The Christmas break done, it’s time for the Oilers to stumble, tumble and bumble to the official halfway point of the season. Tonight they’ll
show up play in Calgary against the Flames and if the goalie is wobbly this could be over by 8:30. Such is the Saturday night forecast for the current Oilers fan.
Matty says Fasth which made sense miles ago, this is actually a smart decision. Let Ben relax for another few days and bring him in during the week, while also giving Fasth a chance to start two of three. There’s no reason I can see to prefer one goalie over the other—hell I’m starting to think Brossoit deserves a start at some point this winter.
- Jim Matheson: Oilers defenceman Nikita Nikitin (back) could return to the lineup Saturday. He was hurt in Winnipeg after absorbing an Evander Kane hit on Dec. 3. If he’s deemed ready, the Oilers will have to send a blue-liner — Brad Hunt or Keith Aulie — to their Oklahoma City farm team … Winger Matt Hendricks (ill), who missed the Arizona loss, could be back. Source
So there are a few lineup issues to ponder this morning. I would really like to see Hendricks back—the club badly needs that 4line to get back to work—and if Nikitin is healthy and has his motor skills he should be an upgrade on at least one LHD. I’ll bet the Oilers send Aulie back but we wait.
REBUILD ALBERTA: THE TORTOISE AND THE UH, OTHER TORTOISE
Lots of chatter going ’round about the brilliant rebuild taking place in Calgary. According to some, this Flames team is pretty much wrapping up the rebuild and can move on to planning the parade. Before we proceed with hammering out the names on our friend Stanley, let’s have a quick peak at a few things.
When we talk about the future, it’s impossible to avoid projecting current players into that future exactly as they are now. Our mind’s eye tricks us into believing—no, that’s not strong enough—adopting as gospel things that are simply not proven at this time. For instance, this article implies that signing Deryk Engelland was a solid plan and that Martin Marincin is part of a failed draft system going back many years. How many of us truly believe that to be true? Do you believe Martin Marincin’s NHL career is over? Do you believe Engelland is key to Calgary’s rebuild?
I’ve heard many good things about Josh Jooris this fall and none about Nail Yakupov and part of the brain adopts that as gospel now, but assumes it will be same until the end of time.
The truth is a new reality shows up every day. During the time off someone on the Oilers said ‘to hell with this noise’ and decided to commit themselves to what the coach is saying. Or some time after the trade freeze is lifted Edmonton will find a small piece (or a big one) that aids in moving the ball forward.
Nail Yakupov the Edmonton forward isn’t a failure until the Oilers give up on him, and if they do the failure belongs to the team, not the player. The Nail Yakupov asset, the large slab of gold procured in 2012, is still there more or less. The only way to completely devalue it? Trade it for Josh Jooris.
We know this to be true. The trick? Remembering that truth.
The rebuilds in Calgary and Edmonton look a certain way this morning but we know (we really do) that a year from now it will be different. We remember. We remember. And we kind of laugh at ourselves, because how stupid we’ve been forgetting that one major thing that changes the entire equation.
Then the phone rings and a shot goes in from center ice and it’s that damn Josh Jooris scoring on the Oilers from center ice!
Trade them all!
We need to remind ourselves there was a time when Guy Lafleur was a failure, when Denis Potvin’s team won 19 games, when Charlie Simmer couldn’t get a job. We need to remember that Nail Yakupov is 21 years old.
On his ‘eyeball-to-eyeball’ tour it would be a grand idea for MacT to remember some of these kids are, well, kids. Any number of them could kick his reputation around North America for the next 15 years. This is a dangerous time to wear a suit in the name of the Edmonton Oilers.
I don’t think Nail Yakupov will be here in October.
Todd Nelson can do the Edmonton Oilers and their fans a helluva favor by unlocking the Russian’s gifts. From what we know Yakupov is available (Islanders rumors running rampant) but the young man isn’t gone until the paperwork has been filed. Nelson played Yak 16:21 on December 23 and the Russian had four shots on goal. If the minutes continue and the shot total rises, then sooner or later the puck goes in. Nail Yakupov was born to fill the net and if Todd Nelson solves this riddle he could be coach for longer than six months.
Tonight could be a big night, in a good way. Godspeed, men.