TRAINING CAMP AND LINEUPS...

Jason Gregor
September 16 2013 02:30PM

 

You know hockey season is back, when many are wondering about the status of Corey Potter. Potter is nursing a back injury and that's why he didn't play on Saturday and wasn't on the ice today.

Potter's injury couldn't have come at a worse time for him, because there is lot of competition for the #6, #7 and even #8 spot on the Oilers blueline.

It is obvious that Justin Schultz, Andrew Ference, Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry and Nick Schultz will make the team. Denis Grebeshkov has the inside track on the sixth slot, while recently-arrived Anton Belov, Philip Larsen, Oscar Klefbom, Taylor Fedun, Brandon Davidson and Corey Potter are battling for the final two spots.

Klefbom and Davidson won't be sitting in the pressbox as the 7th D-man, so they will likely start the season in OKC. Fedun has only played one year of pro hockey, so I'd expect he'll be going down as well.

Belov has a two-way contract, $1.5 million in the NHL, and $70,000 in the AHL, and that plus his late arrival to camp could see him starting in the minors.

If Potter can't get on the ice, then he'll start on the IR, while Larsen and Grebeshkov will battle for the 6th spot. If Potter isn't ready to start the season, that means three of last year's seven D-men won't be on the team. Ryan Whitney is on a tryout in St.Louis, Mark Fistric is in Anaheim and Potter would be on the sidelines. Theo Peckham only played four games last year, but if you include him, then half of their eight D-men are gone.

To be fair none of them played regularly in the top-four, but it is still a significant, and necessary, change over on the blueline.

As the preseason continues in Winnipeg tomorrow and Vancouver on Wednesday, the most intriguing aspect to watch about the blueline is how they are adapting to Dallas Eakins' swarm defence.

The Oilers have two morning practices this morning. These players were on for the first session, and there were whispers they will be playing in Winnipeg on Tuesday, but that isn't 100% confirmed just yet.

Potential Lineup for Winnipeg:

Jones-Gagner-Omark
Joensuu-Lander-Pitlick
Hamilton-Arcobello-Yakupov
Moroz-Martindale-Abney

Smid-Petry
Grebeshkov-Klefbom
Larsen-Davidson

LaBarbera
Bachman

  • Denis Grebeshkov looked good in the first 25 games on Saturday, but he struggled after that. His conditioning needs to improve, it isn't awful by any stretch, but a great way to improve it is to play right away. The best way to get in game shape is to play games.
     
  • Davidson looked very good on Saturday. He'll need more seasoning in the AHL, but right now I'd rank him far ahead of David Musil and Martin Gernat. He's quicker than Musil, and he's more dedicated off the ice than Gernat. It is hard not to cheer for Davidson after his battle with testicular cancer.
     
  • Lander needs to get quicker. I like most aspects of his game, but he isn't any quicker than he was last year. He needs to get a half step quicker to become an impactful NHL player.
     
  • Eakins' practices are much more intense than I've seen in years. Lots of skating, one-on-one battles and very quick-paced.
     
  • I don't mind Eakins changing the decor and pictures inside the Oilers dressing room, because it was time to turn the page. This team needs things to change, and if a new coat of paint and some new pictures on the wall can make the Oilers feel more like a team, then great. To me it shows that Eakins is a "Doer." Rather than just talk about things, he does things. I think it is a good change of leadership.

POTENTIAL LINEUP FOR CANUCKS...

Smyth-Hall-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
Eager-Acton-Brown
Khaira-RNH-Miller

*RNH will not be playing of course.***

Ference-J.Schultz
Belov-Fedun
Nurse-N.Schultz
Marincin-Hunt

Dubnyk
Rimmer

  • The Oilers announced another round of cuts, none of which were a surprise. The following players were assigned to the AHL.
     
  • Goalies Bunz  and Roy.
     
  • Forwards Ewanyk, Ford, Fyten, Nesbitt  and  Stretch.
     
  • D-men Gernat, Musil and Leach.
     
  • The Oilers need a young goalie of the future, because Bunz and Roy are a long way, if ever, from playing in the NHL.
     
  • It will be interesting to see if Ewanyk stays in OKC, or possibly gets sent back to junior to play with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
     
  • Musil needs to get quicker, and Gernat needs to be more dedicated in the off-season if he plans on ever taking a run at an NHL job.
     
  • I'm not a fan of the NHL's decision to ban players from tucking in their jerseys. This is not a safety issue, it is a potential money issue. The only reason they decided to do this was to open a spot for potential adverstising on jerseys. Either way, I'm not a fan of it. 

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 Rocket
September 16 2013, 09:46PM
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@Batfink

I remember a while (years?) ago when guys like Quick,Wes,Madjam,Spyder and others long time posters were actually quite positive and optimistic about The Oilers. Even DSF was less cagey.

But that's what cheering for this team does to you. It grinds you down until you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can hardly blame them for pointing out again & again the spectacular ineptitude of The Oilers management.

I wonder when I'll start to be a Debbie Downer too? This season is really make or break for me in that regard.

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#52 Alsker
September 16 2013, 09:53PM
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Rocket wrote:

I remember a while (years?) ago when guys like Quick,Wes,Madjam,Spyder and others long time posters were actually quite positive and optimistic about The Oilers. Even DSF was less cagey.

But that's what cheering for this team does to you. It grinds you down until you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can hardly blame them for pointing out again & again the spectacular ineptitude of The Oilers management.

I wonder when I'll start to be a Debbie Downer too? This season is really make or break for me in that regard.

There was even a time when QSB(prior to his dark knight look) was so positive it was almost hard to read, I fear I too will be afflicted by this DD syndrome.

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#53 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 16 2013, 10:07PM
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Abby Oil wrote:

Question I have in regards to training camp try-outs with guys like Ty Rimmer on a PTO. If he were to be injured, is he insured somehow through his PTO agreement as he is not in-fact being paid to be at the Oiler's camp? Or is this a risk these guys run hoping to gain a contract?

I can't find the answer in the CBA, although I believe the answer is simply that the player is screwed if he gets injured on a PTO.

The advantage is that you get a shot at a job.

In looking for the answer to your question though, I came across this gem.

See Exhibit 17-A in the CBA:

http://cdn.agilitycms.com/nhlpacom/PDF/NHL_NHLPA_2013_CBA.pdf

It is a standard blank form for a goaltender PTO (in the case where a last minute local player gets to join the club as an emergency 1 game only backup)... but it has an amazing clause:

"In consideration of the opportunity to play in the NHL, receipt of $500, and the Player being permitted to retain his game-worn jersey, the Player agrees to present himself, upon request of the Club to perform services as a player on [DATE] at [LOCATION]."

That's hilarious!

Why would a team not give the player his jersey? I love that that is in there.

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#54 Rocket
September 16 2013, 10:17PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Haha that sweater clause is awesome! The CBA must have some pretty crazy things in it.

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#55 Oilergasm
September 16 2013, 10:27PM
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@jake

The biggest reason I hope that they don't do jersey advertising is that I would feel bad for the Coyotes, who would sponsor them?

Tonights Matchup: New York "Samsung" Rangers vs. Phoenix "Jim's Used Car Emporium" Coyotes.

Although the "OodleNoodle Oilers" has a good ring to it.

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#56 madjam
September 17 2013, 07:39AM
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Each year there seems to be someone that sticks out above the rest not currently on parent club or expected to make this years squad . Nurse looks like that player this year ,if last game was any indicator . Most of others are not living up to their hype . We'll soon see if Belov can . We are noticeably not a very physical looking team once again . Being this way has not helped us in the past and I doubt into the future .

Got this gut feeling Oilers might trade Eberle for a young strong centerman .

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#57 Spydyr
September 17 2013, 08:34AM
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Alsker wrote:

There was even a time when QSB(prior to his dark knight look) was so positive it was almost hard to read, I fear I too will be afflicted by this DD syndrome.

It has been hard to watch since 2006 that is a long time outside the playoffs. Then hearing every year we have a new coach this is the year we make the playoffs.

It is hard to believe the spin year after year.

This year the kids are another year older but many holes remain.

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#58 Jon
September 17 2013, 09:52AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I read about the Oilers obsessively. I may have missed the deluge of stories about Gernat dogging it this summer but a quick google search suggests there aren't any.

There are a lot of reports commenting on his slight frame. There have been since he was drafted and before that. Some people have trouble putting on weight (others have trouble losing it :) ha!). That may indeed hold him back.

But there is a grand canyon sized difference between "struggling to put on weight" and "not dedicated." One is simply an empirical description the other points to a character flaw and a causal relation: you didn't try therefore you are in this state.

Add to that, all the reports we have of him suggest someone who is showing EXCEPTIONALLY well for a 5th round draft pick 2 years out. Here's a recent sampling of people covering him and discussing his actual play:

http://jetsnation.ca/2013/9/6/young-stars-tournament-day-one-oilers-disorganized

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/09/16/edmonton-oilers-assigned-musil-gernat-and-ewanyk-to-oklahoma-city-barons/

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/08/26/martin-gernat-has-a-realistic-chance-to-make-the-edmonton-oilers-but-not-this-season/

I'd very much like to hear who is saying he's been dogging it. Very much.

I don't think he deserves this kind of write-up.

Also, obviously they are competing against one another for spots. That goes without saying. I still think there is a fairer way to describe the reality of that competition.

I don't think anyone said he's been dogging it, but based on reading between the lines, I'd say he's not as dedicated as he can be. Which is all Gregor was trying to say I'm pretty sure, not that he's going to bust for sure.

Gernat and Marincin has been put on a special diet mandated by the Oilers for him to gain weight. That's a fact, I'm reading between the lines here and seeing that Gernat didn't seek this on his own and the Oilers did it for him instead, he might be a guy that could be more dedicated to the off season process.

Now, Gregor doesn't need to read between lines, he sees the guy in the dressing room, and if a guy looks like he hasn't gained weight in 2 years, well let's call it as it is, it's likely he prooobably could have spent some more time in the weight room. And I'll add I'm pretty sure that's all he's trying to say, not that he's going to for sure end up a bust, so the rest of this is just my thoughts.

Secondly, whenever I see this guy at training camp and the few Oil kings games I watch a year, I don't see a heck of a lot of defensive development. I see tons of offensive game to this guy, but every time I see him I hope to see a jump up in his level of defensive play but I never see it.

I sense a guy that isn't dedicated to working on his weaknesses. He's always flying around the ice offensively but that's been a strength since day 1 with this kid. In 2 years, I haven't seen any substantial improvement on his weaknesses; his defensive game and weight. That means nothing concrete in the long run, he could develop by miles once he hits the AHL who knows; and kudos for a 5th rounder for getting this far. But if you made me pick NHL player or non-NHL player, I know which way I'd swing.

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#59 Bill
September 17 2013, 09:56AM
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Yeah, I was really worried about Corey Potter's status.......bwahahahahahahaha!

Ahem, whew......thanks for clearing that up for everyone, Gregor!

Seriously though, if Corey Potter isn't good enough for the top 7 here and is waived/demoted/traded for a puck, then to me it's addition by subtraction.....the back end improves at least by default if he's outta here.

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#60 Death Metal Nightmare
September 17 2013, 12:13PM
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on commenting because of the photoshop...

so gross/awesome.

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#61 Bucknuck
September 17 2013, 06:59PM
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Rocket wrote:

I remember a while (years?) ago when guys like Quick,Wes,Madjam,Spyder and others long time posters were actually quite positive and optimistic about The Oilers. Even DSF was less cagey.

But that's what cheering for this team does to you. It grinds you down until you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can hardly blame them for pointing out again & again the spectacular ineptitude of The Oilers management.

I wonder when I'll start to be a Debbie Downer too? This season is really make or break for me in that regard.

I was pretty down when it was Tambellini running things. I just couldn't see the team getting anywhere with him at the helm. I have been a Lowe apologist because the guy has done some savvy things. Tambellini was pretty useless IMO.

So now that we have a new GM, I am allowing EVEN MORE optimism to creep into my thinking. I won't throw in the towel EVER... but I am an Oilers nut.

I think we see some serious entertainment this year, and many more numbers in the "W" column. GO OILERS!!!

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#62 Rocket
September 17 2013, 08:10PM
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@Bucknuck

Totally. Tambellini was awful.

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