Experts Look: The Oilers Mid-Season….

The Edmonton Oilers, not exactly the team I’ve always defended, but definetly one of the orther 29 teams I’m am up to date with!

So heres all that Comrie ish, Smith to Smyth captains, Heritage Classic and high playoff hopes, to 12th in the Western conference info are….*What Happened in Games 1 through 41*:

The Oilers started off the year to be a young, a much bigger, strong and still fast team. Coach MacTavish had been working hard to improve the team’s defensive play and special teams play. But instead the Oilers are 13 in goals for, the 4th worst team in allowing goals, 29th on the power play, and the worst team in the league on the penalty kill.

*Ups And Downs*:

The Oilers started the year soft on goals, soft on goaltending, but had some with some light coming from Ty Conklin, a 6 game unbeaten streak in November, Edmonton’s recent 4 game point streak to open the mid season and not to mention the whole Mike Comrie issue which ended with Comrie still have 2.5million dollars in his pocket, a trip to Philly, and a promising defenseman in Woywitka to Edmonton.

*Coaching Grades*:

Head Coach Craig MacTavish: F.

With all the young and promising players infront of him, willing to learn and develop game strategies and team play. MacTavish has fallen behind his on gun in the philosophy “go-and-get” style of play. With the type of character and youth the team has, the Oilers have been asking for discipline and motivation. MacTavish definitely can motivate, but it’s his speeches that he isn’t able to back up, nor does he pick the right time to put these guys in place.

Assistant Craig Simpson: C+.

Simpson was once known for his ability to score 50 goals in a season. He’s been great on helping the young forwards with game smarts and giving a solid strategic way for the team to score goals. But i still think has a way over-rated hockey expert and its DEFENSE the Oilers need. Aint always about offense in this league.

*Player Grades*: #Centers#

Shawn Horcoff: C-.

He has been a good motivate for his team, but still isn’t able to keep the urge or chasing the puck deep out of him. Till he’s gone too deep and out of the play.

Jarret Stoll: D+.

Does show much signs of scoring. But I do like his defensive instincts. Is nothing more then a checking line player.

Marty Reasoner: B.

Very under rated for his checking ability. Was key for the Oilers at the start of the year. But injury problems have kept Reasoner from really impacting the team. He IS the teams’ best penalty killing forward, and is showing signs of a scoring touch.

Jason Chimera: D.

Career checking line center once again. But is still young and needs guidance. But boooy can he skate.

Adam Oates: D.

What the heck were Oiler fans expecting when they signed this guy? He averages 1 shot per-game. Hasn’t been as great as expected on face-offs. And is it me, or should this guys new nic-name in the league be “Tortus”(And NO, he aint ever gonna beat the hair).


–>Best player–>Mike York: B+.

Mike’s been great offensively. But the reason he didn’t get that A- out of me. Was because hes got 30pts and leads the team in goals and points. But only has 1 PP goal and ZERO game winning goals. But he should get some consideration for his PK work. Which is why he got the +.

Ryan Smyth: B+.

Smyth has been his typical self. Plays hard with heart. But he still lacks on ice intelligence. Which is why his +/- is doing so well. His “go hard to the net” style has been good for Oiler spirits which is why he deserves the “C” he wears on his chest.

Raffi Torres: B.

Fears nothing. He plays like a Darcy Tucker(cept for the cheap stuff). Definitely my favourite player on the Oilers. He’s got most of the skill needed to be a lethal threat in the league. Is an all-round player, who is developing an all-round game.

Ethan Moreau: B.

Ethan started off very early in the year as the Oilers top offensive player. But has extremely cooled off back to his checking form. If only he could improve his timing and puck possession. And would stay out of the box!


Ales Hemsky: B-.

Hes been the teams 2nd best RW. His point projections has been good for his development, but is still a rather wuss player who can’t play defense. It isn’t very smart of MacTavish to him on a line with Oates and Smyth. But I do like the kids sportsmanship. He actually asks if the players “o-K” after tripping him to the boards.

Radek Dvroak: B.

The teams best RW. Though he should in my opinion be put on the 2nd line where him and Smyth can do some real damage like they did in the playoffs. Is 2nd on the team in shots.

Brad Isbister: D+.

He isn’t going to be the next “Big E” or Todd Bertuzzi. Isn’t creative at all offensively. He likes to score the odd “garbage-goal” but will never excel in it like an Andrechuk, because an Andrechuck may be big but is still “sneaky”. The last thing Isbister is… Bradster is a mixture of many things, but isn’t doing the right ones. At this stage in his career. He should focus on DEFENSE FIRST. And not on trying to be the best player in the NHL to do, what ever it is he’s “dreaming” about….

Fernando Pisani: C.

I like his style. Just a little more offense is needed, which he seems to be doing. He’s been getting some real good chances of late, but is definitely a keeper for the future in Edmonton.

Georges Laraque: F.

He’s in Edmonton for one thing. To FIGHT. And he’s barely doing that like he use to. Instead, he’s running his own radio station. WOW, I guess there is a problem in being known as the best fighter in the NHL. Cause no ones going to fight you….


Jason Smyth: B+.

IS an all-round defensemen and is the teams BEST defenseman. May not have the “amazing” offensive tools but is timely with what he has. Definitely a leader by example with his terrific on-ice play.

Steve Staois: A-.

Even though on other experts he should be a B+ or B. Staois is the highest ranked Oiler on my sheet for his heart. This guy will do anything to play. Even if it costs him 3 slappers. 2 on the knee and 1 on the chest. His positioning is terrific, as is his leadership. If there’s one defensemen in the league who wouldn’t stew against a Kovalchuk-Thornton-Bertuzzi line, is definitely Staois!

Eric Brewer: F.

What is going on with Brewer. This guy was expected to be one of the best defensemen this year. But he’s flopped big-time. His positioning at time has been reliable, but where is the offense?

Cory Cross: C.

Cross has been reliable for the Oilers. But has invisible in the ending of December. There’s nothing much to say about Cross because he is very smart, strong, big, and a good skater. He isn’t going to developed any skills soon at his age, so must stay focused on positioning.

Marc-Andre Bergeron: C+

Is a pleasant surprise for the Oilers. He hasn’t been good at all in handling tough forwards, but is doing what the Oilers desperately need from the blue-line. Which is an offensively minded rear-guard. His skills could use a good push for improvement.

Scott Ferguson: C-.

I love the way this guy fights! But he has been taking some bad penalties as of late. He hasn’t been very good positionally.


Tom Salo: F.

Salo has sucked ever since that flop at the Olympics. He got beaten out of that position by the Leafs AHL league starter! He shouldn’t be the starter for the Oilers any more. They would be better with Conklin in net. Maybe not by much, but atleast better. Chants of “CUJO” are more deserving in Edmonton then they are in Chicago!

Ty Conklin: B-.

He’s a little too old to be considered the “future” for the Oilers. And is definitely not a starter. He has Bob Essensa written all over him. Has been the better goaltender of the two.

*Changes That MUST Happen*:

-Fire MacTavish. And hire Ted Nolan. He will bring what Mac-T already does, if not more toughness and intelligence. Paul Maurice would also be a huge upgrade.

-Acquire a smart offensive defenseman. Bryan Berard would be a terrific fit.

-Trade Isbister. He won’t be going anywhere in his career. Trade him while his stock for the defenseman needed, while his stock is high.

-Acquire a starter. Lets see Cujo back in Edmonton. Lowe must find away to work out the money in that one.

*What to expect in Games 42 to 82?*

The Oilers will repeat the 2001-2002 campaign. I expect a strong push to get fans motivated for next year, but it won’t be enough. Not unless a Cujo experienced goaltender comes into town. York will lead the team in points, Smith will leave via free agency and the Oilers will have a new starting goalie.

And for Edmonton’s sake’ I’m hoping it isn’t Tommy Salo or Ty Conklin….


39 Responses to Experts Look: The Oilers Mid-Season….

  1. DirtySanchez says:

    Leaf Expert…aren’t you the guy that everyone on WOW hockey laughs at and hates????

  2. Aetherial says:

    Decent article.

    Your comments on Brad Isbister were dead on. This guy just sucks, end of story.

    Uh Cory Cross may be many things. mostly he is a 6th or 7th D-man though and, he doesn’t skate well, I have no idea where you came up with that 🙂

  3. The_Conductor says:

    I think TC_4 should of had this spot but whatever… what is done is done. Ok, a couple of changes for you.

    Mike York is the best Oiler right, well a B+ common at least an A. Comes out and has carried the Oilers on his back. When everyone played like crap he was the only one doing something.

    Raffi Torres worked so friggin hard. Needs a B+.

    Georges Laraque an F common. Please more like a Z. He is horrible, super bad… doesnt deserve a rating. Shouldnt be rated, worse Oiler other then Salo. However even Salo has done something for this team.

  4. Leaf_Expert says:

    Oh, I wanted to put on the article “wit all respectt to TC_4.

    But like i said, i sent in my offer to do 25 other teams, and the Oilers are what got picked for me.

    How the hell could i not do the Leafs?!?!

  5. Leaf_Expert says:

    OK, Leaf_Expert mens I’m a Leaf fan and a hockey EXPERT.

    It doesn’t mean I’m a revolving mirror infront of you….

  6. TC_4 says:

    Where do you start? First of all, how can you give this to a guy that lives in Toronto, and I’ve never noticed talk about this team. If he watched this team more, Isbister would not be a D+, he would be a C or C+, and would mention that the last 15 games, the kid has been working his ass off, and is showing HUGE signs of busting out. Hire Ted Nolan? Why say that when you know that will NEVER happen. Kevin Lowe and John Muckler. You think Lowe is going to hire someone who, what could be called his dad, hates! The Oilers aren’t by any means getting Cujo back, ever, and Tommy Salo has started playing like the Salo of old the last 6 games which is a positive. I agree they should have signed Berard, but don’t underestimate the Ulanov signing. He had his best season here, and will have something to prove. Good job mentioning that. And finally, you give Eric Brewer an F. Ever since this guy has comeback from his hamstring injury in early Novemeber, he’s been our best d-man for F*** sak!!! The guy is looking more and more like he’s going to turn into that number 1 d-man that we need. And you didn’t give a grade to Sememov!!! What a terrible article, my gawd how does this get posted???? “They started the year soft on goals”. Yeah, 19 goals in there first 6 games, over 3 goals a game. Like this guy doesn’t even watch the team, he hasn’t this year that’s for sure. He just looks at the standings and the points, and does his thing. This is awful.

  7. Leaf_Expert says:

    LOL…Trust me bud, Cross can skate..

    Hes not fast, but he knows how to use his tools.

    The way hes played for Edmonton on some nights, he never did in a Leaf uniform….

  8. TC_4 says:

    Dude, I just went on a rant, but it’s nothing against you, I’m just pissed I didn’t get it. I did disagree with some of the grades, but it’s nothing against you.

  9. Leaf_Expert says:

    uhh, i guess it took you 2hours to write that comment.

    Cause you didn’t see the one i wrote right before it.

    I’ll let it pass peacefully….

    P.S. If you are calling ERIC BREWER a better defensemen then the way Steve Staois has played so far. Just say yes, cause you got me in a bad mood, and i’ll be ready to laugh at your fake Oiler hork….

  10. Leaf_Expert says:

    shit… you should have wrote this comment sooner, I may have been a tad rude in my reply…

  11. Kashin says:

    Isbuster is a joke. ALways has was and will be. Thinks potential can still catch up for him. I miss Torres but he fits into the system in Edmonton will eventually be good for 15-20 goals and 40-50 points.

    Smyth and York every team will like to have for their hard work. However, Salo is so lazy he is gone after the year. They need a starter and how about Sean Burke for a goalie? Even bring back CUJO.

    This is a team that should be able to get in as 7 or 8 every year and get the series to 6 games. Just not this year with this goaltending.

    In the words of Mike Milbury “eric brewer sniffs glue”

  12. mattf says:

    sounds like the rant of a crybaby with a biased opinion. ‘HUGE’ different between a D+ and a C, or even C+. What the hell is the grading system based on? Laraque should get an ‘A’ for ASSHOLE

  13. The_Conductor says:

    Well if thats the case then Laraque should get every letter of the alphabet cause I can find a word to describe him.

    A- Asshole

    B- Baby

    C- Crappy

    D- Dumb

    E- Extremly Bad

    F- Friggin Horrible

    G- Good God why is he playing

    H- How is he still playing

    I- Idiot

    J- Just because he’s big doesnt mean he’s good

    K- King of crap

    L- Let’s see if he would fight for a team-mate

    M- Maybe he should just be a radio DJ. Wait he sucks at that too

    N- No one respects him

    O- Oh my god score a goal

    P- Please start playing good

    Q- Quit playing like you are

    R- Repetitive (In the corner)

    S- Shoot

    T- Tough but use it

    U- Urgh is he still on the Oilers

    V- Victory if he leaves

    W- Why is he here, What is he still doing here, Where can we trade him, Who can we get for him, When can he go?

    X- X-Ray his brain to see what he is thinking cause I dont think there’s much going on

    Y- Yes, Laraque sucks

    Z- Zoom… the sound of a plane as Laraque leave forever

  14. TC_4 says:

    Here is Pink Floyd comming in at number 89 on the Georges Laraque top 30. Good times!!!

  15. TC_4 says:

    Nah, you said nothing too harsh. It wasn’t my intent to bad mouth you, and I did so I’m the jackass. It’s nothing against you Expert, my belief is that you know way more about the game then pretty much everyone on this site, so you got a lot of my respect!

  16. TC_4 says:

    I’m not being a jackass, I really don’t understand the last part of the comment though. Does “hork” mean horcoff, because if you want to trash him, I more the urge you to!!! I hate the guy! Mac-T’s favorite for whatever reason, the guys +/- is gawd awful, but then he gets a goal once a year, so Mac thinks he’s wonderful, and sits Chimera, our hardest working guy!

  17. TC_4 says:

    Torres will be a 30 goal guy, know your stuff buddy! And believe it or not, Isbister has played very well for us all year, and not many in this city are upset with him. He works hard every game, and is really starting to score. He’s not being WASTED in your town anymore!!!

  18. wheresthesoda says:

    shut the fuck up u fucking islander fan.

    i bet he was you liked him while he was on the islanders. especially when he thought he could fight mccarthy, which he got his fave smacked the hell out of.

  19. Kashin says:

    I hated all the players i listed above. I bet you thought the rangers would make the playoffs each of the last 7 years too bad you were wrong all along.

  20. wheresthesoda says:

    The article was pretty good,

    I think the oilers need better centerman, which they could’ve really used comrie this season.

    I thought the signing of oates was the least they could do.

    I completly agree with mike york being the best oiler, the rangers should’ve never gotton rid of him.

    Oilers top 2 moves in the past couple of years was get york, get rid of poti and carter and also get dvorak. those are 2 trades that went the oilers way. Rangers got an underachieving carter and pisa is gone now. but im sure the oilers miss pisa because he has a canon, his shot reminds me of the way malakhov used to shoot the puck.

    I am a rangers fan, but my favorite western conference team is the oilers. York is my favorite player in the nhl 2day. I still cant believe the rangers got rid of him. Sometimes i wake up at night wondering why sather did that. He was there top youngerster and they traded him for there present tom “gotta suck” poti. poti was havng a horrible year when they traded him and york was 2 but not horrible.

    i also miss dvorak. dvo is extremly fast. he could fly. And thats whats making him succesful, his speed.

  21. wheresthesoda says:

    brewer has played horrible this season. i am extremly suprised the rangers havent traded for him yet. if they do it will probaly be some1 they shouldnt trade like jed ortymemyer.

  22. mojo19 says:

    Don’t give Craig McT an F. The Oilers lose quality guys every year, last year they lost Grier early on, then Ninnimaa and Carter at the deadline, (getting back Dvorak, Isbister and Cross which is still good) Then they lost Marchant in the off season and finally Comrie. They have to keep brining in young guys and in the West there are a lot of middle of the pack teams who all have potential to make the playoffs. Like Phoenix, Minnesota, I guess you could say Dallas although i think they’re just underacheivers, Anaheim, and pretty much everyone in the West is competitive. Some teams are going to lose some games, and this year its Edmonton.

  23. Motherpucker says:

    When the hell did Craig Simpson ever score 50 goals???

  24. The_Conductor says:

    And that was number 89 on my top 30 countdown. I will be back after this, “Cause I’m Bob Layton”. (guy holding the cue card wispers) No George your George… then George in he’s half french half arnold voice… oops my bad…

    TC… only we know what were talking about. Others r gonna think ur crazy!

  25. The_Conductor says:

    I heard a rumor tonight on our local sports show.

    George Laraque and Eric Brewer going to Buffalo for ex Oiler Miro Satan. Bye George but it would be risk to let Brewer go… and Miro has a hefty contract.

  26. Lint07 says:

    Wasn’t he a fan favorite in Edmonton not so long ago??

    Times are changing I guess…

  27. headpushslap says:

    Oh Gawd, where do I start? Thanks for the effort Leaf_Expert, but the name says it all.

    1. The Oilers started the season with OFFENCE, and some adequate Defence, backed by great goaltending. Injuries to key players and the loss of Mike Comrie put the Oilers in a tough spot.

    2. Coaching Grades:

    Craig MacTavish: C+

    Why? Because he does not have a hell of a lot to work with, but still motivates his team to put out a good effort on most nights (I said MOST nights, not all)

    Craig Simpson: F

    Craig Simpson was supposed to help the power play. This has not yet happened, in fact since Simpson came on the Oil have scored fewer goals in almost every situation, PP, Even-Strength, 4-on-4. Only the Pitiful penalty kill produces special teams goals.


    Ryan Smyth, Mike York, Radek Dvorak, Raffi Torres, Alexei Semenov, Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Jason Smith,

    Straight A’s or B’s

    Why? Pure effort most nights

    Jason Chimera, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Scott Ferguson, Eric Brewer, Ales Hemsky, Brad Isbister, Jarret Stoll,

    B’s or C’s

    Why? All of the above players have been up and down, but that’s more because MacT can’t seem to leave the lines alone. If Hemsky, Chimera, and Isbister had more than a couple of shifts with each linemate they might be able to create some chemistry.

    Cory Cross, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani

    C or D players.


    Cory Cross has looked absolutely horrible on some nights, Horcoff has given away a couple games by himself by turning over the puck in the neutral zone, and Fernando Pisani just does not look like an NHL calibre player.

    Georges Laraque, Adam Oates,

    Big Fat F’s

    Oates looks totally lost in Edmonton, while Laraque looks even worse. Laraque plays well, but his game is not the subtle touch. PUNCH GEORGIE! PUNCH! HIT, SKATE, MOVE! BE THE MENAEST SOB in EDMONTON. Adam Oates, well, I respect your career, but you should be playing with players who have a natural touch. Edmonton is Blue Collar Hockey, not exactly where you need to be.

    Conklin is great, but he’s 27. Salo looks to be returning to his old level (not pre-Olympics, but close)

    The Oil are betting on the future right now, with Jeff Deslauriers being it. Also Rita, Salmelainen, Lynch, Luoma, Woywitka and Niinimaki are strong prospects.

    The main Problem with the Oil? Coaching.

  28. TC_4 says:

    Who the F*** cares??? “I’m Bob Layton!”

  29. Aetherial says:

    On the contrary… Cross was a valuable member of the Maple Leafs despite how everyone laughed at him.

    Remember the nasty Islander series… the Leafs could not stop the Islander power-play. There was nobody to clear the front of the net.

    When Cross came back from injury late in the series, that all changed. He was a big factor for the Leafs.

    So, I am not a Cross basher… I still say he skates like his feet are tied together 🙂

  30. spazmainia13 says:

    In 98-99 when he played for the leafs and they won the cup, also the year winnipeg moved back from phoenix. Sheesh, pay attention.

  31. roadcone says:

    I totally agree that coaching is their main problem. A team with MacT, Hollywood Huddy, and Kevin Lowe running the show should not be playing this poorly defensively. They have had quite a few good soild games where they’ve out played the other teams but still manged a tie or loss.

    Putting the puck in the net would certainly help and losing Comrie was terrible. Their biggest loss was Marchant. He didn’t get a lot of praise while he played there but other than stonehands around the net, the guy was almost flawless. The PK numbers tell everything about his importance to the team. I feel for the guy since Columbus sucks but it’s not like he had much of a choice, the Oilers didn’t even offer him a contract.

    There were some very suspect management decisions in the last off-season and it’s showing now.

  32. TC_4 says:

    It’s something Lint. You can clearly see that he’s not focused on hockey and having too much fun. I guess the guy has a terrible work ethic(sources say).

  33. mattdude says:

    sorry that i took the leafs, iknow you’re great and all but i just wanted to post that one cuz i dont know much about the other nhl teams so sorry.

  34. wheresthesoda says:

    this is my impression of u watching an islanders game…damn we just gave up a goal. rangers suck, i feel much better.. yea man rangers suck. we are having trouble staying in 8th place.. rangers suck.. we havent beatin the rangers this season.. rangers suck

  35. OldNord says:

    1987-1988, 56 goals.

  36. gr8haluschak says:

    what the hell is Isbister supose to do with 4th line time, Look what happens when he is put on the top line, hold on he….. scores wow who would have thought that. And the only thing Cross is good at is taking spots from our younger players and oh yeah fishing the puck out of the Oilers net.

  37. gr8haluschak says:

    What a DUMB COMMENT Oates – F are you serious, hmmm he is doing his job, winning faceoffs and getting the puck to good scoring areas, what more do you want from him, to part the seas, walk on water maybe.

  38. gr8haluschak says:

    C’mon guys lay off Rick Deez just because Rick er I mean George needs to use his hands to spin disks instead of fight now days does not give any one the right to make fun of him……er yeah it does, how about taking some requests Rick ummm sorry George like “Eye of the Tiger”, or how bout “Kiss him Good Bye” and the latter is dedicated to, well, you George.

  39. headpushslap says:

    Hey Jerkle, did you read the WHOLE COMMENT?

    I wrote that Oates needs quality wingers, he could win every faceoff from now until the end of the season and it won’t make a difference until someone shoots the puck.

    This is the Oilers midseason report, Oates rates an F on the Oilers club. If he played in Hotlanta with Kovy he would probably have 30 points by now. He has to create more, or SHOOT once in awhile. Parting the seas is not really an option, but he should be able to part the defence, at least.

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