Growing Pains

Life doesn’t always turn out as planned. One minute you’re on a big time television show and the next minute you’re making straight-to-DVD classics. The window of opportunity can close quickly. Thank goodness there are older folks around to give advice.

As we edge closer to decision day on Taylor Hall’s season (should they send him down to junior?) fans of the Edmonton Oilers are beginning to see just how large a step it is from junior to the NHL. In pre-season, when the muckers were on the powerplay and the ten-year veteran minor leaguers played with the superstars, Edmonton’s kids weaved magic into every shift. As the pre-season wound down, the points dried up. Now that we’re into the NHL regular season, time and space have evaporated and the three kids look like, well, kids on many shifts these days.

With the Oilers first loss last night, the coach has an opportunity to change some of the team’s structure. Gilbert Brule is either injured or unable to play in Minnesota (he fell down a lot last night) so there may be some changes there. Ryan Jones has probably earned a shift on a regular line, and to me eye Magnus Pääjärvi has played well enough to grab a spot on the Horcoff line. The question becomes who do they demote?

Probably Taylor Hall. He is "in between" right now, not handling the puck much and chasing it a lot. Off the rush, he doesn’t appear to have the previous drive to get around NHL veterans and is left to make a less creative play (and sometimes forces a play without success). With kids, it takes about 5 minutes to start losing confidence, so this is an issue Renney needs to address.

Shawn Horcoff has already given some insight into the situation. Quoting Horcoff in the the tsn article: "His shifts are too long. And he has to come back deeper for the puck to open up more ice. You have to overwork to get more ice. He’s taking off (too quickly) and the defencemen are right there, but that’s the NHL. These things will come. He wants it so badly, he stays out there because he wants it (to make something happen)."

These are common maladies for young players and can be filed under "errors of enthusiasm" at this early juncture. Will he learn from this? His average shift lengths in the first three NHL games have been fine (49 seconds in game #1; 51 seconds in game #2; 46 seconds in game three) but what Horcoff is talking about are a few prolonged shifts per game. Last night he had 5 shifts over one minute, with the longest being 1:26. Jordan Eberle had 7 shifts over one minutes with the longest being 1:40 (PP). The Swedish teenager had 8 shifts over a minute, the longest being 1:24. Checking the TOI totals for the two previous games, they seem to be about the same as last night’s in terms of the three young forwards.

I think Taylor Hall might benefit from playing on a lesser line for a few games. Elevate the Swede, get Brule out of the lineup until he’s healthy and give Ryan Jones a chance to play with Cogs and Hall on the 3line. Either way, the coach will have to do something soon. Taylor Hall is a very confident young man, but he’s also used to a lot of success. OHL to NHL is a massive gap.

  • Dutchscooter

    whoever she is, LT’s got the hots for her as an adult …i got johnson.jpg when i copied it, as i am want to do whenever i spy one of LTs’ cheekas…

    as for this team…it’s as pussified as ever without Smac right there on the bench…he shoulda been there last night, he might be on the bench in cowtown and what’s his name Ivanis isn’t…he’s still concussed from last weeks’ beatdown…the other idiot [jackman?] may need ‘filling in ‘ NO! i can’t believe Smac’s not in EVERY game until the league’s seen the kids at least once. Clutterbuck shoulda been ‘taken care of’ last night…Zenon shoulda been ‘taken care of’ for the crosscheck on 83…Steve Tambellini, what DID you get Smac for anyway?…he IS our BoogeyMan isn’t he? Wouldn’t our kids[and 83] would feel a lot calmer on the ice if they knew they didn’t have targets on their backs [or fronts or sides]like last nite. Renney’s not going to ask Penner to goon it up [with Zenon] when he knows Smac is on the roster. Why isn’t he on the bench until all the arseholes in the league are ‘taken care of’…why? He makes the rounds, reads the riot act and waits to go where Renney needs him to be for the rest of the season.Fixed

    Also please!!!!
    call up Petiot right now for Vandermeer.

    • The other thing for me is that the Oilers are running with 3 “scoring” lines. The team just doesnt have enough minutes to hand out to all the guys they want. Paajarvi is dying for more ice, Penner could be getting more. It will be different guys all night.

      If the Oil play a lineup with Big Mac in it then that’s close to an extra 3 minutes a night (assuming Big Mac plays less than the other guys on the 4th) they can give to one of the 9 forwards on the other lines who just dont get enough minutes.

      It’s like having 5 lines on the team. 3 scoring, 1 energy line, and 1 bruiser line. I tell you I’d rather have Big Mac + Penner/Eberle/Paajarvi/Hall on the 4th than Ryan Jones.

      • 99thOilerfan

        That’s all good for me Archaeologuy, if it’s Ryan Jones that sits then so be it. I’m old man ranting simply because our most valuable players are getting run…with not even a threat to them.This gooning it up proposal isn’t forever.
        At the very least doesn’t it make sense to have Big Mac on patrol for a tour of the league?, so 29 teams get a chance to see our BoogeyMan?, make up their smallish collective minds about going after or even sniffing at our boys??? Didn’t The Wild do just that with their ‘monster’for years? Wasn’t EVERYONE afraid of him? … if the Clutterbucks of the world do in fact just turtle then isn’t the message still sent and he’s got 5 minutes to mop up his own blood? TCB! period!
        As for line categories and minutes go i’m not an expert on the stop watch and combinations. When a Clutterbuck type does what he did and comes on the ice for his next shift and even if we don’t have last change, the guy who lines up against him just goes to the bench to have 33 come on and skate with him for the shift until the point is made verbally or he coaxes him to drop the gloves and take his punishment no? If just that matter takes a minute to resolve then so be it.Don’t the Oilers want everyone in the league to be very very afraid of our paid for neanderthal? If there’s too much talent on this team to make room for someone to protect that talent then someone tell me how a zero tolerance policy gets done here? Are we just waiting for one of these young men to get hurt…bad. Then What?

    • Dutchscooter

      What’s smac going to do, beat up Clutterbuck in a fight?

      Clutterbuck’s not even going to give him the time of day. Smac isn’t going to be the first meathead to go after him and try to intimidate him.

      Ivanaans got concussed because he was trading punches with Smac with his chin pointed to the sky. The first thing Clutterbuck is going to do is turtle and suck Smac into at least a minor and possibly a major penalty.

      At best, these guy take the goon on the other team out for 5 minutes.

  • Lowetide

    The young lady is Ashley Johnson. She was on Growing Pains many years ago. The only reason I know about her is that she was the voice of Gretchen Grundler on a kids show called Recess years ago. My kids loved that show. My favorite character was Spinelli, who was an absolute killer. She’d be our best defenseman without a doubt. 🙂

  • 99thOilerfan

    @ Dawgbone:

    Give it a rest please! It’s obvious your wrong for obvious reasons. We’re talking in unbiased facts and you’re talking in non facts. I mean it is obvious that guys suffer by going back to junior, just look at Eberle!! If he would have honed his craft up here last year he would have scored more and likely be competing with stamkos and the like for the Richard trophy this year. Now, that’s probably not going to happen.

    It’s stupid to question anything to do with these picks because the top 3 picks are completely different than the rest of the draft! It’s proven FACT that last place NHL GM’s obviously know what they are doing and they ALL play their high picks the following year in the NHL. Most of the other picks, even in the first round, need to be brought along slower and will likely benefit from another year of CHL competition. The top 3 picks are not at all similar with the rest of the draft though. These guys will gain nothing and will likely become half the player they could have been if they were to spend another year down there.

    Maybe someday you won’t be sooooo STUPID and you’ll get it.