It appears the Edmonton Oilers will go with Jason LaBarbera in net tonight, and I believe it is the right call. LaBarbera has rarely been an NHL starting goaltender but does have some nice numbers and could certainly be counted on in the short term. We hope Devan Dubnyk can regain his form and return to the #1 job. I’ll update the lineup later, and of course Dubnyk could end up playing (I can’t find absolute confirmation on LaBarbera).
As big as the goaltending problem may appear to be, Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins may have a bigger problem on the horizon. One never knows if this sort of thing comes from a frustrated Dad or is real, but this won’t look good and may not end well:
Eronko works for sports.ru and is certainly a credible source. Previous to this item, Yakupov has been a model citizen and I would suggest that there’s every chance that this will be blown wildly out of proportion. Still, it’s out there and it is absolutely a concern. Joanne Ireland wrote this piece about it from Yakupov’s pov. Shortly after publishing this post, I found this from Ian McLaren at the Score.
Update 8:52. About 2 hours after posting this, a Craig Custance tweet quoting agent Igor Larionov:
So, that has to be viewed in a very positive way. The story out of Russia came from the Dad (based on earlier tweet), we heard yesterday from the frustrated player and now today the agent chimes in.
- “My goal is to play in the NHL. I have not had any conversations (with Neftekhimik). I love it here” – Nail Yakupov
- “I was shocked to hear (the KHL rumors). First thought was, “Is dad trying to do something?”. But no, he’d never go behind my back”- Yakupov
- Yakupov’s dad Rail (yes, Rail) Yakupov to Sport-Express: “We never thought about Nail’s coming back. Don’t believe internet rumors”
So, that’s an important side of the story told (this is all from Slava Malamud (also from Sport Express Russia). We’ve heard from player, agent and parent. We now await the Neftekhimik head coach.
The Washington Capitals had their own problems with #1 overal picks, with Greg Joly (1974, in photo, 365 NHL games) and Rick Green (1976, 845 games) preceeding Alexander Ovechkin (2004) who has certainly covered the bet. Washington is a funny team at the draft, they make enormous errors but have done some nice things too. They are certainly risk takers.
This is clearly sped up (and funny) but it appears to me that the Oiler players are still having trouble with the “swarm” as designed by Dallas Eakins. The play he’s designing here appears to be the Hemsky play where he was behind the net and attempted to get the puck out at the end of regulation against Toronto (didn’t work). I remember seeing Ryan Getzlaf do that years and years ago, wish it had worked Saturday.
Well this pissed me off even more than watching it live! How in hell was this missed? Holy hell, zebra’s, there’s a goalie at the other end with his career in jeopardy and one of the reasons is this non-call? Brutal. BRUTAL!
- Taylor Hall 5, 1-4-5
- Mark Arcobello 5, 0-5-5 (rookie)
- Ryan Smyth 4, 3-1-4
- Boyd Gordon 5, 3-1-4
- David Perron 5, 1-3-4
- Jordan Eberle 5, 1-3-4
- Ales Hemsky 5, 1-3-4
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 3, 2-1-3
- Justin Schultz 5, 0-3-3
- Jesse Joensuu 3, 1-0-1
Don’t look now, there’s a lot of guys enjoying very fast starts offensively. If the goaltending gets straightened out, this team is going to soar. More to come, I’ll have lineups when they are published.
This is from Jon at ON, but seems right. With the knowledge that Yakupov is sitting, we’ll go with:
- Ference-N Schultz
- Belov-J Schultz