"Not all wins are pretty." That phrase is getting used quite a bit today.

Things were looking great when the Oil jumped out to 4-1 lead versus the Carolina Hurricanes. They were in the driver’s seat but eventually allowed the Canes back in the game, before pulling it out in overtime.

The Oilers have won 7 of their last 11 games and are far from being a legitimate contender, but at least they are getting some positive results.  It was not the second half of the game you want to see but they still won the game.

They are inching closer to being a better team.


When this team gets room to skate it really is a treat to watch. For the first half of the game Carolina did not seem interested in playing a tight checking game at all. This allowed the Oilers skill with time and space, to take over. It was a perfect game for this team’s make-up.

Perron-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle came out with a fantastic first shift to start the game and set the tone for what was to follow. On the next shift Yakupov makes a nifty little pass to find Gagner, he then slid a pass to Hall for just a beauty of a wrister. You couldn’t draw up a better response after Saturday’s game.

The pace was much higher than against Calgary and they scored goals a little different than usual. They chipped and chased and won races to pucks.


One area I have seen this team improve is turnovers heading into the offensive zone. There are still too many, but from the start of the season to this point, they have made some strides at the blue line.

Last night was a prime example of making higher percentage plays at the offensive blue line. They scored 3 goals because they decided instead of forcing a puck through the middle they were going to use the boards and go get it.

If you can gain the line with control of the puck, it’s great. If you have numbers and room to try and make a move on a d-man that’s the right time to try.  Early in the season, the only mind set was to force everything at the blue line and it didn’t matter if they turned it over.

Dumping the puck doesn’t mean you just give it away to the defenseman going back for it, or rim it soft to the goalie. It means chipping it in a soft corner to your charging winger who can get it. It’s a hard rim to the winger on the far side; it’s making defenseman turn and hounding them with numbers to eventually create a turnover.

Making smart dumps with the intention and work ethic to get it back is a smart way to play the game and even more so with a lead. You can create offense this way if you are willing to work and more importantly you limit rush opportunities going back the other way.

It’s not what this team’s identity likely will be but you can see last night when dumps are smart and there is an effort to retrieve the puck, it can be very effective.



I liked his game last night and not just because he scored. You can see when he is moving his feet and trying to be involved away from the puck by hitting and fore-checking aggressively it helps his offensive game. When he’s floating he’s useless, except for the PP. It started late in the Colorado game and I thought he carried it into the Calgary game. He was rewarded last night.


Another guy that scored but he was noticeable even if he didn’t. He seemed energized and resembled more of the guy we saw early in the season. Perhaps his back has been acting up on him. If he is dealing with any kind of bulging disc or herniation, that is terrible news for him. It sure didn’t look like it last night though. He was engaged physically and was a big presence all night. It obviously helps when you have a good center and play more than 6-7 minutes. Hopefully he can be this guy on a more consistent basis.


Defensive zone struggles continue for him. No question he is one guy that has to make better decisions with the puck and find a way to be better in the defensive zone. His reads of where to go in the d-zone are frustrating. Guys like him have to play more of a two-way style for this team to put games like this to bed.  It’s not just him, but his d-zone has been glaring at times and last night was no different.


His entire line looked good with him in the middle.  A play I loved that probably went unnoticed by some, was in the first period when a defenseman pinched and gave up a 2 on 1. He went almost 200 feet and helped break it up. He was then the first guy back up the ice and drove the Carolina defenseman back opening up a great scoring chance for Hemsky who just couldn’t put it home. It was just pure hard work. More guys need to have that effort without the puck.


It wasn’t all roses last night.  The blown lead was awful.  D-zone turnovers and coverage still plague this group.  We all know Eberle in a 4-2 game has to make a better decision on the power play, but he answered and they got it done.

If I’m Eakins I think this is a perfect opportunity to hammer home some things.  When a team is losing and in a fragile state as they were early on, it can be tough to criticize because you don’t want to push them down a worse path.

Now is the time with the team seemingly on an upward trend, to drive home the bad habits.  It’s not the time to just pat everyone on the back and I don’t suspect that is happening behind closed doors. It doesn’t have to happen in the media for it to be happening.

It wasn’t a perfect win but you take the 2 points and grow.  No one should feel complacent right now, especially with the Bruins up next.

That should be a fun test.

  • Arius Mumin

    Brian, can you please comment on the hit Nuge took in overtime. I truly felt it was his fault for turning his back at the very last second and would not of called a penalty. The hit on Potter definately was a magor, but The skilled waterbugs have to start protecting themselves better. Like you said “play it safe”

    • A-Mc

      I actually agree with you. My first thought was that nuge got caught doing one of his typical quick spins. It wasn’t really fair for the guy who hit him.

      That said, no one wants to see nuge hurt..

    • Brian Sutherby

      Ya the Potter one was the right call.

      I think Nuge has to take some blame here. Both guys are going full speed and the guy is closing on him and he turns. Its a terrible spot for the guy hitting because it’s tough to let up.

      It was definitely more Nuge’s fault than the Phanuef hit or the Panik one on Karl Alzner last night. Those guys saw numbers the whole time and the player pursuing had time to think before.

      Either way though, its such a tough place for the ref to not make a call because he was a ways from the boards and it looked bad at full speed.

  • A-Mc

    I for one have seen enough of Gagner. Time to turn the page. And yes Arcobello is actually a better player then Gagner at that 2C spot. Would Arco be the long term solution at 2C.. prob not. But after what 5-6 years of watching Gagner? I know FOR SURE Gagner is not a 2C on any contending team in this league. If you can’t trade him move him to wing then.

    • Arius Mumin


      His game offers nothing different that would suggest that he’d be a better winger.

      He is not better than the 4-5 wingers Oilers have now.

      He is useless in the bottom 6.

      Gagner at wing would just be a excuse and even a bigger waste of time than the ongoing 7 years.

      • Arius Mumin

        Could the people(Gagner family memebers) that trashed my comment please take the minute to explain to me their opinion on the following;

        1.) What so you see that suggests that Gagner would be a better winger than a centre?

        2.) Is Gagner, or would he be, a better winger than Yak, Hall, Eberle, Perron, Hemsky?

        3.) What are some of the positives in Gagner’s game that would suggest he could cut it as a bottom 6 player?

        • A-Mc

          There are people that go through and trash every comment, just cause. Dont take it personally.

          I posted a happy birthday well wishing that still got trashed a couple times. EVERY post got trashed a couple times!

          • Arius Mumin

            Not taking it personal at all. I’d honestly like to know their standpoint if the feel otherwise, I know there is people that, for wahtever reason, value Gagner’s play and are a fans of him. I would just like to know how and why. If they just being di!cks and trash comments that is fine, but if they’re actually feel otherwise I’d like to know.

          • BillHK

            Dude, ever think that people get tired of giving that opinion and getting blasted for it? People like different players, that’s fine, but last night I read through the comments and you personally stated that if people can get riled up, why can’t you and then told a guy not to get his panties in a knot for asking a question about a stat on a play. Seriously, if someone can get that kind of response just from that from people, why would they want to continue to state why they like a player just to wait around to maybe get lambasted for it? That seems to happen far too often around here, and I just think it makes some folks hold back from even posting because they don’t want to bother with the headache.

          • **

            Sorry, I’m confused here, are you saying that I’m the troll? I’m not trying to troll, and I’ve posted here several times before but I’ve now become one of those people who doesn’t want to post because of the sheer amount of insults that get thrown around by some people when they ask for opinions and you express them. A question was asked and I decided to respond because I thought it would highlight an answer. That’s all really.

          • Arius Mumin

            I asked for opinions and you didn’t express them. You complained about something that had nothing to do with nothing. If you had nothing to say, why did you say as much, or feel the need to?

            If you have a problem with a site write to the people in charge. Don’t come here and create a mood by whinning.

            I’ve only been posting on here for about a month, so I am not aware of the previous abuse your opinions took on the site, and I don’t remember anything standing out. I asked a few questions and your answer did not highlight anything but your whinning.

          • **

            I’m agreeing with you. There are some trolls on this site who discourage people from posting, like you said. Sorry I didn’t make my point clear. Some people here get personal and throw insults at both players and commenter. I, for example, don’t like Gagner as a player, but I’m not going to say anything about him as a person because I don’t know the guy. Some regulars here however get really nasty if you post something they disagree with.

          • Arius Mumin

            Ah ok got it, thanks for explaining. I agree, some people just take things way too far with the personal attacks. It makes it far less enjoyable to read comments.

          • Arius Mumin

            Was not aware that the word “dude” is still in use. Carry on tradition.

            I made a joke. Do you know what that is? Can you take a joke or are you an emotional wreck?

            It was a joke. I did not tell him to get his panties in a knot for asking a question. I told him that to carry on the joke I made earlier when I called him Mrs. Gagner. I called him Mrs. Gagner due to the fact that I assumed he was either mentally challenged, drunk or Sam’s mom. He asked how did Yak get an assist on the play, but, anyone who saw the play would have a clue on how that was possible. I would have assumed he was listening to the game on the radio or something but his next sentence stated that it was clearly Gagner that passed the puck to Hall. It was at that point I assumed that the commentator was either a Gagner funboy or a relative. Get the joke now?

            Quit dry snitching. There is billions of people on this planet with billions of opinions on billions of issues, unless you’re a youth you should have learnt not to let peoples opinions get to you.
            How do you and the many posters that you assume suffer headaches from reading comments? Have you tried Advil liquidgels?

            Here is a thought thou: if someone keeps giving their opinion and it keeps getting blasted for it, maybe, just maybe there is a possibility that something could be wrong with the opinion and not the people blasting it.

            Once again, my comment was a joke. I assumed that a normal person would have known or assumed that much. I do not know the commentator nor for one second did I believe it was actually Sam’s mom, it was a joke.

          • brackenbury

            DUDE ( O My apologies, u want that word scrapped
            From our vocabulary) R.E.L.A.X . You r being totally
            Condescinding. Does that make u feel better? Trouble with
            DUDE’S like u is u think your a lot smarter than u really are.
            I’m sure your intelligent enough, but whoa! Take it easy.
            IMO, people in this town have short memories. GAGS is
            A very good player. Heart and soul guy. Yes he has deficiencies in his game, no question. Every pro has slumps
            In his overall game. And coming off a serious injury, and
            Perhaps not all the way up to speed with EAKINS systems,
            I think he deserves to b cut a little slack. He cares about this team and his performance. Which means he will try like
            Hell to shore up his game. And yes fans if their is a good
            Deal out there for us that means we give up GAgner as part
            Of a package, then of course u make it. This town sure loves
            To have a whipping boy. Anyhow DUDE nothing personal.
            Maybe just try to have a little more fun with this forum

          • Hemmercules

            Gagner never should have been a center. He’s not big enough and he can’t win faceoffs. The oil needed a huge year from him to have any shot at making the playoffs but that jaw injury pretty much ruined his season.

            Gagner has fans because he’s easy to like. High draft pick for the Oilers. Good guy. Works hard. Loves the team.

            I agree with you that he’s not looking like a superstar out there most of the time but it’s a tough situation with Gagner right now. His value is quite low right now to trade him. No room for him on the wing. I’m sure they don’t want to press box him for an extended period in place of Arco either for whatever reason. Not easy to cast off an experienced center when they are hard to come by.

            Maybe when he gets that mask off, his faceoffs will improve and his giveaways will cut down a bit. That mask is still no excuse for lazy back checking though which a night or two in the press box may actually help.

          • Arius Mumin

            Does he work hard or is he lazy? Which is it?

            I doubt when his mask comes off that his faceoffs will improve. I have not seen anything in the last 6-7 years that would suggest improvement. I also disagree with you that a player with Gagner’s abilities and IQ is hard to come by in the NHL at the moment. Nothing about Gagner’s hockey play stands out to me.

  • Arius Mumin

    Yakupov and Hall are good together, and will only get better. If the Oilers could put someone with awareness between the two of them they would destroy on nightly bases. I hope that Egins keeps them two together for a longer stretch.

    I believe Arco is a real good compliment for Hemsky. He has the perfect balance between offence and defense to make Hemsky comfortable. Joensuu’s big frame helps and clears a lot of room for Hemsky to operate and for the three of them to cycle and create down low when necessary. I doubt we see that same line next game.

    Gagner was/is and always will be a Robin, a.k.a line rider. Kane did for him what Crosby did for Pouliot. When MacT spoke of his character and leadership ability he was trying to sell Gagner to one of the rebuilding teams as a leader, no team bought it-but unfortunately a few Oiler fans from a certain tier did. Oilers need to package him with a 1st to get something in return worth while. For what he needs to do and for what is expected of him at this point in his career: he is pretty much useless to the Oilers. I firmly believe Lander could do the job Gagner does.

    When Gordon is back, Jones, Gadzic and him will provide the team with a solid 4th.

    • PlayDirty

      I agree Hall and Yak look good together. Could you imagine them with a big, strong, skilled line centre btwn them like a Getzlaf or a Stall?!?! – dare to dream.

  • A-Mc

    Slowly the Oilers are climbing out of their hole. They have a LONG way to go, but the quest for .500 hockey is still alive and strong.

    The next 3 games are vs Boston, Vancouver and Anaheim. The only 2 games i think the Oilers stand a chance at winning are the Boston/Vancouver games but unfortunately they are back to back. You hear conflicting statements regarding ‘back to back’s having any real power, but i sure hope the Oil can conjure up at least 1 win out of the two.

    We have 10 games remaining before 2014 arrives. i hope the Oilers can be somewhere close to 40 points by that time (42GP, 38-40pts).

  • Sudsy, you are way too calm and make way too much sense. Thanks for stabilizing the irrational fans on this site. The Oilers are either cup contenders or absolute garbage to a lot of fans, but I like your even-handed approach to hockey journalism.

    Keep us informed. Nice to have a real vet’s honest opinion. I really respect your view on here.

    Sad to say, Gagner should have been sent back to junior. Look what all that time in the minors did for Arco. I think we should trade Gags and promote Arco. Gags might land us a vet dman to stabilize us a bit more.

  • I’m thinking Gagner can still up his game, and hopefully will soon. His JAW INJURY set him back of the group drastically, who mostly have an additional 5-13 games of actual live action experience with the new systems.

    I know that at his best he’s still not a great 2C, but it is my belief that Eakins will make all of these players better eventually… including gagner.

    Don’t forget… Eakins didn’t coach the leafs, he just procured all of the young talent it is currently feeding of off.

  • A-Mc

    When you listen to the MSM, they Mach the fan base for getting behind Arcobello. I know there are those who are total fan boys; they love a guy 1 day and hate him the next. And i know there are those perpetual blinders fans; they dont see a player for what he is.

    So Brian, I would love to hear your Objective opinion of Arcobello. Can he fit into the Oilers for a couple years? Is he more than an AHL Call up Plug?

    Here are some perceptions/Thoughts i have regarding Arcobello; let me know if i’m way off base.

    1. The guy is tiny. No amount of surgery or stretching is going to make this kid grow and that’s really too bad.

    2. Even with a small stature, He is leading all forwards in Hits with 52. 2nd is Perron with 37.

    3. He has fewer giveaways than takeaways. (12-18). Perron is tied with him and the only other forwards with a positive ratio are Hemsky,Smyth and Acton. Taylor hall leads the team with 37 giveaways and 21 takeaways.

    4. He wins faceoffs. Lander (Small sample size), Gordon and ARcobello are the only centermen that can win more faceoffs than they lose. Nuge/Gagner are sitting around 41-42% while Arco is at 51%.

    5. His +/-, while being -2 at the moment, is pretty good on a team with horrible +/- stats. The only regular forwards that play actual minutes, ahead of arco in +/- are Perron and Jonesy. Nuge is team worst with -12

    6. He has 16pts/27 games which puts him 6th on the team, 2nd among centers.

    So basically, ignoring all my babbling, i would like to know if ARcobello has actually played his way onto this team for an extended time. He’s been told to get a place here in town but that could all change next season. Do you think the Oilers will offer this kid a new contract?

    The Way I See It
    Offensively, Arco probably isnt as good as Gagner, but he sure as hell looks like he’s a better defensive option. I’m not a Gagner hater, but it occurs to me that Arcobello has afforded MacT the opportunity to use Gagner as a piece in a trade to acquire a desperately needed decent Defenseman.

    Step 1: Get 1 or 2 decent defense additions (Send Gagner the other way and use Arco to fill #2C for the next year or two [As a much CHEAPER option as well]).

    Step 2: Look for that extra size in the top 6. Possible 2C or possible big winger. This move can be done AFTER defense has been taken care of.


  • Tikkanese

    I find it funny how Gagner gets blasted on this site for the odd defensive lapse, when he is coming off a major injury and looks to be slowly rounding back into form. Yet on the other hand, Petry is lauded on this site as being our best defenseman, despite a plethera of major defensive errors that end up in the Oilers net when he has no excuses hindering him and should be in his prime.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like both players, it is just a little strange.

    • **

      I beg to disagree. If I’m not mistaken, this year’s official goat of oilers nation is Jeff poetry. I think for the most part people on this site are fed up with both players defensive gaffes as well as Justin Schultz ‘. At least the latter is in his first full nhl season but ganger and poetry have been around for a while, specially ganger, and both keep making the same stupid mistakes.

      • Tikkanese

        If I recall correctly, most commentors blasted Wanye’s choice of Petry as this year’s goat story. Wanye was pretty bang on though in hindsight. Although half the team could fall under the goat category sadly.

    • S cottV

      But it’s not just the “odd defensive lapse”, it’s a regular part of his game – and when you add the fact that Sam Gagner is now in his seventh season, it becomes glaring and inexcusable.

      I suppose Gagner could be moved to the wing, where maybe he could be sheltered somewhat. But that just brings me back to the original point and emphasizes it too – after seven seasons he shouldn’t be making the same defensive errors he was making in his first season.

      At this point, Gagner deserves every bit of the criticism leveled against him for his lack of defensive awareness. While his injury this year could be cited as an excuse, it in no way excuses the previous six seasons when he was committing the same errors.

      • Tikkanese

        I’m not calling Gagner a defensive demon by any stretch and yes he should be playing better no doubt.

        I’m just saying everyone and their dog is piling on Gagner when he is coming off a major injury, so he does have an excuse. Yet there are only 2 or 3 guys total not liking Petry’s play and tons of people including two of the writers hugging Petry’s “you know whats”, when he’s playing arguably just as badly as Gagner yet has no excuses holding him back. Petry is in the prime years of age for defencemen and has had lots of playing time in the past as well, so this year’s ice time is really nothing new as some would claim.

        Someone will no doubt cherry pick some advanced stat lauding Petry again and pointing to Gagner’s FO% and lack of size while ignoring that Petry has plenty of size but plays much softer than Gagner.

        • camdog

          I liked Gags until last season, I guess that means I started “piling on” him when he was healthy. Of all the Oilers last season I was most dissapointed in Gags inability to improve defensively. To the Gags apologests the piling on started well before he broke his jaw…

  • **

    Brian I think your assessment of players was bang on but I disagree with you on the oilers trending upward. They just finished their easiest stretch of games of the season. What comes next is going to be the real test. Here comes the first stretch of steady diet of cup contenders. We will find out in the next three weeks where this team really stands.

    • Brian Sutherby

      “Upward trend” only being that they have won 7 of 11 and now is a great time to continue to harp on the things that it takes to win. Get even tougher with it.

      Much easier to teach and be hard on guys now when they feel good about themselves and pucks are finding the back of the net, than when you have lost 5 in a row and everyone wants to crawl into a hole. By no means is this team out of the woods. Some big tests to come.

  • vetinari

    If I had to summarize last night’s game in one paragraph:

    They played with passion and energy in the first two periods; they looked lost, frustrated and disorganized in the third period; and then bounced back to be one notch better than Carolina to win it in overtime. You could get whiplash from how fast these guys seem to switch gears between “all out attack” and “total collapse”.

    At times, it looks like they feel guilty about maybe winning a game, they let up and then anarchy ensues.

  • BillHK

    Agree with you all the way, Brian.
    I was at the game last night and, yes, we saw a lot of the bad old habits we’ve seen all year. But when the time came to pull the game out of the fire, the players-who-are-supposed-to-be-the-best-players got the job done. That’s a good sign.

    On the way home from the game last night, I was tempted to phone into Strudwick’s show after he said something I disagreed with (which is rare).

    As I recall, he suggested that “great” teams didn’t blow leads like that and that they almost always played a full 60 minutes.
    Hmm. Maybe during the playoffs. But I’d argue that every “great” NHL team has done what the Oilers did last night. Probably more than any of them would care to admit.

    Lots of the better teams in the league play well when they need to … and that isn’t always for 60 minutes. They kick things up in the third period, or their goalie battens down the hatches after an early lead. Or, they scramble after an up-and-down 60 minutes in which they blow a lead.

    I know we’re all trying to cut some of the links between now and the Glory Days of this franchise, but there is an important comparison. A lot of people (of a certain age) assume the Oilers of the 1980s were the Greatest Show on Earth … infallible and “perfect” every night. But nothing could be further from the truth.

    From 1981-ish to 1986-ish, the Oilers could be maddeningly inconsistent … and often in the same 20-minutes. They routinely blew leads and scrambled in the last 10 minutes of a game to win 7-6 or whatever. And they still won. Of course, they did that because they were the greatest offensive machine the world at the time. They knew (or assumed) their offence would save the game for them and that Grant Fuhr would vacuum up any other messes. In other words, they knew that their players-who-are-supposed-to-be-the-best-players would get the job done.

    They were a “great” team, yes, but one that routinely looked and played like anything but.

    Micro-analyze last night’s game all you want, but a win’s a win – now, just as it was way back then.

    • **

      Don’t mean to burst your bubble, but last night The Oilers almost lost the game in regulation, that miraculous seeing eye save by dubnyk when the puck was behind him with 20 seconds left was the luckiest thing that’s happened to this team in years.

  • S cottV

    When Gordon gets back into the line up, it may be an idea to go with RNH – Arco – Gordon – and Lander in the middle. Oilers dont have enough guys that can play centre with Gordon out.

    I am trying not to be a anti Gagner guy but really the closer you look, the scarier it is. He really is a puck sucker with no awareness for what is going on around him. Slo mo PVR and watch him in his own end – its shocking. You can’t have that as the low supporting forward in your own end. So – why put him on the wing? He cant hurt you as much there.

    Arco is not the long term answer. The guy in 2C, who helps to get you past the likes of Anaheim, SJ, LA, and Vcr – for a playoff spot. In the short term, he very well may be a better 2C option than Gagner in a 2 way overall results manner.

  • S cottV

    For my money or our best 3 forwards last night were Arco, Yak and Double J. Hall had a good game but had a brutal on the game-tieing goal. Eberle was a turnover machine despite scoring the winner in OT.

    A win is a win but despite all that we have accomplished of late, our next 6 games will be a big step up in opposition. The Bruins, Canucks, Ducks, Kings, Avalanche and Blues. Let’s see what this team is really made of.

  • CMG30

    I’m a Gagner fan, he’s a skilled dynamic playmaker. I think he has the tools to be a top 1/3 player in the NHL. BUT right now he would be my first target for a time-out in the pressbox. He needs pay attention in the defensive end. More than anyone else I think his game was hurt by coaching turnovers.

    To that end, I wouldn’t mind seeing Gagner on the wing because that would make him a better player immediately. It would play to his strengths in the offensive end and you get away with more in the defensive end.

    I’m not saying there is no defensive responsibility on the wing, but there is less.

  • S cottV

    100% agree with Brians comments on dumping the puck.

    Mixing up zone entry with possession and dumping the puck with purpose, makes it far harder on the opposition to adjust defensively. Geez – as an old d man, make my day and always try to beat us with possession. I will play it up and tight with no fear the puck is ever gonna be dumped in behind me. Nothing worse for d men having to turn and hard skate to the end boards, with the likes of Hallsey or Perron all over your @ss. Hell – Hallsey would get their first, most times, so mix it up some – dont be so predictable. If d men dont know whats coming, they have to respect both possibilities, so one tactic supports the the greater liklihood for success of the other and visa versa.

    Worst case scenario – not many 200 foot turnovers, end up being odd man counter attacks.

  • S cottV

    I like Hall – Gagner – Yakupov together along with Perron – Hopkins – Eberle! It will be nice to get Bryz back in net, he seemed to give the team in front of him more confidence! We really need a sizeable, defensive minded d-man (Jason Smith type), maybe two would be nice! After that it’s a cake walk 🙂

  • Tikkanese

    Good article Brian. Gagner’s offensive game is slowly and finally starting to come around. Hopefully his defensive game picks up because the Oilers need it to.

    Arcobello certainly deserves to be playing ahead of Gagner at this point of time. He may not be because they are trying to showcase Gagner, or don’t want to shatter what was left of Gagner’s fragile confidence coming off a major injury, or don’t feel Arcobello could handle the extra workload against top 6 NHL’ers instead of bottom 6 NHL’ers, or don’t see the point because they feel Arcobello is not a long term solution and the season is lost already, or a combination of the above. Who knows. Arcobello looks like a player so far though.

    • Brian Sutherby

      Yes it is improving, and I for one have defended him and tried to call off the dogs when he was only 7 or 8 games removed from his jaw injury.

      He’s an incredibly talented player and right now his offense isn’t what needs to improve. This team can score goals. They have a real tough time in their own end, he’s still struggling in that department.

      I completely agree with the rest of your assessment, it could be any of the above.

  • GoofyGoon69

    Not a Gagner hater but Arcobello is the reason I want this guy traded. He can bring us defense or maybe some size in the bottom 6. Arco can win face-offs, he’s better defensively and he works harder. His offense might not be close to what Gagner has but Oilers doesn’t need another offense first player. If Mac-T wants to improve his defense, he HAS to use Gagner as a trade chip. Prying Ehrhoff out of Buffalo wouldn’t be a bad start. BUF wants young players, Gagner is still young so he would fit there.

  • Arius Mumin

    Gagner has demonstrated his abilities to be that of a 2nd line center on a poor team. He has better than average offensive abilities, but has many other weaknesses in his game that will prevent him from being anything more. In order for the Oil to improve he cannot stay with them long term. With his 4.8M/y salary he will be difficult to trade. Unfortunately the only option for the Oil is to keep playing him, whether he deserves to sit or not, and trade him for whatever they can get at an opportune time. If nothing happens prior to his NTC, a buy our should not be out of the question.

  • Arius Mumin

    You know why everyone’s picking on Gagner and not Petry? It’s because Gagner has been stinking up the joint for six going on seven years now. If you look past the draft pedigree and NHL name, he’s a bad player, not the worst 2C in the league, but close. Terrible defensively, offers no intangibles and doesn’t score enough to make up for his deficiencies. The $4.8M cap hit makes it even easier to demand a trade.

    If Petry files for arbitration this offseason and gets a similar contract after his fourth season of gaffes, then we’ll start hearing the same calls for his head next year.