Todd Nelson has only been behind the bench for two games, so it’s too early to say if he will make a difference long term or not, but his presence has made one noticeable difference.
Justin Schultz has made offensive plays with the puck during the past two games. Schultz’ play in OT that resulted in a spectacular save from Devan Dubnyk was the type of play he made in his first two seasons. We haven’t seen much of that over the past six weeks.
I recognize that Schultz’ defensive play still needs a lot of work. I doubt he will ever been considered a defensive stalwart, but if he can regain his offensive confidence at least he will be able to contribute something.
Schultz had great success under Nelson, albeit in the AHL, but confidence is a strange thing. How many of us feel better about ourselves when we head out on the town wearing our favourite shirt, or in Struds’ case, his favourite sweater? We all do. Simple things can impact our confidence.
In sports confidence is everything. If you don’t have it, your chances of success are virtually non-existent.
Schultz has to improve many areas of his game, but creating offence is his best asset and if that aspect re-emerges under Nelson it will give the Oilers a chance to at least compete in games.
They scored three goals last night. That is a large improvement, considering they’ve only scored three goals one other time in their previous 14 games.
Nelson has a reputation of building player’s confidence and getting them to play for him. It is very early, but it seems his place behind the bench has given Schultz a boost to make plays with the puck again.
Leon Draisaitl played 9:42 last night. He has one goal in his last 25 games. He has seven points in 33 games. With every game it becomes more obvious that what is best for his development is to send him back to junior. I don’t understand what they are waiting for, but I hope that after watching from behind the bench Craig MacTavish realizes it is best to have him in junior. Prince Albert will trade him. They already dealt Josh Morrissey to Kelowna. The Oilers could help facilitate a trade. It has happened before.
I want to make it very clear I’m not down on Draisaitl. I believe he has tremendous upside. His offensive vision and creativity is world class. His size will give him more opportunities to control the play as he matures and gets stronger. He is very dedicated. I have no doubt he will improve his skating this off season. He worked very hard this past summer, and I bet he’ll work even harder now that he has seen how fast the NHL is. But it is obvious he should not be here.
The risk of him losing his confidence far outweighs the reward of him scoring 20 points as a rookie. Kevin Lowe, Bob Nicholson and MacTavish need to realize this. Make the right decision for the player and the long term growth of the organization.
- Speaking of finding confidence, Nail Yakupov needs some. He has one point in his last 17 games. I really like Yak. I like that he has a bit of an edge to his game. He has a good heart. In the summer he signed a jersey for Travis Ewanyk’s mom for her school lunch program. Earlier this week when I spoke to him about it and we came up with the idea that he would meet the winning bidder in the hopes of raising more cash. We did and he will meet them next week. Things like that show me he cares, but right now he has to find a comfort level on the ice.
I’d argue that one of Nelson’s toughest assignments will be trying to ignite Yakupov’s game. He needs to shoot the puck more and get into shooting lanes. They need to hit the reset button with Yakupov and he needs to work his way out of his slump. Over the final 49 games I will be watching him closely to see if his play with and without the puck improves. Both he and the Oilers desperately need to see that.
- The Junior Chambers of Commerce Holiday Hamper goes tomorrow. They are currently need $3,300 to reach their goal to feed over 900 families. They are looking for $20 or $30 donations today. If you want to help out you can donate here.
DAY 14…MONTH OF GIVING
We raised an incredible $10,500 yesterday. Thank you to Dave Rocan for his incredible bid and to Vivo Ristorante, Blue Sky Limos and Pro AM Sports for their donations. Awesome.
A pub party for 10 at The Druid Irish Pub and ten $50 GCs to be used for your next visit. The staff will ensure you have a great night out. Food and
bevvies included. Trust me, only bid on this if you have a fun group of
friends. They will treat you very well at the Druid.
Courtesy of Michael Anthony Jewellers this Pandora bracelet is a beautiful blend of Murano Glass Golden Ochre, along with
fancy golden pave bead set.
Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out the Christmas Bureau.
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