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Friday, December 2, 2011

Game Day "Blue Jackets"

When the puck drops tonight at Rexall Place, Oilers fans won't have to worry about Hall getting into another scrap like the one pictured above last year.
Hall is still out of the lineup nursing another injury but the show must go on even without their emotional pace setter. Not sure how some of you felt but I really enjoyed the game the other night. Sure it had its lulls, it also had its fights and scrums, its goals and its highlights. Just didn't like the final outcome, but a point is a point.
Some observations from last game I noticed. FO's again. While I know we are not a premier FO team, I really wish the MSM would lay off the FO specialist comments we hear constantly. Is Belanger really a FO specialist? Is Horcoff a FO specialist? Last game (while on the PP) Horcoff lost 3 consecutive offensive zone FO's. Belanger on his turn on the PP in the offensive zone loses his 2 shots. How does that help? As I have ranted in past posts, if were going to lose, let the young guys learn by getting in there. Not to mention, Horcoff should be on the 2nd Unit PP not the first and Belanger should be off the PP entirely. The only exception on a PP would be in the closing of a game and them taking a defensive zone FO.

 Let's look at some overall FO% stats from nhl.com
E. Belanger 55.8%
S. Horcoff 49.1%
A. Lander 38.8%
R. Nugent-Hopkins 37.8%

others in a limited role:
T. Hall 53.7%
R. Smyth 50.0
S. Gagner 47.8%

on the PP these are your leaders in FO%:
E. Belanger 52% (21 attempts)
S. Horcoff 50% (86 attempts)
R. Nugent-Hopkins 42% (13 attempts)
others slotted in:
R. Smyth 75% (15 attempts)
S. Gagner 38% (21 attempts)
T. Hall 100% (3 attempts)

 
I think you can see by the fact Smyth already plays with RNH, that he is the better choice on the PP to take those faceoffs. Maybe, just maybe, Horcoff is starting to struggle again the his FO% is due to the over demand on what he has to do every night? 2nd line Center, starts every game against opponents best line checking them. 1st Unit PP, 2nd unit PK and takes 50% of all faceoffs on this team? I'm not saying, I'm just saying!

On the other hand, it is important to also make mention of the last game in Minnesota where the Oilers won that game 5-2. They were only 28.8% in the FO department and handily won that game. We could play with the math all night and while I think it is a good indicator let's face it, there is math and there is life. Perfect example is looking at RNH. I know some were concerned about his Jr numbers, time on ice, PP to even strength point ratio's, etc...His NHL numbers were to be around 45 this year?

Sometimes math and what you see does not always fit. Regardless of what math says even on the plus side, I see Horcoff out there on the PP and it doesn't look good. Sure he is getting points, but how many missed opportunities have the Oilers missed out on? I say the experiment time is over Renney, please leave Horcoff off the 1st PP unit. Let's develop someone else into that role.

The Blue Jackets are starting to show some promise so the Oilers best be on their toes tonight. I have a feeling this game could be a real barn burner if the game stays open and the referee's allow intensity on the playing field.

Go Oilers!
My predictions for today's game at Rexall Place
Gametime 7:30pm CHED630am/Sportsnet-West
REV'S Edmonton Oiler
Gameday Predictions Dec 2nd/11

1.Pretty sure the Oilers will go on the PP a couple more times tonight and should be able to post another goal on the PP.
2. Oilers come out of this night with a win!
3. How can I bet against RNH continuing to put up a min point again? To not say he will, would be betting against the odds. Easy prediction, RNH with a point or more.
4. This game will end with a min 2 goal differential. No 1 goal difference in this one.
5. The Oilers start winning some Faceoffs and win the team battle in the FO% tonight.

(EV'S PREDICTIONS TO DATE: 56 for 99 = 56.5%)

Guess it would help if I checked the roster before making predictions. Teubert was not playing, I should have thought as much last game. This should be a dandy of a game. Both teams have a lot to prove.

As the great Ed Whalen used to say "In the meantime and in between time, that's it, for another edition of...REV'S PREDICTION" (bolded words are not Whalen's words)
For Oiler and Baron news and 2012/13 NHL draft watch www.twitter.com/revingev

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