Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

Oilers Game Day





Season Record: 3-0-0 Season Record: 2-1-0

Head-to-Head: 0-0-0 Head-to-Head: 0-0-0

Last Game: 3-2 Win vs AnaheimLast Game: 2-1 Win vs Minnesota



Last year's biggest problem was a pathetic powerplay (29th in the league). So for this season it is clipping along at a beautiful 27.2% (4th). It is still early, but I'm almost to the point where I don't dread them anymore and actually start to get excited when I see the other team penalized.

The Balanced Scoring continues:
Horcoff 3-3-2-5
Smyth 2-1-3-4
Torres 3-4-0-4
Stoll 3-2-2-4
D-Vo 3-1-3-4
Hemsky 3-0-4-4

Some nice coaching by Mac-T last night to get Reasoner plenty of ice despite the fact that the remained of the 4th line was pretty much stapled to the bench for most of the game. Putting Marty out for the third period Powerplay worked out perfectly.

Is there still a role for Laraque? If so, he hasn't found it yet.

This is a big night for Conks. Jussi has demonstrated that he is very up to the job if Conks falters. Ty is 2-0 career vs L.A.

Thoughts?



Comments:

I watched the Oil for the first time last night, on and off, then most of the last 10 minutes or so.

You're right about Pronger; he does seem to be running the show out there.

Had to laugh at Peca, though - early Oiler success appears to be mostly in spite of him. Caught him ending an Oil PP in the 2nd with a ridiculous hook (heart of a lion, my ass).

Best part was late in the 3rd, where he cleared the zone, and the announcer says something like, "Peca chips the puck off the boards! What a play!", in tones usually reserved for a toe save on a 2-on-1.

I'm sure he'll be a fine role player, but whatever - that's what he is. A very, very expensive 3rd line centre.
 


Um, yeah. I'm seeing a lot of sniffy shots at Peca from people who apparently aren't looking at the faceoff numbers. As for Pronger, three of the four goals last night basically came off his stick; if you watch the highlight reel it's almost funny, like a sequence out of a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em tape.

These guys have transformed this team: I find myself constantly amazed that the Islanders and the Blues didn't do better just by virtue of having them. Right now, if I bumped into Kevin Lowe on the street, I'd ask him for stock tips. Or lottery numbers.

And c'mon, should a Calgary fan be laughing at anything that's happening in Edmonton right now? You were saying something a minute ago about this not being the NFL, but when I look at the scores on the ticker it sure seems like people are scoring touchdowns off of Kipper...
 


Gotta agree with Cosh on Peca; he's not showing up on the scoresheet, but he right in the middle of the action every shift. The Oil might have signed him with the expectation that he'll score, but I don't think he's entirely comfortable with that role; seems like he'd much rather win faceoffs, make room for Hemsky and chip in with the odd wild slapshot just to keep the fear of god in the opposing netminder. And I'm okay with that, oddly.

(Watch for that to completely change the second the Oilers lose two games in a row, though; I am, after all, an Edmonton fan at heart.)
 


Peca's play in the face off circle has been nothing short of MacT-ish. In fact, the whole team is dominating in the face offcircle right now. As far as I am concerned, if Peca keeps winning as many draws as he has, he is worth every penny.

What is the deal with Jarret Stoll, Ales Hemsky, Raffi Torres and Shawn Horcoff, though? It was like they drank from some secret confidence elixir for the entire lockout. Stoll in particular looks like a new man out there.

Big Georges better find his sea leagues soon, or he could be out of a job. Did Winchester even play a shift? I saw Rita out there, and he looked fine, but I don't remember seen Winchester at all.
 


I happened to be staring at MNF while listening to the Flames last night, and I actually caught myself thinking, "Down 3-0? Ah, a field goal's not that tough to make up!"

Back to Peca, though, I just checked out the FO stats, and I'm making the "rotary dialing" motion with my index finger. If the Oil was looking to hire a guy in the Top 25 (winning 60%), it appears they could have spent more money, but only by signing Bobby Holik. Who, by the way, is a better offensive player, better defensive player, and has managed to make it onto the "plus" side of the +/- stat.

It's a good thing Peca's got those blessed intangibles...
 


Oiler PP is huge. And in the first period had Bergeron been able to hit the net (he missed one three sweet chances) then the Oilers would have had a few more goals.
Way to early to get concerned with Peca (he's no Hamrlik after all!)
As for the 4th line and Laraque, a definite concern there because he no longer has a role in the new fast-paced NHL. Also a speed concern is Semenov, he was way to slow last night, and when he and Cross got on the ice together at the same time I think i could hear Jussi groan.
 


Peca really hasn't put up any numbers yet, however, he's looked rock solid everytime he's been out there. He's been winning draws, killing penalties and working hard. Given that its a cruel taskmaster who expects someone whose likely a twenty something goal scorer to start producing within 3 games of an 82 game schedual.

Overall I tend to think the Oilers are meeting even the wildest of expectations. Pronger seems to have stepped onto the ice and become defacto field marshal and almost single handedly turned the power play into a well oiled machine. Raffi Torres seems to be keeping pace with Markus Naslund for scoring, Horcoff is making the case that we should have a lock out every other year and send all our prospects to Sweden. While Hemsky hasn't scored yet, but man he looks dangerous.

Big George is looking like he should be sent down to the AHL and someone who can skate called up, but that hasn't developed into a major concern yet.
 


At least Peca played in all three periods.

By the look of it, Iginla wasn't even on the ice in the second & third - at least not when it came to shots on net.

Talk about an expensive checking foward.
 


I think you'd find (if the NHL gave out the friggin' data) that the sample size was much smaller for some of the other players ahead of Peca in FO%; I predict they'll revert to below 60% while his number stays high. He is pulling down some extra half-shifts specifically for the purpose of winning draws, and even when the opposing team "wins" they don't do so cleanly.

And don't be throwing that Bobby Holik shit at us. Holik is the classic Guy American Fans Think Is Great.
 


Good grief, I don't know what setting up a SH goal is worth up there -- I generally consider it commendable. Although he's winning a mere 48% of his faceoffs, so he must be costing the team...
 


No doubt. Holik? Are you serious?

The thing is, I don't think there are too many Oiler fans who are unhappy with Peca's play. He isn't scoring at the moment, but has had got himself into position to get a fair number of quality chances, has been very solid defensively, is dynamite on faceoffs, is skating well, and is centering the line that has most of the Oilers goals.

I can see why the Flames fans don't like him.
 


OK, the only players winning as many faceoffs as Peca who have taken at least half as many as him are:
Yanic Perreault, Jim Dowd, Jarrett Stoll(!), Sami Pahlsson, Stephane Yelle(!!), Jason Arnott, and Greg Johnson. Players who have been as successful (or more) than Peca having taken more faceoffs than him: Joe Nieuwendyk, Chris Drury, Saku Koivu, Bobby Holik, and Mario somebody.

So there's only 10 other teams with a faceoff guy as good as Peca. Although I'm sure that when they lose the draw, they lose it more cleanly. Heart of a lion, intangibles, etc...
 


This might make an interesting side bet on the first tilt on Saturday. It says here that Yelle beats Peca on the draw more often than the other way around. I'll also call Peca at -1 or worse.
 


If the NHL doesn't keep faceoff stats, at least the NHLPA does.

http://www.nhlpa.com/WebStats/LeagueWideRankings.asp

Peca looks to be somewhere around the top 20 right now
 


Matt,

You are talking about intangibles? The same guy who said in a post today, "I'm a believer in the non-statistical wisdom that it's easier to kill a good penalty than a bad one"? It's easier to kill a good penalty than a bad one? Really? Because lactic acid knows the difference?

Here is some science for ya:

Oilers: 3-0
Flames: 1-3
 


To be clear, Andy, I believe in intangibles - I just don't believe in Mike Peca's (and I suppose to be clear, since they keep faceoff stats, that's a tangible).

My first comment in this thread noted (so far unchallenged) that Peca cost the new Oil PP machine a chance for a goal in the 2nd when he hooked down Salei as he was going to his own corner to chase a puck. Peca, if memory serves, was standing still. Now there's something that doesn't truly show up on a scoresheet!

The lactic acid remark would mean more, I think, if PK% were a function of muscle health, and the brain was bypassed entirely.

And speaking of faceoff stats, I see Mike York is at 54.7%.
 


I do not have to defend my lactic acid statement. Rather, it is you have to defend the "good penalty/badpenalty" claim. I am all ears. I am looking forward to seeing your data.
 


I love how blog fights always degenerate into requests for data... can't we all just spew unsubstantiated bullshit at one another like in the old days?
 

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