Oilers waive Ben Eager… my thoughts…

By , March 13, 2013 10:37 am
If he did more of this, he'd still be here..

If he did more of this, he’d still be here..

I like this.

Wait, the pessimists will say that the Oilers are losing an asset for nothing, and they will hate this. “Why did we sign him just to waive him?” I will definitely grant that. But we gave it a shot with Eager. I like that we tried. When we first got him, he was a hockey player.. and the guy we were looking for. He could skate fast (still does) and was a willing combatant and worked hard. That seems to have dropped off a cliff. He doesn’t seem to be at all helpful to the team anymore. He did fight once this year, but it’s starting to become clear that for whatever reason, he isn’t interested in that role. He’s not protecting his teammates anymore, and Mike Brown has come in and robbed him of his job.

Mike Brown has been doing all the things we could expect of him. He’s played with a lot of energy, already drawn a couple penalties, gotten into two scraps, PKed a small bit, gotten himself a goal, and one of his drawn penalties led to a PP goal (can’t remember if the one last night did too). He is exactly what I’d hoped for. He’s made Ben Eager completely unnecessary. A lot of people hated that we picked up Mike Brown, but the way I saw it, we were picking up a guy to replace Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager, and I think we did that perfectly.

Now I don’t want to rag on Ben Eager too much. Enforcer is absolutely the hardest role in hockey. I don’t know why he has stopped being that guy to stand up for teammates. My best guess is that the concussions he’s suffered have played a big part, and for that I feel bad for him, if it’s true. I don’t think he’s become soft, or a pansy or anything like that.. something is holding him back other than him just wanting to turn into a scorer, I believe (which isn’t going to happen). So I wish him best of luck, but I hope he is claimed on waivers. That will bring the Oilers down to 48 contracts, and be a good move in trimming more fat from this team.

Next goals by deadline day: move Ryan Whitney, Eric Belanger, and (sorry Steve-O) Ales Hemsky for better parts.

Oilers 4, Avalanche 0 – Game 26 – 2013-03-12 @ 7:00 PM MST – SNETW

By , March 12, 2013 9:05 am
-={ Puttin’ On The Foil Presents… }=-
GDT - Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche
logo at logo
9-11-5 Record 10-10-4
Location: Pepsi Center
Date: March 12, 2013 @ 7:00PM MST
TV: SNETW

PRE-GAME RANT

34 points in 32 games. That’s how many Sam Gagner has, career vs. the Avalanche, and why he has the blessing of being in the perennial Avalanche game day pic. Sam Gagner always seems to come alive vs. the Avalanche (his best opponent) and the Oilers generally have good success vs. them too. They are 2-1-0 vs. them so far this year, with the last one being a 6-4 win.

The Avalanche will be a much better team tonight, however, because, unlike the last game, they’ll have Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Erik Johnson and Ryan Wilson back in the lineup. Some of you may recall we just set a franchise record in this last game vs. the Avalanche in which we peppered Varlamov with 56 shots on goal. The return of some decent talent should help their cause.

I’d imagine after a big win in Chicago there won’t be much of a lineup change, if any… perhaps Ryan Jones will slot back in. I don’t see much else for change.

Steve Smith mentioned that the reason the Oilers juggled their d-pairings was because Justin Schultz was starting to show some fatigue. This is to be expected, as this is getting to that extended-season point for him, having played College for a while where they have a rather short season (often under 40 games played). Justin Schultz has already racked up 59 games played so far this season. I’d imagine in College he played a lot of minutes, but he’s played 22:23 of ice time per game on average, which puts him 1st overall in average ice time for Oilers. He’s eating up the ice time, and it’s expected he will tire a bit. He’ll adjust to this much longer schedule though down the road.

I would assume Devan Dubnyk will start in this one again. He was relieved by Yann Danis in the last game after Teemu Hartikainen crashed into him. Dubnyk had his neck cranked hard on the play and had a bit of a stinger going. The Oilers took him out for precautionary reasons even though he could have gone. This I like to hear… the Oilers are a bottom feeding team again.. no need to risk worse injury. On that note, they are also playing it safe with Mark Fistric who probably could be back today. They at least will be able to delay a roster cut decision at least another game while Fistric sits. Hopefully no one is added to the sick bay after today.

I predict a much better game for the Avalanche this time around.. could be a tough one. Which Oilers team will we see? Who knows. I would bet money that it will be the good one though.
Continue reading 'Oilers 4, Avalanche 0 – Game 26 – 2013-03-12 @ 7:00 PM MST – SNETW'»

Oilers 6, Blackhawks 5 – Game 25 – 2013-03-10 @ 5:00 PM MST – SNETW

By , March 10, 2013 12:03 pm
-={ Puttin’ On The Foil Presents… }=-
Gagner with one of many points that night
logo at logo
8-11-5 Record 21-1-3
Location: United Center
Date: March 10, 2013 @ 5:00PM MST
TV: SNETW

PRE-GAME RANT

The Oilers face the Blackhawks again tonight for the second time on this grueling road trip. This, thankfully, is the second last game of the road trip. In the first game of this road trip, the Oilers managed to take the Blackhawks to overtime in a game that probably looked closer on the scoresheet than it really was. The Oilers were outworked in this one, much like the rest of the road trip. But the Blackhawks are one hell of a team this year, as we all know. So I don’t feel too bad about that one. The game vs. Dallas, the Oilers were quite good, however (although this also was probably closer than the score led on). I have hopes that they can return to that form tonight.

The Oilers should have a boost tonight. They get 3 players back from injury: Ales Hemsky, Teemu Hartikainen and Shawn Horcoff. Horcoff should provide a bit boost to this team, as even the haters are starting to realize what he brings to the table. He also held an all players meeting with the team to rally the troops. So let’s hope that works. A lot of people who seem to know everything about everything (especially the things they can’t even see) have questioned Horcoff’s leadership. Here are some fine, recent quotes from players in support of Horcoff:

“You see what he brings when he’s out. He’s a guy who does everything so well and he really is an emotional leader for this team with his worth ethic and his compete,” said Sam Gagner. “He competes and battles better than anybody. We’ve missed him.”

“It’s really unfortunate,” said Gagner. “You can’t just look at numbers and jump to a conclusion. The way Horc plays, he lifts everyone on our team. At the end of the day, you have to play the way he plays if you’re going to expect to win in this league. He battles for loose pucks, he wins those battles. He’s in the right position all the time.”

“He wears the C for a reason,” said Ryan Jones. “It’s funny. When I first came here, I didn’t realize how much grief he got and I never really understood it. He’s the first guy in the locker room, the last guy to leave. He’s the hardest working guy on this team.” (this one to me is embarrassing… our fans are the laughing stock of the NHLPA, I’m sure)

I can dig deeper.. these are new quotes.. but really, there is zero indication that any leadership issue here. That said, there are some mighty stupid fans here that do everything from blaming our standings on Devan Dubnyk (since apparently it’s now a goalie’s job to score goals / shoot the puck) to the 4th coach in 5 years, to pretty much everything. My advice is to shut your french fry hole and go back to whatever it is you do when it’s game time. I would currently trade this city’s fans for Nashville fans. At least the ones that are the loudest there support the team. This team is frustrating to watch right now, but throwing guesses out there as to what is the problem and ragging on players is counterproductive and likely to get even worse results. I believe I’m preaching to the choir in these parts, however.

Moving on! Sounds like the lines will be shuffled today, again. Bob Stauffer had a guess at what the lines would be, so I’ve put them below.

Continue reading 'Oilers 6, Blackhawks 5 – Game 25 – 2013-03-10 @ 5:00 PM MST – SNETW'»

Oilers 0, Predators 6 – Game 24 – 2013-03-08 @ 6:00 PM MST – SNETW

By , March 8, 2013 12:53 pm
-={ Puttin’ On The Foil Presents… }=-
GDT - Edmonton Oilers at Nashville Predators
logo at logo
8-10-5 Record 9-9-5
Location: Bridgestone Arena
Date: March 8, 2013 @ 6:00PM MST
TV: SNETW

PRE-GAME RANT

If the Oilers had as much consistency at playing the game as I do at making GDT, we would be a much better hockey team. I’m not sure why I still do these.. ;)

Anyways, Chris Vande Velde got sent back down. Definitely needed this… he hasn’t really accomplished much. I don’t consider him a bad player, I consider him much like the rest of our bottom six, however…. existing just for the purpose of killing time and hopefully not leaking any goals. That has to change! The Oilers need some players that are tough to play against. They need guys that will give their all every shift, but also score some goals when the skill lines can’t do it.

I hope Yakupov makes a return to our top six.. this time without being at the cost of Paajarvi who has looked at home on the top six again, alongside Gagner. Ales Hemsky is out with a bruised foot after blocking a shot from Jacob Kindl. Yakupov still looks good when he is in an offensive situation with the puck on his stick. In a defensive situation, he looks fairly terrible when the puck is on his stick. That will change one day though, so I am not worried.. just mentioning it.

In conclusion, this team is an embarrassing mess.. no matter what lines we slap together, it will stay that way. We need a healthy Horcoff, and we need some better glue players. And we also need a general manager who realizes that you are allowed to make moves during the course of a season. Other teams do it.

Should be another stinker.. I’ll still watch though being the masochist I am.
Continue reading 'Oilers 0, Predators 6 – Game 24 – 2013-03-08 @ 6:00 PM MST – SNETW'»

Oilers at Red Wings – Game 23 – 2013-03-07 @ 5:30 PM MST – SNETW

By , March 7, 2013 11:16 am
-={ Puttin’ On The Foil Presents… }=-
GDT - Edmonton Oilers at Detroit Red Wings
logo at logo
8-9-5 Record 11-8-4
Location: Joe Louis Arena
Date: March 7, 2013 @ 5:30PM MST
TV: SNETW

PRE-GAME RANT

OK, here’s a stupid fun fact for the day.. Ray Emery has started less than half of the games for Chicago this year. His wins alone would put the Hawks just 1 point shy of the Oilers. He has 10 wins, Oilers have 8. Oh how horrible are we?

There has been a lot of talk out there lately about all sorts of different plans to fix this team. Some of them have been OK, but many of them have been completely ludicrous. Some people are questioning the Yakupov draft decision.. OK, I get that, but do you honestly think Ryan Murray would have saved this team? Galchenyuk? Things would really be no different. He’s got some issues.. I’d say oddly his decisions WITH the puck are the more concerning ones than without. But that will be remedied in time as he adjusts to the NHL game. Some are also question The Nuge draft. That I just can’t even fathom. I’m not sure I should even address those crazies, so, moving on. Jordan Eberle.. I’ve seen his name in trade rumors. Oh lord… I honestly just don’t understand people. The young players are really the only thing going right for this team right now. It could be better for them at times, for sure, especially The Nuge (offensively). But they are doing really well, and guess what.. they’re playing all sorts of minutes and situations. They aren’t being sheltered (maybe in zone starts, a bit), and they’re looking quite good while playing top competition. So am I worried about them? Nope.

Now, our bottom six, this is a completely different story. This has always been flakey. I had hoped that the more recent additions in the past couple of years would help this team out (ex. Ben Eager and Eric Belanger), but really they aren’t to the level I’d expect. In Eric Belanger’s case, he’s been worked hard. This is a guy though that put up pretty solid boxcar stats with the Coyotes.. and the fucking Wild of all teams! You’d think he could pot a few goals here and there, but he isn’t. I think a lot of it has to do with the same thing that dragged Horcoff down.. he’s being heavily relied on for the hard minutes. Far more often than not, he starts his shifts in the defensive zone. At the same time, I don’t know if he ever had hands before, but he makes Horcoff look like Evgeni Malkin.

I’ve mentioned before too that I do not like our Nordic like as an NHL line.. yet. They haven’t been together in a while, due to injury, but right now I’d prefer them in the minors. Now Paajarvi, on the other hand, seems to have some confidence going now that he’s in the top six. I don’t mind him as a top six guy, if he finds his confidence. As a bottom six guy though, as I’ve said before, I just think he’s just like anyone else in our bottom six – buying time until the top lines our rested. That needs to be remedied. We need some guys in there that are going to contribute. Ryan Jones is really the only one in there, save for Horcoff, that I’m concerned about hanging on to.

Anyways, slight change of the bottom six tonight, as Eager is scartched. Smyth will play with Yakupov and Belanger. Jones and Brown will play on a line centered by Vande Velde.

Continue reading 'Oilers at Red Wings – Game 23 – 2013-03-07 @ 5:30 PM MST – SNETW'»

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