It’s pretty easy to take pot shots as to what we’re doing and not doing. It’s the growth of a team that we’re worried about. Sometimes I might be protective of how I deploy those kids, when, where and how. The operative word being ‘kids’. These are going to be men in the not too distant future and I want to make sure they make it that far. I think you will see the kids start to kill penalties more. We’re working off my timetable, thank you very much, and we will continue to.
Absolutely love that quote. My suspicions on the kids have been confirmed by Renney. He IS sheltering them. The media (and some fans) have been all over Renney for giving the kids low minutes compared to Horcoff’s line.
At times this has been warranted, but I think I would actually say that generally people like to find one topic-of-the-week and harp on it to death without considering WHY this could be happening.
It’s because he’s been sheltering them from the tough minutes. I think it should be obvious that he’s been protecting them from playing in tough situations such as defensive zone starts and, at times, from playing tougher opponents.
The Oilers spent a LOT of time in their own zone versus Detroit and the Senators. The kids didn’t help matters much either, especially in Ottawa, as they were caught in their own zone a bit too much. And well, Renney keeps these kids from getting murdered on the ice (and thus losing confidence in themselves) by putting other lines out there such as the Horcoff line.
Really, I think there is a glaring weakness on this team that has been exposed by this tactic of Renney’s. We don’t have a dedicated shut down line. We’ve got a great offensive first line. We’ve got a 2nd line that is capable in their own zone, but spends most of the game battling the puck out of their own zone (thanks to the incapability of other lines to do this) and then we’ve got a third and fourth line with talents that I haven’t quite figured out. The second line also takes a beating from media and fans for not getting the job done, but really… if they had the cherry minutes that the top line did, I wonder if that would be the case.
This team needs some restructuring on the 3rd and 4th units. I like Jones, and I even like Belanger. They are guys that can be relied upon for the defensive minutes. I question whether the rest of the 3rd/4th line guys have the battle to move the puck forward. It’s a tough thing to be relied on for that purpose. But we’ve got rookies like Lander and Petrell (love them both) that are being pushed to carry this duty. It’s not a good idea. I think the Oilers need to solve that problem in the off-season some more so that Lander can develop his game more in the AHL (ditto perhaps with Paajarvi).
Anyways, keep it up Tom.