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It's the same old Song for Jani Rita.

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10-04-2003, 01:08 PM
Behind Enemy Lines
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IMO it is quite premature to suggest training camp chemistry translates into regular season success. Everyone's favourite target Dan Cleary will speak to that. This time is about player evaluation and I would rather see the club experiment to see and evaluate how individual players perform. Build chemistry with your top lines for sure, but I have no problem whatsoever with management moving Rita or other fringe players around to see how they adapt and perform. Now if this line juggling continues (again) into the regular season, I will have a problem.

imo this camp and management statements going back to last year's AHL playoffs are a call-out for Rita to bring a consistent, committed and passionate approach to each and every game. That is what MacTavish and Lowe themselves brought to the table. It is this intangible that the Oiler team needed to learn to become Cup Champions.

I didn't really see coming into camp that it would be Rita vs. Torres. Very different players and roles to play on this club. One key difference is that intangible to play hard and passionate on every shift. I personally think Rita will jump over Pisani and onto the third-line wing position (which may or may not happen quickly). It is really a question will Rita remain a third-line depth guy or work to become a top player in this league. And this is his destiny to control.

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10-04-2003, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Pudge89
I think one reason why the Oilers are hesitant to trade Rita, other then the possible return, is need. Other than a goalie at the AHL level, the current Oilers roster is pretty deep. We aren't going to trade Jani for another forward, because as this post has stated, we are overly deep there. We have Bergeron/Allen/Greene waiting for spots on defense, and Deslauriers is our goalie to be...
Welcome Pudge89.

I don't see any hesitancy yet. He's only 22 and from the looks of things, he just needs to get his head in the right place. If anyone can help him see that, it's Reasoner. But he's got to do it himself.

Playing with Marty, we got a glimpse of what he can contribute. Now he has to show that he will do whatever is necessary to succeed.

imho - With continued inconsistencies, kid gloves have little impact, a rude awakening is usually the best teacher. If he's got what it takes, give him something to chew on, a mantra for his focus on the 1st line in TO. Then he'll be back to prove he can play with anyone, not just Marty.

Then again - If he's traded tomorrow, I just wasted my time typing this.

edit - meant to add that when he got his assist on Thursday, he did do a nice job of running interference, while giving the puck and some room to Hemsky. *sigh*

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10-04-2003, 02:22 PM
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You read the comments by his teammates in Hamilton last year and then you watch what he does on the ice during training camp and it is hard to believe that somebody didn't steal his sweater. He hasn't looked not quite good enough he has looked lost. The only explanation I have at all is stage fright. He skates to the wrong places and coasts on the back check. I don't know what to say. I WANTED him to be good. I just haven't seen it this year at all.

But for those who think that MacT is against him or not playing him with the right guys or whatever I think you have to think again. I don't know for sure but I'm pretty certain that he has played in more pre-season games than anybody else and in pre-season it doesn't much matter who you play with because they are evaluating individual skills and talent and you don't need linemates for that. Can you beat a guy one on one or not has nothing to do with who is on the ice with you.

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10-04-2003, 02:41 PM
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I'm a fan of Rita, but I have to agree that he hasn't done enough to earn his spot on the team. I also think that he has made good progress for a 22 yr old. At this point MacT and Lowe are not questioning his physical skills but perhaps his fortitude.

I wouldn't be ready to trade him now when he is so close to making the jump.

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10-04-2003, 03:12 PM
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Rita will play on the team this year. Whether he is a mid-season call up or 3rd line duties, he will play. He hasn't played any better than Salmelaienen, well Salmo has played better, but I think salmo could benefit more playing 1st line minutes in TO(something he didn't get last year) rather than being a press box/4th liner. Give Rita the spot, he will learn more here and his "stage fright" will go away.

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10-04-2003, 03:19 PM
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I really don't see how we can justify handing a NHL spot to Rita just based on what we THINK or HOPE he MAY turn out to be.

His obvious talents and occassional brilliance notwithstanding, but since he was drafted, what has he really accomplished except for his 15 minutes of fame in the 2001 WJC, a mere 7 games stretch.

He was never a dominant player in the Finnish pro league and was mostly toiling on the 3rd line on his team. We can attribute that to youth all we want but the fact is, a truly elite Euro prospect (i.e. Tuomo Ruutu) can usually force his way onto the top 2 lines of his pro club by the time they are 19-20 years old.

When he finally came over he had a slow start in the AHL. I found that troubling b/c history has shown that a great offensive prospect should be able to put up good numbers in the AHL from the get-go. But given his encouraging finish I was hoping that his pretty average season was really a result of the need to adjust to N America.

However, the regression he showed in his 2nd AHL is truly unsettingly. I've heard people say that it's b/c we shared the team with Mtl and he was not given as much opportunies as he should. I say that's just a very poor excuse. Did the coaching staff favor Jason Ward b/c he's a Mtl prospect? If that's the case, it surely didn't stop Conklin from taking control of the starting goalie role in the playoffs when the game was on the line. Split squad or not, Rita, especially with already one year under his belt, should have done what a truly top prospect should have been able to do - that is, grapped the bull by the horns and force his way to the role of the go-to guy game-in-game-out. I mean, look at his teammates: Benoit Gratton, Jason Ward, Michael Ryder, etc...we are not exactly talking about budding Guy Lafleurs here, are we? Not only was Rita not able to raise his game, he let a kid like Stoll, fresh out of junior, to surpass him.

I also find all that comparison between Rita and Satan way off base. Satan was a dominant player in the Slovak league as a 19 year old. When he came over as a 20 year old, he tore up the AHL and put up Brett Hull like numbers. This is in contrast to Rita who never came close to accomplishing that in Europe or in the AHL.

22 years old is young in term of a NHL career. But for someone who was deemed a great offensive prospect who has yet to shown that he can even dominate the AHL consistently after 2 full seasons, you've got to wonder if the initial projection about his potential was wrong.

As an Oiler fan I hope Rita will work out. What he needs to do is to go down to the AHL, dominate from start to finish, put up a 80-90 point season. Then we'll talk about him making the team.

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10-04-2003, 03:42 PM
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I was really gunning for Rita this preseason...but like a lot of people have said, it wasn't because he's been horrible, its just that we have so many young players being NHL ready...its like Rita is swimming in the ocean, and wave after wave, he's slowly being pushed back to the shore. This guy can't get a break.

I think that Rita will get a chance to play this year...maybe spend a few games in the pressbox. Its not like the Oilers to give up on a talented player. And besides, he wasn't horrible during his 12 games with the big club last year, scoring 3 goals and an assist.

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10-04-2003, 05:04 PM
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Rita starts in Toronto, but is one of the first call-ups...that's how I'd do it. I'm worried about the injuries we've already had on the team and the reg. season hasn't even started, so I say we keep our depth on forward for now & not trade it away.


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