GDB -3: OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Jason Gregor
September 23 2013 12:29PM

Marc Arcobello and Anton Lander received a wonderful opportunity yesterday morning, when it was announced Sam Gagner is out at least a month with a broken jaw. Had Gagner not been injured, neither one of them would have been playing on the top-three lines, and unless Craig MacTavish picks up a veteran off the waiver wire before next Tuesday, one of Lander or Arcobello will be in the Oilers top-nine on opening night against the Jets.

Boyd Gordon was going to be the 3rd line centre, and it looks like he'll get a chance to play with scoring wingers.

Taylor Hall has played with Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth throughout camp, and they will likely start the season together. So that leaves Jordan Eberle, David Perron, Nail Yakupov and one of Ryan Hamilton, Linus Omark, Tyler Pitlick, Jesse Joensuu and Ryan Jones to play the wings with Boyd Gordon and Arcobello/Lander.

It is not ideal to start the season with your first (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and second (Gagner) line centres in the pressbox, but that's life in Edmonton.

In a best case scenario Gagner will only be out a month, which means he'd miss ten regular season games, and return on October 24th vs. the Capitals. Nugent-Hopkins is shooting for the final week of October, but the Oilers will not rush him, so he might be able to return on Sunday October 27th vs. the Kings, which means he'd miss 12 games. Again, that is if everything goes well for both, and maybe one of them returns a bit sooner, but that seems unlikely.

Gagner will have surgery tomorrow, and he's going to have a few plates inserted into his jaw. If is mouth needs to be wired shut his recovery will be longer, so we won't know if he'll be out a month or longer until tomorrow or Wednesday.

OPTIONS

What should Craig MacTavish do?

He can go with what he has and hope that Gordon, Arcobello/Lander can fill the void for the short term.

He can look at the waiver wire and grab a serviceable veteran, if one becomes available.

Look at a trade.

Making a trade from an obvious position of weakness isn't ideal. No team is going to trade him a legit top-six centre, unless he's willing to part with one of Eberle, Perron or Yakupov, and I doubt that happens. We rarely see trades in October, mainly because teams want to see what they have.

The waiver wire might be MacTavish's best bet if he is looking for someone with NHL experience.

Some teams have gotten very lucky with waiver wire pickups over the years, and most centres would love the opportunity to come to Edmonton and play with Eberle, Perron, Hemsky or Yakupov.

There is no guarantee someone more proven than Lander or Arcobello becomes available via waivers, so Dallas Eakins will use the next three games to figure out who deserves the best opportunity of their young career, Arcobello or Lander.

It is clear that Arcobello is ranked higher than Lander today after listening to Eakins. he'll have three games to show he's capable of filling the second or third line centre slot for the short time.

It looks like Gordon is going to get an opportunity to play with skilled forwards, and he'll centre Yakupov and Omark tonight.

LINEUP

Omark-Gordon-Yakupov
Joensuu-Arcobello-Pitlick
Jones-Lander-Hamilton
Eager-Acton-Brown

Ference-Belov
Smid-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

Dubnyk
LaBarbera

RETURN OF THE SMAC....

The Oilers claimed Steve MacIntyre on waivers and he'll be back in Edmonton for the third time. There is no doubt MacIntyre can fight and intimidate, when he's on the ice, but if they only play him four minutes a game I'm not sure how impactful he can be.

I will say this; however, I had four different Oilers walk up to me with a huge smile on their face saying MacIntyre is coming back. There is no doubt the players respect his toughness, but unless the rest of the Oilers players are willing to play team tough, and that doesn't mean just fighting, then MacIntyre will have a hard time policing every player on every team. 

Those who believe having a heavyweight on the bench will stop Zack Kassian from making a dumb play, are just as off-base as those who use Chicago and Detroit as examples of not needing one. The Hawks and Wings are great teams, the Oilers aren't, and until the Oilers start winning they won't get any respect, and teams won't be fearful of their powerplay, because the majority of the game is still played 5-on-5, and the Oilers don't scare anyone at even strength; at least not yet.

The Oilers need more team toughness, not one guy who plays four minutes a night, if they want to properly protect themselves. You can't expect Mike Brown, Ben Eager or Steve MacIntyre to police the opposition, because they don't play regularly enough.

The Oilers need to be more assertive, or MacTavish has to go find some players who have an edge, but also possess the skill to play in the top-nine or top-four. Until that happens, I believe teams will continue to take liberties with the Oilers unless more players decide to show they are willing to stand up for themselves, or have more of a pack mentality. You can't look the other way when one of your teammates is being harassed. It doesn't mean all the Oilers skilled players need to become fighters; they just need to have more players willing to defend one another.

Did Phil Kessel take one punch from John Scott last night? Nope, his teammates came flying in before any serious damage occurred. We all know Scott/Kessel situations are rare, but when all four of his teammates didn't hesitate and come to his rescue, that saved Kessel from a beating, and none of them got injured.

QUICK HITS

  •  Zack Kassian will likely be suspended for at least five games, because the NHL asked, although he didn't go, for an in-person hearing and that usually means a minimum five game suspension. There is no doubt it was a careless play, but I don't buy for a second that he did it because the Oilers don't have a heavyweight. Teams that have heavyweights still suffer injuries. Kassian made a dumb decision in the heat of the moment.

    Hockey is a violent game, and when you have guys skating 30 miles an hour, with blades on their feet, sticks in their hands and body contact is allowed, bad decisions will happen. We need to stop being surprised when a player makes a dumb, split-second decision. We all do it in real life, and often in situations that don't involve competition.

    How many of us have had road rage recently? You freaked, likely over a simple thing, and then started cursing and ofter threatening the person. We all know it is against the law, but that doesn't go through our mind when we are freaking out. We know it is illegal to text and drive, yet most of us still do it.

    Hockey fans and pundits need to stop being shocked or surprised when a player makes a bad or careless decision. Usually they are split-second decisions, and even though the risk of suspension or possible retribution from a tough guy looms overhead, that doesn't go through a player's mind milliseconds before he hits a player.
     
  • The most positive news for Oiler fans coming from the MacIntyre news, and Gagner injury is that Hall is going to play even more minutes according to head coach Dallas Eakins. If Hall is on the ice 21-22 minutes a night, that means the Oilers have a much better shot of winning more games.
     
  • Despite all that I understand why the Oilers got MacIntyre, and I think it was necessary. We all know the Oilers have been pushed around for years, and if having MacIntyre on the bench makes every player even a bit more confident it will be worth it. The key is using him in certain situations to initiate physical play, rather than just respond when the opposition takes liberties on the Oilers. Reacting after the fact isn't going to change anything.
     
  • Anton Belov looked very good in his first game on Saturday. He made some excellent passes out of the zone, and looked solid defensively. It was only one game, but I thought he made a very good first impression.
     
  • Ryan Jones needs to play with more tenacity and competitiveness. Eakins has preached "compete" and Jones, Acton, Lander, Omark and Joensuu all need to show more of it, if they want to be here when the season starts. 

 

 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 madjam
September 23 2013, 04:08PM
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Colorado is overloaded with centermen . Can MacT. pry one loose for us ? Stay posted .

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#52 nunyour
September 23 2013, 04:15PM
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Big Mac doesn't need to skate at home when the oilers get last change,send him out for the face off and take the two minute instigator penalty.Let Brown and Eager keep the middle weights honest,if they have to hit the other teams stars they have the speed to do it.I would rather see a fight than see a guy swinging his stick around.The top two lines are to small to have team toughness.

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#54 Smokey
September 23 2013, 04:18PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Harti is off to the races already this season in the KHL.

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/09/23/hartikainen-and-yakimov-leading-the-way-for-overseas-oiles/

I think he would have been an upgrade on all of Jones, Eager, Brown, SMac, Hamilton, Acton and a draw with Omark and Joensuu.

The problem with Jones is that he isn't good enough to play top 6 minutes, but his style of play was never enough for those looking for meat in the bottom of the line up. He just doesn't play that way.

His job is the same as Omark's. They are there to create offence in the bottom of the lineup and fill in as needed for injury up roster. Right now, both aren't doing that very well.

I don't think Hartski is anywhere close to an upgrade on Jones. I'm not a fan of Jones and hated the signing. No point having Omark in the conversation. Joensuu is world better in terms of skating and seems in this small sample a better scorer and has a physical dimension that Hartski never showed. Hartski showed no ability at the NHL to score, and in the KHL with a handful of stars, NHL neverwillbe's, and long past their best before date former NHL'er his numbers are fairly impressive so far. He is better then tweeners you mentioned.

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#56 GVBlackhawk
September 23 2013, 04:22PM
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Spydyr wrote:

He sure can punch though. Something I hope Kassian feels next time the teams meet.

And what if Kassian manages to KO MacIntyre?

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#58 MessyEH!
September 23 2013, 04:25PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

MacT said exact quote... "He is what he is."..No one in the organization is expecting him to suddenly be a much better player than he's been in the past. He is here for one reason, and MacT and Eakins are okay with that.

Can't wait to hear this played SMacK'$ first game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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#59 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 23 2013, 04:25PM
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Smokey wrote:

I don't think Hartski is anywhere close to an upgrade on Jones. I'm not a fan of Jones and hated the signing. No point having Omark in the conversation. Joensuu is world better in terms of skating and seems in this small sample a better scorer and has a physical dimension that Hartski never showed. Hartski showed no ability at the NHL to score, and in the KHL with a handful of stars, NHL neverwillbe's, and long past their best before date former NHL'er his numbers are fairly impressive so far. He is better then tweeners you mentioned.

I think with all these bubble players there is going to be debate. They aren't that far apart from one another.

I think if Harti were here, he'd be in the mix and showing pretty well.

He was brutal in the NHL last year on the score sheet. But he showed well in the AHL and has continued to show well in the K. Those are the world's two best leagues after the NHL.

One problem with Harti, Omark, Hamilton, Joensuu, etc. is the small and uneven sample sizes. Makes evaluation difficult.

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#60 Smokey
September 23 2013, 04:26PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Good question. Initial reaction is yes, but if they planned on playing one or both of Eager and Brown and having a C as the 13th forward, maybe they just slot MacIntyre ahead of one of 13 or 55 and expose that guy to waivers.

The issue is Belov to me. He has a two-way deal, so could go down and they keep 7 D, but if he plays well and they want to play him, are the willing to only keep seven and expose Grebeshkov or Larsen to waivers?

I see them going 14 and 7...and putting Belov in minors or one of Grebs or Larsen on **cough***IR***cough***

I think Belov is a player and will make the team as a six or seven. If they exposed Grebby or Larson to waivers, Grebby is a sure thing to pass. No one wants that trainwreck for 1.5. Larson I think would get picked up.

However the one variable you haven't mentioned in Nurse. One game he was outstanding, the second he was mediocre but was tested physically and the third game should tell us if he earns 9 more games.

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#61 nuyour
September 23 2013, 04:27PM
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Can they put Jones on waivers?

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#62 **
September 23 2013, 04:28PM
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comparing road rage with a broken jaw is a bit of a douche bag move Jason Gregor.

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#63 Smokey
September 23 2013, 04:32PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I think with all these bubble players there is going to be debate. They aren't that far apart from one another.

I think if Harti were here, he'd be in the mix and showing pretty well.

He was brutal in the NHL last year on the score sheet. But he showed well in the AHL and has continued to show well in the K. Those are the world's two best leagues after the NHL.

One problem with Harti, Omark, Hamilton, Joensuu, etc. is the small and uneven sample sizes. Makes evaluation difficult.

I wish Teemu was here, don't get me wrong. Our bottom six would look a lot better with him rather then say Hamilton or Acton, or Eager. However he seems like he is player who was given 50 games to show if he could hit or score. He did neither. I don't know how good his penalty killing is, and he is not needed on the PP.

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#64 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 23 2013, 04:33PM
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nuyour wrote:

Can they put Jones on waivers?

AFAIK, once a player has reached waiver eligibility (we know Jones has because that's how we got him), they must be put on waivers to be sent down.

Jones is on a one-way, though... so that sucks.

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#65 hockeycrazed
September 23 2013, 04:35PM
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I hope MacT will not rush and get himself a prized centre! He should give Arcobello a shot. As for toughness on the line-up maybe he could see if Hartikainen's willing to come back. More toughness on every line is more important than just go out and get yourself a designated 'heavyweight' in the long run!

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#66 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 23 2013, 04:38PM
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Smokey wrote:

I wish Teemu was here, don't get me wrong. Our bottom six would look a lot better with him rather then say Hamilton or Acton, or Eager. However he seems like he is player who was given 50 games to show if he could hit or score. He did neither. I don't know how good his penalty killing is, and he is not needed on the PP.

Agreed.

He blew it last year when the opportunity was there. And, he didn't want to ride the buses anymore for pennies, which is entirely understandable.

If we are lucky he grows into a really good player and comes back in two years time* like a freebie.

*There may be an opt-out clause. A lot of these Euro contracts let players opt-out at some point if an NHL offer comes around. Maybe Gregor knows.

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#67 michael
September 23 2013, 04:38PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Good question. Initial reaction is yes, but if they planned on playing one or both of Eager and Brown and having a C as the 13th forward, maybe they just slot MacIntyre ahead of one of 13 or 55 and expose that guy to waivers.

The issue is Belov to me. He has a two-way deal, so could go down and they keep 7 D, but if he plays well and they want to play him, are the willing to only keep seven and expose Grebeshkov or Larsen to waivers?

I see them going 14 and 7...and putting Belov in minors or one of Grebs or Larsen on **cough***IR***cough***

I think the Oilers send Larsen on waivers.

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#68 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 23 2013, 04:39PM
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TSNBobMcKenzie: VAN's Zack Kassian gets 5 regular season games and rest of pre-season for highsticking Gagner.

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#69 nunyour
September 23 2013, 04:46PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

AFAIK, once a player has reached waiver eligibility (we know Jones has because that's how we got him), they must be put on waivers to be sent down.

Jones is on a one-way, though... so that sucks.

Tks.To bad because we need more toughness from the bottom guys and he adds none ,and I think he has been out played by a couple young guys.

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#70 Sidney Frosby
September 23 2013, 04:57PM
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How come Mac-T is not looking to deal Omark for Konopka????

Seems like Minnesota would love the cheap kick at offense and help on their PP and the Oilers really would love Konopka's toughness and faceoff ability.

Plus Minny saves $325k against their cap....

Plus Minny has Mike Rupp.......

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#71 Reinman
September 23 2013, 05:04PM
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Omark on the Top line tonight. Hope he realizes this is the game he needs to prove he is an NHLer.

Another 5 goal game would probably go a long way.

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#72 kawi460
September 23 2013, 05:07PM
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I was actually hoping to get a younger more skilled player. EX: Devane, Broll, Beach, Maroon, or Mashinter.

I wish we had Ryan Reaves

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#73 Smokey
September 23 2013, 05:10PM
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nunyour wrote:

Tks.To bad because we need more toughness from the bottom guys and he adds none ,and I think he has been out played by a couple young guys.

Jones made the team. There not doing waivers. Hopefully him and Grebeshkov get a whole lot better.

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#74 Smokey
September 23 2013, 05:16PM
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Reinman wrote:

Omark on the Top line tonight. Hope he realizes this is the game he needs to prove he is an NHLer.

Another 5 goal game would probably go a long way.

I'd rather see these 5 things. Skate hard, play positional sound, control the cycle, throw a hit on defenceman and skate hard on the backcheck, and score on a simple deke or wrister in a shootout.

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#75 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 23 2013, 05:21PM
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Smokey wrote:

Jones made the team. There not doing waivers. Hopefully him and Grebeshkov get a whole lot better.

Did I miss something, or is this your opinion?

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#76 OilFanInVan
September 23 2013, 05:30PM
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Here's hoping SMac can do both the Oilers and Team Canada a favour and take out the Sedins on October 5th. Not only will the Canucks be mad, but so will all of Sweden! If he can successfully accomplish that on October 5th, I could care less if he gets suspended for the rest of the year. Guys like SMac are a dime a dozen!

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#77 madjam
September 23 2013, 05:33PM
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Pre season suspension for Weise and same with 5 game for Kassian . Small price to pay for taking star players out - atta go Shanny this should guarantee more star players getting run out of the game again this year . I'm sure all fans want to see their types over any star players . Now it should be worth trading for J.Scott as well , to send a clear message back to Canucks and others . Shanny's message received and it was well worth it ?

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#78 Sidney Frosby
September 23 2013, 05:33PM
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@Jason Gregor

How come Mac-T is not looking to deal Omark for Konopka????

Seems like Minnesota would love the cheap kick at offense and help on their PP and the Oilers really would love Konopka's toughness and faceoff ability.

Plus Minny saves $325k against their cap....

Plus Minny has Mike Rupp.......

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#79 Fluxite
September 23 2013, 05:34PM
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@Gregor

Perhaps you don't realize it but when in open chat on your radio show, you're condescending.

When speaking to a guest you're not.

Take it as helpful criticism.

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#80 Oilcruzer
September 23 2013, 05:34PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

TSNBobMcKenzie: VAN's Zack Kassian gets 5 regular season games and rest of pre-season for highsticking Gagner.

Too light.

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#81 TonyT
September 23 2013, 05:45PM
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@Rotten Ron

I know he wasn't here for the Hall-Clutterbuck incident last year, Staubitz does sound familiar though. I know the other player turtled and Mac just let him have it anyway. If the Oilers can't obtain a fridge who can skate (Clarkson), then a guaranteed ass kicking will just have to do. I agree with Brin McGratton earlier when he suggested there no longer was a code. If Ott, Clutterbuck, Kaleta, etc. take runs at your players whether or not they oblige, a heavyweight can be effective if he sets them straight anyways. I think teams will gladly kill of on instigator in that scenario.

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#82 pelhem grenville
September 23 2013, 05:51PM
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...MacT gets Smac back...nice!

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#83 WinterNightSky
September 23 2013, 06:04PM
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Preseason + 5 games for Kassian: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=60&id=446793&navid=DL|NHL|home

Good eye by Shanny; Kassian started swinging before he hit the boards. It was on purpose.

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#84 Woogie63
September 23 2013, 07:25PM
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Yikes

Over the careers of our top 3 centres - Hall, RNH, Gagner what is the percentage of missed games due to injury.. Need to count what Hall would have missed ladt year.

We have an URGENT need at centre. Murray solved Alfie within a day...what will MacT's Bold move be to respond?

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#85 Dennis
September 23 2013, 07:35PM
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Holy sh*t, Sam's face!! Poor kid!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BU4-w0zCAAAI75H.jpg

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#87 DSF
September 23 2013, 08:00PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

Yikes

Over the careers of our top 3 centres - Hall, RNH, Gagner what is the percentage of missed games due to injury.. Need to count what Hall would have missed ladt year.

We have an URGENT need at centre. Murray solved Alfie within a day...what will MacT's Bold move be to respond?

Sign another bottom pairing defenseman?

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#88 marty62
September 23 2013, 08:36PM
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If any of you didnt listen to Mact in the presser, he wont be trading or claiming a center. we have what we have. he said in not so many words, why acquire a marginally better guy that you will have to dump when your other guys come back in 8 weeks. Its time for the other kids on the Oiler roster to step up. I agree with Gregor, Im excited to see Hall play 20+ minutes a night at center AND on the PK. I also like Eagers comments about "when guys start running our guys we have to start running their best guys" I think Eager needs to start losing it on a few people on the opposing teams Its players like him that will make teams nervous not Smacker, I like Smacker but no one is crazy enough to want to drop the gloves with him, They have all seen the Ivanans fight.

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#89 StHenriOilBomb
September 23 2013, 08:55PM
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Belov looks great! It's early, but I like it.

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#90 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 08:57PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Thanks for listening...

LOL....SWEET!

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#91 Kurt
September 23 2013, 09:12PM
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Everybody is always happy to have the best of anything on your team. best skate sharpener, best coach, best team plane, whatever. Good to have the best heavyweight fight back on the team!

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#92 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 10:08PM
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So....let me the first to ask......when do they announce.the Captaincy.....and assuming that its on or before the first game of the season....does that eliminate Gagner from the discussion?

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#93 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 10:12PM
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Its really looking like Belov is our new # 5 Dman ....

Petry Smid Ferrence J Schultz Belov N Scultz Grebeshkov Larsen

Looks like Grebeshkov might go on waivers?

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#94 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 10:17PM
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Jonesu makes the opening day roster, as does Acton?

Ryan Jones on the bubble?

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#95 Quicksilver ballet
September 23 2013, 10:19PM
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Belov is clearly the best of the rest on this team. It's clear already, and he's only going to get more comfortable/better as the weeks progress. Clearly better than Larssen, Grebeshkov, N.Schultz, Fedun and Potter. Heck, i'd even put him ahead of Smid. Only thing Belov needs is a better number, the ghost of Tom Gilbert is still too fresh.

Way too many AHL'ers in both lineups this evening. Not even close to the pace we'll see next week.

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#96 OILERSORDEATH
September 23 2013, 10:21PM
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I really liked Pitlicks games tonight, threw how body around really well and chipped in an Assist, showed some speed. I think there's definitely a player there.

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#97 OILERSORDEATH
September 23 2013, 10:25PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Jonesu makes the opening day roster, as does Acton?

Ryan Jones on the bubble?

I 100% agree, Jones looked a bit out of sync. I don't think Omark makes it either, he was a non-factor for most of the game. Thoughts?

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#98 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 10:29PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

I 100% agree, Jones looked a bit out of sync. I don't think Omark makes it either, he was a non-factor for most of the game. Thoughts?

Omark to the AHL for me....but I know there are a lot of posters here who would view Gagner's injury as an opening for Omark...so it will be interesting to see if they keep him here...I don't think they will..

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#99 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 10:31PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Belov is clearly the best of the rest on this team. It's clear already, and he's only going to get more comfortable/better as the weeks progress. Clearly better than Larssen, Grebeshkov, N.Schultz, Fedun and Potter. Heck, i'd even put him ahead of Smid. Only thing Belov needs is a better number, the ghost of Tom Gilbert is still too fresh.

Way too many AHL'ers in both lineups this evening. Not even close to the pace we'll see next week.

Not even close to the pace we saw on Saturday against the knucks..

Avatar
#100 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 10:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
5
props

Sounds like Eakins was impressed with Pitlick and Joensuu...

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