Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pitkanen: Justify our love

Due to a terrible NHL schedule that keeps the East and West conferences isolated from one another like so many Koreas and Berlins before it, like most Oilers fans, I haven't actually seen that much of Joni Pitkanen. Of course, I knew of him by reputation, and the numbers alone show that the trade that brought him here at the cost of our captain will result in a huge offensive boost for the Oilers on the blueline. Still, as Lowetide noted in his "Former Oilers" post yesterday, though, this scoring upgrade has cost us some serious leadership and grit, and as training camp approaches, the impact of Smith's not being here is beginning to sink in. I agree with LT that it is not a good feeling.

Shit. That's kind of depressing. Maybe some videos of Pitkanen's goal-scoring prowess will help cheer us up!







Ahh. That's the stuff.

Thing that most surprised me while fishing around for these clips was how good this kid is at sneaking down from the point. Every one of these goals is scored from the top of the circle on down, and it seems like it's been a while since we've had a blueliner who knows how to join the rush. It's a small sample size, obviously, but I don't know how someone could look at these clips and not think that a PP with Pitkanen swooping in from the point to tap in Hemsky's ridiculous passes from the half-boards is going to be just disgustingly deadly. Looking forward to seeing this kid in an Oilers uniform this fall.

15 comments:

majeau13 said...

Leadership is a funny thing. we will miss Gator's leadership, there is no doubt to that, but we have enough character players in the dressing room. The likes of Staios, Roloson, and even to some extent, Geoff Sanderson. We'll miss Jason Smith, but in the long run, Joni will be nice on the back end.

jon said...

Not to be too much of a Debbie Downer, but it is worthwhile to note that those goals are all from his post-lockout season I believe. Which was before some substantial injuries and with a rejuvenated Forsberg.

Here's hoping he can regain that form though...

Chris! said...

Jon, I hear what you're saying. No doubt Forsberg makes everyone around him better. But I'm impressed by Pitkanen's offensive instincts nonetheless.

Steve said...

I understand why people are going to miss Smith. I am too. I'm not going to miss him any less once I see how defensively terrible our defensive corps is.

But by the time the Oilers were in a position to contend, Smith would have been in no position to help us. Pitkanen should only get better between now and then (although he probably won't be playing for Edmonton after Buffalo gives him a fat offer sheet). And we have enough defensive prospects that at least a couple of them (Greene? Smid? Roy? Grebeshkov? Chorney? Plante?) should turn into reliable second pairing guys like Smith was.

As for the leadership factor, we've still got Moreau and Staios (the latter of whom has a reputation for being an outstanding mentor to young defensemen).

And, of course, they took Lupul off our hands to boot.

grease trap said...

The thing abut those crazy Hemsky passes passes to nobody...maybe he was just waiting for his Joni to come along?

jon said...

Pitkanen can definitely keep up with Hemsky on the rush, and apparently likes to jump in on the left... perfect for Hemsky's passes from the right. From the times I saw Pitkanen the past two years I'd say that he's actually a better skater than Hemsky, by quite a bit.

MetroGnome said...

I think posting Madonna's "Justify My Love" video would make this post complete.

Steve said...

Also, did anybody else notice who's getting burnt on the second goal?

Chris! said...

"Also, did anybody else notice who's getting burnt on the second goal?"

Shit. If Souray persists with his pylon imitation, we're going to need two defensive partners out there just to break even.

Is Toby Petersen still available?

Kirsten said...

I'm a bit surprised that they didn't demand more to take Lupul off our hands...

I'm reserving all judgement until I see these guys play in Oilers uniforms and see what kind of chemistry they all have together.

Anonymous said...

"But I'm impressed by Pitkanen's offensive instincts nonetheless" (chris!) - Ditto. I've seen these before, but they did cheer me some to see them again :)
I've surprised myself tho'; I'm still feeling sad about Smith.

Anonymous said...

Would the Pitkanen deal happen today if the rest of our summer played out the same way?

I was thinking about that today. I'm looking forward to Pitkanen too, but it seems to me that we could really use a gritty defenseman and a second-line right wing.

Don't we?

-Chuck D.

James L. said...

Sure, we could use a second line RW, but that guy is NOT Joffrey Lupul.

Still a steal of a trade for that reason alone.

Steve said...

I was thinking about that today. I'm looking forward to Pitkanen too, but it seems to me that we could really use a gritty defenseman and a second-line right wing.

We definitely need somebody to fill Smith's role as a reliable stay-at-home type. Hopefully Greene and Smid will step it up, but there's no question that our blue line will be porous. If I'd had my way, we would have signed neither Tarnstrom nor Souray (I think Pitkanen and Gilbert would have been quite sufficient for offensive defensemen) and used some of the leftover money to try to replace Smith defensively (I was partial to Andy Sutton, personally, but plenty of people think I'm an idiot on that account).

uni said...

I don't know if Andy Sutton would have been a bad bet. But he might have wanted a bit more coin than I'd like.

I look at a guy like Hal Gill, who for all his shortcomings, is still an anchor defensively and shines on the PK. I think he paired with Carlo whenever he was healthy and he was a steadying influence. Wish he was only making 1 million or so though haha.