PAAJARVI KEEN ON DEVELOPING

Jason Gregor
December 20 2011 10:45AM

Last Friday Magnus Paajarvi was sent down to OKC in the American Hockey League. After a solid rookie campaign last year in Edmonton, Paajarvi struggled mightily this season with only three assists in 25 games. I've been pushing for the 10th overall pick in 2009 to go down to OKC since early November, likely to the point it sounded like nagging, but I didn't see any negative in sending him down. Those who opposed a trip to the AHL worried that he might become bitter towards the organization, or that it would somehow signal that he was going to be a bust.

After talking with Paajarvi yesterday it is clear no one should worry about his mental state. He sounded excited to be playing more, determined to develop his game and in agreement with the decision to send him down.

I've always liked chatting with Paajarvi. He was always upbeat, has a dry sense of humour and always gave you an honest answer, but yesterday he really impressed me with his attitude and thoughts on playing in the AHL.

When I asked him about what was said in the conversation with Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini regarding his demotion he gave an excellent self-evaluating answer.

"They called me in for a meeting in the morning and just wanted to talk to me about going down, what to do and what was going on. It was a really good meeting. I kind of had the feeling for it, and I don't disagree with it at all. Of course I want to stay up in Edmonton and play a lot, and do all those things, but the situation that I had wasn't really the best for me, and they thought that too. The best for me is to play a lot and really develop.

"I think it is good for me just to get the rhythm back, and just to get some time on the ice and be tired after the games. That's what I want to do and that's what I want to be in the future for Edmonton; to play a lot and be a big impact. If you look a couple years ahead I think this is the best for me."

I think we forget this is still a game, and regardless how much money players make or even how old they are, they ultimately just want to play and have fun. I doubt it is fun when you don't play much or feel like you aren't contributing, and then it becomes a battle to try and maintain some confidence. Paajarvi agreed that he needs a boost of confidence and he already felt it in his first two games over the weekend.

"You have to have confidence, because that's when you play your best hockey. You don't think too much, you just do everything and it you go so much more freedom out of that. I have to be smart here. Sure I could have been on the 4th line or in the pressbox for the whole year, but I don't think that would do anything good for me compared to coming down here, play a lot of minutes and really develop. I had more chances in my two games here than I had in the all 25 in Edmonton (laughs), and it feels good to get those chances.

"As you said, there has been so many guys that have done that and then went on to be very good in the NHL, and that's what I'm aiming for. I want to be really, really good in the NHL and I feel I can do that and I have the confidence to do that. If it takes me playing in the AHL to do that then I want to do that for sure."

As the interview went on I become more and more impressed with his maturity and how he looked at the situation. His answers were genuine and you could sense that the two games had given him a huge boost of energy and excitement.

"There is a lot of things I need to work on and be better at, but the most important thing is to play. After that I can start to look at specific things, but I think playing time is the number one thing to help me develop."

He also didn't seem concerned or worried about how long he would be playing in OKC.

"They didn't give me a time line at all (about returning to Edmonton). Anything can happen, there could be an injury in warmup in Edmonton today, or there could be no injuries for a lot of weeks. I could be playing well, or not so well down here. There are so many situations I can't think about them, so I just need to go out and do my best here. It is all up to me, and I'm going to do everything in my power to get back up there."

Paajarvi didn't score a goal in either game, but he had five shots and played lots EV and on the PP. He did score the shootout winner in his first game on Saturday, and admitted that the travel to Charlotte on Sunday was tiring. They play in Charlotte again tonight and after having two days in the same town and some rest, I'll bet he picks up his first career AHL point tonight.

The fact Paajarvi recognizes that a stint in the AHL should only make him better is a great sign. A major part of player development is having the player buy into it. Management can put him in a good situation, but much of the development will come from the player's inner drive. It sounds like Paajarvi is willing to do whatever it takes to become an impact player in Edmonton and that should excite management and the fans.

You can listen to the entire interview at www.jasongregor.com (just click this link it will take you directly to it).

DAY 13

We are nearing the end of  our "Helping Others" campaign. We have three days left and the final few packages should pique your interest.

Today is our VIP package.

  • Pair of seats in Dr. Brent Saik's suite on Thursday February 23rd v. the Philadelphia Flyers. Claude Giroux and the orangemen invade Rexall. The tickets include all your food and beverages and he and I will host you. His suite is on the main concourse, just inside the blueline. It also includes a chauffeur from Budget Car and Truck Rental.
     
  • VIP season tickets for the MFC. Mark Pavelich has donated a pair of VIP front row seats to all three MFC cards in Edmonton:  Friday January 27th, then Friday May 4th and on Friday October 26th. You will have limo service to and from each event. You will get loads of MFC merchandise and for one fight you and your guest will get to be cornermen. You will get to sit right in the corner and see and hear everything the fighter and his corner discuss. A great package for MMA fans.
     
  • Pair of gold seats to see Deep Purple on Feb 21st courtesy of Northlands. Great seats.

To bid you can call 780.426.8326 or email gregor@theteam1260.com. Bidding starts at 2 p.m and ends at 5:45 MST. Today we are helping out Operation Friendship Seniors Centre. We are helping make Christmas more special for seniors who are alone.

Thanks in advance for you bids. So far we've raised almost $37,000. I'm optimistic the final three items will get us to $50,000.00. It's been very heartwarming seeing so many of you help out.

Merry Christmas.

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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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#1 VK63
December 20 2011, 11:03AM
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I found it interesting how positive MPS was when he spoke of "really good team" in relation to OKC.

If the Oil continue to flounder they should get lander down there as well so he can contribute to something positive.

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#2 Master_Deko
December 20 2011, 10:51AM
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best of luck mags. hope you get some FIRST line minutes in OKC

Clenched hand fail, so I added an "R"... Editted by Gregor.

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#3 justDOit
December 20 2011, 11:26AM
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Agree with roughneck - Lander should be down there as well. But then we might need to pick up another body for the 4th line, and I'm not sure how many contracts the Oilers have left.

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#4 motomoto
December 20 2011, 11:50AM
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I got nothing. I must have fell into the booby trap the Tilted Kilt set. Again.

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#5 VK63
December 20 2011, 01:09PM
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@justDOit

Just bring up omarra... his development curve is defined and he has proven himself capable of killing penalties and that other sparing minutes stuff in the bigs already. Get lander down there playing 20+ min a night.

It really makes no sense to use the "gotta play more" logic with MPS and not apply it to Lander..... its ridiculous.... IMO.

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#6 justincider
December 20 2011, 10:50AM
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Classy kid, I hope he finds his groove and a spot in our top 6 soon.

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#7 Shredder
December 20 2011, 11:01AM
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Gotta love this kid. Glad he's not sour on getting sent down. FIST pump for Paajarvi. Here's hoping the development happens quick and he takes a spot on the top 6 of the Oilers by seasons' end (say if we were to trade a certain someone)...

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#8 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 20 2011, 11:46AM
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That's exactly what I wanted to hear from Magnum. He'll be fine.

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#9 high hopes
December 20 2011, 11:52AM
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his development will hinge getting as far away from tom renney as possible....same is true for lander, what a waste, playing with the plugs renney has him out there with 8 minutes a night

thought this was a rebuild not a retread?

if these guys were once meant to be valuable exciting parts of the future you would never know it from how they've been managed

credit to the kid for saying positive in this mess

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#10 Millertime
December 20 2011, 11:53AM
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Hows Omark doing? Whats his timeline returning from his injury?

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#11 stevezie
December 20 2011, 11:58AM
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@Millertime

I saw in a previous interview that his cast comes off in two weeks. Hopefully the Swedes reuniting stirs their juices and ignites their mojo and both wind up back in the bigs.

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#12 mayorpoop
December 20 2011, 12:17PM
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i heard the interview and i thought Magnus handled himself with great poise and spoke very well. he said all the right things, to which i think he actually believes (refreshing).

next time he has a lull in his play maybe we should just ask the coach to play him appropriately then he shouldn't have to ride the bus.

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#13 OilFan
December 20 2011, 12:33PM
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Good luck Magnus to bad Whitney wasn't sent with you

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#14 VK63
December 20 2011, 01:11PM
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motomoto wrote:

I got nothing. I must have fell into the booby trap the Tilted Kilt set. Again.

if u check her out on the team 1260 home site her assets are..... well.... unbalanced somehow...... weirdly enough.

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#15 JB
December 20 2011, 01:13PM
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He's going to need that maturity playing for this crappy organization.

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#16 jake
December 20 2011, 02:10PM
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Impressive attitude displayed by the young lad. Hope it doesn't go unnoticed by the other Oiler prospects. This is the kind of guy teammates love to be around IMO. That said, not convinced Renney didn't contribute to his "struggles".

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#17 freeze
December 20 2011, 02:38PM
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Has anyone heard why he switched his number to 16?

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#18 MAC962
December 20 2011, 02:42PM
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Uncle Tom must Go. I would take Cunneyworth once he is let go because the pour soul does not speak french. Cry me a river habs. Edmonton has a lot of Ukes, me being one of them. Perhaps we need Mironov or anything in ending in a chuk-ski .. lol

Renneychuck does not cut it. Youthful team needs a youthful coach.

Quinn didnt work and neither is Uncle Tom. I dont care how hard the man works. A trade - of some sort should happen to shake things up as well. of course not just for the sake of trading someone. But to get the players attention. They have some fault with this as well. Granted i give them very decent marks for effort against the Sharks and Wings, two very seasoned teams from top to bottom. We need to rattle off 5 in a row here to get back in the thick of things.. confidence does wonders and we had tons of it at the beginning. Our Goaltending is still good, habby is hanging tough, i cant blame him for any of the 3 goals last night. Damn defections.

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#19 Quicksilver ballet
December 20 2011, 02:45PM
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It's probably best Magnus doesn't see Edmonton again till next training camp. Have him more than ready and be sure he's legitimately a top 6 forward. Perhaps he could even spend the first half of next season on the farm as well. This is what happens when the Oilers give kids jobs before they're ready or even earned it.

Another 2 kids spinning their wheels up here are Anton Lander and Devan Dubnyk. Both could benifit from playing alot more in Oak city.

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#21 Oilerbill
December 20 2011, 03:43PM
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This is all good. Lander needs to go too. Gagner should have gone 4 years ago. He is a perfect example of why most players need to graduate at every level. Ecspecialy for Europeans that have never played the North American game and even many NCAA players. You can't go from playing 30 games at a lower level to 80 games at the highest level and expect to develop and succeed.

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#22 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 20 2011, 04:01PM
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best line:

"I think it is good for me just to get the rhythm back, and just to get some time on the ice and be tired after the games."

not only is that awesome (it says a lot about his character and drive: he wants to leave it all on the ice)... it's also a subtle indictment of his own play and the team's development of him. He wasn't tired after games...?! says a lot about his whole situation this year.

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#23 Rama Lama
December 20 2011, 04:22PM
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Magnus is not the only one who should have been sent down. There are at least 6 players that need to go down to the AHL because that is where they belong.

If the rationale is more time and less pressure by playing at the farm is good for your game then let's send all the veterans down!

It's ludicrous that this fine young man has to go down but veterans get off because of the collective agreement. At least he will give it an honest effort and his reaction suggest that he is mature beyond his years.........good for you Magnus, you are a class act.

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#24 pelhem grenville
December 20 2011, 04:34PM
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freeze wrote:

Has anyone heard why he switched his number to 16?

...i wanna think he just flipped it upside down ...he's had a good start without jackie parkers number...this tilted kilt ad makes me wanna go downstairs and check my tire pressure...when is she going away...and where's her kilt...oh yes PRV

he'll be good, he'll come back too soon but he'll be good...

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#25 A-Mc
December 20 2011, 04:51PM
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Can't wait to see Tre Kronor again in the future.

Lander would need to be sent down to get the juices flowing with the other swedes first before bringing them all up to the show for round 2.

In the future!

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#26 etownman
December 20 2011, 07:02PM
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Gregor, lot's of us were pushing for MPS to be playing regular, but here in the NHL! Of course a stint in the AHL won't hurt him but this guy is NHL material through & through & there's guys on the roster that he absolutely should be playing ahead of! Trades or demotions need to take place so the quality young players in the organization can develop at the highest level!

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#27 Milli
December 20 2011, 08:02PM
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GREAT Attitude, I'm sure the kid will be fine and end up as an all round everyday NHLer. Good move.

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