also argue, the 44.5% record, considering the general talent level in St. Louis was better than the 66.1% for the Montreal years.

    I expect this proves the old addiage, stats are for losers, trophy's are for winners.

  • Chris

    @ CurtisS:
    We are beating a dead horse. Let's see what MacT does with Penner on saturday…
    Oh and you are correct; Moreau did take an instigator, five, and a ten minute misconduct sticking up for a teammate in Dallas… and then he never played another shift. Bad example.

  • kingsblade

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Two proven NHLers is what it cost the Oilers and I don’t see that changing. Same for Souray, who would probably have a bit higher of value. But they have $5.4 million cap hit and three more years (Souray) and $5.6 million and four years for Visnovsky, so it would take a team with some cap space to take them.
    As for J-Bow I think it is more about him not wanting to play in him home town, and if the Oilers did get him then every team knows they have to move a D-man and it would be at a reduced price.

    My thinking here is that they would have to take salary back, but if it was salary up front they were taking it might be worth it for a high quality player.

    However your second point is probably more damning to the scenario, since the only reason it might be worthwhile would be to get high value back, especially if you were taking on returning salary.

  • kingsblade

    Barry S wrote:

    I expect this proves the old addiage, stats are for losers, trophy’s are for winners.

    Right. Because a single scenario in which you provide about six numbers adequately discredits statistical analysis. Brilliant.

    Clearly there is room in sports for multiple threads of analysis. In fact that is exactly what I love about sports. It can be looked at and examined from so many different angles that everyone can express an opinion. Disagreement is one thing, but trolling for a reaction is pathetic. Believing you have eliminated an entire group's favorite source of analysis from legitimacy is even more laughable.

  • Dennis

    BTW, I think the Oilers are in potentially good shape when it comes to 37 and 77.

    If the climate's really changed, 37 shouldn't get a big contract and should come in a bit lower than 77's. Meanwhile, 77 should have enough value around the league that you'll have no trouble moving that contract and getting back an asset in the process.

    Maybe someone in the entry level deal that would allow money to be freed up to sign Jay Bou.

  • Archaeologuy

    @ Dennis:
    Are you off your meds? Seriously, I have a cousin who just dissapeared for a week. They found him naked at a bus station trying to get a plane ticket to Banff. He sounded just like you. Freedom of speech, Big Brother is after you, etc.

  • Chris

    @ Dennis:
    I've argued many points with Brownlee… I think it's funny when he is overly abrupt. (You gotta admit Brownlee has style) This site is dedicated to fan's who want to interact with people closer to the team… Why don't you set your ego aside and enjoy this access in a classy and respectful manner?

  • Dennis

    Anyway, it's Friday evening:), so, I'm done with this one.

    I'm gonna keep posting and if not agreeing with something is cause for censorship, say hello to your new overlords for me!

  • kingsblade

    Dennis wrote:

    Arch: I imagine Banff’s pretty cold this time of year so I hope you wrapped him in a blanket:)

    I realize you were trying to be funny, but this post is the perfect representation of your problem. You don't read the other person's post, you just immediately pick at it for a reaction.

    In this case, had you bothered to make sure you understood before commenting you might realize that he never said his cousin was is Banff, his cousin was trying to get to Banff.

    Not a terribly important point, but indicative of your posting nonetheless. You are constantly throwing out your abrasive confrontational posts without even making sure you fully understand what was said.

  • Travis Dakin

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ Travis Dakin:
    Honestly? You actually think Horcoff is a real #1 Centre?
    I cant believe you’d call out other people for not knowing hockey and then claim that a guy who’s averaged 41.25 points a season over 8 years is a true #1.
    If face-off percentage translated into #1 centre status then Kris Draper and Antoine Vermette should be leading the league in ice-time.
    oooooh, I’m so impressed with the two good seasons that Horcoff managed to have in 8 years of playing with the Oilers. One year he almost had 25 goals! Someone give that guy Marion Hossa money next year! Oh…we already did? Great!
    People like you are part of the problem. Horc has one good season and it buys him 6 more at premium price, Penner is the same, Pisani had one good 3 month stretch and now he makes 2.5 mill on the 3rd line. Moreau is a 4th liner trapped in a 3rd liners role and he makes 2 mill.
    All those guys are so over-valued it’s disgusting. And you actually defend these guys. Only Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, NYI, Phoenix, and St. Louis do not have a C that is outscoring Whiffcoff. Might I add that Sakic and Lang have been hurt, and Phoenix traded Jokinen.
    Enjoy defending Horc for the next 5 years because next year when the new coach has no emotional attachment to him the guy will be playing the 3rd line.

    It costs more money to keep players here. This is fact.
    How can yo factor in Horcoff's first few years into his average point total? Try averaging his point total since he has been the teams number 1 center. Much more accurate. I said there are better guys out there but he is still a legit number 1. We can't all have Crosby and Malkin on the same team. You really think that if we got say a guy who gets 10-20 more points a year than horcoff, this team would be any better? You sir are batsh*t crazy. He is the least of the problems on this team. Having said that, he could AND SHOULD be doing better. He is capable.

  • Archaeologuy

    @ Travis Dakin:
    Obviously we are destined to disagree on this like Dennis and Brownlee, but did you honestly say that having 20 more points wouldnt do this team any good? Uh, 20 additional points translates into roughly (second assists throw it off)20 additional goals. Do you truly believe that 20 more goals wouldnt help this team?

    There isnt anything batsh*t crazy about that at all! How do you figure that goal scoring or 1st line production isnt a problem on this team? Is this Bizarro land?

    What does it matter if it costs more to get guys here? It's a Cap system and that Cap will be dropping soon. Shouldnt we then be focused on paying the best available guys the most money and filling our plumber positions with cheaper options?

    As the Cap goes down his salary will choke this club's ability to keep actually productive players. Gagner or Cogliano or some other unknown WILL eventually take Horc's spot, and then we will have 3 or so more years of paying a 2nd or 3rd liner elite money.

    Horc is a number one, on about 6 teams after injuries. That doesnt mean he should be paid like Crosby or Malkin, and he will be next season. Classic short-sighted blunder. Do you think Horc would be able to get the same contract on the open market? The guy is completely expendable. He isnt the future and the present isnt all that great. Great second liner, unless he's on Pittsburgh, then he's a 4th liner.

  • As for numbers, at least the ones on this site, they show in no uncertain terms that people want to read what Gregor and I write.

    My research indicates that most of the people who click on yours and Gregor's articles are doing so in the hopes that you'll end up with a pissing match with Dennis in the comments. The credit should probably be shared with him.

  • kingsblade

    @ Tyler:

    I realize you're joking, but I would like to point out that the only reason I started reading this site regularly is because it had input from people like them, and I doubt I'm the only one.

    I appreciate any reasonable source of discussion on just about any sport, but this site stands out partially because of them.

  • Harlie Chuddy

    they were just saying on the news that Sather ponied up a 1Million dollar bond so Pocklington could get out on bail. Also, the Edmonton Oilers provided a lawyer to help Sather.

    And some people refuse to believe there is an old boys club on our team in our league!

  • Travis Dakin

    @ Archaeologuy:
    I will agree that he is overpaid. I will also agree that there are better options out there than him. However, my point about the additional points was that even if we had a Crosby or Malkin on this team we wouldn't be in any better postion. How has Pittsburgh been doing this year anyway? Oh it's nice they've picked it up as of late but they aren't world beaters anymore. How about Tampa with Vince… or Ottawa with Spezza? Obviously the point is that it is a team game. Horcoff can run and gun with 90% of the centers in this league. He out matched Thornton, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Getzlaf and others all the way to games 7. Last year he was just under a point a game.

    Listen, the point here is to take the venom dished at Horcoff and direct it at the real problems on this team ie: Penner, Nilsson, Pouliot, Lack of face-off taking penalty killing center, MacT. His cap hit is 5.5, if he does 70-80 points next year, while doing all the little things that he does now then he will be worth it. If not then I will gladly admit you are right.

    And besides, you only have to worry about him being the number one guy for another 2 years until Sam matures.

  • Dennis

    Trav: I'm really not sure how you could nail 78 as a problem. His cap hit's marginal and he's not getting light up plus/minus wise.

    As much as I can defend 27 – he's our best LW option no matter what he costs – his salary really kills us because he can't cover the bet.

    You can't say the same of 78.

  • Travis Dakin

    @ Dennis:
    I think crticism of Penner is justified. Just because he is our best option at LW doesn't make him good. (speaks to depth) He does have ridiculous potential though which does make the criticism even more justified. I have never understood how Jonathan and Lowetide use guys who have played games as being capable NHLers because I think a lot of these guys are getting time out of necessity. (Lack of organizational depth. Way off topic but the Oilers farm/drafting system has bred next to nothing of "good" NHLers. just capable. anyway…) Like Bisaillion a couple years back. Some of them are only getting time because there are no better options availble.

    Back to topic… I use Pouliot as an example because of where he was drafted and what, 6 years later he doesn't bring to the table. To me he is a poster boy of Oiler talent develpoment. A wasted pick. A capable fringe NHLer but just doesn't consistently bring enough to the table to justify a spot if the Organization had TRUE depth. He brings some tools, but not enough for me.

  • Chris

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Back to topic… I use Pouliot as an example because of where he was drafted and what, 6 years later he doesn’t bring to the table. To me he is a poster boy of Oiler talent develpoment. A wasted pick. A capable fringe NHLer but just doesn’t consistently bring enough to the table to justify a spot if the Organization had TRUE depth. He brings some tools, but not enough for me.

    PURE GOLD!