December 04 2013 10:47PM
The deck chairs have been shuffled. Stop the presses. Plan the parade.
Edmonton Oilers fans can be excused if they're decidedly underwhelmed by the move GM Craig MacTavish made today in the wake of taking a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place Tuesday.
MacTavish sent two players who don't belong in the NHL in the first place, failed reclamation project and noted giveaway machine Denis Grebeshkov and career minor leaguer Will Acton, the son of associate coach Keith Acton, to the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL.
To fill those gaping holes, and another to be determined, MacTavish summoned three players who may or may not belong on the roster of an actual NHL team by recalling Tom Renney remnant Corey Potter, fourth-line centre Anton Lander and 21-year-old defenseman Martin Marincin.
All three could be in the line-up when Oilers toss the welcome mat and their 3-9-0 home record at the Colorado Avalanche, assuming the Avs show up in the wake of these moves, at Rexall Place Thursday.
This makes the Oilers better how? Let us count the ways.
PARDON MY DISINTEREST
There is potential upside to any move that rids the Oilers of a ham-and-egger like Acton and Grebeshkov, who convinced MacT that his high-risk-almost-no-reward routine was worth gambling on at age 30 after three seasons of a whole bunch of nothing in the KHL, but in this case, it's, well, limited.
At 9-18-2 through 29 games, the Oilers aren't going anywhere in terms of a playoff race, so plugging Lander into Acton's spot does no harm and gives MacTavish and coach Dallas Eakins another look at a player who could fill a spot as the team's fourth-line centre down the road. Fine.
If it's Potter for Grebeshkov, again, fine. It's one third-pairing defenseman for another. Neither one gets a sniff of anything but the popcorn in the press box on a team with anything resembling an NHL caliber blue line corps, but that's not the case here – which is the real problem.
Marincin? Again, with the Oilers not needing to trouble themselves with a playoff race, there's no harm in taking a look and seeing how he stacks up. If Marincin struggles, which he no doubt will, send him back down to OKC. I do wonder who gets a seat for Marincin to get in. Jeff Petry, please, or it could be Anton Belov. We'll know by game time.
To understate the obvious, none of the players coming or going are game-breakers or difference-makers. MacTavish won’t find any of those in-house. Simply put, he needs better hockey players than he'll find in Oklahoma City or Edmonton right now. This, we know.
Until that happens, it's women and children first.
WHILE I'M AT IT . . .
. . . I heard Jordan Eberle use the term "pissed off" at least twice in post-game interviews after the Phoenix game. For all his talent, it would be nice to see Eberle actually play like he's pissed off. Just once.
. . . Who on this roster is going to take the job when Andrew Ference gets worn down by standing up for his teammates by himself? David Perron? No. I like Perron's edge, but he's a yapper and an agitator -- a smirk-and-skate-away guy when it gets heavy.
. . . While the buzz about the possible addition of an experienced coach to Eakins staff has quieted down, something tells me the search for a guy who fits the bill is ongoing. Just a hunch, of course.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.