The Edmonton Oilers (the Rexall version) scored early and often but didn’t play a full 60 minutes. The result? A shootout loss at the hands of the Calgary Flames. The split squads in each city ended up playing spoiler for the home fans, but the most important item–finding the 23 men for the final roster–came a little closer to focus in the two games. Here’s my take on the Edmonton performers.


  1. Taylor Hall (20:29) 1goal, 2 shots, 6pims,  and an impressive 65% in the dot. Hall scored a very early goal and had some nice chances throughout the game. I counted three outstanding defensive moves during the game, but he also took some frustration penalties. I think he’s just about the best thing to hit Edmonton since oil.
  2. Nail Yakupov (19:55) 1assist, 4 shots, -1, I thought he was all over the ice and would have benefited from playing with stronger linemates. A terrirfic young player.
  3. Ryan Smyth (19:26) 1goal, 3 shots, +1, he skated miles tonight and I thought he was most effective on special teams. I don’t know how many games the Oilers can count on him for this season, but he is going to help when he’s got the feet moving.
  4. Anton Lander (16:51) 2 shots, 39% in the dot. I thought he played well–caused a penalty with a quick move at the Oil blueline–and he played a lot of even strength time tonight. I like him, but not a lot actually happens with Lander on the ice. That could be a good thing, but the offense is always going to be a worry.
  5. Jesse Joensuu (16:22) 1goal, 1assist, 5 shots +1, I think he might have been the best player on the ice tonight. The goal was a power move, and sure it was a little lucky but if he can do that 15 times a season he can lucky himself to millions of dollars.
  6. Mark Arcobello (15:36) 1goal, 2 shots, -1, he was 47% in the dot and I thought he played a solid game. He’s not going to create a lot of offense on his own, but the idea of Arcobello filling in for a couple of weeks for injury isn’t the worst one we’ve seen based on this performance.
  7. Linus Omark (15:36) 3 shots, -2, and he skated miles tonight but there was a lot of chaos in his game. When the Oilers were running around like their heads were cut off, he was one of the chickens. Omark will need to settle that down if he’s going to stay.
  8. Mike Brown (14:37) 1assist, +1, he was on the PK for 3 minutes and that was a shock and surprise. He was around the net on the Platzer goal, I’m not sure how manu nights he’s going to play 14+ minutes.
  9. Kyle Platzer (13:01) 1goal, 1 shot -1, he was very good to my eye. Platzer’s a funny prospect, there’s really no reason to think he’ll ever be an NHL player and I can’t tell you two things about him (one thing: he’s near the net at important times) but he keeps posting crooked numbers. A player to watch this year in the OHL.
  10. Marco Roy (12:34) 2 shots, for me he showed very well and I’m looking forward to seeing him post some cool boxcars in the Q. There’s no doubt there’s a skill player here, it’s only a matter of how he progresses.
  11. Ryan Martindale (10:48) 2 shots, +1 and 40% in the dot. I didn’t notice him a lot, he had once decent chance in the third period. The problem for Martindale is he’s not really near the action when it happens.
  12. Ales Hemsky (5:58) 1assist, +1, he was apparently ill and didn’t play beyond period one. Hard to say much about him, he didn’t really get a chance to shine.


  1. Justin Schultz (27:06) 1assist, 1 shot. He’s so good as a puck mover, and has some chaos to his game, but I thought he did some nice defensive things tonight. He’s certainly going to be playing big minutes this season–4:46 on the PP and over 3 on the PK–and his success will go a long way to telling us how well the Oilers do this year.
  2. Andrew Ference (23:35) 2 shots, +2. I recognized him immediately, because I remember seeing his type before–an actal NHL defenseman! A nice night for the veteran, calm feet and good puck movement.
  3. Darnell Nurse (21:57) 1 assist, +2. I was impressed by his solid play, he certainly had some help but also held his own. The structure and flow of the NHL game didn’t seem to phase him at all, he seemed more comfortable here than in the rookie camp. Having a veteran always helps, though, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.
  4. Denis Grebeshkov (20:42) 1 assist, 1 shot -2. He was high event, made some nice decisions in the offensive zone but the wheels came off in the third period and he was exposed late on the PK. Played in all three disciplines, I don’t think he can make the big club based on this kind of performance (but it’s early).
  5. Brandon Davidson (19:42) 1assist, 1 shot. I liked his game. I was especially impressed with his even strength play–using the kiss method–and even though he doesn’t have draft pedigree this guy is a legit prospect.
  6. David Musil (16:58) 1 assist -2. He and Grebeshkov were predictably chaotic, and Musil’s weakness (speed) was on display against the Flames. I don’t know if he’s ever going to make it in the NHL–I think the scouts are probably divided–but tonight’s effort tells us he’ll need a prolonged period in the AHL.


  1. Devan Dubnyk .923: He was solid, exactly what you want from your starter. If the Oilers had played him the entire game they would have won.
  2. Olivier Roy .818: He was not sharp.


My take? I think Joensuu did much to help his cause, and Grebeshkov probably hurt his chances (and please understand it’s early). That kid Brandon Davidson keeps showing up on the good side of the ledger, too.

Based on Calgary reports, I’d suggest Martin Marincin had a very good game. It’s a long way to go, but we’re underway.

  • Citizen David

    I wouldn’t count out Platzer yet. He was one of our best players the Golden Bears game. Looks very good to me. This season if he gets more ice time on London he could put up impressive numbers.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    The team fell apart near the end, but Roy did little to nothing to help instill some confidence to help settle things down. With every goal he let in, the chaos and panic grew. He’s gonna have to figure out the mental side of the game really quickly if he’s going to have prolonged success in the pro ranks.

  • Lofty

    I haven’t been able to watch any of the games or training camp videos. Is there any noticeable muscle that guys like Yak or Schultz have been able to put on over the summer?

  • Crackenbury

    I really liked Feduns game (in Calgary) after what happened to him at the last Main camp you can’t help but cheer for him to make the jump up to the show.

  • Crackenbury

    I’m glad to hear it wasn’t just me and my rose coloured glasses thinking Joensuu was a beast last night. I kept saying to my wife as I was watching the game how good this guy looked. How does someone with his size and hockey sense become available at his age? Here’s hoping he’s the real deal!

    I thought Omark was anywhere from invisible to deceptively strong with the puck along the boards to very weak in the neutral zone, especially in the third period. Chaos is not what this team needs. Hopefully he does enough for another team to pick him up on waivers, I’ve grown tired of the spotlight on what is at best a semi-productive small NHL forward.

    Also, it’s pretty sad when you have to go to the Flames website to catch the Oilers home game on the stupid Interweb!

    An interesting non-hockey item. The Flames 50-50 was $15,000, the Oilers was $35,000. I wonder what the difference between the cities is?

  • Oilerz4life

    As a goalie I just want to point out one thing, it is by far the most difficult position on the ice and any of you trash talking Roy need to understand the level of difficulty to the technical aspect of goal tending. Dooby has taken years to develop and he is still progressing. Roy is one of our prospects and a wicked talent. Leave him be. If you think he sucks so bad, I’d like to see you get one past him. It is what it is. Leave him alone. He’ll progress and find his own way, wherever that may be. But as an NHL prospect, thats not half bad.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Good read as always LT, I’m just wondering if you know when the first wave of cuts take place? and who would you send off to their respective teams?

    Nurse, imo looked like he should stay up with the big club over Garbagekov, you say its early but I say D.G is back to his usual self that got him traded last time.

    After watching Nurse in the rookie tournament and 1 game in pre-season, he’s going to be a force in a couple few years once he fills out some more…almost like a name that shall not be named 😉

    Have a good day!
    HOCKEY IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lowetide

      For the Rexall group, I think the Oilers can safely send out Olivier Roy, David Musil, Kyle Platzer, Marco Roy.

      From the Calgary game, I’d say Bilcke, Ewanyk and Chase.

      From the TC list, the guys who didn’t play and can be probably be sent out now are Ben Betker, Mitch Moroz, Kale Kessy, Jackson Houck, Curtis Hamilton and Cam Abney.

      I also think the guy who hurt himself the most last night was Grebeshkov. I have no idea how he would explain that insane choice against Baertschi (I think it was Baertschi).

    • Oilerz4life

      A few questions that the press haven’t asked to Knowledge:

      1. Did they have to sign him or could they have just offered him a no strings tryout?

      2. Were there no other defensive options besides him that could have been signed/offered a tryout?

      3. Did you sign him because you like him/ have a history with him with the hope that he might work out, or did you actually see him play and think he was still NHL capable?

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Katz needs to invest some Rexall cash into figuring out a way for Ference to switch faces Travolta-Cage style with some Greyhounds D kid so he can play the full season with Nurse in Junior.

    • Crackenbury

      Nurse will be fine in Jr. I think we need Ferrance in Edmonton.

      Now maybe if Katz were to hook up Nurse with some of Rexall’s finest and bulk that kid up in a hurry. Then we might be on to something.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Caught last period only . Unfortuneatly Roy looked like he would have a hard time stopping a beach ball , made entire team look worse than it was . . Nurse showed well . Hemsky probably came down with flu that’s going around – just got over it myself .

    • Oilerz4life

      Its just pre-season. Big deal. Who cares if Roy isn’t NHL material. He’s a, ok catch this word people, I know its hard to understand, are you ready for it…prospect. Dooby played great so quit being such anal retentive fans and show some respect for goal tenders. He’ll play his role in the minors and what do you care? Its not like any of you will be NHL prospects any time soon.

      • Batfink

        Yep, the point of these games is to sort the wheat from the chaff. Mission accomplished. If Roy does well in OKC then he’ll have another shot next year. That is why the goalies were changed!

  • Oilerz4life

    Baertschi made Grebeshkov look like a pylon.. When I first saw that clip, I thought it was one of the young inexperienced Dmen with little chance of making the NHL. Was hard to believe it was the 29 year old with 3 solid seasons. I hope he realizes his mistakes and shapes up (as noted, it is still early). Will he bolt back to his old team if he doesn’t make it?

    Also.. Someone had mentioned Belov’s visa issues should be resolved by the weekend.. It’s sunday.

  • Lowetide

    One more comment.. Does anyone else think Hall’s goal didn’t past the line and shouldn’t have counted? I’ve watched it a few times and see no white space between the puck and the line. But he got it anyway.

  • Oilerz4life

    No different than Khabibulin, who battled back from injury as an NHL goaltender umpteen times and had the reputation as being a class act among team members and was a tireless trainer. He also is a Stanley Cup Champion. But fans all think they know the abuse playing goal puts on an ageing goalie and think they know better. Arm chair GM’s, please.

    • I am the Liquor

      Holy cow. You played goal in minor hockey so that means nobody can comment on a goaltender’s performance?

      This is a message board. For a hockey team. People talk about hockey here.

  • Lowetide

    I was hoping the Oilers would change that awful goal song in the offseason.. That pitbull one is the worst in the NHL, does anyone even like it? Fortunately I don’t think we’ll be hearing it much anyway.

  • Oilerz4life

    The goalies are changed in prospect games to give each goalie a shot at some ice time. It is already known that Dooby is number 1, LaBarberra number 2, Bachman number 1 in OKC, Roy perhaps ECHL. Everybody knows he’s not going to play NHL minutes. Switching it up was a chance at a little NHL exposure, nothing more. The goalie swaps had nothing to do with “sorting the wheat from the chaff”. The wheat, so to speak, as far as goal tenders is concerned, is already established. So cut Roy a break, he’s only a prospect and a chance to play in a prospect game is pretty sweet. All the haters, sorry, get lost.

    • Batfink

      Er, it clearly is sorting the wheat from the chaff. I wasn’t knocking Roy, I was backing you up. And we do need to know what we have for back-ups and how they will react against better opposition in case of, heaven forbid, an injury. Now we know Roy needs a little more time. Otherwise, why not sell the goalie change to a fan for charity and get him “a little NHL exposure”. And go back to bed, grumpy.

      • Oilerz4life

        No, I understand that, and I propped your comment, but goal tenders are already established. It takes much longer to develop the goalie position. There will be no challenging anywhere close to number one position this year. Maybe on right wing, not goal.

        • Lowetide

          Roy had a very good first year pro (.925sp) and for me was much better than Bunz last season (.961 in Stockton and .902 in OKC).

          Those numbers are somewhat similar to Dubnyk at the same age, so he’s pacing on the same track. The question I have, is this “does Dubnyk’s career progression represent a typical NHL starter’s progression?”

          Because it doesn’t really look like it does. They were severely patient with him.

          • Oilerz4life

            Fair enough and I agree with the point that Roy needs development, wherever that may be. But hey, wherever he lands up, the kid is awesome. The fans that are hanging the goalie out to dry after some preseason game are no different than the Vancouver fans that hang Lluongo out to dry and we all know how badly Lluongo wants to play in Vancouver.

          • Lowetide

            I think fans wanted a win over the Flames and Roy was part of the backslide last night. A lot of bad things had to happen for the Oilers to lose, and they did.

            Roy was part of that. However, it’s a pre-season game, no harm done. I think he has a chance to push Bachman this winter in OKC.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I saw basically the same game as you did, Alan….I was impressed by Platzer, a pick I hated when it was made, I could very clearly see something in this kid.
    Joensuu was a beast out there…big kid who doesn’t get physically bounced around, he should be a lock for the Oilers after the pre season if he keeps playing like he did last night.
    and I thought Marco Roy had a strong game as did….wait for it….Mike Brown and the leagues best moustache!
    on the other hand, was not impressed at all with the other Roy….Olivier. he looked lost and over matched. he and Bunz are reasons why I wish the Oilers would just bite the bullet, quit being so stubborn, and draft a goalie a little higher in the draft. also, Martindale looked slow and lumbering out there…me thinks he is probably in his last year with this organisation. Musil looked too slow for the NHL game and it’s sad to think that out 2 recent #31 picks…Musil and Pitlick may never turn out to be much for us.
    glad I went though…was starved for a game after having to endure the Esks all summer!

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0


    I wrote what I wrote because I *was* a goalie. I know exactly how hard it is and what it takes. I’m not doubting his skills and it was a tough night. Heck, I even mentioned that the team in front of him was falling apart too. But there are times, as a goalie, when you need to go the extra mile to make that save, to not let the game get in your head so you CAN make that save. The game clearly got in his head, be it nerves, acknowledging to himself that he wasn’t playing very good, etc, etc. This is the mental side of the game that all goalies need to learn and that’s what I was pointing out. He needs to work on it. He already has the skill set to play pro hockey and he’s demonstrated that before and I won’t deny that.

    By the way, we can criticize players on aspects of their game we feel is weak without trashing them or picking on them. White knighting a professional athlete who is being paid very handsomely to play a game is a little silly.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Acton’s post game note on shift length was very instructive. It also indicates a pretty attentive coach.

    I think the meetings and practices before the next game should be interesting.

    On the performances: I thought some of the kids (esp. Platzer, Nurse and Roy) showed better than expected at this level.

    Omark looked great. The beard helped. I think he helped himself make the team.

    In the tournament of tiny sample sizes: Joensuu killed it and Grebs got killed.

    Roy(the g) showed that the G depth in the organization is pathetic.

  • I am the Liquor

    My point is to stop telling everyone what to do think or say. You are not their mom. If they want to talk crap about a player, so be it. Its a message board. A place where fans get stuff off their chest. This may or may not include bagging on a player you think deserves it or not.

  • Oilerz4life

    The reason some Oiler fans are annoying is because they have the reputation as being the worst in the league. One preseason game and already you hear comments like “Roy sucks, he made the whole team look bad”. Well, he’s possibly a ECHL prospect, so why are you trashing your team already? Its funny, one point like that and its the same comment. Go back to the beer leagues, we critique our players around here. You know what, show some support for your team. One game, that we just about won and its already back to Oil country. You have become so conditioned to losing that the negativity surrounding the Oilers has saturated your mentality.

  • Lowetide

    Joensuu looked like Penner when he was on a mission for donairs at three am. This guy was an absolute truck last night, Harti with balls! Nurse looked very very comfortable beside Ference, Roy couldnt stop a 15 year old girl sprinting for Bieber. Easily the reason why the Oilers blew that three goal cushion, Dubnyk looked incredibly solid.

  • Some random thoughts..

    I have a tough time paying attention to the finer points of the game when watching within Rexall’s walls, but I got goosebumps seeing Nurse and Schultz together for a short bit of time. That could be an exciting future pairing in a few years.

    Also, man, I feel bad for Roy (G), cause he looked terrible. I’m sure he’s not feeling good about his performance at all. I know he’s still young, but it was disconcerting.

    I didn’t get to watch the other game of course, but sounds like LaBarbera was fantastic (no GA?). Of course the Oilers played a crap team, divided in half.. so I don’t suspect that will be anywhere near the hardest minutes he’ll face this year. But it’s good to see him start things right.

    I realized last night that I have no clue who Calgary’s starter is. I assume Calgary has no idea either.

    Joensuu is big. I did see him get clocked with one good hit at the other end of the ice. But I also got to see a close up of Byron trying to hit him from behind, but Joensuu didn’t even move an inch (possibly Byron let up, but I think it’s because Byron is about 150lbs soaking wet).

    I thought Hemsky, Hall and Smyth looked really good together initially.. I actually hadn’t noticed until late in the 3rd that Hemsky was gone from the game though. Not sure when he disappeared, but it would have been nice to see the three play the whole game together.

    Hall… anything he can’t do? When are the Oilers going to start subbing him in as goaltender from time to time?

    On Dubnyk, pardon me for being overly critical, and maybe I magnified mistakes.. but he looked good… way better than Roy… but he still handled the puck like a hot potato at times. But it’s early in the year. He did look good though, but it seemed like he struggled a couple times to trap the puck. Nothing to be concerned about though.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I was at the game. My random observations/responses to LT:

    Hall looked very strong, ran over a few guys, a few hard hits, skated fast and covered the whole ice surface–looked to be on a mission, looked to be a guy who can truly impose his will on a game. Chemistry with Hemsky.

    Yak looked stronger (vs last year) to my eye. Lots of great skating, sometimes with focus and purpose. Looks like what he is–a young star finding his game.

    Smyth’s speed surprised me, good and bad, at different points in the game.

    Lander still seems over-matched physically, and doesn’t do much on offense. Time to move on.

    Omark had some very strong board play in the O zone, and some nice passing with Yak. Had the goalie down and beat on the shootout, just couldn’t get the puck up high enough. Too soon to write him off.

    Mike Brown skated like a demon possessed and left nothing on the ice. Love his heart. No skill to match, though.

    Hemsky played well in the first, made a backcheck that prevented a goal against and turned into a goal. His absence became noticeable–while Hall and Smyth both continued to give good efforts, that line was not nearly as effective or dominant without Hemmer. (Rob Brown made the same comment in his post-game analysis).

    Grebs looked slower and rusty.

    Musil is very strong clearing the net, but needs a skating coach badly–his short choppy strides look awful. Usually well-positioned; when not, look out, as no speed to get where needed in time.

    Nurse looks like he will be a beast in a few years–nice mobility, snarly.

    Roy’s skating impressed me.

    Dubnyk needs a puck-handling coach–he clears it away to no one in particular (usually the other team) far too often. It’s early, but the plum rebounds need to be fewer, too (unless the D coverage gets spectacularly better).

    My 2 cents’ worth.

  • 2004Z06

    I know I will be trashed significantly for this one, but why does Hall keep throwing tantrum and slamming his stick on the ice after taking a dumb penalty? Captain material?