NEH NEH NEH

Skip the apartment hunting. Find a realtor. Buy a house. Feel free to send out some dry-cleaning. Phone mom and dad and tell them you’ll be home for Christmas. You aren’t going anywhere, kid.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • The boys lost last night, but I still enjoyed the game. Last year a loss to the Casmucks would have made me bitchy as we lost another one to those diving, arrogant LUUUUUUUsors from Van. This is going to be a long year with the usual long line of injuries, lack of a better defense by the hand of Mr. Dithers, and a strong west division. But, I am being entertained. Haven’t shut the tv off after the first period yet.

  • Nice article Robin. Succinct and to the point.Its been a few years since I have been so excited about a loss. Gretz is sitting at home in his LA mansion watching the ESPN highlights this morning and giving his head a shake. The similarities in Hopkins game and Gretz’a are scary. The Vancouver D had no answer for the H2E line. Eberle had a couple of great chances and whiffed on the puck. Hall is 10 pounds of muscle away from being unstoppable going to the net. I was pleased by the play of Omark and his tenacity on the puck. The 3rd goal with 16 seconds was a backbreaker. Overall though how can we be displeased on a night when H2E gets 7 points? I know I am happy as a kid on Christmas morning.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Loved the crackling energy every time the kids were on the ice, but then there’s Horcoff. Lost on offence, a step behind the play on defence (the killer goal by Burrows was all on him). And we have to endure it for another 2 years. It kills me that we are stuck with him while sending guys with real potential (Hartikeinen) to OKC.

    • Horcoff is a tough one. I admire how diligently he practises and how hard he works in games, but the results aren’t there.

      It’s like that guy at the office — every office has one — who always looks busy and keen and productive, but doesn’t deliver anything you can put your finger on.

      • Eulers

        You know because you said that someone around here is going to produce an oscillating pie chart that proves he’s been our best forward for two years…

        Whatever, he does look like he’s lost a step. You can see that he’s trying, but it looks like he’s scrambling so hard just to keep up that when he gets the puck he’s at the brink of ‘out of control’.

      • DieHard

        My thoughts exactly.

        I think he has lost his hockey sense (if he ever had it). He appears a step or 2 behind going on offense or defense. I have no clue as to what to do with him but I fear he could start irritating the kids who may not want to pass to him and won’t have the anticipation of him getting it back to them. Also, his passes seem to be “in the range” of a player as opposed to “on the stick” in flight.

        RNH could have had a couple of assist last night as well. I’m excited.

        • Horcoff has plenty of hockey sense. What he doesn’t have, and never has, is vast natural athletic ability. He’s had to think the game and work hard to excel and get this far.

          He’s not big and strong. He’s not the fastest guy on the ice on any given night. He doesn’t have a goal-scorer’s hands or a great set-up man’s vision and anticipation. He accomplishes what he does through hustle, guile and try.

          I’ve known Horcoff since he came along as a rookie when I was travelling with the team. I admire him, but, as you say, he’s being passed by more talented kids like he’s standing still at this point in his career. It’s a natural and inevitable situation that unfolds at some point in every career.

          • DieHard

            Yes, I can agree with you and maybe I’m being a little hard on him. However, he will be with us till the end and I can certainly live with that (don’t really care what he makes) but I believe he should center the 3rd or 4th lines with heavy dose of PK and own zone face-offs near the end of games when critical to win. No PP time and down the list for shoot-outs. Just saying.

          • Wanyes bastard child

            I thought it was a good idea throwing him on the PP with the kids to be honest. He was out there to take the draw for Hopkins then basically fade off and let the kids go to work.

            I just hope that Renney keeps the kids together once Gagner and Hemsky come back.

  • The team played well last night, carried play and lost like a rookie team should, from a mistake by a young player.

    They had loads of compete, which is a nice change from a few years ago. We aren’t going to see improvements in a big way until they get better players in the back. Puck moving ability is pretty much key these days for D. Smid and Teddy especially have a road to go in that, and I don’t think have long to sort it out.

  • Krusher

    Jeremy, After watching last night is it not apparent we could use a second line center. The second line needs some one like a Gagner to stir the drink a bit. We need secondary scoring.

    Its nice the boy got the trick, but I went to bed grumpy. Giving up a tying goal late, and then the Wreckum gaff and the Oil let one slide away. I like Eberle’s response on the radio that he refused to chalk it up to learning experiences or whatever it was. A loss is loss…

  • OutDoorRink

    All last year I argued to the death with so called Oilers fans, and the “bloggers”.

    Hey…wait. If you argued to the death, why are you still posting?

    Signed
    A so called Oilers fan.

  • Slapshot

    RNH can play and he is here to stay!!!
    He also undressed one of the Canucks D with about a minute left to play,If this is a sign of things to come,Oiler Fans are going to be in for quite a ride in the next few years.Just in time for the new arena,awesome!!!

  • Eulers

    VERY impressed by RNH. Hat trick by RNH at this point has the same incredulously ring to it as ‘shoot out win against the Pens when they were on the power play half the game.’

    I have to say though: our much vaunted offence has produced only a SINGLE goal by a player whose back does not barely fit the name “Nugent-Hopkins” in 3 games. More help for the 18-year-old please!

  • Jerk Store

    I agree it is mostly to do with the step he lost since he was dubbed “fastest skater” in the all star game a half decade or so ago. (There was some timing controversy if I recall).

    Not to be Captain Obvious (general term – not the poster on this site), but the half a second more he used to have is now gone and as a result he has gone from a serviceable top 6 forward to a turnover machine in the last couple of years. Injuries have sped up the process. Since the shoulder injuries his ability and willingness to compete is not what it was.

    What we are now left with is a captain who should be playing behind RNH – Gagner – Belanger as the 4th line C. See K Buchburger and E Moreau. As much as I appreciate what Horc was in the past, it is time for him to accept 4th line minutes, pass on the C when Hall is ready and play hard to the end of the contract. As fans we need to shut up about the contract (which was not Horcoff’s fault), accept him for what he is and move along.

    • Like you say, leave the contract out of it. Every person with a functioning brain would have signed it. The gross overpay is on Edmonton management, not on Horcoff.

      Knowing Shawn, I have to disagree with your remark about his willingness to compete. Given that he’s on the wrong side of 30 and with the injuries he’s had, his ability to compete as he used to is certainly up to question. His willingness to do so is still there.

    • I am hoping that when Gagner gets back Horc becomes the defensive zone faceoff specialist and Penalty Killer exclusively. The penalty kill has been pretty decent so far and I think its because the killers are mainly penalty killers only.

  • Jerk Store

    Horcoff at 23 minutes or 20 minutes is not the guy I want. I want the Horcoff who gives me 18-20 minutes and 4 of those minutes are PK. Horcoff haters aside I believe he competes and does what the coach asks of him above and beyond his skill set. Horcoff needs to see reduced ice time. H2E carried the mail last night. Renny can’t believe that his job is in jeopardy if he dosen’t win 35 games this year. The fan base is not that stupid. Growth and development are the key words. H2E needs to be asked to play in All situations. Not just Some. Mistakes will happen and we are cognizant of that fact. But by goodness lets see more of what we saw last night. And less of what we saw in Minny the other night.

  • I don’t want to get too far ahead but RNH belongs to stay and I would like to know what the guys that were so against him say now, I believe his offense would not translate to the NHL and he doesn’t score goals hmm interesting.

    I have to say though RNH helps out the power play he is slick with the puck and slows it down he usually suck a defender in and finds the open man, the PP only really looked good with him out there.

    • Jerk Store

      I remember that argument as well, and it goes to show you how the interpretation of statistics are key. The case seemed to being made that RNH was probably the type to wilt in the face of even opposition. It’s early yet, but it’s starting to look like the interpretation should have been that he’s such an absolute killer that he was just unstoppable on the power play at the junior level.

      Most of the detractors to keeping him lately have been strictly focused on burning a year of the ELC. That may have been an option if his performance had been so-so, but now I don’t know how they could sit across from him in six games time and give him honest reasons why they’re sending him down. He’s almost assuredly going to be our scoring leader at the nine game mark.

  • Jerk Store

    Brownlee: Do you think RNH would be solid option on the point? He has that ability to find open guys and draw defenders out of position and I was wondering if it would help more from him doing that at the point then on the half wall.

    • Part of drawing guys out of position when playing the point on the power play is being a threat to shoot. If you aren’t a threat, the guys cheat down and let you dick around at the top of the circles knowing you aren’t going to let it go. I haven’t seen RNH enough to know if he poses that threat.

  • Jerk Store

    I’ve never been a Horcoff fan, but I’ve never wanted him publicly lynched after a bad game either. I don’t think he has to be reduced to simply playing out the string until retirement just yet.

    I just think from what I’ve seen he’s trying to play Taylor Hall’s game this year. I think if he concentrated more on the cerebral aspects of playing center, he’d be back to being a key element of the team.

  • Jerk Store

    Noting we are only two games in, RNH has shown that what made him a great Junior – his vision and smarts could potentially become more of an asset playing at this level with better players.

    Note a) how many times he is in the right place b) how few times he kills a play c) how quickly he gets his body in a position to make a “strong” play. Plus he does have some unbelievable natural talent.

    But again WE ARE TWO GAMES in. Let’s not make the mistake of expecting this every game – 60 points would still be exceptional. There will be bumps in the road. But what he has done to this point is fantastic.

  • bazmagoo

    I would like to point out that the third vancouver goal was NOT Horcoff’s fault. He cleanly won the faceoff but Vancouver ended up with the puck. That falls on the shoulders of his wingers and d-men.

    • bazmagoo

      It looked to me like Sutton eased up on Burrows as he thought there might have potentially been a penalty called when Burrows fell after the draw. That put a guy who’s always a step behind two steps behind. Goal was on Sutton in my opinion.

    • bazmagoo

      Respectfully beg to differ but the tape doesn’t lie. After Vancouver gains control of the puck, Horcoff is caught watching the puck like a rookie, and ends up a step late on the coverage of Burrows. Further proof of his culpability is the shot of him angrily berating himself on the bench after the goal ( at least I hope he was berating himself and not blaming his linemates)

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Like i’ve been saying for well over a year already. Move out anyone not wearing 4,14,91,93 and 94 in an effort to surround these kids with more kids.

    These 3 kids almost beat the Stanley Cup finalists on their own. If Tambellini can find a buyer, anything not bolted to the floor should be liquidated.

    More lottery picks please!

  • Jerk Store

    “The points still stand. Hopkins would still be going back were I in charge.”

    Scene: Sales Manager’s Office – Car Dealership (worst sales in city last year)

    Manager:

    Have a seat, son. Well it has been 9 weeks since your promotion to sales from the lube change bay and you have done pretty well.

    Rookie Salesman:

    Thank you sir. I have tried my best.

    Manager:

    And that you have, my boy. Highest sales on the team in that time! Hell you even sold three cars in one day! Outstanding! The guys like you, you work hard, your paperwork is impeccable. Customers think you are the cat’s pyjamas. That’s why it makes it so hard to have to send you back to the lube rack.

    Rookie:

    Sir?

    Manager:

    Well, you see, we think you could learn a lot back on the old lube rack. Sure you would be working with same schlubs you did before and would be able to do the oil changes in your sleep, but well ….. it’s just that we want to defer all the commissions you are going to make for a year or so . . . really not a big deal when you are only 18 years old. You can see where this just makes the most sense can’t you, son?

    Rookie:

    I suppose, sir.

    And ………scene!

      • Jerk Store

        The point being the kid has done everything you have asked of him and more. It is impossible to send him down after you tell him (and everyone who will listen) “if you show you belong you will stay”. First overalls sticking with the big club is not exactly ground breaking.

        This analogy was in response to those who continue to say “I would still send him down”. I actually thought it was Tambo’s intention to keep him around all along, and now (barring the wheels falling off the wagon) he has no choice. How would those still wanting to send him down justify it to the kid, his teammates or the guy in the stands laying down the cash for tickets. The hue and cry would be deafening – justifiably so.

        EDIT: Not that I expect RNH won’t get lit up at some point by a pro defenceman with ill intentions, but he has been dealing with being smallish in comparison to his competitors for the last 6 or 7 years. Overall he will be fine. I also would be happier when Mr Eager arrives for the odd shift on the 1st line or to act as a deterrent by employing an “eye for an eye” tactic for the other teams young stars. Hall is getting low bridged a ton. Due to his style I am more worried about him getting hurt than RNH – the extra 20 lbs notwithstanding.

  • Christ, we can’t run a frivolous item about Nugent-Hopkins and have fans enjoy the moment without getting into a long debate about Horcoff and this and that and zone starts and the other thing that we can read about EVERY single damn day around here?

    Hell, can we find a way to add 15-20 comments about how good/bad Gagner is? Surely, that’s somehow on topic. Why is next to impossible to leave it at “that was fun to watch” without the added dick-measuring and I’m-smarter-than-you posing?

  • melancholyculkin

    I hope this doesn’t devolve into a rip on Horcoff, which has never been my intent in my critique of his play. Truth be told he was one of my favorite Oilers of the mid-2000s, and after his playoff run in 06, and his 50 points in 53 games in 07-08, I thought the contract he signed that summer was going to be good value for the hard-working, defensively responsible, near point-per-game first or second line center he seemed to be evolving into. But for whatever reason – injuries, age, the mental toll of losing and losing – the high water mark of his career seems to have been that winter of 07-08. I am as saddened and mystified by the precipitous decline in his skills as anyone. But lets face it, he has become a millstone around this teams neck, and other than biting the bullet on a buyout, I see no way out.

  • paul wodehouse

    Christ? Hell?

    please Robin lower your expectations…this crowd is always & forevermore going to start threads that have squat to do with squat just because they can …vandalizing an existing thread is only done because it can be done …plain and simply? they turn the rest of us off by doing that all too often…nice try making your point though…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Speaking of Horcoff, have to think he’ll get scooped up by a team scrambling to get to the cap floor next season.

    Not sure there’s much difference between Belanger and Horcoff, cept, for the size of their pay stubs.

    This entry didn’t get knocked off the rails till page 3, this is pretty good considering alot of entries accomplish this by the end of page 1.

    All Oilers all the time, love it!

    Honourable mention to RNH and his first Hat Trick.

    • D-Man

      Why would we consider getting rid of Horcoff?? He’s got a brutal contract – I get that – but he’s a very good faceoff man and a big reason why our PK (along with Belanger) has turned around. Horcoff will never be a offensive juggernaut; but he’s a very good number 3 center who can kill penalties, work his butt off and win more faceoffs than he loses… He’s also very good in the defensive zone.

      You also forget that we don’t have too much proven depth down the middle to replace him either… Horcoff is here to stay…