STAN BOWMAN, CHICAGO: “I don’t think there’s a shortcut to success. I think you have to go through some painful periods, and then it’s critical to make the right decisions at that point, but I think you have to have the patience to stick with your plan. In Chicago, we lost a lot of favor with our fan base, and so at that point, we almost figured, ‘Let’s do this the way we think is right, because we’ve already upset a lot of people. Let’s do what we think is right, which is to build it over time so that we can sustain it over time’.”
I think Craig MacTavish may have reached the Bowman conclusion. I’m not certain of course, but there are some clues.
- MacT: “Ekblad is a very mature guy. He’s an NHL passer. He’s a thinker. At 6-foot-3, he has NHL size. There wasn’t a lot not to like. He’s a right shot. Nurse is a left.”
- More MacT: “When you’re drafting in the top seven picks, you can’t pass up those opportunities. You can’t pass them up unless it makes sense and nothing we were offered last year made sense.”
- More More MacT: “Certainly we’ll be in a position of listening, but when you are drafting that high, it’s tough to pass on skill and youth like that. We’re certainly scouting like we’re going to be picking.”
Article is here. Home run, Jones.
GETTING A G, D OR C FOR GAGNER
How many players do the Oilers need to make the playoffs? If they added Martin Hanzal, Kris Letang and Ben Bishop would that be enough? What if we threw Nikolai Kulemin and Brendan Dillon into the mix?
- Marincin-J Schultz
Is that enough? Oilers can’t do that of course, but they can make a list of what is needed and cross off as many from the list as possible. The bullets for MacT next summer will be:
- About $25 million in free agent dollars (Hemsky, Petry, Schultz)
- 1st round selection
- various prospects (Klefbom, etc)
If the Oilers choose to keep the pick, they’re going to have to trade someone from the roster above. If they can get a D or C for Gagner, that gets the ball rolling. Signing Hemsky would help next season’s depth chart a lot. There’s so much work to do, starting now is probably a good idea.
And I do think callups for Anton Lander, Taylor Fedun and Roman Horak make sense when the deals begin, with Martin Gernat, Curtis Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick also possible for cups of coffee before season’s end.
Final question: can the Oilers get a useful piece for Gagner? A long term item? I think they can, but suspect he’ll be a less than ideal item at the point of purchase. Entry-level defenseman, the same age as Klefbom or Marincin but possibly with more NHL GP. Getting 100 cents on the dollar for Gagner is going to be difficult for Craig MacTavish.
I think Anton Lander has from now until the end of the season to show what he has, and after that who knows? Remember last year when Craig MacTavish called up Teemu Hartikainen for a look? And he couldn’t put the puck in the ocean? I think Lander is second verse, same as the first. I like Lander as a prospect, and do hope he delivers something, anything offensively, but if you’re Edmonton and projecting next season’s centers, is Lander an option behind Nuge-Gordon? Is he more or less promising to them than Roman Horak (a player MacT acquired)?
It isn’t a strong position for Lander. Godspeed, young man. Make that next callup count. By the way, he is 1-4-5 in his last two AHL games. I believe there’s a player here.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports. Talking Olympic team, Leafs fall, sports television wars.
- Mark Pavelich from MFC. MFC 39 goes next Friday night in Edmonton, we’ll talk about it and Mark’s connection to hockey.
- Jeff Chapman from Copper and Blue. The Oilers against the force tonight, climax may be the anthem.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings pbp man for TSN 1260. Trade deadline, it’s already been a major event.
- Jungle Jim Hunter, Sportcology. We’ll talk Olympics and teams under pressure.
10 this morning, TSN 1260. Tweets to @Lowetide_ and it’ll be fun!