Win The Day

This is no time for the faint of heart. NHL jobs are in play, futures are being decided, riches and glory are within reach. This is the time to go balls out, to make an impression so indelible there is no question who wins the day. Lose that worried brow, step up today and secure a future in the finest hockey league in the world.


With Ryan Whitney’s injury coming along slowly, there’s an opening–likely opening night and beyond–for one or more defensemen who were ticketed for OKC. Let’s run the current depth chart:

  1. D Ryan Whitney (injured)
  2. D Tom Gilbert
  3. D Cam Barker
  4. D Ladislav Smid
  5. D Theo Peckham
  6. D Andy Sutton
  7. D Taylor Chorney
  8. D Jeff Petry
  9. D Corey Potter
  10. D Colten Teubert
  11. D Alex Plante
  12. D Taylor Fedun
  13. D Ryan Lowery
  14. D Kirill Tulupov
  15. D Martin Marincin

I’ve placed the top 6 in bold, but if Whitney goes on IR two of the three in italics will make the grade. I wouldn’t count out Corey Potter in that contest, he has more experience than the other two (Chorney and Petry). Petry’s chances are hurt imo because Whitney may have served as mentor for him through preseason and possibly into the regular campaign. My guess for opening night:

  • Barker-Gilbert
  • Smid-Sutton
  • Peckham-Potter
  • extra: Chorney

This gives the club a chance to recall Petry when needed and Potter a chance to show he can grow into an NHL role. I’ve felt from the time of his signing that Potter might be a very good insurance policy against injury and the beginning of the season might be his best chance. Of course, all of this depends on Whitney’s health.


There are all kinds of opportunities up front, owing mostly to the plethora of very good candidates. This isn’t the Schremp-Pouliot discussion of yesteryear, this is RNH v. Lander and the only real question is who gets to go first. ALL of RNH, Lander and Hartikainen are likely to have NHL careers that exceed 200 games (the minimum requirement of an NHL career of note) and could help form the cornerstone of the franchise at forward for the next decade:

  1. Hall
  2. RNH
  3. Eberle
  4. Paajarvi
  5. Gagner
  6. Lander
  7. Omark
  8. Hartikainen

That’s an impressive list, and three of the eight listed (RNH, Lander, Hartikainen) are vying for employment currently. Added to that list of three are some pretty good hockey players like Lennart Petrell (PK, checking winger), Chris VandeVelde (faceoffs, good size) and others. My guess for opening night lineup:

  • Gagner-Hall-Hemsky
  • RNH-Smyth-Eberle
  • Horcoff-Paajarvi-Omark
  • Belanger-Eager-Jones
  • extras: Brule, Hordichuk


There are jobs in play. Whitney’s injury means there are two defense openings and three solid candidates. The battle at center rages on with all of RNH, Lander and Brule in the mix and Lennart Petrell keeps making himself useful. Preseason games are going to be worth watching, and we should pay special attention to the minutes given to men like Chorney, Petry, Potter, Nugent-Hopkins, Lander and Brule.

Fun times.

Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Ted Wyman from the Winnipeg Sun. We’ll talk about the huge ratings success of the Jets and try to define this team’s personality.
  • David Staples from Cult of Hockey. We’ll talk about the excellent "Oilers Way" series that is wrapping up today at COH and about the arena, Whitney’s injury and if we have time David and I will discuss our opposing views on Sam Gagner.
  • Ian Walker from the Vancouver Sun. Walker is one of my favorites guests to have on because no subject is off the table. We could discuss everything from marine life to Ogopogo, but the questioning model has me inquiring about the 11-12 Canucks.
  • Derek Zona from Copper and Blue. We’ll discuss the Oilers and ask ourselves if they’re better this year. We’ll also try to figure out a way to shoe-horn Teemu Hartikainen into the starting lineup.
  • Kent Simpson from Oil Kings broadcasts. I’ll ask Kent about the Oil Kings and their chances this coming season and will get a scouting report on Griffin Reinhart–who could be the next first round selection for the Edmonton Oilers.

Emails and comments welcome at and we get rolling at noon.




    • Lowetide

      It would make things much easier. I feel badly for Brule–no strike that–I feel Brule is in a tough spot currently. Coach Renney has to be certain he can count on him during the long season and that’s a pretty big deal.

      It’s going to be interesting.

    • Kodiak

      Seriously? I think a true Oiler fan would be delighted for him to rip it up and become a stud. I may not be a Gagner fan but I sure as hell am not cheering for him to fail.

      Funny you can use Omark’s performance where he was somewhat quiet as a negative. Quiet means he wasn’t suspect defensively either. And comparing the first two games he’s quietly produced more than Gagner or Hall put together with a better +/-.

  • re: Photo Essay…

    Are we looking for our Jason Bourne, a man who doesn’t know the full extent of his talents but turns out to be a real killer?

    (Stiles was supposed to be the centre that anchored the 3 movies but she couldn’t quite pull it off. Good effort though.)

  • O.C.

    We are happily fubared right now that it is not funny. What if? Lander makes this team. We would be looking at a Brule,Omark or ? trade for certain. What if? Tyler Pitlick turns into the 3rd line winger that the Oilers desire in OKC this year.what if? Hartsy does the same thing in OKC and the Oilers then need to look at moving a Horichuck so Hartsy can move into the lieup on the fourth line. Just a thought what happens if RNH can actually play? Like actually play a full season. How does that change the teams thinking about resigning hemsky or trading him for D help?

  • O.C.

    I anticipate Whitney being on the IR when the season starts. I can’t imagine Petry not being on the roster opening night under any circumstances. I see Barker/Petry, Smid/Gilbert, Peckham/Potter with Sutton the 7th guy to start. This could obviously change through the rest of this camp because quite frankly I think Chorney has played well & I actually like his play better then Gilbert. My point is this could be the one area we see a move before the reg season.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    call a spade a spade. the three that didn’t show up like usual are…………….
    Gagner does not know were to be the ice, stick in the air like he was catching butterflies.
    Gilbert playing with a hot potato and looking a small player to push around to make himself look big and physical.
    Chorney dont know what to say not worth the computer i’m typing on.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    There could be a problem on that Barker front. A bottom pairing guy in Minnesota(another non playoff team by a longshot) before being sent up the river. How is it he makes our top two pairing while Whitney’s out again?

    How is it, a team who finished last 2 yrs running,has only 2 jobs up for grabs?

  • Little Buttcheeks

    That D scares me. Looking at the Canucks game (I know it’s only pre-season) we couldn’t move the puck to save our lives. That’s been a problem in the past and even at the game in Saskatoon, we were hemmed in our own zone for extended periods of time. Whitney, please get healthy soon!

  • OilLeak

    Does anyone know the magical date after training camp where teams put their overpaid veterans on waivers? THAT will be the day of true opportunity. Tambo needs to claim a steady veteran to shore up the defence.

    And Plan B… maybe Craig Rivet or Paul Mara are available and we sign them to a one-year league minimum contract?

  • paul wodehouse

    …looking at the Oilers site this morning, i see Whitney doing an interview…he’s sounds impatient & frustrated as hell…he became short with the interviewer when asked a question(didn’t hear it) but he quietly snapped back, “I’m not playing injured”

    it was very telling…coupled with the video of him skating gingerly and being very purposeful and deliberate when pivoting at practice…for me it was painful to watch and so i’m not convinced that he’s going to be playing any games anytime soon…

    IMO all the more reason to work on the immediate acquisition of a blueliner who’s as close to a first pairing type as possible…


    …or can this team afford to wait til November or even December or later when they are so far behind that looking up to see the bottom of their lottery pick will be a reality…ticktocktambi