Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Just as the list of Oilers off to great starts is a short one so too is the list of those players who are playing well, if not great.
Staios has been solid, better then solid actually, all the while taking care of a 20 year old kid. Actually the presence of Smid has made Staios a better player, imo; he's reined in his cowboy instincts to a great degree, knowing if he screws up he's hanging Laddy out to dry. I wouldn't quibble with anyone who wanted to bump him up a category.
Winchester was A1 tradebait after a lousy camp and in the fine Oiler fan tradition, bitching about the team's problems began with a guy who saw LeGG minutes the first few games. Thing is, the kid was below a throwin on the trade value scale. No longer. Here and there he began to get some minutes and not sure if minutes begat confidence or the egg came before the chicken but the kid was one of the best Oilers on the road trip. He fought. He hit. He provided energy. And he has three goals, four assists, is a solid plus six and is second on the team in PIM. In other words he's having an impact. He'd be in the "Very Good" group except his first eight games or so he was nailed to the bench. Next thing to find out - can he continue producing and, if so, can he do it against tougher opposition, say, as part of the third line?
Shaggy was a nobody when Lowe picked him up this summer - at least outside of the Tjarnqvist household. That's a bit of an exaggeration but not much. Anyhow, he has done his part, munching minutes and providing a veteran presence on a blueline in sore need of one, playing with Smith against the opposition's best when MacT can get the matchups.
It was nice to see Marty Reasoner return and he has been Marty Reasoner. Reliable. Does good work on the PK. Playing between a couple of kids on what has been a nice line for the Oilers lately. Six points. Marty is Marty and that's fine.
Toby Peterson would have been a better pick to start the season in Edmonton then JFJ or Mikhnov, I think, but better late then never. Presently getting his shot with the Czechs Peterson also stepped in for Reasoner when he missed the Detroit game and has provided energy. A nice utility guy to have.
The Record - I know, I know - 9 wins, 8 losses and a SOL is exactly mediocre but considering that this team is giving significant icetime to two and, at times, three rookie defencemen, and that their offence has been in a teamwide slump since almost Day One, I will take it. At some point Lowe is going to pick up a veteran Dman or two and sooner, rather then later, someone other then Smyth, Sykora and Winchester will begin to score. Until that point I'll take a playoff spot, thanks very much, which is where they are now, despite their issues.
Next up - the meat of the team - the ok. The mediocre. The alright. The bleah.
Whatever you want to call it.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:12 PM