Magnus Paajarvi is basking in the warmth of Arizona with the rest of the Edmonton Oilers, but the big Swede’s hands might as well be back here, where the deep freeze has busloads of brass monkeys heading south as fast as they can get out of town.
Without a goal in 11 games and pointless in his last nine, Paajarvi has gone colder than an ex-wife with a good lawyer. In Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, he played on the fourth line, logging a season-low 5:33 of ice time.
Given the funk Paajarvi is in, and that lining him up on the fourth line makes zero sense in terms of developing him as a player, I’m thinking it would help Paajarvi to stay south a little bit longer — as in a stint with the Oklahoma City Barons.
If Paajarvi, 19, is going to become the kind of player people think he can be, playing him on the fourth line isn’t the answer. He’s a top-nine forward, and that’s where he needs to play, whether it’s here or in OKC.
I’d rather see Paajarvi do a 10-game stint with the Barons, where he can find his game and his confidence again, than have him lug along with the plugs and grinders on the fourth line here.
A CHANCE TO SUCCEED
I didn’t see this kind of slump for Paajarvi coming, but he’s got absolutely nothing done in the month of November and he isn’t showing any signs of snapping out of it. "Storts! Storts! I’m open . . ."
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Call-ups and demotions shouldn’t be strictly about rewarding good play and punishing sub-standard play. They have to be about player development and putting prospects in a position where they have the best opportunity to succeed.
I felt that way when I said Linus Omark shouldn’t get a courtesy call-up after a hot streak in OKC if it meant he was going to be stuck on the fourth line here, and I feel that way with Paajarvi now.
What Paajarvi, like any young player in his position, needs now is to see pucks go in the net, even if its against AHL goaltending and opposition. That gives him a better chance to get his game together than playing behind Ryan Jones does, no?
Forget the "optics." A stint in OKC isn’t punishment for Paajarvi, and can’t be framed as such. It’s a chance to put an end to this confidence-busting slump he’s in and get him going again.
If I’m Steve Tambellini, I’m making that call in the next 24 hours and Paajarvi doesn’t fly back to Edmonton when the Oilers do. The other calls I make result in Jones being put back on the fourth line where he belongs and Omark summoned and plugged into the third line for a look-see while Paajarvi gets his act together.
Maybe that’s just me.
THEO TAKES THE PIPE
How did all four officials on the ice in Anaheim manage to get it wrong and screw Theo Peckham with that bogus delay of game penalty referee Stephen Walkom called?
Making a bad call worse — Peckham shot the puck through a hole in the glass that’s used by photographers, not over the glass — was the lame explanation offered by Bob Hall, who oversees officials for the NHL.
"They (officials) put the pieces of the puzzle together and they came out with it was shot out, which we all now know in seeing it on the replay that it was not the correct call," he said. "It is not a reviewable play. Our video process does not allow us to do stuff like that."
Here’s a concept: if nobody on the ice saw what happened, and the play isn’t reviewable by off-ice officials, then you CAN’T call it. Isn’t that about as fundamental as it gets? Put the pieces of the puzzle together? Yes, that’s how calls should be made.
AND ANOTHER THING . . .
— Is there anybody out there who doesn’t want to see more of Devan Dubnyk, even after Nikolai Khabibulin returns from his strained groin? If Tambellini and Tom Renney are the least bit interested in finding out if Dubnyk can be the No. 1 here, he should get half the remaining games. It won’t happen, of course, but it should.
— Would Walkom and his crack crew have put the pieces of the puzzle together the way they did if the play in question with Peckham involved Chris Pronger, Lubomir Visnovsky or another veteran player? Not a chance. What’s this seniority bit that clouds so many calls?
— My over and under for assists Ryan Whitney compiles before he scores his first goal of the season is 22. Whitney, who whiffed on an open net against Anaheim, has 0-17-17 through 19 games, leaving him tied for fourth in the NHL for assists.
— Courtesy of Oilersnation poster dohfOs, a link to pictures of the Oilers cheerleading team are here. These pix have since been taken down on the Oilers website, but once they’re out there, well, they’re out there. Nice work, Bub.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.