Norris?

“Justin has Norris Trophy potential. I don’t think there are too many people that would disagree with me in that regard.”

Those were the words of then GM, now Co-Head Coach and GM, Craig MacTavish regarding the future of one Justin Tiberius Schultz. Now given what we’ve learned from most Hollywood movies involving time travel, we can all agree that if Marty McFly doesn’t take his Mom to the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance then Justin Schultz will go onto a long prosperous career defending his Norris Trophy every year but if John Connor sends his Dad back in time to save (fertilize) his Mom then Schultz will instead opt to go to Edmonton and become Jultz instead.

Perfectly clear? Good. Now that we have the basics of the infinite possibilities that lay ahead of us in the future we can start talking about very real and definite things that happened in the past. More specifically we can talk about Justin Schultz flushing his Norris Trophy future down the toilet with 3 horrendous plays in 1 game.

I have dubbed the three goals that he was on the ice for “The Pylon”, “The Corner Route”, and “The Jultz”. I will be providing a few screen grabs from the videos that you can find here on Oilers TV.

THE PYLON

This was the first goal against and it serves to highlight the softer side of Justin Shultz, the side that only his friends and opposing forwards know about him. The problem here is that Jultz is treated like nothing more than a pylon by the goal scorer.

Here’s Colborne skating towards 19. Note that there are no other Flames for miles in any other direction save for the corner where the puck is located.

Schultz stands his ground between the Flame attacker and his goalie.

Or…not…

Colborne appears to have phased directly through Schultz’ body. He might be an X-Man…or Ghost Dad.

And not to be outdone by Justin Schultz’ complete lack of physical presence, Viktor Fasth takes a mental leave as he determines that the puck must, somehow, be on his right. This is Justin’s party and I don’t want to ruin it with a lot of Fasth talk, but this play looks like a blatant dive in a fixed boxing match. He went down from a phantom punch here. Nobody is this incompetent.

THE CORNER ROUTE

This second goal on the night is my favourite because it starts to incorporate his playing partner into the mix. If, perhaps, you recently suffered a blow to the head and didn’t remember or were in hospital recovering, it is possible that you missed the memo that Craig MacTavish (Co-Coach, GM, Silver Fox) gave Hunt a real number and made him Justin Schultz’ defensive partner. 

I can hear you now, “That’s probably not so bad though, I mean they must only play 14-15 minutes a night, right? Right?…Guys?”

It isn’t fair to leave the recently concussed hanging like that. No, Schultz and Hunt aren’t getting limited Ice Time. Justin played more than 20 minutes and Hunt almost 19 against the Flames. This play should probably be brought up at the tribunal that is scheduled at season’s end.

Here is Brad Hunt standing in the Left corner. He’s making a pass to his partner Schultz. Everything is wonderful. Let’s watch our pass.

Here is Justin Schultz. He’s starting to feel uncomfortable because Brad keeps staring at him. He moves the puck up the ice to Arcobello.

Now Arcobello starts feeling doubly uncomfortable because now both Hunt and Schultz are staring at him, unmoving from either corner. He sends the puck over to Perron but maybe because everybody is watching him and he has performance anxiety he puts a little too much on it and Perron can’t handle the pass. Hunt stands in one corner, Schultz remains in the other. The front of the net is emptier than Justin’s Norris potential.

Gaudreau gets the puck. Hunt and Schultz are powerless to get to the front of the net in time. They continue to watch the puck as it slides in through Fasth’s ever open 5-Hole.

THE JULTZ

Jultzing, for the uninitiated, is the half-hearted lean and one-handed swing (or pointing) of the stick towards a puck carrier that you have no intention of stopping. It is not a catch-all phrase we use to describe a bad play that Justin Schultz makes. It is a very specific action much like “The Carlton” is a very specific Dance move.

This next one combines some of that classic puck-watching that we saw in the last play but adds in a great Jultz. That said, it all starts with Hunt deciding to chase a puck carrier behind the net while making sure he couldn’t possibly make a play on the puck if he wanted.

Hunt follows the Calgary player behind the net. Good! With his stick at waist level the whole time. Bad. At best he can deflect a puck that is fired mid-air, if the opposing player wants to shoot the puck away from the direction of the net. Hunt is doing nothing to prevent a pass to the slot at all. Justin Schultz watches from the front of the net. He doesn’t look around him to see what is going on and he is covering exactly no-one. 

The puck goes to the slot, to the surprise of nobody. Hunt’s stick is still mid-air and not in any recognizable passing-lane. Justin Schultz continues to cover nobody but you can see he’s tracking the puck the whole time. You have to watch the video to get the full impact, but at this point in the sequence I’m not convinced that he’s even aware that Glencross is actually there.

This right here is what a grown man Jultzing looks like. It almost looks like he actually wants to play the body, not that he could given that he was covering the front of the net in case the puck was flipped directly over top of the net to a Flame that was possibly invisible. 

NORRIS?

Not in my lifetime. This is a player with no defensive awareness. None. Additionally, he is less than “Not Physical”, he is actually Anti-Physical in an almost germophobic way. Justin Schultz had a bad night, but in reality this is more of a common occurrence than I’m sure he and his biggest fan General Manager would like to admit. It’s just that this time he got burned for goals against. 

And why does he continue to do it? Well the first two soft/boneheaded plays happened early in the 1st period and he went on to play 20 minutes that night. The only thing he’s learning is that this is exactly how the team wants him to play.

  • Oilers Domination to Follow

    Gents, no need to fret. Schultz is still young and truly does have Norris potential, just be patience. Next year we’re going to have Nurse in the line-up and he will makeup for Schultz’s shortcomings. Schultz-Nurse, Klefbom-Marincin, Fayne-Ference on the back end; PLUS, Hall-MacDavid -Eberle,Perron-RNH-YakCity! Now all we need is a Goalie and some bottom 6 plugs and we’re on our way! Next year, is OUR year!

  • PeterTZ

    Just to play devil’s advocate here:

    The Corner Route: Perron basically passed the puck back to Gaudreau. You usually don’t cover the front of the net when your team has established possession of the puck. This is why turnovers are so critical. Everyone is operating on the assumption that Perron will be able to receive that pass. He doesn’t, and bad things happen.

    The Jultz: When Hunt stupidly chases the Calgary player behind the net, he puts Schultz in a lose-lose situation. Schultz either has to cover Glencross, or leave the back post and allow the Flame to walk out uncontested. I can’t imagine the vitriol that would be aimed his way if he skated to Glencross and they scored on a wrap-around. Also where the hell is the center on this play?!

    The Pylon: …Ok this is a really soft play. There was a funny bounce off a skate preceding this and I think Fasth and Schultz both lost sight of the puck, but Schultzy still needs to win that battle.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Schultz has been incredibly soft and lazy this year while offering barely any offense, but I think sometimes we try too hard to make him the goat. In truth, almost the entire team is the goat.

  • Oilers21

    You have to wonder if this stuff IS starting to affect the dynamic of this team. I’ve never played sports at a super high level but even in highschool or rec teams if someone this bad gets this much ice time, I’m pissed and wondering why I’m out there busting my a**. By the eye test, Jultz is easily one of the worst players in the entire league. And he gets top minutes.

  • Who dat

    Awesome post.

    Love it.

    Justin Schultz.

    Just’in time to jultz.

    Justin Jultz, he Schultz, he Scores!

    The Julitzer prize goes to…

    Justin Schultz.

    The eye of the Tiber.

  • Impartial Oilers Fan

    I bet if we gave him the big money and years he wanted he would be making those hits and blocking shots…..who wants to get hurt in a contract year?

    said no one,
    ever

  • Grant

    Some of you may notice the #10 prominently standing along the boards checking… the clock? Having the worst defensive defenceman on the ice with possibly the league’s worst defensive forward and Perron, who obviously pouts whenever placed with linemates he doesn’t care for, and we are surprised that they get scored on? Really?

  • Oiler Fan 16

    Perron screws up huge by intercepting that area pass. Bone headed and selfish.
    I think the Oilers defensive coaching is so bad that it is amazing they aren’t doing worse. They are all being allowed to carry their sticks at waist level like Ference has always done when in his own end to his teams peril.