September 15 2013 12:33AM

The Edmonton Oilers (the Rexall version) scored early and often but didn't play a full 60 minutes. The result? A shootout loss at the hands of the Calgary Flames. The split squads in each city ended up playing spoiler for the home fans, but the most important item--finding the 23 men for the final roster--came a little closer to focus in the two games. Here's my take on the Edmonton performers.


  1. Taylor Hall (20:29) 1goal, 2 shots, 6pims,  and an impressive 65% in the dot. Hall scored a very early goal and had some nice chances throughout the game. I counted three outstanding defensive moves during the game, but he also took some frustration penalties. I think he's just about the best thing to hit Edmonton since oil.
  2. Nail Yakupov (19:55) 1assist, 4 shots, -1, I thought he was all over the ice and would have benefited from playing with stronger linemates. A terrirfic young player.
  3. Ryan Smyth (19:26) 1goal, 3 shots, +1, he skated miles tonight and I thought he was most effective on special teams. I don't know how many games the Oilers can count on him for this season, but he is going to help when he's got the feet moving.
  4. Anton Lander (16:51) 2 shots, 39% in the dot. I thought he played well--caused a penalty with a quick move at the Oil blueline--and he played a lot of even strength time tonight. I like him, but not a lot actually happens with Lander on the ice. That could be a good thing, but the offense is always going to be a worry.
  5. Jesse Joensuu (16:22) 1goal, 1assist, 5 shots +1, I think he might have been the best player on the ice tonight. The goal was a power move, and sure it was a little lucky but if he can do that 15 times a season he can lucky himself to millions of dollars.
  6. Mark Arcobello (15:36) 1goal, 2 shots, -1, he was 47% in the dot and I thought he played a solid game. He's not going to create a lot of offense on his own, but the idea of Arcobello filling in for a couple of weeks for injury isn't the worst one we've seen based on this performance.
  7. Linus Omark (15:36) 3 shots, -2, and he skated miles tonight but there was a lot of chaos in his game. When the Oilers were running around like their heads were cut off, he was one of the chickens. Omark will need to settle that down if he's going to stay.
  8. Mike Brown (14:37) 1assist, +1, he was on the PK for 3 minutes and that was a shock and surprise. He was around the net on the Platzer goal, I'm not sure how manu nights he's going to play 14+ minutes.
  9. Kyle Platzer (13:01) 1goal, 1 shot -1, he was very good to my eye. Platzer's a funny prospect, there's really no reason to think he'll ever be an NHL player and I can't tell you two things about him (one thing: he's near the net at important times) but he keeps posting crooked numbers. A player to watch this year in the OHL.
  10. Marco Roy (12:34) 2 shots, for me he showed very well and I'm looking forward to seeing him post some cool boxcars in the Q. There's no doubt there's a skill player here, it's only a matter of how he progresses.
  11. Ryan Martindale (10:48) 2 shots, +1 and 40% in the dot. I didn't notice him a lot, he had once decent chance in the third period. The problem for Martindale is he's not really near the action when it happens.
  12. Ales Hemsky (5:58) 1assist, +1, he was apparently ill and didn't play beyond period one. Hard to say much about him, he didn't really get a chance to shine.


  1. Justin Schultz (27:06) 1assist, 1 shot. He's so good as a puck mover, and has some chaos to his game, but I thought he did some nice defensive things tonight. He's certainly going to be playing big minutes this season--4:46 on the PP and over 3 on the PK--and his success will go a long way to telling us how well the Oilers do this year.
  2. Andrew Ference (23:35) 2 shots, +2. I recognized him immediately, because I remember seeing his type before--an actal NHL defenseman! A nice night for the veteran, calm feet and good puck movement.
  3. Darnell Nurse (21:57) 1 assist, +2. I was impressed by his solid play, he certainly had some help but also held his own. The structure and flow of the NHL game didn't seem to phase him at all, he seemed more comfortable here than in the rookie camp. Having a veteran always helps, though, we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.
  4. Denis Grebeshkov (20:42) 1 assist, 1 shot -2. He was high event, made some nice decisions in the offensive zone but the wheels came off in the third period and he was exposed late on the PK. Played in all three disciplines, I don't think he can make the big club based on this kind of performance (but it's early).
  5. Brandon Davidson (19:42) 1assist, 1 shot. I liked his game. I was especially impressed with his even strength play--using the kiss method--and even though he doesn't have draft pedigree this guy is a legit prospect.
  6. David Musil (16:58) 1 assist -2. He and Grebeshkov were predictably chaotic, and Musil's weakness (speed) was on display against the Flames. I don't know if he's ever going to make it in the NHL--I think the scouts are probably divided--but tonight's effort tells us he'll need a prolonged period in the AHL.


  1. Devan Dubnyk .923: He was solid, exactly what you want from your starter. If the Oilers had played him the entire game they would have won.
  2. Olivier Roy .818: He was not sharp.


My take? I think Joensuu did much to help his cause, and Grebeshkov probably hurt his chances (and please understand it's early). That kid Brandon Davidson keeps showing up on the good side of the ledger, too.

Based on Calgary reports, I'd suggest Martin Marincin had a very good game. It's a long way to go, but we're underway.

Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
#51 Racki
September 15 2013, 01:15PM
Trash it!

Some random thoughts..

I have a tough time paying attention to the finer points of the game when watching within Rexall's walls, but I got goosebumps seeing Nurse and Schultz together for a short bit of time. That could be an exciting future pairing in a few years.

Also, man, I feel bad for Roy (G), cause he looked terrible. I'm sure he's not feeling good about his performance at all. I know he's still young, but it was disconcerting.

I didn't get to watch the other game of course, but sounds like LaBarbera was fantastic (no GA?). Of course the Oilers played a crap team, divided in half.. so I don't suspect that will be anywhere near the hardest minutes he'll face this year. But it's good to see him start things right.

I realized last night that I have no clue who Calgary's starter is. I assume Calgary has no idea either.

Joensuu is big. I did see him get clocked with one good hit at the other end of the ice. But I also got to see a close up of Byron trying to hit him from behind, but Joensuu didn't even move an inch (possibly Byron let up, but I think it's because Byron is about 150lbs soaking wet).

I thought Hemsky, Hall and Smyth looked really good together initially.. I actually hadn't noticed until late in the 3rd that Hemsky was gone from the game though. Not sure when he disappeared, but it would have been nice to see the three play the whole game together.

Hall... anything he can't do? When are the Oilers going to start subbing him in as goaltender from time to time?

On Dubnyk, pardon me for being overly critical, and maybe I magnified mistakes.. but he looked good... way better than Roy... but he still handled the puck like a hot potato at times. But it's early in the year. He did look good though, but it seemed like he struggled a couple times to trap the puck. Nothing to be concerned about though.

#52 Bushed
September 15 2013, 03:54PM
Trash it!

I was at the game. My random observations/responses to LT:

Hall looked very strong, ran over a few guys, a few hard hits, skated fast and covered the whole ice surface--looked to be on a mission, looked to be a guy who can truly impose his will on a game. Chemistry with Hemsky.

Yak looked stronger (vs last year) to my eye. Lots of great skating, sometimes with focus and purpose. Looks like what he is--a young star finding his game.

Smyth's speed surprised me, good and bad, at different points in the game.

Lander still seems over-matched physically, and doesn't do much on offense. Time to move on.

Omark had some very strong board play in the O zone, and some nice passing with Yak. Had the goalie down and beat on the shootout, just couldn't get the puck up high enough. Too soon to write him off.

Mike Brown skated like a demon possessed and left nothing on the ice. Love his heart. No skill to match, though.

Hemsky played well in the first, made a backcheck that prevented a goal against and turned into a goal. His absence became noticeable--while Hall and Smyth both continued to give good efforts, that line was not nearly as effective or dominant without Hemmer. (Rob Brown made the same comment in his post-game analysis).

Grebs looked slower and rusty.

Musil is very strong clearing the net, but needs a skating coach badly--his short choppy strides look awful. Usually well-positioned; when not, look out, as no speed to get where needed in time.

Nurse looks like he will be a beast in a few years--nice mobility, snarly.

Roy's skating impressed me.

Dubnyk needs a puck-handling coach--he clears it away to no one in particular (usually the other team) far too often. It's early, but the plum rebounds need to be fewer, too (unless the D coverage gets spectacularly better).

My 2 cents' worth.

#53 2004Z06
September 16 2013, 09:00AM
Trash it!

I know I will be trashed significantly for this one, but why does Hall keep throwing tantrum and slamming his stick on the ice after taking a dumb penalty? Captain material?

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