It’s Saturday afternoon and there’s no Oilers game to talk about so I figured it would be the perfect time to empty out my brain of all the random thoughts that are rolling around up there in the hopes of having you help me find some solutions. This week, we’re talking about Jesse Puljujarvi, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ heater, and Klim Kostin taking over the city.
HUMANIZING THE PULJUJARVI SITUATION
I don’t want to spend too much time on this Jesse Puljujarvi thing because it’s already been beaten to death and Brownlee broke the situation down better on Thursday than I ever could, but what I want to touch on some of the talk that’s going on around him right now. Even though it is 100% accurate to say the kid is struggling — quite frankly, that’s putting it lightly — what I don’t understand is the alleged joy some people are taking in running him down and it’s getting out of control. Take Mark Spector’s article at Sportsnet for example, it’s not that Spec said anything false or that any of the numbers he used are incorrect, but I thought the approach to the article and its promotion was pretty mean spirited. Was the “Bye Son King” tweet that followed Sportsnet’s original post on the article necessary? Is the goal here to make the punches hurt as much as possible on his way out? It’s not like we’re talking about a one-off article where this senior writer talked about Puljujarvi’s struggles and his lack of contributions on the board, but rather it was the latest installment in a seemingly never ending series of singling the kid out. It’s almost as if there is only one guy on this team that’s having a hard time, and I just can’t wrap my head around why he’s the only one being called out over and over again. Where were the Yamo articles when he had no goals? What about Foegele? Nurse? Is that fair? Is that balanced? Not to me. Again, I’m not trying to defend Jesse’s year so far — we all know he hasn’t produced nearly enough — but the last thing I’m interested in is piling on a kid that’s clearly feeling down on himself. Jesse the person deserves better than that.
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS IS ON FIRE
What can you say about the year Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having for the Edmonton Oilers? In his 12th season with the franchise, my boy is putting up goals and points at a pace we haven’t seen from him and I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am about the whole situation. With eight points in his last five games (4G, 4A) and 33 points in 27 games overall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is providing the Oilers with depth scoring en masse and he’s doing it without getting even a lick of credit from anyone outside of this market. Happily settled behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the depth chart, RNH goes about his business quietly and effectively, but this year, he’s cranked up his value to a whole new level. The thing that I’m loving most is that RNH is producing in all situations. While we always knew that he is a power play wizard, here in 2022-23, Nugent-Hopkins has also rediscovered his touch at even strength and it’s giving Jay Woodcroft more options for how he deploys his line combinations during a time when there are three top-9 regulars on the shelf with injuries. Over and above what he’s doing on the ice, I want to remind everyone how Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been the ultimate pro for this franchise and I don’t think he gets enough credit for that. Regardless of his linemates, where he’s personally playing in the lineup, or the seemingly endless line of coaches he’s played under, the guy has never once complained and has always been a team-first player. Now that his points total is starting to match the calibre of human being he is and has been, I’m hoping more people outside of Edmonton are starting to realize just how valuable he truly is to this team and how lucky we are to have him.
KLIM KOSTIN RULES
I know that praising Ken Holland isn’t the most popular thing to do around these parts, but I’m going to give him some love for the deal he swung that brought Klim Kostin to town. Swapped for Dmitri Samorukov on October 9th in what we thought was mostly a minor-league deal, Klim Kostin didn’t have much fanfare when he arrived in Edmonton but the guy has started to make a name himself now. Even though we’re not talking about a guy that’s playing top-line minutes, Klim Kostin is finding ways to be noticeable on a nightly basis and I’m really appreciating the different flavour of play that he’s brought into the lineup. Physical, willing to mix it up, and skilled enough to contribute with points on the board, Klim Kostin is working his way into our hearts and I’m having a really hard time figuring out how they can possibly pull him out of the lineup once other guys start getting healthy. Not only is Kostin working his way into being a nightly contributor for the Oilers, but the fact that we were able to acquire him for a defenceman that wasn’t going to play for the big club anyway is a huge win and I think we need to talk about it more. In 12 games played so far, Klim Kostin has two goals, two assists, and even beat up Zack Kassian for good measure, and if that’s not the makeup of a player that this city loves then I don’t know what is.
THE BEN STELTER FUND
I am teaming with @ashifmawji and family to pledge $100,000 towards the newly launched Ben Stelter Fund, to get better outcomes for youth that are battling cancer. We challenge all athletes, individuals and businesses to be a part of this! https://t.co/Wq557jb7rD pic.twitter.com/jVGUZy0i42
— Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) December 8, 2022
Two weeks ago, we held a Brunch for Ben watch party to help raise funds for a new initiative that the Stelter family was working on, and I was thrilled to see them finally able to announce the Ben Stelter Fund as a means of continuing Ben’s incredible legacy in this city. From the moment we met Ben, he captivated our hearts and made us remember what is truly important in life, and it warms my heart to see the support the fund has already received from Oilers like Connor McDavid and Edmontonians at large. So what is the Ben Stelter Fund? As described on the website, the fund’s goal is to “help children fighting Glioblastoma and other cancers. When you donate to the Ben Stelter Fund, you’re making a positive difference in a child’s life and the future of pediatric cancer.” If you’re interested in donating, the link for the fund is located here.
A CITIZEN IN NEED
If you would like to read a bit more about my wife’s diagnosis & cancer journey I have created this GoFundMe page. I would be honoured if you gave it a read 💜 https://t.co/n3G6U1MFI3
— Surveyor Brett (@BLuchanski) December 6, 2022
If you ever play around with Oilersnation on social media or listen to any of our podcasts, chances are that you’ve heard the name Surveyor Brett more than a handful of times. A Nation Citizen to his bones, Brett not only loves the Oilers but he actively helps us create content on a daily basis, including the creation of the intro I use on Better Lait Than Never every single week. Well, right now Brett’s family is going through hell and I wanted to send some love and support to his lovely wife Kris as she continues her battle with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a form of oral cancer that requires some very intense treatment and surgery. This past week, the Luchanskis launched a GoFundMe as a means of supporting Kris’ recovery and I wanted to wrap up the article by including a link and asking for your support in helping us spread the word. If you’re able, the link to donate is located here but if you’re not in a position to do so it would mean the world if you could share the link.