Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Desperation sets in...

Well right now the news is coming out that the Oilers have claimed Petr Nedved off waivers from the Flyers and I can only call the move a desperate one made by a desperate man. Having said that, there are multiple reasons it isn't a terrible move.

Because Nedved was pulled off the waiver wire, the Flyers get the unenviable task of paying for half of whats left on Nedved's contract this year, so the Oilers get the enigmatic centre for a potential bargain.

As Petr's model wife sheds a single tear at having been sent back to Edmonton, I like the idea of picking up Nedved for no other reason than screwing one of the "Former Oiler Bitter Wives Club." Its hard to say how Nedved himself will react - on one hand, he's got an unhappy wifey to go home to, but in another, hes out of the sunken ship that is the Flyers (and into the sinking ship that is the Oilers). But ever since he left the Oilers his fortunes have plumeted, and I would think there is some part of him that still has a desire to succeed in the NHL, to be a premier player again. Whether that will happen or not is debatable.

Nedved has been on and off the waiver wire all this year, and is a combined -20 for the 21 games he's played with the Flyers. He's also only got 1 goal, 6 assists. So how does he fit into this Oiler team?

To make room, Thoresen was sent down to the minors, which I think is the right move. If you ask me, the Oilers need to get back to playing rock em sock em hockey and Thoresen just isn't that type of guy. Sure, neither is Nedved, but at worst its a lateral move. I think in recent weeks its becoming increasingly obvious that for whatever reason Sean Horcoff simply cannot do the job of a number 1 centre, at least this year. I haven't given up on Horc, but sometimes guys just have bad years, and I don't think you could label this anything other than a bad year for Horcoff. Jarett Stoll though, the man who many believed could only be a PP specialist and who faded in the second half last year, has become the Oiler's best centreman, and at times arguably their best player.

I think the smartest thing right now is to shelter Horcoff a bit, put him with the guys he's had success with (Hemsky, Smyth, as MacTavish did last game), put Nedved with his countryman (Sykora) and let Stolly keep doing what he's doing. In my opinion Pisani is doing the things he needs to do to be successful, Torres is inconsistant as usual, but its been the Oilers best line on average.

As for the Oilers continuing defensive coverage, I am going to suggest something bold that most other blogs have completely ignored. In my opinion, and judging from Lowe's comments the other night, there aren't a lot of good defenseman available, period. The Oilers are basically stuck with a defensive group that isn't capable of the workload being thrust upon them.

The answer lies in the way the Oilers played Detroit last year in the playoffs. Change your style of play; go to the trap. The Oilers have plenty of good, speedy forwards, many of whom are very skilled. These are the basic success elements of the trap.

While Roloson hasn't looked like anything remotely resembling good lately, he is not getting much help. Roloson needs to be put into an environment right now that he's comfortable with, he needs support from the rest of the players. I can't count how many goals have been let in off of poor defensive zone coverage over the last two weeks. While in zone coverage used to be the Oilers strength, as witnessed by their former penalty killing success rate, this is now the Oiler's biggest weakness.

I think the team as a whole needs to stop looking for someone to parachute in and save them, and to realize the ingredients for success are in the locker room. I believe in the calibre of players on this team much like I do with the calibre of player on the Flames. Right now the Oilers are a group that are less than the sum of their parts.
Up tommorow: Canada plays The United States in the World Jr. Championship Semifinal. TSN - 6:30amPT/9:30amET


MetroGnome said...

I don't think Nedved will have to worry about a disgruntled wife - no doubt she will winter some place warm and filled with expensive clothing stores.

raildogg said...

Just to let you guys know, Nedved and his wife have been seperated since last summer.

As far as sending Thoreson down, why would it be a good idea to send one of our 6 plus players down? Although he seems to be ok with it because he will get more ice tie, why not send the message that needs to be sent and send Lupul down who is currently boasting a whopping -16?

Kyle said...

For better or worse, the Oilers have decided to live or die by Lupul. I think he's terrible, his stats show him as being terrible, he looks terrible, hes soft etc.

However, if the plan is for Lupul to play a large role in the organization, they have to stick with him. A team in a slump can't look to peripheral players to improve, they need to look to key cogs.

Thoresen, as good as he was his first 10 or so games, has not been the same player of late. I think the trip to the A will be good for his confidence. And as I said, he's never going to play the type of game the Oilers (I think) need right now. That also explains JFJ's bizarre presence as well.

Oh, and I'm so sorry to hear about Nedved's wife...