The Oilers are starting to take on some injuries as the season reaches the 10-game mark. Jordan Eberle is playing but well short of 100%, and Niki Nikitin missed the last game with back troubles and could miss more (backs, ugh!). Viktor Fasth is closer to full health and Luke Gazdic is too, but we’re all uncertain about when and where he’ll play in the lineup.
LINEUP FOR TONIGHT (5PM)
- Scrivens (Bachman)
There’s a certain sadness and sense of loss that country music captures perfectly. I think part of it is the harmonies mixed with fiddle, mandolin and steel, plus the words are usually about places and points in time when things were better and we were all younger. The really good country music is written by the haggard and sung by the hummingbirds—thus the choice of song and artist today. I don’t know AJ Lee from Alvin Lee, but this version of one of my favorite songs is a perfect introduction to the best things about country music.
The song was written by the great Gram Parsons. It’s by far the best thing he wrote and man he did it up right. If you’ve ever been alone and lonely, you know feel of hickory wind.
Interesting developments here, as Jeff Petry has moved up the depth chart and is playing more 5×5. The Fayne number is the current curio, I think a more natural mix might be Schultz and Fayne getting about 16.5 minutes each. Either way, less Schultz at EVs means less chaos at this point in his career. Much has been made about Schultz and his age, but the fact remains no matter his age the young man hasn’t flown a lot of defensive sorties. A player with his foot speed should have a long career, and should get better defensively, but there’s zero reason for him to be the No. 1 EV option on this team.
2014-15 OILERS BLUE AT A GLANCE
|PLAYER||BOXCARS||CORSI FOR %||OZ STARTS||QUA COMP||5X5 PER 60|
|JUSTIN SCHULTZ||9GP, 2-2-4||47.9||61.2||4th||1.15|
|NIKITA NIKITIN||8GP, 1-2-3||50.2||64.1||1st||0.91|
|MARK FAYNE||9GP, 1-2-3||44.8||50.0||3rd||0.92|
|BRAD HUNT||4GP, 1-0-1||50.0||50.0||7th||0.00|
|JEFF PETRY||8GP, 0-1-1||52.5||41.0||5th||0.44|
|ANDREW FERENCE||9GP, 0-0-0||50.5||37.5||6th||0.00|
|MARTIN MARINCIN||5GP, 0-0-0||38.0||38.5||2nd||0.00|
The graph suggests to me the Schultz Corsi for % (this is 5×5) should be miles better based on OZ starts and qual comp (which we’re always leery of even over an entire season). Marincin’s Corsi is very low but it’s even earlier for him and have a glance at the OZ/comp and it’s fascinating to me that’s the guy you choose for the role over Ference or Nikitin. We’ll see if Marincin can flourish in that role, it’s a pretty fierce storm he’s playing in.
Another encouraging sign that the Oilers are looking to improve depth and give this team a chance to push as high as they can into the top of the second division. If they can remain close to No. 8 in the conference, I hope the organization considers adding some depth to the team. If you deal for Brodziak at the deadline, maybe he plays well and hangs around for another season or two.
BARONS PLAY TONIGHT!
Neal at Tend the Farm has a cool Tom Petty item as part of his OKC Barons GDT, and you can check it out here. Estimated lineups:
That’s based on yesterday’s practice and the first thing that jumps out at me is the massive push for Moroz. Lordy. Yakimov is getting consistent time in the middle, I think he’s going to get more NHL time this season if the Oilers don’t bring in a Brodziak. Lander is in a world of trouble with the Oilers I believe, despite his position on this depth chart. Prospects can come out of a dive, but the Oilers can get stubborn on a player good and bad, suspect Lander’s in that spot now.
Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts have the usual Oilers content (Edmonton’s young team is an attractive target for media because it’s such a compelling story AND there might be some real sustain one of these years). A couple of items:
- 6. Nail Yakupov scored his second of the season in that win. There’ve been a lot of rumours about his future, but I confess I haven’t heard anything substantial. After a week of looking into it, here’s my best guess: he’s not untouchable, but the Oilers asked him to show more commitment in the off-season and on the ice. So far, he has delivered. It sounds like Edmonton wants to reward that. Dallas Eakins is trusting him in late-game one-goal leads, something that never would have happened a year ago.
I’ll talk to two of my guests today about this weird disconnect that has all of our eyes (including Eakins) seeing one thing and the numbers preaching another. Is this the period where maybe we’re ahead of the math and it catches up?
- 7. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the game winner against Tampa Bay and the game-tier versus Washington in back-to-back games. He’s got a much-improved shot. He’s stronger and made it a summer project. “Shot 100 pucks four times a week,” he said. “Shooting as hard as I can…High blocker, high glove, low glove, around the horn.”
I think the Nuge will have a splendid career if he averages 55 points a season. If he gets to 70 a year? Lordy.
At 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Bruce McCurdy kicks things off at 10:05 and we’ll talk Yakupov and Petry and Nashville. At 10:25 it’s Ask the coach with Goalie Whisperer Dustin Schwartz and at 11 Michael Parkatti from Boys on the Bus gives us a feel for the 2014-15 Oilers as a team. Probably a baseball guest at 11:25, and I’ll be filling in for Dave Jamieson today noon to 2 so hang around if you can.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ on twitter and I’ll see you on the radio!