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Hot Links: Thursday, February 4

No Oilers game today, so good luck figuring out what to do with your hands. Just when I was getting used to this one game every two days thing. PLUS: Evan Bouchard, Jesse Puljujarvi, Holland to the Olympics, and MORE!

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Ottawa Senators v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Morning, folks!

I don’t know about you, but the Oilers having a couple of consecutive days off this week is wholly screwing up my rotation. My body woke up expecting another Connor McDavid masterclass as well as the delicious food that often accompanies game nights. I’m all thrown off. Bring on Saturday.

Lowetide dug deep into Evan Bouchard’s season debut over at The Athletic, going shift-by-shift to see just how well he acquitted himself in his first NHL game in what feels like epochs.

For me? I thought he played well. Like Ethan Bear when he was still a tweener, I thought Bouchard displayed puck skills and the ability to see and make plays some guys simply could not. I’m thinking of one particular short pass in the NZ to McDavid last night. His puck skills will tell. I firmly believe he’s probably the second-best RD on the team already.

I asked the internet whether it would be a problem for all of us if Evan Bouchard sits again this season. I was then prompted to pick my preferred top six for the rest of the season:

As you can see, I’ve got a preferred top four augmented by four guys who would rotate in based on form. Right now, for instance, maybe that’s William Lagesson and Tyson Barrie. Barrie’s underlying numbers are still bad, but Larsson is playing maybe the worst hockey of his life right now, so it’s matterless. As soon as any of those four have a bad spell, swap them out. But, and this is critical, leave the top four.

Weekly Game Odds Forecast Feb 2-7; Now Featuring Condors Game Odds (Copper and Blue)

Hot Links: Wednesday, February 3 (Copper and Blue)

GAME RECAP: Puljujarvi Shines as Oilers Sweep Senators (Copper and Blue)

Weekly Rumours – Defensemen On The Block And More (ON)

Hope For A Post-Hype NHL Breakout: Be Patient With Dahlin, Kakko And Others (ESPN)

Evan Bouchard Plays “Smart” In Season Debut (TOR)

Jesse Puljujarvi’s Breakout Night Impresses Dave Tippett (TOR)

Oilers GM Ken Holland Selected To Hockey Canada Olympic Management Team (ES)

Fighting Back To Reach .500 A Good Sign For Edmonton Oilers (ES)

Team Canada Ready To Turn To New Generation Of Players For 2022 Olympics (SN)

Super Stats Spotlight: McDavid, Draisaitl Combine To Scorch Leafs, Sens (SN)

About Evan Bouchard (ON)

The Kids Are Alright (LT)

Lowetide: Oilers Rookie Evan Bouchard’s 2021 NHL Debut — A Shift-By-Shift Review (TA)