Lost in all of the love and praise for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is that the raw rookie is the only player who has scored on home ice; well he’s the only one who has been credited with a goal. This replay one this one shows Hall definitely touched the puck, (final five seconds), but was puck completely over the line. It’s debateable, but the point is the Oilers need more guys scoring.


We can debate whether Nugent-Hopkins scored that goal or not, but either way he has been in on four of the five goals. That is great for him, and thankfully it will stop the talk of sending him back to junior, but the Oilers offence has been struggling.

The H2E line looked great v. the Canucks. The three former first-rounders, RNH, Hall and Jordan Eberle love playing with each other and they’ve discovered some instant chemistry. They had seven points on Saturday and they have 10 of the team’s 15 total points; unfortunately the rest of the team hasn’t done much.

Ryan Smyth has the other goal, while Ales Hemsky and Eric Belanger each have an assist. Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark, Shawn Horcoff, Anton Lander, Ryan Jones and Lennart Petrell have combined for zero points and 19 shots in 260:36 of combined icetime. 

Six of their next eight games are at home, and if they want to be in the pack at the end of the month they will need to find some more scoring. So far Eric Belanger, even though he has an assist, hasn’t done much offensively. He’s been great in the dot, 57.1%, but he needs to generate some more chances. Omark has been almost invisible in his two games, Paajarvi is skating well, but I’d like to see a bit more urgency around the net. Horcoff works hard, and made two very subtle plays that led to PP goals v. the Canucks, but he needs to bear down when he’s in a good shooting lane.

I know it is only three games, but the Oilers can’t afford to have so many offensive passengers.


Ryan Whitney and Sam Gagner took Tom Renney’s "drop-off" test today. Renney pulls out his stopwatch and monitors their cardio, but most importantly he wants to see where they are at with their recovery time.

Prior to doing his test, Whitney was joking around and looked up at Kevin Quinn and I, only guys in stands, and did the sign of the cross and then smiled. He really wants to play.

Renney puts a pylon on the goal line directly in line with faceoff dots, and then another pylon at faceoff dot just outside near blueline. Players start at pylon outside blueline. Renney blows whistle, and players go there and back three times with stops and starts. It took them around 23 seconds.  He saves their time. Then they get an 80 second rest and go a 2nd and a 3rd time. He expects their final time to be within a half a second or so of their original time.

After the stops and starts they do three trials with figure eight turns around the two pylons instead of coming to a complete stop. They do this three times as well.

I jokingly asked Whitney if a guy could dog it a bit during the first time so it would be easier to match it in the 2nd and 3rd attempts. "I tried that," he laughed, "but Tom told me to pick it up a bit."

Whitney passed his test and his return will depend on how the Oilers play tonight. I get the sense that if the Oilers lose tonight, he’ll likely play tomorrow, but if they win or play very well, he’ll get an extra two days off and play Thursday v. Minnesota. That is just a hunch, Whitney nor Renney said that, but if they lose tonight, I think Renney will want his best D-man back as quick as possible.

Sam Gagner also took the test and passed, but he will take another test on Wednesday. A longer one that takes about 45 seconds per test. Gagner will return Thursday at the earliest, but likely not until Saturday.


The goalie rotation continues with Khabibulin starting. Only Ty Conklin has a better GAA at this point, although both of them have only played one game, but Khabibulin was solid in Minnesota. Ben Eager will make his Oiler debut, replacing the injured Darcy Hordichuk on the 4th line, while the top three will stay the same.

Renney told us that an unnamed forward is battling the flu, and if he can’t play then the Oilers will dress seven D-men. Just a guess, but it seems Petrell or Lander might be the guy battling the flu. I spoke to Hall, Eberle, Horcoff, Smyth, Jones, RNH, Eager and Belanger and none of them looked like they were under the weather. Paajarvi was very vocal on the ice joking with his teammates, so I doubt he’s sick.

If the forwards are good to go, Theo Peckham will be the odd man out on the blueline. Jeff Petry was paired with Cam Barker, with Tom Gilbert skated with Ladislav Smid and Corey Potter stayed with Andy Sutton. Peckham struggled on Saturday and Renney will let him watch from upstairs if the forwards are healthy.

If the Oilers go with seven D-men, look for Peckham or Potter to take a shift up front.


GAME DAY PREDICTION: After combining for three goals and seven points on Saturday, the H2E line continues to roll with two more goals. Eberle and Hall, on the PP, actually get some help from another line as Horcoff finds the net as well. Oilers skate past the Preds 3-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Rexall will be busier earlier than usual as fans flock to pick up their Ryan Smyth bobblehead. This is Smyth’s 3rd bobblehead – 2nd with the Oilers and one with the Kings. By 6:45 p.m. there will be at least ten Smyth bobblehead dolls for sale on Kijiji. Jordin Tootoo will raise the ire of the Oilers and their fans with a clean, heavy hit on one of the Oilers skilled forwards midway through the 2nd period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After spending ten minutes at the end of practice working on his faceoffs, Nugent-Hopkins will have a breakout game in the dot and win five of 11 faceoffs. Considering he has won 7 of 38 (18.2%), winning 5 of 11 will be a massive improvement.  

    • Puritania

      Nashville gets bent over like Wanye in a ribbing session with Reuben.

      Gonna take more than that to pry Suter from the preds. I’d rather wait till he hits UFA and make a pitch to him than empty the cupboards.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        If moving Gagner and a pick that has a 25% chance of ever playing in the NHL is “emptying the cupboards”, the cupboards must be bare.

        Gagner is already excess baggage and second round picks are a dime a dozen.

        And UfA’s typically want to go to winning teams and the Oilers are far shy of a winner even with Suter.

        • Puritania

          I applaud your enthusiasm, but what I meant was that I would rather try and sign Suter as a UFA than throw the actual necessary assets at Nashville to get him. I did not mean to imply that Gagner and a 2nd would be emptying the cupboards, far from it. Ganger and a 2nd doesn’t get it done. Hence why I said Nashville got bent over in the other fellows proposal.

          As for the last sentence, I agree with what you said, but you still have to give it a shot. Most likely he wouldn’t sign, but he most certainly would not if you don’t give him the option.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            When the time comes and i hope it does, the Oilers may have as good to offer as anybody. The only thing i fear in all this is red, the red of the Wings of Detroit. I thinks the Wings get themselves one of these two guys.

            Paajarvi looks much the same as last year to me. He could be the principle player going the other way if Poile has to move him. Without revenue sharing the Predators would probably be done. They are in the same position the Oilers were before the lock out. If Weber’s willing to come on an 7 or 8 yr deal there are few untouchables on this roster… 91,23,5 and 58 along with the Oilers first in 2013 would be hard to dismiss.

          • Puritania

            Yeah, the only way I see them hitting UFA is if they want to move away from the Preds.

            Yup, and I think that price for Suter would be more hefty than we would want to pay. I can’t see a scenario where they would accept less than RNH, Hall or Ebs. Which I would be very hesitant to do.

  • OilFan

    Would Gagner for Cody Franson be fair ? The writing is on the wall for Gagner since RNH is already a better goal scorer and play maker. I don’t mind Franson’s game and he has been a healthy scratch with the Leaf’s. All though it’s not bad that Gagner is not playing yet since his history as proven he doesn’t show up till after December.

    • Would trading a 2nd line centre for a 6/7th defenseman be fair?

      Magic 8-Ball says…NO. It also says to pull your head out of your @ss.

      The team cant find anyone who can score other than Hopkins or Smyth and you think they should part with a former 6th overall pick for a 6th defenseman?!?

      It might be the heat in my office making me unbearably cranky (and sweaty) but these Gagner trade proposals are back@sswards.

      • OilFan

        Yeah his 40 points would help without a dought but the Oil need dman. Sam is on a contract year and we all know Horcoff isn’t going anywhere. Who else has any trade value ? I guess Omark is a horrible player since he hasn’t been able to adapt to the NHL rink size and North America, after 1 half season and a couple games ? Yeah yeah he is your goat ( you’ve let everyone know 1000 times).

        ~ Turn the heat down ~

        • I do need to turn the heat down. I re-read my comment and it was 8 shades of douchy. I’ll get the building guys on it.

          I’m pushing for Omark, but I’m not too attached to Paajarvi that I wouldnt consider moving him. MPS would have to return more than a 5/6 dman though. Gotta give up quality to get quality.

          • OilFan

            Paajarvi is fast but needs to play with better line mates IMO. Gagner would help MPS. They played well together last season.
            Edit – Omark helped that line once they established the puck in the offensive zone, his board play is incredible

  • The so called veterans on the Oilers will continue to disappoint (Hemsky made of glass) (Horcoff lacks confidence and can’t compete against top players) (Smyth passed his prime but can show the “kids” the hot-spots on the road).

    The payroll for just these three players is a large chuck – a 15 million dollar hit for 2011-12…… If the Oiler brass could trade these players most posters here might be surprised who we get back.

    I’m not sure anyone in the league would give us a top 2 defensemen in return for those three!!

  • Chris.

    Game Day Prediction: The Oilers win 1-0 in a tight defensive battle. Bored fans at RX1 spend much of the game playing with their bobbleheads and discussing the Nudge; because, incredibly, once again: The Nudge is the lone goal scorer.

    Obvious Game Day Prediction: Renny doesn’t use his last change advantage to shelter The Nudge from Suter and Weber… and it doesn’t matter. Despite this, when asked the obvious question during the post game presser, Renny still lacks the balls to step up and say the kid should stay.

    Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: The “unnamed forward” (with the flu) will skate tonight. Midway through the third, feeling like dirt, he promises himself he will never, ever, open another gift box from Gilbert Brule… In fact, this becomes a new team policy.

  • Jamie B.

    Yeah, with this team’s history over the past few seasons, you’d think the sick player would have been in an isolation ward 20 miles away instead of at practice.

  • book¡e

    Jason: Your hunch is good — Whitney confirmed this morning there’s a good chance he’ll be back Tuesday against Calgary.

    If not, he said he’ll “definitely” be back Thursday.

  • book¡e

    My first thought after seeing the Omark face play was that he was probably more pissed off about it not going in than he was about his face getting nailed by the puck.

  • Big Cap

    Cant wait to see Eager in action tonight. It goes without saying he will add some more Jam to our for-check.

    H2E line will continue to roll. Nashville is a North, South team like us and our young guys should feed off the back and forth action.

    Hall 2G. Ebs 1G 1A. RNH 2A

    4-2 Oil.

  • Gaylord Meatface

    Tootoo will run one of our young guys tonight. He gets one shot at it and will have to answer the bell immediately. Lets hope he grazes Hall’s shoulder and lands on Suttons lap for a beat down. I was hoping he would have been suspended by this game.

  • Truth

    It would be interesting to know what Omark’s trade value really is. I can’t stand how Leafs fans continuously over-rate all of their players and come up with ridiculous trade scenarios, is it like that in Edmonton? Is it only us fans that believe that there is this potential “up-side” to his horrific defensive zone play and giveaways?

    I hope Oilers management make the right move for once and can capitalize on either an inflated market for him now or realize his actual potential and he does pan out playing a top six role for the Oil.

    Omark is getting to be in the prime age for his skill set, he has a great highlight package but you can’t see any effectiveness to his game on a nightly basis. I hope they find a GM to fleece for a top 4 potential d-man in trade.

  • Gaylord Meatface

    I think Peckham is under a little pressure from some of the guys in the lineup and is trying far to hard and running out of position.

    They need to make sure Whitney is 100%, we cannot afford to have this weak D force live without him for another 40 games.

  • stevezie

    I want to say right now, before the anger against him flares up, that I love Jordan Tootoo and he could play on my team any time.
    I was out East for all last season, tonight will be my first live game in well over a year. My favourite player (Hemsky) is missing, but at least I’ll get to dream about Shea Weber switching jerseys all night long.
    Gregor, so far this season and for all of last year’s playoffs Suter has averaged about 90 seconds more per game than attention-getter Weber. Any chance he’s quietly driving the bus?

    • Jason Gregor

      Suter is a top-ten D-man in the league IMO.

      I’ve always said he was great, and I do think that Weber gets more attention in Canada because he played for “us” in the Olympics, and his contract situation had him front page news.

      Suter is very good as well. Weber more physical and bigger shot, but I don’t think the gap is that big. I’d take Suter in a heartbeat, but I don’t think he makes Weber better. Both are excellent on their own, and as a tandem they are ridiculous.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Get the unnamed player away from the team. We’ve seen this before.

    Looking foward to seeing Eager play today. Hope he can draw some penalties.

  • 1983 and This Year

    Don’t be so hard on Omark. His face deflection would have been the goal of the year if Luongo’s mask hadn’t gotten in the way. I can’t wait for him to break it out again in the shootout — forehand, flip, face, goal!

  • Dreamt last night that the Oilers had Nashville’s defence to go along with the kids up front.

    It was a good dream.

    Colour me shocked that Omark has been invisible. My Goat hasnt let me down once this year, and my Star is close to returning to the lineup. It will be obvious by the end of November that the Oilers are wasting their time with Omark.

    • John Chambers

      I’m really cheering against Nashville this year. My hope is that if they struggle this season they’ll have trouble getting Suter and Rinne to re-sign, and would be forced to explore their value on the trade market.

      Assuming the Oilers will finish with a top-10 draft pick, I would be willing to deal that pick along with Omark and whatever else to pick up the pieces.

      Nashville, more than any other team, are a likely trade partner for us to complete the re-build on D.

        • John Chambers

          Also, if they decide that Shea Weber is too rich for their blood, perhaps they’d be interested in a more cost-effective alternative in Ryan Whitney. Both are slated to become UFA’s in July, 2013, but Whitney is more suitable to their budget long-term.

          Dear Mr. Poile, the ankle is fine. A bird in the hand is better …

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Faceoffs are overated. It doesn’t matter who starts the play with the puck, its who finishes the play with it that shows up on the scoreboard. Teams have posession of the disk 75+ times per game.

    More lottery picks please, since they have to carry the veterans on this club now.

    It’s unfortunate our goaltender sandbagged Hopkins performance on Saturday, not going to win many with .848 goaltending.