The kids are (gonna be) alright (?)

By , October 2, 2010 1:16 pm
How many times have we warned that you wouldnt like him when he's angry?

How many times have we warned that you wouldn't like him when he's angry?

“Any time you can lace up the skates and you know it’s going to be that type of game, chippy, hard-nosed, guys talking trash, I love it. It gets everybody fired up. Everybody in the stands and on the bench gets fired up when they see that old-school hockey, tempers, fists flying, goals being scored. To me, that’s hockey.” – Steve MacIntyre quote from last night’s post-game.

Big Mac is a guy that the Oilers players love to have on their side. The Edmonton Sun had a quote from Liam Reddox in today’s paper: “He’s a sheriff out there,” said Liam Reddox. “He takes care of us all. Even if he’s not out there he’s yelling from the bench, letting guys know that there’s going to be some retribution. It’s definitely calming to have him around.”

Big Mac also re-arranged Ivanans’ face last night… although to Ivanans’ credit, he landed some good shots on MacIntyre’s mug as well and left him with a couple of noticeable bruises.

But is that enough to deter a guy like Robyn Regehr from hitting one of our players? Possibly not, as quite some time after the fight (in the middle of the third period), he wallpapered Paajarvi, who tried to cut around him and behind the net. Is there a deterrent for that though? I’m not so sure.

I’ll be honest… if Regehr were an Oiler, I would be wearing his jersey with pride (banned from Oilogosphere for life with that comment) because I love how he plays hard and isn’t afraid to hit anyone, no matter what nuclear warhead is sitting on the other team’s bench. Would he continue to do so if he had to face the music with MacIntyre on his own? I’ll tell you, he definitely won’t stop doing it if it’s Ivanans fighting the battle. I’m not even sure that Regehr would stop if MacIntyre went after him. But really, there is no question that guys like Regehr will always continue to bang our stars so long as it’s not them facing the music.

That said, Regehr’s hit on Paajarvi was clean, and good. This is a big difference from the hit we saw him make on Ales Hemsky in 2007, when they both raced after a dump in. So there could be an argument to say that having MacIntyre in the lineup prevents Regehr from laying those dirty hits.

For me, I suspect MacIntyre is going to have to do two things to be effective: a) not be afraid to step down 1, 2 or 3 weight classes and annihilate any player who gets a bit overly aggressive with our stars, much like he did when he speed-bagged now-teammate Jim Vandermeer in a pre-season game in ’08 for beating up non-fighter Marc Pouliot in an earlier shift. b) he’s going to have to get ugly, himself, like his huge hit on Dustin Boyd, or perhaps like his end of the game retaliatory spear on Ian White, who speared Sam Gagner in front of the Flames net in the 3rd period last night. I actually didn’t know what that was for until reviewing the tape, but it all makes sense now. And let me tell you, being up close at the game, I got to see MacIntyre throwing out all sorts of challenges to everyone on the ice, and showing that lunatic-like look he gets when he’s angered (something you couldn’t quite see from the camera angles on the Sportsnet One feed). That’s what we need. Maybe it sends a message for Sunday’s game and every Battle of Alberta after it.

I will say that we do have a guy on our roster in the form of J.F. Jacques who will initiate contact with anyone on the ice, no matter who they are, and whether they see it coming or not. Add to that, he’ll back it up by throwing hands. Of course the big issue with him (other than the Oilers trying to turn him into something he’s not – a power forward) is that he’s been injured a lot and hampered with back problems. He had surgery in the off-season, but the fact that he’s already missed time this pre-season due to his back might be a bit worrisome.

So this is where Big Mac comes in. Take a page from Jacques’ book (and quite frankly, his own book) and hit everything he possibly can. He’s a big guy, so that will likely mean that he’ll need to work on his foot speed as much as possible, in order for that to work. But he should be looking to finish every single check he can if he wants minutes in the lineup, and he’s going to need to work over the most unlikely of opponents if they hit our players dangerously.

Does Steve MacIntyre in our lineup provide a bubble of safety for our stars?

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13 Responses to “The kids are (gonna be) alright (?)”

  1. Mr.Majestyk says:

    I think hitting back is the key to all this. We get so worried that Reghyr is going to hit our skill guys, and how we can get him back. Forget about him, we need our guys to smash Jbo and Iginla. From this perspective then I say hell yeah, let Big Mac steamroll whoever he wants, and if they have something to say about it I’m sure he’d be happy to oblige.

    I want every team in the NHL to hate the Oilers.

  2. Racki says:

    Yup, my thoughts exactly. That’s why I liked Jacques.. I think he did that pretty effectively when he was in the lineup last year. MacIntyre has shown some glimpses of it. I think he wants to do it, he just might not be quick enough to. We’ll see.

    Stortini has to get back into that mode too. He seems to have tailed off in the hit-everything-that-moves department. He might be a bit of a slow starter though.

  3. Mr.Majestyk says:

    I think Jones might be a decent pest as well. Does he have a history of chirping at guys?

  4. Haboiler says:

    Fraser hasn’t impressed me much either and has struggled with face-offs. O’Marra was great on the dot last nite but for some reason I don’t like his game…

  5. Racki says:

    Mr.Majestyk: I think Jones might be a decent pest as well.Does he have a history of chirping at guys?

    When we picked him up, I think the scouting report said he was an agitator, or it was mentioned that he was an agitator (which came as a bit of a surprise to me). But it does appear that yes, he does do that… I think he`s been pretty active in that role this pre-season so far.

  6. dawgtoy says:

    I agree somewhat that hitting back might be the key, but there isn’t much rock ’em sock ’em on this club. I along with many have said that one of Tambo’s needs was to address the Colton Orr, James Neil type of player that will be first to use his body and aggression, yet able to play a regular shift. I know they don’t grow on trees and they don’t come cheap, but when the chips are down, they’re worth their weight in gold. Colby Armstrong would have been a tremendous score for the club, but we would likely have had to overpay to attract him.

  7. dawgtoy says:

    Racki: Yup, my thoughts exactly. That’s why I liked Jacques.. I think he did that pretty effectively when he was in the lineup last year. MacIntyre has shown some glimpses of it. I think he wants to do it, he just might not be quick enough to. We’ll see.Stortini has to get back into that mode too. He seems to have tailed off in the hit-everything-that-moves department. He might be a bit of a slow starter though.

    I also agree with your assessment of JF, but ultimately health has played such a key role in his development or lack there of, and will continue to be a factor. If healthy he can be a locomotive when he’s played in the right role (not the first line), and if he should stay healthy, I think many would have to eat their words. They should go slow with him and make damn sure he’s ready, we’re in development mode right now anyway, take it slow and “do the right thing.”

  8. Adam Dyck says:

    I don’t know if Jones is an agitator, per se, but he does have a history of drawing far more penalties than he takes. Whether he does that by chirping guys or through his play doesn’t matter one iota, he gets that job done.

  9. Mr.Majestyk says:

    Every guy on the lineup should be finishing checks, but what guys should we be depending on to make big hits? Follow up to that is how many guys on a given night are either decent fighters, or atleast willing and can hold their own?

  10. Racki says:

    Mr M: my thoughts, looking up the roster..

    Guys who can throw the big hits and back it up: Jacques, MacIntyre, Stortini, Peckham, Smid, Strudwick, Vandermeer. Not a lot considering MacI and Strudwick aren’t the best players, and probably only 3 or 4 of those guys would be in the line up at one time. I suppose that’s not bad, but damn.. I seriously wish Jacques was healthy and without back issues. I know I’m one of very few fans of his, but if you guys think of him as just a hitting machine / aggressor, he’s a fun guy to watch 😉

    I agree with Dawgtoy, that having that Orr/Carcillo/Neal type sure would come in handy. Maybe we do in Storts, but he’s got to start playing like he’s desperate to keep his job again.

    Adam Dyck: that is definitely a good reason to keep him on the roster. Too bad he doesn’t have better hands. But I’ve seen him draw a few this pre-season already.

  11. chucker says:

    Yeah, I’ve always been a fan of nasty hockey. I wish we had a clone of Brian Marchment. He kept guys honest. Regehr plays a similar game, but not as much on the edge. I know some guys think Mush was a dirty player, but guess what, all his team mates loved him? Why, same reason as Flamers love Regehr. We had some of that in Smith, but not as intimidating.

    JFJ on a hit line is effective as hell. He is great at this role. I hope this comeback is good and he can move on and help us.

    As for MacI responding to issues on the ice that fell outside of the idiotic code that LaRaque seemed to think was his role, no need to worry. He’s out there to hurt guys and he knows it. He’s a mini boogey man. I have full confidence that he’ll hit to hurt, fight like hell and pulverize those who mess with the skill guys. I would be sleeping very well if I was Taylor Hall.

    EDIT: One thing I was kind of hoping the Oilers would do is sign Andy Sutton. He’s similar to Mush. Cost effective as well and he’s actually pretty good on D. He would have signed a one year I bet.

    The other guy that would have been nice is Aaron Asham or a similar type. Jody Shelley maybe.

    DOUBLE EDIT: The thing that tells you MacIntyre wants to inflict pain on the other team, the body shot. I don’t know any other player that throws these and he throws them right at the kidney. That f’n hurts if you’ve never experienced a punch there. He knows what he needs to do and he doesn’t care what other teams think or who it is. I love this guy.

  12. Racki says:

    Agreed on Sutton. I would have loved him, and he was a guy I mentioned before too. Not the most mobile, but the guy is a giant, after all, and all things considered, he moves well for his size.

  13. Mr.Majestyk says:

    That list of guys who are willing to drop em isn’t too bad. Heck I’d even throw Penner(not that I want him fighting, but he has dropped the gloves coming to the aid of a teammate) and Fraser into the mix. I guess the point is, we do have a bunch of inexperienced young guys that teams might take a run at, but we’ve got enough ‘pugnacity and truculence’ on this team that we can play that game as well.

    I’m in favour of the Oilers having less respect for other teams and other teams star players, they certainly don’t respect us.

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