HOW TO MANAGE MANAGERS

I’d love to see Ralph Krueger’s priority list for the coming season (whatever season that is). Along with convincing Steve Tambellini to pass on the opportunity to sign Nikolai Khabibulin for another 4 years, what should Krueger do? What does his list look like? What would your list look like? Mine is after the break.

RALPH KRUEGER’S FIX IT AND FORGET IT TRAINING CAMP PRIMER

Whether it happens now or next fall or after I’m dead, someday there will be a top level pro hockey league on television and in your local 16,000 seat arena. When that day arrives, Ralph Krueger will take his action plan to his Camaro, turn the key, and rumble down to Rexall with all of the best intentions. I think most of us feel the Oilers will be better–at least a little–when the NHL returns, but can the new coach help this wayward team enough to make a difference in what will likely be a small window?

THINGS TO DO IN A RAIN DELAY

  1. I’m interested in his forward "pairings" and am hopeful he keeps Nuge-Ebs and Gagner-Hall together. Hemsky might fit in well on the Gagner line, and maybe Hartikainen could do some good things with the Burnaby kid and #14. That leaves Horcoff for Yakupov, with Ryan Smyth possibly helping out too. This would leave a veteran 4line of Eric Belanger, Ryan Jones and some combination of Ben Eager, Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk.
  2. Coach Krueger mentioned the blue in his recent talk with Jason Gregor and Kevin Lowe talked about adding a defenseman when the lockout ends to replace Andy Sutton. Both items are music! The friggin’ in the riggin’ for this edition of the Oiler defense is that Ryan Whitney’s health is still up in the air. If he’s fine, then this team has some nice things happening. Krueger’s comments in the Gregor piece suggested that the left side might be Smid, Schultz the elder and Whitney, with the RH side Petry, Schultz the younger and then you find a role for Corey Potter and Theo Peckham or Steve Tambellini acquires a Sutton replacement. When it comes to defense, 7 NHL D is a moving target due to injuries–the Oilers seem to order a double helping every season.
  3. In goal, I’m hoping they run Devan Dubnyk out there early and often. He’s the future for the organization, and if he isn’t better that average better to find out now than later. Nikolai Khabibulin will be 40 in mid-January, and surely to God there’s no question about re-signing him in time to suffer through another round of injuries. A hot streak by NK might make people in important places forget about the past 4 years. Not likely, but possible.

HOW TO MANAGE MANAGERS

Krueger might be the smartest man in the room when he gets together with the front office (I’d still put my money on MacT but admit bias). It’s his job to use all that charm and brain power to talk the Oilers out of the thought processess that had them settle on Nikolai Khabibulin, Cam Barker and others as the solutions to their problems (I’m not going to lay blame on Belanger, as God as my witness I thought turkeys could fly).

I think Craig MacTavish and Ralph Krueger could be Godsends for an organization badly in need of men with the courage of their conviction, a differing view, and the desire to make this clock work.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers spent a generation in the cellar, and I’m sure they could figure out a way to do it for another season or two. However, I’m also certain Ralph Krueger (and MacT) didn’t come to Edmonton in search of Seth Jones.

We’ll know where they are headed soonafter the lockout ends. For the sake of Oiler fans, Hall’s bunch and the mental health of Edmonton collectively, lets hope it’s about winning.

  • DSF

    You’ve thought for years the Oilers needed to go out and sign a veteran checking centre to help out Horcoff.

    Well, they finally did just that and, not only did Belanger turn gold into straw, but Horcoff drove off a cliff.

    Perhaps time to reassess your original thinking.

    The Oilers needs haven’t changed much in the last several years.

    They need an above average #2C, 2 (count em) 2, top pairing defensemen and above average NHL goaltending if they are going to be successful.

    Not much else matters.

    • DSF

      They picked up a young second pairing defenseman (with potential), overpaid UFA Hemsky, resigned a soon to be 37 year old winger, overpaid a broken down Andy Sutton, signed an AHL level defenseman to a contract long before they needed to and drafted first overall due to incompetence and luck.

      Doesn’t strike me as brilliance.

        • DSF

          So would be sticking knitting needles in your ears.

          Remember the guys who brought you the Summer of Barker ™, signed Khabibulin, Eager and Hordichuk are still steering the ship.

          Shiver me timbers!

          • Lowetide

            Oh I think MacT is a smart man. Seriously. Every interview I’ve read or heard from Krueger has been very good too.

            You’re right, one never knows. However, they drafted Nail and signed Schultz. Maybe the hockey Gods decided to help them one time, or maybe they’ve changed the voices in the room.

          • The only guy who has a real voice in the room is Kevin Lowe. And he was the rocket scientist who convinced Daryl Katz that sewering the team for three years was the only way back to the holy grail.

            Until convinced otherwise I remain convinced he is the guy running this (sh!t)show.

  • T__Bone88

    Wow does Krueger look PO’ed in that picture. If that was his happy face when he was named head coach, I’d hate to see his angry face when the Oilers lose a game.

    I really want this season to start just to see how Krueger can coach and hopefully bring this team out of the cellar.

    • RexLibris

      Actually, if I recall correctly, that photo was taken when someone in the press asked Ralph to do his best Darryl Sutter Bitter Beer Face impression.

      I thought it was spot on.

  • RexLibris

    I’d prop you a thousand times for the WKRP reference along, LT.

    A thousand more for the gratuitous SJ images.

    That’s why we don’t have NHL hockey, because God took a vacation the day after he made her and hasn’t been back to work since.

  • am hopeful he keeps Nuge-Ebs and Gagner-Hall together.

    I like 89-83 better as a pair.

    They played well together last year.

    Everyone plays better with Hall. He’s that guy.

    4 and 83 also both like to carry the puck and 14-93 need that on their line.

    4 is really good at stretching the D and 14 is really good at finding seams in good areas.

      • longbottom/P.Biglow

        That being said, Past is the past and the future is starting this upcoming season whenever it finally is.
        Hemsky played well in straches in a year after his shoulder surgury and now has had a loooong time to recover.
        A first line of Hall, Ebs, and the Nuge all playing right now is medicine to needles in my ears.
        A second line of Hemmer, Gags, and Yaks also all playing right now also sounds sweet to very same ears.
        A third line of Smyth, Horcs, and Jones could be a very servicable checking line.
        A fourth line of Eager, Belanger, Hordichuk/Petrell sounds ok for spot duty
        with say Thor and PRV slipping in and out of the lines as needed depending on the team.

        I can not say that much about the overrated Canucks since they will start to have some competition for the title with Minne, Calgary and Edmonton all improving and the Nucks waiting on some injured players.

  • Lowetide

    WG: Who do you play against the other team’s best line? Horcoff-Smyth with whoever resembles Pisani?

    My thinking for Gagner-Hall-Hemsky is they would attract all of the tough matchups, freeing Nuge and Eberle.

    Finally, Nuge carries the puck pretty well, no?

    • I think you go after their power with:

      4-89-83

      and

      94-10-91

      The most important part is having Smid-Petry out there against the power.

      Nuge carries the puck fine, but 4 stretches D and that makes top pairing D skate miles and miles. I think Yak will be cut of the same cloth as 4 in that regard. 1 quick pass and flying the zone on 2-3 lines will exhaust opposition D.

  • The Steve-Khabi signing is as tired of a joke as is Horcoff’s seven million dollar production. Khabi has had the worst team in front of him for 3 years running. What exactly was expected of him?

    I can’t see Gagner in Oilers future. In my opinion Hemsky is more valueable to the Oilers at the moment and that leads me to believe that it will be Gagner that will be traded.

    I see Lander on the Oilers 4th line when they return. Just like Lowetide wrote about Dubnyk, I feel that if Lander is in the future for the organization, and if he isn’t better that average better to find out now than later. I can see him and Belanger on the forth alternating wing to centre depending on the situation and either Petrell or Eager alongside them.

    Smid, Petry, J Schu and Whitney(for now) are there when they return, it is anyones guess who the other 2 will and could be.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Khabibulin was an abysmal signing. He is a terrible goalie at the NHL level. Besides an ultra hot start to last season, overall SV% is well below replacement level. He cannot win a game past Christmas time. He is injury prone. One of Tambellini’s worst moves as GM (and there have been many). Goalies are expected to make saves at an average rate, which is about 91.5% of the time. Khabibulin fails miserably at this task.

      Lander is barely getting by at the AHL level. He does not generate offense and is poor in the faceoff circle. Don’t count on him making the big club anytime soon.

      I would not count on Whitney returning if the season is lost. His long term health and mobility are too questionable to consider re-signing him. The other Dman that you are forgetting is Nick Schultz. The Oilers defensive depth is not good — management will have to address this issue first and foremost.

      It is also very worrisome that Dubnyk is not playing anywhere this year. This is the guy who is expected to be starting goalie?? Big question marks in net.

    • DSF

      Good grief.

      06/07 31G 31A 62P

      07/08 32G 33A 65P

      08/09 45G 49A 94P

      09/10 38G 44A 82P

      10/11 INJURED

      11/12 31G 38A 69P

      How many 30 goal seasons does Hemsky have?

      Oh, wait….none.

      You know scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in hockey, right?

      • Time Travelling Sean

        Don’t good grief me.

        I didn’t know they paid players 7.5M for 13 years for 30 goal seasons. He got paid that for that one 45 goal season. He had 69 points last year, is that worth 7.5M?

        Also Hemmer isn’t getting paid 7.5M for 13 years.

        • DSF

          Well, since Hemsky got paid $5 million for a 37 point season, I’m not sure how $7.5 million for 69 points creates a problem for you.

          I wouldn’t sign anyone to a 13 year contract but I expect, now that Parise is no longer playing for one of the most defensive teams in the league, you’ll see a dramatic upswing in his production.

          Mikko Koivu is a pretty decent centre to work with.

  • longbottom/P.Biglow

    I see Whitney being paired with J Schultz & I believe they will be compatible! Marincin is his partner at OKC & I think Marincin is the close to the same style as Whitney. Book it! Smid & Petry are reunited to form a very nice second pairing & the N Schultz will slide in beside Peckham to be PK specialists. Doesn’t look bad at all. Teubert is not far off either & this kid has a nasty streak (ala Jason Smith, very similar style)!

    Khabby’s health is still in question & I would hope they start him on the IR so they can use Danis. It would be ideal for the start since Danis has played a lot in the minors & would be ready to go! Dubnyk would be coming in cold.

    Up front the Oilers need size that can play! I also believe Gagner would be the bait since he’s small, still has upside & is point/game in Europe! Omark is another doing well in Europe & people are noticing. Some NHL teams need more offence it’s just a question about what they want to give up?

  • Any team that has Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk on the roster when they could easily be upgraded with serviceable, ACTUAL NHL’ers has no business having playoff aspirations. And don’t even get me going about Khabibulin.

  • DSF

    Lots of work for the Management team to improve the Oilers

    Above average NHLer
    14, 5, 4

    Average NHLer
    15, 89, 83

    Below average NHLer
    44, 28, 37, 24

    Maybe On the down side
    6, 10, 55, 16, 20, 94, 25, 35, 48

    Maybe on the upside
    40, 93, 91, 2, Yak, Schultz, Hartz, 57, 33

    You need 6 of the Maybe on the upside guys to materialize AND the contract term and value need to all align, and 40 has to be in that group….yikes.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    The problem with the team last year was goaltending, defence and the Vets. Goalies cost them points, and will continue too, and the defence improved slightly with the Gilbert trade.

    The problem with the D was simple. They had difficulty getting the puck up to our forwards with speed. J Schultz will help, if we can get one more all around Defenseman like Nick S the defense will no longer be a weakness.

    I cant say the same thing about the Goaltending, though Dubnyk did look much better after the arrival of Nick. If Whitney returns to form the Defence might make Dubey look ok.

    Problem #3 the Vets, what do you do about the 3rd and 4th line, which gets outplayed every game. Im hoping management can fix this problem first and moves to the rest of the holes from there.

    PS. This will be the best powerplay for years, with Justin running the point and Nuge threading the needle to our snipers – hopefully that gets us some wins in close games.

  • Truth

    I apologize for posting on another subject, but did anyone see the Horcoff comments to ESPN?

    Horcoff: “I’ve been fortunate enough to play long enough now where I’ve built security into my life and my family. For me, it’s just a matter of doing what’s right for the union and right for the players and just letting this thing play out.”

    Is it possible he is actually that blind to the notion the entire PA is on the verge of losing one whole year of their contracts? I don’t even want to talk about the finances and how the best case scenario has them recouping one year of losses in decades of contracts (but probably never). History tells us the longer they wait the less player friendly deal they will sign. The question now is how bad can you damage the game? This also is becoming apparent.

    I cannot even fathom being comfortable enough to retire at the age of 34 (as Horcoff is suggesting that he doesn’t need the ridiculous overpayment of a paycheck he receives) from playing a sport that the vast majority of us PAY to play. Horcoff had a free ride at Michigan State (or very close) and since has played professional hockey. A quick google search says Horcoff has made $33,750,000 to date. Keep fighting for whats right in the union and for the players, Shawn, you do realize the people paying your salary work long hard hours for for about 70-100 times less money per year? Right?

    I honestly don’t know how I’ve been naive enough to be paying a portion of that salary (and all others) by paying upwards of $10,000 for season tickets. Enough is enough, I realize how hard it is to make the NHL, but for God’s sake players, realize what you are doing to Canada’s game.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Shawn, if you don’t like how hard you have to work for such horrible pay, come work for me. I have a shop laborer position open for $15.00/hr – 11 hrs/day, 6 days/week. Sorry, no free massages, flights, meals, or tools. And FYI, the last guy didn’t retire in a mansion on the river valley at 34.

    Also from Horcoff to ESPN, talking about every player possibly being a UFA:

    “”I find it surprising that teams would be in favor of that,” said Horcoff, pointing out that his Oilers have some impressive young players who could hit the market.”

    Interesting. If I’m Katz this guy doesn’t get bought out, he gets to play in Stockton. All aboard the bus, Shawn.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/20827/horcoff-cleary-see-disclaimer-coming

    • GVBlackhawk

      I agree with your comments in a lot of ways, and as a season ticket holder, I can completely understand why you’re questioning an outlay of your well-earned dollars.

      That said, I think that Horcoff is doing a pretty admirable thing here. Sure, he’s already very rich, but he is actively involved in a process that would blow up his remaining term. Whatever he would hypothetically resign for would not be what he’s pulling in now. I believe that he is doing this for the good of the union, and good on him for having principles, even if it comes at the expense of his own contract.

      Whatever he might be as a player, I think he carries himself well, and his integrity is difficult to question.

      • Truth

        I would say that Horcoff believes he is doing the admirable thing. Where I have a problem is him essentially stating “I don’t need the $11 million dollars left in my original contract because I don’t need to work another day in my life.”

        Admittedly I’m frustrated with both sides. For one year I would love to see the game go back to the way it was in the 60’s, when the average salary was in the tens of thousands and many had to work during the off-season to make ends meet. Obviously that is not a reality but these spoiled brat players don’t seem to realize how good they have it.

        I am frustrated with the owners, but I can see their argument. They assume all of the risk so they should get a deal that works within the economics.

        • I dont think that is quite what he is saying though. Rather I think he is saying “I’m willing to give up money that is owed to me if doing so betters things for players in the future and hockey as a sport and i am lucky i am able to do that.”

          Even if you think the players logic is flawed (im not arguing for of against)I do believe they think they are doing what is right for the players future and hockey in general.

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but you should watch the cbc movie ” net worth”. I haven’t seen it in a long, long time but it gives you a perspective of the players without a union. If anything, it should serve to remind you what the union is for. While i am I’m favor of the NHL on this matter, it helps to be open to both sides of the argument while it seems you’re mostly just blinded by how much these guys make a opposed to how the distribution of wealth happens and fairness in general.

      • While he’s at it, he and a lot of people like him need to pick up a book on critical thinking. I’m not pro-player but I find myself needing to side with them so often because of the flawed rhetoric (almost hinging on zealotry) coming back the other way. I dont pretend to know 100% of the situation (how many people really do?) but it astounds me how so many people pretend to.

    • I can understand your frustration, Oilers tickets are expensive and Horc is a large beneficiary.
      However.

      The fact that he doesn’t blow all his money on hookers and blow doesn’t bother me. He seems a capable guy and had the where withal to foresee this interruption in the cash flow.

      So in that sense, he probably has more in common with you the business owner than many of the others that we fund.

      What I got out of the article is that Horc sees a much bigger picture and has the future interests of the young NHLPA membership qualified into his comments. Considering he captains a room full of them and reps the team in these matters, his comments seem consistent with a guy who gets it.

      I think he would make a heck of a shop hand btw. The kid doesn’t fear work… never did.

  • People spouting these principled ideals about people buying tickets need to work hard need to step back and check themselves. Its all true, sure, but in all honesty it doesnt matter a lick. Get off your high horse.

    Person #1: “hey you, politician, you should cut your salary in half because the people who pay your salary dont make as much as you”

    Politician: “My salary was negotiated in good faith according to market value and comparables for others in my position I will not cut my salary”

    Person #2: “Hey ill do that job for half that salary, please dont check my credentials, im sure grade 3 education isnt good enough”

    Person #1: “see! that guy would gladly do it for less!!! The politician should cut his salary, its only fair!”

    In all honesty guys, what the players get paid has absolutely nothing to do with what you get paid. Wanting to maintain an established level of pay might be “greedy” by certain definitions because they are getting paid so much to begin with but to act like 99% of us in the same position wouldnt be wanting to keep their established rate of pay or as close to it as they could is just plain naive.

    Edit: P.S. I know the analogy is flawed in many ways but it represents some of the flaws in logic that are creating people to be so outraged about things that are just plain ignorant. This is a negotiation, players have a right to negotiate as they see fit, there is no moral high ground here just because its more money then you make.

    • Truth

      I understand your analogy. I have always said that those in high paying positions deserve their salary. I do understand that players receive their salaries because of schmucks like me that are willing to pay that much for the entertainment of a hockey game. What I don’t understand is how Horcoff is willing to throw away the rest of his contract to do “what’s right.” He should be well aware of what happened last lockout, there will be a point real soon in which the deal on the table is only going to get worse. On top of that, fans are going to lose interest. Sure, in Edmonton there will always be fans. In Dallas? In Florida? In Phoenix? In Carolina? I’m willing to guess not.

      I guess the best way to put it is: I am much less willing to pay a portion of Horcoff’s salary today than I was 12 months ago.

      • Yes, but there are others waiting to replace you. I really just dont think people are acknowledging that the players have a perspective that we might not fully be privy to or capable of truly understanding.

        That doesnt make them “right” but i just dont get why people are flailing at them so hard like they dont have a right to look at things differently than the owners.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Does 2 wrongs make a right, DSF? Just because Hemsky gets 5 million for 30+ points doesn’t mean Parise by comparison deserves 7.5M.

    By your logic Stamkos needs to be paid roughly 324M per season.

    Also, hemmer got 10M for 37 points and Parise got 98M for 60+points if you want to cherry pick convenient numbers.

    Break it down to a career points per game ratio, then factor in the 10M for Hemsky and the 98M for parise. I’m sure you could come up with some metric that shows how if you reach far enough, you can always manipulate stats to look like you’re always right

    • Since the discussion is about managing managers

      How about 5 or 6 wrongs?

      Hemsky-Sutton-Khabibulin-Horcoff-Dubnyk

      You could also question signing the kids to contracts before the new CBA came out.

      The Oilers are notorious for over signing players and could come back to bit them in the ass.

      I think as fans we should voice our displeasure at horrible signings, maybe it might be the only way to keep these owners and GM’s accountable in the future.
      Edit: I forgot about the Barker deal as well.

    • DSF

      Why not look at a more complete body of work?

      Since the last lockout:

      Hemsky:

      429 GP 106G 261A 387P

      Parise:

      502GP 194G 215A 410P

      Now, take a real close look at those goals scored totals and the fact that Parise is much more durable and has out pointed Hemsky over that 7 year stretch.

      Also worth noting is that, over that frame, Hemsky is -25 while Parise is +57.

      No question where the value is.

      I know you want to look at the total value of the contracts to try and skew the debate, but we’ll have to look at Hemsky’s subsequent deals for that to make any sense.

      In the meantime, we can see that Parise has much more present value.

        • DSF

          Coming off a 37 point season, Hemsky had zero leverage.

          I’m sure some team would have taken a flyer on him but I seriously doubt he would have received $5 million from any other team.

          • No, he wouldn’t have. Players generally do have more value to the team they are on than to other teams anyways.

            I’m not saying you are wrong, just saying that they Oilers would value other factors than other teams might.

            Edit: also not saying the Oilers were right to do so just that I can understand that they might see more value in Hemsky than others.

          • I’m of the mind Hemsky is the trade bait for the “Wow” trade everybody has been talking about. We desperately need some help on D and a decent goalie to compliment Dubnyk would be a wise move too. Also, Hemsky is out of the core group’s age range (a la Penner).

            It’s very possible Hemsky’s new contract was a signal to other teams the Oilers thought he was still valuable, thus making him more trade-worthy. If they had given him a garbage offer his worth in the free market would have been sigificantly reduced.

          • DSF

            You could be right but it’s a strategy that may backfire.

            If the cap drops to $60 million or less in the next season, there will likely be a flood of players hitting the market at the same time.

            Moving Hemsky could be difficult at that point.

        • DSF

          PPG doesn’t matter much when you’re not playing because of injury and I think pretty much any knowledgeable hockey observer will tell you that goals are much more valuable than assists since two assists are available on every scoring play.

          GPG:

          Hemsky .247

          Parise: .386

          As to your final point, the Devils have always been a low scoring, defensive team getting by on Brodeur and team defense to win.

          For example, in the 2007/08 season, the Devils finished 4th in the EC and scored 206 goals.

          In that same season, the Oilers scored 235 goals and finished up the track.

          Hell, even in the season where the Oilers hit rock bottom, 09/10, the Oilers scored 214 goals finishing 17 points behind Columbus for 30th, while the Devils finished second in the EC and scored only 222 goals.

          I would think Hemsky’s totals would actually be much lower if he had played for the Devils all those years since he would also have had to play some defense.

      • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

        Ok, DSF, we can agree that Parise has more present value. Heck I’ll even go with you on your opinion that goals are more important than assists (pretty sure Gretzky said different…).

        The question remains, is Parise that much more valuable than Hemsky? Like, is he 9.8:1 more valuable.

        If you look at goals, no. If you look at overall points, double no.

        Even if you take Hemsky’s worst season, and compare it to Parise’s best, you can’t justify 9.8 times more money.

        • DSF

          You can play that silly game with any player on long term contract but its meaningless.

          Unless Hemsky retires after his deal is up, comparing them in that fashion is foolish.

          Barring injury, I have no doubt Parise has much more value over the next two seasons.

          • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

            You find my comparisons foolish?

            DSF calling a comparison foolish?!? Could you say that I really reached to try and make myself appear right?

            The only thing more foolish would be to incorporate biased opinions into these arguments…

          • DSF

            Exactly…the facts pretty much speak for themselves.

            Last season, both players were coming off serious injuries.

            Hemsky: 69GP 10G 26A 36P

            Parise: 82GP 31G 38A 69P

            Please note that Parise had more assists than Hemsky had points….nevermind the 31 goals.

  • DSF

    Who do you think will have the biggest impact in changing how management has built the team, Mac T or Ralph?

    Also, I can’t believe some of the comments here about the build of our team, and the atrocity of some of the signings.

    Belangier was terrible last year, but at the time he was a great signing. A consistent 40+ point guy with a high faceoff win percentage. And he chose us out of like six teams thus helping to change the culture.

    Eager too I think was a good signing, but he wasn’t utilized properly by Renny. Same with Hordichuck. Why we wouldn’t want an enforcer type, who’s not terrible at actually playing hockey, but excels at drawing more penalties than he takes? Our team is going to live or die on the power play so having a guy that is going to frustrate the other team and draw a ton of penalties while protecting our talent is a great player to have. And we pay him peanuts.

    I don’t think the Oilers are actually that far away from a winning team. We need a tweak or two, but I’d say we have the assets to trade (finally), as well as the talent to build around.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Re: Hordichuk, he drew more penalties than he took but he definitely did not draw ‘a ton of penalties’. He only played 43 games and averaged 4 min and 31 sec of ice time per game.

      And please show me where he protected the young talent even once. When Hartnell kneed Paajarvi? No. When Regehr took a run at Hall and put him out? No. When Raffi Torres clocked Eberle? Nope.

      So where is this protection? IMO his spot on the roster would be better served with someone who can actually play hockey and contribute to some offense.

      • B S

        Don’t blame all that on Hordichuck. From the sounds of him, Peckham, Sutton and Eager in interviews after last season, the lack of enforcement on the ice may rest with Renney.

        It’s hard to stick up for the kids, or even retaliate when the coach won’t let you out on the ice.

        • GVBlackhawk

          Right. So are you suggesting that Hordichuk be given double or triple his ice time to ensure that he might be on the ice if/when one of the kids are creamed by the opposition?

          Or do you think Krueger should send him out to ‘jump’ the offending opposition player later in the game? Are you okay with the opposition getting a 7 minute powerplay for doing that? Because the opponent is not always going to agree to a fight with Hordichuk.

          Lastly, I really don’t feel like Hordichuk is a deterrent. Most of the time, he gets pummeled by the guy he is fighting.

          Most top-end teams do not have a true ‘enforcer’ anymore. Just team toughness. They are not willing to give up a roster spot for someone who cannot make it in the league for lack of hockey skills.

  • vetinari

    The lockout has probably extended Tambi’s career for at least 2012-13 because if there is a season, he only has a few months to bungle and maim the team roster and they’ll probably let him serve out the season before canning him.

  • Wax Man Riley

    For the record Hemsky is a very good NHL player. Very good. Some would say world-class.

    I would still rather have Parise on my team. But hey… Pouliot is just as good…. right?