Ready to Go
Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
It seemed like fair comment to me, but we should know by now that Edmonton Oilers fans on opposite sides of the Jesse Puljujarvi debate are easily triggered by both praise and criticism depending on what they think of the big Finn.
Another example today after veteran TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug offered some updates and comments via Twitter from an informal skate at the community rink at Rogers Place. Nothing he wrote looked like a grenade to me, but things can get goofy in a hurry when a player as polarizing as Puljujarvi is mentioned.
In a thread of three Tweets, it was the second that triggered Puljujarvi fans. It reads: “.to another F as well. Continuing to pursue all trade options for Puljujarvi – the most obvious move to clear out some cap space. If it doesn’t happen they can still start with what they’ve got but it’ll be razor thin margin budget-wise and could cause issues later in season…/”
Amid a bunch of tweets dripping with angst, one fan reasonably asked why Rishaug considered Puljujarvi a more obvious move to clear cap space than somebody like Warren Foegele. Fair enough. Rishaug responded: “This was widely covered at the end of last season. Likely viewed as a 3rd line winger on this group, but that’s not where he sees himself. Relationship has likely run its course, if they can find a deal that makes sense. If not, maybe someone else goes. We’ll see.” That’s here.
SAME OLD, SAME OLD
Feb 11, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal by forward Jesse Puljujarvi (13) against the New York Islanders during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Whether it’s those armed with advanced stats to back their position that Puljujarvi is indeed a defensive force to be reckoned with and appreciated or those who, like veteran scribe Jim Matheson, simply aren’t convinced and rub the analytics crowd the wrong way, pretty much everybody is in mid-season form with training camp yet to start. I offered my thoughts a time or two on the Puljujarvi debate in recent months (I feel the same today).
From July 19: “As irritating as those on opposing sides of the spectrum of opinion can be – those triggered by virtually any criticism of Puljujarvi and those who think he’s a total waste of time – you cannot give up on a player because of noise from the fringes. The reality is most often found in the middle. That’s where Puljujarvi, 24, is right now.”
From June 30: “There was hope a fresh start would turn things around after Puljujarvi spent parts of two seasons away with Karpat – it looked like that was the case in 2020-21 – but what began as a promising second chance for both sides has again turned into a relationship of discontent. That happens.
“If a player and his agent can’t agree with a coach and/or general manager where that player fits in the scheme of things, it isn’t going to work. That’s what seems to be happening again with Jay Woodcroft as the latest to coach Puljujarvi in a carousel including Dave Tippett, Todd McLellan, and Ken Hitchcock. In the end, if it’s not a fit, it’s not a fit.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
I think that last paragraph – amplified by the need to free up some cap space before the start of the regular season — is where GM Ken Holland and the Oilers are at with Puljujarvi. Ideally, I’d like to see the Oilers and Puljujarvi find a match because they’ve invested time and money into things. I don’t want to see anybody just throw their hands in the air in exasperation.
That said, If Puljujarvi doesn’t want to be here and has one eye on the door – there’s been speculation about that – this isn’t going to work. So, here we are with the kids headed to Penticton for a prospects camp and the puck yet to drop on training camp and the Puljujarvi free-for-all is on again. Let’s get started.
#NATIONVACATION TO LAS VEGAS
- When: On Thursday, January 12th, we’re jumping on a flight at the Edmonton International Airport and making our way to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we’ll fly back from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates that you need to block off for this trip are January 12th to 15th.
- Where we’re staying: After landing in LV, we’ll jump on the free shuttle and make our way to the Park MGM before settling in for a good night’s sleep. 😉
- What you get: Your roundtrip flight, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry — we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry into our pre-trip ‘get to know everyone’ event.
- How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1499 per person (based on double occupancy)
- Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.
Previously by Robin Brownlee
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