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