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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Burke Out; Huggy Bear Stortini; JDD Shootout Montage

Brian Burke is out. Murray is in. Cue the Burke rumours commence and let the era of Anaheim's healing begin.

Hopefully Brian Burke doesn't go and mess up the good thing that Fletcher and Wilson have got going in LeafLand.

To be honest I think Toronto will be better off without Burke and with a new direction. Maybe a Neil Smith kind of figure, or perhaps a transition period until someone will step in and take over from a transition line.

Maybe Fletcher -> Smith -> and the return of Pat Quinn?

Pat Quinn > Brian Burke in my opinion.


Stortini a Good Fit for Edmonton

I was going through some old fight vids and I'm starting to wonder why so many people make fun of Stortini's "huggy bear" fighting style.

Take for instance, the YouTube video of the fight between former NHL player and veteran tough guy Bob Probert and his strategy for dealing with guys tougher than himself, such as Georges Laraque. Sometimes moral victories don't involve landing all the haymakers. Sometimes, it's about hanging in there and showing your enemies and rivals that you're not going to take anything from them lying down.

Just because Stortini's not a heavyweight doesn't mean he's not a smart and effective fighter. In fact, his style has allowed him to avoid the kind of injuries and suspensions that often surround the careers of other grease guys.

Zack Stortini is a good guy to have around because he sticks up for his teammates even though he's getting his ass beat by the Boogaards and Orrs out there every night. How many friends do you have that would go out and volunteer to take a beating for you?

How many hands went up? None?

He does a lot of goonish things on the ice but that's only because he's doing it out of the love of the team. Having guys like Boulerice and MacIntyre around are important because it allows us to appreciate all the other things that Zack Stortini does well: forecheck hard, throw big checks, play energy shifts (remember the Glencross-Brodziak-Stortini line?) and kill the occasional penalty.

When we have an established tough guy in Edmonton, most likely MacIntyre and not Boulerice, Stortini will not suddenly become a trading block commodity: no, rather, he will become even more important as a Sean Avery, Jarkko Ruutu, or Ian Laperriere type of player.

Boulerice and MacIntyre are also noted to be good team guys in the locker room, who seem to feel a sort of protector's conscience over his fellow teammates.

Yeah, Boulerice has been a goon in the past. But the reason Boulerice is a MacT kind of player and why he's popular with coaches such as Peter Laviolette, as suggested in the YouTube video, is his team ethic.

But why all this credit for MacIntyre and Boulerice when Stortini's been doing it for his Oiler teammates for years?

Zack Stortini has been taking crap for the team and his teammates for a few years now and shame on anyone who has been lining up to buy him a ticket out of town. He's still light years ahead of Steve MacIntyre and Jesse Boulerice in the dept. of non-fighting skills and smarts, and he shows the wisdom of a Bob Probert at a much younger age. With more experience, he could probably use his 6-3 216 lbs frame much more effectively.

It is my hope that when a real tough gets established in Edmonton, Steve MacIntyre, Jesse Boulerice, or otherwise, that Zack Stortini will stay on and become one of the Todd Harvey, Rem Murray, or Kirk Maltby checking line type of guys on our Oiler team: guys who won't hurt your defense, offense, or team toughness. Guys who will go out and block a shot, kill a penalty, and fight, on occasion.

Being able to go into the ring with guys like Jim Vandermeer and Eric Godard only to come out with his skin intact doesn't hurt his chances, either.

I'm a Stortini fan.


JDD's My Hero

For those of you who missed it, here's the entire shootout session of the Oilers win over the New York Rangers, the tops in the Eastern Conference. Jeff Drouin-DesLauriers was the undisputed hero of this game.

Watch and enjoy.

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Blogger Bruce said...

Huggybear Probert. Who knew?

November 15, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Blogger raventalon40 said...

The criticism of Stortini is unfair.

November 16, 2008 at 12:33 PM


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