Tom Renney Won’t Dress Andy Sutton. Cam Barker Can Fix That.

Sometimes, things are so bad that they’re worth revisiting again, in detail. Such was the case with Cam Barker’s game against Detroit, coming on the heels of a miserable outing versus the Maple Leafs.

Exhibit A

This one really isn’t so bad. Lennart Petrell fails to seal off the far side of the net where Cory Emmerton does the real damage, while Barker’s failings are limited to allowing Justin Abdelkader to walk out of the corner and put in the initial shot.

Exhibit B

Again, it isn’t all on Barker here. Corey Potter could have played Abdelkader better in front of the net. Lennart Petrell or Ryan Smyth could have picked up on Drew Miller’s presence earlier. On the other hand, Barker could have a) cleared the puck out of danger by winning his initial battle with Abdelkader or b) done something other than uselessly follow Abdelkader out of the danger area after the player already had his shot off.

Exhibit C

This one is pretty much all on Barker. He mishandles the puck in front of the net, fails to take the puck off Filppula (losing his stick in the process), shoves Zetterberg too late to make any difference as the puck goes past from behind the net up to the point, then gives Zetterberg a push and is caught flat-footed as Zetterberg skates away and scores a goal unchecked. Strictly speaking, Zetterberg’s little shove of Barker’s stick isn’t legal, but even so it’s an ugly sequence.

Combine those things with Barker’s gorgeous setup of Tyler Bozak against Toronto and the Grabovski goal (memorialized for all eternity over at Leafs Nation) and one imagines that Andy Sutton will be in the lineup when the Oilers play against Ottawa on Saturday.

    • No, they’re right. The rule is this:

      When moving a stick that is not broken, no penalty shall be assessed as long as it does not interfere with the play and the player who lost said stick is not attempting to retrieve it, otherwise an interference penalty must be assessed.

      It sure looks to me like Barker’s bending over to retrieve his stick, so Zetterberg should have been called (hence my “Zetterberg’s little shove of Barker’s stick isn’t legal”) but a missed call doesn’t change the fact that Barker played things badly.

  • After the Toronto game, it seemed like a no brainer that Sutton would draw back in to replace Barker. Maybe they’re holding him out due to a pending trade? Otherwise, makes no sense to me.
    Also, I thought Potter looked better in Detroit than Toronto. Not great, just better.

  • Bryzarro World

    Thanks for the responce Jonathan. I am not making excuses for Barker at all because you can’t really. His injury can’t be used for his bad positioning and decision making. Slobbering Stauffer was complaining about it and I was curious.

  • Barker will be an RFA this summer. I think the organization is giving him every opportunity to prove he should be resigned for next year, or at the very least, that they could trade him for something… anything… this summer. I’m mean, sure, he’s bad, but he’s not Taylor-Chorney-bad.

    • Seriously....Gord?

      Commentators on TSN, Sportsnet and other media inexplicablty love pushing his comeback narrative so maybe there’s some GM out there stupid enough.

      He’s definitely Chorney bad though. Advanced stats and by eye.

      JW could have been mean and posted goals 2, 3 and 4 by the Leafs on Monday. Barker was culpable in all those too:
      Goal 2. Lost his stick
      Goal 3. Out of position.
      Goal 4. Fumbled the puck. All Barker.

      He was also awful in the last 5 minutes of the Bruins game in November. Oil get within one. Barker gets schooled, and takes an interference penalty that the Bruins score on. First shift back and he’s at fault for the Briun’s last goal.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Is it bad I couldnt even trade Barker in NHL12?

    Sure hope Sutton draws back in against the Sens, Id like to see #25 come back next season too in a role like 1 Jason Strudwick had with the team.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s really odd to see what Ian White has become playing alongside of Niklas Lidstrom in Detroit. He’s all of a sudden, 26pts and a +30 defenceman to date this season. Maybe Barkers problem is he just stuck in the mud on a brutal hockey club.

    They pride themselves in not letting each other down on that Red Wings club. That can’t be said for the players in the Oilers dressing room. Letting the players sitting next to them down in the dressing room is commonplace. The losing culture hasn’t even been served an eviction notice to vacate that Oiler dressing room yet.

  • Talbot17

    I’m sorry. But a coach needs to bench players playing badly. Send a message. One bad mistake that leads to a goal, take a seat. Players should earn their ice time and that includes defensemen to a certain extent too. Sutton being put in this game and its a different outcome, or at least a better looking one.

    • magisterrex

      Cam Barker doing everything he can to get us a #1 draft pick for the 3rd year in a row. Obviously Renney is rewarding him for such stellar efforts.

      Now all we have to do is trade anyone with experience and talent away so we can do it again next year, too!

  • I’m relieved they’re playing him. They need to see exactly how bad he is so they can avoid signing him again.

    At the moment, its my only real hope they have a change of heart. If teams keep beating him like a rented mule there’s a slight chance they figure it out.

    Plus Sutton on the sidelines will possibly not be injured (this is the Oilers, he could get stepped on while brushing his teeth tonight), which is important for a draft pick.

  • Jiri Dopita

    I was pulling for the guy at the start of the year, but he flat-out can’t play defence.

    The last two games are the worst I can recall from any Oilers’ d-man. Just painful to watch.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Any chance that those goals against look so bad on Barker that the Oilers are chalking it up to bad luck (re: Murray in the WJC) rather than bad play? Maybe they’ve talked themselves into some hard luck story: “he’s playing good but the breaks are going the other way”

    It seems that a simple video session would clear that up… but who knows, narratives are powerful and hard to break.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    There is a logical explanation for playing Barker and Belenger……….it’s called losing for draft reasons!

    Belenger is so bad but continues to get played consistently by Renny. He has not been sat once all year. I’m pretty sure the entire fan base would have benched him by now. To say he is offensively challenged would be a massive understatement and put him at par with Horcoff.

    On the other hand Renny does not play Sutton enough. This guy is solid defensively, mean, and has soft hands. Exactly the type of player we should covet but instead we are thinking of trading him…….most troubling.

    If anyone should be benched it’s Renny the idiot!

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    From Dan Tencer’s twitter time line last night:
    “Tonight the Oilers had 5 forwards that played more than both Gagner (hottest player in the league) and Eberle (top 10 league scorer).

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    OKAY I’m going to through this out there becasue its the only thing that makes even a little bit of sense right now.

    BARKER SUCKS on Defense. The guy has been waived and bought out. The worst team in the league was the only team willing to give him another shot and he has failed with flying colors.

    Barker does have some nice skills with the puck, he has a hard shot and as he showed earlier this season he does have the talent to dangle.

    The Oilers lack the size and skill combo in the forward ranks. Would it really hurt to reduce Barkers defensive responsibility and try him as a winger or a center? Has he ever tried taking a faceoff? There may still be a good player in there somewhere and they guy could turn into a force as a forward.

    Any thoughts JW?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I remember a couple posters calling me out for bashing Barker last week, where have those guys gone? Shouldn’t they be defending their golden boy now?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I see what the attractiveness of Barker is, which is size, strength, ability on the Power-play, and that he is good on the breakout moving the puck and hes a bit nasty at times. But how does Renney overlook the glowing errors, lack of footspeed, and aweful defensive zone breakdowns at times. Teams are looking at him playing with baited breathe. If I am an opposing player who would I rather see, Barker or Sutton/ Wreckum. Sutton got shelved because of one bad game against Detroit. Peckham who is not a great puck mover, makes up with compete and good defensive zone coverage.

    The way I see it is you got 4 guys who should be rotated through the line-up. Your top four Smid, Gibby, Whitney, Petry are pretty settled right now. Potter, Wreckum, Sutton, Barker should all should be given a chance to play. Sutton or Peck-um should of been in the line-up against Detroit last night. But what the heck do I know.

    GIVE UP THE BARKER EXPERIMENT, don`t play him more then 12-15 mins

  • Schmidty66

    Either a Sutton trade is eminent, the Oiler’s management has quit on the team and wants the first overall draft pick or Renny is a complete idiot. I realize that when Gilbert became healthy he was going to play but why take out Sutton? The Oil were on a 3 game winning streak with points in there last 5 games. Sutton is a team leading +3 for Dmen. Potter is -16 Barker is only even because he missed 38 games. One of them should have been taken out. But what the heck do I know apparently not much because I still buy season tickets.