This Generation’s Stan Weir

This is Stan Weir. He is a very important figure in Oilers history, because of his role on the first three Oiler NHL teams. He was a vital part of the group in 79-80, his role began to fade the following season (as detailed by Peter Gzowski in his classic book The Game of Our Lives).

Weir did the difficult work until the gifted kids could take on the chores, and in that way lives forever in Oiler lore. 

In the past few days, we’ve heard Steve Tambellini talk about adding a veteran presence (wanted a C, would settle for a W) and the truth is the club could use both of those player types (a Mike Peca and a Fernando Pisani).

Free agents don’t flock to 30th place teams, but they will in future years with the opportunity to play alongside more mature versions of Hall, MPS and Eberle.

In the absence of this free agent signing (unlikely this summer as the quality UFA’s slowly sign with other teams) the "Stan Weir" role will probably fall to Shawn Horcoff. He is the most complete player among the forwards (which is not the same as most talented) and he has displayed a willingness to do whatever is asked of him.

He has been to a SCF, he blocked a shot with his face in an important playoff game, he is a leader and he can help show the way. He did not (apparently) associate himself too closely with the veteran group (Souray, Moreau) that has been flushed (or will be flushed).

Horcoff will likely start the season on the top two lines, but as the kids develop (and possibly by next year) the trip down the depth chart will begin (as it did with Weir). By this time next season, Sam Gagner might be the 1C, the top 4 wingers might include Hall, MPS and Eberle, and Shawn Horcoff might be on the checking line.

Fans associate Shawn Horcoff with his massive contract and that’s human nature. I do hope the boos give way to cheers at some point, as Horcoff’s role on the new Oilers will be the most difficult one on the roster.

  • Oiler_in_Mexico

    I guess it’s OK to boo Horcoff if you paid money to go see him play, but lemme ask you (anyone) this:

    Hasn’t Horcoff been banged up over the past couple of years? Could that not be the reason why he hasn’t produced as well?

    I mean, it sounds like even his detractors are willing to concede that he’s a “hard worker” who would be a good influence on the kids. Could they not also concede that he hasn’t been 100 per cent healthy since, oh, 2007 or so?

    And no, I’m not suggesting he’s not overpaid. He is. But, at some point, we all have to get over that. He ain’t going anywhere, so what’s the point of booing him?

    • GSC

      If his health has been an issue (particularly his shoulder), then why didn’t he sit out the remainder of last season and heal up? Why did he continue to play? If he’s in that much pain and unable to perform, he shouldn’t have been playing. He could have spent much of last season healing and working on that shoulder.

      Instead, he played and that’s the only thing that matters. Obviously he wasn’t “injured enough” to warrant him missing games, so what else can we go on? He played, had an awful season, and that’s that. Hold him to it rather than making excuses.

      • BBOil

        GSC – Team Orange wrote

        “If his health has been an issue (particularly his shoulder), then why didn’t he sit out the remainder of last season and heal up? Why did he continue to play? If he’s in that much pain and unable to perform, he shouldn’t have been playing. He could have spent much of last season healing and working on that shoulder.

        Instead, he played and that’s the only thing that matters. Obviously he wasn’t “injured enough” to warrant him missing games, so what else can we go on? He played, had an awful season, and that’s that. Hold him to it rather than making excuses.”

        See where you are coming from, especially considering how many other guys were hurt throughout the year and packed it in, but maybe, just maybe, Horcs decided to earn some of that big contract on the ice rather than in rehab. If he was hurt and it was effecting his game I’d rather he packed it in too, but I can’t blame the guy for going out and battling through it either.

  • I really hope Horcoff has healed up somewhat over last year and we see a bounce back from him. Like others have said here, he has a passion for this team and he is going to be very valuable in this transition.

    By the time the next few seasons are over, maybe we’ll all find it in our hearts to “take our shirts off, for Horcoff” (via FLAMESSUCK).

  • GSC

    Horcoff will continue to be associated with his massively inflated contract, as he should be.

    He’s the highest paid forward on the club, and he was paid because of points put up in the prime of his career. Point being, he was paid to score. As Lowetide has argued time and time again, Horcoff is supposedly a 1st line centre. So, once he produces like a top centre, then I’ll stop considering his $5.5 MIL cap hit.

    I do agree that he will likely be named captain, however.

  • MrCondor

    Prediction: Spends the season 70/30 between the 2nd and 1st lines respectively. 60 points for this year but will still be a minus player because his young wingers will not be defensively responsible.

    That might be optimistic, but I really want him to bounce back – He’s a character guy and shows a lot of class.

  • Oiler_in_Mexico

    Excellent post LT. I sincerely hope Shawn retires as an Oiler. He is a smart man, a great player and an excellent member of the Edmonton community that we can all be proud of.

  • Ender

    I won’t be surprised when Horcoff is captain either. And if/when that happens, I don’t view it as a bad thing. I think the kids could learn a lot from a guy who’s willing to play through 3/4 of a season in pain every day, strapped together with duct tape and bailing wire after every game. Horcoff’s performance was hampered last season, there is no doubt, but he personifies the term ‘heart’. I hope the kids are taking notes.

  • The guy hasnt been healthy for 3 seasons. HOPEFULLY his shoulder is finally 100%, then maybe he can get his mojo back. He finished the year on the 3rd line last year, unless he actually proves to be a better option in the top 2 then he should start the year on the 3rd line.

    Contrary to what Chris might believe, I dont hate Horcoff. I just think he will never again be the guy he was in his prime before the shoulder injury.

  • Tracie

    LT: You’re absolutely right. While there’s reason for optimism with the new wave of Hall, Eberle and MPS etc., Horcoff is going to be a key transitional player.

    He’s well-suited to that role for several reasons, and I won’t be surprised if/when he’s named captain.

  • Tracie

    it wouldn’t upset me at all if Strudwick and Horcoff took a few of these kids into their homes and under their wing… get some home cooked meals and some great leadership examples instead of bar food and partying!

    Any word on what the Oilers plan to do with the kids after hockey practice is over? I mean, Lemieux took Crosby under his wing…i think we need to have these kids house with some veterans instead of leave them out on their own…any thoughts?

  • Homie

    No one can argue with Horcoff’s compete level, but you still have to execute. I think that most fans can stomach his contract if he gets 50 to 60 points, wins most of his faceoffs, is an effective PKer and can shut down some top centres.

    The problem is, he failed miserably at all those last year.

    I truly hope he can turn his game around because he is a key piece of the puzzle until 2015.

  • Chris.

    ~But, But, whiffcoffsucks… He’s the worst center on the Oilers, makes Hemsky bad, and he makes $7million bucks….~

    *Back to vacant slack jawed mouth breathing stance*

  • 9 Inches Uncut

    Work habits.

    Horcoff doesn’t have Hemmer’s skill, but I’ve always imagined that if Hemmer had Horc’s drive he’d have been Forsberg and back again already.

    In short, Horc’s a selfless, diligent, hardworking player that I’d rather have the kids trying to emulate than Magic Man Ales Hemsky.

  • Weirfan

    I agree 100%. Stan Weir is a prime example of a role that Horcoff should emulate. Hopefully the kids take enough of the spotlight off of him that he can just go out and do what he does best. The little things.

  • For this team to be at all successful a guy like Horcoff is invaluable in my opinion. Even if his contract is a bit large, you can’t deny that he’s smart, articulate and has shown good leadership qualities. What more can you ask for?