Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Oilers "TWIN TOWERS" of Slovakia (Recap from Oct 2011)

The following you are about to read I wrote in early October 2011. I felt it was worth a re-read, seeing how their game has progressed. This article also helps revisit a little about both these players and their backgrounds. While Marincin is a year ahead of Gernat in age, it is looking like they are about the same distance apart in development. It will be interesting to see how Gernat handles the pro level of hockey, that is usually the biggest test.

wrote...OCT 2011:
The moment you hear 'Twin Towers', it brings to mind the great towers of New York City. They were considered to be great buildings, incredibly strong towers that could withstand almost anything. That was a day of horror for most of us, but mostly for the family and friends who lost loved ones. In no way do I mean to make light of what happened that day when the towers came down, but since that time, a lot of things have changed. Anyone building towers today, does so with security at mind. The requirements are extraordinary and it's no small task to perform laying out the foundation.

Today, while Edmonton still sits in limbo, while decisions are trying to be made with a new arena district (which by the way, will stimulate towers to be built up and around the arena) I am referring today to TWIN TOWERS as in 'players'. Yes! As in Marincin and Gernat. Both of these boys are no stranger to 'the air up there'.

Martin Marincin 
6'4 187 lbs (19 yrs old) 
7 Games 0 Goals 5 assists = 5 Points / +2
(Update: Is now 6'5 and 196 lbs)

Martin Gernat
6'5 191 lbs (18 yrs old)
9 Games 5 Goals 8 assists = 13 Points / +5
(Update: Roughly the same size)

There is some discrepancy in the height and weight between the Oilers website and the respective WHL teams sites. The WHL stats support what was written from the Oilers 2011 Development camp numbers, so I have gone with the numbers posted on the WHL sites.

Last season, Marincin really had a coming out party upon arriving in Prince George to play for the cougars hockey team. His stats were looking good (point a game basically) and continued til around the 2/3rd mark of the year. At that point, his point production slowed down and well as his body it seemed. No one can really say with certainty what it was but Marincin appeared to have had hit a wall in development. At least in physical ability. After being drafted in 2011 Gernat (former teammate and good friend) also was now among the Oilers organization. The two together came to development camp in June 2011 to work hard, impress and learn the North American game.

Coming out of the Rookie Camp this September 2011, both players have impressed the management and coaches, but it is still believed there is more development needed. Marincin was sent back to the Prince George Cougars as a 2nd year player in the CHL and Gernat was assigned to his new club, the Edmonton Oil Kings. Difference between the two is very little, but there are some differences. Currently Gernat is tearing up the WHL and sitting first in points among defenceman and first among rookies. While Marincin is thought to be more of an offensive defenceman then Gernat, I tend to see it the other way around. 14 months separates the two in age but other then that, there are not many things different.

Gernat has started well, just as Marincin started last year well. Gernat is tall and around the same weight as Marincin was entering the WHL. Both are fairly quick skaters and very agile at their height, both like to handle the puck on their sticks and both can tend to be caught out of position occasionally trying to go for the puck, rather then sometimes taking the man.

 I had a chance to meet their billet. (he is from Slovakia himself originally and has even helped Hemsky when he came over years ago) He went on to say that both were coached by Marincin's father in Slovakia and have been good friends growing up. (explains how close they were at development camp). However he said they both wanted to come over early in their hockey career to gain greater knowledge of the positionally and systems play that is only found in North America. Skating, stick work, those things are taught to all in Slovakia, but systems and positionally play are vastly different in Canada and the U.S.

Coming back to my nickname of the 'TWIN TOWERS' for them...to build large towers, you need a strong foundation. In the past, teams in the NHL , including our Edmonton Oilers have rushed the foundation building process of our defenceman. Is it possible, we just need to be a little more patient with these two big boys? Maybe, all we need to do is let our skills and development coaches do their job and in a few year's we could potentially have 2 if not at least 1, good defenceman sitting in our ranks. I truly do see nothing but good things from these TWIN TOWERS in the near future, I only hope we as a fanbase can be patient in seeing that come to fruition.

NOTE: It has been mentioned that it seems Marincin did not come back this year much bigger then he left at the end of last season. This in all likelihood will need to be a area to work on before next years training camp. I also believe the reason we have not seen the high point production out of Marincin in the WHL out of the gate, is due to the work he is doing on his systems and positional play. Sometimes to make a point production play, means you have to be out of position and that could end up in your own net.(It appears Marincin is one of the higher rated plus/minus players on the team currently) Hopefully Gernat, pays close attention to the path the development coaches have him on and works on the systems and positional play this year as well. While his offence has been great, he will need to shore things up a little more on his own back end. Guess time will only tell if Gernat ends up like Marincin where it appears after a good chunk of time, his body just wears down on him with all the travel and games played. One thing that has been mentioned between Gernat and Marincin, is Gernat appears to be a little more filled out in how he looks and carries his big body on the ice. Marincin last year appeared sometimes more gangly like, when transitioning with the puck.

One thing to be certain, with these two boys manning the Oil blueline in the future, looks are definitely looking up. "Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, I present to you...The Mighty Marincin and the Great Gernat!"

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