So Mark Arcobello Gets To Play Now, Right?


It’s been a tough time for Mark Arcobello. While manifestly better at hockey than every member of at least one entire line the Oilers have been running in recent days, he’s been stuck in the press box as a healthy scratch. The official reason of late has been that a winning lineup deserves to be rewarded.  

Thanks to Monday’s loss, the Oilers no longer have a winning lineup. Which should mean that Arcobello is back in.

Earning Minutes

To borrow a line from Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson, we all know how big Mark Arcobello is. His size would seem to be why he didn’t get a shot on the Tambellini-run Oilers last year, and it’s the only real explanation for why he isn’t getting minutes this year. Everything else he’s done has been pretty good:

  • Is one of four Oilers (with Perron, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle) to score more than two points per hour five-on-five
  • Has the best on-ice scoring chance numbers of any Oilers forward
  • Has the best on-ice shot numbers (Corsi, Fenwick, etc.) of any Oilers forward
  • Kills penalties, averaging 1:35 per game with the Oilers down a man
  • Wins 52.2 percent of his faceoffs, second only to Boyd Gordon
  • Leads all Edmonton forwards with 41 hits

Seriously, he’s been ridiculous. And to have him sit while guys who struggle to hit the 20-point mark at the AHL level keep getting minutes despite mediocre performances is indefensible. 

If there is a bright spot to Edmonton’s loss against the Blackhawks, it’s that a very deserving player should find himself back in the lineup. 

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Look, guys.

    Acton isn’t playing on the NHL team because of his Dad. this is absurd.

    He’s playing for the same reason many NHL teams have terrible 4th lines. They convince themselves they need beefy, useless players there.

    Occam’s Razor.

    Eakins himself has said as much numerous times. He wants heaviness on the 4th line.

    That and the absurd “don’t tinker with winning” arguments are all you need to explain Acton playing.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        Your argument would make more sense if there weren’t viable alternatives in the form of Arco, Lander and Horak (and Pitlick when he is healthy).

        Signing him was a curious decision. Playing him is even more curious.

        But the real curio isn’t playing Acton, but playing Gazdic.

        • camdog

          When Acton was signed in the off season Arco was not a viable alternative. He’s played into an alternative, but at the beginning of the season, he was not an alternative. Horak wasn’t even with the organization, when Acton was signed so again he was not an alternative. Pitlick hasn’t played center since junior, as a professional hockey player he’s not a centre. As to Lander it’s better for his career development to play this season in the AHL. Last season he had an awful season and prooved he was not ready for the NHL. So yes there were no other viable options within the organization.

          Actually sad that a guy that couldn’t even crack the Flames is mentioned as a depth center in this organisation.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Ahh… I read “Acton is on this team” as a reference to him being on the current roster (as that is what the topic is), not in reference to simply being in the organization.

            As I said, signing him was a curious decision. I have all kinds of time for a counterfactual on the decisions of the Summer at center.

            I’m not sure why you think Arco wasn’t an option. MacT clearly thought all the C’s were in the mix.

            Pitlick played Center all year so far in the AHL (again, I thought you were talking about now, not in the Summer) and was doing well and referred to it as his natural position.

            Lander had a poor NHL season last year and a very strong finish to his AHL season. He was certainly a viable option and probably it was his job to lose in training camp… which he promptly did.

            I wouldn’t be so sure Horak is of so little value.

        • Citizen David

          I agree completely except starting next year. I think Lander is benefiting greatly from his time on the farm. Allowing the prospects to develop for the rest of the year is what we should do. But next season if our fourth line isn’t made up of these or similar players and is instead made of Acton’s and Gazdic’s it will be a fail.

    • Oilerz4life

      Keith Acton hired June 28 2013
      Will Acton signed July 5 2013

      Contrary to what Stauffer reports on his show this is the timeline.

      There were many better options available to the club when he was signed and quite frankly still available now. Outside of the echl Acton hasnt played for a pro coach not named Dallas Eakins. Eakins credits Actons Sr. in getting his assistant role with the Leafs. Is it so hard to believe he would pay him back by hiring him and and his son?

      Fact is Will Acton is not an NHL player and at best a 3-4 ahl center, he is as mac t called it a non factor. He is neither heavy or plays heavy, a poor penalty killer, doesnt hit, isnt hard on the forecheck, not good in his own end, not great in the faceoff circle, not fast and doesnt have good hands. What is everyone interested in this team outside oilers staff missing?

  • S cottV

    Geez – that was an awful performance last night. I know easy to dump on things with 20 20 hindsight, but anyone who has ever coached knows how risky it is to play 4 forwards on the PP, let alone 5. Never liked it – even – when it worked in the short term these past few games. Its not mainstream and very quirky. The defending Stanley Cup champions come into town and you would think that maybe we respect them to the point where we keep at least one d man on the ice for our first PP? But no – lets risk looking stupid and having it jammed up where the sun dont shine – to start things off. Embarrassing to say the least and a dumb unnecessary rookie Coach position to box himself into. Must have something to do with a 4 year contract because if it were 2, I doubt he would be this cavalier.

  • camdog

    This is the year the fab5 were to carry us with Gagner as the sixth . It obviously is not happening . Is it the coaching , or those main six players ? Will they ever be good enough to carry this team to another acceptable level is the question ? If not , then time to blow up the failed rebuild and mold from the backend this time .

  • Bucknuck

    He does everything asked of him and has a heart as big as Hall. He is not as small as people think I would suggest that his height and weight are incorrect as detailed on the official website.

    Until Hemsky gets traded this guy will not get the ice time he deserves………we must all remember what Eakins said out of both sides of his mouth, ” ice time will be earned”!

    What a joke!

  • Bucknuck

    After all these years in the toilet someone should flush because the crap keeps piling up. Elite talent ?!? Where ?!? Not seein it. I see a bunch if scared little boys trying to play a game with men. I think I actually saw the Hawks laughing at us last night. Holy Crap !!! That’s what we are. A joke. An organization full of crap, waiting for a flush.

  • Bucknuck

    Amen, JW. I am astonished that he is sitting when he has been so good this year. They better play him, because every minute he’s out cries the word “bull$h!t” to Eakins words about earning ice time.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Gotta say, that was an absolutely filthy deke from Tazer on the shorty last night. Dubnyk may as well have stood in the corner and watched.

  • Bucknuck

    Do results lie?

    Why are there so many people who think Edmonton has a lot of potential.

    Since 2005 lockout look at Oilers record.

    Has reality jumped the shark with Oilers fans?

  • Not that any of the 5 forward power play has anything to do with this article, but I don’t see that short handed goal being anything other than an unlucky play – the defender breaks his stick/fans trying to clear it and so it trickles to the blue line. Yakupov started leaving the zone to retrieve it and when he saw it trickling, he thought he could get to it before Toews. The other “defender” should have fallen back until they had possession instead of also going back into the zone which IS an issue with 5 forwards. Yakupov should just have tripped/tackled Toews before he broke past.

    Nobody expected the Oilers to win last night, what was expected was a much better effort. Arcobello at least puts out the effort and at this point, I’m fine sitting just about anyone to put in a bit of heart.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    future oiler lineup: will acton at center, keegan lowe and simpsons kid on defense, paulina gretzky on wing and some of the kids chris pronger left behind

  • oilerjed

    Absolutely. Just ANOTHER example of the Eakins learning curve. Any other city he has lost his job already — Todd Nelson soooooo deserves a shot here.

    You want size on your fourth line — Gazdic-Gordon-Jones. Play them more than 5 minutes a game (say 10-12 minutes); second-shift them after every small line when the grit is needed.

    Run three skill lines in between, and you have four lines who can play at any time during the game (short-handed, last minutes of games, etc.) and PRODUCE.

    Where do I sign a petition to make Eakins an assistant coach to Todd Nelson????

    • I would sign the petition and so would any hockey minded person IMHO.

      That would be unless Mr. Bangs has another secrete agenda to tank for another year?? Just putting it out there…… else could you explain the insane bench decisions, line match-ups, and the concept of earned ice time.

      Yes we have major personnel issues, especially on the back end, but coaching has lost us as many games as the performance of our players.

    • Oilerz4life

      Todd Nelson is a minor league coach, as Dallas Eakins was a minor league coach. With the current Oilers roster you would be calling for Todd Nelsons head in 6-8 weeks as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. The last thing the Oilers need is to change coaches and systems annually. The Edmonton Oilers need continuity and consistency.

  • Oilerz4life

    Cam dog:
    terrible drafting team?
    Fraser was putrid
    Pendergast failed on 1st RD!

    In 2005-06 we mortgaged our picks and went on a cup run.
    by o7-08 we had 5 players left.
    we shipped 3 picks for Penner
    Pronger got us lupul, SMID, EBERLE,
    Smyth: Nillson, Omara, Plante

    1994 bonsignore, SMYTH
    1995 Kelly, Laroque
    1996 Devereaux, Decouteaux
    1997 Riesen, Dovigi
    1998 heinrich, Henry
    1999 Rita, Semenov, Salmelainen
    2000 Mikhnov, Winchester
    Fraser era over
    1 top 9 player in 15 picks.

    Pendergast era starts
    2001 HEMSKY, lynch (traded pronger), caron
    2002 Ninimaki, JDD,
    Stoll, Greene (trade for vishnovsky)
    2003 M-A P, Mcdonald, J-F J
    2004 DUBNYK, Schremp, Tesliuk, Paukovich
    2005 Cogliano traded for 2nd , Chorney
    2006 No 1st (trade Rolonson), PETRY
    these 13 years 7 are top 9 nhl players

    Macgregor starts as head scout
    2007 GAGNER (24yr), plante, Nash
    2008 EBERLE (23 yr)
    2009 MPS(22 YR)(for Perron 25yr), Lander (22yr)
    2010 HALL, pitlick (21yr), Marincin, Hamilton All 21
    2011 RNH (20), Klefbom (20), Musil (20)
    2012 YAKUPOV (20), Moroz(19), Khaira (19)
    2013 Nurse(18), M-O roy (19), Yakimov (19)
    Of the 19 top picks in last 7 years
    6 top 6 players,
    3 likely top 4 dmen,
    5 likely top 9 and
    J. schultz(23), Arcobello(25) college free agents.

    Players develop there full mass by age 27.
    most are 3-7 years away from the 26-31yr peak age range.
    3-7 years

    • Oilerz4life

      You are setting your expectations too low.

      Did you look at the hawks’s roster? The have 3 first round picks playing, PLUS EIGHT players drafted after the 1st round in their line up. Six of those eight players drafted outside the 1st round are playing key roles on the team. Three of those 8 players were drafted since 2009.

      How many players drafted outside the 1st round do the Oilers have on their team? One – Petry. How many since 2007? None.

      So, why do the Hawks have depth and the Oilers very little? You can start with drafting. Macgregor was an improvement over his predecessors, but overall he is pretty mediocre.

  • Do what Weight did?

    Klesla on waivers. I don’t think he’s having a bad year, but he’s not getting minutes either with Ekman-Larsson and Yandle kicking around.

  • Do what Weight did?

    Wow. Did I watch the same game as everybody else?

    1. The first goal could have happened just as easily with a d-man or 2 on the point. Did Yak city blow it? We all know he screwed up, but as OilCanFan pointed out (first to say so, 70 comments in), it was a strange play. Broken stick, split second hesitation, panics/mishandles the puck and it all leads to an uncontested breakaway. I hate to say it, but it immediately made me think of Tom Gilbert. To suggest that Eakins is amateur bc of that goal seems ridiculous to me.

    2. I want to see Arcobello in the lineup, at Center. I’d take out Hemsky – he’s due for an injury, and already looks a bit beatup out there. Gags to the wing, Arco in the middle.

    3. I know the comments have moved beyond ‘moral victories’ but if real victories aren’t gonna happen, then you can’t abandon all goals and positives. If we all agree that we suck, then how upset should we be when we lose to a perennial powerhouse and defending champion. Now, I may be the only one who saw this, but I thought we had two lines that carried tha play, and maintained pressure and possession in the hawks zone for most of the night. It’s been ages since I’ve seen the oilers do that against a good team. Usually against top teams, we spend the whole night in out own zone, and have trouble getting I to their end, to even generate shots. For a change, the oilers looked to me like they might have a shot at beating a team like the hawks, if we stop making two or three mistakes that lead to goals (yak at the blue line, Potter’s first of the year)

    4. If the oilers are ever going to turn things around, it will not be a question of flipping on a game one day, and watching the same group do things they’ve never done before. What I see is a group of guys struggling to learn how to do things right. Changing their paradigm, as they say. When we talk about blowing up the rebuild and starting again, we always think of trades and personnel. I think what Dallas has needed to do was som kind of an internal rebuild. Take the oilers habits (game and practic end hopefully lifestyle) and try to reset them and replace them with the eight way to do things; or at least the Eakins way. This will take time! The team has been too bad for too long for the players to just flip a switch and do things differently.

    Has Dallas been perfect? Of course not, and there’s plenty I disagree with. But his moves make the most sense from a context of ‘our best players need to be better, and this team cannot win unless our wunderkids outplay the other teams’ top players. Everything I see is about getting our stars to experience the role they will need to okay if they’re going to be successful together. It’s up to MacT to recognize if that won’t happen, and make deals touting in guys that can do better. Sill, I believe that this core can be much better than what we’ve seen so far (this year, and over the last 3,4, 12 years)

    5. Bryz looked really good. Amazing tip to beat him, but otherwise great.

    • Leon Nugent McEberle

      #3 all day. Meh they didnt really carry the play, or generate anything dangerous for the hawks most of the time but they didnt look terrible.
      Ill give you that.

  • oilerjed

    I might be over reacting, but I am starting to think that the so called core of young guns is not the answer. The guys are like 2, 3 and 4 rth year NHL players, and still playing like they are in junior hockey most nights.

    I think what we see is what we will get 2 and 3 years down the road… other than maybe a few pounds of weight gain, I don’t think the skill set will change much. What you see is what you get…. dangling, blind passes, no hitting, and limited shooting.

    Honestly these guys have changed very little from junior days… then again when have the Oilers developed any player over the past 10 years.

  • oilerjed

    Frankly I would like to see both Arcobello and Jones get back in on the 4th line. Either one, although Jones is not a center, can take Acton’s PK minutes, as well as replace Gadzik with a real hockey player. I would play them with Jonshuu and leave the top three lines intact for now. If Arco at least doesn’t get in I while be one angry season ticket holder.

  • **

    If Ryan Rishaugh wants to be edgy and tough, why doesn’t he go ask Eakins, or either of the Actons why Will Acton is playing instead of Arcobello when his play has been poor to put in in nice terms. Now that would be a tough question.

  • Oilerz4life

    So apparently Arco can be a group 6 UFA if he doesn’t play 49/57 of the remaining games this season??

    Is Oilers management aware of this? Could the stupid Will Acton love make us lose an asset that is far far far more valuable than Acton for nothing?