WHEN POSSESSION BECOMES OBSESSION

When I was a kid, my Dad would talk to me about baseball. He’d whittle, or fix things (the guy was incredible, basically MacGyver without the mullet and bigger ears) and we’d talk about baseball. He played ‘hardball’ in a league around Saskatoon, and for me it might as well have been the big leagues. He was a catcher, and pegging second base during the dirty 30′s was something he was still talking about into the 1970′s. I was with him all the way.

In baseball, the key to pitching is upsetting the timing of the hitter. Big league pitchers can win ballgames throwing slop, because the pitches change speeds, locations, dart, dive, et cetera. Changing things up, that’s the key.

  • Jordan Eberle: “We pot two quick ones and it’s looking good, then we got to our game of turning pucks over. Then we weren’t chipping it behind and we weren’t getting any zone time. That’s why they ran up the shot clock. We were giving them chances to get into our zone again, and we got a little undisciplined and they score three power-play goals.

I think the Oilers are going to have to start using some slop—in this case the Ryan Smyth dump and chance sloppery along with the sexy heat (Hall or Hemsky or Nuge or Eberle gaining possession of the zone with magic) so the other guy doesn’t know what’s coming all the time. In the words of the great Billy Ashley, “I think the pitchers are reading me.”

  • Dallas Eakins: “Our last power play was our best effort, but boy, it was a challenge early. And it wasn’t our setup … we couldn’t even get set up. We couldn’t get puck retrieval which is something we’re going to have to work very hard on the next few weeks.”

They’ll probably use Joensuu on the PP as a corner guy, maybe Gazdic, Smyth too although that’ll run him completely into the ground. Is Ben Eager still available? The perfect player for that kind of role is Smyth at 27, or the Wayne Cashman of my youth.

That isn’t the good hockey, the great hockey, but I think the Oilers need to add a Bryn Smyth to their rotation of fireballers. BP fastball, upset their timing. Then bring the heat, and oh baby!

 

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83 Responses to "WHEN POSSESSION BECOMES OBSESSION"

  1. John Chambers says:

    Hey Buffalo won last night! Anybody in the mood for a bit of Sam Reinhart?

  2. Woodguy says:

    I think the Eberle quote speaks more to bad decision making rather than the wrong type of players.

    These guys have the ability to chip and chase when the opposition blue is jamming the line, they just don’t always take that route due to thinking they can consistently beat NHL Dmen one on one.

    No one can, that’s why they are NHL Dmen.

    Given that most of the F’s in the top 6 get a rough ride on the boards I can see why they try to avoid using them more, but that’s on the player.

    It’s also on the GM.

    MacT will trade small skill for larger skill, I just hope he adds assets to make it good larger skill and not mediocre larger skill.

  3. sliderule says:

    The power play last year we finished ninth at 21.1 percent.

    This year they are seventeenth at 17.9 percent.

    The only differences in their setup is they used Yakupov and RK had Bucky in the press box .

    Eakins better get his head out of you know were.

  4. jp says:

    sliderule:
    The power play last year we finished ninth at 21.1 percent.

    This year they are seventeenth at 17.9 percent.

    The only differences in their setup is they used Yakupov and RK had Bucky in the press box .

    Eakins better get his head out of you know were.

    This has been mentioned numerous times: Yakupov is getting the same amount of PP time as last year.

    13-14 – 2.48 min (tied for 7th among Fs with Ryan Smyth)
    (12)-13 – 2.38 min (7th)

    There are issues, but that’s not one of them.

  5. sliderule says:

    jp,

    That number is skewed by early in season when he was getting his share and I think the pp ranked higher.
    Last 10 games he hasn’t got that much time.

  6. russ99 says:

    Woodguy,

    I’m with you on that – the Oilers could use some larger skill, not just large to play keep-away on the wall. Plus if we have even a league-average back 6, then maybe the forwards don’t have to work so hard getting and staying back.

    Dumping against the big Western Conference teams is an exercise in futility. There needs to be a rethink there, possession isn’t the be all to end all when you can’t do anything with the puck when you have it.

    And I’m also not advocating these guys going one-on-one vs. quality defenders, it should be about quick, smart puck movement to create space, which was working under Krueger last year.

  7. sliderule says:

    The teams that shoot the puck in a lot like the Canucks do it with a plan.

    For example they may shoot it hard down the wall while the winger on opposite side times it to beat the D to opposite corner from shoot in.

    The oilers just seem to have no such plans in their game .

    Their dump ins are usually in panic with forwards standing still.

  8. DoubleJ says:

    Woodguy,

    Woodguy,
    Do you think it has something to do with practice? The NHL dman you talk about do not play for the Oilers. The Oilers skilled forwards probably have no probem with their pp and zone entry when they practice against their current dman.

    That’s my guess, I also think it time to move a experienced assistant coach in and move who evers in charge of the pp out.

  9. jp says:

    sliderule,

    Fine, and he certainly hasn’t gotten much time lately.

    But you’re comparing full season PP%, which is down 4.2% from last year.

    Yakupov’s PP TOI, on the season, is not down.

    So Yakupov’s lack of PP time is not the reason for the PP% drop.

    Seems simple to me, but you can disagree if you like.

  10. sliderule says:

    John Chambers,

    It’s never to early for oiler fans to talk draft.

    Watch out for Dal Colle he is coming on with a rush .Third in scoring and 6-2 with a frame to fill out.

  11. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    The power play last year we finished ninth at 21.1 percent.

    This year they are seventeenth at 17.9 percent.

    The only differences in their setup is they used Yakupov and RK had Bucky in the press box .

    Eakins better get his head out of you know were.

    Last year the Oilers shot 16.9% on the PP (2nd highest in the NHL)

    This year they are shooting 11.6% on the PP (17th in the NHL)

    This year they have 190 shots in 234.2 PP min and 22 goals.

    If they shot 16.9% this year they have 32 goals. which would tie them for 5th in the NHL.

    I’m open to the idea that a better PP yields a better SH% in some situations, but unless you have Ovechkin on your PP, your PP SH% fluctuates quite a bit.

    Here’s another example.

    Last year LAK had the 3rd best PP SH% with 16.2%

    This year they are 24th with 9.5%.

    LAK didn’t have a coaching change or significant PP player change.

    SH% fluctuates a ton…..unless your PP is set up to feed Ovechkin, then it kills.

    Tyler was speculating that the OIlers should do exactly what WAS does and set up the PP to feed Yak.

    The biggest obstacle is that you’d have to put Hall on PP2, and gord knows that egos and PP time go hand in hand.

  12. Woodguy says:

    DoubleJ:
    Woodguy,

    Woodguy, Do you think it has something to do with practice?The NHL dman you talk about do not play for the Oilers. The Oilers skilled forwards probably have no probem with their pp and zone entry when they practice against their current dman.

    That’s my guess, I also think it time to move a experienced assistant coach in and move who evers in charge of the pp out.

    Eakins mentioned they are going to practice zone entry on the PP a lot in the coming weeks.

    That is a good thing.

    All the players need to know *exactly* where the puck is going and the plan to keep it/retrieve it.

  13. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    LT: I think the Oilers are going to have to start using some slop—in this case the Ryan Smyth dump and chance sloppery along with the sexy heat (Hall or Hemsky or Nuge or Eberle gaining possession of the zone with magic) so the other guy doesn’t know what’s coming all the time.

    Having Smyth dump and chase and skilled players carry it over the blue doesn’t do much to keep the opposition guessing. That’s more or less where things have been all season.

    Skilled players need to keep the defense honest by dumping and chasing every so often. Just like Hemsky needs to keep defense and goalies honest by shooting.

  14. Woodguy says:

    sliderule,

    Their dump ins are usually in panic with forwards standing still.

    I’ve seen that too.

    The Oiler gets denied the space he wants at the blue and soft dumps it, but everyone else is standing still and they don’t even get the puck to contest possession and its back out.

    Frustrating as hell.

  15. sliderule says:

    jp,

    I am not sure but I believe all of Yaks PP goals were in first thirty games.

    Last year RK gave him some first PP time which is huge as you can start with possession in their zone.

    Second PP time is usually on a retrieval and you have to gain the zone.

    It’s not the whole reason why PP sucks but why sit a player who has shown skill on the PP.

  16. Henry says:

    Woodguy: Eakins mentioned they are going to practice zone entry on the PP a lot in the coming weeks.

    That is a good thing.

    All the players need to know *exactly* where the puck is going and the plan to keep it/retrieve it.

    They should analyze how San Jose sets up elaborate neutral zone plays to give one guy, frequently Marleau or Boyle space to carry the puck into the zone and set up the power play. I haven’t seen Detroit much this year, but they used to be masters at this.

  17. bookje says:

    Woodguy:
    sliderule,

    Their dump ins are usually in panic with forwards standing still.

    I’ve seen that too.

    The Oiler gets denied the space he wants at the blue and soft dumps it, but everyone else is standing still and they don’t even get the puck to contest possession and its back out.

    Frustrating as hell.

    Everything about the Edmonton Oilers

    Frustrating as hell!

  18. LMHF#1 says:

    Most every forward on the 2 powerplay units is capable of driving the puck deep with speed. They don’t get the pass from the D early enough in the neutral zone and then it is over.

    And since when did stopping in 99′s office and setting up there become a non starter? Send Hemsky/Yakupov/Hopkins back there with the puck every now and again.

  19. Woodguy says:

    Henry: They should analyze how San Jose sets up elaborate neutral zoneplays to give one guy, frequently Marleau or Boyle space to carry the puck into the zone and set up the power play.I haven’t seen Detroit much this year, but they used to be masters at this.

    Agreed.

    SJS are the masters of the PP.

    Their shot rate is ALWAYS top 5 in the NHL and are hanging around the top in efficiency because of it.

    Eakins should make whichever coach is in charge of the PP watch hours and hours of SJS’s PP and PP zone entry strategy and implement it here.

  20. jp says:

    sliderule:
    jp,

    I am not sure but I believe all of Yaks PP goals were in first thirty games.

    Last year RK gave him some first PP time which is huge as you can start with possession in their zone.

    Second PP time is usually on a retrievaland you have to gain the zone.

    It’s not the whole reason why PP sucks but why sit a player who has shown skill on the PP.

    I completely agree they should play him more. Even run one of the units around his shot. I’d love to see 2 or 3 of his one-timers every game – that would be great.

  21. hags9k says:

    Woodguy:
    Eakins should make whichever coach is in charge of the PP watch hours and hours of SJS’s PP and PP zone entry strategy and implement it here.

    Agree 100%. No need to re-invent the wheel. Do what works for the top teams. Copy paste. That goes for defensive zone play too.

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    You know that bit of music TSN uses for all their WJC coverage since forever? You know how when they let it run long on occasion that hilarious saxophone part comes on?

    That damn saxophone part always makes me snicker to myself and then gets stuck in my head. Always.

  23. Thinker says:

    One of the biggest problems with the oilers ozone entry is that there is no puck support. If they turn it over at the blueline it results in at leas a 3 on 2. If you watch most teams, if the puck is lost at the blueline, a player comes in behind and picks up the puck. I have also noticed that the oil get beaten to the puck cleanly most of the time, and even if they do win the race, the opposition player is close enough to tie them up against the boards. I hate to call this into question, but I believe that the oilers biggest problem is heart, closely followed by coaching. Now I don’t know if they aren’t following Eakins system or what, but they make the stupidest decisions all over the ice. I don’t care if they are 20, they have played for fifteen years, and should be able to play some semblance of a system. I blame the coach either way, as he is either an idiot, or not a good communicator, or doesn’t have the teams support. I gave him a chance, Eakins isn’t the guy.

  24. Caramel Obvious says:

    jp:
    sliderule,

    Fine, and he certainly hasn’t gotten much time lately.

    But you’re comparing full season PP%, which is down 4.2% from last year.

    Yakupov’s PP TOI, on the season, is not down.

    So Yakupov’s lack of PP time is not the reason for the PP% drop.

    Seems simple to me, but you can disagree if you like.

    Stop it with your facts and your reasons. Until the losing stops there is no place here for facts and reasons. It is known.

  25. jp says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    How about if we just try to cut back. Don’t wanna go cold turkey here.

  26. Andy P says:

    DoubleJ: Woodguy, Woodguy,Do you think it has something to do with practice? The NHL dman you talk about do not play for the Oilers. The Oilers skilled forwards probably have no probem with their pp and zone entry when they practice against their current dman.That’s my guess, I also think it time to move a experienced assistant coach in and move who evers in charge of the pp out.

    I’ve been on that hobby horse for so long I got saddle sores.

  27. jp says:

    Thinker:
    I hate to call this into question, but I believe that the oilers biggest problem is heart, closely followed by coaching.

    And I hate to agree with you, but you’re not alone in wondering about the heart of the cluster. Physical size doesn’t HAVE to be such a huge issue. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight and all that… I’m hoping to be proven wrong, but I’m at least starting to question.

    As for the coaching, you’re likely right, but I’m in the give him more time camp. A chunk of what’s wrong with the team is the bad habits imo. It’ll be the single best thing to happen in the rebuild if Eakins can change that. I still think he’s got a chance.

  28. jake70 says:

    LMHF#1:

    And since when did stopping in 99′s office and setting up there become a non starter? Send Hemsky/Yakupov/Hopkins back there with the puck every now and again.

    It’s not the 80s anymore and RNH is not Gretzky….so don’t go there, I tried already. :-)

  29. dawgtoy says:

    Woodguy: Last year the Oilers shot 16.9% on the PP (2nd highest in the NHL)

    This year they are shooting 11.6% on the PP (17th in the NHL)

    This year they have 190 shots in 234.2 PP min and 22 goals.

    If they shot 16.9% this year they have 32 goals. which would tie them for 5th in the NHL.

    I’m open to the idea that a better PP yields a better SH% in some situations, but unless you have Ovechkin on your PP, your PP SH% fluctuates quite a bit.

    Here’s another example.

    Last year LAK had the 3rd best PP SH% with 16.2%

    This year they are 24th with 9.5%.

    LAK didn’t have a coaching change or significant PP player change.

    SH% fluctuates a ton…..unless your PP is set up to feed Ovechkin, then it kills.

    Tyler was speculating that the OIlers should do exactly what WAS does and set up the PP to feed Yak.

    The biggest obstacle is that you’d have to put Hall on PP2, and gord knows that egos and PP time go hand in hand.

    Hope they can find a way to feed Yak from the press box, looking like he’ll be a healthy scratch. Damn this coach if he finds a way to ruin him.

    Derek Van Diest ‏@SUNdvandiest 7m
    Yak is skating with extras, Jones and Arcobello. As far as I know neither Jones nor Arcobello have been taken off IR … #Oilers
    Expand

  30. Old School G says:

    So…Wayne Simmonds?

  31. Woodguy says:

    dawgtoy: Hope they can find a way to feed Yak from the press box, looking like he’ll be a healthy scratch. Damn this coach if he finds a way to ruin him.

    Derek Van Diest ‏@SUNdvandiest 7m
    Yak is skating with extras, Jones and Arcobello. As far as I know neither Jones nor Arcobello have been taken off IR … #Oilers
    Expand

    That’s just the stupidest fucking thing ever.

    If these guys flush Yak, I’m done.

  32. justDOit says:

    dawgtoy:

    …Derek Van Diest ‏@SUNdvandiest 7m
    Yak is skating with extras, Jones and Arcobello. As far as I know neither Jones nor Arcobello have been taken off IR … #Oilers
    Expand

    Yup – cheering for this team has never been more difficult. At least over the ‘season of gifts’, I can watch the WJs…

    Wait – does Sixrings pick that team too?

  33. Gordoil says:

    All the stats and reasons for this and that stem from the fact none of our skilled forwards spent any significant time in the AHL, where NHL players learn to play NHL hockey. I didn’t buy into this type of thinking until recently watching Arcobello. He will never remove Hall, Ebbs, Nuge, Yak (could replace Gagner anytime) from the line up but seems to do alot of those little things more consistantly. I like Eakins but I don’t think an AHL coach in the NHL is a quick fix for our problem. We now have two great AHL coaches in the system but no time to wait for results. Can’t afford to fire another coach, time to change a couple players out.

  34. jp says:

    dawgtoy: Hope they can find a way to feed Yak from the press box, looking like he’ll be a healthy scratch. Damn this coach if he finds a way to ruin him.

    Derek Van Diest ‏@SUNdvandiest 7m
    Yak is skating with extras, Jones and Arcobello. As far as I know neither Jones nor Arcobello have been taken off IR … #ButOilers
    Expand

    2 off IR and insert Jones/Arcobello/Yakupov as the 4th line? I’d be cool with that. I know we’ll almost certainly see Gazdic/Lander/Horak on Tuesday, but I’m going to deny it for a while longer.

    Or maybe the extent of Yakupov’s “punishment” is 5th line in practice to get him fired up. Then insert him with Gagner/Eberle in Joensuu’s place tomorrow? I’m on board with the Gazdic/Lander/Horak 4th if Yakupov is on # 2. Yeah, that’s even better.

    Come on Dallas, do us a kindness (Yakupov included) – we want to respect you.

    Also, I fixed the tweet.

  35. barry.moore23 says:

    Woodguy,

    WG or anyone,,

    Maybe you can help me out here. Why don’t we ever hear anything about Mr. Patrick LaForge ?? Isn’t he the CEO of the Oilers ?? Surely to God he watches the games. Peace, guys.

    B

  36. GordM says:

    barry.moore23:
    Woodguy,

    WG or anyone,,

    Maybe you can help me out here. Why don’t we ever hear anything about Mr. Patrick LaForge ?? Isn’t he the CEO of the Oilers ?? Surely to God he watches the games. Peace, guys.

    B

    My understanding is that Laforge is exclusively the business side of things while Lowe is the hockey ops leader (oxymoron).

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=64287

    So we’ll hear from Laforge on arena stuff, season tickets, sponsorships, etc…

  37. Woodguy says:

    dawgtoy: Hope they can find a way to feed Yak from the press box, looking like he’ll be a healthy scratch. Damn this coach if he finds a way to ruin him.

    Derek Van Diest ‏@SUNdvandiest 7m
    Yak is skating with extras, Jones and Arcobello. As far as I know neither Jones nor Arcobello have been taken off IR … #Oilers
    Expand

    As per PDO’s text rant to me:

    “Let’s put a 20 year old with different line mates every night, then bench him when he can’t produce with Gazdic”

  38. Woodguy says:

    GordM: My understanding is that Laforge is exclusively the business side of things while Lowe is the hockey ops leader (oxymoron).

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=64287

    So we’ll hear from Laforge on arena stuff, season tickets, sponsorships, etc…

    This is correct.

    Lowe is President of Hockey Operations because there’s one other guy in hockey today that is still working in the game that has won more Stanley Cups than him. So he thinks he know a little bit about winning, if there’s ever a concern.

    Laforge (*spits*) is President & COO of Business Operations and he wanted to “move the team to a better market” if he didn’t get his almost free rink.

    8 years out of the playoffs with top 5 highest ticket prices in the NHL and sold out building.

    One knows about winning and the other says “there’s a better market”

    Assholes.

    If you wrote these guys as villains in a book no one would believe you because they are too broadly written and not self aware enough to be real.

  39. justDOit says:

    Woodguy,

    Too bad Lowe doesn’t know a LOT about winning. That could be beneficial here.

  40. Derek says:

    I’ve watched this team do some extremely dumb shit since the Pronger trade. I suffered through the Toby Peterson powerplay, JF Jacques top line winger, and Rob Schremp hockey. I watched this team even when they employed Cam Barker and the ghost of Ryan Whitney in the top 4.

    When they finally trade the “enigmatic” Russian former first overall pick for an overrated, big body, top 4 defenceman, who’s not near as good as his hype (Bogosian, Coburn, Jack Johnson) that’ll be the straw that breaks the camels back for me.

  41. jp says:

    “6 Rings Hockey”

    Sounds like it should be played under the big top. That’s about right.

  42. justDOit says:

    jp:
    “6 Rings Hockey”

    Sounds like it should be played under the big top. That’s about right.

    I think you nailed it.

    From Wiki:

    “There’s a sucker born every minute” is a phrase often credited to P. T. Barnum (1810–1891), an American showman. Though this phrase is often credited to Barnum, it was more likely spoken by a man by the name of David Hannum, who was criticizing both Barnum and his customers. It means it is simple to con people out of their money.

  43. russ99 says:

    Ugh, Yak scratched tonight.

    I can almost handle this inane singleminded quest to play defense without the horses needed to do it effectively, and how they’re sapping the potential of our top 6, and Bucky’s backwards powerplays, but what they’re doing to Yak is just criminal.

    Frankly, this is the same thing all over again as with Omark, Hartikainen and Paajarvi, albeit with a higher ceiling player. The message is out, if you can’t fit in with the Western Canadian square holes, European round pegs aren’t welcome here, nor are they given the slightest modicum of patience.

  44. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    russ99: Ugh, Yak scratched tonight.

    They don’t play tonight. Tuesday.

    It is possible Eakins is just mucking about. Putting 12 in the top 6 is almost as curious as 64 among the walking wounded… so it’s hard to say if these lines will be game lines tomorrow:

    Edmonton Oilers ✔ @EdmontonOilers
    #Oilers lines at practice in Leduc this morning –> 4-93-57, 12-89-14, 94-27-83, 20-51-6, 28-26-64. Potter (groin) absent.

  45. SK Oiler Fan says:

    justDOit,

    So these are the Tier 1 fans. Now I understand.
    This version of the Juniors is the slowest I can remember. Could have used Nurse’s mobility. Obviously a young team seeing this many mistakes. Makes one wonder if they had an eye on next year at home when picking this team.

  46. OneEye says:

    Woodguy,

    Perhaps this is why trading this years pick for a proven player is the best approach for this management. I have no confidence in them knowing how to develop a talent so we are best to let others do it and then trade our pick for that proven player.

  47. WeirsBeard says:

    The best team I remember for dumping and non-icing icings of the puck were the late 90s Dallas Stars (spits). Carbonneau, Keane, Verbeek. Not the big guys. Gives me hope this is a teachable skill.

  48. OilClog says:

    If this team handled any of the Canadian kids the way they’re Handling the Russian… It’s like it’s just a big fucking joke being played on us. Yakupov on the 4th or not playing at all while the likes of Joenssu, Lander, Horak, Gazdic are playing? Wtf?!? I can’t believe I’m actually nearing the end of my ability to keep cheering for this sad sack organization.

    Move Perron back to left wing, pair him with Ebs, move Yak back with Hall or go fuck yourself Eakins.

  49. flyfish1168 says:

    Anyone that has followed my posts here knows how I feel about this Yak vs Eakins situation. Yak is not my favorite Oiler. I don’t like Eakins talking about accountability. Like I have said before, Eakins needs to show accountability if he is going to speak it. Gagner as much as I like what he brings to the team has ben cuddled way to long. Anyone that needs sitting and class room time is Sammy at his age development really hasn’t sank in. Yak on the other hand needs games and game time like Hall mention on HNIC this past weekend. This is where I have problems with eakin’s accountability, talk the talk but doesn’t do the walk, that is eakins.

    Most important numbers are win/loss goals for/against and where we stand in the standing. Fancy stats can be miss leading if you don’t look at the some of all its parts.

  50. flyfish1168 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: They don’t play tonight. Tuesday.It is possible Eakins is just mucking about. Putting 12 in the top 6 is almost as curious as 64 among the walking wounded… so it’s hard to say if these lines will be game lines tomorrow:Edmonton Oilers ✔ @EdmontonOilers#Oilers lines at practice in Leduc this morning –> 4-93-57, 12-89-14, 94-27-83, 20-51-6, 28-26-64. Potter (groin) absent.

    flyfish1168,

    Practicing with the walking wounded doesn’t give you prime practice time if one needs to improve by practicing. Also isn’t it funny how after the Jets game yahoo on post game interview comments how proud he was of Yaks pushback. Mix messages.

  51. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: They don’t play tonight. Tuesday.

    It is possible Eakins is just mucking about. Putting 12 in the top 6 is almost as curious as 64 among the walking wounded… so it’s hard to say if these lines will be game lines tomorrow:

    Edmonton Oilers✔ @EdmontonOilers
    #Oilers lines at practice in Leduc this morning –> 4-93-57, 12-89-14, 94-27-83, 20-51-6, 28-26-64. Potter (groin) absent.

    So Horak gets slotted with Gagner and Eberle off the hop.

    Might be a test drive before they trade Yak for an over rated Dman and an Oil King.

    Currently on twitter Yak for Cowen and Lazar is leading the pack at -140

  52. admiralmark says:

    Faith in Eakins is rapidly dwindling. Placing Yakupov on the 4th line and then benching him without any repercussions to Gagner who has been more then HORRENDOUS. And now the answer to the PP is playing Gadzic?! What kind of insane asylum do these ideas come from? We are watching 1 of our (use to be) very valuable #1 overall picks made into the scapegoat this season. This is “How to get your Russian player to return to the KHL 101″. Thanks Eakins. This teams idiocy knows no bounds.

  53. WeirsBeard says:

    russ99:
    Ugh, Yak scratched tonight.

    I can almost handle this inane singleminded quest to play defense without the horses needed to do it effectively, and how they’re sapping the potential of our top 6, and Bucky’s backwards powerplays, but what they’re doing to Yak is just criminal.

    Frankly, this is the same thing all over again as with Omark, Hartikainen and Paajarvi, albeit with a higher ceiling player. The message is out, if you can’t fit in with the Western Canadian square holes, European round pegs aren’t welcome here, nor are they given the slightest modicum of patience.

    Motivating people is funny. Some need the carrot, others the stick. Eakins seems to have identified Yak as a stick personality. He does have passion and a temper unlike the other kids, so maybe this works out. Delicate balance there however.

  54. flyfish1168 says:

    Woodguy: So Horak gets slotted with Gagner and Eberle off the hop.

    Might be a test drive before they trade Yak for an over rated Dman and an Oil King.

    Currently on twitter Yak for Cowen and Lazar is leading the pack at -140

    Woodguy,

    So we got rid of Smid and saved 400K. Now we are going to replace with Cowen and Lazar that is not NHL ready for Yak. Geees

  55. justDOit says:

    I can’t believe that in well over 120 minutes of playing time against the CZE and SLO, that the Canadian team only played with a lead for a little over 2 minutes. From what I saw of this game, they were out-skated and out-skilled by the Slovaks (full credit to them for playing well), and took a lot of penalties as a result.

  56. Woodguy says:

    Yak video from practice:

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=524359&lang=en

    At least the coach is talking to him.

  57. jp says:

    WeirsBeard:
    The best team I remember for dumping and non-icing icings of the puck were the late 90s Dallas Stars (spits). Carbonneau, Keane, Verbeek. Not the big guys. Gives me hope this is a teachable skill.

    It may be teachable, but those guys were 38, 31 and 34 when Dallas won the cup. The Oilers kids MIGHT have this down by 2020.

  58. RMGS says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: They don’t play tonight. Tuesday.

    It is possible Eakins is just mucking about. Putting 12 in the top 6 is almost as curious as 64 among the walking wounded… so it’s hard to say if these lines will be game lines tomorrow:

    Edmonton Oilers✔ @EdmontonOilers
    #Oilers lines at practice in Leduc this morning –> 4-93-57, 12-89-14, 94-27-83, 20-51-6, 28-26-64. Potter (groin) absent.

    Nope. Yak’s scratched… again: http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blog.htm?id=23&navid=DL|EDM|home.

    Atrocious (and I’d argue prejudicial) handling of one of your #1 picks.

    Meanwhile, JSchultz will play another 28 minutes swinging his stick in the D-zone as if he’s fencing.

  59. jp says:

    RMGS: Nope.Yak’s scratched… again: http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blog.htm?id=23&navid=DL|EDM|home.

    Atrocious (and I’d argue prejudicial) handling of one of your #1 picks.

    Meanwhile, JSchultz will play another 28 minutes swinging his stick in the D-zone as if he’s fencing.

    My head is spinning a little. In what world do you expect Horak to be able to play 2nd line in the NHL?

    The comments Re: Yakupov do make some sense (despite him likely being singled out unfairly). Reading between the lines the kid is getting a game to watch the play from above to help put the “plan” into motion:

    Eakins: “But we have a plan together and that’s the most important thing. We both feel good about what we are going to try to do.”

    I have my doubts how good Yakupov feels about the plan, but if Eakins doesn’t lose the kid this might not end badly.

  60. WeirsBeard says:

    jp: It may be teachable, but those guys were 38, 31 and 34 when Dallas won the cup. The Oilers kids MIGHT have this down by 2020.

    Oh I fully realize how veteran my examples were. Those Stars clubs were an extreme, and also operating without a salary cap or enforcement of hookiing/interference penalties.

  61. Woodguy says:

    Feel much better about the scratch after watching both Yak and Eakins videos today.

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=524359&lang=en

    You know, we bitch whine and moan (at least I do) about the kids getting ice time gifted to them and how its spoiled them.

    Now that Eakins is making Yak earn it we (me) bitch about it.

    Its probably best just to calm down a bit.

    I really want to dislike Eakins, but every time he talks (about everything except fans throwing jerseys on the ice) I find me see nodding my head and agreeing with his philosophy.

    Tempest in a teapot probably.

  62. flyfish1168 says:

    Woodguy,

    I’m the reverse with Eakins. The more he talks the more I distrust and hate I have for him. Over use of accountability earlier, today earn it ,earn it. Against the jets he was proud, isn’t that earning it. Well mix message or again we just can’t trust what he says? excuses

  63. misfit says:

    Is Horak really only 170lbs?

    I’ll admit that I haven’t watched him once this year, and only vaguely remember anything about him as a Flame, but he always seemed like a player with decent size to me. That frame on a 6′ body makes him one of the slightest players on the team (only Arcobello is smaller).

    I’m ok with Nail on the 4th line, but I don’t get sitting him entirely. Though when your team’s 8th leading scorer (only one point ahead of 11th) is the runaway leader for the green jacket, I guess an argument can be made to keep him out.

  64. bookje says:

    After hearing Yak’s comments, I feel better about the situation. However, these things don’t always turn out well in the long run.

  65. HugThePost says:

    I was at the game last week vs. Jets where Nail was saddled with 4th line minutes and playing with the likes of Gadzik—he turned 6 minutes of ice-time into 1G, 1A, and nearly a Gordie Howe hat-trick and single-handedly had the crowd standing and cheering on what was otherwise another library-like atmosphere at Rexall.

    There are a tonne of problems with this team, but Yak is not close to being one of them. I’m with WG; if they find a way to flush this sparkling talent, I will be done with this shit-house team.

    What is the over-under for how long before scenes like this start occurring at Kingsway Ave:

    http://deadspin.com/sad-browns-fan-holds-worlds-saddest-protest-1491696569

  66. Woodguy says:

    bookje:
    After hearing Yak’s comments, I feel better about the situation.However, these things don’t always turn out well in the long run.

    The fact that MacT put his nose in the draft process and made them take Yak over Murray (who’s averaging over 20min a night for CBJ) makes me think that they will try like hell to make this work.

  67. misfit says:

    Woodguy: The fact that MacT put his nose in the draft process and made them take Yak over Murray (who’s averaging over 20min a night for CBJ) makes me think that they will try like hell to make this work.

    They let MacT make that kind of move after 11 days on the job? I have heard that the scouts were overruled on draft day (they wanted Murray, we took Yakupov), and I believe it happened, but what makes you so sure it was MacTavish?

  68. danieldelair says:

    In discussing Horak coming in for tomorrow, Eakins specifically says “we’ve tried to put him into a spot where he can have some success too, not throw him down on the fourth line or anything like that.”

    How do these words come out of the mouth of the man who has played Yakupov with Gazdic for several games now? Mind boggling.

  69. Pablo Aimar says:

    flyfish1168:
    Woodguy,

    I’m the reverse with Eakins. The more he talks the more I distrust and hate I have for him. Over use of accountability earlier, today earn it ,earn it. Against the jets he was proud, isn’t that earning it. Well mix message or again we just can’t trust what he says? excuses

    Its really because you don’t understand the genius of Eakins. “Accountability” is only for certain players. If you hold everyone to the same standard then its like Communism. Or something.

    In any case Yakupov might be alienated to the point where he demands to leave but so what? If its a choice between the two you obviously choose Eakins. Coaches of this ilk are very few and far between. He’ll lead us to the promised land. I believe.

  70. Andy P says:

    misfit: They let MacT make that kind of move after 11 days on the job?I have heard that the scouts were overruled on draft day (they wanted Murray, we took Yakupov), and I believe it happened, but what makes you so sure it was MacTavish?

    IIRC that came down from Katz himself, via Lowe to Tambo who made the pick. I never read previously that MacT had his hand in it.

  71. Maverick says:

    This team and management frustrate the hell out of me.

    I have tried to distance myself from the “6-Ring” circus this year, and even from a distance the pure stupidity and arrogance of this organization can not be avoid.

    Yak is a great kid, loves the game, isn’t an arrogant prick like some of the other kids and the handling of this talented young man by a way over his head rookie head coach is mind-bobbling. Eakins talks a great game just like MacT they are similar in their public persona, the difference, however, is MacT had experience to back it up.

    The team from the stats guys ‘says’ the team is better, is it coaching? or just the super kids being a year older and another year under their belts?

    This team has lots of issues and favorites on the team both by fans and the management group. When Hemsky walks in the summer, and Gagner or Eberle gets traded it will be nice to have Yakupov in the wings waiting to take over, let’s hope Eakins doesn’t break Yakupov’s spirit and love of the game before that point.

    If not there is always a trade and if history repeats itself than question is: Are Craig Millar and Barrie Moore available?? (for the younger ones google Miroslav Satan trade) worked out super well for the Oilers

  72. bookje says:

    Andy P: IIRC that came down from Katz himself, via Lowe to Tambo who made the pick. I never read previously that MacT had his hand in it.

    It was Katz’ kid who made the pick as they were walking up to the podum. He did it because a girl he liked was bribed by the Russian mofia to make him do it because Yak’s dad had some bad debts with them. They wanted Yak to suffer.

    If you guys are going to make stuff up based upon rumour and innuendo, at least make it interesting.

  73. flyfish1168 says:

    Pablo Aimar: Its really because you don’t understand the genius of Eakins. “Accountability” is only for certain players. If you hold everyone to the same standard then its like Communism. Or something.In any case Yakupov might be alienated to the point where he demands to leave but so what? If its a choice between the two you obviously choose Eakins. Coaches of this ilk are very few and far between. He’ll lead us to the promised land. I believe.

    Pablo Aimar,

    Don’t get me wrong. I would not doubt the next one out of town is Yak and not eakins. If you seen my other post I have always said I don’t doubt his philosophy. I have been watching hockey close to 50 years and defense wins games unless you a have the talent of the great 80′s Oilers.

    Its his approach with players. In my industry he would not last because he doesn’t hold everyone to the same level. Everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran. Its what can you do for me today, because after I paid you we are square till the next paycheck. If you consistently make the same mistake in my industry like Gagner does in hockey, it means you have used up your usefulness and you are a slow learner. Your words mean alot. Another point is you use your assets how they are meant to be. You can’t change people 180 degrees. I see Hall, Eberle, J-Schultz , Yak and RNH offensive growth stunted this year and there defense not really better(maybe except RNH).

    Like I have been harping at the 48 games we can compare. The most important stats are win/loss, goals for /against and where we are in the standing. All those other stats have less meaning in its parts vs as a whole

  74. jfry says:

    FYI, russia vs finland is on right now at the WJC. Slepyshev’s line is already dominating (again).

  75. jp says:

    Maverick:

    Yak is a great kid, loves the game, isn’t an arrogant prick like some of the other kids

    I don’t want to trash on Yakupov here, but to say he’s any less arrogant than the other kids is highly questionable.

    The whole fly your agent in to meet with the GM cause you’re not happy wasn’t exactly a humble move. My favorite (least favorite?) part was when he was being interviewed around that time and complained about his ice time being down. One of the scribes replied something to the effect “well, actually, you’re getting slightly more ice time than you did last year”. Nail didn’t have much to say back to that.

    I really like Yakupov. He has great talent, like you say he loves to play and loves to smile. And being an arrogant prick (or at least cocky/confident) sometimes isn’t the worst thing in the world for a pro athlete. But from where I’m sitting, Yakupov doesn’t look completely faultless in this whole thing. Just maybe (and of course none of us knows for sure) Eakins is mostly or completely in the right here. Only time will tell for sure, and even then it may not be entirely clear.

  76. jfry says:

    bookje: It was Katz’ kid who made the pick as they were walking up to the podum.He did it because a girl he liked was bribed by the Russian mofia to make him do it because Yak’s dad had some bad debts with them.They wanted Yak to suffer.

    If you guys are going to make stuff up based upon rumour and innuendo, at least make it interesting.

    ha. THIS!

  77. Caramel Obvious says:

    The accountability angle on Eakins is a silly criticism. Yakupov has been terrible this year. Easily their worst regular forward. I’m not sure anyone disputes this. Whether or not this is best for his development there is no double standard here.

    His draft year is really looking ugly. I’m way down on Yakupov and I’m still glad they took him over Murray. Dumba looks terrible in the world juniors when he should be dominated. G. Reinhart is almost nothing. M. Reilly looks ok, but I’d rather have Yakupov. Even with the down arrows on Yakupov I’d still rather have him than anyone except for maybe Galchenyuk.

    I’m not crazy about the sitdown here but let’s not pretend that Yakupov has been anything but terrible. He still doesn’t pass or use his teammates. Also let’s not pretend that he’s gotten worse. The only difference between this year and last is shooting percentage. This is who he is. If Eakins can change him that’s a good thing.

    The worst thing that happened to this team was the early, unsustainable, success of Eberle and Hopkins based almost exclusively on shooting percentages. It gave the impression that these players were better than they were which led to the terrible plan of building the team around them. Now they have $6 million contracts and they have to improve just to tread water on performance.

    That’s a huge deal. This team was much worse than it appeared the past three years so even though the young guys have gotten better in some ways they had to just to make it seem like they were stagnating. The trouble is that there is no clear path out of this mess. The young guys don’t have much room for improvement, the veterans are who they are, and there isn’t anything in the AHL.

    The best way to rebuild in the NHL is not to rebuild at all.* This rebuild failed two years ago when Tambellini turned them into an expansion team.

    *Anthony Mantha. What a player.

  78. Woodguy says:

    misfit: They let MacT make that kind of move after 11 days on the job?I have heard that the scouts were overruled on draft day (they wanted Murray, we took Yakupov), and I believe it happened, but what makes you so sure it was MacTavish?

    I heard from two different people who know stuff from time to time almost the exact same story.

    The scouts wanted Murray, but MacT basically over ruled them, or made them re-consider.

    MacT was always to be part of core in decision making.

    He was, and is as close to Katz as Lowe is/was, maybe closer.

  79. Woodguy says:

    bookje: to make stuff up based upon rumour and innuendo, at least make it interesting.
    ha. THIS!

    The truth is far too often banal.

  80. Scotty LaDouche says:

    Ive always thought dumping it in is akin to body shots in boxing or running the ball in football. A way to keep the opponents defense honest.

  81. misfit says:

    Woodguy: I heard from two different people who know stuff from time to time almost the exact same story.

    The scouts wanted Murray, but MacT basically over ruled them, or made them re-consider.

    MacT was always to be part of core in decision making.

    He was, and is as close to Katz as Lowe is/was, maybe closer.

    Now I’m really confused…I thought MacT was supposedly another Lowe puppet. *shrug*

    All kidding aside, I don’t know what happened one way or another, but I tend to believe the stories that the scouts wanted Murray but were overruled. Still doesn’t really change the fact that I think the right choice was ultimately made on draft day and that we took the right player.

    I strongly believe Murray will be a good player in this league with a lengthy career, but the guy was the #2 pick in the draft. Typically those guys end up alright. It doesn’t mean that he is, or will be, better than Yakupov. Murray is a rookie, and he’s getting 20 minutes a night like you said (4th among CBJ defensemen. But let’s also note that he’s been playing a very sheltered role in both zone starts and quality of competition, yet is still 6th in defensive scoring on his own team and holds the 2nd worst +/- among regular BJs D. Yakupov is having a dreadful season, but let’s not pretend Murray is having a season for the ages here.

  82. hunter1909 says:

    misfit: Yakupov is having a dreadful season, but let’s not pretend Murray is having a season for the ages here.

    That goal he scores the other night from Hall was sensational, but apparently that’s not good enough for MacT’s regime.

    This crap reminds me of Rob Schremp scoring 3 points in 3 games(or something), then getting cut by MacT who at that time was morphing into Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny.

  83. dangilitis says:

    Jordan Eberle: “We pot two quick ones and it’s looking good, then we got to our game of turning pucks over. Then we weren’t chipping it behind and we weren’t getting any zone time. That’s why they ran up the shot clock. We were giving them chances to get into our zone again, and we got a little undisciplined and they score three power-play goals.”

    I think the Oilers are going to have to start using some slop—in this case the Ryan Smyth dump and chance sloppery along with the sexy heat (Hall or Hemsky or Nuge or Eberle gaining possession of the zone with magic) so the other guy doesn’t know what’s coming all the time. In the words of the great Billy Ashley, “I think the pitchers are reading me.”

    _________________

    I thought Eakins said at the beginning of the year that he was going to teach the team set plays like in the NFL, so there would be some variety in breakouts and zone entries. I think the breakouts this year have been better by eye, but zone entries are the same year after friggin’ year.

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