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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.