Welcome back to another edition of the Beer League Heroes Sunday Night Pint! This is the 9th installment and this week we’ve got Jason Adams (@Jason_Adams_ATB) from Alongtheboards.com, BLH’s newest contributor and photoshop extraordinaire Kjell Iverson (@kjelliverson), Justoil.net‘s Rob Cooke (@justoil78), and myself, BLH (@beerleagueheroe).
We’re going to be going over some hot topics from the week previous that include the Boston Bruins and their best imitation of the Oilers defence circa last year, Justin Schultz’s apparent turnaround, the battle between Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart, and lastly, slurpees and the impact they’ve had on the socioeconomic status of blue collar workers across Canada… Or probably just what your favorite flavor is?
1. The Boston Bruins defence is in absolute shambles right now with the Injuries to Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, this would be a perfect time for Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli to call up his old chum Don Sweeney and see if he needs some help. If you were Chiarelli how would you offer to help Sweeney?
JA: Hmm… What would I do if I was Peter Chiarelli. How would I help out Boston? Well. There’s an old quote attributed to Bobby Hull – ‘I wouldn’t piss in his ear if his brain was on fire’. That’s approximately how I’d feel about the Bruins organization if I were Chiarelli, based on the circumstances of his departure and the Dougie Hamilton trade. I wouldn’t make a trade with the Bruins right now if I was Chiarelli – who I’m sure is less vindictive than I am – unless it was wildly tilted in Edmonton’s favour, or it involved taking Nikita Nikitin or Teddy Purcell off our hands. Otherwise, if the Bruins are drowning, hand them a brick.
KI: The Oilers pick up the tab for Don Sweeney’s medication and trade Andrew Ference to the Boston Bruins in exchange for future considerations and/or a case of beer. They need defensemen, right? No? That’s not helping them? I suppose they could always pick up Brandon Davidson off waivers for nothing?
RC: I am tempted to suggest trading the Captain back to his former team but with the injuries that require an addition being to Chara and Seidenberg I don’t see that Ference can really help. He has shown over the last two seasons that he isn’t capable of playing big minutes anymore and will likely be in the press box more often than not this season on a not good Oilers blue line.
Sending defenseman Nikita Nikitin is the most obvious choice but his play so far in the pre-season hasn’t been a ton better than last season despite being 100% healthy as Niki stated. However if the Oilers were willing to retain 50% of his salary I could see a deal made so the Bruins would have the added firepower on the power-play to make up for some of what Big Z provides. I know Nikitin has little to know value but Boston is kind of over a barrel so with the retained salary I would demand an 3rd round pick back from Sweeney. I doubt he would go for it but after the draft fiasco where Sweeney and Neely asked for more from Edmonton for Hamilton than they asked of the Flames I wouldn’t be all that willing to help them out in the slightest.
BLH: With the way training camp is going I’d see if he was interested in a RW to go with say Andrew Ference or Nikita Nikitin. Maybe Teddy Purcell or perhaps even Nail Yakupov. Anton Slepyshev is really turning heads here and he plays a game that is much more conducive to a 2nd/3rd liner than Nail Yakupov. Also, should a 1st overall pick really be suiting up on the 3rd line going into his 4th season? Not sure what a deal like that would bring back for Edmonton but it might be worth looking into as I did here.
2. Justin Schultz had a helluva game the other night vs. the Jets ECHL team and that has sparked a little debate amongst Oilers fans and pundits. Is this the year that Jultzy pulls it all together?
JA: Justin Schultz is a player that’s gotten all the flak in the world over the last couple of years, but his slate should be wiped clean like everyone else that endured the Eakins Era. The fact is that Schultz’s skill set is unique on the Oilers, and he’s never going to be prime Zdeno Chara. That being said he’s shown some good signs this preseason, so yes, I’ll say he’ll establish himself as a top 4 defenceman this year.
KI: I wrote a blog about this, so I suppose I’m sort of biased. I personally believe Schultz is going to have a career year. I felt he was a victim of poor defensive depth last season, and not utilized properly in the right situations. With better depth this season and the guidance of Todd McLellan, I think Schultz will make an impact. He’ll have off nights like everyone else, but I think we’ll see significantly less “Jultzing” than we did last year. If his performance against the Jets is any indication, he’s willing to do what it takes.
RC: For me it is still way to early to tell yet. He has shown a lot more confidence this fall so far but let’s be fair. He is playing AHL competition right now. Let’s see what he can do over the first ten to fifteen games of the season when wins will be crucial for this young team. Given his past performance as an Oiler I am doubtful that he can make enough of a change this season to earn himself that long-term deal that he desires. My money is on him being moved at the deadline to a team that can put him on the third pairing with plenty of power-play time.
3. Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart are set to duel it out for one of the last remaining spots on the blueline, who do you think has a better chance at winning a spot on the Oilers’ opening night roster?
JA: I took a good hard look at this question on one of my most recent articles for AlongTheBoards. At the time, I gave the nod to Nurse, but I think the organization is leaning towards Reinhart. Griff’s been playing solid, low risk hockey and has looked like an NHLer in camp. Not that Nurse has looked bad, but there’s still some chaos in his game to iron out.
KI: This is a tough one for me. I really like both of them. Reinhart has been the steadier of the two, but Nurse has made a bit more noise after exploding Hunter Smith’s nose. I like Nurse’s mobility and mean streak, and I like Reinhart’s poise and decision making. In the end, if we assume either of them make the roster, I have to give the nod to Reinhart. That being said, I’m not sure there is room for either of them.
RC: To my eyes Griffin appears that he is a little ahead of Darnell. Reinhart is a lot less chaotic than Nurse, he is a reliable defenseman that doesn’t appear to do more than he knows he can. Nurse tends to try to be everywhere still and needs some games in Bakersfield to learn to calm down and try to do a little less. If you are asking long-term then my answer is definitely Darnell Nurse.
Both are likely going to be fixtures of the Oilers top four for many years but Nurse has a higher projection in my opinion. He can bring more offense than Griffin and still is a very effective defender with a well documented mean streak. Nurse is the future of the defense and we all hope he evolves into a true franchise defender. Reinhart projects as a top four guy or maybe a defensive specialist on the top pairing if we are really lucky. Obviously having the pair of them in the top four for the next decade is the ultimate goal either way.
BLH: At this point I like Griffin Reinhart. The Oilers aren’t in need of a flashy dynamic defenceman right now, maybe later in the season but certainly not now. Reinhart is very cool and collected. He plays a very simple style of game. He’s also very strong and his skating has looked to have improved greatly. Nurse is still trying to do too much right now and the team isn’t quite ready to accommodate that sort of player yet. So I say Griffin Reinhart for the win!
BONUS: I’d say a good portion of Canadian kids from my generation grew up playing video games and inhaling Slurpees whilst playing said video games (Mario Kart, NHL ’94, or 007 Goldeneye), my question for the participants today is, What’s your favorite flavor of Slurpee?
JA: Any answer that is not Lime Crush is the wrong answer. I don’t have slurpees often, but if I see the gas station has that flavour, I will get one every time.
KI: I haven’t had a slurpee since I was 14. I suppose I’ll go with coke (do they even still make coke flavored slurpees?) since that goes well with rye or rum. I’d prefer beer though.
RC: Personally I wouldn’t know. I don’t drink the things. If you asked my wife she would say Pepsi or Coke are the only kinds worth buying but that is her opinion I guess. If you are buying I will take an extra large triple triple from Timmy’s instead!
BLH: Tough one. I love Slurpees and they’re absolutely horrid in Taiwan. They come out of the machine in purely a liquid state and then turn into a Slurpee in your cup… It’s weird and off-putting. But my favorite flavor is Coke. It’s a classic go-to for any Slurpee lover. If I had to pick another I’d say Root Beer or Dr.Pepper.
Thank you for reading! I guess to recap the consensus is that Justin Schultz’s middle name is Chaos, Griffin Reinhart bakes a better pie, Don Sweeney can take a hike off a short cliff and Slurpees are something that somebody in their 30’s should never touch…
Let us know your opinions in the comments below! And head on over to the Beer League Heroes Facebook page and give us a like!