What Is the Tipping Point for the Edmonton Falcons... Er... Oilers?
News came in today that the Los Angeles Kings, hit with a mere 39 man games lost to injury this season, called up Brayden Schenn on an emergency basis after Andrei Loktionov injured his shoulder in the Wednesday match against the Oilers.
Now I understand it's a matter of perspective, but with the Oilers losing 146 man games to injury this season, it's interesting that the Oilers wouldn't have tried anything similar by giving some guys one-game tryouts with the kind of injuries we have seen.
If anybody qualified for this kind of thing, I would think it would be the Oilers.
Think of all the unsigned prospects in the Oilers system that we can finally test out with such an opportunity.
Sure, there was the Torrie Jung emergency scare against the Blackhawks. But with three days between the Kings game and the time the San Jose Sharks came to town, the Oilers had more options than more Falcons callups.
We could pull Linus Omark over for a one-game tryout. Yeah he's under contract to the Moscow Dynamo, but it's just one game and I'm sure the IIHF wouldn't fret over that.
How about Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson? Just to see him in one game would help Oilers fans forget how bad of a losing funk we're mired in. Would the Timra Eagles care?
Now I realize it's unrealistic to expect a bunch of professional European leagues to loan the Oilers their top players even for a couple of games, so I can forget about the Anton Landers and the Teemu Hartikainens, even if it is for one game only .
There are also more options in North American, though:
We could get a few games out of Jordan Eberle, Toni Rajala, or even Riley Nash.
Perhaps we could give Chris Vandevelde, Milan Kytnar, or even Jeff Petry a spin.
I believe the main reason the Oilers have neglected to go the route of calling guys up on an emergency basis (nine games is the limit for guys playing in junior) is that they finally have a way of evaluating some of their enigmatic AHL contract-holders in Ryan Potulny, Ryan O'Marra, and Colin McDonald.
I remember when the Oilers first drafted McDonald and the first thing I noticed was his wicked wristshot.
But he, O'Marra, and a few others haven't quite developed according to plan, though O'Marra and McDonald are starting to come around this season under new leadership in Springfield.
It's good from an organizational standpoint to get all this experimentation in now (surely we're all wondering about the progress of William Quist, Alexei Miknov or Alexander Bumagin by now... or are we?).
But how much sleep is Pat Quinn and Tom Renney losing from having half a team here and half a team there? The playoffs are looking more and more like a distant dream and lottery contention a more tangible reality—and that's a scary realization in November of any season.
I just wonder how long before the Oilers clue in that the fans need something to cheer about?
Yeah, super-hockey-nerds (such as myself) will appreciate a chance to see O'Marra and McDonald in action.
But your average Joe would LOVE to see Eberle or Rajala in action, especially when Eberle is touted to be the next Devin Setoguchi and Rajala is supposed to be the next Pavel Bure.
The fans need something to believe in right now.
It's just good P.R.
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