GOOD TEST FOR KRUEGER

Jason Gregor
February 07 2013 01:41PM

Coaches usually are graded on wins and losses. If you win, you're considered a good coach, if you lose more than you win, eventually you get fired. Of course there are other intangibles, but winning at the NHL level is the most important factor. With a young team like the Oilers, Krueger doesn't need to win right away, but he will need to make decisions and evaluations that will lead to more wins in the future.

His first good test will be how he handles Ryan Whitney.

Whitney hasn't been great, and he seems to be the new whipping boy of many fans. Regardless of how you view Whitney, it will be up to Krueger to try and get the most out of him.

Last night in OT, Jaromir Jagr beat Whitney in the corner which led to Jagr's OT winner. It was great shot and good play by a future Hall of Famer, but when you get beat one-on-one you are open for criticism.

You can see the goal again here. Just click on the blue arrow beside Jagr's goal.

If you look at the play you will see that it wasn't so much a lack of footspeed that hurt Whitney, but rather taking a bad angle to the puck. If Whitney attacks Jagr a half a foot to Whitney's right, then Jagr could have gone underneath him to the corner, rather than to the middle of the circle. If Jagr beats him down low, he doesn't have a shooting angle like he gained from going above Whitney.

It was a bad angle, and bad decision by Whitney. But getting beat by Jagr doesn't mean he is awful though. Click here and then click the blue arrow by Jamie Benn's goal. Watch Jagr fend off and beat Ladislav Smid one-on-one before giving the puck to Benn.

D-men will get beat one-on-one especially if they have to face a beast like Jagr.

The point with Whitney isn't about whether he made a bad play or not, it is whether he can return to being a consistent defender.

I don't know the answer, but Krueger can't afford to have the same mentality that many fans have right now. He can't just say Whitney sucks, put him in the pressbox and let him rot.

He could do that, but that would diminish any value Whitney has. There are teams interested in his services, but right now they all want to obtain him at a low return to the Oilers.

Maybe Whitney will never be the player he was prior to 2011.

Whitney has had seasons of 38, 59, 40 and 39 points and that incredible run of 27 points in 35 games for the Oilers in 2010/2011. But then he suffered another foot injury, and since then he hasn't been able to find his game.

It is easy to just write him off, but keep in mind how many Oiler fans, and pundits around the league, were saying the same thing about Ales Hemsky last season. Hemsky tallied 66 points in only 69 games during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and last year he only picked up 36 points in 69 games.

Many screamed he was disinterested, lazy and useless and his two-year contract extension was an awful decision. Hemsky was healthy enough to dress for those 69 games, but he wasn't as strong as he had been in the past and he wasn't confident in his abilities.

Hemsky is finally healthy again, and he's back to being an incredibly dangerous player.

I'm not saying it is a guarantee Whitney will return to the player he was pre-2011, in fact, because he had foot issues, it is probably a bigger risk, but I'm very curious to see how Krueger handles him.

The combination of footspeed issues and a lack of confidence is a deadly mixture for Whitney. A coach can't magically give a player confidence, but he will play a factor in helping him try to re-gain it. Krueger is a master motivator, and this will be a great test to see how he handles Whitney.

A player can't gain confidence sitting in the pressbox or just practicing. Outside of the top 1%, every player has lost their confidence at some point. The good ones find ways to avoid losing it for long periods, while some never find it again. I have no idea which path Whitney will skate down, but if the Oilers want to get any sort of return for him, they'd be better off supporting him, than just kicking him to the pressbox.

BALANCING ACT

How will Krueger balance trying to help Whitney, while also trying to win games? Can he do both?

The reality is the Oilers don't have many better options. Can we please stop suggesting that Taylor Fedun is a better option. His coach, Todd Nelson, said he isn't ready for the NHL yet. His footspeed isn't the same after shattering his leg last year, but he is getting better Nelson said. He also has zero NHL experience, and while he'd be a great feel-good story he is not a better option at this point.

Corey Potter is not a superior player either. The Oilers could play Potter ahead of Whitney, but will they be better long-term? I don't see how. They will de-value Whitney and then just lose him for nothing in the off-season.

At this point Krueger has to see if Whitney can get close to being the player he was before the last two seasons of serious foot issues. There is no guarantee he'll ever be that player again, but it might also be too early to just discard him.

Whitney will be Krueger's first tough decision, and how he handles him will show us a lot of how he thinks and acts as a head coach.

QUICK HITS

  • The Oilers re-assigned Mark Arcobello to OKC today, because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play on Saturday.  Anton Lander will get an MRI this afternoon, and if he can't go they might recall Chris Vande Velde.
     
  • Ben Eager is close to returning, and could play as early as Saturday according to Krueger. Where do you play him though? And when you activate him to the roster, who will they send down? Will they finally part ways with Darcy Hordichuk.
     
  • Magnus Paajarvi and Teemu Hartikainen have been getting better every game. Paajarvi is using his speed more often, he drew a penalty last night, and he is going to the net better. Hartikainen is a load down low, and once he learns to shake off the defender and go to the next more frequently he'll be a solid contributor.
     
  • Lennart Petrell is getting better at ES and on the PK and he's a great shot blocker. No way he comes out with Horcoff and Belanger on the sidelines.
     
  • Ryan Jones skated with a visor for the first time today. He said he has no set timeline, but he joked, "My feet are coming along great. Hands are what they were before, not great." I suspect he might be ready to play by the 16th. The Oilers play Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday before getting three days off. That gives Jones ten days to get his cardio up to speed.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 07 2013, 01:49PM
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Gregor, is there really a spot for Hordi on this team anymore? Find it really hard to see Prv or potentially Hartsi get sent down because of numbers when Hordi just isn't used.

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#2 Rocknrolla
February 07 2013, 03:35PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

The Oilers still need some jam in their top-six, because no one only scores pretty goals.

Hartikainen and Paajarvi are big bodies and they are getting better.

The Oilers will need to make some moves over the next 12-15 months to add more size and toughness who can play.

I've seen lots of positives so far this year, but their lack of overall team grit is still very apparent.

Hearing Brian Boyle might be available...healthy Scratch today.

I like that for size and toughness. 6-7, 245, faceoff 53%, fights, and hits...

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#3 Crooked
February 07 2013, 03:54PM
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What about signing Brett Clark to an NHL deal once he's gotten himself up to speed and into game shape? He's signed with OKC right now, has nearly 700 NHL games under his belt, can block shots, was relied upon to play almost 19 minutes a game last season in TB, can move the puck pretty well and is a lot more mobile that Whitney is right now, even at 36.

His numbers are badly skewed from last year, since Roli couldn't stop a beach ball in net, but he seems like an upgrade over Potter or Peckham at this stage, at least on paper.

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#4 RexLibris
February 07 2013, 02:02PM
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I've been really impressed with Petrell's play thus far. He seems to be making better decisions with the puck and his positioning looks better.

The addition of Jones, Horcoff and Belanger when they return might also help the 5v5 production by taking away some assignments and balancing out the roster.

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#5 GVBlackhawk
February 07 2013, 02:14PM
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I would ask Ralph Krueger the following:

If Ryan Whitney appears to be a defensive liability, why would you put him out there in overtime? Can't you get by using the top 4 guys alone...after all, it is only a 5 minute period. Finally, if you are so inclined on using Whitney, how does his pairing manage to end up on the ice against the opposition's top line when you are playing on home ice?

Benn and Jagr vs. Whitney and Potter was one of the most lopsided matchups that I have witnessed to this point in the season.

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#6 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 07 2013, 02:15PM
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Somehow Smid and Petry get by without getting and heat.

Always seems to be the bottom 6 forwards and bottom pairing d-men that take the heat. Maybe the guys that are actually suppose to do something should take the blame.

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#7 Old Retired Guy
February 07 2013, 02:36PM
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Rick wrote:

For as bad as Whitney was on that play, Dubnyk was worse.

It was a very stoppable shot, all Dubnyk had to do is not open up any holes.

Worse than Whitney???? How do you figure that?

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#9 Matt Henderson
February 07 2013, 03:05PM
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@Travis Dakin

He looked like a Pylon and all Jagr did was make a quick turn. Whether it's Whitney's inability to skate at a high level or a very poor positional decision it really doesnt matter. He was horrible in OT against the other team's best players.

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#10 Rob
February 07 2013, 06:41PM
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The faults listed above vis-a-vis Whitney have been discussed to death. Whitney will never have to worry about getting injured blocking shots. He is not likely to make any play that puts him in jeopardy.

The one thing that disturbs me is Whitney's attitude. He had the 'A' ripped off his sweater before the season started. That was because of attitude. What the coaches know and we can only speculate about is his how his physical conditioning and attitude inter-lock.

It's patently unfair to push Whitney's play and ultimate fate onto Krueger. Whitney looks to me to be uncoachable based his lame effort against Jagr that led to he game-winning goal last ight. That is not a one-of incident and everyone knows it.

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#11 Harlie
February 07 2013, 01:46PM
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Lack of footspeed and determination is what I see during our power plays. Particularly Gagner where he seems to stand straight up, pull his shoulders up and swing his arms like an orangutang (must be Trump's dad) and then ever so slowly makes his way back to our zone before he does his turn and then start winding up his speed.

He has done this the last couple of games and I have now seen the defenseman slowing up too much now and we have been pressured and have lost possession in our own zone because of this.

It looks bad, and it nets a bad result. I hope Krueger has noticed this.

Lastly, Whitney has looked utterly terrible.

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#12 Matt Henderson
February 07 2013, 01:53PM
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Whitney looked like a Pylon on that goal. Jagr is Jagr even at 40 years old, but all he did was make a sharp left turn and Whitney's jock was in the rafters (to steal a famous phrase).

One quick change of direction. I think it's safe to say that in 4x4 OT #6 shouldnt be out there. At least not until that mobility sorts itself out.

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#13 Mike Krushelnyski
February 07 2013, 01:56PM
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Gregor, from what you can see, why isn't this team winning? Is it a matter of some players needing to get up to speed or the young guys needing to mature a bit more?

The kids look a little snake-bitten around the net, but the only guys who have really been underperforming this season are Whitney, Potter and maybe Smytty.

On the other hand, the second line is killing it, J. Schultz is everything we hoped he would be, Petrell, Harski and Paajarvi have all been pleasant surprises and Dubnyk is playing way above expectations.

So the top 6 is fine, our top 4 D are playing at or above expectations, the bottom 6 has been better than expected and our goalie is standing on his head....but we're losing and getting outplayed.

Do you think it's a fundamental flaw in the way the team is put together? Has the team just not clicked into gear yet? Or is this just where the team is at until the young guys get another season or two under their belt?

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#14 oilerjed
February 07 2013, 01:56PM
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Seems to me that if Dallas hadnt been able to walk right through the neutral zone untouched that game might have ended much different. Yak had them penned up at their blue line and they looked unsure how to attack then Yak questionable decided to back off and go join the wall on the oil blueline. Would have been better off keeping the pressure on, he definetly has the speed to recover from a quick pass up ice, plus like I said there was the rest of the team there waiting anyway.

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#15 Simpsonite
February 07 2013, 01:57PM
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Has Paajarvi drawn a penalty every game he's been in? I think he has...or close to that. He's been pretty good. Played some good minutes last night.

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#16 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 01:58PM
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It's easy to judge Whitney when he looks like the weakest link out there, but really: if all things are status quo and we're complaining about Whitney, we're not in that bad of shape.

Everyone needs an outlet, Whitney is that guy right now.

I'm hopeful that Eager can step right back in and continue on with the play he showed in his first game of the year. He was excellent IMO. In terms of who goes back down, it is a tough call between Magnus or Harti. I feel like Magnus is making a huge push to re-Establish himself on the Oilers roster and being sent back to OKC could totally derail what he's doing here. Things are going his way and he's playing great, i want him to sustain it for a while so that it becomes his new norm regardless of what is thrown at him. Does that mean Harti should go down? At this point, i think his play style is less fragile than magnus' so i think i would decide to send him back to OKC over MPS.

This also frees up some ice time for Ben, so that Krueger can work his magic and get Ben performing to his potential.

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#17 Spydyr
February 07 2013, 02:01PM
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Whitney is just done.

Hope Mr.Dithers completes his assesment before the season is just done.

Like the past 6.

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#18 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 02:03PM
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@Mike Krushelnyski

All i can say is that:

1. We're getting to OT FAR more often, which implies insanely close games
2. our #1 line is totally snake bitten (as you say). When Eberle misses a 3/4 open net, you know the hockey gods are having a laugh at our expense. Eberle is awesome and those goals will start to go in.

Between Eberle and Nuge alone, the snake venom has cost us a few W's imo. The Oilers are on the fence right now. The slightest shift to either direction means the difference between a W and a L.

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#19 Eulers
February 07 2013, 02:06PM
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The best part if you watch the goal is you can hear one person say, "Whitney! C'mon!!!" and another go "ARGH!!!" right after the play. Hilarious!

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#20 bdiddy18
February 07 2013, 02:08PM
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double edged sword - you can try to give Whitney the time to rebound from injury and adjust his game and deal with the blunders in the meantime - could mean allowing a crucial goal against and a L ... or you can toss him aside ruining his possible trade value and allow another guy to pass him and rightfully so.

If everyone is to be held accountable then management and coaching staff must show it and let veterans sit for bad play as well as the young guns.

I agree that the injuries require adjustment and I'm fine with that. So if Jagr was streaming down the line on a partial breakaway and Whitney blunders falls and a goal is scored...sure ok that foot/speed issue - no problem. But piss poor marking and lack of protection of the zone in front of your net - that's poor defense - injury or not.

Also Kreuger might rein it in a little too - yes the kids need to learn and be present in every situation - but I bet he second guessed his choice to have Pajaarvi - Yakopov - Whitney - Potter on the ice for OT goal. Creative yes - hockey sense - No.

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#21 Shredder
February 07 2013, 02:17PM
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Saw Lander in my building today, really only an hour ago...he was wearing a boot and walking on crutches. He was waiting for a cab to pick him up, and he must have just had his MRI done at MIC. Wanted to say hi and thanks for being such a great hockey player, etc...but I was too nervous. I tell ya though, he is not a big man, tall maybe but not thick. It'll be good to see him in the lineup again soon.

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#22 Rick
February 07 2013, 02:22PM
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For as bad as Whitney was on that play, Dubnyk was worse.

It was a very stoppable shot, all Dubnyk had to do is not open up any holes.

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#23 Bonvie
February 07 2013, 02:27PM
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bdiddy18 wrote:

double edged sword - you can try to give Whitney the time to rebound from injury and adjust his game and deal with the blunders in the meantime - could mean allowing a crucial goal against and a L ... or you can toss him aside ruining his possible trade value and allow another guy to pass him and rightfully so.

If everyone is to be held accountable then management and coaching staff must show it and let veterans sit for bad play as well as the young guns.

I agree that the injuries require adjustment and I'm fine with that. So if Jagr was streaming down the line on a partial breakaway and Whitney blunders falls and a goal is scored...sure ok that foot/speed issue - no problem. But piss poor marking and lack of protection of the zone in front of your net - that's poor defense - injury or not.

Also Kreuger might rein it in a little too - yes the kids need to learn and be present in every situation - but I bet he second guessed his choice to have Pajaarvi - Yakopov - Whitney - Potter on the ice for OT goal. Creative yes - hockey sense - No.

I agree with the last statement about Whitney being on with Potter and the rookies in OT. I see his effort and positioning as more at fault then his mobility. Perhaps Krueger is still testing him to see if he can handle a little more at time then just his 5/6 spot.

Whitney has not been that good but he is still good enough to be a 5-6 guy. I guess my main concern is injuries in the top 4 are bound to happen at some point in the season possible even two of the four top dman may be injured. Do we have an answer for an injury to Petry, Smid, or N. Schultz? Is Fistric good enough to play in the top 4 for a period of time?

In the offseason the question is do we require a top 4 dman or will Whitney be able to regain that form. Although I will not be harsh enough to say Whitney is done, at this time it sure doesn't appear he can play on the top pairing or play paired with a a call up, such as a Fedun or Teubert.

Possibly Whitney can be traded with a prospect for an upgrade on Defense maybe back for Visnovsky, for a guy that will be playing the 5-6 roll but is capable of playing in the top 4 if needed. A guy that could also play with a call-up without having everyone of his mistakes resulting in goals. Or maybe they can target Tyler Myers for a long term solution with a bluckbuster and have one of their other veterans play the bottom pairing spot.

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#24 Old Retired Guy
February 07 2013, 02:33PM
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Rick wrote:

For as bad as Whitney was on that play, Dubnyk was worse.

It was a very stoppable shot, all Dubnyk had to do is not open up any holes.

From what I saw he was actually pretty good. He definitely was not the reason we lost. He made a lot of good saves.

As for the Shot....Jagr from 10 ft out...after surprising the D......not the easiest shot to stop....but I would agree...he's not to happy with that one.

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#25 Quicksilver ballet
February 07 2013, 02:38PM
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Think we're micro managing things here. Little matters how he handles Whitney. The bigger problem is how he handles our leaderless,gutless, heartless Oilers this season. Will a leader emerge before Krueger is forced to walk the plank. As a lifetime Oiler supporter it's difficult to throw those words around, but i felt they best described this struggling hockey club right now. 1 regulation win in 10 games for this soon to be sub .500 team.

They're not able to impose their will on any team right now, and you take the game from the middle to the boards and the Oilers are toast.

It would be man vs boys if this team had to go into Boston or Philly this weekend. Parachute 6 rage riders onto this club for petes sake. Starting to feel like i could give most of these guys a go.

Patience my arse, lets kill sumfin NOW!

....goes back to watching Braveheart.

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#26 Old Retired Guy
February 07 2013, 02:40PM
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Old Retired Guy wrote:

Worse than Whitney???? How do you figure that?

sorry.....your saying....."on that play"...gotcha.

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#27 Travis Dakin
February 07 2013, 02:42PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Whitney looked like a Pylon on that goal. Jagr is Jagr even at 40 years old, but all he did was make a sharp left turn and Whitney's jock was in the rafters (to steal a famous phrase).

One quick change of direction. I think it's safe to say that in 4x4 OT #6 shouldnt be out there. At least not until that mobility sorts itself out.

Look closer, that "quick turn" for Whitney would have had to be a complete 180 in a split second. Gregor is right.

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#28 BigE91
February 07 2013, 02:43PM
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Whitney didn't play in the lockout, it's taking some time for him to get back up to speed.

In the meantime trade Peckham for Steckel and get some help down the middle.

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#30 kawi460
February 07 2013, 02:49PM
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IMO they don't have enough of a physical forecheck besides Harti (PRV is starting to) but they need to punish the opposing teams defenders. If they are going to dress Hordichuk and not use him, they may as well of kept macintyre. Personally I'd like to see someone that can play and that is a willing scrapper. Sestito looks good on philly, but i wouldn't mind getting a AHL guy like Mashinter, Stewart, or Maroon to try and fill that hole.

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#31 geoilersgist
February 07 2013, 02:53PM
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@Rick

~That sir is an absolutely brilliant idea for the goalie.~

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#32 Old Retired Guy
February 07 2013, 02:54PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Think we're micro managing things here. Little matters how he handles Whitney. The bigger problem is how he handles our leaderless,gutless, heartless Oilers this season. Will a leader emerge before Krueger is forced to walk the plank. As a lifetime Oiler supporter it's difficult to throw those words around, but i felt they best described this struggling hockey club right now. 1 regulation win in 10 games for this soon to be sub .500 team.

They're not able to impose their will on any team right now, and you take the game from the middle to the boards and the Oilers are toast.

It would be man vs boys if this team had to go into Boston or Philly this weekend. Parachute 6 rage riders onto this club for petes sake. Starting to feel like i could give most of these guys a go.

Patience my arse, lets kill sumfin NOW!

....goes back to watching Braveheart.

Hard to argue....(your list is leaderless, gutless, heartless) I think my list would be, lacking toughness, lacking grit/mean streak, lacking killer instinct

I think... 6 rage riders...and kill sumfin.....makes the point adequately.

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#33 kawi460
February 07 2013, 02:58PM
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what about potter? is he taken a stride back from last season? Rather give him PP time than Whitney. He has a bomb

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#34 GVBlackhawk
February 07 2013, 03:05PM
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BigE91 wrote:

Whitney didn't play in the lockout, it's taking some time for him to get back up to speed.

In the meantime trade Peckham for Steckel and get some help down the middle.

It has nothing to do with "getting up to speed". The guy can't skate -- he jumps in the air to make a tight turn. The extra time it takes to do that is an eternity in the NHL.

Time to face the facts: Whitney is not an effective NHL defenseman anymore. It's time fans and management came to terms with this. The team needs to upgrade the 5 & 6 defense position.

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#35 bwar
February 07 2013, 03:07PM
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I think its hard to argue that the fifth and sixth d-men have been struggling this year. I was under the assumption that we all knew this was going to be a problem since before the season started. For the Oilers I feel the solution to this problem is unfortunately time. Time for Klefbom, and hopefully another one of our D prospects, to get healthy and to get NHL ready.

Now as for the goal in question, what was Whitney doing on the ice in OT? Thats on Krueger. You put your players at a disadvantage and its going to cost the team. There is no way around that. If you think your worst players match up with the oppositions best players you are delusional.

As for the whole PVR/Harti discussion, I strongly believe that they deserve to be our third line. They add a dimension to the game than none of our other forwards are able to supply. They get in the corners, control the puck, control the play, and wear out the opposition. Our top six severely lack these abilities and having a third line that can change the pace and momentum of a game is a huge asset. It is very hard for me to come up with reasons to send these guys back to OKC but I'm sure Krueger will find some once Horcoff, Belanger and Jones get back to the lineup.

I would like to close out my comment by pointing out what Hordichuks role is on the roster but it seems to me that toughness isn't a quality most of you feel belongs in hockey.

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#36 MAC962
February 07 2013, 03:10PM
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bdiddy18 wrote:

double edged sword - you can try to give Whitney the time to rebound from injury and adjust his game and deal with the blunders in the meantime - could mean allowing a crucial goal against and a L ... or you can toss him aside ruining his possible trade value and allow another guy to pass him and rightfully so.

If everyone is to be held accountable then management and coaching staff must show it and let veterans sit for bad play as well as the young guns.

I agree that the injuries require adjustment and I'm fine with that. So if Jagr was streaming down the line on a partial breakaway and Whitney blunders falls and a goal is scored...sure ok that foot/speed issue - no problem. But piss poor marking and lack of protection of the zone in front of your net - that's poor defense - injury or not.

Also Kreuger might rein it in a little too - yes the kids need to learn and be present in every situation - but I bet he second guessed his choice to have Pajaarvi - Yakopov - Whitney - Potter on the ice for OT goal. Creative yes - hockey sense - No.

Good Point

In a 48 game season, the four that were on the ice probably should not have been. AT LEAST not all of them.

When Dallas returns next week, or are they just staying at the Beverly Crest ? lol we will be a little different.

Need that win in Motown Saturday, Damn if Calgary can win there surely to christ we have a good chance. Oil always give the wings a tough game.. Its the Jackets game that worries me more.

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#37 Will
February 07 2013, 03:15PM
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Kruger is doing an impressive job. All coaches talk about a system and buying into playing that system. Never have I seen the Oilers play this so called 'system' until this year. Kruger is all over every shift.

As for not winning, I don't know if you saw Yak's two posts last night, or Hall's weird through the legs thing when he could have just gone far side, or Eberle's wide open cage that went just wide, but it could have easily been a route last night.

Last year getting to overtime felt like a victory, this year getting to overtime feels like a loss for most games. That switch indicates things have changed on this team. I think we start seeing more regulation wins based on our stars beginning to capitalize on chances they are used to burying.

I really like Ganger's point streak and the whole second line in general. The top line looks like it's still adjusting to having to play the tough minutes. And finally Magnus has a role on the team he is excelling at: drawing penalties while not being a liability. That fourth line is a great addition. I'd say the vets as a whole are better than last year, and Dubnyk is playing pretty darn good.

Yes, our defence could still use an upgrade, and I think we will see that in the off season. But for now I am enjoying the overall improvement. There were a lot of questions marks coming into this year, and it looks like the only negative one might be Whitney's health. Not bad considering all the other what if's everywhere else.

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#38 GVBlackhawk
February 07 2013, 03:17PM
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bwar wrote:

I think its hard to argue that the fifth and sixth d-men have been struggling this year. I was under the assumption that we all knew this was going to be a problem since before the season started. For the Oilers I feel the solution to this problem is unfortunately time. Time for Klefbom, and hopefully another one of our D prospects, to get healthy and to get NHL ready.

Now as for the goal in question, what was Whitney doing on the ice in OT? Thats on Krueger. You put your players at a disadvantage and its going to cost the team. There is no way around that. If you think your worst players match up with the oppositions best players you are delusional.

As for the whole PVR/Harti discussion, I strongly believe that they deserve to be our third line. They add a dimension to the game than none of our other forwards are able to supply. They get in the corners, control the puck, control the play, and wear out the opposition. Our top six severely lack these abilities and having a third line that can change the pace and momentum of a game is a huge asset. It is very hard for me to come up with reasons to send these guys back to OKC but I'm sure Krueger will find some once Horcoff, Belanger and Jones get back to the lineup.

I would like to close out my comment by pointing out what Hordichuks role is on the roster but it seems to me that toughness isn't a quality most of you feel belongs in hockey.

I think 'toughness' in the traditional sense (i.e. fighter or goon) is not applicable to today's game. Functional toughness, however, is very important. I am referring to players who can play effective hockey in addition to standing in front of the net, going into the corners, hitting, blocking shots, and occassionally dropping the gloves when it is warranted.

More importantly, I think a team needs to be 'tough to play against'. What I mean by that is aggressive forechecking, tenacious backchecking, making it difficult on the opposition to get into the high-scoring areas (eg. the slot).

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#39 Quicksilver ballet
February 07 2013, 03:25PM
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Maybe we could try the assimilation method, like from the movie The Thing, no?.

To do list....

1)Taylor Hall absorbs Darcy Hordichuk.

2)Sam Gagner absorbs JF Jacques

3)Ryan Nugent-Hopkins absorbs Ben Eager

4)Bermuda triangle absorbs Horcoff

All of our cap issues would vanish.

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#40 bwar
February 07 2013, 03:27PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

I think 'toughness' in the traditional sense (i.e. fighter or goon) is not applicable to today's game. Functional toughness, however, is very important. I am referring to players who can play effective hockey in addition to standing in front of the net, going into the corners, hitting, blocking shots, and occassionally dropping the gloves when it is warranted.

More importantly, I think a team needs to be 'tough to play against'. What I mean by that is aggressive forechecking, tenacious backchecking, making it difficult on the opposition to get into the high-scoring areas (eg. the slot).

If Hordichuk is a scratch we have exactly ZERO guys who will drop the gloves and not get embarrassed. When Eager gets healthy then can start considering getting rid of Hordichuk. Another issue I have with everyone piling on Hordichuk is the fact that he really hasn't even been given a real chance. I mean what is his total TOI for the season? Maybe 5 minutes? If guys like Whitney and Potter have endless chance to go out there and screw up why can't Hordichuk get a couple as well? Last night he had several big hits before taking a stick in the face, he looked like he was skating fairly well, and his reward for this was a nice warm seat on the bench.

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#41 dessert1111
February 07 2013, 03:28PM
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While I agree Fedun isn't ready for the NHL, I think a few games to see what it's like would be good for development. I also am not certain that he isn't a better option this Whitney at this point, based not only on footspeed, but defensive miscues and stickhandling gaffes.

But I do agree that if they want to trade Whitney -- and I think they should -- they can't depreciate his value any further and need to try to put him in a place to succeed pronto so within the next 6 weeks his value reaches something higher than it is now.

So maybe not Fedun in for Whitney, but I think one more injury to the defense and Fedun gets a call, which by the look of things shouldn't be too far away.

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#42 bwar
February 07 2013, 03:28PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Maybe we could try the assimilation method, like from the movie The Thing, no?.

To do list....

1)Taylor Hall absorbs Darcy Hordichuk.

2)Sam Gagner absorbs JF Jacques

3)Ryan Nugent-Hopkins absorbs Ben Eager

4)Bermuda triangle absorbs Horcoff

All of our cap issues would vanish.

This has potential

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#43 Bucknuck
February 07 2013, 03:34PM
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On a good note:

Dubnyk is 10th in the league (of those with 200+ minutes played) for save percentage, and that includes the one period with 6 goals. I think the big question mark in goal is starting to go away.

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#44 Hammers
February 07 2013, 03:54PM
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@bwar

Hordichucks roll of toughness means nothing if you can't play the game . Actually my biggest question is on both Krueger & Tambellini and that's what I see, keeping him for about 3 minutes a game. This is probably the season to let Maggie & Harts play and decide if they are in fact 2/3rds of your 3rd line in 13/14 season . Most of us laymen seem to think so . Lastly we can't wait untill next year on Klefbom + + other young "D" and carrying 8 D is dumb. Potter or Peckham need to be waived . That allows Jones & Eager back and you have real competition for 3rd/4th line minutes.

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#45 GVBlackhawk
February 07 2013, 04:19PM
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bwar wrote:

If Hordichuk is a scratch we have exactly ZERO guys who will drop the gloves and not get embarrassed. When Eager gets healthy then can start considering getting rid of Hordichuk. Another issue I have with everyone piling on Hordichuk is the fact that he really hasn't even been given a real chance. I mean what is his total TOI for the season? Maybe 5 minutes? If guys like Whitney and Potter have endless chance to go out there and screw up why can't Hordichuk get a couple as well? Last night he had several big hits before taking a stick in the face, he looked like he was skating fairly well, and his reward for this was a nice warm seat on the bench.

Don't kid yourself...Hordichuk has been embarrassed on numerous occasions during fights. Why doesn't Hordichuk get more playing time? It is simple: When he is on the ice, the Oilers bleed scoring chances against. Moreover, he is prone to taking dumb penalties.

Give me MPS-Petrell-Hartikainen ANY day over Hordichuk and Eager(to get hurt).

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#46 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 07 2013, 04:24PM
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I don't think RK should be playing Whitney only, or primarily, to increase/stabilize his trade value.

That's not in his job description. He has to ice the best team possible. And, on some nights that means Whitney sits.

I don't think we should be so afraid of Whitney sitting. But I would like to see him never paired with Potter if possible.

Also, Fedun is not the answer. He needs more time in pro socks first.

We need another D, via trade or waiver. That's in ST's hands.

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#47 OilersBrass
February 07 2013, 04:35PM
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Not really Oilers related but if anyone was interested, Tim Thomas was just traded to the New York Islanders for a second round pick. Kinda crazy.

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#48 Probert
February 07 2013, 04:37PM
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My cousin in Toronto says sports radio has Tim Connolly coming to Edmonton, any truth to this ya think ?

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#49 bwar
February 07 2013, 04:39PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Don't kid yourself...Hordichuk has been embarrassed on numerous occasions during fights. Why doesn't Hordichuk get more playing time? It is simple: When he is on the ice, the Oilers bleed scoring chances against. Moreover, he is prone to taking dumb penalties.

Give me MPS-Petrell-Hartikainen ANY day over Hordichuk and Eager(to get hurt).

Same could be said for Yakupov, Whitney, Potter, and Hemsky, they've largely been defensive liabilities this year. Besides the dumb penalty Hordichuk took earlier in the year I haven't noticed this so called "bleeding" of scoring chances.

As things stand right now Oilers lack forward size and grit. Over the course of the season this will cost us games. The vikings offer a bit of grit but when things get ugly, and at some point this season they will, how will the Oilers respond?

Do you remember when Oilers had that Gretzky guy? Well they also had a guy named Semenko. And what did he do? Protected the talent. Every once in a while he took a shift or two with the top guns just to let everyone know that if they messed with Gretzky they answered to him. Without a presence like that this team will get bullied, our top players will get hurt and yet the fans will still refuse to see the value of a guy like Hordichuk.

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#50 Stephen Craig
February 07 2013, 04:39PM
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I would just like to bring up the fact that Hall was incredible in the face off circle on the PP. Would anyone else agree that by putting him in the C position rather then bringing up a Rookie would be a better course of action? Not to mention you have J Cheechoo in OKC. We need to split up the scoring units to be more of a threat in this league. Im just speculating but i dont see why this wouldnt be an option

Eberle - Hall - Hartikainen Yakupov - Gagner - Hemsky Pajarvi - RNH - Cheechoo Petrell - Belanger - Smyth

just saying. Cause i dont believe that RNH is a Capable First line center at the moment in time. He needs to get his Face off Percentage up.

I just cant Believe no one has brought up the fact that Hall was a beast last night. I think he could be a first line center man no problem. His Speed..size..passion.

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