One thing in life that’s true: you can’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself. The Edmonton Oilers appear to have a plan of action, beginning this season and the coach detailed some of it yesterday.
- Eakins: “We’ll come out of the break with more time to work on things than training camp, and we’re going to use that as a kick start to next year’s camp. What’s happened here, unfortunately, is that every year a new coach has come in and changed things and changed things and changed things. I really believe the players’ heads are spinning. (But) I am comfortable with where we’re at system-wise now. We’re ready to take another step forward with some of the stuff we want to instill but we’re not going to take that step until after the break.”
This is an area of the game I don’t know much about, it would seem to me that a defensive system should be explainable in a morning session and then executed satisfactorily within a few on-ice sessions. These are intelligent men (the hockey IQ for an NHL player has to be 130 or more—well most of them!) in their area of expertise, surely the concepts can be understood.
I think it’s about experience. I’ve watched rookie defensemen since Jim Dorey, and they all look (at one time or another) like the current Oilers bunch. Among the young, I think Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Martin Marincin are keepers, with Andrew Ference hanging around offering veteran assistance next season. The other three names are unknown to us.
Craig MacTavish is apparently hunkered down in Charlotte with the pro scouts (maybe it’s on the Messier ranch, where one assumes the yard workers are hitting each other with shovels when no one is looking and the Friday flights to Manhattan are full). If we make a list of “keepers” and roster “holes” we might get this:
- Goal: the new Dwayne Roloson, Ben Scrivens
- Left Defense: the new Jaroslav Spacek, Andrew Ference, Martin Marincin
- Right Defense: Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Taylor Fedun, Anton Belov
- Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the new Shawn Horcoff, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks, Anton Lander
- Left Wing: Taylor Hall, David Perron, the new Ethan Moreau, Ryan Smyth, Luke Gazdic
- Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, the new Mike Grier, Tyler Pitlick
So, that’s three callups who stick (Fedun, Lander and Pitlick) along with 5 “new” players as described above. Eight new faces represents 35% turnover, but that’s not really accurate since there have already been additions (Scrivens, Marincin, Hendricks) from the season’s beginning. For a reminder, here’s the opening night lineup:
- Goal: Devan Dubnyk, Jason LaBarbera (both gone)
- Defense: Ladislav Smid (gone), Jeff Petry, Andrew Ference, Justin Schultz, Nick Schultz, Anton Belov
- Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (injured), Mark Arcobello, Boyd Gordon, Will Acton
- Left Wing: Taylor Hall, David Perron, Ryan Smyth, Jesse Joensuu, Luke Gazdic
- Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky, Mike Brown (gone)
I added Nuge and moved Hall to L, the rest of the opening night roster is here. Four players are gone from that list now, and there will be more—and we’re not even counting guys like Grebeshkov who came and went (and Potter who is not mentioned here but may have a future with the team).
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning, hope you tune in! Scheduled to appear:
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. We’ll look forward to the deadline/summer procurement for MacT and group.
- Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus and ESPN. Corey’s 2014 NHL draft list is released today, we’ll also discuss his recent top 50 Prospects list, that included Darnell Nurse inside the top 10.
- Scott Cullen, tsn. We’ll talk about yesterday’s trade and the Oilers team building process.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings pbp for tsn. Lazar went off last night, Moroz was chucking, Jarry was stopping, Samuelsson was romping. We’ll talk about a very interesting Oil Kings team.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter.