The return of baby Nuge–for some reason he seems to be the one we’ll worry over–is a moment to celebrate any time. With the Oilers on the outskirts of Nowhere Land, getting all hands on deck is vital and RNH’s return is (rightly) being touted as a major help in the process.
- RNH-Hall-Eberle (my guess is they’ll want a line they can run ragged and that can push the river)
- Gordon-Perron-Hemsky (this line looks like….victory)
- Arcobello-Jonesuu/Hamilton/Smyth-Yakupov (this is the ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ line)
- Acton-Gazdic-Brown (coach seems pleased)
- N Schultz-Belov
I really like the top 2 lines, and Arcobello-Joensuu are the best available for the next spot in the batting order. Yakupov needs to have better linemates and he will when Gagner gets back but for now he’s going to be a little shy of support. On the blueline, Ference and Smid had maintenance days and I don’t think it was because they’d booked a spa day. You’ll want to be listening for any lineup changes due to injury, and those two are the primary worries. Might be that flu that’s been going around.
The Davidson recall is a curio of some proportions. The club’s next reasonable recall order might be something like Fedun, Marincin, Davidson and Klefbom likely to jump to the front of the line when he’s ready. So, for them to bring Davidson up, there must have been specific need (LH stay at home) beyond Denis Grebeshkov is should be available by now. So a callup for Davidson may not mean game action, but rather insurance ala Ryan Hamilton.
I do think Dubnyk might be in a little trouble as an Oiler. The club was looking for an upgrade during the summer and now we’re looking at LaBarbera getting a start against New Jersey. If JL wins, then he starts game four in my opinion. If the LaBarbera train begins to roll, and DD doesn’t get back in then I think we’re looking at a change. If he does get back in and struggles again, it’ll be a case of “it’s nobody’s fault, but….” and we all know how that ends. I state once again he’s a good NHL goaltender, slightly above or average, but at this point that doesn’t mean one damn thing. Bad timing for the Dubey, no doubts about it.
Dallas Eakins media conferences are must see television. Yesterday’s Hemsky tribute, handling of Dubnyk and Smyth hot potato’s and his explaining the process with Taylor Hall are all magical. Remind me that if this team makes the playoffs to go back to these early season scrums for the foundation–Eakins is laying it out right now. Beautiful.
This is why we’re going to love Eakins. At the media availability yesterday, he talked about changes and framed it as moving Nuge into a comfortable slot and then low played the Hall line’s troubles. Now, let’s run that through the chances for-against actual factual of games one and two:
- Arcobello 33-18 (64.7%)
- Gazdic 8-5 (61.5%)
- Yakupov 26-18 (59.1%)
- Eberle 35-26 (57.4%)
- Perron 33-27 (55%)
- Gordon 22-22 (50%)
- Mike Brown 5-6 (45.5%)
- Joensuu 16-20 (44.4%)
- Hall 21-28 (42.9%)
- Acton 4-7 (36.4%)
- Hemsky 13-25 (34.2%)
- Smyth 13-26 (33.3%)
There’s been no finger pointing, there has been resistance (you can tell because he said so in the media conference) but he’s treating everyone like an adult and giving the media nothing. And he’s getting good mileage from the 2-3-4 lines, with a small tweak (above) this club could turn things around quickly. I expect we’ll see a strong effort tonight.
Tyler Pitlick played center Saturday, scored a SH goal and is the only plus player on the team. So there’s that. Fedun apparently is playing well again and Ryan Martindale has 2 points in 2 games.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Busy day on the show, 10-noon on TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow from mc79 hockey. Hall C, Dubnyk, Eakins in front of a mic, what to expect tonight, Glenn Healy.
- Eric Rodgers from Tend the Farm. Barons played their first two regular season games this weekend, we’ll break it down.
- Travis Yost from Hockeybuzz. Senators started well and are looking for a strong season.
- Lisa McRitchie from Kukla’s Korner. Lisa and I will talk about some fast starting junior players.
Text 10-1260 and @Lowetide_ on twitter. This is going to be an interesting morning, we’ll have any lineup updates too (they usually roll in between 10 and 11).