Tuesday, October 06, 2015
The boy and I headed up north last week to help my old man close down camp. We were relatively lucky with the weather, it dropped below freezing at night but there was no rain and the wood stove kept the cabin warm into the night, so much so that early on I was kicking the blankets off. Come the dawn though we were bundled up and there was about a half hour between getting out of bed and the fire roaring again that was a little uncomfortable. You know, because IT WAS BELOW FREEZING!!!! Dad was planning on staying up for a few days after we left but the cold convinced him that it was time to wrap it up.
So we worked pretty hard. Much like some reporters you know we hauled water and chopped some wood *rim shot* but mostly we were breaking things down and storing them for the winter. The boy works like Marian Hossa and so while my Dad and I were hauling the big stuff he kept asking 'now what do I do?' and I would give him a chore and ten minutes later he would be back. That work ethic skipped a generation in our family so that's great because he is sure to be a success and can take care of me when I am riding off into the sunset.
All in all it was really terrific. Dad will be 84 next June and he's slowing down a little bit, we weren't cutting down trees to make a new dock like we did when he was 80. Him and Mom know that every year may be their last up by the lake but damn it they are going to go there as long as they can. They're going out with their boots on, it's the only way to be.
Camp wrapped up for the Oilers and the biggest takeaway for me is that for the most part the men in charge know what they are doing. Underachieving veterans were farmed out, youngsters were sent down for more seasoning and the team looks like it is close to the best team they could ice except for fucking Luke Gazdic oh man.
I just don't get it.
To me Draisaitl has to play and play a lot so I have no issue with him going down instead of Gazdic but I'd rather have Miller or Pitlick, they're not going to wither on the vine in the pressbox and they are both guys who can play on the fourth line and be useful.
Anyhow on to more important matters.
Scrivens and The Goalers
I like Ben Scrivens because he seems like a well spoken dude and he's involved in the community but he was awful last year and there's no way around it. My guess is he bounces back, he's no Dubnyk who was a good starter before he went off the rails but he has always been a solid backup. You knew when they brought Nilsson in that he was in trouble, I mean real trouble, and the latter's solid preseason spelled the end of Scrivens in Edmonton, probably for good.
As for the goaltending well I like it but then again I thought last year was a decent bet as well so shows what I know about goaltending (very little). Personally I think you blow your wad on guys like Price and Rask and very few others and would not spend a lot of money on either Quick or Crawford, who have won four of the last five Cups, two guys who are imo slightly above average and way overpaid. Anyhow I think Talbot is a good bet and I hope he works out because this whole season getting sewered by Halloween because of dreadful goaltending is getting old.
Oh Nikita You'll Never Know
Other than the Jeff Petry failure I can't think of a move that screams 'Edmonton Oilers of the last decade' like the Nikita Nikitin disaster. Penner and Souray were dumb because of the timing and we knew Big Sexy would get hurt but they provided surprising value. We knew Khabibulin was a bad move but he wasn't completed washed up yet and Whitney was another one you could see coming but before he went all Barbaro he showed what might have been.
God this is a long list.
Belanger was actually a good bet who just didn't work out, Lupul turned out to be an actual NHLer at least, Sam Gagner was ruined by the Oilers but he was drafted where he should have been, give or take a spot, Ference got too much term but was a top four Dman on a Cup Finallist the spring he was signed. And at least they didn't extend Nick Schultz. We figured Cam Barker to be a bust for sure but hey one year and done and you never know. Etc etc etc.
But the only saving grace for old Niki Niki is that the cost to acquire him was minimal. But how horrible do you have to be at your job to trade for a guy who can barely make the roster of a very bad EASTERN CONFERENCE team and then, and then, oh man I can barely stand it, and then give him a two year deal that makes him your highest paid defenceman. All while you lowball a guy who went on to be an actual playoff team's second best Dman right off the hop.
And then he shows up out of shape.
Now what Chiarelli should have done is walk in this summer and asked who was responsible for Nikita and then he should have gone Alec Baldwin on them, no steak knives, you are gone. What a disaster.
The Oilers, like a lot of teams that make a lot of mistakes, there is a reason they've been really bad for a long time remember, now have Scrivens and Nikitin in the minors and Ference eating popcorn. Could be worse though, they could be the Flyers.
Luke, Luke, I Am Your Father, Here's a Quarter, Get The Hell Out of My House
I have no idea why Gazdic is on this roster. No idea. There are so few dancing bears left, none of the good teams employ them and Hendricks, Klinkhammer and Gryba can take care of the pests. Hell the first two guys can actually play hockey, the jury is still out on Gryba. And if a guy is going to take a run at McDavid Gazdic in the pressbox isn't deterring him.
Say it with me now. When Marc Savard had his career ended Milan Lucic was on the ice with him.
I don't fucking get it. Folks say the little things don't matter but the Canucks just lost a 22 year old RH Dman because they screwed up little things.
You can't give the other guy an edge. At all.
Schlippy Schleppy Schlip Schlup
The Slepyshev thing came out of left field a bit but the guy is not a rookie pro and he put up some good numbers in limited ice time in a good league. If the Oilers are ever going to get anywhere they need guys like this and Yakimov and Chase to come out of nowhere. If he can be a top nine or even *gasps* a top six guy it just opens up so much for the club. Suddenly you have the depth, you don't have to rush guys who aren't ready, you have the ability to move a guy to fix an area of need. Up front there is so much to like about this club. You have depth guys in the AHL plus a guy in Draisatl who could probably play top nine, maybe top six, in a sheltered role. You have guys like Lander and Letescu and Purcell who can slide up the lineup. There's a lot to like. Now about that D ....
The Damn D
The D is going to be the shoal that wrecks this ship again, the club hasn't had a good blue since they shipped out Lubo and exiled Souray. We can hope and hope some more but the reality is that until Nurse is ready and / or they move a kid forward for quality top pairing blue we will be on the outside looking in. The West is mental though luckily for the Oilers they are in the weaker division. That said they are probably looking at maybe 10th in the conference if everything breaks for them. Not ready yet.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:26 PM