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Was defense the primary reason for the Oilers disappointing season?

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Old
02-21-2007, 06:52 PM
  #26
D_Oil
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Originally Posted by imkinger View Post
No, it was a combination of forwards under performing and key injuries. Believe it or not, I think Tjarnqvist going down REALLY hurt this team.
So do I. He became an afterthought because of his softness, but he was the best puck mover on defense, and that is what hurt this group.

As an aside, he started the season on fire, and later come back down to earth and was accussed of being very soft. Did this fall coincide with the beginning of his groin troubles? They seemed to occur around the same time.

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02-21-2007, 07:01 PM
  #27
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Injuries ended up being a big factor, but a puck-moving d-man to play 25 minutes a night and QB the PP would have solved a LOT of this team's problems.

The group we had back there just could not get the puck to the forwards.

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02-21-2007, 07:05 PM
  #28
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The primary concern is the PP and the D.

I know everybody likes to talk about how bad we are and everything.

But what happens if we had just an average PP in the 10-15 range? We are probally sitting with an extra 6-10 points right now.

Add to it, we have problem been hit the hardest by injuries in the West save for Dallas and Chicago and those are 3 huge problems right there. We are close we just need a top dman or maybe a top 3 dman if Gilbert can step up and play well next year.

My hope is that Pouliot and Gilbert can both finish the season strong and come into camp next year ready to be producers. If Pouliot can be a consistant top 9 forward next year, and Gilbert can be a good #5, we are going to be in damn good shape.

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02-21-2007, 07:28 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemmingway View Post
Prototypical rebuild year.

Too many players playing their in their first year.

Hejda, Smid, Greene, Roy, Gilbert, Thoreson, Mikhnov, Stortini, Pouliot, Jacques.

Thats 10 rookies, 3 regular defensemen, an entire forward line. Add to that the play of other young players (Beregron, Lupul, Torres, Stoll, and Hemsky,) and injuries to veterans - and you have a recipe for exactly what we see.

Horrible inconsistency.

Not really a shock, looking at the roster.
True enough with the Oil having a lot of young players, but SJ has survived quite well in a similar case.

Players starting the year with less than 82 GP:

Vlasic (58GP), Carle (54GP), Gorges (47GP), Bernier (39GP), Clowe (35GP), Pavelski (29GP), Risemiller (59GP), Plihal (3GP), Darche (2GP)

That is the same amount of rookies as the oilers (including 3 rookie regular defensemen), but SJ's rookies combining for 327 GP to the Oilers 262 GP. Likewise the Sharks have Michalek, Ehrhoff, Goc, and Cheechoo (equivilent to Torres) as younger players.

SJ is not suffering too much from 'rebuilding', so I don't think that the inexperience of the Oilers is in and of itself reason enough for the struggles this year.

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02-21-2007, 08:00 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by D_Oil View Post
True enough with the Oil having a lot of young players, but SJ has survived quite well in a similar case.

Players starting the year with less than 82 GP:

Vlasic (58GP), Carle (54GP), Gorges (47GP), Bernier (39GP), Clowe (35GP), Pavelski (29GP), Risemiller (59GP), Plihal (3GP), Darche (2GP)

That is the same amount of rookies as the oilers (including 3 rookie regular defensemen), but SJ's rookies combining for 327 GP to the Oilers 262 GP. Likewise the Sharks have Michalek, Ehrhoff, Goc, and Cheechoo (equivilent to Torres) as younger players.

SJ is not suffering too much from 'rebuilding', so I don't think that the inexperience of the Oilers is in and of itself reason enough for the struggles this year.
SJ suffered through 2002-2003 - where they came in fifth in the Pacific with 72 points. They fired their GM and went on to draft Michalek 6th, Bernier 16th, and Carle 47th in that draft.

That said - they've drafted:
Nabokov, Evgeni
Toskala, Vesa
Murray, Doug
Hannan, Scott
Marleau, Patrick
Davison, Rob
Cheechoo, Jonathan
----
Goc, Marcel
Ehrhoff, Christian
Bernier, Steve
Carle, Matt
Michalek, Milan
Vlasic, Marc-Edouard

Sharks are an interesting case. They have not one, but two drafting clusters, around 1997-1998, and then 2003.

Unfortunately for Edmonton, half of the players taken on this list (to the line) were drafted when Edmonton thought Baja was a good place to scout from


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02-21-2007, 08:21 PM
  #31
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Our inability to get out of our own end also makes for tired players how need off for a change after running around their own end of the rink. This translates into less chanes off the rush, cuz there's quite simply less rushes.

I think yes, the forwards have been dissapointing, but a lot of that has to do with injuries, and certainly better forwards coulda helped out our D a bit more.

But I think our system has failed because while we keep teams to the outside for a period of time, when we do get the puck, we cough it up quite often, and repeat the chase again.

Prongs played 30 minutes a game for us. That's a lot of time to have good puck movement off the backend for a game.

Hey, we're not cooked yet. Imagine adding Moreau/Pisani/Stoll in a few weeks? We could get hot at the right time and squeak in.

I'm off to finish my half-full mug of beer

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02-21-2007, 08:23 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemmingway View Post
SJ suffered through 2002-2003 - where they came in fifth in the Pacific with 72 points. They fired their GM and went on to draft Michalek 6th, Bernier 16th, and Carle 47th in that draft.
Setting up similar to this year and the upcoming offseason for the oilers. That said, this doesn’t address why SJ’s inexperienced team this year (even more youthful than the Oil) haven’t missed a step.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemmingway View Post
Unfortunately for Edmonton, half of the players taken on this list (to the line) were drafted when Edmonton thought Baja was a good place to scout from
Yah, good times…for Barry Fraser at least I think we can agree though, thankfully, that it looks like under Lowe things are turning around on that front.

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02-21-2007, 08:24 PM
  #33
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For me it comes down to these factors:

1. Poor professional scouting - who knew Lupul was a one-dimensional shooter without the resiliency to bounce back from poor stretches of play?

----- Lowe should have known.

2. Poor risk management.

----- Likelyhood of a 10+ games injury to a d-man in the season: High
----- Impact of said injury: High
----- Solution of everyone else in the world: build depth on defense
----- Lowe didn't need another Smith or Staios or Pronger. A guy like Eaton would have been fine - a LOT of second stringers would have helped/been fine

3. Injuries at the wrong time:

----- Moreau is, so obvious now, the energy leader on this team. Smith may be the tough guy and Smyth may be the 'pay-the-price' but Moreau is the 'always-all-out' guy and losing him hurt more than we would know.

----- Tjarnqvist's injury exposed the lack of depth for what it was - a land mine that would blow the legs off our season.

4. Underperformance of some forwards

----- Not just Lupul. Horcoff, Pisani, et al - none have performed given the pay raise they got. It's like they had a 40 game hangover.

5. Stupid expectations

----- Rare is the young defenseman who can come in and play the quality minutes a team like our required of Smid, Greene, et al. Also note - when it DOES happen the young d-man in question is usually paired with/babysat by an effective veteran. Enter Smid and Greene.... oops

6. Poor understanding of players abilities

----- I have to think that Lowe seriously over-estimated the ability of these defensemen to carry the puck out of the zone and make the break-out passes. Smith and Greene are non-starters. Smid may be capable one day but in his rookie season? Staios and Tjarnqvist aren't first stringers at the best of times. Bergeron is only mostly legit.

----- This one is on MacTavish - *** was he doing holding Hejda back. *** *** *** *** *** *** ***!!!!! The guy is only a rookie by NHL standards. He STARTS with the equivalent of a full-NHL season under his belt - and that is far more than Smid or Greene had at the start of the season.

I have a few more things I could add but I will leave it there. Making a mistake of Lupul is one thing... the risk management issue however is, essentially, unforgivable in my books. I will never, truely, respect Lowe as a GM again; at best I may consider him adequate one day.

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02-21-2007, 08:41 PM
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YKOil View Post
For me it comes down to these factors:

1. Poor professional scouting - who knew Lupul was a one-dimensional shooter without the resiliency to bounce back from poor stretches of play?

----- Lowe should have known.

2. Poor risk management.

----- Likelyhood of a 10+ games injury to a d-man in the season: High
----- Impact of said injury: High
----- Solution of everyone else in the world: build depth on defense
----- Lowe didn't need another Smith or Staios or Pronger. A guy like Eaton would have been fine - a LOT of second stringers would have helped/been fine

3. Injuries at the wrong time:

----- Moreau is, so obvious now, the energy leader on this team. Smith may be the tough guy and Smyth may be the 'pay-the-price' but Moreau is the 'always-all-out' guy and losing him hurt more than we would know.

----- Tjarnqvist's injury exposed the lack of depth for what it was - a land mine that would blow the legs off our season.

4. Underperformance of some forwards

----- Not just Lupul. Horcoff, Pisani, et al - none have performed given the pay raise they got. It's like they had a 40 game hangover.

5. Stupid expectations

----- Rare is the young defenseman who can come in and play the quality minutes a team like our required of Smid, Greene, et al. Also note - when it DOES happen the young d-man in question is usually paired with/babysat by an effective veteran. Enter Smid and Greene.... oops

6. Poor understanding of players abilities

----- I have to think that Lowe seriously over-estimated the ability of these defensemen to carry the puck out of the zone and make the break-out passes. Smith and Greene are non-starters. Smid may be capable one day but in his rookie season? Staios and Tjarnqvist aren't first stringers at the best of times. Bergeron is only mostly legit.

----- This one is on MacTavish - *** was he doing holding Hejda back. *** *** *** *** *** *** ***!!!!! The guy is only a rookie by NHL standards. He STARTS with the equivalent of a full-NHL season under his belt - and that is far more than Smid or Greene had at the start of the season.

I have a few more things I could add but I will leave it there. Making a mistake of Lupul is one thing... the risk management issue however is, essentially, unforgivable in my books. I will never, truely, respect Lowe as a GM again; at best I may consider him adequate one day.
Well said

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02-21-2007, 08:45 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by D_Oil View Post
Setting up similar to this year and the upcoming offseason for the oilers. That said, this doesn’t address why SJ’s inexperienced team this year (even more youthful than the Oil) haven’t missed a step.
Looking at the SJ roster - I see impact players at their peak, players like Thorton(1st-97), Marleau(2nd-97), McLaren(9th-95), and Hannan(23rd-97), surrounded by other players that could just as soon play on the Oilers.

Who are Edmonton's impact player(s) and when where they drafted?

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02-21-2007, 08:49 PM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YKOil View Post
For me it comes down to these factors:

1. Poor professional scouting - who knew Lupul was a one-dimensional shooter without the resiliency to bounce back from poor stretches of play?

----- Lowe should have known.

2. Poor risk management.

----- Likelyhood of a 10+ games injury to a d-man in the season: High
----- Impact of said injury: High
----- Solution of everyone else in the world: build depth on defense
----- Lowe didn't need another Smith or Staios or Pronger. A guy like Eaton would have been fine - a LOT of second stringers would have helped/been fine

3. Injuries at the wrong time:

----- Moreau is, so obvious now, the energy leader on this team. Smith may be the tough guy and Smyth may be the 'pay-the-price' but Moreau is the 'always-all-out' guy and losing him hurt more than we would know.

----- Tjarnqvist's injury exposed the lack of depth for what it was - a land mine that would blow the legs off our season.

4. Underperformance of some forwards

----- Not just Lupul. Horcoff, Pisani, et al - none have performed given the pay raise they got. It's like they had a 40 game hangover.

5. Stupid expectations

----- Rare is the young defenseman who can come in and play the quality minutes a team like our required of Smid, Greene, et al. Also note - when it DOES happen the young d-man in question is usually paired with/babysat by an effective veteran. Enter Smid and Greene.... oops

6. Poor understanding of players abilities

----- I have to think that Lowe seriously over-estimated the ability of these defensemen to carry the puck out of the zone and make the break-out passes. Smith and Greene are non-starters. Smid may be capable one day but in his rookie season? Staios and Tjarnqvist aren't first stringers at the best of times. Bergeron is only mostly legit.

----- This one is on MacTavish - *** was he doing holding Hejda back. *** *** *** *** *** *** ***!!!!! The guy is only a rookie by NHL standards. He STARTS with the equivalent of a full-NHL season under his belt - and that is far more than Smid or Greene had at the start of the season.

I have a few more things I could add but I will leave it there. Making a mistake of Lupul is one thing... the risk management issue however is, essentially, unforgivable in my books. I will never, truely, respect Lowe as a GM again; at best I may consider him adequate one day.

I agree, but on Lupul, could you blame Lowe, hell everyone thought we got a guy that was awesome coming back, i mean he scored 28 goals on his second (third?) season in the NHL with superstar linemates of Marchant and XXXX (i forgot who but nothing spectacular), he also had a fair few goals in the playoffs, i dont think he ****ed up, but i do agree, more depth would have been nice, i would have gone HARD, and i HARD after Markov, he's playing around 20 mins a game, that could have helped our Blue-line situation big time, just add Markov to the combo:

Hejda-Smith
Markov-Staois
Shaggy-MAB
Greene

Imagine coming into opening night with that Defence, i would have felt much more safe knowing that is what we were icing..

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02-21-2007, 09:13 PM
  #37
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To answer the thread's question: Yes, our defence is the primary reason for the Oilers disappointing season.

Facts:

• There isn't a puck-mover in the whole lot of them. Did Lowe really think he could ice a d-corps of rookies and old, stay-at-home guys and win, especially in "the new" NHL? This season was doomed to end up the way it has.

• No speed. Smid is a decent skater and Bergeron was fast (but his 2-foot legs pretty much erased that skill as being beneficiary), but the rest of our defesneman are big, slow oafs who constantly get beat wide, get beat to pucks and can't get back when caught pinching. Smith, Greene, and Hejda in particular are attrociously slow. The best defenceman in the league (Niedermayer, Pronger, Lidstrom, Bouwmeester, Kaberle, Phaneuf, etc.) aren't just good skaters, they are great skaters.

• Absolutely NO offense. With Bergeron gone, our defense-corps has contributed a total of 9 goals all season. Our top-scoring defenseman has 15 points. And he's missed the last two months. No active defenseman is in double-digits. Smith, 9 points in 60 games; Hejda, 8 points in 32 games; Greene, 8 points in 57 games; Smid, 6 points in 56 games (0 goals). I could produce more depressing stats, but I won't. In this league, where so many of your offense comes off of transition, breakouts and special teams, a team with such offensively challenged defenseman will not succeed.

This would have been a decent d-corps in 2003-2004, when you could hook, slash and pound your opponent into submission. Now, defenseman must be faster, more agile, and better at handling the puck. Needless to say, those are three attributes our corps is sorely lacking.

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02-21-2007, 10:09 PM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemmingway View Post
Looking at the SJ roster - I see impact players at their peak, players like Thorton(1st-97), Marleau(2nd-97), McLaren(9th-95), and Hannan(23rd-97), surrounded by other players that could just as soon play on the Oilers.

Who are Edmonton's impact player(s) and when where they drafted?
Good point, and that is the clear distinction between the oil and sharks, SJ has Thornton and Marleau, EDM counters with Smyth and Horcoff (imo opinion the impact players on defence are almost a wash). This makes SJ the better team with Hemsky, Lupul, Stoll, Torres, Smid and the like having yet to reach their peak for the Oil.

I just question the notion that young must equal struggle. I think that the Oilers younger impact players are at a stage (~3 seasons) together with the overall stronger reliable veterans on this roster (when healthy) than SJ where they can to compensate for an inexperienced team in a comparable way that Thornton and Marleau have done for SJ.

Basically, that the oilers youth was not the main factor for their struggles, but injures to the surrounding cast that was to be leaned on.

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02-21-2007, 10:23 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by D_Oil View Post
Good point, and that is the clear distinction between the oil and sharks, SJ has Thornton and Marleau, EDM counters with Smyth and Horcoff (imo opinion the impact players on defence are almost a wash). This makes SJ the better team with Hemsky, Lupul, Stoll, Torres, Smid and the like having yet to reach their peak for the Oil.

I just question the notion that young must equal struggle. I think that the Oilers younger impact players are at a stage (~3 seasons) together with the overall stronger reliable veterans on this roster (when healthy) than SJ where they can to compensate for an inexperienced team in a comparable way that Thornton and Marleau have done for SJ.

Basically, that the oilers youth was not the main factor for their struggles, but injures to the surrounding cast that was to be leaned on.
You make good points. San Jose is one of those teams I admire - great scouting, long term planning, clear decision making processes.

If Edmonton continues down its current path, and focuses on scouting and drafting - all we will need is to find our version of San Jose's favorite trading partner, Boston.

Joe Thornton and Kyle McLaren for Brad Stuart, Jeff Jillson, Marco Sturm, and Wayne Primeau. Ouch.

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02-21-2007, 11:01 PM
  #40
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The oilers defense was a weak spot, but as SJ has demonstrated that doesn't mean your season is doomed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OntOilFan View Post
• There isn't a puck-mover in the whole lot of them. Did Lowe really think he could ice a d-corps of rookies and old, stay-at-home guys and win, especially in "the new" NHL? This season was doomed to end up the way it has.
While no Pronger; Tjarnqvist and Staios are quite capable puckmovers, while Hejda and Smid have proven decent in that area as well. In fact I think that Bergeron was one of the bottom 3 dmen in this aspect ironically. You lose your 2 best puckmovers for long streches and you are going to look bad in that area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OntOilFan View Post
• No speed. Smid is a decent skater and Bergeron was fast (but his 2-foot legs pretty much erased that skill as being beneficiary), but the rest of our defesneman are big, slow oafs who constantly get beat wide, get beat to pucks and can't get back when caught pinching. Smith, Greene, and Hejda in particular are attrociously slow. The best defenceman in the league (Niedermayer, Pronger, Lidstrom, Bouwmeester, Kaberle, Phaneuf, etc.) aren't just good skaters, they are great skaters.
I'm sorry, but if you are calling Pronger a great skater and Hejda attrociously slow, you are greatly exagerating. Hejda has very respectable speed and I doubt Pronger could beat him in a foot race, Pronger was just so smart positionally and effecient in his movements he didn't need blazing speed.

Greene and Smith are more limbering skaters, but are you saying that no playoff teams have similar types (ie. SJ - McLaren, Hannen). I don't think the oil are out of the ordinary in this department.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OntOilFan View Post
• Absolutely NO offense. With Bergeron gone, our defense-corps has contributed a total of 9 goals all season. Our top-scoring defenseman has 15 points. And he's missed the last two months. No active defenseman is in double-digits. Smith, 9 points in 60 games; Hejda, 8 points in 32 games; Greene, 8 points in 57 games; Smid, 6 points in 56 games (0 goals). I could produce more depressing stats, but I won't. In this league, where so many of your offense comes off of transition, breakouts and special teams, a team with such offensively challenged defenseman will not succeed.
Yes, offense is a clear weakness of this d-corps. But citing any teams defensive defensemen like you have with Smith, Greene, and Hejda, the offense will look anemic. Yes, leading scoring defensemen currently on this team have 15 points, but Tjarqvist has 15 pts in 36 games for .4 PPG, which is pretty respectable and would have added more offense if not for his injury. And Staios also has 15, again suffering throug injures since game 20 and missed 10.

Your defensemen laregly put up points on the powerplay, which has struggled this year and seen 4-5 forwards usually on it (admittedly due to a lack of 'offensive defensemen'). But Bergeron was feed PP time and did supply a respectable 9 goals and 27 points - his being gone now doesn't erase his offensive conrtibutions for much of the year. Smid has been brought along slowly and given very little PP time, contibuting to his lower numbers.Offense from the defense was not strong, but the players Lowe assembled last offseason could supply a respectable enough amount.

Defense was not going to carry this team, but it was comparable to other teams that have had greater success. Substantial injuries to Lowe's defense made it appear worse than it would have been, and those injures among other factors, had a significant say in this seasons direction.


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02-21-2007, 11:56 PM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OntOilFan View Post
• No speed. Smid is a decent skater and Bergeron was fast (but his 2-foot legs pretty much erased that skill as being beneficiary), but the rest of our defesneman are big, slow oafs who constantly get beat wide, get beat to pucks and can't get back when caught pinching.
Could it be this is the result of emulating Philadelphia's style of play for years?

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02-22-2007, 07:45 AM
  #42
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one thing that has become painfully obvious is that the FW have not been putting the puck into the net as much as they were supposed to be and I think that has been a bigger problem then some want to believe

nit just Lupul and Torres not stepping up

but also other players

Like Sykora started off great--but the last two months what has he done??

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02-22-2007, 08:39 AM
  #43
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one thing that has become painfully obvious is that the FW have not been putting the puck into the net as much as they were supposed to be and I think that has been a bigger problem then some want to believe

nit just Lupul and Torres not stepping up

but also other players

Like Sykora started off great--but the last two months what has he done??
Yeah, but a lot of that has to do with how we break out and create off the rush. We haven't done a good job of breaking out, meaning not much for chances off the rush. Or even if we do get out, dump it in, we tend to have to change because it's taken a whole shift's worth of effort to get the puck out of our end!

I think our early season success was partly a result of teams not having fully clued in to how much they should really pressure us in our own end. Once teams figured that out, we started out tailspin. (coincidentally, near the time I suggested our record was a fraud and got flamed badly for it! haha)

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02-22-2007, 03:08 PM
  #44
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Another factor that I see is the fact there was so much change in the Northwest division.

The Vancouver Canucks go out and aquire superstar goalie Roberto Luongo. They replace the free wheeling Ed Jovanovski with the steady stay at home Willie Mitchell. Head coach Mar Crawford is let go and replaced by the tough Alain Vigneault. They go from a run and gun, balls to the wall style of hockey to a conservative, responsible, hard working team.

The Calgary Flames known for their stingy defense and enigmatic offense go out and aquire top forward Alex Tanguay. Sutter steps down as head coach and Jim Playfair takes the helm. Calgary makes a 180 and becomes an offense oriented team which has lead to career years for players like Kristien Huselius, Daymond Langkow and Matthew Lombardi.

The Minnesota Wild open their wallets and add star forward Pavol Demitra to keep Marian Gaborik happy. They sign multiple 20 goal scorer Mark Parrish, defensemen Kim Johnson and Keith Carney. Like Calgary, they changed from a trapping, defense-first team to an offensive fast break team.

Colorado made few changes, but I see them in the same situation as the Oilers. The subtraction of star players (in Colorado's case Tanguay and Blake) and an influx of young talent (Wolski, Stastny). I don't feel either team has improved to the point in which the 3 teams have. Obviously you are not going to find another Chris Pronger, but the 30 minutes of ice team he played has yet to be adequetly replaced.

Everything else you guys have stated, I agree with. But a huge factor for any team is if their closest competion upgrades.

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