If there was any doubt about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his importance to this Oilers team, playing half the game put those questions to sleep. It was an impressive display, and he also showed he was pretty damn good at instant analysis:
- RNH: “”That kind of reminded me of the LA game last year… we’ve showed we have it. We have to continue this now.”
CF-CA 5X5, OCTOBER 7
This is a fascinating way to look at last night’s game. Notice Yakupov (16-11) and Eberle (14-10) and Justin Schultz (13-10)? The game goes so quickly, but I’ve spent much of this season thinking Yakupov hasn’t been getting any kind of push–and he’s definitely getting 3rd line minutes and linemates–but there it is in black and white, he’s on the ice for some good things.
The Oilers are 49.6% this morning overall (after 3 games) and that’s a tremendous number considering the elements that aren’t in place (Nuge before last night, Gagner, new system). They are 112-114 in Corsi for and against, basically even steven. And that’s an upgrade, especially if they can sustain it.
CF-CA AFTER 3 GAMES
These graphs are by extra skater, you have to go there. That’s not an order, it’s just a fact. Wonderful instant site. Among regulars, Mark Arcobello is posting a handsome 61.3% with Nail just behind him. Eberle has a nice number too. With the Nuge back, and the 1line looking good, I’m beginning to see some depth at center (!!!!!) due to the emergence of Arcobello. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s earned an extended stay as a regular with this team, and it’s due in no small part to Craig MacTavish.
- MacT: “I liked him last year, I was an advocate of giving him an opportunity, especially in our bottom six last year, but he only came up for the one game. It all boils down to your ability to make plays with the puck. When he played with Hall and Eberle in Oklahoma City this year earlier, his production was excellent. It was actually on par with Nuge. I’m not saying that he’s Nuge, but it was on par with Ryan. So I think that we’ll get him to training camp. When we signed him again to a contract I had a conversation with him and told him that he would get a look at training camp. He hasn’t played in an exhibition game or didn’t last year, so we’ll get a look and the rest will be up to him to prove to the coaching staff that he’s got enough game to warrant a bigger look as training camp goes by. I promised him that opportunity and we’re going to give it to him.”
Friedman from 30 Thoughts: Craig MacTavish showed great patience in the summer by not forcing an Ales Hemsky trade even though he wanted to. He will need that patience again. You could see the frustration on his face Saturday night in Vancouver — “not again!” — but when things are going bad, you get thrown anvils instead of lifejackets.
As this season rolls along, I think we’re going to have to give major credit to Ales Hemsky for his role on the team. It won’t be easy for some, but it has to be done. It’s also true that Craig MacTavish made a terrific move by not dealing 83–the skill level of this team is astounding, with Hemsky leading the way.
- Hemsky 3, 1-3-4
- Gordon 3, 2-1-3
- Perron 3, 1-2-3
- Hall 3, 1-1-2
- Eberle 3, 0-2-2
- J Schultz 3, 0-2-2
- Arcobello 3, 0-2-2
- Nugent-Hopkins 1, 1-0-1
- Joensuu 2, 1-0-1
- Smyth 2, 0-1-1
- Ference 3, 1-0-1
- Gazdic 3, 1-0-1
- Petry 3, 1-0-1
- Smid 3, 0-1-1
- Acton 3, 0-1-1
A note about David Perron. It’s early, but he really does look like an insanely good fit for this team. That goal he scored last night was music, an absolute stunner. He’s got a nice range of skills and can run with the thoroughbreds. Put that guy with Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Hemsky, Yakupov, Gagner and Boyd Gordon (!!!!!) and we’re talking post-season. Hurry up, Sam!
There’s lots of work to do, the breakouts are addled and they’re doing that running around in their own zone thing I’ve been watching since Rick Ley arrived in Toronto, but let’s spend the day happy and with the hope for a better life over the next hill. We’re all riders in the rain this morning, on the way to a better day.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
This morning at 10, we hit the air on TSN 1260 with a dynamite show. Scheduled to appear:
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. He’ll offer his insight into last night’s thriller and the season so far.
- We’re going to play back major portions of the Eakins post game because he pointed out some big items.
- Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey. Bruce will help break down the game and the good and bad.
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Health. BASEBALL! Post-season awards and playoff games, baby!
10-1260 via text and @Lowetide_ on the twitter device. Please tune in!