The Oilers last gave us a pleasant surprise early this month and it might be awhile before we see another. Or not. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope in last night’s game, a sense of freedom, a time to wheel and a time to smile. Not quite graduation day, but maybe a weekend furlough.
OFFERED WITHOUT COMMENT
There were a lot of positives last night, I thought the Nuge-Hall-Eberle line was flying and Justin Schultz wasn’t far behind. Yak Yakked, the 3 and 4 lines rolled and the blue looked good. Ben Scrivens looked great. Now, do that 15 more times between now and the end of the season and Dallas Eakins might get some of his hair back. I was happy for the coach last night, can’t imagine the pressure he’s under at this time.
Taylor Hall is among the 15 best scorers in the NHL this season. It’s been a difficult season for Chance, but there’s just too much talent here. The Oilers are blessed with many outstanding players, and honestly I don’t know if Hall will lead the team in points more years than Nuge or Ebs or Yakupov. I do know he’s a brilliant Edmonton Oiler, and enjoying his wonderful hockey is one of the extreme pleasures available to us these years. That top line is the best since Weight-Smyth-Guerin, and by the time they’re through we might be talking about that trio as one of the best in team history.
I can’t think of one good reason to trade Hemsky. Oh hell I know Yakupov and Eberle are the future on RW, but they could move Hemmer to LW and he’s played well in a third line role this season. You can’t pay him $5 million next season, but perhaps $3.5 times 2? I think we have to remember that he’s not 35 years old, and could hang around long enough to raise Stanley (are we even allowed to say that word anymore)?
They’re not going to get enough for him. I think MacT will shop 83, but if we’re to believe the past Hemmer didn’t attract high value a couple of years ago (Lowe ended up signing him) and his point totals have been going down since the draft picks arrived to take the heart of the order. It’s going to be a disappointing return. Ottawa may be interested.
Ryan Smyth tied Wayne Gretzky for all-time PP goals by an Oiler (125), he is one behind Glenn Anderson for the lead.
- Smyth: “To even tie a record with Gretz is obviously an honor. I’ve played a little bit longer than those guys (Gretzky and Anderson) here, but needless to say, those guys are Hall-of-Famers, great players that grew the game to where it’s at today.”
Justin Schultz appears to be back to last year’s levels. At the beginning of the season, Schultz’s offensive numbers were fine but his coverage issues ended up in the net too often (this was a result of wonky goaltending, but Schultz isn’t Lidstrom defensively either). In November, he suffered a groin injury and (as was mentioned by I believe Spoiler last night in the comments section) has taken a long time to recover.
That said, he looks better recently, and that gives Edmonton three good defensemen in the ‘yout’ division for the next several years. In Schultz, Jeff Petry and Martin Marincin, the club has three players they should be able to count on, and a solid mentor in Ference who will probably play with all the new hires on the third pairing.
MacT’s choice of top pairing defenseman to add to the trio is a huge deal. If he chooses wisely, this thing could be fabulous long term. Keep Ekblad and Nurse in junior another year, bring Klefbom or Fedun or Gernat up as warranted, and start moving up the standings in a real way.
Ference being hurt and all, I wonder if we see a callup this week. Reports on Oscar Klefbom have been encouraging, and it might be an idea to get him into a game before the Olympic break. Chances are he’ll be part of the team after the trade deadline, so a cup of coffee now would be a good way to begin the process.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It’ll be a fun show today, 10 this morning on TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow, mc79 hockey. We’ll talk about that top line, the value of good goaltending, zone exits and entries.
- Travis Yost, Hockeybuzz. The Senators had their version of ‘the Shift’ on the weekend, and we’ll talk about the Senators position in the standings. It isn’t good.
- Noah Love, National Post. Trade deadline, Leafs and Reimer, and hopefully Tottenham Hotspur.
- Kady Hobbins, Puckrant. Kady wrote an article the other day that’s worth talking about in relation to the Oilers and their season.
@Lowetide_ or 10-1260 on twitter today. Hope you tune in!