OILERS WIN....

Jason Gregor
January 21 2013 12:09AM

 

It wasn't the prettiest win, but the young Oilers deserve a lot of credit for battling back from a 2-0 deficit to win their season opener 3-2 in a shoot out.

The Oilers looked like a team playing their first game of the season. They shot wide on many of the best scoring chances, and I'd attribute that to a bit of rust. They took too many penalties, but their penalty killers were solid. Overall there were way more positives than negatives.

QUICK HITS

  • It is only one game, but right now there are more questions surrounding Cory Schneider than Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk might want the Edler bomb of a shot back, but being partially screened I didn't think it was an awful goal. After that he was very solid and didn't give many second chances by kicking out juicy rebounds. Canucks fans will be livid after the weekend and they might have a full-scale goaltender controversy on their hands already. Something tells me Oiler fans love this.
     
  • Ales Hemsky had an excellent game. He used his speed to back off defenders and created numerous scoring chances. With the top line likely to face the opposing #1 defence pairing most games, Hemsky/Gagner/Yakupov could have a big year. Hemsky is healthy for the first time in three years and if he stays healthy he could pot 35-39 points.
     
  • If the Oilers keep taking that many penalties Krueger will have to find another duo of forwards who can kill penalties. Horcoff/Smyth and Belanger/Petrell were very good, but he'll need more than just four forwards. He did mention he plans on letting the young guys get some PK time as the season progresses.
     
  • If you look at the overall icetime of his bench, I think Krueger did exactly what he wanted, excluding Teemu Hartikainen who only played 6:10. He wasn't on the PK or PP so it was hard for him to mix him in. Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins all played over 21 minutes. 15 of the 18 skaters had at least 21 shifts.
     
  • Jeff Petry was very good. He continued very he left off last season, and he's shown a willingness and ability to deliver some solid body checks.
     
  • Eric Belanger got ripped endlessly last season, so it's only fair to point out how solid he played tonight. He was good on draws, 56%; very good on the PK and the 4th line was effective five-on-five.
     
  • Nick Schultz blocked nine shots and played his usual mistake-free game. I know many didn't like the Gilbert/Schultz trade, but Schultz is a better pure defender and that's why they made the deal. You can debate forever who is a better player straight up, but on this team he fills the defensive D-man role better than Gilbert.
     
  • Just for fun, Jordan Eberle's shooting percentage is 20%. And he did that on five shots, which is well above his average of the past two years.
     
  • The Oilers were 56% in faceoffs. RNH and Gagner were both 50% (7 wins, 7 losses), while Horcoff won 10 of 16 and Belanger won 9 of 16.
     
  • I thought RNH was a bit off tonight. He missed a few passes that he usually makes in his sleep. He got better as the game went on, and I think the Oilers overall passing will be much crisper on Tuesday.
     
  • After the Sedins the Canucks don't have many forwards who scare you. They could struggle to score goals this season.
     
  • I liked Krueger's strategy late in the game. In the final few minutes he used Petrell in Yakupov's spot. Some might say he was coaching not to lose, but I don't blame him for wanting to get a point. He clearly coached to win by starting OT with Eberle/RNH, then going with Yakupov/Hall and back to RNH/Eberle before going to Hemsky/Gagner. I don't call that coaching not to lose. Yakupov is a rookie and Krueger wants to put him in positions to succeed. As Yakupov gets more comfortable I'm sure you will see Krueger give him more responsibility, but there is no point in doing it in the first game of the season.
     
  • That was a big win for the Oilers, and overall I thought they played pretty well. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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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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#51 bdiddy18
January 21 2013, 10:05AM
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Very optimistic after this first game, Coach K used the young guns more this year than Renney did for two years.

Yak and Hall in OT ! what whoa creativity - no way!

Guessing Hartikanen lost minutes when the 4th line was removed for the final five minutes due to Eager's fight with Kassian, bumping Belanger up to the third line - otherwise he gets more minutes.

I just hope in the transition into this short season that Ryan Smyth is removed from the PK and Eberle (or Hall) is inserted.

Smyth does just fine as a third line and occasional PK PP. We need at least one of the young guns to start killing penalties. Teams that win Cups have their stars killing penalties especially when you are losing..need that threat of the shorty

The present tandems of Belanger/Petrell and Horcoff/Smyth are fine if you are winning or tied but if you are losing Oilers going to need more snipers on the pk.

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#52 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 21 2013, 10:12AM
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@bdiddy18

On Harti... I agree about the 3rd.. he was pulled for more senior players...

but I think he lost most of his minutes because the Oilers couldn't stay out of the box... Harti isn't on special teams... yet.

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#53 Phixieus666
January 21 2013, 10:19AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

On Harti... I agree about the 3rd.. he was pulled for more senior players...

but I think he lost most of his minutes because the Oilers couldn't stay out of the box... Harti isn't on special teams... yet.

I also think that Harti will be used less in games with teams that are more skilled. When playing with bigger more physical teams I think he will end up on the PP and shifts in the top 6. This also allows Kruger to conserve him a bit for such a tight season.

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#54 Oilers21
January 21 2013, 10:30AM
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I know I'm late to the party but I thought that was a great win. Incredibly small sample but it looks like a totally different team than last year. We didn't fold faster than Superman on laundry day when going down a couple of goals. Everyone forechecked and actually fought for the puck. The kids looked dangerous all night. The third line played great. Plus we beat Vancouver which since I live in Victoria is the greatest of all accomplishments.

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#55 oilers2k14
January 21 2013, 11:04AM
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throughout the game I kept thinking "Oilers need some size on that second line" One of Gagner or Hemsky needs to get replaced on that line with some size that can keep up with Yakupov..Don't need to trade hemsky or gagner..but somehow gotta get some skilled size with grit on that line..maybe try hartakeinen.

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#56 geoilersgist
January 21 2013, 11:21AM
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@TKB2677

What Eager did though was absolutely great. Kassian was having a heck of a game and Eager removed him from it for 5min at a crucial point of the game. That is exactly what Eager needs to do every game.

Couldn't agree with you more on Potter though. Just because Renney had a love for him I hope Krueger is just boosting his value so he can be shipped away for a bag o' pucks.

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#57 Smythyyy
January 21 2013, 11:29AM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

Dubs was good. One could put some blame on him for the first goal, but Gagner owns him one for the second goal.

Yakupov will need a couple of games to get comfortable. I have a feeling Hemmer and Nail will be one of the most dangerous second lines this short season.

Krueger should put Eager on the third with Horcoff and Smyth, and Harti with Belanger and Petrell. Horcoff and Smyth could be lined up against other teams better lines and in that Eager would have higher calibre players to hit.

I didn't understand why one of Hall's shifts in the OT was wasted by putting Smyth out with him.?

Smid and Petry were solid. Potter needs to sit.

P.S. If Hemmer ain't worth 2 at 5-how the #@$% is Joffrey worth 5 at 5.25?

I think that was more Whitney's fault on the second goal. What the heck was he doing over there? He wasn't protecting the net nor guarding Sedin either. Anyway, it's just the first game. A lot of jitters and rust; they'll shake it off. Gagner played an above average game imho.

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#58 VK63
January 21 2013, 11:29AM
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I never had any issue with the gilbert/schultz trade. Watched Nick develop in PA as a Raider and hes always been an all in character guy on and off the ice.

In a couple conversations this summer with wild guys, losing schultz last year left a big hole in their room. Hes a solid player and a "glue" guy. further evidence that good guys dont always finish last... (we hope). Ha!

*Although seth jones would look just fine in oilers silks!*

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#59 Will
January 21 2013, 11:35AM
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BAhahahaha, no DSF for a few days huh? Weird.

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#60 TKB2677
January 21 2013, 12:10PM
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I have to say I LOVED how Kruger coached last night. He played the bread and butter all game long. THE KIDS. Saw Nuge talking defensive zone faceoffs late in the game. Saw Nuge, Eberle AND JUSTIN SCHULTZ out in OT several times together vs the Sedin's. Never EVER would you see that happen with Renney. Saw Yakupov jump over the boards and play with Hall once the faceoff was won IN OT! Never EVER would of seen that with Renney. I don't even think Schultz or Yakupov would of even stepped foot on the ice with Renney in the last 3 minutes of the game, let alone in OT.

So refreshing!! I hope it lasts.

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#61 common sense
January 21 2013, 02:10PM
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geoilersgist wrote:

What Eager did though was absolutely great. Kassian was having a heck of a game and Eager removed him from it for 5min at a crucial point of the game. That is exactly what Eager needs to do every game.

Couldn't agree with you more on Potter though. Just because Renney had a love for him I hope Krueger is just boosting his value so he can be shipped away for a bag o' pucks.

Kassian was interviewed by sportsnet and he said that he initiated the fight with Eager. Kassian said he wanted to give the Nucks some energy. Kassian said he might be a little smarter next time because exactly that he was taken out a game where he was playing pretty good with the Sedins.

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#62 David S
January 21 2013, 08:09PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Sitting happily at his desk, DSF brushes the Cheeto remnants from his face; he is contented...

There it is done! He congratulates himself at scribing the paper's contents onto the internet; now everyone will see the truth of my genius!

They can view my idle musings from before as just that and now they can all recognize my current work as coming from the amazing hockey mind I possess.

staring around his room he twiddles his thumbs in a happy fashion, decides he is hungry and calls upstairs for mother to make lunch!

He cannot spare a minute from the internet, he must be ever watchful of people liking things for the wrong reasons!

All questions are answered here:

http://youtu.be/qlkQKuThjMs

You're welcome.

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#63 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 21 2013, 08:23PM
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David S wrote:

All questions are answered here:

http://youtu.be/qlkQKuThjMs

You're welcome.

That guy seems to at least have a sense of humor and doesn't seem to take himself very seriously...

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#64 Dog Train
January 21 2013, 09:39PM
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With Nuge having a solid 50% night in the circle, I would like to see Horcoff taken off of the PP and replaced by Teemu. That would cut back on some of Horcoff's minutes and hopefully get Teemu into the game. Failing that, maybe Magnus would be a better fit on that 3rd line while helping out on the PK.

Overall, I am happy with how coach K coached that first game. The players seem to know their role moreso than in past seasons.

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#65 Kodiak
January 21 2013, 10:08PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Potter was on the ice for both goals, and Hemsky scored the game tying and shootout clinching goals.

My Goat / Star picks are looking about right so far. Frigging Potter.

Ahh...Hemsky was on for both goals against, too.

I do agree, though. I wasn't impressed much with Potter. He actually played better on the PK than 5x5. I'd much rather have a defensive, physical Dman like Fistric in Potter's spot.

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