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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

From the Observation Deck

I had my first in person look at Ken Hitchcock’s Edmonton Oilers last night. Here are a few thoughts from what I’m calling the observation deck (press box).

Alex “The Answer” Chiasson

I mentioned on the smash hit Nielson Show that I wasn’t a fan of the decision to move Alex Chiasson up to the top line. My reasoning was I felt it wasn’t necessary as he has been able to produce without a boost from McDavid. I feel he was doing just fine where he was and that the second line could really use him. With all that being said I liked what I saw from Chiasson on the top line, especially in the first period. If he is going to find success alongside McDavid all he really needs to do is go to the front of the net with his stick down and he did that a couple of times. I’d like to see more of this.

Committed Kids

There was a group of kids sitting just down in front of the press box and they pretty much chanted lets go Oilers for the entire first period. It was a hell of an effort. I didn’t think kids nowadays had the attention span to stay that committed to a cause. I felt bad for them because the rest of the section never joined in. As long as they don’t stand up and cheer the staff at Rogers Place will likely allow them back into the building next time they come to a game.

Puljujarvi Playing With Confidence 

I thought Puljujarvi played with confidence. He seemed to show a willingness to make plays with the puck as opposed to just give it up to someone else. It was a positive step in the right direction. By no means was it a brilliant performance, he needed to have his stick on the ice to receive a pass from Nuge late in the third, but it was something to build on. If the second line can continue to build some chemistry and produce it will make it easier to leave Chiasson on the top unit.

Jespo’s Specs

Any of you who have attended a game, and some of you Tier 2 fans as well, will know Ryan Jesperson does a great job as in-house host. I was very intrigued by the glasses he was wearing last night. Take a look.

Is this a great look or an awful look? I can’t decide. Jespo is also a reliable two- way winger in rec league.

Still Dre

The organist at Rogers Place tonight dropped a few bars from Still Dre. I was only disappointed he didn’t give us more. The Chronic 2001 is one of my top three favourite albums of all-time. The Oilers new brass band will not earn my respect until they perform “Ain’t No Fun” from Doggystyle.

Hitch’s Strategy

When Todd McLellan was behind the bench he had no problem going power vs power. McLellan usually wanted to have McDavid’s line go up against the opposition’s top trio, or at the very least he didn’t try overly hard to avoid it. I found it pretty interesting to see Hitchcock keep McDavid away from Benn and Seguin pretty much all night. The Broziak Line appeared to be the match up Hitch was trying to get against Seguin and they managed to survive. I’m still not sure I like that line as the go to match up against other top lines moving forward.

Bye Rattie

So have we seen the end of Rattie in Edmonton? I saw someone online suggest today that they should trade him. I can promise you there is no trade market for Ty Rattie. I’m pretty confident he would clear waivers if/when they decide to send him back down to Bakersfield. The hiring of Hitchcock spelt the end for Rattie here in Edmonton and I’m not sure he has much a future anywhere else in the NHL. I do feel bad for the guy, the injury he had to deal with early in the season ruined any chance he had of a good start with the top line. He probably deserves one more look in the top six before being sent down but I’m not sure Hitch will see it the same way.

The Big Lekoski

I’ll admit I’m coming around on Koskinen. I’m not ready to say he’s a legit number one NHL goaltender but he has been much, much, much better than I expected. His overall skill set isn’t pretty but he finds a way to get the job done. I feel like the Oilers are getting the best The Big Lekoski has to offer right now.

This Is Cuddles

Shout out to Baggedmilk for coming up with the Cuddles handle for Spooner, I like it. I don’t have a huge Rolodex but I did reach out to an Eastern Conference scout for an opinion on Spooner. “The player you’re seeing is exactly who he is, he can produce when he is with better offensive players but outside of that you shouldn’t expect much.”

I still don’t get that deal and probably never will.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I am one guy that thinks Talbot will bounce back and get even better.
        So many goalies go through this. Some, like Connor Hellebuyck wasn’t really that great to begin with.
        The last 3 years, he’s gone from bad (back-up) to lights out (Vezina nominee) to average again this year…
        He’ll be OK. Hopefully Hitchcock finds the trigger to get him back on track.
        I seem to think that in the past Hitch has had multiple goalie coaches on some of his teams for this very reason.
        Talbot will return to full glory at some point?

      • gr8haluschak

        Man you people are stupid, tell me why a team is trading a potential (if not very close) #1 d man for a goaltender – let alone one who has had some struggles this year, let’s hear why this trade is a good idea for the flyers

    • QuitForRealThisTime

      Provorov is probably there one untouchable. Maybe Nolan as well. Maybe, maybe they consider moving the Ghost butthe cost would be high and not sure the Oil have what the would want. They are not rebuilding, if they are willing to take Talbot the best the Oil get back is probably cap space. Ie Talbot for Pickard straight up.

  • Ryan Jones Is Still My Hero

    Loved the win last night, but the offensive well is dry. They’ve scored one goal 5 v 5 in regulation in the last 3 games, and the “big line” hasn’t produced any (Chiasson’s second against the Kings was the only EV goal). They scored 1 PP goal against Anaheim, 1 PP and 1 EV against LA, and 0 last night.

    I think it’s time for a lineup adjustment, put Draisaitl back on his own line so he is forced to move his feet and so that the other team has to defend against two threatening lines. Nuge is playing his ass off right now and I think he needs some help, whether that means moving him up to Line 1 with McDavid, or putting Draisaitl with him on line 2, I think he will start producing even more as soon as he gets paired with one of those two.

    • Rock11

      Agreed but I don’t exactly see the need to pour out a cold one for Ryan ^#%#^ Strome. Told anybody who would listen how disappointed they were going to be when the Eberle trade happened. All the Ebs haters were so convinced that Strome was going to be a heart and soul guy who could score a bit. He not only couldn’t score but had very little heart. Maybe Chia can get a 5th for Spooner at the deadline and we can finally come to grips that the Eberle trade was as bad as Hall or Reinhart.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Hey man, why don’t we just move on. This is a much different team than that team you refer to.
        I’d like to suggest that this team with Koskinen, Pullijarvi, the 3rd line as it stands, Hitchcock, are all new things in their infancy that this team can build around. Notice, I didn’t mention McDavid or Nuge. He is definitely part of this. However, I think will be the icing on the cake. Those players you mentioned above, had to leave for one reason or another. With all the apparent “star power” this team presumably had 4 or 5 years ago, I think it’s a much better team now. With much more chemistry & promise. I think we have no where to look but up? Realistically we are very close to a Wildcard spot, and I think that this version of the Oilers is just now ramping up for the season.
        “Believe”, don’t keep looking back & quoting the naysayers… That gets old very quickly, if you haven’t noticed.
        It’s not like you are giving us an epiphany or anything…?

      • fasteddy

        I was far from the biggest Strome fan around, but you can’t argue with his results. Love him or hate him he did the job defensively and allowed very little against. And never looked out of place playing higher in the lineup, (with no production mind you). Just one of those guys that always seemed to be on the right side of the puck, which is not a bad thing whatsoever on a 3/4 line.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          Absolutely agree with you. A very serviceable player, that didn’t make you too nervous. At a savings of about 4 million. The guy Strome replaced was one of the most frustrating “to watch” for the fan, as he never applied himself when it was most important. Strome wasn’t a game changer, but he could stabilize it.

        • jesse says yep

          Im wondering if there is more to the Strome trade then we know. Is it just a coincidence that he went back to the same area that he left after living in NY for a long time? He didn’t look like he had put much heart in it here and for a guy that was needing a second chance there should have been more fire. The trade was pretty sudden, I wonder who prompted it.

  • Sparky Blue

    “I mentioned on the smash hit Nielson Show” – when and where is this show offered. The only “Neilson Show” we can pick up here in the milking barn is some testament to an out dated Kid Rock tribute band airing on TSN. And not even the cows are big on that.

  • The game had interesting line matching.

    The Stars’ 3rd line (Nikushkin, Faska, Pitlick) outmatched the Oilers’ 2nd line (Caggiula, Nuge, Puljujarvi).
    The Oilers 3rd line (Lucic, Brodziak, Kassian) was pretty even with the Stars’ 1st line (Benn, Seguin, Radulov).
    The Stars’ 2nd line (Janmark-Nylan, Dickinson, Comeau) was pretty even with the Oilers’ 1st line (Drai, McDavid, Chiasson).
    4th lines didn’t seem to play much of a factor.

    There was a timespan from the latter part of the 2nd period through the middle of the 3rd where the Oilers weren’t getting off many shots or chances. Koskinen held them in the game.

  • Go Oilers!

    I hate PC as much as any reasonable person should… BUT… OilerNation, it’s time to start giving credit where credit is due.

    If it weren’t for Koskinen, the oilers could very well be near dead last.

    PC did something right. He’s had HUGE unforgivable misses. But homeruns, so far, on koskinen and Chiasson.

  • crabman

    I think Koskinen has looked better the more he has played. Even when he was winning early I thought he looked uncomfortable in net andgave up too many prime rebounds.
    Last night he looked a lot better and hopefully his adjustment to NHL hockey is over and we get more performances like last night.

    I thought Puljujarvi looked good at times last night but for a guy his size he gets pushed off the puck way to easy. Not sure if that is because he hasn’t grown into his frame or reached his man stregnth yet or if it is a lack of agressiveness. But when/if he figures out how to take advantage of his size I think he will be one heck of a player.
    And I like him lined up with Nuge playing the mentor roll.

    • FutureGM

      I noticed that too. I think that a bit of it is that he loose like a moose when first walking and he needs time to grow into his frame. He also takes angles that, when traveling at his speed, make him easy to rub out into the boards. Certainly used that wingspan well to dangle a few guys and pick up pucks though. If he keeps his feet moving he’ll be great!

  • Boba The Fett

    Sorry Dusty, Jespo may be a decent host but the overall in game production/entertainment is godawful and is the primary reason the building lacks any kind of energy. The Oiler really need to take a look at other barns such as Vegas, Nashville and Montreal to see how Energy is injected into a building. The constant trivia contests and lame giveaways destroy any type of home ice advantage and make our building worthy of the nickname “tomb” or “library”….its embarrassing!!

    • FutureGM

      I’m not a fan of the annoying radio host, stereotypical voice thing, so Jespo is a plug as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully he’s better in beer leagues.
      Hate the game production. Hate is a strong word, but it is so true here. Between blasting the music to effectively stifle chants or the shameless plug giveaway games that get played, this is jr level production. Zero Energy is right! Home ice advantage…doubtful