Friday, October 9, 2009

Rubbydub Report

When the Oilers first announced their forward lines for this season it sure looked to me like there were two things that the coaching staff had in mind: (1) get some size on each line and (2) spread out the rubbydubs. The first of these goals has been on the radar since last season ended and the second is required because this team doesn’t have enough real players and Quinn wants to roll out all four lines for at least eight or nine minutes per game. Now, the two goals ended up coming together as two of the three rubbydubs also serve as the “big guy” on their line. So while Jacques, Stone and Brule aren’t expected to put up points, they do still need to be good enough at hockey to not bleed chances while they’re on the ice. So let’s take a look at their even-strength numbers:

ques looks terrible by the numbers and by eye that whole line has been really struggling. I suspect he’ll be given at least a few more games but so far he hasn’t been able to translate his preseason success to the games where the veteran NHLers care about winning. Brule’s most common linemates have been much better in terms of Corsi than he has (Penner is +11 and Cogliano is +1) which suggests to me that Brule has been more hindrance than help so far. Stone shows the best by the underlying numbers (in spite of his -1 rating) and is also the best to my eye. He seems to better understand how to pick his spots and his positioning is quite good. Some people think he’s too slow for the big leagues, and that might be, but so far he's used his other skills to keep from getting exposed. Each guy is averaging over ten minutes per game at EV and even more on special teams (Jacques has played a lot on the PP while Brule and Stone have each played at least three minutes total on the PK) so they're not just along for the ride. If the underlying numbers don't turn (and in the case of Stone stay the same) this team is going to need a new plan. But if Stone can keep up his good play and Jacques and Brule can turn things around this team could be quite a bit better than expected.


Coach pb9617 said...

Stone has been okay and as long as they don't ask him to do anything else, he'll be fine. But he also shouldn't be playing with O' Sullivan.

Scott Reynolds said...

What don't you like about him playing with O'Sullivan in particular? Would he be better off with Gagner? With Cogliano? The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that O'Sullivan takes a lot of shots some of which miss the net and the opposition can turn up ice. Stone could then have some trouble getting back but so far that hasn't been much of a problem.