Nilsson making bad choices?

In your last 22 games you’ve scored a measly two goals and four assists, your head coach benched you, publicly chastised your play and then sent you to the press box and you respond by skipping an optional practice. Not a good move, Robert Nilsson.

Only two games removed from the press box, Nilsson made a stupid decision and didn’t take part in practice this morning. Technically he didn’t have too skate, but an optional practice is optional for guys like Hemsky, Souray, Roloson, not for an underachieving 23-year-old.

That’s like when your girlfriend tells you it’s your choice if you want to come to her parents’ house for dinner or stay home and watch the game. Sure it’s technically your option, but you know that going to the ‘rents is your only real option if you hope to have any sort of scoring for the next few weeks. Sometimes you choose the game, but you do so knowing the consequences are chores, groveling and a few quality nights with the palm sisters.

You could chalk it up to a rookie mistake, but Nilsson isn’t a rookie, and he knows better. To me this is a clear case of Nilsson trying to show the coach he isn’t happy. He isn’t injured or nursing a nagging ailment, he simply didn’t put on the blades. The problem for Nilsson is he hasn’t been showing up on game nights often enough to be a no-show for an optional skate.

What makes this stranger is that Nilsson is always one of the last guys off the ice after practice. He — along with Smid, Brodziak, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot and Gilbert — normally play games after practice that sometimes last 30 minutes. This is completely out of character for Nilsson, so it makes you wonder if he was trying to send a message to his coach.

It’s hard to defend Nilsson in this situation. He gets benched for a game but comes back and gets to play with Gagner and Cole on the supposed second line. Is he that fed up with his coach? Does he want out of Edmonton? Is he happy with his game? It can’t be the latter, so I’m guessing it’s one of the former.

We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out the answers, since Nilsson wasn’t available, but the only way Nilsson doesn’t find himself back in MacTavish’s doghouse is he starts scoring, and scoring fast. You wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Nilsson, or just another bump in the long road to becoming a professional?

  • Jason Gregor

    Gord wrote:

    @ Jason Gregor:
    WOuld it be reasonable to expect that the Oilers will basically run 3 lines tonight resembling something more like this:
    12 89 26
    18 51 78
    27 10 13

    No chance on the third line you put up. Cogliano can't play the wing. He gets lost on the wing. I don't know if the MacBlender will be in that high speed, but I do expect to see a different rotation. The 4th line will play together and the rest will be a mix and match, but based on what he said I would expect him to at least try to keep some semblance of the 2nd and 3rd lines.

    A lot will depend on how many penalties there are. If there is lots of special team play it will be even harder to get a set rotation going. I suspect Cole will be playing 20 minutes tonight for sure.

  • Jay

    This is one of those things. Can you call it an optional practise if it's not optional? Can you rip him for not going, sure why not, eveyone is looking for someone to rip on these days. Not knowing the full official policy on optional practise for the Oilers organization I can only guess, but sometimes you just need to decompress and get away from things. Sounds like a perfect day to do it is the optional practise. Being as it is optional, maybe in name only? Are we having this same converstion if Ethan Moreau does it with all his stupid, ill-timed, undisciplined penalties and the general lack of leadership that is being shown? Probably not. I mean where was Ethan to take him under his wing on this one? OR Staios? OR Horcoff?

  • Clarkenstein

    Adam Dyck wrote:

    @ Clarkenstein:
    It was GRegor that said he was closer to the team, not Zig.
    for the record.

    Thanks for the heads up Adam and to Zig my sincere apologies. Got me all fired up but I forgot to remove my head from ass before I spoke.
    Will have to get Mama to spank my pee pee tonight!!

  • Jason Gregor

    Jay wrote:

    This is one of those things. Can you call it an optional practise if it’s not optional? Can you rip him for not going, sure why not, eveyone is looking for someone to rip on these days. Not knowing the full official policy on optional practise for the Oilers organization I can only guess, but sometimes you just need to decompress and get away from things. Sounds like a perfect day to do it is the optional practise. Being as it is optional, maybe in name only? Are we having this same converstion if Ethan Moreau does it with all his stupid, ill-timed, undisciplined penalties and the general lack of leadership that is being shown? Probably not. I mean where was Ethan to take him under his wing on this one? OR Staios? OR Horcoff?

    Why do the leaders have to remind guys to come to practice? They are grown men and a leader shouldn't have to call guys to make sure they will practice. Optional is not optional for young players. They all know it. They don't need to be reminded every day. Blaming other players for Nilsson sleeping in is weak. He has to look in the mirror and be better. Nothing more.

  • Ender the Dragon

    Ender the Dragon wrote:

    I’m not saying this whole thing isn’t exactly what Gregor sees, but I think we should hear Nilsson out before assuming the worst.

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Here is what happened. Nilsson slept in. Now we don’t know if he slept in accidently, or slept in planning on not going to practice. He then got a wake up call and showed up at the rink late. There was a brief meeting and he was sent home.

    Today Nilsson said so. “I made a mistake. I spoke to my Dad, and coach MacTavish and this was a mistake on my part. I want to be here, I like the guys in the room, and it won’t happen again.”

    Jason, I don't know if I owe you an apology or not; I don't always believe everything I read and I try to listen to both sides (and if possible, a third unbiased opinion) of every situation before making up my mind.

    I will say this. You were on the money in this case, and those who read and believed you right away knew the truth before I did. As such, I may believe you a little quicker next time. Still, I'm glad you provided the quotes from Nilsson. Getting the story straight from the horse's mouth always sits better with me than getting the truth second-hand. Thanks for taking the time and having the means to follow-up so well.

  • Jason Gregor

    Ender,

    I would hope you don't believe everything you read…lol. No need for an apology, if a guy is continually correct or very close to his facts then people will take it as fact. That is what I strive for.

  • Heavy G

    JG,
    I read your blog and I must say that it would be hard to disagree with what you wrote. One would have to be simpleminded or naive to think otherwise. Sure all of us slept in at one point or another; however, did we do it when we had something to prove or something to loose? Probably not.