Wednesday, November 8, 2006

At The Speed of Suck

Detroit 3, Vaunt 0

I'm embroiled in an essay, so I only heard the pain, but you know that when half of all the official AP photos of a game are of a guy lying crumpled on the ice/being carted off on a stretcher, it probably wasn't your best game of the year.

Can't comment on the hit, though it seems to getting to be Torres' speciality: interweb, what were your thoughts? From the description, it seems legal-but-dangerous, but these sorts of things always seem to draw debate anyway, and the fact MacT evidently sat Torres for the rest of the second and part of the thirdmight speak to some perceived impropriety (or he didn't want someone jumping Torres). I imagine it will be tame unless a few of the Wings fans we seemed to draw last spring have decided to come back and weigh in.

Since I can't analyze, I will only ask questions:

-Marty Reasoner and Daniel Tjärnqvist were scratches. Anyone know why? By most accounts, Reasoner had a pretty good game against MTL (including a nice assist), and Tjärnqvist was our TOI leader before we decided to play Hejda (who seems to be doing okay, it just seems odd to sit the guy you seem to have the most faith in to bring in your plugger). I haven't heard of injuries to either: thoughts?

-Maybe this is moot, but will MacT ever just let the lines accustomize to each other? I haven't checked thoroughly, but it seems to me as Hemsky and Sykora are the only two who have played on the same line the whole year. Not that you should stay on a sinking ship, but he seems to be juggling like a street performer with ADD, sometimes seemingly unnecessarily (for instance, I thought the line combos in the ANA and PHX games did well together, lopsided scores nothwithstanding).

-With zero shots in the first, offence is obviously a problem. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that, since Detroit had 14 of them in that same stretch, and 45 total, the problem was that we couldn't get out of the defensive zone, but regardless: what fixes this offence? Is it simply a matter of too many streaky players (Horc, Torres, Pisani, Stoll, Lupul) slumping together? Or is their a systemic/personnel problem (ie we need more muckers, or more set-up men, or something)? (Just as aside, I don't think this is panic-mode talk, given that our O wasn't so hot when we were winning, either)

-Sheer advance speculation: think Fernando's $2.5mil/year four-year contract has earned him a spot with Dan McGillis, Petr Nedved, Darius Kasparitis and other NHL-talented-but-too-expensive players picking up millions in the AHL down the road? You can't dislike the guy, but in all honesty, he's not terribly off his career point pace with two goals in 14 games, playoffs notwithstanding, and as important defensive responsibility is, seems like MA Pouliot might be able to do what he's doing for 1/5th the price. It probably won't happen this year, of course, but with the Oilers likely to have some cap issues, performance vs cost is going to factor in sometime, no?

-Speaking of which, Nedved got called back up, and is now at half the price. Free player who played really well here, only half the cap hit. Yes/no?

-Can we fire Craig Simpson? Not that I think will help anything, per se, just that I think we should bring this up as much as possible, since papers are now apparently paying attention to what happens on blogs.


teebeeplayer said...

Hey PM. My eyes feel shame for having watched that game. Anyhoo, your questions:

-Torres hit Williams just after he shot at a half-open net. Seen at real speed, I don't think he could have done much differently. And I thought Raffi was gonna cry while they were peeling Williams off the ice.

-I have no idea why Tjärnqvist has been scratched. I though he was decent at moving the puck up as well, something they couldn't do at all tonight.

-Agreed about the line mixing and matching. At times some of the Oilers seemed surprised by what their linemates were doing out there. Particularly Hemsky.
I think he confused everybody.

Chris! said...

People who actually watched the game seem to be few and far between on the Oilogosphere tonight; even BoA is sweeping tumbleweeds out the door in its game thread. Did we all have better things to do? Or did we all just have a sneaking suspicion that this what was going to happen?

I was working as usual, but I did manage to sneak a few peeks of the game on the overhead screens, and yeah. Like I said in the previous post, every one of them was ugly.

Roloson, as the numbers attest, was fantastic tonight. From what I saw, the last two goals were more of the defence's fault, in that we simply couldn't handle Detroit in front of our net. That was Big Problem No. 1. We just don't have enough size to deal with a net-crashing animal like the Red Wings.

Problem No. 2 was that our best line tonight featured Brad Winchester and Patrick Thoreson. They were actually really good, and I've been surprised by Wisbister's play over the last few games. But we shouldn't have to lower the bucket all the way down to the bottom of the well to find players who look like they know how to grind out a goal. Not with the kind of depth we have.

All in all, it was utterly embarrassing. I don't know if the solution is already on the roster or if we have to think about going fishing a little earlier than we hoped, but something needs to change. The team I saw tonight has no hope of surviving a playoff round, if they indeed are even strong enough to hold onto eighth spot. Not to get all talk radio here, but seriously. Attention must be paid.

Also, Torres' hit was fine, by the way. Williams got double-teamed on a check and his head slammed into Torres' shoulder (I didn't see Raffi lift it, but I could be mistaken). Team says the guy never lost consciousness, but he sure looked like it, hitting the ice like a sack of doorknobs and leaving with a nasty cut.

Also also, when are we going to get our bigshot newspaper writeup, huh? I'm feeling all Antonio Salieri over here. DAMN YOU, WORK-FROM-HOME GRABIA!

Doogie said...

Get rid of the plastic fucking shoulder pads. Maybe if someone other than Don Cherry or Glenn Healy says it, it might get listened to, but those fuckers are going to kill someone before all is said and done.

As for my other thoughts on the game, I pretty well summed it up in the BoA thread, and I don't like recycling jokes. Coles notes version: Aw. Full.

The Human Torch said...

Sack Craig Simpson, please, for chrissakes. When our goddamn power play goes 0 for 6 and gets zero sister-fucking shots, it's time for him to get the axe. Outsource our special teams coaching to Sri-fucking-Lanka, I don't care. Just get him off my team already. Our PP has been inept for as long as Smirky VonBlowdried has been in charge of it.


I loved Simpson as a player, but sweet mother of mercy when will the Oilers brass realize that he couldn't run a decent powerplay if the Oil were playing a peewee girls team.

Shit. I have a headache.

Andy Grabia said...

People who actually watched the game seem to be few and far between on the Oilogosphere tonight; even BoA is sweeping tumbleweeds out the door in its game thread.

We were all at IOF tonight, Chris. Doing some dorky Scoring Chance monitoring, but also talking about the game.

It was the worst thing I've seen since Game Six, Period 2, against Detroit last year.

IwoCPO said...

The Torres hit on Williams was brutal, but clean. I was surprised Mac T sat him for as long as he did, considering the Wings have exactly no one who would retaliate. Someone at BoA said Torres had tears in his eyes? Maybe he was shaken up and that's why he sat for a bit.

Power plays for both teams are hard to watch. For me, of course, the Wings' especially. Ours looked better tonite, but still has a long way to go. Edmonton's? Pronger's absence.

Nice to see the Wings actually crash the net and move their feet last night. Would have been nice, you know, to see them attempt that last Spring.

Roloson was amazing. I don't like him very much. He brings back sad memories .

Scarlett said...

Good clean hit by Torres. I was surprised MacT sat him too. I think that sends the wrong message. And I never saw any tears.

Horrible game for sure, Roli was a god and kept it a one goal game into the third. But our defense is tentative on the puck, won't move it quickly and are always going up the boards. They're playing it too safe. I want to see Bergeron go end-to-end like he used to last year when he played with Prongs. Get that confidence going!!!

And stop juggling those lines MacT. He is notorious for doing that. Early last year, Hemsky and Smyth were playing great together so of course he mixes up the lines. With all the new players on this team, you're not going to find players getting into their comfort zones unless you let them play together for more than a game. A game? Yeah he's juggling during the games too. STOP!!!

Neil said...

The whole coaching staff needs a serious "What would you say...ya do here?" type chat.

Has there been any point in ANY Oilers game recently where you could say "Hey, they meant to do that. That was obviously a set piece." No. Because it never happens.

Lowe & the scouts decide the roster, and did a damn good job of it last year, which is why we got where we did. We had the on-ice leadership & hockey sense to compensate for the empty suits on the bench.

Now, this year, our vaunted offensive juggernaut is potting 2.67 goals a game. Will it eventually click? Hopefully. The way things are going, though, I seriously doubt it.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

I watched the game.

Fourth line was terrific. They turned the tide of the game for a short time in the second period with a great shift. Winchester has been excellent.

Hit was clean.

The team looked tired, they got their legs for a short time but for the most part they just looked brutal. Without Roloson it would have been double digits against probably.

Horcoff, Lupul, Pisani, Torres, Smith - all pretty bad.

Not sure what is up with Reasoner but I read that Shaggy was day to day with a hip problem - can't remember where I read it but that would explain that.

Forget Nedved.

LittleFury said...

MAB was terrible (shocking, I know). Smith put more passes on the sticks of the guys in red than anything else. The Peterchestereson line was fantastic, as was Rollie. Everyone else blew hard. I dunno if jugglich the lines will help and I have to agree with Pierre Maguire (who remains an annoying twat) that the lack of a real puck moving d-man is killing the Oil's offense. Isn't that why they got Tjärnqvist? I'm totally down with/up for sacking Simpson, if for no other reason than just to make a change.

ToTheBank said...

I have watched every game this year, except for the PPVs. I have not seen anything resembling the style of hockey that took us to within one game of the Cup, not even one half of one shift.

Hemsky is playing like a pussy.

In my opinion the lines should look something like this:

10/94/83 - Hemsky seemed to take the biggest steps forward when he was riding along with Horc/Smyth.

71/15/26 - Has Winny's strong play with grinder minutes warranted an audition with some real linemates? His physical presence might generate a few more chances for the shooters?

16/34/14 - This line worked really well together during The Run, and seemed to look OK with the two shifts they had together in the Pheonix game(IIRC).

19/22/28 - Whoever draws in here can pick up the slack.

Let 71/83 work their magic on the PP.

MAB should never ever touch the ice in an Oil uni again. I'm sure he's a quality top 6 d-man and all that jazz, but his mistakes seem like monumental fuck-ups lately. He's damaged goods for Oil faithful and needs to move on.

Why the fuck did it take two weeks to get Hejda on the ice? He's looked pretty damn good to me.

Just my take thoughts?

Pleasure Motors said...

I like the Stoll/Torres/Pisani line idea myself. I thought they looked dynamite playing together, and I really couldn't figure out why they got split up, a 6-2 loss notwithstanding.

Thinking it over, and looking over the comments, we need some other pairing of players to click (I'm against splitting up 83 and 71, since they're the only pairing that has, but maybe it has to be done). For all our vaunt, most of our offence has come from Hemsky and Sykora, and that just won't do. Seems like we've tried every other line combination imaginable, though. Maybe we need, say, a mucking power forward (Torres seems more content to float than grind these days) to throw the body and pot a few?


Coach said...

Reasoner took a puck on the ankle in Montreal
Sharnkwist has a hip pointer.

NB Oiler Fan said...

MacT is doing what he knows best.... line shuffling... like a good cohesive team is a matter of getting the puzzle pieces in the right spot. God-damn it MacT... pick you damn lines and keep em together for more than 2 shifts. Shit the players look lost... as if they are looking around to see which player is on the ice with them.

Yes some players have good chemistry together... but it's friggin' rarely an insitaneous chemistry... let them friggin' get use to one another for christ sakes.

I agree with Human Torch on Simpson.

Torres hit was clean... every fuckin person in the arena knew it from the Wings players and coach out to the friggin' announcers... the media is trying to make it an issue. Williams came around from behind the net, threw teh puck at the net and admired it... and paid the price. There have been worse head-shots that have gotten less coverage.

Sykora said that the Detroit game was pretty much a must-win... what's that make tonights against Columbus?