I keep wondering about the Nuge. We have been getting vague updates here and there but nothing that really tells us when he’ll be ready. If we look at the first five games of the schedule, there’s an interesting target point:
- Tomorrow, home to Winnipeg
- Saturday, on the road at Vancouver
- Monday the 7th, home to the Devils
- Thursday the 10th, home to the Canadiens
- Saturday the 12th, on the road at Toronto
After that, they play on the 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th, and then on the 22nd, 24th, 26th, 27th and 29th. I think it’s reasonable to suggest that RNH heads out on the road trip to Toronto and plays sometime the following week. There’s a window that starts on the 20th–if they activated him that day, RNH would miss only 9 games.
The roster is kind of a mess. Edmonton has two players on waivers (Ryan Hamilton, Phil Larsen) and a few guys who are going on the IR (Nuge, Gagner, MacIntyre, possibly Grebeshkov and Potter, along with Curtis Hamilton). If we make a healthy list with guys who aren’t currently on waivers, we get a funny number:
CURRENT HEALTHY/NON-WAIVER ROSTER (22)
- CENTER (4): Taylor Hall, Mark Arcobello, Boyd Gordon, Will Acton
- LEFT WING (5): Ryan Smyth, David Perron, Jesse Joensuu, Luke Gazdic, Ben Eager
- RIGHT WING (4): Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Mike Brown
- LEFT DEFENSE (4): Ladislav Smid, Andrew Ference, Nick Schultz, Denis Grebeshkov
- RIGHT DEFESE (3): Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Anton Belov
- GOAL (2): Devan Dubnyk, Jason LaBarbera
The club needs help at center, but they have two good young players on the way. At LW, they’ll eventually have 4 guys who can play NHL hockey and Eager’s has had his moments. Right side is solid even with Mike Brown–and the defense is good, certainly better than it’s been in a long time. Goaltending I like because Dubnyk’s a solid starter. Overall, I’d love a more veteran C option for the bridge to Nuge, and for the life of me I’m not understanding the number of enforcers (although late reports have Gazdic being able to play hockey).
I’m still picking them to make the playoffs. There’s just too much firepower here, and for once there’s a blessed defense.
Andrew Ference is the new captain of the Edmonton Oilers, it appears to be a popular choice. I never know what to say about this stuff, who the hell knows? Not me. Ference sounds like a great captain, I’ll be cheering like hell for him.
POSSIBLE OPENING NIGHT LINEUP
Based on lines from yesterday and the waiver pickup, this might be opening night lines and pairings:
- Ference-J Schultz
- N Schultz-Belov
- Dubnyk (LaBarbera)
I think this can still be a possession team, but the 4th line is going to leak. When we’re talking about shot differential, it’ll be key to set aside 4line results–and one would think that line is out there for less than 5 minutes a night. The three key elements in my mind for this season are:
- Improved strategies for puck possession/retrieval in all areas of the ice
- A more mobile, aggressive attack oriented defense
- The continued blossoming of the impact players
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
TSN 1260 debuted this morning, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. For a guy who used to play “Purple Rain” four times a shift, this is a pretty nice career turn. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow from mc79hockey. There are 100 things to talk about, we’ll try to zip through the waiver wire, 1+ SAF for shifts and their importance, possession player skills and the improved defense. Lordy.
- Dave Randorf from tsn. We’ll talk about the CFL weekend, the Reilly concussion play and its implications and the struggling Roughriders in the second half.
- Travis Yost from Hockeybuzz. We’ll talk Ottawa Senators, the waiver wire, injury worries in the Capital and more.
- Rod Smith from tsn. We’ll talk football weekend on both sides of the border.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Hope you can tune in to TSN 1260!