As things stand, I’m wondering if Teemu Hartikainen made a mistake. Looking at the current Oilers top 13F, I’m thinking the big Finn might have a real chance to slide past a few of the current group.
Hartikainen needed to do some work on his game, I heard rumors about conditioning and of course it’s obvious that he didn’t piss a drop at evens during the NHL schedule this year. Harski was sent down two games before the end of the schedule, with this from the coach:
- Krueger: “He’s trying to figure out what a gritty, strong power forward does and what’s connected to that. What’s important for him is to continue to manage the puck in all three zones.”
and this from his GM:
- MacTavish: “in today’s NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score”
That was then, this is now. The shopping spree is over and the cold light of morning shows the roster without size/skill combinations. You can argue Harski didn’t do much in the NHL, but that’s a small sample size.
One of my favorite hockey writers–full stop–is Neal Livingston. I’m prepared to consider the OKC experiment successful if only because we grabbed his prose from baseball (American writers are moths to the flame for the romance of baseball) and he sees the game with a unique eye. Livingston wrote this earlier in summer about Hartikainen:
- “You take the pieces of Hartikainen’s game, throw in the human element, realize he has the rest of his life before him, and suddenly you understand why he’d choose to play KHL hockey. Not because he gave up on the Oilers, didn’t work hard, or even prove he had things that people want – it’s because he lives life by his standards. Rather than allow his NHL club to throw him to the waiver wire in the upcoming season, he’ll choose his own path. At least for now. That’s admirable, and chances are, you’d do the same thing.”
That’s probably true. However, faced with opposition that includes Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Jones, Ryan Smyth and Mike Brown, I think Teemu Hartikainen would have made this team.
Without a throw.