Allright, I'm back! Well ok, I was never really gone... but it sure felt like it. Too busy at work and home to post, and that is just inexcusable. Time must be made! This is important stuff!
Well here are my recent thoughts on the Oil...
Back to Basics:
The game Monday night against the Bruins was certainly an improvement over the previous... oh say 4-5 games, as the Oilers didn't tank the first 30mins (only the first 8 or so), played decent defensively (Souray, Grebs, and Smid in particular), and had a stellar game from Roly. The negatives were that they were much too "cute" with the puck, caused more turnovers than created, and frequently seemed out of synch with each other in transition. All cause for concern.
MacT spared no one Tuesday, by casting out a blanket "Get your shit together" to the entire team, stressing that hard-nosed play and simplification is the answer. I certainly hope that he lit a fire under these guys. They need something to get them going.
The Enforcer Experiment:
I personally am fed up with the two-headed, pine-riding/PB-watching Stortini-MacIntyre trial. This, in my opinion, is killing the 4th line option for MacT - as he can't "roll four" and gain some momentum to the game. Brodziak looks lost out there with a different guy beside him on almost every shift. I for one would love to see a solid winger night-in and night-out playing with Brodziak and Pouliot. A speedy crash-bang line to compliment the Moreau-Pisani-Cole line is just what the doctor ordered. IF that is Stortini, then so be it. I think Brule or Potulny could also fill this roll, GlenX style. Why not try it?
SMac is a great guy and a good story. I just don't see a need for him. He had one good game against Calgary (sorry, one good SHIFT) where he crunched a Flame and beat down another. But any Oiler could have thrown a big hit that night to get the team going. It doesn't have to be a 2min/game monster who does it! Where is Ethan, the CAPITAN for Christ sake, for this stuff? Last year it was our crash-bang 4th line that got the team going most nights. IMHO, this is what is missing up front. Oh yeah, and a little something called SCORING.
What the hell happened to Tom Gilbert? His play has been mediocre to downright awful this year. Hell, he's making the Jeff Finger signing look good! Did he play too much Guitar Hero over the summer and forget how to play hockey? And settle down and make a pass? Or how about just "boards-and-out" Tom? Friggen hell.
Making the Grade:
David Staples has come up with an excellent idea to track and rate the team (each individual) per game. It is a basic system of grading each player on a scale of 1 to 10 based on their performance. See the grading system here. Oilers fans, along with David, are grading each game this season, with the results posted on his blog, "Cult of Hockey".
I am helping out Mr. Staples a bit on this, and have already graded Game 4 (vs Flames). Tonight I will also grade the Nashville game. I'll post my grades/thoughts here as well from now on. GOILERS!