BLINDSPOTS: WHAT THE OILERS DON’T SEE

When it comes to organizational blind spots, the Edmonton Oilers seem as incapable of recognizing the importance of having centres who can win face-offs, and doing something about it, as the Philadelphia Flyers have been at finding goaltenders who can stop pucks.

While the Flyers have been unable to get it right in the blue paint since Ron Hextall retired, a weak link that’s been obvious to everybody but the people making the decisions in the City of Brotherly Love, Edmonton’s management has become equally inept at recognizing how badly the Oilers are wanting on the face-off dot.

Ever since the Stanley Cup run of 2006, fans, bloggers and even some MSM types have been looking at the stats and eyeballing Edmonton’s personnel down the middle as the Oilers have slid from the top of the heap on the dot to the depths of futility. If we can see it, why can’t the Oilers?

If they see it, too, might they consider addressing the issue?

That futility was on display yet again in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames, a loss that leaves the Oilers 2-2 on the season and 29th in NHL face-off percentage at 40.2.

ALL THUMBS

As of this morning, not one of Edmonton’s full-time centres is winning draws at even a 45 per cent clip, let alone at 50 per cent, the acceptable cut-off mark for mediocrity.

Shawn Horcoff is 31-45 on the dot for 40. 8 per cent. Sam Gagner is 18-35 for 34.0. Colin Fraser is 20-26 for 43.5. Andrew Cogliano is an abysmal 7-20 for 25.9. Only Gilbert Brule, who shares face-offs with the hopeless Cogliano, has good numbers: he’s 13-6 for 68.4 per cent.

I get it that the percentages from the first four games, taken on their own, aren’t conclusive. But we’ve been talking about the Oilers ineptitude on the dot a lot over the past two seasons. Outside the addition of Fraser, the personnel hasn’t changed. Neither have the results. This has been an area of decline that’s spanned four years, not four games.

In 2005-06, the Oilers were second in the NHL in face-off percentage with 53.4. Jarret Stoll was 56.8. Mike Peca was 54.9. Horcoff was 52.7 and Marty Reasoner was 52.5. In 2006-07, the Oilers slipped to eighth at 51.5. In 2007-08, they finished 12th at 50.5.

In 2008-09, they were 25th at 47.9. Last season, they were 30th at 46.4.

Trend?

FIX IT ALREADY

There are a lot of reasons why the Oilers have been a bad team since the 2006 Cup run. Injuries have played a part. Special teams, too often, have been a laughing stock. Goaltending? Hit and miss.

The constant since Stoll, Peca, Horcoff and Reasoner were a quartet, has been an inability to win face-offs. It shouldn’t be a news bulletin, but, based on the team’s failure to address the matter, it is with GM Steve Tambellini. Outside bringing in Fraser, who was 48.8 per cent in Chicago last season, nothing has been done.

If Tambellini and coach Tom Renney see a fix from within, it escapes me. Cogliano? No. What about Gagner? Maybe. Brule? Another maybe. I expect Horcoff to bounce back, but the Oilers need two centres, at a minimum, who win more face-offs than they lose, no?

I’m not as worried about the relationship — one that’s up to debate — between face-offs and winning and losing games here and now as I am about how this unfolds moving forward. This is a rebuilding team. They aren’t winning jack right now, even if they’re top-10 in the circles.

But down the road two or three years, if everything else goes right and this team is ready to contend, are we going to be talking about the same problem?

— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • I agree with this article about the center position problem. We have been weak up the middle for years with management doing little to nothing about the problem. I mean we as fans can spot the problem and the Oiler’s brain trust can’t? Also we need to be stronger on the back end. Peckham doesn’t cut it! I feel I have the right to voice my concerns for being a 12 year season seat holder. Frustrating!

    • O.C.

      Non holders have a right to complain, as do the holders. It’s not them and us, it’s every fan.

      I didn’t understand the Theo decision either, but I am starting to. He gets better and if he keeps getting better, that’s a scary thought to opposing Fwds.

      A good face off percentage is a lousy trade off if the center can’t play the other parts off the game… Brodziak was NOT the Messiah…. Please.

      Now for a crazy idea… Why not try some of the D at face-offs? Think about it…

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    @ Robin Brownlee – Great points about Gagner. He will develop into an above average to possibly very good 2nd line centerman, but not much more than that. The fact that he is the Oilers #1 centreman speaks more about the state of the team’s depth at that position currently in the organization than anything else. He lacks the size and speed to be more than that. Gagner is a good small complementary player that needs the right linemates to succeed. I know that a lot of people throw out Savard and St. Louis as comparable small skill forwards that eventually developed into top scorers, but those two are the exception, not the rule (and they are both better skaters than Gagner as well).

    You can basically say most of the same things about Cogliano, with the difference being that he has better wheels with weaker offensive ability.

    The problem with most Oiler fans is that they still have unrealistic expectations for both Gagner and Cogliano based on the late season run they both had during their rookie years. Part of this was due to the fact that it had been a few years since the team had drafted good offensive talent (Hemsky). Now that we have more young talent in the system and on the team, they do not look as special (personally, I would take any of the three rookies this year over Gags and Cogs). I wonder if it would have been better for both of them to have started out with 30 point rookie campaigns and built from there instead?

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Another big issue is Oiler fans bar for what is and what isn’t a first line center.

      If 65 really is the typical season for Gagner that Gagner and a few others have suggested, that production would put him at 21/22/23 over the last few years.

      I’d call that a 1C

  • Helmethead

    Robin You’re bang on! The Oil have been below “sub-par” for 3 years. Horc’s shoulder is destroyed due to excessive faceoffs, Brule, Cogs and Gagner aren’t the answer.

    I like Frasers percentage but Horc and Fraser can’t be the only 2 reliable faceoff guys on this squad.

    During the game against Calgary, I noticed Hemsky taking a draw. He won the draw so could he maybe be a possible candidate? He obviously has the eye-hand coordination. What about Penner? He has won his fair share of draws based on pure strength so that maybe an another option.

    Do you think Hall or Eberle who have both played center be of use?
    Thoughts?

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    CNF

    Nobody takes a draws better to their forehand. Nobody. The way you manage that is to have a RH center on the right side and a LH on the left side.

    Or least you do if you have a strong RH and LH center. Horcoff who is good on face offs is now put in position of having to take many RH face offs. That definitely affects his percentage.

    There are good RH centers. And to the extent that Lowe thinks he can develop one, Pitlick, O’Marra and Vandevelde are 2-3 years away

  • Good article. hopefully Tambi reads it or some reporter tells him. He seems pretty blind. Maybe O’mahra is coming up? Duby goes down, he clearly needs to play a year in the minors, no one will take him and keep him on the roster.

  • Ive raised this query before,, but here goes again…..cant Sillinger (a renowned face off guy) help these guys?

    If this lot has been deemed incapable or beyond help… as recent stats indicate… well… its going to be a long year…..again.

    ~That detroit puck possession emulation might have to wait.~

    Personally I would invest a bit of Katz cash into having Coach Drake run a couple little “dot schools” for the boys whose bad technique is only exceeded by their unwillingness to change it.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Another take for all the Gagner bashing that’s been going on.

    Last year their were 51 centers (40+ games) that scored at a higher PPG clip then Ganger.

    Only 5 were 22 or younger

    Crosby 1st overall

    Backstrom 4th overall

    Stamkos 1st overall

    Toews 3rd overall

    Duchene 3rd overall

    Tavares 1st overall

    Of those, only Stamkos, Duchene and Tavares are younger then Gagner.

    Note to Hall/Eberle/MSP, we (Oiler fans) are preaching patience with you guys (rightfully so) however you should be made aware that the patience lasts 3 seasons, or to age 20. Whichever comes first.

    Lets give Gagner at least another 2-3 years before we start trying to run him out of town.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I recall that MacT built quite a successful reputation as a “face-off specialist” when he was a player. Is there any way to incentivize a current member of the Oilers to adopt the same mentality?

  • MAybe there is a possibility we could package Cogliano/JDD for another center that can kill some penalties too? Face-offs & the PK are really sore points the last few games. Konopka(65.5%)or Halpern(58.9%) would have solved this in the summer.

    Hopefully Jordan Staal gets back into the Penguin line-up soon. My Pool needs him, but they have lots of centers & maybe we could get Mark Letestu out of there? He’s just under 50% & would fit into our long term I think.

    • In the long-term, the Oilers need to develop centres who can win draws.

      If they’re going to go out and get one from somebody else, the best target is a guy who has a proven track record — say, five years years in the 55 per cent range at the NHL level. A 50-50 guy isn’t a huge upgrade, unless he’s also that accomplished PK guy you mention.
      On top of that, if you want a player who will be around in 2-3 years, then he can’t be 33-35 now (unless you want a player/mentor/coach like an Oates, who was 41). That cuts down the candidates.

      • In that case, when do we get rid of one of these goaltenders to give Vandevelde a chance? He had a pretty good training camp & was pretty good on the draw. I’m not sure how he is doing now on the dot.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    respectful manner? am i the only one who finds it odd people using fake names to chat about something are looking for respect?

    ***goes back to eating giant block of cheese***

  • Face offs are not just the job of the centre. A centre winning a draw cleanly is very rare, and it’s usually the wingers who are responsible for gaining the puck off the draw.

    The person who spoke of RH and LH centres being stronger on one side is bang on. The other thing to factor in is the draws on the PK.

    The Oilers are getting torched on PK face-offs (as a team they are 10/37 (27%). You expect to have an advantage on the PP, but not to this extent. Conversely the Oilers on the PP are only 15/33 (45%).

    The Oilers wingers have done a dreadful job at getting to the pucks. Most draws now are scrums with the puck popping out 3-4 feet away from the C, and the Oilers are getting beat to these at every turn.

  • Clean draw wins are not “rare.”
    You’re overstating. At the same time, there’s no denying the Oilers have been lousy on the 50-50 pucks. Mind you, there’s less of those if you have an accomplished centre.

    The reason Adam Oates had consistently high face-off percentages wasn’t because he had wingers winning all the 50-50 pucks in every stop with every team of his long career. It’s because he was damn good at taking face-offs. Cogliano isn’t lousy in percentage primarily because his wingers aren’t helping him, it’s because he’s no good on the dot.

    • ubermiguel

      Exactly. And what I see from the Oilers are a lot of faceoff “wins” that are scrambled ugly affairs that take to wingers and d-men time to control and also give the opposing forawrds time to establish the forecheck.

    • They are rare. I’d say less than 30% of faceoffs result in a clean win (which is when the centre is able to get the puck to 5 or 6 feet in the direction he’s trying to win the draw to.

      There are definitely guys who can win them cleanly far better than others, but they are the exception. The difference between being 52% and 48% or a 48% and 44% face-off man is often small.

      The Oilers for a while had guys who were not only good at face-offs (Reasoner, Stoll, etc..) but guys who were good at getting the puck (Smyth, Pisani, Torres). As you strip these guys away and don’t replace them you lose an important part of winning face offs.

      I’m not suggesting that Cogs is 25% because he has no winger support, but the Oilers are hurting at face-offs in general because of the lack of winger support.

      • No, they aren’t “rare.”

        Something that occurs 30 per cent (assuming you aren’t way off in saying clean draws happen that seldom), even 25 per cent of the time in any given game, is not rare.

        No-hitters are rare. Hitting for the cycle is rare. Wanye having a date or a shower is rare. A hat-trick at the NHL level is relatively rare, though not nearly as rare as the previous three examples.

        • Cowbell_Feva

          Way to argue semantics.

          You are calling me out on that while your whole piece essentially says “The Oilers are terrible at face-offs and management doesn’t even know it!”.

          Really?

          • They are not semantics when they go to the heart of your argument. I said you overstated the rarity of clean draws right at the start, and you did. Even with that, I agreed with your suggestion there’s room for improvement in the 50-50 draws, so I’m not sure why you insist on pressing this.

            Now, you’re mocking the context of the item by mistating what it’s about — recognizing the deficiency AND doing something about it — and putting an exclamation point on it with the internet equivalent of the flip-off with “Really?”

            If you’re just here to get under my skin, then GTFO and stop wasting my time.

        • ubermiguel

          “Yes they are!”, “No they aren’t!” Not exactly a high quality debate.

          Dawgbone and RB have inspired me to actually pay attention to draw quality though. Thursday’s game will be a good opportunity to look at a good face-off team v. a bad one. Just looked it up, all of Minnesota’s centres are over 50%!

          I’ll be watching for how many draws are “clean”, how many are won by the non-centres.

          • Don’t characterize me as being in some schoolyard shoving match with the poster you mentioned. He was wrong in characterizing something that happens 25-30 per cent of the time as being rare and I pointed that out.

            If the poster in question didn’t have a habit of coming here and nitpicking because nobody gives a squirt of pee about what he’s writing on his website, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

            One other thing. High quality debates aren’t often the product of an exchange that begins with one of the parties hiding behind a fake name, “ubermiguel.”

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I think on this issue, the criticism is warranted.

      – It is (or at least was) a cheap easy fix.

      – It has been an issue for years.

      – Fixing the issue would help with development (ie allow the young guys to have the puck more often rather then be constantly chasing.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Some funny quotes from Cogliano over the summer:

    “COGLIANO: I’ve had this conversation with Tom, and I’ve thought about this in my own mind too. I believe at centre I’m more efficient than on the wing. Can I play the wing; do I have a problem playing the wing? No I don’t. But I believe the reason I was moved to the wing was because of a couple things. My faceoffs weren’t where they needed to be, and I think this summer I took the valuable steps to making sure I got better on faceoffs. I’m much stronger, and I’ve improved my techniques to make sure I could handle myself in the faceoff dot, because that is a big reason why I’ve lost icetime over the past couple years.
    And I believe in the defensive zone I needed to improve. Now as I’m a litte older, this is my fourth year, I’ve come to realize that being hard at both ends of the rink is very valuable; not only to yourself as a player, but to the team. I believe that the last couple of years a guy like Shawn Horcoff has been taking on that role, too much on his own, as a centreman. You watch him and he plays hard at both ends and is very responsible, and in my own mind that is how I want to be playing. I want to be playing hard at both ends, focus on defence, but when I have a chance in the offensive zone and a chance on the rush to go make plays I will. I’ve had this conversation with Tom a couple times over the summer and he feels the same way.”

    “COGLIANO: This summer was actually the first summer where I skated the whole summer. I’ve never really skated the entire summer before. I usually started in late July or August, but this summer I was on the ice two times a week in May and June just to work on little things. I worked on faceoffs and little parts of my game that needed work. I think that was a big step that I’ve never done before and it really helped my confidence. In terms of faceoffs, not only did I work on strength and physical things, but mentally I studied. I don’t want to say who I watched, but I got Miles, our video guy, to give me video on some of the top faceoff guys in the league. I watched over and over again what they did and what their techniques were. I tried to use them. When I went out on the ice this summer I changed my technigue.
    I feel last year ,and even the last couple years, as I watched myself in video I realized I didn’t have a technique. There were times I would go into faceoffs maybe unfocused or not as hard as I should be. How I think about it now, and think about these guys and how good they are, and how competitive they are in the faceoff dot and how serious it is, it’s definitely woken me up to that part of the game. I believe that by doing this it has made me much more confident in myself going into a faceoff now. The year hasn’t started and I haven’t proven anything yet, but I believe I’m much better off going into a year specifically in that part of the game than I ever have been before.”

  • Personally, I believe that one of the reasons the Oilers specifically did not go out and get a centre who could take faceoffs is that they want this to be a rebuilding year. I don’t think they mind losing games because of that weekness because they want to be in the lottery again this year. Plus, in the long run you don’t want to simply have Yanik Perrault on your team every year, you want Ganger and Cogliano, or whoever else you expect to be your top centres to learn how to take draws on their own. Hopefully a full year of actually playing centre for Ganger (as opposed to be playing every single forward position in a 5 game span like he has for his career so far) will alow him to learn the faceoff dot. If MacT is still around the organization, mabye they should bring him in to show the kids a trick or two on one of their practices. Either way, I believe this is another area where the Oilers want to build from within.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      The problem is none of those guys are getting better on the draw. And the new problem that is arising is Horcoff is getting worse because he is taking too many draws.

      For some reason this team has no problem carrying 3 goalies, but brining in someone that can help teach the young players how to take draws and play defensive hockey just isn’t a need.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Given the correlation that seems to exist between losing draws and losing games, I suggest that the Oilers keep losing draws and by token, keep losing games. Then the solution will present itself… Couturier. The kid is 6’4″ centre and plays like a beast a la Eric Staal.

    Any hockey coach will tell you that faceoffs matter. Tom Gilbert just scored a goal in Minny off of a offensive faceoff win. Winning faceoffs in the offensive zone creates scoring chances. Winning faceoffs in the defensive zone prevents scoring chances. Think of a faceoff following an opponent team icing the puck. They’re dog tired. You win that draw, you have a high probability of creating a quality scoring chance. These are opportunities the Oil are missing out on. We watch the mad dash for the playoffs every year. The difference between the 7th seed and 10th seed is marginal. A point here, a point there, matters. Thus, a goal here or there, matters. Therefore faceoffs matter.

  • If the Oilers address their faceoff deficiencies this season they might win a few more games. How will that help them draft in the top 3 this year? How?

    It’s in the team’s best interest to stay brutal on the dot. This team is already capable of finishing out of the lottery, the last thing I want to see is them to get JUST good enough to ensure they wont make the playoffs OR pick high.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      What good is another lottery pick if the team continues to show they can’t improve? Sooner or later you need to start showing you can improve. If not then kiss good-bye whatever remaining good players we have.

      • That’s a pretty ridiculous thing to say. Why couldnt the core of the team be getting better AND the Oilers pick in the lottery?

        Vets like Penner and Hemsky are obviously looking like they’re maintaining their good play.

        That leaves the young core to look at for the future of the Oilers.

        For me on the NHL club that’s Gagner, Eberle, Paajarvi, Hall, Cogliano, Smid, and Peckham.

        The three kids are raw rookies. How could they not get better? Everything we’ve seen from these kids suggests that they have every chance to be special players.

        Gagner, at 21, is already centering the top line and playing quite well. His most glaring deficiency is on the faceoff dot. If he can prove to maintain his good play on the top line all year and produce 55+ points then that’s clear improvement.

        Smid (24) is coming off neck surgery and is playing against better competition than he ever has before. By the end of the season if he hasnt emberassed himself then he’s clearly improved his role with the club.

        Peckham is breaking into the NHL. If he establishes himslef as a full time player then he’s clearly improved.

        That leaves Cogliano. If he cant improve his lot this year then yes, maybe it is time to move on and let him try his hand in a different situation. He should play either on the wing or on a different club if he cant improve at all this season.

        There are plenty of select INDIVIDUALS who can improve without the team improving all that much. Adding lottery pick players only helps the club. With better goaltending and a healthy group it will be tough to select top 5.

        Adding better F/O men is the wrong move right now. The kids need to learn how to play away from the puck anyway.

    • There seems to be a huge assumption that we’re tanking (effectively) to end up in the basement again this year. And yes, I call it “tanking” when you don’t address known and easily resolvable deficiencies in your team.

      I think its a little early to make that judgement. It appears that while there was a general “we’re OK with sucking this year/play the kids” feeling this summer amongst fans, from the comments on game nights on various sites it’s wildly apparent that Oilers fan patience only goes so far.

      While people don’t mind losing if they can see the end goal, they have a hard time accepting a non-competitive game (like we saw in Minny and to a smaller extent in Calgary). Not addressing obvious holes in my opinion is NOT being competitive. Bottom line for me as a fan – are we or are we not an NHL team, whose entire goal should be playing to win?

      • Chaz

        You are so right. Management must want to tank. But I go to the games at the rink and I want to be entertained.

        They would sell more goods , beer and food not to mention a play off gate for two games if they would have dealt with the issues laid out by Oilers Nation.

    • guymez

      I sense your comment was tongue in cheek, but what the hell…I’ll comment anyway.
      One would think that winning faceoffs might help with the development of players like Hall, Paajarvi and Eberle. Puck possession as opposed to chasing and retrieving after 70% of the faceoffs would be a nice change of pace.

  • Chaz

    I agree with the need for addressing face offs, but to me the more glaring deficiency facing this team, as it was last year, is their inability to make good passes. (Keep in mind I was out of town for the first two games and am only basing this observation on the games in Minny and Calgary)

    In my opinion Renney and the coaches should be focusing on basic fundamentals every practice until these guys start making some passes with the regularity you’d expect with professional players. Face offs may not be as coachable of an action, but surely passing is.

  • misfit

    I’m a bit surprised at what appears to be panic setting in on October 17th. What happened to “this is a process” and “don’t expect great things this year”? And as far as seeing improvement, how the hell can anybody reasonably guage improvement after 4 lousy games?

    In my opinion there are 2 unshakable facts.
    1. The Oilers brass can also read a stats line and understand something needs to be done to improve in the face off dept.
    2. Of the top 9 forwards there is not one single physical hockey player (with all respect to Brule throwing his 170 lbs around). The point being the player mix is still not right and there will be changes.

    Relax everybody, it’s 4 games in!

  • misfit

    The Oilers’ biggest problem IMO is the fact that they can’t kill a penalty, much more than the fact that they can’t win a faceoff. I don’t know how much of a good PK depends on faceoff prowess, but I’m sure it can’t hurt. The thing is, most of the penalty killers they saw leave without being replaced also happened to be their top faceoff men as well (Peca, Stoll, Reasoner). That said, they’ve lost all their good PK defensemen too without replacing them.

  • Deciphering the B.S. and sales pitch of management with their built in excuses for not filling voids is most annoying here . Insulting the integrity of the fans i call it ! From within could be anywhere from tomorrow to eternity with present group . How many years has it been already , yet we still get worse ?

    No faith or trust in management ? See nothing positive being done to lead me to believe otherwise . Same runarounds just new twisted excuses .

  • misfit

    I don’t comment here much, because I don’t spend time researching details or stats – but I was just discussing with after the game on Saturday.

    Winning draws is huge. If you’re on a team that wins the majority of draws, your mindset is much higher at the face-off than if you’re expecting to lose the draw because history dictates your expectations.
    It’s not just penalty killing. It’s creating plays and maintaining puck possesion and it goes a long ways to affecting overall morale.

    I think working a trade involving Hemsky for a good centre is a viable idea. I love watching him and he is easily the most talented player on the team but his effectiveness does match what I see as his potential.
    It may come back and bite us as he turns into a superstar with another team but I really don’t see him dominating as he should with the Oilers. He’s a valuable asset that should get a good return.

    Also it would help get Paarvi off the Brule/Cogs line.

    just a thought an ignorant fan.

  • misfit

    We don’t need to be trading valuable assets here that will cause even more unfilled voids down the line ! We have plenty of other ways to address those voids beyond trading valuable assets , if only management was capable of doing so , which doesn’t appear to be the case unfortuneately .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The length of Taylors shifts seems to be garnering some attention this week. The trend in todays game leans towards a shorter more energetic shift for most players, i say let Hall have at’er. Nothing wrong with a one minute shift give or take, put him with a couple other guys that have the same stamina that he has. What is there to lose, other than fewer too many men oti penalties as well as the awkward 3-4 second transition between lines. There’s much for Taylor to learn in the coming years but perhaps Taylor could show the Oilers a new thing or two as well, let the future captain of this team alone.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Even-strength faceoff numbers from last season (min. 200 draws):

    Brule: 52.6%

    Potulny: 48.4%

    Horcoff: 48.3%

    Penner: 47.1%

    Gagner: 47.0%

    Pouliot: 43.8%

    Cogliano: 42.3%

  • Crash

    Robin you stated that Horcoff was 31/45 with a 40.8 % faceoff percentage? That would equate to 68%? Or did you mean to say 21/45 which would be 46%. To be 40.8% he would have to be 18/45. Could you please check that faceoff percentage again for us.

    please and thankyou.

    p.s. To all of the OilerNation. Get out and Vote.Make your vote count. Don’t sit on the sidelines.Make yourself heard as we do on OilersNation.

      • Cowbell_Feva

        Thank you I missed the dash. I read 31/45 rather than 31 wins and 45 losses. Thank you for the clarification. My mistake. Either way the point you made regarding faceoffs is clear. The team needs to get better. Does it need to get better now. Or does the team include that in its plan for the teams development over the next few years. It would be easier to trade for a competent faceoff man but at what cost to the team longterm? I would prefer we have the puck rather than have to expend energy chasing it 2/3 of the time. But what I think matters diddly to what the goals of the team are in the longterm.

  • Replace Gagner, Cogliano with Stoll and Reasoner and this is still a bottom 5 hockey club.

    Edmonton could win 100% of faceoffs every game this year and they would still miss the playoffs.

    Gagner could win 100% of his draws and still wouldn’t be as good as Chicago’s 3rd line center David Bolland.

    Horcoff could make only make only 3.5 million dollars a year and he would still be making 2.4 million more than Dom Moore who is a much better hockey player than Horcoff.