Over the last several years, three different hockey men have approached ‘functional toughness’ in an effort to save the Oilers children. Pat Quinn took the direct approach, gifting Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff with Jean-Francois Jacques. Steve Tambellini went to the 2011 July 1 free agent frenzy and shopped down every aisle, coming home with Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk and Andy Sutton (via trade).

Craig MacTavish went another route. Instead of signing  three-year-deals, MacT addressed the need for truculence by:

  • attempting to sign David Clarkson.
  • attempting to trade for Braydon Coburn.
  • signing Ryan Hamilton to a 2-year, 2way contract paying $600,000 in Edmonton and $300,000 in Oklahoma City.
  • signing Jesse Joensuu, who clearly has attitude in at least one game a season to a two year contract (1way) for a $950,000 cap hit.
  • kept Ben Eager for the final season of his contract.

A lot of Oiler fans are unhappy about this area of the club, but for me this worked out pretty damn well. He avoided the big mistake (Clarkson), likely avoided an overpay for Coburn and then found two inexpensive possibilities for that elusive size/skill winger. Please understand: I’m all for MacT getting a big forward with skill, gives the opposition something to think about (although it does NOT prevent injuries to skill guys. Marc Savard’s teammates on the night Matt Cooke ended him included Chara, Lucic and several other big men) and there’s no doubt fear is part of the game. The trick is to find skilled men, MacT said exactly that during his opening press conference this spring. Ryan Hamilton and Jesse Joensuu are inexpensive auditions, should they work out MacT will have solved a problem that dates back to Billy Guerin.

The most important thing is that MacTavish will have hung on to one idea like grim death: improve the back half of the forward roster. The REAL item for the Edmonton Oilers this fall is overcoming this:

hall graphThis is a Travis Yost item (found here) that I’m stealing (so please go read it); it shows the difference between Hall’s group (EDM T1) and the rest of the team, culminating in one of the truly pathetic ‘stick your dick out’ performance of the 4line. That’s what MacT was talking about, that’s the crime in a nutshell. You can dress King Kong if you want, but Marc Savard is still going to get run over and those mountain men can’t play the game. And as we discussed yesterday on the show, Steve MacIntyre was on the Oilers roster when Regehr ran over Hemsky in Calgary, didn’t do much beyond giving MacIntyre a bird’s eye view.

No sir. Attracting another enforcer for the 4line is not the move here. Ryan Hamilton running over Sean Monahan in period 1, game 1? Yes sir, that’s my baby! IF HE CAN PLAY THE GAME! If he can’t, run Smyth or Jones or whoever can keep up, knows what to do without the puck and can take and make a pass.

It’s all about the zones. If you have even one player who can’t get the puck out and help maintain possession, that black disc is coming back in the zone. Surely we’ve seen it enough in this city to recognize the ‘losing oxygen’ 4th line shifts. It’s like witnessing a train wreck, and it happens because inexperience, because lack of talent, because tough guys need also to play the game.

When Gretzky was headed for the coast, he made damn good and sure Mike Krushelnyski went with him. I don’t know that Ryan Hamilton and Jesse Joensuu are from the Krushelnyski family, but do know they’re a helluva lot closer than Steve MacIntyre.

  • MacT:  “The year we went to Cup final [2006] we had lots of guys who could contribute offensively and last year we really didn’t. We had a lot of one or two or zero goal scorers who were out there a really the best you could hope for was they were a non-negative factor. We have to let the core players continue to develop a and we have to build that supporting cast around them.”

Craig MacTavish kept Hemsky, added Gordon, Hamilton, Joensuu, Acton and re-signed Jones and has Smyth, Lander, Brown and Eager hanging around. Seems no one is really happy: the enforcer people don’t see an enforcer and the skill people don’t see a saviour. I’d argue Hemsky could be just that, especially if he and Gordon can find some chemistry with Hamilton or Joensuu.

Sometimes effective players arrive and we don’t know it until they show it. Perhaps Jesse Joensuu solves the problem, or maybe it’s Ryan Hamilton. We wait.




Today on LDWLT we feature mostly hockey, some football and a little bit of soccer. Scheduled to appear:

  • Alan Hull from Copper and Blue. Truculence, center ice and a playoff prediction.
  • Matt Gresiuk, soccer insider. Bale on the move, Spurs in the transfer window and FC in the second half of the season.
  • Noah Love from National Post. Kadri and Franson, Leafs nation mood, Olympics and a couple of Ryan Hamilton questions.
  • Corey Graham, Oil Kings play by play man. Update from camp, including Moroz’ progress and some of the new faces we might see this season.

Your comments and questions make the show (sure did yesterday!) so text 10-1260 or you can tweet @Lowetide_ any time. Tune in, it’ll be a great show!

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  1. supernova says:

    I was hoping that MacT would have signed Lapierre, and traded for clutterbuck or Dorsett.

    To me Lapierre was the perfect 4C.

  2. 106 and 106 says:

    That article is rad, man. Did you see Yost’s comments on the Oilers?

    Good lord. Tambellini’s hard-on for team toughness is one of a few reasons why this team absolutely stunk last year. Get away from Taylor Hall et al., and you’re pretty much playing an AHL team. Biggest problem for other teams is that Tambellini’s gone, and MacTavish seems to know what the hell he’s doing.

    I was ALL for your prediction of the Oilers getting to the second season, but raising the roof on that Corsi% the 7-9% to compete with the % of the playoff teams seems like a stretch, no?

    PS: Bonus peezes for use of the word Truculence.

  3. Brackenburied says:

    Guerin, what a player. He could hurt you a lot of different ways.

  4. Captain Smarmy says:

    How true do is the rumour that Edmonton offered the most for Clarkson? Because that’s seems exceedingly terrible and I would have been mad all summer until they had to trade one of the awesome kids then I would of quit watching hockey and ughhh.. spent more time with my family.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Captain Smarmy:
    How true do is the rumour that Edmonton offered the most for Clarkson? Because that’s seems exceedingly terrible and I would have been mad all summer until they had to trade one of the awesome kids then I would of quit watching hockey and ughhh.. spent more time with my family.

    I think it’s been reported in enough circles we have to believe it might be true. Certainly it has appeared in what we might call traditional media a few times.

  6. 106 and 106 says:

    Captain Smarmy,

    Dreger first reported it and the twitter world confirmed a $7 million dollar offer. “The One That Got Away” -in the good sense.

  7. Brackenburied says:

    The Yost article is both fascinating and depressing. We’ve got a long ways to go based on those charts. So a massive improvement would be for the 2013/14 Oilers chart to resemble 2013 Anaheims chart.

  8. 106 and 106 says:

    That link says Jonesuu is a “striker” and he looks to be wearing an Indy Car Jersey.

    Let’s call him Mario.

  9. Hall Awaits says:

    I honestly believe Hamilton and Acton will both have huge camps and make this team. I don’t mean huge in an offensive onslaught but more so by intense fore checking and a 200′ game. Where that leaves Jones, Smyth, Joensuu and Eager is anyone’s guess.

    Trade Smid and a prospect for Coburn if that is still even a remote possibility. Perfect guy to play with Petry till Nurse gets to the show.

    Come on next week……

  10. Магия¹º says:


  11. Hall Awaits says:

    7 million!!!!???!?!? I heard 6. Wow, if true that’s dodging a bus not a bullet…. Maybe the cap is going up to 90 million next year. Only way to explain such lunacy.

    106 and 106:
    Captain Smarmy,

    Dreger first reported it and the twitter world confirmed a $7 million dollar offer. “The One That Got Away” -in the good sense.

  12. Hall Awaits says:

    Last one,…..

    OMARK is back!!!!!!

    Check the twitters…

  13. 106 and 106 says:

    Hall Awaits,

    You shut your lying, filthy…. .


  14. jp says:

    106 and 106,

    I believe it’s “shut your whore mouth”

  15. oliveoilers says:

    Hur, hur hur, she’s Purdy, hur. Seriously, if I had to mark Scar-Jo out of ten, I’d give her one. (wink)

  16. Undercurrent: RJ Umberger, Sink Hole - The Oilers Rig - The Oilers Rig says:

    […] who have been looking for add a power forward to play in the middle 6 since Bill Guerin left (as Lowetide likes to remind us), have a strong connection with Columbus due to Scott Howson. The conditions, as they say, are ripe […]

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