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 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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#52 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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#53 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 23 2013, 10:33PM
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Sounds like Eakins was impressed with Pitlick and Joensuu...

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#54 madjam
September 23 2013, 10:44PM
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Snoozer of a game tonite with very few hi lights . Acton looks like he just went ahead of Landers and Arcobello . Arcobello got pushed around to easily . Jones did little to impress making club . Smid is struggling . Belov still looks like he will make it . Omark probably played himself onto farm club . Dubbie was only highlight this nite , as both squads had very limited NHL talent on ice . Joensuu played well enough against the limited talent Winnipeg played with .

It was more a game of who played themselves off the parent clubs , than who played well enough to be on either squad . Nothing thrilling , and the best one could say of any was they were marginally okay .

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#55 Rob...
September 24 2013, 08:20AM
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Please please, hockey gods, don't have the Oilers pressure RNH to return early from rehab, and don't let RNH try to do so on his own either.

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#56 Craig1981
September 23 2013, 01:28PM
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@Spydyr

I think a lot of the Oilersnation's arguments has extremists trying to argue their extremes (no fighting in hockey OR having a fighter will stop teams from bodychecking your top lines)

IMO its a grey area that is worth the debate. How important is having a player that can only fight, how often should you dress him, do you need a middleweight, should top players drop the gloves, and so on..... those arguments will never end (and are an interesting read when someone puts thought into their opinions)

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#57 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 23 2013, 01:37PM
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Maybe one of the stats guys can help me with this one.

Do you think SMac's shooting percentage will ever return to his 2008-2009 numbers (33.3%) or do you think his career average (14.3%) is more indicative of his level of ability? Admittedly, we're talking about a very small sample size (91 NHL games), so maybe we shouldn't be drawing any conclusions.

On a serious note, 74 of those were with the Oilers. This post made me very sad very quickly.

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#58 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 23 2013, 02:07PM
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"Omark-Gordon-Yakupov

Joensuu-Arcobello-Pitlick

Jones-Lander-Hamilton

Eager-Acton-Brown"

That's one hell of a preseason lineup! This is the "show me!" lineup.

Grabs some rings boys, your hockey future is on the line!

"Hall is going to play even more minutes according to head coach Dallas Eakins."

Do you have any sense of whether this "Hall at C" experiment is closer to full-time switch? Or, is it still way too early?

"Anton Belov looked very good"

Agreed. I am very curious to see how he responds to more TOI, responsibility and a vet D partner he doesn't have to worry about.

"Ryan Jones needs to play with more tenacity and competitiveness."

Spector seems to think he might get waived:

" Follow Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec MacIntyre comes on to Oilers NHL roster. We predict Ryan Jones will be off it, sooner than later."

any thoughts?

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#59 Spydyr
September 23 2013, 02:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

It's not so much your Raiders are that bad as it is the Broncos are that good.

Maybe Kassian will high stick Manning

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#60 Jay Bird
September 23 2013, 03:07PM
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Selling hope to this market will be a difficult job for the team, 1 actual NHL centre until November 1 (Gordon). Based on previous history of the team, look for another top draft pic. I don't care how much selling the team tries to do on the Hope front, 1 actual NHL centre for the 1st month will be hard to recover from. MacT got caught with his pants down on this one, a centre going down for a long period of time in training camp.

Gordon - Only NHL Centre on the team.

Hall will try his best.

When we start looking at the team, and the first word out of your mouth is "But"? I think we know how the year is gonna go!

I hope for the best of course, but have seen this movie before....

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#61 Will
September 23 2013, 03:16PM
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Is too much to ask for guys like Macentyre that in the off season they work tirelessly on things like skating and forechecking. I know these guys know their roles and perform them well, but does that limit their ambition to improve other aspects of their game so they can at least become functional in some capacity.

Laroc for example. He was brutal, but he could chip and chase, win the puck back along the boards, then either freeze it their and maintain possession, or cycle it out. Not great but knowing you could send a guy out their to grind the game pace and the opposition down for a shift here and there was a nice weapon for Mac T.

There should be no reason why a guy like Macentyre can't learn to skate faster / more technical, and get in on a simple forecheck to exert some physical pressure on the other team.

As for the nuclear deterrent, I have yet to see a team not take every liberty possible with the kids. Why do think Gagner has to fight every once and a while, cause the opposition has never been worried about running our skill. What I would love to see is if instead of Smac coming in to fight someone after the fact, he went out and ran their skill players. That has to be where players like Brown and Eagre push back. Hall gets run then so will your guys.

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#64 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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#65 madjam
September 23 2013, 10:56PM
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I missed commenting on Pitluck , whom did have a good game considering , probably second star on Oilers behind Dubnyk , however .

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#66 Tazman
September 24 2013, 08:51AM
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With the strong game that Pitlick had last night, I was trying to recall whether he was originally drafted as a center. I think he was. Not saying he would be in the mix right now, but when he gets sent down, developing him at the center position might yield some positive dividends, given his speed and size.

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#67 Archaeologuy
September 24 2013, 10:47AM
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Omark on waivers really messes up my Goat pick

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#68 Spydyr
September 23 2013, 02:01PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Yes, "the" game is on.

6:30 on TSN, Broncos by 24.

My Raiders are still bad and the Broncos are good but 24?

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#69 Quicksilver ballet
September 23 2013, 02:06PM
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Spydyr wrote:

My Raiders are still bad and the Broncos are good but 24?

It's not so much your Raiders are that bad as it is the Broncos are that good.

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#70 Geoff
September 23 2013, 03:30PM
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I think the debate between having and not having a pure enforcer shouldn't be argued by whether or not nhl teams need it like detroit or chicago but whether or not OUR team needs it. And since our team is rather soft/well intentioned/pure skill type guys if Smac can play I'm all for it.

Would rather a top 6 player that was an enforcer but that's a trade one of the wonder kiddies scenario. Smac is a cheap pickup and if he goes south /shrug but if he works out smiley faces for everyone =D.

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#71 Rama Lama
September 23 2013, 03:36PM
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If I were the Oilers coach...........I would make it a mandate to not bother running Kasahying sian, Alberts, or Sistito and instead run the Sedins.

You fight fire with fire. Steve Smackintyre can be the deterrent when we are playing against teams that have a true heavyweight. You either hit or get hit.......it's that simple.

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#72 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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#73 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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#74 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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#75 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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#76 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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#77 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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#78 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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#79 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..

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#80 The Beaker
September 24 2013, 06:43AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Doesn't say much for the rest of that group. Not a great performance for many players on "show me" night for Dallas Eakins. Jones is playing like there's 20 other teams that would take him in a heartbeat. Oilers could benefit by having that 1.5 buried in OKC this season .

you can only bury 900k of a contract right?

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#81 JJ
September 23 2013, 12:54PM
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I wonder who these four different Oilers are. Any guesses?

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#82 Oilers42
September 23 2013, 01:08PM
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Gregor I'm pretty sure the hall line is playing and not actons line tonight because Hemsky did a pre game interview

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#83 Walter Sobchak
September 23 2013, 02:41PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

It's like Hartikianen last year Rom, if he's not going to bring some tenacity, be hard on the puck and actually start hitting guys.....ya, then I think he's replaceable.

While I agree with you on S-Mac the team has to get tougher to play against, Jones looks like he's floating out there.

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#84 Pajamah
September 23 2013, 04:06PM
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@Jason Gregor

"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."

Please reiterate this to Spec on his way out the door!

Woodguy and him had a discussion on this, and I am firmly in the "good teams don't need them" camp. If, and its a big IF, you can make teams pay for doing stupid things by getting the 2 points, then MacIntyre is useless.

No one is scared of Weise or Kassian, but those guys injured, or atleast attempted to in Weise's case, 2 of our star players. Hemsky or Perron can do what they did (swing a stick and throw a forearm shiver)

The problem with the Oilers is that they don't. Will Acton and Ben Eager only need to get their elbows up next game against the Sedins, and all will be right in the world.

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#85 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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#86 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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#87 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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#88 nuyour
September 23 2013, 04:27PM
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Can they put Jones on waivers?

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#89 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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#90 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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#91 Quicksilver ballet
September 24 2013, 11:03AM
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book¡e wrote:

Ryan Whitney made everyone around him look great by comparison last year!

Awaiting on a ruling book¡e, but you may have just violated ON guy code.

Prepare for glory...

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#92 Lochenzo
September 24 2013, 11:13AM
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Jesse Joenesuu (sp?) I'm going to have to learn how to spell his name because he's making the team if he keeps playing like he did last night.

I'd also say Will Acton is ahead of Arcobello and Lander. In fact, I would even say that I would be a little worried if the plan is to use either Arcobello or Lander to fill the Gagner void.

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#93 Quicksilver ballet
September 23 2013, 01:53PM
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@dobkos@shaw.ca

Yes, "the" game is on.

6:30 on TSN, Broncos by 24.

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#94 Rotten Ron
September 23 2013, 01:59PM
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TonyT wrote:

If Big Mac plays 3 minutes a night, and someone else gets double shifted (i.e. Hall), then I'm fine with that. The last time he played didn't he go right after Clutterbuck (might be wrong), after one of the young guns took a hit. If all he does is lineup against John Scott or George Parros, then we don't need him. But, if he pulls a John Scott and goes after Phil Kessel or Kassian or Clutterbuck regardless of if they oblige him, then that is a "nuclear deterrent" for the opposition.

He wasnt here when the clutterbuck hall incident occurred. Look up Macintyre vs Staubitz when Staubitz ran MPS

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#95 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 23 2013, 02:54PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

It's like Hartikianen last year Rom, if he's not going to bring some tenacity, be hard on the puck and actually start hitting guys.....ya, then I think he's replaceable.

While I agree with you on S-Mac the team has to get tougher to play against, Jones looks like he's floating out there.

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.

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#96 Mac962
September 23 2013, 02:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Yes, "the" game is on.

6:30 on TSN, Broncos by 24.

You are just Brilliant aren't you.

Lol - Raiders shock Broncs...book it. maybe not.

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#97 Micbilly99
September 23 2013, 03:12PM
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While I understand that the Oilers need to be "tougher" and I also understand that the current group of players will not become 'tougher' overnight. Hemsky is not going to become this great body checker or fierce 'stickman', nor are any of the Oilers. Current management has not addressed the ‘toughness’ issue with this team and now the only choice they have is to bring in a player like MacIntyre to ‘police’ the opposition. This acquisition is a mere band aid to greater problem. As for Gagne’s injury, well the Oilers were crossing their fingers he didn’t get hurt and that little bit of voodoo didn’t help. So now they don’t have one single legit NHL center in their lineup. Eakins must be pissed. No centers for his 1st year of coaching in the NHL! Now the next guys up had better step up and take advantage of the situation or the Oilers will have a very long year starting with opening night.

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#98 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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#99 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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#100 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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