• Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven

    by Tyler Dellow • February 4, 2008 • Uncategorized • 32 Comments

    Anyone else starting to wonder if a vengeful God has been punishing Edmonton for all of the toplessness, nudity, vandalism, public drunkeness, stabbings and general debauchery of the 2006 playoff run? I don’t know what else it could be.

    If you actually go and read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham kept bargaining God down. God was all “I’m gonna destroy the place unless you can find 50 righteous men”. Abraham – who would have been useful in the Oilers front office during the summer of 2006 – kept working away at him and got him down to ten – if Abraham could find ten righteous men, God wouldn’t destroy the place. God sent his scouts angels, found only one righteous man – Lot – and burned the place to the ground.

    The Oilers are slightly better off than the population of Sodom and Gomorrah, although they’re well short of ten. They’ve had about two, maybe three, if you’re a soft marker who includes Penner, righteous men this year. Horcoff and Hemsky deserve extra credit because they’ve done it against tough minutes. That’s not the way it works on the other lousy 5 on 5 teams, most of whom are completely devoid of righteous men – they’ve got some guys at the bottom end of the roster who look good in comparison, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough and I have a bad feeling that the Oilers are going to get absolutely destroyed for the rest of the year.


    Allow me to illustrate my point here. There are six really bad 5 on 5 teams this year: LA, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, the Islanders, Atlanta and Columbus. By and large, the only forwards on those teams who are in the black are the guys playing the soft minutes. I’ve gone through Desjardins site and grabbed the data for all of the forwards who have played 20 games. I don’t really trust Desjardins quality of competition number beyond ordering guys within their team, so I’ve ranked each guy from toughest forward minutes to softest forward minutes on his team. Of the 79 forwards who’ve played at least 20 games on my six awful ES teams, only 20 of them are in the black. I’ve tossed up a chart with their numbers here.

    The chart is kind of small – you can find a larger version here – but the point should be obvious. The only guys in the black on the lousy teams playing minutes that fall amongst the top six on their team in terms of quality of opposition (under the QC heading in my chart) are Horcoff, Hemsky, Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Everyone else who’s managed to hold their head above water has done it against bottom end competition. If you want to see the full spreadsheet of this stuff, go take a look here.

    The implications of this should be obvious, and maybe they’re so obvious as not to need mention but the loss of those four guys is, or would be, a deathblow to their respective teams. It goes back to the one of last season’s hot topics in Chris Pronger’s absence – the ripple effect. The ripple is a lot deeper when you’re talking about one of the only bloody guys on the team who’s in the black and he’s doing it against the other team’s best. It also speaks to something less obvious though; the Oilers and Lightning are kind of similar in that they’re both getting buried by the bottom ends of their roster. If there’s a saving grace for Kevin Lowe, given the awful mess that he’s made of the roster, I’d rather have his problems in terms of building a team that can compete at ES – top line can handle the tough minutes and they’re signed for reasonable dough – than the problems that some of the other bad teams have, with nobody on hand to handle the big minutes.

    A complete side note: Rick Nash has to be knocking on the door of a monster season, the sort of season that a difference maker puts up. He looks like he’s getting the short end of the stick in both shooting percentage and save percentage when he’s on the ice this year.

    Incidentally, if you take a look at the spreadsheet, take a look at the quality of competition rankings of Gagner, Reasoner and Stoll. Reasoner’s played the toughest minutes of the Oiler forwards with Horcoff and Stoll on his heels. I can understand that there’s an argument being put forward that Gagner should get the big push here but you’d have to think that his offensive numbers would go down against tougher competition and his defensive numbers – which are atrocious – would get worse. He buried Horcoff and Hemsky during his brief tour of duty with them earlier; I can understand why the coaches don’t want to put him with Hemsky and Penner in Horcoff’s absence. MacT got absolutely trashed today on the radio for his decision to put Reasoner into the cleanup spot; as I see it, he’s realistically looking at a choice between Stoll and Reasoner. I don’t know that Stoll has played well enough this year that I’d crucify the coaches for their decision – it’s like a choice between hemlock and arsenic.

    With all of that said, this season is over. The last time that the Oilers made the playoffs with one forward of note was 1979-80. Ales Hemsky isn’t Wayne Gretzky and there are nine more teams and no more playoff spots. It’s unfortunate that Anaheim is going to have a lottery pick this year but that is what it is. The Oilers should devote the rest of the season to developing those who can be developed, trading those who make too much money for too little contribution and figuring out who’s part of the team next year. Now would also be the team to start figuring out where the bargains are for next summer; hopefully next year’s Oilers team has a few more guys who can take care of themselves on the ice, which would certainly be a huge first step in muting the impact of injuries such as Horcoff’s.

    About Tyler Dellow

    32 Responses to Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven

    1. February 4, 2008 at

      Good stuff Ty.

      Worst guy to go down. Some might argue Hemsky and they might be 1A and 1B but for my money its Horcoff.

      What is unbelievable to me is how many problems this team has.

      Goaltending has been pretty good but its hard to say if Garon is the answer longterm and even if he is he is only signed for one more year.

      The D has actually been a pleasant surprise thanks to the unbelieveable emergence of Gilbert. Still you have two guys who need to be signed (the best two) and the guy who makes way more money then any of them has been a disaster.

      And up front they have three guys who can play top six minutes and the bottom six is a wasteland as well.

      Jesus.

      Hopefully Glencross can fill a need on the bottom six and they can sign him. Throw in Moreau, Cogliano and Pisani and you’re only two players short in the bottom six.

      And three in the top six. That’s all.

      Plus a longterm starting goaltender, one or two top four Dmen depending on Staios, a PP, a contract for Horcoff …

      Hmm, things are looking up. :)

      Yeesh.

    2. February 7, 2008 at

      Agreed on Rick Nash, he’s on his way to becoming one of the best players in the league I think. A little while ago I heard Bobby Clarke on TV call Nash a complete player. I think he’s right, and who would have thought that two years ago?

      Credit has to go to Hitchcock I think, and to Howson for presumably making it clear that Hitchcock was bigger than Nash and Zherdev. That never seemed to be the case with Gallant, just my sense of it anyways.

    3. February 7, 2008 at

      On the subject of bargains for next year, I’m with Matt Fenwick in thinking that Jason Williams is going to be a good pickup for somebody, especially with injury this year holding down his value. I’ve seen him good at the WHC’s as well. Solid numbers and a very effective PP point man, which is something that’s not found cheaply in this league.

      More generally on the same subject, I was going through some quality of opposition stuff today, and it really struck me just how much tougher the West is than the East. Especially for weaker teams in stronger divisions, like the Kings and Oilers. I mean we all know that, but the depth players on the these teams are still facing a tougher challenge than the top guns on many of the teams out east. Put a guy like Derek Armstrong, or dozens like him, in the Eastern Conference and I’m sure that he would look better on the ice and on the stats page.

      For GMs looking to flesh out there rosters with useful veterans, I’m thinking that the better bargains are going to be found west of the Mississippi.

    4. Bruce
      February 7, 2008 at

      Interesting stuff, Tyler. There is a tremendous amount of useful information in those spreadsheets — so much in fact that sometimes one has to sensibly group them as you have done here.

      Forgive me if I am a latecomer to an old discussion, but I find this team shooting percentage / team save percentage while a given player is on the ice to be a fascinating thing. The big question is, what does it tell us? That Rick Nash is unlucky that opposing goaltenders have a .921 save percentage against him and his mates? Or that maybe Rick Nash isn’t quite getting it done offensively?

      Listing the top shooting percentages from just these 6 teams (thanks again for the manageable list), the leaders in “team” shooting percentage are not that surprising:

      Kovalchuk 15.6
      White 15.1
      Lecavalier 13.6
      St.Louis 13.0
      Horcoff 12.8
      Prospal 11.9
      Hemsky 11.6
      Recchi 11.6
      Cogliano 11.6
      Comeau 11.1
      Penner 11.0

      Nash 7.9%

      (Apologies if I missed any, this wasn’t in sortable format so I ahd to eyeball it)

      By and large the top of the Sh% list are the top offensive guns, a couple of surprises like White, who seems practically joined at the hip to Kovalchuk and who is also a pretty good hockey player in a supporting role as he has shown in Ottawa, Minnesota and now Atlanta. Certainly the rest of the top 5 is no surprise, in fact no real surprises elsewhere other than maybe Comeau. Much more surprising is to see Nash way down where he is; no reason to suspect he’s playing against better goaltending, why isn’t his line finishing more? Any why are his assists ratios so terrible? Do all of his linemates suck, or is he just not a good playmaker? That lousy shooting percentage maybe means they just don’t create a large number of real scoring opportunities, or that the opposition keys on Nash cuz they know he won’t pass the puck (at least not anywhere dangerous). I don’t see enough of Columbus to know, but stats like these give me some questions to keep in mind next time I watch the Bugs play.

      Same goes for save percentage. Again, here’s the top (bottom?) few:

      Richards .823
      Kovalchuk .843
      Hlavac .851
      Darche .851
      Ward .857
      Prospal .860
      Brodziak .860
      Lecavalier .861
      T.Jackman .862
      St.Louis .864
      Cammalleri .868
      Frolov .868
      Gratton .870
      Reasoner .870
      White .871
      Nash .878

      While it’s no means cut and dried, generally speaking the offensive-minded players have worse save percentages. Again, no real surprise: a lot of them are one-way players, make higher-risk plays and generally are more vulnerable to the counterattack. Ergo better quality scoring opportunities against, and commensurately (?) lower save percentage.

      I’ll be the first one to grant you Brad Richards is unlucky to have shitty goaltending on his team, but does that make him any unluckier than Vinnie or Marty? Why is “his” save percentage ~3% worse than even his linemates (Hlavac and Ward)? Is it just a matter of all those own-zone faceoffs, as Vic would have it? Or does Richards overstay his shifts and get burned at the end? Or does he double shift with guys that are even worse than Hlavac and Ward? If so, where are they on this list? Etc.

      Put the two together and at least a guy like Kovalchuk is high event at both ends. Richards sports truly awful percentages at both ends (7.2% for, 17.7% against), thus his truly ghastly ES goal differential of -1.8 / 60. (I know I’ve knocked Richards before, but his numbers are just bad no matter how you slice ‘em. In Brad’s defence, I read somewhere recently that he is just getting over a bout of mono, which makes you wonder why he’s been playing at all, let alone 24+ minutes a game.)

      These numbers also highlight what a truly awful season Jarret Stoll is having at evens, at +1.42/-3.16 /60. His on-ice shooting percentage of 5.7% is the worst on the team, he’s second worst in GFON/60 and near the bottom in GAON/60 — only Reasoner, Gagner and Cogliano are (slightly) worse than Stoll in this vital metric (and you wonder why MacT is tearing out his hair replacing Horcoff? That’s pretty much the whole list of options right there). I don’t care what Jarret’s faceoff percentage is, that and $7.75 will get you a glass of horse piss at Rexall Place. 5v5 he just ain’t getting it done.

    5. Pat H
      February 7, 2008 at

      Tyler, you know I’m a big fan of the biblical analogies. Thanks for another one.

    6. Bruce
      February 7, 2008 at

      Oops, pardon me, Kyle Brodziak has the worst GAON/60 of the Oilers. Using Desjardins’ current numbers (20+ GP only), there are five Oiler forwards worse than 3.00 GA/60 — Brodziak 3.43, Reasoner 3.32, Stoll 3.09, Gagner 3.08, Cogliano 3.08 — and they are all listed as centres. Seems almost impossible. Of course they’ve all spent a little to a lot of time on the wing. Oddly, Horcoff, the only guy to play centre the entire season, is listed as a LW, but clearly he’s been the one centreman to drive the bus at BOTH ends of the rink, and despite the giddy feeling caused by 5-0 and 4-1 I agree with the premise of MC’s post and Pat Mc’s reply above that Horc will prove impossible to replace.

    7. slipper
      February 7, 2008 at

      Gabe has an individual shooting thing on his site that’s pretty cool.

      http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/5_on_5_shots.php?sort=8&mingp=&mintoi=10&team=ALL

      I’m guessing that it’s strictly even strength. Am I right?

      It also included the missed shots and distance from the backboards(?).

      A guy like Ribiero is scoring better than a goal for every three shots on goal. Could anyone argue that a rate such as this is sustainable?

      Bruce, I kid of see your point on save percentage with some of these offensive guys. Although you can come to a guy’s defence when there’s an abysmal SVPct behind him, there has to be a relationship between those percentages and the quality of chances allowed.

      Alot of the go to guys rack up alot of missed shots, which send the play the other way. They also to tend to take the longest shifts, and go 2, and often 3 forwards deep alot more than other lines. A missed shot on the far post during a 60 second shift can lead to a pretty dangerous odd man rush going the other direction.

      It would beneficial to see the average distance of shots against for some of these players. I’m betting someone already has something like that, on a site, somewhere;)

      Shift length vs GF and Ga would be pretty wild too. Pisani always been pretty frugal with his shift length and appears to benefit from it. There’s got to be a gap between a guy who spends 35 seconds on the ice retrieving the puck and getting it into the right end of the rink only to trade off for the team’s Kovalchuk.

    8. slipper
      February 7, 2008 at

      I think a good argument has been made for Stoll having the worst gig amongst Oil forwards over at Lowetides. Although, before being utilized as fodder for the opponent’s best players, Dejardins had his GF rate as the worst amongst players with signifigant icetime. That was against the Marcell Goc’s of the NHL. I think his lack of offence early was a huge factor in earning him his current role.

    9. Bruce
      February 7, 2008 at

      His lack of offence “early”? As in “before the All-Star break”?? Stoll has 8 frigging points at evens all year. He’s 15th on the club (11th among forwards) in ESP, despite ranking 8th on the club (4th among forwards) in ESTOI. Add it all up and he’s a sorry 18th in ESP/60 with a terrible 0.80. That ranks him behind even Zack Stortini who has been vilified regularly for being a complete nonentity offensively. Which ties him with Stoll I guess. At least Stortini has a respectable record at the defensive end, where he is among the club leaders at GA/60. Not so for Stoll, who’s been stinking it up at both ends of the ice by that significant metric. Only his PPP and not insignificnat contribution to the PK have masked Jarret’s horrible performance 5v5.

    10. slipper
      February 7, 2008 at

      Easy there Bruce, I was making the argument for you.

      By early, I meant in Oct/Nov, when he was playing lesser lights.

      http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/plyr_1739.html

      You can see that only 2 goals for were scored at EV when he was on the ice over the first 18 games. You can also witness the literal change in opposition quality when I figure it was decided “he’s not scoring against the 2nd and 3rd liner, lets hard match him against the other team’s top guns and see if 10/83 can feast succeed with extra time against the lesser lights”.

      http://www.behindthenet.ca/2007/plyr_2468.html
      http://timeonice.com/tfaceoffs.php?team=EDM
      http://timeonice.com/tshots.php?team=EDM

      As for Zac, well, you sail on that ship alone. There’s no competition between he and Stoll. Stoll’s been on for 3X as many own zone draws. Zac also seems to get outshot at a greater rate against lesser opponents. After the Tittsburgh experiment, Stortini’s icetime when down considerably as he was moved away from Stoll, and not coincidentally away from the top opposition, yet he continued to bleed goals against.

    11. Bruce
      February 7, 2008 at

      I guess if you call 2.23 GA/60 “bleeding”. Of Oilers with 20 GP only Nilsson is better at 2.21 (interestingly, Glencross is way down at 1.57). Now you’ll have to bear with me cuz I’m an old dog still learning some of these new statistical tricks — and I appreciate your comments and the links btw — but Stortini is above the waterline at QUALCOMP (+0.03) and very near the bottom of QUALTEAM (-0.35). I agree with Dan Tencer who couldn’t use the word “responsible” often enough when talking him up last night. But in the main you’re right, this Good Ship Zack is a lonely place.

      I guess the point is I have much higher expectations of a veteran like Stoll than I do for a youngster like Zack, but there’s not much there statistically to make the case for him this year. I blame the concussion(s), and I keep hoping I’m seeing a turnaround (mainly on special teams), but Jarret’s numbers are bleak.

    12. February 7, 2008 at

      Bruce,

      I don’t think that you’ll find many people arguing that good offensive players should expect to see a higher shooting percentage while they are on the ice. Having said that, some guys are going to have crappy puck luck years, and other guys the opposite. I’m not speaking for mudcrutch, but I took him to be suggesting that the shooting % when Nash is on the ice is a lot lower than you’d expect given this players skills and track record.

      As for the save percentage thing, looking at that list of players you have there, at a quick glance it looks like as a group they were pretty good at EVsave% behind them last year, .909 as a group and most of them played on teams with subpar EV goaltending. Granted a lot of those guys are rookies so don’t have a track record.

      I just cut and pasted last year’s numbers from javageek’s blog BTW.

      And chances are that 15 of the 16 will see an improvement at EVsave% behind them by the time that the season ends if they all continue playing. It’s unstoppable, Bruce.

    13. Bruce
      February 7, 2008 at

      … and chances are that if the temperature is 20 degrees below seasonal norms that the 14-day trend will predict it moderating, and it most likely will be correct in that prediction. The more extreme the initial conditions, the more slam dunk the prediction. But it still might be damn cold.

      So, Vic, are you saying that everything should average out eventually and it’s all just puck luck? Or … ?

    14. mc79hockey
      February 7, 2008 at

      The big question is, what does it tell us? That Rick Nash is unlucky that opposing goaltenders have a .921 save percentage against him and his mates? Or that maybe Rick Nash isn’t quite getting it done offensively?

      I tend to think that there’s a lot of puck luck in there. My suspicion is that if we could pull the numbers for Horcoff last year, we’d find that the pucks are just going in a lot more this year. While I’m willing to accept that there’s a range of skill within which NHL players operate in terms of the shooting percentage when they’re on the ice, I think that there’s an awful lot of luck smearing things. I suspect that a lot of the variation in player results from year to year boils down on this. Maybe over the weekend I’ll post something on player shooting rates – they’re spectactularly stable from year to year.

    15. mc79hockey
      February 7, 2008 at

      By and large the top of the Sh% list are the top offensive guns, a couple of surprises like White, who seems practically joined at the hip to Kovalchuk and who is also a pretty good hockey player in a supporting role as he has shown in Ottawa, Minnesota and now Atlanta. Certainly the rest of the top 5 is no surprise, in fact no real surprises elsewhere other than maybe Comeau. Much more surprising is to see Nash way down where he is; no reason to suspect he’s playing against better goaltending, why isn’t his line finishing more? Any why are his assists ratios so terrible? Do all of his linemates suck, or is he just not a good playmaker? That lousy shooting percentage maybe means they just don’t create a large number of real scoring opportunities, or that the opposition keys on Nash cuz they know he won’t pass the puck (at least not anywhere dangerous). I don’t see enough of Columbus to know, but stats like these give me some questions to keep in mind next time I watch the Bugs play.

      Nash isn’t an assists guy. He’s the Cadillac version from the Raffi Torres tree, as LT would put it. With that being said, this year, I think he might be having some bad luck.

    16. Bruce
      February 8, 2008 at

      One more comment about Stortini and then I’ll shut the hell up. (for awhile) His last minus game was December 29. As in, 2007.

      16 (sixteen) games since, all of them even or plus. (Well, all but one of them even, the other +2). Two of those games were +1/-1, I’m pretty sure the rest were 0/0 except for that +2. So +4/-2 in slightly over 120:00 TOI, almost all of it at evens, and most of it with fellow sluggos like Brodziak and Sanderson. In fact 46 scored two of the four goals himself, while the opposition scored a total of two goals.

      Now those might not be earthshattering numbers, but Zack certainly isn’t “bleeding goals against” either.

    17. February 8, 2008 at

      So, Vic, are you saying that everything should average out eventually and it’s all just puck luck? Or … ?

      With regards to EVsave% behind you, that’s what I’m saying. So much of it is just the bounces that it’s not worth talking about the rest IMO.

      I wrote a post at IOF a while ago that simulated the EVsave% for all NHLers so far (at the time) vs a bunch of guys rolling weighted dice. The results are curves that are damn near on top of each other, and their’s a reason for that, it’s almost all just luck. And I posted the line where, collectively, these same NHLers would end up at the end of the regular season. And it will happen.

      I’m in charge of simple answers, Bruce, you’ll need to listen to Craig Simpson podcasts if you want abstract notions and meandering, ethereal rationalizing. :)

      I mean on Saturday I could invite a few of the lovable nutbars from HF boards to my house, I could flick a deck of cards down the stairs and we could stand around drinking beer and pondering why so many face cards landed on the middle steps, how come of the eight cards that made it to the bottom, three were aces … and on and on.

      Flick them again and the guys are going to start spotting some patterns. Like the seven of diamonds landed on the 7th stair again. Damn!

      As I go to flick them a third time I’d be hoping to hell that the seven of diamonds didn’t fall on the seventh stair again, or even within one tread of that, or even any seven card landing on that stair … because they’d be hanging around my basement talking about it until it was freaking pitch black outside.

      And the thing is, maybe there’s some manufacturing error in the cards, or something about my shuffling, but it’s not much and is lost in the noise of randomness, and none of these cats is going to be able to predict how the cards will fall with the next flick of the deck any better than a monkey could.

      Because it’s just luck.

    18. jonny
      February 8, 2008 at

      So would Raffi be the Yugo of the Raffi tree?

    19. Bruce
      February 8, 2008 at

      With regards to EVsave% behind you, that’s what I’m saying. So much of it is just the bounces that it’s not worth talking about the rest IMO. Because it’s just luck.

      So why bother keeping track?

    20. February 8, 2008 at

      So why bother keeping track?

      So that when you start worrying that a player has lost his clutch, MC can reassure you that he’s probably just rolling a bad stretch of 11′s. :D

      Seriously, that’s why it’s important, at least to my mind.

      If a player’s numbers fall to hell one season and it’s the underlying numbers at fault … it’s probably injury or age catching up. Not a guy you’d hope your team trades for in any case, a risky bet.

      If a player’s numbers fall to hell one season and it’s the shooting and save %’s at fault … it’s probably mostly just the way the cookie crumbled. He’s a strong bet to regain the old results.

    21. February 8, 2008 at

      If a player’s numbers fall to hell one season and it’s the shooting and save %’s at fault … it’s probably mostly just the way the cookie crumbled. He’s a strong bet to regain the old results.

      Which is exactly why Brad Richards, if the team has the dollars to spare, would be a good pickup.

    22. slipper
      February 8, 2008 at

      Bruce:

      He was on the ice for a goal against versus Nashville in Jan. Not to nit-pick, and that’s as far as BTN goes back, but we got to keep ourselves honest. If he hasn’t been on the ice for a GA since then, good on ‘em. I’m not trying to bury Stortini, but I object to using Stoll as a benchmark to measure Stortini’s failures/success. Obviously, since you’ve been contributing for awhile now (and are a solid contributer), you understand there’s a higher standard on the blogs. That sounds pretty arrogant, but what I mean is, there’s a heavy requirement for context. Stoll has sucked offensively this season. I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if he were traded. But he and Zazh are used in totally differnt manners. When Joe Thorton and co. come on the ice heading into the Oilers’ end, Stoll is the quick change. When Zetterbeg and Datsyuk are taking an O-zone draw, it’s usually against Stoll. Aswhere Zach is used Sparingly, and most often plays under ten minutes. In my mind it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

      Kinger:

      In 2006=07 BHN has Ricard playing against mid-level opposition. He was +48/-59 that year, and also psoted a penalty differential of +80/-131. His quality of opposition is probabley pulled down by the quantity of minutes he logs. Regardless, considering he’s +32/-56, I can’t comprehend how anyone can make the case that he’s a decent pick-up, let alone worth 7 million.

    23. mc79hockey
      February 8, 2008 at

      Which is exactly why Brad Richards, if the team has the dollars to spare, would be a good pickup.

      I tend to agree with slipper. I’ve never really thought that Brad Richards was a great player. I’m pretty sure that Vic Ferrari, to name but one, disagrees with me on this point, but he’s like Jokinen in that he’s a minutes machine.

      That seems to be a bit of an SE thing to be quite honest. I was at the Leafs-Panthers game the other night, it’s 6-0, the Panthers are on a 5 on 3 PP, there are 7 minutes left in the game or so…guess who’s on the point on the PP? Jokinen.

    24. Bruce
      February 9, 2008 at

      He was on the ice for a goal against versus Nashville in Jan. Not to nit-pick, and that’s as far as BTN goes back, but we got to keep ourselves honest.

      Yeah I know, that was one of the games 46 was +1/-1 (with a goal), so even on the night. Please reread what I wrote: he hasn’t had a minus game in 2008. +4/-2 in 120 minutes. I don’t think I said anything dishonest, or even incorrect.

      I’m not trying to bury Stortini, but I object to using Stoll as a benchmark to measure Stortini’s failures/success.

      Either you’re reading it backwards or I wrote it backwards (more likely #2). It was Stortini’s lousy offensive production that I wound up using as a benchmark, just to underscore how woeful Stoll’s offensive production has been this year. OF COURSE there’s no comparison between the two. One is a four-year veteran, plays centre, takes faceoffs, plays both special teams and big minutes, and makes $2.2 MM. The other is a youngster scrapping just to stay in the league, making minimum salary, playing fourth-line minutes.

      The problem is, Stoll is way down in Stortini territory for offensive production (Zack 0.81 ESP/60, Jarret 0.80). That is freaking terrible, was my point; it was not meant to be complimentary of Stortini at all. Zack has proven to be (surprisingly) effective as a defensive player, it’s his offence that has much further to go, and Stoll should be WAY above Stortini’s ES production. But he’s not. That was my point. He’s way down at the very bottom of the heap with the plumbers.
      ***

      BTW, Slipper, I agree with you all the way on B.Richards. We all saw him good in the ’04 playoffs when he was truly outstanding, but this is his second terrible season in a row, at the biggest cap hit in the league. Shawn Horcoff is the better player, at less than half the money. The last thing we need around here is another salary anchor.

    25. February 9, 2008 at

      Slippler:

      Middling competition: This season BTN has him tied for 4th among Lightning forwards. Conversely, the man you wrote so glowingly about, he who faces “Zetterbeg and Datsyuk” and “Thornton and co.”, is also ranked 4th among forwards on his team. As for 06-07, he was ranked 6th among forwards with more than 20 GP; although the separation between him and 4,5,6,7 and 8 is pretty slim.

      +32/-56: I think this number deserves some context.

      GA and SV%:
      Richards: 56 – .823
      St. Louis: 55 – .864
      Lecavalier: 53 – .861

      I think these numbers speak for themselves.

      GF and Qual of line mates:
      Richards: 32 – -0.01
      St. Louis: 57 – 0.15
      Lecavalier: 56 – 0.27

      It looks to me like St. Louis and Lecavalier’s GF rates have benefited from playing together. Meanwhile, Richards has been hitting the ice with the likes of Jan Hlavac, Michel Ouellet and Matt Darche.

      Lately I’ve been watching some Lightning games on CI online. TB has been running Richards with Lecavalier and St. Louis since the game on the 31st versus Vancouver. Since then, Richards has posted +1,0,0,+2 and put up 5 points in those 4 games. Frankly, I think Richards’ problem at ES is that he’s been playing with nobodies and his goaltender hasn’t been doing him any favours.

      As for the price tag, is 7.8M dollars in the Oilers budget the same thing as 7.8M dollars in some of the more popular destinations? I don’t think so. It’s no mystery that we have had a hard time attracting elite talent from the UFA market. To bring in quality players, I think the Oilers have to work outside the box.

    26. Bruce
      February 9, 2008 at

      Context in Plumberville
      (Forwards w/ 20+ GP and 0.80-0.85 ESP/60):

      Todd Marchant 0.84 | $2.66 MM
      Eric Nystrom 0.84 | $693 K
      Krys Barch 0.84 | $475 K
      Craig Adams 0.84 | $600 K
      Zack Stortini 0.81 | $475 K
      Adam Hall 0.81 | $525 K
      Jerred Smithson 0.80 | $475 K
      Branko Radivojevic 0.80 | $680 K
      Jarret Stoll 0.80 | $2.2 MM

    27. Pat H
      February 9, 2008 at

      Sorry to ask something that’s way off topic here, but I was hoping to get some clarification on something that I’m sure one of the many braniacs around here could answer. The question:

      Is Pitkanen eligible for club elected arbitration?

      My understanding was that the answer was “no”, pursuant to 12.3(c ) of the CBA. On Tencer’s show today, he had an interview with Lowe, and in a question to Lowe about RFA’s, alluded to the ability to go to arbitration with Pits. Lowe didn’t address it, but he didn’t deny it. I then emailed Dan to clarify whether his info was correct, and Dan replied saying that he’s no CBA expert (who is, really), but that Lowe told him they have arbitration rights with Pitkanen. What gives?

    28. mc79hockey
      February 9, 2008 at

      If Philly took him to arbitration last year, which I understand that they did, then Lowe is wrong.

      Sigh.

    29. speeds
      February 9, 2008 at

      They absolutely can NOT take Pitkanen to arbitration.

      Section 12.3.c of the CBA says:

      … a Player as to whom a Club has elected salary arbitration, regardless of whether a hearing took place in connection with that election, is no longer eligible for Club-elected salary arbitration.

    30. Pat H
      February 9, 2008 at

      Precisely, Speeds/mc79 – that was my understanding as well. I should emphasize that I’m relying on Tencer’s statement, i.e. that Lowe told him they have arb rights. I haven’t personally heard Lowe say this publicly.

    31. slipper
      February 9, 2008 at

      http://www.behindthenet.ca/qual_team.html

      Last season the forward Richards played with the most was St. Louis.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *