After the Saturday night fireworks, a lot of us expected closed-door screaming and maybe some interesting quotes. It was a slow morning, but gave way to a quotable Sunday afternoon:
- Dallas Eakins: “I’m pinning this loss on the bone-headed mistakes we make when we have everything going in our favour.”
I agree completely with this statement, that’s kind of what we’re seeing all year. Saturday night 5 minutes in I said “what the hell is THIS?” with the biggest smile, and two hours later I was walking the dog (this isn’t code, I actually walked the dog). Smart, smart, smart followed by stupid, stupid, stupid. To quote It’s a Wonderful Life, youth is wasted on all the wrong people.
- Dallas Eakins on Gagner: “When you struggle as a player of his calibre, what you gravitate to immediately is ‘I gotta get some points’, yeah but let’s keep it out of our net first. He’s progressing, I know he’s committed.”
It really doesn’t matter at this point, the young man’s career is at a crossroads. This is a guy who as late as training camp looked like a part of the future, and right now you’d have to figure at least part of the management group is trying to figure a way to get him out of town. Injuries have enormous impact on players, the Kassian mugging being the most recent example.
- Dallas Eakins on Hall: “Taylor is a smart kid, he understands the game.”
I’ve always thought he had a “sense” of the game, an “intuit” as opposed to being a student. Huh. You never know.
- Dallas Eakins on Hall: “His defensive game has gone from something that I thought was very, very shaky, with no habit, to one where he’s starting to lead the way on how we want to play in our zone. He’s still got work to do, but if you wanted to go most-improved, it’s Taylor.”
I’m going to be honest, haven’t seen it. I’ve seen better effort and he’s broken up some plays by hauling ass and that’s new, maybe that’s what Eakins is talking about.
- Dallas Eakins on Hall: “The goal for Taylor is that within a period of time, he will be the best defensive left-winger in the game—and he’s still going to get 100 points a game. He wants it.”
Taylor Hall’s greatest contribution to the defense during his career will be the number of offensive sorties he creates in pursuit of goals. He’s a wonderful player today, love that he’s working hard at being better.
- Dallas Eakins on the team: “If we weren’t making any progress, I’d tell you. But we’re showing flashes that we are, and that’s what makes this so frustrating.”
Yes. Agreed. They really have to show the fanbase something tonight, though. The progress we’ve seen doesn’t do you much good if the coach gets fired.
At practice yesterday, the lines looked different again:
- Nuge-Hall-Perron: That’s some nice talent there. Lordy.
- Gagner-Joensuu-Eberle: Eberle must have given coach Eakins a very ugly tie for Christmas.
- Gordon-Smyth-Hemsky: This is a MacT line. I bet he smiles when they jump over the boards.
- Lander-Gazdic-Yakupov: Two role players and the Russian they’ll trade by summer.
Even more interesting is Vollman’s take on this graph (analysis here) and his comments on Perron and Larsen. The is QUAL COMP, ZONE START and the bubble is the Oilers attempted shot differential when the given player is on the ice (blue good, pink bad, red dead).
Young Willis has a strong read about the team here, and I generally agree with him. I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that they’re going to re-sign Hemsky and trade Yakupov for a defenseman. The more logical move—dealing Eberle or finding value for Gagner —don’t strike me as MacT moves. He’s tried to deliver on promise (not to trade the kids) and will sacrifice the one who is farthest from the cluster’s center, and that’s the Russian. I hope I’m wrong about this, but don’t believe they’ll deal Eberle.
It even works for the Sledgehammer.
TRADING A FORWARD FOR A DEFENSEMAN
We’ve talked about this many times, but the club is so far out of balance now that it’s reached a breaking point. All those kids on blue in the minors are miles away, Nurse even farther, and Ekblad barely shaves. Bite the bullet, made the cut and begin the healing. Trade freeze ends Dec. 27 midnight.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Tyler Dellow from mc79 hockey. We’ll talk about Saturday, the elements of this team that point in a good direction, and the long winter of 2013.
- Travis Yost from Hockeybuzz. Buffalo Bills to Ottawa Senators, Travis brings it with passion, a slide rule, logic and a lot of rage.
- Jeff Chapman from Copper and Blue. HNIC trashes the Oil, and more!
- Guy Flaming from the Pipeline Show previews the World Juniors!
10-1260 via text or @Lowetide_ on twitter. Merry Ho-Ho!