GDB 18.0: KIDS V, KIDS

The Oilers young forwards, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st, 2011), Taylor Hall (1st, 2010),  Magnus Paajarvi (10th, 2009) and Jordan Eberle (22nd, 2008) will take on the Senators young blueliners led by Erik Karlsson (15th, 2008), Jared Cowan (9th, 2009) David Rundblad (17th, 2009) and Brian Lee (9th, 2005).

The Oilers are stocked with young potential offensive stars, while the Sens backend is filled with the same sort of potential, which makes me wonder if they would considering swapping one for one in a year or so?

I doubt either side will look at that this year, but it is clear their foundations are being built at opposite ends of the ice.

Karlsson is in his 3rd season with the Sens and he keeps getter better, at least offensively. He tallied 26 points as a rookie, potted 45 last year and he already has 17 in 19 games this year. He is still a work in progress in his own zone, but he is a wizard on the PP. He is tied with Brian Campbell for the league-lead in points by a D-man and is 5th in the league with 9 PP points. He’s averaging over 25 minutes a night and according to his head coach, Paul Maclean, he is making huge strides in his own end. He is one of the league’s best young D-men.

Cowen is feeling his way into his first NHL season. He’s never played a game in the AHL, and after four years in Spokane he jumped directly to the Senators. He’s playing over 16 minutes a night in their 3rd pairing and according to Maclean, "He’s been steady, and like most rookies he’s had very good games and some nights he’s struggled. Good news is that he’s had many more good games."

The Sens are high on Rundblad. They traded their 2010 first round pick, 16th overall, for him and he’s played 13 games as a rookie. He won’t play tonight, and the Sens are contemplating whether he’d be better served playing more minutes in the AHL.

Lee is still a work in progress having spent the past three seasons split between Binghamton and Ottawa, but lately he’s played better according to his coaches.

Similar to the Oilers young forwards, the Sens’ blueliners have progressed at different rates and right now Rundblad and Paajarvi seem to be in similar positions. Both have lots of potential, but both might be better served honing their skills in the AHL.

LINEUP

Renney will put the kids back together tonight, and he’ll play Paajarvi on the wing rather than in the middle. It is clear the Oilers need some sort of production from their 3rd line as Paajarvi and Belanger have 0 goals and 3 assists between them. They haven’t shown much chemistry thus far, and I’m surprised Tom Renney hasn’t tried Paajarvi with Lander.

Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle
Smyth/Horcoff/Hemsky
Paajarvi/Belanger/Jones
Eager/Lander/Petrell

Smid/Gilbert
Sutton/Potter
Peckham/Petry

Khabibulin

QUICK HITS

  • Cam Barker will have ankle surgery this week and he’ll be out until March. Barker doesn’t know when the injury occured, but I wonder if he injured it while skating in sand? I keed I keed.
     
  • If Paajarvi continues to struggle I don’t see why the Oilers don’t let him find his game in OKC. He isn’t just struggling offensively, he is struggling away from the puck and in his own zone. I don’t see any negative in letting him rediscover his game and work out the kinks in the AHL.
     
  • Ryan Whitney is getting closer and Renney will monitor his situation to see if the Oilers need to add a 7th D-man for their upcoming road trip.
     
  • Sam Gagner has back spasms and is listed as day-to-day.
     
  • The Oilers have been great at home thus far going 6-1-1. Their PP is 3rd best on home ice at 22.2%, and they’ve outscored their opponents 20-13. The Sens have given up 32 goals on the road thus far, but they’ve won their last two away from Ottawa.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will continue their solid play at Rexall, but despite the Sens sitting 29th in goals against the flood gates won’t open tonight. The Oilers win 2-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:  The Oiler forwards have combined for 153 hits. Nick Foligno and Chris Neil have 104 between the two of them. I know hits aren’t the most accurate stat, but it is clear the Oilers rarely crash and bang. The Sens forwards will have 14 more hits than the Oiler forwards.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: With the first snowfall of the season fans will be in a snarly mood. During the Oilers first PP, they won’t register a shot and the "shoooooottttt" birds will come out. On the next PP Ales Hemsky will stun the crowd and rip home his first of the season. Instantly those who yelled shoot will turn to their buddy and say, "See I told you it would work," thus ensuring we get to hear "SHOOOOOOOTTTTT" for years to come.

  • Puritania

    In other news…Kyle Wellwood had a very nice night scoring 1 goal and 1 assist in Winnipeg’s 5-2 win over Washington.

    And Andrew Cogliano has as many goals this season as Taylor Hall.

    Sam who?

  • Slapshot

    How long will Tambellini wait before he makes a trade? We are in 8th place in the conferance and dropping fast, after this weekend, we will be lucky to be in 11th place.

  • Oilers4ever

    Omark is not going to help this team… they need to make a trade.. mgmt needs to get their heads out of their proverbial you know whats.. this team is NOWHERE NEAR good enough to compete for a playoff position.. they had dumb luck and it is showing now… if the mgmt does not have the balls to do what they need to and the coaching staff to setup the lines that should be done.. then fire their arses and get someone in to do the job. This loss at home to a Sens team that really is not that good is disgraceful. Sure glad I did not pay cash for the game tonight. would have been better spent in a VLT.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    omark would certainly help the oilers. he wouldve held puck longer then anyone tonight.he’s creative. no one wantedthe puck,omark always wants the puck.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    just heard a APB out on the wire. Be on the lookout for all the guys who thought the lack of depth on D was no longer an issue and tambellini should be given praise for the off season work he did.

    early reports indicate they have gone into hiding.. much like the oilers goaltending, offense, and defensive play.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      can you believe that… how do you lose Whitney, Barker, Sutton, Potter and maybe Petry in such a short span of time? Not to mention how many “agains” we need to add in there

      Whitney comes back from ankle… boom knee;
      Barker has a shoulder go out, comes back… boom ankle;
      Sutton gets suspended… boom groin

      AND… let’s not forget Teubert’s concussion to begin the year and Fedun’s whole effing season!

      that’s a crazy run in two months! any other team but the Oilers and you’d think they’d pissed off the gods… In Oil country it’s just another November.

      ps. welcome back to NHL hockey Taylor Chorney

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        ~whoever sold their soul to the devil during the cup run of ’06 is to blame!~

        nobody could have planned for this many injuries (again). However, losing a few key pieces in an already borderline group with not much for fill ins was a disaster waiting to happen.

        • ~whoever sold their soul to the devil during the cup run of ’06 is to blame!~

          ~It was the idiots who started the we want the cup chant in the second round. Until all members of their families have been burned at the stake…. its here to stay..~

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Cam Barker just injured himself out of a contract from the Oilers for next year. He was lukewarm at best. Sutton injured while warming up? Did he stub a toe? The good news in all this is that the kids will get to play. bring on Tuebert.

    Brutal is the only way to describe the first 3 goals for Edmonton. Pckham might have did something on the 3rd goal but the first were on Khabby. The shine is certainly off the Oilers now isn’t it.

    Would the Oilers consider a trade for Tomas Kaberle? Would it be one we would want to make? The d is falling apart so badly do we go with what we have or do we seek a bandaid or a longer term solution to help our D? It seems were in a catch 22 situation.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Would the Oilers consider a trade for Tomas Kaberle?

      I pretty sure we don’t need the aged diminishing returns of an ex-Leaf. You’re going to have to pay too much for the plug holes role he’d be expected to play.

      $$ and effort should be spent on the future through drafting and acquiring solid top four talent. If all they need is plug and play temp. fix guys I’m sure we can find that cheaper and more reliable elsewhere.

  • A-Mc

    I’m pointing at the Goal Tenders for the #1 cause of last nights loss.

    They weren’t the ONLY thing going wrong, but they were definitely the most IMPORTANT thing to come up short.

    5-2.. Should have been 2-2.

    I’d usually say something like “Oh well, we’ll pick it up next game and kick that teams Arse” except we play Chicago on Saturday. Even if we’re on our game I’m not confident we can beat Chicago unless Chicago is in a slump of their own (Which they most certainly are NOT).

    We may see our first win, to break the L-Streak, on the road.

  • Eulers

    Free Agent Bryan McCabe is starting to look pretty good right about now. Barker’s going to be down so long that we need a new D, and a trade might be a poor way to get it done. Looks like the annual transformation into an AHL team has begun…

  • A-Mc

    ps: I Liked how paajarvi looked with some line mates who hustle. Paajarvi was flying! He put a smile on my face when we were losing badly.

    I Hope with the Good Game of Lander and Prv, and the general SUCK offensively from the Smyth/Horc/Hemsky line last night, Renney can commit to putting Prv/Lander/Hemsky on a line and move Jones back with Smyth/Horc.

    Paajarvi looks like he matches the intensity of his line mates, but doesn’t create any energy himself. I Also noticed that he seems to hang back quite a bit, almost like he’s over thinking the defensive aspect renney requires of all players on the ice; This how ever was not there when he played with a couple of the kids. He looked ‘set free’ and was actually helping to attack.

    and FINALLY: It was good to see commentators discussing how Hemsky just doesn’t seem to be fitting in with the team. He is still playing the Hemsky game, not the new-oilers game. I’ve noticed this as well and if i were Renney, I’d bench him if he didn’t buy into the team dynamic; i don’t care how good he is or how much he makes.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      and FINALLY: It was good to see commentators discussing how Hemsky just doesn’t seem to be fitting in with the team. He is still playing the Hemsky game, not the new-oilers game. I’ve noticed this as well and if i were Renney, I’d bench him if he didn’t buy into the team dynamic; i don’t care how good he is or how much he makes.

      do you mean “the new-oilers game” where we are still terrible?

      This sounds dangerously close to saying Hemsky is at the root of our current problems. Someone the other day suggested he should go back on the IR because apparently we are a better team without him. If that’s your argument it is the height of wishful thinking.

      The fact that the team started losing around the time he came back does not equal causation in any reasonable sense. The problems that plague this team systemically continue to be questionable goaltending and D; injury woes; inexperience; lack of toughness and resilience in the face of pressure; not to mention an entire line that has failed to produce.

      Hemsky’s not the problem. he has more points after only 6 full games than everyone on that third line (with the exception of new arrival Jones). I could see him on a different line, or tweaking his game, or adopting any number of small changes that all pro players go through to succeed better…

      BUT… c’mon! this is crazy talk!

      • A-Mc

        We can speculate all we want on why the Oilers are losing now, but the fact of the matter is, we know little about anything.

        The only things we have to work with are our observations when we watch the games. My Observations are such that Hemsky doesn’t look to be conforming to the new team game.

        If a guy like Ryan Smyth can join into the team and be praised for his leadership by example, then it’s not unreasonable to think that any other player can bring certain aspects of the team down by showing a bad example.

        I don’t know that Hemsky is the cause of anything.

        Observation tells me:
        – He adds little to the Horc/Smyth line.
        – He only turns on when an opportunity arises, instead of the moment his skate blades touch the ice.
        – his back checking and defensive prowess isn’t good (read: Intended New Oiler Game/Direction).

        It looks to me like the Team plays like the old Oilers when there are MORE Old Oilers playing. When Gagner and Hemsky are in the lineup, the Oilers don’t have the same spark and work Ethic. I’m not saying those 2 players need to be Traded, but something feels out of balance.

        And about the comment about “New Oilers” = Sucking. Come on now. The team itself is still making the same mistakes they’ve been making all year. When we were winning, you wouldn’t have written those words and when we go on a 5 game winning streak again soon here, you wont be writing those words. Don’t get caught up in the bad Juju!

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          As it happens I was defending Hemsky on here before he came back from injury.

          Look, we all have our Goats. It’s fun and gives us a place to vent frustration.

          I’m no wide eyed Hemsky nut. The guy could be tighter defensively, stop putting himself in vulnerable positions leading to injury, and make quicker decisions with and without the puck. fine. good body of work for him to deal with and us to analyze.

          BUT… just like the other day when justwondering jumped down Horcoff’s throat for no good reason… there is a simple matter of proportion. Saying Horcoff’s production has dipped from his stellar start to the season (like the rest of the Oil) and wondering outloud how to get him back on track is categorically different from suggesting he’s the weakest link on the team, or is responsible for our failures (solely or largely).

          To me, the same happens here with Hemsky a lot. I just don’t get it.

          He’s paid as a play-maker with some jam (i think the Gagner comparison is off BTW – I see way more commitment in Hemsky than I so in Gagner) and he pays off that investment.

          The two-way play that you want out of him isn’t going to happen in any huge capacity. It’s not his brand of hockey. I’m fine with saying he could and should improve on his back-checking, but I don’t think it’s crucial to his success or the team’s (in his particular instance) and I don’t agree he’s a non-factor in his own end, just not great.

          the rebuild has given us a lot of hot up and comers but we are a long way from being out of the basement. that’s all I meant. we are and continue to flirt with terribleness.

          just a reminder for those who want to drag Hemsky through the mud:

          his last 4 somewhat full seasons he finished 45(tied); 33(tied); 110(tied); and 33(tied) in the league for scoring leading the team each year, ie. our most productive player.

          • A-Mc

            Just to Clarify, i wasn’t comparing Gagner and Hemsky, i was saying that those 2 are 2 of the ‘old oilers’ that IMO aren’t fitting in. Horcoff has done a good job of establishing himself in the new system by playing a solid 2 way Shutdown/Tough-mins type Role. A few Weak games or not, he’s doing a good job IMO. The ‘Old Oiler’ Defense is only getting better, so No complaint there.

            You somewhat confirm exactly what I’m saying here when you say that Hemsky isn’t a two-way player. It looks like Renney is trying to coach the team values as being Defense first, Offense Second, Hardwork Always. This Value structure basically says our players need to be either purely defense or solid 2 way players. No where in that ideology is there value put on Purely Offensive players.

            One day when the Oilers get their Shart together and stop turning the puck over so much, we can start looking at purely Offensive guys. As it stands right now, the oilers need extra tight D (From everyone) to make up for their mistakes and i think maybe this is why Hemsky isn’t fitting in.

            There is no Argument that Hemsky is a great player.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Ok I have a better sense of where you are at… I don’t disagree that the Oil are moving in a more two-way style and i think that is good. but I don’t think you have to offload your offensive weapons to get there.

            Even in the most extreme modern example of tenacious defensive hockey I can think of – the old Wild – they still had one M. Gaborik, who i don’t recall being a feisty backchecker like a Peca or a Datsyuk.

            I think there is room on our evolving team for Hemsky and I think we can also ask more of him defensively… but I don’t think he is expendable. I wouldn’t bench him barring something egregious…

            I would be happy to trade him, however… but for value!

  • A-Mc

    No surprises here. Oilers are playing like they a suppose to play. It was an aberration the first 10 or so games. They were getting unbelievable goaltending which stole games. And the amount of confidence players would have because they knew the other team could not score on their goalie, all lead to this aberration.

    Oilers are a young fast skating team again.

    • Chris.

      Unlike last year the special teams have been solid; and there is better depth up front. Problems with goaltending and the D may keep this team out of the playoffs…but what we are witnessing right now is a regular run of the mill losing streak and not a burning nose dive into last place. Relax everyone. There will be another win soon.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Gotta say I’m suprised/impressed with your enthusiasm.

        I’m thinking the paper thin defense is going to keep this team in the top 10 (draf position) and allow them to flirt with another lotto pick.

        • Chris.

          I can get pretty crabby when the PP is among the leagues worst; when the PK is the leagues worst; when Reddox is playing in the top six; and the coach doesn’t even bother to match lines during home games. This year is different. The team has it’s warts… but until last night: hasn’t been blown out even once as we approach the 1/4 pole of the season. The Oilers might get schooled Saturday and then head out on the road with zero confidence… but as long as the PK holds up, the scoring will eventually come and this team will compete for the playoffs at least till the trade deadline.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Renney started screwing with the goaltenders in Boston. Now he’s left with a team with no confidence and two goaltenders who suddenly can’t stop a beachball.

    That’s my theory and i’m sticking to it.

  • A-Mc

    Harlie’s “weak sauce” list from last night:

    1) Peckham, Petry, Hemsky not giving the kids acknowledgement or even a glove tap when walking by after the second period

    2) I think it may have been Krueger or another Coach who “high fived” Lander after his goal. A tap on the shoulder looks a bit more professional if you ask me. High fiving is for fans, buddies and kids IMO.

    3) Kabbi’s game falling completely off the rails. Give the guy a rest already. Too many games played it’s looking like.

    4) the defence. Is there anybody left? Make a trade already.

    5) Hemsky. What exactly is his major malfunction nowadays? No creativity, minimal effort, sourpuss face expressions

    6) the curse of Steve Tambellini. Every player he signed is hurt it seems like: Whitney, Potter, Barker, Hordichuk

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      1) Peckham, Petry, Hemsky not giving the kids acknowledgement or even a glove tap when walking by after the second period

      2) I think it may have been Krueger or another Coach who “high fived” Lander after his goal. A tap on the shoulder looks a bit more professional if you ask me. High fiving is for fans, buddies and kids IMO.

      I was watching a stream and I must have missed this… what exactly happened? do you mean “the kids” as in RNH, etc. or some midget hockey kids or something?

      no high-fives huh? I guess you’re not a fan of early 90s late night Seattle entertainment:

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        it was right after the period ended and the team was walking from the ice to the dressing room through that walk area. There was a hockey team of kids that must have been around 5 -7 year olds. The first Oiler to walk by was Ryan Smyth who immediately moved his stick to his other hand so he could tap each kid and acknowledge them. Horcoff was next and he tapped a shin or two and tapped the hands of each kid. Next was Peckham who stared straight ahead and walked like a Robot not noticing anything. Then cam Petry who had a blank stare on his face like he was in the zone or something. Then Hemsky followed and he had his head down trying not to notice the kids, the TV camera and the crowd from the bar area type of thing. Then Eberle followed and he was tapping each kid.

        I kinda laughed to myself the next period, as Hemsky played like crap, Peckham got a penalty and Petry was exposed on a few plays. Karma baby!

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          oh man, that is brutal!! if i were Renney and i saw that i would have chewed them out big time. that is totally unacceptable. blow off GP… whatever, he’s a silly guy… but kids who think you are a hero? eff that!!

          the streams (that come via gamecenter) cut away the second on-ice play stops so you don’t get commentary, and stuff like this

  • A-Mc

    Well , we are not as good as our first ten games , nor as bad as present losing streak . Injury time plagues this team . To many fragile players that are plagued/constantly getting injured . Kid line pressing and not getting confidence . Without stellar goaltending our club just falls apart .

  • Rob...

    I think Khabi shoved it up the backside of his Goals Against Average the last couple of games.

    I also think that the Oilers passing for the last four games is what I’d expect from the first two games of the pre-season. What the hell has happened?