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08-19-2013, 09:50 AM
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Location: Waterloo Ontario
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Originally Posted by Sheeshta View Post
The point I was trying (poorly) to make re: the kids getting better isn't whether or not the team will be better if all of the kids improve: it will be, though how much better is a question. I'm saying that it's massively unlikely that that actually, you know, happens. There are a bunch of ifs going into next season:

If Nuge returns to form after surgery
If the Hall at centre experiment works well enough to get the team through an unbelievably tough October schedule that they're not in a five game hole by Nov. 1
If J. Schultz manages to better his offensive output while improving his atrocious defence and doesn't sophomore slump
If Yak manages to improve his offensive output while improving his atrocious defence and doesn't sophomore slump
If Eakins is an actual NHL coach
If the Oilers brass are sudden geniuses and Joensuu, Hamilton, Grebeshkov and Belov are actually all NHL players somehow
If Gordon is the real deal and not a product of playing in PHX & with David Moss

then everything is great in Oilers town. However:

If Hall goes down again in classic Hall fashion
If Nuge goes down again or struggles for the first 20 games back
If Smyth regresses even further
If Hemsky disappears entirely in a 3rd line sulk
etc. etc.

then we're right back where we started. You can't just expect all of the positive ifs to happen and none of the negatives. I mean, you can, sure, but I'll think you're weird.
Yakupov's "atrocious defense" was actually not an issue over the last 15-20 games. By that point he was back checking hard. blocking shots, actually seemed to know what he was doing. From March 13th onwards he was +8 despite the team being a disaster for much of that period.

Yakupov is very coachable he'll be fine defensively if he is asked to be.

J. Schultz will also be better I would expect. (N. Schultz too I believe). He had his moments in OKC but on the whole was very good down there. He really seemed to struggle with Krueger's system. But he was far from alone in that regard.

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