Soak it up Marty Marincin!

Last week, young Oilers defender Martin Marincin was a surprise addition to Slovakia’s hockey team going to Sochi for the Olympics. What a great feeling that must have been for him! The soon to be Olympian will turn twenty-two during the Olympics. The Olympics are huge for Europeans. After playing in three different European countries I can tell you people love to talk about past athletes that have represented their countries proudly. He and his family must be very excited.

Marincin has been a nice surprise for me on the back end. When you look at him on paper it is impossible not to like his height. Watching him in practice he is a nice skater, is comfortable with the puck and has a shot. But the games are where it counts.

Playing on a weak team is difficult for all the individual players. It is especially hard on the defenceman and goalies. This group finds themselves facing odd man rushes against and spending lots of time in their own end. The defence corps is always under pressure. I am not saying the D for the Oilers is not responsible for some of the issues but not having a more consistent defensive minded group of forwards makes it rough.

This makes it hard for a young d man to feel his way into the NHL.. On a stronger NHL team there are games where you find yourself standing on the offensive blue line for a whole shift as your forwards light up a weaker team in their own end. A young defenceman can get used to the speed and flow of the NHL game at a more reasonable rate. Not so on a weaker team. Most nights it can feel like you are under siege. There are times when you want to yell out "Broken Arrow" as you are being overrun!

Marincin has looked calm to me. I don’t see him panic with the puck. (I thought Hunt was very nervous and jittery with the puck for the three games he was in the lineup). He seems to find the play to make quickly. With the pressure d-men get in the game today knowing what to do with the puck before you actually have it is a must. He has shown me poise, a nice asset for a young player.

The first job of defencemen is to stop the other team from scoring. In his first nine games I can only think of one time where he was really out of position that led to a goal. That is impressive. He needs to keep that up and slowly work in some of the offence we know he has.

The one area I would like to see him improve is his weight and strength. He is listed at 6’4, 188 lbs. Not enough muscle on that body. Much like our friend Wanye he needs to lock himself in a gym this summer that has a buffet included! I would expect him to play at close to 210 lbs or more three years from now. He needs to match the strength of the big bodies of NHL forwards.

I saw a play against the Penguins that really showed me this need. He did a nice job on a James Neal rush to keep him to the outside and force him behind the net. As Marincin engaged him physically Neal pushed him off with his superior strength. Nothing came of the play but a big guy like Marty needs to have the ability to respond with the same amount of strength.

Moving forward after the ten games he has played I see really no reason to change the way the Oilers are handling him. His ice time has been roughly fifteen minutes a night, a very manageable amount. He is not over-stressed or drowning so his confidence if anything is improving.

Marincin will get a great opportunity to soak up knowledge from a player who is most likely his idol and is the captain of the Slovakian Olympic team, Zdeno Chara. What a chance to learn for Marty! Chara is everything you want in a role model for a young defenceman. He is in incredible shape, he plays hard every night, he’s extremely competitive. He’s a leader who doesn’t wilt under pressure and a very good defender. The list goes on and on. Marincin needs to have his eyes glued to Chara both on and off the ice during the whole tourney.

Organizations dream of the opportunities like this for their young players. For Marincin he needs to take advantage of everything he will learn from Chara, the Olympic experience and this stretch of NHL games to keep his development moving forward.

Set Your Alarms Boys

8 am practice?

Are you serious?

These words would have been uttered after Oilers players were informed of their coach’s decision to practice twice last week very early.

I have never heard of any coach setting a practice time on a non-travel day at 8 am in my life! There were many reasons mentioned by Eakins as to why he made that choice. I didn’t agree or buy any. This is the truth. It is a reverse curfew. It is that simple. The moment I read the tweets I knew that.

Sleep is vital for an NHL player. For many sleeping after a game does not come easy. When I played some nights I wouldn’t fall asleep till three or four in the morning because I was still fired up. Maybe I would watch the game again or watch a couple of movies to settle down. It was frustrating to not to be able to sleep sooner and the lack of sleep would wear me down.

Eakins admitted earlier this season that he was surprised how difficult the travel was out here. The flights are all three hours or more after Calgary and Vancouver. It is long and late nights coming home from everywhere. Most guys can’t sleep on the plane. Some come home to families that they want to spend time with so that means no naps.

At every turn sleep is slipping away. I know that when you are not rested and tired injuries are more likely to happen. It is a fact.

So with all of this knowledge is there any other reason than the one I stated above to think that at 8 am practice has benefits? No. There isn’t.

I don’t know if there is an issue with the night life of players on this team. My days of shooters, doing the worm and late nights are mostly behind me now. I do know that when I was a young player I enjoyed myself when the opportunity presented itself. I was smart and made sure late nights didn’t hurt my games or practices. Older players showed me the way and kept me accountable.

I played with some guys who were animals and went out all the time. They showed up at practice and games and played their hearts out. It didn’t affect their performance. They had long careers. I played with other guys who were puddles the couple of days after a big night out. They couldn’t produce and they were out of the league quickly.

If Eakins feels some guys are not living up to his standards after a late night out I have no problem with that. As a professional hockey player that is part of the deal. If you dance to the music you need to pay the piper. Eakins and the veterans need to sit the players down and outline clearly how it needs to work.

BUT… having early practices to send or reinforce that message is not the way to do it. Eakins is actually shooting himself and his team in the foot. He is unnecessarily tiring out his team.

LET THE BOYS SLEEP!!!!

  • pkam

    Im not that upset about 8 am practice

    The Marines and our armed forces get up earlier

    They get the job done……Oorah!!!!

    Or…..Hooah (for our Canadian men and women)

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    i think eakins is doing the right thing. i know some people who live the club/night life in edmonton and its common knowledge now that hall and ebs like their cocaine.

    • The Real Scuba Steve

      It’s also common knowledge that posts like yours are made by stupid ppl. Did you also know that everything you read on the internet is true?

    • Rob...

      ~Like in the dynasty years, this is only a ‘problem’ because they’re losing. Give me a couple new Stanley Cups and I couldn’t care less if they were snorting ground up orphans.~

    • Johnnydapunk

      I’m gonna be the fun police here and maybe be trashed for saying this, but saying things like that may be considered defamation and can get you sued. Not saying that will, but when you make statements like that, you have to be pretty careful. Anyways I’m just saying that as a polite warning.

      • james_dean

        thanks for the warning but defamation is when you make something up. i know this is 100% true. the only reason i bring it up is because we lose so much. I would just like it to get back to the players somehow so that they realize the city is beginning to notice. im no expert but cocaine in their systems isnt helping the team.

        at least make the playoffs and i wont really care.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    The 8am practices just read like a reverse curew to me; but one that at least still let’s the guys party if they want. They jsut have to be smart enough to make it the practice on time. I see no problem with it.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    So far I’ve liked 90% of what I’ve seen of Marty Marincin. He seems to be in good position most of the time an uses his stick well. If he adds 20 lbs over the next couple of years, he could be top 4.

    Also I have always wondered why teams don’t practice in the evenings on non game days. If most of the games are at 7:30 PM why not have practices then?

    • pkam

      I can think of at least 2 reasons.

      1st, the players, like us, have family and friends that they want to spend sometime with. And these people usually are busy during the day and free at evening and nights. So it will be too cruel to take away their last chance to have social time with their family and friends.

      2nd, the arena is likely to have other events and functions going on in the evening than in the morning.

      • The players have all day to spend with family and most of their friends are hockey players.
        Many people have to work odd hours that don’t coincide with their friends or family and get paid a heck of a lot less to do it.

        At the rate these players get paid, they shouldn’t complain about anything. If they don’t like the hours then get a real job.

        And boohoo if you don’t get enough sleep. Who’s fault is that?

        • pkam

          I guess their kids have no school and their wife’s friends are all hockey players as well.

          People has to work odd hours because there is need. If people won’t get sick or hurt in the evening, I don’t see why we need doctors and nurses to work in the evening.

          Hockey players do play most of the games in evening because of the nature of the business, But is there real need for hockey players to practice in the evening?

          And it is not just the players, but coaches, equipment staffs etc. Most of their wife have to work during the day.

  • pkam

    i didn’t hear of one player complain about early practices on the record or off. it seems to me the only people complaining about it has been the media.

    and most of the media complaining about it have been ex-players on SN and TSN and radio. If you have some inside info on players rebelling against early morning practices then write on that please.

      • Zarny

        I agree that interviews with players are almost always of no particular interest as they consist of pat questions and pat answers. Players seem to always have their guard up ( I can’t really blame them)to be sure to not say anything out of line that might get them into trouble.

        Which brings me to that nagging little voice in the back of my head asking if Smid’s comment ” Some are saying that things can’t get any worse are wrong, this could still get worse” was the real reason he was sent packing.

        WRT to 8:00 Am practices. There seems to be a sentiment out there that 8:00 is good because it is punishing these players for a bad year. I think this is wrong headed on many levels, most of all that the players need to be punished. It is not the player’s fault they are not good enough at playing hockey to win NHL games on a consistent basis. Having said that, practices should scheduled at whatever time enhances the team’s chance of winning and not because a lot of people have to work at a particular time. If a team plays in Las Vegas should they practice at 3:00 AM?

  • Spydyr

    I understand Stud’s line of thinking regarding the early practices, and let me say I haven’t been a fan of allot of what Eakins has been doing…….buuuuuut what if the coaching staff has tried other things and some of the players still aren’t getting the message? It could be a matter of Eakins and company saying don’t call my bluff. Then again he could just be the next Joseph Stalin.

  • james_dean

    I am not sure why Edmonton fans and media seem to think Ekblad will likely be available to us. EVEN IF we finished last, there is only a 25% chance that we pick 1st overall after the lottery. Likely Calgary/Buff will finish 29/30, there is little doubt about that, so the only way we get Ekblad, is if he slips to 3 or later. That is quite unlikely.

  • Johnnydapunk

    But as for this whole 8 am practise “debate” I don’t see how big of an issue it really is, again I have never been an NHLer so naturally I am completely sure. But I do understand a bit about sporting science and I’m sure that every aspect of their rest and work is being monitored on a fairly regular basis. And as they have all the means in the world to ensure that they do get proper rest and all the nutrition and supplements they need to perform at the highest level, I just can’t see how horrible waking up at silly o’clock would be when you also have a good part of your day done as a result.

    Stroud wicks argument that most people don’t have to compete at the highest level and the players do so they can’t feel sluggish is also a bit skewed as most people don’t have teams of doctors making sure everything is close to perfect, as well as most don’t have the means to make sure that their rest is as restful as possible. I don’t think most people can go out and buy the perfect bed and pillows that suits their body types and all of those things to make sure they get rest either.

    I would think that with every resource available to NHL players that they could hold practises at 3 am if needed and be able to adjust their body clocks to it.

    I hope I’m not implying in any way that they have it “easy” as it is a heck of a commitment to make it at that level and everything, and a monster sacrifice. But I don’t think there should be any huge complaints about morning practice times, obviously their normal practise times weren’t helping them win, it’s not like it can get much worse, can it? (Please don’t tell me it can get worse…..)

    • james_dean

      However, if you (Eakins) are going to do something like 8:00 am practices you should have a good reason. i.e it will give us a better chance of winning because of ….. But to say we are doing it because a lot of people start their work day at this time is just strange.

      • Johnnydapunk

        I agree what he has said the reasoning may be is odd, but perhaps there is something more to it behind closed doors, and saying that it is supposed to help the players appreciate it more or so players can relate or whatever sounds a bit PR-ey to me and just sounds good to the casual fan.

        I’m sure there’s loads of things that are happening behind the doors that we are unaware of, and this is probably one of many.

  • Zarny

    Eakin is like a used car salesman, all talk but what we get is a lemon ( the team thus far ). So he can endure a bike endurance race and finished it but what the hell does it do for winning NHL games for the fans?

  • Zarny

    I watched the games this year, I don’t see the players enjoying themselves like previous years. Eakin stop screwing up Yakupov like you did with Nazem Kadri with the Marlies. Both Muslims, I wonder if that’s the reason both were picked on.