Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Galchenyuk a Consideration at 2012 NHL Draft?"

Alex Galchenyuk is really close to getting back on the ice this season. Hopefully he will get a chance to strut his stuff by playoff time for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. Combine him once again with likely 1st overall draft pick Nail Yakupov and the odds of the Sting getting to the OHL Championship will increase by 4x I am sure.

Alex more then likely, will not be able to just step in where he left off. Being out of hockey with such a injury can take time to get your game legs back under you, not to mention the timing that is needed for chemistry with his team. The playoffs are close around the corner and the teams will only be that much tougher then earlier in the season.

Hemsky has resigned here in Edmonton. We now have our lines looking more like this...


Now before you shut this idea down, hear my thoughts and take time to really think about this possibility. I don't think there is much argument should the Oilers finish in 29th or 30th spot overall, Nail Yakupov or Michail Grigorenko will be selected. But what if they finish better? I really thought they were going to let Hemsky go at the trade deadline meaning the team very likely would have less chance of winning some games down the stretch. That has all changed, and now the Oilers very possibly could finish as high as 23rd overall (I am thinking they will be a bottom 5 team regardless)

So if this is a rebuild, are we really willing to go after the defencemen who will be a min of 3 years away from being a defencemen in the NHL that is a difference maker? Our top lines are not solid yet, especially if a top 6 forward is available in this NHL Draft year. Biggest question this next year will be Sam Gagner. Will his progress continue or will he return to the former player we all complained about? Is he a fit for the wing or does he need to be a center in the NHL?

Enter Alex Galchenyuk. He was considered a top three possibility before the season began but his injury this season may very well set him back further down the draft line. Several scouts I have spoken with in the OHL and fans from their have told me, they see no reason for him not to go top 5 pick, even though teams have very little to go by this year. While I do have a my REVS draft list on the top 15 players ranked at the 2012 Draft, I personally have my own preferences.

I would rate my Oiler draft list as...
Nail Yakupov
Michail Grigorenko
Alex Galchenyuk
Ryan Murray
Morgan Reily
Griffin Reinhart

So what if the Oilers were to select Alex Galchenyuk? Due to his injury year, it would almost be certain they would want him back in the OHL one additional year to continue to grow after missing a critical development year. That would allow the Oilers one additional year to figure out what they really have in Sam Gagner and spread some of the entry level contracts apart in addition to seeing the development of some of the young d-men to continue. It is even possible that should Gagner continue his growth at center , Galchenyuk could end up playing on the wing. 

Alex comes from hockey bloodlines. His father played for Dynamo Moscow and was a decent player in his own right. Young Alex looks to be a much better skilled player then even his father but with a tough rugged edge. He plays very much like a big Center who skates and works like a power forward out there on the ice. He isn't afraid to go into the tough areas of the ice and works out like a madman. 

It may not be the popular idea around Edmonton with all the past injuries we have seen but IMO it very well could be a match made in "Oiler Heaven". Is it possible our top 9 could look like this to start the 2013/2014 season?


More food for thought then anything, but regardless of any decision made, the scouting department will have their hands full making a difficult decision as who to pick this year should the Oiler finish 27th overall or better for the 2012 NHL Draft

for further updates on Oilers, Barons, Thunder and 2012 and 2013 prospects

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lets have some excitement!

Hands up if you are as fed up with the NHL's point system. Personally I am sick and tired of of some games being worth 2 pts and others, for no REAL good reason, are worth 3 pts. For as long as this assinine system has been in place, I have said "give regulation winners 3 pts to even the playing field". This is not the CORRECT thing to do.

The NHL did away with ties because teams weren't trying to win games, in the last 5-10 mins, they would hold on for OT and then just skate around for 5 minutes and collect a point for their efforts or lack there of. I agreed with this as the games were becoming sooo incredibly boring, no one wanted to lose that single point. The theroy behind this change was teams would try and win to gain an extra point. Ok, but is that a fair playing field for those teams that win almost all there games in regulation? Nope! You could award an reg. winner 3 pts but then there is another stat column to add to papers, websites etc. This will never happen because people, naturaly, don't like adding to their work load. I get that.

The best and most logical solution to this problem, its a problem when better teams miss playoffs due to teams LOSING in OT or the SO, is to get rid of the LOSER point. You lost, deal with it. You want the points, its simple, WIN. This would also insure that the fans will not get ripped off. Teams will actually TRY to win for the WHOLE game. I know thats an insane concept with most coaches but it how the game should be played.

There have been over 113 points handed out for losses in the East and over 105 points in the West. That is a substantial amount of points that are undeserved. The NHL is attempting to "sell" parity, and to an extent there is some parity but not to the level the NHL would have you believe. In most cases it is false hope for some teams. The truely elite teams will not be affected, but thats not the point. Its the cutline teams that benefit from this more accurate reprensentation. Teams that win should be rewarded....properly.

With this new point system there may even be trades on deadline day as there will be more seperation and a clearer picture of who is a "seller" and who is a "buyer". There will be less teams with false senses of hope. Hence there will be more players "available" come deadline day, which really has devolved ever since the current point system was put in place with the last CBA. The anticipation is still there but the excitement isn't.

It's time to get rid of the LOSER point. Maybe then teams could actually play an entertaining "play to win" style in stead of the mind numbing "play not to lose" style that runs rampent in our beloved game. Teams may actually be able to catch other teams ahead of them in the standings and create exciting playoff pushes instead of the hopeless feeling teams get when a rival picks up a point in a loss. Keep overtime, keep the shootout, lose the loser point and gain excitement and respectabilty.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What's With The Talk About Ales Hemsky?

I can't help but notice all the hubbub over Ales Hemsky lately. So much negativity about a player who was the best on the team for years. Now because of RNH, Hall and Eberle, Hemsky is old news?

The guy can still play. He still has that magic most players will never have or experience. Yet, we hate on him because he wants a bigger pay cheque? I don't get it.

Sure, it's pretty obvious he's moving on, but we can't forget what he gave us over the years. The beatings and poundings he took for the sake of scoring goals. The abuse from the top defencemen in the league night after night. Of course he'd get hurt once in a while. Every player goes through it. Hemsky was no exception.

But now that he's moving on, we forget that. We forget he was a fan favorite. We forget he cared about the Oilers and the fans themselves. We forget he was our star.

It will be a sad day when he moves on. I'll admit it. I'm going to miss him.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Patience is Powerful in Hockey"

In hockey, Patience is a powerful tool, most certainly at trade deadline time. If history follows suit this 2012 NHL trade deadline, some NHL GM's will most certainly overpay for a chance at a Stanley Cup run or at the very least for some gate revenue through a few home playoff dates.

Some hockey markets require GM's to make deals just to save their job for another 6 months due to poor attendance, dwindling fans and many times, owners who need to pocket some playoff revenue due to lack of finances in the organization. 

Having said all that, it is highly possible Tamby could be sitting back, licking his chops for a opportunity to strike when the time is right. Why not lead other teams to believe your not trying to move bodies out? Would that not possibly make you the one, holding all the cards at trade deadline? Tamby may not look that smart to many a Oiler fan, but make certain you don't under estimate his ability to be shrewd. Katz has made a life out of making the right deals and doing things the right way to just throw it all away. There has to be more to what's happening in the long term plan with the Oilers then us fans or the media can actually see.

As much as the fan in me hates it when I don't know exactly what to expect from management, it also creates a sense of excitement when a deal comes out of nowhere like happened last deadline with Penner. I am sure the majority still like that trade in the end. IMO, Tamby has a couple deals on the table but is just waiting patiently till the last hour to get the most he can for Hemsky on a deal. With very few top 6 wingers available Hemsky is truly the best player available that will be a UFA at season's end. 

I believe their is a defencemen moving come trade deadline as the numbers are not adding up and even a 6-8th defence men can fetch something ok at this time of year. Peckham or Barker are your best bets at this point but that is only speculation. Chicago is really considering the option of Khabby (Fans from there and even colour man Troy Murray have admitted as much). I would not be surprised to see a goalie, defencemen and a forward all moved out of Edmonton by the trade deadline. The return? Unfortunately for fans, nothing to be excited about other then possibly a decent 15-20th 1st round pick if all goes well. Don't be misguided on this year's draft by those who say it's a weak draft. Not true at all, and in fact, this draft could very well be one of the better ones in terms of higher end talent.

IMO, this summer we will see a few more moves regarding veterans being reshuffled in the deck and I for one, am all game for that. What not to expect? Players like Sutton, Belanger and Smyth to be moved when they so badly like to be in Edmonton. As much as we are building a team for the future, it means more then just bringing in or sending out the right players. It means giving the players in the league the impression we care about our players and won't discard them like trash when things are going a bit rough. Detroit and New Jersey have a ability to attract high end players consistently and I for one truly believe it's because of how management deals with player personal.

This is definitely going to be a interesting week and a half in Oilerville.

for further updates on Oilers, Barons, Thunder and 2012 and 2013 prospects

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rick Nash an Oiler???

Today Doug MacLean posed an interesting scenario on Team1260. R.Nash to Edmonton for their 1st round pick this summer. Now before you freak out, this might actually make sense for both teams.

Columbus is floundering as a franchise and Nash appears to be tired of waiting for the team to "turn the corner". According to MacLean, he has asked for a trade out of town. GM Scott Howson has apparently said they are tearing it down and starting over. Fan interest may as well be zero and season tickets won't be flying out the door after this dismal season. 2 high end draft picks (possibly 1-2) would sure help gain fan interest. 2 top end picks is a damn good way to start over.

Edmonton does not really need another top six winger but how can you turn down a Hall, Nash combo on your 1st and 2nd lines. Obviously someone will have to learn the other wing or another trade in the off season perhaps. Nash's Salary isn't favorable at all but it is no more then what teams pay for #1 Dmen. If we do happen to pluck Nash out of Columbus and we choose not to move forward with him, he could be packaged to get that top tier D man. Say Nash for Shea Weber in a year from now, possibly even sooner. The Oilers have a big contract to add on the backend and adding Nash might give them the piece necessary to pry Weber out of Nashville.

If and that is a big IF we do grab a D man with our pick, he won't be ready to make an impact for 4-5 years. That is too long. The top D man that wins a cup on this team is either a) in the system or b) in the NHL(somewhere) already. Anyway I look at this possible trade scenario, its win for the Oilers and win for the Blue Jackets. Its not a slam dunk but I don't think this scenario should be so easily dismissed.

For the record, I don't see this deal going down. But it's fun to think about a top six that includes Nash with Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner. Oh the goals that could be tallied.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Oiler talk ALIVE and well in the South"

Just back from a couple weeks away in the Caribbean Sea does wonders for your 'sorrows' of a losing hockey season.

While I was sad to leave Oiler Country as far as watching my hockey, I was glad to experience sun tanning and Hot weather, along with beaches and all you can eat dining. While on board the Carnival Cruise liner "Freedom", I was able to find my fair share of hockey fans from New York, Boston, Chicago and Detroit. It lead into the early hours of the next day on a couple of occasions, but boy, was it great to talk hockey while in only a tank top and shorts.

I was quite surprised to find as many hockey fans as I did. One couple I met had just recently married and even had their wedding cake made in the form of the Stanley Cup with the Bruins logo on it. Great passion! Now some of the conversations were taken off topic some by the 'drunkeness' of one particular Chicago fan. It went from Tim Thomas standing on his head to Sandberg hitting a home run and waving to the crowd. I was relentless to talk hockey, so I kept bringing this drunk Chicago fan back into the hockey conversation.

After my cruise I spent a few days in Tampa Bay and Orlando and was again surprised to run into more hockey fans in the area. While Tampa may not be a hockey hot bed, it certainly is getting better at discussing hockey and taking the game as one of it's own. Of course their is many Canadian fans of hockey, living in Florida but none of who I am speaking of were Canadian, but have said they have learnt alot about hockey from Canadians living in the south. Definitely winning helps the cause for southern markets.

What amazed me most was the fact "most of the hockey fans I met from other cities", actually knew by name Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins. Maybe their pronunciations were off, but they knew of the up and coming stars of our team. In fact I would say 8 out of 12 conversations spoke of how highly they like what the Oilers are doing in their rebuild. Really? I guess it gave me renewed optimism. So upon returning, I hear and find out we have fared quite well since the all-star break. (some lapses I know) However in spite of that, we are still looking at a lottery pick at the 2012 NHL entry Draft. That excites me, maybe our veterans are not performing up to par, but our young guns are stepping up to bat and getting some good hits. (Baseball analogy for my new American friends who are now following our blogging here at oilersjambalaya). We may have a ways to go, but that short break away, new friends among the sea's have given me new excitement to finish out this year of Oilers hockey.

Looking forward to getting some  blogs out again here at oilersjambalaya.
Cheers Oiler faithful!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


That's the headline that should be on every website, newspaper, any other media outlet and most importantly, from the lips of the Oilers management.

Last season the Oilers management made a decision that they knew full well, was going to be extremely unpopular. With approx. 20 games remaining and they're prized 1st overall pick freshly on the shelf with a sprained ankle, Tambellini and company SHUTDOWN Taylor Hall, rather then risk any further injury that could jeopardize the future of the Oilers and Hall. It was brave, bold and something no Oilers fan has come to expect, SMART.

Which brings me to here and now. When drafted anyone and their dog would tell you, "He's too small to play with men."

Well after bringing the Oilers faithful and most of the NHL out of there chairs on a nightly basis for half the season, maybe we are now seeing that he may have been too small. His HOF hockey sense and vision were almost enough to overcome his waffer thin body, but after suffering one and then two, shoulder injuries it makes no sense to me to bring him back into the lineup.

The Future...
The 'Nuge has nothing left to prove when it comes to his abilities. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence can clearly see he was the rookie of the year. None of the other rookies captivated the league the way 'Nuge did. Besides, the Oilers have how many Hall of Famers...6....and how many Calder Trophy winners....0. Sure it would be nice, but if Gretz, Mess, Andy, Kurri, Coff and Fuhrsy didn't need it to be great then the 'Nuge doesn't either.

This is also a great chance to both reward Anton Lander for being the good soldier on the 4th line all season, and to see just exactly what he has to offer if given top six minutes and PP time......and Paajarvi too for pete's sake! I mean why not give them a shot with Ebs or Hall???!!!

In the end the Oilers should do the right thing for their and Ryan's future. Here's what should be said...

"Ryan we are shutting you down for the season. Heal up, rehab the shit out of that shoulder, hit the gym and come to camp ready to go at 178-182lbs. See you in September."

So come on Tambo, K-Lowe, or Katz, make that same BOLD, BRAVE, UNPOPULAR, and most impotantly, SMART decesion again. Hopefully it's the last time it will have to be made.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And The Winner Is...

The NHL Awards
With approx. 30 games to go, I wanted to take a look at the front runners for the NHL's hardware.

The Art Ross Trophy

E. Malkin (61) is the leader right now but with, C. Giroux (60), S. Stamkos (57), P. Kessel (57) and 9 more players within 10 points, Malkin is not a "shoe in" by any stretch.

The Rocket Richard Trophy

S. Stamkos is once again proving he is one of the NHL's best snipers, leading the way with 34 goals. E. Malkin and P. Kessel are close with 29 each and you can't discount J. Toews with 27. I believe Stamkos will hold on for the win barring injury.

The Hart Memorial Trophy

My top 3 candidates for MVP are E. Malkin 61pts, P. Kessel 57pts and H. Lundqvist 24W 6SO and a .939 save %. Its my belief that Malkin will win this year, he has carried the Penguins all season with Sid on the shelf, though its hard to discount Lundqvist's importance for the Rangers.

The Vezina Trophy

Here are the 4 goalies I think will be in the running.

H. Lundqvist (24w,6so,.939s%), J. Quick(22w,6so,.934s%), P. Rinne(30w,4so,.925s%), J. Howard(32w,5so,.924s%). I'll give an honorable mention to T. Rask and B. Elliot, I don't feel they have or will play enough games when compared to the other candidates. In the end I give the nod to H.Lundqvist, this guy is responsible for the NYR perch atop the NHL standings.

The James Norris Memorial Trophy

This has been a bit of a transitional year on the NHL's backend. There are more young defencemen stepping up into the spotlight which makes for a cluster of candidates. Here's who I feel are the best D-men in the league.

Z. Chara (30pts,+27), M. DelZotto (26pts,+26), S. Weber (35pts,+19), E. Karlsson (48pts,+7), N. Lidstrom (28pts,+25), I. White (25pts,+30).

It really is a crap shoot when picking a winner out of this group but I'll give the edge to Chara based on track record, team role/importance and both his point totals and plus/minus are both among the league leaders. Is Ian White this good or is it a product of playing beside Nik Lidstrom??????

The Frank J. Selke Trophy

As defensively reliable forwards go these are the best in my opinion.

T. Seguin +33, P. Bergeron +27, M. Hossa +21, T. Bertuzzi +22, J. Franzen +21. The Bruins could have this locked up as there are a few more on the +/- leaderboard. Going solely on the numbers this is Seguins to lose I'm just not sure of the calibre of players he goes up against on a nightly basis. I'm going with M. Hossa for this one. He plays on a team that is among the leaders in goals aloud and is still +21.

The Lady Byng Trophy

Again there are a half dozen players I see as having a serious shot at winning this award. They are as follows....

J. Eberle(54pts,8pim), P. Datsyuk(54pts,14pim), P. Kessel(57pts,12pim), J. Tavares(53pts,14pim), M. Hossa(53pts,16pim), P. Elias(51pts,16pim). Another mix of young and old and I say Eberle should be able to hold on for the win. Datsyuk can't win every year....can he?

The Calder Memorial Trophy

I think there are only 2 players in the running and even then I still see a clear cut winner based on age, pro experience, and team importance. R. Nugent-Hopkins (35pts-40gms) wins over A. Henrique (34pts-44gms) and the rest of the sophomores.

The Jack Adams Trophy

I give this one to K. Hitchcock. The job he has done with the Blues is amazing. They're challenging for the Central Division and Western Conference lead after looking like a non-playoff team before he took the reins.

The Bill Masterson Trophy

J. Lupul wins hands down! Coming back from back injury and a blood infection to be among the league leaders in points while putting up career best numbers. Best come back story of the year.

The Mark Messier Trophy

I put a bunch of Captains names in a hat......shuffle, shuffle, shake, shake....and the winner is.....N.Lidstrom. Couldn't have picked a better candidate if I tried.

So there you have it, my 2/3 point of the season award winners.


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hemsky gets "Kronwalled"

Midway through the 1st period in last nights Edmonton oilers / Detroit Redwings game Niklas Kronwall put Ales Hemsky into his sights and took Hemsky out with a devastating hit. Questions have arose in Edmonton whether this hit was clean or suspension worthy. It is worthy to note that no penalty was called on the play.

I will break this down the best that i can. Hemsky was coming off a corner with his head down. At the last second Hemsky looked up and to his surprise Kronwall's elbow was the first and only thing he saw. Hemsky was forced to leave the ice and moments later was lead to the dressing room for observation. Hemsky did return to the game.

I have reviewed this play many times and i can safely say that Kronwall came into the hit leading with his shoulder not his elbow. Kronwall does appear to leave his right foot for a millisecond but i feel safe in saying that was only a result of preparing for the hit, not for the intent of leaping into Hemsky. All in all i have to feel that this was a clean head. Hemsky needs to keep his head up when making a play, Kronwall needs to make that hit every time he has that chance.

I have said many times that the new rules in the NHL are bad for the players. With the rules how they are a player feels safe with his head down knowing nobody can touch him. The problem with this is when a player does get hit the hit is much worse that what it would have been if he had his head up.

To put it best Hemsky got "Kronwalled" and will learn from it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What to do with Hemsky....

To trade or not to trade, that is the question.

Personally I have always been a Hemsky supporter. I remember coming out of my seat along with 17,000 other fans, when Hemsky scored those 2 magical goals to clinch the 06 playoff spot. However I also believe the time has come for the Oilers to trade him. No need to negotiate, just trade him. Here's my opinion why.

He is always injured or hurt.
He does not have the "Oiler" work ethic.
He is one of the best UFA's coming up, he knows it, his agent knows it, 30 GM's know it.

The Oilers need cap space for the kids 2nd deals and for a PP QB D-man and maybe for Dubnyk too.

I don't believe the Oilers want to get into a bidding war for a player that in all honesty, you just don't know what you're getting in return. He could become the superstar I thought he would be by now or he could be forced into retirement with another shoulder injury.

By no means do I think he will be easy to replace. Maybe Omark? Maybe Cornet? Maybe a top pick from this years draft? Who really knows. Anyway I look at this, the Oilers would be best served to trade him. Bye Hemsky, its been a nice ride.



Friday, February 3, 2012

Apples and Oranges or a Juicy Steak?

There have been many comparisons done between the Oilers and Blackhawks rebuilds. Here's my take on which pieces the Oilers have in place. These are not position for position but more player type and role analogies.

Blachawks(Cup Winners)     Oilers(Now)

Toews                                       Eberle

Kane                                   Nugent-Hopkins

Hossa                                        Hall

Sharp                                      Gagner

Keith                                        Smid?

Seabrook                                    ?

Niemi                                     Dubnyk?

I believe those were the key pieces to the Hawks Stanley Cup team. There were other guys that stepped up and had big games and/or moments that also helped, but these guys were the keys.

I also believe the Oilers have most of these pieces in place. Providing Smid continues to progress as a shutdown d-man and Dubnyk can continue his recent play on a more consistent basis. I also think Gagner has an important role on this team. He has really come into his own over the course of this season and I personally think the Oilers Nation has Mr. Pat Quinn to thank. If it wasn't for that rough ride he gave Gags back in 08, would Gags be the multi dimensional, "crusty" player that he is today? I don't think so.

We still need that PP QB, maybe he's in the system, maybe not. Either way, this team looks like a great steak. Just needs one more spice and some marinating time. The more patience the better the flavor. Enjoy Oilers fans!


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