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Playing not to Lose...

All talk about the Edmonton Oilers
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Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:39 pm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:50 pm
While I love the defensive systems we have started to (or, continued rather from the MacT era) lose sight of what the system is about. Instead of playing to limit their chances to grab our own in the other end, it seems like when we have the lead at the end of the game we are trying to... limit their chances to give them back the puck?

It seems to me like this team is starting to play not to lose games in the third rather than going out to win. Rather than going out to score the next goal they wanted to keep the Wild off the board. Call me crazy, but unless you have 3 or 4 goals already I want you to be pushing as hard as you can for that next goal just like you have done from the moment the puck drops in the first.

For me the frustrating thing is that it seems like a coaching mandate I don't know what the numbers in Calgary on Tuesday looked like, but tonight against Mini we had the kids play 3 minutes in the third, while the third and forth line combined for 12 minutes with the Swedes picking up the final five minutes. Aside from that, I watched a team for two consecutive third periods have two defensman back, one guy high for twenty minutes and because of they cannot hold and pressure in the offensive zone. Grab the puck, get it to the redline, chip it in without for checking support and head for a change... call me crazy but that isn't how you close out a hockey game!

Part of it might be our inability to extend a lead, but for me that is just poor luck. We are generating a ton of chances and some pucks just aren't going in for us; so long as the chances don't dry up I am not concerned on that front. It is still weird we are #3 in the league in GA/G and dead last in GF/G... I didn't see that coming.
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"You either drop sweat today, or tears tomorrow." - SlayerS'MMA
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:25 am
poor coaching in the 3rd last night, the timeout was the icing on the cake of it
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:17 am
That was a tough call.. rest your best defensive players... or prevent their top line for staying fresh? The Heatley line was staying out there before the timeout was called anyways. But I honestly can say.. when they called the time out, I was thinking "nooooooooooo.. you're resting Heatley!". And well, that's what ended up happening.

I don't agree entirely that the Oilers were in "hold the lead" mode after a certain point either. They couldn't score, but there were still quite a few chances had by them in the 2nd half of the game. Backstrom played a pretty solid game, as he always does with us. Our cursed losing streak ends when he gets traded. :P

I know Renney mentioned something about the kid line (why he didn't play them much at the end) that he didn't like. One was definitely that the Nuge wasn't very good on the dot (as always) while Horcoff and Belanger were having great games in the circle.

The timeout I definitely wouldn't have done. He rested his best defensive players, which was good, but he also reseted Heatley and company, allowing them to stay out there for the remainder of the game. Tough break.

As for the GA and GF... this team is playing a lot better of a team defense. It's unfortunately come at the cost of their ability to break out. They need to solve that, or they'll be hemmed in their zone for dangerous lengths of time in most games.

As for inability to score.. the Oilers got 31 shots. There's really nothing you can say negative about that. They had plenty of chances. Backstrom stood on his head and had some good post luck (unnngghhh Belanger!). Like Renney said in his post-game... not to worry.. that will come. There's plenty of skill on this team. I still think (as I mentioned on the blog) that they should consider revisiting the Paajarvi/Belanger/Omark line. I really love Omark, but I'd love to see him sit a game and have Hartikainen sub in there. It's a fun line to watch but they aren't getting it done... they need some dirty goals. That line has produced zero goals for us, which is an obvious concern considering they also make up a PP line.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:44 am
We all knew Renney was a MacT clone but better with kids. This should be no surprise, but yeah, some questionable choices if you want to win vs. just protecting a lead. Benching our best line in a one goal game really irritated me too.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:50 pm
I actually really like Tom Renney. This team is pretty young still and it's easy to say that our top line should be out there, but there is a chance they could get killed and lose it too. But I definitely don't disagree with you guys on that thought though.

He might be a MacT clone.. maybe. I didn't actually dislike MacTavish.. I just thought he got stale here and ran out of ideas and seemed to have given up motivating the players. It sounds trivial, I know, but I think Renney is a good motivator.. I see it when I'm at the games... he frequently will pad a guy on the back... say some words about what they did right or offers encouragement if they made a mistake out there. Again, it's a small thing, but one thing many people criticized MacT, towards the end, was he was better at calling out a Penner or Nilsson than motivating these guys to get their ass in gear. Guys should be able to dig deep and do that on their own though, but I just like that Renney makes it a habit to do it every period for sure, and occasionally during a period too.

Every coach sometimes make the unpopular calls too. That timeout decision wasn't one I would have made, myself. And I'd have to say that yah, he went into shut-down mode far too soon in that period too. I can agree with that.

At any rate, I have no problems with coaching. There will always be decisions we don't like, no matter who is behind the bench. As long as they're doing right most of the time though... I would say he is.

He's been trying to work in a defensive system (which a lot of coaches do) and then stem out from there with the offense. I think if we are patient, it will start to happen (not that we haven't already been patient for a long time).
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:13 pm
I don't even think we have to be that patient going forward as far as offense is concerned...

Interesting stat: Hall, Eberle, and Paajarvi have generated 56 shots on goal (2.8 shots each per game) and have only potted one goal. Simple math says that should be 5 or 6 based on the average SV%.
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"You either drop sweat today, or tears tomorrow." - SlayerS'MMA
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:59 pm
I agree with both of you. Renney shows great art in communication. Something MacT was also noted for but Renney is perhaps more of a young team guy.

As far as the offense goes, give then the bitt and let them run as Sather used to say. So long as they are responsible on D, go full bore in the O-zone. Team defense has become much better and seems to be developing fast. The goals will come.
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