BONA FIDE?

This happened before. It was the fall of 2000, and at training camp (MacT’s first as head coach) the “Bulldog Line” (so called because they’d been brilliant for the Hamilton Bulldogs in 99-00) made the grade as a trio for 2000-01.

The line of Anton Lander, Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi hasn’t been together long, but there does seem to be chemistry in the group. Now, they’re not scoring goals but do have the puck headed in the right direction. Sure it’s the AHL, but I think we can agree this year’s AHL is extra difficult and that the best minor league in the world is pretty damn tough in normal times.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves, the chances of all three players making the grade is not high. In the case of Brian Swanson, Michel Riesen and Daniel Cleary, one of them made it and the other two made like Mrs Hogwallop and up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T:

NHL GAMES AFTER FALL 2000

  1. Daniel Cleary 763
  2. Brian Swanson 70
  3. Michel Riesen 12

There’s every chance the current trio will not play 763 games individually between now and the end of the line, but I like their chances of playing north of 200 games between now and their final flight across the Atlantic. The 99-00 Bulldog line was a scoring unit (70 AHL goals between them that season) and the 12-13 Barons trio is not going to get a lot of PP time (30 of the 70s goals in 99-00 from the Bulldog line came on the man advantage) but good things are happening.

Cult Of Hockey does player grades after each OKC game and Jonathan Willis had some kind words for the trio last night. I’m going to quote his Lander prose, but suggest reading the entire article.

  • Willis: #16 Anton Lander, 6. Another strong game for Anton Lander, who seems to be finding his stride (if not the score-sheet) with Hartikainen and Paajarvi. Played physically, and figured in on the Barons’ first goal by winning the faceoff and then going to the net; he didn’t get a point but he did solid work.

Hartikainen (14, 4-7-11) has probably won an NHL job at this point, if not at the beginning of the post lockout era then soonafter. Paajarvi (14, 2-6-8) too should be in the mix, perhaps waiting until Lennart Petrell’s contract expires but that seems an easy hurdle from here.

Lander (10, 0-0-0) is the guy who needs saving, and this 2nd line trio seems to have given him some life.

This thing could go sideways in a heartbeat, or the NHL lockout could end and Lander might find himself with a new set of linemates after the other two get the call. Also, it’s pretty hard to imagine the Oilers elevating two forward units (Nuge line, Lander line) “whole” and then making two sets from the group that includes Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones, Eric Belanger, Darcy Hordichuk and Lennart Petrell.

Still, this unit is doing good things. A 20-game run to allow the chemistry to continue is probably the best plan available.

 

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21 Responses to "BONA FIDE?"

  1. Gi JQE says:

    Well it may not be the oilers FIST line! Or OKC FIST line… but they may be able to start doing some good things!

  2. spoiler says:

    Lol. Thou art a Brother, LT.

    But I was expecting to see Holly Hunter when I clicked through.
    ;o)

    or the NHL lockout could end

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha… Those two fuckups couldn’t end a footrace, negotiate a corner, fix glue. Like it is with the government, our future is in the hands of the incompetent.

    Lander and MPS need to find away to score. They can’t be playing against the toughs down there. They need to show they can beat the softs. Fortunately we have plenty of time to be patient. Talent is there.

    Schultz now in on 50% of all Barons goals this season. He was over 40% in his last Badger season. Led the Badgers in scoring one season and continues to lead the Barons

  3. RexLibris says:

    Gernat back skating with the Oil Kings. Apparently his decision to go overseas for treatment had a lot to do with family support. Understandable, and, in my opinion, kind of a good sign that this young man knows he still needs family for some things.

    That is one very stylish mo’ Mr. Clooney is sporting there, very appropriate.

    The Lander Line may not be promoted as a whole. My guess is they bring up Hartikainen and find a replacement if the season starts at all. How that replacement player slots in will go a long way to determining their future in the NHL.

  4. TheBusDriver86 says:

    Lets not start doing the FIST thing here at Lowetide.

  5. jonrmcleod says:

    From Schremp via Twitter:

    off to the latvian minor leagues, chrysler plant here i come

  6. DSF says:

    JC Lipon just killing the WHL.

    2G 3A 5P last night against the Winterhawks.

    Now leads the WHL in goals (19) and points (48) in 24GP.

  7. speeds says:

    With OKC kind of middle of the pack in terms of GF, I’m curious how long until Rajala and/or Cornet get a promotion?

  8. bubbasnickey says:

    I seem to remember Lander, Paajarvi, and Omark playing togther for a period or so in the bigs last year and dominating. I always wondered why they didnt play together again after that.

  9. godot10 says:

    Hartikainen, Paajarvi, and whoever (Green, Vandevelde) was at centre were a dominant line in the playoffs last year. That is how VV got 6 goals. Paajarvi gets the puck up the ice, and Hartikainen dominates on the cycle down low. Paajarvi, Lander, Hartikainen…a pretty good NHL 4th line.

    Lander and Pitlick looked really good together against the Marlies last year also. But without production. The problem with Pitlick is that he really looks like a player, all the time, but we still haven’t seen the production.

    The Oilers have enough dynamic wingers that they might not need Lander to be dynamic offensively if he can be a defensive stud.

  10. DSF says:

    Cogliano joining Gagner in Austria.

    Get ahold of Nilsson and they’ll have top line in that league.

  11. spoiler says:

    Lol@ManU.

  12. jp says:

    The chances of that line being call up all together this season are pretty small, but within a few years there’s going to be a need for a new 3rd line in Edmonton. This could be the replacement line – I’ve never seen Hartikainen as a top 6 player, but see a solid bottom 6 guy, Paajarvi is looking more and more like a good 2-way 3rd liner rather than top 6 guy, and Lander is 3rd on the C depth chart once Horcoff and Belanger are gone. Great news that the OKC line is looking good to gether now.

  13. Dipstick says:

    spoiler:
    Lol@ManU.

    I was on a plane all morning and missed the game. Tell me what happened.

  14. PaperDesigner says:

    godot10:
    Hartikainen, Paajarvi, and whoever (Green, Vandevelde) was at centre were a dominant line in the playoffs last year.That is how VV got 6 goals.Paajarvi gets the puck up the ice, and Hartikainen dominates on the cycle down low.Paajarvi, Lander, Hartikainen…a pretty good NHL 4th line.

    Lander and Pitlick looked really good together against the Marlies last year also. But without production.The problem with Pitlick is that he really looks like a player, all the time, but we still haven’t seen the production.

    The Oilers have enough dynamic wingers that they might not need Lander to be dynamic offensively if he can be a defensive stud.

    I think the frustrating thing about Lander is that he kept tracking like a player who could chip in a little offense from a third line role until his production fell off a cliff as soon as he came over. Did his offense stay in Sweden? It’s hard to know what exactly happened, but I suppose one could guess that he ended up over his head so much here, that he simply stopped trying to score.

  15. Gi JQE says:

    godot10,
    If that is the case then LANDER is just along for the ride…and if the trio cant score then he is the problem (as you pointed out that MPS and HARTIKAINEN had offense without him).

    Small sample sizes though I suppose…

  16. jp says:

    Blast from the past – Bryan Young has turned into a scorer…

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=11010

    He scored over a PPG last year, and was named best offensive defenseman in the league. This after 3 year OHL totals of 186-1-29-30. Gotta wonder about the QoC in that Asia league, yikes :)

  17. spoiler says:

    Dipstick: I was on a plane all morning and missed the game.Tell me what happened.

    They lost.

    Which is usually enough for me to lol.

    No Rooney. Played Giggs in the Scholes spot for two thirds of the game, then threw him in when they went down a goal. Norwich defended in numbers most of the game, looking for breaks and mistakes for their offense. One break paid off with a good cross in and a strong finish, and then the home side returned to defending in numbers, playing possession ball when they did get it back. Despite virtually no stoppages in the 2nd half, ManU was given their usual extra 5 to equalize but couldn’t pull it off despite the efforts of Scholes (Giggs had been swung out to his usual spot wide left).

    Only Norwich’s 9th win (IIRC) in a gazillion matches against the Devils..

  18. godot10 says:

    Gi JQE:
    godot10,
    If that is the case then LANDER is just along for the ride…and if the trio cant score then he is the problem (as you pointed out that MPS and HARTIKAINEN had offense without him).

    Small sample sizes though I suppose…

    Most NHL players are “along for the ride”. Most NHL players are role players. The question is whether they can contribute to the greater whole in a meaning way.

  19. FastOil says:

    DSF:
    JC Lipon just killing the WHL.

    2G 3A 5P last night against the Winterhawks.

    Now leads the WHL in goals (19) and points (48) in 24GP.

    I had a chance to go to the game. I don’t see a lot of WHL, it was interesting to see a few top prospects play at this level.

    For the Blazers, Bozon-Smith-Lipon was great. They are quick and dangerous, not into grinding much as two are pretty small. Bozon may have a shot at the NHL with his weight, skill and speed. Lipon I don’t think would fare as well against men, the D in this game other than a few were not really big guys and there were very few hits.

    The best Blazer D IMO was Tyler Bell. Not flashy, decent speed, good passes, he really shut down the cycle quickly and got the puck going the right way. He was also the most physical player on the ice overall, made a beauty hit at centre which effectively broke up a rush so he didn’t get burned being up ice.

    Cheveldave is a very good goalie, it’s too bad he’s so small given the giant goalie syndrome in the NHL.

    For the Hawks, Jones is clearly a very accomplished player, calm and smooth, the most gifted on either team. He has all the tools for sure. He rushed the puck a lot, tried to create offense either from the point or by jumping in. Fantastic skater. I wonder if he is sick or something because stamina wasn’t a strong point for him, very short shifts, always seemed winded after any time he had to skate hard for a stretch, even short.

    It’s only one game, but I can’t see his offense translating well into the NHL. He passes well, his shot is pretty hard, but he seems like he is pushing to be offensive and IMO it’s not natural for him. Made a couple of big giveaways from blowing attempts to create scoring chances.

    Not from pinching or being up ice, just losing battles at the offensive blue line and a few times getting stuffed trying to head man the puck out of the D zone, perhaps instead of the safe or better chosen play. And that’s with him overall being a more conservative type of player, not overly adventurous. He’s young yes, was highly involved, but not dominant in this game.

    He does cover very well and punishes in front of the net to a degree, although this game was high tempo offensive in nature. One other thing is it looks to me that he is going to have to fill out a lot for the NHL. He looks to me like he might have more of the tall thin kind of build. He isn’t very strong, really gangly, we’ll see where he ends up. I’d wait to see before any Weber/Rake/Chara comparisons, it might affect him at the NHL level. For example on paper he is similar sized to Bell, strength wise no comparison to Bell during play.

    No Hawk forward made much of an impression offensively despite the 4 goals. Rattie, wow, he was by far the most uncoordinated player on the ice. He looks as if he’s going to bail at any time, terrible skater, no acceleration, repeatedly button hooked in the D zone to gain enough speed to keep up with a rush. Reminds me of Gagner’s end to end goal where he actually got enough speed to beat the D ;)

    Rattie is sneaky, knows how to get open, and is only concerned about scoring, has pretty good accuracy and velocity on his wrist shot for a small guy, so I see how he gets points. I’ll be surprised to see him stick in the NHL though.

    One Hawk forward stood out for consistent good play to me and that was Adam DeChamplain. Man can that kid forecheck. Several times he hemmed two Blazer D in single handedly. He has incredible acceleration, lots of energy and lots of jam, never gives up on the puck. He could skate down the pass behind the net between the 2 D and corner the guy, doing the same when the puck went back the other way. Amazing.

    If he could score he’d be dynamite in the NHL, that said he does have skills, can handle the puck well. Might be a guy to think about in a later round, although he’s still a bit light for what the Oilers like in a role player.

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