Excellent as always, Guy. You're so far ahead of the curve they stopped the race.
Anyway, count me in as one who is crying 'uncle' in regard to Bergeron. I know he'll go through tough times when his confidence level goes down, but this guy is so damn determined to win this job that it shows in every stride he takes. He makes mistakes, but then goes about the business of saving the play. He's done it several times in the first 4 games this season.
Loved the line about rookies being like two side of a coin. MAN that's true.
One slight disagreement: Isbister hasn't scored but imo he's shown enough to justify his ice time. He opens up the ice alot for his linemates and sooner or later the puck will go in. I'd call him a "Flaming soon."
Hrm, I don't know that I'd call Izzy a flaming not, although the lack of pointage is disturbing. He seems to like raising heck on the fourth line, and he didn't look too bad on Smyth's wing either - just Torres has been more effective there. I'm sure if Torres cools down (I hope not, but I'm sure it'll happen) they'll switch back. Izzy's very expensive for an energy player, but if it's something he's good at...
(edit: hah, figures, I take a break to eat some crackers and milk and LT goes and posts what I was about to say . So, while I'm agreeing with him, I must say Bergeron's played better than I expected. I'm still not pleased with how Semi has been handled though.)
Great article as always Guy. Torres has been great, I can't help but get excited everytime I see him step on the ice. My wife calls him a pinball hitting everything in site.
However, I do have to agree with Kraigus I don't think that Izzy has been playing bad. He's been banging and creating havoc. I do admit that at that price we need some production from him but as long as I get an honest effort with strong play on the boards I'm happy with him.
I don't mind the criticism, just back it up with something.
Torres was the first star in game 1. Game 2 and 3 everybody sucked... but Torres sucked the least. Game 4 he got two more points. Game 5, very little ice time... was average.
Name me a player who has been better than that and don't forget I'm not focusing on just the last game (so don't say Smyth or Staios or Reasoner... etc).
Hemsky maybe. Salo maybe. But that's about it in my opinion.
Well I hardly think "everybody sucked" is exactly a detailed assessment, but fair enough.
I'd say that Smyth, Hemsky, Salo, Staios and even Bergeron have played better in the first few than Raffi. Sure he's had 2 very good games, but he hasn't been the game-breaker in either, and I really think people are looking for something good, rather than simply analyzing contributions when it comes to him so far.
Not saying he hasn't been good, but I certainly don't see him as the reason this team has 3 home wins.
Marty Reasoner should be getting alot more attention than he is.
One HUGE problem, Izzy still doesn't finish his rushes or chances. Gotta start going AROUND or THROUGH the guy you're trying to beat Brad, instead of putting that wimpy little outside backhand on net.
He has made several VERY nice plays creating point blank chances - he just hasn't been able to find any holes yet. I think perhaps part of that is injury - and part of it is lack of rythm which is a big part of the game for big guys.
As always, an article worth talking about. Thanks Guy!
The Isbister situation is kinda troubling, here's a guy that looks perfectly suited for a 4th line ground 'n pound role w/ BG, but he gets paid nearly twice as much as the role calls for.
I'm OK with him 4th lining it for a while if it benefits the team, but in the long run he just CAN'T stay there and make any sort of financial sense.
Agree about Torres. He may not end up being a pure skill player for the Oilers, but there's no denying he's been right up there with Smyth and Hemsky at this very early juncture (at least in games where he gets more than 3.5 minutes of ice time). The thing I love about him is how he doesn't need to score points to have a positive impact on a game.
I hope the early chemistry he's shown with Smyth and Hemsky isn't just a mirage, because he could be the perfect bookend on that line.
I don't think there's a problem with saying Torres was our best player over the last 5 games, MacT almost said as much himself.
Some guys contribute over and above what's printed on the stats sheet and that's what Raffi's good for.
Raffi assisted on our first goal of the season, scored our first game winner, assisted on our second game winner, and scored the goal that salted that second win away. Those were all very important and timely goals, and Torres has played very few minutes. That's not to mention how much of a boost it is when our 4th line goes out and gets some big hits and gets some good puck posession going.
By comparison, two of Smyth's goals came after the SJ result was all but in, and another of Smyth's goals was the empty netter when the Col game was done like dinner.
I'm not knocking Smyth but if you just want to compare points, Raffi's were right in the thick of the action when the games were still being hotly contested and Smytty's were just the icing on the cake.
You could make a good case for Staios and a couple other players, but without Raffi's contributions right now we'd be sitting at about 1-4-0-0.