Struggling phenoms are no strangers to our town. Paul Coffey spent many nights of his rookie year confused, Messier was sent to the minors, Gretzky was mocked openly for being the only man in the league to obey a silly fighting rule (players not involved had to skate over to their bench or risk penalty. Wayne, who was only following the damn rules, did so, and received much derision for it).
Ryan Smyth scored 2 goals as a rookie, Kevin Lowe damn near got sent out his first October and on it goes.
The Edmonton Oilers may not make the playoffs this year (anyone have 37 wins in their couch pockets?), but a team can get a bunch of things out of one losing year. If they can work Nail Yakupov into the equation, have successful seasons for Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Samwise, Hemmer, Gordon, Perron and find a ’9th’ for that group? Music! If they can find a partner who works with Justin Schultz, music! If they can settle down Dubnyk and he plays well enough to earn another contract (I know, I know) then the group has added some actual NHL players and the kids are a year older/better.
In the calendar year 1993, the Oilers had a lot of good things happen. They traded for Doug Weight in March, drafted Jason Arnott that summer (Miro Satan too) and grabbed Fredrik Olausson a few weeks before Christmas. That was a good year for the building of the team, in spite of poor won-loss.
Craig MacTavish has added some nice things (Gordon, Perron, Belov, possibly others) and this year is an opportunity for the club to add more players who will be a part of the future. Can he add the Schultz partner? Is it Braydon Coburn?
- Eakins: “I have kids bugging my daughter at school. That’s not very much fun. I’m walking my daughter to school yesterday and I have one kid yelling at everybody ‘There’s the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers!’ And my five-year-old daughter gets real excited because, ‘That’s my daddy.’ “And then I have another kid yelling, ‘You suck!’”
Well that’s bad form. I’m sure that Dallas Eakins is a better man about that kind of thing than me, but any slights toward my children (real or imagined) are in a special part of the ‘vault’ and remain there. I know kids can be kids, but they learn from their parents and that’s a poor reflection on our community. Call it an opportunity lost.
- “My bad. I assumed that we knew what traditional D zone coverage was. It was clear that we didn’t.”
Eakins himself displayed (in my opinion) why he might have a hard time rallying people yesterday, by saying “my bad” and then throwing the entire blue under the bus by uttering the quote above. That’s not really owning something you know? I’m sure Eakins said it for a reason, but if I’m Laddy Smid this morning there’s more of a gap between myself and the head coach than there was a day ago.
And if you’re the coach, and that’s not communicated after the first period of the pre-season? I like Dallas Eakins, and could be reading too much into this, but that quote is a tell in my opinion. Something about pride goeth and all that.
No word yet on a callup for defense, the Oilers need someone before Saturday night. The current group (Smid-Petry, Belov-JSchultz, Ference-NSchultz) has taken most of the sorties this season, and with Potter and Grebeshkov sent down there’s a need for a 7th. I’d be tempted to call up Taylor Fedun or (if he’s ready) Oscar Klefbom, but the Oilers may have something else in mind.
The forwards are a mess because injury, if Perron can get back then the group should be good on Saturday night. I wonder if they’ll move Gagner to wing and slot Arcobello back to center?
At least until Sam finds his legs? I don’t know. Eakins will use the blender no doubt.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Friday! It’ll be a fun show. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports. We’ll talk World Series, Leafs western road trip and media.
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Performance. Baseball, helmet safety, money.
- George Malik from Kukla’s Korner. He’ll give us the Detroit side of the Saturday night game.
- Andreas Morse from FC Edmonton. We’ll wrap up the season and talk about the off-season plans.
- Jungle Jim Hunter will talk to us about improvements in helmet safety in skiing and other Olympic events.
10-1260 via text and @Lowetide_ on twitter. Will be interesting!