Watched most of the Hawks dance in Saskatchewan with the Oilers online yesterday, perhaps in an attempt to use anything to wash that Bears taste out of my mouth. Although the feed was pretty poor, taken straight from the scoreboard there, a couple things worth noting.
-Unless there’s a trade of him, I’m guessing that Versteeg-Shaw-Bickell combo is probably going to be your third line on Opening Night. I still find it pretty curious how much they’re pumping Versteeg through the media. The whole thing smacks of “methinks the lady doth protest too much,” but it could be he actually does look good another year removed from knee surgery. He’s still completely superfluous on this team and his salary makes him kind of a millstone. But whatever. He does look better.
I also find it fucking hilarious that even the Oilers radio team was on an “EARN YOUR MONEY BICKELLMAN!” rant during the game. I don’t know what people expect from Bickell during the regular season, but he was more than fine last year despite what his coach thought. Anyway, the unit looks fine for now.
-Most of the early part of the season will be spent gnashing our teeth over whether Teuvo is here or not and when he should be here. The thing with Teuvo is he’s not going to be a constant threat on every shift. His skill kind of lies in ghosting into tight spaces or making a quick pass no one saw, but that doesn’t happen every shift. Some will take that as a sign he’s not ready. I just think it’s his game. The pass from Clendening from his goal was pretty sick, the finish even more so. But that’s what Teuvo brings, popping into an open spot thanks to his instincts and making a quick play with his sweet hands. Next time it’ll probably be a blind pass to a player we never saw. If the numbers can be worked, just keep him here.
-Mashinter actually caught a pass clean, which is one more than Bollig managed all season. So there’s that. Not that that means he has any place on this team, because he doesn’t.
-Versteeg actually got some PK work last night, and if he’s here he’s probably going to need to get more. We know Smith and Kruger will be first out, followed by Hossa and Toews (though we’d really like to see Hossa off the PK for the first half of the year just to save his legs, but I won’t hop on one foot waiting for that to happen), but the third unit is still kind of up in the air. Saad and Shaw? Saad and Versteeg? Versteeg has done it in the past. I bet a bunch of people get a look during the first couple months.
-David Rundblad’s pass to Shaw for his goal is probably the kind of vision Stan saw worthy of giving up a second round pick for. I still don’t see how Rundblad can play all that much if both Leddy and Oduya are still here, because he’s not much of a partner for either. He’s also right-handed, which makes him something of an awkward partner for Rozsival but I suppose Rozie could handle playing on the left side if you needed.
-I was just about to write how much I liked Clendening’s game, and he got sent down today. So there you go.
-They tell me Kyle Cumiskey has been the surprise of camp. I’m looking for reasons why that might be.
-I’ll admit I’m a little intrigued as to what Trevor Van Riemsdyk might turn into. He certainly has more promise than Stan’s other recent college signings.