Edmonton Journal article (Ask Matty)April 11 2012 at 7:22 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
By Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal
April 11, 2012
Q: What is your opinion of Shawn Horcoff, now that he's been at the helm of this garbage scow for two years?
A: Horcoff is a third-line centre on the Oilers now, and an expensive one for sure, unless they trade Sam Gagner or draft Grigorenko. That's where he belongs based on his point totals, although I can't imagine he'll have another 34-point season next season. He had nothing going after New Year's Eve. In his last 45 games, he had 13 points.
There is nothing wrong with his penalty-kill work or how he does in the faceoff circle, but he has to give the Oilers more bang for the buck offensively.
There has been talk that they should take the captaincy away from him. It's not going to happen. Who else would you give it to? Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle aren't ready. One of them should have the A next year, however, as a sign that they're the young leaders.
Q: I've watched the last few Oilers games and it seems like there have been quite a few non-calls, like Devan Dubnyk getting tripped up behind the net in Los Angeles and Horcoff getting high-sticked in the last game in Vancouver. My question is this: do the referees look at video after a game to see where they absolutely blew a call, like in Los Angeles when they let Ryane Clowe touch the puck with his stick from the bench?
(Jason Prohaska, Hong Kong)
A: Absolutely, the refs are critiqued. I don't know about every game, but there are supervisors who grade their performance. It's how they decide who works playoff games after the regular-season.
I agree wholeheartedly that the Oilers got stiffed on several infractions over the past weeks. Tom Renney says they had 65 fewer power plays in the second half of the season. But they aren't the only NHL club complaining. The referees seemed to have put away their whistles in a lot of buildings.
The Colorado Avalanche have a bigger gripe. They had six or seven games where they didn't get a single power play.
Q: My son-in-law and I were wondering which player has been the most prolific pointgetter against the Oilers?
A: I would say Teemu Selanne, because he's been playing against them since 1992, although Jarome Iginla has been a giant-killer too.
Selanne has 90 points in 77 career games. Forty-eight goals, 42 assists. He got his first career hat trick against the Oilers.
Q: In the NHL, has there ever been a trade of coaches?
A: Bob Waterman, the ace stats guru at Elias Sports Bureau, can't recall any time coaches have been traded in the NHL, but it has happened in major league baseball.
According to a biography of Joe Gordon, in August of 1960 the contract of Gordon, the Cleveland Indians manager, was transferred to the Detroit Tigers for the contract of their on-field manager, Jimmy Dykes. Detroit didn't get any better. They stayed in sixth place and fired Gordon at season's end. Dykes couldn't move the Indians out of fourth that season and when they slid to fifth in 1961, he was done as a major league manager.
Q: When it comes to the draft, the Oilers must not take any more small personnel, hoping they grow into bigger, better players. Why not draft the best big player and see where that goes?
(Dale Smith, St. Albert)
A: You're preaching to the choir here.
The Oilers must get bigger and stronger.
That's why they are considering six-foot-three Russian centre Mikhail Grigorenko, who plays for Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. It's also why they like Griffin Reinhart, who is six-foot-four and 205 pounds, and plays defence for the Western Hockey League Edmonton Oil Kings.
That said, size on the back end isn't as important. You think Erik Karlsson is big? He got 78 points this year for the Ottawa Senators. Maybe he's 175 pounds. Penguins' Kris Letang isn't huge in Pittsburgh, but he gets the puck up to Malkin, Crosby and Co.
The best defenceman in the draft this June is Ryan Murray, who unfortunately played in Everett of the WHL, on a rebuilding Silvertips team that wasn't very good. But he's the captain; he has been a captain pretty much everywhere he's been. He's six-foot-one and 195 pounds.
Talking to most scouts, he's the most ready of all the blue-liners to play in the NHL next year.
You can e-mail any questions about the NHL, along with your full name to: jmatheson@edmontonjournal. com. Jim will answer a sampling of your queries in Journal Sports.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
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