Well sure it’s early and the margin is the slimmest possible, but hell boys and girls the Oilers are atop the NW division this morning. Rarified air to be sure, don’t go too fast this morning there’s not as much oxygen at this height.
You never know, this could be the high water mark of the season. We should drink deep, because one never knows what might happen the rest of the year.
The scoring list is as one might expect:
The kids are all off to significant starts, leaving the vets choking on the dust of the future. Holee I didn’t expect Ryan Smyth to have zero’s everywhere. A few notes:
- That goal by Horcoff puts him ahead of Esa Tikkanen on the all-time list. He is now in 8th, with Doug Weight (7th), Ryan Smyth (6th), Paul Coffey (5th), Glenn Anderson (4th), Mark Messier (3rd), Jarri Kurri (2nd) and Wayne Gretzky (1st) still to catch. Smyth would rank #5 on this list if Lowe hadn’t traded him.
- Hartikainen and Paajarvi should be a thing for the rest of the season. Use Belanger in that role with an eye to passing the job off to Lander perhaps in the fall. Folks, that was as good as either has looked to my eye–Hartikainen was imposing his will and Paajarvi drove to the net and drew a penalty–and credit to Ralph Krueger for giving them the push. That was the third line last night. I wonder if they can do that on the road?
- Hall was flying last night, it was a joy to watch. That kid creates so much havoc and he’s not close to his peak seasons yet in terms of maturity.
- The Eberle goal was astounding. I’m not sure what we can say about him beyond the fact that he–like Steve Shutt and Joey Mullen and others before him–Eberle has some kind of sixth sense about shooting angles, changing shooting angles, being in the right place, quick release and accuracy. Astonishing shot last night.
- The Nuge may one day be the first player to win the scoring championship without anyone noticing. A pretty pass to Hall got him an assist on the night but he was so effective in a variety of situations. When he’s 22 we’re going to be in awe. Such a smart hockey player. Improved faceoff night.
- Yak had a terrible game. Scored a goal, too.
- I loved Gagner’s effort all night, especially on the 4th goal. He also did well in the FO circle.
The first of this year’s OIL CHANGE series goes tonight, I’m very much looking forward to it. I am in no way connected to the Edmonton Oilers and have no inside information, but this is a funny town when it comes to the hockey team. In the days leading up to the draft I heard the following:
- The Oilers had a top 5 list and Yakupov was on it but not close to #1.
- The scouts liked Ryan Murray, MBS wanted Reinhart (which would have involved trading down one spot but Columbus didn’t want Yakupov) and no one wanted the Russian #1.
- Craig MacTavish has had a major impact on the organization since arriving.
- The Oilers were very high on Mitchell Moroz, and might take him as high as the second round.
- During the draft broadcast on tsn, James Duthie says that the final decision was made by management after the scouts had given their recommendation. He further said that the scouts would be finding out with the rest of us what the final decision had been by management. I would dearly love to see how that played out.
Will we get the full story? Unlikely. The Oilers are a lot about show business so we’ll see something that catches our eye but only enough to keep us guessing.
The one thing I would like answered tonight: what changed from Wednesday morning to Friday night? Or were the Oilers conducting a counter-trey to keep the suspense? If we get that much information tonight I’ll be satisifed.
Coach Krueger said yesterday that NK will be evaluated and may be on the road trip. If Khabibulin misses the first 10 games, why bother? Not to be cruel, but Danis appears to be a capable backup and the Russian is either injured or about to be injured. How much sense does it make to send Danis down and risk waivers?