I think the Oilers ‘tough love’ approach to their Russian (healthy scratch, thrown over by Russian scout, media call out) is going to be followed by “see!” Saturday if things go according to Hoyle.
The Oilers have one established line working (Gordon-Smyth-Hemsky) and then they have Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and David Perron to populate the other two lines of note along with Yakupov and the rookie Arcobello.
So, they have two players out of position because Jordan Eberle is the team slump buster. I’m not sure this is wise, but suspect they’re willing to go to drastic measures to get the Russian going. I also suspect that if it isn’t working Dallas Eakins will treat it like yesterday’s papers.
Oilers have recalled Denis Grebeshkov from his rehab, he was 3, 0-0-0 -1 in his first AHL action since 2005-06. I always liked the Russian, it’ll be very interesting to see who draws out in favor of him.
- Belov-J Schultz
- Ference-N Schultz
I would guess it’ll be Schultz the elder, but Eakins isn’t as predictable as other recent Oiler coaches. Like MacT, he does some surprising things; another candidate for a HS might be Justin Schultz but I don’t see that even with all the chaos. Laddy seemed to be struggling a week ago, but it might have been injury and he seems better lately.
5X5 CORSI FOR %, DEFENSEMEN 2013-14
- Jeff Petry 51.4%
- Anton Belov 50.5%
- Justin Schultz 48.5%
- Andrew Ference 48%
- Ladislav Smid 45.6%
- Nick Schultz 45.0%
The toughest zone starts belong to Nick Schultz, so that’s a factor worth considering. Smid-Petry are facing the toughest competition (this is all from extra skater) and of course it’s important to mention these are early days. What can we draw from all of this? Petry is the best defenseman on the team. That’s another positive arrow in the Kevin Prendergast quiver for those counting, and I do believe Belov is going to be a player (he needs to improve defensive zone coverage but you can say that about every defenseman now that Pronger is done).
Jonathan Willis is in Oklahoma City this year, he’s going to be tracking the Barons players and writing about it over at COH. He had a nice item up last night and promises more throughout the weekend.
- Willis: Pitlick’s been getting a push in the last few games, and tonight he played on the top unit power play, the top unit penalty kill and the top line at even-strength. After the game, Todd Nelson explained that Pitlick was getting time killing penalties – something he hadn’t done before this year – partially for development reasons. “For [Pitlick] to make the National Hockey League, he’s probably not going to be in the top-six,” Nelson said. “To earn extra minutes he has to learn how to kill penalties. He’s learning, it’s going to be a work in progress, but he’s very effective with his speed and this is an investment in his future.”
The big story last night was Linus Omark, four points and he was dominant.
The CHL is rolling now, and there are some very nice boxcars rolling by for Oiler kids.
- Greg Chase 10, 10-7-17
- Mitchell Moroz 11, 10-5-15
- Kyle Platzer 10, 4-3-7
- Jujhar Khaira 8, 3-2-5
- Jackson Houck 11, 2-1-3
- Ben Betker 10, 0-1-1
- Marco Roy (injured)
The star here is Chase, 18-years old and really stepping out. Moroz is having a fine year too, and at 19 it looks like the offense that had been rumored may be there (at least to some extent) after all. Khaira’s Everett team plays a button down style, he might not deliver as much offense as we might hope for, but plays an effective two-way style for them and that’s exactly what he’ll eventually do for the Oilers (if he makes it).
I think the Oilers have more bad road to go, more painful penalty killing moments, more tinkering and are in need in more coaching of the “scram” defense. Ottawa was a better club from the beginning, I don’t think the slump ends today in the nation’s capital.
I’m sitting in my basement (blogging in the basement!) thinking about the snow and the ice and the end of what has been a beautiful fall. It’s my favorite, so many colors unique to the season, and so many memories of the kids growing up in this house. When they were young, we’d go for long walks together in the fall and winter, I swear it took longer to dress them than to go for the damn walk. My son used to lose his mittens every year–ever year! how do you even do that?–and my daughter used to want to change into something else after she got dressed (this has continued, by the way).
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my kids, and how many seasons we have left in this house as a family. Every day it seems there’s more change, less time together, more reasons to hold on and to let go. The time has gone so quickly, and Jo and I are readying ourselves and planning out our future without them. I keep saying it’s going to be hard on her, but the truth is it’s the old man who is up early Saturday morning. I swear to God it was just yesterday we drove them home from the hospital.
We’re probably going to get another dog. Completely unrelated, of course.