Sam I am

By , August 31, 2010 8:31 pm
Clearly, my photoshop skills have gone to absolute shit.

Clearly, my photoshop skills have gone to absolute shit.

Amidst all the Khabi-disaster, Sam Gagner was recently interviewed by Jason Gregor (check out the article on Oilersnation.com), and Steve Tambellini also spoke about him a bit.

Gagner mentioned he worked hard to lose a bit of weight in the off-season (yes, I said lose weight… I guess he wanted to lose some of the “baby fat” that he felt only slowed him down.. go figure). Jason Gregor noted that you could see it in Gagner’s face even that he lost that baby fat, and also that he appeared to be quicker on ice. Seems weird to comment on, but Gagner felt that by shedding the extra weight it would help him gain a bit of speed, and it does look like that may be the case. In addition, Gagner has been working on his shot and his conditioning. Jason Gregor also asked him if he had been working on his faceoffs, to which he said it was difficult to work on something like that, but he had been working on his strength (which he commented would assist in faceoff ability).

Steve Tambellini spoke about Gagner and threw out the best “morsels” of info on Gagner, such as how he looks in better shape and leaner (due to his change in training to more cardio/endurance training). The biggest morsel was that he’d have a “prominent role and prominent ice time”. To me that means he’s going to get a good look at #1C this year. Now before people get too excited, that doesn’t mean that he’ll get it and have to do nothing to keep it (i.e. not earn it). But, it’s good to hear that we can expect that the guy I consider to be our #1C of the future to be given the chance to take that spot if he wants it enough.

The journal also had a good interview with Gagner, which I’ll quote here:

“Obviously, I have a lot to learn to be a first-line centre, but I want to be a guy who’s looked upon to play in all situations,” said Gagner.

“I’m willing to take the steps to be that guy and I’ve always been taught if you put the work in you’ll be rewarded.”

He’s had one clear goal this summer: trim down a bit to get even quicker.

“My main focus this summer was getting faster and I’ve dropped weight,” said Gagner, who played at just under 200 pounds last season, is currently 193 and would like to get closer to his rookie weight of 190. “When you’re coming into this league, everyone’s telling you to put on weight … you get caught up in it, but I’ve worked this summer to lose pounds, to work on my fast-twitch, work on my speed with my trainer. I hope to see dividends from that.”

Three pounds to go.

“If I get to 190, I won’t get knocked around at that size and I think I can get in and out of places quicker.”

Now all this stuff could sound just like the usual unfounded buzz we hear around this time, but I think Gagner was had a decent end half to his season despite battling a hip injury (he stated it would flare up from time to time because he never gave it time to heal). There are also still some concerns in the defensive zone, but I think playing with a guy like Penner will help though, in that regard. I honestly think this is Sam Gagner’s big year (OK, not THAT big, so settle down… I mean, it’s the start of where people think – “Oh yah, I’m seeing the #1C now..”) IF he gets the top center role (more so on the powerplay). I said my prediction below earlier this week to a friend of mine, and he thought I was crazy, but I’m thinking he should get significant ice time on the top line as well as power play.

So behind all the Khabibulin hoopla and the hype surrounding the rookies (Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, in particular), Gagner has been quietly working hard to be come a better player, and I think we’re going to see that this year if he gets top billing. If he’s put at center for a couple of rookies, I think that changes things (although granted, I think he’ll still get top PP time and that will help keep the numbers up). Anyways, without further ado…

Prediction: 60 points – 20 goals, 40 assists (if he plays close to a full season).

UPDATED: To shred, or not to shred… / Khabi sentenced to minimum jail time/fine

By , August 31, 2010 9:52 am
Brilliant anti-drunk driving campaign photo

Brilliant anti-drunk driving campaign photo

So this topic has been pretty hot around the media lately. Jim Matheson has discussed it. Robin Brownlee has discussed it. David Staples has covered the story. John McKinnon did a couple write ups on the story. The Sun has done their share of stories on it. Various polls have been taken of fans on a few websites including OilersNation and HFBoards. The topic of course being, should the Oilers void Khabibulin’s contract?

The motivation here is simple. Take a horrible situation of Khabibulin speeding his Ferrari while 2x over the legal blood-alcohol limit and use it as reasoning to end Khabibulin’s brutal (I think most of us are in agreement of this) contract. Now, first off, I will say that I trust that there are several of you out there that are motivated to do this due to a personal hatred towards drunk drivers, perhaps due to a personal experience (losing a loved one, for example), and I can fully understand why you feel this way. And I’m not going to spew some bullshit like “it’s not like he killed someone!”. But my question after thinking about this, is why would we not turn this situation into more of a positive? If Khabibulin is struggling with alcohol issues (to me, a DUI is a sign of that), why not get him treatment he needs? Why would we not see where he goes with this, and ensure that he does the time within the community to speak about the dangers of drunk driving?

So far the poll results on websites have actually been kind of interesting (and I am proud that more Oil fans haven’t taken the “easy way out”). On HFBoards so far the votes are fairly even when it comes to whether the Oilers should take this opportunity to rip up Khabi’s contract. On OilersNation, Continue reading 'UPDATED: To shred, or not to shred… / Khabi sentenced to minimum jail time/fine'»

Oilers ink Gagner to 2 year deal worth 2.275M per season

By , August 29, 2010 7:32 pm
Sam Gagner, drafted 6th overall at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft

Sam Gagner, drafted 6th overall at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft

Well, the wait for us fans is over.. Sam Gagner has been re-signed to a 2 year deal reportedly worth $2.275M per season. I really like this deal. If I’m not mistaken, Gagner will be arbitration elegible at the end of this deal, however he will still be a Restricted Free Agent. That also leaves the Oilers with $9.768M of cap space, including Studly Wonderbomb, and without any reached bonuses taken into account (about $6M cap space left if all bonuses are reached). I think we’re still sitting comfortably, compared to what we’re used to.

Sam Gagner has shown signs of improvement since his first year. He’s show flashes of greatness, between periods of cooling off. I’d expect this year to be a very good one for him, as he’s been challenged by Tambellini, and I think he’ll answer the call. I think also he’ll be given more Continue reading 'Oilers ink Gagner to 2 year deal worth 2.275M per season'»

Hemsky speaks on reasonable expectations for the rookies..

By , August 28, 2010 12:26 am
I predict 734 points for Hall this year, with 602 of those being goals..

I predict 734 points for Hall this year, with 602 of those being goals..

With the Khabibulin case casting a huge shadow over all things Oilers, it’s good to hear some positivity out there, and this positivity comes from none other than Ales Hemsky. But he also has a bit of a word of caution as well for fans.

Jim Matheson writes of Ales Hemsky quelling unreachable expectations by fans for the young players on this team. “Everybody is expecting they (the rookies) are going to light it up, but they don’t have to be perfect,” said Hemsky. “People expect 80 or 90 points, but it’s not easy in this league. People have to realize that. They will be good. Looking back, I don’t think I was ready when I was 19 or 20, physically or mentally, but everybody is different.”

I agree with Hemsky on this, and I’ve been saying it all along. Very few players Continue reading 'Hemsky speaks on reasonable expectations for the rookies..'»

Break it Down! – Defense (2010/11 Edition)

By , August 27, 2010 2:40 pm

So by googling Smid, look what I found. Apparently they're dating. Atta boy Smid!


Continuing on with my series of posts that break down the Oiler’s different areas, today we look at the defense.

Last year I mentioned how I thought that we had a really strong D-core, and how we had positioned ourselves going forward as well with lots of good youngsters. Well, there are 3 players that are the same. Note I am not including Souray, because he won’t be here (I think).
Continue reading 'Break it Down! – Defense (2010/11 Edition)'»

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