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Old
12-01-2003, 09:20 AM
  #1
Walsher
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Unbelievable!

Ok, I agree the Oilers are very frustrating in the past 5 games, and I agree some of the games have been totally embarrassing, but what annoys me is people laying blame to Ty Conklin and Craig MacTavish. Conklin has stood on his head in every start since taking over for Tommy Salo with maybe the exception of the Heritage Classic. Even in the 7-1 loss in Detroit he was unbelievable at times allowing only tap in wide open net goals due to defensive lapses or brutal PK efforts. The first goal against San Jose was a little weak but their was a ton of traffic and it was a hard shot. The other goal he mad 3 saves before Marleau knocked it in. What is the goalie supposed to do when he is being left out to dry on almost every offensive ruch for the opposition?

As for MacTavish - he can't score goals for the team. People are up in a fuss because his "system" isn't working. They are getting over 30 shots offensively, it isn't MacT's fault that some of these plugs aren't burrying their chances. In the defensive zone the players are just missing assignments and finding themselves badly out of position - this isn't MacT's fault. If the players would reduce the numbers of turnovers inside their own zone and in the neutral zone they would reduce the number of quality scoring chances against.

Special teams is obviously a disaster right now, but it isn't because the Oilers "system" is out of whack. Do you think Craig Simpson or Craig MacTavish are completely in the dark as to how to operate a PP? They were pieces of the ultimate PP in the 80's of course they know what they are doing. The difference is Edmonton now can't get control of the puck in the offensive zone. You can draw up plays all you want, but if you can't get puck posession it is all for not. On the PK they are losing too many defensive zone faceoffs, and cleanly I might add, leading to easy setup and puck control. When the players have opportunities to clear they are too concerned with getting a shorthanded goal than just clearing the puck. Again it is decision making and execution on behalf of the players not the Coaches or Conklin.

The team is in a drought, and I too am very frustrated. When the players don't perform the coaches and goalies can look very bad. That is the case now. Even though Conklin has played solid, even during this slump, people are still criticizing him. he can't stop 5 shots in a row with the 5th shot an empty net for guys like Sakic, Yzerman, Hull, Marleau, Thomas, Nash. These are the guys that have burnt them in this slump - and what do you know they are elite players in the league. If you screw up in your own zone like the Oilers have with these guys on the ice it will end up in your net. That is a fact, no matter who is behind the Oilers bench or in the Oilers net.

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12-01-2003, 10:15 AM
  #2
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I don't understand any Conklin bashing, he's been a Godsend.

With MacT, imo it's fair to say that while he does some things that have all of us scratching our heads, it's not completely obvious he has the horses either. I mean, we can all see that no one could win a faceoff in Detroit, but what does the coach do when he looks down the bench and doesn't have anyone capable of doing that job?

Ive said this before, and I'll say it again: MacTavish would probably be better suited to a more veteran team. It's probably why he thought long and hard about coming back, and why he looks like he hasn't slept in a month.

One thing I'll give hinm credit for though, is he's had to juggle alot of talented young players in and out of the lineup, and so far hasn't had a Ron low/Miro Satan situation emerge.

That kind of thing can harm a team like the Oilers for a long time.

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12-01-2003, 01:57 PM
  #3
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Well said Walsher. I never like blaming a goalie for losing games and certainly Conklin has played extremely well, even in the 7-1 Detroit Debacle. As for MacT, he looks down his bench for a faceoff man and he sees Horcoff, Smyth, and York. (notgood!) Thank god Stoll and Oates are here and hopefully Reasoner not far behind.

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Old
12-01-2003, 02:06 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
Special teams is obviously a disaster right now, but it isn't because the Oilers "system" is out of whack. Do you think Craig Simpson or Craig MacTavish are completely in the dark as to how to operate a PP? They were pieces of the ultimate PP in the 80's of course they know what they are doing. The difference is Edmonton now can't get control of the puck in the offensive zone. You can draw up plays all you want, but if you can't get puck posession it is all for not. On the PK they are losing too many defensive zone faceoffs, and cleanly I might add, leading to easy setup and puck control. When the players have opportunities to clear they are too concerned with getting a shorthanded goal than just clearing the puck. Again it is decision making and execution on behalf of the players not the Coaches or Conklin.

Just a quick note. It is one thing to know and be a part of a great powerplay. It is quite another to teach it to someone else. Being a great player does not equal a great teacher no matter how logical it may seem.

As for the pk, I disagree wholeheartedly. The majority of the goals we give up on the pk is a direct result of the lack of pressure within the defensive zone. The Oilers are only effective when they can pressure the play outside their own blue line.

When the other team sets up, they are conditioned to back off the pointmen and the player on the halfboards. Either they commit too late in pressuring the puck carrier or they give up too much room and stay back. This is definitely coaching because I see no other way to rationalize it.

This has been a mainstay for the majority of the season... ie/ the passive box. It's not a surprise to me that the Oilers have let in so many goals on the pk. When you let the opposition have enough room to pick apart the box... they will certainly take advantage of that and judging by the stats... they have.

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Old
12-01-2003, 03:46 PM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momentai
Just a quick note. It is one thing to know and be a part of a great powerplay. It is quite another to teach it to someone else. Being a great player does not equal a great teacher no matter how logical it may seem.

As for the pk, I disagree wholeheartedly. The majority of the goals we give up on the pk is a direct result of the lack of pressure within the defensive zone. The Oilers are only effective when they can pressure the play outside their own blue line.

When the other team sets up, they are conditioned to back off the pointmen and the player on the halfboards. Either they commit too late in pressuring the puck carrier or they give up too much room and stay back. This is definitely coaching because I see no other way to rationalize it.

This has been a mainstay for the majority of the season... ie/ the passive box. It's not a surprise to me that the Oilers have let in so many goals on the pk. When you let the opposition have enough room to pick apart the box... they will certainly take advantage of that and judging by the stats... they have.
And you don't think that a coaching staff with a ton of knowledge and experience would chose not to make a change for the better if this was indeed the case? Frankly at times I feel the forwards have been to aggressive - especially trying to take the play back the other way. The problem extends past any passive box. Both the forwards and the defenseman are weak on clearing attempts causing costly turnovers that end up on their net. I haven't seen the box being picked apart - I have seen tap in goal after tap in goal due to missed assignments in front of the net and plays resulting in poor clearing attempts. Look at every PP goal in the past month. The forwards are overpersuing leaving huge gaps in the box. They are not being overly passive, they are making poor decisions leading open players. When you make mistakes as glaring as the Oilers have made the puck ends up in your net.

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12-01-2003, 03:53 PM
  #6
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For over a month now when an opponent gets control of the puck in the Oilers zone, and has time to set up, it's in the net. I now time my beer fridge trips to it, and am rarely disappointed.

Oilers collapsing box and inertia are to blame. They do lip service to forcing the play, but never actually force the opponent into making a play before they want to.

It's like watching slow motion replay.

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Old
12-01-2003, 04:21 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
And you don't think that a coaching staff with a ton of knowledge and experience would chose not to make a change for the better if this was indeed the case? Frankly at times I feel the forwards have been to aggressive - especially trying to take the play back the other way. The problem extends past any passive box. Both the forwards and the defenseman are weak on clearing attempts causing costly turnovers that end up on their net. I haven't seen the box being picked apart - I have seen tap in goal after tap in goal due to missed assignments in front of the net and plays resulting in poor clearing attempts. Look at every PP goal in the past month. The forwards are overpersuing leaving huge gaps in the box. They are not being overly passive, they are making poor decisions leading open players. When you make mistakes as glaring as the Oilers have made the puck ends up in your net.
Who knows what the Oiler coaching staff is thinking. But this is something I have seen CONSISTENTLY GAME IN AND GAME OUT ALL SEASON LONG. When it becomes as expected as it is... one can only surmise that this is the coaching strategy placed upon them whereby the pkers "wait" for the opposing team to make a mistake and NOT force the issue themselves.

Honestly, why do you think those missed assignments happen? Why do the tap ins happen? I'll tell you why. The more time the opponents have in the offensive zone, the more open point shots they can get, the more traffic and havoc they can cause around the net as a result of those shots are EXACTLY what causes those tap-in goals. Brian freaking Rolston had 4 consecutive one-timers on us against Boston for pete's sakes within 30 seconds.

Are you sure you're seeing what I am seeing? The Oilers are not playing enough of a box? Seriously..? I bet you can ask every Oiler fan on this board and they'll tell you how ineffective their pressure is in their own zone on the pk.

Prime example is last night against San Jose. San Jose's pk was all over the Oiler puck carriers and the Oil had a tough time gaining the puck in the offensive zone as a result. Little time to move around = greater chance of making a bad pass or a giveaway. It's a pretty simple idea.

There's a much more inherently glaring problem with the pk than you make it seem.

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Old
12-01-2003, 04:30 PM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momentai
Who knows what the Oiler coaching staff is thinking. But this is something I have seen CONSISTENTLY GAME IN AND GAME OUT ALL SEASON LONG. When it becomes as expected as it is... one can only surmise that this is the coaching strategy placed upon them whereby the pkers "wait" for the opposing team to make a mistake and NOT force the issue themselves.

Honestly, why do you think those missed assignments happen? Why do the tap ins happen? I'll tell you why. The more time the opponents have in the offensive zone, the more open point shots they can get, the more traffic and havoc they can cause around the net as a result are EXACTLY what causes those tap-in goals.

Are you sure you're seeing what I am seeing? The Oilers are not playing enough of a box? Seriously..? I bet you can ask every Oiler fan on this board and they'll tell you how ineffective their pressure is in their own zone on the pk.

Prime example is last night against San Jose. San Jose's pk was all over the Oiler puck carriers and the Oil had a tough time gaining the puck in the offensive zone as a result. Little time to move around = greater chance of making a bad pass or a giveaway. It's a pretty simple idea.

There's a much more inherently glaring problem with the pk than you make it seem.
The Oilers can't even gainb control of the puck on a dump in or carry in on a PP to even let the defensive zone pressure their passers. They have no determination to get the puck. They have a better forecheck 5on5 than they do on the PP. Other teams don't need to force the play - the play doesn't make it in the zone.

As for PK impitency - key turnovers account for almost all of the goals. They have more opportunities to make plays on the puck and get it out but they take those opportunities for granted and it ends up in their net. They are not tenacious when they have those opportunities. They are passive in the sense that they look laxidasical when they have the opportunity to clear the zone.

Above all - the confidence is missing from this team at both ends of the specialty teams. Maybe this is where my point is coming from - there isn't any system that can account for a team without confidence. To me they let this problem fester due to aggressiveness. Remember early in the season fans were all over the team because they tried to score a short handed goal every PK. They found out the hard way that the puck ussually ends up in their net. Now that the shadow of doubt has crept into their heads the most simple of clearing plays is made a difficult play. The players need to work through this one. It is in their head that they are struggling and it can only be accomplished themselves. NHL players know how to play. If they get beat everytime they would make an adjustment themselves - all the blame isn't to go on the shoulders of the coaches like people are suggesting. To me that is only using the coaches as scapegoats.

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12-01-2003, 04:48 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
The Oilers can't even gainb control of the puck on a dump in or carry in on a PP to even let the defensive zone pressure their passers. They have no determination to get the puck. They have a better forecheck 5on5 than they do on the PP. Other teams don't need to force the play - the play doesn't make it in the zone.
I don't see what this has to do with our current discussion. I wasn't discussing the powerplay at all whatsoever. It's a matter of personnel and of coaching that comes hand in hand to make a successful powerplay. It amazes me that Cassels is proficient at that as he is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
As for PK impitency - key turnovers account for almost all of the goals. They have more opportunities to make plays on the puck and get it out but they take those opportunities for granted and it ends up in their net. They are not tenacious when they have those opportunities. They are passive in the sense that they look laxidasical when they have the opportunity to clear the zone.
I disagree again. It is their passiveness in the box that causes a lot of those opportunities. Stuart's goal.. point shot no pressure on Brad at all. Against Colorado: They let Joe Sakic dangle the puck along the halfboards and come into the slot and shoot the puck. Teemu Selanne tips the puck into the net. Against Detroit: After a rebound Steve Yzerman pots the rebound into the net.

3 examples. Not one came as the direct result of a turnover in their own zone. What is most alarming is that all of those shots came with little pressure on the shooters.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
Above all - the confidence is missing from this team at both ends of the specialty teams. Maybe this is where my point is coming from - there isn't any system that can account for a team without confidence. To me they let this problem fester due to aggressiveness. Remember early in the season fans were all over the team because they tried to score a short handed goal every PK. They found out the hard way that the puck ussually ends up in their net. Now that the shadow of doubt has crept into their heads the most simple of clearing plays is made a difficult play. The players need to work through this one. It is in their head that they are struggling and it can only be accomplished themselves. NHL players know how to play. If they get beat everytime they would make an adjustment themselves - all the blame isn't to go on the shoulders of the coaches like people are suggesting. To me that is only using the coaches as scapegoats.
Confidence is certainly lacking for this team. It's really no surprise. They haven't been scoring as of late and I'm sure every forward is squeezing their sticks. Even the dmen are on their toes at the moment.

But I don't see the connection between being aggressive and trying to score on the pk and their inability to clear the zone. They STILL try to score. They once attacked with all 4 forwards while on the pk leaving Conklin back there alone.

I'm not placing all the blame on the coaching. Certainly the players are contributing to this as well. But this pk situation is definitely NOT a concern that has just been brought up of late. When the Oilers were scoring in bunches and winning games earlier this season, their pk was still too passive. And I know for a fact that a couple of other posters mentioned that as well.

No one's heaping the blame solely on the coaching staff for the Oiler's bad play. But the pk system is definitely flawed and it quite evident to say the least.

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12-01-2003, 04:54 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momentai
No one's heaping the blame solely on the coaching staff for the Oiler's bad play. But the pk system is definitely flawed and it quite evident to say the least.
Read the other posts - that is exactly what the other posters are doing. I agree the PK system is flawed but it extends far past coaches. The players have all been on successful PK's at one time or another - for them to be this pathetic they have to share the responsibility. Evrybody knows what works - just watch video of a team that executes properly. The know what they need to do - and I guarantee the coaches have been showing them what they need to do. The players haven't been executing. No system change would change any of that. Execution by the players is what makes for successul results - they haven't been executing thus they are not succeeding.

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12-01-2003, 04:58 PM
  #11
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[QUOTE=momentaii
But I don't see the connection between being aggressive and trying to score on the pk and their inability to clear the zone. They STILL try to score. They once attacked with all 4 forwards while on the pk leaving Conklin back there alone.
[/QUOTE]

The connection is that rather than dumping the puck out of the zone when they gain control they try to skate it past the defenders or make cute cross ice passes leading to turnovers at the blueline. The forwards are getting too greedy when what they need to do is ice the puck and change. Same with the defensemen. They get puck control and look for a pass within their zone rather than clearing the puck off the glass or boards. This is what is leading to goals. Maybe not instantly but the result of these plays ends up in their net.

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12-01-2003, 05:29 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
The connection is that rather than dumping the puck out of the zone when they gain control they try to skate it past the defenders or make cute cross ice passes leading to turnovers at the blueline. The forwards are getting too greedy when what they need to do is ice the puck and change. Same with the defensemen. They get puck control and look for a pass within their zone rather than clearing the puck off the glass or boards. This is what is leading to goals. Maybe not instantly but the result of these plays ends up in their net.
I haven't seen many mistakes of that nature.. instead, I see a lot of botched attempted clearings. A lot of players (Cross, Horcoff, Ferguson) seem to "duff" on a lot of pucks and it ends up on the stick of the other team's d-men rather than down the ice. I agree with a previous poster, they need to get back to their aggressive play within their own zone! The Oilers should use their speedy PK'ers like Dvorak and York more effectively rather than having them stand in one place swinging their sticks..

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12-01-2003, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerebral
I haven't seen many mistakes of that nature.. instead, I see a lot of botched attempted clearings. A lot of players (Cross, Horcoff, Ferguson) seem to "duff" on a lot of pucks and it ends up on the stick of the other team's d-men rather than down the ice. I agree with a previous poster, they need to get back to their aggressive play within their own zone! The Oilers should use their speedy PK'ers like Dvorak and York more effectively rather than having them stand in one place swinging their sticks..
Yes that is exactly what I am talking about. They don't bare down and rifle the puck out. They try and flip it out fanning every time. Those are the plays that have killed momentum and created havoc in the defensive zone. Horcoff especially. He gets the puck and winds it up at his own blueline - turning back in the zone to try and create space then he tries to skate it out leading to mistakes. They all fan on the clearing attempts. Good teams dont do that - when the Oilers play well they don't do that.

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12-01-2003, 07:15 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
Read the other posts - that is exactly what the other posters are doing. I agree the PK system is flawed but it extends far past coaches. The players have all been on successful PK's at one time or another - for them to be this pathetic they have to share the responsibility. Evrybody knows what works - just watch video of a team that executes properly. The know what they need to do - and I guarantee the coaches have been showing them what they need to do. The players haven't been executing. No system change would change any of that. Execution by the players is what makes for successul results - they haven't been executing thus they are not succeeding.
Not really. Ask any of them. Even G2K. I'm sure he would say that our defense in our own zone is a major concern as well. Even he wouldn't lay the blame solely on MacT and he is far from the most vocal MacT supporter here on the boards.

Just because other players have seen a good player or been part of it... DOES NOT mean they will execute the same system. A coach does not just tell his players to go out and play the systems that they once played that were successful. A coach sets out his OWN gameplan and OWN defensive strategies.

Actually, I'd say the players are executing exactly what the coaching staff is preaching. Don't make mistakes. Let the opposition make them and capitalize. This is completely in contrast to the style the Oilers usually play whether on the forecheck or in past years on the pk. The Oilers players could play this system perfectly and it would STILL NOT WORK for the reasons outlined above. The system is flawed and I don't believe we'll see much improvement in regards to the pk until it is changed.

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12-01-2003, 07:19 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
The connection is that rather than dumping the puck out of the zone when they gain control they try to skate it past the defenders or make cute cross ice passes leading to turnovers at the blueline.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walsher
They don't bare down and rifle the puck out. They try and flip it out fanning every time.
Ok. This is getting mighty confusing here. So they try to skate it past the defenders instead of dumping the puck out. But they also try to dump the puck out and fan on the clearing attempts? It can't be both that is usually the norm here.

And how the heck is it Horcoff "especially"? If anyone needs to be singled out for this offence, it is most definitely Cory Cross.

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12-01-2003, 08:14 PM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momentai
Ok. This is getting mighty confusing here. So they try to skate it past the defenders instead of dumping the puck out. But they also try to dump the puck out and fan on the clearing attempts? It can't be both that is usually the norm here.

And how the heck is it Horcoff "especially"? If anyone needs to be singled out for this offence, it is most definitely Cory Cross.
Yes they do both and screw up both. Horcoff is equally bad at this - look at +/- and watch him play.

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