Archive for June, 2013

Draft Fever…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2013 by thebiggestmanintheworld

As we wait for the start of game two, Oilers fans can be found deep into draft lists, searching over for their next saviour. The draft will always be a special time for Oilers fans. We got our first looks at Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov in Oiler colours there. We found out how it feels to be first in something, which, despite the merits of the accomplishment, felt pretty darn good. If you are going to suck, and believe me the Oilers sucked big time, getting players like those as a result eases the pain considerably. Now for the first time in three years, the Oilers don’t get to the podium first. I’m a little uneasy to begin with, because first of all, our scouts have a much tougher task picking at 7 than 1, and now, our GM comes in firing people, talking about ‘bold’moves and being impatient and all that jazz. WTF? The Oilers will have enough trouble if Nishishkin drops to them, let alone if the Radish trades the pick for a player and late first rounder (cough*Buffalo*cough). Should be some fun. Then again, they could go and take Darnell Nurse too. Nice pick, but doesn’t give me a reason to light these fireworks…..

If the Oilers keep the pick (smart move), I think they’ll take a center. There are just too many high-end ones in this top ten to pass on. Here’s my top ten….

1) J Drouin-LW

2) N MacKinnon-C

3) S Jones-D

4) S Barkov-C

5) E Lindholm-C

6) V Nichushkin-LW

7) S Monahan-C

8) D Nurse-D

9) R Ristolainen-D

10) B Horvat-D

Now, this probably looks nothing like a credible draft list. I have said before, the jobs that scouts do is incredible. The amount of work and effort to actually do this job properly is just astronomical. I mean, how do you tell some of these kids apart on the ice? How do you project them, and what they will be in five years? Tough gig. My list is based on the limited stuff I have read. My live viewings of any of these players should be stricken from the record,and thanks to the Rexall Heroin Beers, it usually is. I did get to a couple of Oil Kings games, including the first round clincher against the Hat (OT WIN BABY!), but, small sample size and all….

Given my list, I still don’t see Monahan on the board at 7. The Oilers would love him, but so would Calgary. Nyuk, nyuk….Lindholm is a name I could see slipping a bit, and I would love to add him. My worry is if the guy the Oilers are targeting isn’t there, they trade down. If they target Monahan, and he’s gone by 7, maybe the Oil call Buffalo, offer the 7th for Sekara+21? They get a legit top 4 dman, and a late first. MacT was very clear he has numerous kids he really likes in the first round range, so I take that as a tell he would be okay with doing something like that. I am getting very jacked up for this draft….

The NHL is a funny league. Why exactly there was a two day break between the first two games and not the split, is beyond me. Now after one of the best series openers in recent memory, fans have to wait what feels like weeks for game two. Thanks Gary. This guy must have been a dealer in university, because he sure knows how to tweak the interest level and get a guy jonesing for his product…..

I`ll take fifty worth….

 

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The Big Fish…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2013 by thebiggestmanintheworld

The Boston Bruins face the Chicago Blackhawks starting Wednesday night. For two teams as old as the NHL itself, these two teams having never faced each other seems a bit far-fetched. True, though. I, for one, never thought I would ever see anything happen for a first time between two original six teams. Pretty cool to be able to watch, especially with two teams as good as they are. My thoughts have been drifting to what will happen after the Finals, however. With the world being turned upside down in Oilerland, things look to be shaping up to be quite interesting. I wonder…..

If the Bruins win, that will be two Cups in three years. With the cap going down, and some big players due for raises, does winning change their reluctance to part with Milan Lucic? The big winger is due for a substantial raise come next year, and is exactly what the doctor order for the “small, skilled” Oilers. If Hemsky and Horcoff are dealt with, that frees up just over 10 million dollars in cap space. It could happen, as the Oilers have the picks and prospects to do it, but the question is would the Bruins? I would think not, seeing as how big a role Lucic plays on the B’s. But does their organizational view change if they win again? Does it make it easier to trade the big winger, who has already become the prototypical power-forward and is just 25 years old? Maybe. I’d like to think so, because personally, I think Lucic is one of the biggest game changers out there. I wonder if David Krejici likes the room he gets when Milan is on his wing? How good would a second line of Lucic-Gagner-Yakupov look? Pretty good in my eyes. All that being said, the package would have to be pretty enticing for Chiarelli to bite, but with the way MacTavish is going, he might just trade away the Gretzky statue to get what he wants. The Bruins have Nathan Horton going UFA and I can`t see them resigning him( if they keep Lucic, anyway). Concerns with concussions, but skillset sorely needed here, I wonder what he would cost. Unlike Lucic, it would just be money, not players.  Interesting, indeed…

If the Blackhawks take the Cup, does it make the Oilers think twice about how  they build this team? A lot of people thought Chicago would be one and done after shipping out half of their team after their cup three years ago. Trading away pieces like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, and others should have crippled the Hawks. The 2013 version though, looks just as strong, if not better, than the 2010 Blackhawks. The drafting of the Hawks has just been outstanding, and for a long time, as well. Even with the huge misses they made, like Cam Barker and Jack Skille, they were still able to pull out several useful players, that has been restocking the team for years. Guys like Brian Bickell, Andrew Shaw, Dave Bolland, and Marcus Kruger are the kind of depth most teams are looking for, and all were drafted by Chicago. Pretty nice to not have to buy those pieces in free agency, like the Oilers. Conveniently enough, Viktor Stalberg and Brian Bickell are set to be UFA this offseason, and are on the Oilers radar. Both offer a set of skills the Oil are lacking, but I have some concerns with both players. Bickell is on an absolute tear in the post season,scoring at a ridiculous clip. Every good game he has is going to drive up the price, and while I like Bickell, I don`t think he`ll deliver on the contract he will get. Stalberg is a little more intriguing, but the advanced stats say he needs to be sheltered, and I don`t think that is the type of player Edmonton needs.We have enough players that can`t play tough comp right now. I believe both will be heavily considered for the Oil, but my money is on Stalberg in Oil silks come September. Wait and see, I guess…..

I wonder if the OKC Barons will look a little different come training camp this fall. After the change in coaching up on th ebig club, if I was Todd Nelson, I would start getting my stuff packed, just in case. Nelson has done nothing short of a fantastic job in OKC, but I believ his coaching philosophy is different from MacT`s as well. Nelson was gifted the Golden Kids, sans Yakcity, and did not look that good. Once the kids left, and he got his roster back, the Barons turned around and shot up th estandings. Making it to the conference finals two years in a row is a big accomplishment in the AHL,considering the constant turnover and changing rosters. I would have to assume, however, Nelson might be more suited to coach a blue collar type team, like a Nashville or Phoniex , than an up tempo team like the Oilers. If MacT wants the two clubs on the same page, he`s going to need a coach that pushes the play like Eakins wants to. I don`t think thats Nelson. I hope he stays, because I don`t mind the results he has put up, but its not like a lot of the young prospects are flourishing either. Interestign to see what happens there….

After listening to the MacT`s presser and Kruger`s interview, I can`t imagine how hard it was for MacTavish to do what he did. Ralph Kruger oozes class, even over the phone. He seems incredibly bright, and I would wager he`s the type of coach that would look over last year, and fix his systems mistakes. Unfourtunatley, we`ll never know, but I really hope he gets work in the NHL so we can see how he would do with a real NHL roster. Good luck Ralph. All the best.