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11-11-2003, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Originally Posted by
I like Rome...not enough hockey but I still like Rome. And dawgbone, as much as shuffling the deck...can you tell me who Gretzky's winger was in Edmonton? Messier's winger? Weight's wingers when he was here?
Kurri, Anderson, Carter, Guerin, Smyth, Kovalenko, McAmmond, Cleary, Horcoff... the list goes on and on for weight....
Maybe we should throw our hands in the air saying no player on our team is good enough to develop any sort of chemistry with another.
That isn't even close to what I said is it? The RPM line has great chemistry, and they have performed... The YDT line has great chemistry, and they have performed... the other lines haven't performed.
I will tell you this because I was at training camp more often than not. THE best line by far, and so far ahead of any other line it was no contest...Smyth, Isbister, Pisani....but the guys that made the line click were Smyth and Isbister. If you can tell me with any reasonable certainty how much time Isbister has played with Smyth this year to prove or disprove the quality of that line then I can at least back you to some extent.
Isbister was off to a terrible start this year... that is why he stopped getting top line minutes. He then saw the PB, and then had his best games of the year (before he got hurt)... I dunno, but seems to me Mac-T did everything right. You take a struggling player, give him a chance (he left Izzy on the top line for a bit), then you give him a wake up call (he dropped him to the 4th line), then you give him a major wakeup call if he still isn't responding (PB). The Isbister that came out of the pressbox was a lot better than the one that went in. Mac-T then had his hand forced, and he needed to call up 2 young, relatively small players in Sarno and Salmo... so he put Isbister out there with him and they did really well. Sometimes you need to make changes that hurt one line, but make your team better.
The fact is, MacT knows nothing about line combinations. He knows nothing about familiarity with another player building cohesiveness within the line unit. I don't really remember the coach but he said that the broke the season in to 5 game segments. Well, why in God's name couldn't MacT run with the lines for 5 games to see what kind of pattern develops. How can a line get on a roll when it doesn't exist after one great game and then 10 minutes of poor play?
He knows nothing about line combinations... interesting. I guess that is why he is an NHL coach, and you aren't. Come on, that comment completely eliminates any argument you can up with because it strips you of any credibility you might have had. If the team would play well for 5 games, he might leave the lines, or if he didn't have injuries, he might leave the lines. If your team comes up with a poor effort, you need to make a change. You have to play on a game by game basis. Each game is just as valuable as another. 2 years ago the team missed the playoffs by 1 win... if something isn't working, you have to make a change. You are telling me that if a pitcher throws a perfect game and in his next start he gives up 3 runs without getting an out a smart manager is going to leave him in?
This is the reason you find us having one great game and a dog right after it. As Jamie Lundmark...he will tell you when you give a player a job and tell him what to do and how to do it, you have better success if you don't change his role after about 70 minutes.
The reason this team has one good night and one dog night is because they are young, and they go too high with the highs, and too lows with the lows. Mac-T had the same lineup in their 6-3 win over the Avs as they did in the 6-1 loss (minus the goaltender). The difference in the game wasn't chemistry, it was execution.
I work for a company. We have salesmen. If they salesmen don't sell for two days, we don't move them to shipping and receiving.
That's a horrible comparison... your salesmen can have 4 or 5 days without selling, then have a huge day and no one cares... the Oilers can't not win for 4 or 5 games then shell another team 8-0 and it erases everything else. Salesmen are judged on what they do over the week, month or year... hockey players are judged by what they have done the past game, or even the game they are currently in.
Here is an example, and you and I could do it ourselves if we wished. We could go over the strengths and weaknesses of all of our players and develop the most likely successful lines. Why can't MacT do that and give them a reasonable amount of time to do something?
(Personally the set up man Hemsky with Smyth and Isbister would be a line that I would keep together for 5 games.)
Umm... we could do that, but it would be rather useless. Part of that is because I am going to venture a rather large assumption and say that Lowe, Mac-T and the rest of the coaching staff, knows a tiny bit more about the players than you or I do. It's easy to match lines to enhance a guys strength, or hide his weaknesses... so what we see in a game may not be a true representation of what that player actually is.
We have defensive pairings. Why does MacT keep those guys together? Bergeron with Ferguson, Brewer and Staios, Smith and Cross. Because those guys work as a pair and as a cohesive unit because you have to know what your partner is doing and predict what moves he is going to make so you can react to him.
But I thought "Mac-T knows nothing about line combinations. He knows nothing about familiarity with another player building cohesiveness within the line unit." Funny how he knows nothing about it with forwards, but he can do it with the defense?
Lines are no different. We all played hockey(or alot of us did.) In Junior I played with a buddy named Colin. We didn't score every game and didn't play well every game. But overall we played well together. I knew what he was going to do in certain situations and he knew that if he got the puck in the neutral zone that I wanted to be the first guy to the puck.(First guy take the man, 2nd take the puck
) There were many times that he would get the puck just over centre and dump it in because he knew that when I saw him going for the puck I was going to go full blast into their zone.
The theory is the same. If a set of players knows each other, they find each others strengths and weaknesses. They work towards the strengths and cover each other's weaknesses.
Overall, Hemsky and Smyth play well together... but that doesn't mean that they should be on the ice everytime together, or that if for some reason they aren't having a good game that they shouldn't be separated and paired with other players in the hope of a little instant chemistry. Don't forget, this is why Torres is on the 2nd line... because he got moved throughout the lineup. And to play Devil's advocate to your comment that they find each others strengths and weaknesses... the same thing is true for their opponents. Don't forget, the NHL is in the video era, where as much time is spent in the video room as on the ice. Hemsky and Smyth are a solid combo because Hemsky lugs the puck, and Smytty controls the boards and parks in front of the net. Other teams see this as well... so what have they done? They have let hemsky carry the puck, backed off him, and paid more attention to Smyth and whoever their linemate is.
You don't think that all of those passes from Messier when he was going behind the net back behind him so Anderson could put them short side were made by mistake? They were made because the two damn guys played together for years. Not 70 minute stretches.
It also doesn't hurt that the rest of the team was full of allstars, so that they didn't <b>need</b> Mess and Anderson to score all the time. That Oilers team could afford 1 or 2 or 5 bad games in a row from Mess and Anderson without having to worry. This team does not have that luxury. They can't have 3 or 4 of their top players to not be playing well and expect to win and make the playoffs. It has worked out because they have gotten scoring from unexpected sources. That is the only reason the Oilers are .500. Had this team not gotten the unexpected production out of Torres and the RPM line, they could easily be 3 or 4 games under .500
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