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Cam Barker Brings People Together

When Ben Massey wrote about Cam Barker's injury issues I expected his would be the least-brutal take on Barker's contributions to the Oilers thus far this season:

Barker, who is allegedly "some kind of hockey player", has missed fistfuls of games at intervals over the last three seasons with some kinds of ankle sprain.

It was, but not by much.  Lowetide's wonderfully subtle jab was far more biting:

His Bite Is Worse than His Barker - Lowetide
I think Oiler fans should rightly feel that this injury is a net gain on the blue.

And Jonathan Willis went with exasperated resignation:

Barker Gone For Four Weeks - Cult of Hockey
Barker has been a poor player for the Oilers, but aside from his draft pedigree there was simply zero reason to ever believe that he was going to be anything else

As Jason Arnott, Mike Comrie and Sheldon Souray have demonstrated, nothing brings Edmonton together like rooting against an Oiler.  Typically, that unification is carefully orchestrated under the direction of Kevin Lowe and his minions, but this time it's because of Kevin Lowe and his minions.

Around the league

Is there a Truly Great General Manager in the NHL? - Arctic Ice Hockey
So has any general manager truly "figured it out"? And by "figured it out", I mean has anyone consistently built one the top three or four teams in the league without benefiting either from his predecessor's drafting or from multiple high draft picks and without spending to the salary cap?

Frederic St. Denis Set to Join Rare Club - Habs Eyes On The Prize
In the current NHL, three players with CIS backgrounds are currently playing: Flyers goon Jody Shelley, $3m two-way Capitals winger Joel Ward, and the Canadiens own McGill alum Mathieu Darche. Sometime Maple Leafs centre Darryl Boyce is also part of the current club, although he hasn't played a NHL game this season. Now Frederic St. Denis, who was named the Hamilton Bulldogs' top defenseman in 2010-11, seems set to join this group.

Three Thoughts On: Line Combinations - On the Forecheck
Now, in Craig Smith, they've found a center that solves all these problems and makes the Predators' three most promising offensive players look like one cohesive unit. Smith's speed and finish ability makes him a perfect mate for Wilson. Meanwhile, he takes such a high volume of shots, Hornqvist is always busy. They've communicated well so far and have looked good cycling and in the transition game. Hopefully, they can bring out the first-line potential in each other.

Howard Baldwin's Vision For XL Center In Hartford -
Do you want an entertainment venue competitive with others in the country? Or do you want to forget it and say Boston, New York and a trip to Mohegan Sun Arena is good enough? If it's choice B, the answer is do nothing and let the building slowly die.

Driving Play: Can Rinne Earn All That Money?
The question at hand is how much he has to contribute for his $7M a year to be reasonable compared to other big-money goaltender deals.

Brodeur is a Fraud: The Florida Outlier
However, given the numbers through the rest of his career that suggest he prevents about one shot against per game compared to an average goalie, I don't think there is any chance at all that a 41-year old Belfour was able to prevent 4-5 shots per game entirely through his own efforts.

Reasonable Expectations: How Many Points will the Minnesota Wild Finish the Season with? - Arctic Ice Hockey
Minnesota is off to a hot start, with 21 points in their first 17 games. Their numbers don't look substantially different than they did over the last three years aside from their 5-on-5 save percentage: (those are league-wide ranks, btw - Minnesota was 30th in the league in shots for in each of the last three seasons!)

Todd McLellan: "Winning two faceoffs on the power-play virtually guarantees you won't get scored on." - Arctic Ice Hockey
Todd McLellan defended his team's PK performance before Monday night's game against the Kings, noting that the Sharks had "done a lot of analysis" and that winning 2 or 3 faceoffs virtually guaranteed that you wouldn't get scored on on the penalty-kill.

Report: NHLPA suspects Nashville Predators under-reported revenue - On the Forecheck
We're told Washington and Nashville are among at least a handful of clubs that have been cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue, with the matter now more likely than not to be decided in arbitration.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are not the worst team in the league - Arctic Ice Hockey
Their underlying numbers aren't any worse than they were the last two seasons. The problem, as usual in these situations, is absurdly low shooting percentage and absurdly low save percentage.


Oilers-related Items

Quick update: Tuohimaa & Perhonen - Swedish Oil
Tuohimaa has played in the last six Jokerit games (and he’s been) pretty good. Tonight (he had) 38 saves and allowed 4 goals in a loss against Ässät. Jokerit’s number one goalie has been injured and should return to the lineup later this week.

So Long Motin, Hello Confusion - Neal Livingston
The unfortunate twist to this story is that Motin was in the midst of a fantastic season in OKC despite not cracking the lineup consistently. 10 games, two assists doesn’t leap of the page, but watching him play the nasty aggravator was impressive. He was the closer around the boards and emerged as the most aggressive defensive player through the first six weeks of the season.

NATION RADIO - OilersNation
Ever hear a Dawg Bone speak on the wireless device? You will this week as the writer from Copper n Blue talks advanced stats, and Linus Omark. A talking bone. What an age to be alive!

Is "Klefbom" Swedish For "Ryan Whitney"? - Lowetide
Klefbom was hit to the head by a Russian forward and he had to leave the game. Didn’t play in the tournament after that hit. I assume Klefbom suffered a concussion.

The Smyth Line’s Been Great… But It’s Not Enough - Cult of Hockey
Instead, all those players being favoured by Tom Renney with offensive draws and (overall) weaker opposition are rather letting down the side. They’re being out-shot just as badly as the tough minutes checking line.