The Flyers made history over the weekend; the Habs got crushed again in game one, the Sharks didn’t have to kill a penalty but lost and Oiler fans saw a glimpse of what the future might look like.
Jordan Eberle’s four points in a 12-1 blowout over Norway had Oiler fans daydreaming about what they might see in the future. Toss in Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, the signing of Teemu Hartikainen, Taylor Hall’s first period v. Brandon and Devan Dubnyk going to the worlds and finally there are some reasons to be a hopeful Oiler fan.
You never discount four points, but when they come against Norway you have to temper your enthusiasm. The only thing you can’t debate about Eberle is how he sees and thinks the game. The advantage he’ll have when he comes to camp next season is that he’ll play with guys who think and play the game better than any of his previous teammates. Or at least I hope he’ll be on a line with the likes of MPS, Hemsky, Penner, Gagner, Brule or Hall/Seguin. It’s too early to think about the horror of seeing him line up on the 4th line.
The one knock scouts and hockey people have against Eberle is his skating, and he knows it. He’s worked extremely hard the past two years with Steve Serdachny, the Oilers skating and skills coach, and Serdachny is confident Eberle’s skating won’t be an issue in the NHL.
“I’ve worked with lots of young guys over the years and Jordan’s work ethic and drive to improve is the highest I’ve seen. He has put in lots of extra work improving his first few steps, and he doesn’t skate as up right as he used to,” Serdachny said on my radio show last Friday.
Eberle doesn’t have to skate like Cogliano to succeed, because of his ability to get to the open areas. He has an accurate shot, and despite his size, he isn’t afraid to go into the tough areas to score. If he plays with guys who are more puck carriers and puck distributors he should be fine in the NHL.
The more I watch MPS, the more I think he might be more NHL ready than Eberle. He skates exceptionally well, has a bit of bite to his game and after playing three years in the SEL he is physically ready to handle NHL defenceman. I keep hearing the Oilers are getting closer to working out a deal to sign the 10th pick in 2009, so we should see him in Edmonton this fall.
*** It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but the Oilers prospect camp will go July 5th to 9th, and if MPS is signed, Oiler fans could see him before September. This summer’s camp should be the most watched in years. Eberle, MPS, Hartikainen, Linus Omark, Phillippe Cornet, Toni Rajala, this year’s picks and possibly Anton Lander will make it a hell of a camp.***
In one period Taylor Hall showed why he’s a top prospect, but also why there is some concern in how he plays.
Hall’s skills are top-notch and I love how he isn’t afraid to try things with the puck. The video isn’t the best angle of the hit, because it wasn’t from behind, but rather two guys colliding shoulder-to-shoulder.
Hall is not afraid to after any puck, and clearly he isn’t afraid of a collision, but when his own GM says he needs to be more award on the ice, you have to be a bit wary wondering if he can handle those types of hits in the NHL.
Hall’s performance at the Memorial Cup will only strengthen TEAM HALL’s reasons why the Oilers should draft him, and it is hard not to see why people like him. I’d still take Seguin, but if the Oilers take Hall it will be hard to rip that pick. The kid can play, and his passion for the game is refreshing.
DD or JDD
I wonder how much, if any, the decision of hockey Canada to bring Devan Dubnyk to the Worlds instead of Jeff Deslauriers will have on the Oilers this summer.
If the Oilers had any say — I can’t get any confirmation that they did — and Dubnyk was the guy they recommended then it seems obvious who is ranked #2 behind Khabibulin.
I wonder how Deslauriers felt when he heard Dubnyk was going? I can tell you he wasn’t thrilled about it, and it’s fair for him to wonder if that has any bearing on where he stands within the Oilers’ goaltending ranks.
My money is that Dubnyk will be here longer than Deslauriers. Of course, Khabibulin’s court case this summer will have an impact of whether the Oilers move JDD before training camp. If the Oilers keep both DD and JDD through training camp, the chance of them losing one for nothing would be high. I think they might move JDD at the draft, and then sign a veteran journeyman this summer. He would be one injury away from getting called up to Edmonton, and that will be an intriguing carrot that Tambellini can dangle. Would a veteran guy like Curtis Sanford or Brent Krahn be of interest to Steve Tambellini?
‘Wow’ is all I will say
(Big shout out to loyal Nation reader and TEAM 1260 listener Brian for sending me that video)
After watching this video, do you applaud the city of Cleveland for pulling out all the stops to try and entice Lebron to stay, or does it look like begging? I thought it wasn’t bad, in a cheesy sort of way. Listen to the song without watching the video, and you’ll groan a bit. Carl Monday’s moustache is awesome and Mark Brown the furniture pitchman made me laugh out loud. Some days we need to not take ourselves so serious…