Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Welcome to my nightmare...

... Also known as a full-time Matt Greene-Sheldon Souray defensive pairing:

There is a chance the 24-year-old will start the National Hockey League season next month partnered up with Sheldon Souray, the Oilers' $6-million man. They played together during exhibition games in Vancouver and Calgary and will probably see action as a duo against the Calgary Flames at Rexall Place on Wednesday.

Some observers may see Greene as little more than a sidekick, a safety valve for the new guy with the big shot and offensive leanings, but that's not giving Greene his due.

Though he still spends way too much time in the penalty box for unnecessary violations, he is gradually smoothing the roughest edges of his game and the Oilers seem ready to rely on him far more than they did even early last season.

That last line pretty much sums up why the Oilers are in for a rough year. Now, I should say that while I'm not a huge fan of Matt Greene, I certainly don't think the guy should be run out of town. It's clear that he has the toolbox to become a punishing defensive force on the blueline, and there are few other players in the Oilers system who duplicate the assets he brings. But no way is Greene consistent enough or dependable enough to play top-four minutes in a "safety valve" role. Christ, the kid doesn't even have the discipline to stay out of the penalty box in the pre-season.

I know Greene and Souray had a good outing against Calgary on Saturday and all, but pairing up your two slowest, most penalty-prone blueliners seems like a recipe for disaster. Who has the footspeed to make up for the other's mistakes? The thought of Souray and Greene getting caught on the ice as Smyth-Sakic-Hejduk or Iginla-Langkow-Tanguay hops over the boards is enough to send shivers down my spine.

No doubt he's coming along as a player. But if your team needs a guy like Matt Greene to step up and eat 20-plus minutes a night as the defensive conscience for an equally cement-footed, gaffe-prone redwood, then your team needs to trade for a better stay-at-home defenceman, stat.


In other news, the Oilers are playing the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at 8 p.m. MT. Here's how the teams are expected to line up:




For Phoenix:



Auld (expected to start)


sacamano said...

This dude confuses me. Parody it must be -- but to what end? Is he a Flames fan poking fun at his compadres, or an Oilers fan poking fun at Flames fans? Or is he a Flames fan poking fun at Oilers who make fun of Flames fans? Or an Oilers fan making fun of Flames fans who make fun of Oilers fans.

The author is dead, medium is the message, etc. The post-modernity (or is it post-modernism), here is giving me a terrible headache. What's the punchline of this thing?

Pleasure Motors said...

I put up my take on this here.

Well, it hardly even seems worth posting my comments now that our resident genius has misspelled his way through another post explaining how much we LOLSUCK, but what the hell.

No doubt he's coming along as a player.

I'm not even sure if that's true. I haven't pulled out the game tapes to verify this, but I don't know how much of a change there's been in Greene's play from the tail end of 2006 to now. I mean, he must know something above what he did as a rookie, but he's played more than 100 regular season games now and doesn't even seem to have the head, offensively or defensively, of even someone like Smid. (Also, for a supposedly defensive defenceman, a -22 while playing against the 462nd best competition in the league is pretty terrible.)

The point has been made elsewhere, but it seems like it's going to take a long, long time for Greene to develop into anything like what we need, and with a decent crop of other young D (Gilbert, Grebs, Roy), it seems like we'd be better served dumping him for a veteran more comfortable in the role we want him to play.

Also, unrelated to Greene: does anyone know how many potential NHLers are in Phoenix's lineup? Because I can't tell if we're getting their A team or not tonight.

Jonathan said...

There is no way Greene plays top-four minutes all season. Not a chance. I know that the Oilers like the offensive guy with a defensive guy pairings, but MY GOD. I don't care who takes the spot. Ladislav Smid. Dick Tarnstrom. Denis-Andre Grebeshkov. Tom Gilbert. Mathieu Roy. Charlie Huddy. Just as long as it isn't Matt Greene. Seriously, though, if Greene is on that pairing, and we assume Souray spends his whole night on special teams w/ little EV time, would that make it our third pairing? Say:
with Smid and Greene rotating depending on who sucks more on any given night?

IceDragoon said...

I wouldn't fret too much, Chris. I can't see this pairing lasting long. Perhaps Souray simplified his game in practice and coach thought he might help calm down Greene's game.

We are still in pre-season and MacT (have blender, will travel) is our coach.


Chris! said...

"The point has been made elsewhere, but it seems like it's going to take a long, long time for Greene to develop into anything like what we need"

I agree with this, and for sure he's getting passed by other D prospects. But like I said, the fact remains that there are few defencemen in the Oilers depth chart — prospect or otherwise — that can duplicate his skillset, however unrefined it may be.

Greene is already the kind of player we need. He's just not a very good version of that player at the moment.

The comparison to Gator at the same age has been made, and I think Greene could still become a useful shutdown dman. Smith was 26 years old before he registered his first plus season, and his career year came at 27 (2000-01: 82gp, 5-15-20, +14, 120 pim). Not saying, just saying.

Anyhow, unless his game takers a huge leap forward come opening night, bottom line is he's not good enough to play a top-four role. And for god's sake, don't pair him with Souray.

Kirsten said...

Pairing Greene with Souray is probably one of the worst ideas the Oilers have had recently, and that's saying a lot. Even against Phoenix that would be a bad idea.

David S said...

"Showcasing" (and I use the word liberally) Greene with Sourey and talking up his future as a "top four" (snicker) in the pubs would be a pretty good way to up his value for a trade.


Anonymous said...

I've never understood how playing a player out of his element counts as "showcasing," but what do I know.

How about these Coyotes? Might they be the worst NHL team ever assembled?


HBomb said...

Ok, so we're likely to see this as the top-six to start the season:


Ok, considering the following:

1) Greene and Tarnstrom seeming to work together somewhat well in the 2006 playoffs

2) The similariries in Smid and Tarnstrom's game

3) The fact that, for all his point production due to his shot, Souray is not a good puck mover via skating or passing

4) The fact that Greene and Souray are similar in not being overly mobile

Wouldn't Souray-Smid and Tarnstrom-Greene make a hell of a lot more sense as the bottom two pairings?

thinking oil said...

Prediction: Geoff Sanderson is my sleeper pick to be the most effective new Oiler of the year. The guy is ancient, but fuck, does he have a set of wheels.

40-50 points for Sandy Sanderson.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't Souray-Smid and Tarnstrom-Greene make a hell of a lot more sense as the bottom two pairings?

How about we wave bye-bye to Greene?

David S said...

Karius on Global tonight said that there were something like 2,000 people in the seats tonight at Phoenix and not even any TV coverage. Man, that sucks.

BTW- you guys should keep that Fever4Flames guys around. I've never seen anybody so willingly eager to embarrass himself. Pure comedy.

Go Sandy Sanderson!

David S said...

Sorry - I meant "guy".

garnet said...

Okay, six shots, two blocks and a goal for Tom Gilbert. I didn't see or hear the game -- did he play himself into the hunt? Based on the same numbers it would seem Pouliot has cemented his place in Springield -- two penalties and a giveaway.
In other news, Steve Downie's still a jerk.

Rod said...

On the attendance angle, ugly totals were widespread last night. Worst among the announced crowds: Florida @ 4,414. Well, I'm assuming Pengrowth actually had more than 19 fans in attendance (apparently they're taking the Falmes OT loss the other night quite hard).

Somehow Phoenix announced 7,175. That's awful, but it's miles better than Florida. Bad all around the US last night as only Hockey Town topped 10,000 (barely). Colorado might have as well, but it wasn't announced.

Then there was Ottawa: 18,053 witnesses as Downie auditioned for UFC by intentionally attempting to end McCammond's career. And some twit on Mirtle's site is more concerned about something that hasn't happened (McGratton's comments) than what actually happened. Whatever. Downie went on tilt and pulled yet another punk move. A huge suspension is warranted.