GETTING BETTER

The Oilers are in a ‘bend not break’ phase of their season, hopefully followed by ‘unlikely winning streak’ and the second season. I believe last night was a victory for the club in more ways that one:

  • grabbed a point when outmanned due to injury
  • scored a vital goal in the 3rd period to grab a point
  • Dennis King final chance tally: 22-19; 8-8 ST
  • Justin Schultz may be better than advertised. Seriously.
  • Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky had terrific games–they are the heart of the order.
  • Yakupov is freaky good with the puck on his stick and even a little space.
  • Gagner keeps posting crooked numbers.
  • Smid is a shot blocking machine.
  • Dubnyk is supplying the kind of goaltending that keeps the club in games.
  • The Nordic line is getting their groove, and the two wingers (Hartikainen and Paajarvi) look like NHL players to me.

Now the bad.

  • Love Ralph Krueger, but the Whitney-Potter pairing is chaos incorporated and shouldn’t see the light of day once he shortens his bench. If that’s too much for the other pairings, then the club needs to make a deal or recall Peckham. 
  • The roster situation is now silly. You have a backup goalie who no one wants to play, a defenseman who is in OKC for conditioning and hasn’t played a minute 20% into the season and Darcy Hordichuk, who plays less than one minute a night. Fix this, please.
  • Taylor Hall needs to bury that puck. Fancy is fine, but you better score. He didn’t.

I’m well pleased with last night’s game, suspect most Oiler fans are this morning. A team that had real troubles at center ice (down Horcoff and Belanger, losing Lander early) sucked it up and gathered in a much needed point.

Now it’s on to the Detroit Wheel.

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106 Responses to "GETTING BETTER"

  1. jfry says:

    I’m curious how Whitney would look, not paired with an ahl dman?

  2. Lowetide says:

    jfry:
    I’m curious how Whitney would look, not paired with an ahl dman?

    The point is moot. They both suck, but Whitney is physically unable to do the job. Potter is just bad.

  3. BrazilianOil says:

    Agree on the nordic line. I would like to see horcoff between them, if rules we have a 3 line for 13/14

  4. Jordan says:

    I can’t agree with you about Potter. I was pleasantly surprised with his play. He was tenacious on the boards, read the play fairly well, and did his damnedest to cover not only his responsibilities, but be aware of what Whitney was doing and help him as much as possible.

    He looked like a 3rd pairing D-man.

    I think that if he was paired with a healthy Fistric, or a conditioned Peckham, that Whitney would quickly be pressboxed, traded or waived.

    Tencer and Brown had an interesting discussion after the game on CHED about how Whitney is still an NHL d-man, but needs to change his game to adjust to his lack of mobility now.

    While I accept the premise that he could change his game to be a more effective player with his limited mobility, I don’t think that giving whitney that opportunity should mean the team continues to bleed. If he isn’t learning how to play that way, send him on his way – he’s more hinderance than help one the ice now.

  5. Ben says:

    You’d all be well served to take this with a grain of salt – seeing as I’m an anonymous and all, but here’s an entirely true anecdote about Whitney.

    Just a few games after the Vis trade the Oil are playing in Montreal. Pre-game, I’m sitting at the bar in the Bell Centre with my Copper and Blue shit on, generally getting harassed and abused by the home-crowd.

    A random guy asks the bartender to bring me a beer – I go over to say thanks. It’s Ryan Whitney’s dad (Dan, I think?) – mom was there too – they’re up from Boston to see the game.

    SUPER nice guy, (obviously – that’s nearly a $10 pint) we chat a bit about living in Edmonton – the good, bad and ugly.

    Eventually I ask about Ryan’s foot – which at the time had just emerged as a problem that Ryan was playing through, waiting for the off-season for corrective surgery.

    Ryan’s Dad tells me that both feet have structural problems that will have to be fixed surgically. I ask if the Oilers were aware of this when they made the trade. He says ‘no’, they didn’t ask about it.

    Now – again – this is an anonymous report based on a conversation with someone who may or may not have known these details – but I tell you, he seemed pretty sure, and seemed himself to think it was strange that Ryan’s feet weren’t more of a concern for the Oilers when they were making the trade.

    Of course, this was all borne out by what would happen over the following years, and culminated last night in poor Whitney looking skyward, hair blown back by Jagr-wind, screaming for a horse.

    Anyhow – it’s all moot now, but there you go.

  6. jfry says:

    Lt, it’s half moot until we stop playing both of them. At this point you have to thinks that dithers knows this but is working the phone for a centre. I also think that if we add 1 dman, it’s potter that gets pushed down the depth chart.

    I guess I have a tough time getting on the Whitney sucks bandwagon because I can’t see a situation where he’s not legitimately in our top 6, unless there’s some huge changes. So I guess, if we did get that “streit” pick up, Whitney might play with someone who can cover him more effectively.

    I’m not arguing that Whitney hasn’t been a weak link, but he’s a link I believe we’ll watch play the whole season, so hopefully he can figure out the new 100 a little better.

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Just watched the highlights again….

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=199551&cmpid=embed-share-video

    there is a particularly nice sequence that deserves mention (around the 3:05 mark). Yak throws a big hit and the puck squirts free in the neutral zone. N. Schultz makes an outlet pass to Hemsky who is at the blue line and he drives to the net with Gagner 2 on 1. Hemsky elects to shoot (surprising in itself) and gets a great scoring chance. And, you can’t see it on the tape (it ends too early), but Hemsky shows some “body language” of frustration.

    At any rate, it’s a wonderful sequence that up-ends some myths really nicely.

    1. Yak can grind and get the puck moving in the right direction without handling it. He’s not the typical Russian floater the press thinks epitomizes European players (few are!).

    2. N. Schultz can read the offensive situation and make an outlet pass in the neutral zone that is (relatively) high risk/reward.

    3. Hemsky can make the right, high %, decision to get the scoring chance and he’s not some flippant wastrel.

    Those three items demonstrate some of the tools lost in the shuffle by most when evaluating this team.

  8. Clay says:

    Loved watching PRV throwing his weight around last night. It seems that he’s finally realized how to use his size. That line will start popping a few, gare-on-teed.

    This team is due a big offensive game at some point. These shooting percentages will turn around at some point. I mean, how many wide open nets will Eberle flat-out miss in his career?

  9. blackdog says:

    I’m with you LT. This club is better than I expected, really, I thought maybe they could snag a playoff spot with some luck. They still need luck imo but not as much. They have talent through the lineup and the result of this as well is that a guy like Petrell looks better, by my eye, because he’s playing with better players.

    Third pairing is a disaster although when Fistric returns that solves half the problem. But Potter and Whitney are both poor. Feel bad for Whitney. Must be tough to be be done. His new 100% is awful.

    So they need to address that and I would bet that if the team gets healthy again that we don’t see Hordichuk again.

    The only question is if Ted and Belanger are effective when they return. If they are then I presume they ride it out until Horc returns. Would prefer they pick up a guy like Steckel as a stopgap. Or Connolly for that matter. Don’t expect it though.

  10. BlacqueJacque says:

    I swear I’m starting to annoy even myself by continually pointing this out, but Yak was clearly at his most effective on the right wing and drifted there again last night.

    Other than that, he is going to be a beast of a scorer in a few years. Of all the kids, I feel most confident in saying he will hit 40 goals. Especially when they put him back on his natural side.

  11. Jordan says:

    A reading from the book of Taylor…

    And thus spake the Hockey Gods, saying that all should know “We desire to see Taylor Hall play at Centre. You shall play him at centre for our entertainment, or we shall blight your team.” Yet the Tamblowevish did not heed the word of the Gods. They cried out “But Hall’s speed and strength are surely better assets on the wing, where he has fewer defensive responsibilities! We cannot move him to centre! Besides, we’ve got all these other great Centres…”

    And the Hockey Gods saw that this was so. There were indeed too many centres in Oilerdom to allow Hall to play down the middle. “This shall not stand,” decreed the Hockey Gods. “You shall play Taylor Hall at centre. If you have too many Centres to allow it, then we shall remove this obstacle for you.” And so Belanger was injured, with damage to his toes. But still the Tamblowevish would not play Hall at Centre. So Horcoff was struck with a broken hand. But still the Tamblowevish would not play Hall at Centre. And the Hockey GOds said, “Damn you guys are really dense” and Hopkins of the golden boys was struck with shoulder soreness. But still the Tamblowevish would not play Hall at Centre. In Fact, the Tamblowevish recalled AHLers Lander and Arcobello to fill in, had Smyth play centre on the 3rd line.

    And so the Hockey Gods were furious with the denial of their will. Wroth with anger, they ensured that Lander was swiftly injured with a bone bruise, and Arcobello looked like a lost sheep while on the ice. And so the Krueger stood and said, “I have no more Centres! I must play Hall at Centre with other players, or surely we will have no centres at all!”

    So Hall played at centre, and the Hockey Gods were pleased, especially when #4 tried to Fancy-dan his way to a goal and flubbed it badly, for it was a selfish play and deserved to be mocked incessantly. And Hall learned from his prideful ways, and because a great centre for all of Oilerdom to admire.”

    The word of the Hockey Gods. Thanks be to Weir.

  12. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    blackdog: So they need to address that and I would bet that if the team gets healthy again that we don’t see Hordichuk again.

    I’ve been thinking about this interview lately:

    http://oilersnation.com/2012/7/4/hordichuk-ralph-and-i-are-on-the-same-page

    The impression Hordi gives is that RK is going to use him differently than TR and that differently means more. Here’s a contemporary discussion by fans:

    http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1223405

    I wonder about that conversation between RK and Hordi now. Did Hordi misread or embellish RK? Was he confused about RK’s expectations?

    Because 10 games in, it certainly looks like RK is more reluctant to use Hordi than TR was. Even with a massively depleted roster, 16 barely touches the ice.

    I wonder if there was a miscommunication, a change of plans, or what… because 16 very publicly signalled that he was under the direct impression from RK that he was going to playing more and seeing an expanded role this season.

    maybe the shortened season changed the metrics? but something was either misunderstood or changed.

  13. sliderule says:

    Whitney is done.He can’t stop anyone in the corners because he can’t turn.

    They might as well find out if Fedun or Teubert can play.If they don’t find out now you can figure they will have them slotted in for the roster next year.

    I think they will just have to be forced into improving D by signing a UFA.If they have other options within team you will get same old same old.

  14. bookjLe says:

    Ben,

    Ryan Whitney’s Dad wouldn’t have a clue if the Oilers asked about his foot unless he is the GM of the Anaheim Ducks. Though, it was great of him to buy you a beer.

  15. bookjLe says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Just watched the highlights again….

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=199551&cmpid=embed-share-video

    there is a particularly nice sequence that deserves mention (around the 3:05 mark). Yak throws a big hit and the puck squirts free in the neutral zone. N. Schultz makes an outlet pass to Hemsky who is at the blue line and he drives to the net with Gagner 2 on 1. Hemsky elects to shoot (surprising in itself) and gets a great scoring chance. And, you can’t see it on the tape (it ends too early), but Hemsky shows some “body language” of frustration.

    At any rate, it’s a wonderful sequence that up-ends some myths really nicely.

    1. Yak can grind and get the puck moving in the right direction without handling it. He’s not the typical Russian floater the press thinks epitomizes European players (few are!).

    2. N. Schultz can read the offensive situation and make an outlet pass in the neutral zone that is (relatively) high risk/reward.

    3.Hemsky can make the right, high %, decision to get the scoring chance and he’s not some flippant wastrel.

    Those three items demonstrate some of the tools lost in the shuffle by most when evaluating this team.

    So, what your saying is that Hemsky has bad body language, right?

  16. HiddenDarts says:

    sliderule:
    Whitney is done.He can’t stop anyone in the corners because he can’t turn.

    They might as well find out if Fedun or Teubert can play.If they don’t find out now you can figure they will have them slotted in for the roster next year.

    I can only agree with this. Why not give Fedun the call? There’s absolutely NO way he’s worse than Potter or Whitney.

    Teubert, however? No. Bad, bad idea.

  17. Ducey says:

    I don’t get the dislike for Potter. His Rel Corsi is +1.7 (3rd among D). He is not a problem. Seriously.

    The guys who are struggling among the D are Smid and Petry (and Whitney). I thought Petry played better yesterday (he is starting to skate) but Smid still has too many times when he struggles to do something useful with the puck. He is still not to where he was last year.

    Whitney looks to me like a player who lacks confidence. His failure to take a proper angle on Jagr last night wasn’t an ankle thing (as far as I can tell). He just went fishing for the puck when he should have played the body. Do we know its the ankle and not just a situation where a vet sits around during the lockout and finds himself having to catch up?

    I agree on Hordichuk but I think the coach knows that one of these days its going to be 5-1 in the third and the other team is going to start roughing up the kids. Someone is going to have to step up and you’d rather have Hordi busting his knuckles than Smid. Hopefully Eager can return and be useful.

  18. Bar_Qu says:

    sliderule,

    I agree on calling up Fedun. He certainly can’t hurt. But it does mean cutting someone from the lineup. Please let it be Hordichuk.

    And I really can’t see how anyone could be displeased with the overall game last night. It was amazing to see the talent in full flight, especially that bad, bad man Hemsky. When you have depth and talent throughout the lineup it lets a guy like Petrell play to his strengths and gives space even for youngsters like Harski and PRV to play their game. I really think PRV will benefit the most from time with a guy like Smyth, seeing what can be accomplished through acceptance of pain and gritted teeth tenacity. Last night PRV was mucking it more than I recall him doing before and it was amazing to see his effectiveness. I think the guy has a good career ahead of him and is certainly a depth player the Oilers need if they are going to be successful.

    And are we all now past the nitpicky criticism of Dubnyk? I don’t know what else he has to do to prove he belongs exactly where he is. Solid, reliable and good for 30+ saves a night. Awesome to have him back there.

  19. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’m not sure about this Fedun talk. I’d really like him to settle into his first full pro year and his post injury play in the AHL. Not sure why, but I feel like protecting his long term interests and the team’s means staying down.

    I’d rather see that spot taken up by a trade or a waiver pick up.

    I could definitely see Whitney sit a few more games (once Fistric and Peckham are game ready) and used a bit more conservatively. He should probably be paired with anyone but 44 from here on out.

  20. bookjLe says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I’m not sure about this Fedun talk. I’d really like him to settle into his first full pro year and his post injury play in the AHL. Not sure why, but I feel like protecting his long term interests and the team’s means staying down.

    I’d rather see that spot taken up by a trade or a waiver pick up.

    I could definitely see Whitney sit a few more games (once Fistric and Peckham are game ready) and used a bit more conservatively. He should probably be paired with anyone but 44 from here on out.

    Fedun is 24 years old, so I would be less concerned about development issues for him than other rookies.

  21. fuzzy muppet says:

    Fedun isn’t an NHL defenseman. It’s time for management to stop diddling around an go acquire a defenseman.

    There are deals out there. Lok at NJ sending a 5th rounder for Loktionov yesterday. Two years ago LA wouldnt trade him, now he’s acquired for norhing. Something like this can and should be done.

    If Potter or Whitney are in your defensive lineup, your team is destined to fail. I, for one , have had enough failing the last 7 years. Make a damn move

  22. Gret99zky says:

    1 regulation win in 10 games.

    LT, please send me a pair of the glasses you watch this team through.

    Thanks.

    :)

  23. cabbiesmacker says:

    Jordan:

    Tencer and Brown had an interesting discussion after the game on CHED about how Whitney is still an NHL d-man, but needs to change his game to adjust to his lack of mobility now.

    Betting after last night he might be more interested in changing his Name than his game

  24. admiralmark says:

    I cant help but think when watching this team what a difference a top 2 d man would make to the play of this team? It seems as though almost all the dmen are playing on 1 defensive pairing higher then they should be.. But would likely excel by dropping down 1 rung of the ladder. Obviously the price point on a top pairing dman is likely too high and the timing might not be right? But I feel the team is not that far away from being a more solid defensive core. I also feel that the team needs to allow these players to play out a little bit here. We need to use these moments where the d men on the Oil and the prospects on the Barons are given the extra responsibilities to see how each responds. I think we are likely 1 year away from playoffs and possibly 2 years from being a real threat. But this is a critical time where we assess our assets and decide which players we need to cut loose and which ones have real potential to contribute.

  25. cabbiesmacker says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Just watched the highlights again….

    Hey, while we’re throwing out highlight samples and since I love Gagner so much…..

    I believe it was the second period…maybe the third. Doesn’t matter really being that the scene repeats itself at minimum twice per game.

    Gagner tries to enter offensive zone….makes usual stupid and unneccessary move right on top of the blue line…(normally results in Hemsky going offside)….instant turnover….Loooey E (fabulous hockey player) …steals puck…wheels into the Oiler zone and uncorks a slapper that rings off the “inside” of the post. We got real, REAL lucky there.

    It’s been 6 years ffs. Can someone please ask Gagner to get well into the O zone before doing the dipsy doodle? Or is he perhaps on the same learning curve rate for zone entries as he has been for faceoffs?

    Needs to be on the wing. (rant over)

  26. bookjLe says:

    Gret99zky:
    1 regulation win in 10 games.

    LT, please send me a pair of the glasses you watch this team through.

    Thanks.

    The one that shows 11 points in 10 games, 6th in conference standings, some exciting talent including the ‘discovery’ of a starting goalie, Paul CoffeeJustin Shultz, and the future.

  27. raventalon40 says:

    I have to take Ralph’s side on this one. Who else is he going to employ besides Whitney-Potter? The options are lacking… I mean beside Peckham there is Teubert and Plante… this one’s on Tambellini.

  28. crude says:

    Jordan:
    A reading from the book of Taylor…

    Andthus spake the Hockey Gods, saying that all should know “We desire to see Taylor Hall play at Centre.You shall play him at centre for our entertainment, or we shall blight your team.”Yet the Tamblowevish did not heed the word of the Gods.They cried out “But Hall’s speed and strength are surely better assets on the wing, where he has fewer defensive responsibilities!We cannot move him to centre!Besides, we’ve got all these other great Centres…”


    And the Hockey Gods saw that this was so.There were indeed too many centres in Oilerdom to allow Hall to play down the middle.“This shall not stand,” decreed the Hockey Gods.“You shall play Taylor Hall at centre.If you have too many Centres to allow it, then we shall remove this obstacle for you.”And so Belanger was injured, with damage to his toes.But still the Tamblowevish would not play Hall at Centre.So Horcoff was struck with a broken hand.But still the Tamblowevish would not play Hall at Centre.And the Hockey GOds said, “Damn you guys are really dense” and Hopkins of the golden boys was struck with shoulder soreness.But still the Tamblowevish would not play Hall at Centre.In Fact, the Tamblowevish recalled AHLers Lander and Arcobello to fill in, had Smyth play centre on the 3rd line.

    And so the Hockey Gods were furious with the denial of their will.Wroth with anger, they ensured that Lander was swiftly injured with a bone bruise, and Arcobello looked like a lost sheep while on the ice.And so the Krueger stood and said, “I have no more Centres!I must play Hall at Centre with other players, or surely we will have no centres at all!”

    So Hall played at centre, and the Hockey Gods were pleased, especially when #4 tried to Fancy-dan his way to a goal and flubbed it badly, for it was a selfish play and deserved to be mocked incessantly.And Hall learned from his prideful ways, and because a great centre for all of Oilerdom to admire.”

    The word of the Hockey Gods.Thanks be to Weir.

    That’s exactly what I said last night too.

  29. cabbiesmacker says:

    Jordan:
    A reading from the book of Taylor…

    Andthus spake the Hockey Gods, saying that all should know “We desire to see Taylor Hall play at Centre.

    Then the Hockey Gods ps’d with

    “and tell him to go to a shorter stick and stop using the too predictble toe drag”

  30. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    I would bring up Fedun in the short term, at least till the team can decide what to do with Whitney.

    The Oilers can’t afford to go and bring in another contract, so looking for a replacement isn’t in the Oilers best interest.

    Call me crazy, but I still feel the Oilers are holding on for next summer, this is when I believe the Oilers trade for Weber.

    I also think the top line needs to be split up, they need to get back to greasy goals, hard to the net, and become a little more selfish with the puck, seems like a lot of over passing and over handling of the puck.IMO

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookjLe: Fedun is 24 years old, so I would be less concerned about development issues for him than other rookies.

    Fair enough. But we are talking about a guy that played for Princeton (not a hockey bastion) for four years, never playing more than 35 games, then lost a year to a near career ending injury and is just now playing pro hockey for the first time.

    He’s no raw 19 year old, but he’s not exactly a ringer blue chip prospect either. I’d love to see him make the NHL next year or the year after, or called up for spot duty this year… but I don’t like the idea of him taking Whitney, or anyone one else’s, spot this year.

    he’s/we’ve waited this long, what’s the rush?

  32. leadfarmer says:

    Taylor Hall is a great player but his finish is going to keep him from being an amazing player. I dont think we are getting better. I think Dubnyk’s play is the only reason we’re in some of these games. He is the definite MVP of this team so far. The 5×5 offense needs to get better and they have to win more puck battles along the wall. And dont even get me started on faceoffs.

  33. Gret99zky says:

    bookjLe: The one that shows 11 points in 10 games, 6th in conference standings, some exciting talent including the ‘discovery’ of a starting goalie, Paul CoffeeJustin Shultz, and the future.

    Yes, those ones. The ones that see us in the playoffs.

    Regular size bridge between the lenses, not Fistric.

  34. rickithebear says:

    We have 10 games from DD were at the end of regulation he has yeilded.
    1 – 6G GM a loss
    1 – 3G Game (Backland goal) a Loss but backland goal was illegal.
    5 – 2G 1W – 1L – 3 OTL
    3 – 1G GM 3W

    We are 3 points short what an average scoring team would have from this goaltending.

    Better than Average 5 points short.

  35. knighttown says:

    Awesome post LT. We all have to take a minute to remember what it was like to be desperately trying to win games rather than hoping to win games but not willing to deviate from the plan to do so as was the case for the past few years. We had that nice win-win. Win a few games and the team gets a taste of it. Lose a few and your ranking falls and you draft higher.

    I think the overall consensus is that the Oilers management has stopped caring about the draft and are just like the other 29 teams in that the only wins are…wins. Every day, come to the office and do what you can do to make this better.

    So then, I have to ask. Why exactly do you have a general manager employed in season if he’s not going to make a move in season?

    This team has so many good arrows but each is completely balanced but a fucking terrible arrow.

    Schultz the Younger is amazing but Whitney is shockingly bad.
    Awesome depth and health on the wings but one capable centre.
    Excellent penalty killing and power play but horrible 5 on 5, shots for and against and faceoffs.
    Top notch number 1 goaltending but no #2 goaltender.

    The top 6 + Schultz average a point per game and Dubnyk is a Vezina candidate. Supporting wingers are fine as are 2/5/15.

    Get off your fucking ass you squinty-eyed fool and do something to support this group.

  36. Bar_Qu says:

    rickithebear,

    Luckily PDO predicts the team will start converting all the chances their positive corsi is creating.

    (ducks to avoid ricki’s rant)

  37. Bruce McCurdy says:

    BlacqueJacque: I swear I’m starting to annoy even myself by continually pointing this out, but Yak was clearly at his most effective on the right wing and drifted there again last night.

    I remember a guy named Jari Kurri who seemed clearly at his most effective on the left side of the ice, drifted there quite often, and scored a huge percentage of his goals from over there. Which was actually quite a nice number of goals, now that I think back on him. Kurri made a few All-Star teams along the way, always (correctly) listed as a RW.

    Kurri was effective as a sniper from pretty much anywhere in the offensive zone, and as a playmaker from pretty much anywhere on the ice. Didn’t matter so much where he was coming from but where he was going that caused the other guys grief. Despite all the criss-crossing to hit the holes, he didn’t sacrifice his defensive play either.

    Fluidity of attack is a wonderful thing, a staple of the original Oiler Hockey. A huge amount of that was generated up the right side by lefthand shots who loved to cut into the middle, as Yakupov appears to. Wayne Gretzky (a centre), and Mark Messier (a left wing cum centre) and Paul Coffey (a left defenceman for pete’s sake) made their living off of it, and lived high on the hog in the process.

    It has ever been the case that many players are at their most effective shooting from their off-wing with their forehand in the middle of the ice, better shooting angle and well-positioned for one-timers. But just because they score from there doesn’t mean they have to line up there, or play defence on that side. If they want to overload one side in an offensive thrust, somebody has to come from somewhere different.

    And all that said, I too see Yakupov as a true “off-winger” who would be more comfortable on the right side on a full-time basis. But if Oilers had been drafting for need, they wouldn’t have picked a RW, would they? So something’s gotta give.

  38. prairieschooner says:

    I have a similar story re Whitney from a different source, sadly it shows even more incompetence by Oilers management..
    It is water under the bridge now.
    The Oilers are too thin to win too many games as it stands we need to get some healthy luck or appease the Hockey gods with some sort of sacrifice (KFC anyone?)
    I loved Hartis game last night
    I loved Halls audacity
    I loved Yaks excitement when Hemmer scored
    I hope Petrell is OK

  39. Ribs says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I remember a guy named Jari Kurri who seemed clearly at his most effective on the left side of the ice, drifted there quite often, and scored a huge percentage of his goals from over there.

    I was going to mention Kurri as well. Also that Hemsky can roam pretty good on his own.

  40. Bruce McCurdy says:

    raventalon40:
    I have to take Ralph’s side on this one. Who else is he going to employ besides Whitney-Potter? The options are lacking… I mean beside Peckham there is Teubert and Plante… this one’s on Tambellini.

    Hmmm. Mark Fistric? Seems to me that was a Tambellini move, and a recent one at that.

    Then there’s Brett Clark. As a minor-league signing we don’t know how that went down and exactly who was behind it, but if I were a betting man I’d happily put even money on Clark getting some time here on an upgraded contract before the season is done.

    Neither one of them is Drew Doughty, but last time I checked there weren’t too many Doughty’s in the “$1 MM and under” bargain bin.

    You may not like those moves but for you and others to suggest that Tambellini has done “nothing” is incorrect. “Not enough” is another argument altogether, and indeed may be the fertile ground where we can meet in the middle.

    Oh, and I totally blame Tambellini for scheduling Christmas at a bad time.

  41. bookjLe says:

    I asked the guy driving a taxi cab in from the airport if the Oilers did due diligence on the Whitney trade regarding his foot issues and he said Yes, Yes, Yes – so I think my unreliable, disconnected hearsay evidence balances out that posted here by others.

    I also asked him if Edmonton regularly gets razed by dragons and he said Yes, Yes, Yes. I am pretty sure he didn’t speak English.

  42. mps91 says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/hockey/post/_/id/11382/callahan-to-return-boyle-scratched

    Oil need centre. Boyle has been playing wing this year, and now may be a healthy scratch. Is there a match there?

    Maybe send them Whitney to run their PP?

  43. Rocknrolla says:

    mps91:
    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/hockey/post/_/id/11382/callahan-to-return-boyle-scratched

    Oil needcentre. Boyle has been playing wing this year, and now may be a healthy scratch. Is there a match there?

    Maybe send them Whitney to run their PP?

    Man…thats tempting. And Boyle has that size…what is he 6’6″? There is the Sather connection…

  44. rickithebear says:

    Bar_Qu: rickithebear, Luckily PDO predicts the team will start converting all the chances their positive corsi is creating.(ducks to avoid ricki’s rant)

    I am starting to use Corsi and PDO together.

  45. mps91 says:

    6’7 but who’s counting..

    Not only is he big but he uses his size well. Over 200 hits last year, 8th in the league for blocked shots among forwards, plays PK and I believe some PP. Drops the gloves when he needs to. Good on draws.

  46. ASkoreyko says:

    I have wanted Boyle on the Oilers forever, essentially as soon as I read his height stat line. I have no idea what type of hockey player he is but I am sure he would at least provide “size down the middle”.

  47. VOR says:

    This is the last time I am going to bring this up but have any of you actually bothered to go and look at the film for the goals Ryan Whitney has been on the ice for. I have. All the ones for (7) and all the ones against (8).

    There are four against – including last nights with Jagr – where he is clearly at fault. On three goals against his skating may have been an issue. The 6-1 goal in game two is absolutely down to bad skating.

    The 2-1 (and game losing) goal in game eight against Colorado is simply horrible play everywhere there is or isn’t an Oiler. Gagner loses a puck battle low on the power play, the puck takes a bizarro bounce and is past Whitney (don’t think anybody would keep it in). He starts back and Hemsky does the right thing – he knows Whitney will lose the foot race so he puts on the after burners and catches the lead man. Whitney falls back into the center of the ice as he is supposed to and watches as Hemsky loses the puck battle and the man. Whitney doesn’t respond quickly enough, 2nd time on same play. But the primary culprit is Yakupov who realizes too late he is supposed to take the man coming out of the penalty box. Perhaps better skating would have led to a better outcome But so would Gagner, Hemsky, or Yakupov doing a better job.

    Last night’s game losing goal is definitely Whitney’s fault, though it isn’t clear from the replay that it was skating rather than defensive positioning that was the problem. I think he played Jagr soft and paid for it.

    The other goal that is definitely his fault is the 1st Goal in Game 7 in San Jose. He mishandles the puck badly and SJS two mans him, an illegal hack to the hands that goes uncalled and they are on a break. Whitney should never have been trying to stick handle in that situation. Terrible play for a veteran to make. However, there is no sign of bad skating, just bad brain functioning.

    There are also three goals Whitney is partly responsible for – the 2-0 goal in game 1 in Vancouver, the 2-0 goal on the penalty kill against San Jose in Game 2 and the 3-1 goal in Game 5 against Colorado. They are mostly wrong place, wrong time, goals where the main problem is he misreads the play but there is no sign of skating issues on any of them.

    Lastly we have the empty net goal which I blamed previously on Yakupov, turns out he and Gagner had rotated. Hemsky makes a stupid pass attempt, it is cut off and headmanned to the player coming out of the box. Booby Orr and Paul Coffey, maybe Ray Borque would have been able to catch the man before he shot the puck. No normal mortal would and he is Gagner’s responsibility in any case. Not down to Whitney in any way.

    Meanwhile, Whitney is clearly involved in 6 of the 7 goals for and he is in the set up on 4 of them. He gets lucky on one when the puck hits his glove and creates a pop up to Yakupov. Overall I say Whitney is a true -1. 6 goals for clearly wouldn’t have happend without him on the ice and 7 goals against wouldn’t have happened with out him on the ice. Is he playing well – no. Is he the problem – no.

    I finally figured out that some of you are judging Whitney by the amazing stretch of games where he was fabulous in 2009-2010 before getting injured. Take those games out and he is a career 2.805 goals against per 60 minutes on for his career. To give you an idea how close he is to that number at his current 3.24 goals against per 60 minutes on if you take away the final shift of last night’s game he is at 2.79 goals against per 60 minutes on.

    It is his offence that is far below normal. Using the same standard of dropping the 2009-2010 games he was 2.860 goals for per 60 minutes on in his career before this year. After last nights game I get him being about 0.462 per 60 on. Even if we adjust the shooting % when he is on the ice to the league average he is only at 2.0 per 60 on. The only visible difference from his career is his shots attempted number which is at a career low (about 80% of normal). So maybe if that normalized he’d be at around 2.5 goals for per 60 minutes on. Still whatever is going on he is struggling on offence and maybe that is injury but maybe he has lost confidence – he had some stretches in Pittsburgh that looked a lot like this and also his first half season in Anaheim.

    The idea that the Oilers would be better with Fedun, Potter, or Fistric playing Whitney’s minutes is absurd. Lubo or Mark Streit would probably be significant upgrades. But far worse play from Ladi Smid (one of my favorite players) is getting a largely free pass. As is our terrible team performance 5/5. We are now 28th in the league in F/A at even strength.

    Would Boyle help? Who knows, probably. Would trading Whitney for him be a good idea. Hard to say. You’d have to try it and see. I’m guessing it wouldn’t actually make much difference. Just as Whitney isn’t the problem Boyle wouldn’t be the solution. If it is just dumb luck that we can’t score at evens then time will fix the problem regardless of what we do or don’t do with Whitney or our lack of centers. If it isn’t dumb luck then we just aren’t a very good team and need much upgrading. Far more than Whitney for Boyle.

  48. mps91 says:

    VOR,

    I agree with most of what you said. He’s not his usual self but he’s also not as bad as people make him out to be. I disagree that he played Jagr too soft last night, leading to the goal. That was clearly an example where he got caught flat footed, and Jagr burned him.

    Also, i’m not one of the people who is trying to get Whitney out at all expenses. He can still turn it around. In the Boyle scenario I just see Whitney as one of the few expendables the oilers have, and one of the few potential fits for NY.

  49. "Steve Smith" says:

    rickithebear: I am starting to use Corsi and PDO together.

    Both are meaningless because they treat all “shots” (as defined by the respective measure) identically, without regard for the difference in quality. Similarly, statistics as a field is meaningless, because it requires tabulating entities in such a way that some amount of variety among that entity is lost.

    Existence as a whole is also meaningless, but for unrelated reasons.

  50. Ducey says:

    Rocknrolla: Man…thats tempting. And Boyle has that size…what is he 6’6″? There is the Sather connection…

    He is 6′ 7″ so he can play small forward… oh, wait, we are not talking about basketball, and height makes little difference in hockey.

    If he hits waivers or costs a 5th, ok. But I don’t see any evidence that he is better than any of our normal 4 C’s (maybe Belanger but I expect he has had better offensive opportunities than Eric) or that he is even as good as Ryan Jones.

    I expect that within 40 games people start whining about his effort level – a la Dustin Penner.

  51. cabbiesmacker says:

    bookjLe:
    I asked the guy driving a taxi cab in from the airport if the Oilers did due diligence on the Whitney trade

    I also asked him if Edmonton regularly gets razed by dragons and he said Yes, Yes, Yes.I am pretty sure he didn’t speak English.

    You should have called me

  52. rickithebear says:

    B. Boyle: one of 2 centers who could replace Hocoff in tough comp prime.
    Last year.
    Boyle had a 28.8% zone start facing 2nd comp with 4th teammates.
    had a zone finish of 43.9%.
    was +.67Pt/60 for the average in this given situation
    Was +18 for the given situation for the year.
    4th for GA in big minutes PK centers.
    53% face off last 2 years.

    Situationally last year. He, fischer, and Couturier would have been my selke finalists.

  53. fuzzy muppet says:

    frenchfrog,

    Poor Captain Happy…

  54. rickithebear says:

    “Steve Smith”: Both are meaningless because they treat all “shots” (as defined by the respective measure) identically, without regard for the difference in quality. Similarly, statistics as a field is meaningless, because it requires tabulating entities in such a way that some amount of variety among that entity is lost.Existence as a whole is also meaningless, but for unrelated reasons.

    Oops i forgot to complete the sentence.

    A budhist draftsman at work says laughing forced or natural is good for the soul.

    I am starting to use Corsi and PDO together. every morining i read them at BTN.
    I do not have to force the laugh!

  55. Rocknrolla says:

    Ducey: He is 6′ 7″ so he play small forward… oh, wait, we are not talking about basketball, and height makes little difference in hockey.

    But at 245 pounds, that does make a difference in hockey. A big body who can hit, fight, score and intimidate? Sounds like we would be tougher to play against. Not the second coming, but I like it. Similar to how I felt when I saw Mike Rupp go for a song…thats the grit and sandpaper that this team needs.

  56. spoiler says:

    Since the San Jose debacle, when we looked like the Roman legions ambushed at Kalkriese, I don’t think goals against has been the issue at all.

    It’s hard to knock Tambo for his shoestring and sealing wax defense when we’re allowing 2.7 goals per game, including the opening day massacre.

    Part of the problem has been goal-scoring. And while defending well certainly has an impact on puck possession and thus goal-scoring, we haven’t actually been that bad from a goaks against p.o.v.

    Of course Corsi doesn’t show our defense well, but this is a team I would expect to allow more goals per game than they have, even with a better defense. What was supposed to be a non-issue was that we would score plenty too and be in some 6-5 type wins and losses. But no one was taking into account the youngsters battling tougher opposition on the field of battle.

    And lets keep in mind that forwards in the zone, especially Centers, have an impact on Corsi against too. With the number of young players and the injuries manning the front lines, I don’t think it is unexpected that some sorties have broken through and ravaged the rearguard.

    I think patience is important. This is not the year, so don’t mortgage the future when we’re not within the window. Which means no outgoing draft picks or blue chip prospects. There is still a trade deadline to come, and I imagine the plan is to stay the course as long as we stay in contention till that point. It takes time to turn a legion of footsoldiers on the battleground; it doesn’t happen in one fell swoop, especially if the other commanders can smell blood in the water. Trading right now would not be coming from a position of strength and requires a matching need on the other party to have a hope of success.

    And do any of us really believe that Tambo never takes calls or kicks tires?

  57. mps91 says:

    Rocknrolla: But at 245 pounds, that does make a difference in hockey.A big body who can hit, fight, score and intimidate?Sounds like we would be tougher to play against.Not the second coming, but I like it.Similar to how I felt when I saw Mike Rupp go for a song…thats the grit and sandpaper that this team needs.

    Exactly. If you watched the game last night you saw how the crowd reacted when Yakupov laid that big hit on Robidas. Same with the hit by Paajarvi in the 3rd.

    The only way the oilers generate momentum as of now is by scoring. If they could add Boyle and start laying some hits it would undoubtedly help.

  58. Woodguy says:

    VOR,

    Why don’t you look at all the plays he lost his check because he can’t push off his left ankle, resulted in a scoring chance, but luckily didn’t end up in the net?

    There’s about 10 in the first period of yesterdays game alone.

    They are legion.

  59. Lois Lowe says:

    If Whitney started laying more THUNDEROUS BODYCHECKS the fans would be okay with him this year. He’s lost his eye glow though and it’s hard to play the game without it.

  60. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lois Lowe:
    If Whitney started laying more THUNDEROUS BODYCHECKS the fans would be okay with him this year. He’s lost his eye glow though and it’s hard to play the game without it.

    Slowly but surely he’s becoming a differently shaped peg, too. Nothing to be done, I’m afraid.

  61. bookjLe says:

    “Steve Smith”: Slowly but surely he’s becoming a differently shaped peg, too.Nothing to be done, I’m afraid.

    He’s been looking heptagonal to me – its really devastating to see.

  62. bookjLe says:

    spoiler:

    And do any of us really believe that Tambo never takes calls or kicks tires?

    I honestly think there are large swathes of fans who honestly think management knows nothing about hockey and basically play crib or something all day long.

  63. LMHF#1 says:

    I’ll join the “acquire Brian Boyle” chorus. Big, relatively young, fits our needs and would likely come cheap. There would be no “mortgaging the future” involved.

    Makes way too much sense for our GM to do it.

  64. Kris11 says:

    bookjLe: I honestly think there are large swathes of fans who honestly think management knows nothing about hockey and basically play crib or something all day long.

    I think it’s possible Tambellini is as dumb and bad at hockey related decisions as Doug Maclean or Mike Millbury. I think a person with any background in big business or law (or some sort of profession that required them to be professional in the right way), who had the level of hockey understanding that the average commenter (not even the best commenters like LT, or Tyler, or Willis) here has would be a better GM than Maclean or Millbury and probably better than Tambellini.

    Full stop.

    Do you disagree?

  65. bookjLe says:

    Kris11,

    The vast majority of GMs would have kept pushing to ‘compete’ and not had the guts to truly rebuild making full use of the ‘rules’ that the NHL works by (i.e. the worst team gets the best draft picks).

    Tambellini, Lowe and MacT have been around the NHL game for their entire lives and have all played at a very high level and then moved on to gain the trust of various organizations to be put into positions of authority.

    Wherever I have ever worked in my life, all of the guys on the ‘floor’ (factory, warehouse, consultant firm, universities, etc) are convinced that they all know more than the ‘idiot’ managers. As I now find myself in a relatively senior position in life, I realize how clueless those guys are about the reality of management.

    So, I guess that experience makes me somewhat cautious in being overly critical of people in positions that I have never been in. I do critique and/or praise various decisions that Tambellini makes, but I do so with a bit of humility. I also compare Tambellini with other GMs and think he has done a better job than some and a worse job than others, however, I do that without having the inside story about how easy/hard it is to make trades, deal with an involved owner, keep the organization ‘happy’, attract free agents to Edmonton, etc.

  66. stevezie says:

    I am in the “acquire anyone” chorus. Brian Boyle qualifies as someone, and what this team needs is more someones. It is moot whether or not he is “perfect” for us.
    There’s a lot to like about this team, but they are not prepared for injuries. While playing 48 games in- what is it? 100 days?- most teams will constantly have at least four guys injured. Yes the guys currently injured will come back, but we can’t wait for them because in the meantime someone else will get hurt. It will happen; there is no “if we can stay healthy”. I’d sooner bet on the appearance of the celestial tea ketel.
    Get another D-man too. You’ll need him.
    Let’s say the next injury is Smid out for 10 days (I know he’s an industructable ironman who is never hurt, but bear with me). Who are you more excited about in the top 4, Whitney or Potter?

  67. BONVIE says:

    LMHF#1,

    If this guys is available for something affordable we should absolutely take interest in him, Boyle is a very large two way center I would hate to see him get traded, then find out the asking was a 3rd rounder and a depth prospect. I think Boyle would be a long term 3rd line center solution that provides size up the middle, and can play wing if needed.

  68. delooper says:

    If Smid or Petry gets injured this will be a very sad team. I suspect they’re hopeful the D situation will work out, and I don’t doubt they’ve been looking for some help on C but haven’t found anything they’re comfortable with yet.

  69. cabbiesmacker says:

    bookjLe:
    Kris11,

    Wherever I have ever worked in my life, all of the guys on the ‘floor’ (factory, warehouse, consultant firm, universities, etc) are convinced that they all know more than the ‘idiot’ managers.As I now find myself in a relatively senior position in life, I realize how clueless those guys are about the reality of management.

    I totally understand what you’re saying here but would the managers being critiqued by the floorworkers continue to have jobs if these companies were the worst amongst their competition 3 years running?

    If so I’d like a job at one of these companies. Being rewarded handsomely for being the worst I can possibly be at my job and sucking others down with me is right up my alley.

    It’s pretty clear the Oilers mandate now is to let the kids learn their roles while taking heavy fire. That’s a little unfair to both those players AND the fans I think, when it would have been pretty damn easy to sign a FA or 3 or make some trades. The asset cupboard isn’t completely bare.

    How’s this brilliant management teams record of putting goalies on the depth chart look Bookje?

    Centres?

    Might sting a little if Dubnyk goes down to injury. It already smarts at C.

    We’re so fn thin everywhere but wing it’s a joke. The emperor is looking a little exposed these days but hey…when you were here for the glory years anything goes.

  70. frenchfrog says:

    fuzzy muppet: french

    May his tortured soul rest in peace.

  71. BONVIE says:

    cabbiesmacker,

    I agree with giving ourselves depth to remain competitive for a playoff spot but its not like were in the position yet to be mortgaging the future for Cup Runs either. We still have to be careful to fill these positions affordably, without giving up our future. I am suprised we have not used waivers yet this year.

  72. cabbiesmacker says:

    BONVIE:
    cabbiesmacker,

    I agree with giving ourselves depth to remain competitive for a playoff spot but its not like were in the position yet to be mortgaging the future for Cup Runs either.We still have to be careful to fill these positions affordably, without giving up our future.I am suprised we have not used waivers yet this year.

    I wasn’t even talking about a playoff spot Bonvie. Just a couple of bodies that could buy the kids a little room from time to time and maybe do a little mentoring. I never thought for one second that 2013 was a playoff year.

  73. godot10 says:

    1) We have yet to see Fistric and Potter together for more than 10 minutes as the 3rd pairing. We haven’t seen Fistric and Peckham as the 3rd pairing yet. Mark Streit for Ryan Whitney and something would be really nice though.

    2) Yakupov is a really smart cookie. He will figure out how to play left wing. Yes, he drifts right, but we are only 10 games in. If the Oilers ever had anyone who could figure out how to play with Hemsky, I think this is the guy. I’m for not diluting the top six.

    3) The (non) problem with Paajarvi was always coaching. Renney was horrible with all his role players. Paajarvi has the potential to be an elite matchup player. He will never score enough to satisfy his critics, but he (and Lander) are potentially really useful (and importantly) cheap role players.

    4) I think it is better for Hartikainen’s and Paajarvi’s development to be off on their own line away from the prodigies (except for Hartikainen on the PP).

  74. leadfarmer says:

    Most preseason predictions on here had the oilers finishing between 7-10 in the West. As of today they are sitting in 7th. Yet everyone is complaining. Sheesh. Just be happy the games are watchable again.

  75. Kris11 says:

    bookjLe: So, I guess that experience makes me somewhat cautious in being overly critical of people in positions that I have never been in.

    So maybe Maclean was a good GM and Millbury was great? Who are we to judge because we have never been GM’s?

    Really?

  76. VOR says:

    Woodguy,

    I have watched all the games. I have had the chance to watch three on tape and one of those games the Cult of Hockey had Whitney the Oilers best D (Game 6 Phoenix) and he clearly was and there weren’t any obvious problems with his skating. In fact, it was mostly above average and the once it wasn’t he made a very smart decision. One (Game 4 against Calgary) the Cult of Hockey had him 2nd best D and commented on how good his skating looked. That game convinced me that he was beginning to make adjustments to a new reality where he needed to not taking his skating for granted. One, the first San Jose game (Game 2) he was terrible from beginning to end and several times it looked like he couldn’t push off and it was terrible to watch and he still wasn’t the worst Oilers defender. I don’t have access to last night’s game but watched it live and would agree with Bruce at Cult when he points out Whitney sucked but like me it didn’t seem to Bruce to be Whitney’s skating but rather his will that was in question.

    I think the big problem is that you are all remembering a Ryan Whitney who existed for 32 games not the one who has played all those other NHL games. So every time he is revealed to be a less than superb skater and dman you all go “how sad, his injury ruined him.” Instead of going he is starting to return to his long term career performance. Then you all start suffering from confirmation bias. I can tell you that in three games his skating was brutal in one, rock solid in another and well above average in the third. Maybe sometimes it bothers him and sometimes it doesn’t and that would make sense. However, mostly I think his problems are between his ears and not in his ankles.

  77. gogliano says:

    frenchfrog:
    ruh roh

    http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Wild_rookie_Mikael_Granlund_will_be_scratched_for_game_vs_Canucks020713

    I live a stone’s throw from SJ and there are some decent goalposts kicking around the SJ area that seem useable.

  78. Bruce McCurdy says:

    “Steve Smith”: Slowly but surely he’s becoming a differently shaped peg, too. Nothing to be done, I’m afraid.

    A peg with a peg leg.

  79. Bar_Qu says:

    Kris11: So maybe Maclean was a good GM and Millbury was great? Who are we to judge because we have never been GM’s?

    Really?

    You are missing the point of the argument here. We get to carp about our team when we are fans – its our right. But if any of us were thrown into the position those guys are in we would do a far inferior job (I like the image of us believing they play crib all day, btw).

    That’s not to say these guys are great, but likely they aren’t worse than Maclean or Milbury, despite my deep dislike of their management style. The Fistric pick-up looks very astute in hindsight and the stuff going on in the AHL looks about right too. Doesn’t mean the lack of centre depth is good or the inability to get another NHL calibre D looks good either.

    Let’s not go off the rails here.

  80. Bruce McCurdy says:

    mps91: Exactly. If you watched the game last night you saw how the crowd reacted when Yakupov laid that big hit on Robidas. Same with the hit by Paajarvi in the 3rd.
    The only way the oilers generate momentum as of now is by scoring. If they could add Boyle and start laying some hits it would undoubtedly help.

    I’m confused. Didn’t the hits by Yakupov and Paajarvi “generate momentum”? Or were they below the threshold of decibels generated or cubic foot-pounds per 60?

  81. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I gather everyone’s seen this?:

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=654595

  82. RMGS says:

    We’ll see more and more rationalizing of Tambellini’s performance as the brilliant collection of “rebuild” first-round draft picks begins to bear fruit. The holes on this team perennially have been there for all to see, as has the GM’s inability to fill them. But, if the wins mount through the exciting hockey we’re starting to see, we’ll quickly forgive and forget!

  83. leadfarmer says:

    Tim Thomas to the Islanders for future considerations. What are the odds he stays retired?

  84. khildahl says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I gather everyone’s seen this?:

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=654595

    Well, that wasn’t even a cup of coffee. Shot of espresso, maybe?

  85. Rocknrolla says:

    godot10:
    1) We have yet to see Fistric and Potter together for more than 10 minutes as the 3rd pairing.We haven’t seen Fistric and Peckham as the 3rd pairing yet.Mark Streit for Ryan Whitney and something would be really nice though.

    2) Yakupov is a really smart cookie.He will figure out how to play left wing.Yes, he drifts right, but we are only 10 games in.If the Oilers ever had anyone who could figure out how to play with Hemsky, I think this is the guy. I’m for not diluting the top six.

    3) The (non) problem with Paajarvi was always coaching.Renney was horrible with all his role players.Paajarvi has the potential to be an elite matchup player.He will never score enough to satisfy his critics, but he (and Lander) are potentially really useful (and importantly) cheap role players.

    4) I think it is better for Hartikainen’s and Paajarvi’s development to be off on their own line away from the prodigies (except for Hartikainen on the PP).

    There was a part in the 3rd or OT, where PRV was skating with Jagr for a couple seconds, and really shadowed him well. With that large body and great skating, could he be that Shadow type player that can shut down the other teams top scorers?

  86. bookjLe says:

    Bar_Qu: You are missing the point of the argument here. We get to carp about our team when we are fans – its our right. But if any of us were thrown into the position those guys are in we would do a far inferior job (I like the image of us believing they play crib all day, btw).

    Let’s not go off the rails here.

    Exactly

    Also, I would add that maintaining ‘holes’ on this team appears to be part of the strategy. Filling those holes would have cost the team Hall, RNH, Yak, and Schultz.

    Going forward, the team MUST start to build some depth and fill those holes and we will see how they do.

    They are not going to win a cup this year, so I don’t want them to be trading prospects or picks to pick up a second pairing defender or a backup goalie like Bishop who likely is worse than either Khabibulin or most of the AHL goalies out there.

    I like the current state of the Oilers and am very glad not to be a Flames or Columbus fan right now.

  87. raventalon40 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Hmmm. Mark Fistric? Seems to me that was a Tambellini move, and a recent one at that.

    Then there’s Brett Clark. As a minor-league signing we don’t know how that went down and exactly who was behind it, but if I were a betting man I’d happily put even money on Clark getting some time here on an upgraded contract before the season is done.

    Neither one of them is Drew Doughty, but last time I checked there weren’t too many Doughty’s in the “$1 MM and under” bargain bin.

    You may not like those moves but for you and others to suggest that Tambellini has done “nothing” is incorrect. “Not enough” is another argument altogether, and indeed may be the fertile ground where we can meet in the middle.

    Oh, and I totally blame Tambellini for scheduling Christmas at a bad time.

    You seemed to have misquoted me… I suggested neither of those things but but nonetheless, the point I am trying to make still stands: how is it Krueger’s fault that Whitney and Potter are atrocious? They happen to be the best available option, given injuries or otherwise, and that’s not on Krueger.

  88. raventalon40 says:

    leadfarmer:
    Tim Thomas to the Islanders for future considerations.What are the odds he stays retired?

    They should have traded Visnovsky for Thomas. And then watch Lubo come out of retirement for the chance to play with fellow countryman Chara! Ha!

  89. raventalon40 says:

    Lois Lowe:
    If Whitney started laying more THUNDEROUS BODYCHECKS the fans would be okay with him this year. He’s lost his eye glow though and it’s hard to play the game without it.

    Or, you know, not cough it up behind and beside our own net works too.

  90. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I’m confused. Didn’t the hits by Yakupov and Paajarvi “generate momentum”? Or were they below the threshold of decibels generated or cubic foot-pounds per 60?

    According to Spector today it is becuase they are Euros.

    He actually said that the Oilers are in trouble becuase:

    1) Their next young D is a Swede.
    2) Their young role players are Swedes and Finns.

    It was the worst xenophobic tripe I’ve ever heard from a hockey “reporter”

    Really?

    Swede D are a problem?

    Except in Norris voting aparently.

    Finns are a problem?

    Some of the toughest players in the leauge are Finns.

    Unreal.

  91. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy,

    He managed to “retweet” someone who claimed he was “killing it right now on the radio”

    https://twitter.com/SportsnetSpec

    so… there’s that!

  92. stevezie says:

    bookjLe,

    Yes, but at some point we try to be good, right? When is that point?

    To my eye it looks like we need another top 4 D-man (you want at least five). I guess we could wait until the summer and try to sign one, but that just because you want to sign a good d-man doesn’t mean you will. I am not saying we force a bad trade, but I think the search should begin now.

  93. maudite says:

    bookjLe:
    Kris11,

    The vast majority of GMs would have kept pushing to ‘compete’ and not had the guts to truly rebuild making full use of the ‘rules’ that the NHL works by (i.e. the worst team gets the best draft picks).

    Tambellini, Lowe and MacT have been around the NHL game for their entire lives and have all played at a very high level and then moved on to gain the trust of various organizations to be put into positions of authority.

    Wherever I have ever worked in my life, all of the guys on the ‘floor’ (factory, warehouse, consultant firm, universities, etc) are convinced that they all know more than the ‘idiot’ managers.As I now find myself in a relatively senior position in life, I realize how clueless those guys are about the reality of management.

    So, I guess that experience makes me somewhat cautious in being overly critical of people in positions that I have never been in.I do critique and/or praise various decisions that Tambellini makes, but I do so with a bit of humility.I also compare Tambellini with other GMs and think he has done a better job than some and a worse job than others, however, I do that without having the inside story about how easy/hard it is to make trades, deal with an involved owner, keep the organization ‘happy’, attract free agents to Edmonton, etc.

    Guts? Sweet jesus man, entering the year the conclusion was pretty inevitable but they were out chasing Heatley at that point…which in no way addressed the real problems with this team’s composition. Guts? They were still pushing guys back into the lineup early and watching them get reinjured to stay in the playoff hunt well past the point it was clear that wasn’t a likely conclusion. So great, we managed to dredge the basement, burning up ELC’s and gathering bodies. Shultz is mana from heaven (and I won’t discredit that having such a weak defense which he could see himself playing large minutes in didn’t help our cause…but I fail to see how I can really credit management for this) but you are literally running out of tarmac in the grand scheme of things. If we agree defense take longer to develop, growing these in house at this point, is a really dumb idea. So we’ve got some shit hot first overalls and eberle. Explain to me what else they’ve really done that gives you even the slightest bit of defendable faith. Bad development of secondary talent thus far (PRV, Lander) I’d say yes. Railroading a serviceable d-men out of town that would be pretty handy (Souray)…seriously what about keeping the same management team that mismanaged a business to its knees is even remotely defendable?

  94. cabbiesmacker says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I gather everyone’s seen this?:

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=654595

    Very disappointed in the attending fans performance last night. Now they’ve missed out on setting a record for largest game of Marco Polo in history.

  95. tcho says:

    frenchfrog:
    ruh roh

    http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Wild_rookie_Mikael_Granlund_will_be_scratched_for_game_vs_Canucks020713

    This is not possible. DSF has claimed (and found and posted an obscure set of stats from an odd time frame) that show that Granlund is the second coming of Christ. This reporter must be lying.

  96. DeadmanWaking says:

    cabbiesmacker: I totally understand what you’re saying here but would the managers being critiqued by the floorworkers continue to have jobs if these companies were the worst amongst their competition 3 years running?

    We won Justin Schultz straight-up against 28 other drooling GMs–and added Yak in the same off season.

    The Spanish kept the secrets of cocoa to themselves for over a century and when Francis Drake captured Spanish galleons at sea, his crew threw the sacks of cocoa beans overboard, thinking them useless.

    Perhaps you should rethink that unpalatable, bitter flavour. Maybe ask around the old country for a Flemish second opinion.

    If so I’d like a job at one of these companies. Being rewarded handsomely for being the worst I can possibly be at my job and sucking others down with me is right up my alley.

    Wall Street beckons if you can back that up against grizzled veterans. It won’t be easy.

    It’s pretty clear the Oilers mandate now is to let the kids learn their roles while taking heavy fire.

    Jagr’s post-game remark made it sound like Dallas was taking heavy fire any time they tried to match the Oilers skating up and down.

    That’s a little unfair to both those players AND the fans I think, when it would have been pretty damn easy to sign a FA or 3 or make some trades. The asset cupboard isn’t completely bare.

    Now there’s a problem easily solved. Later, when the GM who emptied the cupboard finally rides the pick-slip carpet, you’ll be recruiting a replacement with the patience of a saint who has given up on landing a helm anywhere else.

    Is Katz really all that unhappy with Tambi? Katz’s concern for the average fan in the present moment begins and ends when the last game-day ticket is sold. You’ve managed to read the tea leaves on that, haven’t you? Or is the hole in your wallet somehow blocking your clue? Let’s see here, when the dread pirate Juho Kusti Paasikivi intercepted and boarded the B52–on the return leg of its unauthorized bootleg jaunt from London–and found nothing but Oolong tea, he ordered it dumped in flight across the northern Canadian tundra. Finns do not drink tea. In any case, I’m not referring to the tea leaves at the bottom of your tea cup. Turns out the best time to relocate a franchise is a season or three before they claim the main prize. This is also a good juncture to build a flashy public arena purchased with shiny public coin. Job #1: Amp up hope (and bids) for cutting the ribbon of fresh beginnings.

    Sports forums are always in such a rush to fire the incumbent GM for chicken-shit micro-management. I totally see the point, when chicken-shit micromanagement costs you a 3rd round playoff victory.

    Legitimate reasons to finish ninth:

    1) You lose Quick to a freak injury in the first week of the season, then Doughty the day after the trade deadline.

    2) It’s four of five rungs better than your best finish from the previous three seasons, and you’ve already got a firm grip several rungs further up.

    Bad reason to finish ninth:

    1) You wrangle all your fifth round picks from now to infinity to shore up obvious gaps with plugs who won’t endure, then you lose Justin Schultz and/or Taylor Hall at the mid-season pole.

    2) You think that finishing ninth after ransacking the sofa cushions while gushing blood, sweat and tears sends a message to your fan base that you really care.

    Bright-line psychology is best applied when you’re one step away from cashing out the big pot.

    As much as it would be nice to make the playoffs sooner rather than later, I’m visualizing an ex-drunk who has fallen exuberantly off the wagon after seven long dry years and is now standing outside the pub at 11:00 A.M. railing to anyone who passes by about the insanity and incompetence of a pub owner who doesn’t open shop until the sun passes over the yard arm.

    Danny Devito ‘smoking’ scene

    I think Krueger will run Whitney out of town unless he makes a sharp improvement. In Krueger’s mind, job #1 is to play the team system. Incompatibly, for whomever he puts out there with Whitney, job #1 is to cover Whitney’s bald-tired ass while job #2 is to play the team system. Krueger won’t stand for having two cooks in the kitchen. It distracts from the jazz-like improvisation that ensues from knowing your fundamentals cold.

    It’s sure would be nice to skip ninth altogether. Nice, but not essential.

  97. Lowetide says:

    One of my favorite things about throwing up a new blog post is a DMW entry in the one that has just aged. Very nice.

  98. Bruce McCurdy says:

    khildahl: Well, that wasn’t even a cup of coffee.Shot of espresso, maybe?

    A “short” coffee. Maybe about 5’9 with skates on.

  99. Bruce McCurdy says:

    raventalon40: You seemed to have misquoted me… I suggested neither of those things but but nonetheless, the point I am trying to make still stands: how is it Krueger’s fault that Whitney and Potter are atrocious? They happen to be the best available option, given injuries or otherwise, and that’s not on Krueger.

    Well, I did say “you and others” w.r.t. the “Tambi has done nothing” angle. The “Christmas at a bad time” tagline was just another iteration of a joke that is destined to keep on giving like Santa, had nothing to do with anything said by anybody. Definitely not aimed at you! Just a point that sometimes shit happens that is beyond the GM’s control.

  100. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bruce McCurdy: The “Christmas at a bad time” tagline was just another iteration of a joke that is destined to keep on giving like Santa, had nothing to do with anything said by anybody.

    wait… what… ???

    was there an attribution error here?:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/01/16/theo-peckham-on-hot-seat/

    that would be pretty shitty of Matheson to make up a false quote to make Peckham look like a d-bag…

    or am I missing something?

  101. PerryK says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    I swear I’m starting to annoy even myself by continually pointing this out, but Yak was clearly at his most effective on the right wing and drifted there again last night.

    Other than that, he is going to be a beast of a scorer in a few years.Of all the kids, I feel most confident in saying he will hit 40 goals.Especially when they put him back on his natural side.

    I am going to point this out just once! So does Eberle.

    He drifts to the left wing all the time in the Offensive zone. We should play those two together with RNH. Each will be in the correct place in both zones. Of course that also allows the Power on Power 1st line with Gagner, Hall, and Hemsky!

    LT, does that sound at all like a familiar refrain?

  102. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: wait… what… ???

    was there an attribution error here?:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/01/16/theo-peckham-on-hot-seat/

    that would be pretty shitty of Matheson to make up a false quote to make Peckham look like a d-bag…

    or am I missing something?

    Sorry, in my explnatory note I meant it had nothing to do with anything said by any of the commenters here in this conversation. I brought it in from left field to make a (rather obscure) point. Given it was tagged on to another point where I had challenged some comments, I likely should have done it different.

    Apparently Theo really did say it. Had me laughing and shaking my head simultaneously. Which is Theo in a nutshell right there.

  103. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: According to Spector today it is becuase they are Euros.

    He actually said that the Oilers are in trouble becuase:

    1) Their next young D is a Swede.
    2) Their young role players are Swedes and Finns.

    It was the worst xenophobic tripe I’ve ever heard from a hockey “reporter”

    Really?

    Swede D are a problem?

    Except in Norris voting aparently.

    Finns are a problem?

    Some of the toughest players in the leauge are Finns.

    Unreal.

    Nicklas Lidstrom was a bad, bad man.

  104. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Sorry, in my explnatory note I meant it had nothing to do with anything said by any of the commenters here in this conversation. I brought it in from left field to make a (rather obscure) point. Given it was tagged on to another point where I had challenged some comments, I likely should have done it different.

    Apparently Theo really did say it. Had me laughing and shaking my head simultaneously. Which is Theo in a nutshell right there.

    I should have been able to figure you meant the commentators and not anyone anywhere…

    At any rate, don’t run from the quote. It’s not that obscure — I got the reference right away and I’m hardly as in tune as most around here — and it is hilarious in exactly the way you suggest.

    Sidebar: the idea that Matheson made it up reminded me of this hilarious episode:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/03/politics/campaign/03fox.html?_r=0

  105. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I should have been able to figure you meant the commentators and not anyone anywhere…

    At any rate, don’t run from the quote. It’s not that obscure — I got the reference right away and I’m hardly as in tune as most around here — and it is hilarious in exactly the way you suggest.

    Sidebar: the idea that Matheson made it up reminded me of this hilarious episode:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/03/politics/campaign/03fox.html?_r=0

    Thanks, am not running from it, just trying to dissociate the one point from the other. To me it was a continuous thought, but to someone challenged by my first comment the second might have seemed like piling on.

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