Injuries, suspensions and waivers: Ference out 3 games.

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The NHL announced that Andrew Ference will be suspended for three games due to his hit on Zach Kassian. Ference’s suspension along with Nikita Nikitin’s injury and Brad Hunt’s demotion to the AHL means Keith Aulie will play his first NHL game as an Oiler tomorrow in Philly.

Ference will miss tomorrow’s game vs. the Flyers, Thursday in Boston and Friday in Buffalo. Nikitin was put on the IR, retroactive to October 25th, so he is eligible to return at any point during the road trip, but there is no timetable for his return. He did skate with the Oilers yesterday, so there is a chance he is back right away.

Hunt simply is not an NHL player in my books. He lacks the footspeed necessary to play on a regular basis. I’m looking forward to seeing Oscar Klefbom instead. Keith Aulie is not the best skater either, but he has more NHL experience than Hunt and is a better defensive defender.

Ference’s suspension comes at a bad time. After a slow start, I felt he and Jeff Petry were playing quite well together. 

If Nikitin can play he will stick with Schultz, while Marincin will be reunited with Petry and Klefbom and Fayne will be the new shutdown pair.

NEW LINES…

At the practice in Philly these were the new line combinations:

Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
Purcell-Arcobello-Perron
Hendricks-Draisaitl-Yakupov
Acton-Gordon-Joensuu

I guess Eakins didn’t want to put Yakupov on his off-wing. Yakupov has said he prefers the right side, but based on practice we won’t see him on the left side. I’d have tried it to see how he looked.

Many believe he and Draisaitl have good chemistry so maybe that is why Eakins is keeping them together. Hendricks has played well, and in theory he should be able to retrieve some pucks and dish it to Yakupov or Draisaitl.

This is a huge opportunity for Pouliot, and he needs to take advantage of it. He has been okay in my eyes, but far from a difference maker thus far.

PARTING SHOTS…

  • I chuckle at those who want to critique Hall’s skating style. He is one of the best in the NHL, and because he is off balance now and then doesn’t change that in my eyes. As for Kypreos saying he is reckless, of course he is a bit reckless, but that is what makes him so productive.

    Hall has gotten smarter in how he enters into dangerous areas. For the past two seasons he didn’t get rocked. The only injury he suffered from when Marc Methot kneed him along the boards in the neutral zone. Hard to say his reckless play is leading to injuries the past two seasons.

    I don’t see how him going to the net hard is anymore reckless than when Stamkos went hard to the net last year. Everyone was saying how unlucky Stamkos was, but Hall has been tagged as “reckless” because of his injury. Seems a bit cherry-picking for me.

    If you look at Hall’s injuries, the only one that was caused due to a careless play was when Sarich rocked him. He’s learned from that. Of course, he will get him hard a few times a year, because he carries the puck a lot, but he has been much more aware of his surroundings since the Sarich hit. And this wasn’t even a hit. It was a play with the puck, with his head up going to the net. The impact of hitting the post is what injured him, not being rocked by a Canuck defender.

    I don’t feel the need to blame someone when they get injured. It happens, but going to the net hard should not be a reason to question Hall’s skating style or even how he plays. He is one of the most effective scorers in the game, and he has changed how he enters dangerous areas on the ice. If you want him to play at a high speed, then I think we should expect high speed collisions.

  • The Oilers have very few players who play with an edge. I won’t be ripping Hall for playing on the edge/reckless. He has had a lot of success playing that way, and I believe going hard to the net is one of the best aspects of his game.
  • It looks like Arcobello will take Hall’s spot on the 1st unit PP, while the 2nd unit will remain the same with Draisailt, Yakupov, Perron, Purcell and Nikitin. (If he is out, one of Marincin, Petry or Klefbom likely takes his spot.)

    I don’t understand why Arcobello gets promoted from 3rd unit to the first. Now is a good time to switch up the PP units, because they haven’t generated much offence recently. I would tried Yakupov on the first unit, at least for a few PP opportunities to see how it went.

    I don’t mind promoting Arcobello, he has always been a good PP player in the AHL, so let’s see what he does in the NHL, but I would have contemplated changing up the two units, especially with Hall out.

Recently by Jason Gregor:    

  • The Funky Chicken Has Left The Building

    How do you criticize A guy who’s one of the best in the league at his position? Lets save the criticism for the guys who deserve it. Like pylon Schultz

  • Too bad Hallsy is out for a few weeks and understandable we have to change up lines and specialty teams.

    I wonder if McT could maybe give Eakins the lunatic a couple of weeks out as well and just play Ramsay…..

  • Scrivens is a decent goalie but as a puck handler he is an abject failure.

    Eakins better take him aside and straighten him out. If not for his gaffes, the Oilers would be a .500 club and have more momentum and confidence going forward. If Scrivens doesn’t get this part of his game up to standard, he will never be a #1 goalie in the NHL.

  • Rdubb

    Seriously, how can Kipper say anything?
    Hall is one of the top 2 left wingers in the NHL & I do believe that he was 7th or 8th in league scoring last season.
    He has a quick first 2 or 3 strides and can beat most defenders when flying down the wing.
    Perhaps Hall should play on the perimeter and not go to the “dirty areas”. It seems to me that all these TV guys love the players that go into them.
    Guess it’s a catch 22, if you don’t get hurt its called “going to the dirty areas” & if you do get hurt, you’re “RECKLESS”…

    • PlayDirty

      This. Let’s have our only skilled player with any sort of aggression back off his game. Do people not think Hall realizes there’s a chance of getting hurt? Do you think he cares? Kids playing midget for no money get that this is the stuff it takes to be a winner. Sure there is risk but you can’t play afraid and still expect the same results. The odds are that he won’t get hurt. Unfortunately, sh!t happens. If he doesn’t attempt this move, you have Eberle.

      And Kypreos is a twit. Although he may be perfectly suited for the new ‘demos’ on HNIC where they try illustrate how the game works while wearing their suits on the studio floor. That is the most weetoddid thing I’ve ever seen.

        • Derzie

          It is frustrating the no one in the MSM in Edmonton (Brownlee is now a part timer and not really part of the MSM)will call a spade a shovel, or even offer an opinion on the subject.

          Gregor has often stated something like “its no use complaining about KLowe because he and Katz are close and therefore KLowe is not going anywhere”.

          KLowe may have a job for life, but why should that absolve Gregor from responsibility of stating an opinion on the qualification of the Oilers management?

          Gregor, is KLowe part of the problem or part of the solution?

          • Jason Gregor

            I don’t feel the need to have to repeat it daily. I’ve said their track record speaks for itself…

            Winning games as a player is much different than winning as a GM. They have not proven they know how to build a competitive team to this point… Simple.

          • Serious Gord

            And that attitude – which most of the edm media share – is what differentiates a small, cloistered market like EDM from the likes of NYC, chi and Bos. In the latter they are unrelenting in going after the management when it is to blame – in some cases until the incompertent person died – bill Wirtz. If KLowe was in any of those markets there would be columns almost daily demanding his removal.

            Small markets have limited advertisers so media channels and their reporters have to be careful not to tick off the ownership of a team that may complain to a sponsor.

          • Craig1981

            Katz is a collector but the worst kind. He opens his action figures and plays with them. Not realizing they have no value any more once opened. Will he ever wise up? Probably not as he doesn’t seem to care. His next big prize McDavid. He’ll devalue him too like so many others before.

          • MattyFranchise

            Heard this on the radio on the way to work a couple weeks ago.

            The DJ said, “if you are rated as one of the best prospects in juniors right now, you better start tanking your season right away or the Oilers will draft you.”

            I can’t say I disagree. The Flames are my team but I think I can talk as a fan of both teams and say that I miss the days of Death Valley hockey.

            We need to turn Alberta back into what California is now. The Oilers are simply unable or unwilling to do that right now.

          • Serious Gord

            Many in EDM are not up to the effort and ruthlessness required to regain greatness. Content to wallow in memories and momentos – some living – of a time three decades ago.

          • Oilers4Ever

            Then write about it multiple times. This is what true fans do to change garbage. Why cant it happen in Edmonton. It has worked in other cities.

            Will u let fans that want Lowe gone post to the blog?

        • your recourse against Katz is to not show up to games.

          Beyond that…. the performance of the team and the ridicule and disrespect the organization receives league wide is the legacy the Katz group carries with it.

          A damning indictment if ever there was one.

          my 2c

          • Spoils

            Haven’t spent my own money on a game in 5 years, I have attended with preemo seats from one of my suppliers, 5 games total. Did not see one victory and even with free seats the bill for the night is still ridiculous. Have purchased jerseys as i cannot blame the players for this never ending rebuild.(would toss it if i could afford it). Stopped picking up my arthritis medication and other assorted goods from Rexall also five years ago. Unfortunately i had to leave Edmonton due to cost of overhead for my business but get Flames tickets from the same supplier. I leave that arena and win or lose i see a team that has NHL caliber coaching, and players who make an effort, every shift and every game. Motto is Never Given, Always Earned . We do this ass backwards as well.

          • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

            The part that drives me crazy is that a Flames or Nucks fan can say anything to us they want right now and I really have no responce other than the fact that we won more cups when goalies wore leather pads and players had wood sticks.

        • Jason Gregor

          Show me one….just one sportswriter in Edmonton who is not in lowes pocket.

          To get an objective opinion on how bad the oil and oil brain trust is listen to anyone but Edmonton sports people….

        • To what end? Best case scenario you get a bunch of extra website traffic in the form of a 200 post comment thread. Worst case is you get sued for slander.

          Gregor has to stand in front of players and management to do his job. How long do you think that’ll last if he does the full court press on management incompetence, true or not?

          What these guys know is that hockey is entertainment. It has ZERO effect on your real life. What they also know is that while being a d!ck on online forums might be kind of cool, in real life it just means you’re a d!ck. Nobody wants to talk to a d!ck.

        • Fortinbras

          Why write a biting article on a fan site. That would be like being asked to MC a wedding only to verbally tear the bride apart…

          If were Gregor, I would put in my contract that I only need to respond to the comments section 3 times an article. This guy is a joke

    • Fortinbras

      So why does Gregor need your approval to write about a topic where there is no relevant information and has been discussed ad nauseam over the years?

      Is it Lowe’s fault Hall is injured? Does Lowe decided the first and second PP? Is Hunt actually Lowe’s bastard son?

      What good even comes from writing about Lowe? Its known Lowe was willing to take a sabbatical and was told to hold tight. NOTHING NEW. Gregor is providing insight into recent events and decisions that actually impact the ON ICE game, which is the reason I come to read a new, relevant topic daily.

      What do you think will happen if they did fire Lowe? It’s not like the Oil would suddenly figure it out and play like they were moved to Southern California. Nothing would change, at least not this season. Either you will get a new figurehead and some cards will get shuffled, or you get someone not ready thrown into the role (like Nonis – realize he’s a GM, not a president, but similar situation).

      I’d prefer if Lowe wasn’t even discussed again this season. It’s something that has already been decided that we have no power over (it’s only an illusion that the fans hold any power anyways).

      Keep throwing your Jersey, cause that’s apparently what real fans like you do.

      • Fortinbras

        Nice argument, not making any sense. Do you work for Lowe?

        He needs to be held accountable, but clearly no one at Oilers nation will do so.

        When the titanic sank, the captain was at fault. Lowe is the captain who has sunk this ship and created the “Culture of Losing” that will never be repaired until he and his cronies are gone.

      • Fortinbras

        The point wrt KLowe is whether the organization has any accountability. As long as the organization continues to fail with KLowe as POHO it sends a clear message that failure is acceptable.

        Changing a top exec in an organization has no short term impact on the work going on at the coal face. The next day the same guys in the plant are doing the same jobs, that’s not the point. I don’t think anyone is naïve enough to think if KLowe were ousted Yak would find his game or Scrivens would stop giving the puck away. It would take the ghost of Sam Pollack year to fix this mess, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

  • Strange Tamer

    Is there not a better left winger in the system then Acton? He isn’t a winger, and definitely shouldn’t be an option at the NHL level. He is depth guy at the AHL level.

    If there is then it is time to get rid of Eakins as his stupid personnel issues and man crushes on certain non NHLers has cost this team enough (Brad Hunt getting 20 minutes a night).

    If not then the scout and management should be held accountable for the lack of depth and talent in the organization.

      • Fortinbras

        The fact that Will Acton is on the Oiler roster in the first place says all you need to know about what’s wrong with this franchise.

        Will Acton is not an NHL player. I know this because I watched him play 30 games in the NHL last year. He was hopelessly out of his depth. Some nights he looked like a man off the street who won a “Be An Oiler For a Day” contest.

        It is no mystery why he went undrafted. He wasn’t talented enough to play major junior hockey, spending 4 years with the Stouffville Spirit of the OPJHL, where he couldn’t average a point a game as a 19 year old.

        He wasn’t even the best player on his college team at that NCAA powerhouse, Lake Superior State. That would have been someone named Rick Schofield, who is now playing (not very well) for Bolzano HC of the Austrian Hockey League. Of course, poor old Rick’s father doesn’t coach in the NHL.

        Acton is not the thirteenth best forward on the Edmonton Oilers roster. Last year he wasn’t even the thirteenth best player in OKC. Tyler Pitlick outscored him. For Pete’s sake, Linus Omark outscored him and he played 16 fewer games.

        Acton is 27. He is done developing. He is not getting any better.

        The only reasom Actom is playing is because he is friends with the head coach and, as we all know, Daddy is also behind the bench.

        The Oilers have been flailing around at the bottom of the standings for a decade, drafting in the top ten every year, and this is what they offer up as a pro hockey player?

        I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          Now doesn’t this just explain how Lowe and Mac T run the team.

          Cronyism.

          Works really well when developing a top notch team by the most respected management team in the league.

          A whole bunch of honest sarcasm.

          Great post. Sums up the Oilers leadership.

          • Derzie

            Agreed. The only tool to fight cronyism is to hit them in the wallet or have a big corporate fish in the same tank as them call them out for something. Since there is a perpetual sell-out and TV rights are paid til the cows come home, find a corporate partner to PO. Boycott a store or put up a billboard next to a known mucky muck haunt. The Jersey Toss is the closest thing to getting to management. They hate when their tier-1A box guests witness such ‘disgraces’ (but they don’t mind the cash someone paid to own and then toss it). May be the only option. When you are quick to talk about the past (six rings) it shows that future winning is not of concern. The past is shiny and glorious enough to management (but NOT to the fans).

        • Wax Man Riley

          Hey Doug. I always like your posts.

          This just needed to be posted again. It’s like you took what I was thinking and put it down in some sort of word form.

  • Zarny

    Speaking of preferred wings, Perron had a lot of success playing the left side. I thought he’d bet the guy to draw 1st line LW.

    There’s been lots of talk about the opportunity for Yak, but I’m curious to see how RNH and Eberle respond.

  • Spoils

    I’d prefer to see this:

    Perron – RNH – Eberle
    Pouliot – Draisaitl – Yakupov
    Pitlick/Pakarinen/Moroz/Yakimov- Arco – Purcell
    Hendricks – Gordon – Joensuu

    You are changing the fewest number of lines which is nice given the chemistry of the wagon line.

    Purcell and Arco will steady the third line. Perron has looked good recently.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I’m freaking right the f#ck out now!!!
    Calgary just rebuilt. Habs rebuilt 2 years ago. Many teams look better because they got better. Better coaches. better GMs. Better POHO & all other cronies….
    Many organizations have valuable & competent senior guys in management. WTF!
    Being an Oilers fan sucks.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Here’s hoping someone else emerges as a productive LW to play with RNH and Eberle. As much as I don’t wanna break up Hall Eberle RNH, I really would like to see Hall and YAk centered by Dr Drai. Leon’s game is coming along. With Hall, the two of them can carry the play while Yak can finally become a trigger man.

  • PlayDirty

    High light of the year goal by Tarasenko to tie game up between St.Louis and Rangers . Why can’t Yak score hilght goals like that . what a rush and goal .

  • MattyFranchise

    Call up Khaira. Not because he has the skill, not because of who he knows, not because he may even outplay any single person on the team. So why call him up? Because he wants it more than anyone else and that’s something that this Oilers team is missing.

    Nobody plays harder than the guy that knows that it could be his last chance. This team is missing the desperation that makes other teams good.

  • Kr55

    Stamkos got taken out from behind while gliding on an innocent looking play that went horribly wrong. That was a very unlucky play. Oh and he was covering his own net on that play, you might have wanted to watch it again before making that comparison.

    Hall initiated contact trying to cut in front of the opposing net when there was no room at all to go. That was just not a smart play and, sorry to say, reckless. Once he decided to cut right into Tanev he was either going into the net, the post or Miller depending on how bad the bounce off Tanev was going to be. He might actually be lucky he hit the post with his knee, he might have broken something hitting it another way, at least your knee gives a bit, at the cost of strained ligaments.

    Your comment about how Hall hasn’t been injured much recently just shows you that Hall is actually lucky. Considering the way he plays so balls to the wall and not getting badly hurt is fortunate (I’m sure he’s nursing stuff all the time though). Stamkos is a terrible guy to compare him to. Stamkos plays with a lot more restraint, awareness and general smarts. When he gets hurt it’s likely going to be bad luck and something out of his control.

    All that said, Hall has been getting smarter. I think the recent frustration of the Oilers not being able to beat a western team has pushed him back into his impatient style. It started in the Nashville game, you could see him trying to force the issue and do everything himself. That Nashville game was a big dose of reality after we thought we were on track after beating some Eastern teams. That late Canucks goal in the 1st was probably a “here we go again” feeling and Hall wanted to start the 2nd with a huge shift, but it didn’t go so well.

  • Serious Gord

    The Hockey Gods and the entire NHL hate the Oilers. I cheer now out of morbid curiosity, this isnt a team anymore its a joke. MacT and Eakins are taking this rotting corpse and force feeding it to all of the Tier 1 and 2 fans. Lowe is the master marionette, he takes his puppets and orders them to execute bad hockey decisions. Ole 6 Rings has effectively taken a once proud organization and turned it flaccid. No amount of Viagra and Cialis can raise this floppy pecker. Its going to sag and drag all year long again along with its sad sack aka: fans.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    I am not a bit impressed by Eakin’s ability to assess talent. How he could think Brad Hunt’s “quick stick” could make up for those lead feet and poor decision making in the defensive end is jaw dropping to me. The guy can fire a puck…but so could Billy Madison.

    But he doesn’t stop at keeping the guy on the big club…he pairs him with Schultz who needs anything BUT a defensively impaired partner! And Hunt consistently plays top 2 minutes. It is unbelievable.

    And now he calls up Will Acton to fill the hole left by Taylor Hall…excuse me?? Iiro Pakarinen is available, but you decide Acton is the guy.

    Honestly, I cannot fathom what Eakins is thinking.

  • Oilers4Ever

    You know who else keeps claiming he doesn’t get paid by the Oilers?
    David Staples.
    Has never stopped him from being up Katz’s colon on the arena issue.

  • Oilers4Ever

    More brutal personnel choices by Eakins. Bring Pakarinen up for god sakes. Leave the Wagon line together.

    Acton should not be in the lineup, I know that.

    He is like a backup goal tender. Good enough to fill in a game or 2 here or there, but you wouldn’t want to go on a 5 game road trip with him.

  • How do you propose they make Lowe accountable? They have no authority over him and they certainly can’t force him to read the site. It would accomplish nothing other than make you feel good because someone with a bigger voice agreed with you. Huzzah!!