Give me some FIRE!!!

Photo: Luc Viatour

As I watched the game the other night between the Oilers and Wild I kept getting more and more upset. It wasn’t the odd turnover or even the zero shots in the second period that got to me. It was the lack of passion or FIRE in the team’s play.

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Skill, strategy and luck are needed to be successful in the NHL. More important than all of these is passion. You CAN NOT win in the league without it. Passion is what carries you when you are out of gas at the end of the game. When you need to find a little more in the tank, passion kicks in and you find a way to make a play to win.

Think back on every playoff series in the history of the NHL. What do you remember most? For me it is the passion and intensity. That is what I love about the NHL playoffs. It is not possible to turn it on once you get to the playoffs. Just to make them, you must have some.

As the game progressed last night it was very clear to me that the Oilers are missing this ingredient in their lineup. They are all nice guys but where is the passion? I think it shows up in on-ice confrontations. When is the last time the Oilers had a post whistle scrum? When has a game escalated to playoff-type intensity because of very hard, borderline dirty play?

I can tell you nothing gets a team going more than emotion shown on the ice by a team mate. Let’s say there is a scrum in front of your net. Your defenceman battles the other guy hard. They keep chirping all the way to the bench. You’re going on the ice, you see and hear this exchange. You get worked up and find another gear in your legs. Does this ever happen with the Oilers?

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This team is too vanilla. Taken as a whole they are not nasty enough to play against. Eager and Jones have been trying to get it going up front when they are in the lineup. Fistric has been taking a run at players at every opportunity but he has not been in the lineup every night. Peckham has had a unique start to the season. I understand he is trying to get his game in order but the Oilers need him to embrace the physical and agitator role. He needs to be noticed out there. That is what sets him apart from the other d-man trying to get into the lineup every night.

I was watching the L.A. Kings play the Vancouver Canucks the other day. These two teams were going at it! Bieksa speared a guy from the bench. Dustin Brown was hitting and chirping guys. There was a fight early in the game. Those players were all engaged emotionally. You could feel the passion coming through the TV. I did not feel that last night from the Oilers and haven’t felt it most nights this season.

The Oilers have three fighting majors this season, Three! I can’t believe that. They don’t need to go out and fight everyone all the time, I get that. However, what does it say about a team’s nastiness when you only have three fights? It says you are not doing anything to irritate the teams you are playing against to make them come and fight you. It also says you are not responding to acts the other team is doing to you.

Fighting isn’t everything but it does show how emotionally involved the team is in its play.

Little Ball of Hate

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Photo: Michael Miller

General manager Steve Tambellini must have been having the same thoughts as he watched his team play. He went out and traded for Mike Brown, a hardnosed player from the Maple Leafs. He doesn’t solve the Oilers problems of size in the Top six or nine but he will bring an intensity and passion to this lineup. I hope…..

I hated playing against Brown. He finishes every check and backs them all up. If you have an issue with him, gloves are off and you get a chance to settle it with him. He has more fighting majors then the whole Oilers lineup this year. That is CRAZY!

I played with a guy named Ryan Hollweg in New York with the Rangers. Just like Brown he is a little ball of hate. Every time I would go on the ice with him I knew there was a chance of an explosion of anger from the other team. Holly would run someone over and then it was party time! He would bring the emotion out of his team, even guys you wouldn’t think would have any.

I see Brown in the same type of mold. I pray to god he doesn’t hold back. I hope he goes out there and gets the other team fired up. I hope he initiates that by what he does and says. The Oilers need this. They need passion and emotion.

Mike Brown won’t singlehandedly turn this season around for the Oilers with his ten minutes of ice time. I just hope he can get more of the Oilers to engage emotionally into the games because of his passion and desire to stay in the lineup.

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I will be watching today. I suggest you all do the same to see the little ball of hate do his thing!

    • CaptainLander

      Ten bucks says he gets five and a game for the hit as it is called a headshot, when the reply clearly shows it was shoulder to chest. The Oil bench irate at the call takes a bench minor and the CBJ nets 2 on the following power plays. The Oil implode as a team and loose 5-0 to the Jackets.

  • Phixieus666

    Well said Struds. 3 majors all season and one of them was Gagner. That’s pretty brutal in my opinion. Like you said, you don’t need to fight every game, but shove a guy around a bit to show you’ve got a heartbeat at least. This team is just so “meh” most nights. It’s like they don’t give a rip about anything, even losing. They aren’t even mad in their post game interviews when they lose, they’re just resigned sounding. Good lord!

  • Phixieus666

    Great article Struds. I do wonder how Brown’s energy will effect someone like Gagner. I could see him getting even more engaged and maybe even getting in more fights along with Brown. I think Gagner can be a agitator if he wanted, we’ve seen him get angry and go after a 6’4″ monster before. I’d like to see Horcoff fight, I bet he could hold his own. Also, and I’ve been wanting this all season, I’d like Whitney to get in a fight and let all his frustrations out.

  • Phixieus666

    This team takes too much of it’s personality from it’s captain. Horcoff is a good player but far too respectful, no edge, when he finishes his checks it is barely a bump.

  • Bloodsweatandoil

    I was suprised the Oilers resigned Peckham last off season, I do not feel he has anything to offer to the line up. He looks 4 steps behind everybody else.

    Frustration with this line-up and results for the last two seasons has made us put everybody under the micro-scope more than ever resulting in only seeing the bad and not the good. It is going to take a huge change to change this perspective. Mike Brown is a good addition, although its only an octane boost to the fuel, there are still some major overhauls to the engine needed.

    • Phixieus666

      I’d say you haven’t been watching much of Peckham then. His game has looked good even his passing has been good. Just needs to be a bit more nasty and consistency. I would put him ahead of Whitney for sure right now and maybe even Potter.

  • Bloodsweatandoil

    You need that passion and nastiness from guys who can actually play hockey, not the Mike Brown’s of the world. Hence why Dustin Brown and Milan Lucic are so valuable. They bring both passion/nastiness and can actually play hockey.

    This was a stupid trade.

    • CaptainLander

      Reading Leaf Fan comments on TSN, the have a very different opinion for Oil fans. But I hear ya if he is not a regular on the Leafs will he be one here?

      As for stupid, if this guy can even add a little of that passion Struds is talking about it is an okay trade in my books. Really a 4th rd pick is a nothing pick.

    • Phixieus666

      Those type of guys need to be drafted and developed for that reason. I liked the trade as it should bring a different element to the team. A little spark plug with some gasoline. If he can kill penalties on par with petrell then hes an upgrade in my mind. Eager has been largely ineffective again this season. I’d rather give his spot to MPS or Harti.

      I think Smyth, Eager, and Belanger could all go and there would be little difference in the teams performance. Lots of Goalie injuries wonder how many will come knocking for Bulin as a rental????

  • Spydyr

    When losing is expected and becomes acceptable. There is no passion.

    Who in the top six has the ability to be physical. That’s right one. Taylor Hall. That’s about the chances of this team making the playoffs 1 in 6.

    Sure hope there are some big moves at the deadline and the off season.

  • Czar

    Peckham,Fistric and Brown should all be dressed for the remainder of the trip so we can at least go down swinging.

    Jason, do you think Eager is a little gun shy these days? With his concussion issues is he ever going to be the player the Oilers thought they were getting?

  • CaptainLander

    Your words are very true Struds – the problem is we all feel a little dirty inside when we realize who the biggest culprit’s are. Eberle and RNH need to show more “fire”.When they are on a hot streak, it is a non issue. But when things are not clicking like this year, they need to fall back on being gritty and causing trouble. Simply put, they are too easy to play against right now! You don’t need to be a hitter to always knock somone off the puck. They need to use those skilled hands and dig harder for the puck.

  • Oasis

    Great article Struds……but.this is nothing new. This has been said time and time again and nothing ever changes around here. This team plays with intensity and emotion how often? Maybe 1 game out of 3, 4 or 5? If that.

    I don’t think adding one player is going to change everything. Are we going to be tougher to play against? For sure. Is this is a good trade? Yeah, we need the toughness for sure. But the whole team has to buy into it. I am tired of watching the same guys battle all the time while the other spectators on the team watch. I am tired of watching the same 1 or 2 guys finish their checks while the others just turn away and skate the other direction. Finish your hit, make the other team think that they have to hurry their pass because they know they are going to get cranked. Work a little harder on the boards for the puck and show some intensity and compete. And if it doesnt happen, these spectators need to be woken up by Kreuger and sent up to the press box for a while.

    Yes the rebuild is a work in progress. Yes the team is Improving and will continue to do so. I Know we are going to lose a lot of games and I don’t expect to win them all, but this whole compete issue has been going on for too long. We constantly watch this team come into big games and completely crap the bed. We constantly watch this team go for long periods of a game like they just dont care, like in Minny the other night…………no shots in the second period. Pathetic. Enough talk for once, go out there and do it.

  • McDavid's Comet

    It would nice to see the oilers adapt Brian burkes’ mentality. In 07-08 before the season started he told the ducks team that he did not want to see the players intimidated and that everyone on the team had to fight at least twice during the season.

  • A-Mc

    You know what this team needs? A Smile. Who wanna come with i?!

    or the Mother F#ck’n HANSON BROTHERS! Where our 3 goons at?! WHERE ARE THEY!?!

    *CRASH* *BANG*

    I’m excited for this brown addition. i don’t care to see him fight, i just want to see him make a few people angry at times. =D

    I want to see Fistric, Peckham, Eager, Brown, Jones and Hall(because he’s a pest) all play in the same game. Injuries haven’t allowed this! Let it be done

  • PlayDirty

    I’ve always thought MPS needs to get his ass kicked once so he realizes it’s not that bad. Maybe then he would be more inclined to use his frame and find a little bit of fire.

  • 106 and 106

    Attaboy Struds – well said – Brown isn’t the answer, but his style could most def. be part of a solution. Smytty used to be that guy, but the mullet isn’t all he used to be. Team effort!

  • Wendy01

    Exactly! I couldn’t help but think that this Brown trade was a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the Minny game. A bit of an overpay, but I think Brown is perfect. He’s tough, he fights, he’s responsible defensively and he has the foot speed to play in Kreuger’s forechecking scheme.

    I was pretty disappointed that the Oilers didn’t dump and chase against the Hawks in game 1 of this road trip. Hawks had played the night before. With the minutes that Keith and Seabrook play per game, all you have to do is get that puck deep and grind them. Oilers didn’t do that, turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and ultimately lost the game.

    Mike Brown plays a simple game and it’s that element that I am looking most forward to.

  • GVBlackhawk

    I thought Eager was supposed to contribute what you are talking about in your article JS.

    He is not doing it. Additionally, he is not a good hockey player.

    What is the point of giving him a roster spot?

  • GVBlackhawk

    Couldn’t disagree with you more.

    Your thinking is so far in the past, and is out of touch with reality. It still exists with old timers that still run some teams, and many in the mainstream media.

    But in 10-15 years from now, they will look back at posts like yours and wonder how those so close to the game did not understand what winning was a function of.

    • Jason Strudwick

      I guess we agree to disagree. Energy players are vital to a teams success. They can spark a team that is sleeping though a game or change the momentum of a game with a great shift, hit or scrum.

      My train of thought comes from actual game experience. I have seen the swing these types of players can make. I am not suggeting Brown is god’s gift to hockey or will change the phyical makeup of the Oilers top 6. I made it clear I HOPE he can do what I have seen him do in the past.

      I do not want to watch a bunch of robots on the ice. That isn’t hockey. Hockey without passion isn’t for me. If as you suggest hockey will change that much in the next 15 years, I will slowly lose my love of the game.

      • MarcusBillius

        Hey Jason

        I don’t think that’s what Hayek is saying. More something along the lines of “no amount of fire in your belly will help you if you can’t play”.

        Most of us remember the Torres hit on Michalek and few would argue that it changed the San Jose series in ’06, but that hit is a five minute power play and a long suspension now. More than that though, the Oilers started playing again. Was it because of the hit? Hard to say. Gut feeling is one thing.

        Tgere was that article on fights and their effects on the game – nada. No result. So you always wonder.

        Personally, I believe in the middle ground. Hitting changes the game. Teams get caught up in it. Opposing teams start making mistakes trying to respond to hits. But can a team win with how Eager played last year?

        • MarcusBillius

          Yeah, it seems you captured more so of what I am trying to say. I never say passion isn’t part of the game. But passion is pretty much an intangible that all athletes at this level have. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be at the NHL.

          To say one player has more passion than another, then says that translates into greater ability on the ice, or greater ability to win games is frankly pretty laughable. I’m not saying there isn’t a difference, because I am sure there is, but attributing passion to winning or losing games over talent is an arguement you won’t ever win.

          Energy players are not vital to a team’s success, and never have been (at least if your definition of an energy player is Mike Brown). Even look back at Oilers teams, the effective “energy” players were not goons with no skill. They were Pisani, Moreau, Reasoner, Glencross, Dvorak, etc.

          So maybe it’s not that we disagree on “energy” players being important but on the definition of an “energy” player. My definition would be players who can forecheck, hit, draw penalties……..AND PLAY HOCKEY. You can have all the “energy” you want, but if this doesn’t translate into offence, defence, or penalties drawn, what exactly do you accomplish?

  • yeeps

    I will admit I am looking forward to seeing what chaos Brown and Eager can muster up tonight. With their speed and big bodies one would think that the Columbus squad might want to keep their heads up when retrieving pucks in their end.

    However, the two of them taking bad penalties is far more likely. And I wouldn’t even mind that, at least it means they’re trying to make something happen.

    Sig’em boys!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I feel your pain Jason (frustration during the wild game).

    Can’t really blame the kids. Look at who they have as leaders/role models leading them in this lineup. Nothing but a whole lotta nothing specials. A bunch of overpaid veterans just happy to be collecting a paycheque.

    The only thing this patience being preached by management has done, is allow the kids to adjust/become comfortable with losing. Good luck turning those taps off after they’ve allowed them to underachieve these last 3 yrs.

    If the only possible victory this evening is watching the little ball of hate win a taffypull/scrap, then we’ve obviously lost the war.

  • Spurzey

    Maybe I should just quantify how I see Brown.

    Since you say he will be good on the forecheck, I challenge this. If he is so great at the forecheck, why is he in the bottom 3 of Leafs that get outshot per time played?

    If he is so gritty, and irritates people, why has he not drawn one single penalty this year?

    If players like him are so useful, why were the Leafs willing to give him up, after they had just picked up a player from waivers?

    I find your commenting on fighting pretty hilarious. Who cares if we have gotten into few fights all year? Most useless role players get into fights to try and make it seem like they are actively doing something, because they can’….play hockey. It’s nice to see as a fan that we don’t cry anytime anyone on our top 6 gets hit. This is hockey, they will get hit. Funny every other sport can get by with out fighting, and yet people here think it’s some great part of the game.

    As for the vanilla nature of the lineup. So what? As much as big hits, and pointless scrums and facewashes after the whistle are so exciting, they don’t win games. Guys like Lucic aren’t winners because they hit, it’s because they put up 50 points/year. Take away the 50 points, and you have Petrell. Nobody gets excited about Petrell.

    • Spurzey

      I care, dude! I wanna watch hockey, not figure skating. …I suppose the Tanya Harding thing suggests there might be more “passion and emotion” in that sport then this line up has show cased recently. But I digress.

      Never-the-less stick ’em, slash ’em, cross-check ’em! Muhahahaha

      Game day prediction: Brown knocks somebody the (explicit) out!

      Yeah, I am a neanderthal. And I like it.

      Lets go Oil!

      • Spurzey

        Fair enough, like I said, it’s exciting to see fights, and hits. But when you employ players who can’t play offence or defence (you know…hockey) to do this, it means we get outshot more, and lose more games.

        Just curious, who on the Oilers should we get rid of then? Eberle doesn’t hit, RNH, Gagner, Hemsky? Yeah, these plain vanilla guys are very boring. Let’s get more Ben Eagers, Mike Browns, Lennard Petrells. Not saying you can’t have one of these guys on your team, on your bottom 6………but why?

        If you want to see great fights, watch MMA. In hockey, most fights, barely one or 2 punches actually connects. And the guy who wins the fight, doesn’t atually get anything in hockey. (Even the losing fighter’s team cheers him on after the fight…)

        • ubermiguel

          Gotta mix and match my good man. A dash of this and a sprinkle of that. Balance. Equilibrium. It’s all math, brah.

          I could sit here and preach to the choir for hours and hours, but I’m guessing you will never change your opinion. That’s your right, playa!

          I would recommend, however, watching some SCF series and pay close attention to the roster make-up, the hard nosed hockey and, as is pointed out in this fine article, the turning points created for teams when their players get involved with “passion and emotion” in some ghetto like moments.

          To answer your question and this is my personal opinion. Gagner and Hemsky may have to go. I would also disagree that RNH doesn’t hit. Watch him closer. Kids got some compete in him.

          Put on the foil, boys. Lets go Blue!

          • ubermiguel

            I’m very open to chenging my opinion if somebody can make a good argument. The thing is that most people argue things that are very intangible, because it is easy, and you can’t be disproven.

            Just like when you say you need to have a good mix. Why? Where is this fact? And if it is math, then write it out.

            Maybe you misunderstand me. I am not against hitting, physcial play, or playing with passion. These are all great traits and skills to have.

            Where I diverdge is that I don’t want a player with only these skills. I want a player who can play hockey, you know, outshoot, outscore the opposition. If they can hit, and be physical along with that, awesome! Who wouldn’t want that.

            I get aggravated when people want players who have these physical attributes, but not the other hockey attributes….you know, the skill that wins games.

            That’s why I believe Mike Brown is useless. Yes, he hits. Yes, he fights. But what about hockey? Does he produce offence? No. Does he outshoot opponents? No. Does he draw more penalties than he takes? No, not this year, other years, yes, just barely.

            Does he help your team win…more than another player taking his spot? Likely…no.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I believe the math or facts is in the roster make-up of SCF teams. That’s the formula that seems to work. You can google it.

            Where are the facts to solidify your argument? And, what is your argument? First you don’t believe in forechecking or energy, now you do, but not fighting. I’m confused, brah.

            Here’s some food for thought for ya, though. Give Brown a game at the very least before you go all Al-Qaeda on him. Dude! We haven’t even see him play and you got the pitch forks out. The guys a fourth liner not the second coming! He still deserves a chance, man.

            He may provide some contagious energy with a hit or a fight. If he does it’s a win. Let Hall and Co. score the goals, get the chicks and the fame. Brown can just be a working class hero.

            You hate me, don’t ya?

          • The Soup Fascist

            Well if the “math” is in there explain it? What factor are you basing it on? A team that hits more? Has more fights? Is taller? Is heavier? Explain exactly what you mean.

            Do you even read what I say? Well yeah, I don’t believe energy is important, because it is not real. You’re just making up a term for a guy who runs around and hits players. If energy was the cure, Ben Eager and Lennart Petrell would be the keys to winning. Semin would be considered low energy, or lazy, and he is a phenominal talent, outshoots, outscores the opponent. Energy is just a myth, guys can be positionally aware, talented, and have a good stick for creating turnovers and achieve the same result, or better results

            Of course I believe in forechecking. But dont know what that has to do with anything. Mike Brown is not a good forechecker. So if you value that, don’t know why you would value Mike Brown. He might hold the puck in the cycle, but does not create scoring chances.

            Fighting, could care less. I enjoy watching fighting, so I’m not against it, but it has nothing to do with winning games. So I’m not anti-fighting, but am against anyone who says fighting is pivotal to winning.

            I’d be all for having “energy” guys on the 4th line. But my definition of an energy guy is one who can play hockey too. Mike Brown can’t play hockey.

            Just a question, have you watched Brown play hockey before? I mean play hockey, not seen him in a fight?

          • The Soup Fascist

            No, I don’t hate you. You seem to be a passionate Oilers fan. I am a passionate Oilers fan.

            I just think you don’t have the same tools in evaluating wins, or evaluating players. I won’t fault you fo it though, you just don’t enjoy analyzing the game like I do.It’s not for everyone, you just want to sit back, and enjoy a good hockey game.

          • Sure, but to say the Oilers lack that now is pretty laughable. Oilers may lack passion, but what they do lack is talent. This lack of passion is just a cliche used after losing games. People just had too high expectations for this team. We were 29th last year, we were not making the playoffs this year. Holding the Oilers to this standard (teams dont go from 29th to playoffs) has angered fans, yet underservingly so. We have improved from last year, and we will improve next year.

            Adding players who can’t play hockey, you know outshoot, outscore, draw penalties makes the team worse. It’s like Rome……bread and circuses, distract the people, the masses.

            Maybe we have different wants as fans. You want to be exciting, even if we lose. I am willing to sacrifice some excitement if it means we win more. You generally can’t have both. But I find winning to be exciting.

          • What does it matter though? I know many people who have played hockey, even some who have had a brief stint in NHL, and they are not very intelligent about hockey. I also have some friends who have never played, and yet can break down games better than professional broadcasters.

            Look at Jason Gregor, or Jonathan Willis. They have never played hockey at a high level like Strudwick, and I would argue their articles make a better case than those from Strudwick most times.

          • MarcusBillius

            I thought Hayek sounds a lot more like the hockey players I know.

            Besides, remember all those Red Army squads that schooled Canadians? Passionless, effective, efficient. Canadian passion won in ’72 but Canadian hockey learned more from the Russians than vice-versa. Puck possession, defence, stick checks, etc. It doesn’t all translate to the small ice but most of it did. Meanwhile, the Russians came away learning something about passion, but they never abandoned their core principles. Passion is over-rated. Important, but not so much so as skill, IMO. (please don’t confuse subdued passions with any suggestion that the player is lazy or gutless like Bonsignore. There’s a whole scale of running wild to being calm and cool like Schultz.)

  • Just curious if anyone here remembers when Oilers had a great 4th line. Brodziak, Glencross, and Stortini (at least I think it was Brodziak, can’t quite remember).

    Remember how we picked up Glencross that year. He was not some fighter, not some one dimensional player. That’s why I think I get angry when we pick up guys like Mike Brown, and some tout them as the solution.

    If you want “fire” it doesn’t generally come from these one dimensional players with no upside. If Oilers want to improve, lets find guys like Glencross, Jones. If we are gonna gamble, let’s gamble on a player with a chance of bringing us a big return!

    I noticed Zack Boychuk on waivers yesterday. I would much rather gamble on Zack Boychuk than on Mike Brown…

      • ubermiguel

        Well I believe we were going after Hossa that year. But yeah, I would be thrilled to have gotten Hossa, or kept Glencross.

        My question is, why aren’t we searching for the next Glencross or Jones? Why are we trying to find a new Hordichuk instead? There are only 12 forward spots on a roster, so why waste one on Brown?

        Even within our own organization, why not give Cheechoo or Rajala a chance?

        • Spurzey

          I agree we need a glenx or 2 and that is on stumblini to go and get.

          I don’t think Cheech is our property and if we signed him he would need to clear the wire.

          Rajala….another smurf?

  • ubermiguel

    “I hated playing against Brown.” That’s a great endorsement. Bring back the passion. Ebs and RNH are great players, but they aren’t firey guys, they’re pretty cerebral. Hall’s got it but he’s in and out of the line-up with injuries and can’t be the only guy on the team to bring it.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Here is my concern. We have a lot of “fans” crapping on Brown who have likely never seen him play live (or at all) or maybe watched him a few minutes on TV. First for those of you who are able to see into the future, should I dump my stock in Apple? For those of you just dumping on the guy because you don’t like his “type”, one word – wow!

    Just for fun, let’s try watching the guy suit up a game or two with the Oilers before we prejudge him. So he was not a big part of the Leafs. There are SO many stories of players who were surplus in one organization that ended up being an integral part of their new team. Look at the Oilers – from Lumley to Muni to MacT to Jason Smith to Ryan Jones and others. All guys on other teams scrap heaps to contributors.

    Not saying Brown is this type of guy but let’s see how his particular skillset and work ethic meshes here before we put forward ignorant (as in devoid in facts or knowledge) comments. If after 5 or 10 games you think it’s not a fit – fine. Until then, it is a bunch of hot air.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Yeah, you make a fair point, but at the other end, there are people (Strudwick) acting as though he is part of the solution. First of all, I’ve watched him play a handful of games, and was not impressed.

      Small sample I realize, so I bring up his profile, look at his career stats. I see no offence.

      So I want to dig deeper, I want to know if he is a good team guy, plays good defensively, see if he still outshoots his opponents, or draws a lot of penalties, which would be the case if he was pivotal in a good forecheck. So I look up the stats, and see he gets massively outshot every year of hockey he has played. The past 2 years, he was 3rd worst among 18 Leaf forwards.

      So it’s not like we are not giving him a chance, but we are tapering our opinion with the reality that has been his career thus far. If I looked deeper, and found he outshot his opponents, drew lots of penalties, then I would be somewhat optimistic. The thing is that nothing here indicates any optimism.

      Hometown fans here tend to get overoptimistic just because he is now an Oiler. He is not a regular NHL calibre player, and he will not be. He already has 5 seasons in the league.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Here is my issue. You are inferring Strudwick has on rose colored glasses because he “sees” Brown good. I think the opposite is true.

        Before the season began, when some in the media were euphoric with all the goals this group of wunderkids were going to score, he was adamant they were going to be far too easy to play against. He was right.

        His comment that he “hated playing against Brown” speaks volumes to me. Strudwick may not have had all the talents of some NHLers but two things are undeniable.

        1) His work ethic and give-a-sh!t factor were through the roof

        2) He was a very good teammate and knew the value of standing up for each other

        He is only a couple of years removed from the NHL. So if he tells me Brown is a good addition I will listen long and hard to the reasons. To me that is a more reasonable approach than hating the deal because of your perception of Brown’s game.

        Jason Smith was a guy who did zip in the New Jersey system and was wheeled out of Toronto because he was a chronic minus player. He became one of the most respected Oilers captains ever. Why? Because he worked his ass off and found himself in a position where he could succeed because the Oilers at that time were missing his particular skill set.

        I am NOT saying Mike Brown will become the forward equivalent of Gator, not by a longshot. But I will say he seems to have a lot of the qualities the Oilers lack right now and I would take a good long look at him. If he looks like a bust to you after a fair shake in Oil threads – fine. I am just saying there is a chance that the people prejudging this guy could end up with egg on their face. And given the choice right now of Strudwick’s view or guys like you or me – Struds likely has a lot more merit.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Well, I am glad you don’t hate me.

    I actually think exactly that way about you. lol Isn’t that funny sh*t?

    I will, however, fault you for it… I’m jus’ playin’, brah!

    I truly hope you have fun watching the game tonight.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Getting him those 10 minutes is key. That line with Eager and Brown needs to provide some spark. They can both skate and hit anything than moves. We got dominated the last time we played in Columbus. Even though we won that one, it’s important that we let the Jackets know that we won’t be such pushovers this time around. Hopefully Hall’s return helps in that respect. Obviously you don’t want to see him scrapping but he plays with tons of passion and has really stepped it physically this season.

  • OilClog

    I agree with you Jason … there was little emotion and less toughness, especially being tough on the puck.
    You can see it on other teams where everyone…even the small guys play tough! The Oiler players do not except occassionally and they do not have that team mentality.
    They need to get it … but how?

  • MarcusBillius

    I agree with you Jason … there was little emotion and less toughness, especially being tough on the puck.
    You can see it on other teams where everyone…even the small guys play tough! The Oiler players do not except occassionally and they do not have that team mentality.
    They need to get it … but how?