Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Trade that piece of shit Jason Smith right now! Release him!
I'll tell you right now that if the Oilers put their captain on the block you'd have over twenty teams lined up looking to pick up a warrior who played in the top pair of a team that came a bounce or break away from winning a Cup last season. Helped along by playing with CFP - you betcha. But I guarantee the Ducks, the Sharks, the Canes - you name a team except maybe the Sabres - would snap this guy up in a second.
Has he played well lately? Nope. But check out this and this from Vic Ferrari. I may be losing it but I also seem to remember a third post that also showed how Smith and Shaggy had a ten or more game stretch or so where their numbers were terrific, out of this world. This guy is a minus 4, people. And he's playing the toughest minutes possible, quite often with whatever stiff they can get out there with him. And as we all know he's no Bobby Orr - its not like he's generating a ton of offence out there.
You'd think the guy was making 7M a year and had spat on a bunch of handicapped kids for how people have turned on him.
Now, the guy is a 3/4 guy likely. Just like Staios. Put him with a guy like Pronger or Lidstrom and he can carry the load in the top pair.
And he has been lousy lately.
Just like every other guy on the team pretty well. Its called a slump. Teams have them and this squad's holes on the back end just makes everything look a lot worse.
What do they have to do?
Play like they did those couple of weeks after Hemsky and Smyth went down - remember? Simple. Trap. Or whatever you want to call it.
But we knew this was coming. Lowe wanted to be in the mix come now, I think. And a couple of weeks ago this team was in first. They could be back there next week, things are so close. But facts are facts:
Last season this team had 89 games played by rookies. 45 of those were played by defencemen, 27 by Matt Greene.
This season, so far. 184 man games played by rookies. 85 by the D.
Its a rebuild. Getting on Smith and Staios? These guys have been put into a position to fail.
They're pros. They're paid a lot of money.
But they have a goalie whose best year in Minnesota had him playing @ 50 games behind a team that made the Germans look like the Flying Frenchmen (or Oilers) of old. He's on pace for @ 70 now and he's facing more rubber then Denis Lemieux.
Out of all of the vaunt they have three guys who are either putting up similar numbers or better then last year - Pisani, Stoll and Smyth.
Horcoff was 22-51 last year. This year, halfway there, 5-15.
Hemsky was 19-58 last year. This year, 5-19 in 30 games.
Torres was 27-14 last year. This year he's 7-14 so he's matched assists already and playing a better all round game but goals are way down.
Bergeron was 15-20 last year. This year he's at 5-10.
Add to that Lupul's indifference, Moreau's injury and just plain inconsistency and you have a mess.
I have no answers. Lowe's in a position of weakness right now. Dennis has made the point that the deals should have been made when this team was hot earlier this season but the problem was that the guys carrying the team - Roli, Sykora, Hemsky and Smyth - they weren't guys you wanted to trade. The guys you might want to move had no value because they were doing nothing. Now teams will be calling looking for the guys who this team needs going forward - Stoll, Torres, the kids.
And the guy playing at the deepest position, who has value and who may not be able to take playing for the Oil Drop - he may not be going anywhere because of politics (Grandpa's an owner) and optics (CFP trade).
This could still turn uglier. As if it weren't ugly enough already. All Ryan Smyth does is score goals. 19 in 28 games now. And Sykora has 15.
And we all know who the unsigned UFAs are, right?
Posted by Black Dog at 7:44 PM