Experience is a funny thing. It can teach us a lot of important lessons. Like how you should probably skip the fish fillet with cream sauce at that all-you-can-eat buffet. Or how sometimes, instead of asking someone why they think that a $12/hour job at a third-rate "bar" and a right cheek full of needle marks gives them any right to tell you how to dress, it's better to just take off the damned baseball cap. Sometimes.

The thing about experience, though, is that you can't fake it. You can usually get by without it for a little while, and if you're lucky and you find yourself in the right situation (like sitting in a stool next to a guy with a well-worn 49ers cap), you can sometimes get it without it costing you too much. But you can't fake it.

Take Mr. Smid. This year, everyone's favorite asset finds himself in the somewhat unusual position of being a 23 year old NHL defenceman with over 200 games of experience under his belt. We were there, so we all saw that getting to this point for Laddy wasn't exactly cost-free for the Oilers. But now, unless we're seeing a "MA Bergeron Actually Looks Good Right Now, Do You Think It Has Anything To Do With Being Paired With Pronger" style mirage, it's looking like number 5 may have turned that development corner. And it's a good thing, too, because right now the Oilers D is finding it's self just a little short on experience. Here are the career NHL games played for last night's D:

Visnovski - 557
Strudwick - 556
Smid - 210
Gilbert - 184
Grebeshkov - 184
Chorney - 6

That's an average of 283 games per player. Meanwhile, we've got Staios (842 GP) out with a concussion, and Souray (616 GP) out with a concussion, a broken heart, and a bad case of helmet-crotch. Between the two of them they have 46 percent of all the NHL experience in the Oilers top 8.

So far, Chorney has looked good (he was even with 14:34 TOI last night) and the Oilers keep winning despite being out-chanced, but you have to figure that it can't last forever. If Edmonton doesn't get some of that experience back on the blue, Chorney's on-the-job training will inevitably hit a rough patch, and Grebeshkov's turnovers will keep piling up. And just like with the fish fillet, we'll be learning our lessons the hard way.


  1. Hey, this blog's a hidden gem. Great article! You should ad some site navigation widgets in the left column though. Grebeshkov played horrible last game vs. the Jackets. He looked more like Strudwick in getting turned into a pylon.

    What do you think of O'Sulli on the point during power plays? We nearly got burned with a short handed goal against last game with this setup, but Visnovsky saved us.

  2. Wasn't it Nash that almost burned us. I'm not sure I'd read too much into that. I'm all for forwards on the point during the PP. Maybe our special teams can finally get back to the glory days of Jarett Stoll.