WHEEL PLAY

If Ryan Whitney is back to full health–and can maintain it–a lot of problems melt away for the Edmonton Oilers. Whitney is a big, strong, talented defender who can pass the puck expertly, handle his own end and calm the waters when things are going off the rails.

Whitney has played some big minutes in his career–24 or more minutes a night at times during some of his time in Pittsburgh and Anaheim, and his first season in Edmonton too. We’ve been getting good reports on Whitney for some time now, as reflecting in this interview he did with Jason Strudwick a couple of months ago.

  • Whitney: Feels good to get a full summer of training in. Feels good to just be skating every day and not rehabbing injuries. After a lot of injuries you don’t always feel like you did when you were younger but as an older player you readjust to your “new normal”.

Now that everyone is returning to camp, we’re getting these lockout stories confirmed and of course the excitement is building. Jim Matheson has an item up on Whitney’s current state of affairs.

  • Whitney: “I feel very good (recovering from his foot injury). I did so much skating (since last April’s last game of 2012-13) and worked really hard with my trainer. I got to do sprints, things I couldn’t do for a while.”

If Whitney can wheel and turn, the Oilers blue becomes much stronger in a heartbeat. If coach Krueger could go:

  • Smid-Petry
  • Whitney-J Schultz
  • N Schultz-Potter
  • Peckham

All kinds of advantages there. The Oilers could run the 2nd pairing (as listed) on their 1PP and not break up a pairing (although an article this morning suggests Jordan Eberle may end up playing the PP point with Schultz) and Whitney would be a terrific mentor for Schultz the younger.

This is all blue sky right now, we’ll know in a week or two. I still think the Oilers should be looking to replace the Sutton minutes from outside the organization, but slotting Whitney as a clear top 4 option who can make all the plays gives the D a much better look.

We wait.

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28 Responses to "WHEEL PLAY"

  1. Ben says:

    I would do MPS for one of Ottawa’s goalies. Sign Campoli.

  2. DBO says:

    Ben:
    I would do MPS for one of Ottawa’s goalies. Sign Campoli.

    Way big overpay. you don`t deal a 1st rd pick who is still improving and fits on this team for a backup goalie who is not better then Danis in the AHL.

    This whole year i believe is all about Whitney`s health. if he is fully recovered, then we make playoffs. May seem simple, but adding a #1 two way defender with experience slots everyone down one rung on the depth chart, stabilizes the whole back end, makes Dubnyk better and improves our 2nd PP and our PK.

    it`s all about Whitney. Solid healthy year, re sign him to 2-3 years at same money and our top 4 is set for a few years and we are just a better team.

  3. jonrmcleod says:

    When Whitney says he got to do things he “couldn’t” do before, does he mean he couldn’t because of lack of opportunity or lack of ability?

  4. hunter1909 says:

    jonrmcleod,

    Whitney says things he couldn’t do for awhile – meaning he thinks he feels better.

    Unfortunately, it’s probably not true. Last night, after dissing the poor fucker I went to Youtube to see what he played like as a Penguin but alas, nothing much other than that thing posted on this site today.

    I prefer to think of Whitney as injured, and can’t wait until they flush him. Having said that, I wish him every success. He really seems like a great dude.

    Let’s see…Horcoff screwing up the centre position, Whitney doing more or less the same on the defence for a different reason. Wonderful.

  5. dessert1111 says:

    Is it possible that the Oilers could pick up a depth defender off waivers after training camps? I haven’t looked into this, but I’m betting there is a team out there whose eighth-best defender is better than Peckham or Teubert or Potter.

  6. delooper says:

    I think Whitney is fairly careful with his words. It sounds like he’s better than last season, but he did not say “I can do *everything* I could do pre-injury”. Just that he can now do some more of those things. So turning might be better but not at pre-injury levels. We also don’t know how prone he is to re-injury…

  7. rickithebear says:

    hunter1909: Whitney doing more or less the same on the defence for a different reason.

    Jan 2- Jan 23
    Smid-Petry
    Peckham-potter
    Sutton-Chorney/Tuebert
    DubnyK
    5Games
    3W-2L 2.19GA .929SV%

    Jan 24-31
    Smid-Petry
    Whitney-Sutton
    Peckham-Potter
    Dubnyk
    2Games
    1W-0L-1 OTL 1.92GA .941SV%

    FEB 2 – 4 & 27
    Smid-Petry
    Whitney-Potter
    Peckham-Barker
    Dubnyk
    3 Games
    3W-0L 3.57GA .907SV%

    Feb 6-25
    Smid-Gilbert
    Whitney-Potter
    Peckham-Petry
    Dubnyk
    5 Games
    2W-3L 2.41GA .907SV%

    Mar 6 – Apr 1
    Smid-Petry
    Whitney-N. Schultz
    Peckham/Sutton-Potter
    Dubnyk
    10Games
    7W-2L-1 OTL 1.86GA .938 SV%

    Pretty obvious who was the problem on D!
    They are no longer here.

  8. justDOit says:

    I understand the reservations that everyone seems to have about Whitney, and his guarded words don’t help that at all. But what can’t be over-stated, is that he’s been able to work out – hard – this off season, for the first time since the injury. That work out regimen included power skating, which suggests that while he might not ever get back to the old Whitney (or the young Whitney), he stands a very good chance of being a solid contributor to the defense.

    Having said that – does anyone know when the trading season starts? Will it commence immediately after the player ratification is over, sometime Saturday?

  9. justDOit says:

    rickithebear,

    That’s a pretty strong last month there.

  10. hunter1909 says:

    rickithebear,

    What I meant was, both Horcoff and Whitney hold the Oilers back. Horcoff for atrocious offence+his insane cap hit+ his pathetic captaincy vs Whitney who, if he played for London’s Tottenham Hotspur Football would be branded “sick note” by the fans. Whitney can’t help when he’s nothing but a constant threat for IR.

  11. Captain Obvious says:

    Rule of thumb. Always ignore preseason “best shape of his life” stories. They mean nothing.

  12. rickithebear says:

    justDOit: That’s a pretty strong last month there.

    I did not know if that is a reference to small sample size.
    This is an awsome half season

    Dubnyk Jan on with
    Smid-Petry
    XXX-XXX
    Peckham-Potter
    25Games
    15W-8L-2OL 2.33GA .925SV%

    Luckilly wee had Gilbert, Barker, And KHB to keep us in the top 2.
    Smid-Petry
    No Gilbert – No Barker
    Peckham-Potter
    16 games
    10W – 4L- 2 OTL 1.95GA .936SV%

    Smid-Petry
    With Gilbert Or Barker
    Peckahm-Potter
    9 Games
    5W – 4L – 0 OTL 3.07GA 0.906 SV%

    This year:
    Smid-Petry
    Whitney-N. Schultz
    XXX-J. Schultz
    Peckham-Potter

    Optimism?
    YES!

  13. justDOit says:

    rickithebear,

    Yes, a nod to small smpl, but still nice to see. Regardless of how many years in a row my optimism gets trampled to death by January, it remains as strong as ever this year – possibly because we’re already into January?

  14. Zipdot says:

    Mark your calendars. The old Whitney is back. Don’t believe Hunter1909′s hype. He’ll be in rare form this season.

  15. Zipdot says:

    Captain Obvious: Rule of thumb. Always ignore preseason “best shape of his life” stories. They mean nothing.

    It turned out to be accurate for Khabi last season, resulting in his wicked streak…

  16. justDOit says:

    Zipdot: It turned out to be accurate for Khabi last season, resulting in his wicked streak…

    Do you mean his streak of .967 in the first 12 games or so, or the .8xx streak after that? I’m trying to be optimistic here, but parading out Khabby as an example might not be the best strategy.

  17. Marc says:

    Ovechkin’s Russian Gillette commercial really defies description:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=swgoarPnDmc

  18. dessert1111 says:

    Read this today and thought someone else might find it interesting:

    “Spott said he’s comfy with Curtis Meighan as a fourth line centre. As for the rest? It’s up in the air. If he cannot acquire a pivot, the team will look to Josh Sterk, Matia Marcantuoni, Radek Faksa and probably try Tobias Rieder in the spot.

    The Edmonton Oilers, who drafted Rieder in the fourth round in the 2011 draft, have expressed an interest in the Rangers using him down the middle.”

    http://therecord.blogs.com/rangers_report/2013/01/extended-post-game-thoughts.html

    Written on Tuesday. Never thought of or heard of Rieder being used as a centre before, interesting that apparently the Oilers have had and expressed that thought.

  19. DeadmanWaking says:

    Staples has a piece up today titled Trade Nail Yakupov? Not if you want to win a Stanley Cup.

    I’ve was thinking about this already, so I’ll say a word or two, even though it’s OT on the thread of the moment–so far as Yakupov’s fate could be OT in any discussion of wobbly dominoes. If Whitney’s shrunken rudder has in fact stiffened enough to avoid his being rag-dolled against the lumbering ice floes, any good Bayesian would adjust his prior on our fresh-faced hookah-handgun quipping to Entertainment Tonight about the improved putting grain of the designer carpet in his dressing-room loft apartment Mark II.

    On a side note: I’ve just read that the rudder on the Titanic wasn’t out of range for a merchant-class vessel based on vessel size alone, but none of the sources I consulted sensibly note it was cruising along at a speed generally reserved for defending worthless islands of Faded Empire prestige. (Not quite that fast. She had about the same top speed as the newly minted USS Kearsarge from the American Civil War. Even so, it’s not entirely clear to me that British warships–whose day job over long eras was merely to show up and raise flag as the marine equivalent of the Larry Robinson finger wag–had adequate ice-rudders in the first place.)

    Which brings us to Gimlets and Pink Gin (also available with a vodka base).

    The Market for Lemons

    Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Joseph Stiglitz jointly received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 for their research related to asymmetric information. Akerlof’s paper uses the market for used cars as an example of the problem of quality uncertainty. It concludes that owners of good cars will not place their cars on the used car market.

    If the Oilers hang onto Yakupov to fully evaluate his potential–as well as his fit and potential within the Oiler organization–there is definitely a fresh lemon-scent if we try to move him at the trade deadline. The implication is that the vendor has realized something about the goods on offer, and that this realization is mainly downside (or the goods would not be offered).

    So yes, retrospectively it appears to a sure recipe for market decline–the thesis that Staples is busy rebutting.

    But against that, there is a sizable prospect that evaluating an elite talent like Yakupov sheds valuable light on organizational need. How many teams get to audition a talent like Yakupov just to see whether he fits in, or how this particular type of players meshes with five other elite talents? Who would sanely pass up such an opportunity?

    I’m not even sure the lemon scent would be all that strong, like a billionaire car collector selling off his fifth-favorite Jaguar. “No really, it’s a great car, but it’s just not worth employing two full time Jaguar mechanics, so I’m cutting one free. Hate to see it go, really. You should act quick before I change my mind. Oh my god, I must be crazy! It’s my only 12-cylinder manual-gearbox. And you want a discount? Get out of town, Billy Bob!”

    Plan A: Flip the asset while his speculative value peaks.

    Positive outcome: Yakupov wasn’t all that great, really. Meanwhile you’ve got ANP quorum two bunks deeper into the IR longhouse–for a season or two.

    Negative outcome: He quickly rises to Hull-class destroyer with a two-decade service life. Compensations are mixed. Wamsley goes on to a post-season GAA of 8.08, only you’re informed this is not twice as good as 4.04. For one glorious year, Ramage does damage but this is followed up with seven years in dry dock and you end up in some seedy bar bragging “It was me! I made the Detroit model what it is today! All for one measly cup!” Then you’re sucker punched by some out-of-town left-coast poser in a Gortex hoody, and you slump hard into Red Mile exile. For the fifth time that week.

    Plan B: Properly evaluate epic prospect in hand.

    Negative outcome: Yakupov isn’t all that great, really. So you hang onto the other five guys (meeting or exceeding expectations), and pick up a sweet complementary piece from some other GM in the throes of starkers for Barker.

    Positive outcome: He’s not only elite, but turbo-charges the whole winning culture. When finally you can’t afford one of your young stars, the player you make available is the hottest commodity on the entire trade market. Everyone returns your calls.

    “Brian! Good to hear from you. You don’t presently have, uh, a team, do you? OK. Of course not. Alright then. Who are you floating from your, uh, fantasy league? No shit! Damn, can I have that in writing, just in case? Brian … I say this as a true friend … I’ll put in a good word for you when that position opens up. The guy they’ve got now, such a chump, no balls at all. Dead straight. You have my fax number, right? So long, keep it real.”

    Back to the economic moral of the story which is this:

    Real men bite their own lemons, and suck it up when they have to take the sour discount. Life with too many Jaguars is no bowl of cherries. Yeah, you often take a small bath on the one that can’t hold its oil. Meanwhile, there’s a 12 cylinder manual-gearbox begging to chew ice.

  20. B S says:

    Marc,

    That was amazing, does Ovechkin even know? It looked like they just cut him out of various other commercials and photographs and constantly replayed the shaving animation over top. I also loved the fencing in the background, made me wonder how pissed they were that they got their buts handed to them at the London Olympics.

    Re: Whitney, the fact that he was actually skating this summer, and fall, bodes well for his performance. At full health he had huge calming effect on the Oilers defensive zone play, hopefully he’s close to that. Petry and Smid were great last season, but I don’t think they’re 1st pairing minute crushers yet. A healthy (or at least mobile and, well… present) Whitney can take a lot of pressure off those two after the first few weeks, likely right when they’ll be running into trouble.

    If Whitney’s ankle is fully healed it shouldn’t be a threat for reinjury (no more than a normal ankle), even if it probably won’t be quite as flexible as it was before. I’ll be more at ease once I’ve seen him play a few games of course.

  21. hunter1909 says:

    B S: f Whitney’s ankle is fully healed it shouldn’t be a threat for reinjury (no more than a normal ankle), even if it probably won’t be quite as flexible as it was before. I’ll be more at ease once I’ve seen him play a few games of course.

    I’ll be honest here and admit I’ve started an early weekend with German Lager but if Whitney was a horse you’d shoot him.

  22. justDOit says:

    B S,

    OV would have had to know – he grew the beard and then posed in different cuts after they shaved parts away. I don’t think that part was done with CGI.

  23. hunter1909 says:

    justDOit:
    B S,

    OV would have had to know – he grew the beard and then posed in different cuts after they shaved parts away. I don’t think that part was done with CGI.

    Ovechkin hams it up in a studio, while they shave his beard smaller and smaller. Whether it’s a real beard I don’t know but wtf you have to assume it is, right? But if I’m wrong it’s not important. What matters here is, Ovi camps it up in front of a blue screen then they add everything in post production.

    For the record I sure as fuck wished they made commercials as innovative here as they do there.

  24. raventalon40 says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    I love reading your comments!

    Great analogy.

  25. justDOit says:

    hunter1909,

    I see your point, yes – much more creative that what we see here. But I find that I no longer watch or listen to commercials. Most things are recorded or watched on line, and that mute button is close at hand when they do come on.

    Personally, I would like to see advertising either heavily regulated or abolished. Subliminal sexual images, subconscious triggers and all the lying. Phrases like ‘doctor recommended’ drive me crazy, and all the ambiguous phrases that can neither be proven or disproved.

    Doctor: “I recommend that you stay away from this product.”

    Ad guy: “Can I quote you on that?”

    Sorry for the OT rant.

  26. B S says:

    hunter1909,

    Don’t you know? OVs a male model in Russia, very popular because of his manly off-season beards, with only slightly less facial hair than Russia’s women’s fencing, it could easily have been photos taken from his many underwear commercials (I kidding, because I really don’t want to google “Ovechkin russian calvin klein” to find out if I’m right).

    But yeah, that commercial is boss, just like one I saw for Russian beer in those Capri Sun juice packs.

    Edit: As to Whitney, a previously injured ankle isn’t the end of the world; a certain player in the 40′s broke his ankle, then went on to become one of the best scorer hockey has ever seen.

  27. jp says:

    DMW: Well said.

  28. ashley says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    You make a good point, and as always, very entertaining.

    I sometimes wonder what you’re doing hanging out with the rest of us low-brow lawyers, teachers, doctors, and engineers. That kind of brain and talent usually finds similar company rather than an average mix of people from the upper blues.

    I really enjoy your posts. Please ignore my run-ons, limited vocabulary, participle dangles, and the occasional tidy splitting of the infinitive. ;)

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