Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mr. Nice... Corsi Numbers

Our man has NHL experience. He's a career coach. He's not coaching in the playoffs, but the team he coached this year is. He's no former Oiler but the general manager that gave his last gig is the Kingpin. He's worked with Steve Tambellini in Vancouver so the two know each other. He's also worked with Jaromir Jagr.

If that last bit becomes a requirement from on high then Tom Renney is the next coach of the Edmonton Oilers and it's not as though I'm the first one to bring up the connection. Now Renney has had a couple of NHL jobs in the past so we'll go into the same comparison that we've used for Quinn and Crawford before him, namely, compare him to those coaches he immediately preceded or followed (hat tip for the methodology to the Contrarian Goaltender). Now Renney has been hired and fired twice each which gives us only four different situations to look at. This is a smaller sample than for either of the two previous coaches so it may be a bit less valuable. Still, let take a look:

The non-Renney coaches are Mike Keenan (63 games), Glen Sather (62 games), John Tortorella (21 games) and Pat Quinn (6 games). The difference between Renney and the others is pretty marginal so by this measure he looks like an average coach. It's worth noting that only three seasons of Renney's coaching career are eliminated using this method. They also happen to be his three best seasons, all with the Rangers. His points percentage in those three seasons was .591, a substantial leap up, so it's not as though he's been a consistently mediocre coach. I don't think this points to Renney being a great coach but neither do I think it points to him being particularly poor.

In terms of experience Renney and Tambellini have working together, Renney spent one and a half seasons as coach of the Canucks where they had no success. The two also would have worked together with Team Canada in 2004 and 2005 where Renney was an assistant coach. The two enjoyed a much greater degree of success winning gold in 2004 and silver in 2005.

Renney is generally considered a player's coach, a nice guy. Everyone and their dog used the phrase "no more Mr. Nice Guy" when he was replaced with John Tortorella though that might be more of a commentary on Tortorella than Renney. I'm not sure it's too relevant either way as it pertains to his status as a potential coach in Edmonton but if he gives the boys a lot of rope he may end up being disappointed if guys like Penner and Nilsson are as unresponsive as MacTavish made them out to be. Stylistically, Renney has (at least) one very interesting quality. Given the emphasis placed on Corsi numbers in a lot of the discussions I thought it would be good to look at this little piece from Renney in the 2006 playoffs (hat tip Blueshirt Bulletin):

"They have to shoot more, they overpass the puck. The concepts of attack are there, they're good. [The] bottom line is, when you're in the [playoffs] you've got to shoot the puck, go there, and try to do something with it beyond that. [There is] something certain players think they have to do in order to score, and that's to create an empty net. The only bad shot is the one you don't take. I'd like to see us shoot more."

The emphasis is mine but I do think this quote is pretty telling. Renney encourages his players to shoot, shoot, shoot. The high Corsi numbers the Rangers have posted in the past have, at times, led people to believe that they're getting a raw deal from the percentages. It would seem that at least some of their outshooting has been a strategic choice and that lower percentages might be expected. If Renney becomes the next head coach of the Edmonton Oilers the Corsi debate will get some interesting new evidence under the close and watchful eye of the Oilogosphere. Unfortunately (for research purposes), I don't think we'll get that chance. I really think that the biggest reason Renney's name is getting thrown out there are the Jagr rumours. He doesn't have a great track record in the NHL and the worst part of it came with the man in charge looking on. I wouldn't cry bloody murder if Renney were hired, but I wouldn't be excited either. Unless he brings Jagr.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Craig MacTavish - 2 Samuel 11:14-17

In September Kevin had a meeting with Steve about MacTavish. In the meeting Lowe said, "Put MacTavish in the front line where the criticism is fiercest. Then, if things do not go well, withdraw from him so that only he will be struck down and die." So Kevin and Steve left MacTavish to take the criticism. When it was clear that the Blues, Ducks, Predators and Wild had all passed Steve's team by, some of the men in Kevin's army were bound to fall and MacTavish, the Silver Fox, was fired.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Crow Carries Their Soul

People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.

And sometimes he can make wrong things more wrong. Today we're going to take a look at Marc Crawford who fits a lot of the criteria that Steve Tambellini outlined yesterday for what he's looking for out of a new head coach (people that (1) have some NHL experience, (2) are still coaching a playoff team somewhere, (3) are outside of the organization and (4) have some rapport with Tambellini already). He has NHL experience, he's from outside the organization, he's worked with Tambellini in the past and he even has the ever seductive Stanley Cup on his resume. He also strikes me as a bit of an idiot. He calls Ales Hemsky Alex. Steve Moore. A man who saw value in Matt Cooke and Jarkko Ruutu. A man who believed in Dan Cloutier. That voice. I'll make no bones about the fact that I start this investigation with some bias against The Crow.

First we'll take a look at how Crawford has done compared to his near contemporaries. I'm going to compare Crawford's performance at the NHL level with the coaches that immediately preceded him and the coaches that immediately followed him. The idea here is that the situation in terms of players is similar enough to give a reasonable gauge of the coach's performance. The idea comes from the Contrarian Goaltender who used a similar system in trying to determine the effect of Pat Burns' coaching style on goaltending. Marc Crawford has been hired and fired three times each which gives us six different situations to look at. If he was replaced midway through a year only that year's results are included. If he was replaced after completing a season, the next season's results are included:

The non-Crawford coaches are Pierre Page (1 time, 84 games), Bob Hartley (1 time 82 games), Alain Vigneault (1 time, 82 games), Terry Murray (1 time, 82 games), Mike Keenan (1 time, 45 games) and John Torchetti (1 time, 12 games). The only one that Crawford outperformed was Pierre Page back in 1994-95, although he wasn't completely trounced by anyone. These results aren't decisive by any means, but they do represent one piece of evidence that Marc Crawford is not a particularly good coach. The man clearly has NHL experience, but the quality of that experience is not particularly impressive. My concern is that the Stanley Cup he won in Colorado makes him look more attractive than he actually is.

Since he runs a blog at CBC, I thought that it would be interesting to throw around some of his comments on the Oilers in a post from February 26, 2009:

"When teams venture into Rexall Place in Edmonton, they match up against a team filled with players who compete at a different level than almost any other franchise in the NHL. Their standard in the key area of toughness and team play remain uncommonly high."

"It is this standard that amazes me and it is born out of the fact that the Oilers have remained a team that rarely leaves its family when hiring coaching and managing personalities."

"Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Jason Strudwick, Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, along with Dwayne Roloson, have played inspired hockey and they are the players that the coaching staff uses as the benchmark when analyzing the competitive level of players like Dustin Penner. No wonder he is constantly in the doghouse."

Is this a man you want as your head coach? No! I say it again: No! Yet the fact is, he measures up with many of the other things that Tambellini mentioned in his presser. Crawford and Tambellini spent time together in Vancouver with Crawford arriving close to the time Tambellini began to move up the food chain. Crawford began as coach in Vancouver in 1998, the same year that Tambellini became Vice President of Player Personnel. That team was pretty successful, somethign not easily forgotten for a man who saw his share of failure. Crawford also likes to play an offensive and physical style of game which seems like the direction Tambellini wants to go. Crawford has been named Coach of the Year in the AHL and in the NHL. Five division titles. A Stanley Cup. A winner. Oh no.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Search Begins

The firing of Craig MacTavish means one thing for sure: the Edmonton Oilers will have a new coach next year. As such, I thought it would be interesting to evaluate various coaches that might be under consideration. As Jonathan Willis points out in his debrief on the firing, we should probably be looking at people that (1) have some NHL experience, (2) are still coaching a playoff team somewhere, (3) are outside of the organization and (4) have some rapport with Tambellini already. I'd say that any coaching candidate should have at least two and more likely three of these criteria to be under serious consideration.

The first candidate I'll be looking at is Pat Quinn. Quinn fulfills three of the four criteria (he's not coaching a playoff team anywhere) which is pretty good. First, let's take a look at his NHL experience. In order to do this I'm going to compare Quinn's performance at the NHL level with the coaches that immediately preceded him and the coaches that immediately followed him. The idea here is that the situation in terms of players is similar enough to give a reasonable gauge of the coach's performance. The idea comes from the Contrarian Goaltender who used a similar system in trying to determine the effect of Pat Burns' coaching style on goaltending. Pat Quinn has been hired and fired five times each which gives us ten different situations to look at. If he was replaced midway through a year only that year's results are included. If he was replaced after completing a season, the next season's results are included. This gives us the following snap-shot:

The non-Quinn coaches are Mike Murphy (2 times, 120 games), Rick Ley (2 times, 114 games), Bob McCammon (3 times, 112 games), Tom Renney (1 time, 82 games), Paul Maurice (1 time, 82 games) and Roger Nielson (1 time, 28 games). There looks to be a real difference here between Quinn and the other coaches. In fact, out of the ten comparisons there isn't one where the replacement coach is decisively better. This is a pretty impressive record of past success. His last NHL coaching job came in 2005-06 so it's not as though he's far removed from the game. If NHL experience is important to Steve Tambellini, Pat Quinn passes the test.

The other criteria are all easily addressed. Pat Quinn is not coaching a playoff team, he is from outside the organization and he will be familiar to Tambellini from their time together in Vancouver when Quinn was the coach and Tambellini was the Director of Public and Media Relations from 1990-1996. Quinn and Tambellini also worked together with the gold-medal winning Canadian Olympic team in 2002 where Quinn was again the coach and Tambellini was the Director of Player Personnel. The two were together in the same roles for the World Cup in 2004 and the Olympics in 2006. They are certainly familiar with one another and worked well enough together that Quinn was chosen for three consecutive best-on-best tournaments.

Quinn's reputation is that of a coach who relies on an attacking forecheck, but who is generally not considered a particularly good tactician. It would certainly be a change from the style used by the Oilers this past season which was generally quite passive. As an added bonus, Quinn has connections to the Edmonton area, having played for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 1960s. The biggest downside is that the man is really old. Seriously. I think there is a good chance that Pat Quinn could be the next coach of the Edmonton Oilers and I don't think it would be a bad choice.

Last Minute Playoff Picks

When making these kind of picks I usually base most of my ideas on how these teams have fared against other good teams throughout the regular season. The Falconer did an outstanding recap of this for both the Western Conference and for the Eastern Conference. So a big thanks to him for his input here. For me the big numbers are the record (in regulation), the goal differential and the luck (PDO number), so here they are, all against other playoff teams (but for an in depth look you should really go see Bird Watchers Anonymous):

San Jose 21-13-6
Detorit 23-16-4
Chicago 18-19-8
Columbus 18-19-7
Anaheim 17-20-3
Vancouver 16-19-4
Calgary 15-21-3
St. Louis 15-22-7

Detroit +0.60
San Jose +0.30
Vancouver +0.05
Chicago +0.04
Columbus -0.05
Anaheim -0.15
St. Louis -0.39
Calgary -0.56

Vancouver 101.5
Columbus 100.4
Anaheim 100.3
Detroit 100.1
Chicago 99.9
San Jose 99.3
St. Louis 98.7
Calgary 98.2

San Jose over Anaheim in Six
Detroit over Columbus in Six
Vancouver over St. Louis in Six
Chicago over Calgary in Four

I do wish that Columbus had managed to retain that sixth seed so that I could pick them to advance but I'm not one who believes Detroit's goaltending is going to drag them down so Detroit it is.

Boston 22-12-6
Washington 21-12-7
Carolina 18-16-6
Pittsburgh 20-18-7
New Jersey 21-19-3
New York 16-22-6
Philadelphia 15-21-6
Montreal 13-20-7

Boston +0.88
Washington +0.31
Pittsburgh +0.16
New Jersey -0.14
Carolina -0.15
Philadelphia -0.23
Montreal -0.28
New York -0.36

Boston 103.3
Pittsburgh 101.5
Philadelphia 100.3
Washington 100.1
Montreal 100.1
Carolina 99.5
New Jersey 98.9
New York 98.3

Boston over Montreal in Five
Washington over New York in Five
Carolina over New Jersey in Six
Pittsburgh over Philadelphia in Seven

New Jersey has been impressive this year but most of their damage is against the bad teams. Plus they're the Devils. And this, my friends, is the Gospel of Hockey.

Boston over Carolina in Seven
Washington over Pittsburgh in Six
San Jose over Chicago in Five
Detroit over Vancouver in Five

Detroit over San Jose in Six
Washington over Boston in Six

Detroit over Washington in Six

"This does not absolve the players...

of their performance or lack thereof."

- Steve Tambellini on the firing of Craig MacTavish

I'm not sure what to think of this. Does it mean that he thinks the players are good enough but underperformed or is this an acknowledgment that if expectations are higher we might need better players? The context around that comment seems to indicate that for Tambellini it's both and. The proof will be what's done over the coming months. It should be an interesting summer.

MacTavish Meets Expectations

There has been some discussion around the Oilogosphere that this Oilers team underachieved. This perceived underachievement may well cost Craig MacTavish his job. The best defense of MacTavish to this point has been that the team achieved a reasonable number of points given their talent level. The problem, then, is the talent level of the team, not the coaching. To this point I have been somewhat sympathetic to this argument and upon further reflection I think there are some further arguments in its favour.

If we count shootout results as ties the Oilers record this season at home was 17-20-4 and their road record was 15-20-6. The first thing this shows is that the Oilers were much better at shootouts on the road (5-1) than they were at home (1-3) thus making people believe that they are a better road team than is actually the case. This is also supported by goal differential. The Oilers Pythagorean winning percentage at home (108 GF and 111 GA) was 0.486 compared to an actual winning percentage of 0.459. The Oilers Pythagorean winning percentage on the road (120 GF and 133 GA) was 0.449 compared to an actual winning percentage of 0.429. This information also demonstrates that the Oilers actually played better at home than they did on the road. The idea that this team choked at home seems to be wrongheaded, especially when you consider that the most lopsided Oiler losses were at home (9-2 vs. Chicago and 10-2 vs. Buffalo) and their most lopsided wins were on the road (8-1 at Colorado and 7-2 at Columbus). The goal differential seems to indicate that the Oilers probably deserved a few more points before the shootout than they actually got, especially at home.

If we accept the idea that this team, on talent, should have achieved between 87 and 93 points, the goal differential indicates that this team met expectations. If MacTavish is on the way out, it had better also be acknowledged that this team has some other problems to fix or the next coach may well continue the great decade-long tradition of Oiler teams on the playoff bubble.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scoring Chances - Games 1-82

Most of what I had to throw out there I put in the post below looking at just the second half but I may throw out a few quips after the chart. Once again, thanks very much to Dennis for logging all of the chances. This is the fruit of his labour.

(For those unfamiliar with the metric a player is awarded a chance any time someone on the ice has a chance to score. He is awarded with a “chance for” if someone on his team has a chance and awarded with a “chance against” if someone on the opposing team has a chance to score. The results are broken down into three game states, EV (even strength), PP (Power Play) and SH (Short-Handed). The players are organized according to their jersey numbers.)

Games One Through Eighty-Two, October 12 to April 11
Missing Games 22 at St. Louis, 33 at Vancouver, 40 vs San Jose, 81 vs Calgary and 82 at Calgary
21 = Potulny and 21* = Kotalik

The season ended with Oiler fans looking pretty glum, so I thought it would be worthwhile to point out a couple of positives:

1. Sam Gagner finished the year in the positive in his 19 year-old season. He also showed well in his time on the PK early in the year. We could have a very good player on our hands. If management is smart we'll be talking about the Gagner window after he signs a nice long extension this summer.

2. Shawn Horcoff took more defensive zone draws then any other forward in the league and almost stayed even for the year. That's impressive. Hopefully he can do it until he's 40.

3. Lubomir Visnovsky is a fantastic player. He'll be in the lineup in October.

4. Denis Grebeshkov is a keeper and he wants to stay. You can't ask for much more than that.

5. We had a chance to see Erik Cole killing penalties. I haven't checked to see if he's doing it in Carolina, but man, that guy was a beast.

6. Ales Hemsky outscores tough competition at EV. That's a feather in the cap of the much maligned Craig MacTavish. If you're angry with him or want him to be fired just think about that for a couple of minutes and be thankful for the hard work he's put in.

7. Dustin Penner leads all forwards in EV +/- (original emotions felt about MacTavish restored).

Scoring Chances - Games 42-82

I will be putting up the season totals but I wanted to look at these results first because the midway splits are quite interesting for a number of different players. Thanks again to Dennis for counting all of the scoring chances. It's too bad the project ended in April my friend.

(For those unfamiliar with the metric a player is awarded a chance any time someone on the ice has a chance to score. He is awarded with a “chance for” if someone on his team has a chance and awarded with a “chance against” if someone on the opposing team has a chance to score. The results are broken down into three game states, EV (even strength), PP (Power Play) and SH (Short-Handed). The players are organized according to their jersey numbers.)

Games Forty-Two through Eighty-Two, January 13 to April 11
Missing Games 81 vs Calgary and 82 at Calgary
21 = Potulny and 21* = Kotalik

If you would like a point of reference for this discussion, the results for the first half can be found here. A good place to begin is probably up at the top. Horcoff and Hemsky weren't getting killed out there and they had a wide variety of linemates so it's possible that they struggled to find chemistry with one another. On the other hand it's possible that they just didn't play as well. They were a combined +35 in the first half and a combined -32 in the second half at EV. In order for the team to make that up they would have needed others to pick up the pace.

And that brings me to Sam Gagner who did indeed pick up his scoring pace (21 points over his last 18 games, apparently). That article would seem to reflect the general sentiment: Gagner played better in the second half. These results tell a vastly different tale: +24 in the first half and -22 in the second half. It shows how much goals and assists colour the vision of those watching the games. It also shows how little luck/confidence/variance cares about whether or not you're outplaying the other guys.

These results also show the importance of starting well. Sheldon Souray managed a +9 in his first segment to get the good feelings rolling. Over the first half he was a respectable -9 taking on the toughs. In the second half? -37. Leading the team in goals doesn't hurt either of course but I do think that the very nice first half helped him from being ravaged too badly by the fans. The positive in all of this is that these results are probably not all his fault. Taking on the toughs with Steve Staios isn't a winning assignment. Staios continued his terrible results posting a -75. This pairing is where the loss of Visnovsky was felt the most. You can also see it in Grebeshkov's play, although you need to split pre and post Visnovsky to see it: -10 without Visnovsky and +35 before he went down. The defence missed Visnovsky big time.

Speaking of the defence, Smid still kind of sucks. Or at least, he isn't ready to drive third pairing results. His -47 looks bad. Any step he can be considered to have taken forward with his -12 in the first half seems to have been retraced here. That is, unless his step forward was punching people more. He did that consistently. I don't think it's time to give up on Smid, but the Oilers had better be able to get him to sign cheaply. How much demand can there be for offensively stunted defensive defencemen that can't handle third pairing duty and don't PK? Anything more than 1.5M is a loss in my books.

So that's the theme really. Nobody did well in the second half. The first unit special teams (giving Hemsky and Souray a quick look-over for the PP and Souray, Staios and Horcoff for the PK) seem to have done a bit worse but it's hard to tell without the ice time. Still, fewer chances on the PP and more allowed on the PK isn't a recipe for success. The only people to improve were Ethan Moreau (-54 to -42), MacIntyre (-4 to -3), Pisani (-22 to -11), Strudwick (-26 to -24), Stortini (-19 to -18), Brule (-12 to +4), Gilbert (-13 to -11) and Schremp (-5 to not playing). Brule's jump was a very small sample. The only others that are impressive are Pisani who cut his differential in half playing a lot more games and Gilbert, the only one of the blueliners to weather the Visnovsky storm and come out ahead of where he started. The team leader for scoring chance differential this half? Lubomir Visnovsky (we miss you), Denis Grebeshkov (sign him!) and Dustin Penner (MacT told me not to comment).

Next up is the full year results.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Scoring Chances - Games 72-82

This is the last ten game segment of the year. If you're reading this, the fact that you may be almost as interested in these results as you are about the playoffs speaks volumes about the nature of the results. Nonetheless, special thanks are in order to Dennis who did all of the leg-work tracking scoring chances for nearly every game this season. For a game by game look or if you want to say thanks, you can find Dennis here. If you're waiting for the full season write-up you can either add up all the segments yourself or wait another couple of hours since they should be up later tonight.

(For those unfamiliar with the metric a player is awarded a chance any time someone on the ice has a chance to score. He is awarded with a “chance for” if someone on his team has a chance and awarded with a “chance against” if someone on the opposing team has a chance to score. The results are broken down into three game states, EV (even strength), PP (Power Play) and SH (Short-Handed). The players are organized according to their jersey numbers.)

Games Seventy-Two Through Eighty-Two, March 22 to April 11
Missing Games 81 vs Calgary and 82 at Calgary
21 = Potulny and 21* = Kotalik

As you might expect for a team that didn't win many games down the stretch there aren't a whole lot of positives here. After the last ten game segment the deadline moves saw O'Sullivan showing promise while Kotalik tanked. This segment shows that the roles were reversed. O'Sullivan spent most of his time with Gagner and the two of them were just awful at EV. Over the long term moving Erik Cole was the right move but when you factor in the job he was doing on the PK and mix it in with the scoring threat the Cole-Gagner tandem had been at EV it's hard not to think that the trades made the team worse in the short term. Seven points worse? No. (And that God for that).

The first line awoke from its doldrums here which makes the lack of a secondary option all the more apalling. I'm glad to see Hemsky and Horcoff finish the year strongly(ish) although MacT did move them away from O'Sullivan rather soon after my last update here.

Pisani's last 20 games were somewhat encouraging. If we recognize that he's been doing his share of the heavy lifting, the -7 doesn't look bad at all. It will be important next year that he can be a real player and the first half of this season sure didn't make it look likely it would happen. I'll choose to have hope in Fernando... mostly because it isn't on offer from a couple of other vets. Moreau (-15) and Staios (-17) were terrible yet again. Sigh...

For all the yammering about Liam Reddox and his undeserved chances, the dude rode the bench hard until we were totally out of the hunt. So did Pouliot. Jacques managed two more games. Among those three, I think Jacques has certainlly worked himself back into the mix, especially considering MacT's comments earlier today about the team needing more size.

There was a debate in the gameday thread about whether Souray or Visnovsky is better. Souray was -10 this segment. It wasn't his worst one (-11). In fact, Souray was in the - column seven out of eight times. At least he got to play those first ten games with... Visnovsky. Any guesses as to Visnovsky's worst segment? +1... I wish I could write "with Souray!" after those dots but it just isn't true. Together they were dominant. Nonetheless, I think Souray has a hill to climb to make this discussion close.

More post-mortem later tonight.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oilers v. Flames - Lamentations 1:1-3

How deserted lies the Oilogosphere,
once so full of hope!
Our team is a forsaken lover,
lusted after in her youth,
A queen among the Canadian cities
and now she has been enslaved to mediocrity.

Weeping bitterly through the night,
tears of sorrow fall down her cheeks.
Among all her fans
none will comfort her.
All her fans have betrayed her;
the boos ring out, they are now her enemies.

After another season without playoffs,
Edmonton has gone into exile.
Players come and go from all the nations;
soulless mercenaries and petulant youth.
Every team in pursuit has overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oilers v. Flames - Habakkuk 1:1-4

The oracle that Katz the prophet received:

"How long, O Yahweh, must I call out for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "My God, we suck!"
but you do not save?

Why do you make us watch injustice?
Why do you tolerate this horror?
Sixteen playoff teams are before me;
Blaming, and firings will abound.

Your hand has been paralyzed,
and your chosen team never prevails!
The wicked hem the righteous in their own zone,
and the Flames pervert your justice with a division crown."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oilers v. Kings - Psalm 102:8-10

The Kings have reproached us all day long;
They use our name as a curse:
"Be careful Lubo! Or we'll send you to Edmonton!"
Our playoff hopes are fading!
Our beers are mingled with tears!
O Yahweh, because of your indignation
and your wrath,
you lifted our hopes last spring
only to cast us away.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Oilers v. Canucks - Matthew 12:22-32

Suddenly a penalty-obbsessed man who was nearly blind in one eye but surely not mute was brought to him, and MacTavish healed him, so that the man could stop complaining and outchance even a formidable opponent like the Canucks. All of his teammates were amazed, and said, "Can this really be a captain in the line of Messier? Unitl now, his leadership has been like that of Corson." But when the fans, who are never satisfied, heard this, they said,"It is only in the spirit of Lamoreillo, the prince of demons, that this man is able to get players to play well, with threats and boring defensive systems!" MacTavish knew their thoughts and said to them, "A house divided cannot stand. Similarly, a city and fanbase splintered by feuding will fall apart. If I, by the power of Lamoreillo and his demons, Vigneault and Lemaire among them, try to overcome those same demons, then the kingdom of evil is divided against itself and their teams are doomed. If you think that I am only able to motivate players with bagskates and defense, by what measure do you and your sons suggest for these millionaire whiners? You don't know! You yourselves are your own judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God I motivate these players to win three, nay, four consecutive games and lead them to the playoffs, then the kingdom of God has come. Or do you think some little imbecile like Rob Schremp could waltz through the Devils, Wild or Canucks like it was a shootout in 2004? Fools! You need a strong man, someone on the Holy Mandelbaum Training Program to defeat a strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house for points. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever boos our team at home is a fool. Nonetheless, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven to you, but blasphemy against the Holy Mandelbaum Training Program and the Mandelbaums themselves will never be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Mighty Mac will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Mandelbaum Training Program will not be forgiven, either in my age as coach or in the coaching ages to come.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oilers v. Sharks - Psalm 74:1-11

Why have you rejected us O God?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?

Remember the Oilers of old,
the team of your inheritance, whom you redeemed from
the WHA, where you dwelt.

Turn your eyes toward these ruins,
to the destruction brought upon the decrepid Literally. Crush.

Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
they celebrate victory after victory.

The Ducks behaved like wild men wielding axes;
they cut through us like kindling.
They smashed our hands
with their axes and hatchets.

The Wild may as well have burned Literally. Crush. to the ground;
they defiled Yahweh's house.
They said in their hearts, "Let us crush their playoff hopes completely!"
They set our hopes aflame so that they are now as dust.

We have been given no miraculous comebacks;
no prophets of redemption are left,
and none of us knows how long our sorrow will last.

How long will your enemies mock you, O God?
Will your foes revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand?
Raise your hand once more and destroy them!