Steve MacIntyre was hurt tonight (well, he hurt himself) and may be headed to IR along with four other guys. The Oilers played what observers described as a "poor" final pre-season game and will now ready themselves for the regular season debut this coming week.

The Oilers could recall Ryan Jones from Oklahoma City (I don’t think he’s cleared Edmonton airspace yet) and they could reach down and grab Tyler Pitlick. I’m not certain the club needs a nuclear deterrent like MacIntyre, and they can probably use a good skater for the forecheck and the penalty kill.

What they could really use is another forward who can help with puck possession. Craig MacTavish spoke about it during the spring, Dallas Eakins spoke about it when talking to the media about the kind of team he wanted to ice, and we know what a possession team might look like in an NHL game. It would look like the Red Wings.


Possession players have the puck more than the other guy (and have a positive shot differential), can make and take a pass and if they do turn the puck over it’s often miles away from the home net and there is recovery time for linemates. Taylor Hall is a possession player, the high end youngsters coming up behind him are/will be too, and Ryan Smyth in his prime was a helluva possession player.

  • Mike Babcock: “We really believe in toughness and we believe toughness is toughness on the puck. To me, you’ve got to have the puck. I like 12 forwards that can all skate and handle the puck, and I like six D who can all skate and handle the puck.”

If we take a look at the Edmonton Oilers roster that dressed tonight in Oklahoma City, are there any players we can apply Babcock’s words to and get a negative answer? I think there are, and that’s the trouble with dressing players for reasons other than winning the game on the scoresheet. When a team is out to announce their presence with authority, they’re no longer concentrating all of their energy on puck possession.

I understand the need to have a physical element, but that’s best served by having possession players who can also use their size/strength to win battles.


At some point this weekend, there will be an interesting name on the waiver wire or offered in trade. The Oilers are trying out two wingers with size who may be possession players (Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Hamilton) given the right situation. If they can add another, I believe they’ll have a better chance to win hockey games.

And so does Mike Babcock.

  • **

    I like Big Mac, but maybe him getting hurt turns out to be a blessing in disguise for the Oilers.I don’t think they should recall Ryan Jones though. This is a very good chance to pick a a good centre on the waiver wire or via a trade.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      I agree 100% though I do like the threat of dressing a nuclear deterrent on any given night. That’s MacI’s purpose, not to actually play, because he can’t.

      Sadly Grabo is no longer available but hopefully the Oil can pull the trigger on someone better than Lander/Acton. I think Arcobello is quite the band-aid as well but at least he can sniff out a few points in the offensive zone. We’ll see how he plays against real competition.

      Having too many C’s certainly isn’t a bad thing. Boston used their abundance at that position to take them to two finals. Hall & Gags can both play wing or C. Let’s use that flexibility and sign players at important positions.

      C>G>D>LW>RW Purchase the rarest commodities!

  • kawi460

    If he gets put on LTIR I doubt he will play another NHL game. It sucks for him, good team guy and one tough dude.

    I can see the oil looking to the waiver wire once it heats up. Even if it’s not an enforcer. I can see them picking up some more grit. Like a Volpatti, Maroon, Cracknell or someone along those lines.

    How is Brown? Wasn’t he injured as well?

  • I really liked Tyler Pitlick’s showing at the end of camp, so he would definitely be a good choice. I also would like to see Jones get a longer look before he’s completely written off. If not mistaken, he will have a bit of a grace period (I want to say up to 30 days and up to 10 games played) before needing to clear waivers again to be sent down, so now might be a better time to do it, if the Oilers are interested in hanging on to him, even in OKC.

    Also, good question re: Brown, kawi… seems to be no info on him at all. Not sure if he played another shift after he got hurt.

    • Craig1981

      Personally I think they stunk. Don’t know why, so I don’t know if I should be concerned or not yet.

      I believe if anyone thought an extra year development, adding Ference, some lower forwards, and Eakins was going to change the Oilers dramatically in less than a month, they were foolish. It will take till Christmas games before we can see where we are at. IMO

    • I’ll let this Eakins quote answer things

      “Hey it’s good that it happened. It’s good to let our team know that our diapers do stink. That’s not going to happen again. I let the players know that that’s their free pass. If this was October 1st, I would have shortened that bench down fast and the guys who weren’t doing what was being asked of them would have been on the bench. But.. that’s their free one, and sometimes it’s good you get a good kick in the butt leading into the season.”

      It was one game. It happens to the best. How many times has the Oilers “non-NHL” team got the better of the Hawks in recent years, for example?

      Sometimes a team needs to come back down from cloud 9.. especially one that walked through the pre-season pretty easily. It won’t be an easy season. but this was just a one off and not to worry, IMHO.

      It sucked they lost MacIntyre and perhaps maybe Brown too though, but this maybe gives opportunity for what Lowetide’s whole post was about… puck possession for the 4th line will go up, potentially.

    • Spydyr

      The team was weak at center now they have lost their top two centers.The have the beast Hall playing in a new positions.Try as he might Mac-T was not able to upgrade on goaltending still getting a weak goal every fourth period.Ference was a nice pick up and there is defense depth but they really need two more top four defencemen.There is very little team toughness and the bottom six are slightly above AHL caliber.Ryan Smyth is on your first line at his age.

      Not looking so good is it.

      The team MUST pick up a center or two on the waiver wire or via trade.I would look at the teams with two solid centers(Pittsburgh,Chicago,Boston) and see who they are sending down with their last cuts.

    • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

      It looked like the vets where a little gun shy after what happened Gags and then witness an injury to there newly acquired tough guy. The ice looked bad for the boys because the puck was bouncing like a tennis ball out there.

      My three questions entering the season

      1. Can Ryan Smyth keep up with the play of the 2013 game? Playing him with two of the fastest Hall and Hemsky seems counterproductive.

      2. Can Mr. Dubnyk steal 10 or so games for a young and fragile team going on the road for much of Oct. and Nov?

      3. Why has the management of the Oilers refused to address the centerman and functional toughness in the bottom 6? Can’t wait to see a tired Acton-Brown-Big Mac take on Thorton-Marleau-Pavelski

  • D

    Last exhibition game notwithstanding, the Oil sucked so badly tonight they singlehandedly created a low pressure system over Siberia which parenthetically may be where some of those players may end up plying their trade sooner than later.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    I hope Pitlick gets the call up. I’m worried he’s going to be asked to do too much in OKC and it will get translated into him trending down…….again. I want to find out if he can play a limited and useful role on an NHL team. His agent should really be asking him “How are you at punching faces?” He would be on the team already.

  • Concur

    It sounds to me that the Oilers have two minds in their approach, possession or toughness. They should pick one (possession) and go with it. It is is great if they can find players that can do both (Joensuu) but sacrificing one for the other with ruin it (MacIntyre). Wow do I miss Laraque, he was tough but he could work the boards.

  • When a team is out to announce their presence with authority, they’re no longer concentrating all of their energy on puck possession.

    “This guy’s a first ball fastball hitter and you want to start him off with the heat?!?”

  • Batfink

    I am developing some early concerns about Coach Aikens judgment and decision making.

    1)first why would he get himself in a position where one of his marginal players is the son of his Accociate coach. This is unheard of in professional ranks. Very awkward situation if Acton has to get cut or sit out a few games. If he continues to play then some of the players will feel he is there because of his father which is harmful for building team cohesion. This guy will eventually going to have to be sent down and you can guarantee our Associate Coach will not see it that way. This will lead to unneeded friction in the coaches quarters.

    2) why did he hire Bucky and Smith? Their allegiances will be clearly to McT and low . It is like having ciphers in the room who will be keeping an eye on Eakins for Lowe and Mct. So much for what is said in the room stays in the room. When Eakins had the leverage power he should have insisted on his own assistants rather than allowing him to be forced to take these 2 coaches who were very much part of the old regime with its losing teams.. A complete turnover was needed.

    3) thinkingHall, Smythe Hemsky can be your number 1 line–did Eakins watch any film from last year? Symythe will not be able to keep up from a speed point. Hemsky will play a couple of good games and them become disinterested for a few. In summary, the line will soon be dysfunctional because Smythe just does not have it anymore and Hemsky loses interest for days at a time. This line will be a complete waste of Hall’s abilities. This will be evident shotly after a few games have past. A new coach should have known this.

    These are just a couple of matters that cause me concern about Eakins.

    • Nomad787

      I don’t agree with your first two statements. I think thats a bit of a stretch or at least we have to hope they are professionals.
      I definetly agree with your third comment. I dont know how you move a guy who was a fourth line player on a really bad team to the first line and expect to improve. I don’t mind the Hall, Hemsky experiment for now but Smyth on that line is only slowing those players down.

    • YFC Prez

      Hate to do it….but I guarantee someone will if I don’t.

      Ryan Smyth is an oiler legend. If there is one name on the oilers that you should know how to spell its Smyth.

      Please Edit that e out of his name.

      I hate grammar and spelling, I suck at both, but Gretsky , Sam Gagne , and Ryan Smythe drive me bananas for some reason.

    • All points made are bang on the money. Especially re; Bucky and Smith. How did they survive the head coach changes? I think the answer is obvious.

      Time will tell about Acton, but the concern is valid.

      Smyth will soon prove that he is well past his dud date and in fact will be a drag on Hall.

      Eakins said last night game was a free pass and it won’t happen again. Of course it will. Then what does he say ?

  • Spydyr

    Well , we got beat by a better team last night . Trying to fill within has not benefitted us over last several years , and somehow some of you thought because of a new green Gm and coach that was going to change . Is that optimism creeping out the back door ? Here’s hoping we can finish above the Flames . Some of our stars are looking mediocre so far .

    • Mikey

      Maybe looking mediocre in that last game, probably less than mediocre.

      What about Ebs leading pre season scoring? Perron is up there too. I would say they are looking good, even tho its pre season and means nothing.

  • magisterrex

    The Oilers fanbase are bipolar.

    “We beat the Canucks! Taylor Hall is the League MVP! Somebody get ahold of City Hall and plan the Parade!”

    “We lost our final preseason game! Trade them all! Fire MacT! Fire all the coaching staff! Burn down Rexall Place!”

    Some about right?

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      No way Magnus Paajarvi goes on waivers….what the H E double hockey sticks is that Edmonton Journal writer thinking?…….They’d trade him before they’d put him on waivers! Who wrote that article!?

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    The Oiler win maybe 6 games this month. 2 in a shootout and perhaps get a couple of loser points. Lower your expectations a smidge folks. Think of all the changes this team will have to overcome this first couple of months.

    No excuses. BS. It will take time for the Eakins system to be fully in effect. Getting RNH and Gagner back into the lineup eventually. Hall adapting to center. Perron assimilating to a more aggressive play. Integrating 3 new defenceman.

    Folks we won’t be a “team” for a while yet. Teams take time and circumstance to grow and develop. You need players who not only will understand and implement the x’s and o’s but also players who know deep down that the guy’/s sitting in that locker room will go to war with him and not back down or sway in his resolve.

    If you really think that is what can describe this current Oilers “team” you really need to give your head a shake. Champions are edged through battle. Game after game. We’ll see who is willing to step up in the next few months. We’ll see who has the metal and the mental fortitude.

    Right now this “team” is what it is. In its infancy. The diaper comment from Eakins reflects his understanding about where this roster is in its current stage.

    I challenge anyone out there to argue that we are more than what we are. A group of players with Oilers on their sweaters. A “team”? We’ll see in a few months where we stand and who is left standing.

      • Batfink

        I think the argument is some what specious. This team has been “in it’s infancy” for five years now. I think it is reasonable to expect some dividends to have paid off. while I accept the fact we are not winning the Cup this year, I believe the investment of sucking for so long should yield play-offs this year. You could also look at Eakin’s diaper comment and take it as not his understanding of this team’s youth, but more that “you are paid professionals. Play like it.” Just another way of looking at it.

        • The turnover in players on this roster vs last year vs the past 4 years is mindboggling. What other team out there has has had roster turnover like Edmonton. Is Calgary’s roster had as many change’s? Someone do the research and tell me. Because sure as heck when you have nearly a 50% turnover on your roster you have to to lower your expectations. Never mind the fact that we have 1st year GM,Coach and assistant coach. New system. New players. New attitude.

          I see the dividends in terms of player growth and development. Hall to center is an enormous move. It bolds well for the future of this franchise. But there will short term pain as he learns the center position. Eberle and Perron will grow as they adapt to each others style. Yakupov will be given ample opportunity to develop under Eakins. Justin Shultz will given a comfort blanket in Ference and will be unleashed onn the rush.

          But in terms of “team” it will be a certainty that this group of players will have a long way to go before they can “identify” themselves as a team. Heck we won’t see a complete roster until Gagner’s return in 2-3 months.

          By then who knows what changes will have occurred on this team.

          I think your right about dividends in terms of individual players. Hall,Eberle,Yak, and J Shultz. But in terms of the this group of Oilers we are definitely in the infancy stages of its development. to say otherwise is putting the cart before the horse.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    The trip was suppossed to be, in part for team bonding.I think the fact that the team flew to okc the same day they sent Ryan Jones down and he wasnt on that flight tells us how big a part of this team he’s going to. Shell of a player since returning from his injury. Even if he wasnt banging and just used his speed to force turnovers he might be an asset. Hes too timid to stand in front of the net where he got all them dirty goals two years ago, wont hit, wont move his feet, what does he bring to the table?

  • Reg Dunlop

    This is shaping up to be a classic battle of wills. The rookie coach versus the roster that executes coaches yearly. Hustle and fitness and commitment versus… Hemsky. I guess we will see who triumphs.

    Arguments about Red Wing possession hockey and our desire to emulate it… Babcock was blessed with Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Nothing else needs to be said. If the Wings were led by Ryan Whitney and Horcoff, they would have been lotto-bound and genius Babcock would be unemployed.

    My prediction is that hiring a rookie hard-ass coach will prove to be a mistake. Oilers take a step back this year and only finish higher than Flames and Panthers. When is a THOROUGH house cleaning going to come? Building on top of rot never works.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      Don’t forget that Babcock took the Ducks to the Finals with an aged Adam Oates as their top C. That team was expected to bow out of the playoffs in 4 games and instead swept the Wings on their way to a game 7amp; loss in the finals to the Devils.

      Babcock can make a mediocre team into a playoff team. He took a playoff team in Lidstrom/Datsyuk/Zetterberg and turned them into a seminfinal team if not a contender.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Eakin didn’t want to use the words” we are a young team”, so he used the ” dirty diaper anology”.The message is the same I think.

    On a serious note… look like Eakins approach is using pairs , instead of line, and inserting other players or whos hot tonight into the various lines. Before the next game,he should switch Hemsky with Yak.

    In the short term Smyth will have to left wing it,for defense and net precence. But honestly Hemsky on the first line is a bigger anchor than #94. Skate a lot [ala Jones], but does little else. This guy is a $5M fraud , posing as a first line player.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      I think what Eakins is trying to do is have 3 balanced scoring lines rather than a true 1st line, 2nd line, etc…

      As soon as Gags & Nuge return, we’ll see more of it.

      The presence of Hemmer & Smit with Hall is Eakins trying to give Hall a responsible veteran presence on his wings as he’s an inexperienced C.

      Only 1 more year of Hemmer at $5mil. Then we will pays Schultz Jr that amount. Great trade-off.

  • Czar

    Would anyone have a link or know where to check out the waiver wire? I keep coming across old claims but nothing up to date. Thanks in advance!

    Ice Chips on the TSN site is up to date.

  • Bucknuck

    HA HA HA… this is so funny.

    The PANIC. Settle down folks. The team didn’t do what Eakins told them and they got schooled. It’s good that it happened in preseason and not game one.

    I’m waiting until Hallowe’en before I hit the panic button on this team. Plus, any team with it’s top two centre’s out is going to struggle, so buckle up. It’s gonna be a rough ride, but I do expect that they will make the playoffs.

    I’m really curious to see what happens against the Jets (who also beat the Oil in the preseason).

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I think we’ll see the lines a little more realistic come Oct 1, Yak should be on one of the top 2 lines, and Smyth down on Gordon’s line.

    Was it just me or did Hamilton look really out of place last night, is he really that much better than Jones?

    If PRV is put on waivers, it would be funny if MacT picked him up then that trade would really have been a steal lol.

    Anybody have an idea when Eakins names the captain? I NEED TO KNOW!!