Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stortini Really Does it this Time, Post Game Against Colorado

After Shawn Horcoff needs help off the ice, coach MacTavish sends out his 4th line to send a message. MacIntyre is jawing at an Avs player trying to goad him into a fight, Stortini drops the gloves with Ian Laperriere and immediately thinks that he's a college wrestler going for the takedown.

Stortini stands 6'4" and weighs around 220lbs. Laperriere stands 6'1" and weighs 191lbs. Stortini's idea of sending a message needs to be thrown out the window. If he wanted retribution for his assistant captains injury, he should've stood toe to toe with Lappy. Or let MacIntyre do his job and watch how it's done.

Laperriere even made a hugging gesture to Stortini, the gig is up, most everyone knows that Stortini will hug instead of fight. A player that does that doesn't build momentum. Give me the scrap that Strudwick had 10/10 times over a takedown.

I have never been a fan of this players game, and although I can see his tireless work ethic and the odd big hit, tonight, more than any other night shows why he is a spare part that is taking a roster spot from better players. And while it was far from his fault that the team lost, it is apparent that this teams needs to take some scoring burden off the top 2 lines.

Hopefully Horcoff isn't too badly injured, but if he or Fernando Pisani is out for any extended period of time, the Oilers call up and play either Rob Schremp or Gilbert Brule in his place. And if either player plays well, send Stortini to the minors to hone his fighting skills.

As for the game itself, the Oilers started out o.k., but the lack of chemistry was evident once again. The kid line had a few good shifts, but many that weren't. Penner continues to look like a shell of himself, and there really was nothing positive to come out of this game. Unless of course our coach decides to bench Stortini for some skill.

What I'd do after this game...

Sit Penner and Horcoff until they heal up, give Pisani a game or 2 off for his back spasms, and send Stortini to Springfield with Brule, Sestito, and Schremp coming up to the Oilers...

Nilsson-Gagner-Hemsky
Schremp-Cogliano-Cole
Moreau-Brodziak-Pouliot
MacIntyre-Sestito-Brule

13 comments:

Bruce said...

Hey BBO, I just watched that fight on TSN2 (several times courtesy my PVR) and I got a very different take on it than you. It was a funny gesture Laperriere did on the way to the box, but that was exactly what he himself did in the fight that preceded it. Laperriere wrapped both arms around Stortini and held on the entire fight, he did nothing but hug. Despite being clinched Stortini threw 8 punches in the few seconds that the fight lasted, and Lappy's face bore the marks.

Give the little guy credit, it's not every night he gets a chance at a Gordie Howe hat trick. If you get a chance, though, watch the replay a little more closely before you unload another pile of crap in Stortini's direction.

dubya said...

If you get a chance, though, watch the replay a little more closely before you unload another pile of crap in Stortini's direction.

Bruce, I watched the fight many times. Stortini's "strategy" is to hold a guy close and throw useless rabbit punches. If Lappy had marks it's because Storts kept hitting him after they were on the ground with the refs present...which is a bitch move and something he's done to Lappy a couple times. Stortini's a terrible fighter (by NHL standards, obviously, he could kick the ever living crap out of me), and I can't help but think his own bench is tired of watching it. I've played competitive sports, and as much as his team may like his try I know there are guys thinking or saying "For fuck's sake, Storts, if you wanna fight let the fuck go and risk getting hit." I know you've been a big proponent of Stortini, but as useless a player a SMac might be, I think the 11 forwards + SMac is better. Dennis apparently has some (obviously preliminary) evidence than more scoring chances are generated that way then with Storts taking a regular shift.

Even if Storts was being hugged this time, are you really gonna argue that he doesn't usually do that? Even when fighting guys smaller than himself? And you think his teammates don't notice?

Bryanbryoil said...

Well Bruce, I just watched it again, and twice is all that I will stomach of that crap.

So Laperriere had a hold of him with his right hand, what was Stortini doing with his left? He was trying to literally smother Lappy to death.

Save the ground and pound for the UFC, hitting on the ground after trying to grab onto a guy that's 3 inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter and then resorting to punching him when he's on the ground is hardly anything to be proud of.

Maybe one of these days someone will catch him mid "hug" and drop him before he gets a chance to get in close. Perhaps that could teach him a lesson.

Bryanbryoil said...

As for the fight, other visitors can judge for themselves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbP3k3HpP3c

Bryanbryoil said...

I'm sure that Laperriere felt the need to hug Zack after Zack really put a hurting on him in this fight

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeE68HPETE0

Interesting, Stortini does his damage with rabbit punches and punchbes on the ground. While standing before the grabbing ensues, he's on the recieving end.

I especially detest the fact that MacIntyre was looking to lay a beating on someone and then Zack decided to do his same old song and dance last night.

Bruce said...

As for the fight, other visitors can judge for themselves
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbP3k3HpP3c


Unfortunately this does not show the start of the fight which occurs off camera. You can see by the legs that Lappy jumped Zack right off the faceoff but you can't see him throw in the grappling hooks and hang on for dear life, which was pretty clear on the TSN feed (which I can't find on youtube). Lappy was Yappy last night, on the ice and off; his comments in today's Journal, esp. of who "went after" whom, are an interesting interpretation of what really happened.

I especially detest the fact that MacIntyre was looking to lay a beating on someone and then Zack decided to do his same old song and dance last night.

So it would have been OK for SMac to lay a beating on somebody, but for Stortini to outpunch Laperriere 8-0 after being jumped was "detestable"? That's an interesting interpretation too, BBO.

According to Matheson, "(Laperriere) may have saved McLeod's life off that draw because the two-storey walk-up Steve MacIntyre wanted to go with McLeod on the other side of the circle." Seems likely, for sure Lappy jumped Zack right off the draw. A gutsy move, but he didn't exactly go in swinging.

As irritants go I have a fair amount of respect for Lappy, but if you're going to yap and then jump a guy off the face-off, you got to expect the other guy to throw a few no matter how hard you hang on and no matter how quick you go down.

I know you've been a big proponent of Stortini, but as useless a player a SMac might be, I think the 11 forwards + SMac is better. Dennis apparently has some (obviously preliminary) evidence than more scoring chances are generated that way then with Storts taking a regular shift.

"Preliminary" is hardly the word for it, Dubya, given Stortini has played all of 22:45 so far this season. Not my idea of a regular shift. "Evidence" is hardly the word for it either, it read more like Dennis's opinion to me.

Generating scoring chances is an important part of the game, but so is preventing scoring opporunities. So too is physical play, two areas where Stortini excelled last year judging by the statistical Evidence. In the second half of 2007-08 the youngster posted a team-best +10 rating (+19/-9), which suggests that lots more scoring opportunities were generated for than against while he was on the ice. For this he sure hasn't gotten much love from Oiler "fans".

Bruce said...

"For fuck's sake, Storts, if you wanna fight let the fuck go and risk getting hit."

Lapointe

Asham

Hordichuk 1

Hordichuk 2

Cowan/Canucks

Even when fighting guys smaller than himself?

You mean smaller guys like Derek Boogaard (2), Garrett Burnett, Andrew Peters, Josh Gratton, George Parros, David Koci, Ben Eager, D.J. King, Darcy Hordichuk (3), Colton Orr, Matt Walker (2), Jeff Cowan (2), Jarred Boll, Eric Godard and Raitis Ivanans? Some pretty large and scary men on that list. While I won't argue that he's an unconventional fighter (Greco-Roman?), Zack has stood up for his teammates (esp. Ales Hemsky) and taken more than a few for the team in the process. He's landed more than a few, too. And for that some people are basically calling him gutless?! That's bullshit.

dubya said...

"Preliminary" is hardly the word for it, Dubya, given Stortini has played all of 22:45 so far this season. Not my idea of a regular shift. "Evidence" is hardly the word for it either, it read more like Dennis's opinion to me.

I'm pretty sure Dennis was referring to TOI where SMac isn't on the ice (i.e. Brodz + Pou + Nilsson/Hemsky/Moreau/etc), and I think he tracked scoring chances. Doesn't mean it's bullet proof.

You mean smaller guys like Derek Boogaard (2), Garrett Burnett, Andrew Peters, Josh Gratton, George Parros, David Koci, Ben Eager, D.J. King, Darcy Hordichuk (3), Colton Orr, Matt Walker (2), Jeff Cowan (2), Jarred Boll, Eric Godard and Raitis Ivanans? Some pretty large and scary men on that list. While I won't argue that he's an unconventional fighter (Greco-Roman?), Zack has stood up for his teammates (esp. Ales Hemsky) and taken more than a few for the team in the process. He's landed more than a few, too. And for that some people are basically calling him gutless?! That's bullshit.

I certainly wasn't suggesting he was gutless. Dropping with giants like Boogard takes huge balls. But fighting is designed to send a message, and while I'm sure his teammates are impressed and motivated when he drops the gloves with a goon like Boogard (even if its a wrestling match), I suspect they sag a little when he instigates (verbally) a fight with a middleweight and holds on for dear life. I LIKE Stortini, I think he's a good agitator and a safe player. I just dont' think his fighting style/proficiency is good for doing the only things fighting might be useful for in the NHL...sending a message or intimidating the other team.

(As an aside, I was at the Nashville game when Storts went with Hordichuk in Edmonton...he lost, but he was throwing punches and the bench was on their feet more than most of his fights.)

Bruce said...

(As an aside, I was at the Nashville game when Storts went with Hordichuk in Edmonton...he lost, but he was throwing punches and the bench was on their feet more than most of his fights.)

That would be "Hordichuk 2" above, which Zack lost primarily because Hordichuk wasn't tied down. Both were throwing 'em and Zack landed the best punch of the fight, the one where Hordichuk's head re-emerges from his sweater. Whatever, that was one hell of a tilt, and it's far from the only one.

I suspect they sag a little when he instigates (verbally) a fight with a middleweight and holds on for dear life.

Like Laperriere? Sorry, wasn't Zack doing the holding on. Like Lapointe? Ditto ... listen to the commentary on the linked scrap above. While you're at it, listen for the reason the scrap took place.

I LIKE Stortini, I think he's a good agitator and a safe player.

That's the thing, Stortini is much better suited to the agitator role but he's done double duty as both agitator and enforcer. Pretty tall order for a guy whose next game will be his 100th in the NHL. Zack is still learning how to fight, hell he's still learning how to skate, but he's had a major league mouth since Day 1. That occasionally a crafty vet like Owen Nolan or Ian Laperriere gets the better of him one way or another are as much a part of the learning curve as Joe Sakic schooling Andrew Cogliano in the circle or Andrew Brunette getting inside position on Ladi Smid. That's what happens to young players, regardless of their roles; the good ones learn from it.

I just dont' think his fighting style/proficiency is good for doing the only things fighting might be useful for in the NHL...sending a message or intimidating the other team.

You don't think Stortini standing up for Hemsky and in with Boogaard, Lapointe and Regehr twice each was sending a message? I sure the hell do. He got the better of Lapointe in both fights and bloodied Regehr's nose in the second, and that's fine by me, both those guys cheap-shotted Ales. Boogaard is Boogaard, and Stortini ISN'T Laraque, so give the kid points for standing in there with the Boogey Man but you know who got the ten points on the "must" system. Zack took a few for the team then, but he was there to answer the bell which I think has value in all but the most lopsided losses. What message would it send if Boogaard had put Ales on the shelf and nobody said "Boo!"

The thinking has apparently evolved to Oilers needing a true heavy to match up with the Boogaards of the world, the Western Conference is loading up with goons (St. Louis just picked up David Koci, for example). But that doesn't mean Oilers don't still need an agitator, and sure the fuck doesn't mean we don't need more of a physical presence in 5v5 play than guys like Hemsky and Nilsson can provide in a month of double shifts. The fights spring out of that, but I'm more interested in hits and grinding the boards and getting in the goalie's face and distracting the other team and drawing penalties. That's hockey, all of it is hockey, and it's every bit as integral to a good team as tallying up scoring chances, however you may define them. To have a good safe player who does all those things for 8 or 10 minutes a night is a huge asset. Especially one who just turned 23 and has done nothing but improve since the day he was drafted.

dubya said...

To have a good safe player who does all those things for 8 or 10 minutes a night is a huge asset. Especially one who just turned 23 and has done nothing but improve since the day he was drafted.

Look, I want Stortini on the team. And I want him fighting, if he can take guys like Regehr to the box with him. But guys like Hemsky have talked about wanting a gunslinger on the team, and for that reason I think SMac has a role. The issue is that a line with both of them is not good, so if you're gonna dress the nuclear deterrent, Storts has to be more valuable then one player other than SMac.

I don't really have the answer. I'm not belittling Storts value as a player/agitator or suggesting he doesn't have balls. I just don't see the point in him starting fights unless he's taking someone better than him off the ice. With the exceptions of the cases where he's clearly sacrificing himself to a giant like Boogard, I don't think it helps the team (and may hurt, if you believe in things like momentum/intimidation).

Bryanbryoil said...

The term enforcer and the name Stortini don't belong in the same sentence since his days in junior. For him to be effective, he has to hit and agitate and put up the odd point. Fighting in the Stortini fashion shouldn't happen very often. As long as Mac is in the lineup, leave that up to him.

Bruce said...

Gentlemen: Such is the purpose of a good discussion; we're all in closer agreement with each other than it first seemed. I will agree with BBO that fighting should be well down Zack's priority list, and I will certainly agree with Dubya that for Stortini's line to be effective, he has to be the least skilled player on it. That's no knock on Zack, but he's got to look after his own job and count on his linemates to be able to do likewise. He and Brodz/Poo are nowhere near good enough to carry an anchor around with them, leaving MacT few options but to staple 1,2, or all 3 guys to the bench.

Bryanbryoil said...

Good call Bruce, I'd like to see Storts continue to work on his speed. If he could ever evolve into a Mike Grier type, I'd be ecstatic. The whole problem right now is that with an injury we have Mac and Storts in the line-up.

The 3 goalie situation puts a damper on us rolling 4 effective lines with an injury up front.