This Is Us

Lowetide
October 22 2010 07:36AM

Last night's Oilers game was an enjoyable one. Although the town team lost, most shifts gave fans an indication about things to come. Speed, skill, passes and dekes that showed the true beauty of the game. Buckle up, this is going to be a fast ride.  

This is us. A fun team to watch, run and gun--maybe a little shy on finishing the play--and high event at both ends of the ice. Hemsky stirs the drink, and the kids offer a hint about the future. If you measure this season in wins and losses bring out the Glenlivet now. Small steps, folks. And there were plenty last night.

Taylor Hall didn't have any finish last night but (as his coach said after the game) the kid had his best NHL game. Mark Spector wrote a nice piece here and I think we can feel pretty good about this team's future despite the loss on home ice. Hall was the most obvious youngster last night, but the other two rookie forwards had their strong moments too. Magnus Pääjärvi must certainly lead the league in penalties drawn after the Minny game, and Jordan Eberle continues to amaze with his anticipation and execution in all three zones. Big brain.

At this point we should hope the Oilers finally start Dubnyk and begin the final march toward making a decision on the backup goalie, and there's probably a slight hint of an opportunity for a switch-out along the blue (Strudwick in, likely Vandermeer out). I don't think there's any help coming via trade, at this point in the season teams will be asking the moon ("a battle ship for a rowboat"- a Punch Imlach line) for puck movers along the blue. I'd guess Petry or Belle would be the first option to upgrade the passing from the defense.

The 4th line is a mess, but I don't know that there's much they can do about it. Fraser needs to play until he's comfortable (Kurtis Foster settled in nicely last night, at least compared to previous performances) and Jones had played well until last night. I wonder a little about Zack Stortini, he seems to be getting less love from this coach than he did from his other two NHL coaches (HS opening night, no hesitation to staple his ass to the bench last night).

A wild guess has Dubnyk playing Saturday and Strudwick also drawing in. If there's a pool on this stuff, I'll bet they call up Shawn Belle when a goalie is finally sent packing.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 08:58AM
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@speeds

what about, Year 1: NHL (LW) Year 2: NHL (LW) Year 3: NHL (LW)

How does that sound?

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#2 PabstBR55
October 22 2010, 09:34AM
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@Archaeologuy

You can get most anything you want in this life ... so long as you ask.

Assuming the Oilers had a desire to have Hall learn to play Centre, I'm pretty sure they could work out a plan with Boughner and the Spitfires that would have him learn the position.

Oilers: Dear Bob, how would you like to have Taylor back for this season?

Spitfires: I would cut off my fingers for the opportunity.

Oilers: You can have him provided that he plays the position we prefer?

Spitfires: In goal?

Oilers: No.

Spitfires: Deal.

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#3 Mike Krushelnyski
October 22 2010, 09:43AM
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A Glenlivet man! I knew there was a reason I liked you, LT.

The most encouraging sign for me so far is that none of the kids seem to be short of confidence at all. All of them seem to want the puck and want to take it to the net when they get it. Screw next year, I'm excited to see where they'll be at by game 40.

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#4 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 22 2010, 11:09AM
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someone needs to get Hall to hook up with a fat chick. Time proven slump buster.

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#5 PabstBR55
October 22 2010, 11:53AM
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We'd have taken Seguin, but Tyler called Katz's kid a Fat Toad when they were shooting pucks together in the back yard of Katz' Xanadu Estate. That's the part you didn't see in "Oil Change".

"I hate that Seguin kid worse than Shoppers Drug Mart", said Katz. "I can't believe I let him walk through my marbled halls".

True story. You heard it here first. Now you can end this mind-numbing debate.

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#6 third string plumber
October 22 2010, 07:42AM
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That is a cute girl

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#7 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 08:56AM
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C-DOG wrote:

@ LOWTIDE

Pitlick played both games against the Oilkings on r.w,I'm pretty sure thats his position at least for this year.

Proof that the Oilers have absolutely no control over what their prospects do after being returned to Juniour. Hopefully this will end all the insane calls for Hall to go back to Windsor so he can play C.

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#8 Crackenbury
October 22 2010, 09:10AM
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I was fairly ambivalent about sending Hall back down. It seemd like it might not have been a bad move, letting him mature a year in junior like most 18 year olds.

That concept is out the window. The kid is a player. His determination to succed and raw talent displayed last night show what a complete waste another year of junior would be for him.

What started out as a stinker turned into the type of game I'll happily watch them lose throughout the year, although I don't think it will be long before the offence starts to ramp it up a bit.

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#9 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 10:05AM
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C-DOG wrote:

I would take 2 good to great l.w's (Penner, Paajarvi) and 1 great centre, instead of 3 good to great l.w's. You will not get max potential that way out of your assets.

I would too, hence why I would have drafted Seguin (another point last night), but those arent your options.

I think there are a lot of people out there who just want to have their cake and eat it too. So many people said "screw getting a top notch centre, I want Taylor Hall" and now 4 months later they realize how few prospects the Oil have at C and want to slot Hall into that spot.

Well too bad. It's a not that often where guys move from W to C. I'm not saying it CANT happen, but it doesnt very often. Otherwise Nash and Kovalchuk would have been made centres and their clubs wouldnt have spent the better part of a decade scrambling to fill out the 1C spot.

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#10 Albertaboy111
October 22 2010, 10:20AM
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If we lose all year like that I'll be happy. What an exciting game to watch. If that's the Oilers now, I can't wait to see them in a year or two when they really start to mature.

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#11 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 11:29AM
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@Jason T

The only thing laughable about the Hall/Seguin debate was the fact that there were so many people who didnt think it was close. One kid scored more goals, doubled the other kid's production 5 on 5, played a better complete game, and did it all with lesser teammates. The other kid was drafted 1st.

~But yeah, Hall (1pt in 5 games) was hands down better than Seguin (3pt 5 games).~

Hall will be a very good LW for this club. He was electric last night, but wake up. There hasnt been enough time passed to definitively say that Seguin was the 2nd best player in that draft.

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#12 BUCK75
October 22 2010, 11:34AM
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People were bitching about being a bad team last year. We have better forwards this year & now people are bitching that we aren't good enough.

I remember a few years back & I couldn't even give a set of tickets to the Wild away. LAst night was an entertaining hockey game after the 4th line stopped playing. If we have 50 more games like that this year we all should be happy as fans. Face it, after 20 games our 3 rookies will be better, the defence should be better, & our role players will probably figure each other out. I don't see the need in calling for drastic changes 5 games into a season. After all it is a rebuild.

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#13 Aitch
October 22 2010, 11:40AM
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Woodguy - I think you make valuable points, but... it all depends on your idea of a re-build. If the Oilers really do want to re-build through the draft then they don't really want to be a playoff team this year. Why bring in the vets to round out a roster when your goal is to get another high draft pick to build around?

If, say in two seasons we still have about the same top 9 and we need experienced vets to round it out, then, by all means, fill in those holes with some guys who've been around the block. Until then, sit back and watch your kids grow-up. It happens so fast, you'll soon forget where the time has gone.

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#14 Woodguy
October 22 2010, 11:58AM
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"You fail to realize maybe most of those free agents wanted nothing to do with Edmonton and you can't just make any trade you want whenever you want, it's a two way street. Is it possible Tambo didn't have many trade options on the table for 2nd pair dmen and 4th line guys???"

That's crap.

Phoneix was a laughing stock 2 years ago with no owner and Maloney managed to sign quality vets like Fiddler, Lang, Prucha and Pyatt.

This year Florida was projected to be 15th in the east and they add similar players like Reasoner and Higgins.

Reasoner was had for an AHL center. Not quite a blockbuster trade.

Wild projected 13th or 14th in West and get Madden for 1 year.

Don't let Tambellini off the hook.

DDO,

Yes, Vandermeer saved $$$, but this team is $13M under the cap and paying Big Sexy $4.5M to play in the AHL, so $$$ arguments aren't what they were last year.

With all the extra cap space, they could have secured at least 1 decent UFA with a one year overpay. Madden would really prefer to play in Minnesota for 1.25 instead of Edmonton at 2?

I don't buy that.

Tambellini can't trade for quality help on the 4th line? Don't buy that either.

All the other GM's seem to be able to do this. Maloney did a ton of it and his team was a laughing stock that turned into a playoff team with all his little moves to help his young talent.

Everyone can do it, but Tambellini can't? Well if he can't they should bring in someone who can.

D-man,

If you get more scoring chances for than against you will win more games than lose and probably make the playoffs.

The current 4th line (who are 1PK) are getting destroyed at this metric and are a black hole on the PK.

A quality 4th line PK will help and not hurt, and these guys hurt.

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#15 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 12:07PM
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@PabstBR55

I would be overjoyed if the Oilers keep this losing streak alive and find themselves another top flight centre in that top 3 next draft.

Hall is an Oiler and I will cheer him on until he leaves the club. This whole conversation started because I take exception to people desperately holding onto this dream that Hall will be the Oilers' next 1C, even though he doesnt play that position.

For the record, I'm not anti-Hall, I'm anti-pretending-Hall-is-something-he-isnt.

If people were so concerned about having a Centre then the decision should have been easy last year. So when people start demanding that Hall be converted, I will bring up the fact that the Oilers had a better option in June 2010.

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#16 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 22 2010, 03:03PM
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C-DOG wrote:

There you go with guessing again because you don't have an intelligent comeback.

Why don't you come up with a successfull argument for a team winning with predominatetly wingers, you can't, and you look foolish, once a team proves me wrong then you can debate, untill then history(FACTS) prevails and your delusions continue.

You need to learn when you have lost a debate, saying that I am guessing with decades of proof does not cut it.

Sorry Shadi, but your theory was a guess. You have no idea what any team would or wouldn't do if the swapped player X for player Y.

We've been over it a dozen times. Theirs crappy teams with great centers (Tampa bay/Carolina/Ducks last year).

Theirs very good teams with average centers (Pheonix/NJ/Nash last year)

If it was so much more important having a guy line up in the middle vs to the side, then why did the Penguins have Malkin start the season on Comries wing? Why do Zetterberg and Sharp play alot of wing as well as center?

Theirs far more "very good" centers in the leauge then their are "very good" wingers... dispite the fact that their are twice as many wingers then centers, their was 25 centers with 60+ points and 28 wingers with 60+ points (LW/RW combined). This is what skews your point of view to think that all the cup winners have really good centers without necessarly having really good wingers.

Everyone will have a different deffinition, but theirs probably 20-25 centers that most people would consider "top end", so it's probably safe to assume the Cup winners will have one of these guys.

The fact that you try to make this a black and white conversation is beyond ridiculous. It isn't the team with the best center that wins, it's the best TEAMS that win (or at least very good teams playing at their highest level)

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#17 Oilcruzer
October 22 2010, 07:54AM
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third string plumber wrote:

That is a cute girl

Nice fist bust.

Losing when you show you are the better team, and you are just getting warmed up, is really really cool.

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#18 Rick
October 22 2010, 08:15AM
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I am not sure the 4th line is as big of a mess as it seems. I think they just look like it because two of the three 4th liners are the closest thing this team has to 3rd liners in the traditional sense and they're being played in situations they aren't suited for.

That said, last night in particular was without a doubt a bad night for them.

Other than that, the last 40 minutes were fun to watch. I never would have expected to say that about a Minny game.

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#19 speeds
October 22 2010, 08:16AM
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LT:

I know you think the Oilers should keep Hall this year, but watching last night's game I wondered if Hall may well be capable of a move to C at some point.

IF you were of the mindset that you want Hall to be a C by the time he's 21, which do you think would be the better developmental route (acknowledging that there are certainly other routes, don't feel confined to these alternatives if you think there's a better one):

Year 1: NHL (W) Year 2: NHL (C/W split) Year 3: NHL (C)

or

Year 1: OHL (C) Year 2: NHL (C) Year 3: NHL (C)

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#20 BUCK75
October 22 2010, 08:18AM
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If Hall can even get 5 shots a game like he wants to, it won't be long until he scores. I'm surprised he didn't get one last night.

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#21 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 22 2010, 08:20AM
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speeds wrote:

LT:

I know you think the Oilers should keep Hall this year, but watching last night's game I wondered if Hall may well be capable of a move to C at some point.

IF you were of the mindset that you want Hall to be a C by the time he's 21, which do you think would be the better developmental route (acknowledging that there are certainly other routes, don't feel confined to these alternatives if you think there's a better one):

Year 1: NHL (W) Year 2: NHL (C/W split) Year 3: NHL (C)

or

Year 1: OHL (C) Year 2: NHL (C) Year 3: NHL (C)

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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#22 DDP
October 22 2010, 08:22AM
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speeds wrote:

LT:

I know you think the Oilers should keep Hall this year, but watching last night's game I wondered if Hall may well be capable of a move to C at some point.

IF you were of the mindset that you want Hall to be a C by the time he's 21, which do you think would be the better developmental route (acknowledging that there are certainly other routes, don't feel confined to these alternatives if you think there's a better one):

Year 1: NHL (W) Year 2: NHL (C/W split) Year 3: NHL (C)

or

Year 1: OHL (C) Year 2: NHL (C) Year 3: NHL (C)

Give it up already. NO WAY is the kid going back to Juniors. He showed last night why he belongs in the NHL. He's getting better with every game.

I was at the game last night, I would have thought it was a HNIC game against Calgary, the the atmosphere was awesome in RX1!

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#23 analbumcover
October 22 2010, 08:22AM
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Too bad they lost, but the game sure was entertaining. I thought the Cogliano, Brule, Hall line looked great. Aside from the 4th line fire drills in the first, they deserved better than the loss. I guess karma's a bitch though (Florida game).

Anyone else have any insight on Storts? He's one of my faves, but he looks lost out there and I thought both goals had him as the primary culprit.

ABC

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#24 jr_christ
October 22 2010, 08:27AM
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Wow - the 3 rookies looked great last night and I love that Paajarvi's speed continues to draw penalties.

If we had a somewhat decent power play we could have easily won that game last night. Probably should have had another PP goal in there since we had 10 opportunities.

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#25 smiliegirl15
October 22 2010, 08:32AM
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I love watching Eberle with the puck. He doesn't try to be flashy, he just carries it through. Penner's penalty in the third was awful. He gets slashed, has his stick broken and he's the one who gets a penalty. The 10 minute game misconduct was a little extreme I think.

Was it just me or was there some bad reffing out there last night? There were a couple times when the Oilers had the advantage and the play was whistled down for no good reason.

So much for Renney thinking the Oilers shouldn't play run and gun hockey. I think that's the only way they're going to win any games this year. I think there are too many young players to teach them finesse just yet.

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#26 C-DOG
October 22 2010, 08:53AM
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@ LOWTIDE

Pitlick played both games against the Oilkings on r.w,I'm pretty sure thats his position at least for this year.

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#27 sloppy joe
October 22 2010, 09:07AM
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Last night was the 2nd time I've been able to see the team live (1st was a pre-season).

Seeing Eberle live really reinforces how slick he is. He's very, very calm with the puck and makes good decisions. I found Hall to be a lot jumpier and prone to giveaways - but, in fairness, Eberle is older and has more experience.

Hall is going to have to start hitting the net if he wants that elusive 1st goal.

I would like to see Renney match Gilbert and Whitney a little more - they were dynamite at the end of last season. So far he seems content with Whitney-Foster.

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#29 Crackenbury
October 22 2010, 09:15AM
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I thought Paarjarvi had a great game last night and was close to being the best player on the ice. I must have missed something though, he didn't seem to see a lot of ice at one point in the third period. Maybe it was just Renney trying to get Hall on the ice or was there something wrong defensively with Paarjarvi that I missed?

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#30 PabstBR55
October 22 2010, 09:16AM
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Wayne should be in a state of zenful bliss today. Didn't we all enjoy EXCITING LAST PLACE HOCKEY last night?

Joy.

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#31 BUCK75
October 22 2010, 09:16AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Proof that the Oilers have absolutely no control over what their prospects do after being returned to Juniour. Hopefully this will end all the insane calls for Hall to go back to Windsor so he can play C.

He is playing with Emerson Etem, Anaheim's first round pick from the last year. I'm OK with him playing RW on the first line, rather than him playing 2nd line center. Playing with the best players on the team couldn't hurt a guy.

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#32 SK Oiler Fan
October 22 2010, 09:18AM
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LT, Have to disagree on Jones looking good up until tonight. He's the classic try hard guy, while not getting much accomplished.

His feet are moving a mile a minute and his hair is flying all over the place so he "looks" like he could be a terror out there. His work on the PK has been a disaster. Overpursuing, constantly scrambling because he's out of position, leaving his feet before he has to. Any D-man with a little patience on the PP will have their way with him.

The only thing I can give him credit for is he's played more physical than Fraser and has shown he's willing to chuck the knuckles.

Reddox please.

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#33 Slick
October 22 2010, 09:18AM
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Hopefully once Hall gets that first goal out of the way he will start racking them up with a bit of consistency. Last night it looked like he really wanted his first goal to be a bar down laser beam.

Once he realizes that he will be able to squeak a few through the goalie, I bet we see a lot more production from this kid!

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#34 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 09:19AM
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@BUCK75

I'm not suggesting that he wont develop because he isnt playing C, just that the Oilers have no say in how he's going to be played. So this talk about sending Hall down to learn the Centre position is crazy because there is no guarantee he'd ever play C in Windsor.

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#35 Crackenbury
October 22 2010, 09:22AM
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Mrs. Robinson's daughter was hot!

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#36 BUCK75
October 22 2010, 09:23AM
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@Archaeologuy

No argument intended, i totally agree with your take. Pitlick playing with the best players on his team is one thing. Who would Hall play with if he was sent to junior?

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#37 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 09:28AM
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@BUCK75

He was the best player on his team last season and he was still playing LW.

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#38 D-Man
October 22 2010, 09:30AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

what about, Year 1: NHL (LW) Year 2: NHL (LW) Year 3: NHL (LW)

How does that sound?

Agreed... Hall looks very comfortable playing the wing... Why even consider moving him to center?? Gagner started to look like he was winning some draws and overall, we were 60% at the circle, against a better face-off team... Let the team go through it's growing pains and enjoy the ride...

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#39 Dan the Man
October 22 2010, 09:34AM
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I really liked Peckham's game last night and the physicality he brings. Glad to see his game progressing.

Eberle has been better than I was expecting, his patience with the puck astounds me. There is no panic in his game.

Since Penner only loses it about once per season I would have preferred he lose it like he did on Landon Wilson 2 seasons ago as opposed to losing it on the refs. Brutal missed call but still.

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#40 madjam
October 22 2010, 09:41AM
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Another impressive showing by Oilers last night . Too bad we were plagued by "hands of stone " by too many forwards again . It's early , but some of these players should realize your allowed to raise the puck off the ice , and not have to try and drill a goal thru the goalies pads . Not all goals have to be on the ice and sloppy deflections , etc.. Gagner , Cogs and Brule still want to put in goals along the ice - no wonder they are having such a tough time scoring . Time to practice lifting the puck off the ice surface - passes and shots !

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#41 speeds
October 22 2010, 09:42AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

what about, Year 1: NHL (LW) Year 2: NHL (LW) Year 3: NHL (LW)

How does that sound?

It sounds like a poor use of a #1 pick if he has the potential to be a #1 C (whatever that is).

If he can't adjust to playing C, obviously there's nothing wrong with leaving him at LW.

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#42 Smokey
October 22 2010, 09:44AM
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I think Hall debate is dead. It was great to see the boys win faceoffs, and dominate play, it a shame to loose a game we should of won. This is when the three headed diasster rears its ugly head when you can't bring up a Reddox for a game or two and stick Jones in the Press Bleachers.

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#43 C-DOG
October 22 2010, 09:44AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Proof that the Oilers have absolutely no control over what their prospects do after being returned to Juniour. Hopefully this will end all the insane calls for Hall to go back to Windsor so he can play C.

Completely different scenario, Windsor would be at the Oilers mercy to have a star like that back and Pitlick has no chance at playing in the nhl now, so the Oilers have no bargining power with him, it was just another option anyways, my whole point was not to have 3 young stars elc's expire at the same time.

Contrary to your beleif Hall can equaly sucseed at centre, It would help his defensive awareness and anyone who is that tenacious on the puck can be a great defensive player and he would eventualy be much stronger in down low coverage than any of the current centres, it would also help him incorperate his teamates more.

His second year junior he played half the year at centre, his goals went down from 45 to 38 but his assists went from 39 to 52.

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#44 speeds
October 22 2010, 09:45AM
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speeds wrote:

It sounds like a poor use of a #1 pick if he has the potential to be a #1 C (whatever that is).

If he can't adjust to playing C, obviously there's nothing wrong with leaving him at LW.

"Poor" is poor word selection.

Replace "poor" with "sub-optimal", that is what I meant.

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#45 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 09:45AM
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speeds wrote:

It sounds like a poor use of a #1 pick if he has the potential to be a #1 C (whatever that is).

If he can't adjust to playing C, obviously there's nothing wrong with leaving him at LW.

I think that it's a poor use of a #1 pick to force him into a position he doesnt play. Do the Oilers need a good Centre or a Great LW? I'll take the great LW and draft another centre.

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#46 Archaeologuy
October 22 2010, 09:47AM
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@C-DOG

I'm sorry I even brought it up. There are too many delusional fans out there that think this might even be a consideration.

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#47 C-DOG
October 22 2010, 09:55AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I think that it's a poor use of a #1 pick to force him into a position he doesnt play. Do the Oilers need a good Centre or a Great LW? I'll take the great LW and draft another centre.

I would take 2 good to great l.w's (Penner, Paajarvi) and 1 great centre, instead of 3 good to great l.w's. You will not get max potential that way out of your assets.

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#48 Jason Gregor
October 22 2010, 09:56AM
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@PabstBR55

Bob Boughner is no longer the coach.

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#49 Woodguy
October 22 2010, 09:59AM
Trash it!
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Lowetide said: If you measure this season in wins and losses bring out the Glenlivet now. Small steps, folks.

It doesn't have to be that way.

13 Million in cap space and the GM fills out the roster with the dregs who probably don't make the roster on any other NHL team.

Katz's kingdom for a 4th line of players with 500+ games of NHL experience and who don't bleed goals against.

A fine fellow named PDO pointed out this stat:

In 5 games the Oilers have 15 goals against. 2 were into empty nets, so in reality 13 GA.

Jones and Fraser have been on for 8 of them.

Their combined cap hit is 1.8M (975 Jones, 875 Fraser.

This team doesn't have to suck. This team can make the playoffs during the rebuilding year (if all key players stay healthy and the creek don't rise)

Tambellini is throwing away an opportunity for the Oilers and their fans by doing nothing to address to bottom of the roster.

You cannot explain away these bad decisions with "calm down, they're rebuiding"

The debacle of the 4th line has nothing to do with rebuilding, the kids or the price of tea in China.

It has everything to do with inept management who fail to recognize glaring holes on the roster.

This could have been addressed in the off season with 1 year contracts to quality vets.

Madden doesn't want to come to a re-build, yet signs with the Wild for 1.25M? You have 13M in cap space, offer Madden 2M for 1 year and see how he feels about a rebuild.

What exactly does having Vandermeer and Strudwick on the roster have to do with a rebuild?

They are pissing away this year, the 2nd last year of Penner and Hemsky and it doesn't have to be this way.

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#50 D-Man
October 22 2010, 10:06AM
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C-DOG wrote:

I would take 2 good to great l.w's (Penner, Paajarvi) and 1 great centre, instead of 3 good to great l.w's. You will not get max potential that way out of your assets.

Hall has played only 5 games this year... The thought of shuffling him around confuses me... He has a ton of potential, true, but this discussion is WAY TOO SOON... He belongs on the left side this year and next (and probably for the remainder of his career). Allow our youth - let's remember Gagner is only 21 and Cogs is 23 - a bit more time to figure out their respective position. Gagner is starting show promise and let's not forget that Brule was also taking some draws on Cogs line...

How about we discuss something a bit more relevant - like what we should do with the three headed monster we call goaltending?? (or something else along those lines)...

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