"The RISE Of HaRtiKAnEN"
Just last game I brought mention to this exactly happening. Teemu would have most likely even got a earlier call from Tamby had he not fallen to injury. He is exactly IMO the type of player the Oilers need to have in their top 9, Sure he is a rookie still but Teemu is not exactly a green rookie. He spent some good time in OKC last year, came up and did a splendid job in a limited time to round out the year. This year he has once again been consistent as a player in OKC and I am sure is licking at the chops to get his NHL chance once again.
At this point of time, it is Teemu's chance to prove his worth. If he plays the same way in Edmonton as he has in OKC he will be sticking with this club on a permanent basis. It will take consistency and hard work but as long as he doesn't become a defensive liability at the NHL level, I expect he won't be sent back. I do have one hesitation however. We were told when Hartikanen was sent down to OKC that he is a player that is not suited for a 4th line role. He is a top 9 player who needs the ice time because of the kind of game he plays. How will he be played here in Edmonton? I am really interested to see how Renney handles this one. I am one who feels Renney mishandles his line-up and icetime with his players but until we see what comes of this call-up I will stay quiet on that point.
RNH has been quite average as of the last couple weeks (hence not being selected rookie of the month) but the pressure, travel, wear and tear of players top end defencemen, banging and fighting for the puck night in and night out, must take its toll on his smaller frame. I know he has still put up some points, but I do expect things to change pretty soon for RNH. IMO, Nugent-Hopkins needs a player like Hartikanen to help take some of the load in the cycle zone with banging and crashing yet who carries soft hands. I doubt at this stage we see that, but it something that can be a possibility as Hartikanen improves at this level.
Last game once again Horcoff, Smyth and Hemskey (oh yeah don't forget Gagner) were give away machines again. Mostly Gagner and Horcoff but what is the consequence when they make these horrid mistakes? Nothing in my eyes. When the kids make these mistakes , you see them miss a shift or two. Their excuse is they are young and learning, what's the veteran's excuse? It's ok, as a fan, I have come to expect to see at least 4-5 giveaways in the offensive zone every game and 1-2 in the defensive zone as well.
The Blackhawks are a top elite team and chances are good the Oilers get schooled in this game once again. Some solid consistent goaltending would be nice, along with steady defence and lots of shots on net. You want to beat Chicago? Play a puck possession game and gets shots on net. They beat them bad once before this season, I know they can at least pull out a 1 goal victory in Chicago.
Questions is, "Which Oiler team shows up tonight?"
Gametime 6:30pm, CHED630am/Sportsnet-West
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