Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Holy Crap

Holy crap.

Holy crap.

Holy crap.

So now we're three points out of the playoffs, and we just laid an old-style beat down on the Minnesota Wild.

Holy crap.

Gagner is starting to look like the real deal. 'Bout time.

Holy crap.

Matt Greene is starting to look a bit like the future captain I proclaimed him to be.

Holy crap.

We don't suck. That bad.

Monday, January 14, 2008

David Staples' Error

I read theCult Of Hockey ever day, and it's definitely one of the best in the Oilblogosphere, especially considering that he's with the MSM. Unlike most of the Main Stream Media, he tells it like it is and rarely refuses to tell the truth, although I would have to say he is guilty of sugar coating the EIG and Kevin Lowe, but I would imagine that is largely a matter of optimism.

David Staples' latest post had some good points, but there was one thing I had to take issue with. Normally I would simply comment on his post, but the Edmonton Journal website is far too confusing for me to finish signing up.

He's been using a statistic of his own invention, the "error", which is based on which players were most responsible for a goal by the other team. Up to three errors are awarded per goal, and they can be awarded to a goalie for being out of his crease, a defenceman being of his man, etc.

In this latest post, he stated which forwards are the best defensively through 45 games, based on errors assigned. His list is as follows:

1. Dustin Penner. GP, 45; ESM, 614, E, 3; One error every 205 minutes.

2. Shawn Horcoff GP, 45; ESM, 678; E, 4; One error for every 170 minutes.
3. Patrick Thoresen, GP 16; ESM, 162; E, 1: One error for every 162 minutes.
4. Geoff Sanderson, GP, 32, ESM, 302; E, 2; One error for every 153 minutes.
5. Ales Hemsky, GP, 38, ESM, 553, E, 4, One error for every 138 minutes.
6. Andrew Cogliano, GP 45, ESM, 462, E, 4, One error for every 116 minutes.
7. Raffi Torres, GP, 32, ESM, 453, E, 4, One error for every 113 minutes.
8. Jarret Stoll, GP, 44, ESM, 528, E, 5, One error for every 106 minutes.
9 . Ethan Moreau, GP, 7, ESM 92, E, 1, One error for every 92 minutes.
10. Kyle Brodziak. GP 44, ESM 424, E, 5, One error for every 85 minutes.
11. Sam Gagner, GP, 42, ESM 488, E, 6, One error for every 81 minutes.
12. Fernando Pisani GP, 19, ESM, 232, E, 3, One error for every 77 minutes.
13. Robert Nilsson, GP 35, ESM, 383, E, 6, One error for every 64 minutes.
14. Zack Stortini, GP 30, ESM 222, E, 4, One error for every 56 minutes.

15. J.F. Jacques, GP, 9, ESM 55, E 1, One error for every 55 minutes.
16. Marc Pouliot, GP 9, ESM 87, E 2, One error for every 44 minutes.
17. Marty Reasoner, GP 45, ESM, 485, E 11, One error for every 44 minutes.

Judging by this, players like Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani are less responsible in their own end than players like Cogliano, Gagner, Hemsky, and their ilk. Anyone who has watched these guys play can tell you that this simply is not true.

While I'll admit that the +/- statistic is neither perfect nor close to it, but the error is not going to replace it any time soon. It doesn't factor in the fact that Saint Fernando is playing against players far more offensively potent than Samwise, or that both Fernie and Chopper are gritty players all over the ice, and can be forgiven for the rare mistake in their own end.

No one stat can tell the story, you need to look at goals, assists, quality of opposition, PIM, maybe even the error.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Calgary at Edmonton

When I played bantam football, I was used to winning. Our team finished the regular season with 9 wins, 1 loss, tied for first place in our division. Most of our victories were a complete slaughter, with us having two or more touchdowns over the opponent. I wasn't a starter that year, but our bench usually played all or most of the second half after running away with the game.

When we entered the playoffs, our first game was another thrilling victory, which led us to the league semifinals. We played a team from a Mormon town in southern Alberta called Raymond, who were also used to winning easily. Both teams were on a roll, and when we came head to head, somebody had to lose. In the end it was us, but I like to think a lot of that had to do with the refs.

Calgary and Edmonton are both on a roll coming into tonight's game, but neither team is used to winning easily. Still, someone's going to have to lose, and I hope it's not the Oil. This is a four point game for us (we get two, plus take back a game in hand if we win), and we need a good stretch right now if we want to make it into the playoffs. Sitting out for the Flames today are Aucoin, Nystrom, Moss and Primeau, with Tarnstrom and Greene both still out for Edmonton.

The teams plays host to LA after this before going on a road trip in the southeast, which should be easy enough to win. Coming into the homestand, I said that if we could sweep it and do well in the southeast, we'd be looking at a far less uphill battle in making the playoffs.

Let's hope we can do it.


Friday, January 11, 2008


Curtis Joseph is reportedly looking at deals from both the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks. I'd say that the Sharks are the best fit for him, as Evgeni Nabokov is the only NHL goalie who's played all his games this year, and he's definitely not a 82 game guy, in my opinion.

Then again, Kipprusoff has not been playing like an 82 game guy either, and while he's sat out a couple of games, his back up is anything but stellar and Leland Irving's development seems to have hit a snag, considering that he was dropped from camp by the WJC team. They need to do something, but I don't know if Joseph would want to come outy of retirement to play second banana to someone like Kipper.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

MacTavish: Master or Moron?

Lately there have been a lot of calls for MacT's head, and if you go on to Oilfans you'd think that he's just the Devil in a nice suit. However, in past I've heard nothing but good things about him, and I've always found him to be a good coach with both experience and grit.

Admittedly he is not a coach who can turn any team into a playoff contender, he is not a "great" coach. However, he is hardly a bad one. I've looked at his stats (which, for some reason, I had to find on Wikipedia because neither NHL.com nor Behind The Net had coach's stats), and he seems to be relatively solid.

In his first season (2000-01), the Oilers had 93 points for second in the NW, and sixth in the conference, which gave them a playoff spot, which ended in a defeat at the hands of the Dallas Stars. This season, while nothing spectacular, can hardly be called a failure. The team itself that year could hardly be called a great one either, and I'd say he did a good job.

The next year his team had 92 points, third in the NW and ninth in the conference. Again, his team was mediocre and it could be argued that he needed to do more to influence better management, but as a coach I think he had an average season.

In 02-03, the Oilers finished fourth in the NW and eighth in the conference to sneak a playoff spot, and lost to Dallas again in the first round. I would say that this was his worst performance so far as Head Coach, because even though his team did slightly better than the year before by making the playoffs, they had the same number of points while having what I would consider to be a better team. Still, I would call this season a draw, although after going three seasons without any real improvement (and slight worsening), it's getting harder to defend him.

The next year, 03-04, found Edmonton out of the playoffs again after finishing with 89 points, fourth in the division and ninth in the conference. The team was probably one that should have been in the playoffs, but a lot of the better players who are now team leaders (Horc, Hemsky) were young and still finding a place in the system. I'll give him a pass this season, but he really should have done better.

04-05 was a depressing year, lost to the lockout.

In 2005-06, MacT had what can be considered his greatest achievement as a coach, taking the team to the SCF, Game 7. Still, he had good players to work with the whole year long who should have finished FAR higher than 8th in the conference. They underperformed for most of the season, and for that I have trouble calling this a good season.

Last year, it goes without saying that he did a bad job as coach of the Oilers. Leading the team to last in the division and only barely avoiding a lottery draft (which meant us losing a chance at Kane), it's clear he should have done SOMETHING. The team gave up after losing Smyth, and as coach he should have done something inspiring to get them back in gear, but he did not.

Over the course of his coaching career (as of the end of last year), his team played 475 games, had 221 wins, 176 regulation losses, 47 ties and 32 overtime losses. The teams he had to coach tended to be average to good, and his records tended to be average to poor. While over one or two seasons, that may not be too bad, the Oilers have been treading water ever since he joined. I think it's time we gave someone else a shot.

He is hardly evil incarnate, as many would seem to believe, but he has done nothing to earn our continued trust. While Lowe has actively hurt the Edmonton Oilers, MacT has simply been dead weight for far too long.