HOME ICE (DIS)ADVANTAGE?
The Oilers are mediocre at home, and were pretty decent on their recent long road trip, leading one to wonder... what the hell is wrong with playing at home? I've seen this type of play before from Oiler teams in the past: trying to be too cute, make the pretty play, one-man deke-fests with the end result being a lack of goals. This is what we saw last night. They are averaging nearly a goal-a-game less this season at home (2.0 GPG) vs. on the road (2.8 GPG). Troubling to say the least. It would be nice to see some crisp passing, simple dump-and-chase and puck support a bit more often. There is something to be said for the simple play. If the effort is there, and the simple play keeps the puck in the o-zone, then I guarantee we will start seeing more red lights. Doesn't hurt to try, does it?
Still on the same topic, if Gagner makes one more cute, soft drop pass on the rush I will revoke my fanboy membership.
MACTAVISH THE MAD SCIENTIST
Does anyone else get the feeling that Craig MacTavish has method to some of the recent madness we've been seeing in him? Pisani at center, Smid on the wing, Cole on the left side, Gagner on the PK, calling out Penner, constant line shuffling, etc... at a cursory glance it's a bloody madhouse he's running! Some bloggers are calling this the end-of-days for MacT, and that might be the case. Another scenario might be that he is on a very long leash this year, with the focus on developing, training and feeling out his players.
That is the only logical solution that I can see here, as this coach isn't stupid. Playing guys in odd situations may have an end design to it, as he might be trying to develop these guys into the well-rounded players that he covets. Take Smid on the wing as an example. One could argue that playing Smid here gives him some more range to skate freely and hit, and develop some offensive awareness. To be honest, Smid has looked very solid of late on the back end, and maybe it's his offense that the coach wants to develop quicker. Maybe the coach sees promise in him. Maybe he's not in the doghouse at all. Just maybe.
TOMMY BOY'S BLOG
Has anyone else been reading Tom Gilbert's blog at all? If you haven't, it's worth it for a chuckle or two. Essentially he writes like his audience is 12 year old girls, discussing most recently about going to see High School Musical 3 (apparently not as good as the first two)! Didn't this guy go to college?