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The 4th Line Banger Posted - 09/10/2009 : 22:59:48
Well, some may not be old enough to appreciate the reference or understand itís meaning, but the Oilers are the Jeffersonís of the NHL. They are movin on up. But really, the new apartment is not that much nicer than the last.

Iím not getting into the details of todayís signing of Mike Comrie. Some will like it, others wonít. What I do see with the addition of Comrie is an updated Oilers roster. They have moved from a line up full of 3rd line grinders to a line up of 2nd line average offensive talent.

No one can fault the Oil for adding a player like Mike Comrie. Heís got chops. He can make defensemen look stupid and stick handle in a phone booth, but heís still not a 1st line player. This brings the assumption that the Oilers forward roster entering this year will contain 9-2nd line players. Horcoff, Comrie, OíSullivan, Gagner, Penner, Cogliano, Nilsson, Schremp, and potentially Eberle. I donít think there is another team in the league with such an abundance of 2nd line players. But, an NHL team only needs 3-2nd line players. They also need 3-1st line players. The Oilers unfortunately, have only one in Ales Hemsky.

A roster full of 2nd line players donít win championships. I recall just a few short seasons ago and directly after the playoff run, many suggested that the Oilers Ďscoring by committeeí forward group would carry the team deep. This group included the likes of Petr Sykora, Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, and Jarrett Stoll. We all know where than go the Oil. If you donít know, it was 32 wins and last in the North West.

Now, this year version of the scoring committee is, in many ways, better than the one I mentioned above but itís still missing that clutch player. Down by a goal with 5 minutes left in the 3rd and Quinnís looking down the bench. Who is the player to go get a goal??? Thatís where scoring by committee will never work. You can not throw a committee at a game winning goal.

But what does a guy do??? From Kevin Lowe to Steve Tambellini, they just canít see to land that marquee 1st line player. So I can respect that they didnít sit on their hands and do nothing. Comrie makes the team better. He is the best of the 2nd line player I listed above, but itís still a scoring committee that will only go so far. I like the fact that I will be cheering for a winning team this year. I like the fact that the playoffs are no longer a potential goal but a realistic goal. But I am not looking forward to 410 minutes of hockey this year. Thatís the last 5 minutes of the 3rd period of every Oiler game. Of the nearly 5000 minutes of hockey that the Oilers will play this year, the last 5 minutes of the game will be the preverbal straw. They will either find a guy that will step up and be clutch, or they will stumble and fall and lose 15ish games this year in the last 5 minutes of the 3rd.

Movin on up, just not sure if the new apartment is nice enough or worth the added rent.

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n/a Posted - 09/11/2009 : 22:23:16
Fair enough, I'll concede your definitions, if only to add that I think they are slightly outdated. But one more thing to add from me:

The nailbiters will go to the team with better defence usually, and less often they will go to the team with the one or two difference making offensive pieces. In the end, teams like Toronto and Edmonton may live and die on their defence . . . and both aren't that bad now in this respect, so - we'll see.

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
The 4th Line Banger Posted - 09/11/2009 : 13:44:53
I don't normally rebute comments to my blog, but this one I will make an exception for.

I guess I should have been a little more clear on what I mean when I say 2nd line player.

1st line players are all offense. They are the primary scoring threats, main PP threats, and overall clutch offensive players.

2nd Line players are mostly offensive with a sprinkling of defense. They are more likely to back up the 1st line players, play a little bit on the PP, and maybe be the teams's 2nd line PK.

3rd Line players are grinders. They are defensive players who focus mostly on PK and will generate offensive chances through forechecking but are not depended upon to provide much offense at all.

4th line players are the bangers. They are the energy line that go out to cause pain and havoc on the other team. They lay the smack down.

When listing off my players from the Oilers, I stand by them being 2nd line player. None of them are defensive specialists and forecheckers. All the players I listed are either currently of have the potential to be average or above offensively, average or below defensively. Their style of play does not lend itself to playing on the 1st, 3rd, or 4th line by my definitions. A guy like Rob Schremp or Andrew Cogliano are not 3rd line forechecking defensive type players. Granted Cogliano more than likley will be the Oilers 3rd line centre playing with Moreau and Pisani. But that doesn't mean that's where he should be playing and he will not be the #1 PK centre for the Oilers.

Know I am not saying that all teams follow this model, but this is the traditional mold. The 9 2nd line players I listed are typical 2nd line players. Not unlike the players listed from Toronto. This is another team that has too many 2nd line players and not enough 1st line players and both teams will have similar fates in the upcoming seasons. The nailbiters will generally go the other teams way because the lack of a clutch, world class offensive player or two.
n/a Posted - 09/11/2009 : 05:55:54
"Horcoff, Comrie, OíSullivan, Gagner, Penner, Cogliano, Nilsson, Schremp, and potentially Eberle" . . . as second line players? Hunh?

First, let's start with your 1st liner, Hemsky: yes, a decent 1st liner.

Horcoff - Yes, solid second liner
Comrie - 2nd liner, potential third liner on a good team
O'Sullivan - 2nd liner I guess, but if he continues playing like he did in his first 19 games in Edmonton (2g, 4a) then it's 3rd liner
Gagner - Kid has lots of promise, will be a solid 2nd liner.
Penner - Seems content with being a 2nd liner.
Cogliano - Real marginal 2nd liner, might be a 3rd liner.
Nilsson - No way is a legitimate 2nd liner. Decent 3rd liner.
Schremp - Career points: 3 Career Goals: 0 You have got to be joking, right? I mean, it is very likely that he doesn't even stick in the NHL at this point past next season . . . not even a full time NHLer.
Eberle - 0 games played, so, take him off the list as well.

So, let's tally up your "2nd liners":
1st liners: Hemsky
2nd liners: Horcoff, Comrie, Penner, Gagner and probably O'Sullivan
3rd liners: Cogliano, Nilsson
Won't be seeing full time duty: Schremp, Eberle

So, (5) 2nd liners . . . and you state "I donít think there is another team in the league with such an abundance of 2nd line players."

How about Toronto?
Blake - marginal 1st liner, should be a solid 2nd liner
Ponikarovsky - definite 2nd liner
Stajan - coming into his own as a 2nd liner
Grabovski - will be a solid second liner
Hagman - decent second liner
John Mitchell - decent first full year, looks like a future 2nd liner

Or even better, the Nashville Predators?
Dumont, Arnott, Sullivan, Erat, Legawnd, Ward, Bonk

The Rangers?
Drury, Dubinsky, Antropov, Callahan, Higgins, Kotalik, and maybe Arnason.

Welcome to the watered-down NHL, where to give you a more dilluted product we have hockey in Atlanta, Phoenix, Nashville, and Florida. My point is . . . there are a few other teams out there in the same position as Edmonton, with teams made up mostly of second and third liners. Really, a lot of these players I listed should be 3rd liners, including quite a few of the Oilers you mentioned.

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug

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