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.

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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?

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  • @ Braden:

    I'd say the only stark contrast from the play of Moreau and Gagner when compared to Nilsson is compete level. They have it, and that's why they get the shifts…regardless of the odd bonehead plays they make.

  • Ender the Dragon

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    He doesn’t have a legitimate excuse or the coach would have said it.

    That's a pretty big presumption, don't you think? Are there not times when the coach might know of a reason, usually personal, but not feel that it's their place to discuss it publicly with the media?

    Why don't we give Nilsson a chance to explain? If he's got nothing, then heck yeah, have him flogged in Churchill Square for all I care. Whatever happened, though, to 'innocent until proven guilty'?

  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    He hasn’t been lighting it up, and skipping an optional, unless he has one hell of a good reason today, was wrong. That was the point. Plain and simple.

    Point received and understood, except in an earlier comment you said since he's healthy, no excuse is good enough. Now he just had better require a good one, and you don't seem to know if he had one.

    Make up your mind, would you?

  • I think that Bobby is done – Eberle or Schremp could take his spot next year, you had might as well try to find someone willing to take him.

    Gregor was talking about Spezza rumours yeterday on his show, maybe Nilsson could be included in some sort of package for him…

    Just read that hammerhead Eklund is suggesting a possibility of a Battle of Alberta "Winter Classic" in 2011 as part of a double header with 2 western games. Maybe someone could follow that up (Gregor/Brownlee), we all know Mr Eklund's record of predictions. The double header with 2 western games (he's suggesting LA vs Colorado in Denver) seems ridiculous with the time zone thing & the league's dependance on Eastern markets.

  • Cam

    Braden wrote:

    Hey Gregor: How would you feel if someone at work made mistakes all the time without repercussion and then the one time you made a mistake you got grilled?
    I would pissed off too and it’s hard to blame Nilsson.
    Moreau takes 12342 penalties (mostly slashing and hooking) and he’s out playing the next shift.
    Gagner turns the puck over time after time, a few of them leading to goals against and losses yet he Gagner never sees the PB.
    There’s no consistency with the coaches methods and its hard to blame Nilsson for being pissed about it.

    What? Give your head a shake. Nilsson has been a lazy ass all season. This isn't one mistake! If he doesn't want to show for practice I don't give a care, but now he better put up some numbers or he is just a pouty brat in my opinion.

    At the very least Gagner and Moreau have been working hard. They are skating hard and not making lazy plays out there like Nilsson. As a fan I can accept some mistakes, but no effort is an insult to me when I pay a hundred bucks for a ticket.

  • Gord

    Cam wrote:

    At the very least Gagner and Moreau have been working hard. They are skating hard and not making lazy plays out there like Nilsson. As a fan I can accept some mistakes, but no effort is an insult to me when I pay a hundred bucks for a ticket.

    This is exactly it. Effort goes is the key even if the results aren't coming. Eventually the effort will pay off in the form of results, but floaters can't be tolerated.
    Ender the Dragon wrote:

    That’s a pretty big presumption, don’t you think? Are there not times when the coach might know of a reason, usually personal, but not feel that it’s their place to discuss it publicly with the media?

    If that was the case then the coach would say 'Nilsson had a personal issue and cleared it with me.'
    It is obvious from Gregor's report that wasn't the case.

    Deep Oil wrote:

    I could care less if you follow the Iverson mantra of practise – JUST DO IT – prove MacT and the media wrong – as the fans could care less – just produce.

    At the time of the Iverson incident he was the star of the team and a top scorer in the league. Nilsson is a kid who has been in and out of the line up last year and this year for inconsistancy in his effort. Hardly a comparable situation. If you aren't the star then you better be at each and every practice and busting your ass to prove you want to be in the line up for the next game.

  • Ender the Dragon

    Gord wrote:

    Ender the Dragon wrote:
    That’s a pretty big presumption, don’t you think? Are there not times when the coach might know of a reason, usually personal, but not feel that it’s their place to discuss it publicly with the media?

    If that was the case then the coach would say ‘Nilsson had a personal issue and cleared it with me.’
    It is obvious from Gregor’s report that wasn’t the case.

    Or maybe since it was an 'optional' skate, Nilsson didn't fill MacT on everything beforehand but still had a potentially valid reason for being away. It could be that MacT was just being politically correct until he'd heard back from Nilsson, something maybe more of us could take under advisement before jumping to (potentially) incorrect conclusions.

    If he's done bad, fine, but we don't know that for sure yet, do we?

  • Having just listened to the press conference, MacTavish said pretty clearly "it was a no strings attached optional workout for him."

    Did I miss something obvious? Sounds to me like MacT isn't upset, so why should we be?

  • Or maybe we should stop making excuses for the useless bag of shît. He signed a good deal in the off season after a year of some success and being sent to the minors once. The idiot is in the best situation hes ever been in his career and he needs to grow the hell up, and do it tommorow. If Dustin Penner can turn shape up and turn into the player MacTavish wants, then Nillson can to.

  • Deep Oil

    @ Gord: case in point – as stated this is a very slow day – if the kid lays an egg against the sens – then he has made his own bed – bad optics – but he really he hasn't committed assault, dui or slept with a teammate's girlfriend or wife – so let him prove himself since HE has PUSHED back and created this non issue amongst media and oilers nation folk…. I just don't understand how LOWE could of signed this kid for three years when MACT states that he has had a bad work ethic from NYI – doesn't LOWE consult with MACT when signing a player just for input ????? This really shows that MACT is hired help and LOWE is in the ivory tower.

  • Jason Gregor

    @ Braden:
    Braden,

    I can understand if Nilsson is frustrated for sure. But to skip an optional is not the right way to go about it. 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."

    But is the workplace fair all the time? OF course not. Every job people get treated differently, why would hockey be any different. You suck it up and play or work.

    Nilsson also admitted that tonight is one of those times where you really want to show up and have a good game. He knows the pressure is on now maybe more than ever, so watching how he responds is the key. MacTavish talked about it being a error from a young guy, but he wasn't beside himself. When a coach or boss challenges you to be better, he is most concerned with how you respond. If Nilsson responds well, then I think that speaks of his character and this becomes just another bump in the road.

    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.

    The timing is what is the worst for Nilsson. Like I stated, if he is playing well and not two games removed from BOW WOWville then it is chalked up as a do over.

  • Jason Gregor

    MikeP wrote:

    Jason Gregor wrote:
    He hasn’t been lighting it up, and skipping an optional, unless he has one hell of a good reason today, was wrong. That was the point. Plain and simple.
    Point received and understood, except in an earlier comment you said since he’s healthy, no excuse is good enough. Now he just had better require a good one, and you don’t seem to know if he had one.
    Make up your mind, would you?

    Mike I stated there was no real valid excuse or MacT would have said it yesterday. AND GUESS WHAT today there was no excuse. Why don't you read properly and stop trying to interpret things.

    My point was it was a stupid mistake and one that he had no explanation for. And guess what? He didn't.

    If you guys want to say you don't agree with my stance, fine. But have an actual argument to defend your stance, which you and Zig to date have shown none.

    I'm all for debate, if you can actually back up your opinion. I don't expect everyone to agree, nor would I want that, but at least have the smarts to back up your thoughts. Otherwise you are just taking up space.

  • Jason Gregor

    @ Ender the Dragon:

    Once again, for those who don't understand it. A coach would have said personal reasons. Plain and simple. I've been to enough press conferences to know the difference. I don't toss out rumours for fun, and I don't rip guys for the sake of it.

  • Jason Gregor

    @ BUCK75:
    BUCK75 wrote:

    Just read that hammerhead Eklund is suggesting a possibility of a Battle of Alberta “Winter Classic” in 2011 as part of a double header with 2 western games. Maybe someone could follow that up (Gregor/Brownlee), we all know Mr Eklund’s record of predictions. The double header with 2 western games (he’s suggesting LA vs Colorado in Denver) seems ridiculous with the time zone thing & the league’s dependance on Eastern markets.

    Buck 75, just spoke with Patrick Laforge and the Oilers have no plan to do another outdoor game in the near future. But Laforge did say he would love to do another one, but right now the league wants to to spread it around toteams that haven't been involved. Calgary really wants to do one, but McMahon isn't big enough for them to make any money on the game. They could bring in extra seating like they do for a Grey Cup game, but that's about it they only way they can do it and make money. The costs are quite hefty to set up a game.

    So no chance you will see the Oilers hosting one, and as of right now there is no plans for an outdoor Battle of Alberta.

  • Jason Gregor

    FYI…Hemsky won't play tonight…story should be posted in a bit…but he is still fuzzy from the Tootoo hit and won't go tonight and is doubtful to play tomorrow in Calgary.

  • Jayamania

    I think people need to calm down. I mean we're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice.

    How the hell is Bobby Nilsson gonna make his teammates better by practicing?

  • mharco

    Now this is strictly speculation but I think he had bad chinese and is under the weather. Also that he would have called but his phone fell out of his pocket and was lost in the snow… That is always my reason for missing work.

  • Jayamania

    It's a good thing we have a skilled forward like Reddox to replace a top 6 forward in case of an injury.

    Can someone explain to me why we are only carrying 21 players? Good call Mac T.

    Gregor, I heard you mention on your show that Potulny should be getting the call shortly. Any updates.

  • Dennis

    Gregor: You and I don't agree on most things but I appreciate your insider info.

    On 12: if I'm making that kind of scratch, I've got no less than three alarms set so that I never miss a practice. Years ago when I was in my early 20's, I got to work an hour late because there was a power outage in my area and it shagged my alarm clock. So when I get there the guy who worked the shift before me is still there covering and he's pi$$ed and the boss is waiting for me and she takes me into her office.

    I tell her what happened and she calls NL Power to see if my story checked out – it did – and she told me she could empathize but she also told me it was my responsibility to also set a battery operated clock so that I had a back-up. The point is that I was 21 and I messed up that one time but I never messed up again. 12's also still a bit of a kid but he's also a guy that's taken a few blackmarks because he's a bit of a lazy-a$$ who also looks to carry a sense of entitlement.

    Given what he was carrying around Before he slept in, he doesn't get a free pass from me Because he slept you.

  • Dennis

    BTW, big ups for that pic of Nilsson to go along with the picture. He looks like he came off a month-long bender and now he's at a support group wearing a hoodie, but if he took it off you know his right arm's showing a half-completed Japanese sleeve:D

  • Gord

    Deep Oil wrote:

    @Gord:…I just don’t understand how LOWE could of signed this kid for three years when MACT states that he has had a bad work ethic from NYI – doesn’t LOWE consult with MACT when signing a player just for input ????? This really shows that MACT is hired help and LOWE is in the ivory tower.

    You will get no disagrement from me on this one.

  • David S

    "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."

    Thanks for the clarification Jason. However this reads a bit differently to me than…

    "To me this is a clear case of Nilsson trying to show the coach he isn’t happy."

    (The Journal had some additional comments today as well.)

    An application of Ocham's Razor would probably fill in the blanks here, but obviously its not the position of this site or yourself to do so.

    Suffice it to say that I enjoy your insights and got a bit confused when you started to lean over to the side of speculation. Nilsson said he made a mistake. He talked to MacT about it and things are cool. Done.

  • Jason Gregor

    Jayamania wrote:

    It’s a good thing we have a skilled forward like Reddox to replace a top 6 forward in case of an injury.
    Can someone explain to me why we are only carrying 21 players? Good call Mac T.
    Gregor, I heard you mention on your show that Potulny should be getting the call shortly. Any updates.

    Good question. I should clarify that Deslauriers's conditioning stint doesn't open up a spot so they techincally have 22 right now. They do have one open spot and the reason they haven't recalled anyone so far, is that it wouldn't do Schremp, Brule or Potulny any good to sit in the press box and wait for an injury.

    Of course Reddox isn't a good trade off for Hemsky, but he is only in due to injury.

    They really want to try and get Nilsson going so I could see him getting extra PP time with Hemsky out for a few games.

  • Gord

    @ David S:
    It's only that simple if Nilsson comes out and plays a solid 60 minutes. If he is floating around making lazy plays you can bet things won't be cool and the situation is far from done.

  • Jason Gregor

    Jordan wrote:

    Jason: What are the lines for tonight with hemsky out of the lineup?

    MacTavish wasn't tipping his hat…but I suspect it to be

    12 89 26
    18 13 78
    27 10 85
    43 51 46

    Reddox with Horcoff would mean they are going to see a lot of Heatley and Spezza. Of course Reddox won't be on the PP in place of Hemsky. And expect Cole to get a few extra shifts playing with Horcoff as well. They didn't skate in lines at the morning session so it was impossible to get a true read on it.

  • Gord

    @ 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