Nail Yakupov scored an incredible goal last night, a goal scorer’s goal, a first short scorer’s goal. Yak’s a sniper! Yak is hot! 4, 3-0-3 +1 is three steps from the sun compared to his first half (39, 6-8-14 -25) and represents real progress in a very important area. Dallas Eakins has him looking pass too much, but hell boys that’s better than the stickhandling maniac who gets his ass stapled to the bench. His Corsi for 5×5% for the games since HS are 55.2, 40.9, 65.2, 57.1—music! He has 13 shots in those 4 games, and looks like a different player. The Russian Raketa is back!
THE HOCKEY DEPARTMENT
Bob Gainey: “My basic plan to begin with (going into Montreal as a second-time GM) was to try to put a good hockey department together so that it then could work. The work that’s done in the hockey department through recruitment and management and organizing can be felt by the support staff, the coaches, the players and give them a better opportunity to perform and to succeed. From there, my plan was to use the energy that’s built to affect the play and affect the outcome and the success of the team on the ice.”
One area I think we can give Steve Tambellini some credit is bringing some structure and best practices to the minor league system. A good way to see progress is via graduating players. How many former Barons have impacted the current Oilers this season?
- Mark Arcobello 34, 4-13-17
- Jeff Petry 44, 3-7-10
- Taylor Fedun 4, 2-0-2
- Tyler Pitlick 3, 1-0-1
- Anton Lander 12, 0-0-0
- Martin Marincin 7, 0-0-0
Petry is now an established NHLer, and Arcobello appears to be pushing that way plus Marincin is showing some signs of life in his NHL career. This is not the 1972-73 Nova Scotia Voyageurs but if they can send one or two men north every winter that’s a pipeline MacT never had as coach when they were lending this kids out like motel matches.
- More Gainey: I’d been with the Stars about 5 years and it was evident we didn’t have enough good players to compete against the good teams. We had some good young players like Mike Modano and Derian Hatcher and Richard Matvichuk, but we didn’t have enough, we had too many holes. We didn’t have an adequate second line center to play against Colorado (with Forsberg and Sakic). I thought we made a nice goaltending improvement from Jon Casey to Andy Moog; but from Moog to Belfour was again another change of caliber that had a real impact on the performance of the team. So, we added players in each position that were elite players—along with a top-flight coach in Ken Hitchcock—which allowed us to draw a few other players. Once it starts to form, it’s easier for a player who is looking for a place to play to see how he’ll fit in.
That’s really what this is, you know. This Gainey quote (from Behind the Moves) is basically the same as ‘get good players, keep good players’ from Al Arbour back in the day.
- Elite Draft Flow: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov
- Good Draft Decisions: Ales Hemsky, Jeff Petry, Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle, possibly Martin Marincin
- Good Trade Acquisitions: David Perron, Ryan Smyth
- Good Free Agent Signings: Justin Schultz, Boyd Gordon, Andrew Ference
- Good Minor League/College Signings: Mark Arcobello
I think that’s MacT’s chore now, a little from each section every summer. There’s no easy fix, although I do think this team is going to change its mix between now and next fall. Some of these draft picks are heading out of town.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Lowdown hits the air at 10 this morning, some Yak talk and maybe we’ll discuss trades and the deadline. Scheduled to appear on TSN 1260:
- Michael Parkatti, Boys on the Bus. Yakupov, Shot distance metric and what it tells us about last night, and more.
- Steve Hamilton, Edmonton Oil Kings coach and Vimy Ridge teacher. He’s just back from coaching Team Pacific at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge and we’ll talk about it.
- Ryan Batty from Copper and Blue. Trade deadline, Hall’s season, Yak City!
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Talking Olympic athletes and the years of sacrifice finally being rewarded.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Love your input!