FINAL PRE-SEASON GAME THOUGHTS

The Oilers iced a thin lineup in Vancouver. Many of their
top players were not playing. Hall, Nuge, Pouliot, Fayne, Perron sat out.
Although we knew this was coming from Eakins comments Thursday post game, I was
still surprised and left scratching my head at the decision.

There is a lot going on during a preseason. Teams are
evaluating the development of their young prospects and hoping some can fit
into their line ups. Veterans are trying to work themselves into game shape
without getting injured. Coaches are working in new systems or tweaking
existing ones.

Some organizations
have had stability behind the bench and with their players. Not many changes in
both for a few years. This makes it easier to get everyone on the same page.
Less teaching and developing of chemistry. A quick look at the Kings lineup
from last year and this year’s projected group shows that they will all know
each other quite well.

Chemistry

The same cannot be said for the Oilers. There has been a
pretty significant change in the players on this team. Some very nice moves by
MacT, but getting this group together quickly so they feel like a team and develop
chemistry would have been a priority towards the back end of preseason games if
I was the coach.

Eakins went a different direction. The line combos tonight
were not what we should expect for opening night against Calgary.
Eberle will not be riding shotgun for Gordon.

I would have liked to have seen his top lineup in Vancouver.
Make your player decisions and get them all ready to go. (Goes without saying
injuries aside). The game in Vancouver should have been used like game one of
the regular season. Put the pressure on the guys to win it. Full power play and
penalty killing meetings with players expected to be a part of those groups.
Treat each player and time of the game like a full blown regular season.

There is time to practice in the full blown lines before the
opener but those are practices, not games. This group needs success early this
season if for no other reason but for the players to believe. Thursday night we
will see trios that have not played together yet.

Draisaitl and Yak

It was a lot of fun to watch these two offensively. Talk
about chemistry! WOW! I really enjoyed seeing them play together. It was
exactly what I had hope it would be.

Seeing Draisaitl work the puck below the dots and even below
the goal line in the offensive zone looking for Yak was fun. He has that long
reach and ability to shield the puck.

Yak was staying above the tops of the circles while
Draisaitl was working it low, perfect position. When the time was right he
would jump into an area where a lane would open it. It is very hard for
opposing dmen to follow him up so high. It is counter to what you have been
taught for years, to stay close to the net.

This was a small sample size but I sure liked it. Throw in
Pouliot on the left wing, another big body that can hold the puck and retrieve
it. This line would be very different from the line of Hall, Nuge and Eberle.
That is more a quick strike line. Draisaitl, Yak and Pouliot would be a heavier
hold on to the puck and grind out longer offensive zone shifts.

I really liked what could be possible. Draisaitl could be
the center to unlock the Yak riddle!!

Now the bad news…..

Can these two coexist on a line and be sound outside the
offensive zone? Tough call that Eakins will have to make. I think it is a
stretch for this season but I would like to see.

  • bazmagoo

    Play them with a solid d-pairing and they’ll be fine. Didn’t watch the game closely, nice to hear they had chemistry. Dallas keeps trying to dictate how the team plays, instead of getting the best out of his players.

    Still betting he gets fired.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Guess we just have to hope they build chemistry during practice. Im liking Yaks game. Some good passes and some nice shots. He even made some decent defensive plays from what i saw. He looks a lot less lost out there than he did last year.

    Draisaitl looks pretty great too and im sure he’ll get better as the season goes on. Hes what we’ve needed. Offensive zone starts for drai and yak should see them have success IMO.

    Only the regular season will tell if this is true or not.Lets go oilers…with moderate expectations.

  • Rdubb

    Nice synopsis Struds.

    Accurate observation about the chemistry between Dre” and Yak,remember to credit the Coach who gave them permission to play the way they were,it is a departure from last year.No one except Krueger ever gave Yak the time of day in terms of accepting him as the player he is ,as Hall and Nuge and Ebbs were accepted,none of that trio was asked to change their entire game AND learn how to make it in the NHL,where it SHOULD have been easier for yak,it was more difficult,you figure it out I cannot.

    The training camp lines were well thought out and the only beef i have is that Yakimov didnt get top 6 ice-time to see if he could earn himself a spot there.

    After losing Gagner to a bad turn of events last year I am impressed Eakins has learned that HE HAS control of every decision and that tradition cannot temper his decision making process,maybe every other NHL coach had their regular season line-up in for the last Pre-seson gme,but then again not many of themm lost their #2 centerman in a nothing game either in recent memory.I like that Eakins is respecting his individual learning curve.

    • Rdubb

      Pardon me!!! Have you not been an Oiler fan for the past 4 seasons? Has the coaching staff not asked and got RNH to play a much more defensive style of game? Instead of playing all out offense like he did in Red Deer, the Oiler management asked RNH to be much more defensively liable, being the guy that is 1st into the d-zone and last into the o-zone, helping out the d and everything else…
      Then there is Hall, who was asked to stop playing a reckless game otherwise he career would be cut short due to injury. I can only imagine that this was a huge undertaking. Not to mention trying to have Hall learn an entirely new position last season, and when that didn’t work very well, to move back, and not during the pre-season either as Hall did this during the regular season…
      And now to Ebe’s, well, he had a well rounded game and didn’t need to be taught how to be defensively reliable in his own zone as he played that extra yr in the WHL, played in the AHL a little before making the jump straight into the NHL, there was no need to be “hand-held” throughout the learning curve…
      So, basically, your comment “as Hall and Nuge and Ebbs were accepted,none of that trio was asked to change their entire game AND learn how to make it in the NHL” is a bunch of hoey and was just shot down!!!
      It is okay to be a big Yak fan, but don’t say the other 3 had “free rain” and didn’t have to change their games.
      If you’re fine with Yak being unreliable defensively and being on the ice for 33 more goals against then on the ice for, well, you’re nutts…

    • camdog

      Yak was let loose for about 15 games under Kruger after the team was already out of the playoffs. Before that there was friction between Yak and Krueger. That goal scoring streak at the end of the rookie year got to his head. It didn’t matter who the coach was, Yak was going to have a bumpy ride regardless.

      Hall, Eberle and RNH were more accepted, because there was nobody else to fill those roster spots. Last season the Oilers had Eberle, Hemsky and Yakopov on the right side. We all knew Hemsky wasn’t going to be around this season. GM should have moved him earlier on in the season if the plan was to just “give” Yakopov ice time.

      • Ralph Krueger was evolving a System I cannot say was his choice as I feel it was Upper Managements System decision, Ralph was making the best of it and had made some key adjustments which put the Oilers in Playoff Spot,this System was producing BEFORE the 6 game nose-dive which sunk things for good.

        The changes Ralph was learning to make,or that the players possibly could have been taking the initiative to make were producing winning results so one-sided that Scotty Bowman took notice and emulated them leading eventually to Chicagos last Cup.Scotty Bowman identified specific “NEW” Transition Tactics the “Oilers”{either via decision by Coaches or player initiative} were using which he stated he intended to ask his Managers to investigate and implement.

        These new transition tactics Bowman identified were “NewAge Hockey System” tactics and the concepts catalysing them already had names he didnt know, the concepts oiginate from Moma2s NewAge Hockey System and are called “Intuitive Dynamic Mangement” and “Intuitive Dynamic Analysis”.

        There was no fiction between Yakupov and Krueger,you must be a Taylor Hall Fan trying to cover up for him because it was the knot in Halls panties that undressed the team over the 6 game dive they entered into,Hall had friction with Krueger as did Eberle.Taylor was being pushed to adjust his game especially his gears during transitions and his back-checking,but he had a performance bonus he was chipping away at with some help from his buddy Ebbs,this caused fiction as Krueger was asking Hall to work on specific transition adjustments he was making to his System,Taylor believed in the Sword and wanted to run the puck n/s fast-break style because it was working for him,Ralph wanted to use all 3 zones to manage his Systems transitions tighter because this approach was begining to yeild him winning results.

        Nail was not targeted by Ralph because Nail was no bigger problem than every other Player he was trying to manage, Krueger knew where his weak spot as a Coach was, the System he was forced to use.Ralph didnt attribute System breakdowns to single players,he took responsibility and insisted linemates do the same when breakdowns happened.

        Ralph expected linemates to work to help correct each others weaknesses,to use creativity to do this, to be willing and able to step out of the System box at the right times to do this,a curative creative perspective which put most control and trust in the hands of the men on the ice when it came to auto-correct on-the-fly.Dallas expected the System to do this managment for him ,he insisted the Players stick to their System positions to the bitter end,a last stand perspective which puts most of the trust and control in the hands of the System when it comes to auto-correct on-the-fly.This contrast in Management methods has two sides each which favors a specific type of player.
        Under Ralph Krueger Hall and Ebbs were being pressured more and more as was needed to change how they contributed on the ice and this pressure was taking them out of their comfort zone and spreading the offense around more evenly.They fought it,and won.

        Ralph was not at fault,Nuges development was stalled offensively for a year and a half to support the Hall and Ebbs Dog and Pony Show,and Yakupov was born into a House full of Chaos.Hall and Ebbs were established in the young pecking order,Nuge was an add-on no one noticed who was smart enough to keep his head down,and when Nail showed up in the form of another energetic outgoing Alpha-Male exactly like Hall,one capable of bringing arses up out of seats,then jealousy reared its ugly head,and things got ugly.

        Nail was never given the chance to accept the challenge of rising with the full support of Coaches and Teammates to the responsibility of carrying the impacts Hall,Ebbs,and Nuge were given the chance to carry.

        Opportunity is where you find it, no harm no foul….but Nail was never given the same opportunitys for epic leaps of growth as the 3 kids before him,nor will Leon be given those opportunitys,the Oilers are now manned up for years to come. On the Up-side we are lucky Hall and Ebbs and to some degree Nuge were able to come through NHL puberty holding each others hands so none would succumb to the pressures,lets just remember that Yak-City and Neon-Leon are NOW the FUTURE of the Oilers beyond Hall and Nuge,they are like little brothers who are just a little to young to ever fit in and who you hate for bugging you but then learn to love more than ever once you see they are copying you .This year I expect Taylor and Jordan to TREAT these two little Oiler Brothers the proper ways,to display their own maturity by PROTECTING them and ACCELERATING their development by helping and teaching Yak and Dre’ more than they were helped.

        Yakupov didnt have a Bumpy ride alone the entire Roster has,everyone has played in multiple Systems for 2 Coaches with diametriclly different perspectives and management styles,one Ralph Krueger who made the System fit the Roster well and the other Dallas who made the Players fit the System .Everyones development and evolution was taken through a hair-pin turn and everyones stats will prove this.Except Hall who has not had to change much at all.The only time Hall changed was briefly under Krueger and this forced change caused an eruption and melt-down of a super-charged Mt. Hall.

        A Player can only convert opportunitys the System provides to them without being Maverick and breaking continuity.If you are pinned down by specific positional requirements the System relys on you CANNOT take those 2 extra steps your elite instincts let you identify and you cannot capitalise on the edge your elite skillset gives you,this handcuffs highly skilled players by stopping them from going Maverick and making extended 2nd efforts,which is what makes them special players.

        The goal scoring streak Yakupov was on was no streak,he was being utilised properly within a flexible slightly more creative System and was being made the focal point of playactions in ways which supported his strengths instead of highlighting his weaknesses which all NHL players have.Sam Gagner also contributed a lot to Nails early sucess and development.The 2 men who actually helped Nail the proper ways Ralph Krueger and Sam Gagner are already out of Nails world,he is doing pretty well considering this bumpy ride.

        I believe Ramsay was brought in to add a little R.K ceativity to Dallases presentation,and that it was good call because I can already see more flexibility and maturity being projected across the board,Dallas needs Ramsay as a mentor as much as he needs to mentor Dre’ Nail and the rest of the young men.Ramsays addition may prove to be the spark that starts the fire that will bond this group together.

    • camdog

      It seems to me that Hall was a heat seeking missle on the ice dduring his first two seasons and now, not even close. He definately changed his game.

      None of use know what goes on behind closed doors which is why I find comments like yours so amusing.

      • Rdubb

        Hall was fighting everyone to drive the playactions by rushing the puck since day one,it nearly cost him his head and knee a few times early on because he could not or would not tone it down,albeit he was given an insane degree of freedom by the Management to ” be himself”.

        Halls number of head-on rushes have changed but his domination of puck possesion through the zones has not changed and this is dictating the development evolution and maturity of the entire line,Taylor dishes more now after using his zone entry to force the defense to re-set and go into transition where they are weakest and most vulnerable and Hall is deadly at doing this now,but this happens to also be Nuges and Nails Majic area as well,elite players need to force dynamics to work for them on the ice,this power comes during zone transitions,last year Nuge should have taken control of the majority of these transition possesions and begun to use Hall as a finisher,basiclly Nuge needs to hold the swing-vote to shoot or pass on the o-zone entry possesion and to have this power he needs the puck earlier and on nearly every possesion and both his linemates need to work hard to ALWAYS give him clear pass options.

        Hall didnt change anything core about his game until Krueger began pulling on the Bit a little,and this resulted in Taylor learning how to make optimally managed zone transitions at different speeds,not just full throttle as is his nature,this growth means Hall now threatens to drive the puck all the way every time but he uses this threat to distribute the puck more than earlier in his career BUT he still has possesion of the puck as much as ever as it is being transitioned into the o-zone and this is where he needs to evolve and hand management of the line over to Nuge by letting him posses the puck wayy more though zone transitions,this is where Hall needs to become a Pure Scoring Winger and not remain a hybrid-center.

        Hall can thank Krueger for helping him change his game and get some league-wide recognition as a two-way player during the last part of his tenure in Edmonton.Without that Taylors career prospectus would not be quite so bright in terms of wearing the Maple Leaf which is where his heart is.Hall and Nuge BOTH began focusing on their back-checking and zone micro-management during Ralphs tenure.

        It seems to me that every time Hall is challenged he produces results,Krueger proved this to be fact,now the challenge is to find legitimte circumstances under which Hall can fairly be challenged to evolve his game again ,and this System we saw last season cannot do this because it fits his past production and tendancies perfectly just as they are today,last seasons System wanted to USE Hall it wasnt designed to Grow and evolve him.Now for Hall to take another step up the NHL Superstar ladder he MUST carry at least one linemate with him into the Statosphere.This means somehow-somewhere the Oilers need to add yet more creativity and flexibility to their System and its management and let Nuge join Taylor in the elite category{35+goals should do it} ,but this cannot be done until we see what Dallas and Ramsay have cooking,it should be interesting.The more set-play and stats reliant and supported the system is the less creativity you can ADD to it without undermining it.

        Fans cannot know what is said or what goes on behind closed doors,but we can sure see what type of production comes out of those doorways and out onto the ice.The best part of being a Fan is drawing inferences and trying to guess what our Players and Coaches and Managers are thinking and doing behind those closed doors,that is one of the best parts of being a Fan.Really when Employees move on many will make comments validating or refuting Fans inferences and guesses,so it isnt like there arent ways to support suppositions after the fact.At the end of the day it is all just FanFun anyways.

  • bazmagoo

    Wonder who played themselves into a temporary NHL paycheque this preseason. I’m betting Pinizotto gets to stick around as the 13th or 14th forward and Joensuu has obviously won the open 4th line spot. Pitlick’s gonna get sent down because he doesn’t need waivers, which is kind of bogus. Unfortunately I think Lander sticks around because of contract seniority as the 13th/14th forward, not on merit. Or they sign Westgarth and send Lander down, which is a possibility still as well, but doubtful. Lander gets sent down when Gazdic comes back, how sad is that? Had high hopes for Anton, looks like he isn’t quite up to the task in the NHL. He’s likely in Sweden next season, just my opinion.

    *Edit* Looking at capgeek.com, it says Pitlick requires waivers to get sent down, does anyone know if that’s correct? If it is, we shouldn’t be exposing Pitlick to waivers over Lander.

    Nikitin’s injury has opened up a window for Nurse and Klefbom, which is cool. Jason, if you had to pick between Darnell and Oscar for a 5-9 game look before Nikita comes back, who do you think played better in preseason and deserves it?

        • YFC Prez

          You don’t think there would be interest in Pitlick based on his play this preseason? I think you and I have very different views of this player.

          IMO there is close to zero chance a team picks up Lander, Pitlick I’m not so sure about, He keeps showing better everytime I see him. I imagine other teams are noticing as well.

          But still I hate roster decisions made on player waiver eligibility. If we loose Pitlick there are always going to be other players like him available.

          Always dress the best line-up available.

  • Big Cap

    It’s amazing how everyone from Fans to ex NHL’ers saw the value in icing a more complete line up with all the new faces and line combo’s going into this last game, Everyone with the exception of the Smartest guy in the room: Dallas Eakins.

    Though he has kept his mouth shut compared to last year’s debacle of telling everyone how he was gonna run the show around here, I find it VERY hard to like the guy. We desperately need him in order to succeed, and as an Oiler we want to like him, but he doesn’t make it easy!

    I guess the old saying “Winning solves everything” is true. If he can turn us around, I’ll happily sing his praises. Until then…

    • Spydyr

      Hold the Bus….I will step in front of this bullet for Dallas,unbelievably ,I defintely understand and respect Dallases decisions,in fact this has been the most complete competative illuminating Training Camp in Edmonton in many years.We have seen some really good players being given the chance to show their skill-sets and to work with NHL pros,Tkachev,Yakimov,Nurse,Dre’,Hunt,Pinnezotto,Klefbom,Gernat,Jujihar, we have had excellent looks with good icetime for a LOT of Players this year in Camp,the time has been used properly.

      Dallas is following his own individual learning curve and that is the only baseline we have to valuate his progress from,he is now a 2nd year man and it is a real positive to see him NOT allowing himself or the Team to be caught in potentially dangerous dynamics….again….Dallas is making a more optimal decision than the majority of NHL Coaches most of whom DID NOT lose their 2nd line Center in Pre-Season last year.Protecting your most valuable Assets is a team orientated decision and traditional thinking is not concerned with the Edmonton Oilers immediate future….but it seems Dallas Eakins is…and this is a very good thing to be seeing right now.

      Every time a Pro Hockey Player steps on the ice there is the risk of serious injury,EVERY GAME. it is a no-brainer to keep your primary NHL assets away from the oppositions grunts who are desperately trying to make an impression and who are not thinking about the health and careers of the established NHLers in Camp,the respect level from an NHL pro perspective is not there for the men looking in from the outside at NHL careers..it cannot be ,Kassian is an obvious exception to most rules.

      When the Oil turn the corner it will not be only Eakins producing,I think it will happen because they are all pulling in the same direction with one set of hands on the wheel driving the Bus and 23 sets of eyes watching the road for bumps and curves speaking up loud and clear when they see one and having fun doing it.

  • Anton CP

    Oilers were never much of a defensively sounded team, however if they can keep the offensive zone pressure up then it will be less of a concern to play much of defense. Avalanche did that last year by keep the puck out of their own zone and keep the pressure up. At least when Drai-Yak on the ice that Schulz will not likely be anchoring the defense, playing more defensive minded pairings should be able to cover the defensive lapses that Drai-Yak may have. Hopefully…

    Looks like Drai will be settling into 2C role, Gordon doesn’t play much of offense and Arco is really just not that good. Hall-Nuge-Eberle Pouliot-Draisaitl-Yakupov Perron-Gordon-Purcell Joensuu-Hendricks-Arcobello will likely be the 12 forwards. Blueliners however will be much more confusing to figure it out. Schultz, Ference, Petry, Fayne, Nikitin (injured) are the 5 will be surely getting the spots on roster so it left with possibly Marincin, Klefbom, and Aulie for the remaining 2 spots. Nurse should get a nod for some games while waiting for Nikitin to recover from injury.

    Yakimov should really get some trial run, but it looks like a toss up between Draisaitl and Yakimov which is in favor for Draisaitl. Until they can end Gordon’s contract that it will be hard for Oilers to fit Yakimov onto the team. Barring any injuries or unforeseen reasons that Yakimov will likely be spending the next 2 years in AHL.

  • BillHK

    I know its too early to beat up on Eakins, but already we are seeing some actions that are perplexing. Why you wouldn’t play the actual opening day roster at least one game is… well, unusual, if not unheard of.

    We shall see if he won’t be the weakest link in the organization, as he was last year. but this preseason hasn’t done much to make me feel good about his coaching. I suppose he deserves some credit for trying many combinations for Yak and finally finding one that may work.

    It’s early.

  • BlazingSaitls

    All things considered; for not icing a regular season lineup the Oilers did ok. Take away one bad goal from Scrivs and Oil are in Overtime.

    The most reassuring thing that came outta tonight was Nurse. The kid wants to play, fight, and win. We always here Eakins say ‘compete’, ‘battle’. Nurse showed that in spades tonight. When the Oil werent in the game Nurse ‘battle’ed. When the Oil fought back into the game Nurse brought compete.

    Yak also had a good game. Even without the goal Yak showed he is, and will be, a threat.

    For the off the wall tactics Eakins used I think it paid off. Forced Nurse to rise to the top. They pushed a veteran Canucks lineup to the end. I was stoked after this game.

  • "Frank the dog"

    Whatever opinions fans may have on the lineup, saying Hall, RNH & Ebs needed to play together in the last preseason game to develop chemistry is silly. They already have it. Fayne played fairly regularly with NN until he got hurt and since he wasn’t playing why risk Fayne when they’re already down NN and Petry hasn’t been 100%. Sure seeing Pouliot with 10 & 55 would have been nice, but there was a pretty big bubble crew and it was a good opportunity to see them against what was basically an NHL lineup.

    Q: who gets the first start in the pipes? Fasth?

    • BlazingSaitls

      I think the starter position is Scrivens to lose. I base that on a good pre-season and on being the warrior that the Oilers needed to finish off last year.

      The Professor knows he is on a short leash. Its his lead to lose in my opinion.

      I predict 15 pts out of a possible 20 for the Oilers in October. Ben gets 10pts with 5 wins and Vik gets 5 points for 2 wins and an OT loss.

  • Rdubb

    I respect Struds opinion as an ex pro player but disagree that the main line up should have started the last preseason game. I don’t think it would have carried over to the first game of the regular season seeing how the first game isn’t until thursday plenty of time for the main roster to work on systems.They needed to see again what they have in the bubble players.

  • BlazingSaitls

    At the conclusion of the pre season,

    We still have lots of questions,

    Can RNH be a top 10 1C in the NHL?

    Is one or two of our goalies going to be a top 10 NHL goalie?

    Who is going to play down the middle?

    Can the PP contribute more goals?

    Is Ference good enough to play 70 NHL games?

    • The Last Big Bear

      1) RNH does what he does at a very high level, but he does not have a very complete game. He is a passing playmaker. His defensive game is “OK but not great”, hes not much of a goal scorer, and he doesn’t (and likely wont) have the frame to be a physical force. Playmaking alone does not get you into the Crosby, Toews, Kopitar, Getzlaf, et al, level of discussion.

      My magic 8-ball answer: “Outlook not so good.”

      2) Will Fasth or Scrivens be top-10 goalies? It’s not impossible, because goalies are voodoo. But it’s a strange question to ask about two guys who have never played a single full season as an NHL starter between them.

      My Magic 8-ball answer is: “Don’t count on it.”

      3) Who will play centre? RNH, Boyd Gordon, Leon Draisaitl, and some AHL scrub who will tautologically be called a legit NHLer by Oilers fans and media (because hey, he’s playing in the NHL, right?).

      My magic 8-ball answer? “Better not tell you now.”

      4) The PP is one of the few things the Oilers have the tools to do at a very high level. Properly coached and deployed, they should easily be top-10 in the league.

      . The magic 8-ball says..”It is decidedly so.”

      5) Ference is better than Oilers fans give him credit for. I know this is going to sound snarky, but I get the impression that some Oilers fans have forgotten what good defence looks like. It looks like nothing. A good-but-not-great defenceman gets noticed for one or two mistakes each night, and otherwise is just… there. That’s Ference. Is he good enough for 70 games?

      “Signs point to yes”.

  • SUMMIT STU

    I agree with Struds that it should have been close to the starting lineup but with maybe a couple of final decisions left to make. Power Play is ineffective and is minus in pre-season games so could have used some game time to get polished. Eakins and management cannot be on the fence with that many guys. If there is any year that the Oiler’s need a strong start, this is it. Cannot be out of contention in November.

    Also, NO MORE SHORT HANDED GOALS AGAINST!!!!!!!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    The thing that is still gnawing at me is the power play. Someone on the coaching staff needs to figure it out yesterday, it’s a bad joke at this point.

    • camdog

      Oilers powerplay was easy to play against last season because they didn’t have anybody that could shoot the puck from the point. It’s the GM’s job to find that guy, because he definitely wasn’t in the system last season.

      • Spydyr

        Totally agree and I am a bit surprised that not more has been mentioned about Brad Hunt’s blasts from the point and his over-all performance. I thought he has played very well and has given the Oilers that point shot blast.

        It’s been exciting to watch all the rookies and watching how they can contribute to the team. Pitlick, Nurse, Yakimov, and all the others makes me excited about the Oilers and Barons future.

        I am happy that I am not the management to have to make the decisions over the weekend of who stays and who gets sent down. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the pre-season and watching the young guys work their careers.

        We the computer GM’s and coaches out there, are quick to critic, but if you look at the other 29 teams, they are all having their challenges. I like the direction that the Oilers are heading in and I am “pumped”, for the season to start. Good luck men,
        “Let the games begin”.

  • camdog

    Eakins’line up decision is a continuation of the same “I’m smarter than everyone” pattern of behavior. Nothing has changed.

    Ramsay will be the HC by mid-November as the Oilers cannot afford another lost year with this group.

    Compare this roster to the one Krueger had in playoff contention. Expectations should not be “progress”, rather the playoffs.

  • S cottV

    When playing for real Draisaitl and Yak – together? In top 6?

    Only way that lasts is if Eakins feels like he can survive another start to the season like last year.

    Out of playoff contention by mid November.

    • YFC Prez

      Many possible reasons. Let’s choose two:

      A) perhaps the player has somehow made it clear that he wouldn’t be interested in signing long term. Therefore, using a 2nd rounder would not be prudent.

      B) feeling the D has been stabilized (more so than center, at least), management elects to retain their ‘currency’ for what may become available as the season progresses.

      With so many unknown variables, you can’t apply the logic you’re trying to use to evaluate why the Oilers didn’t acquire this player.

  • camdog

    Bring on the cuts already….geez! This is kinda like jr. high school…too much drama for my likes… Didn’t Eakins have a clue who to keep by yesterday? I think that is the point people are making who are saying that by yesterday, the house should have been in order….Put your lineup out there and let’s go!

    If you earned the spot, get your name on the locker.

  • Dress the best line up, forget waivers, forget one-way deals if you can…

    Hall-RNH-Ebs

    Perron/Poo-Drai-Yak
    Perron/Poo-Arco-Purcell
    Hendricks-Gordon- ??

    Joensuu Pitlick or Pini.. … I’d look at the waiver wire before making the call here.

    Defense

    Nurse gets his 9 games before making the call. If he shows he is ready for top 4 minutes and top 4 competition, keep him. If not, send him back.

    I’d rather have Hunt as #7 over Aulie.

    Oscar needs another 30-40 games in the farm I’d say.

    The rest is pretty locked in.

  • How did NYI get two top four D in one day and not give anything significant and our guys are talking about playing some AHL smurf named Hunt because we have no depth at D? When your management team is getting schooled by Garth Snow it’s time to get a new management team.

    • The islanders did give up a significant portion of their future to land those guys. By Snows standards the deals make phenomenal sense but in organizational context… Wang is taking on new cash and sacrificing ownership share thus if Snow wants to remain in the GM chair… he needs to worry about right fn now.

      And he did.

      However and IMO….. it may help the Isles short term but it will not help Snow…

      HE GONE!

  • camdog

    Yakupov was a -2 again last night . No doubt he can be useful on the power play , but as a regular line mate he still may not be good enough . It appears to be more the player than the coaching . Not sold he is reliable enough yet .

    • Spydyr

      Plus minus is a useless stat. Even on the first goal if he was not giving Burrows a shot, he was tide up and could not of made a difference on the play.

      Second goal, he looked like he tied up his guy.

      He actually looked engaged a bit defensively.

      • Then explain to us why the coach says he needs a massive increase in his defensive play , after last nights game interview ? A bit just does not cut it at the NHL level . Draisaitl needs a more reliable defensive sound winger than Yakupov , as far as I am concerned .

    • Might have been an off night skating wise, or maybe he is fighting a minor injury. Klefbom has NHL speed, but only average hockey sense. His speed and size allow him to cover up for it, but that is what will hold him back a bit longer term IMHO. He does not read plays as well as some of the other young Oilers D. You could see signs of that at the WJHC, especially in the Gold medal game vs. Russia. There were 3 or 4 plays I noticed where he made an obvious bad read (in one case he totally turned away from the attacking forward for some reason) but the Russians either did not score or he had the skating and size to cover it up. He has a bit of Niinimaa in him.

      Struds and Gregor sort of discussed this earlier last week (or late the week before) on Gregor’s show. The question was who would be the better D-man – Klefbom or Marincinc. Gregor took Klefbom due to his physical tools, and Struds took Marincin as he has better hockey sense/plays in the right spot.

      In any case, I hope they take as much time with Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse as needed to turn them into top 4 or 5 calibre d-men that they have the potential to develop in to. No need to rush them – make sure they learn the game and maximize their potential. It worked in the 80s with guys like Beukeboom and Smith and they need to be patient now with the new crop.

  • Valuable insight from an experienced NHLer.

    It appears the fangirls have finally started accepting reality regarding Lander. How long before they are forced to do the same with Pitlick and Yakupov? Probably another year. Sad that the delusion runs so deep.

    Remember ‘Hartski’ and future perennial Team Canada stalwart Teubert?

  • Spydyr

    Good on you for finally calling out Eakins on his merry-go-round system of assessing players Jason.

    All of these players have played with numerous perhaps millions, of line combinations. I have been harping on about how other teams three games into the pre-season have trimmed their roster so that their lines can start getting use to playing with each other……..or in other words developing some line chemistry.

    Not Eakins, his massive ego has him doing things much differently than 29 other teams………..hope that pans out Dallas.

    I suspect it will take us 5 to 10 games to get the lines playing with some chemistry and by that time the season might be over for us.

  • Oilers Coffey

    Leon and Nail …..
    !!!!!
    !!!!!
    This line is going to be dynamic and determine the success of the Oilers for years to come! Yakupov gets 20+ in the twine. Leon gets 60-70 points
    ; Pouliot gets 60-70 points with the other large body presence.

  • SylvanLaker

    My only concern…is will this skill live long enough to be successful…..We have the skill..FINALLY…I think we have a solid checking line if needed…but to me….we so lack any form of toughness…especially on defense…We need a couple of you on defense at least….and need More than Luke and Gaz on the 4th line…I dunno to me the Oilers have a target on their backs and the teams know the price to be paid is just not there… there is no deterrent…What happened in Vancouver never happens in Slats days…without all hell breaking loose….we may have lost the game but, we lost standing, and they needed extra ice for that win.