TC ISSUE ONE: THE NUGE!

I’ve been waiting (patiently) for an update on the Nuge, as have all Oiler fans. The last words we heard on the young centerman’s health date back close to one month now (early August). In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the quote:

  • MacT: “All things are very optimistic now, but the timeline before was that he’d be ready Nov. 1, in a very pessimistic timeline, and optimistically he’d be ready to start the year. We’re going to stay with that and let his progression dictate when he’s ready. We won’t be hurrying him, that’s for sure.”

The Oilers play 14 games (17% of the schedule) before November 1st, so it’s a significant portion of the year. Of course, long term is the real concern so the timeline isn’t as important as the recovery. Taylor Hall told us he’ll be ready to play some middle at the start of the season, but MacT (same day as above) chimed in on some options:

  • MacT:[Mark] Arcobello will get a good look, Andrew Miller, Will Acton, Anton Lander. I’m sure we’ll be able to offset Nuge’s absence in the short term.”

Didn’t mention Hall, no reason to at that point. The Oilers have not addressed center since then, leading me to believe the club is fairly happy with RNH’s recovery. That said, I think 14 games is what we should assume it will take to get the wunderkind back in the big leagues. Anything better is a bonus. We should also watch the TC invite list, the waiver wire and trade possibilities in the next thirty days.

 ference1

Andrew Ference is one of the big off-season pickups for this young Oiler team, a top 4D who can provide a physical element and calm feet. I was interested in the quotes from a Matty article about Peter Chiarelli’s new contract:

  • Chiarelli: “Andy’s a competitive little s.o.b. He plays harder than his size (five-foot-11, 189 pounds). A challenge for Andy when he first started with us was a lot of injuries. A lot of pundits knocked him for missing time because he played hard … but he adapted his game and he still plays hard,and he became very durable. He’s aggressive, he’s efficient, he closes on guys really well, defends well and for his size,he’s very strong. He’s one of those guys with a low centre of gravity. He’ll fight, and was part of our leadership group. He moved up in our lineup. He was in our top four for a considerable period of time. What he did was calm his partners down. He spent time with Boychuk and (Adam) McQuaid. He’d calm them down because his game is a simple game.”

Music! The Oilers don’t have a Jason Smith, but this guy has a lot of those elements. He’ll own the town by Christmas.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

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32 Responses to "TC ISSUE ONE: THE NUGE!"

  1. Ben says:

    This team’s lineup is precisely one Horcoff short of actual depth and flexibility.

  2. GordM says:

    “Call it” …love that movie.

    OK…I’ll call it. Nuge debuts after the 6 game east road trip for the Oct 24th game against the caps.

    But what are the stakes?

  3. Lowetide says:

    “I didn’t put nothin up.”

  4. supernova says:

    Ben:
    This team’s lineup is precisely one Horcoff short of actual depth and flexibility.

    Agree with this, I already miss Horcoff and we haven’t even hit TC.

  5. Ivan says:

    Ah, Oiler fans and Horc……there’s nothing like being dealt away to become retroactively irreplaceable. (Although I was and will remain a fan of his.)

  6. Jesse says:

    “You’ve been putting it up your whole life, you just didn’t know it.”

    Harrowing scene. One of my favorite movies.

    One of the things that I appreciate about MacT most is that he seems to have a keen sense of awareness of the fanbase’s expectations, and also learns from past organizational mistakes. Him specifically noting that they won’t rush RNH’s return shows that he probably has an idea of the fears of the fans after the Souray fiasco, and wanted to make it clear that that won’t be an issue again (if all things go as planned).

  7. Kitchener says:

    17%?? (… nervous gulp…)

    Along with the new faces on D, apparently the season will start with a lot of different looks. If we’re at 500 after 20 games and a 4C has stabilized, let’s call that a success.

  8. Ben says:

    Ivan,

    He has been replaced, we hope. But depth at his position is now arguably worse than it was last year.

    A team with Horc/Gordon on their 3rd and 4th lines is a bunch more competitive than Gordon/???.

    Where are the Rem Murrays and Marty Reasoners – heck, and Jim Dowds – of days gone by?

  9. justDOit says:

    “That’s what they all say…” – my favorite scene.

    I think we have to expect that even once healed from the surgery, Nuge will need some conditioning time on his upper body, having missed the entire training season.

  10. Hammers says:

    Kitchener:
    17%?? (… nervous gulp…)

    Along with the new faces on D, apparently the season will start with a lot of different looks.If we’re at 500 after 20 games and a 4C has stabilized, let’s call that a success.

    Trust your kidding . If that happennes I will be dancing in the street . No Nuge and 2/3rds of the games away from home . I would have been happy with that if Nuge was fit & healthy . Our push for the playoffs will come after the first 40 games.

  11. Hammers says:

    Ben:
    This team’s lineup is precisely one Horcoff short of actual depth and flexibility.

    Yea and 1 Magnus . You have to give to get what you want .

  12. Hayek says:

    Ferrence is too old to get better. Most likely his output will continue to diminish. That is frightening to me.

  13. russ99 says:

    We have a tough opening slate of games.

    So my bet is that he’ll be ready for at least limited ice time at the beginning of the killer road trip on 9/12. MacT will surely not want a repeat of the “road trip with two centers” debacle of last season.

    Ference may be too old to get better, yet he’s better at what he does than anyone on the roster since before the start of the rebuild.

    I’m also expecting him to take on a Jason Smith-like role, including taking the “C” and grooming Hall or Eberle to take it over next season.

  14. supernova says:

    Ivan:
    Ah, Oiler fans and Horc……there’s nothing like being dealt away to become retroactively irreplaceable. (Although I was and will remain a fan of his.)

    Ivan,

    I stated here and other sites numerous times prior to him being traded we would miss him when gone.

    Strength down the middle has been absent for years

  15. supernova says:

    Hammers: Yea and 1 Magnus . You have to give to get what you want .

    Hammers,

    remind me of what exactly we got for Horcoff, aside from cap space

    no issue on Maggie, sure looks like Perron loves hockey and the trade to the Oil

  16. Hammers says:

    supernova: Hammers,

    remind me of what exactly we got for Horcoff, aside from cap space

    no issue on Maggie, sure looks like Perron loves hockey and the trade to the Oil

    You got exactly what you said . Cap space . I have a ton of respect for Horc but face it , his time was done .McT got what he wanted $$$$ to add depth on “D” .Also don’t think McT is done and I won’t be surprised to see Reasoner with an invite to TC .

  17. Andropod says:

    Can anyone tell me which defensemen have we had since Pronger left, that are arguably better than Ference? I’m not sayin’ he’s the best we’ve had since Pronger, I’m interested to know who those D’s are.

  18. melancholyculkin says:

    Andropod,

    I’d go with Visnovsky, Pitkanen, Gilbert, Petry, Smid (present day version), maybe Souray. I’m sure there’s a few more. I don’t think all that highly of Ference though.

  19. melancholyculkin says:

    Off topic, but related to betting.

    The first odds for the season are out: http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2013/8/29/4672438/nhl-odds-bruins-penguins-blackhawks-kings

    Looks like the public have been fooled by the Leafs. Having the Sens at +130 to finish ahead of the Leafs is hilarious. I’m going to take that bet. I’m also tempted to bet on the Sens to win the Atlantic. I don’t think they’re better than Boston, but it’s not a ridiculous thought.

  20. melancholyculkin says:

    Also Oilers at 20/1 to win cup, but Sens at 28/1, Habs at 28/1, Islanders at 33/1. I think the Oilers have improved, but I wouldn’t bet on them ahead of any of those three teams.

    Devils at 18/1 to win division and 50/1 to win cup!!! It seems that the general public has not heard of Corsi/Fenwick.

  21. fifthcartel says:

    http://oilersnation.com/2013/5/21/update-on-nugent-hopkins/

    I’m still hoping this OilersNation article is right and RNH misses few to none games. I know it’s his agent but one can hope.

  22. rickithebear says:

    Ferences Wowy and comp/team says it all.
    last three years
    he has faced 2nd to lower second comp with 3rd to 4th teamates.
    except for the cup run year he was dominte with Chara V. 1st with 1st.

    with chara he is a even player 3 of the last 4 years
    they were 2.63Gf/60 and 2.63 GA/60
    the cup run year they were 3.83Gf/60 and 1.53GA/60

    When ference plays with offensive Dmen
    he is 84Gf 56 GA in 1797.5 miniutes
    2.80Gf/60
    1.87Ga/60 Dman.

    when he plays with defensive Dmen
    Ference is 23Gf 36GA in 742.5 minutes
    1.86Gf/60
    2.91GA/60

    it is quite clear he should be able to kick the shit out of 2nd comp with 2nd/3rd teamates
    with a compitent offensive Dman.

    He has averaged 2.29Min 3.68PKGA/60 last two years making him are best PK dman.

    He and Boychuck were the only two dmen below 4.20PKGA/60 the last 2 seasons.
    I am more excited about ference than i origionally was.

    he is what they wanted Schultz to be.

  23. PerryK says:

    I said this a while back on C&B.

    “RNH v. Hall (Shoulders)
    Last year, the rhetoric was the same regarding Hall’s shoulder. That he would probably be ready for the Training Camp.

    As a fan that saw every OKC game during the lockout, I can report that it took Hall greater part of a month to get back to looking like himself. Remember also that Hall went under the knife earlier than RNH. Apparently, the process is the same.

    Listening to the last interview that Hall had (on Stauffer’s show?), he suggested that RNH will come along rapidly just like he did once he gets some confidence in the new shoulder. Sounds to me like Christmas before RNH is effective.

    Also, the Centre position demands more from an individual. I am concerned about our upcoming season! The better question is why aren’t the Oilers Brass?

    Grabovski is being paid approximately 1.8 M/year for NOT playing. I think 3M might sign him for a 1 year contract. Come on MacT, I know you are neither stupid or crazy. Sign the man.”

    Of course, Grabovski got signed already:(

  24. M Parkatti says:

    If you’re looking for an old timey read over lunch time, I’ve got my 1997 Game 7 Retrospective up at BOTB: http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/08/30/game-stats-oilersstars-round-1-game-7-april-29-1997/

  25. delooper says:

    PerryK:

    Also, the Centre position demands more from an individual. I am concerned about our upcoming season! The better question is why aren’t the Oilers Brass?

    I think generally it’s not considered good form for a GM to start the season off saying things like:

    “Don’t get your hopes up fans. I’m worried we’re going to lose a lot of games. “

  26. Lois Lowe says:

    What the Oilers need is not Horcoff but Marty Sakic for 4C insurance. The GM likes him, is familiar with him, he’s good in the room, and won’t be crestfallen if he has to sit for a few games. As much as I want to hope that Acton/Arco/Miller are the answer, they are pretty much all rookies and the fewer rookies that the Oilers break in this year, the better.

  27. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Ok seriously guys,

    Horcoff had a 5.5 million dollar cap hit. So while it’s nice to pine that having him and Gordon on the same team “solves our depth issues” it also means we are spending 8.5 million dollars on bottom six centers… that’s not the answer.

    The other reality is that Boyd Gordon doesn’t sign here to play 10 minutes (max) per night as a 4C. He was the MOST coveted defensive forward available in free agency, and had lots of options. Playing behind Horcoff wasn’t going to happen.

  28. hags9k says:

    I love all the mint late 70s, early 80s half tons in that movie.

  29. Diesel says:

    Hello All,

    Consider me one of the many new faces that you’ve seen flock to LT’s house of worship.

    Long time reader. blah blah you don’t care.

    Anyways…

    Here’s how Teemu decided to announce his return officially:

    http://youtu.be/sRkcl_RHwoc

  30. Hammers says:

    Ca$h-Money!:
    Ok seriously guys,

    Horcoff had a 5.5 million dollar cap hit.So while it’s nice to pine that having him and Gordon on the same team “solves our depth issues” it also means we are spending 8.5 million dollars on bottom six centers…that’s not the answer.

    The other reality is that Boyd Gordon doesn’t sign here to play 10 minutes (max) per night as a 4C.He was the MOST coveted defensive forward available in free agency, and had lots of options.Playing behind Horcoff wasn’t going to happen.

    Exactly .Totally agree .

  31. justDOit says:

    fifthcartel:
    http://oilersnation.com/2013/5/21/update-on-nugent-hopkins/

    I’m still hoping this OilersNation article is right and RNH misses few to none games. I know it’s his agent but one can hope.

    That update is from May.

  32. jp says:

    supernova: Hammers,

    remind me of what exactly we got for Horcoff, aside from cap space

    no issue on Maggie, sure looks like Perron loves hockey and the trade to the Oil

    5.5M buys you a replacement (Gordon), as well as – take your pick:
    Most of Ference, or
    Belov and Jonessu, or
    Grebeshkov and Omark

    He’ll be missed, but his cap hit has been put to good use.

    Diesel:

    Here’s how Teemu decided to announce his return officially:

    http://youtu.be/sRkcl_RHwoc

    Welcome. And that is awesome.

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