How Big A Difference Would Blair Betts Have Made?...

When I had the chance to speak with Dan Tencer about two months ago regarding any interest the Oilers would have had in Blair Betts an unsigned free agent in this summers crop of forwards looking for an NHL club, his answer was "none at all. Betts is not on the Oilers radar".

If Dan Tencer is correct -- and I have no good reason to assume he wouldn't be -- that amazes me. Sure, we're a far ways away from being able to judge the Edmonton Oilers on one game. But for those who want to, the Oilers did everything right on Saturday against the Flames with the exception of three things.

1) Their penalty kill was 2 for 4.
2) Their faceoff % were nothing to brag about. Horcoff was his usual fantastic self, and Comrie was excellent, but both Brule and Gagner suffered going 36% and 20% respectively.
3) Khabibulin let in one of the most painful goals we'll see all season.

Blair Betts would have aided in, or dare I say solved two of those three issues.

Tom Renney once commented that his league leading penalty kill in New York was not so much attributed to the style he coached, but the willingness of two players to go out and lead his team on the kill; one of whom was Blair Betts. Are we to assume then that Renney and Tambellini didn't have one conversation about the penalty kill and how to improve it? Betts was available. In fact more than available. He basically waited for an NHL team to give him a try-out, which he got with the Flyers, made the team and has since been his masterful defensive self among team leaders in faceoff % and ice-time on the PK for the Flyers. (at least when last I checked at a quick glance.)

The Oilers could have waived or demoted any of the players whom didn't dress in Saturdays opener to clear the space needed to sign Betts. He might have appreciated not having to try-out for an NHL club, instead going where he was both wanted and sorely needed.

As is stands now, the Oilers will need to create a trade to obtain someone who can help them improve on what looks to be still a glaring hole not filled by Brule or Gagner. Trades to say the least in the NHL are tricky; especially when the players you're shopping are as one dimensional as players like Nilsson, MacIntyre and Pouliot.

With Pisani on long term IR, the future is even more bleak on the penalty kill and someone like Betts could have been a real good friend of Quinn and Renney, when it was obvious that on the kill and in the faceoff circle, both coaches are looking for friends not on the Oilers roster.

Maybe facebook? Seems easy to make friends there. I suggest that any facebook users with particularly excellent faceoff and PK skills send an invite to Quinn, Renney and especially Tambellini. It seems to me that Tambo was busy surfing the net when he should have been filling holes on the Oilers, that even facebook users with no hockey experience could have forseen.


Visnovski omark staios nillison and a 1st round pick to atlanta for a long term signed kovachuk would help edm lots and put them in a nice place in the playoffs.
We have too many offencive D and not enough high scoring first line players

October 5, 2009 at 3:26 PM comment-delete

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