Saturday, February 23, 2013

REVS Oiler Grades

Big question in Oil Country is, ‘How can the Oilers stop leaking offence?’

Is it the defence? Some complain that the defence will have 5 minute breakdowns and end up costing the Oilers a game here or there. Really? I can only recall 2 games where the Oilers really blew it defensively in a game. The San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings recently. Other then that, if you look at the stats, the Oilers in goals allowed has been extremely low in the NHL. Yes, you can look at the mistakes you see on the Oilers blueline but have you closely watched other NHL teams defense recently? It happens to ever team even with the best defensemen in the league. Sometimes as a fan, when things are going badly, we look extremely hard to find every mistake and it becomes magnified. If the defence is learning something, it’s not to pinch both defensemen at the same time with all three forwards all pressing in the offensive zone. IMO, this defence is fine and is learning. It’s a work in progress but still a top 15 defence as far as I am concerned. This is not a area

What about Goaltending?  As with defence, Goaltending gets far too much blame and too little praise. Any goaltending stats that give you a .910% Save Percentage or better and a 2.50 GAA is good goaltending. That does not even account for giving up high quality percentage shots. Yes clutch goaltending is important, on the other hand, you can’t keep pressing offensively only to lose the puck in the offensive zone and not get back quick. When you do, our Goaltending stops the puck on a odd man rush or breakaway at least 75% of the time. That’s good goaltending, to even give the Oilers a chance to be in a game.

How about offence? This team is really lacking for production. Yes they are playing more defensive but seem to play more a perimeter game that allows for few high quality shots against the opposition. I like the #1 lines, puck possession time but they just can’t quite seem to find the back of the net. Their confidence has been struck cold and they are showing the frustration each game. The #2 line (when it includes Yakupov) creates chances but also is weak defensively. Neither Hemsky or Gagner seem to work well with Yakupov and his style of game. I had hoped they would work in a mentoring role but neithers game seem to have chemistry other then with each other. Gagner struggles to move defensively the other teams bigger players and Hemsky continues to make poor decisions in his passing. The bottom two lines are less a problem to me then the upper two. If the top 6 skill players don’t make it start happening with more goals in next 3-4 games, I suspect this team starts quickly on a real OIL CHANGE.

Coaching? I really do like Ralph but have to really question if his coaching style of defence is affecting the Oilers offensively. Like what Smith has done on defence but think some tactical coaching could be used as another coach brought in.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Taylor Hall suspended but was really that dirty?

Taylor Hall has been suspended by the NHL for 2 games. The Oilers will surely miss him, but was it really that dirty?

Let's play this scene out. The Oilers just gave up a goal on a two on one that should have never happened  in the first place, because we were already down by one. But this blog post is about Taylor Hall's hit that has people calling him a "goon" and a "dirty player".

It just shows the respect from fans of 29 other teams around the NHL. Yes it was a late hit. Yes it was a little dirty, but I look at this way. The Oilers were down by two with a couple minutes to go. He was trying to get his team going with a big hit and also it looked like the puck was going to bounce were he was going. The reason Brendan Shanahan had for giving Hall two instead of one, is because he is trying to make sure that will never have another meeting with him for a while.

IMO Hall's hit was not dirty. He was just trying to hit him clean. He has a chance to hit his head if he wanted, but he tried to hit him clean. All we can do now is hope Hall comes back from this against the Stars and score a goal.

This article was written by Noah Fuchs aka NHL rumors guy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oilers SET to TAKE OFF?

I have been fairly quiet to this point on my opinions on the season when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers. I thought now was the time to come out of the closet and now state my thoughts and opinions despite maybe some unpopular statements I may make.

People who ready my posts, know that I seldom state anything off the wall or give false information. If I hear something, it's usually fairly legitimate and I won't share information I have heard unless it has some inside confirmation.

Here is some things I keep hearing from bloggers, MSM and fans alike.

Yakupov is sinking in the top 6 defensively
I would disagree that Yakupov is sinking defensively. Yes, he has made some errors but no more then Hall or Eberle made in their rookie campaign. The struggle with that second line is Gagner and Hemsky have been weak defensively meaning Yakupov has been trying to stay back some, taking away his offensive prowess. Yakupov is a player that needs to attack on offense and he is not afforded that opportunity with those two players.

While you can look at Corsi, Plus/Minus and other statistical stats you also have to look at the overall body of work and what is happening on each shift he is out on the ice. Just like RNH and others before him, I still argue that stats don't tell the whole truth when dealing with team play. The thing is, you can not move Hemsky or Gagner to 3rd or 4th line work and still have them produce. Yakupov is young, does need to learn more the defensive game so he makes the most sense. He is still learning a new wing in the NHL, learning a new defensive system of play with gapping and still has decent point production. What I will say though, is last game, when Yakupov took over in the third period for Hartikainen on that second line, the Oilers started to really roll. He was flying out there. He isn't sinking, he's learning how to navigate the deep waters of the NHL, all in time my friends.

Paajarvi is barely keeping above water in the NHL with the exception of two games played
While I know Magnus is not the player offensively so many of us thought him to be, he is never a defensive liability. In fact, his game is rounding more into form with each passing game. Sure he may not play at the highest level every game but how many players do? I really like Paajarvi's game and will be disappointed should he be pulled out of this line-up again in place of players less his skill and speed. He is what the oilers need and the team and fans need to be patient with him.

While he will never be a hard as nails tough hombre, he is developing more into the power forward we need to drive to the net on a consistent basis. With Paajarvi on the ice, you will seldom see the puck in his own end, it's usually driving into the offensive zone.

Gagner is rocking it offensively
Yes, while Sam is having a career year, he is also not looking strong defensively. Like the later part of last year, he is getting every opportunity to excel. He is put into situations to best produce and not always having to prove his worth. While I like Gagner's offensive game at times, he is not strong on the cycle, can be knocked off the puck too easy by opposition and defensively has difficulty playing the Center position against larger players with good size. In the meantime I will just continue to watch him perform and enjoy it while I can.

Hemsky is showing Oiler fans and Management his true skill
Granted Ales is looking to have regained his magic touch. On the other hand, with the skill he is surrounded with nowadays, I would be amazed if he was not producing. When you put out more skill on the ice, the other team can't focus in on just Hemsky. I will give him this, he is definitely driving more shots to the net and that has to be a bonus.

My largest frustration with Hemsky is when he takes the puck in, he is very predictable to cycle behind the net and come around to the other half boards before taking a shot or sending off a pass that the opposing team intercepts and puts the Oilers on the defense again. As great a skill he has in passing, he should be able to set up Yakupov for great one-timers but that does not seem to happen often as he carries the puck too much IMO.

Dubynk continuely allows a bad goal or two every game costing the Oilers games
Always interesting how non-Goalies judge goaltending. Until you have played the position it is very difficult to imagine how difficult this is. The greatest goalies, still will let in soft goals once in awhile. Question you need to ask yourself is, 'Does he continually cost us a game with letting in a soft goal?' I hear people saying Dubynk let in a soft goal or two and cost us the game! Really? Did you see those three breakways he stopped? At least 1 or 2 should have been a Goal against him! You can't expect a Goaltender to stop every puck especially when they are high quality chances, which the Oilers are still prone to do in lapses. You critique for a soft goal, then you need to give credit for a save that was incredible.

With the run support that Dubynk has had to this point, he is showing the NHL he is the real deal. The verdict is still out over a longer season but Dubynk has shown great Poise to date. I am not concerned about his game, it continues to improve.

Krueger needs to start line matching even if only at home
He mentioned at season's start he did not want to do much line matching unless games were on the line and a extra 2-3 minutes of line-matching was required to win a game or tie a game. He wants to not overwork his players with such a intense and short season. I think we need to still give him time to show us, if that strategy is working or not. If this team falls out of the playoff race coming back from their 9 game road trip, I would expect, you may see more line-matching. Should they still be in the hunt for  play-off spot, expect more of the same.

The Oilers need bigger and stronger players in their Top 6
Really? And where do you get them from? The Oilers have tried drafting some but with no success, Very few NHL teams have good ones worthy of top 6 time. Most teams covet the same and big power forwards are a risky bunch. Their game can drop off on any given season and maybe pick up the following.  I have no concerns about our 1st line. it's our second line and for me it is at Center.

The Oilers can barely score, this is looking like another year of the same 'big suck'
I actually meant to have this post up before the last game vs the Avalance but as I figured they would start to score sooner or later. It's been weird and crazy they have not. This is the NHL, I don't expect this every night but every 3rd or 4th game this should be the norm of 4 or more goals down the road.

The Oilers are in every game, they are learning more how to stay calm and be patient, they are learning how to keep pressure in the offensive zone with cycling and defensively doing much better in moving that puck out. Biggest problem for me is the amount of dumb penalties they have taken in the offensive zone. Won't 'suck' big time but they are young and still learning, we do need to give them a little room for error's, just not repeated ones.

RNH still is not a #1 Center until he can win face-offs
Nugent-Hopkins currently sits at a 40.7% FO rating. Dave Bolland of the BlackHawks is sitting at 42.6% and is known for his ability to win faceoffs. Hanzel, who some have said would be a good 2nd line center for us is only 42.8%, yet last year some people wanted him to win Faceoffs for us.Sean Couturier is only at 44.2% and the Great Malkin is at 45.2%. Mike Richards is at 45.3% and Stamkos is only at 47%.

My point? RNH is still learning the game and may never be over 50%, Malkin has not, yet few talk about him in the same way. Ryan has really developed and worked on his defensive two-way game this year and few have recognized the work that takes. His FO% will get better but for right now, facing the toughest competition and still growing stronger and bigger each year, Ryan is all right with me.

Where do I think the Oilers will be sitting coming off their 9 game road trip?
Currently the Oilers after 14 games ,are sitting at 20th spot. If the Oilers finished at this spot at season's end, according to my REVS Top 15 NHL Entry Draft Prospect list ,they would be picking 11th Overall. That would give them...Anthony Duclair! Craig Button's list would give them Zachary Fucale. ISS rankings would give Edmonton Curtis Lazar, Hockey Prospectus would see Valeri Nichushkin enter into the fray and Bob McKenzie's list would have Alex Wennberg join the Oilers.    My pick? I like Curtis Lazar and Valeri Nichushkin. I think we will still see the Oilers sitting around 20th place in the league upon their return back to Rexall Place. Anything better would be a healthy sign of growth.

This is a year where we could see some drastic changes to be certain but don't discount a rather big trade still. Every trade still requires a partner and believe me, the Oilers are working hard but do not want to risk the future for a quick fix. Right now it has been about assessment at this point and trying to figure out what they really have in some of their call ups this year and their returning veterans. I predict excitement and frustration as this years continues on. Were getting closer but not their yet.

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hordichuk To Play in OKC?

The Edmonton Oilers did waive Darcy Hordichuk, which means 29 teams will have had a chance to claim him and put him on their own team, but he isn't claimed so he will go down to OKC.

I am going to talk about Darcy and why the Oilers will miss him and why they won't.

Hordichuk signed with the Oilers in 2011 for 825.000 dollars. It brought toughness that old tough guy Steve Macintyre had left behind. In Darcy's first season with the Oilers, he had 64 PMS and had 1 goal and 2 assists. He only played 43 games that season. He is a tough guy and not much more than that. We all know the goons don't play that often in the NHL anymore and that leads me in to my next topic.

Most teams in the NHL don't need goons or tough guys anymore because, (A) all players must not just be goons, they have to have some skill or it's more or less a wasted roster spot. (B) He wasn't even that big and tough like Mac was. He basically had zero intimidation towards other players.

Why the Oilers will miss Hordichuk.
The Oilers will miss Darcy because he brought some toughness to the team when he played. The Oilers seriously lack team toughness.

It's not to say that he will never play again for the Oilers, because at a certain point of time he could go through re-entry waivers, but I doubt that will happen unless the NHL becomes the 1970's again and the broad street bullies are back. (not going to happen)

Bottom line; the Oilers really have no use for a one dimensional player like Darcy Hordichuk. It was time to move on.

Written by Noah Fuchs aka NHL rumors guy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

REVS 2013 NHL DRAFT PROSPECTS #9.Elias Lindholm

#9. Elias Lindholm

At 6'0 and 192 lbs Elias is already in a man's body and having played with the men, comes more well rounded some some of the other players who have only competed at the Jr ranks. Considered to be more of a complete player due to good work in all zones of the rink, Elias stands a good chance to be drafted even higher then my ranking should the right 'fit' be there. Maybe the Winnipeg Jets? Don't laugh, he is the type of player they are drafting. Even Ottawa could be a good bet, however if they keep their winning ways, Elias will be long gone before they even step up to the podium. Could Columbus be a fit? Even though it is likely a possibility he is available to our Oilers, I highly doubt the Edmonton Oilers take another player like this.

It is difficult to find a player who plays such a complete game at just 17 years old like Lindholm. With the ability to create offense in a small window of opportunity and to be a force without the puck  will likely mean Elias comes out  a very high 1st round draft pick if he can keep up his development this season.
Tough to stop when he has the puck, strong, makes very quick decisions and catches other teams off guard. An excellent playmaker who can find his teammates for very good scoring chances are one of his strengths. 

Elias is able to get into the right areas and anticipate where the puck is going to be. In order to see himself picked high, he will have to make some improvements in his goal scoring abilities. He needs to improve his shots and be a threat to score on the rush and not just with his passes. 

Defensemen in the NHL would be able to pick up his tendency to pass and cheat a little, and to keep them guessing, he will need to score more often. Defensively, it will be difficult to find another forward who plays as hard in his own zone. A physically strong player,  he consistently gets inside positioning on an opponent and takes away the puck. Because he reads the play so well, and other teams have a difficult time in the offensive zone when he is on the ice. Very good at intercepting passes, he usually gets the play going the other way for his team.

"He's a complete package," Stubb told "He could very well be the next Peter Forsberg. He's an excellent skater and great competitor who gives it 110 percent on every shift. He can skate, score and pass and is physically strong even though he is a finesse-type of player. Lindholm's father, Mikael, was drafted by theLos Angeles Kings in the 12th round (No. 237) in 1987. He's also the cousin of Detroit Red Wings prospect Calle Jarnkrok, who was drafted in the second round (No. 51) in 2010.

Regular SeasonPostseason
  Elitserien:52717240.46-4 |20000.00
  International-Jr:421221330.7945 13 |
  J18 Allsvenskan:25922311.2416 |74591.2929 
  J18 Elit:281334471.6816 |
  SuperElit:381435491.2945 24 |41230.7516 
  U16 SM:6211132.17|
  WJC-20:62240.67-1 |

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Living The Dream... Mark Arcobello

Tonight, marks the first night that undrafted Oilers forward Mark Arcobello, will start in an NHL game.

His story runs deeper than this. Arcobello has proved that if you work hard and have goals, anything is possible.

His draft year (2006) came and went. He was undrafted to the NHL for reasons unknown to me. But nonetheless, he went and attended Yale University and had a good time playing with that team.

In 2008-09 he lead the Bulldogs in scoring with 35 points in 34 games. He also helped the Bulldogs win the ECAC Hockey League Regular Season and Tournament Championships. Arcobello was also named to the NCAA East Second All American Team and the ECAC First All-Star Team that year. Impressive stuff for a guy who didn't get drafted.

In the last game he ever played for Yale University, he scored a whopping 3 goals and 3 assists. He went out with a bang.

He eventually made his professional debut with the Edmonton Oilers ECHL farm team, the Stockton Thunder. In the short time he was there, he impressed the Oilers/OKCBarons management and was offered a two year entry level deal with the Oilers in 2011. With this new contract he was awarded a full time shot with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons.

Again he made the best of his situation.

He worked his butt off and kept learning how to be a better hockey player and it paid off when Ryan Nugent Hopkins went to play in the WJHC and Arcobello filled in for him and was center to Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. He finally earned his chance to be a first line center. He shined playing with those two and it showed the coaches he can play with the big boys.

Which leads us to today. He was called up after both Horcoff and Belanger fell due to injury. Now it turns out, RNH isn't able to play tonight and why not fill the void with a familiar face?

Mark Arcobello, an undrafted player, who worked his ass off, earns every inch of respect he has, gets to play in his first NHL game, starting on the Edmonton Oilers first line! That has a ring to it.

If I'm a betting man... Mark Arcobello will score tonight. And to make it even better, it's vs the Stars. (Psst! There is history between the two farm clubs)

I can't wait to read the next chapter in this exciting book Arcobello is writing.

Wow! Just Wow!


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