Soak it up Marty Marincin!

Jason Strudwick
January 13 2014 08:26AM

Last week, young Oilers defender Martin Marincin was a surprise addition to Slovakia's hockey team going to Sochi for the Olympics. What a great feeling that must have been for him! The soon to be Olympian will turn twenty-two during the Olympics. The Olympics are huge for Europeans. After playing in three different European countries I can tell you people love to talk about past athletes that have represented their countries proudly. He and his family must be very excited.

Marincin has been a nice surprise for me on the back end. When you look at him on paper it is impossible not to like his height. Watching him in practice he is a nice skater, is comfortable with the puck and has a shot. But the games are where it counts.

Playing on a weak team is difficult for all the individual players. It is especially hard on the defenceman and goalies. This group finds themselves facing odd man rushes against and spending lots of time in their own end. The defence corps is always under pressure. I am not saying the D for the Oilers is not responsible for some of the issues but not having a more consistent defensive minded group of forwards makes it rough.

This makes it hard for a young d man to feel his way into the NHL.. On a stronger NHL team there are games where you find yourself standing on the offensive blue line for a whole shift as your forwards light up a weaker team in their own end. A young defenceman can get used to the speed and flow of the NHL game at a more reasonable rate. Not so on a weaker team. Most nights it can feel like you are under siege. There are times when you want to yell out "Broken Arrow" as you are being overrun!

Marincin has looked calm to me. I don't see him panic with the puck. (I thought Hunt was very nervous and jittery with the puck for the three games he was in the lineup). He seems to find the play to make quickly. With the pressure d-men get in the game today knowing what to do with the puck before you actually have it is a must. He has shown me poise, a nice asset for a young player.

The first job of defencemen is to stop the other team from scoring. In his first nine games I can only think of one time where he was really out of position that led to a goal. That is impressive. He needs to keep that up and slowly work in some of the offence we know he has.

The one area I would like to see him improve is his weight and strength. He is listed at 6'4, 188 lbs. Not enough muscle on that body. Much like our friend Wanye he needs to lock himself in a gym this summer that has a buffet included! I would expect him to play at close to 210 lbs or more three years from now. He needs to match the strength of the big bodies of NHL forwards.

I saw a play against the Penguins that really showed me this need. He did a nice job on a James Neal rush to keep him to the outside and force him behind the net. As Marincin engaged him physically Neal pushed him off with his superior strength. Nothing came of the play but a big guy like Marty needs to have the ability to respond with the same amount of strength.

Moving forward after the ten games he has played I see really no reason to change the way the Oilers are handling him. His ice time has been roughly fifteen minutes a night, a very manageable amount. He is not over-stressed or drowning so his confidence if anything is improving.

Marincin will get a great opportunity to soak up knowledge from a player who is most likely his idol and is the captain of the Slovakian Olympic team, Zdeno Chara. What a chance to learn for Marty! Chara is everything you want in a role model for a young defenceman. He is in incredible shape, he plays hard every night, he’s extremely competitive. He’s a leader who doesn't wilt under pressure and a very good defender. The list goes on and on. Marincin needs to have his eyes glued to Chara both on and off the ice during the whole tourney.

Organizations dream of the opportunities like this for their young players. For Marincin he needs to take advantage of everything he will learn from Chara, the Olympic experience and this stretch of NHL games to keep his development moving forward.

Set Your Alarms Boys

8 am practice?

Are you serious?

These words would have been uttered after Oilers players were informed of their coach's decision to practice twice last week very early.

I have never heard of any coach setting a practice time on a non-travel day at 8 am in my life! There were many reasons mentioned by Eakins as to why he made that choice. I didn't agree or buy any. This is the truth. It is a reverse curfew. It is that simple. The moment I read the tweets I knew that.

Sleep is vital for an NHL player. For many sleeping after a game does not come easy. When I played some nights I wouldn't fall asleep till three or four in the morning because I was still fired up. Maybe I would watch the game again or watch a couple of movies to settle down. It was frustrating to not to be able to sleep sooner and the lack of sleep would wear me down.

Eakins admitted earlier this season that he was surprised how difficult the travel was out here. The flights are all three hours or more after Calgary and Vancouver. It is long and late nights coming home from everywhere. Most guys can't sleep on the plane. Some come home to families that they want to spend time with so that means no naps.

At every turn sleep is slipping away. I know that when you are not rested and tired injuries are more likely to happen. It is a fact.

So with all of this knowledge is there any other reason than the one I stated above to think that at 8 am practice has benefits? No. There isn't.

I don't know if there is an issue with the night life of players on this team. My days of shooters, doing the worm and late nights are mostly behind me now. I do know that when I was a young player I enjoyed myself when the opportunity presented itself. I was smart and made sure late nights didn't hurt my games or practices. Older players showed me the way and kept me accountable.

I played with some guys who were animals and went out all the time. They showed up at practice and games and played their hearts out. It didn't affect their performance. They had long careers. I played with other guys who were puddles the couple of days after a big night out. They couldn't produce and they were out of the league quickly.

If Eakins feels some guys are not living up to his standards after a late night out I have no problem with that. As a professional hockey player that is part of the deal. If you dance to the music you need to pay the piper. Eakins and the veterans need to sit the players down and outline clearly how it needs to work.

BUT… having early practices to send or reinforce that message is not the way to do it. Eakins is actually shooting himself and his team in the foot. He is unnecessarily tiring out his team.

LET THE BOYS SLEEP!!!!

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#101 nick
January 13 2014, 09:10PM
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John Chambers wrote:

There's a possibility that the Oilers future defense corps stacks up something like this:

Nurse - Ekblad

Marincin - Schultz

Klefbom - Gernat?? Simpson??

That would be worth getting excited about.

If only we had dynamic scoring forwards. Oh wait!

Not sure how you can get excited about a defense that has one guy with NHL experience. Until the others play in the NHL and prove what they can do you are dreaming big. Of that list it would be good luck if 2 or 3 turn into solid NHLers That does not include Schultz he has played enough games to prove he will be an NHL regular

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#102 Oilcruzer
January 13 2014, 10:55PM
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redhot1 wrote:

Stop. Going. To. The. Games.

But. I. Support. The. Oil. Good. Or. Bad. It's. The. Game. I. Love.

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#103 Oilcruzer
January 13 2014, 10:58PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Why don't you try this argument with the thousands of high level amateur athletes and Olympians globally who train daily at the crack of dawn and somehow thrive. Why does getting paid to play mean you suddenly have to sleep in all morning?

The idea that 8:00 practice is too early to get enough sleep is absurd.

If anything, it helps with Central and East Coast.

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#104 john
January 14 2014, 02:40AM
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Eakin is like a used car salesman, all talk but what we get is a lemon ( the team thus far ). So he can endure a bike endurance race and finished it but what the hell does it do for winning NHL games for the fans?

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#105 john
January 14 2014, 02:56AM
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I watched the games this year, I don't see the players enjoying themselves like previous years. Eakin stop screwing up Yakupov like you did with Nazem Kadri with the Marlies. Both Muslims, I wonder if that's the reason both were picked on.

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#106 TigerUnderGlass
January 14 2014, 12:13PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Why don't you try playing a game ( hockey that is) that ends at 10:30 and then travel home, eat, and then prepare to wake at 6:00 am.

I bet if you are lucky you would not get to sleep any earlier than 2:00 am.

All the people that are suggesting that because these are millionaires athletes, somehow they do not need their sleep.........stupid and ridiculous argument!

Why don't you try training at 6:00 - go to school until 6:00 - work until midnight - and start all over again at 6:00.

Thousands of high functioning athletes do exactly this every day.

ONLY paid athletes would ever consider 8:00 too early for a practice.

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#107 Rdubb
January 15 2014, 08:12AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

But. I. Support. The. Oil. Good. Or. Bad. It's. The. Game. I. Love.

I'd love for everyone to stop going to the Oilers home games, but that won't happen. Why, because this town (& it's out lying areas too) absolutely LOVES THE OILERS...but, I really wish, and we can all do this, pick one home game, and NOT GO!!! Let's show the Oilers Brass (namely Lowe & Katz) that we, the fans are sick and tired of being treated like scum (so-to-speak). Edmonton has the 4th highest average ticket price in the NHL, and for what, the 28th, 29th, 30th place teams? NOT COOL Maybe, by skipping ONE game, MacT & the players will pick up @ how unsatisfied we fans are. It is my belief that the players try every night for the most part, but what they don't have is HEART & the willingness to learn. Look @ CAL, a mostly unskilled team who tries hard, night in and night out, they have heart and they learn and do what the coaching staff tries to implement, & the Oilers are a highly skilled team who are sitting lower in the standings. This SHOULDN'T be happening!!! How does MacT fix that? SHAKE THINGS UP! How? Trade Yak, Hemsky (while you can still get something for him), Gagner, & on D, you trade Petry, N.Scultz, Belov, & in goal, trade them both!!! Who DOES MacT keep? Hall, RNH, Eberle, Peron, Archo, & Gordon, even R.Jones (as he is starting to get back to the Jones of 2+ yrs ago). Bring up the D guys, Gernat & Klefbom and play them the rest of the yr and see what you have, the season is already lost, and if you trade both tenders this season (while you can get something for them) bring up Bachman and Brossiot and see what the future holds...many teams now have a log jam in goal such as CAR, LA, ANA, WAS... It shouldn't be hard to bring in a top 6 bigger forward with skill, or a 1-2 d-man and a tender from the above teams with what EDM has to offer up. The question is; where to start? Yak, Hemmer & Petry for a 1-2 D-man? Yak for Stewart (in STL), perhaps Gagner & Petry for Lucic (BOS)? I could go on and on what I think and feel, as could most of you who post in here, but it is essentially all up the MacT, lets just hope he keeps the core (or the guys mentioned above)... Just my thoughts PECK

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#108 geoilersgist
January 15 2014, 09:44AM
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@john

Last time I checked Kadri actually turned into a decent hockey player and has stuck in the NHL and puts up decent points while not being a liability.

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