The upside to missing the World Championships

Jonathan Willis
August 13 2014 07:00AM

14-Eberle-11

The Edmonton Oilers and Hockey Canada have had a long relationship, and few players on the current roster exemplify it better than Jordan Eberle.

Eberle was a famous player even before his first NHL game thanks to his exploits at the World Juniors, but he’s been a good soldier at the World Championships, too, joining the team for four consecutive tournaments from 2010 to 2013.

This year, Eberle didn’t go, but that might be for the best.

“I’ve never felt better”

Eberle spoke to reporters in Edmonton on Tuesday, and said that the extra time off made a significant difference for him. “I’ve never felt better,” he said. “I think not going to the Worlds I had an extra month to train and correct my body and I feel better than I have ever before. That being said, I think there’s a little difference between how you feel off the ice and how you feel on the ice.”

Asked if he’d done anything in particular differently this year, the Oilers forward circled back to the extra time off.

“More than anything I just had more time to train,” he answered. “I think with being in the worlds the last four years, whenever we get off they’re just about to go into the Stanley Cup Finals.”

“It feels like I’ve played in four Stanley Cups,” he added, laughing.

There was some criticism of the decision by Eberle and others to sit out this year’s World Championships. There are certainly some positives to playing – one of the most commonly cited being a chance for skaters on non-playoff teams to gain experience in a high-pressure tournament.

Eberle, though, has seen his fair share of high pressure situations. Just 24 years old, he has already appeared in 46 games at U-18, U-20 and senior level tournaments for Hockey Canada. From an Oilers perspective, it’s more than fair to wonder how important additional experience is when weighted against the opportunity for a longer summer recuperation.

Arcobello

26-Arcobello-5

Eberle was also asked about the Oilers’ centre situation, and expressed confidence in Mark Arcobello’s ability to play in the majors.

“I’ve played with Arco in the AHL and when he was up here,” he said. “I think he showed that he can play here when he was here last year. He performed very well. I think with contract issues and guys stepping in he kind of got pushed out of the way, but now that there’s a spot kind of open I know for him he’s probably training hard and looking to take over that. It should be interesting. I think any time you get into camp and there’s a couple of spots open it makes camp a lot more interesting and guys battle that much harder.”

Arcobello isn’t exactly proven, but Eberle’s point is a good one to remember. Arcobello wasn’t shuffled down the lineup because his performance wasn’t up-to-snuff; he was excellent filling in for Sam Gagner but eventually Gagner came back and the Oilers’ coaching staff decided to go with the guy with the long track record instead of the guy who’d been great as a fill-in.

That meant Arcobello got bumped down, and as he could clear waivers, eventually outside the Oilers lineup. I’m not saying I’d feel comfortable with Arcobello penciled into the top-nine of an NHL team I was running (in the Oilers shoes, having just one spot for Arcobello and Draisaitl and whoever else to compete for would be great) but I do think the player did everything that could realistically be expected of him, and then a little more than that.

Other Highlights

article_169ac22f-464f-40b1-9d50-87f7553263f1

  • Eberle mentioned both in the scrum and in a separate one-on-one with the Oilers’ Chris Westcott that one of the things he appreciated about Edmonton’s new additions was the size they brought. Purcell, Pouliot, Fayne, Nikitin and Aulie is a pretty massive group to add to the NHL roster in just one summer.
  • Asked about the hire of analytics guy Tyler Dellow, Eberle mentioned some of the stats feedback the players were getting last year, saying that they saw on-ice scoring chances after each game. It’s no surprise that the Oilers’ coaches were tracking that; it’s a little surprising that it was going directly to the players like that.
  • Talking informally to a high-level coach this summer, he mentioned that while he thought stats had an important place in the game, he didn’t think they were all that valuable to players and that it was up to the coaches to draw the right conclusions and distill them to their charges. Eberle’s comment about Corsi (“I think if you start thinking on the ice, you’re shooting the puck and you think your Corsi’s going up that’s where you have issues”) reinforces for me that raw numbers aren’t necessarily going to help a player with his game.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#51 Dwayne Roloson 35
August 13 2014, 05:07PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

This will be good for motivation. this is the first break they've gotten, nuge gets his first off season to train in a long time. Ebs seems excited about the new additions. i remember an interview last year where hall said that they didn't have the right guys in the dressing room to be a legit team(my words not his but similar). this is the first year i've been actually excited for the season. im not expecting a playoff spot but at least we look like an nhl team somewhat.

Avatar
#52 They're $hittie
August 13 2014, 05:29PM
Trash it!
21
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

@IM80

By no means is that what I am saying.

I am saying maybe a full healthy year will stabalize him to play at his potential.

This is also the reality that people should believe he is a complimentary player to Hall and Nugent Hopkins.

If he couldnt lead his junior team into deep playoff runs than how can he do it in the NHL.

For everyone who cals him captain clutch, what else has he won other than the world juniors where he was an overager playing on a stacked team,

He Played a few playoff games in the WHL, hasnt won anything in the NHL or played in a playoff game, and a meazly bronze in the Worlds.

People need to stop living in the fantasy land of 2009 world juniors and see him as a 60-65 point player which he is.

Avatar
#53 Bucknuck
August 13 2014, 06:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
30
cheers
They're $hittie wrote:

By no means is that what I am saying.

I am saying maybe a full healthy year will stabalize him to play at his potential.

This is also the reality that people should believe he is a complimentary player to Hall and Nugent Hopkins.

If he couldnt lead his junior team into deep playoff runs than how can he do it in the NHL.

For everyone who cals him captain clutch, what else has he won other than the world juniors where he was an overager playing on a stacked team,

He Played a few playoff games in the WHL, hasnt won anything in the NHL or played in a playoff game, and a meazly bronze in the Worlds.

People need to stop living in the fantasy land of 2009 world juniors and see him as a 60-65 point player which he is.

Do you realize that 65 points last year puts him in the top 30 of players in the entire NHL? The year before, he was 41st... and the year before that he was 16th?

Whatever point you are trying to make about Eberle being "just" a 65 point player in the NHL is lost because you are missing the point that 65 points is so difficult that on average only ONE player per team can do it.

That's pretty darn good, no?

EDIT: My point is that Eberle is not one of the myriad problems that riddle the Oilers. He's part of the solution

Avatar
#54 Quicksilver ballet
August 13 2014, 07:16PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
Wax Man Riley wrote:

Hey, if Nurse can come in and beat out 6 other D-men, then great! Defense is a harder position with a lot more to learn than forward. History has proven that forwards can step in right out of junior, but defense is better off gaining experience for a few years after the draft.

It has nothing to do with the organization not understanding their players.

30th, 30th, 29th, 24th and 28th place finishes* might reveal there are maybe even multiple problems, no?

Much more important than understanding their players, they have had serious issues recognizing talent the last 8 seasons. It's been reported it was Draisaitl telling them what he's going to do this season, not the other way around. Darnell was better than everyone of the 4 or 5 D'men the Oilers let go last season or this summer. He was top 3 during camp and still didn't make it. Recognizing talent and understanding players, it's rather obvious the Oilers have struggled in both these critical areas this past decade. If not now, when is the right time to admit to this reality?

* Keep in mind, no statithtics were enhanced to support this claim. The latest 28th place finish is in fact the up to the second most current data available. It is of my opinion that you may have over indulged in the complimentary beverages provided by the Oilers. Not a serious crime as yet, since there are no losses/wins to discuss.

Avatar
#55 Sorensenator
August 13 2014, 07:22PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

30th, 30th, 29th, 24th and 28th place finishes* might reveal there are maybe even multiple problems, no?

Much more important than understanding their players, they have had serious issues recognizing talent the last 8 seasons. It's been reported it was Draisaitl telling them what he's going to do this season, not the other way around. Darnell was better than everyone of the 4 or 5 D'men the Oilers let go last season or this summer. He was top 3 during camp and still didn't make it. Recognizing talent and understanding players, it's rather obvious the Oilers have struggled in both these critical areas this past decade. If not now, when is the right time to admit to this reality?

* Keep in mind, no statithtics were enhanced to support this claim. The latest 28th place finish is in fact the up to the second most current data available. It is of my opinion that you may have over indulged in the complimentary beverages provided by the Oilers. Not a serious crime as yet, since there are no losses/wins to discuss.

Yes those finishes indicate a team that has issues but it's not like it was totally unexpected. After all, they did "officially kick off a complete rebuild when they drafted Taylor Hall"

I don't think they foresaw being this bad for as long as they have been, however, they never had the surrounding pieces in those four years to compliment, protect, and mentor Hall, Nuge, Ebs, and now Yakupov.

I think it will be a different story this year with Draisaitl.

Avatar
#56 Harlie
August 13 2014, 07:42PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Honestly, the only thing I can remember when I think to last season was the water bottle incident and picking DR. Drai

Avatar
#57 They're $hittie
August 13 2014, 07:55PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Bucknuck wrote:

Do you realize that 65 points last year puts him in the top 30 of players in the entire NHL? The year before, he was 41st... and the year before that he was 16th?

Whatever point you are trying to make about Eberle being "just" a 65 point player in the NHL is lost because you are missing the point that 65 points is so difficult that on average only ONE player per team can do it.

That's pretty darn good, no?

EDIT: My point is that Eberle is not one of the myriad problems that riddle the Oilers. He's part of the solution

My original point was, if our players or anyones for that matter were not involved in World championships and world juniors and stuff like that than maybe they would have more in them to contribute more to there regular team.

In my very first comment, this is what i meant by lets see what Eberle will be now that he has rested and trained properly in the off season as apposed to going to a tournament that we dont send our best anyways. Why take it seriously.

I mean Monohan made the team last year and only had 32 points.

EDIT: I never said he was the problem, The problem is playing in tournaments that dont do him any good and hinder the oilers.

Avatar
#58 A rye morning
August 13 2014, 08:33PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

@They're $hittie

"Scoring" Sean Monahan has more 20 goal seasons than Baby Nuge.

Avatar
#59 Zarny
August 13 2014, 09:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Interesting to see how Leon was able to so quickly close the door on playing a kids game in Prince Albert. Whether he's playing in Edmonton or in Europe he'll be adjusting to playing the mans version of this game. Have to think if Darnell Nurse took that same approach last season, he'd most certainly be further along his learning curve this fall as well. It's a shame he's a lock to go back and play another season of the kids version.

Should we find it odd that an 18 yr old prospect knows better than the entire Oilers organization when it comes to his own progression as a potential player?

You might want to double check your assumption the Oilers' organization wouldn't support Draisaitl playing in Europe. During the lockout Yakupov went to the KHL and the Oilers had no problems with it. Better league....nuff said.

I suspect every NHL team wishes their top end prospects like Draisaitl or Nurse could play in the AHL as 18 y/o but the current agreements don't allow it. And moving to Europe to play 40-50 games on big ice simply isn't an option most North American prospects like Nurse choose.

Playing in Europe would have pros and cons for Draisaitl. Which league he played in would matter. The German elite league is not SEL or SM-liiga. He would be playing on big ice; it's a different game that only partially translates to the NHL. He would only play 40-50 games max and there is no control on how he would be used. He might only play 12-14 min a game in Europe.

Europe is probably the better option for Draisaitl if he doesn't stay with the Oilers but it isn't cut and dry.

Avatar
#60 Danoilerfanincalgary
August 13 2014, 09:47PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I'm glad they didn't go and really who cares I never watched one game of the WC's. Iggy never went and he was always the best conditioned guy on the Flames and very seldom was he ever hurt. We need our guys ready to go right from the get go more this year than ever.

Avatar
#61 jack
August 13 2014, 11:53PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

i sure hope nuge is hitting the old school jus, the kind they used to give to horses or arnie

Avatar
#62 Thumby
August 14 2014, 12:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
gravis82 wrote:

Corsi is a great measure as long as none of the players understand it or know that it is being used to evaluate them and assess their value. Knowing how to inflate your corsi in a contract year by just shooting the puck more when you know you are not going to score biases the measure. It should be used to track the natural behaviour of players, but becomes useless the moment that players know it has become important and thus learn to manipulate it. Not saying all players do that, or that this is important enough on an NHL wide scale to even being to consider re-addressing the metric. But its something to think about. You cant bias your goals and assists, or your plus minus that easily by just taking more meaningless shots. But then again, maybe those players trying to up their corsi by just taking meaningless shots will actually score more, which in fact is what we hope would happen if corsi is truly a rock solid measure. Just shoot the puck for goodness sakes #hemsky

Shooting more and scoring is good. shooting more at the expense of making the best play, while improving Corsi, will kill your point totals...which is going to cost you money. I doubt players will try to pad Corsi numbers rather than make the right play.

Comments are closed for this article.