Oilers release training camp roster; looking for enforcer

Jonathan Willis
September 11 2013 09:31AM

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The Oilers main camp starts today, and the team released its roster via Twitter this morning. There aren’t any major shocks, but there are a few names Oilers fans might not recognize.

Changes Coming?

The list the Oilers put out today is likely missing an ingredient if Bob McKenzie can be believed (and can't he always be believed?). The list above doesn't include an obvious candidate for the heavyweight role outside of maybe Ty Bilcke; ergo he will likely need to come from outside the organization via signing, trade or waivers (which is how the Oilers landed Steve MacIntyre a few years back). 

Under The Radar

Ty Bilcke. The 19-year-old is a little young for his chosen role at the professional level, but his OHL stats line from last season leaves no doubt as to what it will be. In 46 games with Windsor, the right wing recorded zero goals, one assist and 76 penalty minutes (down significantly from his five-point, 221-penalty minute season the year before). 

Matt Ford. A 28-year-old right wing, Ford signed an AHL deal with Oklahoma City over the summer. He has decent size and has mostly been a secondary scorer in the high minors the last few years.

Austin Fyten. Fyten is a second-year professional who spent last season playing mostly with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL, where he came in just under the point-per-game mark. He has decent size, plays a gritty game and can score a bit and might be a candidate for a minor-league job.

Joey Leach. An unsigned Calgary Flames draft pick (73rd overall, 2010), Leach is graduating to the professional ranks after a decent WHL career. He brings size and some scoring ability on the blue line.

Derek Nesbitt. Another minor-league journeyman. Nesbitt turned 31 in April and has signed on to play with the Barons. In the last three seasons he’s posted between 42 and 55 points, and he’ll add some experience and auxiliary scoring to a Barons roster light on serious forward prospects.

Reid Petryk. An undrafted Edmontonian who played with Everett (WHL) last year, Petryk’s offensive numbers in junior have been underwhelming (he topped out at 40 points). By most accounts Petryk’s a defensive forward who plays with a bit of grit; he’s hoping to land a pro contract after playing two games in the AHL last year when his junior career season ended. (As pointed out in our comments section, Petryk still has another year of junior eligibility.)

Ty Rimmer. Another undrafted Edmonton native, Rimmer posted a 0.912 save percentage in 65 games with Lethbridge (WHL) last season, and ran up a 0.922 save percentage with the Tri-City Americans the year before. He looked good in half an hour in the game between the Oilers’ rookies and the University of Alberta Golden Bears, and might round out a minor-league depth chart that includes Richard Bachman, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz in net.

C.J. Stretch. The 24-year-old centre worked his way up from the ECHL and on to the Barons last season, and adds a bit of internal competition for players like Ryan Martindale and Travis Ewanyk.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 11 2013, 12:40PM
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One thing the Oilers could do right now, is bring in a guest coach. Maybe Col. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) from A Few Good Men perhaps.

Have Jack Nicholson (in full uniform) pacing back and forth on the bench with a pistol in his hand. Which team/player(s) he uses that weapon on remains unclear at the moment. Lowe could work out the details later i'm sure.

This would certainly prompt change on both benches. Changing the color of the TV time out lightbuld at the time keepers bench may require further thought though...

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#52 Ed in Edmonton
September 11 2013, 12:42PM
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It's been well proven that to be successful in the NHL you need a goon.

Just look at the Red Wings.

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#53 borisnikov
September 11 2013, 12:43PM
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Spencer wrote:

I get the fact that this isn't the eighties however small, friendly, polite team don't win Stanley Cups. A decent heavy weight that will stand up for team mates is a must.

A little remedial evidence to cure what ails you...

Chicago, 2013 season. 3rd last in Majors. Last in PIM Taken. Only 3 misconducts. Zero game misconducts. Presidents Trophy. Stanely Cup.

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#54 etownman
September 11 2013, 12:44PM
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Envision McGrattan running around taking runs at our skill guys, who is going to answer?? Yes, it still happens in the NHL! Boogard beat the living sh*t out of Hemmer doing that very thing, want to see that happen again?

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#55 pkam
September 11 2013, 12:47PM
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I'll reword my question.

If the toughest guy McIntyre cannot stop the other team from taking liberty at our young players, why do you think a tough player who can play some hockey but nowhere near as tough as McIntyre can stop the other team from taking liberty at our young players?

Are you telling me that he can play some hockey will make the difference?

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#56 Spydyr
September 11 2013, 12:52PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

It's been well proven that to be successful in the NHL you need a goon.

Just look at the Red Wings.

How about looking at the other 29 teams. Most have an enforcer.

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#57 master of my domain
September 11 2013, 12:53PM
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one of the only advantages I see of having a facepuncher on the 4th line is that one of the gifted forwards will get double shifted while said facepuncher is sitting on the bench giving the other team the stink eye.

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#58 Dan the Man
September 11 2013, 01:10PM
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etownman wrote:

Envision McGrattan running around taking runs at our skill guys, who is going to answer?? Yes, it still happens in the NHL! Boogard beat the living sh*t out of Hemmer doing that very thing, want to see that happen again?

If McGratton is on the ice with our skill guys then:

a.) His coach is really dumb

or

b.) He's out there because he got caught on a bad line change

or

c.) He will soon be fishing the puck out of his own net

or

d.All of the above

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#59 pkam
September 11 2013, 01:11PM
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master of my domain wrote:

one of the only advantages I see of having a facepuncher on the 4th line is that one of the gifted forwards will get double shifted while said facepuncher is sitting on the bench giving the other team the stink eye.

And increase the chance of that skilled forward of being run or taking liberty at.

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#60 Lochenzo
September 11 2013, 01:15PM
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This is where the concussion issues for Ben Eager rears its ugly head. Ben can be a capable top 12 forward, has size and good speed. A loose screw actually makes attractive from an intimidation point of view. But concussions! I don't think we can expect him to both fight and stay healthy for a full season.

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#61 Lochenzo
September 11 2013, 01:24PM
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Washington needs some cap room. Maybe we can add Volpatti for a very late pick.

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#62 oilbaron
September 11 2013, 01:24PM
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It doesn't seem like Bob Mackenzie is that credible these days. Seems like he tweets just so people have something to talk about (and so they say they found out through him). Maybe he's in the know out east, but something tells me he's out of the loop when it comes to Edmonton

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#63 Oilerz4life
September 11 2013, 01:27PM
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@pkam

And, when the goon is out of the box, the player that "suckered" our top line will answer to a 240 pnd muscle bound roided out blood thirsty professional enforcer. Your little forth line pest will get beaten six days from Sunday and never "sucker" our top line again.

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#64 Clyde Frog
September 11 2013, 01:27PM
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Lochenzo wrote:

Washington needs some cap room. Maybe we can add Volpatti for a very late pick.

For this season, WE need some caproom...

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#65 Bob Cob
September 11 2013, 01:30PM
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Bob Probert, thats the kind of guy you want and the kind I think the Oilers are looking for.

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#66 Spydyr
September 11 2013, 01:36PM
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Bob Cob wrote:

Bob Probert, thats the kind of guy you want and the kind I think the Oilers are looking for.

The was and only will ever be only one Bob Probert.

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#67 pkam
September 11 2013, 01:41PM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

And, when the goon is out of the box, the player that "suckered" our top line will answer to a 240 pnd muscle bound roided out blood thirsty professional enforcer. Your little forth line pest will get beaten six days from Sunday and never "sucker" our top line again.

Simple, he probably will have a game misconduct, just like your enforcer.

If not, I just don't put him out when your enforcer is on ice, or even sit him for the rest of the game. I am down one 4th liner, you're down one young star.

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#68 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
September 11 2013, 01:44PM
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Bob Cob wrote:

Bob Probert, thats the kind of guy you want and the kind I think the Oilers are looking for.

I think every team in the NHL....check that..every hockey team in the world wants a Probert. Different times, very special player. I don't think anyone like him exists in today's NHL.

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#69 oilerjed
September 11 2013, 01:52PM
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etownman wrote:

Envision McGrattan running around taking runs at our skill guys, who is going to answer?? Yes, it still happens in the NHL! Boogard beat the living sh*t out of Hemmer doing that very thing, want to see that happen again?

When did Boogard fight hemsky?? And how did that ever happen? other players( yes including the goalie) should have been laying lumber across the back of his head until he fell like a mighty oak. The question in situations like this is why would the goon not be suspended for 15-30 games with intent to injure?! Im not buying any of this crap, you need the team to stick up for each other period. You cant rely on one guy to make your reputation and protect your stars. It has to be a combined team effort or an epic failure is coming in short order.

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#70 **
September 11 2013, 02:01PM
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What do you people think of the idea being floated around of moving Martin Gernat to forward?

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#71 Tikkanese
September 11 2013, 02:02PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

It's been well proven that to be successful in the NHL you need a goon.

Just look at the Red Wings.

Yes the Red Wings who won all their cups with Probert and/or Kocur and/or McCarty and/or Downey playing for them. Your mighty Wings haven't won a Cup since 07/08 and that's when the last of the line of those guys(McCarty) retired. Was that your point? If it was the opposite point, you failed.

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#72 2004Z06
September 11 2013, 02:05PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

It's been well proven that to be successful in the NHL you need a goon.

Just look at the Red Wings.

So let me propose a scenario using the Detroit model.

Player A cheap shots Henrik Zetterberg and concusses him. Player A receives a game misconduct and subsequent 5 game suspension (first offense). Detroit scores 2 on the 5 min PP and wins the game.

Meanwhile they lose the next several of their games because their star player is out for 6 months due to post concussion symptoms.

Meanwhile player A misses the 5 games and is back on the ice.

Does the punishment fit the crime?

Now this hasn't happened in Detroit.... yet!

If league enforcement isn't sufficient, then prevention is the only other option. AKA an enforcing deterrent.

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#73 Death Metal Nightmare
September 11 2013, 02:06PM
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^^^

lol at Downey/McCarty being a "goons"/enforcers

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#74 Oilerz4life
September 11 2013, 02:06PM
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@pkam

No,you're down a forth liner, my enforcer is serving a ten minute major and my "young star" is on the ice scoring goals, now unhindered by your forth line pest. Which reinforces my point about there being always being a need for an enforcer on the ice, especially a small team like the Oilers, with a lot of young talent.

Look, Im not trying to be rude, but Im starting to see the point of these bloggers who point out that these keyboard warriors who don't see the need for a goon, have never played contact hockey.

If you've ever played the game, honestly, and seen your goal scorer being held by the throat over the opposing teams bench, you would see the need for an enforcer on your bench.

Why do you think both Mac-T and Eakins see it. Eakins made a career in major junior. If he sees the need on his bench , on his team, pretty sure he knows what he's looking for and what he's doing.

All you couch gm's and computer nerds that watch some Oilers but dont actually have hockey as a part of your lifestyle have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

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#75 madjam
September 11 2013, 02:13PM
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Occasionally the odd team can get by without a goon , but almost always not without tough gritty players . Oilers have neither an abundance of either .We will continue to get run , and spend an inordinate amount of time in the infirmary until such time as we can . Gm knows this as well as anyone .

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#76 The_CWD_GarbageMan
September 11 2013, 02:16PM
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A few comments from the bears v. oiler rookies:

Reid Petryk, with the exception of M.Roy, was probably the Oilers best fwd last night at Clare Drake.

Klefbom was lost in that old barn with the 'square' corners, but it's an adjustment to play in Clare Drake even for North American skaters. Having said that, Klefbom was the oilers worst d-man with several give aways, turnovers, and he unable to make a simple tape-to-tape breakout pass all night. His skating is outstanding and he appears to me much stronger physically than the rest of the pack.

You have to think a few bears get some American League offers once they finish their degree's - Ringrose/Lazo (Ben Lindemulder looked good as well - great skater).

Seeing the maturity level of a 22yr old (golden bear) vs an 18 yr old (oiler) is staggering - not discounting the fact the bears have played several yrs together as a team.

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#77 oilerjed
September 11 2013, 02:26PM
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@oilerz4life

This conversation is going nowhere fast. Seems clear that you either agree with goons or you dont. Quit kidding yourself by assuming what people do in their spare time, makes you look stupid. Your beer league sounds like it needs some serious overhaul if people are grabbing each other by the throat. Or your playing high school hockey and will figure it out when you get through with puberty. And yes Eakins made his bones in major junior, so what. This is a league notorious for being overlly violent and most of it having very little to do with hockey. Mostly trying to prove that they are tough enough for the next level. Unfortunately 99% of these players end up in the beer leagues with you. This isnt major junior, nor is it your beer league. This is a league of professionals where skill is the key. No one is saying get rid of fighting (ok Im not at least) but devoting any of your roster to a almost one dimensional player is ridiculous. If this was the way to run a hockey team, we should have kept Omark all along just for the shootout points.

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#78 Kent Wilson
September 11 2013, 02:49PM
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@etownman

If McGrattan is on the ice against Hall and Eberle, the Flames are throwing the game and you should stop playing the stars anyways.

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#79 Batfink
September 11 2013, 02:58PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If McGrattan is on the ice against Hall and Eberle, the Flames are throwing the game and you should stop playing the stars anyways.

Looking at the fLames roster, there's a good chance he will be! *drum-roll and cymbal*

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#80 Oilerz4life
September 11 2013, 04:18PM
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@oilerjed

That arguement doesn't even make any sence. What you're saying is that you're in agreement with fighting but not an enforcer. That dirty play only exists in major junior and not the NHL because it is elite and somehow excempt from the need of an enforcer. On the contrary, it is the roughest league and toughest most dirty brand of slashing, hits and elbows at the highest level. You're saying anyone who agrees that that assessment because they play hockey only plays in the beer leagues and looks stupid. Your brand of enforcerless "smart guy" hockey leads to dirty hits, slashing, hitting from behind and taking a run at a guy with your so called "checking line" tactics which you so wisely assert. Well, basically, pussy hockey, where you play dirty and then hide behind your coach on the bench or in suspension. But that assessment by hockey players is just "stupid", because you are so much smarter than everybody else.

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#81 Freewheeling Freddie
September 11 2013, 04:19PM
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We have plenty of grit and sandpaper we don't need a heavyweight. Tongue in cheek of course. We will get pounded on with this current lineup. Bobby Mac who should the Oilers pursue?

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#82 Batfink
September 11 2013, 04:24PM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

That arguement doesn't even make any sence. What you're saying is that you're in agreement with fighting but not an enforcer. That dirty play only exists in major junior and not the NHL because it is elite and somehow excempt from the need of an enforcer. On the contrary, it is the roughest league and toughest most dirty brand of slashing, hits and elbows at the highest level. You're saying anyone who agrees that that assessment because they play hockey only plays in the beer leagues and looks stupid. Your brand of enforcerless "smart guy" hockey leads to dirty hits, slashing, hitting from behind and taking a run at a guy with your so called "checking line" tactics which you so wisely assert. Well, basically, pussy hockey, where you play dirty and then hide behind your coach on the bench or in suspension. But that assessment by hockey players is just "stupid", because you are so much smarter than everybody else.

I agree. Ask people of a certain age and they will tell you Gordie Howe was the dirtiest SOB going. But, he could back it up too....

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#83 Oilerz4life
September 11 2013, 04:29PM
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@Oilerz4life

Anyway this thread has expired. Im done trying to explain Don Cherry to "smart guys". If you don't see the need for an enforcer, you don't. I do see the need for an enforcer. That is my "stupid" opinion :) Have a nice day.

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#84 WhattaMike
September 11 2013, 04:34PM
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About enforcers...

I never minded two heavyweights fighting each other during games (ex; Larocue vs Boogaard...or.. MacIntyre vs Ivanans, etc), but what gets me not liking it (an not having revenge) is when watching jerk-off guys like Avery or Cooke do something vicious to a player (like Avery did to Smid in NY) and the Oilers are forced to allow him off the hook because.... the refs won't let anything honorable happen or the refs kick in the stupid instigator rule to give the honorable player a 2 minute penalty/and a 5 min penalty/and a game misconduct...or... the Oilers tough guy can only be allowed to fight the other heavyweight.

This does not stop the dirty players out there from keep doing it cause they dont get beaten or bloodied nor properly penalized...nor... does it show the other team that the Oilers mean to go for blood (Expression).

Once the stupid rule is gone and the players being dirty start paying for their actions then the game will be better off...like it was when Semenko, Dave Brown, McSorley, McClelland Laroque (early years) patrolled the game for the Oiler stars to stay healthy and perform best.

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#85 michael
September 11 2013, 04:36PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

It's been well proven that to be successful in the NHL you need a goon.

Just look at the Red Wings.

The Oilers past 3 coaches all disdained the use of an enforcer. Subsequently we have had our show ran again and again. Game after game teams have run over us, literally. Especially in our own barn. Its been incumbent upon non heavy weight players, Mike Brown, to try to give this team some semblance of a deterrent. It has not worked. At all. The stats bear out that the Oilers cannot go toe to toe with teams like LA, San Jose and Anaheim when going gets tough.

I am all for the 3-6 minute guy for at least 25-30 games. Tell me anyone who is reading this who the frak is going to deter some Nuck puke from laying a hit to RNH when he gets back? Who Gagner? Perron? The first part of this season we emphatically need someone to step up and do this job. A freakin nuclear threat in the Dave Semenko mold. Death on Skates. Ask Gretzky how important he was to the teams success. Hall,EBS and RNH need that guy whoever he is.

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#86 TigerUnderGlass
September 11 2013, 05:02PM
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The problem with "grrr protect the skill" is that nobody has ever been able to produce the slightest shred of evidence that it works.

Teams with goons do not have less injuries. Players who run guys will not stop because the team has a facepuncher. They don't care. They've been getting threatened by facepuchers since they were 15.

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#87 Hair bag
September 11 2013, 05:04PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

I think every team in the NHL....check that..every hockey team in the world wants a Probert. Different times, very special player. I don't think anyone like him exists in today's NHL.

Lucic would be close...

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#88 michael
September 11 2013, 05:26PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Even in that worst case scenario where the guy is such a coward he won't fight. What is better a seven minute penalty or seven months without a kid because of injury.

Protect this house and the kids that live here. Enough of being the softest team in the NHL.

The Oilers make marshmellows seem tough. We get no respect. Our team is so soft that Royal Scotties mascot is calling us out. Were so soft that the Makers of Colace want the Oilers to endorse their product. The toughest part of our team is the Octane girls. At least they get some respect.

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#89 Wonger
September 11 2013, 06:14PM
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EXACTLY SPYDR!!!!! ENOUGH OF BEING (BY FAR!!!) THE SOFTEST TEAM IN THE NHL!!! WE WANT MATT CARKNER ON D AND BIG JOHN SCOTT AS OUR 23rd MAN, RIGHT FRIC*&%^%EN NOW!!!! Are you listening yet MACT!!!! Next time you get a BIG MAC in your line-up let him do his job, like he did on his last shift as an OILER against Brad Staubitz. That was such a beautiful work of enforcing it made the Wonger cry like a new born baby!!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!

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#90 Wonger
September 11 2013, 06:44PM
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sssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....get MIKE MCKEE from the wings organization.............sshhhhhhh...!!!!!!!!

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#91 Reg Dunlop
September 11 2013, 06:48PM
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Religion, abortion, hockey enforcers... all are subjects that people have definite opinions on. The small, young skill have endured enough surgery-requiring injuries and PART of the solution is a big, tough team mate that's always ready to go. Hall and the boys also need to start protecting themselves with the old Sherwood shield and the team must embrace the pack mentality (mess with one of us you mess with all of us).

One final word; if enforcers are unnecessary why did Gretzky demand that snap-show Mcsorley accompany him to L.A.?

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#92 wiseguy
September 11 2013, 06:49PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

So let me propose a scenario using the Detroit model.

Player A cheap shots Henrik Zetterberg and concusses him. Player A receives a game misconduct and subsequent 5 game suspension (first offense). Detroit scores 2 on the 5 min PP and wins the game.

Meanwhile they lose the next several of their games because their star player is out for 6 months due to post concussion symptoms.

Meanwhile player A misses the 5 games and is back on the ice.

Does the punishment fit the crime?

Now this hasn't happened in Detroit.... yet!

If league enforcement isn't sufficient, then prevention is the only other option. AKA an enforcing deterrent.

So let me propose a scenario using your model:

Player A cheap shots Henrik Zetterberg and concusses him. Your goon jumps him and giives him a couple of cuts and scrapes. Player A receives a game misconduct and subsequent 5 game suspension (first offense). Detroit scores 2 on the 5 min PP and wins the game.

Meanwhile they lose the next several of their games because their star player is out for 6 months due to post concussion symptoms. Your goon is suspended for 5 games as is Player A.

How is this any different than the original scenario?

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#93 Copper
September 11 2013, 07:03PM
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No we do not need a goon. We need players who can play hockey. Let the other team put a goon on the ice. Then send out our skill. And skate round him. Laroque was goon but, couldn't play and was no enforcer. He was only a fighter. His "code" prevented him from protecting his teammates and "enforcing" calmer play. He would only fight the other teams "heavyweight" and only if they agreed to go.

A goon is a waste of roster spot and cap space.

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#94 Hayek
September 11 2013, 07:08PM
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"Don't expect the Oilers to go out and get a heavyweight goon. Eakins doesn't like guys who can't play. If they could find a tough, physical guy who could play, then he'd consider it, but I don't expect the Oilers to find the next Steve MacIntryre."

-Jason Gregor

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#95 Dog Train
September 11 2013, 08:28PM
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The Oilers need to get tougher, but a hired gun will not solve anything. If we can find somebody who can give us at least 5 quality minutes a night, then having an 'enforcer' might be of some use. If he sits on the bench all night, nobody will be afraid of him.

Times have changed. With the instigator rule and the way that the league is going, players who use their hands for fighting moreso than stickhandling are becoming more and more useless. Again, the Oilers definitely need to get tougher but I don't see having a goon as being the answer.

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#96 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 11 2013, 09:34PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Dave Semenko...that is all.

BRO FIST ✊

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#97 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 11 2013, 09:36PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Typical response of someone who never played the game. Maybe the players should talk out their problems with Oprah mediating.

BRO FIST ✊

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#98 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 11 2013, 09:52PM
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pkam wrote:

If I remember correctly, Steve Macintyre was an Oilers in 2010-11. The question is why we only played him 34 games that year and less than 2 minutes a game when we dress him?

Also, why did Hall have to fight Derek Dorsett and finished his season early with an injury? I thought there should be no one dare to touch our young players, right?

With the instigating rule, the heavyweight is as effective as a scarecrow, but it takes up one of your 23 roster spot. How do you stop the other team from taking liberty with our young players and refusing to fight our heavyweight?

How?...... you pound the p*ss out of their star player (or at least rub him out against the boards) forcing the other teams enforcer to have to step up.....that's how!

(And there are other ways...that you and your kind don't discuss at your fancy dinner parties...and while I may appear grotesque to you and my very presence may repulse you...deep down inside ...you want me on that wall...you need me on that wall!!)

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#99 kawi460
September 11 2013, 09:58PM
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I don't think they will add just a fighter/enforcer. I think they are looking for a big physical winger that can skate and drop the mitts. Maroon could fit the bill.

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#100 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 11 2013, 10:00PM
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Hayek wrote:

"Don't expect the Oilers to go out and get a heavyweight goon. Eakins doesn't like guys who can't play. If they could find a tough, physical guy who could play, then he'd consider it, but I don't expect the Oilers to find the next Steve MacIntryre."

-Jason Gregor

Keep Mike Brown and add a bigger Mike Brown....that would suffice....and they would be Dallas Eakins type of player.....

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