To the delight of many of us, and the absolute horror of others, Horcoff and Die lives to fight another day. Hey, we all know there will come a time and a day when Shawn Horcoff will pass the mantle to Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but it wasn’t today. For all old guys everywhere, it’s time to have a beer and then another one.



  1. Sam Gagner 14:40/1.96
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 14:33/1.98
  3. Shawn Horcoff 14:03/1.04
  4. Eric Belanger 11:11/0.64
  5. Anton Lander 8:53/0.62

Gagner and the Nuge delivered solid numbers, owing to softer opposition and a zone start push respectively. Horcoff faced the toughs and ZS hell, delivering the 297th best 5×5/60 for NHL players who dressed for 40 games or more. Belanger and Lander were at 344 and 347 respectively (there were 368 players who qualified).


  1. Shawn Horcoff 2:39
  2. Eric Belanger 2:28
  3. Anton Lander 1:36

About what we might have expected, gives us some insight into the role EDM expects Lander will play in the future.


  1. Ryan Nugent Hopkins 3:00/7.34
  2. Shawn Horcoff 2:52/3.20
  3. Sam Gagner 2:27/3.66
  4. Eric Belanger 1:04/4.32

I don’t know that he’ll be the captain past this spring, in fact we talked about it last summer here. Having said that, I don’t see a buyout either. Not for a year or two anyway.

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  1. FPB94 says:

    Belanger’s and Horcoff’s PP time should be about 0. And RNH’s and Gagner’s 4,5.

  2. Lowetide says:

    I think Horcoff’s time will be reduced but he’ll play, Krueger has him on the #1 group currently.

  3. FPB94 says:

    Guess i’l go get my stock and present myself at Oilers TC then.

  4. leadfarmer says:

    Well I think that takes care of the offseason buy out theory. The guys that are getting bought out are shunned from TC, not given the captaincy. I am a little curious about the discreptancy between fan opinion and the Oilers management. He must be last off the ice but somehow first to the weightroom or something of the sort.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Toughest qual comp a year ago and a Corsi Rel of -1.0 and 43.9% offensive zone start. That’s why they didn’t buy him out. He wakes up in Shawshank and goes to bed in Folsom.

  6. leadfarmer says:

    Yeah, I am of the few fans that say we still need him. But not too many of us left.

  7. Kris11 says:

    I might have left Hemsky as an A, alternating with Eberle (while Hall alternates with Schultz the Elder) at least until it becomes clear that the kids get all the letters to signify their on ice leadership. (Hall still hasn’t beat Hemsky’s best on ice performance for a season.)

    Schultz is the more veteran D (and really the most veteran player and qualified leader on the team) and so it makes sense to move the A from Whitney to Schultz.

    But taking an A from Hemsky -now- seems like an unnecessary slap in the face. He’s one of the longest serving Oilers. He was a key component of the last cup run. He has signed in Edmonton and been vocal about how much he wants to stay.

    Maybe Hemsky doesn’t care about the letter. Maybe he actively doesn’t want it. But I think maybe he iis another victim of the “Euros aren’t virtuous enough to lead, win in playoffs, etc” bias that seems to permeate too much of the NHL. Maybe.

    I’d have lchanged everything next season, including passing the C to the guy who was the best on ice player.

  8. OIL4LIFE says:


    I agree Ebs for Captain. I for one think Eberle has what we need in the next captain, Heart and Brains. Just like horcoff has, and so did our former captains. IMHO

  9. Kris11 says:


    Just to be clear, I think I’d pick Hall for Captain, because he is and will be the best player on the ice for the Oilers, and I’d give it to him next year.

    But If Eberle or RNH or Yak or Schultz outperforms Hall this year, I might hold off giving him the C until you figure out who is the baddest of the bad of the new kids.

  10. Rebilled says:

    So, does the MOM trade involve Whitney and Hemsky?

    You know, the two guys they just stripped of their letters. Whitney seemed kinda pissed.

  11. wheatnoil says:


    Given Krueger was apparently disappointed in Whitney’s attitude last year, it shouldn’t be too surprising that he no longer has an “A” this year.

  12. blackdog says:

    I think I read somewhere today that Eberle was voted a captain in OKC. He has the respect of his teammates by the sounds of it. I think Hall is the better player but I really don’t think it matters down the road who wears the C really. The whole captain thing is overrated a bit imo unless he’s a horrible example.

    Kreuger has been pretty clear about the importance of Horcoff to this club. Fans can’t see beyond the contract and he’s not the player he once was but he does the dirty work, same as Smyth, and until they replace them then they are necessary. Someone has to stand in front of the net and take a beating and take the tough assignments and go get those pucks for the wonderkids.

    Horc has always been the good soldier and he deserves respect for that.

  13. jp says:


    Wheatnoil makes a good point, but trade thoughts came to my mind too when hearing those 2 had letters taken away. Maybe they just really aren’t good “leaders” though.

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide: He wakes up in Shawshank and goes to bed in Folsom.

    Rec’d for folksy wisdom. Love your turns of phrase, LT.

  15. wuthering says:

    When I was in OKC in Nov, on the Sunday night we went to the Thunder game. Ebs, Hall, Schultz, and Nuge showed up at the game and wandered around looking for a court-side seat. No one knew who they were. I pointed them out to the people beside me, and explained that they were young NHL players who were in OKC because of the lockout. Still no one cared. Anyways, it was funny to watch them as a group; Eberle was the leader (he was also the only with a pint in hand). Everywhere he went the others followed in the order listed above. Alas, they got no court-side seats even though they were obviously appealing for some, and they meandered up into the upper-level where they presumably had seats. Anyways, I think the next ‘C’ will be Ebs if the players themselves have the say.

  16. Bruce McCurdy says:

    jp: Maybe they just really aren’t good “leaders” though.

    Rishaug (I think it was) spent about 10 minutes on Gregor’s show ripping Hemsky for being first off the ice today (well 2nd after that other commie Khabibulin), then said “it really doesn’t matter to me, now he can just be what he is” or some such before riffing right back into Hemsky being first off the ice again. It was like he got caught in a loop or something, just couldn’t change the subject for what seemed like forever. It would have been painful even if he had a point.

  17. "Steve Smith" says:

    wuthering: Eberle was the leader

    That could be, as much as anything, a function of age and seniority – when he and Hall joined the Oilers, they were, what, 20 and 18, respectively? That’s a significant age difference at that age, though those of us further into adulthood have trouble imagining it. And then RNH shows up and Hall and Eberle each have a year of NHL play under their belts and Eberle is significantly older, and then you have Schultz who’s never played an NHL game.

    Or Eberle could just be a born leader. I’m basically talking out of my ass, as is my custom.

  18. Lowetide says:

    I think Steve Smith pretty much summed it up.

  19. "Steve Smith" says:

    Bruce McCurdy:It would have been painful even if he had a point.

    In this context, I am strangely empathetic towards Rishaug.

  20. wuthering says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    Just an observation I thought some may be interested in hearing.

  21. "Steve Smith" says:


    And my post was just verbal diarrhea I thought some people might be interested in reading.

    (I have exceedingly poor judgment with respect to what people might be interested in reading.)

  22. Lowetide says:

    Always difficult to know the dynamic in relationships. Now, if they were in a bar and there was one obviously beautiful woman, then I think we’d see Hall wheel.

  23. jp says:


    Hehe, you’re probably right.


    An interesting observation for sure, thanks.

  24. FastOil says:

    I would prefer if someone deserved the C more than Horcoff (whom I think would hand it over without being asked), warts and all.

    No one yet can carry his pack. A bit soon.

  25. Rocknrolla says:


    You are right on that one LT…I’ve seen it!

    Regarding leadership, it was Hall himself that sad Ebs is more competitive than him. I think these two are great friends and a good ying/yang but Eberle being the older and more focused, smarter sniper, you can see him easily emerging as the initial leader.

    Heart, sacrifice, commitment…these are things I see developing in Taylor Hall eventually becoming that player who can, like the moose, will a team to win. With his Corsi #s and shot count you can see the power he has. He is definitely not the most talented of the 3, but as long as he can get past the small ego thing I see flashes of (which the support of Eberle, and lack I’df pressure all on him hill help) Taylor hall over the next 10 years will emerge as the leader, ergo, Captan of this club with leading by example and sheer will.

    Also Kudos to Krueger for making changes, Whitney needed a buzzer, and Hemmer was never one to embrace that role.

  26. wuthering says:


    Wouldn’t doubt it. Maybe Nuge has the quiet advantage over the ladies. Maybe they play rock-paper-scissors to decide who leads or gets the girl. Anyways, Eberle was the clear leader on that particular night (even my buddy who is a Flames fan noticed it). He’s probably really good at RPS.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Nuge seems like the quiet type. Suspect he’s getting an education lol.

  28. Rocknrolla says:

    As one who has seen Hall and Ebs in the bar…believe me when I say being re-incarnated as one of these two between the years of 2010-2015 will substantially put extra holes in your belt.

    Some have compared it to barrel fishing….

  29. hunter1909 says:

    Fitting to use one of the most overhyped, rottenest and most ridiculous rock bands of all time as a counterpoint to the article.

  30. Clay says:

    The more people hate on Horcoff, the more I cheer for the guy. All he’s ever done his whole career is show up to camp in top shape, play his guts out, and do all the heavy lifting on the statistically worst NHL team since the last lockout.

    All the numerous times since he became captain that this team mailed it in and he stood in front of the media and answered all the questions – damn right he deserves to be captain for some of the good times.

  31. "Steve Smith" says:

    So, would I be right in thinking that Traktor has suffered some horrible accident?

  32. Lowetide says:

    No he was her awhile back ripping on somethng, don’t recall specifics. I do know he’s very happy with the depth at center this year. (this should work).

  33. "Steve Smith" says:


    Well, why wouldn’t he be? Horcoff can play any role, after all, and Gagner may be small, but he’s so talented his size doesn’t matter. It’s just a good thing we got rid of Cogliano.

  34. Gerta Rauss says:

    I think we should trade our first round pick for Cody Franson.

  35. delooper says:

    Brad Winchester to Calgary. I need one of those animated eyebrow emoticons.

  36. KitchenerWatcher says:

    Horcoff’s “C” is great. The team needs ‘bridge’ players and he’s the perfect candidate.

    My concern is the Hemsky subtraction. The last contract smelled funny and he seems disconnected in interviews, but this -A seems like the final proof that management won’t keep him here long.

    He’s a heckuva player – a potentially perfect ‘bridge’ guy – but I’d guess he’s gone at the trade deadline. I’m not sure how else to read the signs.

  37. "Steve Smith" says:

    KitchenerWatcher: My concern is the Hemsky subtraction.The last contract smelled funny and he seems disconnected in interviews, but this -A seems like the final proof that management won’t keep him here long.

    He’s a heckuva player – a potentially perfect ‘bridge’ guy – but I’d guess he’s gone at the trade deadline.I’m not sure how else to read the signs.

    He apparently wants to be here, so I think we can safely assume that he’ll injure himself before the trade deadline so as to make himself untradeable.

  38. icecastles says:

    KitchenerWatcher: … this -A seems like the final proof that management won’t keep him here long.

    I’m not sure I agree.

    It has been widely acknowledged that the kids are the future and the team is going to embrace that. But this is a far cry from throwing out the present. Hemsky still brings a lot of things the youth can’t yet. And no team is made of only two lines.

    In terms of the formal aspects of captain/assistant captain role, it doesn’t seem like something Hemsky is particularly enamoured with. Seeing him on the ice and in interviews, it seems abundantly clear that if he is to lead, he prefers to do it by setting an example, not necessarily by conducting interviews, debating calls with the refs, etc. And there’s nothing wrong with this.

    Going forward, I believe one of the biggest strengths we are going to see from Kruger is his ability to identify a given player’s strengths and to create an environment where they can thrive. Some guys thrive with added attention/responsibility, some are the strong silent type. It’s 100% speculation, but I think if anything, Hemsky would welcome this change, not see it as a vote of non-confidence.

  39. Ducey says:

    No he was her awhile back ripping on somethng, don’t recall specifics. I do know he’s very happy with the depth at center this year. (this should work).

    He is still trying to uncover evidence to back up his argument that James Reimer is better than Devan Dubnyk.

  40. "Steve Smith" says:

    Ducey: He is still trying to uncover evidence to back up his argument that James Reimer is better than Devan Dubnyk.

    You mean beyond his dissertation on the subject of those who think otherwise being a bunch of Tencers?

  41. dessert1111 says:

    Always difficult to know the dynamic in relationships. Now, if they were in a bar and there was one obviously beautiful woman, then I think we’d see Hall wheel.

    He made out with my cousin at a bar in Windsor. Apparently he’s not a very nice guy.

  42. dessert1111 says:

    Regarding the captain thing, I am surprised Smid didn’t get a letter. Of course we don’t know what goes on between the players and coaches so we should probably defer to a smart man like Krueger, but from where I sit Smid is a leader. I am a bit sad for Hemsky but like another poster said he never really seemed to embrace a leadership role, though he has been an Oiler for a long time.

    I don’t think anyone has talked about Smyth getting his A removed as well. That’s very interesting. I was kind of hoping Horcoff would give Smyth the C actually, if only for one year. The guy deserves it for what he’s done for the team. If I had my way he’d wear it next year then give it to Eberle.

  43. Zipdot says:

    N. Schultz seems like such an outsider to me. But he was C once and A for most of his time with the Wild, so I guess he makes a good A. Still, he just seems like a stranger.

  44. B S says:

    Does anyone here seriously think it would be a good idea to saddle one of the kids with a captaincy for a team that has finished last, last, and just about last, for three years. Unless he screws up his duties (he’s been a positive influence, he gives all the right canned responses in interviews, and he’s less than belligerent when conversing with refs) let him shoulder the burden until the team gets somewhere, then he can pass it on to the next person who wants to organize birthday parties and team barbeques.

    As for Hemsky losing his letter, I think it’s important to put into context why he had it to begin with. He was one of the few players on the team who had the longevity, loyalty and NHL success to justify getting a letter. Hemsky didn’t get an A because he’s a leader, he got it because no-one else was available to take it instead. He certainly looked good in practice today and I think he should settle in for the next couple of seasons to pull a longer contract out of management.

    It might seem out there, but I think Gagner, assuming he’s still on the team, should be the next captain. He’s skilled, hardworking, and cares enough to make the effort. Who was the first person to send Nail a welcome text? not Horcoff, not Whitney, not Hall or Ebs, it was Gagner. Who lead the team in fighting majors last season? not Hordichuck, not Eager, yep Gagner again. Complaints about his size are pointless until and unless he gets pushed around in the playoffs. he wins faceoffs, he puts up points, and plays well complimentary to the skilled players on the team (Gagner, Hemsky and Yakupov were the best line in the scrimmage to day, even over the Kids in the Hall), and he shows a great work ethic.

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