If He’s That Bad, Sit Him

Boy did Ryan Rishaug rip the underperforming Oilers a new one yesterday on the Jason Gregor Show. Here are a few quotes:

  • “Connor McDavid’s defensive work was as shoddy as I’ve ever seen it”
  • “A bit portion of their roster got on their horse and put together a really nice stretch and Talbot didn’t… I’m not going to sit here and rip on him for too long but let’s say it for what it is, he had a bad game.”
  • “Generating, having his (Lucic) feet moving, playing physical, there wasn’t enough of that”
  • “We’ve talked about this with Eberle for years. When he’s not scoring, what’s he doing? And the answer is nothing. And that’s a problem.”

This post is going to be about Eberle but I just want to comment quickly on Rishaug’s comments. He wasn’t just ragging on all of the Oilers in his segment on Gregor’s show. I’m paraphrasing here but he did say something to the effect that we heap a lot of praise on player X and it’s only fair that when the perform poorly, we criticize them as well.

I don’t disagree with this and the thing with McDavid, Lucic, and Talbot is that they’ve rarely gone two games in a row where they play so bad that the media singles them out. Eberle on the other hand…

Watch the goals in that clip above. Most of them come in the slot or around the blue paint. Where has the Jordan Eberle gone that we see in the video above?

The 2016/17 season has not been kind to Ebs and I’m not about to write off this post-season because he’s yet to get going. I think there’s still an opportunity for him to make his mark, positively that is, but I have to wonder if things are getting magnified 10-fold because the Oilers have played two of their main Pacific division rivals now for 9 games. Two teams that he had a combined 4 pts against, all assists.

What happens if the Oilers make it to the Western Conference Finals or the Cup Finals? The Oilers would be out of the Pacific and the style of hockey, in theory, would change and possibly to Eberle’s advantage… Just a thought.

In season’s past, we could forgive Eberle and look passed his defensive and physical shortcomings because he was getting scoring chances and he was putting the biscuit in the basket on a regular basis but since Todd McLellan has taken over, he’s the 2nd $6M man that has seen his performance on the ice peter out. Taylor Hall is a New Jersey Devil now, who knows where Jordan Eberle might be playing come opening night in 2017/18.

But back to the now.

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This is a Todd McLellan quote I ripped from David Staples latest post, oddly enough an Eberle one as well, that I thought to be revealing indeed.

““Not enough,” McLellan said, then added “This is a new experience for him for him and he’s learning as he goes as well. It’s great to be making strong plays on the boards and checking well, but you also have to find a way to contribute on the power play and  he’s not the only one, but he’s the one that stands out right now.”

If Jordan Eberle is playing that poorly, and we’re already at game 9 mind you, why hasn’t he been demoted to the press box? If the message isn’t getting through, maybe a night watching would serve him well. Or do you demote him to a line with Mark Letestu? OR do you get him on a line with McDavid and/or Draisaitl?

I mean at this point in time, is there something that Drake Caggiula can’t do that Eberle can? What about Anton Slepyshev? Benoit Pouliot?

It’s almost impossible to try and project Eberle on another line, right?

  • 1st line: He’s not replacing Draisaitl.
  • 3rd line: Are you moving Kassian or Caggiula up? Does #14 fit on this line?
  • 4th line: This line is playing quite well at the moment. Does Slepy go up?

“Rather than playing Eberle on the 4th line where he’s not tailor made to do any of that. They would be better off scratching him and not playing him at all. If they wanted to send a message to Jordan Eberle, don’t muck up your 4th line by putting a player that can’t play that way on it. Scratch him.

Now, I don’t think they should do that but that might make as much sense as dropping him down in the lineup.” – Ryan Rishaug

If you’ve read my posts this season you probably know that I’ve gone to many lengths to defend Jordan Eberle because I reckon he’s still one of the better options for a top-6 right-wing spot but I’ll be honest, my faith is dwindling. I love that Jordan is getting his nose dirty and playing that role up a bit but my word, he has to do better with the puck on his stick or he has to channel his inner Kassian and start plowing players on the other team.

What do you think? What would you do with Eberle at this point? Let us know in the comments below!

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • Harvey Schmidt

    Sit him! I have said it all year, he is totally useless if not scoring. I really wished that they had picked up a rw at the deadline. Eaves would have looked good on the 2nd line. Move up Sleepy or Cagguilia. Wish Pitlick could have been available. Either way, sick of watching Eberle and his half-hearted play. Come this summer, ship him out and get a real player. He is going the way of…..who was that winger that was last seen in LA and now playing beer league slowpitch?

  • MikeK

    If only the Oilers had a spare undersized RW with playoff experience who had shown a previous ability to put up points..

    Except they do, Justin Fontaine is still available for a call-up from the Condors. 5’10 174lbs, 29 years old, 19 playoff games with Minnesota over 3 years (in which he managed 4 points with 11mins ice time), and who had a .44ppg season over 71 games with Minnesota in 2014-2015. His defensive stats that year were a neutral 0.0% CORSI relative.

    Kassian – .40ppg was his best season
    Slepyshev – .24ppg was his best season
    Pakarinen – .29ppg was his best season

    If you really want to make an example of Eberle and bench him for a game, there’s your most logical candidate (and one who knows what this whole playoff thing is and knows the Western conference).