4.30.2007

Defence looking stronger every draft

Edmonton gave up its 2006 1st round draft pick in the Roloson trade, and so started with a 2nd round pick in the draft. With this pick they selected Jeff Petry out of the USHL. Not much was known about him at the time. In fact almost nothing was known about him, or the league he came from. But heres what McKeen's magazine wrote this about his playoff performance this season:

Jeff Petry (Edm), D, Des Moines
The best defenseman in the league will play for Michigan State next fall .. is a great skater that is elegant on his feet with an effortless and powerful stride in all directions .. dangerous when he decides to skate the puck up the ice but does not do so enough, as he is always aware of his defensive responsibilities .. hands are soft and his skill set is underrated .. vision is top-notch, as he makes a great first pass or can quarterback the powerplay .. owns an accurate 98 mph slapshot that is the heaviest in the league .. often elects to take a little off his shot to release the puck more quickly with his fine wristshot and does a good job of keeping it low and on the net .. has a great head for the game at both ends .. more physical this year and uses his great lateral mobility to line up a stiff hip check time to time .. savvy one-on-one defender, as he uses his reach well and maintains proper body positioning at all times .. gap control is flawless .. still could stand to add some bulk to his lanky frame, as his upper-body strength is just average for a player of his height .. backbone of this team and is a true leader .. poised and can change the pace of the game to his liking .. an astute selection by the Edmonton Oilers.
This is looking like a great pick by Lowe et al. Its looking like he could have top 2 upside in the NHL. The USHL is not as strong as some leagues but has produced offensive defenceman like Matt Carle and Brian Lee along with top prospect forwards like Kyle Okoposo and Martin Hanzal.

If Petry can have a strong next couple seasons at Michigan State the Oilers could be well stocked with excellent two-way defenceman. Gilbert, Grebs, Chorney, Petry, Smid are all 24 and under showing top 4 upside. What used to be one of the most shallow positions in our system is starting to look pretty promising.

For all those who bash Lowe, you have to admit the guy can draft defenceman.

Edit to add: Here is a list of all the players drafted out of the USHL.

4.24.2007

CBD's second round predictions

We missed the first round but here are our picks for who will win in the second round. For these picks (which for two of us were heavily influenced by the pool) we also recruited 2 other analysts. Bethany and a coin. The coins results were done by arbitrarily giving a side of a coin a team and then flipping it until one side showed 4 times.

Josh

San Jose in 6
Anaheim in 5
Buffalo in 7
Ottawa in 6

Jon

Detroit in 7
Anaheim in 6
Buffalo in 6
New Jersey in 6

Bethany

Detroit in 4
Anaheim in 7
Buffalo in 5
Ottawa in 6

The Coin Flip says

San Jose in 6
Vancouver in 6
New York in 6
New Jersey in 7

4.22.2007

You know that car you bought? Ya, It's a lemon

With most of the series already settled it got me thinking about how so many trade deadline buyers are licking their wounds. This season’s deadline seemed to be very expensive for many teams, and I really wanted the Oilers to be sellers. I thought that the Oilers would pay a dear price to try and make the playoffs and if they did make it wouldn’t make it far. They were definite sellers, but not to the extent I had hoped. Last season teams like Edmonton and Carolina loaded up at the deadline with players that played key roles in their post season success. I’m a strong believer that success created the high price for players this season. So what did teams pay for this season?

Well Atlanta made two significant trades to bolster their team for the playoffs.

D Braydon Coburn

For

D Alexei Zhitnik


F Glen Metropolit, 2007 1st & 3rd Round Picks, 2008 2nd Round Pick

For

F Keith Tkachuk

So clearly they gave up a lot only to be swept in 4 games by the Rangers.


The Islanders went shopping at Champions and pulled out this:

D Denis Grebeshov

For

D Marc-Andre Bergeron


F Robert Nilson, F Ryan O’Marra, 2007 1st Round Pick

For

F Ryan Smyth

Again they gave up 3 young players drafted in the first round alone with another draft pick for two players who got them five games against the Sabres.


Nashville was one of the biggest players on Trade Deadline Day gave up some good young players.

F Scottie Upshall, D Ryan Parent, 2007 1st & 3rd Round Picks

For

F Peter Forsberg

Two great young players and two high picks for a 20 regular season games of Frosberg and a five game loss to the Sharks in the playoffs. Forsberg is a UFA who will likely not resign back with Nashville (cap problems an obvious reason).

The Flames though not eliminated are down 3-2 to Detroit and can’t seem to win on the road. Clearly these players can’t either.

F Jamie Lunkmark, 2007 4th Round Pick, 2008 2nd Round Pick

For

F Craig Conroy


F Chuck Kobasew, D Andrew Ference

For

D Brad Stuart, F Wayne Primeau, Conditional Pick

What makes the Stuart trade hurt is that he is a UFA as well as Primeau (I think) and therefore they gave up two long term assets for one year of the other two players.


The Stars are on their heals against Vancouver (but making a valiant comeback) and gave were definite buyers.

F Mathias Tjarnqvist, 2007 1st Round Pick

For

F Ladislav Nagy

They also made a large trade with LA mostly involving a lot of picks and a two for two player trade that was a trade for today, but not a glaring high cost.

The teams moving on are not teams that made big splashes in February, they are teams who came into the season with a good line-up and filled the small holes that showed during the season with minor players who brought different things to their team. Me thinks buying big name UFA’s at the deadline is a tad overrated. Me also thinks the price for these players will be going down next year.

Who’s the first GM to go this summer? I’m going with David Polie in Nashville. Two first round exits in a row is not a good resume builder.

4.17.2007

Preying on the Weak?


So I have always been a proponent of decreasing the amount of times the teams play the other teams in their own division from the 8 the NHL currently has. My two main reasons are:

1. Teams such as Nashville and Detroit feast on the weaker teams in their division and as such get a much better seeding then they deserve when the playoffs start.

2. I personally would like to see the Canadians teams from the west play the Canadian teams from the east more often. (Or at all, no Hockey Day in Canada next year since the Northwest teams do not play the Northeast teams next year.)

In regards to the first reason that is why I have made this post. I have broken down each division with the teams and the amount of points that they accumulated strictly on divisional games. Hope you enjoy.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Team

Div.

Points

New Jersey

23-6-3

49

Pittsburgh

20-9-3

43

NY Rangers

15-12-5

35

NY Islanders

17-11-4

38

Philadelphia

5-20-7

17

As you can see this is pretty even, I am assuming that everyone just feasted on Philly when they played them. However, you can see no other real disparity.

Northeast Division

Team

Div.

Points

Buffalo

18-11-3

39

Ottawa

19-10-3

41

Toronto

13-14-5

31

Montreal

16-12-4

36

Boston

14-17-1

29

I thought it was weird that Ottawa actually did better than Buffalo in divisional point accumulation. However, again overall the teams match up quite well against each other with Toronto being the lowest in the win category at 13.

Southeast Division

Team

Div.

Points

Atlanta

18-7-7

43

Tampa Bay

19-11-2

40

Carolina

19-11-2

40

Florida

13-14-5

31

Washington

11-15-6

28

This division is a little more spread out with Carolina being 9 points ahead of Florida. Maybe this division is starting to show a little bit of the top three teams preying on weaker competition.

Western Conference

Central Division

Team

Div.

Points

Detroit

22-4-6

50

Nashville

21-8-6

48

St. Louis

12-16-4

28

Columbus

11-17-4

26

Chicago

14-17-1

29

Here is the poster boy for disparity between teams in a division. Detroit and Nashville are extremely close to each other. But then Chicago is 19 points back of Nashville. Seems to me that two of these teams are feasting on weaker competition. While St. Louis, Columbus, and Chicago are pretty evenly matched.

Northwest Division

Team

Div.

Points

Vancouver

16-13-3

35

Minnesota

18-8-6

42

Calgary

17-12-3

37

Colorado

18-11-3

39

Edmonton

11-20-1

23

Again you look at this division and obviously with the Oilers fall from grace there would be disparity between the 4th Vancouver and 5th Edmonton. However, the other four teams look like they put up a good fight against each other.

Pacific Division

Team

Div.

Points

Anaheim

19-8-5

43

San Jose

18-13-1

37

Dallas

24-7-1

49

Los Angeles

10-18-4

24

Phoenix

9-18-5

23

Again this division looks as though the top three teams are splitting games between themselves and coming out on top against the bottom two teams.

So, in conclusion, to me it looks like clearly in one division (Central) the top teams are preying on much weaker competition. In two divisions (Pacific, Southeast) the top three teams are preying on the weaker two and in the other three (Northwest, Northeast, and Atlantic) competition is pretty decent between the teams.

All in all I think that the NHL should try to maybe curb the divisional rivalry a little for the fact that some divisions there is no legitimate rivalry between the teams

By the way, the average amount of points for divisional games was 35.8. What ever happened to Jeff Norton?

4.15.2007

Report Cards

CBD’S first annual player report cards are out. We have compiled our knowledge and created a masterpiece of grading (hey, one of us is a teacher, this is what we do). Everyone should have a look of amazement and intrigue, but save the compliments for later (we didn’t give very many out so why should you). After an unbelievable season last year this year has been a tough pill to swallow. God damn we should have taken the blue pill. I know, enough and get on with it.

Forwards

Shawn Horcoff
GP:80 G:16 A:35 PTS:51 +/-: -22 PIM:56 TOI: 20:49

Played the most minutes per game for an Oilers forward, even while playing with Smyth and Hemsky could not get it going offensively. Was not very good defensively (-22). Horcoff like I said last year would be at best a good third line center and penalty killer for his skill set. Hopefully the Oilers can upgrade this position for next year.

Grade: D

Raffi Torres
GP:82 G: 5 A:19 PTS:34 +/-:-7 PIM:88 TOI:14:19

I expected big things out of Raffi after last years 27 goals. However, he played the Raffi way. A force when he had confidence, invisible when he didn’t. Set a career high in assists at 19. I think what Raffi needs for next year if he is still here is consistent line mates.

Grade: C-

Joffrey Lupul
GP:81 G:16 A:12 PTS:28 +/-:-29 PIM:45 TOI:15:35

One of the fans favorite scapegoats for a team’s bad season. Huge drop in productivity from last years 28 goal, 25 assist season. Joffrey had the worst plus minus on the team at -29. Best thing about his year is that he has owned up to it saying that he has been horrible. Deserves another shot to prove himself before he is sent packing.

Grade: D

Jarret Stoll
GP:51 G:13 A:26 PTS:39 +/-:+2 PIM:48 TOI:18:11

Jarret missed 31 games and still finished 4th in overall scoring on the team. Was also the only regular forward to finish the season with a plus rating. I believe that Jarret was stepping up a class this year before he was derailed by injury problems. Hopefully, with the summers rest he can come back at 100%.

Grade A-

Ethan Moreau
GP:7 G:1 A:0 PTS:1 +/-:-4 PIM:12 TOI:15:08

Ethan got hurt only 7 games into the season and it showed that the Oilers missed his leadership on and off the ice. Too bad that he got hurt on such a meaningless play. The Oilers missed the intensity that he brings to the game each and every day.

Grade: N/A

Marty Reasoner
GP:72 G:6 A:14 PTS:20 +/-:-15 PIM:60 TOI:13:52

Marty produced what you would expect out of a 4th line center. Marty also had a decent year on the penalty kill. Glaring stat would be his -15 rating, however, with almost every player being a minus that has to be taken with a grain of salt. He will likely be our 4th line center again next year.

Grade: C

Toby Petersen
GP:64 G:6 A:9 PTS:15 +/-:-18 PIM:4 TOI:13:40

What is there to say about MacT’s man crush? He seems to be one of those players that are average (at best) at everything and not quite good enough at anything to make him stand out. Not great offensively (15 points). Not good defensively (-18). Should not be on the Oilers roster when training camp opens in September.

Grade: D-

Brad Winchester
GP:59 G:4 A:5 PTS:9 +/-:-10 PIM:86 TOI:8:04

Under MacT he was really never given an opportunity to develop his game. He has the skill set and the body size to be an average power forward. However, the Oilers will never have a chance to use him as he will sign elsewhere this summer.

Grade: C-

Patrick Thoresen
GP:68 G:4 A:12 PTS:16 +/-:-1 PIM:52 TOI:11:25

Thor had a great start to the year with 6 points in 8 games. Really tailed off with only 10 points in the next 60 though. Thor was used to kill penalties and had an excellent +/- rating at -1 comparitively to the rest of the team. I think that his production was killed by playing with new line mates almost every night and not being able to develop any kind of chemistry. Will likely be a decent 3rd or 4th line guy next year.

Grade: C

Fernando Pisani
GP:77 G:14 A:14 PTS:28 +/-:-1 PIM:40 TOI:16:53

Fernando was only 2 goals off his pace from last year’s regular season. Unfortunately Fernando scored the same amount of goals in 77 games as he did in 24 games last spring. His contract is too huge for a 3rd line winger and if the Oilers can move him they should. We would be losing probably our most sound defensive player though as with this team he compiled an outstanding -1 rating through those 77 games.

Grade: C

Petr Sykora
GP:82 G:22 A:31 PTS:53 +/-:-20 PIM:40 TOI:16:39

Wow what has Hemsky done for you lately? Finished the year tied for first in Oilers scoring (Hemsky played 18 fewer games). MacT was put on record saying that Sykora was hurt for the last 30 games of the year and as such didn’t want to play him with Hemsky. A lot of first half bang (15 goals going into the Christmas break) with a second half fizzle. Will need to take a pay cut to play in Edmonton again next year I would think.

Grade B-

Ales Hemsky
GP:64 G:13 A:40 PTS:53 +/-:-7 PIM:40 TOI:16:59

The piece of the Oilers puzzle that they will need to build around to be successful. Hemsky is absolutely amazing to watch while he has the puck (even if turnovers are a problem right now). He also actually started to use his shot more when everyone was going down with injuries which was a good sign. Still needs a triggerman to be more effective.

Grade: B+

Petr Nedved
GP:19 G:1 A:4 PTS:5 +/-:-6 PIM:10 TOI:12:47

The Oilers took a “Flyer” on him half way through the year. Turned out it was not the right fit before the Oilers and Nedved decided mutually to part ways. Thing that stood out the most to me was how horrible of a skater he is.

Grade: N/A

Jean-Francois Jacques
GP:37 G:0 A:0 PTS:0 +/-:-11 PIM:33 TOI:7:54

For what ever reason could not seem to fit right with the Oilers. 26 points in 27 games in the AHL, 0 points in 37 games in the NHL. Just goes to show you the elevation of play between the two leagues. Showed stints of intensity while he was in the lineup and can bang bodies around. Still lots of time for this guy to develop before we need to put his head on a stick and wave it around (ala Brad Winchester).

Grade: D+

Marc Pouliot
GP:46 G:4 A:7 PTS:11 +/-:-2 PIM:18 TOI:13:02

Pouliot, while being listed as an offensive prospect really didn’t show much with only 11 points in 46 games. When MacT is done with him there will not be an offensive bone in his body and we will end up having another 3rd line two way center. Showed flashes of offensive flare at times, but needs to be commended on his -2 overall rating.

Grade: C+

Zack Stortini
GP:29 G:1 A:0 PTS:1 +/-:-7 PIM:105 TOI:7:09

Zack showed good promise in being an excellent agitator down the road. Most ridiculous part of the year was when he was playing first line with Horcoff and Hemsky. Needs to realize that you don’t need to beak someone off after/before every whistle to be effective. Playing a full schedule he would have lead the league in penalty minutes.

Grade: B-

Defenceman

Matt Greene
GP:78 G:1 A:9 PTS:10 +/-:-22 PIM:109 TOI:17:36

Seems to have hit a plateau in his progress. Penalty troubles still haunt him along with a lack of consistency. Played good with soft minutes but was exposed with top 4 ice time. Atrocious +/-.

Grade: C

Laddy Smid
GP:77 G:3 A:7 PTS:10 +/-: -16 PIM:37 TOI:19:14

Had what could be called an above average season for a 20 year old rookie playing top 4 minutes on a bad team. Tied for first in goals by defenceman (??) but second worst +/-. Showed flashes of intelligence and an ability to rush the puck. Played a tougher game than expected.

Grade: B

Jason Smith
GP:82 G:2 A:9 PTS:11 +/-: -13 PIM:103 TOI:21:08

Was forced to play as our number one defenceman even though he is clearly a number 3 and was exposed. Had to baby sit a lot of young players. Clearly on the decline in his career but not as bad as everyone thinks once he settles into his role.

Grade: B-

Steve Staios
GP:58 G:2 A:15 PTS:17 +/-: -5 PIM:97 TOI:21:22

Was given the assignment of tutoring Smid and did an admirable job. Lead the team offensively with Bergeron’s absence. Evaded a lot of the criticism the defence took. Brings the same thing every game which is a compliment this season, but won’t be every year.

Grade: B-

Jan Hejda
GP:39 G:1 A:8 PTS:9 +/-: -6 PIM:20 TOI:20:23

A European vet who came in a brought a quiet consistent game. Looked solid most nights. Had the odd bad game but as an NHL rookie not much to complain about.

Grade: C+

Tom Gilbert
GP:12 G:1 A:5 PTS:6 +/-: -1 PIM:0 TOI:20:05

A very promising defenceman who brings a strong two way game. Played well on a bad team as a professional rookie. At 24 years old is not as young as the other rookies which would indicate he should be better. Had the best +/- on the team in the last 12 games.

Grade: B

Bryan Young
GP:15 G:0 A:0 PTS:0 +/-: -8 PIM:10 TOI:10:06

Went from playing Junior to ECHL to AHL and then finally to the NHL. At this rate he will be an allstar by next season. Kidding aside he has looked good in sheltered minutes but did get in over his head early on. Can absolutely devastate with open ice hits, but has 0 offensive ability.

Grade: C-

Daniel Tjanqvist
GP:37 G:3 A:12 PTS:15 +/-: +3 PIM:30 TOI:22:41

Played only limited action but was second in scoring from the backend even with playing 37 games. Only plus defenceman on our team but that can be attributed to being injured during the losing streak. Maybe our most consistent two-way defenceman this season.

Grade: B

Mathieu Roy
GP:16 G:2 A:0 PTS:2 +/-: -7 PIM:30 TOI:14:06

Looked good at times, not good others. Can rush the puck and play the body, but does neither overly well.

Grade: C

Danny Syvret
GP:16 G:0 A:1 PTS:1 +/-: -10 PIM:6 TOI:18:28

Shows puck poise in the offensive zone, but less in the defensive zone. Gets pushed around easily.

Grade: C-

Goalies

Dwayne Roloson
GP:68 W:27 L:34 OT:6 SO:4 GAA:2.75 SV%:.909

In a worthless MVP debate Roloson has to be the front runner. Played good, and played often never really having a terrible stretch of hockey (considering the team in front of him). If we had him playing the entire last season like he did this season we would have been first. A solid goalie who gives your team a chance to win every night.

Grade: B+

Jussi Markkanen
GP:22 W:5 L:9 OT:1 SO:0 GAA:3.15 SV%:.886

Not very good stats for the guy who played unbelievable against the Canes last year. Would play a good game and then a bad game. His inconsistency prevents any questions of whether he is starter material. A dependable backup on a good team.

Grade: C+

4.13.2007

New Arena

Now that the Oilers are looking into some new accommodations here is a look at the Newark area arena that the New Jersey Devils will begin playing is as of next year. Little bit of a long video at just about 10 minutes. However, if the Oilers could get an Arena like this it would be pretty amazing.


Click anchored link here

4.11.2007

Playoff Payoff

So the playoffs start today. Sitting here its looking like 3 of the 4 games tonight will go to OT, which can not be a bad thing for this league. No team has been written off (aside maybe the Penguins after getting kicked in their special place tonight), and most of the games were high scoring. Which is good for all the poolies. Some things I noticed about our pool:


  • If Buffalo is out in the first round it will be the lowest scoring pool in the history human kind being able to count numbers.


  • If Buffalo makes it to the eastern finals the guy who picked his entire team of their players wins by default, and probably 40 points


  • Thornton was a concensus pick (mostly) therefore nullifying him, which feels like a tie, or kissing your sister if you follow the analogy all the way down the line


  • There appears to be a 50/50 split between guys picking all players they think will be in the conference finals (me) and just picking great scorers (which i think is a bad idea, but time will tell...time will tell)

So good luck to all the poolies, should be some good races if the scoring keeps up.

Heres to Detroit in 4.

4.09.2007

Which one of these things is not like the other?

The NHL released the list of referees that will be working the NHL playoffs this year. Now normally I would just put the link to the site, however, one of the other contributors thinks that it is better when things are “anchored” so you can see the full list of refs here. Anyways for those who will not click on the anchor here is the list of head referees working this years playoffs:

Referees:

Paul Devorski
Eric Furlatt
Mike Hasenfratz
Dave Jackson
Marc Joannette
Don Koharski
Dennis LaRue
Mike Leggo
Dan Marouelli
Wes McCauley
Bill McCreary
Mick McGeough
Dan O'Halloran
Dan O'Rourke
Tim Peel
Kevin Pollock
Rob Shick
Kelly Sutherland
Don Van Massenhoven
Brad Watson

Now is there one name on that list that stands out? Maybe a certain Mick McGeough. It seems strange to me that of the 40 head refs that the NHL employs that Mr. McGeough was thought to have been in the top 20 this year.

Now yes, I believe that there should be a certain amount of forgiveness as decisions need to be made in split seconds. However, here are 4 videos to keep you entertained as per screw ups that McGeough has been a part of this year alone.

First, there was the Horcoff glove pass that can be viewed here. Now he is not even close to being in the correct position on the ice to make that call. Me thinks the linesman standing right there had a better view Mr. McGeough.

Second, is the first of 2 missed goals in the same game between the Blues and the Senators (viewed here). Now yes, the goal happens incredibly fast. However, this should have been reviewed because it was so close. The referees rushed the face off to get play back underway. Since the puck was dropped before the man upstairs had a chance to look at it there was no goal and it could not be reviewed.

Third, (viewed here) good ole Micky gets a little whistle happy and blows down a scoring chance very quickly. Resulting in the second goal called back from St. Louis. However, on the plus side we get to see another “spastic” display of over reaction.

Fourth, (viewed here) happened between the two “goals” but it is agonizing to watch how long it took to sort out some penalties and the fact the referees “needed” to give the Blues a powerplay, so Dany Heatley gets a minor penalty for getting pushed by Barret Jackman. Crazy how that works.

Well to sum it up I think that the NHL has made a grievous error in picking Mick McGoof to be doing any playoff games. The four videos give proof as to how stupid the pick is.

Maybe the NHL gives referees a chance to work the playoffs in the same manner as the dodge ball association sees if teams that have forfeited can play (viewed here). If so all I can say is: Fuck you Chuck Norris. NHL prepare to be humiliated on cable television.

Play of the Year

Stupid Stefan, costs us the 5th overall pick.

4.06.2007

Duck...Duck...Goose!


I’d say I’ve only been following the Oilers on a serious level for about the last 10 years, but I can’t remember the last time there were so many questions about this team going into the summer. I can’t think of one player aside from Hemsky who is a sure fire bet to be here in October, and so that leaves a lot of speculation. There are large holes to fill (specifically on the backend) and we all know you have to give up something to get something. Time to start deciding who stays and who goes. One of the players that has intrigued me is Patrick Thoresen (notice he's wearing the 'A' above). The Norwegian signed a two year contract last summer out of no where for about 500k and change a year. He is one of only five players from Norway to ever play in the NHL so that is an achievement in itself. He went undrafted which is a bit of a mystery to me. He’s smallish (5-10 185) so that may have contributed in the pre-CBA NHL but prior to entering the draft he put great numbers in the QMJHL (131gp 181 pts over 2 seasons), so we can’t say that he was underscouted. It was also claimed that he was too slow, which he clearly has improved upon. After being passed over in 2003 he decided to play in the SEL where he spent the next 3 seasons (only 3gp in his first) prior to coming here. In his last season with Djurgardens IF he put up 36 points in 50 games which was good enough for 10th in the league.

After signing with the Oilers, Thoresen came to camp as a bubble player that needed to impress to make the line up. And by all accounts he did more than that. He was vying for one of the last few spots with guys like Winchester and Pouliot and during preseason clearly put himself above them. After his 3rd preseason game MacTavish publicly stated that Thoresen had made the team saying “We haven't had that in a while, a player from Europe come in here and be as polished and complete and effective as he's been”. At this time he led the team in scoring with 4 pts in 3 games and had just scored a goal and an assist in a game against a veteran Calgary roster. He gave a lot of credit to playing in Sweden, “I have a lot of experience from playing against men the last three years. I think that puts me ahead of players who are coming from juniors" but was clearly ready to step into the NHL.

When the regular season finally kicked off Thoresen hit the ice skating, going 2-4-6 in his first 8 games, even having a three point game against Phoenix on October 23rd. But since then his production tailed off until it hit rock bottom, going 53 games between goals over the middle of the season. After his hot start he has ended up with only 15 points in 67 games, but even with this lack of production he has been sheltered from the criticism that almost every player has received, and continued to dress for most games. This is attributed to his ability to play a sound defensive game. On a team that is littered with atrocious +/- players Thoresen is a respectable -2. In another blog it was posted (here) that Thoresen is one of the top players affecting their team’s goals against average. He has a positive impact by not allowing goals scored on him and by being on the ice when goals are scored for his team. This must give credit to his defensive responsibility because he has not provided a lot of offence this season.

I think Thoresen is a very valuable asset that this team acquired, and his contributions often go unnoticed. Overall I enjoy the energy he brings to the line up to go along with good vision and an underrated/used passing ability. Look for him to adjust to a bad second half and have a great year next year playing 3rd line minutes. By this time next year resigning him will be a priority of this team. I think it’s fair to expect 15-25-40 +10 from him next year. No?

4.03.2007

Hockey News Poll

In the April 3rd edition of the Hockey News Magazine were the yearly player poll results. In this poll roughly 283 NHLers or 33% of the players in the league were asked questions such as:

1. How do you feel about the NHL schedule format?

2. Are you open to the idea of bigger nets?

3. Would you support increasing the number of teams in the playoffs?

4. If you could play for any NHL team (other than your own), which would you choose?

5. To what city would you least like to be traded?

6. What’s the worst thing about your job?

Now the thing that makes this relevant to Edmontonians are questions number 4 and 5 in my list. Here are the results:

4. If you could play for any NHL team (other than your own), which would you choose?

1) Toronto Maple Leafs (34) 14.4%
2) New York Rangers (29) 12.3%
3) Detroit Red Wings (19) 8%
4) Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks (18) 7.6%
5) Dallas Stars (15) 6.3%
6) Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadiens (14) 5.9%
7) Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lightning (10) 4.2%
8) Phoenix Coyotes (9) 3.8%
9) Calgary Flames (8) 3.4%
10) Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers (5) 2.1%
11) Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins (4) 1.7%
12) Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers and San Jose Sharks (3) 1.2%
13) Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres (2) 0.85%
14) Carolina Hurricane and Edmonton Oilers (1) 0.42%

5. To what city would you least like to be traded?


1) Buffalo Sabres (40) 16%
2) Edmonton Oilers (28) 11.2%
3) New York Islanders (24) 9.6%
4) Pittsburgh Penguins (18) 7.2%
5) Florida Panthers (17) 6.8%
6) Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues (13) 5.2%
7) Washington Capitals (12) 4.8%
8) New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers (9) 3.6%
9) Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens (8) 3.2%
10) Calgary Flames (7) 2.8%
11) Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings (6) 2.4%
12) Nashville Predators (5) 2%
13) Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators (4) 1.6%
14) Philadelphia Flyers and Phoenix Coyotes (3) 1.2%
15) Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 0.8%
16) Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning (1) 0.4%

See some people will jump to conclusions and think that this is a horrible thing for Edmonton and that it will affect our ability to sign free agents. However, this is why I think that you have to take this particular poll with a grain of salt.

First, this Poll was only 33% of the players in the NHL with no names attached. Personally, do you care if Brad Isbister ever wants to come back to the Oilers via free agency or a trade? I don’t.

Second, the first poll says to pick one team. What if the Oilers or any other teams were their second choice? Sorry, but Toronto, New York, and Detroit can not add many more players to their rosters, so these players will have to find work somewhere else

Third, how could you not want to be traded to the Pittsburg Penguins to play with some of the games brightest stars? Remember they were 3rd on the least want to get traded too.

Fourth and finally, remember the question "What’s the worst thing about your job?" This is the 14th most popular response:

"Protein shakes, watching video, late nights, filling out forms, fighting, autographs, missed childhood, girls, money, Cam Janssen, getting yelled at, pre-game skate, coaches and being booed (1) 0.4%"

Just goes to show you how serious at least one of the players took this poll. Not saying the others didn’t but you never know.

If players really believe what the poll results are yes, it will be hard to find people willing to come here via trade and free agency. However, we Edmontonians and die hard Oiler fans can take solace in the fact that the players that come here (even if it is 1 out of 283) want to be here and will embrace the opportunity.

By the way whatever happened to Brad?

4.02.2007

Asterisks Need Not Apply? Hardly


While perusing the NHL.com website I came across this article:

Asterisk Need Not Apply

For those too lazy to read the article here is a brief summary:

Bernie Parent currently holds the all time win record in a season for goalies at 47. Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo are close enough to possibly tie or break this record this year. Brodeur has 46 wins (and 2 remaining games) and Luongo has 45 wins (3 games remaining). Phil Coffey believes that these two goalies if they break or tie the record should not have an asterisk beside the record even though they benefit from the shoot-out while Parent had to settle for ties in his era.

Now here is where this debate gets tricky in his magnificent season (73-74 with the Flyers) Parent had a record of 47-13-12. He won those 47 games legitimately without the need for the shootout.




Brodeur on the other hand has gone to the shootout 15 times this year (yes Clemmensen was in one). In which Brodeur has won 8 times. This means that if Brodeur had played in 73-74 his record to date would have been 39-23-15, coming no where near the record the Parent has posted.












As for Luongo, he has gone to the shootout 8 times this year (again yes Sabourin was in one). In which Luongo has won 5 times. This means that if Luongo had played in 73-74 his record to date would have been 40-21-11, beating Brodeur but again coming no where neat the record Parent has posted.




Now like Coffey in his article there will be chirpers that pipe up saying that the game is ever evolving and as such the records will be broken. However, I think Parent’s record should stand alone. Make a new record category to incorporate these new “wins.”

What if down the road the NHL changes the point system to 3 points for a win. Does this mean that the 76-77 Canadiens record of 132 points in a season should be able to be broken?

Does it mean that if the NHL for some asinine reason decides to award 2 points per goal and 1 per assist that Gretzky’s overall record of 2857 points in a career should be put in jeopardy?

No, on both accounts.

So why should Parent’s 47 legitimate wins be in jeopardy of being broken?

4.01.2007

Grebeshkov

Marc-Andre Bergeron was a widely misunderstood player. Last season he could do no wrong being paired with Pronger. He was a great shot from the point who had amazing speed and kept his head above water in his own zone (even though he was 5’10”). But this season has been a completely different story. His offensive production plateau, and he has been put into Mactavish’s dog house more times then I could think of. His defensive blunders had become much more apparent and he couldn’t seem to keep the puck out of his own net. Fans everywhere were calling for his head, and blaming him for many lost games. He was bashed constantly until his trade. Tom Poti eat your heart out.

On February 18, 2007 the Edmonton Oilers traded MAB and a 3rd to the New York Islanders for Denis Grebeshkov (pictured). Grebs is a widely unknown player currently plying his trade in the Russian Super League. Many people were irate because Lowe had traded a roster player for a prospect, which was the opposite of what the team needed. They needed immediate help on the blueline but only got worse in that regard with this trade. But I believe at that point Lowe decided that the price he could charge for a guy like Bergeron was just too juicy to pass up on, and so he decided to sell. And what we received is still a mystery to many. So here is my take on Grebeskov and his future with our team.

Grebeshkov was drafted in the first round 18th overall by the LA Kings in 2002. On Mar 8, 2006 he was traded to the Islanders. He has spent his time since draft day playing in the AHL and NHL until this season where he went back to Russia. Here are some of the things being said about Grebs that peaked my interest:
• A GREAT skater with size (6’1”)
• Is an excellent puck carrier who can lug the puck out of his own zone or make the first pass
• Has scored 85 pts in 166 AHL games (0.51 ppg) which shows his offensive ability at least at the AHL level
• During the lockout year when NHL players were playing in the AHL Grebeskov scored 49 pts in 75 gp for the Manchester Monarchs. Their next highest scoring defenceman had 24
• Will throw the odd big check but does not play an overly physical game (though does not get roughed up)
• Russian Prospects list his most impressive quality as his work ethic
• They also say that he “knows where, when and how to act [on the ice], but is not always able to accomplish exactly what is needed to”
• Was one of the leading shot-blockers on his Russian team prior to coming to NA

Some Kevin Prendergast Quotes:
• "We consider him a top blue-chip prospect."
• "He can make the five-foot pass to get out of trouble, he can make the 50-foot pass or carry the puck out but his decision-making was always the right one,"
• "He's 25 lbs heavier than when he played in the American League so his defense is a lot better, he's an outstanding skater and he has great agility and mobility."

It seems to be apparent that the reason Grebeskov left North America to play in Russia was over a contract dispute, and not the Alexei Yashin kind. Hockey’s Future put it this way:

“It's really quite surprising that the Islanders did not sign him…They offered him a two-way contract and he was coming off his three-year, two-way [entry level] contract with the Kings and understandably it is the tradition in the NHL that in the first few years players get that but he spent the entire season after the trade in the NHL logging close to 20 minutes a game so he felt he deserved more.”
”Faced with the choice between returning to his homeland for a salary closer to $1 million US tax free to play for his hometown club and playing in Bridgeport again, Grebeshkov made the more natural choice and went back to Russia.”

Lowe was quoted shortly after the trade was made that a contract had been verbally agreed upon (I would assume one way) and that Grebs would step right into our top 4 next year. To be honest I like the looks of this defenceman, and he will be 24 at the beginning of next season and playing top 4 minutes on our blueline and probably part of our first unit power play. He has NHL experience (33 gp) and has all the tools to be a successful NHLer. Is it far to make a Brewer comp? Either way I think this trade could pan out very well for the Edmonton Oilers, he has Bergeron’s offensive ability (maybe more?) with the ability to play defensively against better competition. So when Lowe made this trade he did make it for the future, but I believe that future is much more immediate than most people realize.