FINDING ANOTHER GEAR!

The best news for Oiler fans this week, despite today’s presser, was the hiring of Craig Ramsay as associate coach. In the first hours of discussion when the news broke, a lot of what we talked about surrounded the defense and power play. Makes sense, that was the reason Ramsay was brought in to help the team.

A secondary, but important reason to be excited about Ramsay surrounds the two-way forwards. Some of these kids were drafted with reputations that suggested there was another gear, they were more complete players.

Players I’m hopeful will improve or take a step forward?

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Ramsay played alongside Don Luce for most of his NHL career, and the Nuge has all kinds of skills that should help him be a two-way powerhouse center.
  • Jordan Eberle: He can do it, but it doesn’t come naturally.
  • Anton Lander: There’s a shutdown center in there, Ramsay may unlock him AND help him score a little.
  • Tyler Pitlick: See Lander.
  • Mark Arcobello: He’s good already, but I bet you Ramsay makes him better.

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28 Responses to "FINDING ANOTHER GEAR!"

  1. LadiesloveSmid says:

    I was excited about Eakins and his preaching of puck possession too. Fast forward to the end of a season where they were bottom 3 in that regard and I’m not ready to buy the hype on another coach. Time will tell

  2. Frank the dog says:

    Hi LT, You missed the player that Ramsay could impact more than all of the above: Sam Gagner! Or have you written him off like everyone else?

  3. Lowetide says:

    Frank the dog:
    Hi LT, You missed the player that Ramsay could impact more than all of the above: Sam Gagner! Or have you written him off like everyone else?

    I don’t think Gagner will be here, otherwise agree completely!

  4. OilClog says:

    Anton Lander: There’s a shutdown center in there, Ramsay may unlock him AND help him score a little.

    I guess the first step is the easiest to that one.. Play him there lol. Atleast for as long as they played him on the RW, they owe everyone that much.

    Who is the coach that’s replacing Steve? Any chance we could bring back Billy to replace Fred? He’s truly a goalie genie.

  5. Big Dan says:

    Don’t overestimate the value of coaching. A good coach on a bad team (think DeBoer in Florida) can’t perform miracles. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone. Lander and Pitlick will score very little at the NHL level.

    That being said, I got to thinking about Don Cherry’s comments when I thought about Lander, Pitlick, and Arcobello. For years, Oil fans have watched their 4th line get bombed. Cherry never had a 4th line when he coached. He “plugged and played” a few forwards on each line to give everybody a break and keep everybody engaged.

    I remember MacT doing that in the 2006 finals. Rem Murray and Ethan Moreau were the only true 4th liners. MacT would insert guys like Harvey, Winchester, or Laraque on the first line with Horcoff and Smyth.

    Does Ramsay eschew this strategy?
    So it’s the end of the PP and Eberle gets nailed along the boards. So the next shift, Arco is out there with Hall and Nuge.
    Gordon and Hendricks just finished killing a penalty so Lander goes out there to fill in for one of them at ES.
    Perron is in the penalty box so Pitlick or Pinizzoto goes out there with Gagner and Yakupov.

    I know the whole pairings + 1 is being done a lot already. But could the Oilers just do away with a 4th line entirely and just have 3 lines? As long as they can skate and keep up, I can’t see why not. This way, they’d take advantage of opponents like Calgary that still live in the ‘four line’ mentality.

    I notice that the days of everyone lauding LA’s 4th line (Fraser, et al) or New Jersey’s (Bernier, et al) are over. LA never seems to have a 4th line out there. They spell guys like Lewis, Clifford, and Richards throughout the other lines. Maybe that’s why they always wear down opponents in the third period. New York only plays three lines and parks Richards and Boyle on the bench.

  6. gcw_rocks says:

    Very disappointed Nicholson is coming in as Lowe’s peer rather than his boss.

  7. Racki says:

    Frank the dog:
    Hi LT, You missed the player that Ramsay could impact more than all of the above: Sam Gagner! Or have you written him off like everyone else?

    If he’s still here, that’s something I’d love to see

  8. striatic says:

    gcw_rocks,

    MacT came in as Tambellini’s peer, right?

  9. theres oil in virginia says:

    Frank the dog:
    Hi LT, You missed the player that Ramsay could impact more than all of the above: Sam Gagner! Or have you written him off like everyone else?

    Yeah, I’m not convinced he gets traded either.

  10. Gerta Rauss says:

    We may have a series now

  11. Deadman Waiting says:

    And perhaps when he isn’t coaching those guys, we can slip a Ramsayfish into Gagner’s ear canal. Dare we dream?

    You know he was asked.

    ———

    Craig to Craig: Hey, Craig, nice to have you on the team. So what do you think, are you feeling your oats? Can you cure my yardsale fatigue? Second charge and it’s not even lunch yet.

    Craig to Craig: Oh, I don’t know, that’s a mighty big ask. He’s a quick study? After seven years, am I hearing you right? What have you tried? Have you wrapped him naked in a blanket and spun him around three times in a room full of vaulting rock slickers? Ten minutes in there, peripheral smeripheral, man grows eyes in the back of his head. Always protect your slot. Such an easy lesson to teach with the right aids.

    Craig pulls down a hefty volume, creaking at the ribs, from a nearby shelf.

    Craig to Dallas: Would that be under B for blanket, S for slot, or R …

    Dallas to Craig: No, try C.

    Craig to Dallas: C?

    Dallas to Craig: We had a different name for those critters where I come from. I thought that’s what everyone called them.

    Craig to Ramsay: Hey, Ramsie, are your rock slickers the same as Dallas’s …

    Ramsay to Craig: … oh yeah, for sure, lots of different names, but always …

    Craig to Ramsay: … whoa there on the TMI territory, old guy. That’s not, uh, pertinent to the situation.

    Ramsay to Craig: My bad. Guess I’m a nostalgic old fart. Just can’t train ‘em up like we used to back in the day.

    Craig to Ramsay: Sheesh man, if you’re thinking back to your playing days, then I’d say we remember things just a little bit differently. Man these pages are crowded with all kinds of writin’.

    Craig locks-on the bifocals and is drifting now into focused reverie: There’s some lucid scrawl here top of most pages, oh yes, very fine hockey mind it does appear—completely misses the point of the shield arm / Smeagol no-show, bad food / nose-hair trimmer resolves skate blister / Smeagol shows up, S.W. all freaked out over missing G(?) hair / some good moments, no cause for panic just yet / ex nay brace of conies on game day—then half of every page covered in four or five giant words—my hamster skates better / my goldfish has more wind / my wife has more balance—hey, who gave the old onion a magic marker? space is at a premium here—down below that … some tiny scrawl in dense thickets and it’s all so depressing, what did Tom think he was doing? rewriting the diary of Anne Frank?—well, it’s not here under “B” for blanket—no wait, the page folds out at the bottom—quick hands in the verge / one does not simply walk on the back check / you can do it, Sam, I know you can though I know not the way / he’ll come back to this spot every damn day until the job’s done / one does not simply walk on the back check / had we ever much hope? / one does not simply walk on the back check—Jiminy, here I had Ralph figured as an upbeat kind of guy with plenty of fresh ideas, but it just goes to show we all have our ruts of darkness—okay, that really is it under “B”.

    Craig to the room: What were the other letters again?

    Ramsay to Dallas: I’m sooo sorry I asked.

    Dallas to Ramsay: No worries. You know, by the time I got here, there was no room in that book to write a darn useful thing. I pretty much limited myself to doodling in the white space round the magic marker jumbo-Magoo—added some stellar ‘staches, I must say, wherever the old onion compared Samwise to his sweet Walla Walla.

    Ramsay: That wasn’t just something he wrote in after a bad lunch?

    Dallas: No-ooooo, that’s awllll he wrote, every darn page, until his marker ran dry.

    Ramsay [smiling]: I’ve heard there’s a pill for that.

    Craig to room: Cut it out, you guys, this book is getting mighty heavy here. The letters, guys, tell me the letters.

    Despite his complaints, Craig is still fumbling to tuck all of Ralph’s many page extensions back between the sheets as tidy they were before they all tumbled out.

    Dallas: Jeebus, Craig, just give it up. I’ve heard you’re a smart guy, and there you are fumbling your way through that monstrous Samwise Preps yearbook like Count Chocula on a marshroom hunt in an Idaho corn maze. And hey, since there’s now two of us here, tell us both why is that book so darn fat in the first place? Keep ‘em hungry, just messing wit’ ya, running the old onion dry out of sheer malice? Hey, Craig, what say you?

    Craig: Oh, come on. It’s not that big of a mystery. Samwise started young. It’s not just the goalies making the big step that step back. If you’re gonna bring ‘em in young like that you have to leave ‘em lots of runaway. The runway ain’t the bestway, but it’s ourway.

    Dallas: We’re, uh, here to fix that … aren’t we?

    Craig: All in good time, Jack Hammer, all in good time.

    Ramsay: I gotta say, Craig, that particular volume looks a little too stuffy for an old man such as myself. What I’ve dearly love to do is that meet that fine bobblehead I’ve heard so much about. What’s it say in his book?

    Craig: [Looks at shelf] I could probably tell you that, but first I’d have to rip off that pristine cellophane wrapper and then I’d have to kill you both for taintin’ perfection.

    Ramsay: My, my, my, just look at that prissstine volume. Fresh like a daisy. Thing o’ beauty. Not a dry marker north of Red Deer on his account, is there?

    Ramsay and Dallas break into an old-time soft shoe bobblehead shuffle. Bobblehead, bobblehead, bobblehead, yeah! They end off their little number with a high five.

    Dallas to Ramsay: You still got it, old man.

    Ramsay to Dallas: Don’t I know it. Lead the way.

    Craig: Oh gosh, oh golly, oh gosh … right about now, my kingdom for a cold compress. Ring phone, ring. Ring now. Ring me the ice man. I need him now.

  12. Gerta Rauss says:

    OilClog: Who is the coach that’s replacing Steve? Any chance we could bring back Billy to replace Fred? He’s truly a goalie genie.

    Gregor has a piece up at ON that covers his radio interview with Eakins. Smith was offered an “off ice’ position-to date whether he has/hasn’t accepted hasn’t been made public. He was very clear that he is going to have 3 coaches on the bench including himself, so whoever they hire will be in the pressbox.

    Eakins also mentioned Chabot and the other staff and in the same breath said all their contracts are expiring…I think all of them just don’t get offered positions and the whole lot of them are replaced.

  13. Hammers says:

    Ramsay for me is the best hire so far this year including today but coaches can only do so much and normally getting more out of 1 or 2 players maybe a lot to expect . Hopefully if it is only 2 its RNH & Yak .He should help improve the PP most of all and that’s part of my choice on Yak & RNH .Your head coach is still the main key and now that’s Eakins . The Who What Where When & How falls on Eakins .

  14. Sparky Blue says:

    How Ramsay will keep Pitlick from being injured will be interesting to follow

  15. nycoil says:

    I thought the World Cup reffing was bad enough. What a BS call that was to hand the Kings that PP. Rangers better win or it just isn’t right what they did there. Cup on the line you better be 100% sure before nakig a call like that. Just an embarrassment to the league and sport to have a guy stick his leg out and initiate contact, then leap two feet in the air and be rewarded for it. Horrible! Absolutely horrible.

    P.S. Grenadier Girardi– glad we don’t have him and that contract! Stralman may be pricing his way out of the Rangers’ plans! Come to Edmonton, Anton!

  16. Andy P says:

    Don’t. Under rate the impact of bad coaching on any team. Good coaching can’t make a good team out of bad players but bad coaches can destroy good teams, especially if left in place for 6 years. Add bad coaching to poor management and you have yesterdays Oilers.

    Consider all the good players we have lost or have plateaued or have even regressed over the last 6 years, and then consider the impact of bad coaxing on young, talented players.

    But the horse has been put in another pasture apparently, so I’m going to let Bucky go now.

  17. tcho says:

    Krueger will fix them.

    Ummm…

    Eakins will fix them.

    Ummm….

    Ramsay will fix them?

    Not drinking this kool-aid, thanks.

  18. Andy P says:

    tcho:
    Krueger will fix them.

    Ummm…

    Eakins will fix them.

    Ummm….

    Ramsay will fix them?

    Not drinking this kool-aid, thanks.

    its not who Ramsay is, its who Ramsay isn’t.

  19. Gerta Rauss says:

    Congratulations to the LA Kings-a hell of a franchise and they are in a great position to be near the top of the heap for several years to come

  20. WeirsBeard says:

    Justin Williams, Corsi king and Conn Smythe winner.

  21. Ice Sage says:

    WeirsBeard:
    Justin Williams, Corsi king and Conn Smythe winner.

    And one time Oiler-killer when the Oilers were worthy of killing

  22. jake70 says:

    thanks kings…just won me my hockey pool and a some $$$ , now can we get this cup back to Canada….

  23. tcho says:

    Congratulations to the L.A. Kings on a well deserved Stanley Cup. What a team, what a GM.

  24. oliveoilers says:

    Personally, I think hiring Gordon Ramsey was a great move. Not only can he cook all kinds of healthy treats beloved by Eakins, but he can deliver the best intermission rants at the players! He does have experience playing professional sport. If memory serves me correctly, he played football for Glasgow Rangers D team, or something.

  25. delta says:

    so if Ransey is such a great a hire………….is Eakins a dud?

  26. Loweblow says:

    As much as I love Pitlick and his style of play, that bum knee of his scares me. The one person thats going to surprise a lot of people is C.Hamilton, (hopefully they resign him). Turn the corner last year after coming back from injury, Stu is still very high on this kid, great two way game. Unless they line Mark Arcobello up with a big winger, like they did in OKC, you can forget about him. His size is his worst enemy, don’t need to be big to play hockey, but the Oilers need to get bigger to compete in the western conference.

  27. Ivan says:

    Craig: [Looks at shelf]I could probably tell you that, but first I’d have to rip off that pristine cellophane wrapper and then I’d have to kill you both for taintin’ perfection.

    Ramsay: My, my, my, just look at that prissstine volume.Fresh like a daisy.Thing o’ beauty.Not a dry marker north of Red Deer on his account, is there?

    Ramsay and Dallas break into an old-time soft shoe bobblehead shuffle.Bobblehead, bobblehead, bobblehead, yeah!They end off their little number with a high five.

    Dallas to Ramsay: You still got it, old man.

    Ramsay to Dallas: Don’t I know it.Lead the way.

    Craig: Oh gosh, oh golly, oh gosh … right about now, my kingdom for a cold compress.Ring phone, ring.Ring now.Ring me the ice man.I need him now.

    DMW, you are one of the best things about this site. Don’t ever change, don’t ever stop.

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