Horcoff Injury Has Major Impact

Lowetide
December 08 2010 07:53AM

A few days ago, the Edmonton Oilers remained relatively untouched by injury; today, they are facing some very difficult choices in terms of roster makup for the next two months or more. Faceoffs, penalty-kill, the powerplay, evens. This has an impact on everything.  

Hemsky's gone for 4 weeks, Horcoff is out for a long time (8 weeks or more). He'll have an MRI today, and surgery hasn't been ruled out. Horcoff plays a lot every game in every situation:

  • 14:03 at evs (5th on the team among F's)
  • 2:07 on the PK (1st among forwards)
  • 2:33 on the PP (4th among forwards)

Horcoff was doing an excellent job in the mentor role with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. All reports suggested he was an excellent captain and took his role seriously. This is a bitter pill, made doubly so because well known "borderline" player Corey Perry was involved.

Accidental my ass.

The Oilers will be calling someone up today, possibly two players:

  • Linus Omark: Highly skilled but there is concern about what he'll leave behind and how often he'll be on the wrong side of the puck upon turnover. Could help on the PP.
  • Liam Reddox: Ginger has been effective on the farm (again) and could help out on the PK.
  • Ryan O'Marra: Could help in the dot and on the PK.

I think it might be wise to recall all three. It might require placing Jason Strudwick on IR, but at this point the Oilers need all capable hands on deck up front. They may move Dustin Penner or Gilbert Brule over to center, giving the depth chart the folllowing look: Penner, Gagner, Cogliano, Fraser.

I've always felt this season was best spent in the basement. Get Sean Couturier and then add those quality veterans over next summer with an eye to being competitive for 2012 spring. The hockey Gods appear to agree. That's the only explanation I can think of at this point in time.

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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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#51 Harlie
December 08 2010, 12:01PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

O'Marra and Omark have been called up.

nice...good to see O'Marra getting the call up over the Ginger.Be afraid Safeway...be very afraid...Omark is coming up!!

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#52 Crash
December 08 2010, 12:01PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

I hope you forgot to put the "~" around the "they will be just fine without Horc."

If you actually think that then I can save myself the trouble of reading your comments from now on.

Yes I think that, so save yourself whatever trouble it is for you to read my comments. So sorry if I don't buy into the ship is sinking because of Horc being out.

If they get Hemsky back they'll be fine.

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#53 smiliegirl15
December 08 2010, 12:17PM
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I think one of the reasons they may have left Reddox in the minors is because he must now pass through waivers. Do they think we are in that big of a risk to lose him? Better then, if he stays with the Barons to help them keep winning without Omark and O'Marra.

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#54 Saint Michel
December 08 2010, 12:26PM
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If O'mark and O'mara are both called up, will we get the "Oh, Oh line?"

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#55 Steve Smith
December 08 2010, 12:28PM
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@smiliegirl15

Reddox isn't subject to re-entry waivers - he doesn't earn enough.

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#56 Cheesenaka
December 08 2010, 12:29PM
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Also I see that Ryan Stone is on waivers from Calgary as per Bob McKenzie's Twitter. Anyone else think we should claim him and demote Jacques?

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#57 NastyNate
December 08 2010, 12:30PM
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@KSC10032

@KSC10032 From what I've heard Comrie has major hip problems and will likely require surgery. I imagine all lines will be thrown into the blender in time for fridays game. Hall & Ebs will obviously stay together, but i bet the next couple of days Renney will be feeling out new combinations in practice.

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#58 madjam
December 08 2010, 12:31PM
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Bringing up OMark shows a commitment to try and win at least . That mortgage proposal of Winters sounds promising to tax payers and city officials by the sounds of it . Looks like Katz could have some competition on a new arena ? Horcoff will be missed make no mistake about it . Injuries starting to mount , not something this club requires again this season , especially to our top veterans ! Anyone else on my Musil bandwagon yet ?

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#59 Cheesenaka
December 08 2010, 12:32PM
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@Steve Smith

As per TSN's Ryan Rishaug, Reddox can be recalled without re-entry waivers, however after someone is healthy and we need to send him back down to Oklahoma, he will have to pass through waivers.

Omark on the other hand can go up and down without waivers or re-entry waivers.

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#60 Chris.
December 08 2010, 12:41PM
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@Crash

The team will be fine when Hemsky gets back.?.. Hemsky is not a center. This team has lots of talent on the wings (as evidenced by the last number of games)... but now the first line center of the Edmonton Oilers is a 21 year old kid, followed down the depth chart by Coglino, an AHL player, and Fraiser.

Look, I'm not here to say the sky is falling: but this is a bad situation. Sitting in the stands last night, full of beer, my neighbor and I kept playing a game of making little predictions for each upcomming shift. (who would score, who would land a hit, etc, etc.) When Gilbert took that delay of game penalty with only 2:29 left to go: I predicted that Eberle would draw an even up call in the first minute... then I realized: No Horcoff= no Eberle on the kill... and such was the case. Bummer.

I think you underestimate the value of Horcoff as a mentor and leader; particularly to Hall, and Eberle. I also think you underestimate how difficult it will be for Renny to distribute all those tough minutes to the personnel he has left.

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#61 Cheesenaka
December 08 2010, 12:48PM
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It's really hard to say what the lines will be. I imagine they don't want to break up some lines that seem to be working together, however I don't particularly like promoting Fraser anywhere through the lineup (see below):

Penner - Cogliano - Brule

Hall - Fraser - Eberle

Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark

Jones - O'Marra - Stortini

I would much rather see something like this:

Hall - Brule - Eberle

Penner - Cogliano - Omark

Paajarvi - Gagner - Jones

Fraser - O'Marra - Stortini

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#62 Dennis
December 08 2010, 12:52PM
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I don`t really know how the Oilers should approach this but there`s two ways to look at it:

- load up two lines and match

- spread it out.

It`s probably best to spread it out and have 89-27-13-16 down the middle but here`s something else to consider.

I like 46 but now that we`re gonna be hurting at EV it`s more important than ever to stock up when it comes to PK personnel and I think that means that from last night`s lineup you delete 10-22-46 and you bring up all of Omark-Reddox-ROM.

I noticed renney going with just two pairs on the PK last night - 13-27 and 16-28 - and he didn`t use 89 and he hasn`t used 14 in a long time now.

If we`re gonna ride guys like 13 and 27 at EV then you can`t expect to do it on the PK as well so let`s bring up Reddox-ROM and use them as a tandem in that regard.

So, to wit:

4-13-14 28-89-91 Omark-27-67 Reddox-Fraser-ROM

That`s thin to be sure and, yeah, another season is over before Xmas.

It`s a shame too because with 91 showing some real confidence - I love how he drove to the net on the PP last night - if 83 had stayed healthy we might have seen some nice chem on the 91-89-83 line to augment 10`s group; plus 27 carrying the third line.

Put that along with a possible reconcilation withSouray and two PKers on the 4th line - ROM and Reddox for example - and it would have been a fun season.

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#63 Chris.
December 08 2010, 12:57PM
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Cheesenaka wrote:

It's really hard to say what the lines will be. I imagine they don't want to break up some lines that seem to be working together, however I don't particularly like promoting Fraser anywhere through the lineup (see below):

Penner - Cogliano - Brule

Hall - Fraser - Eberle

Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark

Jones - O'Marra - Stortini

I would much rather see something like this:

Hall - Brule - Eberle

Penner - Cogliano - Omark

Paajarvi - Gagner - Jones

Fraser - O'Marra - Stortini

I like the Cogliano, Brule, Penner line. Why break up a group that is producing? I'd put Jones with Fraiser on the fourth line; play O'Marra with Omark and MPS in a sheltered role; and see how Gagner looks with Hall and Eberle against quality competition... Maybe the kids will continue to surprise.

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#64 Quicksilver ballet
December 08 2010, 01:04PM
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David S wrote:

You guys are kidding yourselves if you think we're back to ELPH. We wish.

With Horcoff's injury we are officially at Defcon 2, which everybody knows is SINFUL (Suicide Inducing Non-Fulfilling Ultra Loser) Hockey

Save the Defcon 2 for when/if Whitney goes down. We still have pretty good goaltending, and Hemsky's probably back in 10 games.

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#65 Oilers4ever
December 08 2010, 01:04PM
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Yay... they called up some help... saves me having to rant more about trying to lose the season. :)

Will be interesting how they do against the Bolts on Friday... Not the easiest team to step in and play against.. how come we can't be playing the Islanders.. :)

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#66 NastyNate
December 08 2010, 01:05PM
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@Chris.

Jones is playing with alot of confidence right now (could have easily had 2 goals last night), he is a nice complement to the playmaking ability of Gagner and raw skills of Pajaarvi (like you said why break up a group that is prodcuing)

[91 89 28] [4 67 14] [27 13 Omark] [46 ROM Fraser]

is what I would go with

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#67 Crash
December 08 2010, 01:08PM
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Chris. wrote:

The team will be fine when Hemsky gets back.?.. Hemsky is not a center. This team has lots of talent on the wings (as evidenced by the last number of games)... but now the first line center of the Edmonton Oilers is a 21 year old kid, followed down the depth chart by Coglino, an AHL player, and Fraiser.

Look, I'm not here to say the sky is falling: but this is a bad situation. Sitting in the stands last night, full of beer, my neighbor and I kept playing a game of making little predictions for each upcomming shift. (who would score, who would land a hit, etc, etc.) When Gilbert took that delay of game penalty with only 2:29 left to go: I predicted that Eberle would draw an even up call in the first minute... then I realized: No Horcoff= no Eberle on the kill... and such was the case. Bummer.

I think you underestimate the value of Horcoff as a mentor and leader; particularly to Hall, and Eberle. I also think you underestimate how difficult it will be for Renny to distribute all those tough minutes to the personnel he has left.

Yes, they will be fine when Hemsky gets back. Yes Horc is a fine leader and a fine mentor but Horc isn't the only leader and mentor. I think you overestimate Horc as do others IMO. I like Horc, I like that he works hard and is a good leader and loves Edmonton but he doesn't make that big of a difference to their success IMO. He's a piece of the puzzle, but not a big one. His loss can and will be absorbed. Hemsky on the other hand...well his loss won't be absorbed. We need him back for long term success. Again, my opinion. We'll see. The doom and gloom now is in full force before any games have even been played.

So last night, when you and your neighbor were playing that game. Who did you pick to score (if anyone)? How about Penner, Jones, Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi. I'll bet that you and your neighbor went with doom and gloom and figured, no Horc, down 2 zip, they're done. Am I right?

And what was the bummer about not having Eberle on the kill? Everyone complains about the horrid PK but yet they killed off that penalty. What was wrong with killing off the penalty and getting that thing into OT? How is that a bummer? Maybe they've found some combinations that are working better on the PK now. Stats show that both Horc and Eberle have struggled mightily this year on the PK.

Baby steps, each and every game Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Gagner, etc get better and better and better.

I think one of the most overused phrases in this forum is "oh my, who is going to play the tough minutes". I think this tough minutes thing is overplayed in here. It seems to me that lately Hall and Eberle, both in their first years were playing these so called tough minutes. And I'm guessing that you somehow figure that now the Horc is out that Hall and Eberle can't do it now? That's nonsense IMO.

Time will tell and I believe wholeheartedly that if they get Hemsky back at the end of Dec. they will just be fine. Whether he is a center or not.

Oilers are screwed without Horc....sorry, not buying it.

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#68 Dominoiler
December 08 2010, 01:36PM
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"Hall - Brule - Eberle

Penner - Cogliano - Omark

Paajarvi - Gagner - Jones

Fraser - O'Marra - Stortini"

5 rookies, 3 marginal tweener / 4th liners.. One Solid 'vet', and three young smallish top-6/9ers..

bring on the hurt..

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#69 Chris.
December 08 2010, 02:34PM
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@Crash

We weren't doom and gloom at all. I actually kept picking MPS to score: the kid was positively flying out there. It seemed to me like the Oilers had more quality scoring chances than the Ducks... My neighbor and I were positive that it was only a matter of time till the Oilers scored; the momentum was undeniable. (Good on Jones for potting yet another big goal)

I disagree with your casual dismissal of the concept of tough minutes... and still disagree with your theory that Hemsky returning will somehow compensate for the gigantic hole at center.

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#70 Chris.
December 08 2010, 02:36PM
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NastyNate wrote:

Jones is playing with alot of confidence right now (could have easily had 2 goals last night), he is a nice complement to the playmaking ability of Gagner and raw skills of Pajaarvi (like you said why break up a group that is prodcuing)

[91 89 28] [4 67 14] [27 13 Omark] [46 ROM Fraser]

is what I would go with

Good point... But for me; I'm more concerned with finding a good center to play with Hall than I am with the continued success of Ryan Jones.

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#71 rubbertrout
December 08 2010, 03:08PM
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@Crash

I guess Horc's plus minus and Hall and Eberle's plus minus (notwithstanding the fact that they play together much of the time) means nothing about hthe impact he has on their line.

I hope they do well without him but I have a tough time seeing the same level of success that they've had thus far.

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#72 Crash
December 08 2010, 03:44PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

I guess Horc's plus minus and Hall and Eberle's plus minus (notwithstanding the fact that they play together much of the time) means nothing about hthe impact he has on their line.

I hope they do well without him but I have a tough time seeing the same level of success that they've had thus far.

Honestly, Hall and Eberle are unstoppable trains...it isn't going to matter who plays with them as each game goes by.

In fact I'd say that those 2 will be the one's that stir the drink of any line they play on going forward.

Like I said I don't hate Horcoff and he's a hard worker, but I just don't think him being out is really big time impactful. Hall and Eberle will continue to improve and continue to create whether they have Horcoff or not.

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#73 Crash
December 08 2010, 03:52PM
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Chris. wrote:

We weren't doom and gloom at all. I actually kept picking MPS to score: the kid was positively flying out there. It seemed to me like the Oilers had more quality scoring chances than the Ducks... My neighbor and I were positive that it was only a matter of time till the Oilers scored; the momentum was undeniable. (Good on Jones for potting yet another big goal)

I disagree with your casual dismissal of the concept of tough minutes... and still disagree with your theory that Hemsky returning will somehow compensate for the gigantic hole at center.

Well like I said, time will tell...I really don't think there is this gigantic hole at center because of Horcoff being out...There may be a hole, yes, but how big is it really?...we'll see how the replacements do. I'm not one to write guys off before they've even been given a chance unlike so many on this site do.

But there is a gigantic hole in skill and production when Hemsky is out. Hemsky's return has nothing to do with filling any hole at center but has tons to do with producing goals and winning hockey games.

Glad to hear you and your neighbor weren't all doom and gloom. You made mention of Paajarvi flying out there. This is part of the reason I think this team only gets better as the year progresses. These guys are growing fast, especially Hall and Eberle. I don't think it's out of the question to suggest that Hall may soon start to dominate some games. Having Hemsky will only make this team that much more dangerous.

As far as your tough minutes goes, we have multiple guys who can play tough minutes IMO. Horcoff is not the only guy on this team that can do this. This is why I think too much emphasis is put on these so called tough minutes. When you are on the road you don't get last change, so guys better learn to play these so called tough minutes.

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#74 madjam
December 08 2010, 03:57PM
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IRONIC ! MacDonald, the game before, spears Horcoff in the knee with his helmet on . He phones his old buddy Perry to finish Horcoff's knee off on his visit to Edmonton . Probably not , but a strange bit of fate/coincidence considering MacDonald out with concussion , and now Horcoff out as well .

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#75 Curtis
December 08 2010, 04:39PM
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How come Horcoff being injured isn't even registering on the MSM sites? I had to google it after I came to oilersnation first (obviously) for an update.

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#76 PerryK
December 09 2010, 12:56AM
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@KSC10032

"In terms of cheaper/waiver options that migh exist, I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned Mike Comrie, who is currently rotting in Pittsburgh's press-box. I expect the Penguins would list him as "free to a good home".

Comments?"

Great idea! However, the last time around, he insisted that he is a winger and not a center.

We need him to play as a productive top 6 center. I wonder if he would be willing to take that role on. I believe that he is probably at his best as a play making center.

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