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Keys to playoffs next year

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Old
05-03-2004, 10:57 AM
  #1
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Keys to playoffs next year

....assuming next season happens, and I am, what do you think are the biggest keys to success? Here's mine, listed least-to-most important, please add yours. I was thinking about this now that I have finally got over the absence of our usual playoff berth, and was pondering what it would take to clinch next year. What it would take to clinch without having to make a late-season charge trying to scramble into one of the last three spots.

#3: Superstar/Number 1 centre: Having a superstar on your team shouldn't define your team, but we need a player who can push us over the top. Unfortunately these players are rare and unattainable unless you want to give up way too much. Is there any reason for optimism for Nedved staying? He would still be treated like a King and would be our go-to guy. Now he's a big fish in a small pond and he said he loves it. Can he push us over the top into being at least respectable? Would appreciate your opinion.

#2: Special teams: Remember when the Oilers let in a PP goal in 16 straight games? Glad it picked up, but I think it still needs some tweaking, alot of times the guys are too tentative, like instead of simply shooting the puck down hard like they should they try to carry it around for some reason, and it backfires often by the opposition regaining control and its so painful to watch. Remember the last time the Oilers scored a powerplay goal? The biggest problem seems to be that alot of Oilers fans think MacT's defenceman-on-the-point approach is beyond primeval - although the growth of defenceman MAB are turning those opinions around. what do you think?

#1: WIN MORE GAMES VS. RIVALS! A measly 3 of 12 points from the Flamers just ain't gonna cut it and it's downright embarrassing. Winning only two of six games vs. Colorado is understandable, but unacceptable. Losing twice to Minnesota? This year was the first year Minnesota beat Edmonton on home-ice, a convincing 3-0 win. Meanwhile the Oilers looked really bad against Vancouver, a team on the decline. The Oilers should have won at least half of those 24 games and the BOA should have been closer, because the Flamers are essentially the biggest reason why Edmonton is missing the party.

I know some people are expecting me to list goaltending, but I honestly feel it's somewhat a non-issue as I feel comfortable starting the season with Conkkanen, and if it doesn't pan out Lowe should take action sooner rather than later or it will cost him like it cost him last season. Obviously people who repeatedly bleat that we need better goaltending to make the playoffs have either never seen our tandem play or are simply really ignorant because their last names are not Broduer or Theodore. I maintain that huge GO CRAZY banner would be hanging on Rexall right now if we had seen average goaltending, let alone being completely dependant on goaltending.


Last edited by Oilers Hockey: 05-03-2004 at 11:00 AM.
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Old
05-03-2004, 11:01 AM
  #2
Burke's Evil Spirit
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Goaltending. GOALTENDING. GOALTENDING!

ps Special Teams

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Old
05-03-2004, 11:29 AM
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burke's Evil Spirit
Goaltending. GOALTENDING. GOALTENDING!

ps Special Teams

Yeah agreed. If Jussi and Conks do well than that's great but I still feel a lot more comfortable with a 1 instead of 1a and 1b. Who and How they go about that I don't know.

Oilers have always had trouble on special teams and I don't expect them to be top 5 next year but they need to at least make it to the middle of the pack. If pk + pp = 100 then I say we clinch by mid march because we all know they can excel at even strength but special teams killed us time and again this year.

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05-03-2004, 12:08 PM
  #4
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Well, our goalies are fine, our defence is fine (though I'd like a change, moving Smith and putting in a more skating and puck-movement oriented guy) the areas that need the improving are special teams, forwards, and coaching.

Our PK will be alright. We have the personnel to have an excellent kill. A full year of Ulanov will help here. As long as the coaching staff commits to using the diamond nearly all the times it is applicable, and stays very aggressive in puck pursuit tactics, things will go well. We're built to play that style of pk, don't shy away.

Players on PK: Smyth, York, Reasoner, Stoll, Moreau, Pisani, (Chimera-train him)

Our PP needs changes. I've outlined many times before what I want to see as a system, so I won't repeat that here, but it's very important that we install a system that uses the WHOLE ice surface in the opposing zone as opposed to half, take advantage of the back-door play, and use a much better break-in scheme, exploiting our speed and creativity, as opposed to the dump and half-chase we do right now.

Players on PP: Nedved, Hemsky, Dvorak, Bergeron, (puck-mover), Smyth, York, (new scorer), Reasoner, Torres, Staios, Ulanov, Semenov, Brewer (but only once his problem of not moving the puck effectively is cured)

Coaching just flat-out needs to be better and more consistent. I'm sure all these gripes have been covered. I think MacTavish learned something at the end of the year when he finally let his players run the show, but he also showed some considerable flaws still.

The forwards may not outwardly seem like a massive problem, and they're not, but they do need adjustment. What killed us during our futility streak was inability to score, nothing more. This team is built to win by scoring, plain and simple. So add to that. If that means we're #1 in the league in scoring, big whoop, what matters isn't how you win, it's that you win. We need to pick up another scorer. A guy who can finish from the 2nd line and put up powerplay goals. Ideally I'd shoot for the moon on this one, but I know that's unlikely, so I'll go for a UFA signing or a smaller deal for a Mark Parrish type (who we could've had, but of course, too late now just like with Kubina).

FWD Lineup:

Hemsky-Nedved-Dvorak
(scorer)-Reasoner-Smyth
York-Stoll-Torres
Moreau*Pisani/Laraque/Chimera/Salmelainen/(acquired depth center, pref. young)

D

Brewer-Semenov
Ulanov-Bergeron
Staios-(#2/3 d-man puck mover)
Cross

G
Conklin
Markkanen

=100+pts

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Old
05-03-2004, 12:42 PM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
FWD Lineup:

Hemsky-Nedved-Dvorak
(scorer)-Reasoner-Smyth
York-Stoll-Torres
Moreau*Pisani/Laraque/Chimera/Salmelainen/(acquired depth center, pref. young)

D

Brewer-Semenov
Ulanov-Bergeron
Staios-(#2/3 d-man puck mover)
Cross

G
Conklin
Markkanen

=100+pts
LMHF, I know you are a Hemsky fan but even you have to admit he didn't look good at the end of the year. I think we should bring him along slowly as Ottawa did with Spezza and Havlat, give him 3rd line time until his confidence is back. No one is debating his talent, just his effectivness right now.

I posted these lines before and still think they are great.

Smyth - Nedved - Dvorak
Torres - Horcoff - York
Isbister - Reasoner - Hemsky
Moreau - Stoll - Laraque/Pisani

Chimera Rita

Brewer Smith
Ulanov Bergeron
Staois Semenov

Cross

Jussi
Conks

I think this would get us to 100 points...

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Old
05-03-2004, 01:00 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
As long as the coaching staff commits to using the diamond nearly all the times it is applicable, and stays very aggressive in puck pursuit tactics, things will go well. We're built to play that style of pk, don't shy away.
So basically, play the diamond whenever the other team employs the umbrella, because that is about the extent the diamond is good for. Any team with a good power forward (so basically every team in the West), will kill the diamond. Any team that can set up low will kill the diamond.

The Oilers got into trouble when they were aggressive in thier puck pursuit. The PK got better as the players stayed more patient and stayed in their lanes, which is what this team needs to do. Jump on the puck when there isn't a clean pass, but don't take chances. The PK went from 70% to 81% when the players settled down and played their lanes instead of chasing the puck around everywhere.

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Old
05-03-2004, 01:29 PM
  #7
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The Oilers biggest worry heading into next season will most likely be goaltending, neither Markanen or Conks are number 1 NHL material...yet.

Unbiased Canadian

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Old
05-03-2004, 01:55 PM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
The Oilers biggest worry heading into next season will most likely be goaltending, neither Markanen or Conks are number 1 NHL material...yet.

Unbiased Canadian
Neither was Kiprusoff or Esche..

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Old
05-03-2004, 01:56 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
The Oilers biggest worry heading into next season will most likely be goaltending, neither Markanen or Conks are number 1 NHL material...yet.

Unbiased Canadian

No but we don't need them to be. All we need out of them is for our D to play like they did last year and the two goalies to have a better then 900 save%. If we have that we make the playoffs.

And most of that has to be on the PK. Even strength we were great last year. We just need to pick up our special team and hold onto Nedved. Then we are a playoff team for sure

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05-03-2004, 04:26 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemskyfan
What it would take to clinch without having to make a late-season charge trying to scramble into one of the last three spots.
  1. Flames charter airplane runs into Avalanche charter airplane at 10km up.
  2. Ottawa/Edmonton blockbuster: all players swapped.

?

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05-03-2004, 04:55 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilswell
  1. Flames charter airplane runs into Avalanche charter airplane at 10km up.
  2. Ottawa/Edmonton blockbuster: all players swapped.

?
3.With their late round selections, the Oilers nab Jesus, Odin, and Vishnu and form the deity line.

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Old
05-03-2004, 06:10 PM
  #12
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I don't know why so many people question Conklin/Markkanen as a tandem. They may be a little older in terms of how long it took for them to arrive, but the results are solid. The Oilers have average NHL goaltending, and it could get better.

Even if it doesn't, the goaltending has already been upgraded.

imo, the areas that need to be addressed are:

1. Big man at center on the 1line.

2. Sniper on the right side.

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Old
05-03-2004, 09:12 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
I don't know why so many people question Conklin/Markkanen as a tandem. They may be a little older in terms of how long it took for them to arrive, but the results are solid. The Oilers have average NHL goaltending, and it could get better.
I think they are questioned because they really don't have much experience playing many games. Even if they split them half and half... that is still more than either really has played consistently.

ie/ 35 starts for Conkin last year. 25 starts for Jussi.

We know that the half/half situation isn't at all too likely... so at least one will go much higher than what they have played previously. IMO, that is a viable cause for concern. We really don't have any idea what the mental/physical fatigue will do for those goaltenders especially at the NHL level.

We can say that the goaltending will be average... but we have a very limited timeframe in which to judge their effectiveness. That will, likely, be decided in the regular season - sort of a trial by fire. Until we see some concrete results... I completely understand the goaltending being a concern.

But.. absolutely. The sniper/goal scoring situation still needs to be addressed as well as a center.

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05-03-2004, 09:41 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momentai
.35 starts for Conkin last year. 25 starts for Jussi.
I dont know. I just have a little bit more faith in Jussi. Ty showed last year when he began to wear down, he was almost spectacularly inconsistent. Jussi seems to keep his A+ game for longer streches.

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Old
05-03-2004, 09:48 PM
  #15
momentai
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Originally Posted by windowlicker
I dont know. I just have a little bit more faith in Jussi. Ty showed last year when he began to wear down, he was almost spectacularly inconsistent. Jussi seems to keep his A+ game for longer streches.
That's fine. But it's interesting to note that Ty had more appearances than Jussi did. I too have more faith in Jussi taking more of the games... but the concern is still there nonetheless because both goaltenders haven't really had a heavy workload... and fatigue is something we can't really predict without going through the motions.

But here's to hoping.

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05-03-2004, 11:56 PM
  #16
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Markkanen played about 50 games in each of his last 5 seasons in Finland, so I'm pretty sure he could handle that load here. Conklin has never played as many as the 39 games he played last year.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...id%5B%5D=46803
It says 0 GP for Markkanen in 2000, but I'm pretty sure it's 54.

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Old
05-04-2004, 02:22 AM
  #17
LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgbone
So basically, play the diamond whenever the other team employs the umbrella, because that is about the extent the diamond is good for. Any team with a good power forward (so basically every team in the West), will kill the diamond. Any team that can set up low will kill the diamond.

The Oilers got into trouble when they were aggressive in thier puck pursuit. The PK got better as the players stayed more patient and stayed in their lanes, which is what this team needs to do. Jump on the puck when there isn't a clean pass, but don't take chances. The PK went from 70% to 81% when the players settled down and played their lanes instead of chasing the puck around everywhere.
They were playing the diamond/Rotating box when they were most effective. You never stick completely in the set diamond formation two wide one low one top, it rotates, everyone knows that. I guess impying things isn't allowed when Dawgbone's on patrol.........

They got into trouble because the drifted into a weak box formation that they allowed other teams to pass through, distort, and collapse, not because they were over-aggressive.

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Old
05-04-2004, 02:31 AM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
LMHF, I know you are a Hemsky fan but even you have to admit he didn't look good at the end of the year. I think we should bring him along slowly as Ottawa did with Spezza and Havlat, give him 3rd line time until his confidence is back. No one is debating his talent, just his effectivness right now.
He'll put up the numbers shark, alot of people forget the PPG pace he was on early, and he'll come out blazing if he gets the opportunity and a solid start straight from training camp learning to play with 2-4 different guys as an offensive unit.

Problem I'd see in that lineup is scoring depth. Those top 3 lines just can't match up in my mind with the teams we need to match up with. Having Smyth on the #1 line removes some of his effectiveness and he's not a finisher. Torres on the 2nd line with Horcoff (who had what will be his career season odds are, Stoll's flat-out better and will get the icetime) and York (who's in the right place but with the wrong guys) doesn't work in my mind anyway. And then there's Isbister, who I just think doesn't have a place here. I don't mind Reasoner with Hemsky at all, the work very well together, but only if there's a bonafide scorer on the other side, maybe something like this:

York-Nedved-Dvorak
(scorer)-Reasoner-Hemsky
Torres-Stoll-Smyth

As the top-3, I just still don't know if that's as strong, I prefer the balance.

My lines I feel could be rolled in waves, with nearly identical ice-time, and knock the opponent into submission. The 4th line is pretty good as well. Obviously I'm ditching Horcoff and Isbister, for reasons previously stated about 8 million times. If I have to keep Isbister, he's on my 4th line probably.

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Old
05-04-2004, 08:48 AM
  #19
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Here's a good question:

How will management respond next year? The Flamers will skate into Rexall next year with all the swagger of a defending Cup Champ. I'm sure Lowe is having a tough time watching the Flamers succeed where the Oilers couldn't since 1992 - I know I sure am. I guess they just have to swallow their pride and put in a hell of a lot more of an effort than they did in Edm/Cgy games this year, hopefully the Oilers will be the biggest part of the Flamers missing the playoffs next year.

How will the players respond? It isn't easy for them either, those who have been here long enough to truly understand the BOA. They better be prepared to deal with this. They also better be reminded before eevry single Edm/Cgy game that the Flamers got away with 10 of 12 points from them last year.

If those fortunes were reversed, it would be Edmonton in 6th place with 96 points, and Calgary in 9th with 87 points. That fact alone speaks VOLUMES people! Think about it!


Last edited by Oilers Hockey: 05-04-2004 at 08:54 AM.
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Old
05-04-2004, 08:57 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
They were playing the diamond/Rotating box when they were most effective. You never stick completely in the set diamond formation two wide one low one top, it rotates, everyone knows that. I guess impying things isn't allowed when Dawgbone's on patrol.........
They got into trouble because the drifted into a weak box formation that they allowed other teams to pass through, distort, and collapse, not because they were over-aggressive.[/QUOTE]

LMHF, they were getting killed on the pk because they were chasing the puck all over the place, most of the time leaving one or two players in front of the net. The last half of they year they showed patience and stayed in their lanes. They box didn't collapse, it got spread out because they had 3 players going after the puck and wouldn't come out with it.

Two forwards skating out of the zone before the puck got there killed them. The two defencemen on the same side of the ice going for the puck killed them. Over-aggressiveness killed them. The Oilers forwards have enough speed that all they need to do is stick to their lanes and then jump on a lose or mishandled puck. That's what they did from December until the end of the season and their pk was in the high 80's.

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05-04-2004, 09:04 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1

York-Nedved-Dvorak
(scorer)-Reasoner-Hemsky
Torres-Stoll-Smyth

As the top-3, I just still don't know if that's as strong, I prefer the balance.

My lines I feel could be rolled in waves, with nearly identical ice-time, and knock the opponent into submission. The 4th line is pretty good as well. Obviously I'm ditching Horcoff and Isbister, for reasons previously stated about 8 million times. If I have to keep Isbister, he's on my 4th line probably.
That 2nd line will get absolutely killed. Unless we're talking about someone who can play at both ends of the ice, I wouldn't put them out there unless it was against the oppositions 2nd line.

Torres-Nedved-Dvorak
Pisani-Horcoff-Smyth
York-Reasoner-Moreau
Chimera-Stoll-Laraque

Why separate Pisani-Horcoff-Smyth? They absolutely dominated against the top lines and badly outscored them. Torres-Nedved-Dvorak showed some good chemistry in a short amount of time, and it gives Dvorak two shooters to pass to. If Moreau has anything like this past season and Reasoner has a season like he was looking like he was going to last year, York will add a huge element to that line and it would be a line you could play against anyone.

I hope Hemsky spends a good chunk of time in Toronto.. he needs it. He's not able to play at the NHL level yet physically, and that caught up to him after the 20 game mark last year. He showed that he couldn't handle it when the defencemen took the body first. He has to get over that, and the best place to do that is Toronto.

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05-04-2004, 10:27 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
He'll put up the numbers shark, alot of people forget the PPG pace he was on early, and he'll come out blazing if he gets the opportunity and a solid start straight from training camp learning to play with 2-4 different guys as an offensive unit.

Problem I'd see in that lineup is scoring depth. Those top 3 lines just can't match up in my mind with the teams we need to match up with. Having Smyth on the #1 line removes some of his effectiveness and he's not a finisher. Torres on the 2nd line with Horcoff (who had what will be his career season odds are, Stoll's flat-out better and will get the icetime) and York (who's in the right place but with the wrong guys) doesn't work in my mind anyway. And then there's Isbister, who I just think doesn't have a place here. I don't mind Reasoner with Hemsky at all, the work very well together, but only if there's a bonafide scorer on the other side, maybe something like this:

York-Nedved-Dvorak
(scorer)-Reasoner-Hemsky
Torres-Stoll-Smyth

As the top-3, I just still don't know if that's as strong, I prefer the balance.

My lines I feel could be rolled in waves, with nearly identical ice-time, and knock the opponent into submission. The 4th line is pretty good as well. Obviously I'm ditching Horcoff and Isbister, for reasons previously stated about 8 million times. If I have to keep Isbister, he's on my 4th line probably.
I didn't forget his PPG game pace at all that is why I still have faith in him. I still disagree with you on a few points though.

Horc has improved every year, no reason to assume he is done now, he is still quite young.
Giving Hemsky Isbister (who can create space and has a good shot) and Reasoner (great all around guy with offense to compliment Hemsky and defense to cover for Hemsky's young mistakes) makes a lot of sense to me. This gives Hemsky time to mature and find his game/confidence again while taking a LOT of the pressure off the 20 year old. Obviously once he gets to top form he is our top line RW but for now he needs time to get his game up to 1st line RW cause it isn't there yet. It will come, and I think that taking that pressure to preform off him for a year or two will make him that much bette down the road.

Smyth goes on the top line because he IS a finisher, he always has over 20 goals and more often then not over 25. And with Nedved and Dvo with him he really could do well. HE is boards and front of the net guy, while Dvo is the open ice skater and passer and Nedved is the big shot. That line looks great to me.

And Isbister deserves another shot. He has great talent and got killed with injuries last year. If he doesn't preform again this year then he is gone. But I am more then willing to give him Reasoner and Hemsky so they can All try to have break out years helping each other. Call it the misfits line

I still like my lines, sorry dude

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05-04-2004, 10:41 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
And Isbister deserves another shot. He has great talent and got killed with injuries last year. If he doesn't preform again this year then he is gone. But I am more then willing to give him Reasoner and Hemsky so they can All try to have break out years helping each other. Call it the misfits line
Agreed that Isbister should get one more shot at redemption, but not at his current salary - no way.

If he won't come back at a bargain price (1.4M tops), then I'm sorry but he can take it elsewhere.

His PPG average since 99/00:

99/00 - 0.656 (64 games)
00/01 - 0.627 (51 games)
01/02 - 0.481 (78 games)
02/03 - 0.424 (66 games)
03/04 - 0.353 (51 games)

I'm not exactly liking the chances of him becoming healthy and productive out of the blue...last year looks more like the status quo than simply an aberration to me.

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05-04-2004, 11:41 AM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgbone

Torres-Nedved-Dvorak
Pisani-Horcoff-Smyth
York-Reasoner-Moreau
Chimera-Stoll-Laraque

Why separate Pisani-Horcoff-Smyth? .
Oilers lose 2-1.........Oilers lose 2-1.......Oilers lose 2-1..........over and over again. There's maybe 1 scoring line there. You really think Fernando Pisani can play on a line like that on a 100 pt team? No way. Why separate them? Because we can do a TON better. Torres isn't the right player for Nedved and Dvorak, you need someone who can match their skill, that's Hemsky, York, or a new guy. If you insist on having a line featuring Smyth to shut down the opposition (a concept I bitterly protest because virutally none of the stronger Eastern teams do it, and they're who we should be emulating line-wise) then go with York-Reasoner-Smyth. Much more scoring, even more defensive ability. If Marty would've had a full season, things would have been alot different for this team. I just hope he's ready to go. That's why I take a floater on Connolly just in case.

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05-04-2004, 11:55 AM
  #25
Walsher
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I don't care how or why it happens, but the Oilers better make the dance and better advance at least a round. All of this Flames success and banter about Oilers fans cheering for them has made me both sick to my stomach and thrown deep into depression. If the Oilers drop the ball again, and finish worse than the Lames, than I may have to consider taking up lawn bowling or croquet and drop hockey. With the Leafs and the Flames still alive, it takes everything in my power to get out of bed everyday. Talk about a brutal spring start!!

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