Thursday, September 21, 2006
I had never heard of Patrick Thoresen really until LT did a piece on him back at the end of May which includes a picture of him apparently skating out of the maw of Hell.
Such an unknown that even Mathieu Roy beat him out for a spot in The Hot-Off.
And now he has propelled himself into the mix in the early going.
In the Edmonton Sun today Tychkowski makes the point I did yesterday and which we all know - this early stuff is nice and it sure is better to be good early then not - but the fact is Pouliot has not lost a position to Schremp based on his slow start and Captain America's decent showing in the offensive end of the rink in the last couple of games.
Tonight an Oilers' team short on experience up front at least will take on a Calgary Flames' squad including Kiprusoff, four of the Flames' top five defencemen, Iginla, Tanguay, Amonte, Friesen, Kobasew, Lundmark and Nilson.
Might be a rude awakening for some of the kids.
Hejda and Roy draw in on D. Smid and Gilbert, who have each played two games so far, do not. Neither do Bryan Young or Danny Syvret who have only played one game each.
Reminds me of Jim Bouton's classic Ball Four and when he talks about training camp and trying to make the major league roster of the Seattle Pilots. If you're not playing much is that a good thing? Does it mean that the team has decided you are in? Or does it mean they have decided that you are out? If you are playing a lot what does that mean? It must mean you are in the mix, right? Or are they waiting for you to fail so they can point out to the media/organization/you that this is why you were cut?
I think I'd rather play then not and if I were Young and Syvret I'd be worried if my name were not on that lineup card next game.
I think Hejda sees a lot of ice tonight.
Up front Horcoff, Pisani and Stoll get to babysit the bubble boys.
Peterson, who has shown well in two games and I think is in anyhow, sits. So does Mikhnov who, if he could read English, probably wouldn't be too happy about MacT's comments on his skating today.
Winchester, Pouliot, Jacques, Almtorp, Thoresen and Schremp all draw in as well as Reddox, Trukhno and former Sudbury Wolves captain Zach Stortini.
Brodziak, who has played but once, does not. I wonder what he's thinking.
MacT comes right out and says that this is an opportunity for the guys on the cusp to prove themselves in a tough environment.
Watch for Winchester, Jacques and Stortini to drop the gloves to prove their worthiness. Watch for Thoresen to try and make a statement as well.
If he can then he will have taken a big next step.
At 22 he is man while some of his competition are still boys.
He's played in the Swedish Elite League and that pro experience under his belt will make a difference.
He apparently has a nice skill set, can take care of his own end and doesn't back down from the heavy going. So far all of this has proven to be true. He can also play centre and the wing. If he can keep it up as the competition gets tougher then he has a leg up on Schremp (defensively deficient and younger), Pouliot (younger, only plays centre), Winchester (brings more to the table) and Mikhnov (ditto).
Now, those four I just mentioned likely all have a bigger upside then Thoresen (except Winchester) but he is a nice fit for what they are looking to fill:
-fourth line spot
-can play multiple positions
-has skill set to play in "new" NHL (he can skate)
-can take care of his end of the rink
-likely can kill penalties
-probably can chip in some offence
-knows what it takes to be a professional hockey player
Lowetide said a while back that there is always a surprise in camp. Tonight Patrick Thoresen can begin to prove that he might be a serious contender to make this team.
Posted by Black Dog at 12:58 PM