DARNELL, GRIFF AND DAVEY

The Edmonton Oilers activated Griffin Reinhart today, and you would imagine he’ll see action this week—possibly tomorrow night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Todd McLellan mentioned bumps and bruises so we should wait for tomorrow’s practice for any kind of sweeping conclusions/mass panic. If we compare those pairs with the ones I suggested this morning:

  • Sekera—Fayne (check)
  • Nurse—Klefbom (McLellan went with the other rookie for Klefbom duo)
  • Reinhart—Davidson (Reinhart is going to get Gryba it seems)
  • Ference—Gryba (Nurse gets the veteran Ference)

I’m pleased McLellan reunited Sekera—Fayne and hope it stays intact for the next while. Klefbom—Davidson is similar to my No. 2 pairing (badly lacking experience, but mobile) and I do think that third pairing (both Nurse—Ference and Reinhart—Gryba) point out the Oilers major issues. NINE defenseman and there aren’t six they can use at the same time.

MARK FAYNE

  • Todd McLellan: “I think Fayner is a very good NHL player. I remember watching him in New Jersey and the impact he had on the team went to the SCF’s. Larry Robinson, who spent years with us after in San Jose spoke highly of him, and Peter DeBoer did, and I know it’s there, it’s just gonna come out a little bit more. Sometimes you need to take a step back, I have all the confidence in the world in him. He’ll respond.”

I think the Oilers seem to like these ‘early season healthy scratches’ but one doubts they do much good beyond pissing off the employees. Mark Fayne is a good NHL defenseman with over 325 games in the show, he’s clearly qualified to be inside the top six among this bunch. The only way to justify Fayne’s sitting is injury OR the team wanting to showcase another defenseman. That’s it, from my perspective.

DECISIONS TO COME

  • Todd McLellan: “We are getting deep now on the blue line. If Griffin can play tomorrow. There’s some questions with a couple of other guys we’ll have to see how they feel after the practice today. We’re getting deep and we’ll have to make some decisions there.”

I think there are four ways this could go:

  • IR someone. That’s the easy way, if someone sneezed in practice today that might be enough.
  • Send down a forward. If Hendricks is activated tomorrow, perhaps Slepy or Hero sandwich goes.
  • Send down one of Brandon Davidson, Griffin Reinhart or Darnell Nurse.
  • Trade. I would be shocked if Fayne goes, but Philly might have some interest in a defender.

REINHART

  • Todd McLellan: “It’s healthy, youth coming through if they can be productive is a real positive thing. I consider Griff to be a very young defenseman in the league, very young. He’s probably played less than Davey (Brandon Davidson) now I think, so he needs that time to grow and gain some experience.”

The problem for Reinhart, Nurse and Davidson is they’re all here, at the same time. Someone has to sit and that doesn’t make any sense for any of them. No one wants to go to Bakersfield, but that’s probably a better idea for all three compared to sitting in the pressbox waiting for a chance.

One final thing: You’ll notice Brandon Davidson slipping into the conversation these days. The Oilers like him, no doubt about it. If we’re betting on tomorrow, I’d put a large amount on him being in the lineup and some other move being made.

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45 Responses to "DARNELL, GRIFF AND DAVEY"

  1. Halfwise says:

    My wife has had to put up with me complaining about the impact it must have on the players of having to drag around the mortal remains of TFCAF while trying to play the hockey.

    She said it wouldn’t surprise her if he somehow got injured during practice.

    Which got me thinking, with the Flyers in town and Bobby Clark and Kharlamov’s ankle (“I had to. He was killing us”).

    Watching this team can twist a man’s mind, I tell ya.

  2. Clay says:

    Good on Davidson. I hope he has a 1000 game career.

    It would be absolutely astounding to see Fayne traded, given the inexperience behind him. He maybe hasn’t been as good as expected, but boy he’s far from the biggest liability on defense.

    I honestly believe it’s Nurse who is sent back down. It fits the company line on his development, and the GM has more invested in Reinhart and Davidson (offseason acquisition and waiver risk, respectively).

    I heard Ebs practiced today – any chance he plays tomorrow?

  3. mujidog says:

    “The only way to justify Fayne’s sitting is injury OR the team wanting to showcase another defenseman. That’s it, from my perspective.”

    That’s got to be it. Chia has asked Todd to play (and try to showcase) Andrew Ference. If Chia can get Ference and his NMC off this roster, that frees up money and a roster spot for the next domino to fall.

    It’s the only logical explanation for playing Ference as much as they have. There are other explanations (loyalty, belief that he can rebound, leadership, etc.) but they are not logical.

  4. LadiesloveSmid says:

    This is what makes it tough about not buying out Ference in the summer. Was the future cap saved worth keeping him in the lineup all year and blocking guys? Hope so.

    If Ference is the reason Fayne needs to go to make room, that’ll be pretty disappointing.

  5. Water Fire says:

    The Cap’n only goes by choice. Maybe a deadline deal would find a buyer and appeal to him.

    For me Davey has been better than Griff had. It will come down to who can/will play the system as KM pointed out.

    I think if they ran a vet rookie pair on each as good teams have done by season end things could be running reasonably well.
    Maybe Klef-Sekera, Nurse-Fayner, Davey -Schultz
    adjusted for the opponent. These are the best so far and all skate other than Fayner who I see better than Gryba

    I think Griff would benefit from some first pairing time in California.

  6. Centre of attention says:

    Like some have said it would be super easy to just say _______ is a bit “bruised up”, I have a feeling they want to see Reinhart play a couple more games before making the call on who stays.

  7. Oilanderp says:

    Send down Marincin!

  8. Ryan says:

    Hold on a minute Mr Lowetide…

    Nurse-Ference is a pairing in practice?

    Didn’t Mclellan get our memo about Ference?

    If one were attempting to read the tea leaves, I’d imagine there’s no scenario worse than being paired with Ference assuming Reinhart is ready to return (given that TMac likes Gryba).

  9. JDï™ says:

    Ryan: Nurse-Ference is a pairing in practice?

    I think that back muscle is going to tighten up overnight for Darnell. Good Gord.

  10. sliderule says:

    I have a news alert for you

    The oilers goaltending is not any better than last year or the year before.

    Can you remember the last time an oiler goalie stole a game.Hello Scrivens and Sharks.That was the last and only time to my memory.

    I don’t mean making a few saves to keep it close.I mean winning while your team plays so so.

    Good goalies do that several times a year .

    The oiler goalies find a way to do the opposite .They turn a good team performance into a loss.

    It’s time for Chia to make a move .

  11. LadiesloveSmid says:

    sliderule:
    I have a news alert for you

    The oilers goaltending is not any better than last year or the year before.

    Can you remember the last time an oiler goalie stole a game.Hello Scrivens and Sharks.That was the last and only time to my memory.

    I don’t mean making a few saves to keep it close.I mean winning while your team plays so so.

    Good goalies do that several times a year .

    The oiler goalies find a way to do the opposite .They turn a good team performance into a loss.

    It’s time for Chia to make a move .

    I would say Nilsson stole the Vancouver game for them and kept them in the Dallas game until the last 5ish minutes.

    Look at Bobrovsky and Varlamov’s SV%s right now. First month. Goalies can still recover. I have a lot of confidence in Talbot.

  12. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Two stolen wins, right in a row. Nilsson vs. Vancouver, and (arguably) Talbot vs. Detroit. First star performances by both in low-scoring wins.

    Of course the gift to Calgary undoes one of those.

  13. Genjutsu says:

    It’s too early to panic on the goalies. Sample size is just not there yet.

    The defence is actually looking better than I thought it would by some margin.

    If only Ference could get off this team. The speed of the game has simply passed the man by.

    It’s time to stop playing him. I know it’s not a good plan to dress three rookies and a second year but those are our best players.

    Play your best players if you want to win.

  14. delooper says:

    IMO this is clearly a better team than last year. They’ve had stronger opponents. But the forward group is better. D, it’s still a little foggy to me if it’s much better. Klefbom and Nurse are a year older so that’s a plus. G I’m not sure about. I suspect the Oilers make every goaltender (good or bad) look bad. So it’s near impossible to distinguish a good from a bad goaltender on this team.

  15. sliderule says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I didn’t feel that either game was stolen.

    We got adequate goaltending .

    We are so starved for wins that adequate seems like it’s superlative .

  16. Genjutsu says:

    sliderule:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I didn’t feel that either game was stolen.

    We got adequate goaltending .

    We are so starved for winsthat adequate seems like it’s superlative .

    I dunno. The Vancouver game was for sure stolen. 33 shots one goal against. Many of those were of the dangerous variety. Vancouver clearly outclassed the Oilers and we had no business winning that game.

    That’s kinda the definition of stealing a game no?

  17. Centre of attention says:

    Lol watching a bit of the Leafs game. Benn just whacked Kadri in the balls off the faceoff, then punched him in the face. No penalties hahaha

  18. LadiesloveSmid says:

    sliderule:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I didn’t feel that either game was stolen.

    We got adequate goaltending .

    We are so starved for winsthat adequate seems like it’s superlative .

    You didn’t think saving 33/34 against Vancouver was stealing a game? They were pretty outplayed and he dropped a .971. Is ’59 save shutout Y/N’, the criteria?

    Talbot saving 28/29 against Detroit for a .966? He’s had 3 bad games in a row, but outside of that largely solid

  19. Water Fire says:

    It isn’t possible that every goaler Edmonton chooses is incompetent. The problem is a disorganized team. The goaler relies more on consistent play than any other position.

    It’s how Detroit and Chicago won cups with average goalers. When the Oilers begin playing at an NHL level as a team the SV% will rise to somewhere approaching league average, hopefully better.

    It isn’t fair or accurate to pick apart a position’s team play when everything is *awesome*

  20. flyfish1168 says:

    So which goalie gets the start tomorrow evening? I would like to see Nilsson just because his last start was 11 days ago. JMHO

  21. Centre of attention says:

    Nilsson gets the start
    flyfish1168,

  22. Pouzar says:

    Not watching any game with Ference in it.

    It’s already come to this.

  23. sliderule says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    The oilers are going to be giving up around 30 shots every game .

    In order to win they will have to keep it under 2 against.

    The nights they do better I don’t consider a steal.

    Reimer stopping 43 /44 is a steal

  24. leadfarmer says:

    Ryan,

    He did get the memo. That’s where he’s putting Nurse. Davidson can’t be sent down and Reinhart is older and new GMs hire. Ference has to stay on the roster so they are putting Nurse in the enjoy your paycheck before you get sent back down slot.

  25. Centre of attention says:

    Pouzar:
    Not watching any game with Ference in it.

    It’s already come to this.

    My concern is Nurse was paired with Ference in practice….if those two play together Nurse is going to look bad because of the boat anochor partner, and may end up getting sent down because he can’t drag along said boat anchor AND play perfectly. Being an NHL rookie and trying to read off Ference is just a problem waiting to happen.

    Nothings concrete but if thats a pairing against the Flyers I swear…

  26. Zeabs93 says:

    Pouzar,

    Why not watch for McDavid then? He alone makes games worth watching.

  27. ChiliChunk says:

    If Hendricks is activated tomorrow, perhaps Slepy or Hero sandwich goes.

    The active roster listing on the Oilers website shows Hendricks as active and Korpikoski on the IR. Of course the injury report page shows them both as injured.

  28. Pouzar says:

    Zeabs93:
    Pouzar,

    Why not watch for McDavid then?He alone makes games worth watching.

    That’s what I said before the season started. Enjoy McDavid b/c the D is going to be a tire fire again. Turns out our goalering sux too. I am a beaten down ol dog man.

  29. PhrankLee says:

    We aren’t even 20 games in. The goaltending is not an issue.

    The TEAM gives up 30 or so shots/game. That’s because they are playing against an NHL team.

    Of course the D is supposed to D but the style McL uses is very similar to the Detroit style of 5 men supporting the puck from underneath. D is activated on the rush should a lane present itself.

    Our fanbase is so used to lumbering D getting the puck to the F and letting (praying) them do their thing. It does not work any more. That’s why we use the word mobile.

    Fayne had a quote not long ago saying this exact thing. (that he is used to playing 5 man hockey but in Edmonton he was supposed to just get the puck to the F and let them “do their thing..”)I would find the link but I am traveling and have very spotty connection in Cyprus.

    GR and DN are stud prospects. Bomber is here and BD is on his way. JS is supposed to be here already…Nothing changes until everything changes.

    Anyone still upset with Nick Schultz for being a bum? Petry? (I know, I know)

    Have a look at what they think of him (Schultz) in PHI.

    Better yet have a look at his numbers there.

    Our top F are the ones needing adjusting. They need to support the puck in the D zone. First 5 games even vaunted RNH bled chances against. By number and by eye.

    It’s coming. We are a way better team. The G will regress to the meat, I compelt it.

    The D will grow up, I compelt it.

    The F will have to play team hockey and give up the shinny they have been coached into over the last 4 seasons.

  30. Seismic Source says:

    Talbot has made some huge saves even in the games he played “poorly” in.

    If I promise everyone he will never again let a bad angle shot in with 8 seconds left would we all calm down?

  31. Zelepukin says:

    Centre of attention: My concern is Nurse was paired with Ference in practice….if those two play together Nurse is going to look bad because of the boat anochor partner, and may end up getting sent down because he can’t drag along said boat anchor AND play perfectly. Being an NHL rookie and trying to read off Ference is just a problem waiting to happen.

    Nothings concrete but if thats a pairing against the Flyers I swear…

    Hey Darnell, remember when we said you need to be more patient and try not to do too much. Ya, forget that. You now have to do both d-men’s jobs. Go crazy. Cover as much ice as you want.

  32. jp says:

    Zelepukin: Hey Darnell, remember when we said you need to be more patient and try not to do too much. Ya, forget that. You now have to do both d-men’s jobs. Go crazy. Cover as much ice as you want.

    If those two do play tonight, I wonder if it’s an attempt to put lipstick on the pig and make Ference look trade-able. Tough ask of Nurse, but…

    My reading of the tea leaves was the same as Ryan’s though. I think those two sit in favor of Reinhart-Gryba.

  33. GCW_69 says:

    “Trade. I would be shocked if Fayne goes, but Philly might have some interest in a defender.”

    You know Luke Schenn would be coming the other way, right?

  34. Pouzar says:

    PhrankLee: The goaltending is not an issue.

    It’s absolutely an issue.

    From WG:

    Talbot 5v5 so far:

    (min 120min played)

    Adjusted SV% .893 – rank 41/46

    Low Danger SV% .9796 – rank 21/46

    Medium Danger SV% .8367 – rank 46/46

    High Danger SV% .8148 – rank 30/46

  35. GCW_69 says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    This is what makes it tough about not buying out Ference in the summer. Was the future cap saved worth keeping him in the lineup all year and blocking guys? Hope so.

    If Ference is the reason Fayne needs to go to make room, that’ll be pretty disappointing.

    You want a really fun scenario – Ference gets hurt sometime during the season and has not fully recovered by the buy out period. Since you cannot buy out injured players we could have him back for another year!

  36. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Pouzar: It’s absolutely an issue.

    From WG:

    Talbot 5v5 so far:

    (min 120min played)

    Adjusted SV% .893 – rank 41/46

    Low Danger SV% .9796 – rank 21/46

    Medium Danger SV% .8367 – rank 46/46

    High Danger SV% .8148 – rank 30/46

    Weird how we keep falling ass backwards into terrible goaltending for no reason at all.

  37. Bruce McCurdy says:

    GCW_69: You want a really fun scenario – Ference gets hurt sometime during the season and has not fully recovered by the buy out period.Since you cannot buy out injured players we could have him back for another year!

    Sounds like a scenario where he goes on LTIR this year &’stays on it next year. From a cap perspective that’s hardly catastrophic.

    Although no doubt you can concoct a counter scenario where he gets hurt in Game 82 & then magically heals up 10 minutes after the buyout window closes.

  38. bcoil says:

    Hmmmmm did he sit Fayne to get him pissed so he would have a great game against Philly so they would want him ?

  39. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Honest Question:

    If a player is on IR, isn’t their salary paid by insurance?

    If so, wouldn’t keeping a player on IR that isn’t really hurt amount to insurance fraud?

  40. Water Fire says:

    Hey PDL

    My guy said these are the craft breweries he likes at the moment. I don’t know if you have access to them where you are but here they are:

    “Red Beard in Kamloops is making some good stuff. Driftwood from Victoria, Parallel 49 from Vancouver, Yellow Dog from Maple Ridge and Four Winds from Delta are all high on my list right now.”

  41. GCW_69 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Sounds like a scenario where he goes on LTIR this year &’stays on it next year. From a cap perspective that’s hardly catastrophic.

    Although no doubt you can concoct a counter scenario where he gets hurt in Game 82 & then magically heals up 10 minutes after the buyout window closes.

    That happened to Minny with Heatley. He got a torn labrum and they could not buy him out, but was healed in time for the following season and they ended up paying him $7.5M to play on the fourth line. Can’t say it isn’t a real possibility.

    http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/20/heatley-not-the-same-since-leaving-ottawa-senators

  42. Bruce McCurdy says:

    GCW_69: That happened to Minny with Heatley. He got a torn labrum and they could not buy him out, but was healed in time for the following season and they ended up paying him $7.5M to play on the fourth line. Can’t say it isn’t a real possibility.

    http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/20/heatley-not-the-same-since-leaving-ottawa-senators

    Yes it is, & in the Murphy’s Law Universe that governs the Oilers there is reason to be wary of it.

  43. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Honest Question:

    If a player is on IR, isn’t their salary paid by insurance?

    If so, wouldn’t keeping a player on IR that isn’t really hurt amount to insurance fraud?

    Not suggesting insurance fraud. Just suggesting that if a player is legitimately hurt enough to avoid a buyout that it could be a LTIR scenario. Not necessarily so, though, as our resident optimist GCW has already pointed out.

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