GDB 49.0: DEBATE IN DALLAS

Four years ago the Taylor vs. Tyler debate was just beginning. For the next six months both sides debated the merits of Hall and Seguin. The Oilers chose Hall and the Bruins happily settled for Seguin. Four years later both have developed into dynamic offensive players and both of them still have room to improve.

The debate isn’t as intense as it was four years ago, likely because both are producing and both fan bases are happy with the player the drafted, or in Boston’s case the players they received when they traded Seguin, but their individual success means the debate will continue and maybe even intensify in the future.

They play different positions, and in their first three years they played for teams at opposite end of the standings spectrum. Hall was saddled with the pressure of being the face of a franchise, while Seguin got his feet wet being surrounded by great players and winning a Stanley Cup.

When Seguin was traded to Dallas this past summer he was thrust into a situation similar to Hall. Both of them will now be looked upon to lead their respective franchises to the playoffs, and in the incredibly competitive western conference that won’t be an easy task.

This year their offensive totals are very close.

Hall has 18 goals and 43 points in 41 games.
Seguin has 21 goals and 41 points in 43 games.

Seguin is playing with Olympian Jamie Benn and Russian man-child Valeri Nichushkin. They’ve become a very dangerous line, and I’m curious to see Lindy Ruff will match the Seguin line against Hall’s line tonight. Ruff would get a better matchup playing Seguin vs. the Arcobello line; however, many coaches know that their best players like the challenge of playing against the other team’s top line. 

I’d argue that the Seguin trio is just as much of a challenge as facing Sidney Crosby’s line, and a bit different due to the size of Benn and Nichushkin.

Hall and Seguin will forever be linked together, and four years later I still think Hall is slightly ahead of Seguin, but only by the slimmest of margins. 

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
Jones-Smyth-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-N.Schultz

Bryzgalov

No reason to change the forward lines. Keep them together and try to build some chemistry. I understand why coaches changes lines frequently, even the top teams do, but I’d keep the top-three the same for a few more games just to see what happens. 

Corey Potter is back skating, and the only player you might take out for a game is N.Schultz because he’s playing the right side. I wouldn’t do it, but that seems like the only option on the blueline.

QUICK HITS

  • The dilemma facing Craig MacTavish over the next eight months will be deciding how he wants to construct his blueline. Martin Marincin has looked good, albeit in only ten games, and if he keeps playing well do the Oilers plan to have him in their top-six next season along with J.Schultz, Jeff Petry and possibly Darnell Nurse?

    That would be three D-men in their top-six with less than 130 NHL games, and Petry will have less than 240 games under his skates. I don’t see them succeeding with that much inexperience on the blueline. For me, Nurse will need to be incredibly good to last more than nine games. Inserting more youth into the lineup won’t help. If all four of them make it, that means two of them will be paired together. I know Marincin and Petry have played together the past few games, but it is asking a lot of Marincin to be a top-four D-man next year.

    I would bring ensure I have at least three proven, steady veteran D-men at the start of next season, and if the young kids play well enough to keep them, then at least you will have some insurance when they hit a rough patch. I’d err on side of caution and start with more veterans and less youth on the blueline next October.
     

  • I agree with Willis that Petry is a competent NHL D-man, but my issue with him is his consistency at key times of the game. For instance during the 5-on-3 vs. Chicago. Petry has control of the puck, but can’t clear the zone. Keith keeps in it, and seconds later it is in the back of the net. Petry has to get that puck out of the zone. We don’t know if the Hawks could have regrouped, re-entered the zone and scored, but not getting the puck out allowed them to stay set up.

    Petry is a competent D-man on a bad hockey team, but I’m not sold he is a guy you build around. He might be a good complementary player, but I don’t see him as a backbone defender.
     

  • Ales Hemsky will be traded. Why would he re-sign in Edmonton to be the #3 RW. By March 5th, Eberle and Yakupov will still be on the team, so the Oilers won’t be able to guarantee him a spot in their top-six at that time. They could roll the dice and keep him with the hope they move one of the other two, because their value is higher, before free agency starts and convince Hemsky to stay, but I doubt that happens. So rather than lose him for nothing, he will be dealt before the deadline.

    There is a large contingent of fans and media who don’t like Hemsky, but you can’t overlook his skill. How many forwards can walk around Duncan Keith and score like he did on Sunday? Of course you’d like to see that more often, but that play is why opposing GMs will still be intrigued by Hemsky. Hemsky has basically been playing in a 3rd line role this year, but he has the skill to be a top-six forward. He is still fearless on the ice, and I suspect he will have success in a new situation.

    The question is what kind of return will Hemsky fetch? Teams have always overpaid for players at the deadline. An aging Robyn Regehr got Buffalo two 2nd rounders last year. The Sabres also received a first rounder for Paul Gaustad a few years ago. Every GM is willing to pay something different. MacTavish must be hoping Hemsky plays well at the Olympics, because a good showing there will increase his value significantly. 

TONIGHT…..

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall and Seguin each finish with two points, but the Oilers lose a close game 5-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Martin Marincin has another strong game giving hope to beleaguered Oiler fans that in the future the blueline will eventually improve.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many of the Nation readers will send emails to Kate Beckinsale’s fanmail account after noticing she isn’t wearing a ring in the above photo. Good luck fellas, if any of you get a response let me know, we will post it on the Nation. After the Oilers loss, many will numb the pain by watching Underworld.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)

    Stauffer was mentioning during the game that the Oilers have progressed at 5 on 5 but it’s been hard to notice because the Oilers schedule has been so difficult recently. Please. If your progress is only noticeable against other bad teams then you haven’t made progress. This team is still just as badly outchanced against playoff teams as they were when the rebuild started.

    Amazing how you can see progress when you’re paid to see it.

  • Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)

    Ok so, 1 or 2 more years of Lowe?? Then we’ll need to give his replacement probably 4 years to clean up this mess, so we’re looking at 6-7 years. Lord help us

  • Zamboni Driver

    So I get that they’re trying to trade him.

    But really I wonder what, exactly, Gagner has to do to get benched.

    AGAIN he stands and watches as someone pops it in the net. Gotta be the 10th time this year.

    Spec had the ‘revelation’ that the Oilers might be overvaluing Hemsky and Gagner.

    Gee.

    Ya think?

    Gagner is 7 years in the NHL. On top of being of marginal skill, clearly the guy is a complete idiot.

  • vetinari

    Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!

    4-1 Stars? Really? Really? They are barely above you in the standings and you can’t keep up with the Stars?

    How many coaches in the NHL can you name that you think Dallas Eakins is better than?

    • Zamboni Driver

      I guess the answer is “Whatever line Hall is on” but I always wonder how Kevin Quinn knows who to call “The First Line”.

      Either the Hall thing or the sheer amount of fear they cause in the opposition probably.

  • vetinari

    Alright, here’s the game plan…

    1. Gagner, you’re done for the night– hit the showers. You scored your goal and you are -1 for the night. If we play you anymore, you’ll lose trade value when you finish the night at -3.

    2. Defence, apparently you learned all there is to know about the game from NHL94. Sadly, so did Dallas and they can get past you using the same “left-right-left-right-one-timer” move that would result in your brother throwing the game controller across the living room when you ran up the score.

    3. Forwards. Back check like you’re trying to get out of the tab at last call.

    4. Bryzer. Pretend like the first period didn’t happen. And, oh yeah, stop talking to Dubnyk during TV time outs and taking pointers from him. He was once scored on during the ceremonial faceoff.

    5. Eakins. Take that “pout and grimace” and go brush up on line combinations, line matching and tactics and come back when you have something new to offer. Here’s a copy of NHL94 to get you started. You actually appear as a player in it. With Florida. Lost a lot that year with them. Remember? Good times. Must bring back the memories for you…

  • Reg Dunlop

    So far, the oil have been at least the equal of Dallas. Too many chances are hitting the tender. Maybe I am being optimistic but I think we are witnessing the blossoming of a real homegrown NHL defender in Marincin. He, along with the potential in Klef, Nurse etc. will allow the oil to draft that big 2C this spring rather than gambling on that OHL sasquatch. Is there any word on Gernat’s progress? Is the twin towers dream alive?

  • Slapshot

    Oilers fans deserve a lot of credit for supporting the team and selling out Rexall these past 7 years. Lots of empty seats in Dallas tonight,if the Oilers played in Dallas these past 7 years ,they would be lucky to draw more than 5000 fans a game .

  • vetinari

    Hey, look, another loss… who could of seen that coming?

    I really, really wanted to finish ahead of the Flames this year but that is looking more and more like a long shot…

  • Alsker

    Why is it when we pull the goalie we panic in attempting to prevent the mt netter rather than pushing forward trying to score? We have 3 guys on the blueline defending, whats the use??

  • Oilers4Ever

    Hey.. set a new record tonite for the shortest Oiler game I have ever watched, 14 seconds and hit the remote about the same time I saw that look of awe on Eakins face. Usually this year it had been taking me about a period or so to throw in the towel but the pattern was obvious real early, not a damn clue what any of them on the ice are doing , this gets more and more pathetic.

    • emonkee

      Don’t worry Yaz, I check my app, saw the score 3-1 and didn’t even bother checking till now.

      Honestly, I think the culture of the team has got to change. I mentioned yesterday wondering why are the oilers are still talking about that own goal scored by the hawks? They lost the game, there is nothing to laugh/talk about anymore…

      You can only blame the coach so much. I am sure a lot of people are upset with Eakins, but c’mon, the oilers on most nights don’t play a complete 60.

      The best game I watched this year has got to be the Penguins game last week. Not because they won, but because they are willing to fight back at all cost, down 2-0, tie it up, down 3-2, tie it up.

      I didn’t watch tonight’s game, so not sure if they try hard enough. But this season, more than the previous 20 something season, has made it real tough to follow them.

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

    On a completely unrelated point.

    6′ 2″ 207 lbs.

    That is the average height and weight of Team Canada. Goalies, forwards and defensemen all included. Only two guys below 6 ft, both 5′ 11″ and one of them is Crosby.

    Big and skilled beats small and skilled. That is all. We now return you to you’re regularly scheduled programming

  • S cottV

    Predictable. Stars at home – desperate with the losing streak and still an outside chance at a wild card.

    Oilers continue to be the picture of instability. Giving up the first one set the tone. It’s the curse of the run and gun glory years. The Oilers can’t let it go and it will never be replicated.

    Doesn’t matter who is in goal, we don’t support them anyway. A bonafide top end goalie would be made to look ordinary.

    It needs a major culture change.

  • Bryzarro World

    Young Oil,

    No, it’s not the fans who lose, it’s the fans that remain the losers for following the crappiest NHL Franchise over the past 25 years. Stop wasting your time bitchin and moanin and tie onto someone you can believe in and put a smile on your face once in awhile. I hope you all don’t let your wives and girlfriends treat you like the Oil and you just sit there and whine and take it. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!

  • Reg Dunlop

    This is what Mr. Eberle had to say about playing in the Western Conference…what a joke!

    “It’s tough to say that, the way it’s gone for us right now,” said Eberle. “But it doesn’t matter, we are where we are. We’re not going to move conferences. The bottom line is we need to find a way to beat teams like that.”

    These clowns do realize I hope, that even if they played in the Eastern Conference, they would still have to knock Boston or Pittsburgh (who I would assume would get their heads out of their a*% come playoff time). This team isn’t built to play NHL hockey period, and for the love of god, someone tell Stauffer to top sounding like a moron “well they’ve been unfortunate in their recent schedule playing top level teams”…so what you are saying is, they belong in the AHL? Moron!!

  • Mason Storm

    We’ve been down this road before. Hugh Cambell hung around too long with the eskimos. Now Lowe is doing the same thing. At least Hughie finally opened his eyes and left. Just cant see Lowe doing that.