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Now, here's what I call unloading on a player

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by JR, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Oiler coach Craig McTavish unloads on Dustin Penner who Kevin Lowe signed away from the Ducks--$4.25 million per year for five years. Penner was never anything more than a third line guy. Apparently McTavish didn't get that memo.

    Craig may be going the way of Melrose soon.

    James Mirtle reports:


    "When we signed Dustin, we thought he'd be a top two-line player. We thought the contract ($4.25 million average for five years) was a starting point for him, but he views it as a finish line."

    Nice. Good way to motivate your players.

    Brian Burke just broke the schadenfreude meter.
  2. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    The statistical analysis of how Penner is being used by McTavish is telling.

    How can you expect a player to live up to your expectations if you're not putting him in a position to succeed. I'm all for coaches assigning ice-time as they see fit, but McTavish is guilty of some mis-management here, both on the ice and off with his words.
  3. Maybe all those years of playing without a helmet have caught up with Craig.
  4. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    I have been pining for the firing of MacTavish for years. My dream may soon come true.

    Penner is the least of the Oilers problems as the blog agrees. I also whole heartedly believe Penner is more than just a third line player. He isn't a top line winger, but he can be a solid second line winger if given decent linemates. Regardless, he was one of the best Oilers over the final half of the season last year when they made their run. His first half was a wash because he did come to camp out of shape, plus trying to fit into a new team with new players, but once he clicked with Horcoff and Hemsky, their line was dominant until Horcoff went down for the season, but Penner's played continued on at high level. Then I thought he got off to a great start again this year, playing a solid two-way game through his first few games.

    You want to talk about players who have been major disappointments so far this season, Penner is way down on that list and again to find out why all you have to do is look at his situational ice time. At least he was able to produce when given the opportunity, which is more than I can say for Horcoff who has been brutal in all aspects this year despite a $5 mil contract dumped in his lap this year; Sam Gagner who inexplicably has been given even more ice time with each terrible game and has rewarded them with one goal and two assists and several horrific game costing turnovers thus far; Eric Cole who has been lost because he has been forced to play the worng wing all season and now his confidence is shot; MA Pouliot has done NOTHING in his time with the organization, yet strangely this year has seen an increase in his icetime while players like Brule and schremp rot in the AHL despite new attitudes and terrific numbers. I could go on.

    MacTavish, it's not that Penner isn't developing, it's that you can't develop players. You were forced to play the kids last year because of injuries and they got by and produced amazingly in their opportunities on talent alone. It is clear they have not been able to take the next step this year. Horcoff is the one player I can think of that you developed into top six forward from a fourth liner, but how much of that is you and how much of that is him is up for debate. Some players like Hemsky were born with other-worldly skill, but has yet to fully realize it under your watch.

    In your now eight seasons (plus the lockout year which I don't count) as head coach of the Oilers you have made the playoffs three times. Absolutely unacceptable. On top of that you have gotten away from Oilers hockey, they are no longer an all out offensive team which they were before you took over -- whether they could put up the numbers or not is mute, it was about the style as much as anything. Your Cup run in '06 came courtesy of Roloson playing out of his mind and Chris Pronger putting in arguably his greatest performance since stepping into the league.

    I know Lowe was never going to fire his long time good friend, which caused me to celebrate when Steve Tambelini was hired. Maybe soon something will happen. Give me a Paul Maurice or Torterella .
  5. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Maurice or Tortorella? Based on what? Their ability to get teams to the playoffs?
    Let's see: Penner signs a big free agent deal with the Oilers -- and then shows up out of shape? Talk about making a good first impression on your teammates/bosses. Penner is a slow third line winger who is apparently content to be just that. Is that MacTavish's fault?
    Maybe there ought to be a coaching change in Edmonton. Eight years in one spot is a long time, and maybe the young core is tired of him already.
    But Tortorella or Maurice? Are they the hottest candidates out there?
  6. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    I've liked Maurice since his days in Carolina and the job he did there taking a young group of players and developing them into a Stanley Cup finalist which Rutherford decided to blow up after a blip in the radar -- mind you it paid off in the end, but it is unwise to discount what Maurice did before then. Maurice was in a no-win situation in Toronto with what he was handed by John Ferguson Jr.

    The success Tortorella had in Tampa is undeniable, even if his former goalies are now seeing teams of psychiatrists. But he also got the most out of guys like Lacavalier and St. Louis, even if they had their differences. In the end last year in T-Bay he was sunk by poor goaltending and a terrible defensive unit, plus no depth up front. The big thing for me, however, it gets away from the old boys club that has always existed in the Oilers front office, they have a phobia of looking to outside sources.

    I wouldn't limit my list to those two, they were just the first available coaches that came to mind that I think would be a fit.

    Penner is more than a third liner with his hands and scoring touch in front of the net. Plus not putting him on the power play is a waste. His biggest knock is yes he does need to play with a more consistent fire -- it was there in the second half of last year. This year he has been thrown around on line combinations that were doomed to fail -- for the most part being switched to right wing with Pisani (a career RW) moved to centre and Moreau on the left wing. It's like MacTavish picked the line out of a hat. Plus he had his first line status taken away before camp even started with the acquisition of Erik Cole who has been an absolute bust so far.
  7. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    But I thought he was the next Cam Neely.

    When you sign that kind of contract you are expected to be developed already. He's 26 years old, we're not talking about a kid here. It's not MacTavish's job to coddle him. You can't teach passion which he seems to lack.

    Whether MacTavish should be fired or not I wouldn't know, you watch a lot more Oiler games than I but I don't think you can use Penner as an example.

    Getting a first, second, third and cap space is looking better and better for Anaheim.
  8. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    A lot of it is how he is used. He turned that corner and found that fire in the second half and led the Oilers in goals last year. He didn't exactly flop. Then he is demoted to the third line before CAMP even started. It's hard to say whether or not the momentum gained last year would have contineud with that line, but dropping him to the third line RW was not going to be to his benefit. I would be discouraged too if I was demoted from a spot I worked hard to prove I deserved without really being given a chance to defend myself. Not only that they took away almost all of his PP time which is where he really thrived, he has hardly seen anytime with the manadvantage this year which is a complete waste.

    It's not as if he sat on his laurels this offseason, he came into camp in better shape than he was in at any point last year and he played great the first few games without being rewarded and watched as the guy who took his place struggled mightily. I'm not trying to take all responsibility off his shoulders but he is hardly carries all theblame. I don't think he is looking to be coddled. But I don't think he expected the treatment he has been given this year. With several players this year MacTavish has tried to fit square pegs into round holes and it has been met with extreme fail.

    And at 26 Penner was a late bloomer as he took a long round about way to the NHL, and even for most NHLers at that age there is still room to develop. It should be the very beginnings of his prime which it looked like it might be with the way he played at the end of last year. And Penner was never going to be a super physical, energy player like Neely, the more comparable players are a Johan Franzen or a John Leclair who are more tactical physical players and if he can hit the 30-40 goal range than he's worth the money. He wasn't far off.
  9. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    You mean the John Leclair that had a couple 50 goal seasons?

    Working hard for half a season should not guarantee you shit. Unless we watch practice, we really don't know how hard he is working but if MacTavish thought he could help him win games I'm pretty sure he would be playing him more minutes.

    Penner strikes me a soft player, guys like him are the most frustrating players to watch. Big and talented and just don't seem to give a damn. Guys like Penner usually get the benefit of the doubt because or their size and "untapped" potential. I think he's closer to Taylor Pyatt than John Leclair. That is why Brad Isbister keeps getting a chance.

    Don't you think his reaction to the demotion is telling? If your Penner would this not be the kick in the ass you need to start banging bodies and doing the stuff they are asking you to do.
  10. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Well a) he hasn't had the opportunity to respond on ice yet, b) he responded in the article something along the lines of he does need to pick it up, c) At the beginning of the year he responded very well to the demotion. Again he came into camp in the best shape of his carrer and he was arguably their best player through the first three games or so even though he was playing on a line that should not have succeeded and long term has failed miserably. But since then he has been taken out of every situation to succeed, you don't have to coddle him but god some positive reinforcement from when he was playing well at the beginning of the season (ie some power play time) wouldn't have hurt. It's hard to keep that motivation when you are the whipping boy.

    The Leclair comparison was of style, not saying he is going to score 50 goals, I said 30-40 and he's worth the money, and after leading the team with 23 in really only playing well for the last half of the season suggests that is a realistic target for him.

    I cannot comment on his practicing because I don't get to watch them practice, but at the end of the day there are those who despite their best efforts just don't practice well but perform well in games.

    The thing that kills me is that MacTavish is so incredibly inconsistent with the treatment of his players for their on ice play. I don't blame Penner for at the very least being confused by the situation. Does he need to hit more, yes, does he need to bring more enthusiasm to his game -- the last month yes, but it is more complicated than just saying do it.

    MacTavish is looking for a scape goat and has been grooming Penner for the job since the beginning of the season.
  11. Craig MacTavish has had a nice career for a murderer.
  12. Ashy Larry

    Ashy Larry Active Member

    dammit! I knew you'd take my line.
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