GDB 4.0: CAN ANYONE ELSE SCORE?

Jason Gregor
October 17 2011 12:14PM

 

Lost in all of the love and praise for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is that the raw rookie is the only player who has scored on home ice; well he's the only one who has been credited with a goal. This replay one this one shows Hall definitely touched the puck, (final five seconds), but was puck completely over the line. It's debateable, but the point is the Oilers need more guys scoring.

 

We can debate whether Nugent-Hopkins scored that goal or not, but either way he has been in on four of the five goals. That is great for him, and thankfully it will stop the talk of sending him back to junior, but the Oilers offence has been struggling.

The H2E line looked great v. the Canucks. The three former first-rounders, RNH, Hall and Jordan Eberle love playing with each other and they've discovered some instant chemistry. They had seven points on Saturday and they have 10 of the team's 15 total points; unfortunately the rest of the team hasn't done much.

Ryan Smyth has the other goal, while Ales Hemsky and Eric Belanger each have an assist. Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark, Shawn Horcoff, Anton Lander, Ryan Jones and Lennart Petrell have combined for zero points and 19 shots in 260:36 of combined icetime. 

Six of their next eight games are at home, and if they want to be in the pack at the end of the month they will need to find some more scoring. So far Eric Belanger, even though he has an assist, hasn't done much offensively. He's been great in the dot, 57.1%, but he needs to generate some more chances. Omark has been almost invisible in his two games, Paajarvi is skating well, but I'd like to see a bit more urgency around the net. Horcoff works hard, and made two very subtle plays that led to PP goals v. the Canucks, but he needs to bear down when he's in a good shooting lane.

I know it is only three games, but the Oilers can't afford to have so many offensive passengers.

WHITNEY CLOSE?

Ryan Whitney and Sam Gagner took Tom Renney's "drop-off" test today. Renney pulls out his stopwatch and monitors their cardio, but most importantly he wants to see where they are at with their recovery time.

Prior to doing his test, Whitney was joking around and looked up at Kevin Quinn and I, only guys in stands, and did the sign of the cross and then smiled. He really wants to play.

Renney puts a pylon on the goal line directly in line with faceoff dots, and then another pylon at faceoff dot just outside near blueline. Players start at pylon outside blueline. Renney blows whistle, and players go there and back three times with stops and starts. It took them around 23 seconds.  He saves their time. Then they get an 80 second rest and go a 2nd and a 3rd time. He expects their final time to be within a half a second or so of their original time.

After the stops and starts they do three trials with figure eight turns around the two pylons instead of coming to a complete stop. They do this three times as well.

I jokingly asked Whitney if a guy could dog it a bit during the first time so it would be easier to match it in the 2nd and 3rd attempts. "I tried that," he laughed, "but Tom told me to pick it up a bit."

Whitney passed his test and his return will depend on how the Oilers play tonight. I get the sense that if the Oilers lose tonight, he'll likely play tomorrow, but if they win or play very well, he'll get an extra two days off and play Thursday v. Minnesota. That is just a hunch, Whitney nor Renney said that, but if they lose tonight, I think Renney will want his best D-man back as quick as possible.

Sam Gagner also took the test and passed, but he will take another test on Wednesday. A longer one that takes about 45 seconds per test. Gagner will return Thursday at the earliest, but likely not until Saturday.

KHABIBULIN STARTS

The goalie rotation continues with Khabibulin starting. Only Ty Conklin has a better GAA at this point, although both of them have only played one game, but Khabibulin was solid in Minnesota. Ben Eager will make his Oiler debut, replacing the injured Darcy Hordichuk on the 4th line, while the top three will stay the same.

Renney told us that an unnamed forward is battling the flu, and if he can't play then the Oilers will dress seven D-men. Just a guess, but it seems Petrell or Lander might be the guy battling the flu. I spoke to Hall, Eberle, Horcoff, Smyth, Jones, RNH, Eager and Belanger and none of them looked like they were under the weather. Paajarvi was very vocal on the ice joking with his teammates, so I doubt he's sick.

If the forwards are good to go, Theo Peckham will be the odd man out on the blueline. Jeff Petry was paired with Cam Barker, with Tom Gilbert skated with Ladislav Smid and Corey Potter stayed with Andy Sutton. Peckham struggled on Saturday and Renney will let him watch from upstairs if the forwards are healthy.

If the Oilers go with seven D-men, look for Peckham or Potter to take a shift up front.

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: After combining for three goals and seven points on Saturday, the H2E line continues to roll with two more goals. Eberle and Hall, on the PP, actually get some help from another line as Horcoff finds the net as well. Oilers skate past the Preds 3-2.
 
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Rexall will be busier earlier than usual as fans flock to pick up their Ryan Smyth bobblehead. This is Smyth's 3rd bobblehead - 2nd with the Oilers and one with the Kings. By 6:45 p.m. there will be at least ten Smyth bobblehead dolls for sale on Kijiji. Jordin Tootoo will raise the ire of the Oilers and their fans with a clean, heavy hit on one of the Oilers skilled forwards midway through the 2nd period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After spending ten minutes at the end of practice working on his faceoffs, Nugent-Hopkins will have a breakout game in the dot and win five of 11 faceoffs. Considering he has won 7 of 38 (18.2%), winning 5 of 11 will be a massive improvement.  

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#251 Al
October 18 2011, 11:21AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

The only numbers that matter are NHL numbers. Omark has had plenty of opportunity. Last season he played with the team's most productive center and this year he's getting a steady diet of powerplay time.

He is not clearly better at all. He is almost the same.

No, NHL numbers are not the only numbers that matter in this case.

Omark only has half a season of NHL. Comparing that to Nilsson's 250 games does not provide a meaningful comparison at all.

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#252 Al
October 18 2011, 11:22AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"Omark's style of play (grit, passion, strength on the puck) should translate into production."

But yet it hasn't.

"its going to be the effort that sets them apart."

It better hurry up and do so.

The guys is 50 games into a career. Why are you so impatient with him?

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#253 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 18 2011, 11:25AM
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Nilson PPG

NHL .47

AHL .95

KHL .58

Omark

NHL .5

AHL 1.1

KHL .64

Sorry gents, I'm just not seeing a big difference.... especially considering it's been claimed that Omarks accomplished "way more".

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#254 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 18 2011, 11:29AM
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Al wrote:

The guys is 50 games into a career. Why are you so impatient with him?

It's not me that's impatient with him, it's that I think the team will cut bait with him at the end of the year if he's not better then an 8 goal, 40 point guy.

I think if he wants to stay in the league he better hurry and start producing.

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#255 Matt Henderson
October 18 2011, 11:33AM
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@Al

Does the NHL give credit for previous success in other leagues? Is this a new initiative that I wasnt aware of?

NHL success is all that matter. NHL and NHL only.

If anything, his previous success at the AHL level and the SEL is only adding to my frustration at his lack of NHL production.

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#256 mayorpoop
October 18 2011, 11:46AM
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@Matt Henderson

lately you have taken quite the offense to people challenging an opinion on Omark.

i think it foolhardy to suggest that he MAY be this, COMPARED to this but equally as foolish to say he CAN'T, WON'T or SHOULDN'T succeed.

he proves some good things on a regular basis. forecheck, willingess etc. he like everyone on the team has non-productive days.

now before your tag team partner tells me only points matter and the rest irrelevant. consider the line he plays on, the role he is placed in, the amount of points everyone else on the team has not named Ryan. how's MPS doing?

too early Arch to be THIS defensive. i do think you made a very valid goat choice tho.

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#257 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 18 2011, 11:55AM
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mayorpoop wrote:

lately you have taken quite the offense to people challenging an opinion on Omark.

i think it foolhardy to suggest that he MAY be this, COMPARED to this but equally as foolish to say he CAN'T, WON'T or SHOULDN'T succeed.

he proves some good things on a regular basis. forecheck, willingess etc. he like everyone on the team has non-productive days.

now before your tag team partner tells me only points matter and the rest irrelevant. consider the line he plays on, the role he is placed in, the amount of points everyone else on the team has not named Ryan. how's MPS doing?

too early Arch to be THIS defensive. i do think you made a very valid goat choice tho.

I don't so much think it's that we are saying that he can't succed, it's that the odds are low... and getting lower.

The other major beef is the resistance to the Nilsson comparison when the results are near identical.

Sure he might end up being alot better... but he isn't yet.

Oh, and only scoring/stopping goals matters. ;0

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#258 Matt Henderson
October 18 2011, 11:55AM
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@mayorpoop

It's all part of the fun. I signed up for the agravation so it's my fault.

I think the comparison is spot on, and I'm sticking with it. I'm defensive of it because a couple of people are challenging it using some questionable methods.

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#259 mayorpoop
October 18 2011, 11:59AM
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@Matt Henderson

ok reaaaalllly bad comparison time for you.

you know who else is steadfast and rigid in positions.....quicksilver. i give props to that man for his desire to fail and keep getting draft picks.

you guys related?

:)

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#260 mayorpoop
October 18 2011, 12:05PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

well i agree the comparison is similar. the problem with comparison's if one was dedicated enough to do so you could probably find a succeed/fail comparison for anyone.

now clearly i don't have that level of dedication.

Omark isn't there yet and may never get there you are correct...but maybe just maybe.

please don't take offense to the tag team stuff i think it kinda funny and enjoy the level of unity you 2 have...somedays.

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#261 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 18 2011, 12:10PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

well i agree the comparison is similar. the problem with comparison's if one was dedicated enough to do so you could probably find a succeed/fail comparison for anyone.

now clearly i don't have that level of dedication.

Omark isn't there yet and may never get there you are correct...but maybe just maybe.

please don't take offense to the tag team stuff i think it kinda funny and enjoy the level of unity you 2 have...somedays.

You want to see our unity come crashing down?

Bring up MacT. :)

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#262 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
October 18 2011, 12:24PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

And I thought the Sedin comparison was a bit off...

this makes no sense (unless you are joking). Laraque has wooden hands and no skating dexterity. He was a lot of fun to root for and watch, but him and Omark are totally different kinds of players.

Of course I'm joking! I actually think it's pretty silly to be judging players in their first years in the league by comparing them to previous players, hence the comparison to big George. There are infinite amount of factors that can change how a player develops.

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#263 Al
October 18 2011, 12:37PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Does the NHL give credit for previous success in other leagues? Is this a new initiative that I wasnt aware of?

NHL success is all that matter. NHL and NHL only.

If anything, his previous success at the AHL level and the SEL is only adding to my frustration at his lack of NHL production.

Yes, its called the draft. Perhaps you have seen it. It happens every summer. Scouts have also been know to look at other leagues...

I don't agree that you can make a fair comparison using only NHL#s between a player with only half a season NHL to one with 3 seasons.

If you want to ignore all other leagues fine, but then no real comparison can be made yet, we just have to wait and see what Omark's numbers look like after 3 seasons.

My feeling is that Omark is a 20-30 goal guy.

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#264 OilFarmer
October 18 2011, 12:41PM
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IMO doesn't it make more sense to have a guy like omark on your team even if he is only playing a 3 min a night than to have a hordichuk or Big Mac like last year? Omark as a shootout specialist/2nd unit pp guy exclusively is better than a 2 minute a night enforcer

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#265 Matt Henderson
October 18 2011, 01:03PM
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@Al

How does bringing up the draft help your cause at all? Omark is a 4th rounder. As in a hope and a prayer. But none of that matters because the draft doesnt determine how good players will be or are.

So Omark was taken on a flyer in the 4th and and is showing why that was the case.

I also think Omark will have 20-30 goals...in his NHL career.

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#266 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 18 2011, 01:07PM
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Al wrote:

Yes, its called the draft. Perhaps you have seen it. It happens every summer. Scouts have also been know to look at other leagues...

I don't agree that you can make a fair comparison using only NHL#s between a player with only half a season NHL to one with 3 seasons.

If you want to ignore all other leagues fine, but then no real comparison can be made yet, we just have to wait and see what Omark's numbers look like after 3 seasons.

My feeling is that Omark is a 20-30 goal guy.

You must be missing it Al.... their numbers were similar in multiple leagues.

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#267 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 18 2011, 01:10PM
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OilFarmer wrote:

IMO doesn't it make more sense to have a guy like omark on your team even if he is only playing a 3 min a night than to have a hordichuk or Big Mac like last year? Omark as a shootout specialist/2nd unit pp guy exclusively is better than a 2 minute a night enforcer

Refrencing last years blogs, the players seemend to like having an enforcer. That's good enough for me.

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#268 stevezie
October 18 2011, 02:17PM
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It's impossible to argue that, to this young point in his career, Omark has been anything other than marginally better than Nilsson. However, OMark has some value away from the puck that Nilsson doesn't. Omark forechecks like a demon, is strong and quick in the corners and isn't afraid to go anywhere on the ice. He is Nilsson with the heart transplant you requested. I think that even if he never gets above .5 points per game he forechecks well enough to stick as a 4th liner/pp guy/shootout ace. Obviously he still has some things to learn about defence, and there's no guarenteee he will learn it, but I think his effort level will buy him some time. Remember the mistake wasn't signing Nilsson, it was signing him for that much money.

You use Nilsson as his comparable, be we could easily be throwing around Martin St Louis, or to a lesser extent, Marc Savard as comparables. I think we've got to time to find out for sure, don't we?

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#269 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 18 2011, 02:28PM
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stevezie wrote:

It's impossible to argue that, to this young point in his career, Omark has been anything other than marginally better than Nilsson. However, OMark has some value away from the puck that Nilsson doesn't. Omark forechecks like a demon, is strong and quick in the corners and isn't afraid to go anywhere on the ice. He is Nilsson with the heart transplant you requested. I think that even if he never gets above .5 points per game he forechecks well enough to stick as a 4th liner/pp guy/shootout ace. Obviously he still has some things to learn about defence, and there's no guarenteee he will learn it, but I think his effort level will buy him some time. Remember the mistake wasn't signing Nilsson, it was signing him for that much money.

You use Nilsson as his comparable, be we could easily be throwing around Martin St Louis, or to a lesser extent, Marc Savard as comparables. I think we've got to time to find out for sure, don't we?

I don't mind the PP/shootout specialist idea.... we'd just have to keep in mind that he'd be HIGHLY unlikely to be at .5PPG playing 4th line minutes.

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#270 Al
October 18 2011, 02:33PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

How does bringing up the draft help your cause at all? Omark is a 4th rounder. As in a hope and a prayer. But none of that matters because the draft doesnt determine how good players will be or are.

So Omark was taken on a flyer in the 4th and and is showing why that was the case.

I also think Omark will have 20-30 goals...in his NHL career.

It's not meant to help my cause. You asked a question and i answered it. The fact is that other leagues are relevant, especially in this case when the NHL sample size is too small to mean anything at all.

I think Omark will have 18-22 goals this year, and i will be right, and you will eat crow. :)

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#271 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 18 2011, 02:36PM
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@The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

fair enough... there are so many crazy comparisons going on that it's hard to know who is snarking.

also, I think I saw someone else compare him to big G.

But... then how to you propose to evaluate player performance? if you don't use some form of comparison? players don't exist in a vacuum.

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#272 stevezie
October 18 2011, 03:05PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Depends how good he is on the PP, and I expect he'd get more even strength time in games where we needed scoring, and less when we needed D. M. Bergeron and Mark Streit have both been played as 4th line forwards/PP masters in there career, so there is some precedent. And this is assuming that Linus can't play top 9 minutes, which I think he can.

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#273 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
October 18 2011, 06:26PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I don't know how you would evaluate player's performance properly man. As in anything that's performance driven, comparisons to others is a necessity. I don't have anything against the comparisons but when people use it to judge a player(pigeon hole them) who's played less than two or even three full seasons in the league is what makes no sense to me. I say give them time then make a judgement.

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