Running Their Show?

One of the popular phrases in Oilerville is "getting their show run" in reference to the Oilers being unable to execute and match the physical play of their opposition. Is that a phrase we can apply to coach Tom Renney, too?  

So far this season, the Edmonton Oilers are Ryan Smyth’s team again. #94 was flying (as he has all season) and his line was making good things happen. At the same time, the line of RNH-Hall-Eberle was playing a secondary role, and as the game wore on the gap in TOI became more severe. There are several possibilities for this action by the coach:

  • Renney was coaching to win.
  • Renney was using playing time as a teaching tool.
  • Renney was line matching and Minnesota was dictating the chord changes by pushing their top line out again and again.

All of those are good reasons for a coach to double shift his veterans, and we also have to add in Taylor Hall’s recent flu and RNH’s tentative play for (now) the last 2 games. However, that’s the "saw him good" analysis; let’s run a few numbers and see who is getting the results offensively (all numbers via behind the net.ca):

Ryan Smyth

  • EV TOI: 15.48
  • Qual Comp: 3rd toughest among forwards
  • CorsiRel: -12.7 (11th best among forwards)
  • EV points-per-60: 2.58 (2nd best among forwards)
  • Zone Start: 38.2% (3rd toughest among forwards)

This is a very strong line. The CorsiRel is negative, but good God man look at the situation: Smyth is starting in his own zone much of the time, playing the toughest available competition and posting an outstanding point-per-60 number. Ryan Smyth has turned back time (in the good way, not the Cher way) and is the best Oiler forward (in my opinion) early this season. Gabe Desjardins would want me to mention this is a very small sample size and we shouldn’t read too much into the early returns.

Taylor Hall

  • EV TOI: 12.96
  • Qual Comp: 9th toughest among forwards
  • CorsiRel: 21.7 (2nd best number among forwards)
  • EV points-per-60: 0.93 (7th among forwards)
  • Zone Start: 62.5% (2nd easiest among forwards)

Again, this is a small sample size, but we do see that coach Renney is giving the kids all kinds of opportunity against the soft parade (when possible). Hall’s CorsiRel is exceptional, but given the situation we can’t give the kids too much credit for it. The results are better 5×5/60 points for the other two kids and Hall is clearly fighting it a little in the early going. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

 

I think my first reaction ("Renney’s getting his show run!") is not supported by the math. He’s actually going out of his way to give the kid line a chance to impact offensively at evens and until last night aside the playing time was available in spades for the group. 

A few other things: Ryan Smyth is loaded for bear. His early season performance is running circles around his previous seasons and his 5×5/60 number is outstanding. I think we should alter our expectations of Smyth–he’s clearly in great shape and a man on a mission–for this season. Expecting him to play a secondary or support role to Taylor Hall may not happen. This may end up being Ryan Smyth’s team for the entire year, he’s playing that well.

On the other hand, Taylor Hall and the kids should be fine–especially if they get these cherry minutes–but the early season struggles may continue and Sam Gagner’s return to the lineup may impact Ryan Nugent-Hopkins status on the roster. Up until this week, I felt (and still feel) the Nuge belongs, but he played just 10:43 at evens last night and if he can’t be among the top 6F options at even strength then sending him back is the better plan.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    so renney is wrong for line-matching in an attempt to both win and let the kids get their confidence against lesser comp?

    am I reading this correctly?

  • 24% body fat

    sitting RNH isnt to send a message, it would be to let him see the game from the outside and next to a coach to help him.

    While eberle may not have the points rnh does, he is obviously not the same caliber as hall and rnh, but you can really tell the maturity difference in their games.

    When gagner gets back and we have two offensive centers, things will come around. remember whitney has to get back in form and hemsky is also out.

    Things will roll around and rnh will be a star, but everyone got on the bandwagon a little too early from a fast start from the kid.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    WOW! Six games into the second year of a complete rebuild and already so much hate. Last year it was ST didn’t do this, ST didn’t do that. He added some peices this year and now it’s Renney this, Renney that.

    Holy crap people, settle down. This is the SECOND year of our rebuild and we’re only six games in. We’re not gonna go from last place to the Stanley Cup in one year. The worst thing for the kids right now is to have a new coach. I think that’s partly why Gagner hasn’t had a breakout season yet. He’s had 3 different coaches in 4 years.

    Those of you saying Renney is not coaching to win, he’s coaching not to lose. That is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. You don’t become a head coach in the best hockey league in the planet if you’re not coaching to win. Last year we had so few opportunities to blow a lead because we never had it. We’ve been competitive in every game so far. What’s the problem???

  • Quicksilver ballet

    ‘Running Their Show’ is immature… c’mon they’re young guys playing against vets! givem a break! Once Eager shows some of em how to fight they’ll be alright.

    btw, RNH is staying – hatrick his 3rd game… are you kidding me!?!

  • Lowetide

    Wow…certainly lots of response to my Renney comments. I’m not trying to say we should fire Renney, but as a fan, we’re allowed to question what he is doing. I don’t mind him sitting the kids if they aren’t performing.

    But my problem is that he sends out Horcoff and Smyth no matter how they are playing. Take the game against Vancouver last weekend. The kids were outstanding (scored all three goals). Meanwhile, Smyth was in the penalty box for two Canuck goals while it was Horcoff’s man that scored the 3rd Canucks goal. Who led the forwards in icetime…Horcoff and Smyth. Seems like there is a double-standard.

    Secondly, when you are leading 1-0 and send your “defensive” players out there all the time, you are saying one goal is good enough and you’re not looking to score the 2nd goal. How many NHL teams have their best defensive forward leading the team in icetime?

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    To LT, regarding all those who would tell you what you can write, show, talk about, or like:

    “Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

    This from one who has taught us a lot, with surprising poignant and insightful thoughts.

    I like what you do – don’t change…and neither will I. It’s perfect.