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 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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#52 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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#53 Wonger
September 12 2013, 08:52AM
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It will be very evident in the split squad games this Saturday against Calgry how badly the Oilers need a top level enforcer to complement the excellent middlewight Mike Brown and equally excellent light heavyweight Benjamin Eager! McGrattan, Jackman and O'Brien will make this obvious. The Oilers best heavyweight (not an Oiler cause he has an AHL contract in OKC) was not even invited to camp. He has fought MacIntyre before and would fight McGrattan in a second. Also, why not give HORDI a tryout. Great team guy! FEARLESSS!!!!!

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#54 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 12 2013, 08:59AM
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I'm starting the BRING BACK STRUDWICK campaign now!!!

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#55 YESS!!!
September 11 2013, 09:36AM
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Good to see Yak listed as RW. Training camp is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#56 pkam
September 11 2013, 12:32PM
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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.

If you sucker punch any of my players, my response is to send a guy out to sucker punch one of your young stars. Why do I have to go after your tough guy or pest if I can target your young stars?

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#57 **
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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#58 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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#59 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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#60 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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#61 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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#62 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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#63 Bishai in the Benches
September 11 2013, 09:36AM
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If the oilers bring in a serious heavyweight, is there any room for Brown on the roster? And eager just gets buried to the point of having no chance whatsoever of playing with the big club.

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#64 **
September 11 2013, 10:52AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Sure Gagner will beat down a 6'4" 240 lbs fighter.

The team needs someone to keep the other teams honest with the kids.The powerplay will help some in that regard but nothing beats a punch to the head.

Why would an opposing team send their fighter against a scoring line?.

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#65 Will
September 11 2013, 10:57AM
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After watching the Bears game, Rimmer did a much better job in net than Bunz. The last goal he let in, where there was zero second effort and he kind of just watched it trickle all the way in seems indicative of his effort level last night.

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#67 GriffCity
September 11 2013, 11:17AM
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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?

make a good point about a one dimensional oversized goon, but thats not what im referring to. I would like a body that can play the game at a decent level but his main attribute is that he beats the snot out of people. Doesn't have to be a Macentyre.

When Hall fought Dorsett he did so out of his own fruition and im sure was told afterwards to never do that again. Plus Dorsett is an agitator not a heavyweight.

Last I checked, Scarecrows still work at keeping the crows away. Also, simply because the Oilers misused a player like Macintyre doesnt mean they are of no use. Big Steve found himself a home in the NHL...With the Penguins! Safe to say a few of their players are incapable of doing the fighting. If PIT can use a guy like that, how can the Oilers not? Plus he wouldnt need to dress every game, only against those teams which play a game suited to having a guy like that around.

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#68 pkam
September 11 2013, 11:39AM
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GriffCity wrote:

make a good point about a one dimensional oversized goon, but thats not what im referring to. I would like a body that can play the game at a decent level but his main attribute is that he beats the snot out of people. Doesn't have to be a Macentyre.

When Hall fought Dorsett he did so out of his own fruition and im sure was told afterwards to never do that again. Plus Dorsett is an agitator not a heavyweight.

Last I checked, Scarecrows still work at keeping the crows away. Also, simply because the Oilers misused a player like Macintyre doesnt mean they are of no use. Big Steve found himself a home in the NHL...With the Penguins! Safe to say a few of their players are incapable of doing the fighting. If PIT can use a guy like that, how can the Oilers not? Plus he wouldnt need to dress every game, only against those teams which play a game suited to having a guy like that around.

Your argument that nobody is dare to take liberty at our young stars if we have a tough guy to hold them accountable. The fact is Derek Dorsett was still taking Liberty at our young stars even though McIntyre was an Oilers.

So what happen if I continue to take liberty at your small players and refuse to fight your tough guy, are you going to sucker punch me and take 7 minute of penalty and risk getting a suspension?

Scarecrow can only scare the idiots. Do Avery and Clutterbuck ever stop taking liberty of smaller players?

And by the way, McIntyre only played 24 game in 2011-12 and 1 game 2012-13 with the Penguins. Wonder why? Nobody is willing to fight him but continue to take liberty at your smaller players.

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#69 oilerjed
September 11 2013, 11:41AM
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@RegDunlop

What if the other team doesnt dress a heavyweight as we have seen many times in the past. Suddenly your thug is little more then a lead weight. The "code" would eliminate the ape from fighting anyone out his weight class regardless of what he is doing. Then it is up to somebody else on the team to step and handle it. Why not leave up to the rest of the team in the first place and save the roster spot for a 78 D who doesnt mind sticking up for his teammates.

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#70 Geoff
September 11 2013, 11:48AM
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If we can find a face puncher who happens to be a legit 4rth line center I think that'd be perfect!

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#71 pkam
September 11 2013, 12:29PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Amen to that. Hang some body bags from the scoreboard....and make an effort to fill a few of them. Nothing wrong with taking a few suspensions to let those know some things won't be tolerated. They could have done this last season, but they chose to do nothing to send this message.

Oh well, this is another nothing year coming our way. They could always send this message out this season if nothing else. Cheap shot or not, break a few jaws/ crush a few larynxes and start sending out the message. Mexico is quite nice between November and March. Why not send 2 suspendeds at a time?

My answer to your approach, if your tough guy dare to sucker punch any of my players, I will send s 4th liner out to sucker your young and weaker stars, that is Eberle, RNH, or Schultz. No reason to fight your tough guy.

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#72 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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#73 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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#74 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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#75 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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#76 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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#77 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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#78 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 11 2013, 10:23PM
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borisnikov wrote:

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.

Yeah....But Gagner scored 8 points in one game against them....sup with that!

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#79 Greg Steinke
September 12 2013, 01:20AM
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McKenzie is just blowing smoke. MacT's talk and Eakins talk suggest something very different. McKenzie isn't paying close enough attention.

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#80 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 12 2013, 08:56AM
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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.

So you are acknowledging that McGrattan can have the effect of keeping Hall and Ebbs off the ice.

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#81 Greg S
September 11 2013, 10:03AM
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"Petryk's" junior career has not ended. He has 20 year old WHL eligibility. If he is back in Everett and Khaira ends up with the Tips they are slated to billet together.

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#82 OilDieHard
September 11 2013, 11:02AM
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maybe *IF* Ben Eager can make it back on to the Oilers roster, and *IF* the Oilers choose to keep Mike Brown as well, they may not need to find one...at least this year.

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#83 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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#84 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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#85 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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#86 Death Metal Nightmare
September 11 2013, 02:06PM
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^^^

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

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#87 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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#88 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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#89 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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#90 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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#91 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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#92 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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#93 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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#94 Hammers
September 12 2013, 12:27AM
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Surprised to hear they want a heavy weight especially in this day & age .

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#95 J Haps
September 12 2013, 08:15PM
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Do you really think that having an enforcer is going to stop a division rival from taking a run at your star player? If a guy wants to take Hall's knee out, then he will. It doesn't matter whether or not he has to fight Macintyre or whoever on is next shift. These are grown freaking men we are talking about, and having a guy like Macintyre is not going to intimidate anyone. If a guy injures Hall, Macintyre comes out to fight him, the guy can either fight Macintyre, lose and have some icebags after the game, or can refuse to fight, which results in Macintyre being a waste of a roster spot.

Now because I wrote this, I'll be expecting a lot of people to start claiming "you've never played the game" or "you're a sissy, go play soccer". Well, I've played the game, just not in the NHL. And until I see some empirical data that shows that the presence of a goon results in fewer hits and physical play, I'll continue to believe that playing a straight up, one-dimensional facepuncher is not a good strategy, particularly around playoff time.

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#96 Wonger
September 12 2013, 08:30PM
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J Haps wrote:

Do you really think that having an enforcer is going to stop a division rival from taking a run at your star player? If a guy wants to take Hall's knee out, then he will. It doesn't matter whether or not he has to fight Macintyre or whoever on is next shift. These are grown freaking men we are talking about, and having a guy like Macintyre is not going to intimidate anyone. If a guy injures Hall, Macintyre comes out to fight him, the guy can either fight Macintyre, lose and have some icebags after the game, or can refuse to fight, which results in Macintyre being a waste of a roster spot.

Now because I wrote this, I'll be expecting a lot of people to start claiming "you've never played the game" or "you're a sissy, go play soccer". Well, I've played the game, just not in the NHL. And until I see some empirical data that shows that the presence of a goon results in fewer hits and physical play, I'll continue to believe that playing a straight up, one-dimensional facepuncher is not a good strategy, particularly around playoff time.

The empirical evidence is the win-loss records and playoff appearances by teams who employ one or more ENFORCERS you SMRT GENIOUS!!!

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#97 oilers2k10
September 11 2013, 10:45AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

How long till Yak celebrates a goal by tearing off 64 with 10 underneath? #YakCity10

Velcro Baby, his Jersey needs more Velcro!

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#98 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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#99 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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#100 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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