For perspective ... a year ago in Oilerville.
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11-07-2003, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Originally Posted by
I don't know if it lends much perspective or not, but I thought I would throw it up here anyways.
At this time last year:
The Oilers were being badly outscored by the opposition during even-strength play. As a team
... Ouch! (In fairness the Oilers had a tougher opening schedule)
Smyth and York were a combined -11 (EV+/- -6). But from this point onwards they would go on to put up some of the best EV+/- numbers on the team.
BG had been terrible, and would be for a few more weeks. Too many scoring chances against when he was out there ... the 4th line, usually such a positive for the Oil, was a sore spot. He had some injuries too. From December onwards he would play much better, keep the forecheck rolling ... and as a consequence have the second best goals-against rate on the team from that point onwards. Just like year's previous.
Dopita was the team's number 2 centre (defacto #4) and it wasn't working.
Salo had been less than ordinary, not as rough of a start as this year, but still rough. He was about to go on a hot streak though.
Reasoner's future as an Oiler seemed unlikely. He would go on to have a helluva year.
The Oilers had scored 11 PP goals. All of them with York on the ice, 9 (I think) of them with York on the point. Two SH scoring chances against in one game, about now, and York would be removed from that spot. The Oilers PP would slump terribly.
Smith was off to a terrible start. Brewer, at evens, had the best +/- of any Oilers Dman.
Hemsky had only played a little bit. Most were worried that he was fragile. He was a scoring chance against waiting to happen when he was out there ... but he was showing flashes of brilliance, I think the first thing people looked for at the games was to see if Hemsky was in the warmup. He was a guy you wanted to see. It still seemed likely he'd be sent back to the Q though.
My point, and I do have one:
Its maybe a smidge too early to start worrying about guys who are struggling, especially the ones who've always come through in the past. Smyth, York, Laraque, Horcoff, etc ... these are players who have consistently outscored the opposition in their careers. They've all slumped before ... but they've always bounced back. I find it hard to worry that they won't this time.
I always figure you know what kind of team you have by about the 35 game mark. We apparently don't have the kind of team McTavish thought we had because I distinctly remember reading that the Oil were going to be tight defensively and not so offensive minded as last year while scoring more on the pp. Apparently were still working on that plan.
If you think of Comrie as injured rather than in a contract dispute I think we are doing quite nicely while our #1 centre is not playing. Not many teams would be doing this well. And while the goal scoring has not been as consistent as coaches like the fact that we are averaging 3 gpg has to be a nice surprise. After all, as we were constantly being told when the team couldn't score you can teach defensive play but scoring is more related to natural talent.
Thanks for the flashback Igor!
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