• The Truth Is Out There

    by  • August 22, 2007 • Uncategorized • 86 Comments

    There’s a guy who posts on your various sources of Oiler related discussion who goes by the name of Asiaoil.  He’s an Oiler fan (possibly located in Asia?) and he thinks that the cynicism about the Oilers coming season is simply too much; that the Oilogosphere has become a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativism.  The power play was a topic of discussion at Lowetide’s and he had this to say:

    I’m not sure how the lines and dmen pairings will work out – but a lot of usually open minded people are just being outright cynical for no particular reason. So no it’s not “[darned] crazy” that the Oilers may be pretty decent at ES this season, and the PP is likely to be very good along with the goaltending.

    I’d love to share his optimism about the PP, let alone about the season as a whole, but I can’t.  Let’s start by taking a look at NHL PP goal differential from last season:

    It’s generally accepted, as a rule of thumb, that it takes 5 or 6 goal differential for a win.  San Jose’s PP generated somewhere between 8.7 – 10.4 more wins than San Jose’s last year.  That’s a lot.  It’s striking that the difference between Ottawa in 13th and Edmonton in 27th is so small = 11 goal differential.  14 spots better in terms of goal differential is worth just two wins.

    Now “very good” is a pretty subjective way of looking at things but lets assume that that means top 10 in the NHL.  That’s another 19 goal differential that the Oilers are going to have to find.

    The first problem that I see with that is that Edmonton had a pretty sweet season in terms of preventing shorthanded goals against last year.  Now Edmonton does some things that make shorties less likely, like the controversial “keep the puck in your own end with only a single forechecker offering pursuit” gambit but shorties are pretty random.  The median number of shorthanded goals allowed last year in the NHL was nine; if the Oilers allow nine next year, they need to find another 25 goals for.  As I’ll demonstrate below, I can’t see where the Oilers have the forwards to get this done or, in the alternative, to come close without hurting themselves significantly at ES and on the PK.

    If we assume the median for shorthanded goals against, the Oilers need at least 78 PPGF.  Last year, only San Jose, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Montreal, LA, Dallas and Colorado hit that level.  Being a charitable type, I’m going to compare the Oilers defencemen and forwards to those of the top 10 PP teams by percentage, which is the aforementioned teams plus Tampa Bay, Minnesota and the Rangers.  Here are what the defencemen who played more than 100 minutes of PP time on the top ten PP teams did:

    I did a weighted average of the defencemen who hit the 100 minute mark for each team, just to give an idea of the production that you should hope to be getting out of your defencemen in order to have a PP in the top 10.  The Oilers only had two defencemen top 100 minutes on the PP last year: Steve Staios and Tjaggy.  They played a combined 243:41 posting 0.5 PPG/60, 1.5 PPA/60 and 2.0 PPP/60.  That’s well below the standard achieved by the D playing big minutes for the other teams.  I suppose it’s arguable that  I should be including Petr Sykora and Jarret Stoll in there but I didn’t do it for other teams forwards who played the point, so I’ll pass on doing it here for the sake of consistency.

    I think it’s reasonable to think that the defencemen who’ll be getting the minutes on the Oilers next year will be able to hit the levels achieved by the defencemen on the top ten PP teams.  Sheldon Souray, Joni Pitkanen and Dick Tarnstrom might be the only D to play more than 100 minutes and all are legit threats to top 4.0 PPP/60: I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to think that Edmonton should be able to match up in this narrow portion.

    Now, onto the forwards, which is where I think that the Oilers are going to fall short.  I’ve put together a big list of all the 100+ PP minute guys on the top ten PP teams; I’m going to summarize some of this data below.

    Here’s the chart with the weighted averages:

    Can the Oilers forwards reasonably expect to put up the type of weighted numbers it would take to not look out of place on this list?  I can’t possibly imagine how that would be reasonable to expect.  Who are the Oilers forwards that top 100 minutes of PP time going to be?  Well, I think it’s safe to assume that Horcoff, Hemsky, Stoll, Pisani and Torres all meet that mark.  Add in Penner and you’ve probably got the full list.  I suspect that Sanderson will as well but again, I’m trying to make conservative assumptions here and he’s just going to make things look worse so I won’t.

    Again, being the charitable guy that I am, I’ll assume that all of these guys play 82 games.  For Hemsky, Stoll, Horcoff, Torres and Pisani I’ll use their average PP TOI from the past two years; I’ll stick Penner with Smyth’s minutes.  I’m also going to use two year averages of points – this makes things look better than relying on last year alone.  It produces a chart like this:

    If I run a weighted average on that, it comes out to 1.4 PPG/60, 2.9 PPA/60 and 4.3 PPP/60.  That puts the Oilers within the range produced by the top ten teams but at the very bottom.  So that’s enough right?  It’s reasonable to think that they can be a “very good” PP team?

    I don’t think so.  First of all, this is all based on the assumption that everything comes up peaches as far as health goes.  If you see Horcoff, Hemsky, Stoll or Penner struggle or get injured, the numbers go in the toilet – I’m blueskying things here.

    Secondly, while Dallas was able to slide into the top ten in PP efficiency with a relatively poor number put up by their forwards, they did it on the back of some unreal numbers put up by their defencemen.  Boucher and Zubov were that PP and given the extent to which that’s unreliable in that in requires big shooting percentages from your defencemen, I wouldn’t want to bet on that.  TB was the only other team to put up a top ten PP % while simultaneously putting up a bad forward number.  I’ve got no real explanation for this one – that’s the one exception. 

    Third, Stoll put up his numbers as a shooter.  Now that Lowe has gone out and added legitimate PP defencemen, he’s back as a forward.  Will he be as effective working down low as he is blasting away?  He’s never struck me as a really creative passer on the PP – he was a rarity for the old Oilers PP – a guy who was playing a role that fit him.  It’s a shame that the Oilers went out and fixed one of the areas that wasn’t a huge problem but what can you do?  He’s also one of the guys propping up the numbers and his TOI is likely going to fall – I’d think that Horcoff, Hemsky and Penner get the lion’s share of the F minutes, with Souray and Pitkanen eating a lot of the first unit defence time.

    Fourth, there seems to be some sort of misconception that Penner is a tipping artist.  I think that that’s because he’s collecting Ryan Smyth’s money - everyone assumes that he has all of Smyth’s good traits and none of his bad ones.  Looking at Penner’s goals on the PP last year, I see a wrist shot from 13 feet off a rebound, a wrist shot from 8 feet away off a pass from Perry, a tip-in on a shot from Niedermayer, a wrist shot off a blocked shot from 16 feet away, a wrist shot from 9 feet away on a pass from Perry, a tip-in off a Niedermayer shot, a wrist shot from 17 feet away off a pass from Niedermayer, a backhand from 14 feet away off a rebound from Getzlaf and a 21 foot slapper.  So that’s two tipped in goals plus the odd rebound.  I’m strongly suspicious that there are a lot of plays down low there – that’s the way ANA seems to run the PP.  Given the way that the Oilers have structured the PP forever, I can’t imagine that there are going to be a lot of plays like that.  Maybe he’s awesome in front of the net tipping shots, maybe he isn’t: I don’t think that the data really tells us either way.

    Fifth, the depth really sucks.  If you think that it’ll be someone other than Pisani and Torres eating PP minutes on the second unit then so be it; I defy people to explain how they can reasonably expect anything out of those two or their replacements though.  Sanderson is nothing special on the PP, young guys generally suck…I don’t see the upside.

    If I had to guess, I’d guess that Edmonton ends up slotting somewhere between 15th and 20th on the PP.  As you can see from the chart above, it’s basically a cluster outside of the extremes and that’s going to have a minimal effect in the grand scheme of things.  I suppose that means that I see things from the Scully side of things but I don’t really see how you can examine the numbers, have some sense of history and come to a different conclusion.  It’s the only rational conclusion.  If the Oilers have a “very good” PP, I’d suspect that it’s going to be almost certainly due to a very healthy dose of luck.  I’d take it without complaining but this team has come nowhere near putting together an elite PP.

    About

    86 Responses to The Truth Is Out There

    1. August 22, 2007 at

      Good numbercrunching, except you missed one part: how good was Smyth, really, at tip-ins? I know Cole and Neale rave about it, as do most announcers, but I’ve not seen numbers backing it. On The Forecheck showed that he wasn’t particularly good at rebounds, so if the Oilers do change up their PP to match the strengths of guys like Penner (and Hemsky’s seemingly unafraid of traffic, so that’s a couple of wingers crashing the net from either side), maybe he can keep up his rebounds and bang-ins on passes from Hemsky.

      Top 10PP? Well, there’s nowhere to go but up, right?

    2. August 22, 2007 at

      Two things:
      The PP is no longer coached by Simpson, so it already has a good chance of being better.
      Ken Klee played >100 PP minutes and failed to collect a single PPP. I’ve never actually noticed a player refusing to touch the puck on a PP, but now we have statistical evidence. How else is it possible?

    3. rstahl
      August 22, 2007 at

      I’d love to share his optimism about the PP, let alone about the season as a whole, but I can’t.

      I can’t either, even though I agree with AsiaOil that the Oilers will decent at even strength.

      I don’t buy the Simpson argument for the PP being better either. I doubt MacTavish and Moores will really change it up any more than Simpson would have this year. At the same time, if the Oiler’s PP somehow manages to become top 10, coaching to fit the existing personnel will be a big factor.

    4. Louise
      August 22, 2007 at

      Good day, Tyler.

      Excellent study. I don’t have your abilities, so I really appreciate the research and presentation of your findings. Thank you, kindly.

      History is not the only contributing factor in the equation to determine the likelyhood of the future, but it’s the most solid base to build on.

      I can’t quantify it, (duh… I can’t quantify much of anything, ’cause intangibles can’t be tallied ;-)… and reading the nuances of the human animal happens to be my lifelong-study-in-progress.) but, I suggest that the changing dynamics will have a considerable impact on our PP production.

      As I said to Lain a while back, I think the PP was designed around the Marvelous Mullet. Get the puck to the front of the net and he’ll deflect/screen/hoover it in. Lunch bucket mentality fit the star, the coach and the team, it seems.

      Why play such a low % strategy, tho?
      Perhaps we need to ask another question.

      Who, since Doug Weight, have we had with the creative vision and touch to set up high % opportunities?

      Hemsky? In ’03-’04 he was 20 years old, played 71 games, and was 3rd in PPPs (4g 7a). In ’05-’06, during a PP hot streak FCP was asked to explain his recent success… He replied with, “I give the puck to Hemsky.” 22 yrs, 81 gms, tied for 1st in PPPs (7g 35a) with FCP (10g 32a)

      Who else?

      I think Horcoff’s creative vision is underrated, but he has generally played on the second unit, and doesn’t get much help in ‘creating scoring opportunities’, either.

      Stoll? He’s a trigger man (when he doesn’t break his stick). He can find holes, and is developing some solid defensive reads… but so far, he’s missing the ‘tic’ and the ‘tac’ needed to go with ‘toe’.

      Sykora was actually a nice compliment to Hemsky… till injuries (his? I heard hip problems) His head could keep up, but his legs lagged.

      MAB? He could, at times, get open for a booming shot… I loved the little Dman, but he showed more sense surviving in the chaos he created in his own zone, than anything he tried to read in the O zone.

      ………

      I think Hemsky will continue to develop and, imho, he has gained some help in the creative vision and touch department. Opposing PKers will have to respect the set-up capabilities of Hemsky, Horcoff, Tarnstrom & Pitkanen, all of whom are capable at reading and creating scoring opps.

      I’m with Lain in hoping that Moores takes over the lion’s share of PP duties. And, think that we now have some resourses to ‘let them play’ and see what develops.

      imho – All we need now is for the hockey gods to give us a nod… ;-D … Luck… another aspect that can’t be measured, but is always a contributing component to the game we all love.

      L8r

    5. Bruce
      August 22, 2007 at

      Nice post, Tyler. Some interesting factoids, like S.Koivu leading all scorers at 8.0 PPP/60, just ahead of Crosby and Thornton at 7.9. That Montreal PP had an unreal year. Souray is far ahead of any other defenceman (7.3 PPP/60; Boucher 6.0, and if anybody predicted those two leading the NHL in any category …) It’ll be interesting to see how Koivu and Souray fare without one another.

      “It’s generally accepted, as a rule of thumb, that it takes 5 or 6 goal differential for a win.”

      Generally accepted by whom? I’m “old school” enough to think that a *one* goal differential is worth a win, but I’m guessing you’re speaking of Bill James’ Pythagorean formula, and that a team that is half a dozen goals over break-even might be expected to go 42-40 instead of 41-41. But of course in Gary Bettman’s NHL, where a win is a win but a loss isn’t necessarily a loss, the standings are an abomination and an abortion, so who knows what means what? Clarification of what *you* mean would be welcome.

      “Edmonton had a pretty sweet season in terms of preventing shorthanded goals against last year.”

      I *knew* Toby Petersen was there for a reason. :)

      “Ken Klee played >100 PP minutes and failed to collect a single PPP. I’ve never actually noticed a player refusing to touch the puck on a PP, but now we have statistical evidence. How else is it possible?”

      How about Raffi Torres playing 150 minutes and collecting all of one point? Having watched his powerplay “performance” last season, I’m surprised he got that many.

    6. August 22, 2007 at

      With Simpson gone, the PP goes back to Moores and MacT – let’s face it, there’s a reason everybody was ecstatic that Simmer was hired in the first place, and it wasn’t because they thought he’d make a good PP better.

      Hopefully MacT and Moores have learned a few things in the interim. And not to put it entirely on the coaches, let’s hope guys like Horcoff and Hemsky have as well.

    7. lowetide
      August 22, 2007 at

      Great stuff, MC. Not encouraging, but it breaks things into nice logical, heartbreaking pieces.

      I cannot see this team being a good EV club in 07-08, unless the numbers from a year ago (and previous) run counter to several player’s actual abilities.

    8. lowetide
      August 22, 2007 at

      Note: The EV comment was meant as a followup to rstahl’s comment.

    9. voxel
      August 22, 2007 at

      I’m not sure PPP/60 and GD are good ways to estimate how teams will rank.

      -

      Median shots: 2411
      Median GF: 243
      Median GA: 247
      Median shooting percentage: 9.69
      Median wins: 42.50
      Median shots to win: 58.46
      Median goals to win: 6.00 (a pretty consistent number)
      Median goals to points: 2.72

      The averages almost mimic the median. Bad defensive (or poor goaltending) teams had more shots/goals to win/points – like LA and Philly, but most of the teams stayed in the expected range. Solid defensive/goaltending teams have lower shots/goals to win/points: Anaheim, Dallas, Detroit, New Jersey, Nashville. Edmonton is in the middle of the pack on the defensive/goaltending side and I’ll assume they’ll stay there. Nothing leads to me to expect otherwise.

      Oilers had the lowest shots in the league last year… 2193 and one of the lowest shooting percentages (one spot above CBJ).

      If they need 10 extra wins (32 last year) to make it to the median (42 wins) that requires 60 extra goals with a median shooting percentage of 9.69% that’s an extra 620 shots. Total: 2813 (impossible)

      What if Edmonton scored goals using the median shooting percentage? They should have scored an extra 17 goals so that 10 extra wins you’d only need 43 goals for an extra 443 shots. Total: 2636

      That number is almost what Colorado did… 2603 shots, 272 goals, 251 against (Edmonton 195 goals, 248 against).

      So this season, I hope the Oil get another 200 extra shots (say 2400) – for 19-20 goals or about 3 more wins = 22nd spot. If they increase their dismal shooting percentage to median and shoot 2400 – that’s about 39 wins… just on the cusp of 20th.

      Are the Oil a lottery team? No way… Playoff bound? Not unless Roli and Garon can steal 3-5 wins. The expected GA/game for the Oil is around 3.0 (which held true during the horrible slump) – I think it could be lower, but I’m not a betting man.

    10. voxel
      August 22, 2007 at

      BTW I meant top-5 lottery team.

    11. Oilman
      August 22, 2007 at

      MC….no friggin wonder you haven’t posted in a while!….it’s summer….what should I do today….go for a walk, play some catch, barbeque some burgers…..naw, I think I’ll prepare a weighted average of the defencemen who hit the 100 minute mark for each team, just to give an idea of the production that you should hope to be getting out of your defencemen in order to have a PP in the top 10 in the NHL…geeze!

      I usually enjoy the oilogisphere(sp)(Tyler, Black Dog, and Lowetide in particular) …..but lately I have been on the side of Asiaoil – enough already, we get the point…the Oilers are not as good as they were in game 6 of the 06 SCF….shit man, we don’t need pie charts and spreadsheets to let the fandom know that there are like 6 people who call themselves Oilers fans who know this and have the pocket protectors to back up their claims…..what I hate about using stats in sports is that their validity, IMO, cant always be proven….lowetide, being a baseball guy you’ll likely not like this, but maybe, sometimes, even though the stats don’t agree…maybe the RHP could have struck the lefty out….you gotta let him play to find out though.

    12. Oilman
      August 22, 2007 at

      I kinda forgot the point I was trying to make…it was – Stop taking the fun out of being a fan!

      It’s like you guys watch games with a calculator in had saying “goalie’s got a career .905 S% and he’s stopped the first 10 shots..the next ones gotta go in or this whole damn universe will be thrown out of whack!”

    13. Joe
      August 23, 2007 at

      You’re right, Oilman, stats are not the end-all, be-all of things. There are always exceptions. Maybe next year Chris Chelios wins the Art Ross. Of course, statistical analysis says this is highly unlikely. But, it is possible.

      Just like anything else in the world of sports, you cannot expect the exceptions. You have to play the odds. That’s what its all about. Statistical and circumstantial analysis say that this guy is LIKELY to be the best draft pick for our club. Or the best free agent signing for our club. Or the best coach for our club. Or whatever else. It’s all playing odds, given statistical and circumstantial analysis. If you want to bet your life savings on the Phoenix Coyotes winning the Stanley Cup this year, be my guest, but me, given a quick glance at the teams’ stats, I can quickly say that while it is of course possible, it is highly highly highly unlikely that the Coyotes will win the Cup next year.

      Everything in sports is a gamble, in and of itself. All personnel moves are a gamble. Even when the Penguins drafted Crosby, it was a gamble. Maybe he’s Alexander Daigle. Maybe he trips in his first practice and breaks his neck. It’s all a gamble, and ultimately, the odds by which everyone plays are determined by stats (which are available to the community), as well as circumstantial analysis (which may or may not be available to the community). Obviously such analysis is not 100% correct, but its still much more accurate than throwing darts at a board, or blind optimism.

    14. Asiaoil
      August 23, 2007 at

      Wow – I’m shocked that the smallest amount of optimism (and my optimism about the Oilers this season is truly bounded quite tightly) can lead to such a studious effort to stamp it into the ground. The stats boys are quite beside themselves about this year’s Oilers and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Sure Lowe acted like a drunk staggering from one lamp post to the next this summer – but the end result is not a disaster unless getting one of the best PP dman in the league, one of the best young dmen in the league, and one of the best young power forwards in the league a tragedy. Sure all of these players have warts – most do – but Pitkanen, Penner and Souray are not crap (Lupul was crap but that’s another issue).

      Been a long day at work so I won’t go into any more detail now except to say….shit happens – every year – count on it.

      My major complaint with most of the stats boys these days is they are just so fucking sure of themselves. There were no analysis of any sort from this bunch that showed the 05/06 Oilers going to the SCF – and so much unpredictable stuff happens every year (injuries, breaks, locker room mayhem etc etc). IMHO the Oilers are on the fence – a few good breaks could push them into 7th or 8th place – a few things going wrong could drop them into 14th – a team like the Oilers could go either way.

      So why do the stats boys feel that this opinion is so dangerous? This modest bit of optimism at the start of a new hockey season, this little bit of humility that accepts that shit happens in unpredictable ways. I’ve noted that my lack of toeing the party line has gotten me toss from IOF – no biggie – but it’s disappointing that people seem to be going SO FAR out of there way to kill any joy in the upcoming season and toe the party line.

      Statistical analysis in hockey is entertaining – but it’s practitioners best accept that their current tools are way more art than science. One of my favorite books from the last year was a little charm called “Useless Arithmatic” that shows how quantitative models and analysis can feed delusions that we can actually predict the future with any certainty. have a read if you have an open mind.

      In any case – as a fan I’ll start the year with the same modest bit of hope that I’ve had for this team since the 80s – and a bit of dodgy math on the back of napkin and a truckload of assumptions won’t change that for me one little bit.

    15. Oilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      Asia…exactly what I was getting at…as an Oil fan, I know the Oil are in tough to make the playoffs this year, but I’ll still be watching every game hoping for a win, and until they are mathematically eliminated, I’ll hold out hope for a spot. If you go into the season with the preconceived notion that the boys will finish 12th and all the statistical analysis confirms your belief, why the hell would you sit through a game and cheer on the boys to win…..the mathematical universe tells you it ain’t gonna happen anyway right?

      Joe, did you bother watching the 06 SCF game 7? Statistics showed that the Oilers had very little chance of actually winning that game as they were down 3 to 1 in the series. Blind Optimism?

    16. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      There were no analysis of any sort from this bunch that showed the 05/06 Oilers going to the SCF

      On January 19, 2006, I wrote:

      “While I’m sure that the marketing department is busy altering the logo on the third jersey as we speak to celebrate the fact, that the Oilers look to be playoff bound despite having near historically bad goaltending, (maybe even a banner raising is in order?) it really is depressing to consider how good this team could be with half decent goaltending.”

      On March 9, 2006 I wrote:

      I was recently discussing goal differential as a method of predicting Stanley Cup winners and someone made the point that if the Flames had won, they would have stood out because their regular season goal differential was so low. My point in response was that they were a team for whom the goal differential from the regular season was not an accurate indicator of how good they were because of how few games Kiprusoff got into. Assuming Roloson posts a similar save percentage to the one he’s posted this season, he should make the Oilers into a similar case.”

      On April 21, 2006, I wrote:

      “The Oilers addressed their goaltending problem before their next game with the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson. It won’t be remembered unless the Oilers make a run, but Roloson fixed their problems in net. The Oilers chopped about .6 goals per game off their average in the 20 games following the Roloson deal. The problem is that the scoring kind of tailed off as well — the Oilers somehow dropped a nearly equivalent number off of their offence. If the scoring comes back to where it was most of the season, there’s a strong argument that the Oilers are the second-best team in the conference.”

      If your objection is that nobody had a good feeling for a massively reworked Oilers team at the start of the 2005-06 season after a year without hockey, well then yeah, touche. I wasn’t the only one who had them pretty much figured out by January of that year though. The post above years really kind of says where I’m coming from, but an awful lot of stuff needs to awfully right for something good to happen.

      Incidentally, you seem a little choked that I picked your comment to pick on. If I didn’t think your hockey stuff was worth paying attention to, I wouldn’t have bothered. We disagree on this point, and I think I have the better evidence, but this certainly wasn’t a shot at your hockey knowledge.

    17. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      Incidentally, I’ve decided to eliminate the profanity on the site. If everyone would keep it out of the comments, I’d appreciate it.

      …so much unpredictable stuff happens every year (injuries, breaks, locker room mayhem etc etc). IMHO the Oilers are on the fence – a few good breaks could push them into 7th or 8th place – a few things going wrong could drop them into 14th – a team like the Oilers could go either way.

      I don’t necessarily disagree with this, which is why I find it a bit amusing that you describe us as “so [darned] sure of [ourselves].” When I’m ranking teams I kind of figure where I think that they’ll finish and then have a mental picture of the normal distribution. I think, from reading what guys like Vic and Rivers write, that they think about these things the same way.

      It sounds to me like you think that a likely finish is somewhere around 10th. I’ve got them 11th or 12th, so we don’t disagree much on that. It just so happens that I think that their strategy is ridiculously stupid, given that that’s the expected outcome that they got for all of their spending and risk, in the form of Souray and Penner. I think that they spent all of this money for all of the wrong reasons, on guys coming off career seasons and out of favourable situations, whose numbers aren’t as good as they look. What’s more, they mortgaged the future to do so by committing five years to those guys. What’s more, we pretty much seem to agree that the odds are that they’re going to blow.

      I think that you’d find the stats boys a lot more optimistic if it didn’t seem like this organization was driven to do whatever it takes to get into eighth and keep season ticket holders buying, even at the expense of putting together a real contender, while coming off a history of pinching any pennies that were unnecessary to rise above that seventh or eighth spot.

    18. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      One other point on the “none of the stats boys predicted the 05-06 SCF run” argument. I’ve mentioned this before but there was a guy at CalPuck who was using a quote of mine stating that the Oilers were Stanley Cup contenders if they had a goalie to mock me. It disappeared around mid-May.

    19. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      Generally accepted by whom? I’m “old school” enough to think that a *one* goal differential is worth a win, but I’m guessing you’re speaking of Bill James’ Pythagorean formula, and that a team that is half a dozen goals over break-even might be expected to go 42-40 instead of 41-41. But of course in Gary Bettman’s NHL, where a win is a win but a loss isn’t necessarily a loss, the standings are an abomination and an abortion, so who knows what means what? Clarification of what *you* mean would be welcome.

      Yeah, it’s a Jamesian thing. I know in baseball it’s ten run differential to a win; in hockey it’s five or six goal differential.

      As for the standings, they are what they are. In terms of identifying the teams that are good at hockey, pretty much all you can do is figure out which ones have the underlying numbers to support the results. I personally just think of the game as a 60 minute thing and treat OT as bonus points.

      Louise, I need some sleep. I’ll tackle your comments tomorrow.

    20. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      One last comment for Asia. It’s all fine and well to say that the future can’t be predicted with certainty – nobody is disputing that. It does strike me as a bit rich though to say that the Oilers PP is going to be very good, offer nothing to support that (which isn’t usually your m.o., in fairness to you) and then slag the efforts of those who do make the effort to ask if it’s reasonable to think that’s the case.

      I’m interested in seeing your list of teams that went from bottom of the league to “very good”, what you think enabled them to do so and why you think that the Oilers are such an example. You’re more than welcome to a post on this site to do so, if you’d like to ensure some eyeballs for your argument.

    21. DeeDee
      August 23, 2007 at

      What is the difference between a Fan and a Homer?

      A Homer believes the team can do no wrong and always makes the correct decisions. Management always does everything for the good of the team and every move is seen in the best possible light.

      There is nothing wrong with being a Homer, I would have to question why one would be interested in websites that crunch numbers and then post comments about “having faith”.

      Perhaps Homer is too harsh of a word, and it is more about comparing “passion” to “cold hearted logic”.

      Unerring faith.
      It’s interesting to note that Kevin Lowe didn’t have faith last year as he dismantled the team by letting UFA’s go and unloading Pronger/MAB/Smyth for essentially prospects. And the faithful bought into the line that the team was getting better with each transaction but the reality was we were getting worse.

      Cheaper?
      Yes. More prospects for the future?

      Possibly.
      This has become the Oilers battle call since around, I don’t know, 1989.

      Having faith implies that one feels that all of the Oilers management’s decisions have been good ones, or at least not bad ones that will damage the team. It’s also hard to have faith when one feels the ship is sinking and the Captain/Owners are the main cause.

      Perhaps they have become a little too greedy and extracted too much profit from their team without maintaining quality, and upon realizing this, panicked and made some very questionable short term moves.

      I applaud MC (as well as Lowetide and others) for the hard work they perform in crunching numbers, it is certainly more than “dodgy math on the back of a napkin” and has opened myself (and surely others) to a new way of looking at things.

      Too all you Homers out there, you can put your rose colored glasses back on and cheer your team on to the Stanley Cup (because they will surely win, all you need is faith right?)

      And the one great thing about the statistical analysis of this sort is that all too soon we will see how accurate they are. The fun is in the predicting, and seeing how close one can come to modeling what eventually happens.

    22. lowetide
      August 23, 2007 at

      I love you guys/Louise. Only Oiler fans could get this passionate in mid-August.

    23. Oilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      Lowetide….you’re probably right – statistical analysis is not necessary;o)

    24. rstahl
      August 23, 2007 at

      I cannot see this team being a good EV club in 07-08, unless the numbers from a year ago (and previous) run counter to several player’s actual abilities.

      I think there is an argument to be made here. Desjardin’s site (www.behindthenet.ca) shows that Moreau was the worst defensive forward on the team (4.79 GA/60) and Horcoff was the 3rd worst at 3.60 GA/60. I would be very surprised if those two forwards duplicated those numbers this year. Even Torres (2.86), Pisani (2.95) and Stoll (3.03) should do better in terms of GA. Not to mention all these forwards will likely see a bump in the GF/60 because Pitkanen and Tarnstrom can make an outlet pass.

      I’m jumping around a bit, but I don’t get why you put Souray in the ‘puck mover’ category LT. I see him as basically Jason Smith (with a bigger shot and bigger fists) in the sense that he is more likely to bang it off the glass than he is to bomb a break away pass.

      There are also reasons to believe in solid contributions from some younger players; Pouliot was only scored against at a rate of 1.96 GA/60, while Thoreson clocked in at 2.26 GA/60. Even Nilsson and Jacques didn’t do so horribly at 2.30 GA/60.

      As I said to Lain a while back, I think the PP was designed around the Marvelous Mullet.

      I agree with you on this Louise. I seriously doubt Smyth retains his 25% PP shooting on the Avalanche because they have no reason to build their PP around him.

      IF the Oilers improve their PP, it’s because they change it to match Hemsky’s strength’s. I may be wrong, but I can’t see MacTavish giving Tarnstrom and Pitkanen the green light to go pinching in from the blue line to tap in a Hemsky pass, even though that is probably the best option.

    25. August 23, 2007 at

      I’ve gained so much hockey knowledge the past 3 years. Transitioning from a clever and avid fan that loved watching hockey, to a clever and avid fan that wanted to understand hockey, all on the heels of the ‘stats guys’ work. I’ve been a pretty staunch defender of using probability and such to predict the future in the faces of the apologists, but that said, theres just so many unknowns right now.

      One thing that keeps me grounded however, was seeing the turnaround of Jarret Stoll take the words of the prominent Oiler blogs and place them in unspecified orifices. From being murdered on the soft minute parade, to his contract being a horrendous $250K overpay… He didnt pay attention to what he did last season, he followed the path foretold by the apologists, and became a heckuva player the following season (albeit cut short by injury) .

      I would love to do a statistical analysis of why i think the Oilers have a good shot at the playoffs this year, but it is rooted in numbers that aren’t kept anywhere i can find. Time of possession. Simply put, the Oilers will have the puck in the offensive zone, and out of the defensive zone more effectively this season. I base this on nothing more than the changes made on defense. A first pass is one of the most important necessities of the game at ES, and it changes the complexion of where the puck goes considerably. Edmonton’s forwards weren’t offensively challenged last year, they werent getting the puck enough, in good enough situations, and guys like Lupul were compounding this.

      Such a significant overhaul on defense, will have a pretty noticeable impact on time of posession, shots for, shots against, shooting percentages, giveaways, takeaways. And those are the details that create the stats we collect to support our predispositions.

      I’m cautiously optimistic that this team can handle the forecheck quite effectively, its defensive end coverage might not be as good, however it will be able to escape the zone with less oppourtunity. How does that translate into statistical projections? I think positively, but theres no way of knowing really. I can’t wait for the season regardless… thats more than I could say if we were entering the season with the same roster as last year… Smyth and his ragdoll defense included.

    26. steve
      August 23, 2007 at

      “If I had to guess, I’d guess that Edmonton ends up slotting somewhere between 15th and 20th on the PP. As you can see from the chart above, it’s basically a cluster outside of the extremes and that’s going to have a minimal effect in the grand scheme of things. I suppose that means that I see things from the Scully side of things but I don’t really see how you can examine the numbers, have some sense of history and come to a different conclusion. It’s the only rational conclusion.”

      It is that last sentence worth underlining. I’m not sure how you can object to AO’s claim that you come off sounding a little too sure of yourself.

      As for the numbers, I think you are underestimating the number of variables involved.

    27. August 23, 2007 at

      From Springsteen:

      Seen a man standin’ over a dead dog lyin’ by the highway in a ditch
      He’s lookin’ down kinda puzzled pokin’ that dog with a stick
      Got his car door flung open he’s standin’ out on highway 31
      Like if he stood there long enough that dog’d get up and run
      Struck me kinda funny seem kinda funny sir to me
      Still at the end of every hard day people find some reason to believe

      .

      Just human nature, and that’s a good thing I think, on the whole at least.

      The optimists seem to be a vocal bunch right now in comments sections, and a bit hostile as well. And though I have read only a tiny fraction of what has been written on the subject at internet fan boards, I’ve seen a couple of polls that show the majority of messageboard Oiler fans do NOT think that this team will make the playoffs. 10th place in the west is my sense of the average, or thereabouts (I’ll happily be corrected with links to actual polls, I’m just going by my memory here).

      That would be around 88 points or so, no? Fan polls on this subject always seem high. I posted one every year at OilFans.com, and the voters (and me) always guessed a few points high on average.

      My point, and I do have one, is that you are preaching to the choir. At least by and large.

      Me, I just hope that the Oilers do well enough to keep Anaheim’in the top five. If they can finish higher than 20th overall I’ll be a happy camper, of course they’ll need a bit more than their share of good fortune for that to happen.

    28. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      Given that there seems to be a bit of a trend of lumping the stats guys together, I’ll point out that this isn’t always the case. With respect to Stoll’s deal, I wrote:

      Looking at it all together, I don’t see the case that Stoll should make less than Bouchard. [Note: Bouchard is signed for $1.9MM] From there though, it’s a matter of degree. How much more should Stoll make? $100K? $200K? It’s tough to put a finger on exactly. I can understand why the Oilers decided to settle this rather than go to arbitration. They got away with paying him just $300K more. If you take Bouchard as a floor for what he was going to make and figure that he was asking for significantly more, there doesn’t seem to be much of a margin for going to arbitration.

      Say the Oilers thought he was worth $2MM (market value, not actual hockey value). Stoll is asking for $2.5MM or so. It has to be tempting to settle, depending on the degree of risk that you perceive in going to arbitration. It’s hard to say in the abstract, without knowledge of the specifics whether or not the risk was there but given the paucity of comparables of his own age range, you start to look at older players with similar stats and roles. Those players are only going to be more expensive, which means that they aren’t great comparables.

      In terms of value for the dollar, I don’t necessarily know that Stoll is providing it – I’d guess that Horcoff brings significantly more. In terms of where the market is for the two players identified as his comparables, this contract doesn’t seem to be worth screaming about. He has indisputably better numbers then the other two. With the Bouchard contract being what it is, it’s hard to say that this isn’t fair. Without knowing further specifics of the negotiation, I’m hesitant to condemn Lowe. This isn’t a bad deal relative to the market and it’s certainly not the failure to read the market that the Roloson deal was.

      I’m still not so sure that Stoll became a heck of a player last year, but that’s another story. Stoll/Pisani/Torres certainly did have a torrid stretch; whether that made it a heck of a year is an open question in my mind.

    29. August 23, 2007 at

      Edit for above, last paragraph should read:
      .. “Anaheim’s pick out of the top five.”

    30. Little Fury
      August 23, 2007 at

      On the plus side, this at least saves us all the trouble of watching the Oilers actually play this year. Really, I might as well just spend my spare hours watching prostate surgery on TLC for all the enjoyment I’m apparently going to derive from Oilers hockey.

    31. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      Who says I won’t be watching the Oilers play this year?

    32. djoilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      MC – not picking on you but, in your compliment of the Stoll contract you take a jab at the Roloson one. Without Roloson last season we would have been out of contention before Christmas, prior to the injury bug and trade deadline…It’s tough to say that was a misread of the market when Gerber essentially got the same deal….and I don’t think contractual analysis compares to statistical analysis – at least not in terms of raising the dander of Oiler fans.

    33. August 23, 2007 at

      Edit for above, last paragraph should read:
      .. “Anaheim’s pick out of the top five.”

      Dang, Vic. For once I thought we were in agreement.

    34. djoilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      “Who says I won’t be watching the Oilers play this year? ”

      Not me….I figure you’ve got your calculator ready for the season ;)

    35. djoilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      further to my previous post…in re-reading your Stoll comments – you say you “are hesitant to condemn Lowe”……sounds to me like you wish you could have?

    36. Little Fury
      August 23, 2007 at

      Who says I won’t be watching the Oilers play this year?

      No one. But why bother? It’d be like going to see “Titanic” and hoping Kate and Leo make it to port.

    37. rstahl
      August 23, 2007 at

      I would love to do a statistical analysis of why i think the Oilers have a good shot at the playoffs this year, but it is rooted in numbers that aren’t kept anywhere i can find. Time of possession. Simply put, the Oilers will have the puck in the offensive zone, and out of the defensive zone more effectively this season.

      Thanks Danny. There are enough smart people blogging and posting on the Oilers, that eventually somebody will make my point better than I can.

      Something I think that gets glossed over too much is the effect of coaching. We have quite a few years of data on MacTavish, and I think its fair to make the following generalization:

      A MacTavish coached team is more likely to turn a dog’s breakfast into a solid even strength team (see Oilers, Edmonton – 2003-2004) than a collection of better than average power play players into a top 10 power play (see Oilers, Edmonton – 2005-2006).

    38. August 23, 2007 at

      rstahl/danny:

      I believe in the principle. Hugely in fact. But I think the opposite will really happen.

      Guys like Smyth and Smith keep the puck in the opposite end of the rink, that’s why I was so sad to see them go.

      For the sake of all that is holy, do not compare Souray to Smith as a defensive defenseman … Rafalski to Smith I could buy, in a way … but Souray to Smith is just a whol;e new kind of stupid. Just is. I like Souray, but like four otheres Oiler D … they are best suited to playing in the bottom pairing with Teppo Numminen. And we ran out of Teppo’s and 3rd pairing icetime a while ago. This isn’t going to be pretty. Just isn’t.

    39. August 23, 2007 at

      Earl Sleek:

      I hate your team, just so many cunts. But the points you make are terrific. I think you’ve actually influenced superdink Carlyle. Seriously.

      Last spring he talked to us like we were idiots. This year … damn! The opposite. Who is he talking to when he challenges us to analyze Beauchemin’s shifts, his opposition, and he talks about tough competition? It ain’t me. And it isn’t the LA Times either. Good on you, Earl, even if you don’t bother.

    40. August 23, 2007 at

      Hey thanks, Vic. And sure, I’ll admit again, if it weren’t my team, there’s tons to hate about the Ducks, even pre-Bertuzzi.

      And just think? We may soon find out that we’re going to name the culprit of the last two NHL suspensions as our captain. Should be a fantastic year for booing.

    41. August 23, 2007 at

      Boy, that Little Fury guy sure is a stupid cunt, no? No offense LF, you likely fell down the stairs as a child, and it’s unlikely that I pushed you. Can’t pin it on me. :)

      Cunt is such a good word. I’m glad it’s not a swear.

    42. Louise
      August 23, 2007 at

      Right back at you, Lain… & all.

      Tyler, don’t knock yourself out on my account.
      That said… I always welcome your in-depth studies. :-D The analysis that you and your web-peers provide is far superior to anything I had access to before HFB, and I’m ever so thankful for it.

      I’m a muller. I like to reread and apply layers of hindsight for deeper understanding, so you can be sure that I’ll pop back to this topic a number of times. I’m constantly trying to add depth and breadth to my knowledge. “Use it or lose it” are words to live by, especially at my age.

      And, in case you haven’t noticed… I’m a little crazy. (It keeps the insanity away… Honest.) ;-D … It’s a side effect of reading character. And, believe it or not, I’m quite accomplished at my craft.

      For instance… I see much to like in you, Tyler. But then, I’ve always had a soft spot for crusty, perspicacious, types. ;-D It’s right up there beside my soft spot for unheralded, hard working, hockey players who contribute to winning hockey games.

      Heck… I became a mod at HFB because of the influx of noise makers. I didn’t want to lose the ‘deep thought’ that I had come to expect. (I’m a little selfish… so, sue me. ;-D) I enjoyed watching young, bright, minds evolve and grasp greater understanding. (something that I have held dear my whole life)

      I thought I could help foster an environment where you, igor, oilswell, and others would have more control over your discussion topics. Ah, well… I was limited to the rules provided. (Interesting that HFB has modified some rules based on the Oilers forum’s stretched interpretations. And moderator controls, within a single thread, can be given to a thread starter.)

      I have great difficulty communicating my perceptions with the written word. It takes many attempts and I’m never fully satisfied with what I’m trying to say. Lain & I can cover more in an hour of face-to-face, than I could hope to convey in a year online.

      And I understand that my peripheral vision can be annoying to those who have deeper focus. Sorry. Just, take what you can; ask me to try and clarify; or discard as irrelevant, because it can’t be calculated. It’s all good.

      Thanx

      ………

      Some mulling caused me to look again at the Oilers PP standings over the last few years. ’00-’01 wasn’t available, but from ’01-’02 on we were… 16th, 19th, 29th, 14th(FCP) & 27th.

      So much is going to depend on how they mesh on the ice, but Hemsky has another year under his belt, he will be complemented by more offensive thinkers, and he’ll have a few more weapons to use. MacT has got to start keeping him out there the full 2 mins. If he goes to designated checking lines he may have to, just to keep Hemsky’s ice time up. oh, please.

      L8r

    43. Little Fury
      August 23, 2007 at

      Gee, Vic, for a guy who was whining like a weepy widdle womb-turd about the all hostility you have to deal with from those mean optimists out there, you sure are a Pronger in your own right. But I expect when one pwns teh internets like you do, trivialities like civility and, apparently, sarcasm are of no concern.

    44. August 23, 2007 at

      mc79 – Granted Stoll had a rough start, but in fairness, by my eye anyways, players that take the next step in their development usually do so by christmas of their breakout year. Stoll started playing significant minutes with significant matchups, and his game elevated very nicely. I keep going back to the Carolina visit to Edmonton as the point it really began. He was arguably the team MVP for stretch until he was injured, then subsequently played with a concussion. He doesn’t seem like a player that will regress either… not by my eye… and I understand that and a buck will get me a coffee… nonetheless.

      Vic – fair enough, we agree on the significance of those areas, and when you say the team will suffer in those areas, i respect that considering you have been pretty bang on in the prognostics of this team past seasons.

      I know Smith and Smyth were excellent at keeping the puck in the offensive zone, my line of reasoning comes from the fact that the team last season just simply couldnt get it out of their zone. Jason Smith is an outstanding puck retrieval and positional guy in his own end, problem was he couldn’t handle a forecheck or escape the zone once he recovered the darn thing. It was a common theme on the backend with Greene, SMid, Smith, Hejda, Bergeron unable to move the puck out more often than not.

      We witnessed what poor coverage in your own end causes via Smid/Greene/Bergie… and will see it a lot this season with Souray/ Tarnstrom/ Greene/ Smid for sure… but how many chances should an NHL team need to escape their own zone? I’m betting on fewer than last season. And that bodes well for a MacT group of forwards IMO.

      I will be shocked if the Oilers are a bottom 5 team. If you are correct on this one, I will never doubt a word you say again… because I simply dont see it happening (barring a firesale at the deadline and dropping 5+ places)

      Atleast I hope the EIG don’t have the balls to hijack PPVs this season selling tickets and politicing for a new arena… not in the wake of Katzs dismissal atleast. That alone should make this season somewhat more enjoyable.

    45. djoilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      “Boy, that Little Fury guy sure is a stupid cunt, no? No offense LF, you likely fell down the stairs as a child, and it’s unlikely that I pushed you. Can’t pin it on me.”

      Wow….uncalled for…..but I guess with a pornstar name like Vic Ferrari, the Big Dick in you has to emerge sooner or later.

    46. August 23, 2007 at

      djoilman:

      That’s just hurtful. Why do you attack me like this? It just seems do wrong.

      I must go to the garden now, to do the flower dance. Surely the Gods will side with me, for you sir, are not righteous, and deserve your awaiting fate.

    47. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      I prefer his Vic Ferrari posts to his Latka posts.

    48. August 23, 2007 at

      Danny,

      You’re kind of spooky, but I’ll play along.

      All of us know that Magic exists. Where would you like bad magic to fall? Talk to me in the right tone and I can make it happen. Perhaps.

    49. August 23, 2007 at

      Mudcrutch, you are gold. To my mind, you are seven times the price of admission. Lowetide and Black Dog the same.

      Lot’s of peculiar little men hovering. Bless them. But really, you cats are an island. A shame, you deserve stronger opposition.

    50. August 23, 2007 at

      For the sake of all that is holy, do not compare Souray to Smith as a defensive defenseman

      I read that as a comparison of relative puck-moving skills, since that was the specific objection raised.

      And as an aside, where the everloving crap did all this hostility come from? Did someone piss in someone else’s Corn Flakes when I wasn’t around?

    51. slipper
      August 23, 2007 at

      Wow. I spent three months in the “bush”, with no papers or television.

      The summary of Oilers’ transactions is like an episode of the twilight zone on Friday the 13th.

      You mean we got rid of Jason Smith!

      Argh, we were the team to sign Sheldon Souray!?!?

      Oh, well atleast we’ll be in a good position to draft Tavares next year if his petition… OH GAWD NO… you mean to tell me we gave up all our draft choices so we could pay Dustin Penner 5 million a season!?!?

      Well maybe the EIG will sell and the next owner will spend to the cap and hire a competent GM….

      AHHHHHH, oh MAN, make it stop!

    52. August 23, 2007 at

      Vic, I won’t pretend to understand what that meant…

      you remind me of this old guy that I see at the poker table every now and then. Talks a lot, never really quite sure where hes going by what he says… but hes brillaint at keeping enough mystery in his ornary demeanour to keep his opponents at a disadvantage. Its fun to watch.

    53. August 23, 2007 at

      Sorry if I was misunderstood:

      To be clear, I’m tracking down some of you cunts right now. Seriously.

      Let’s see how this “I’m tough on the internet” shit works for you this weekend.

    54. djoilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      “djoilman:

      That’s just hurtful. Why do you attack me like this? It just seems do wrong.

      I must go to the garden now, to do the flower dance. Surely the Gods will side with me, for you sir, are not righteous, and deserve your awaiting fate. ”

      Vic,

      I giggled….it wasn’t worth a laugh out loud, but it wasn’t bad.

      DJ

      Oh, and if my little girl ever says “cunt” I’ll wash her mouth out with soap!

    55. August 23, 2007 at

      I’ve just been alerted that someone is using my internet name in an innappropiate way. Rest assured, my pencil-necked friends, that you are perfectly safe.

      I am working with RiversQ and Dennis at this very moment to assure that your geekdom is preserved. If I have to kill homeless people while you are freakin’ at your LAN party … then that’s what I’ll do, dammit!

    56. August 23, 2007 at

      Well now that I am thoroughly confused, and a little weary… I fold.

    57. djoilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      meh….your (or whoever hijacked your name’s) last post was better. That one didn’t even bring out a grin

    58. August 23, 2007 at

      djoilamn:

      Type sir. Type!

      Teach me the dance of the nerds, my weedy friend. I’m not being facetious, I really want to know. Teach me, little man, teach me.

      I mean this in the nicest possible way.

    59. djoilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      I’m supposed to teach you?…re-read your posts man…you’re the one who’s supposed to be in the garden right now aren’t you?

      How did this turn into a acid trip pissing match anyways?

    60. August 23, 2007 at

      mudcrutch:

      Do you have the goalpost stuff at all? I suspect that you do, and are waiting to spring it on your friends here. Hit it to the “I just ***ed my cousin! OilersROCK!” crowd of superhillbilly. Damn.

      In fairness, I’ve lived for several years in each of Western Europe, the Middle East, and Southern Ontario … and the middle doesn’t deserve mention, but Alberta is surely more tolerant, and considerably more wealthy, than Ontario.

      Yet, the Oilers are the new Leafs, I’m afraid. I dunno, maybe we should just let it be.

    61. Dennis
      August 23, 2007 at

      I believe Lain lumped me in with the positive crowd the other day and I’ve been trying to save my ass ever since:) I just wanted to get it out there that I think this team will finish 10th.

      As for the parts I’m worried about, I’m not as worried about the forwards at EV as I am as much about the D. I’m not saying that Penner can keep up with 10-83 but if he can, then we’re a long ways away towards not being awful.

      But whereas we had too much defense on our defense last year, now I think we have too little. I don’t believe in the Souray signing for a minute but if you were gonna ink him, then you don’t bring back Tarnstrom but you do bring back Shaggy. With Shaggy, Staios and Smith, we did have three legit guys to build a top four D. Now we have Pitkanen, Staios, a fledgling Smid and a guy in Souray who got killed last year in a lesser Conf while sometimes playing in the third pairing. And throw into the mix Tarnstrom, Greene and Grebs and we know the first of that troika has value but the jury’s out on the latter two.

      So, I’m much more worried about the D corps. The latest talking point/lie to hit the airwaves, and the last time I heard it was a Rishagh report, was the Oilers dealing one of their 9 NHL dmen plus a prospect for a forward to score some goals. Now the first thing this assumes is that the seven listed above, plus Gilbert and Roy, are all NHL dmen and I guess most of them are but how many of them are real bait for a guy that can score goals? And the other thing is I heard last year we were gonna deal for a D and look how that turned out?

      In any case, I’m not saying we’re gonna score a tonne of goals but I’m personally more worried about the incumbant backenders being able to defend their own end more than I am about which one to sacrifce for offense.

      As much as the Oilers seemed programmed not to score on the PP, they conversely do a good job on the PK so I’m fine with that unit. Another year for Hemsky and the addition of Souray and a couple of other pointment should help the PP. I like us in goal because Roli had a couple of rough stretches last year and he’s to the age where you are apt to slow down and/or get injured but I loved the Garon as insurance move.

      I just don’t know how we’ll hang with size and grit down in our own end. I’d feel much better if we had another Staios to prop up the top four.

    62. August 23, 2007 at

      Oh Dennis, when will you learn to follow djoilamn, Louise, Little Fury and AsiaOil into the Garden of Happy. It’s good there.

    63. Little Fury
      August 23, 2007 at

      This weird little series of outbursts by Vic (or whoever this chap is) just goes to show there’s a little bit of mclea in everyone.

    64. rstahl
      August 23, 2007 at

      Oh Dennis, when will you learn to follow djoilamn, Louise, Little Fury and AsiaOil into the Garden of Happy. It’s good there.

      Hey, why do I get left out? Just because I agree with Tyler on the PP doesn’t mean I don’t reside in the Garden of Happy too.

    65. Louise
      August 23, 2007 at

      Vic,

      If I knew the way to the Garden of Happy, I’d have spent the past year there. Seriously.

    66. DJOilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      Vic,

      Just a guess, but I’m assuming you’re one of those people who loves to hear himself talk, no? You are better educated, better traveled, and more versed than all those who cross your path. Are you sure you’re not from Calgary?

      I never once said that I was of the opinion that the Oilers would make the playoffs – I just told Tyler to lighten up, lay off the numbers, and try to enjoy being a fan.

      The Garden of Happy is much too highbrow for me, what with you doing your interpretive dance and all.

      Christ…it’s hockey – lighten up

    67. DJOilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      Louise, apparently Chris Pronger knows the way to the Garden….it’s somewhere between the OC and Christie’s pants.

    68. lowetide
      August 23, 2007 at

      Well Dennis says the Oilers are good, that is certainly in their favor.

    69. August 23, 2007 at

      Wow, what a crazy thread.
      My head says this team is going to be pretty bad but my heart says forget it – they’re going to be greater then the sum of their parts. For no better reason that this is the summer of Pat (in China I believe it is the year of the ass) and the Oilers are going to be good boys and be competitve just for me as a fortieth birthday present.
      I highly recommend anise (unless you don’t like licorice) – it tastes great and dulls your powers of reason. :)

    70. August 23, 2007 at

      By the way, unless I have read it incorrectly, Mirtle posted that the Oilers have the seventh highest payroll in the league. More then Toronto, Detroit, Dallas and Colorado.

      The Gods Must Truly Be Crazy.

    71. August 23, 2007 at

      DJOilman

      I do NOT think that I am great. I DO think that you’re an ass. I apologize for my lack of clarity.

      This site is one of the few things on the internet worth reading IMHO, and when I see people such as yourself inventing a whole new kind of stupid in the comments I feel moved to comment as well.

      Simple as that.

    72. RiversQ
      August 23, 2007 at

      Wow, nice thread here.

      I have little to add, which is why I haven’t posted a heck of a lot anywhere.

      I have no idea where this comes from though:

      I’ve noted that my lack of toeing the party line has gotten me toss from IOF…

      Were you tossed from IOF? I don’t recall the entrance or the exit. Seriously.

    73. DJOilman
      August 23, 2007 at

      I’m the ass? You come on here calling people dumb cunts, stupid hillbillies, and cousin—-ers, and I’m the ass? Look Vic….I just stated I was getting a little tired of the statistical analysis showing how terrible the Oilers will be….I think 9 out of MC’s last 10 posts were something along those lines and the 10th was about Doug McLean….I read this and Lowetide’s blogs everyday, I look forward to them – they are both fantastic writers….I was just saying what’s wrong with a little optimism (blind or not)….I feel like a cancer patient that goes to his doctor once a week and the guy says…”wow, statistics show you should have been dead already…and it should have been much more painful”
      I guess not having any hope means not being disappointed. Quite frankly, I don’t think this years version of the Oilers is a playoff team, but I’ll still be disappointed when (if) they are mathematically out.
      For the record, I know what your posts implied…clarification was not necessary…just the manner in which you post (ie “cunts, hillbillies, I’ve traveled the world, dance of the nerds, little man” bullshit) pretty much sums up the fact that you believe that you are uber-important and who the hell do I think I am for having an opinion not directly aligned with yours.
      Sorry I disturbed your snobby little circle of expertise…..is it OK if I still read lowetide, or are you going to call me an ass over there too?

    74. mc79hockey
      August 23, 2007 at

      At least Vic and DJOilman agree on one thing: I’m a fantastic writer who produces one of the few things worth reading on the internet.

      For what it’s worth, I think that they’re right.

    75. August 23, 2007 at

      DJOilman:

      “Travelled the world”? Where have I made any reference to travel? I have plenty of faults, DJ, there is no need to start making up new ones.

      The important thing is that we all swear. MC is a likable fucker, but as citizens of the intarweb it’s important that we put his new rule to the test.

    76. August 23, 2007 at

      AsiaOil said:

      So why do the stats boys feel that this opinion is so dangerous? This modest bit of optimism at the start of a new hockey season, this little bit of humility that accepts that shit happens in unpredictable ways. I’ve noted that my lack of toeing the party line has gotten me toss from IOF – no biggie – but it’s disappointing that people seem to be going SO FAR out of there way to kill any joy in the upcoming season and toe the party line.

      I missed this on the first read through. But Jesus AO, bit of an overreaction, no? I took a couple of things off of the sidebar (head-to-head icetime thing which I hadn’t been updating, and is now redundant anyways. Plus the EV+ and EV- thing, which again I hadn’t been updating and is now done for us by a few marvelous bastards online anyways). And I washed off a few of the “contributors who hadn’t said anything in a donkey’s age.

      oilswell and The Rage are the others. And I’m sure that The Rage’s opinion runs counter to yours. You both had only one thing in common … you weren’t posting. oilswell is probably the smartest cat on the internet. Again, he never posts. Just seeing a bunch of names on the sidebar who never actually said anything … well that seemed ridiculous to me at the moment I was doing some minor housekeeping to the sidebar. Simple as that.

      You want space to post something, MC has offered, IOF is always there for anybody who is sane and wants to (and this is important) actually write shit. Just email one of us.

    77. August 23, 2007 at

      The comments sure multiplied in the past 17 hours!

      Wow.

      And if anyone can make any sense of the David Lynch production it’s become, please tell me.

    78. Dennis
      August 24, 2007 at

      LT, 10th place.

      That’s only good in Lowe’s books;)

    79. lowetide
      August 24, 2007 at

      Dennis: Yeah, I’d say they’re 10-13 so we don’t really differ in terms of where they’ll finish. Question: if the Oilers are 13th (and a lottery team) at the deadline would Lowe deal off some of the future (say ANA’s 1st rder) to make it to 10th?

      We might be asking some of the most unusual questions in Oiler history this winter.

    80. DJOilman
      August 24, 2007 at

      “In fairness, I’ve lived for several years in each of Western Europe, the Middle East, and Southern Ontario” – Vic Ferrari

      ““Travelled the world”? Where have I made any reference to travel? I have plenty of faults, DJ, there is no need to start making up new ones.” – Vic Ferrari

      seems we agree on 2 things….Tyler is a good writer and you have many faults (including a very short memory)….Have a nice day Vic

    81. PDO
      August 24, 2007 at

      seems we agree on 2 things….Tyler is a good writer and you have many faults (including a very short memory)….Have a nice day Vic

      He still never said he traveled…. ;)

    82. DJOilman
      August 25, 2007 at

      Is that one of those “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is” kinda things PDO?;)

    83. Dennis
      August 25, 2007 at

      In terms of the unusual, maybe it’s because it’s late summer and camp hasn’t even started up yet, but I don’t feel as angry and pissed off at this team as I normally do/could or should, for that matter.

      Last summer was pure misery for me and it continued up right up until the time they completed the bungling of the 94 situation. But in reading the melancolia of a guy like LT, it seems like he’s just catching up. Others like Asia seem to believe that not only will stars align, but also new stars will form;)

      I’ve had trouble sleeping for as long as I can remember but sometimes I can check out by thinking about starting line-ups and line combinations and just the other night I tried the old trick by imagning what the Oilers would look like in ’08. And I came to this conclusion: Things didn’t have to be this bad.

      Trade Pronger for Pitkanen, Carter and a 1st and stop being a bunch of goddman dummies when it came to 94 and this is still a playoff team. Don’t throw the wad at Souray and instead gamble that Shaggy can stay healthy. Smith wouldn’t have to been purged and now you’ve got JP-Staios-Smith-Shaggy in a dependable top four. Tarnstrom plus Grebs or Greene in a potentially close your eyes third pairing but the top four is damn solid. 94-10-83 takes on the tough min. 14-16 gets the soft and 18-34 mentor young 78.

      Lowe has fucked this team for years and in some cases it seems like some people won’t accept it and others are just beginning to realize it.

    84. The Rage
      August 25, 2007 at

      Asia, Vic is right, a few of us were kicked off IOF, and really, you can’t blame Vic for doing so when we weren’t actually doing anything. The fact is, finding things to say that are substantial enough to write up an entire article is tougher than I intially thought. I’ve gained a little bit of respect for journalists in that regard, and certainly my opinion of mudcrutch and the amazingly prolific Lowetide is even higher than it was.

    85. August 25, 2007 at

      The Rage, AsiaOil:

      If you guys have something to write, let me or Rivers, speeds or Dennis know and you’re back on there, no problem. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful essay, just look at the half-assed stuff I throw up there. :D

      On an unrelated note, I am shocked at the foul language on this thread. I mean when I swear it’s delightful, it’s just the way that I do it. But some of you cats are really offensive with it, and should be take a good, long look in the mirror. For shame, people.

    86. August 25, 2007 at

      Well said Dennis. Every time I look at this abortion of a roster I have a “it didn’t have to be this way” feeling. Ah well.

      On the “reviewing lineups in your head to fall asleep” vein… same but different. When I was in high school I had a girlfriend named Connie, and the only chance for her to finish before me was if I tried to remember the roster of the ’76 Flyers. I never told her that of course, and I was 17 for Crissakes, had to do something. They were a bit before my time, and they were my oldest brother’s favourite team, and without really realizing it I ended up burning an imaginary team into my brain, because I had it all wrong.

      One time on HF or Lowetide I read something by LT on the Flyers, I went to correct him … damn. Sometimes hockeydb.com can be a bitch. I wonder how much Ralph Slate would want to change the mid-70s Flyers to my roster? I bet he can be bought. Hmmm.

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