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Improving our Special Teams

All talk about the Edmonton Oilers
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:40 pm
Although on paper it seems that we have improved in a number of ways this off season (mainly in depth and toughness) There is still some glaring weaknesses with this team . Goaltending is a major concern as is our defense but IMO the area that needs to improve the most is our special teams play.

Just look at the numbers on the PP and PK over the last 3 seasons(since Kelly Buchberger has been in charge of ST's):

2010-2011

PP - 14.5% (27th place)
PK - 77.0% (29th place)

2009-2010

PP - 17.3% (18th place)
PK - 78.0% (26th place)

2008-2009

PP - 17.0% (22nd place)
PK - 77.5% (27th place)

We have not been in the top half of the league in any ST's category and only our PP of 2009-2010 has made it out of the bottom 3rd of the league since Bucky has been on our bench and you can't win in the NHL without good ST's

So now I ask why Bucky still has a job. He is in charge on ST's right? If the team does not see a drastic improvement in both the PP and the PK shortly into this upcoming season then Bucky should be cut lose ASAP.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:58 pm
yah it's no secret that these two areas have been horrid. Not just under his regime, but for a while. It could have been a personnel thing in the past, but I'd say at forward we have it covered. I don't think we have the defensemen to do it though, and that's been the case for a while. Peckham and Smid are our best defensive minded d-men, and I'm not sure either of them are ready for that responsibility full time. Gilbert seems to be thrown in all situations by default when really he shouldn't be. Whitney.. well, at times I think he's a bit overrated, but he might be our closest thing to a PKer on the blueline. I would have liked to have seen a shutdown d-man signed here. Sutton is set to have those qualities, although it's hard to think that he will be anything than a lumbering dinosaur in front of the net. Time for some tambo-evaluatin'
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:00 pm
makes me wonder if the sucky play is a result of the poor special teams, or the shitty special teams are a result of the poor play. It's a double-edged sword.

I do agree that we're missing some key personnel, that would contribute in a lot of areas including special teams. Sure was a team that just wasn't built to do much of anything very well last year... there were a ton of close games though.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:30 pm
One would hope that Belanger immediately makes an impact on the PK and perhaps will take draws on the PP. Barker COULD make a difference and Sutton too on the PK. if Hartikainen makes the squad, his energy and speed should translate well to the PK. I really hope Gagner has worked on his face offs. I was angry last summer when he said he didn't think it was a skill one could upgrade with practice. Clearly...he should have had a change of heart with his defensive stats and face off percentage.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:41 pm
chucker wrote:One would hope that Belanger immediately makes an impact on the PK and perhaps will take draws on the PP. Barker COULD make a difference and Sutton too on the PK. if Hartikainen makes the squad, his energy and speed should translate well to the PK. I really hope Gagner has worked on his face offs. I was angry last summer when he said he didn't think it was a skill one could upgrade with practice. Clearly...he should have had a change of heart with his defensive stats and face off percentage.


Good point Chucker, the game goes a lot smoother when your in possession of the puck. Here are some raw stats...

2010/11 Player: Total FO - %

Eric Belanger: 1297- 55.3%

Andrew Cogliano: 1148 - 41.6%
Sam Gagner: 935 - 43.8%
Shawn Horcoff: 813 - 48.3%

I'm not sure what line Belanger played on last year but I imagine he got quite a bit of time with that faceoff total. If Gagner could cleanly win 5% more of his draws this year against second/first line competition then I would be quite happy. I too was quite pissed at his attitude towards practicing faceoffs as well.

On a side note, I didn't know that Belanger was 33. These centers better develop faster! I hope Lander/RNH are wicked at FO once they reach the show.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:31 pm
Maybe Belanger's excellence on the dot rubs off on Gagner. Now wouldn't that be nice..?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:03 pm
Racki wrote:Maybe Belanger's excellence on the dot rubs off on Gagner. Now wouldn't that be nice..?

I'm hoping for the Adam Oates effect to happen, except this time it will be the Eric Belanger effect. :D
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:57 pm
chucker wrote:
Racki wrote:Maybe Belanger's excellence on the dot rubs off on Gagner. Now wouldn't that be nice..?

I'm hoping for the Adam Oates effect to happen, except this time it will be the Eric Belanger effect. :D


But was there an Oates effect really? Or did he simply come in to work with players that were naturally gifted at faceoffs? Players tend to be respectful and give credit where it may or may not be due, so I don't take too much from interviews. It's hard to say from the results alone. There may be some tricks to the faceoff trade, but can it be taught to to any level?

We haven't been short of "look at all these offensively gifted players, they must surely equate to a great power play" posts the recent years. Yet it hasn't materialized. I'd worry less about players, more about the mentality on the power play. We need more to-the-net aggression. The kind of attacking style Omark displays. Less of the purposeless slow passing along the outside lanes that we have been too comfortable with.

Two key compontents, one, gaining the zone regularly. Two, attacking the net once we're set up. Hall's hat trick goals come to mind. Omark's cutting inside to shoot on various occasions do too.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:17 pm
I think for a solid PP you need intelligent players that read off eachother well and they have to be like a QB dropping back in the pocket. You can't say pass to the point because the game plan the way it was written up was to pass it the point, you have to make quick reads on the defense and take what is given to you. If they are giving up the point shot by all means take it, if they are allowing an in close chance to score take that. Players that can read the play, act quickly and have chemistry with other players on the team make a good PP.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:31 pm
NorwegianOiler wrote:
chucker wrote:
Racki wrote:Maybe Belanger's excellence on the dot rubs off on Gagner. Now wouldn't that be nice..?

I'm hoping for the Adam Oates effect to happen, except this time it will be the Eric Belanger effect. :D

But was there an Oates effect really? Or did he simply come in to work with players that were naturally gifted at faceoffs? Players tend to be respectful and give credit where it may or may not be due, so I don't take too much from interviews. It's hard to say from the results alone. There may be some tricks to the faceoff trade, but can it be taught to to any level?


Well, if Horcoff was naturally gifted in faceoffs, so is Sam Gagner. Here are some numbers for you:
66 won out of 155 total = 44.0%
210 won out of 454 total = 46.0%
129 won out of 301 total = 42.6%
Average FO% (405/910) of 44.5%

174 won out of 279 total = 42.8%
290 won out of 690 total = 42.0%
336 won out of 709 total = 47.7%
410 won out of 935 total = 43.8%
Average FO% of (1210/2613 46.3%

I dare ask the question, without looking up the numbers, who is Gagner and who is Horcoff?

I do think we need to generate more shots on the powerplay just in general, needs to be a focus at the net. I also believe our PK was pretty good for the last 20 or so games, so I am kind of optimistic. Specialty teams next year are vital to having any success, but in the long haul it might be more vital to just learn other nuggets about the pro game while the kids grind it out.

That being said, I do hope they can not finish bottom five in both categories...
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:12 pm
iCanada wrote:
NorwegianOiler wrote:But was there an Oates effect really? Or did he simply come in to work with players that were naturally gifted at faceoffs? Players tend to be respectful and give credit where it may or may not be due, so I don't take too much from interviews. It's hard to say from the results alone. There may be some tricks to the faceoff trade, but can it be taught to to any level?


Well, if Horcoff was naturally gifted in faceoffs, so is Sam Gagner. Here are some numbers for you:
66 won out of 155 total = 44.0%
210 won out of 454 total = 46.0%
129 won out of 301 total = 42.6%
Average FO% (405/910) of 44.5%

174 won out of 279 total = 42.8%
290 won out of 690 total = 42.0%
336 won out of 709 total = 47.7%
410 won out of 935 total = 43.8%
Average FO% of (1210/2613 46.3%

I dare ask the question, without looking up the numbers, who is Gagner and who is Horcoff?

I do think we need to generate more shots on the powerplay just in general, needs to be a focus at the net. I also believe our PK was pretty good for the last 20 or so games, so I am kind of optimistic. Specialty teams next year are vital to having any success, but in the long haul it might be more vital to just learn other nuggets about the pro game while the kids grind it out.

That being said, I do hope they can not finish bottom five in both categories...


The guy taking a hella-lot of faceoffs is Horcs, naturally. Nevertheless, he was with a group that also included Reasoner and Stoll at the time. There's no telling if the similarity between Horcs' early numbers and Gagner's will result in similar face off development. I am not convinced there ever was an 'Oates-effect'.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:17 pm
I think we came up with the Oates-effect to justify us signing Oates at his age and capacity when we did. No really, it was a good signing Flames fans! :mrgreen:
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:19 pm
NorwegianOiler wrote:
iCanada wrote:
NorwegianOiler wrote:But was there an Oates effect really? Or did he simply come in to work with players that were naturally gifted at faceoffs? Players tend to be respectful and give credit where it may or may not be due, so I don't take too much from interviews. It's hard to say from the results alone. There may be some tricks to the faceoff trade, but can it be taught to to any level?


Well, if Horcoff was naturally gifted in faceoffs, so is Sam Gagner. Here are some numbers for you:
66 won out of 155 total = 44.0%
210 won out of 454 total = 46.0%
129 won out of 301 total = 42.6%
Average FO% (405/910) of 44.5%

174 won out of 279 total = 42.8%
290 won out of 690 total = 42.0%
336 won out of 709 total = 47.7%
410 won out of 935 total = 43.8%
Average FO% of (1210/2613 46.3%

I dare ask the question, without looking up the numbers, who is Gagner and who is Horcoff?

I do think we need to generate more shots on the powerplay just in general, needs to be a focus at the net. I also believe our PK was pretty good for the last 20 or so games, so I am kind of optimistic. Specialty teams next year are vital to having any success, but in the long haul it might be more vital to just learn other nuggets about the pro game while the kids grind it out.

That being said, I do hope they can not finish bottom five in both categories...


The guy taking a hella-lot of faceoffs is Horcs, naturally. Nevertheless, he was with a group that also included Reasoner and Stoll at the time. There's no telling if the similarity between Horcs' early numbers and Gagner's will result in similar face off development. I am not convinced there ever was an 'Oates-effect'.


Actually, Horcoff is the first group, Gagner is the second.

^_^

I only used three years for Horcoff because he only has three years pre-Oates. When Oates arrives on the Oil in 03-04 Horcoffs faceoff numbers jump from that pile of mediocrity, to 51.7% over the course of 1378 total draws. Quite remarkable, actually.

So yes, I believe in the "Adam Oates Effect." That being said, Oates was also a very very very good player for a very long time. I bet his guidance was taken much easier than say, a Belanger's may be right out of the gate simply because he scored the 16th most points in league history. Mark Recchi is the only guy still playing with more points than him.

...Speaking of which, acquiring Mark Recchi would be SOOO epic.
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