Shawn Horcoff On Defensive Zone Draws, Quality of Competition and Andrew Cogliano

Jason Gregor of TEAM 1260 and OilersNation recently interviewed Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff (the entire interview can be found here).  I've been meaning to jot down the main points, but I see that David Staples has already posted the majority of the interview.  Because of that, I'm just going to focus in on a couple of points that I found most interesting.  I'll only include the Horcoff quotes, but I should acknowledge at the beginning that Gregor did a great job asking Horcoff a bunch of good questions to get him talking.

"The guys who put up 80 points a year, they are first line powerplay, they are first line five-on-three, they don't play too much defensive minutes against other teams top lines, the coach does a good job of getting them out there against other players who you have a better chance of scoring against."

Quality of competition matters, and it matters a lot.  A good night against the Sedins means a lot more than a good night against Hordichuk and Rypien, and that's something that tends to get forgotten by some.  Horcoff knows this; his post-lockout career has hinged on being successful against the best opponents.  On a similar note, Gregor also asked Horcoff how much effect all of those faceoffs had:

"Honestly, there were times where it's taxing.  There were times where at least in the third period I was taking every defensive zone faceoff for the majority of the games, and it gets tough. As easy as it sounds to just jump on the ice, take a faceoff and get off, it saps energy. You don't get the recovery time on the bench to get your legs back under you. A lot of times I was going on and off the ice four times within a minute and half, two minutes. It was a little bit tough.

"But, like I said, a player never complains about ice time. He enjoys being out there as hard as it is. I enjoy taking faceoffs. I've always taken pride in that part. It's a great one-on-one battle in the game and I like doing it. But, at the same time, a little bit of help would be nice in there."

The numbers show exactly what Horcoff is talking about: he and Kyle Brodziak combined for 201 more defensive than offensive zone draws.  The next nearest Oiler was Ethan Moreau, who was +19 on that scale.

Horcoff doesn't mention the beating that various statistics (GF/GA/PTS/Corsi, etc.) take, but he does talk about the amount of energy expended on each faceoff.  I really hadn't thought about it in terms of fatigue (Horcoff's always been a bit of a horse) but it really does make sense - particularly his point about losing out on recovery time.  

As for the last sentence, from Horcoff's lips to Tambellini's ears.  Horcoff also talked about the need for depth on the PK and how the Oilers were lacking in it this past season.

Gregor asked Horcoff about the possibility of Andrew Cogliano playing wing:

"Center is by far the harder positon. At all times you have to be reliable in all areas.  The thing with Cogs is that he's got great outside speed, and I think that's one thing you can't really teach and that all the really good wingers in the league have is the ability to back defensemen off, coming down the wing.  He definitely has a skillset, some attributes, that wingers would like to have."

I've always thought about the transition from centre to wing this way, and it's good to hear that Horcoff also views centre as a more difficult position.  Watching Cogliano play, it does seem like he'd have an easier time of it on the wing, and there's also little doubt that he's the logical candidate to be moved over.

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