THE NATION LOVES THE NUGE

This is the original "Nuge", Ted Nugent. The Nuge was a fantastic guitar player, so good in fact, he has a Gibson model named after him. He has played over 6000 concerts, released 34 albums and sold over 30 million records. Cat Scratch Fever is my favourite Nuge song. The intro is epic. Nugent’s fingers were silky smooth on the guitar, while the Oilers’ "Nuge" has shown that his hands are pretty silky sick as well.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or RNH or the Nuge, has six points in four preseason games and with every passing game it looks less likely that he’ll be going back to Red Deer. Last night the Nuge teamed up Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle to score a combined seven points. Instantly that trio sent Oilersnation into a fantasy frenzy, fantasies that included scoring titles, playoff victories and a Stanley Cup parade.

The Nuge scored his first goal to go along with two seeing-eye passes that Hall deposited past Mike Smith. The former first rounders, or the **H2E** line, were impressive right from the start. Hall’s speed had the Coyote defenders backing up all night, while RNH showcased his deft passing and vision to the delight of the Rexall faithful. Oiler fans haven’t had much to cheer for in awhile, so I’d hope you allowed yourself to get excited after watching last night’s game. Rather than allow your pessimistic side to take over, and think "this team has a long way to go," allow yourself for a moment to visualize the endless offensive possibilities these three could present.

H2E didn’t dominate against a bunch of junior prospects or AHLers, they played, and dominated, against five of six starting Coyote defenders.

They must have developed their chemistry in warm up or in the dressing room, because it was instantly there once the puck dropped. Hall, who has been excellent all preseason, was the best player on the ice and the first star. His speed and willingness to drive to the net created a lot of space for Nugent-Hopkins, and it’s obvious that if RNH gets time and space he will find the open man.

CAN H2E BE A LINE?

Right now everyone is wondering if they could survive as a line during the regular season? Why not? Remember when Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Robert Nilsson lit it up for 20 games at the end of 2008 season. Does anyone think this trio isn’t better than those three?

Will they have growing pains and struggle? Of course they will, but they really want to play together, just like Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky do, so Renney would be foolish not to give them a few games together. Today’s game is more about duos than trios, so the likelihood that they play together all year is slim, but I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t start them together on October 9th.

QUICK HITS

  • The Oilers currently have 21 forwards, 11 D-men and three goalies left in camp. With Gagner likely not ready to start the season, they will keep 15 forwards. Antti Tyrvainen, Ryan Keller and Josh Green are obvious cuts. After watching last night I’m convinced that Anton Lander needs some seasoning in the AHL. Hartikainen is a casualty of the numbers game at this point. That leaves Ryan O’Marra and Lennart Petrell. O’Marra is a centre, and he’s played okay, so he could stick ahead of Petrell based on positional need. Petrell has quietly been very effective. He’s strong as an ox on the wall, takes great angles to the puck, has a heavy shot and kills penalties. The final spot will be a tough decision.
     
  • Whitney likely won’t be ready to go v. the Penguins, so the Oilers will keep eight defenders. Colten Teubert and Taylor Fedun will head to OKC. Teubert might get a game this weekend, but the concussion cost him a shot to truly compete. He’ll have to prove himself in the minors. I’d keep Corey Potter over Taylor Chorney. Chorney has struggled, while Potter is bigger and more consistent. ***UPDATE*** Teubert has been sent to OKC.
     
  • We know that Yann Danis is heading to OKC before Friday, but the big question is who will start in goal on opening night? Dubnyk has played excellent, while Khabibulin has won his last two starts. This weekend might give us a clearer picture with each guy getting a game, but even that isn’t certain. The fan base wants Dubnyk, and he’s definitely earned it, but will Renney start him or go with the veteran on opening night? We likely won’t find out until next Sunday.
     
  •  Gilbert Brule has to play better. He needs to think the game better at this point. I still sense that Renney is going to give him a look, but he is on a short leash. Gagner’s injury might be his stay of execution.

ROAD TRIP

The Nation along with The Jason Gregor Show and NewWest Travel have teamed up for our first "Ultimate fan" road trip. You’ll watch the Oilers take on the Hawks at the Madhouse in Madison on Nov 13th, and then we rent a luxury coach and tailgate our way to Lambeau to watch the Packers and Vikings on Monday Night. Here’s the skinny….We only have 20 spots for this trip…

  • Return non-stop flight departing Friday Nov 11
  • 4 nights at the 4 star Marriott Magnificent Mile – close to great nightlife, shopping and restaurants
  • Welcome reception on Friday night
  • Tickets to see Oilers/Blackhaws Nov 13th – lower bowl corner seats
  • Tickets to see Packers/Vikings Nov 14th – 15 yard line rows 1-25 (seats will be in pairs or fours)
  • Pre game party at the Brett Farve Restarant in Green Bay, includes all your beer, wine and food
  • Return charter bus from Chicago to Green Bay
  • Airport transfers


Tour price
Double Occupancy $2170 (two in a room)
Single $2670

For reservations and more information contact NewWest Travel: 

780-432-7446 | 1 800-661-7281
email: newwesttravel@shawbiz.ca

(There is also Bears/Lions game on Sunday afternoon prior to Oiler/Hawks game that we can get tickets for if anyone is interested in a double header on Sunday.)

LAST CHANCE TO HELPS KIDS

Last week I was asked to help out the neigbourhood of Britnell in Edmonton. I knew the Nation would respond and you did. Quick recap. Brintnell has around 4500 people, mostly young families. Their nearest school is Donald Massy K-9 and the school doesn’t even have a playground for their kids.

They are in a contest where they can win $100,000 from Schneiders towards their playground. They are in a head-to-head battle with some a neighbourhood in Ontario who wants to put a retaining wall in their park. LAME. So all you have to do is click on this link and vote. Help them out. Maybe all the exercise they get in the playground will allow them to produce the next RNH, Hall or Eberle. You never know. In the future your neighbourhood might need some of the Nation’s votes, so help out. Voting closes tonight at 10 p.m. Let’s build them a playground.

**H2E*** Water is pretty much essential if we want to live, and for Oiler fans H2E will be essential for your sports sanity.**

If you have a better line moniker feel free to share. "The Next Kid Line" is not a viable option.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I like H2E, short and simple.

    My suggestion: Since we’ve already had a Legion of Doom line, we should call these kids “The Hall of Justice”

    They won’t be like the LOD line that just bulled their way around to get their way like villains do. These kids will get the job done with skills, smarts and muscle if needed, just like most heroes do.

    Plus they’re obviously going to be an offensive threat but they’re also going to be responsible in their own end. So they’ll keep whichever line they play agaisnt “honest”.

    So much possibilities with theme music, catch phrases, headlines etc. (like everytime eberle scores the batman theme comes on or when we get a power play we can all scream out “we demand JUSTICE”)

  • hockeychild99

    Re: Brule’s play

    Gregor, so Brule’s reps include playing 2 games with Petrell, Hordichuk & Tremblay as his linemates while RNH is handed a silver platter playing exclusively with Smyth, Eberle & Hall. Put RNH with the same linemates as Brule has had and I can guarantee he does no better, maybe getting 2 points; both coming off the powerplay.

    Why not give Brule a REAL opportunity with some skilled linemates? He must be frustrated as all hell trying to prove himself playing with lower quality linemates than everyone else has had the chance to play with.

    I’m sure he didn’t come into camp thinking “oh I’m going to give it my best so I can play on the 4th line.”

    Let’s hope Renney gives him a REAL shot to prove himself.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    As far as Brule goes right now, ya he isn’t getting the greatest of linemates but if he is going to make this team or the long-term, he will need to play in a bottom six role and learn to play with guys like that. Petrell has managed to get himself noticed with bottm six types. I feel bad for Brule and I really wish him the best but I’m starting to wonder if he will ever make his mark in Edmonton.

  • stevezie

    Brule’s road to success involves making the team as a 3rd/4th liner and playing his way up. It was always pretty unthinkable that he’d start in the top 6. They are auditioning him in the role that he’ll actually play, at least in the beginning.