Divisional Games

I didn't get to see the game last night, but i heard it was a good one. I started this post before the game because I've been disappointed about the Oilers ability to play teams in their own division. We play these teams 32 times, and if you can play 4 teams well all season you get rewarded with a lot of wins (assuming hockey gods are fair). Clearly we are not doing this. I compiled a list of how the players have done against their division and outside the division. These are purely raw numbers from the NHL site and do not account for empty net goals and stuff like that. Its just meant to be a brief overview.

Stats should be up to date (click for larger view). What do we see? Penner and Gagner are surprisingly more effective against divisional opponents, with Gagner's only two goals coming against Calgary and Penner being the only plus player. Horcoff has been very consistent in either category, he's having a great year so far. On the other end Hemsky has not been able to do what Horcoff has: play against our division. His numbers drop against the Calgary's and Colorado's etc..I consider these to be tougher games to play, our division is one of the best in the league (aside this team) and teams usually play division opponents a lot tougher. If Hemsky is going to be our best player, he needs to be our best player against every team. Using Ryan Getzlaf as a comparable (who just got slightly more money than Hemsky did, and is 2 years younger) we can look at his offensive stats. In 9 games outside his division, he has 9 points, and in the 10 games against divisional opponents he as 12 points, clearly producing across the board. His division includes the Sharks, Kings, Coyotes, and Stars. The Kings and Coyotes being the lesser two but are only a combined 5 games under .500. Cogliano is just impressive. Good numbers and they are almost identical in either category.

Another thing that stands out is our checkers. Guys like Sanderson, Reasoner and Brodziak have been getting killed in the +/- area (a combined -20). This could be the teams greatest weakness, a lack of an effective checking line. Our team is unable to stop the other teams best players, and its showing. Sanderson has never been known as a strong 2-way player, Reasoner is more of a 4th liner, and Brodziak is a rookie. Our division is beating us like a rented mule with a bad leg because players like the Sedin Sisters dominating us in the offensive zone.

Oh and our record against the NorthWest? 4-8-1. Against the rest? 4-4-0. Bones and Assholes can't heal fast enough.

An interesting note, Stortini is a minus player in exactly one game. Limited minutes but interesting nonetheless.

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