The Magic Power Play II

Jonathan Willis
April 23 2013 12:32PM

One of the more underreported stories (including by me) related to the Oilers this season has been the steep decline in the power play since a brilliant run to start the year.

The Chart

The chart above shows the Oilers’ cumulative power play efficiency over the course of the season, meaning that the first point is from game one, the second from games one and two, the third from games one to three and so on. At game five, the Oilers reached their season peak; this was followed by a steep decline and then a long, slow drop-off. Currently, they are in their worst run of the season, a 2-for-29 stretch since their 8-2 win over Calgary.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

The question is what it means, since we can present the data in a number of ways. For example:

  • “The Oilers scored 10 power play goals on 28 opportunities in their first five games. They’ve scored 23 in the last 131 opportunities – a 17.6 percent clip and below NHL average. This is a sub-average group that got hot for five games.”
  • “The Oilers have gone 2-for-29 over their last nine games. Prior to that they went 31-for-130 – a 23.8% clip and one that would have led the league last year! This is a great group in a cold stretch.”

This is what Mark Twain meant when he talked about lies, damned lies, and statistics - the data can be interpreted in different ways, and it’s important to express it properly or else one arrives at an erroneous conclusion.

So what is the answer? Based on power play efficiency alone, the safest answer is probably that the Oilers are worth their season number – it’s the largest sample, and doesn’t suffer from any arbitrary cut-off. However, there’s more to the story than just goals per opportunities .

The Magic Power Play

Power play efficiency captures only a small piece of the picture: goals. Nobody would argue that goals are the object of the power play, and thus the most vital piece, but they’re also relatively rare events. The Oilers have 30 goals and 165 shots in the most common power play situation – 5-on-4 play – this year, and over that small of a sample the percentages can mislead. Last season, Jordan Eberle scored 34 goals thanks in no small part to an 18.9 shooting percentage – this year he’s on a 23-goal pace over the same number of games despite a shots increase because his shooting percentage has slipped to 10.4 percent. Whether one is optimistic or pessimistic on Eberle, there’s no arguing that shooting percentage has had a massive influence for good and for bad on his goal-scoring totals.

Last year, the Oilers had a really good shooting percentage number – they were one of two teams in the league with a shooting percentage above 16 percent in 5-on-4 situations. Nashville was the other. Looking at recent years, I found that the trend for high shooting percentage teams was to see a massive drop in shooting percentage the next year:

Team Season Season+1 Difference
2008-09 Philadelphia 18.1 13.4 -25.97%
2010-11 Vancouver 16.6 12.8 -22.89%
2008-09 Washington 16.5 16.2 -1.82%
2010-11 Chicago 16.4 10.7 -34.76%
2009-10 Washington 16.2 9.5 -41.36%
2008-09 San Jose 15 13.1 -12.67%
Average 16.5 12.6 -23.38%

For Nashville, that proved true – they’re down to a 12.6 shooting percentage in 5-on-4 situations this year, and have seen the power play fall to 19th this season after leading the league last year. Edmonton, however, has actually increased their shooting percentage – in 5-on-4 situations, they’re at 18.2 percent this year. In terms of shots/minute, though, they are the second-worst team in the league.

Looking at league-wide trends, that seems unlikely to continue. The 2008-09/2009-10 Washington Capitals were the last team to boast a 15+ 5-on-4 shooting percentage over two consecutive seasons; they fell to the bottom of the league in year three. This is the real concern. Either one believes the Oilers have found a way to sustain a high shooting percentage 5-on-4, based on ~120 games of them doing so, or one believes that they’re riding percentages that can’t be sustained, based on what has happened to other NHL teams. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I lean toward the latter explanation: I can’t help thinking that eventually the Oilers’ inability to generate shots on the power play is going to cost them.

But then I thought that last year, too.

Recently around the Nation Network

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 23 2013, 07:10PM
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clyde wrote:

I was told by a former Oiler coach that Krueger is on borrowed time because Kevin Slowe wants to coach this group.

Are his initials TG?

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#52 clyde
April 23 2013, 07:13PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Are his initials TG?

No.

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#53 Rama Lama
April 23 2013, 07:17PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

Ok fine, I'll change the subject, enough of this bashing stuff...

So I'm a pretty handy guy and I always have at least three projects going on around the house. I always go to Lowe's to get my stuff as I like to support local guys, you know. My buddies always tell me Lowe's sucks and the service is never great. You might say, they like to "castigate" Lowe's. But you know through the years I stood by Lowe's and kept giving them my support even though people around me "bad-mouthed" it all the time.

Recently though, I had one of the worst experience ever at Lowe's. I was in there shopping like I always do and feeling pretty good as I think we have a great relationship since I've been supporting them for a long time. You might say I feel at home there. I was buying some dry wall and was looking for help. I must have asked three people wearing the vest and they all gave me the same answer. "Sir we cannot help you right now as we are all currently assisting someone whose purchase is way bigger than yours"

Well I gotta tell you, that did it for me. My buddies were right. I guess the signs were all there I just chose to ignore it. Now I have beers with my buddies and together we "hurl brickbat" at Lowe's

True story...

Now that was funny...........I too shop at Lowe's but they kept sending me to the bargin area.

I asked why do you keep sending me to the bargin area? I was told that I was not a paying type of customer ( top tier that is) and that all such customers do not have the same value?

What do you think should I switch to Home Depot?

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#54 David S
April 23 2013, 07:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm slowly coming around to the same perspective. In virtually every area, this team is worse than the 2011-12 group under Tom Renney. A lot of that falls on the now-departed Tambellini, who failed miserably to address problems with the team over the summer, but Krueger ought to have been able to maintain status quo. The team's inability to generate shots is damning.

Or it could be that Krueger needs an experienced NHL assistant coach who can focus his efforts on the PP. Right now, we're down a man on the coaching roster and the other two guys Krueger has are ex-players, not actual NHL top-cheddar coaches.

Looks to me like Krueger has been trying to implement a system to alot of young guys that requires a fair amount of practice to become proficient. Since practice time has been almost non-existent and he had no real training camp or pre-season he's probably been focused on teaching his system at the expense of special teams.

That and having half a roster completely incapable of executing a system (probably) designed for young, fast, skilled players and you have the sh!t show we're witnessing.

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#55 David S
April 23 2013, 07:24PM
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Jasmine wrote:

So you want 5 coaches in 7 years. No wonder the rebuild isn't working when team is constantly changing coaches. RNH is the new Poti. Changing coaches is why the rebuild isn't working All coaches have different systems and having to learn so many different systems hurts the rebuild.

YAH! SLATS WOULDN'T HAVE PUT UP WITH THAT CRAP!

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#56 DSF
April 23 2013, 07:24PM
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David S wrote:

Or it could be that Krueger needs an experienced NHL assistant coach who can focus his efforts on the PP. Right now, we're down a man on the coaching roster and the other two guys Krueger has are ex-players, not actual NHL top-cheddar coaches.

Looks to me like Krueger has been trying to implement a system to alot of young guys that requires a fair amount of practice to become proficient. Since practice time has been almost non-existent and he had no real training camp or pre-season he's probably been focused on teaching his system at the expense of special teams.

That and having half a roster completely incapable of executing a system (probably) designed for young, fast, skilled players and you have the sh!t show we're witnessing.

The PP has imploded because it was very easy for opposition coaches to take away the Schultz point shot.

Schultz has TWO goals in his last 25 games.

Nuff said.

That he is an absolute disaster at evens is pretty much all you need to know about this player.

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#57 OilersBrass
April 23 2013, 07:31PM
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David S wrote:

YAH! SLATS WOULDN'T HAVE PUT UP WITH THAT CRAP!

LOL!!

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#58 morgie99
April 23 2013, 07:35PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

This guy's act has gotten very old. Mods, we have an obvious troll here.

Troll to the Extreme! LOL

Same freaking points, so mentally challenged

even discussing her gives her too much credit,

Can't we vote her off the island, pleeeease

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#59 David S
April 23 2013, 07:37PM
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DSF wrote:

The PP has imploded because it was very easy for opposition coaches to take away the Schultz point shot.

Schultz has TWO goals in his last 25 games.

Nuff said.

That he is an absolute disaster at evens is pretty much all you need to know about this player.

What I know about this player is it's completely unreasonable to expect a guy to transition from college hockey to a grueling NHL season. Schultz should have been left in OKC to rip it up and learn the pro game. That he was immediately inserted into the Oilers lineup is another gaffe in a long history of rushing young talented guys and throwing an anchor on their development.

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#60 OilersBrass
April 23 2013, 07:38PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

HEY HEY HO HO, KEVIN LOWE HAS GOT TO GO!

While we're at it...

HEY HEY HO HO, THAT HO JASMINES GOT TO GO!

That was a little uncalled for and immature. People are here to talk about hockey and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Leave that bullying crap out of this site.

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#61 DSF
April 23 2013, 07:45PM
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David S wrote:

What I know about this player is it's completely unreasonable to expect a guy to transition from college hockey to a grueling NHL season. Schultz should have been left in OKC to rip it up and learn the pro game. That he was immediately inserted into the Oilers lineup is another gaffe in a long history of rushing young talented guys and throwing an anchor on their development.

Many, many players have transitioned to the NHL after an NCAA career without suffering a meltdown of epic proportions.

While I agree he should not have been rushed, point is he was and the Oilers are going to pay for it.

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#62 Oilfan69
April 23 2013, 07:51PM
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"EDMONTON - The Oilers opted for an off-ice practice this morning as they began preparations for their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday."

is that code for we suck so bad that there is no point practicing at all at this point?

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#63 @Oilanderp
April 23 2013, 07:54PM
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@OilersBrass

Give me your lunch money.

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#64 madjam
April 23 2013, 07:55PM
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Oilers could draft V.Nichushkin first and A.Slepyshev second to replace Hemsky down the road seeing as where they might end up in drafyt order . Like them both .

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#65 Slats
April 23 2013, 07:59PM
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I do think that (and this really hurts) that DSF has a partial-point. The slam on Schulz Jr should stop - please give it rest.

If you look at a reasonable successful PP - Montreal at 23.1% - I take them because they did not make the playoffs last year and this year they are in. What's the difference for Habs - 15 GOALS from Dman on PP! (Markov-8 and PK - 7(only a partial season!). And the Oilers? 4 PP Dman goals all by Schulz Jr.

If you do not get hard shots from the point then the forwards which out-man the d down low 3-2 also do not get any opportunities for easy rebound goals - and guess what that does to a shooting %.

So what is this? Bad Coaching - a big part, but also Ryan Whitney disappointing season and his one big contribution should have been here. Until we fix either or both this team will be punished.

I see the same issue 5 on 5 - never a shot from the point but lots of pretty passes getting thwarted and a 3-2 the other way leading to a scoring chance.

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#66 OilersBrass
April 23 2013, 07:59PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Give me your lunch money.

Hahaha you can have it! I don't mess with Oilanderp! Seriously though, calling someone a ho is going a little far though. I can't stand that crap.

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#67 DSF
April 23 2013, 08:03PM
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Slats wrote:

I do think that (and this really hurts) that DSF has a partial-point. The slam on Schulz Jr should stop - please give it rest.

If you look at a reasonable successful PP - Montreal at 23.1% - I take them because they did not make the playoffs last year and this year they are in. What's the difference for Habs - 15 GOALS from Dman on PP! (Markov-8 and PK - 7(only a partial season!). And the Oilers? 4 PP Dman goals all by Schulz Jr.

If you do not get hard shots from the point then the forwards which out-man the d down low 3-2 also do not get any opportunities for easy rebound goals - and guess what that does to a shooting %.

So what is this? Bad Coaching - a big part, but also Ryan Whitney disappointing season and his one big contribution should have been here. Until we fix either or both this team will be punished.

I see the same issue 5 on 5 - never a shot from the point but lots of pretty passes getting thwarted and a 3-2 the other way leading to a scoring chance.

Why stop slamming Jr.?

He's been absolutely dreadful for the last 25 games.

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#68 Slats
April 23 2013, 08:07PM
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DSF wrote:

Why stop slamming Jr.?

He's been absolutely dreadful for the last 25 games.

it's been debated ad nauseum - move along to something new - there's no article on here saying he's the Answer. He's a rookie.

The PP needs to get better from the back end then they can move to the down low triple pass play. . . .

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#69 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 23 2013, 08:09PM
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@OilersBrass

Santa must really just paint you into a corner, eh.

Would you feel better if I called you a ho as well? How do you know that isn't Kevin Lowe i'm calling a ho?

Or, perhaps you're Jasmine, multiple user id's eh, nudge nudge wink wink. Inquiring minds want to know Logan. You must wear a womens can when you play, do you?

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#70 pelhem grenville
April 23 2013, 08:10PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Give me your lunch money.

bloody hilarious...and ... bike rack after school...

hey Logan is that the year you were born bud? 83?just 30 are we?

thing about Q is that everything he says is"uncalled for"... ...learn to love it ...

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#71 clyde
April 23 2013, 08:13PM
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Slats wrote:

it's been debated ad nauseum - move along to something new - there's no article on here saying he's the Answer. He's a rookie.

The PP needs to get better from the back end then they can move to the down low triple pass play. . . .

Schultz chose the Oilers because he was guaranteed top 4 NHL minutes. I think he expected to be better as did the Oiler brass. But, he is just anotherbplayer granted things without earning it. Too many players on this team feel entitled and it has created a toxic culture as witnessed by the extreme lack of effort during the last 10 games.

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#72 DSF
April 23 2013, 08:19PM
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Slats wrote:

it's been debated ad nauseum - move along to something new - there's no article on here saying he's the Answer. He's a rookie.

The PP needs to get better from the back end then they can move to the down low triple pass play. . . .

He's a rookie who is about to turn 23.

Glossing over his lack of defensive ability is NOT helpful.

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#73 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 23 2013, 08:20PM
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@pelhem grenville

Good evening Paul

What is life like with Maple Leaf car flags everywhere you look? Retirement treating you well?

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#74 Alsker
April 23 2013, 08:36PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

HEY HEY HO HO, KEVIN LOWE HAS GOT TO GO!

While we're at it...

HEY HEY HO HO, THAT HO JASMINES GOT TO GO!

I cant decide which is more true, wait, aah screw it they BOTH are, do you have a third chorus to this tune?? Wheres that damn 10X props button..

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#75 OilLeak
April 23 2013, 08:55PM
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DSF wrote:

Why stop slamming Jr.?

He's been absolutely dreadful for the last 25 games.

He's a rookie that's played more games this season than he ever has in his career and in a top 4 role to boot. Of course he's struggling down the stretch.

Rookie Dmen rarely become world beaters in their first season and don't bring up brodin, he's got Suter watching his back. J.Schultz has Nick, a step down from Suter wouldn't you say?

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#76 madjam
April 23 2013, 08:57PM
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The boys on the bus go round and round ,round and round , round and round . They are in a typical Oiler slump (losing streak ) that's all . Only seven years you say ? Well you can complain vociferously after a decade . Things will get better , uhhh I think .

Nashville just beat the Flames -round and round up and then back down . Me thinks the youth on this team thinks/realizes the only help they can get needed help is by throwing games to get another top draft .

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#77 DSF
April 23 2013, 09:04PM
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@OilLeak

Phhhtt...

You can either cut it or you can't.

Brodin can.

And he's 19...not 23.

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#78 Yak Attack
April 23 2013, 09:11PM
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Time to re-build the re-build. If we look at recent successful rebuilds such as Chicago and L.A., it is apparent that its not just players that are required, although having the talent pool is really important. Management and coaching has been important, real hockey people doing real hockey jobs, not ex player wanna be's.

I don't want to follow the NYI perpetual re-build with shoe carrying management followed by the back up goalie. It looks like they might be coming out of it now but I don’t want that long a re-build here.

Lets re-build the whole thing !

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#79 madjam
April 23 2013, 09:16PM
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Yak Attack wrote:

Time to re-build the re-build. If we look at recent successful rebuilds such as Chicago and L.A., it is apparent that its not just players that are required, although having the talent pool is really important. Management and coaching has been important, real hockey people doing real hockey jobs, not ex player wanna be's.

I don't want to follow the NYI perpetual re-build with shoe carrying management followed by the back up goalie. It looks like they might be coming out of it now but I don’t want that long a re-build here.

Lets re-build the whole thing !

Lost faith because Oilers did not do it the right way as they have argued/portrayed for years .

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#80 DSF
April 23 2013, 09:19PM
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Yak Attack wrote:

Time to re-build the re-build. If we look at recent successful rebuilds such as Chicago and L.A., it is apparent that its not just players that are required, although having the talent pool is really important. Management and coaching has been important, real hockey people doing real hockey jobs, not ex player wanna be's.

I don't want to follow the NYI perpetual re-build with shoe carrying management followed by the back up goalie. It looks like they might be coming out of it now but I don’t want that long a re-build here.

Lets re-build the whole thing !

Have to start at the top.

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#81 Hip Czech
April 23 2013, 09:22PM
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Take Brodin away from Suter and you'd find he's nothing special. At all.

If Minnesota actually had to play against teams from the east this season they wouldn't even be close to the playoffs. Like the leafs, they're making the most of a very soft schedule and underperforming rivals.

You can either cut it or you can't.

Meanwhile, edmontons ground hog day movie just reached its seventh sequel.

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#82 DSF
April 23 2013, 09:29PM
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Hip Czech wrote:

Take Brodin away from Suter and you'd find he's nothing special. At all.

If Minnesota actually had to play against teams from the east this season they wouldn't even be close to the playoffs. Like the leafs, they're making the most of a very soft schedule and underperforming rivals.

You can either cut it or you can't.

Meanwhile, edmontons ground hog day movie just reached its seventh sequel.

What a crock.

The Wild play in the toughest conference and just beat the Stanley Cup champs in a must win game.

You know the Leafs play in the EC right?

Brodin has played the toughest competition all season (23:05 per night) and thrived while Justin Schultz has played middling competition (21:37 per night) (against the same teams as the Wild) and has been absolutely murdered.

Brodin is +6

Schultz is -17

Junior doesn't know how to play D AT ALL.

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#83 Gaz
April 23 2013, 10:22PM
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@DSF

What would be your suggestion as far as handling Schultz Jr now?

Brodin is a good player. Discounting the fact that his linemate is Suter is even more of a crock.

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#84 Alsker
April 23 2013, 10:23PM
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On a side note with the Preds winning tonite they need 1 point in their last two(Det. and CBJ) and we pick 4th as Car has more wins then us. God Im sick of cheering for Draft placement. And no I dont see us picking up points in our last three but do hope for a good old 12-9 game vs. Chicago.Last time they did this the hangover lasted almost a week as we were doing whiskey shots after each goal, good times, good times.

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#85 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 23 2013, 10:31PM
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@DSF

When Justin is paired with Shea Weber on the Oilers blueline in the not to distant future, i'm sure that +- will skyrocket. It must be difficult to soar like an eagle in your first yr in this league when you're working with this current group of turkeys. We've seen far worse first yrs in the NHL when it comes to defencemen.

Allan Iafrate TML 1981

M.Howe NE Whalers 1978

Pat Price 1980

Ray MacKay 1976 EDM

Tim Horton had a brutal season his first year back in 1958. You wouldn't want to have seen those +/- stats I seen chiseled into the NHL record book tablets back then.

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#86 madjam
April 23 2013, 11:17PM
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Sounds like the excitement of our youth is plummeting down like most everything else . Whoopee another top draft pick - yeah ?

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#87 Cheap Shot Charlie
April 23 2013, 11:18PM
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@DSF

Oh, man! Every post is cracking me up! You are a true gem of a comedian! Hiliarious, sir!!! Truly hilarious!!!

I love you, man! *HUG*

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#88 2004Z06
April 24 2013, 12:27AM
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Shultz Jr is wiped! He has played over 80 games for the first time in his career and over 20 min a night. Give the kid a break, Its not his fault that management is burning him out by not having any decent depth at D to take some of the load off.

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#89 Walter Sobchak
April 24 2013, 03:03AM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

This is as true as it gets!

Once Weber settles the young Schultz down next year they will be a dynamic duo for years, Batman and Robin if you please!

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#90 OilLeak
April 24 2013, 03:44AM
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DSF wrote:

Phhhtt...

You can either cut it or you can't.

Brodin can.

And he's 19...not 23.

If every player could jump directly into the NHL without a problem then there would be no use for player development programs or for the AHL to even exist.

Also, quality of teammates matter, many player have created a career for themselves by relying on better teammates. Ryan Suter > Nick Schultz, good hockey players make those around them better.

Second point, Brodin played in the SEL last season, which is a pro league and a big step up from the NCAA, easier transition.

3rd point, it is also possible for Brodin to struggle next season, young players rarely develop in a straight line and that especially true of defenseman. It is far too early to be casting judgement on Schultz, especially since we have seen what he is capable of in the NHL and the AHL.(defenseman of the year in the AHL for Schultz)

4th point, ever thought that Schultz is exhausted or playing through injury? Of course not, that doesn't fit your narrative.

I expect Brodin to be a fantastic player, and I expect Schultz to be a fantastic player, but putting down one player in order to prop up another is not a valid argument and all of the useless +/- stats and distorted discussion in the world won't change that.

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#91 madjam
April 24 2013, 07:19AM
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Rather than focusing on just the positives from this season , we might be better off trying to eliminate the mounting and continuous negatives ! Who is ultimately responsible for the cores assessment and rebuild failures ? A meddling owner ? A president that has failed to produce a winner for a long time ? Gutting a team so badly and not filling the holes left with personnel that could move us forward ? Laying blame on the city and fans for lack of bringing or procuring needed upgrades instead of fill ins ?

Lowe has under accomplished , but still leads the rebuild that keeps us futile . Why I am not sure ? Love the guy , but he is the one ultimately most responsible for teams failure ? Maybe Katz feels sorry/guilty for him if he was meddling and shares some blame ? Mind you Katz certainly has that right .

Whatever the case , lets hope they look seriously at the negatives outside the coaches and players at this stage . Was replacing the GM enough to make a positive return to competitive hockey ? Not so far ,as we are being mirrored in a long losing streak, which is more a credit to management than personnel . Need new tools again obviously but chances are fading with upper management moves to date .

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#92 pelhem grenville
April 24 2013, 07:24AM
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Q...sorry that I didn't reply sooner...I was busy carving my graven image of our Wanye...I did tap my first maple tree here last week...sap's a running...syrop festivals next...farmers are gearin'up to start planting...i've learned how to drink baggedmilk from the bag and the fanfolks here are just bloody beside themselves with their 'leaves' being in the playoffs...my next door neighbours' name is jeff eberle and is a roaring leaf fan...have tried to convert him but he'll have none of it...he keeps saying who's this Quicksilver guy and why is he such a sh!t disturber...anyway my friend thanks for axing...heard that you were doing CCI visits again...God Bless Brian...

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#93 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 24 2013, 07:44AM
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@OilLeak

I expect Brodin to be a fantastic player, and I expect Schultz to be a fantastic player, but putting down one player in order to prop up another is not a valid argument and all of the useless +/- stats and distorted discussion in the world won't change that.

Do you know another way to maliciously and without context compare two young players?

Good grief.

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#94 Randy35
April 24 2013, 08:01PM
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@DSF

I recall back in the early 80's when some not so hockey inteligents slammed no 7. History proved them wrong just as I am sure young Shultz will as well.

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