Big Mac still learning his role..

By , March 7, 2011 12:39 pm
I miss this Steve MacIntyre...

I miss this Steve MacIntyre...

Big MacIntyre’s use in the Oilers lineup has been given much debate on this here blog, as well as other blogs and forums out there. What good is an enforcer that can’t enforce?

Well, yesterday the Edmonton Sun had an article about the big man. I think he’s starting to get it, but that remains to be seen, if he can keep it going. Here’s the quote that made me feel like it finally clicked somewhere in his brain:

The times that I’ve been in, I feel I was a little hesitant. The last couple of games, I wanted to go out there and be a little more aggressive. I’m not going to find too many guys willing to go. I was talking to my dad the other day and he said you have to go there and do something, get something going.

Smart man, that MacIntyre Sr. We’ve mentioned it here before several times. If they won’t go with you when you ask them, then make them come to you. It’s how Boogaard has made a living.

It’s not an easy job for MacIntyre at all, there is a lot of risk involved. He can’t just throwdown anytime, as a guy that makes league minimum can’t really afford to take any suspensions, should he start racking up instigator penalties. He also doesn’t want to be a guy Renney is scared to put on the ice because he thinks he might go out and take a dumb penalty. He’s got to walk a pretty thin line in order to be useful without hurting his club.

At any rate, it does sound like something clicked in MacIntyre recently.. perhaps what his dad said. We’ll just have to wait and see. The thing is, Renney isn’t going to come out and completely define things for him. MacIntyre (and his ilk) have to figure out parts of their roles on their own. But for sure the best way for him to make himself useful is to go out and hit anything that moves and let the action come to him.

I’m not so sure that the traditional enforcer exists anymore, however. I think they’ve transformed from enforcer (a guy who protects his teammates) to shit disturber (a guy that goes out and stirs up trouble until someone takes exception). I guess basically his ideal role is nothing more than a very large agitator – a Matt Cooke that can fight.

I know most of you folks dislike J.F. Jacques, but once he was back on the 4th line last year, I thought that he was initiating things well, and getting other teams off their game by thinking about him. He would border on the line of dirty with some of his hits, and throw the mitts down when needed.

It’s really time for this team to start playing tougher… we all know it. This team is horrible at reacting… perhaps it’s because of the strict rule book. But we shouldn’t even worry about reacting.. we should be proactive, launch a preemptive strike and have these guys like MacIntyre, Jacques, Vandermeer, Peckham and such make it very difficult on the opposing team to play against us (credit due to Vandy and Peckham who have been good at that.. especially Peckham). We can either react to the battles that the other team starts for us and be in defensive mode, or we can start the battles ourselves and then pick which fights we want to have and who we want to fight with. In my opinion, this is the new NHL.

If you can’t go to them, make them come to you.

8 Responses to “Big Mac still learning his role..”

  1. John says:

    Geez I hope he finally gets it; I really like the dude & would love him to stay for several more years! He’s forced to be a certain type of player being that he isn’t naturally gifted with speed or skill. This niche (the tough guy role) is viewed by most of us a simple no-brainer but ironically this may now be the most difficult role in hockey (aside from goaltending) to learn & more importantly to be highly effective at. Just because a guy is huge doesn’t automatically mean he is tough, mean, & ready to kick ass at the drop of a hat. Penner is a prime example of that. Add to that you need to be a capable skater, contribute on the scoreboard once in a while, & most of all be considered an asset worthy of taking up a roster spot.

    I think Big Mac is the kind of guy who if he learns how to enforce when he needs to enforce, gets involved in some high energy net crashing scoring plays when the team needs a pick-me-up, & generally be useful enough for the coach to throw out on more than one line, could have a good, prosperous career with the Oil. Who knows, maybe he could even become more beloved than Laraque ;)

  2. chucker says:

    If Mac could skate like the average NHLer, there would be no issue. He’s really at a disadvantage because of that. Guys like Brown and Semenko, Williams, Domi, Probert; they could all skate well enough to be a guy who isn’t a liability. Some of them even moreso like Probert, Williams and Domi. All three were good skaters and decent players.

    Mac has all the toughness and attitude parts down pat. He’s really behind hockey wise because he’s been in crappy leagues because of his skill and being used as a pure pugilist. I don’t think at this stage he’s worth the time to try and develop skills like being a better skater and where to be on the ice if you’re not fighting. I love the guy, but he’s not great unless he’s able to hit or fight. Because his footspeed and positional awareness are not NHL level, he becomes a liability. LaRaque was another guy who could at least skate and take a regular shift.

    Sorry guys. I love his fighting abilities, but I just don’t see him being able to bring enough. Perhaps we should go after Rupp in the off season. He’s UFA. Rypien is another guy we should go after as well. Both can play a regular shift and fight/shit disturb well.

  3. victoriaoilerfan says:

    chucker: If Mac could skate like the average NHLer, there would be no issue. He’s really at a disadvantage because of that. Rypien is another guy we should go after as well.

    Hmm I kinda deleted the rest of your post after the 1st sentence Chucker hope you don’t mind. But after your correct assesment that BigMac can’t skate you said it all IMO.
    As for Rypien, notta. I love the guy but he has a serious issue that needs rehab.
    Can the Flyers afford to keep Carcillo? How about Konopka? (Sp)

  4. Racki says:

    Konopka definitely is on my wishlist. I would probably stay clear of Rypien too. I like that he is an excellent “pound for pound” fighter.. but the fear I’d have is that those crazy issues he has might rub off on players.. or at least just that he wouldn’t gel with the team. He wouldn’t likely have the same destructive effect as Sean Avery though.

    But yah, anyways, Konopka.. definite target. If Hordichuk wasn’t so banged up now, he might have been an interest too.

    Chucker’s Michael Rupp suggestion also gets my approval.

  5. Steve-O says:

    I read that on the deadline that the Islanders turned down an offer of a 2nd rounder for the soon to be UFA Konopka. Said writer then mused that it looks as though they wish to resign him. He might not be available come July 1.

  6. Racki says:

    Yes, I read the same thing on Twitter too.. which would suck. However there is a bit of hope, since he isn’t (re-)signed yet. But at the same time, you’d have to figure if he doesn’t want to play for the Isles again, he won’t want to play for the Oilers.. unless we outrageously overpay him.

  7. chucker says:

    Oh, I’m totally down with Konopka. He’s also that fourth line faceoff specialist we need. Carcillo would be nice as well. He’s reportedly very popular with his team mates. Didn’t know about Rypien’s “issues”. I just suggested him because he’s likely the best pound for pound tough guy in the NHL, but yeah, no head cases needed.

  8. LateNightOilFan says:

    I have a feeling the Isles will be trying to sign Konopka for next year. He’s basically stepped into the captain leadership role in the absence of Dougie Weight and has been quite the motivator for that team. I wouldn’t count on him being available July 1st.

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