Sunday, September 29, 2013

Edmonton Oilers Shuffle Roster With Waivers, and Name Captain

Interesting stuff to wake up to this morning. 

First off, Dallas Eakins via twitter (how awesome is that?), announces that his new best friend (I told you so) Andrew Ference is the new and 14th captain in Oilers history. Good choice. He seems like a real good team guy and a health nut, so you know thats a big part of why he's captain. I would have given it to Taylor Hall, but I'm not in the room so it's hard to have an opinion. 

Regardless, congrats to #21. Make us proud. Or you will be traded, seriously.


Oilers claimed gigantic forward Luke Gazdic off waivers from the Dallas Stars. He's 6'3" and 240lbs. Not on the small size, that's for sure. I'm assuming he takes over for MacIntyre while he recovers. 

Oilers also placed Philip Larsen and Ryan Hamilton on waivers for the purpose of assignment. 

With claiming Gazdic, the Oilers are now at 49 contracts. 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

That Uneasy Feeling

I'm usually full of positivity and optimism when it comes to the start of the NHL season. But not this year for some reason. 

Maybe it's the lack of centers? Maybe it's those first goals that are scored on Dubey that are weak? Or maybe it's the fact we have yet another new coach, and I'm half assed expecting the same results as years past?

Whatever is troubling me, I want it to go away. 

I've been really happy with the play of the Hall line. They have been pretty good and I love seeing Hemsky and Smyth back together again. The strange part is Hall actually looks like he belongs with those two guys. It's uncanny. I'm just hoping this line doesn't stay together long. Smyth will peter out by game 20 and production will drop. I'm just hoping by then he's relegated to the third line by then. 

I've really like Anton Belov too. I was told by a friend that he looked like Boris Mironov out there, and he does. Except Belov looks more stronger and not so gangly looking. I'm excited to see him continue to develop. That was a hell of a signing by MacTavish. 

I'm very skeptical about having a couple of Eakins guys on the team like Hamilton and Acton. We're they better than the other guys who were cut? Marginally I'd say. Do they deserve a roster spot? That's still up in the air. 

I'm loving the Perron/Paajarvi trade. Oilers are loving Perron and the Blues are confused with Paajarvi. They know MPS needs more development, but what do you do with him? All the Oilers have to do is put Peron out with Eberle and you have magic. Oil clearly won this trade as of right now. 

There is lots to be excited about, I'm just having a hard time getting amped up for this season. The thrill is gone, and I want it back. 

How about you?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Four Sent Packing (Nurse, Fedun, Pitlick & Lander)

The Edmonton Oilers just announced that four players have been cut from the team just now. 

Taylor Fedun is off to the Oklahoma City Barons 

Darnell Nurse will go back to juniors. 

Tyler Pitlick is going to the OKC Barons. 

Anton Lander also to the OKC Barons

I Just Don't Feel Bad, It's Just That Time Of Year

Watching tonight's game had me thinking about players being cut. I remember being cut from teams. It sucks. It hurts. 

But you move on to whatever lies next and hopefully you realize that it was you that failed to make the team, not the coaches. Some players have to clear waivers, while some don't, and sometimes that makes decisions complicated. 

Hockey is a production based sport and if you're not standing out and contributing, you don't survive. Simple as that. Coach Eakins really seems to be attracted to the stand out players that push their own limits. He really doesn't care about the past or veteran status or the name on the jersey. He cares about the now. 

Linus Omark was the latest victim of not being a standout for the right reasons. Eakins hated the fact Omark tried to do everything himself and he didn't rely on his line mates like he should. The kid has skill, but he just can't seem to follow a game plan. His style hasn't really changed since joining the Oilers, and either has his yearly exit from training camp to anywhere but Edmonton. I had high hopes for him. Those hopes are long gone. 

The next on the waiver wire you would think to be is Ryan Jones. He just seems like he's always a step behind. We have all seen Ryan flying on his A game. We've seen him be his best. Where did he go?

Did Jones not prepare himself enough this summer? Did he do enough on ice work? Did his second surgery hinder his training?

At the end of the day, if he's cut and put on waivers, who will he blame? He clearly has the tools to do the job.

So as camp is winding down and the kids that don't require waivers like Nurse, Pitlick and Fedun go to their respected teams, they must remember what it took to get them this far and to apply that next training camp. They still have more chances. It's not the end of the world. 

The vet players however. Well... you might have blown your last chance. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Tyler Pitlick Earns One More Shot, As Do Others

Coach Dallas Eakins had high praise when talking about Tyler Pitlick after tonight's 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. 

Pitlick had a team high 6 hits and he played a very sound and solid game. He really stood out tonight and added a beautiful assist to the mix. With 15:13 of playing time, he made every minute count. Good on him considering he's pretty much has been a wash so far in his short Oilers career. I don't know where this version came from, but I like it. 

Jesse Joensuu also had a good game. He scored his third goal of the preseason because he drove to the net and really played a hard fought game. He's also earning the coaches praise.

Anton Belov makes good choices. He just seems really smart with the puck and I'm really starting to like him. I really liked his quick release with the puck and he picked up an assist due to that. I'd imagine he looks even better in another game or two. Good signing so far. 

After the blunder by Dubnyk, he was solid. No reason to knock him. Accidents happen and that goal against was just that. A mistake. No big deal. He was great for the rest of the game, just not that 2 seconds of it. 

Will Acton and Taylor Fedun both had decent games as well. Acton scored the game winner and Fedun played a real calm and cool defensive game. Both will get another chance to impress. 

Mark Arcobello had a team high 5 shots and played well enough. I'm not convinced he's done enough for a roster spot, but he sure is putting in a effort to do so. 

Boyd Gordon was 67% on faceoffs. That in my opinion, was all he really did tonight. I expected him to be better. 

Phil Larsen had a good game. He had 5 blocked shots and picked up an assist. He's making a very strong case to make the team too. Tough decisions for coach Eakins. 

Maybe Yakupov needs a night off? He's played in every game and tonight he looked like he could use a rest. Mind you, he was playing with Omark (bad tonight) and Gordon (so-so). 

The one guy who did blow it? Linus Omark. In a game where he needed to be a factor, he wasn't. Not even playing with Yakupov. I fear he may have blown his last chance and once again he will be with the Barons. 

In a game where guys needed to step up, some did, and some didn't. 


The Only Way This Can Work (Steve MacIntyre)

As you read here at this morning, the Oilers have claimed tough guy Steve MacIntyre from the Pittsburgh Penguins. This marks the 4th time that we have seen big #33 wear the Oilers blue and orange. 

Every other stint that he's been here it hasn't worked as well as the Oilers management has hoped. Sure, he can punch anybody's light out. Not many guys in the league can stand toe to toe with him. But not many are also willing to go toe to toe with the big man at all. So why is he back?

Good question. I don't know. 

He's known for his slow foot speed and gigantic corner taking. There isn't a whole lot he can do besides punching people. 

So how does he work this time around you ask? 

Straight up, he's going to have to be a killer. A guy who will punch you out even if your not willing. He's going to have to take liberties at every scrum he's in. He's going to have to step out of his character and smash skulls of the opposing teams skill players without notice. 

Can he do that? I hope so. Or this really isn't going to work... again. 


Edmonton Oilers Claim Steve MacIntyre... Again

MacT and his bold moves... Pfft!

This morning the Oilers claimed tough guy Steve MacIntyre. Yes it's just like any other year. The big man is back. 

Oh boy. I thought we figured this out already. The guy can fight, but that's about it. Wrong type of player. 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Barring Any Other Hiccup, This Is Opening Night

The Gagner injury has really messed up plans for the Edmonton Oilers opening night roster. They currently need to fill another big void at center and have only three options. 

Lander, Arcobello and Acton are the three guys who the Oilers are going to have to choose from. There is no other players in the system remotely close to ready. 

Oh shit...

Another (insane) option is to have Jordan Eberle try center like Hall did. Eberle did say the other day that he could try center as he's played it when he was younger. I don't like that idea for the fact your two best wingers are now playing center. We need those guys on the wings, not patrolling center ice. 


Both Weiss and Kassian will have hearings with the NHL for their actions during last nights game. Hall almost had his head taken off by Weiss and Gagner took a high stick and had his jaw broken by Kassian. Both instances went on with no on ice retaliation and it sounds like Gagner will be out for 4-8 weeks. He's having surgery to put his jaw back together. 


Darnell Nurse had been making coach Eakins (and the fans) think twice about sending him back to juniors. Nurse has progressively been better as each day passes, and its apparent he's actually being considered to stay. I think he's been better than N. Schultz, Grebeshkov, Fedun, Larsen, Belov and the hurt Potter (based on last seasons play). 

I'd like to see him stick. At least give him a few games of real NHL duty to see how he does. I don't think he's going home just yet, but I'm not sure the Oilers want to too many chances with the waiver wire with other players. 



Smyth Hall Hemsky
Perron Gordon Eberle
Omark Lander Yakupov
Jones Acton Brown
Joensuu Eager

Ference J. Schultz
Petry Smid
Nurse N. Schultz
Grebeshkov Belov


*starting lines in bold*


Edmonton Oilers Lose Another Center / Is This Groundhog Day?

Last night Sam Gagner was high sticked in the face. Not only did he lose some chicklets, he broke his jaw. Obviously he will be out indefinitely. 

The Edmonton Oilers now have neither a first line center, and now no second line center. 

Sounds like to me two guys are going to get a roster spot by default. This isn't good for the new Eakins era. In fact, this is very bad. Like Gagner or not, he's pivotal to helping make this team a success right now and losing him hurts. 

Acton will now for sure be on the team at the start I the season (IMO). And I'm guess Lander is the other one that's here opening night. 


6 Million is the Standard?

As well all know, RNH has signed a 7 year, 42 million dollar deal a few days ago. With Hall and Eberle already making in and around there, does that make it the standard for Yakupov and Schultz?

Well, that depends on a few things. If the Oilers really do believe the cap is going up, they will probably offer them both 6 million (pending on good years.) But if Schultz has a bad year, I would think they would give him a lower dollar, 3 year deal. If he has a good season, he would probably get 6 million for 8 or 7 years like the rest of the quality guys on the Oilers. 


My thoughts on the Nugent-Hopkins signing.

The kid is a franchise player and if he can stay healthy, he will be a dominating force for years to come. But his shoulder injury has to cause some concerns. 

I do think that maybe the Oilers should have signed him to a 1 year extension then gave him the long one just to see what he would be like in a full season.


Rumor for today; Tomas Vanek is on the market, but the Sabres have to lower expectations if they want a deal done. An arm and a leg is just too much to ask for. 

This is written by Noah Fuchs aka NHL rumor guy

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thoughts on Oilers Lines Vs Canucks

Tonight's Oilers Forwards: 

Oilers Defence:

Oilers Goalies (1/2 game each):


I'm interested in seeing this Oilers squad tonight. 

We will see another look of Hall with Smyth and Hemsky. Possible line come the start of the season. 

The 2nd line can also be a opening night line. Gagner with Perron and Eberle on his wings. Expect at least two goals from this line tonight. 

The 3rd line is interesting. Yakupov will have to play his ass of to not make this line a liability. He's going to have to crank it up. I bet he does. 

The 4th line is another possible opening night line. I'm expecting lots of crashing and banging out of these three. All three players need to have a statement game. HNIC is the best stage there is. 

Nurse continues to impress. He's taking the left side and will slot in with Jeff Petry. These two are going to play big minutes. 

Anton Belov makes his Oilers debut alongside fellow Russian Grebeshkov. I'm excited to see Belov play. Heard lots, but I don't recall watching him ever. 

The last pairing is Fedun and Hunt. Hunt been good and this is his chance to show off his skills. 

LaBarbera and Rimmer will share the goaltending duties tonight. Each will play half a game. 

Game starts at 8pm mountain time on CBC. 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Nuge Has Been Signed!

Word just came out the the Edmonton Oilers have signed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a seven year extension today worth $42 million. 

Good for Ryan. Next up is Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No More Tucked Jerseys? What The Hell?

It's the end of an era in the NHL. A rule has been passed, stating all players must wear coinciding uniforms. No player can have any gear showing except skates, gloves and helmets. That means, no more tucking of the jersey like many players do, including Ryan Smyth. 

This rule is one of the dumbest rules the NHL has ever enforced. If your jersey is tucked, you get an automatic two minute minor for delay of game. 

One such penalty was handed out tonight to the Columbus Blue Jackets player, Alexander Semin. 


I know that the tucked jersey didn't make Gretzky who he was, but it helped make him unique. Since when is it a crime to be a little different? 

Dumb rule NHL... dumb rule. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What's The Point? I Don't Get It

Tonight's preseason game versus the Winnipeg Jets is an interesting one. The 4th line consists of Moroz-Martindale-Abney. 

Sure, that line is a "tough" line, but none of the three players will make the Oilers. Ever. So why waste a good roster spot giving those three another chance to impress the Oilers brass? It makes zero sense to me. 

Both Abney and Martindale spent considerable amount of time in the ECHL. They couldn't even stay in the AHL, so why give them extra looks in the NHL?

Why not take another look at Mike Brown and Ben Eager? Or anyone else for that matter. 

I'm confused. 

What do you think?


ESPN "Experts" Rank Justin Schultz

I came across this ( this morning and thought it was interesting. ESPN asked their "experts" this week to rank the top 50 defensemen by a 1 to 10 rating.  One Oiler player managed to get on the list. 

Justin Schultz was ranked 40th (tied with
Paul Martin) by ESPN with a 6.33 rating. When you look at the list, he's in good company. Hopefully, after a decent year this season, he will move up the list to possibly the top 30, maybe even the top 20. 

I'm expecting big things out of Schultz. I guess time will tell. 


Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Oilers "TWIN TOWERS" of Slovakia (Recap from Oct 2011)

The following you are about to read I wrote in early October 2011. I felt it was worth a re-read, seeing how their game has progressed. This article also helps revisit a little about both these players and their backgrounds. While Marincin is a year ahead of Gernat in age, it is looking like they are about the same distance apart in development. It will be interesting to see how Gernat handles the pro level of hockey, that is usually the biggest test.

wrote...OCT 2011:
The moment you hear 'Twin Towers', it brings to mind the great towers of New York City. They were considered to be great buildings, incredibly strong towers that could withstand almost anything. That was a day of horror for most of us, but mostly for the family and friends who lost loved ones. In no way do I mean to make light of what happened that day when the towers came down, but since that time, a lot of things have changed. Anyone building towers today, does so with security at mind. The requirements are extraordinary and it's no small task to perform laying out the foundation.

Today, while Edmonton still sits in limbo, while decisions are trying to be made with a new arena district (which by the way, will stimulate towers to be built up and around the arena) I am referring today to TWIN TOWERS as in 'players'. Yes! As in Marincin and Gernat. Both of these boys are no stranger to 'the air up there'.

Martin Marincin 
6'4 187 lbs (19 yrs old) 
7 Games 0 Goals 5 assists = 5 Points / +2
(Update: Is now 6'5 and 196 lbs)

Martin Gernat
6'5 191 lbs (18 yrs old)
9 Games 5 Goals 8 assists = 13 Points / +5
(Update: Roughly the same size)

There is some discrepancy in the height and weight between the Oilers website and the respective WHL teams sites. The WHL stats support what was written from the Oilers 2011 Development camp numbers, so I have gone with the numbers posted on the WHL sites.

Last season, Marincin really had a coming out party upon arriving in Prince George to play for the cougars hockey team. His stats were looking good (point a game basically) and continued til around the 2/3rd mark of the year. At that point, his point production slowed down and well as his body it seemed. No one can really say with certainty what it was but Marincin appeared to have had hit a wall in development. At least in physical ability. After being drafted in 2011 Gernat (former teammate and good friend) also was now among the Oilers organization. The two together came to development camp in June 2011 to work hard, impress and learn the North American game.

Coming out of the Rookie Camp this September 2011, both players have impressed the management and coaches, but it is still believed there is more development needed. Marincin was sent back to the Prince George Cougars as a 2nd year player in the CHL and Gernat was assigned to his new club, the Edmonton Oil Kings. Difference between the two is very little, but there are some differences. Currently Gernat is tearing up the WHL and sitting first in points among defenceman and first among rookies. While Marincin is thought to be more of an offensive defenceman then Gernat, I tend to see it the other way around. 14 months separates the two in age but other then that, there are not many things different.

Gernat has started well, just as Marincin started last year well. Gernat is tall and around the same weight as Marincin was entering the WHL. Both are fairly quick skaters and very agile at their height, both like to handle the puck on their sticks and both can tend to be caught out of position occasionally trying to go for the puck, rather then sometimes taking the man.

 I had a chance to meet their billet. (he is from Slovakia himself originally and has even helped Hemsky when he came over years ago) He went on to say that both were coached by Marincin's father in Slovakia and have been good friends growing up. (explains how close they were at development camp). However he said they both wanted to come over early in their hockey career to gain greater knowledge of the positionally and systems play that is only found in North America. Skating, stick work, those things are taught to all in Slovakia, but systems and positionally play are vastly different in Canada and the U.S.

Coming back to my nickname of the 'TWIN TOWERS' for build large towers, you need a strong foundation. In the past, teams in the NHL , including our Edmonton Oilers have rushed the foundation building process of our defenceman. Is it possible, we just need to be a little more patient with these two big boys? Maybe, all we need to do is let our skills and development coaches do their job and in a few year's we could potentially have 2 if not at least 1, good defenceman sitting in our ranks. I truly do see nothing but good things from these TWIN TOWERS in the near future, I only hope we as a fanbase can be patient in seeing that come to fruition.

NOTE: It has been mentioned that it seems Marincin did not come back this year much bigger then he left at the end of last season. This in all likelihood will need to be a area to work on before next years training camp. I also believe the reason we have not seen the high point production out of Marincin in the WHL out of the gate, is due to the work he is doing on his systems and positional play. Sometimes to make a point production play, means you have to be out of position and that could end up in your own net.(It appears Marincin is one of the higher rated plus/minus players on the team currently) Hopefully Gernat, pays close attention to the path the development coaches have him on and works on the systems and positional play this year as well. While his offence has been great, he will need to shore things up a little more on his own back end. Guess time will only tell if Gernat ends up like Marincin where it appears after a good chunk of time, his body just wears down on him with all the travel and games played. One thing that has been mentioned between Gernat and Marincin, is Gernat appears to be a little more filled out in how he looks and carries his big body on the ice. Marincin last year appeared sometimes more gangly like, when transitioning with the puck.

One thing to be certain, with these two boys manning the Oil blueline in the future, looks are definitely looking up. "Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, I present to you...The Mighty Marincin and the Great Gernat!"

Saturday, September 14, 2013

'This & That from Oilers Training Camp'

Having tried to glean information from the Oilers on their interest or lack of in regards to players and or their development has not been easy. Some of what I am going to share is information that each one of us has had access to hear via the MSM or even the interviews from the coaches themselves. Some information comes from being closely around the Oilers brass for a couple days, some comes from personal one on one conversations from those closely associated with the players or some comes from the players themselves away from the ice.

Having said all that, take the information for what you think it is worth. No need asking me who said what, cause if I did hear directly from 'unnamed' person, out of respect for them, it would be unfair to expose their name or names. If you think I am being another EKLUND wannabe, you definitely have not read many of my blogs over the years and or followed me very much on twitter. Having followed closely the Oilers organization quite closely these past 5 years and prospects as well has afforded me unique opportunities and I am not going to do anything to put anything like that in jeopardy. If you think I am way off, so be it! Let time be the judge before you rip apart the messenger.

I will highlight in red anything that was information that i received on perspective players leading into saturday's night split-squad games in Edmonton and Calgary. If it is not highlighted it will be my perspective and or views.

Unfortunately for Cam, this could be the beginning of the end. His off ice work while good, has not been great and his progress has been stalled while other potential players are about to supplant him if things don't change ASAP. My take on Abney will be, this is his final year to prove himself. He will either be traded or released at the end of season most likely

 Was hardly recognizable on the ice these past couple days but is that always a bad thing? It could turn out to be his best chance. Will be in a fight with Lander for that 4th line spot. Is not slotted into OKC's plans in their line combo's currently but that could change drastically should he falter in the opportunities given.

A decent showing with skilled players Yakupov and Omark could prove to be his best chance. His outcome from the game in Edmonton Saturday night could either elevate him into the opening night lineup or actually see him with a ticket back to OKC after a few pre-season games. Is currently slotted into the Barons #1 Centre slot and MacT has been very direct that he wants players to play in OKC around the same role they would play should they be playing for the Oilers. Maybe one line higher but no more.

Grows a stache like nobodies business but will that be enough. Will be the 13th or 14th forward going into the season. Plays exactly the game he knows how to play and knows how to use gamesmanship which is extremely important for the role he fills.

Hits well, is relentless and has a scoring touch too. Did I mention he is a agitator and likes it too? The Oilers are very high on Chase and have been pleased with what he has shown them this camp so far. Not every jr player gets to play even in a scrimmage let alone game action. If he continues to develop this year back in jr, his path and future looks bright with the Oilers.

Sick skills and looks to really have his shot back. His minor injury last season really hindered his shot. This year I would expect his shooting % goes back up. Will be interesting to see who he is paired with in the early regular season games.

Had his good and bad moments playing in the centre pivot position. It will take time to adjust but Hall is a world class player and at the very worst it is highly likely he will fill the team need better by playing centre for up to 5 games then playing left wing and leaving this team extremely weak down the middle. RNH hs confidence in Taylor, why shouldn't we? Taylor is learning what needs to be done in that centre pivot spot from good mentors in his coach Action and RNH himself. If we all recall, he did mention last year if the team did try him at centre he didn't want it to be a 2 or 3 game stint but given some time to really try it out. My guess? He will play a minimum of 10 games at centre and then be evaluated after that.

Time is running out for Curtis and his injuries have likely been his greatest downfall to really exhibiting what his true value is to the Oilers. His off ice work was said to have improved last development camp but now we missed seeing what progress could have taken place by, no on ice action. If not this year, then the next Curtis will likely be on the outside looking in. Only thing that saves him is a big year in OKC IMO.

A big tough, determined player that Dallas Eakins really appreciates has brought him to Edmonton on the basis he will push the bottom 6 forwards and or at worst play the power forward role in OKC, Most likely in the end will be a call up for bottom 6 winger role in Edmonton this season.

Will be monitored very closely this year and Oilers want to be cautious with him but are excited about his future with the organization. Debate is on if he reports to OKC or ends up in WHL with Everett. Likely he goes to WHL but some of that decision will be who gets assigned to OKC with other players from camp, bets are he goes to WHL.

Anton is pencilled into a 2nd line role in OKC to open the season but only Lander can change that destiny. Concerns are more about his confidence and Oilers would like to see him less concerned with points and more on just playing the same game, shift in and shift out. If he finds his game in pre-season, he starts in Edmonton, if not, other options are considered.

His all around game is coming around but it looks more and more everyday he will have to decide to become a role player in a 4th or 3rd line tops role. Would be great if he accepted he may not have the Hockey sense to be a elite skill guy at pro level. Is pencilled in as 3rd line centre in OKC to start the year.

While the last regime was not happy with what they saw in Omark, this new regime is very happy with his potential. Dallas has great respect for his skills and wants to provide a prime opportunity for him to show himself well. It is still a win-win for both sides no matter how this comes down. If Linus can show even just ok, defensively he will get a shot, if he shows what he did in the past without the puck, he won't be in Edmonton past the pre-season games. OKC would be happy with 1 more year of Omark and when the year is completed he is a UFA who can go and try his own luck. I wouldn't count Omark out and don't forget, it's not his toughness that is in question, it is his ability to cover his defensive role.

Perron is a interesting player. this guy has a lot of Yakupov in him when it comes to life and the game of hockey. He almost eats, breaths and lives hockey. Really love the fact he lines up so perfectly on his off wing just like Yakupov. If these two can have some chemistry, it may provide for some interesting hockey. David has no concerns going to the tough area's of the ice and does not mind some rough play.  Perron appears to really like the red carpet treatment he has received and you can tell by his actions he loves he is in hockey country.

Like so many before him, Tyler is about to fall off the face of the hockey world really quick, if he can not be consistent with his play. Almost makes you wonder what happened somewhere. Was there something others knew that made him available at 31st OV at the draft. I think the injuries and confidence is what has stalled his major growth. He still has time to prove himself to the Oilers brass but time is starting to run out. He needs a strong year in OKC if he stands to even have a fighting chance. Will likely only get 1 or 2 pre-season games and then get assigned to OKC.

Roy has looked good to date but at scrimmage on a line with speed and against bigger, quicker players he has realized pretty quick, he isn't in the CHL anymore. Marco has performed above expectations and a good showing back in Jr should go a long way into his growth development. There look to be some high praises of his game with oilers brass.

Honestly, upon tweeting about the scrimmages, I was not trying to follow Yakupov very much but anytime he is on the ice, he draws the attention of every fan too him. He has become the newest darling of the fans and girls are going crazy over this cute Russian. His game seems to even have another step since last season and with some confidence behind him the limits are endless. There is no way this organization will be even considering a trade of this player unless something were to breakdown in their relationship. Nail's best game is when he is confident and given opportunities to rise to the occasion. One thing that was noticeable in the scrimmage is his relentless pursuit of the puck when the other team had it. Let's hope that spills over to the early pre-season games and becomes a contagious habit. If Omark ever stood a chance to make the Oilers, it will be because Yakupov elevates his game.

Some MSM have pencilled him as the 7th or even 8th d-man in the depth chart, not so sure the Coaches and scouts agree. They are very high on his physical battle for pucks, his passing ability and his skating and see him suited well for the NHL. Just too bad his struggles with Visa have been a pain.

The Oilers are very high on this prospect and will be following his Jr season closely. There are already plans in place to make sure he gets everything he needs to development to the best of his ability. Not sure it's everyone who see's Ben this important but some who are directly involved with him do and he will be given every opportunity to show his A game to this organization.

It is amazing to see the growth in hi game. He is a battler but I don't know if he will ever see much time in the NHL but he continues to defy the odds. At the very worst he is a solid D-man for the AHL. Some of the development staff see nothing but bright future for this young player.

It appears there may be more to Denis coming back to the Oilers then just as a extra d-man. Between his NHL experience, his Russian language and his off ice personality and teachable character, it appears he may be the new mentor they wanted in town with Yakupov to keep the transition smoother with Khabby gone. Don't doubt Khabby's influence that aided Yakupov through the transitions early on.

Tyler is a battler and he likely will get over this but right now he is in for a tough season moving forward. He is the first one to tell you his head is not in the game like it was a couple years ago. Turning pro can do that to you against the next elite level of hockey players. I would still give him 2 more seasons to see if he can continue to develop the mental side of the game. There is no concerns with his athleticism or his positioning, it's all upstairs and that takes time to work on.

Jason is one of those Goalies who is adjusting to the new leg pad size. Didn't know about the change this year? Between the top of the knee and the highest point of the leg in the inner groin area, you have have your pad cover 55% of the area. The rule changed this year to 45%. This means Jason lost 1.5 inches on the length of his pad and it will affect the '5 hole' no matter how you look at it. Lots of confidence in Jason being able to run a string of even p to 10 games in a row if needed. Is considered a high quality back up goalie.

Those were the players that I was able to notice more and or get some more insights into these past couple weeks. Hockey gets back in action tonight and I for one am jacked to get it going! GO OILERS!!

For Oiler and Baron news and 2013/14 NHL draft watch

Friday, September 13, 2013

Is Andrew Ference the right Captain, right now?

I will make this post short and sweet. For weeks now we have heard speculation that Andrew Ference is going to be the captain on a intern basis until one of our young stars steps up and is ready to take the reigns. My question is, 'Is Ference the right Captain?'

Not trying to sound insensitive to all he has done or who he is, Andrew is one of the last people who I would put in as captain and here are my reasons why....

1) He may be a fitness warrior but so was Horcoff and was he the right captain? Some will say yes, I would argue that he was the most experienced for the job after Ethan was done and not much else was a option at the time.

2) Speaking of experience, what experience does he have with his teammates as a veteran? Sure he is a veteran to the league but not to Edmonton and it's not like he is respected already as a Edmonton Oiler. I understand picking a veteran of the league on a team that is real young and there is no leaders but is not leadership what our young stars have been developing?

3) What does a captain do? It's not just on ice and locker room stuff, it's the intangibles. Does he know our city, will he organize events on behalf of our team players? How could he? He doesn't know enough about our culture or team. (Not that our culture has been great but it is improving)

4) Sure he appears good right now as a on ice player but media likes have penciled him in as a top 2 d-man on the Oilers and question is..can he even perform at that level skill wise? Maybe, maybe not! We won't know until the season moves into full swing. Why take a chance on naming your captain when he may stink out the joint or be a d-man that fans make their new scape goat? (He may do all right in the end , we won't know until halfway through a season even.

5) Lastly, why name a captain who is only a stop gap? If your going to name your captain and he is here now, make that decision to crown him when the time is right. I think IMO it is not beneficial to name a good leader a captain just because of that personality. I highly doubt Ference plays better or this team plays better because a 'C' goes on his jersey.

My suggestion you ask? I think you alternate your captain and wait to name him by Dallas seeing who will step up to the plate by the new year. Let's see who really shines in that all around leadership role. I would not be surprised if Gagner were to be picked but it would be the wrong decision IMO. For my monies worth I would pick Eberle still,  as Hall is not always a calm factor out there on the ice like a captain should be (In tradition anyway) but Hall sure appears like he wants the job and looks determined to take this team by the horns and run with it. Not sure why but I get this feeling that Eberle may one day be that key trading piece the Oilers trade out of town but let's hope my gut is wrong. I think the answer is in the writing and Dallas has it pencilled in as Hall! 

Question though 'Is Andrew Ference the right Captain, right now?'

Will be tweeting more on Oilers Training Camp , so follow me on twitter for updates.

For Oiler and Baron news and 2013/14 NHL draft watch

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MSM Goes on the Eakins Diet?

This morning, the interweb lit up with tweets from the first day of the Edmonton Oilers training camp. I figured the most entertaining news would be that one of the players puked on one of the machines, or was overweight, or something else along those lines. But it wasn't. 

The big news came in... and it was about the food the Mainstream Media (MSM) were served at the arena. 

The norm is coffee and donuts. But not today. 

The half asleep MSM showed up to fruits and vegetables mandated by the new Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. (see pic below)

We all know how much of a health nut Eakins is, but this was just awesome. Doesn't matter if the MSM was truly sad or not, this was damn funny. Can you imagine the look on Terry Jones' face?

Read some of the tweets below to see the reaction the new Eakins diet caused. 


@TSNRyanRishaug: Mandated by the head coach.. Media food is veggies and fruit. Usually donuts and coffee. 

@TSNRyanRishaug: I like, respect my fellow media members here in Edmonton a lot, But sharing finger food at 9am? We’re drawing straws for Timmies donut run

@GenePrincipe: New coach, new food? Dallas Eakins mandated fruit and veggies instead of donuts for the media.Going to be a long year.

@Sun_Tychkowski: I don't care what kind of shape an NHL coach is in. Ken Hitchcock never ran a triathlon in his life and his teams do OK.

@TSNRyanRishaug: People are kind of walking awkwardly around the table, peering at the veggies, unopened.. I think a full scale media revolt may be coming.

@TSNRyanRishaug: It’s getting a little better. They just added yogurt.. I believe it may be flavoured. And coffee!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oilers Lines For Tonight's Game vs U of A











Bunz first half

Rimmer second half

Lines courtesy of Bob Stauffer

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Look At What Could Be Opening Night 2013-14

Hello Jambalya readers, as you know the hockey season is coming, and there will be tons of talk like, "how will Eakins help this team?", and "will we be over .500?".

But, I'm not writing this to talk about that, I'm writing this, to talk about who could be the opening day lineup for the 2013-14 season.

Forward line guesses

1st line guess

LW Perron C Hall RW Eberle

LW David Perron, Perron's skill will fit nice with Hall and Eberle who are already highly skilled forwards.

C Taylor Hall, This line has Hall at centre because of the fact Hopkins could be hurt for 10 games or so, (give or take) Hall is also at centre on this line because Eberle is a first line player and he has more chemistry with Hallsy than Gagner. Yes, I do know Hallsy is not very good away from the puck, but he has outstanding speed that will help him with back checking.

RW Jordan Eberle, Eberle is a good little forward that has great skills that would blend well with anyone especially with Hall and Perron in this case.

2nd line guess

LW Hemsky C Gagner  RW Yakupov

LW Ales Hemsky is another highly skilled forward who will hopefully bring leadership to Yakupov and if he can pass more, he might be valuable in the long run on this line.

C Sam Gagner I don't think has the defensive game to play 1st line minutes, so thats why I slot him here. He will finally have the contract stuff off his back and hopefully plays well because of it. 

RW Nail Yakupov, His shot, his skating, and his puck skills will hopefully work well with Hemsky this season. Hopefully they can find some offensive chemistry.

3rd line guess

RW Omark C Gordon LW Smyth

LW Ryan Smyth, Captan Canada, gritty, heart and soul and finally Symtty, these are all words associated with Ryan Symth, and coming in to probably his last season, I have him playing 3rd and 4th line minutes mainly because he is old and just here to finish his contract.

C Boyd Gordon, Maybe a bit of an overpayment, but still a good signing. Gordon is a good player that is two way.

RW Linus Omark, He was signed recently and it could be because the Oil want three scoring lines, or just for depth. Any such way, I have him here to add some scoring on this line.

4th line guess

RW Jones C Lander LW Joensuu

LW Jesse Joensuu, He was a first round pick, Lowetide says he is "very similar player to Temmu Hartikanien" which means he is a big grinder who will chip in a few goals, but is pretty slow.

C Anton Lander, He is a a good PK player which with Horcoff gone, he fills. He will chip in maybe 9 goals. He is a bubble player.

RW Ryan Jones, Jones cheats for offense and will probably be talked to by coach Eakins over the season. But I have him slotted here because he is a NHL player compared to others who might fill this role.

Other players that could be in on opening day.

Andrew Miller, Will Acton, Ryan Hamilton and Mike Brown.

Player to watch on offence: Taylor Hall who had 50 points last season and I Think will have 70 - 80 points this year keep your eye on him.

Defence pairing guesses

1 pair guess

LD Smid RD Petry

LD Ladislav Smid, He is a good heart and soul player who will block shots. Sometimes he will make a dumb play, but he's been improving every year. He is a good shutdown guy who logs PK mins and also can be trusted late in a game.

RD Jeff Petry, He was not as good as some people would have thought last season, but I think he will bounce back and not score on his own net vs the Wings and cost us a game (yes i'm still hurt over a regular season game.)

2 pair guess

LD Ference RD J.Schultz.

LD Andrew Ference, Ference was a good signing. Maybe not because of his contract, but because he is a solid veteran D man and will help J.Schultz when it comes down to those tough times.

RD Justin Schultz, Schultz is our best defence if not now then in the very near future. He had a pretty good season with points (27 points) but, I think he is going to get more. If he really wants to be good this season, he will need to improve without the puck.

3rd pair guess

LD N.Schultz RD Belov

LD Nick Schultz, He is a defensive defence man who should bounce back after a lackluster season. If he doesn't improve, I wouldn't doubt it if the Oilers look to move him. 

RD Anton Belov, Some say he was the best D man in the KHL last year. He has some grit to him and will be good guy to keep your eye on. Not sure how he will adapt to the smaller ice surface though. Should be interesting.

Other D man that could be in on opening night

Phillip Larson, Oscar Klefbom and Denis Grebeshkov


Starting goalie:

Deven Dubnyk, He had an up and down season last year. He won us some games and he lost us some games. One thing I do notice is that he usally lets in one bad goal every game. Duby is the postion I am most worried about. He is 27 years old he has never had a better save % better than 2.57. But saying that, he was on the terrible Oilers team. All and all this is the season where we find out if he is an average goalie or above average goalie.

Backup goalie

Jason LaBarbera, Jason is a proven backup who might actually challenge Dubnyk if he faulters. Chances are that doesn't happen, but if they do, LaBarbera would love to step in. 

Remember, this all could change if RNH comes back early or if more injuries happen from now until the regular season starts. but if nothing does change, these are my opening night lines.

This was written by NHL rumors guy AKA Noah Fuchs

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's Over, It's Done / Young Stars Is Finished

Well, this years version of the Edmonton Oilers Young Stars team, wasn't that good. In fact, they stunk. 

The Oilers lost 5-2 in the opening game to the Calgary Flames. They faired miserably and it didn't look like this was going to be a promising tournament. With no big stars on the team this year, the Oilers had a hard time keeping up with the skilled forwards the other teams had. 

Then the Oilers lost the second game to the Winnipeg Jets 7-2. An equally terrible game, but the individual talent started to come out a little more.

Today's third and final game saw the Oilers jump out into a lead and they looked like they could actually win this game. I was wrong. The Oilers ended up losing 5-2 to the Canucks rookies. 

0-3 to finish the tournament. Oh boy...

However, not all was bad. Let's look at some highlights. 

GREG CHASE - My only recognition of this kid was the fact his old man used to work for the Team1260. I had no knowledge of what this kid could do until this tournament. Chase is a hell of a player. He's very gritty and he's got some nice hands. He pretty much did what was expected of him and I'm pretty sure he gave the Oilers management a huge grin all week. I can see him playing in the NHL one day. He has all the tools to become a regular NHL player. I'm glad he's part of the Oilers system. 

MARCO ROY- He showed us that he can be a decent two way player. I liked his overall game. He seemed to make the right choices for the most part. I kind of wish there was more games left so I can see him a little more. 

KALE KESSEY - Fantastic hitter, reminds me off a Raffi Torres. Hitting guys is obviously his bread and butter. A few times this week he seemed to try and emulate Ryan Smyth with his work in front of the net. He's a big guy who's mobile. I hope he can continue to develop. I liked what I saw. 

JUJHAR KHAIRA - I liked his overall play. He definitely has the ability to be a good offensive player down the road. I'd like to see him work on his positioning and he also needs to get more comfortable with a run and gun attack. He looked confused sometimes, but was glad to see he isn't shy to try and make plays. 

KYLE PLATZER - He had a knack of being in the mix of the offensive play. I thought he was decent in the last two games. Good knack for being in the offensive play. 

BRANDON DAVIDSON - Good all around defenseman. Accurate shots and well placed. Good coverage on the forwards coming back in the zone. He must be a leader behind closed doors, as he was the Captain for two games. 

DARNELL NURSE - He wasn't very good (as I had expected). Nerves maybe? Whatever it was, the kid definitly has talent. He will be a gamer. But clearly, after watching him these past few days, he has a long way to go before he cracks the Oilers. 

OSCAR KLEFBOM - For the most part he sucked. I'm sure a lot of that was because he was playing his off side, but for all the hype from Craig MacTavish and the Oilers, he disappointed. He looked like he was a step behind. He says the right things, but acting them out is what he needs to work on. He sat out today's game, I expect he will be playing and making an impact versus the U of A. 

TYLER BUNZ - The best of the shitty goaltending. I suspect he will get the start for the game against the U of A, but does he really deserve it? He did make some big saves during his start, but it's the soft goals that have me worried. 


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