And in this corner!

Weighing in at 232lbs and standing six feet, two inches tall……Mark Fistric!!

I have been saying since the summer that the Oiler’s defence corps was missing a piece. I was convinced the team needed to go out and pick up a solid top-four defencemen. I know, they are hard to find, everyone wants to keep them but to move forward it was a necessity. Today they traded a third round pick for Mark Fistric. He isn’t a top-four guy but he will bring something in the bottom pair that I really like.

Fistric is a hard guy to play against. He loves to hit and hit hard. When he plays with an edge he can be very effective. He had 235 hits last year which is pretty impressive. This is an element the Oilers need on their back end. Smid plays hard but outside of him, if we assume Peckham is out of the lineup, these aren’t the hardest guys to play against.

He averaged 16:30 a night for Dallas last year in 60 games. Just over two minutes of that was killing penalties. I think he is a pretty good penalty killer. This will take the heat off guys like Smid, Whitney and Petry to have to kill every minute of a penalty. This year everyone’s ice time needs to be monitored and controlled so they all stay fresh.

At times Fistric will run out of position for a big hit and may even take some penalties that will frustrate his coach for hitting but I am all for it. This entire team needs some guys that are physically hard to play against. The team is not built for a lot of heavy games but I think it is important to have some players that can push back. Playing in St Louis or L.A. is no picnic these days.

The skill on this team is running two lines deep which is something to be excited about. The team will be able to score goals and play hockey that is very fun to watch. But when they need to walk down a dark alley in the first round of the playoffs in a series against the Kings, will they come out the other side? Adding a player like Fistric is a step in the right direction but there is still a ways to go.

This is a good addition for the depth on the Oiler’s blue line. This bumps Peckham and Potter to some combination of seven and eight. Two guys that can come in and play somewhere between 12 – 18 minutes when required. Those are minutes both can handle and their skill sets are exact opposites.

There will be injuries to the big team, that I can promise due to this schedule, so Fedun and Teubert are now the ninth and tenth guys on the depth chart. This is something that makes me a lot more comfortable. They need time in the minors to continue to develop.

I still think the Oiler’s need to add a legit top four guy. This helps with ice time for guys like Smid, Petry, Whitney, who are the legit top four guys right now. Justin Schultz could be there one day and Nick Schultz can fill in as well. The top teams are strong and deep at defence. The Vancouver Canucks just added Jim Vandermeer and Cam Barker, two former Oilers. Say what you will about their abilities but they provide great depth at the 7 and 8 spots.

I don’t know that there are any top four defencemen in the making in OKC. I haven’t watched them play enough to really get a good idea. Oscar Klefbom has the potential to become one but with his shoulder injury, that isn’t likely for a couple years now.

Fistric is a good start for getting a stronger back line for the Oilers but there is still work and decisions to be made.

So what do you want???

Now that the NHL is open for business, fans are happy the league is back but they feel they deserve something. Something for the pain of going through a second lockout in less than ten years. It is hard to argue with that idea. I have said many times that it was and is still unacceptable for the league to lockout the players again this past few months. Let’s not get into that again! No matter how you feel about that, we can all agree the fans suffered.

After the last lockout, the NHL came up with a plan that in hindsight wasn’t much but seemed to keep the peace with the fans. Isn’t it enough to write in big blue writing in the neutral zone again the slogan "Thank you Fans!"? What do you guys want?

Some NHL teams around the league are trying to make amends with their fans in some way. There are teams that are selling some season tickets are very low prices. Fifty percent off team merchandise for a while doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me. Free parking for some home games, not too shabby.

The Oilers have made the first three practices this week open to the public. While watching you can enjoy free popcorn and pop. This isn’t earth shattering but it is an olive branch. Sunday night the team played shinny hockey at Hawerlak Park. Afterwards the team signed autographs and posed for some pictures. Again, nothing monumental but it is a gesture.

The social media universe had very mixed reaction to these plans by the Oilers. Some people were happy about the fact they tried to do something. Others thought it was disingenuous. They thought it was a preplanned exercise. Of course it was, how else would it get together? Some felt the players should have done it on their own during the lockout. Not a bad idea but a little late for that now.

After reading through the comments on twitter last night, I went to bed with this thought on my mind… At the end of the day is there any kind of gesture from the teams of the NHL that will ease the pain from the lockout for the fans?

I don’t think there is.

Are the fans still just mad and wanting to continue to vent at someone, anyone for a while longer? Will that make everyone feel better? Is this issue with some kind of make-up from the teams to the fans the newest way to express the frustration fans still have bottled up from the lockout?

If that is the case then nothing will heal the wound that has been created by this latest lockout except for time. If redirecting their anger isn’t the issue and actually wanting something to make up for the lockout nightmare is the real goal for fans, what do you want?

Tell me!! What will make up for those lost months of hockey? Those lost months of enjoyment? The lost trust between you and the NHL?

Honestly I don’t think there is any amount of free stuff or PR events that will heal this wound faster. If I am wrong, let me know what will!

  • The Soup Fascist

    Fistric is a great addition.. Like you Struds he is already commited to the community.An Edmonton guy who’s family is already here. I bet he couldn’t get on that plane fast enough. What an adrenaline boost that must have been,Hey Mark,you’ve been traded.Where? Edmonton. Wha? Where he’d he go? The Flash had nothing on Fistric yesterday. I bet the interview will be filled with the standard responses but the guy will be bursting inside. Gets to play for the home team. Tough gig for some. But hey if you are up to it is the best gig in the whole NHL.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    You are all Straw Men!!

    There is no need to defend or trash the Barker/Vandermeer acquisitions to the hilt.

    These guys are paid nothing in relative terms and are way down the depth chart… they are post-nuclear disaster, “I’m setting myself on fire” options.

    These are simply really minor deals that will probably have very little effect on the team.

    Teubert is a rough, young but getting late in the day, tough guy D who is still a long shot to be a settled NHLer.

    He isn’t paid anything in relative terms and still has a lot of upside, pedigree and toughness (given a premium by Oil mgt.). There is no need to either run him down or pump his tires. He is an incredibly minor part of the Oiler puzzle right now.

    Fistric is a quality 3rd pairing D with toughness, PK ability and appears reliable in his own end for what he is (a 3rd pairing guy). He is welcome to the depth chart on any day on most teams. With the injuries to Sutton and Peckham (and more coming) he is a necessary addition.

    However, he is not the solution to the problem on D.

    Again… clear eyed discussion please. No need to over- or under-appreciate any of these players.

  • positivebrontefan

    Should know better than post any advanced metrics with many of you as you don’t seem to comprehend it. A few people quote on his playing style, yet I doubt any of you have actually watched him play. You are just quoting opinions you have heard from broadcasters from the media, in which many of them have been limited to watching him once or twice last year.

    If you look at Dallas’ scorekeeper, it is widely known that he credits hits the highest in the NHL (for both home and away teams in Dallas). That is why that stat is skewed.

    And to you people who can’t comprehend anything more than a basic box score, Fistric was 6th in ice time among defenders for a bad Dallas team. What makes you think he is actually good? How are you peons so excited about getting a 6th defender from a bad team….Oh wait, he hits (even if it means giving up chances) rednecks of Edmonton rejoice!

  • Puritania

    @ Hayek

    The fact that you can’t comment without insulting everyone leads me to believe it isn’t worth debating with you. It undermines your points and it’s just childish. If you can’t take people disagreeing with you, don’t comment.

  • Puritania

    Say Whitney is back to his old self. Are our defensive issues taken care of? By my count we have a top 2 guy in Whitney, a possible rookie phenom, a great and still developing shut down pair, and a bit of tough to play against grit. I think we lack some depth in an injury situation, but I’m also not really sure what more we can ask for back there. Also, I want to remind everyone about all our prospects still developing. If even one of them pans out as they are billed, the Oilers D looks like it’s in good shape. I think in a season or two, our D will be comparable to Chicago. I don’t think it’s as solid as Van if all their players are healthy, but it’s certainly better than Minnesota.

    If Dubnyk plays like he has shown he can, then I think our biggest question mark is actually going to be one of our biggest strengths. Thus allowing management to focus on adding some size upfront.

    We will make the playoffs in the abbreviated season. I know it might just be a story being promoted, but having half of our players in game shape is going to give other teams fits. Rolling out our top two lines against teams that haven’t been playing is going to be a point buffet, at least out of the gate. Oilers will win 8 of their first 10 games and finish the season with 56 of a possible 96 points. Further, they will win their first round matchup against Dallas. But lose in the second round to St. Louis.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I want to see free Centre Ice, as well.

    THAT would be a way to involve the fans back into the game again. Considering you AREN’T going to see any teams from the other conference this year, it would be a worthwhile gesture, I think. Thanks to RushPhan and Lofty for discussing it earlier, but as to the argument that they are trying to get people INTO the building, not stay home…I feel that wouldn’t hinder it. Why – because in NHL team areas their games are already covered by local TV. This would merely create excitement in what is happening around the league…a win/win!

    I would be satisfied with that.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    One taught on the “Shinny Game”, team should have handed out free draw tickets, for a chance to win the shirts of their backs from the Shinny game.Would have been a nice touch.[ tab [picked up by Katz.]

  • The Soup Fascist

    Hey, we-the fanbase, were at the mercy of the NHL and NHLPA for months, now it is their turn. I’m not buying tickets, merchandise for at least 10 games. They (the NHL and NHLPA) need to be shown who is really in charge of “Hockey Operations”. Oh, I’ll definitely be back, cash in hand, but not for a while. I say “Join the Movement”!!

  • The Soup Fascist

    Is there any indication when Fistric will make his Oilers debut? And for that matter have they released the line ups for January 22,2013 against San Jose?