What Magnus Paajarvi Needs To Do More Frequently

I’ve recently started re-watching Oilers games from last season, partly for a new statistical project and partly because I like watching hockey games and the AHL season hasn’t started yet. Anyway, watching the Oilers’ season opener, I was struck by the play of Magnus Paajarvi.

Paajarvi stormed down the right wing, blew past the defenceman, and charged the net. He didn’t end up scoring – ultimately he went right past goaltender Brent Johnson and into the back of the net, but failed to take the puck with him – but it was the kind of aggressive, power-forward move that he tries all too infrequently.

Here’s what Sportsnet colour commentator (and ex-NHL’er) Louie DeBrusk had to say about the play:

Great drive wide, and I like seeing this from Magnus Paajarvi. He’s a big body, he’s strong. He came into camp in terrific shape, made great strides in the off-season with his conditioning. He goes right through the five hole of Brent Johnson into the net. You like to see that reckless abandon, driving himself into the net and testing the defence.

Paajarvi had a good game anyway – he was flying all night and spent a lot of time advancing the puck – but that power forward dimension is one he doesn’t always show and if he could add it to his game it could make him a star.

Back to Draft Day

Paajarvi was highly-touted back in 2009, when the Oilers made him the 10th overall pick at that summer’s draft. The reaction of most draft followers – myself included – was surprise that Paajarvi fell to 10th overall, and there was no mistaking Steve Tambellini’s excitement as he made the pick.

Still, there’s a quote from that time period that interested me at the time, one that I’ve mentioned previously. It’s from an anonymous NHL scout, and was included in The Hockey News’ 2009 Draft Preview edition:

With his ability to get around forwards and the way the game is called now, he’ll draw two minor penalties a game with his outside speed. Once he gets not to fear that initial step to the net, it will be huge. It’s just not natural for him yet.

It’s an almost prophetic comment in retrospect; the only problem is that Paajarvi hasn’t learned to drive toward the net on a regular basis, yet. But, now as then, the potential’s there for him to add that move to his repertoire more consistently.

Maybe he won’t. Paajarvi’s a profoundly talented player, even without a power forward mentality – he’s blessed with tremendous skating ability and he has the kind of two-way instincts that very few players his age possess. I think he’s going to be a useful NHL’er for a long time.

But it’s hard, watching him drive to the net as he did against Pittsburgh, not to wonder just how good he could be if he played with just a little more aggression.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

    • Woogie

      Too busy crying on the fact the NFL and the NFL refs are able to bargain until midnight to strike a deal but the NHL and the NHLPA can’t seem to meet for langer than 1 hour weeks apart from meetings.


  • The problem I’ve noticed with Paajarvi is that he doesn’t get the puck in time to take the defenders wide.

    If someone could hit him at top speed with the puck at centre, he’d be able to open up all kinds of options with his speed.

    Unfortunately, he seems to get the puck a lot from a stand still, and while he’s fast, it’s really hard to beat NHL calibre defenders wide when you start at the blueline from a dead stop.

  • Calvin

    I’m rooting for Paajarvi along with all of you, but haven’t the Oilers fulfilled the need for a power forward with Hall?

    Also Willis you ended your headline in a preposition. Jus’ sayin’ 🙂

  • OilClog

    Watching Paajarvi is heart breaking because it looks like he has all the tools, but doesn’t use them to his advantage. Going into the corners, he always seems to avoid the hit, which results in losing the puck.

  • OilClog

    Is hall little ? I think all this talk of small forwards is a little weird . I’ll take crazy skilled players over big ones every time. Big forwards create space and super skilled ones do the same thing but score too. I think if we have hall,paarvi, and hartikinan we’ll be fine. Plus we have some god guys in the pipeline.

  • Spydyr

    Said this before.Sit PRV down with a whole bunch of Glen Anderson tapes.Show him how to cut to the net.

    The when he is suitable impressed tell him it was before mag-nets.Well some of them anyhow.

  • Wasn’t that quote about PRV the same one we heard about Cogliano a couple of years ago?? I kid, I kid…

    I agree that Magnus will be spectacular if he drives the net on a regular basis… I wouldn’t classify him as a ‘power forward’ though.. But once he gets that consistency – dare we say Glen Anderson #2 (without the jerk-like attitude)??

  • OilDoug

    The kid is 21. Leave him alone and let him find his way. He can skate, make good plays and has a knowledge of the 2-way game. Put him in a top 6 role with consistent linemates and let him play that way for 20+ games, if not the whole season. I think you would be surprised with what you might get. Last year when he played with Horcoff and Hemsky the kid started to find his game until Renney mixed up the lines as he seemed to do every 3 games.

    If he doesn’t become the second coming of Glenn Anderson he’s going to be at worst a 15 goal scorer on your 3rd line who can step up in a pinch.

    To win you need all kinds of players and MPS is a valuable piece.

    • I hate to admit this but I’m almost agreeing with Quicksilver – sort of…

      You’re right about how MPS was handled last year… He can’t be bouncing around the lineup… But if MPS can’t figure out and develop into our top six – I’m not sure he has the aggression or physicality to play on a 3rd line…

      I’m not saying that he’ll need to learn how to throw down 10 times a year, but if you have MPS on your 3rd line (IMO) – you’re wasting a roster spot… You already have guys on the roster to fill the 3rd line – Jones, Hartikanen, Smyth, Eager (to a lesser extent)…. They all can chip in the 10 to 15 goals and play way more physical… I’m not saying these guys are more skilled than MPS, but MPS will need to learn to play way more aggressively… Otherwise – you’re trying to pound a round peg into a square hole…

      • OilClog

        How exactly can he figure out how to play in the NHL and develop his skills in the press box or on the 4th line or in a checking role?

        Why do people keep saying he needs to play more aggressively?!?! He barely played and when he did, he was driving the puck to the opposition goalie.. what more is a 21yr old kid left hanging out to dry suppose to do to quiet the crickets? score a hat trick every night? smack Renney in the mouth and tell him he’ll take any shift he wants?! I’m confused by all this. The kid is a player, he’s 21, he’s allowed a few bumps, he’s still one of the best prospects we have by a mile. Only Hall puts the defenders on their butts like MPS can, the kid isn’t a marshmellow.

        • MessyEH!

          You missed my point… If we expect MPS to be on the 3rd line – he’ll have to play more aggressively… He’ll need to learn how to play the body alot more if he isn’t in our top six… I do agree with you in the sense that Renney didn’t handle him properly – but his skill set is for a top six role… Renney/Tambo should have sent him to OKC twenty games sooner than they did last year rather than having him up in the press box.

          You’re right – MPS is the best prospect (not named Yakupov, Schultz or Klefbom) we have… I’d just hate for us to waste that prospect on a 3rd line – unless he adds a couple more tools to his tool kit (aggression and consistency at the top of the list)…

          • DSF

            You missed my point… Aggression doesn’t equal thunderous bodychecks – but being ‘hard to play against’ and learning how to finish checks.. Cleary and Marchant evolved into effective 3rd line players because they were both hard to play against on a nightly basis… MPS hasn’t proven any of that and from what I see doesn’t have that skill set… You’re right that you’d never see them lay out bodies on a TSN high light reel… But you see them finish their checks, never get caught out of position and play an extremely scrappy style of hockey…

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    The problem for Magnus is that he did this during his short stint under Kruger and played well, but as soon as Renney came back he was demoted and sent back down. I can remember Gregor posting in his blog that day and discussing on the radio that Paajarvi looked totally lost as he had done exactly what they had asked him to and he was still punished by being sent back to OKC.

    Part of that was due to numbers – Tambi wasted too many contracts on older 3rd and 4th line players (including Smyth) – but a lot of it had to do with Renney playing the vets. I still cannot figure out why he stuck with that after Christmas when it was clear that they were bottom dwellers again. They should have auditioned the young guys earlier to see what holes could be filled internally for the next season rather than via more UFAs.

  • OilClog

    MPS is still completely capable of rocking the top 6. Many a players have had horrible sophmore slumps, I believe his was more coaching related then anything. Renney couldn’t manage his own tie last season, it’s not a shock to see a player have a fall off like he did when you’re relugated to playing with the Belangers of the team.

    The only way MPS is going to get to be more confident driving to the net in the NHL is a coaching push with ice time. He has it in him, it’s just do the Oilers have the coaching staff to be able to properly harness his energy and get the most out of him. I think he will take great strides of improvement under Ralph.

  • OilDoug

    Notice what side he is driving the net from. I firmly believe MPS should be a right winger. His shot isn’t good enough to score from the left side, but I have seen him unleash some deadly one-timers from his off-wing(that game tying/winning goal in the Calder Playoffs to name one).

    It’s a shame we have a log jam on the right side because it is the position this player should be in.

  • B S

    Renney’s two-tiered accountability (Veterans always get TOI, kids don’t) butchered Paajarvi. From game one last season it was easy to see what Paajarvi’s problem was. It wasn’t compete level, it wasn’t fitness, it wasn’t skating. He was among the best on the team for all of these.

    It was his shooting, and not necessarily where he was shooting from. He seemed to consistently shoot for the logo, or the pads, despite having lots of room. Watching Paajarvi shoot was like going to the dentist.

    All Renney had to do was take him over and say “if you’re out there all alone, go for the money shot, force him to make a save.” And if Renney felt Paajarvi didn’t have those shots then send him down to work on it, and keep him there for the season. Instead he sits Paajarvi to play Eager, or Hordichuck.

  • OilClog

    When I watch MPS play I can’t help thinking that he is very similar to Radek Dvorak during his time in Oilers silks. Play was impressive around the perimeter but his effectivenss diminished the closer he got to the net

  • DSF

    Paajarvi’s shooting percentage in his last SEL season, including playoffs, was 5.5%

    In his first NHL season, when, due to injury he had the second most TOI among forwards of the entire team, his shooting % was 8.8% and he still managed only 15 goals.

    Paajarvi’s 5V5 P/60 in his rookie season was 1.36.

    To put that into context, he was 219th among NHL forwards behind such notables as Rob Shremp, Fernando Pisani, Chuck Kobasew and Ben Eager.

    Last season, in the NHL, his shooting % was 2.5%.

    Last season, in the AHL his shooting % was 7.7%.

    This is NOT a top 6 forward.

    Going forward, we are likely to see a player who struggles to adapt his game to a third line role. He certainly has the tools but the toolbox needs some tweaking.

    • OilClog

      Really bud.. What sort of success did Magnus have as a junior player? why focus in on one bad sophmore season.. He had a very fine rookie campaign, the fact that he had the second most TOI as a freaking rookie on a badly injured and depleted team is sensational! HE LASTED!

      He’s 21.. why does he have to punch through walls to be successful? why when the Oilers have the Offensive depth they have do we have to have a 3rd line checking line?? why not three scoring lines? what would magnus’s stats look like if he actually got a chance to play with RNH, Eberle, or Hemsky for an extended period of time.. hell even SAM?!?! the kid is hockey smart, he lacks alittle confidence on a 29th place team.. go figure. We better dump on him, and run him out of town. He only shows up doing anything they ask of him putting the team first, what a failure he hasn’t notched 30 yet.

  • The Soup Fascist

    The problem for Magnus is that he did this during his short stint under Kruger–PLAYING A DIFFERENTLY INTERPRETED SYSTEM— and played well, but as soon as Renney came back–AND REINTERPRETED THE SYSTEM– he was demoted and sent back down. I can remember Gregor posting in his blog that day and discussing on the radio that Paajarvi looked totally lost as he had done exactly what they had asked him to and he was still punished by being sent back to OKC.

    Part of that was due to numbers – Tambi wasted too many contracts on older 3rd and 4th line players (including Smyth) – but a lot of it had to do with Renney playing–A SYSTEM THAT FORCED HIM BY PROXY TO PLAY– the vets. I still cannot figure out why he stuck with that after Christmas when it was clear that they were bottom dwellers again. They should have auditioned the young guys earlier to see what holes could be filled internally for the next season rather than via more UFAs.

    Where is the system definition and accountability??

    MPS is still completely capable of rocking the top 6. Many a players have had horrible sophmore slumps, I believe his was more coaching —SYSTEM–related then anything. Renney couldn’t manage his own tie—SYSTEM— last season, it’s not a shock to see a player have a fall off like he did when you’re relugated to playing —IN A SYSTEM–with the Belangers of the team.

    The only way MPS is going to get to be more confident driving to the net in the NHL is a coaching push—-SYSTEM CHANGE– with ice time. He has it in him, it’s just do the Oilers have the coaching staff—SYSTEM— to be able to properly harness his energy and get the most out of him. I think he will take great strides of improvement under Ralph—A NEW SYSTEM—.

    Where is the system definition and accountability?

    Both OPS wrote excellent posts that pretty much covered every possible dynamic influence ,except no one has even quantified the SYSTEM the team uses or its VALUE or IMPORTANCE TO EVERYTHING DISCUSSED.

    Its the coach,its the lack of ice-time,its the playing with Bellanger,its the vets geeting minutes,its the coach agai,its a sophmore slump,its lack of a coaching push,its inability of entire staffs to harness potential———— true as the sky is blue.

    There is only one word that fits into all of these dynamics as a common SOLUTION,or a common ROOT CAUSE OF THE PROBLEMS THEMSELVES,and that word is SYSTEM–SYSTEM–SYSTEM.

    The blame is smeared all around very effectively but the real cancer is absolutely skirted and intentionally ignored.

    Because no one talks about SYSTEMS,NHL teams supress any discussion about SYSTEMS because SYSTEMS delegate FINITE RESPONSIBILITY.And if you have a structure that defines FINITE RESPONSIBILITY then you cannot escape accountability and pass blame down the line very well.

    Systems are dynamic concepts that arent the easiest concepts to incorporate into discussions in a tangible manner,so people avoid being or remaining in that position.Its a natural reaction to stay in ones comfort zone,its why all players dont become coaches,not everyone is cut out for it.

    Magnus is IMHO a core asset and given the right SYSTEM generated opportunity he will be a consistant contributor to team and SYSTEM sucess.Magnus has shown us how his skillset contributes when he is asked to play for two coaches with two different SYSTEM interpretations,the same SYSTEM but two SYSTEM perspectives which ask him to provide very different contributions in every way.
    The personell applications from a SYSTEM standpoint as viewed by each coach are very different,so in Kruegers SYSTEM perspective Magnus was teamed with different personell than he was teamed with when he was coached by Renny using his own different SYSTEM perspective and resulting personell decisions.
    The only way the Oilers as an organisation will sucessfully harness Magnus and others vast talent and skillset is if they find-engage-and consistantly execute a SYSTEM perspective that will create coach supported SYSTEM INDUCED opportunitys for them to contribute.No man is an Island and under no circumstances do I expect Magnus to be a martyr for a past lack of organisational SYSTEM SUITABILITY AS PER EXISTING PERSONELL ,or the basic lack of SYSTEM CONTINUITY.

    For that matter why should Renney,or Penner or Souray,or Krueger,or the scouts or Kevin Lowe or the stickboy or the training staff,or any individuals be tagged with the accountability that should be attatched to a SYSTEM identity??Why should we require scapegoats and make excuses out of our comrades??Because we have no definable ,superior consistant SYSTEM DEFINITION OR PRESENTATION to blame things on or to analyse to make repairs or adjustments—so we cannibalise our great Dynastic organisation year after year ,eating ourselves up trying to find a solution to what ails us.

    The only place we havent looked for a solution is right in front of our noses—we havent looked at the SYSTEM because no one has any clue what SYSTEM their own team even uses??

    Go ahead hockey writeing pros,describe and define the Oilers SYSTEM that they execute??You would think that this is the easiest thing for a hockey fan,writer,or analyst to do wouldnt you??Start digging my friends,its hard to find any committment or discussion about SYSTEMS of any kind coming from the Oilers and as a result anyone else including writers.

    Coaching changes,player changes tons of personell changes,equipment changes,transportation changes,fitness regime changes,the list is endless and each item has a COMMONALITY,they are all DEFINABLE—-so we are uprooting,ripping out,destroying,and replacing everything we can DEFINE and quantify that is within our reach,right??

    What monster is hiding under our bed here in Edmonton?What is scaring us so much we are eating ourselves alive,we once were champions,now we are mere shadows and shells of that ,WHY?What have we missed in our scorched earth approach???We have covered everything definable so far so what could possible be left??What core value organisationally have we overlooked either intentionally or unintentionall??SYSTEM–SYSTEM–SYSTEM–SYSTEM–.Now lets solve the problem,its easy ,writers and hockey pros–define the Oilers SYSTEM so we can make sure it isnt the Monster we are hunting??Or coaches define the SYSTEM you are using so we can rest assured it isnt the Monster we are hunting??

    Only one thing has been guarded like the freaking Holy Chalice here in Edmonton,and that is SYSTEM IDENTITY AND DEFINITION.But who in their right minds would cannabalise themselves or a DYNASTY to protect the identity and definition of a simple SYSTEM of play??

    Man they werent hiding it or protecting the SYSTEM.
    I will tell you who would be forced to participate in and witness the dissection of a Dynasty,people who never initially had a SYSTEM knowledgebase after MESSIER left and took the SYSTEM we were useing here to win many Cups with him in his HEAD.That measn EVERYONE who remained here post Messier,because from that day on we have floundered without a definable and quantifiable SYSTEM of play.

    There is no book on the SYSTEM we play here because some very strong and committed people tried to salvage as much of the Dynastys majic as they could and they went all out to preserve the core values they were able to identify and quantify,the problem is that first Wayne then Mark were the keys to the SYSTEM we used,they were the CATALYSTS,they and their heads were the SYSTEM BOOK for a Dynasty,no one questioned their sucess or its source while the fires were burning hot,and when Messier left everyone was to vain to accept he was the SYSTEM itself,and they missed the boat,just like LA did by letting Wayne run their SYSTEM through the regular season and then when the real chips were down the made SYSTEM adjustments that took Wayne out of the equation,missed the boat they did.Mark won in NY because they trusted him to drive the bus ALL THE WAY HOME,they didnt kick him out of the drivers seat as soon as they saw the driveway coming up.One player CAN catalyse a SPECIFIC type of SYSTEM.It has been documented right here repeatedly.

    We have been trying to function for decades by superimposing many dimensions or core values of what we saw as the Dynasty SYSTEM–onto our chosen flavor of the day SYSTEM BOOK,but with no sucess,because we havent recognised that it is a unique and special relationship between coaches and catalysts and the rest of the team that allows this Dynasty type of SYSTEM to be operated by players sucessfully like Wayne and Mark both managed to do.

    Its the only way we can explain Dynasty performance ,unless we attribute everything to Waynes and Marks statistical or physically manifested contributions—-thats not very realistic now is it??

    The problem comes in when you try to replace the BRAIN and BOOK of the system on the ice –with a simple physical asset skilled as it may be–when these catalysts leave,you cant do it,they leave with all the party favors in their pockets.But they take their minds with them and if they are allowed to be conductors they will still drive a sucessfull train anywhere they land–unless you harness their abilitys by shutting them out of system management on every level,because they are CATALYSTS of a SYSTEM they own in their heads,they couldnt even write a book on it for you,its their nature.They are natural leaders and visual thinkers.They can handle keeping the SYSTEM BOOK in their beanbags,they are very very rare,Wayne was born Mark learned how to think visually on the ice.

    Magnus has a lot to offer the Oilers and I hope we see him a lot very soon,he doesnt need to change anything,we just need a system that knows how to use him and his skillset,its the coaches who have to weave the players into the SYSTEM that will create wins here,we dont have the ability or privilage of an on-ice general to adjust on-the-fly because we dont have a SYSTEM that embraces that mentality yet.So we need a concrete SYSTEM definition as per the COACHES SYSTEM INTERPRETATION to enable us to create a baseline from which we can asses analyse and predict Magnuses past,current,and future dynamic contributions and suitability to the SYSTEM itself.

    It seems like our coaches have all been sitting by the fireplace waiting for Santa to bring a superior SYSTEM and eating his cookies right beside us all along.Arent they supposed to already have met Santa??

    I wonder if Ralph has Reindeer tracks in his backyard because I sure hope he has a SYSTEM BOOK to refer to that we can ALL read along with—I know thats like a christmas wish but I guess it is already almost October right??

    We will have a championship here when we have a true and accountable leader who has no fear of disclosure or critique along with organisational support in that mindset–TRUST BABY TRUST– either on the ice or off the ice,we have a legion of men willing to take shots for this team,many are quasi-leaders,but we need a CATALYST for everyone to rally around,it doesnt even matter at this low point where the sucker comes from,man,we need a hero here.A SYSTEM is an ideal,men die for ideals every day they are powerful—thats why they are only handled by a head-coach,a SYSTEM CATALYST{WayneG} is like a Flag that EveryMan can rally around at any given moment on the ice OR on the bench,a SYSTEM component is a non-catalyst PLAYER who recognises the entire SYSTEM and is comfortable being a critical component and can handle the pressure which is the greatest from this perspective,our strongest are always at the BOTTOM because they are our true strength and foundation.

    And a SYSTEM JUNKIE is just like ME.Once you taste what a superior defined SYSTEM has cookin,you never go back to anything less,I have never won a single thing in my life without the full support of a SYSTEM of one type or another.SYSTEM SYSTEM SYSTEM,Ahhhh that feels much better.

    With NHL defencemen Maggie needs to just lean on them sooner as he starts to cut in,I guess that means he need to start to cut sooner to the net,and initiate contact,with smaller d-men who are slower and less experienced maggie could just skate and wait for them to lean on him and them he REACTED off their initial contact and used their tilted angle to his advantage,NHLers are ALL aware of this angleing tactic and will take it every time.

    Its simple and he doesnt need to change his catalyst or original tactic,just double up the jab man,cut sooner,let them lean on you then absorb ,then counter again when they are angled as he likes,the issue is that the first contact when he cuts in early will be a terminal decision by the d-man and he will get blasted hard,so what,if he cuts early enough he will catch the d-man pulling up and have an advantage in speed velocity and power,AND if he can absorb and continue the d-man is stranded,maybe he needs a new shot program off of his rushes??maybe he is trying to maintain a specific shot selection coming out of his cut to the net,MMmmm,take a shot from the d-man hard and early-kinda pause the puck just before contact and drag the sucker,regain your balance and push through for a chip shot,instead of a smooth flowing shot off the rush.Maybe.Or just feed the elbow to five or six guys in the first ten games,take a suspension and go with it.Thats better than sitting on the bench,get established man.Its going to be tough to define yourself as a skill soft touch man when you are surrounded by smaller fellows.Forget the Selke,and pick another identity there are tons to choose from,ha ha ha,I do like the elbow solution though hypotheticlly that is.It seems in the big picture the most expedient way to stay in the lineup.A skill guy always gets the chance to make up for bad penaltys,so no fear,just talk to the coaches and let them greenlight you when appropriate,they will see the d-men who are pushing you hard and need the bow.Just let the coaching staff know you are willing and stay coachable,dont step outside the system to do stuff like this,just ask,you might be surprised at the answer you get ,when it is appropriate via your coaches anything can be called system induced,ha ha ha.Have fun when things get rolling Magnus.Thats what he needs to do more frequently.

    • MessyEH!

      Can you explain this to me again please? Remember the hat trick in PRV’s 1st exhibition game. I think Katz pulled thus kid aside and said we’re not suppose to win kid. Save it for Seattle.

      • DSF

        MPS has a long stride–and it covers a lot of ground,but when he does the most damage on the rush he is moving his feet in those choppy little steps finessing his way through the middle,I dont skate so I dont know how to explain what those strides are called.

        Magnus is most effective coming down the middle with up-speed generated by those big strides,he needs to recieve the puck in the neutral zone with high end speed so he is best used as an upspeed man coming into the neutral or offensive zone transition late.

        His first goal is a good example,three things come to mind on goal #1
        -Magnus sneakily dips back behind the flow of the play and crosses our blueline then he is in a position to wait for the other forwards to freeze or dictate closing speed to the opposition d-men,letting that up-speed advantage be maximised
        -we made our first zone transition VERY high from two feet behind our own blue-line –quickstrike–this forced the opposition d-men to react faster than they wanted to and combined with Magnuses up-speed velocity they were caught in transition themselves and werent set at all so MPS blew through them with that wee speed advantage and point number three which is coming up.
        -Magnus get that choppy little roadrunner footspeed going at just the right time and he is like a blender eating up ice when he does that it was a very good gear change.

        Synopsis of goal #1 is that when we initiate a fast first transition from up high we create dynamics that allow magnus to do exactly what he did here generate even MORE speed than the forwards who are leading the charge by cycling back behind the play and engaging the up-speed tactic and in the process because of the fast 1st transition up high we compress the time the opposition has to get set defensivly to face our o-zone transition–just as they are shifting into position up high two feet behind their blueline and not quite set MAGNUS hits them as an up-seed man streaking past them with to much speed for them to commit to him with terminal force—they can barely get to him,there is no time to line him up and his size and speed and finesse all become dominant.Not better,DOMINANT.If Magnus is forced through system play or the transition tactics to approach the terminal o-zone transition without these 1st fast transition and up-speed tactic he is in an entirly different world—the d-men have time to get set and line him up–this negates his elite speed–and size advantages,remember his size is maximised when he is slashing through the middle with those choppy steps and all that speed–a little bump which is all the time the d-men have when the transition is right for MPS isnt enough to stop his big body,a smaller man would easily be knocked off his attack angle with a stiff one-arm,Magnuses size forces you to commit to him which as we know you cannot do at that time because you arent set yet and you are to high in your defensive zone when he hits you.People think he maximises his size by smashing right down the wing and hammering d-men like Hall wishes he could,but this is an inaccurate analysis of Magnuses natural and elite dimensions–he is much much more than that .What we see on this goal is a well executed system induced play ,at least in the NHS it is,and if we give Maggie three of these a game we will see his top end finally.There are a lot of dynamics at play on this goal.And the play itself is tailormade for MPS.

        Goal #2–we make another fast 1st transition out of ourzone but this time we skate it right up,then we skip a transition and enter the zone with even more speed compressing the d-mens reaction times,in effect another quickstrike play,and magnus again comes into the play late but not upspeed,he makes another great read,on the first goal he read the defenses vulnerability really well to.Great decision to shoot as well he had a lot of room to close on the net but he also had the tender slightly out of position already,a hotdogger would have drove in and deked and burned up that goalie position advantage.Quickstrike 1st transition again.

        Goal #3–six feet from the blueline MPS decides to shoot the puck,just as he skates past the zebra he looks to his left at the goalie and makes his decision,the rest is just him exerting his willpower and finishing the play,shot of his wrong foot like mess to I think.He already had the defense in shock they were afraid to hammer him soon enough and gave him the zone–not enough comittment to stop that choppy little step he uses in tight.But that was all green light from the coaches and confidence there,he made the terminal shot decision and choice wayyyy early.about six or seven feet before the offensive blueline.The rest was tactical positioning trying to use the d-man as a screen.

        If we can provide a consistant system of play that executes these type of dynamics we will see MPSes and others skillsets maximised from an offensive standpoint,which I believe is why we scouted and signed them ,right??Quickstrike ,who cares what the system is called,but if we watch our d-men stand behind the net again we will turf it all over again.

        I cant go there with the tanking theories ,it is just to painful,and I dont believe this team will go anywhere.Although I am sure bettman would love to smash this group of superstars up after all–3– #1 picks on a Canadian team??Thats a decade of NHL future without a doubt.Not Bettmans style at all,the Weasel would greenlight a move south with the exciting future of the NHL in FREAKING HEARTBEAT,he wouldnt even blink.However I think that these kids here all know what they want and that is Stanley Cups more than cash—I believe that this core group can dictate whatever the hell they want to tell you the truth,they could all sit down and have a roundtable discussion of their own and end the discussion permanently as a group.No one controls a group like this when they find themselves together you manage them and thats all,and considering how well educated they all seem to be there isnt much chance of manipulating them.Owners dont normally listen to players,but in this case we have an extremely rare core group that are actually a large part of the entire NHLs future together OR apart.Even Sid and Malkin dont carry a stick like these kids do.Katz isnt stupid–he knows the core can dictate to him,and that they could submarine their own values in just one or two years leaguewide and cost him many many millions of dollars of value,two Canadians and a Russian–MMmmmm if they are aware of WHY the move happens—-to hijack the NHL future and take it to America —we might see a gunfight over this and I see a LOT of red in the Flags of Canada and Russia.Seattle is a long way away,katz is aware of the Passion this city has the entire league is,this is a perfect hockey city and environment for him to grow his business in.

        I personally like what Katz is willing try to do here in Edmonton and dont think these negotiations have been dirty or ugly at all,very Canadian,we will get through this,we just need to do it ASAP,and City Hall needed to fasttrack their arses because of skyrocketing labor costs we all see looming on the horison–a serious issue–even a dealbreaker because it isnt controlled by either party Katz or the City,these groups can only control degree of exposure to something they know is coming.And this means expediency is paramount as is breaking ground to capture and maintain a reasonably priced work force.
        Its critical to bind contractors to contracts enmasse now that costs are still low,these early commitments can save tens of millions of dollars—speed is of the essence here.

        I think we will see an NHL season,and also an arena being built in 2012-13,we will also see the playoffs and Katz will experience the other side of Edmontons personality,he will find we are ultra-loyal and once we embrace him its forever,all will be forgotten as we see the boys cut their young teeth on a playoff round.

        Seattles Best??Is that a coffee shop or something??

  • RexLibris

    Rats, laughing pug beat me to it.

    Anyway, I found this on Youtube today. A short video of things you won’t hear anyone say during the lockout. It’s hard on Toronto and Calgary, so that’s always a good thing.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      More musskel mass won’t help his drive/tenacity.

      The guy has the appearance of a 66 Dodge Supercharger body, but unfortunately, it only comes with a 4 banger under the hood. The kid is locked in practice mode, even during games.

  • MessyEH!

    Everyone misses that when Magnus was sent down to the minors the first time he came back to the Oilers with a longer stick. So, when he DOES try a cut to the net from the outside, he can’t protect the puck from the defender with his body as well as when he sported a shorter stick. So, he looses the puck because he can’t control it and bring the puck into a shooting position when he needs to.
    I guess a vetran told him to get a longer stick in order to poke check and contribute defensively, but in an offensive, role one needs a shorter stick.

    • DSF

      That is a very astute observation,MMmm.

      My Moma2 told me to always be prepared,so it makes sense that a player would have several different sticks of varying lengths and blade styles and curvatures.
      I dont think Magnuses strength is in cutting from the outside,he is an elite player with a skillset combined with SIZE that allows him to do what he wants,if he chooses he can smash skulls along the boards like Hall wants to,but there are more bigger than faster d-men in the NHL so it benefits Hall to speed down the boards and Magnus with his huge frame to take them down the middle from an up-speed position–more like a huge defensive centerman.

      And maybe a longer stick actually allows MPS to back the d-men up sooner as he runs the boards down the wing or as he drives the middle,a shorter stick lets bigger slower d-men just make contact easier,if you were a smaller man to start with maybe the difference wouldnt be so beneficial but with MPSes already huge wingspan it does make a big difference because it elevates his reach way above average,just inches but wayyy above average.Not everyone can manage that with a small change.And really he can switch sticks any time during games,and players do do that often some more than others.And all make adjustments for various tactical reasons.I mean remember some of the hooks guys had years ago,that they would only sneak out a few times a year.Ha ha ha.

      Magnus specialises on the up-speed style catalysed from behind the flow of the play and he is VERY good at it even better than Hemmer is.The best we have so far. His defensive awareness is so elite a stick length adjustment wouldnt improve that,a lot of other things can be adjusted with a stick change but not overall defensive contributions.I think adjustments like the stick might be made game to game on the fly.Sometimes to shake your game up temporarily and let you see the ice a wee bit differently.But if you dont try it I guess you will never know what it can offer you,but we do know for certain that most NHL players make equipment adjustments through their careers–and mostly for tactical reasons–so there must be something to gain there ,a carrot hidden somwhere.Looks like Magnus is digging for that carrot,he wants every advantage he can generate,Kudos to him for working so hard on his game.

      Imagine the casualties we would see if Sutton decided to use Omarks stick for a half-season,ha ha ha,he would be filling pine boxes because he would be closing distance on guys so fast so often.He would force players to get closer to him and vice versa,ha ha ha.Uber-contact.A longer stick keeps the beast away and at bay,I would rather eat a foot of stick from Andy than an inch of the elbow macaroni he has cookin.

      Magnus using a longer stick actually forces the d-men to read his velocity and his line and angle differently and changes their timing and decision making–it results in them– backing off just enough to let him maximise a lot of his skillset especially his speed.They engage him physically 2-3ft deeper in the zone with longer lumber.As opposed to up high and early .Remember early contact negates his elite speed—and we want to see him use that,not brute force.It may be a subtle equipment adjustment but it shows up on tape.

      I did play floor hockey and remember how different it was with a longer stick,I had more time to utilise my speed somehow,it was easier to start luring players where I wanted to with a longer stick and then correct with a speed burst gear change if i didnt like the angle of attack or something else was wrong.But I have never skated and felt the difference there,I imagine it is multiplied many times over in effect because of the extremely high speed of execution out there on the ice.It seems to me like a good thing getting better on the ice.But I am just guessing on that one.

      “give em an inch–and they take a mile!!” not sure if this applies.

      Just sayin.

      Sorry if my spelling is not up to par,I have a computer with a tiny touch pad ,I have no mouse,and it can be like going to Vegas when I simply log on and try to post things or mess around to much with this little beast,I have tried to use spellcheck and lost enough long posts to develop an issue with the gamble I need to take with this sensitive unit,if I knew how to make it work properly I would do it.But literally to even zip my arrow back up to something to correct it if i see it can send this thing into cyber-convulsions,I can end up right out of the site itself just from trying to dot an I. Hahaha–somehow that feels as lame as the dog ate my homework doesnt it??It is what it is I guess,thanks for your patience.

  • DSF

    Lets face it he is part of the reason Renney is gone . He got royally screwed last year . I’m Canadian but why didn’t this kid get the same breaks as our Canadian kids ????? . Personally I would have signed him to a long term deal as the talent is there and a good deal could have been had . Some may say its a gamble but this kid will make it ..

  • Reg Dunlop

    MPS reminds me of Ron Dugay, without the hair. Decent size, good wheels, defensively responsible and plays like he has eggs in his pockets.Future 3rd liner, and thats not a bad thing.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Put him with quality OFFENCE-MINDED linemates and see what he can do. Put him in a checker’s role, with checkers and ask him to play with a checker’s mentality and you’re forcing him to be something he’s not!

    I am MPS’s biggest fan, IMO. And yes, I read that same article in 2009 Hockey News. I do recognize that his biggest weakness is his inability to play tough.

    That said, as with every player do you work on improving your deficiencies, or do you play to your strengths? Old days it was the former, today players are trained to not only work on – but play to their strengths…rather than make sure everyone tries to be the same complete player (cookie-cutter types). You get much more dynamic skill-sets that way, and MPS has the most dynamic skill set skating and dangling that I have seen in years here in Edmonton.

    Hall will always be a much more physical player – and he is a franchise player. We cannot judge MPS and compare him to a guy touted, for years, to be a #1 overall pick. (I’m not saying anyone is, though) My point is he DOES NOT need to learn to be a crusher to play in the N.H.L. and be effective there. Remember he did win the trophy as the best winger in the World Championships, the same one with Ovechkin and other NHL’ers present. He has the ability to be extraordinary.

    Don’t ask him to be Ryan Jones, Lucic, or any other power forward or you will be disappointed. He never will be. It’s not in his blood. But if you put him with dynamic offensive players and give him a chance he WILL keep improving as he builds a repoire with those players.

    I would ask that you keep two important things in mind when assessing his future potential:

    One, he barely speaks the language – was scripted to play with Omark and Lander last year. His only game with them last year – an exhibition game, he scored two (big) goals and was the game’s first star…the line was unstoppable in that game. With others it appeared he did have trouble communicating and getting in sync. It is on him to improve his language skills and open up in communicating to the rest of the team, even though he is a relative newcomer to our continent and language. It does take some players longer to adjust than others, and I do believe his shyness does make that a more difficult proposition, though.

    Two, he has only been playing forward for a very few years. He grew up as a d-man. So his skating is superb and his rushing skills, sublime…but his finish, and moves around the net are NOT a finished product yet. Give him time to develop them with talented players to learn this. In the meantime do not run him out of town for not being a complete player yet, at 21 years old.

    He has an excellent attitude; his compete level is off the charts – in regards to effort given every shift! He is so defensively responsible it actually hurts his offense at this point of his career, and as a young player that is so rare to find…the opposite of a selfish player!
    He will learn the rest. I think he is the perfect number two winger we have been looking for – once Ryan Smyth and Hemsky are no longer up for that role here.

    Let him develop for that role; he’s NEVER going to be a checker. You’re wasting his considerable talents if that is what you are looking for out of him. I know the Oilers need a power forward but he isn’t one, despite the size he has. That’s not a knock against him; you just need to have that mentality. Don’t punish him for being Kurri when you want Messier (sorry to use those guys as a very poor example, just said it for clarity not as a comparison!)

    I love this player, though, and can’t wait for the Oilers to use him properly!