The Edmonton Oilers are a team in the National Hockey League. Let’s take a break. Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo, la la la la uh huh uh huh.
Sam Gagner had another “also in photo” moment in last night’s game, and it’s probably true that he’s closer to one year’s experience 6 times than the other way. I am reminded of a conversation with John Short years ago (in the darker reaches of the CFRN building) when I asked about Tom Poti. I had asked John why Poti was struggling so badly in his own end despite being in his third or fourth NHL season. John said something like ‘every level he’s played, Poti could get the puck whenever he wanted it. He’s never really had to defend and is learning it in the NHL” which made a lot of sense when he said it.
Tyler Dellow has an excellent piece on the Gagner play last night here.
My other main culprit from last night was Jeff Petry. Bruce McCurdy does a nice job of summing up the evening for the Oilers best defenseman in his player grades over at CofH:
- #2 Jeff Petry, 2. The stats page shows Petry was on the ice for 26 shot attempts by the Oilers, just 9 by the Coyotes. Sounds pretty good! Unfortunately 2 of those 9 shot attempts against were goals, both the direct result of defensive blunders by Petry. On one he failed to cover the passing lane, allowing a ridiculously easy pass through the slot for a free shot from the low slot by sniper Radim Vrbata, with predictable results. On the other, ‘Yotes defender Keith Yandle put a deke on Petry that made him look like his skates were tied together. Took a penalty after losing a battle on the boards. Had some OK moments, but on the whole it was a disastrous game.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Tomorrow is promised to no one, and the Edmonton Oilers are going to have to take a good hard look at the roster. They really do set up nicely on the wings into the future and I think they see Nuge-Gagner-Gordon as the center trio. Do they need to re-think that? Will they move 89 to the wing when Hemsky is dealt? Or do they trade Gagner and sign Hemsky?
The Petry issue is easier to explain. He’s playing too far up the depth chart, but the young man is an NHL defenseman and in my opinion the best on the team. He’s in the ‘Horcoff’ role where he’s being asked to stretch his play beyond limits and then suffer the slings and arrows of the fans when he is coming up shy.
I don’t worry about Petry. I am concerned about where they go with Gagner. He’s coming to a crossroads in his career, and today, it looks for all the world like he’s a man with one year’s experience six times.
And he’s way too smart for that.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Michael Parkatti, Boys on the Bus. He’ll explain why a team doing so many good things can lose 6-2.
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. I’ll ask Alan to guide us through last night’s loss and the good things we’ve seen recently.
- Scott Taylor, the huddle.co. Jets, Blue Bombers may have a new coach, and more.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings pbp. The club had a monster road trip on the weekend and ran the table. We’ll also talk about the teddy bear toss game.
10-1260 on text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. This is going to be interesting!