Dallas Eakins talked to the media yesterday and made sound points about the hockey club. I can see why Craig MacTavish sensed a kindred spirit—the guy has an ability to state the case in an intelligent way without being flowery or sugarcoating—and the fanbase needs exactly that today.
- Eakins: “We made at least a dozen bad decisions against Calgary where we tried to force the puck in at the middle, just over their blue-line, trying to make chicken soup out of you know what. Last night we couldn’t help ourselves (turnovers). It was like somebody telling you you can’t eat chocolate and every time you walk by you want a piece of it. You’re going to grab that piece of chocolate.”
Awesome. The good thing about this coach is that he notices everything and has the right idea about how to get things going in a good direction. It’s going to take awhile but there’s all kinds of good arrows in a statement like this:
- Eakins: “Skill players turn over pucks, though. If they never turned over one, you’d probably have a big problem because they’d just want to dump it in. Wouldn’t that be great if our skilled players got to the red-line and always dumped it in? No turnovers, but no offence.”
The mind boggles at what a Ron Low quote might look like in this situation. No, as Caramel Obvious wrote last night “we have the right coach” and I do believe this team is heading in the right direction. That Saturday game will stay with me for awhile though, you only get so many chances at a dead-red fastball in the NHL.
Article quoted is here. And it’s a great read.
We’re reaching a point in the season where the numbers are beginning to show things, and it’s time to see how many players have boxcars that are “in the range” with expectations.
EDMONTON OILERS RE 2013-14
- Perron (69, 20-24-44 .638) ON PACE (78, 35-38-73 .936) off by 23 points so far (positive)
- Hemsky (66, 11-25-36 .545) ON PACE (82, 16-32-48 .585) off by 3 points so far (positive)
- Smyth (72, 12-16-28 .389) ON PACE (75, 12-22-34 .453) off by 5 points so far (positive)
- Eberle RE (78, 28-37-65, .833) ON PACE (82, 26-40-66 .804) off by 3 points so far
- Hall RE (70, 37-45-82, 1.17) ON PACE (75, 35-44-79, 1.05) off by 9 points so far
- Sam Gagner RE (82, 15-37-52 .634) ON PACE (69, 11-23-34 .493) off by 10 points so far
- Nugent-Hopkins (62, 21-42-63 1.02) ON PACE (80, 17-44-61 .763) off by 21 points so far
- Yakupov (82, 29-23-52 .634) ON PACE (80, 11-14-25 .313) off by off by 26 points so far
RE numbers are my original projections, the on pace numbers are from tsn. The newcomer and the older gents are in the black, Eberle is close to sea level, Hall and Gagner are off the pace and two of the #1 overalls are headed to the glue factory (well, not really). David Perron is my MVP so far this season, the numbers suggest he’s a strong candidate and an absolutely wonderful acquisition.
FENWICK FOR PERCENTAGE FORWARDS (CLOSE 5X5)
This stat is getting a lot of play lately, thought we’d run it up the flagpole and see who salutes. Fenwick is described as being almost the exact same as Corsi, but it doesn’t count blocked shots-the reason for this is that it is entirely possible that blocking shots is a skill, and not just a series of random events. So, with that in mind, let’s run the Oilers regular forwards through Fenwick and see what we can find:
- Hemsky 50.9
- Hall 50.2
- Arcobello 49.8
- Eberle 48.2
- Gagner 48.1
- Nugent-Hopkins 47.9
- Acton 47.2
- Smyth 45.9
- Gazdic 45.6
- Perron 44.1
- Yakupov 44
- Gordon 41.5
- Joensuu 41.2
- Jones 39.4
Okay, the zone starts explain some of the things at the bottom (Gordon for sure) but Perron seems low to me and Hall seems high; I guess that’s why we look at all of these numbers. It brings me to one of my questions for the day:
- Are we reaching a point where the Oilers are likely to sign Hemsky and deal Gagner? I think the answer may be yes.
FENWICK FOR PERCENTAGE BLUE (CLOSE 5X5)
- Petry 48.8
- Nick Schultz 45.5
- Belov 45.1
- Ference 44.9
- Justin Schultz 44.1
- Larsen 38.8
I’m not familiar enough with this stat to know if the difference (after 30 games) between Petry and Schultz the younger is significant (especially when we include zone starts and toughness of minutes) but any metric that has Petry as the best of the lot passes the smell test for me. I can’t wait for a bunch of these guys to be in the 50’s.
I didn’t see this portion of the broadcast, but Cassie Campbell had an interesting comment on the Oilers after the HNIC broadcast, and several posters on this blog picked up on it.
- Woodguy: Cassie Campbell nailed it when she said the Oilers are full of players who think getting points equals success and that they don’t play hockey to win, they play hockey to score points.
It’s out there now, so it’ll be interesting to see what the Oilers do about their young impact players. Attention to detail can be ignored—Bowman put Lemaire and Shutt with Lafleur and watched the river run to Stanley—but the Oilers don’t have that kind of two-way depth. Looking back, I wonder if the organization would have been better served by keeping Horcoff, signing Gordon, and trading Hemsky or Gagner in the summer. It certainly would have addressed the center position.
The Oilers are doing fairly well in their ‘second-20’ game set for 2013-14, but things like that Calgary loss really point out the need to tighten up. If Craig MacTavish is going to build this team with strength up the middle—and he is—then we’re going to see the addition of:
- a strong 2-way center to work with Nugent-Hopkins and Gordon
- a defenseman who can play major minutes in all three disciplines
- a goaltender the GM is comfortable handing off to the coach
What is that going to cost? A pretty penny. I think we’re going to see some wingers and centers and futures and cap room cashed in for NHL players, and I bet it starts sooner than later. If you have a long shopping list, why wait?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Tyler Dellow from mc79 hockey. Is this team headed in the right direction? ARE the kids cheating too much for offense?
- Travis Yost from Hockeybuzz. Senators looking terrible, and the Buffalo Bills will pick around 20.
- Ryan Batty from Copper and Blue. Hall for the Olympic team? Trade now, or trade later?
- Andrew Bucholtz from 55-yard line. Will we see the CFL protected list?
10-1260 via text or @Lowetide_ on twitter.
This is Ty Rimmer. He’s starting very well for the Oklahoma City Barons (3, 2.65 .930) and is a player to watch. The Oilers basically grabbed him as a TC invite and as luck would have it he’s looking like the modern Les Binkley. Keep going, young man!