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Are the Oilers tough enough?

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01-17-2013, 11:38 AM
  #1
guymez
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Are the Oilers tough enough?

The top end talent on this team is undeniable and its good to hear that RK is considering different ways to protect them.

So it also good to hear that the Oilers are not going to resort to goon hockey as a response. The age of having a player that only fights the other teams tough guy (but can't play at all like Steve McIntyre) on the roster are thankfully long gone. The best response to having your star player hit is to hit their star plays as Hordichuk mentions in this quote....

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/01/1...e-mr-nice-guys

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Now, the shackles might be off. It won’t necessarily be a gong show, but if teams are going to be crushing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz, then it sounds like Hordichuk, Ben Eager and Marc Fistric will have the green light to dish out a few predatory hits of their own on the other team’s best players, without worrying about never seeing the ice again if they take a penalty.

“It’s not even about having to drop your gloves,” said Hordichuk. “It’s not about the big heavyweight anymore. The game has changed. Now you have to get in there and hit and be physical. You go after some of their skill guys and that puts pressure on him to tone it down.”

That means being able to play well enough to be out there against somebody worth punishing. Hordichuk dedicated himself to that end during the lockout and feels in fantastic shape. He scored two goals in the Wednesday scrimmage and says his skating and puck handing have taken drastic steps forward.

“For me it’s not just a matter of being able to fight, it’s being able to play. I think I’m slowly going to start showing in camp that I really took these last six months seriously. I had a chance more than ever to work on my game.”

Because there is a definite need for functional toughness on this team.
Great in theory...the only problem with this is that the Oilers need some functional toughness that can actually play against the other teams top players.
I have no doubt that RK is a smart man so Hordichuk, Eager and Fistric will likely never see the ice against the other teams best players....so what are his options?

It seems that all of the toughness on this team is relegated to the bottom pairing on D and the 4th line.
How does this team follow through on this commitment?

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01-17-2013, 11:41 AM
  #2
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Eager doesn't even belong on skates... I don't even consider him a tough guy, cause he doesn't do jack****.

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01-17-2013, 11:41 AM
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Not with our top six

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01-17-2013, 11:43 AM
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WeridAl
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No, not until they have that big C or power forward that can handle himself in the top 6, the Oiler top 6 will get run at.

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01-17-2013, 11:44 AM
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I think were alright for the time being. You have hordi, fistric, harti and hopefully pre-concussion eager. Plus Petrell knows how to hit too. If other teams start taking liberties with our young guns, they know they're gonna get hit.

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01-17-2013, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leman Russ View Post
Eager doesn't even belong on skates... I don't even consider him a tough guy, cause he doesn't do jack****.
Eager injures people out there... specifically himself.

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01-17-2013, 11:46 AM
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guymez
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Originally Posted by Nugie Boy View Post
Not with our top six
Yup...and that's what concerns me.
This team desperately needs a player that can actually be on the ice against the other teams top players.
The player in question needs to have a top 6 role.

Hartikainen may have to be that player...he can hit and if RK plays the Smyth, Horcoff line as a shutdown line then Hartikainen may have the opportunity to rattle some of the other teams top players.

I just don't think thats he is enough.

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01-17-2013, 11:47 AM
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Hordichuk, Fistric and (hopefully) Eager can drop 'em

but I'm not worried about toughness...I'm worried about grittiness...especially in the top 6

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01-17-2013, 11:48 AM
  #9
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The oilers just need to punish teams that take dirty hits. It's the red wings way.

I've seen Taylor Hall take a step this year on running guys at full speed Lol

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01-17-2013, 11:49 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Last Dynasty View Post
Hordichuk, Fistric and (hopefully) Eager can drop 'em

but I'm not worried about toughness...I'm worried about grittiness...especially in the top 6
Grit is probably a better way to describe this player but if he isn't afraid to drop the gloves that wouldn't hurt either.

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01-17-2013, 11:59 AM
  #11
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Replace Gagner with a capable, strong top 6 center who can play physical, chip in offense and shut down the opposing best player and this team will look worlds better.
I have been thinking for the last couple of seasons and even moreso after RNH was drafted that #2C is the biggest hole that needs to be filled.

The problem with Gagner isn't that he's a bad player, it's that he's incapable of lining up against big, strong centers and competing so Horcoff is thrust into a role where he's being counted on as the shutdown center and it has killed this team against teams like the Kings, Blues and Coyotes. Teams with size and strength down the middle who play a system that slows down the Oilers skill and grinds them down so that they are unable to retrieve the puck and start transition the other way. It exposes the Oilers as a one dimensional team that is only capable of playing a fast, transition game and that goes back to the lack of strength up the middle.

I don't know who the solution is at #2C (O'Rielly perhaps? Bolland?) but i do know that as long as Horcoff is counted on as the tough minutes guy, this team will always struggle in a grind out, playoff type of game.
So basically, toughness is important to have but i think having forwards capable of playing a 2 way game and being able to succeed at different paces is more important.

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01-17-2013, 12:10 PM
  #12
Petro Points
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I think Hartikainen can be that player going forward once Hemsky is done here..

If Gagner can develop chemistry with Yakupov and be 50% on the dot then we can get by with his lack of size.

Hopefully we luck out and one of Pitlick, Martindale, Zharkov and Khaira become that good tough top 6 forward down the road.

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01-17-2013, 12:28 PM
  #13
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We have a butter soft forward group.

No one is scared of a couple of guys who might play 3 minutes a night.

Fixing that should definitely be Tambo's #1 priority.

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01-17-2013, 12:49 PM
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"says his skating and puck handing have taken drastic steps forward."



is he lying? if not, he should be a lock on checking-line. tough guys with decent hands are needed.

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01-17-2013, 12:50 PM
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If the oilers get that Big gritty 1 or 2 C, and someone injects MPS with some testosterone we will have a perfect balance.

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01-17-2013, 12:58 PM
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Moose Coleman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CupofOil View Post
Replace Gagner with a capable, strong top 6 center who can play physical, chip in offense and shut down the opposing best player and this team will look worlds better. I have been thinking for the last couple of seasons and even moreso after RNH was drafted that #2C is the biggest hole that needs to be filled.
Except every team needs one of those. They aren't easy to come by.

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01-17-2013, 01:23 PM
  #17
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For a 10 year veteran to say he's taken steps to be a better player, and acknowledging that he realizes the game has changed, and is working on a specific skill set to fit a new role on the team, says quite a bit about Darcy Hordichuk IMO. Given the fact that he is already a player with a specialized skill set, and is willing to work on a skill set that can make him a better al around player, at his age and at this point in his career, will make him a very positive role model for the younger guys.

I hope he can translate what he's worked on over the last 6 months into something that we may be surprised to see.

Time and games will tell.

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01-17-2013, 01:31 PM
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Petro Points
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WTH Hordi...

Its going to be hard to find a scapegoat this season.. I have faith in you Eager

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01-17-2013, 01:32 PM
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I think we'll see Eager and Hordichuk ride shotgun with the kids at times if any games get out of hand. Specifically Eager, because he can skate. The game would have to be a blowout though, but those are the games that usually get out of hand anyway.

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01-17-2013, 01:32 PM
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Not even close to tough enough.

I foresee lots of injuries because of it. Remember how the last 2 months if officiating played out last year? It's going to be ugly.

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01-17-2013, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose Coleman View Post
Except every team needs one of those. They aren't easy to come by.
Every good team has those, that's why they're good teams. They are out there if Tambellini is creative enough to acquire one.
The Oilers will never be a contender until they get a center who can shut down the opposition's best players and provide some grit to balance out the skill. Balance is the key and the Oilers don't have it up front.

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01-17-2013, 01:37 PM
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We were pretty tough up front when we had JFJ on the first line

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01-17-2013, 01:40 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gone View Post
Not even close to tough enough.

I foresee lots of injuries because of it. Remember how the last 2 months if officiating played out last year? It's going to be ugly.
They also said that they are gonna go back to calling all that stuff again.

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01-17-2013, 01:44 PM
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IMO we could use a toughness upgrade on Petrell on the 4th line and maybe another tough guy on D (maybe Teubert gets there eventually). Get a tougher to play against 2C, upgrade on Petrell and Eager (if he's content with doing nothing when guys are running our star players like he was last year) and we are in business.

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01-17-2013, 01:50 PM
  #25
Petro Points
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CupofOil View Post
Every good team has those, that's why they're good teams. They are out there if Tambellini is creative enough to acquire one.
The Oilers will never be a contender until they get a center who can shut down the opposition's best players and provide some grit to balance out the skill. Balance is the key and the Oilers don't have it up front.
Why does it have to be a C ?
It can be #2 LW (instead of Hemsky) ... We arent contenders yet so lets just wait and see if Hartikainen can be that guy before trading for a Kulemin or Downie.

Who did we have when we went to SCF in 06? Who is the big tough #2 C in PHI or NJ?

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