YOUTH IS WASTED ON ALL THE WRONG PEOPLE

The good thing about last night? Oilers were once again in a game very late and that’s been a consistent item through this season.

However, they have only 6 wins in 15 games and if they’re a playoff team then 18-20 wins on the season (that’s their pace) isn’t going to get them into the second season based on the way the west is shaping up this year. A lot has been made of this home stand (now squandered) and last night’s game was a bullet to the heart of the Oiler faithful.

The problems started at the top.

    • Krueger: “I didn’t think they (1line) were quite as connected. It seemed like there were individual efforts in their line.

I think the Kings did a very good forechecking job and that Sutter’s gameplan wore the kids down.  The Kings were on their heels in the first period (for about ten minutes) and then on their toes the rest of the night. That inability to adjust, to beat the trap, to change the stubborn ways, that’s the reason for the title of this blog post (stolen from It’s a Wonderful Life).

A few things:

  • Lots of chatter about the Oilers losing the template after the 56-shot game, but let’s remember the Kings are a much better team than the Avalanche. 
  • The Nuge is hurting.
  • Krueger played Eager 11:13 last night. Too much.
  • Hall and Hemsky are absolutely wild horses right now. I think that’s why LA moved the trap from the neutral zone to the Oilers blueline. Don’t let them get real estate. It was effective.
  • Khabibulin stopped a lot of shots and made some big saves. He had to have that shot late, just had to.
  • From here on in, we should refer to Hartikainen as an NHL player. He’s earned it.

I think these kids will be better Thursday and am still comfortable with my prediction (8th place in the west). I do believe Steve Tambellini should pull the trigger on a deal and would think its about time they give Peckham and or Potter a chance on the third pairing.

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67 Responses to "YOUTH IS WASTED ON ALL THE WRONG PEOPLE"

  1. JAG-041 says:

    they were saying on TSN last night in one of the intermissions that San Jose was maybe looking at giving up Danny Boyle
    that would be something…
    perhaps too hard to acquire

    What makes me skeptical is that afterwards they also said that SJ maybe would look into giving up Thornton, which sounds like a load of crap.

    One can dream, that’s about all we have as Oiler fans sometimes…

  2. hags9k says:

    I’m not as convinced about Hartikainen. Love the effort he shows but his game so far actually reminds me of Laraque without the heavyweight belt.

  3. DBO says:

    The EV attack is still a major concern, especially when the top line is not in sync. Hope Yak goes back to the gagner line (he is lost without players who know the O zone). Harsky has earned full time employment, and to my eye so has MPS. Eager did play a wee bit too much, but he brought energy to a team that was flat. Biggest issue continues to be some help on D. Shultz the younger seems to be tiring, and anytime Whitney is out there I cringe waiting for a turnover or him losing his man, which unfortunately happens every other shift.

    We have too many high event players in our own zone. I can excuse (somewhat) the kids playing that way, but we really seem to lose battles getting the puck out and that includes the “steady” vets. Hope Tambo targets a true contender struggling right now and adds some toughness and two way play and soon. Anyone not going to help us next year can go bye bye.

    - Bulin (someone may bite on the save percentage)
    - Belanger (someone may bite on the faceoff percentage and PK)
    - Whitney (someone may bite on the PP QB and first pass ability)

  4. humantorch says:

    I’d love to see Tambicakes decisively make a trade that will improve the team in a timely fashion.

    And while I’m dreaming, I’d also like a pony.

  5. regwald says:

    I think Schultz the younger may be a victim of being a bit battered and bruised. He was getting a lot of attention the past few games and did miss a couple of practices last week. I think he needs a bit of a breather and the chance to get healthy.

    I also read that he has played as many games this year already as he usually does in a college season. he claims he’s not tired or worn out. However, watching his minutes and getting him some rest will be a big help in the coming weeks.

  6. the_Fab_5 says:

    2 wins in their last 9 games doesn’t scream playoff team to me.

    Those 2 wins came against CBJ and Colorado. The Jackets are the 30th place team last year and we shouldn’t have won anyways.

    The Avs had Shane O’Brien playing top pair and we still needed to come back from 4-1 to win the game.

    This is very far from the playoffs…very far away

    Hall looks great tough

  7. spoiler says:

    - Eager has been wonderful these past two games and earned every minute of that ice time.
    - Can’t blame Khabby for that deflected winner. He did his job
    - Nuge can’t shoot.
    - Hall can’t shoot.
    - Yak had maybe his most youthful game
    - Gagner is really starting to piss me off in his own end, altho he actually made a play at he edge of his won crease for a change
    - LA is a very good team, and during the third period we looked every bit as good till the unfortunate deflection
    - we got outhit terribly by a very big team and are probably sore today, u the troops didn’ quail and kept skating

  8. spoiler says:

    hags9k:
    I’m not as convinced about Hartikainen.Love the effort he shows but his game so far actually reminds me of Laraque without the heavyweight belt.

    Me neither. Great on the cycle, but the rest of his game is not on the same level.

    I found this to be a bit of a strange post by LT. Although the paragraph after the Krueger quote is dead on.

  9. sliderule says:

    Our PP should be killing teams.I know we are fairly high on conversions but but to my eye we are going south fast.
    They are just letting Nuge and Hall play catch and blocking the cross ice lanes.Why not switch Hall and Nuge so Hall can use his shot.He is not getting any from behind the goal line.

    Then there is 5on3 were we are doing the passing thing behind the net.If I would think Sutter would be laughing. at this..Oiler strategy takes your two extra guys out of the play.The kings just have to lock up our three guys out front and let them pass.

    This is a real test for RK as the PP was his baby.The 5on3 behind the net passing he brought in and it hasn’t worked.If he doesn’t adjust this PP we are going to be in running for first pick.

  10. DBO says:

    spoiler,

    I don’t think he has the skills to play a top 6 role, but he is solid on the PP in front of the net and is a solid 4th line player right now. Pair him with MPS and a Lander or even Belanger and we have a solid 4th line that can play against anyone and be solid.

    We still need more grit (not necessarily size). Not sure what they do, but something has to happen and soon. I expect unfortunately that nothing happens until the road trip is over. either they come together and get on a roll, or they crawl back here battered and bruised and Tambo sells off the vets and talks about next year. I actually don’t want anything in the middle, being 11th and sort of in it in 2 weeks will only cause inactivity, and that will not be good. Make moves either way, but be decisive, and yes I know that s not his style but dammit getting annoyed by nothing happening when the needs are darn obvious.

  11. gangplank says:

    spoiler,

    dont think eager should be playing as much. the guy only skates and hits.

    I didnt think the deflection did anything for that shot. didnt change direction or speed. it wasnt a deflection as much as glancing past carter’s stick. Had NK covered his 5 hole as he should have on the Lewish shot, the puck doesnt go through.

    While I admit we got out corsi-d last night, i thought LA took too many perimeter shots leading to an inflated shot total.

  12. russ99 says:

    Eager played a really good, tough, physical game last night, especially in the third. It was good to see.

    Hartikainen continues to play well, but he’s not really contributing on the offensive end other than with his usual physical play. How different is he really than from some of our other coke machines the previous seasons?

    I know it’s rare to see a physical rookie come in with that level of play, but he’s got to help out on the scoresheet before he’s put ahead of guys who give us secondary scoring, like Jones when he’s healthy.

  13. bookje says:

    spoiler:

    I found this to be a bit of a strange post by LT. Although the paragraph after the Krueger quote is dead on.

    LT hasn’t written an article for months and only a few since the launch of the new site more than a year ago. He has a group of writers in India turning these things out for $0.02 a line. To be honest, they are quite impressive given that they have never seen skates in their life. Hamshad is the best, he is the guy who puts in all of the pictures of the ladies, he also is the guy who does the self interview format. Today’s article looks like it was done by Maahir, he tries hard, but he never really gives the article any focus. It’s probably because he also works at a capacitor factory and gets shocked a lot.

  14. Woodguy says:

    the_Fab_5:
    2 wins in their last 9 games doesn’t scream playoff team to me.

    Those 2 wins came against CBJ and Colorado.The Jackets are the 30th place team last year and we shouldn’t have won anyways.

    The Avs had Shane O’Brien playing top pair and we still needed to come back from 4-1 to win the game.

    This is very far from the playoffs…very far away

    Hall looks great tough

    Agreed.

    I obviously got far too excited about their comeback vs. A bad Avs team.

    Against real NHLers they looked good for 10 min then looked just awful.

  15. rickithebear says:

    Last year @ even strength. We did not have 3 fwds that would be 1st line EVpt producers.
    11-12
    Eberle 56PT 7th
    Smyth 38PT 73rd
    Gagner 35 94th
    Hall 32 119th
    RNH 29 142nd
    Hemsky 27 160th
    Jones 24 182nd

    This year we moved our 2nd best EVPT producer into a defensive role.
    Current full season production
    Hall 48PT 30th
    Gagner 35 93rd
    Eberle 27 160th
    Hemsky 24 182nd
    RNH 24 182nd
    Yakupov 24 182nd
    Smyth 18 238th

    we do not have 3 fwds that would make up an upper 2nd EV line.

    i would like to see
    Smyth-Gagner-Eberle
    Hall-RNH-XXX
    Harti-XXX-Hemsky

  16. denny33 says:

    Someone had the audacity to say that our 2 wins in the last 9 came against Colorado and CBJ – that is a devastating fact. Especially since Colorado is missing two of their best players in O Reilly and Landeskog. I think we are one game removed from the 1 / 3rd mark of the season. We have to be able to come to some conclusions about this team.

    Quite simply, we are not a very good hockey team. We have a lot of high end talent but the drop off after that high end talent is HUGE. A lot of Oiler fans are in denial about this fact. And simply don’t accept this…

    Hartikainen is an NHL player that has NO goals and i have just seen a post today that he has earned a spot on the team. He has no goals people. This is simply a level of production that most NHL enforcers have beat.

    Ben Eager – no goals.

    Vandevelde – no goals ( never wins puck battles )

    Leonard Petrell – 1 goal.

    Eric Belanger – 0 goals – Monster Icetime – including some on the PP.

    MPS – 2 goals. ( Paul Stastny gentle push – MPS collapses to ice gives up puck – telling story there

    Horcoff – 1 goal. Monster icetime. Monster contract.

    Ryan Smyth – 1 goal tons of icetime.

    Ladies and Gentlemen – those are 8 forwards whose production is at embarrassing levels.

    Last night was the perfect example – we kept LA to only 2 goals and lost the game.

    For the LA kings Colin Fraser and Trevor Lewis did the damage….not LA ‘s top line players.

  17. mattwatt says:

    spoiler,

    I wouldn’t say Eager was wonderful last night. Issue with him last night was the same story as his whole time with the Oilers; play at the Oiler’s bluel line. When the puck comes to him there, good luck getting the play going the other way. It likely isn’t.

    I thought Oilers looked okay last night. LA is a solid club, and with some players not having their best games (Harti and Gagner both had off starts I thought) they were in it till the end. Hell, Whitney looked like a bit of an NHL player last night. Too bad that is his high watermark.

  18. rickithebear says:

    Denny there are 12 forwards @ embarrasing levels @ evens.

    the last 5 years 5 forwards hve had a season of top 50 forward play @ evens.
    Hall
    Eberle
    Brule
    Penner
    Hemsky.

  19. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule: Then there is 5on3 were we are doing the passing thing behind the net.If I would think Sutter would be laughing. at this..

    IIRC they did this exactly once last year to ridiculous success in a game. the goal looked very sweet and really undressed the opposition. I don’t think I’ve seen it work since. although, I’ve noticed they don’t do it the whole time… seem to try it for a couple of passes and then move on… creating alternate looks?

    at any rate, what doesn’t work ought to be seriously scrutinized.

    gangplank: dont think eager should be playing as much. the guy only skates and hits.

    the last couple of games, I’d give him more credit than that. He could lose a minute of TOI and still play a role though. that speed and size is going to kill other teams if he can manage to keep his events low… the last two games he looked ok.

    denny33: Hartikainen is an NHL player that has NO goals and i have just seen a post today that he has earned a spot on the team. He has no goals people. This is simply a level of production that most NHL enforcers have beat.

    I’m not sure goals is the best way to evaluate his play thus far. he seems to drive the play into the other end, hold it there and create space for his linemates pretty well… I’d say that has value.

  20. denny33 says:

    rickithebear,

    Agreed.

    Someone needs to look at the 5 on 5 stats. They are so incredibly bad it makes my prediction for the Oilers this year ( 5th or 6th in the West ) seem like a homer media guy in Edmonton. Actually, the Edmonton Sun is calling….job offering?

    The top teams in the league have scored 36 goals ( Anneheim – 5 on 5. (Tampa has 39 )

    We have been DEAD LAST all season 5 on 5.

    However I had no idea that we have to look up. WAY, WAY up to see the 29th team in Minnesota.

    The Minnesota Wild are laying out some decent money for players and have only scored 21 goals at even strength. That is Pathetic.

    But wait. What about our incredibly talented Oilers you say…?

    In 15 games played ( Phoenix with injuries – Alex Bolduc was the 2nd line centre , Colorado with 7 AHL players, CBJ with its talented roster – how about the dynasty group in Calgary? ) ….

    The high flying Edmonton Oilers have scored 14 goals at 5 on 5.

    It is time we start listening to all the hockey analysts. Ray Ferraro said it last night – small and talented group that does not get NEAR the net 5 and 5. ( the Columbus blue Jackets – literally – playing with a mostly AHL roster have been able to score 25 goals at even strength )

  21. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    denny33: Ray Ferraro said it last night – small and talented group that does not get NEAR the net 5 and 5.

    I think Hemsky got pretty close to the net a couple of times last night :)

  22. dessert1111 says:

    Hartikainen has looked like a pretty good fourth line player so far, nothing more. Good cycle game but no offense.

  23. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    dessert1111:
    Hartikainen has looked like a pretty good fourth line player so far, nothing more. Good cycle game but no offense.

    I think we have to remember that the kind of goals 4th liners score are the weird ones that come from crashing the net, throwing the puck on net aimlessly, bouncing off linesmen/boards/butts, etc.

    THe first LA goal was a classic 4th line goal… catch the 1st line napping and have all 3 guys drive the net with sticks flailing wildly.

    If Harti keeps playing the way he has been, those will come… except with his ability to actually maintain possession, he has more upside.

  24. gangplank says:

    watched Hansen’s hit on Hossa again today morning. it clearly was intentional. Will be very surprised if Hansen doesnt get a shanaban.

  25. jake70 says:

    “they played heavier, were harder on the puck, and won puck battles” – Hall in post game. This is what you face in much of the west in this 30 team watered down league that is the NHL. The skill level/execution of the skilled ones has to be almost other worldly to beat these teams consistently.

  26. bookje says:

    So, after reading comments today, am I correct in thinking Edmonton Oiler fans are slightly more bi-polar than the Edmonton Oilers themselves.

  27. sliderule says:

    I wonder how much more time they give Whitney.The poor guy can’t move his legs to win a puck battle to save his soul.
    Fistric while he is slow can pin his man.Smid has had better years but he battles.
    I am no fan of Peckham but if you could stop him from stupid penalties he at least can pin his man in the corners.

  28. cabbiesmacker says:

    Last night while watching the game I grew increasingly frustrated at the Oilers attempts to move the puck out of their own end. It was like watching history repeat itself with the puck often moving back towards the net and numerous futile attempts to move it up along the boards. It’s like Steve Staios himself had drawn up the process.

    I don’t see many teams that continually try to exit their own zone this way and the longer the game went on the worse the Oiler’s got at it. LA had adjusted and shut it down completely. I don’t think the issue here can all be pinned on the D. It’s obviously been systemized and against bigger teams with smart enough coaches like LA it just doesn’t work.

    Have to think the forwards deserve to bear lots of the responsibility here.

    Last but not least Hemsky looks like the player we all hoped he was the last 10 games or so. Bloody amazing.

  29. 42 percent body fat says:

    Whitney- trade now, better to sell low than lower

    Gagner- first in pp scoring, second in five on five scoring, and only 1 goal against penalty killing, leading the team in scoring yet you continue to rip him. Haters going to hate. Was one of the best forwards defensively last year according to most stats.

    Eberle- In a funk, will bounce back, but man that 6 mil contract is going to come back to bite us

    RNH- Great defensively most of the time, simplifying things, but too cute

    Hall- Too cute and lots of mistakes but who cares, with out him we are dead last

    Hemsky- Welcome back, but he uses all his energy in three shifts.

    Right now I dont care about our forwards defensive abilities, we are losing because we can score, not because of a high goals against.

  30. denny33 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Good point – Hemsky was flying last night !!

    I should have clarified because the top line does generate a lot of chances as well. And Taylor Hall’s effort and skating this year has been incredible. If only he could convert on some of those chances…

  31. denny33 says:

    sliderule,

    Agreed. I think RK is seeing the same thing in Fistric you and I do. Slow but he separates puck from players and clears. Simple, but effective, game.

    Also concur with someone here that said J. Schultz is looking tired or worn down. Heavy icetime and physical play have eroded him down. College hockey schedule versus condensed NHL one….

    At times, Petry seems to be struggling with one on one physical battles in our end sometimes and I concur about Smid – not the same player this year. Don’t know if this is a system thing or ….

    Was it just me or was Fistric seeing more ice time last night?

  32. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    denny33: Good point – Hemsky was flying last night !!

    On some nights that’s 4 mins worth of tender interference…

    the refs continue to be unpredictable. what were they doing in the offseason anyway?

  33. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    denny33: Was it just me or was Fistric seeing more ice time last night?

    I noticed about 10 mins into the LA feed that the commentators only knew about half of the EDM names. whenever Smid, for example, had the puck there was silence until someone else did.

    I suspect a lot of commentators cut corners like this… memorize half the roster.. the game is so fast you can simply fudge and omit players in your calls…

    but… I’m sure it has an effect on how the audience at home evaluates the players…

    see: the AVs game where Hrudey credits Whitney with an assist and various people decide he’s had a good game… even though it was Fistric.

  34. FPB94 says:

    MTL’s top 6 production:

    54 Points

    EDM’s top 6 production:

    69 Points

    +15 for Edmonton; MTL’s the top seed in the East.

    AKA the problem resides in the bottom 6.

  35. LMHF#1 says:

    Visnovsky would get that 5-on-5 scoring going in a hurry. Can’t we make that happen?

    If not, who’s the younger Visnovsky? Identify and acquire. We have parts.

  36. DeadmanWaking says:

    I had the game on the radio while I took The Science of Good Cooking for a test drive. This is a new book from America’s Test Kitchen (aka Cook’s Illustrated) and it’s a seriously worthwhile tome for anyone out there with an analytic bent under the apron. There’s a heck of a lot of why and how joined at the hips. What’s lacking are fancy colour photographs of how every recipe turns out. Such a luxury (knowledge and art consummately entwined) will set you back $600 for Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine. While this one is drab, it’s absolutely packed with useful information.

    The radio is a funny thing, because I was about 70% certain the puck had gone in when at the phrase “he shoots”. What the commentator is saying and seeing are separated by a few beats. By the end of “shoots” the vocal tone is already tapering into “he scores” with the appropriate shaping: “he shoots” was just dripping with knife to the heart.

    The Ra character in Stargate gets his spooky voice from a pre-echo effect. This is like an object appearing brighter when viewed in a mirror than without the mirror. Highly unphysical.

    I think Taylor is still swimming upstream like a spawning salmon along the Rusty Courtnall / Peter Forsberg babbling brook. Courtnall caused himself nearly as much grief with his wheels as anyone else. Dryden’s book says there’s always a player like this on hockey teams or soccer teams: the guy who breaks free with a glorious opportunity, but flubs the final move. That old movie known as “Marchant with hands”. With Forsberg, when he was coming at you driving the bus, it was definitely more of a problem for you than for him. Maybe he could have done it the easy way more often during the regular season, but then when the playoffs rolled around, he barely noticed the change of intensity. He was a human bubble of playoff hockey.

    It’s no wonder to me that the team appears to be running in wet sand. Every extra inch we gain goes directly to the PTS column, excluding two periods against San Jose. These are tough inches.

    BTW, I’m actually somewhat fond of Don Cherry. His shtick is harder to pull off than it looks. He really uses his voice well. I managed after watching some YouTube to pull off the hoarse conversational yell for a few moments, but my imitation was flat and lifeless. His degree of modulation and intonation from within that vocal stance is staggering.

    The problem with Cherry is much the same as with the comedian who is pretty funny but resorts too often to the bottomless cup of fart jokes to make the bridge. Cherry leans heavily on Us/Them jingoism. This is fine up to a point, because team sports are fundamentally tribal. What Cherry refuses to acknowledge knowing full well deep down, is that sometimes this bottomless cup of Us/Them that every child kicks around the playground sometimes falls down a rabbit hole, where it encounters a little bottle labelled “Drink me”–which it inevitably does–before promptly finding itself mighty short on Lebensraum; and even when this pimple doesn’t pop, you wind up with the Dr Strangelove state of circular affairs (so that’s what his wheelchair symbolizes!) where everyone is leering dangerously over the Rabbit Hole Gap, aka Do Until Others Before They Do Unto You (which isn’t hard to anticipate, when everyone drinks out of the same bottomless cup of Us/Them fart jokes).

    It’s Cherry’s stubborn pretense that heroism doesn’t even have a dark side that often turns him into a national muttonhead. Boys don’t cry. Well, that’s enough about that.

  37. LMHF#1 says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    I had the game on the radio while I took The Science of Good Cooking for a test drive.This is a new book from America’s Test Kitchen (aka Cook’s Illustrated) and it’s a seriously worthwhile tome for anyone out there with an analytic bent under the apron.There’s a heck of a lot of why and how joined at the hips.What’s lacking are fancy colour photographs of how every recipe turns out.Such a luxury (knowledge and art consummately entwined) will set you back $600 for Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine.While this one is drab, it’s absolutely packed with useful information.

    I keep forgetting to ask but I will now. I’m not sure – but OYler is that you?

    If not you two should meet.

  38. Matt.N says:

    I am going to go against the grain and say that the Oilers have been a better offensive team (5vs5) in the last 5 games that in the first 10. This is certainly backed up by shot generation.

    STAT NUMBER RANK
    SF/60 29.1 12
    SH% 5.40% DFL
    GF/60 1.6 29TH

    On the strength of a few high output shot generating games the Oilers have risen up to the middle of the pack. I believe that the only reason that the production level is so low is league low and unsustainable 5.4% shooting. There has also been a bit of regressing to the mean for the special teams. Does anyone really believe that RNH is going to maintain his current production? It seems logical to me that there is a very good chance that pucks are going to start going in.

    The thing that should really be worriesome is the defensive side of the game.

    STAT NUMBER RANK
    SA/60 31.5 27TH
    SV% 0.922 14TH
    GA/60 2.5 18TH

    If you want to panic, panic over this. The Oilers are very bad at preventing shots. Its only been average goal tending that has prevented this from being worse. I tend to believe that this is more representational of true talent. Defence is the problem. Scoring will come.

  39. dessert1111 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I think we have to remember that the kind of goals 4th liners score are the weird ones that come from crashing the net, throwing the puck on net aimlessly, bouncing off linesmen/boards/butts, etc.

    THe first LA goal was a classic 4th line goal… catch the 1st line napping and have all 3 guys drive the net with sticks flailing wildly.

    If Harti keeps playing the way he has been, those will come… except with his ability to actually maintain possession, he has more upside.

    For sure, I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think he can play in the top 6 yet. It’s tempting because they could use someone who plays like him playing with skill, but I guess what they really need is someone with more skill who plays Hartikainen’s game. And I’m not so sure that player exists in the current lineup. Someone’s gotta diversify their game to help the team imo.

  40. ashley says:

    I still think they should split up the dynamic trio. I think there is enough secondary value on the roster to make a go of this. It’s just too easy to defend against a single line team. It plays into clever coaches wheelhouses. Guys like Daryl.

    93-14-64
    89-83-4
    or
    89-14-4
    93-83-64

    The latter might be worth a shot. As good as Nuge is, I think he is subtly magnificent and somewhat underappreciated for some of the finer things he accomplishes out there. It might be just what the Europeans need.

    We’re not really looking for one line to break some old points/shots records, although that does sound fun. We also shouldn’t be trying our hardest to placate the wonder kids, with excessive concern about pissing them off if there line is broken up. We are looking to win and make the playoffs.

    A one trick pony is even easier to defend against when on the road, as we saw last year.

  41. DBO says:

    Cody Mccormick on waivers from Buffalo. 6’3 4th liner who can fight, and can actually play while knowing his role. he has played centre (but mostly wing the last 2 yrs), and has one more year at $1.2 mill on his deal (he is 29). Anyone interested? Does the pushed around by the Kings angst make us want more grit, sandpaper and size? Here is a comment from a buffalo blogger”

    “Cody won’t last long on waivers. He’s an energy guy, with a nasty disposition who can skate a regular shift and can knock a guy’s lights out. McCormick missed several games at the beginning of the season as he was nursing a finger injury. He’s played well in the games that he’s appeared in. Cody is a character guy and has a great reputation in the Buffalo room.”

    I guess is he an upgrade on Vande velde? Willis at COF talked about him as well. He says no, but made some points in Mccormicks favour as a decent 4th liner. If you want toughness, etc., this is the kind of guy you go and get. No idea if he makes us better, just wondering if folk want this kind of guy in the lineup.

  42. godot10 says:

    Things I think:
    1) The Oilers need a defenseman. I am beginning to think that John Michael Lyles might be a decent option. 3 year left at less that $4 million per season. 3 pairing paired with Fistric. Carlyle doesn’t seem to like him. The Leafs might be willing to part with him at a reasonable price to get rid of the contract.
    2) Put Hartikainen and Paajarvi together for the rest of the year, and let them play and figure it out. Quit trying to move Hartikainen (or Paajarvi) up the roster. The centre doesn’t matter much here. Once they’ve established themselves on their own terms, then I think one can experiment moving them up the roster, but that is a next year thing. This year. Give ‘em 10 minutes on the 3rd or 4th line.
    3) Don’t break up the top line. Let them figure it out. They are getting used to the extra minutes, the tougher competition, and a fraction less time and space. They will figure it out soon enough.
    4) Here’s hoping Ryan Jones can fit in with Gagner and Hemsky.
    5) Think Petrell might have to be the guy waived to make room for Jones.

  43. Derek says:

    As a team, Edmonton was shooting at a rate of 5.4 percent prior to the LA game, the lowest in the entire league.

    As was mentioned earlier, the scoring will come on its own when lady luck takes her heel off the Oilers throats. Its the shots against that are the largest cause for concern.

    If you follow the scoring chances, Edmonton has been in almost every game this season. This is a mediocre team suffering a lot of bad luck, an injury to the teams most responsible center man, and possible nagging injuries to a couple more important guys.

    Ben Eager is getting kudos around here for christs sake, have you all gone completely mad?

    This team is in the range of where most people here had them predicted, if things turn around we’re still looking at a possible 8th seed playoff berth, if not a possible change in management (insert 10 rows of bookie thingies here).

  44. RMGS says:

    “Overall, it was an excellent hockey game.” – coach Krueger

    I suggested that should the wins not begin to pile up quickly, Edmonton’s sports “journalists” will turn on the unconventional and articulate coach, but with game impressions like this one, the fans may beat the media to it.

    The first line had an off-night, but I wouldn’t tinker with it. I only hope that Eberle starts to pull his own weight on the backcheck and in his own end.

    Hartikainen may be an NHLer, but he’s not a top six forward on this team. He needs more production for that.

    Despite his healthy contribution to the bleeding of chances, I’d go back to the rookie on the second line. By eye and only slightly by number, he’s starting to figure it out, imo. The only viable alternatives may be an aging Smyth and the up and down MPS. I know MPS-Gagner has not worked well in the past, but I’d try that before going to Smyth. Sadly, MPS may be on his way to OKC when Jones comes back.

    The third line sorely misses Horcoff as does the team in general.

    The fourth line should just avoid being scored on.

    The scoring chances are there, despite being out-shot and out-Corsied consistently. However, it would be great to know how many of those chances are secondary opportunities – rebounds with players driving to the net. The team has little to no net presence when by some miracle of the Lord it decides to shoot.

  45. RMGS says:

    ashley: 89-14-4
    93-83-64

    I’d prefer no tinkering with that first line, but if the blender comes out, I’d love to see this.

  46. LMHF#1 says:

    Just checked in on one of my favorites – Mr Samuelsson is chugging along quite nicely. If it comes to pass that we’re going to miss the playoffs and PHX is in, it would be great to see him headed our way for a rental or two. I’d also give a pick if necessary.

  47. fifthcartel says:

    Dan Tencer ‏@dantencer

    Oilers will have to make a roster move before the road trip…Petrell not going on IR and Jones ready to come back. Right now 13F and 8D.

    Could be interesting but probably just sending Paajarvi down to OKC because he doesn’t have to clear waivers.

  48. FastOil says:

    jake70:
    “they played heavier, were harder on the puck, and won puck battles” – Hall in post game.This is what you face in much of the west in this 30 team watered down league that is the NHL. The skill level/execution of the skilled ones has to be almost other worldly to beat these teams consistently.

    I like “played heavier”. The King’s skill players aren’t much heavier than the Oilers, but they are tougher players. Age is a part of it, I think at some point our skill guys will harden up when they get tired of losing because of puck battles and letting bigger players get points that shouldn’t – skill can beat size. I hope they learn to do it right however, using brains before trying brawn – you’re either big or your not.

    As for J Schultz, he needs to play like Lidstrom. He is a pretty skinny guy, and if he’s going to log that kind of ice time, he needs to learn self preservation while being effective IMO or he’ll be hurt a lot.

  49. OilClog says:

    Eager has been playing better then Hart, he’s a had a couple nice cycles as that’s about where it ends.
    I’ve actually liked VDV’s game more then Teemu’s. Eager was the only Oiler creating any sort of nasty pushback last night in the forward ranks. Kruger kept throwing him out there because he’s the only one that can bite back.

    I’d sit Whitney and find a new home immediately, he’s done, if you can sit on your couch and read his body language, done. Play Peckham and Fistric together, Potter in waiting room.

    With Ruff being fired, I’d still go after Regher and Stafford. Teemu, Whitney, pick. Or Gags, Peckham, pick?

  50. VanOil says:

    godot10:
    2) Put Hartikainen and Paajarvi together for the rest of the year, and let them play and figure it out.Quit trying to move Hartikainen (or Paajarvi) up the roster. The centre doesn’t matter much here. Once they’ve established themselves on their own terms, then I think one can experiment moving them up the roster, but that is a next year thing.This year.Give ‘em 10 minutes on the 3rd or 4th line.

    I agree this will be good for this year and could be great for next year. Let the vets figure out how to provide secondary scoring on juggled lines let these two grow into the role.

  51. sliderule says:

    Replayed Halls breakaway and it brought back memories of Messier early in his career.

    Mark got a lot of breakaways the first few years and didn’t convert too many.

    There were a lot of fans in those years who would have traded Mark but Sather had a lot of patience for him.
    It’s a good lesson for the oil and fandom.

  52. ashley says:

    sliderule: Replayed Halls breakaway and it brought back memories of Messier early in his career.Mark got a lot of breakaways the first few years and didn’t convert too many.There were a lot of fans in those years who would have traded Mark but Sather had a lot of patience for him.It’s a good lesson for the oil and fandom.

    Indeed. I lost my patience with him after the Calgary game early in the season. He made me eat my words thereafter with spectacular play, smart decisions, and excellent scoring opportunities for his line, many driven entirely by him.

    He’s young, still learning, and already a great player. There is room for improvement, but that only gives more upside to a guy already playing at a high level. An elite career is a real possibility for Hall.

  53. denny33 says:

    Derek,

    I could buy the top line has had some bad luck as far as actually converting on some of their chances…but does anyone really believe our bottom 8 forwards – most of whom have goose eggs – are experiencing a bad run of luck?

    For some in that bottom group – getting an ‘actual’ shot on net would be a huge moral victory.

  54. denny33 says:

    RMGS,

    Glad you pointed that out…I thought Yakupov looked really quick and fast lat night….

    Just once I would like to see him sprung free at full speed…

  55. BlacqueJacque says:

    Anyone have something other than eyeball evaluations of Eberle’s play this year? I’m having a hard time judging him since his game is more subtle than Hall’s. But if we go by eyeballs, not only is he suffering a brutal regression to the mean, but defensively he seems more suspect than hr did last year.

  56. godot10 says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Anyone have something other than eyeball evaluations of Eberle’s play this year?I’m having a hard time judging him since his game is more subtle than Hall’s.But if we go by eyeballs, not only is he suffering a brutal regression to the mean, but defensively he seems more suspect than hr did last year.

    1) More ice time results in slightly more fatigue.
    2) More attention from the opposition results in a little less time and space.
    3) Your centre having bad puck luck results in a little more anxiety about your own game.
    4) Wearing a letter means feeling a little more responsiblity to the team on the ice and in the room.

    Basically, Eberle just has to adjust to a whole bunch of “more” stuff. Ditto Hall. Ditto Nugent-Hopkins pretty much.

    These are extremely smart and talented guys. They will figure it out and adjust.

    Those three are playing pretty well. There just is a lack of finish at the moment. As they get used to the high “stress”, the finish will come back.

    The Boys on the Bus had the epic fail in the Miracle on Manchester. The road to glory has potholes.

    The top line are in a process of becoming elite players. That process occasionally has elements of making sausage to it.

  57. cabbiesmacker says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Anyone have something other than eyeball evaluations of Eberle’s play this year?I’m having a hard time judging him since his game is more subtle than Hall’s.But if we go by eyeballs, not only is he suffering a brutal regression to the mean, but defensively he seems more suspect than hr did last year.

    Tougher comp and zone starts than last year maybe? The trio has been unfairly thrown into some situations only one of the 3 is ready for. Maybe it was management’s plan to let the kids learn under heavy fire and if so then they weren’t too worried about winning much.

    Management probably figures it’s best to wait until second contracts are halfway through to really try and build a competitive team. Theres no other way to explain some of the trash these kids hit the ice with every game.

  58. Woodguy says:

    42 percent body fat,

    Right now I dont care about our forwards defensive abilities, we are losing because we can score, not because of a high goals against.

    Offence flows from defense because you gain puck possession.

    A clean break out from the Dzone makes it much more likely that you maintain possession in the ozone.

    Possession in the ozone leads to shots/scoring chances then to goals.

    If you can’t get possession in your own zone and move it out cleanly, you won’t score 5v5.

    That’s why 4-93-14 are the only line generating a significant numer of chances 5v5 because they have been good at getting the puck back in the Dzone and moving it into the Ozone.

    Off the glass and out because the forwards aren’t in a position to receive a pass, or your Dman isn’t good at making a pass is the biggest killer of offence.

    No puck no goals.

  59. cabbiesmacker says:

    Woodguy:
    42 percent body fat,

    Offence flows from defense because you gain puck possession.

    A clean break out from the Dzone makes it much more likely that you maintain possession in the ozone.

    Possession in the ozone leads to shots/scoring chances then to goals.

    If you can’t get possession in your own zone and move it out cleanly, you won’t score 5v5.

    Off the glass and out because the forwards aren’t in a position to receive a pass, or your Dman isn’t good at making a pass is the biggest killer of offence.

    No puck no goals.

    Excellent. Did you notice in last nights game as time rolled on that LA took the along the boards option away WG? we were hemmed for long stretches and thatt’ll wear down a dman pretty quick. 93 seems to be the only C capable of moving the puck forward then making the outlet pass to his wingers which leads me to believe theres a deficiency with the other lines. It usually starts at C so….89? hmmm. I don’t see him skating too many out of his own zone

  60. Woodguy says:

    Micheal Parkatti with a great analysis of the game last night:

    http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/02/19/game-notes-oilerskings-feb-19/

  61. Woodguy says:

    cabbiesmacker: Excellent. Did you notice in last nights game as time rolled on that LA took the along the boards option away WG? we were hemmed for long stretches and thatt’ll wear down a dman pretty quick. 93 seems to be the only C capable of moving the puck forward then making the outlet pass to his wingers which leads me to believe theres a deficiency with the other lines. It usually starts at C so….89? hmmm. I don’t see him skating too many out of his own zone

    Thanks.

    Posted this in the GDT yesterday after the first period:


    WOODGUY says:
    February 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm
    Oilers stopped making clean exits and the game ground down to LA’s speed.
    LA is owning the boards, and the best Oiler breakouts have been up the middle.
    Gotta keep going up the middle and quit trying to out grind LA on the boards, they won’t win that way.
    Good first 10 min, much weaker 2nd 10.
    Would be 2-0 except for Doughty.
    Great Dman.
    Also,
    Dustin Brown is a douche.

    I think both 93 and 4 drive a lot of the Dzone turn overs and exit possession.

    64 was caught at the center line on camera when the puck was still up for grabs behind the goal line.

    Hemksy is much better but isn’t Hall, but few are.

    RNH often gives the D a 12ft pass option.

    By my eye 89 gets going north without the puck too fast.

    He needs to be a better first pass option for the D and the wingers need to help outman on the boards down low when possession in up for grabs.

    14 is better than 64, but much worse than 83 at this.

  62. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy:
    Micheal Parkatti with a great analysis of the game last night:

    http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/02/19/game-notes-oilerskings-feb-19/

    That’s the most robust argument I’ve seen that RK ought to be line-matching over his evident plan of TOI and zone start pushes

    The chances for the 1st seems to create against anybody seems to favor RKs approach… but the rest of the lineup may need a bit more attention to who else is out there.

  63. bendelson says:

    Sounds a little like RK was bested by Sutter – the wiley V.
    Maybe it’s time Ralph gives an inspired, motivating speech into the mirror.
    No need for panic, for as we all know, RK can fix anybody.

  64. 42 percent body fat says:

    Woodguy,

    That is transition and not defensive abilities. To me defensive abilities is covering the man and gaining the puck in your zone. Once you have it that is a different story.

    As I said, we aren’t scoring enough to win, yet we are keeping in the game by not letting in goals (whitneys miscues aside) . Only three players are contributing to our scoring at or above expectations. Nuge and eberle aren’t one of them, So go ahead an rip gagner about his defensive liabilities, he is not why we are losing games, but he is one of the reasons we are still in them.

  65. Woodguy says:

    42 percent body fat,

    To me defensive abilities is covering the man and gaining the puck in your zone. Once you have it that is a different story.

    My entire post was about gaining the puck in your zone.

    It leads to offense.

    Full stop.

  66. Oilanderp says:

    I like chicken and eggs. Next up, a snake that devours itself while diving by zero!

  67. G Money says:

    Woodguy,

    1000% right.

    I have *NO* idea what changed , but in the first 10 minutes, the Oilers would gain possession in their own zone, then make a couple of clean simple passes to exit the zone. Then the speed and skill would take over.

    It’s giving too much credit to the Kings to suggest that they changed very much after that. Its the Oilers that suddenly starting treating the puck like a grenade.

    What I saw time after time after time was an Oiler with own-zone possession of the puck and plenty of time to play it … and then he would wait and wait until a King was bearing down on him, and then either give away the puck himself, or try a pass to the one other Oiler who was already well covered, who would then give away the puck. The end result was a comical repeat of cycle after cycle by the bigger and heavier Kings. The vast majority could have been prevented just by making the simple play – if not a pass or carry out, then at least to just clear the zone.

    But no. Over and over and over.

    At first I laughed at the horror show, then grew increasingly frustrated to the point where I LOST COUNT and nearly put my fist through the TV. It even happened on the power play for f**ks sake. How exactly do you get forechecked off the puck in your own zone on the power play???

    Can someone PLEASE PLEASE explain why the simple zone exits weren’t taken? Am I missing something? It’s not like the forecheck pressure increased, and the plays were there to make even after the first 10 minutes – they just weren’t made. It wasn’t more size the Oilers needed last night, it was more IQ.

    I just hope its something solvable or coachable – cause stupidity ain’t.

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