WHC (First Blush)

There are all kinds of things worth talking about at the World Hockey Championships. Some items are predictable ("Jordan Eberle is among the top 10 scorers") and some are shockers ("so is Robert Nilsson!") and many of the themes are of great interest to Oiler fans.

  1. Nilsson Schmilsson: Holy cow! Robert Nilsson (2gp, 0-4-4 +3) is tied for 4th in overall scoring. Nilsson is playing 19 minutes a night and making it count. I can see him getting another NHL shot if he wants it. Hey, hire Robert and you might get Kenta to scout for you.
  2. Adam’s Rib: Adam Larsson didn’t make team Sweden. The only kids on blue that made it for Sweden were Oliver Ekman Larsson and Tim Erixon. The club boasts 35-year old David Petrasek, who has played 745 SEL games over many seasons but only 2 WHC games. Interesting.
  3. Pääjärvi’s Progress: MP has played 2 games (1-1-2 +1) and looks like he’s playing top 6 minutes so far this series. I haven’t seen Sweden yet but there’s some talent on this team. If MP gets minutes with someone like Loui Eriksson I’d love to see it.
  4. Fasth lane: Viktor Fasth has played in 1 game and stopped 23 shots for the shutout. I think the Oilers might try to grab a Euro goalie like Fasth for the NHL/AHL 4-goalie tandem next season.
  5. Crossing Jordan: How good is Jordan Eberle? Talk about a plug and play rookie, this guy has 3 goals in 3 games and is impressing in yet another international tournament. How long before we can start talking about Eberle’s international play in historic terms? Beauty player.
  6. Conklin Midway: Ty Conklin is the USA backup goalie. Don’t play him in game 1!

Miles and miles to go, but plenty of stories already from the World Hockey Championships. Canada is playing well enough but it’s early and the challenges are still ahead for them. Attendance is interesting, Canada currently is the 9th most attractive team to watch according to the locals based on these numbers.

Canada is at the top of their table (8 points) followed by Switzerland (6), France (3) and Belarus (1). It’s been a crazy WHC’s so far, with only Denmark and Austria with zero points at this stage of the preliminary round. A good guess would have Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, USA, Sweden, the Czechs and Finns advancing. No real surprise there, but inside the names are some huge items (Germany is unbeaten, France won a game).

It’s still early, but I suspect this one will be worth watching.

    • Lowetide

      Good question. I suspect they’re open for bid but the television coverage trumps it. Unlike the WJ’s (which are a a solid ratings and advertising winner) the WHC’s are second page because the the SC playoffs. jmo

  • CSimpson18

    Eberle even at this young age may be one of those Reggie Jackson types who just rise to the occasion. Unlike Reggie, he may be a better all around talent in the regular season, but also have the ability to raise his level of play when it matters. Hall has shown the same ability in his Mem cup runs. Now add some vet two way grinders that also come to play, and the playoffs could be closer then we think.

    Oh wait. Goalie. Right. Go Dubnyk.

    • Lowetide

      I wonder if they’ll play Dubnyk more than the 8 minutes he’s been in so far. With the prelim’s coming to an end you’d think they’ll switch to the veteran but you never know. Reimer has gone pretty much all the way so far.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    My point is that even tho my team is out, err…never came freakin close to making the playoffs, I still would like to cheer for my country. Team Canada, not the last remaining Cdn team in the playoffs. I’ll still watch the NHL, but it holds little interest for me until the Cup presentation game.

  • CSimpson18

    Jeebus…let’s temper our expectations a little.

    Canada has played Switzerland (and needed OT for the win), Austria (who likely would be a Junior B team over here) and France (who negotiated a surrender before the start of the game).

    3 goals in 3 games is nice and all but bear in mind the youngest player on the team (and in the NHL this season) has 5 points in those same 3 games.

    How good is Jeff Skinner?

    Context LT.

    • CSimpson18

      DSF wrote: “Context LT.”

      In the article, LT wrote:

      “Miles and miles to go”

      “but it’s early and the challenges are still ahead for them”

      “It’s still early”

      and the title of the article includes the words “first blush”

      A sufficient amount of context by my eye.

      • Lowetide

        And then he went and ruined it all:

        “How long before we can start talking about Eberle’s international play in historic terms? Beauty player.”

        “Historic terms”

        Good grief.

          • Wax Man Riley

            And what if he doesn’t blow him out of the water? What if Eberle scores 80 pts next year and Skinner gets hurt? What if Logan Couture wins a cup this year? What if my aunt had balls….would she be my uncle?

            How many big goals has Skinner scored in an international tournament? (Serious question, because I don’t know)

            Skinner will be a very good player, nobody is doubting that. You seem to always stop by just to sh!t on the author of the article or the people posting their thoughts. I think the kids call that trolling. Post an original idea.

        • Wax Man Riley

          I think he’s referring to all international play, not just the Senior Men’s World Championship.

          Eberle now something like 45 points in 29 international games with a gold and silver medal all at the age of 20.

          Plus he’s scored some pretty famous goals in that time as well.

    • ClosetGM

      So Eberle’s points are against crap teams so LT’s getting ahead of himself, but Skinner’s points are so completely different we’re forced to wonder exactly how good he is.

      Oh so close DSF, you very nearly demonstrated actual logic that rational adults use. I’m cheering you on to get there before senility really kicks in.

      If only the Oilers would have selected Teubert or Hodgson!

      • baai

        Thing is we are being encouraged to write Eberle’s performance into history while an 18 year old is stealing his lunch money.

        In an interview today, Ken Hitchcock was gushing about the skill and commitment of Skinner and he mentioned Skinner is his team’s best player.

        What the hell does Hitch know?

        I’m sure LT can call these things more accurately than Hitchcock.

        Or maybe not.

      • baai

        No need to wonder…Eberle has 3 and Skinner has 5.

        Against the same teams.

        Hope you can figure out the “math”.

        It isn’t close.

        Although, apparently, one is historic and one isn’t. 🙂

        • Wax Man Riley

          It is also an Oilers blog. What if you forgot that? Of course an Oilers player is going to be the focal point.

          What was the point of bringing up Nilsson? He was an Oiler. Conklin? Pääjärvi? Ditto.

        • Lyxdeslic

          Skinner plays along side Tavares and Stewart.

          Eberle Plays with Evander Kane and Clutterbuck.

          look at line mates, obviously skinner is going to have way better numbers! Eberle is the only person on his line to have a goal and has more points then his linemates combined.

          And speaking of being historic. Has skinner ever won CHL player of the year or does he hold the record for team CANADA world junior all time goals? How about scoring the biggest goals in Canadian world juniors history?

        • EasyOil

          The point LT was making was that Eberle is racking up quite a résumé on the international stage, whereas Jeff doesnt yet have that proven ability on the same stage over such a long period of time.

          Prior to this year, the only international tournament Skinner had played in was the U-17 WHCs in 08-09, where he scored 6 points. Good showing, not the biggest stage, but fairly impressive nonetheless. Now, as we all know, he has scored 5 points in 3 games in his first (of many I expect) senior world championship. Fantastic accomplishment, so far.

          Eberle, on the other hand, scored 10 points in six games in the U-18s in 07-08, a pretty dominant performance on a slightly (but only slightly) bigger stage than the U-17s. He then went on to dominate in the U-20s the following year, scoring vital (some say clutch) goals and 13 points in big games and winning the gold medal; he then went on to be perhaps even more dominant in the following years tournament, scoring another 13 points, with again vital goals, earning a silver medal and becoming the tournaments all time leading goal scorer.

          Following that performance, he was invited to tag along with the senior team for the WCs when he hadn’t even played in the NHL yet, and scored 4 points in his first game (yes, it was against Norway, but both Eberle and Skinner this year are scoring against the weak teams, which is surely what you want anyway?) and although he didn’t put up any more points in his other 3 games, was regarded as one of the teams best players at only age 20 with no NHL games under his belt.

          Now the problem comes when trying to actually compare Skinner and Eberle: you can’t. Skinner jumped straight to the NHL following the draft and never looked back – he didn’t have the opportunity, and never will now, to play in the WJCs, so we can never say whether or not he’d have been as dominant as Eberle, who stayed a further two years in junior.

          At the end of the day, Eberle has been considered an absolute beauty on the national stage because of his timely goals (including probably one of the biggest goals in Canadian international hockey history against Russia, up there with Henderson and Crosby – seriously) in the WJCs (a tournament with a massive viewership in North America), and seems to be continuing that on into the senior tournament without any trouble whatsoever. What LT was saying, was that Eberle has a history of performing at an elite level in international tournaments. Skinner is currently doing it, right now, in the present, but he doesn’t have the history of it that Eberle does.

          Might Skinner reach that level someday? He might well do, although the WCs aren’t really as popular as the Olympics or the WJCs so he might not have the opportunity to work his way into the hearts of the Canadian people the way Eberle has. Skinner put up an exceptional season this year, and could end up being an elite talent for years to come – no one here said otherwise. But as mentioned by other posters, this is an Oilers blog, so the focus will be on Eberle, who so far could be written about as being among the greatest Canadians on the international stage, at least so far.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Exactly!

            As usual DSF misses the mark by a mile.

            Eberle obviously has a loooong way to go before any “historic” talk becomes relavant, but at this point he’s laying the frame work for it to at least be a resonable.

            I’d guess their isn’t a player his age or younger with his international resume at this point.

  • CSimpson18

    Nilsson plays with Cogliano And Gagner and has the 5th best assist/min rate in the league in 07/08 was +8. Plays half the season with Gagner or Cogs and is a plus player.
    He plays with Potulny, O’sullivan, Moreau. then his >-20. Yeah he was the Problem.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Nilsson may just need a bigger Ice surface But he may also need better line-mates than he had near the end. Of coarse if he had kept up the production pace and improved on it that he had in year one he would still be here and be playing with some amazing young talent. I hope it works out for the kid but I have moved on.

  • ClosetGM

    DSF
    Why are you even here? I am sick and tired of these guys that just want to bash the Oilers. Eberle is an exceptional player who has has numerous international moments. He is a young kid with great hockey sense and skill. He is an Edmonton Oiler. What is your problem? Why would you come to the Oiler nation and bash a kid like Eberle. Get a life. I bet your one of the same idiots that has a Dallas Stars jersey in there closet from all those playoff battles that we lost to them. I am a fan of the Oilers live breath and bleed copper and blue. It really pisses me off to see guys like you on here. Skinner is a great player maybe even better than Eberle, but he does not have anywhere near the same credentials in international hockey. Two games and your gonna sit there and call him historic after that. Talk about making yourself look stupid.

    Draft Wiz
    Thank you for making the same point i was going to make. I will not repeat it because it has already been pointed out to our less intelligent posters.

  • ClosetGM

    With Nonis at the helm, and given his excellent play this season, from the outset i expect it was Reimer’s job to lose. Unless Reimer craps out, DD won’t get much more than a sniff (if that)