1) Mark Bishop asks – If you were to describe the Oilers work on Day 1 of free agency in five words what would they be?
Identifying problems and finding solutions. Top drawer start to the summer. Possession players who can play important roles.
Finally looks like a plan.
The best news about is…
Added proven NHL depth players.
Just ok, but better today…
Dude, where’s my centre depth?
2) Brian Chamberlain asks – Who are the winners and losers of free agency so far and why?
Winners: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Dallas,
Popular question at this time of year, but we’ve got absolutely no way of knowing until we see how the pieces fit together next season. Often, teams that make the most moves have the most holes and question marks. Are they winners because they made the most moves or the biggest moves? Not necessarily. At first glance I like what Dallas did by adding Spezza and Hemsky because it improves their top-9 forward mix. I like the addition of Grabovski and Kulemin with the NYI for the same reason.
The players that have signed are the winners. The losers are the ones still on the outside looking in.
Losers: Washington Capitals. Paying a defensive defenceman, Brooks Orpik, $5.5 mill for 5 years is sheer lunacy.
Winners: Pittsburgh Penguins. They signed Christian Ehrhoff, Steve Downie and Blake Comeau to one-year deals at very reasonable contracts.
I really like the move by Chicago and filling their second line center hole with Brad Richards on a 1 year for 2M. The luxury of being a great team is you can land older veterans looking to win on the cheap. He couldn’t live up to the huge ticket he signed in New York but he’s still a very serviceable second line center and is a strong veteran presence in any locker room.
I’d say the winners on free agency day are the agents. They get a cut of the inflated contracts they negotiated and for that I salute them. It would be awesome to be a fly on the wall to listen to the negotiations. The losers are the Maple Leafs. Just because.
3) @WColfo asks – All our young defenders are bubbling under the surface and everyone is saying Edmonton will need a stud d-man in order to compete. My question is, can a stud d-man develop internally without the help of a big name vet to show them the ropes?
I think so. It would help to have a mentor. Suspect Struds answer will kill here.
Depends on who you’re talking about. A 27-year-old veteran who has played in the league for 5-7 years probably doesn’t need anybody to “show them the ropes.” What they need is some depth under them. A younger player with potential to be a top pairing player probably does need some veteran guidance.
Yes. I think it can happen that way. There are many examples of that in the NHL. The key is patience. With these signings on the back end the oilers young D will be given lots of time
Drew Doughty had Denis Gauthier, Tom Preissing and Sean O’Donnell as veteran D-men when he was a rookie. In his 2nd season they added Rob Scuderi. Nick Lidstrom never had a stud D-man to learn from. Neither did Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook. It is nice to have veterans on the team, but many of the great D-men played a lot of minutes early in their careers. Of course it would help Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse if they had a #1 D-man to learn from, but it isn’t necessary for them to develop.
I definitely think you need a good leadership group to help young guys feel comfortable but I think you can if developed properly.
I had no #1 D-man to teach me the ways of the world and look how I turned out!
4) @BCoonan asks – As someone who hasn’t played sports at a high level, something I’ve always wondered about is the “size” argument. In your opinion, how much of an advantage does someone that’s 6’2 218lbs have over 6’0 190lbs?
It’s all based on playing style. Mark Messier was a killer. Do you know where he ranked in height and weight compared to his opponents?
All things being equal, which is rare, the bigger player is the better player every time. In your example, 28 pounds is a lot if the players are equal in terms of skating ability, puck-handling, shot, hockey IQ etc etc. What possible advantage is there in being smaller?
Things like wear and tear on the body. The ability to use the body to shield the puck. I do believe that it is the attitude of the player that makes the difference before size.
If the two players have the same skill, the bigger player has an advantage. He is stronger. If he is a D-man he can handle big, skilled forwards better, and vice versa. Size helps in many areas, and if the two players are equal in skill, the larger of the two will have the advantage in one-on-one battles, fending off checkers and going to the net, for example.
If the skill levels are the same I’m taking the bigger guy all day. Longer reach, heavier to protect the puck in corners, and in front of the net. If the player throws his weight around a bit, he’s that much more powerful. Bigger bodies are way harder to move.
Wait… size matters? DAMMIT! *Googles natural male enhancement pills*
Wanye: Lion. King of the beasts
Jason: Orangutan, very smart
Lowetide: Foghorn Leghorn. Well let me tell you, boy
Robin: Wise Old Owl. Piercing and witty.
Jonathan: Crow. Insightful, brilliant
Brian Sutherby: Bear. Tough, focused, skilled.
If I ever felt the urge to describe other writers here as a wild animal, I would slam my head against the top of my desk until it went away. Tell me, Matt, do you ever imagine writers here as wild animals?
My favorite movie of the Rocky series is easily number 4. Ivan vs Rocky was a great battle.
Brownlee: Water buffalo, due to his large cranium.
Strudwick: Peacock. He struts around on a pair of twig legs. Also a Hyena… has a loud laugh and is not afraid to attack.
Willis: Cheetah. Incredibly fast at pumping out content.
Lowetide: Dolphin. Smart and friendly.
Wanye: Woodpecker. Hardworkding and relentless, but often can give you a headache.
Sutherby: Black bear. Hairy as hell, likes to fish and when upright he can actually move pretty quick.
Baggedmilk: Snuffleugagus. Wanye is his Big Bird. He is Wanye’s imaginary, loyal friend that no on else can see.
Wanye – would be a snake because somehow he can eat things twice his size
Robin Brownlee is like a koala bear. Mostly because he’s adorable and loves chewing eucalyptus.
Willis is like an owl… but a cartoon owl because they’re always wearing a graduation cap and he’s a smart dude.
Lowetide is like the noble beaver. A simple and shining light for the Oilogosphere.
Jason Gregor is a giraffe. Not because he’s got a long neck but because he’s on a whole different level when it comes to sports knowledge.