PUSH THE RIVER

hall ps captureEarly in the week, rumor had it we might see Taylor Hall on Sunday against Arizona. With the OT loss last night, and the club’s record now 6-9-2 after 17 games, there has to be a certain urgency in the offices on Kingsway. Hall’s addition to the roster gives Edmonton a chance to win the Sunday game, and maybe grab another win in the New Jersey game (while losing to the Canucks), they could come rolling in after 20 with an 8-10-2 record and 18 points. It is not good, but it isn’t horrible either (the club was 4-14-2 after 20 a year ago) based on how high the climb.

nugent-hopkins tbay capture

Hall’s imminent return allows us to talk about the team splitting up the Kid Line (Hall, Nuge, Eberle) in an effort to ice two significant offensive lines. That’s a big deal, because if the Oilers are going to compete in the west they’ll need to score goals at a higher rate than they’re currently posting.

  1. Pouliot—Nuge—Eberle
  2. Hall—Arco—Perron/Yakupov

I wish they had a 21-year old Leon Draisaitl to throw onto that second line with Hall and Yakupov, that could cause some problems in the wild, wild west. The Oilers have found something very good in Pouliot, and Jordan Eberle just keeps on scoring 5×5 goals (100 NHL goals now, Stu MacGregor’s first pick covered the bet long ago) but they’re going to need a center for this ‘two scoring lines’ idea to make it go. I’m loathe to trade any of Eberle, Perron or Yakupov, but for me Hall and Pouliot are set LH side, C has Nuge and a need, and so it’s one of the RW’s who needs to be cashed for a C.

A quick note on the Nuge: He was central to the comeback last night. The Edmonton Oilers now have two young men who can push the river. Music!

SOMETHING NEW

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KLEFBOM AND MARINCIN

klefbom ferguson 1415

The Oilers (to my eye) now have four defenders they can send over the boards with some degree of confidence. Jeff Petry, Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference and Keith Aulie are being used in roles they can have success in (Aulie has been a pleasant surprise, and Ference is effective with Petry). Mark Fayne is becoming (to my mind) the rocking chair blue and I wonder if they end up trying him with Justin Schultz. Niki Nikitin can’t possibly be this bad, I think you have to play him until he calms down or the blood starts running back to his brain.

It’s probably time to have Klefbom or Marincin draw in, but coach Eakins seems to be getting comfortable with the current six. That Ranger game offered the template, suspect it’ll be some time before both Klef and Martin are in the lineup—maybe they don’t play the same night all season. Which is fine, if Marincin ends up around 35 games this season and Klefbom 30, that’s probably enough experience to count on one or both next year.

Of course, all this planning is worth nothing, injuries will dictate what happens. The bigger issue, the sphincter tightener, is this: How many years do we lose before the Oilers realize Justin Schultz isn’t what they think he is?

scrivens11I was talking to Dennis King on the Lowdown yesterday, and we got reminiscing about all the bad goalies down through the years. I asked Dennis to name all the good goalies, the ones where you could slip to the can or the beer fridge during a PK, since Curtis Joseph, and Dennis answered ‘Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon that one season’ and man that sounds exactly right.

I’m not going to debate this goal or that, but overall it’s difficult to argue the Oilers goaltending is anywhere near good enough. I happen to think there are some very good things happening for this team:

  • Shot differential is better and appears to have some sustain (we’re coming up on 20 games)
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is pushing the river
  • They haven’t lost every game Hall has missed
  • Benoit Pouliot is that big complementary winger we’ve been trying for since they drafted Brad Winchester
  • Jeff Petry is settling in again as a quality defender
  • Mark Fayne is getting comfortable
  • Nail Yakupov is about to go off
  • David Perron is a wonderful hockey player

But you have to fix the goaltending, folks. None of this matters when the goalie is swimming and that’s a fact. Craig MacTavish made bets I considered solid, but for the second year in a row both goalies are squandering and for a young team trying like bloody hell to turn north it’s unacceptable. I’m not saying trade for another goalie, or flush either one of these guys, but there are two games I count as ‘stolen by goalie’ and at least four where you can say the netminder was responsible for the loss of a point or two.

Devastating for a young team. Can’t happen.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

JOHANSSON

It’s Friday! 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. We’ll talk Oilers, McDavid, maybe some Raptors if there’s time.
  • Brian King (PDO), NonStopSportsPicks.com. We’ll talk Eskimos, I’m worried about the O-line a little.
  • Jamie Nye, The Green Zone. We venture back into enemy territory for the Roughrider view (spits).
  • Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP TSN 1260. Tough road trip for the Oil Kings,we’ll talk about scoring goals and great goalies.

10-1260 on text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!

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122 Responses to "PUSH THE RIVER"

  1. linkfromhyrule says:

    The Good Ship Oiler (not sure who coined that term, but I quite enjoy it) has been such a rusty s**tbucket for so long that the holes seem to spring up as fast they can be plugged. It’s like playing Whack-a-mole with roster holes.

    Fire Krueger? Goaltending becomes a sieve! Fix the goaltending? Mark Fraser! RNH starts pushing the river? Hall injury! Sieve goaltending! Nikitin!

    This ship is sinking man and I don’t wanna swim

  2. SoCaloil says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention anything about showing up to the first period.
    Good god did yak have a good chance off Perrons hard work. He’s got to get that shot % up

    I don’t under lstand why you want to keep playing NN
    I say sit him.a couple

  3. theres oil in virginia says:

    You can put Domenik Hasek behind this defense and you’ll see these same “bad goals” go in. Petry on the OT goal was 2 feet away from the puck and rather than getting a stick in to disrupt the shot, he sets up to block it. That’s on him.

  4. linkfromhyrule says:

    theres oil in virginia,

    Yep. Someone really needs to tell our D to either challenge the shooter physically or with the stick, or GTFO of the way so that your goalie can see it. This has happened way too many times this season. Not just one offender either

  5. theres oil in virginia says:

    linkfromhyrule: Not just one offender either

    Agreed, not trying to pick on Petry.

  6. Cobbler says:

    theres oil in virginia,

    I agree. Until this team can prevent periods where they get outshot 17-7 and have their show run by the opposition, get beat to the puck continuously, it will not matter who is in goal.

    This team is turning a corner and the comebacks the last two games show that, but they are still too inconsistent. There is plenty of skill on this team, but boy that doesn’t matter much when you wilt like they did in the first two periods of the last two games.

    Don’t change any goalies until the other glaring issues are dealt with.

  7. Ben says:

    Perron + Fasth for Lehner?

    Fasth + D prospect for Reimer?

    My remaining sanity for Cam Ward?

  8. linkfromhyrule says:

    theres oil in virginia: Agreed, not trying to pick on Petry.

    Oh no definitely not. Nikitin would be great if he could screen the other goalie the way he screens ours!

  9. Clarkenstein says:

    Dear Mr. Katz: Would it be asking too much to get your (mis)management team to find somebody that can STOP THE FUCKING PUCK!
    Thank You.

  10. su_dhillon says:

    Thought I posted this in yesterday’s GDT but last night’s spot is one a lot of old school NBA betters fade almost by rule. Team playing 1st home game, coming off of road trip of longer than 4 games especially if trip was across time zones ie East to West or West to East. Getting a point out of that spot was actually pretty impressive especially after falling down by 3.

    LT I see Brian King is on the show today and know he is a NHL capper you may want to ask him if that 1st game back off a long trip shows as a large trouble spot in NHL betting the way it does NBA.

    So with Nuge taking that next step, I get the temptation of splitting him and Hall up but is there a line you could put Hall on that won’t sink him against top pairs? I don’t know if Archo and Yak are good enough in that spot, so far they haven’t exactly killed it even with positive zone starts and softer comp. Once again we come back to not being good enough at center. Though it is certainly worth trying for a few games while Hall gets his bearings back.

    One thing I will say though is having 2 stars can cure a lot of ailments and roster deficiencies and i think it looks like we have 2 now, Nuge has been best player on ice a lot last 2 weeks. The only thing it cannot overcome is bad goaltending.

  11. Dicky94 says:

    Purcell, Marincin and Fasth to Montreal for Eller and Tokarski. He is an excellent goalie who will never have a chance In Montreal behind Price.

  12. Ca$h-Money! says:

    It’s like when you are troubleshooting an IT problem, or trying to fix something around the house you don’t 100% understand. The goalie situation is reminiscent of the coaching situation:

    1. SV% and GAA suggest goalie is struggling, as does eye test
    2. Replace goalie
    3. New goalie see’s SV% and GAA worsen vs. historical norms
    4. Replace goalie
    5. New goalie see’s SV% and GAA worsen vs. historical norms

    If this is an IT problem (I’m not an expert but it’s a small office and I do what I can) I start to say to myself “it can’t possibly be X, the odds that two X’s have the same deficiency are next to 0. It’s gotta be something else.

    The same can be said for coaches. Just like the goalies, we’re not necessarily replacing them with premium parts, but at the same time, the odds that the last 4 coaches are terrible seems damn unlikely, hence the idea that you can’t fire the 4th coach (unfortunately it could very well be that the 4th coach is in fact the only one who really needs to be fired, along with maybe the first).

    On the issue of replacing the goalie with a proven starter… not sure that’s possible. I’m not sure a marquee goalie would sign here, since it sure seem to be where goaltending careers go to die. The only guy that signs here is a guy who’s got potential but has been held down on the depth chart, and wants to take the opportunity to win a starting job and is willing to risk a SV% below 0.9 and a GAA north of 3.

    Maybe Markstrom’s available…. He’s never done it at the NHL level but holy cow is he killing it in the AHL this year, 4 shutouts in 8 games, sub 1 GAA, SV% around .96. He would represent yet another swing for the fences and hope it works out type move, but I suspect that’s all we’ve got at this point. That or it’s not the goalie…. I just don’t know at this point.

  13. Adam Wu says:

    linkfromhyrule:
    theres oil in virginia,

    Yep. Someone really needs to tell our D to either challenge the shooter physically or with the stick, or GTFO of the way so that your goalie can see it. This has happened way too many times this season. Not just one offender either

    Defenders trying excessively to block shots is sometimes a sign of lack of confidence in the goaltender making the saves if the shots are allowed through.

    It’s a team game and everything is correlated.

  14. Aitch says:

    I got the Sens broadcast last night and with it Ray Ferraro. That was a treat. It’s like Ray is personally ticked off with the Oilers play.

    I’ll tell you all you need to know about Oilers goaltending… when there’s a scramble anywhere near the Oilers play, I don’t watch the play. I watch the twine, because that’s where I’m expecting the puck to show up. On the first goal, the TSN crew speculated that perhaps Lazar got a stick on Hoffman’s shot, as Scrivens looked miffed. From the replay they showed, maybe. And I’m the first to give the goalies some slack on a deflected shot, but if the potential for that slight of a deflection – and they said all the puck did was “wobble” – is enough to make a difference in the goalie making the save or not, I’d argue the goalie didn’t see it well or play it well enough.

    As much as I want to believe that Fasth and Scrivens are better than Dubnyk and LaBarbaraPoppa, or that it’s the defensive schemes that are leading to these shots, right now, I can’t help but cringe at the some of the goals that are getting through. The OT winner last night was a trickle. 2 of 3 in Nashville should’ve been stopped. And at some point, you need your #1 goalie to make the stop that he shouldn’t make. The only time I’m seeing those saves are when the Oilers are already in desperation mode. Not when the team is leading or early in games.

    Look at the last six games (the road trip + last night) In three of the four losses, the team was behind 2-0, 3-0 and 3-0 at the 1st intermission. This team has to stop feeling its way into games, and the goaltending is as much to blame as the defensive play.

  15. Bryan says:

    My uncle held season tickets from the Oilers inception into the WHA and on through the glory years up until his passing in 1995. He always maintained that it was a waste of time to go to the first game at home after a long road trip.

  16. Clay says:

    “I was talking to Dennis King on the Lowdown yesterday, and we got reminiscing about all the bad goalies down through the years. I asked Dennis to name all the good goalies, the ones where you could slip to the can or the beer fridge during a PK, since Curtis Joseph, and Dennis answered ‘Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon that one season’ and man that sounds exactly right.”

    I thought old Tommy Salo played some pretty good goal for the Oilers, up until he met the Belarussians in ’02.

    Goaltending, jebus. My brain keeps wondering how you can have this many goalies play so far below their career averages under Eakins. I mean, it has to be his defensive system, right? And it may be partially that. But, my gord, some of the goals that have been allowed by Oilers goalies in the last 13 months – just mind numbing. I’ve never seen so many 35 foot wrist shots go in.

    And then Scrivens this year deciding to be the extra attacker for the opposition on half a dozen occasions. And the OT goal last night – that should’ve been a simple positional save. It went right through him.

    It’s just mind boggling.

  17. SK Oiler Fan says:

    I think you give Scribbles and Fasth one more start each and if they don’t perform as needed then you strongly consider other options like giving the BTO disc a spin??
    Man, goaltending is one of the areas I thought they’d be ok. They both seemed like reasonable bets. This team always has at least one and often many areas of the team that sinks them. As soon as one hole is plugged, two more appear. Next, Fayne and or Petry will get injured and the D will be a train wreck.
    So frustrating for a fan, I can’t imagine what’s running through DE’s mind when the team as a whole plays like the Sabres one period then the Hawks the next period (yes I know – score effects). Then your goalie caps off the night off with 2 that should be stopped and plays fine in the other 2 periods. Bi-polar team

  18. PhrankLee says:

    We are so used to sucking that we call tying the game a comeback.

    LT’s point scares me deeply. How many years at 24min/night will it take for MacT and Eakins to eat some crow on Schultz? He is NOT the guy you were hoping for. If he could just defend…even a little.

    More than any other Oiler I see him continually trying the little things he got away with in college and the minors. Every dam game!! My eye rolling muscles are worn out with this guy.

    His liability as a defender is NOT being covered with his offensive upside. We have NO shooter from the point. Well coached PK units the league over have no respect for our PP. Mostly because they learn quickly to force the puck to the blue line. PP is so bad it’s worth the greenlighting attempts to jamb him and be sprung for a shortie. Other PP units get respect because they represent a threat from the point. Not Edmonton. Last time we were respected that way we had Souray. Jesus.

  19. Lucinius says:

    How to fix the goaltending, in 5 easy steps:

    1. Fire Chabot.
    2. Kidnap Bill Ranford.
    3. Press box/IR Nikitin
    4. Play Marincin/Klefbom.
    5. Teach* Scrivens to not leave his net. Ever.

    * Likely requires the use of electrodes.

  20. Lucinius says:

    More seriously (sort of?) I think winning the Schultz sweepstakes was one of the worst things to happen to this team since the rebuild began (not including Tambellini), due to how the team treats players like Schultz (i.e.; they are Hockey Jesus). It has prevented the Oilers from actually addressing a major issue with the defense; a guy getting 20+ minutes a night that cannot actually play defense. It would be one thing if he was getting 50-60 points a year, but he’s topping out at mid-30s and is sucking up powerplay time without actually being of any use on the powerplay.

    Edit: I should note that this is note really on the player. I think just about any other team would have been able to “fix” Schultz through actual coaching and management decisions, like the occasional press boxing.. but this is the Edmonton Oilers!

    And oh god, the powerplay. The only thing the Oilers have that challenges the goaltending for number of games lost because of, is the powerplay. There is zero excuse for a team this talented to suck so badly on the powerplay.

  21. HiddenDarts says:

    Bryan,

    Agreed. I’m not surprised the Sportsnet crew didn’t mention it (to prevent people from tuning out), but aren’t the Oilers like 0-16-1 in the past 17 home games where they have returned from a road trip?

  22. Bag of Pucks says:

    LT, I’m happy to see that you’re onboard with MacT parting with one of his RWs. I don’t think 2C should be the targeted return however. Jultz should be sufficient to acquire an emerging 2C.

    I would think one of Eberle, Yakupov, and Perron would have substantially more market value than Schultz (I know, crazy thing to say about a future Norris Trophy winner, right?) and thus MacT should leverage them for the hugely needed 1D (emerging not existing).

    Too bad Dellow works for Eakins. If I’m MacT, I have him rubbing shoulders with pro scouting to lend some sanity to those proceedings.

    So, who do you part with from Perron, Ebs and Yak. Hate to say it, but if I’m MacT i get Eakins to drive up Yak’s stats on the pp over the next 20 games and then deal him.

    I don’t deal Perron because his player type is exactly what this sleepy team needs. In fact, I’m completely onboard with MacTs strategy of adding one French Canadian per season. Those guys are killing it!

    So it comes down to Eberle’s defensive inconsistency and lack of size vs Yakupov’s defensive inconsistency, poor puck sense, and lack of finish. Yakupov may end up being the better player, but his ability to finish is still in question while we know Eberle has that aspect of the game down pat. Time for some tough love from eakins towards Ebs in the D zone however.

    As a former 1st OV, Yak should have more than sufficient value to net a solid, emerging 1D in return. Bold move time.

  23. russ99 says:

    Kind of hard to rip on the goalkeeping when our usage of defensemen is beyond puzzling:

    We all know it’s a bad idea to pair Ference and Schultz and feed them 20+ minutes of icetime.

    We all know Schultz should be sheltered, with a stabile pairing mate, less icetime and picking his spots to boost the offense, and by no means used as the sole crease-clearer.

    We all know it’s a bad idea to start Aulie unless theres some inherent value in fighting twice a game, which IMO has zero bearing on if we win or lose.

    We all know that we shouldn’t be leaning so much on Nikitin if he’s still hurt.

    We all know it’s a total waste for Marincin and Klefbom to be eating popcorn upstairs when they should be playing either here or in OKC.

    I can’t tell if MacT or Eakins are making these decisions out of any kind of logic, or if one is forcing that on the other due to spite.

    But to have a chance, we need to ice our 6 best defensemen. BTW: That’s not necessarily our 6 best defensive-zone defensemen, as the offense badly needs a push too.

  24. Bag of Pucks says:

    And in anticipation of the inevitable “you can’t trade Yak!” howls of protest. I hasten to remind folks that Yakupov has a grand total of 7 points, the exact same total as Mark “freaking” Arcobello.

    If you can get a player like Seth Jones or Trouba or Lindholm or Ryan Murray for Yak, it makes the team immediately better.

  25. Pouzar says:

    Not sure about anyone else but I’ve seen NN good at the beginning of the year, new toy bias notwithstanding, but now he looks like a lumbering barge out there. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is playing throw back and/or ankle issues still.

  26. russ99 says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    And in anticipation of the inevitable “you can’t trade Yak!” howlsof protest. I hasten to remind folks that Yakupov has a grand total of 7 points, the exact same total as Mark “freaking” Arcobello.

    If you can get a player like Seth Jones or Trouba or Lindholm or Ryan Murray for Yak, it makes the team immediately better.

    How about we change the coach before selling low on anyone instead of making kneejerk trades for now as usual.

  27. rickithebear says:

    Keith aulie:
    67:38 Min 0GA/60
    Steve Macuntyre ..97 FG/60

    Steve Macintyre would be +1GD every 60 with Aulie.

    Steve f…………….. Macintyre.

    In what world is 0GA in 5 games Bad!

  28. zatch says:

    I’d be shocked if one of the high names here
    http://www.eliteprospects.com/draftcenter.php?year=2015&layout=&ranking=Rank6&nation=&sort=&league=&pos=G
    is not called in the 2nd round by Edmonton. Certainly no later than the 3rd. A high end goalie prospect is needed in the pipeline. You can never have too many. Even if they ARE voodoo…

    I miss Salo too, for what it’s worth.

  29. Bag of Pucks says:

    russ99: How about we change the coach before selling low on anyone instead of making kneejerk trades for now as usual.

    The roster is unbalanced. Trading from a position of strength/depth to address areas of weakness is not ‘knee jerk,’

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of MacTs primary remits and addressing the imbalance is long overdue.

    A new coach isn’t going to magically pull a legitimate 2C or 1D out of a hat.

  30. Bag of Pucks says:

    Pouzar:
    Not sure about anyone else but I’ve seen NN good at the beginning of the year, new toy bias notwithstanding, but now he looks like a lumbering barge out there. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is playing throw back and/or ankle issues still.

    Scott Howson does not deserve your benefit of the doubt.

  31. Pouzar says:

    Bag of Pucks: Scott Howson does not deserve your benefit of the doubt.

    Fine. While we are doubting, can we get MM in there?

  32. Bag of Pucks says:

    re: Yakupov. Beyond Joe Thornton, do we have any other comparables for 1st OVs that struggled out of the gate this badly before figuring it out.

    Thornton seems very much the exception not the rule (i.e. Most 1OVs hit the ground running and don’t stop).

    For those who think trading Yakupov at this juncture would be a mistake, I’m curious as to what’s causing you to believe he’s not going to be a bust? What are you seeing that leads you to believe he’s going to be a consistent goal scorer in this league?

    Seem to recall that Dave Chyzowski had an absolute cannon of a shot as well. Sometimes that’s not enough.

  33. rich says:

    Actually enjoyed listening to Ferraro last night on the Sens broadcast. Concise and instructive in his criticisms of the Oilers.

    Agree w/Bag of Pucks on the issues. Coach is doing the best he can with what he has – an imbalanced roster. Wish we could fast forward another year and maybe by then MacT will finally have the 2C this roster badly needs. Hope he re-signs Petry while he’s at it, but if I were Petry, not sure I’d want to resign in a market that supposedly knows so much about hockey but can’t appreciate what the guy in fact brings to the roster. He’s not perfect, but is better than anything else we currently have – which must mean it’s time to run him off.

    Le sigh.

  34. linkfromhyrule says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Your first folly is comparing one 1OV to another. There is literally no way to compare any one to another. Different situation (team, coach, management), different league/conference state, different players. Draft picks are not created equal. I didn’t hear you saying yak was a bust after his first season LEADING THE TEAM IN SCORING.

    The kid is a Russian 1OV who was never taught to play the defense, and as a result has had to learn to play the right way away from the puck in the best freaking league in the world. So how about we just quit with the bust talk, because it’s BS

  35. Marcus Oilerius says:

    I wish you could blame the goaltenders, but the number of and quality of chances the Oil give up make it impossible to focus goaltending as the issue.

  36. haters says:

    …. I love how bipolar oil fans are, when we win we glom all over whomever scored a nice goal or how solid fasth was…… We lose … In OT…. Fire everyone trade Yak Ebs and Perron ….fire Chabbot…. Take a deep breath, realize that our core is just out of their teen years and accept we ain’t going to the show.
    You all knew this
    I’m sure MacT has some serious regrets about a few centers that were available..
    Real talk ? With a city with so little to offer compared to other city’s and a fan base that’s more critical than my 3rd grade teacher it’s any wonder how we get anyone to play here besides washed up has beens and young guns trying to make their mark .

    Yakupov is my favorite Oiler. Shove those trade ideas for him where the sun don’t shine tyvm.

  37. VanOil says:

    Bohologo: RAA lead singer Nils

    I once convinced Nils that any rural bumpkin can come to the big city and do Purple City. What real locals did was use the Railway tracks on top of the High Level bridge for late night commuting. Alcohol may of been a factor.

    Nils is a great guy, I am a but of ass. His band is great.

  38. frjohnk says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    re: Yakupov. Beyond Joe Thornton, do we have any other comparables for 1st OVs that struggled out of the gate this badly before figuring it out.

    Thornton seems very much the exception not the rule (i.e. Most 1OVs hit the ground running and don’t stop).

    For those who think trading Yakupov at this juncture would be a mistake, I’m curious as to what’s causing you to believe he’s not going to be a bust? What are you seeing that leads you to believe he’s going to be a consistent goal scorer in this league?

    Seem to recall that Dave Chyzowski had an absolute cannon of a shot as well. Sometimes that’s not enough.

    If peopleare thinking Yak is gonna be a bust, they are probably wrong.
    But if people are thinking Yak is gonna push the river, they are probably wrong as well.

    He is at the bottom end of the rankings of 1st OV over the last 15 years. Stephan, Dipietro and Fleury are worse. And even though he was the consensus number 1 pick back in 2012, he is right now probably the 5th or 6th best player from that draft right now.

    We can hope he will fire 40 plus goals a year ( he might, Id love that) but realistically he probably peaks as a good complimentary player who puts up 20-30 goals a year and is a great 2nd line winger. I don’t see bust nor do I see river pusher in Yaks future.

  39. tubes says:

    We have to stop blaming the goaltending when the puck changes direction just as we need a goalie that stops 35 foot uncontested wrist shots.

    That said, we still have some of the worst breakdowns in the d-zone and some of our wingers don’t understand that they have to be in the vicinity of a dman when they get the puck.

  40. VanOil says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    If Yak’s sh% returns to league average and his recent shooting rate continues he will be a 30 to 40 goal scorer. Add this to eventually playing with a talented NHL center and some 1st team PP minutes and you have a heck of a goal scorer. 30 to 40 goals a year may not be enough production for you to feel he is a true #1 pick but does not scream bust to me.

  41. Caramel Obvious says:

    Marcus Oilerius:
    I wish you could blame the goaltenders, but the number of and quality of chances the Oil give up make it impossible to focus goaltending as the issue.

    For the one hundred millionth time there is absolutely no evidence that this is true.

    The confusing of cause and effect on a goal event is so obvious I can’t believe we are still talking about it.

    And pointing out little tiny mistakes on a goal by the defenders doesn’t prove anything. There are mistakes made all over the ice all the time. The only reason you notice those mistakes is because the puck went in the net. That’s confusing cause and effect.

    The goaltending has been bad. And you can’t blame that on the defense. The overtime goal was atrocious. That’s a simple fact. Accepting these basic facts is the entry fee for the conversation. Otherwise there is nothing to talk about.

    That doesn’t mean the team defense is perfect, or even good. 17 shots allowed in a period isn’t good. However, the issues need to be separated from each other, and of the two the goaltending is by far the more serious.

    Every team occasionally gives up a lot of shots in a period. Not every team has sub .900% goaltending. Indeed, the only team worse than the Oilers is the Coyotes. Which is, I think, all the evidence you need to see that coaching isn’t responsible for save percentage.

  42. Adam Wu says:

    If you draft BPA over need, it means, de facto, that you end up with an unbalanced roster, and that at some point who retain the option of cashing in one of those BPA’s to balance your team via trade.

    But you have to get fair value for that trade. You don’t do it unless you can sell high, or you desperately need to win RIGHT NOW.

    What’s fair value for a player like Yak? Trade him now for x or y and you may make this years’ team better. But how long does that Team-that-traded-Yak STAY better than the alternate universe Team-that-kept-Yak?

    Or put another way. You’ve endured 8 years of futility. Do you cash that suffering in for one year of playoff contention, maybe two or three? Or would it be better to endure a year or two more of unbalanced futility for 5 years of championship contention?

  43. Bag of Pucks says:

    VanOil:
    Bag of Pucks,

    If Yak’s sh% returns to league average and his recent shooting rate continues he will be a 30 to 40 goal scorer. Add this to eventually playing with a talented NHL center and some 1st team PP minutes and you have a heck of a goal scorer. 30 to 40 goals a year may not be enough production for you to feel he is a true #1 pick but does not scream bust to me.

    Agree that it is all about sh% with Yakupov.

    Hope I’m wrong but I see a player who was lucky in his first season. His mo is blasting the puck as hard and as quickly as possible. He doesn’t seem particularly adept at taking that extra fraction of a second to pick the corner.

    Unless he can sort out the accuracy issues, he looks to be a high volume, low production shooter not sniper.

  44. frjohnk says:

    How are some the free agent centers from the summer of the 2014 doing?

    Jokinen 16 games, 0 goals, 0 points, 14 hits, 34% in FO dot.
    Ribero 16 games, 4 goals, 13 points, 13 hits, 44% in FO dot
    Derek Roy 16 games, 0 goals 7points, 2 hits, 45% in FO dot
    Peareault 17 games, 0 goals, 3 points, 12 hits, 55% in FO dot
    Grabovski 12 games, 3 goals, 7 points, 2 hits, 28% in FO dot ( isn’t playing center)

  45. russ99 says:

    Bag of Pucks: The roster is unbalanced. Trading from a position of strength/depth to address areas of weakness is not ‘knee jerk,’

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of MacTs primary remits and addressing the imbalance is long overdue.

    A new coach isn’t going to magically pull a legitimate 2C or 1D out of a hat.

    We were imbalanced going into the season, just like last offseason.

    If MacT was going to do anything about it, it would have been this summer.

    As much as a Yakupov or Eberle trade would be cathartic to Oilers fans as some sign of progress, I don’t see what it really accomplishes in the context of this season, especially if we’re trading someone like Yakupov, who IMO is a well-constructed and well-coached offense (and power play) away from breaking out – for still more futures that may not pan out.

    And I really don’t see a Lowe-run organization trading Yakupov for another player we could have drafted in his stead – that would be an admission of incorrectness. Saving face seems really important to this group.

    If anything, we should be trading to make progress in future seasons – such as a move for an established veteran to fill one of the three gaping holes in the roster: #1D, #1 or 2C, #1G, yet someone young enough to fit within the core and won’t be ditching town in 2-3 years. Granted, those players are pretty elusive.

    Sadly, I’m almost to the point where a full reboot of the organization is the truest step towards that progress we’re all looking for.

  46. Adam Wu says:

    Caramel Obvious:

    The goaltending has been bad.And you can’t blame that on the defense.The overtime goal was atrocious.That’s a simple fact.

    Um, no. You don’t get to declare anything a “simple fact” without presenting evidence to that effect. Your own opinion of what it looked like is not enough.

    Petry had perfect position for the block. 99.9999% of the time a shot like that gets blocked. This time it squeezed through a space between his legs scarcely bigger than the puck itself and changed and went in a direction that no one would have anticipated.

    You can’t blame ANYONE for that one particular goal. It was pure luck, plain and simple. Call it karma if you wish. The team did not deserve 2 points with the atrocious start to the game, and the hockey gods just said ” we’ll give you one point for your effort in the comeback but not two.”

    If you want to blame Scrivens for a weak goal that impacted the outcome of the game, it’s the first goal you should look at. That set the tone for the entire first period. If he makes that save it’s an entirely different hockey game.

  47. McSorley33 says:

    VanOil,

    If Yak’s sh% returns to league average and his recent shooting rate continues he will be a 30 to 40 goal scorer. Add this to eventually playing with a talented NHL center and some 1st team PP minutes and you have a heck of a goal scorer. 30 to 40 goals a year may not be enough production for you to feel he is a true #1 pick but does not scream bust to me.
    ********************************************************************************************
    In a few years – LD will be playing Adam Oates and Nail will be doing his Hull imitation.

    One is a passer. One is a shooter.

    Just need them to get more experience…..I say in 3 more years..

  48. Bag of Pucks says:

    Adam Wu:

    What’s fair value for a player like Yak? Trade him now for x or y and you may make this years’ team better. But how long does that Team-that-traded-Yak STAY better than the alternate universe Team-that-kept-Yak?

    Despite the eastern media bias, he’s still a 1st OV and that has cache particularly if he can go on a hot streak with some cherry pp mins.

    I think the Oil should be able to trade Yak for a top 10 pick D prospect from another team (Lindholm, Trouba, Murray). I wouldn’t trade him for an older roster player (like Phaneuf).

    Seth Jones is a number 1 stuck behind Weber. Poile’s likely too smart to deal him for Yak alone, but he’s needed a goal scorer forever. Would be great if MacT can convince him Yak is that. To be fair, he may see Forsberg as filling this need now.

  49. Bag of Pucks says:

    russ99
    And I really don’t see a Lowe-run organization trading Yakupov for another player we could have drafted in his stead – that would be an admission of incorrectness. Saving face seems really important to this group.

    You’re right. This is probably a thing, and a pretty damn sad thing at that.

  50. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious: For the one hundred millionth time there is absolutely no evidence that this is true.

    That’s incorrect.

    The ancillary metrics – shots, chances, Grade A Chances, and the “home plate” shot data that Frjohnk (I think) brought forward – all suggest that given the high level shot metrics (Corsi/Fenwick), the Oilers are NOT translating their possession to actual chances at a high rate, and ARE giving up a higher than expected number of Grade A chances.

    Probabilistically speaking, that could be a perfectly meaningless occurrence. For any given Fenwick, one can create a bell curve, and some teams will convert those chances at a better rate, and some at a worse rate than the underlying shot metrics. If that is simply random variance, you expect those numbers to jump around and eventually converge.

    Not converge in the sense of “match up”, but converge in the sense that the larger the sample size, the narrower the variance will get. In statistical terms, the kurtosis would increase.

    I’m not convinced we are seeing this convergence as yet. In fact, against West teams, it seems to be getting worse.

    That’s not conclusive in and of itself. But it’s enough to cause concern.

    But if you aren’t at least concerned, then you are doing exactly what you accuse others of doing – drawing a conclusion (that the Oilers are just fine and improving), reading evidence to support that conclusion, and wilfully ignoring evidence that contradicts your a priori conclusion.

    I’ve said this a 1000 times now.

    I *see* evidence of improvement. The *stats* suggest there is reason to believe in the improvement. The *results* suggest otherwise. There are *other stats* that indicate there is in fact a cause for concern, that the improvement is in areas that don’t matter so much, and so the results are actually reflective of the team and not the shot metrics. I hope the shot metrics win, but there is real reason to believe that the metrics will converge on the record rather than the other way round.

  51. McSorley33 says:

    8 of our next 9 games will be played against the West…..

  52. Caramel Obvious says:

    Adam Wu,

    Totally disagree.

  53. frjohnk says:

    Bag of Pucks: Despite the eastern media bias, he’s still a 1st OV and that has cache particularly if he can go on a hot streak with some cherry pp mins.

    I think the Oil should be able to trade Yak for a top 10 pick D prospect from another team (Lindholm, Trouba, Murray). I wouldn’t trade him for an older roster player (like Phaneuf).

    Seth Jones is a number 1 stuck behind Weber. Poile’s likely too smart to deal him for Yak alone, but he’s needed a goal scorer forever. Would be great if MacT can convince him Yak is that.

    Preds have Neal and Forsberg who can put the puck in the net. 8 goals each this year. I doubt Yak for Jones is enticing for Poille.

  54. Bag of Pucks says:

    frjohnk: Preds have Neal and Forsberg who can put the puck in the net.8 goals each this year.I doubt Yak for Jones is enticing for Poille.

    I agree that scenario is the least likely. Would probably take a big sweetener in addition to Yak.

  55. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money,

    You lost me yesterday when you said that if Scrivens had saved that puck it would have been a miraculous save. Everything after that is just rationalization. You’ve moved into Godot territory.

    When you return down to earth I’m willing to engage in conversation.

    That said, I’ll put forth a hypothesis that possession is inversely related to PDO, because counter attacks produce better quality chances,

    But there is no data that supports the idea that the Oilers are particularly worse at this. Parkatti’s data both last year and this year directly contradicts your hypothesis. The Oilers do not do worse by shot quality metrics.

  56. Bag of Pucks says:

    McSorley33:
    8 of our next 9 games will be played against the West…..

    It’s like that scene in Jaws….ya know, where the other teams are the monster shark and the Oil are the chum in the water.

  57. Bag of Pucks says:

    frjohnk: Preds have Neal and Forsberg who can put the puck in the net.8 goals each this year.I doubt Yak for Jones is enticing for Poille.

    Would you trade our first rounder for Jones straight up?

    A smart guy like Poile might take a ticket in the McDavid/Eichel lottery in exchange for Jones. He’s stacked with D.

    The team need is SO massive for a 1D with the Oil, I think Jones has more value to this team than Eichel. Suspect the Sabres will tank as much as needed to secure McDavid.

  58. Adam Wu says:

    It is vanishingly rare for ANY team to be able to trade for a legit 1A/2C and a stud 1D that are young and in the beginning of their prime years. Other teams simply don’t trade such players unless there are random non-hockey related reasons (like with Pronger). And when it does happen it almost always involves a team blowing up their own old core in the process, and turning the newly acquired C and D into centrepieces of their NEW core. In other words it is a move a team makes when it decides to blow up a rebuild (or begin one) and start over, with a new core to build around.

    Would getting both those pieces turn the Oilers into a playoff team this year? Personally I suspect yes. The likelihood of such a thing being possible at all is probably less than the chance of RNH, and Yak going supernova simultanously with Jultz turning into a real Norris Trophy candidate plus one of Nurse, Kelfbom or Marincin leaping ahead three years in their expected development curves instantly, AND Scrivens or Fasth going on a 60 game hot streak.

    That second scenario would ALSO turn the Oilers into a playoff team this year, and that one has a probability that is definitely not zero, since the team already has all those players, while the unknown probability of the trade scenario actually COULD be a flat squat zero since involves getting players the team does NOT currently have.

    Getting a stopgap 2c is much more possible, but that won’t make this years team a legitimate playoff contender. It’ll just make the team a bit better and lower a few fans’ blood pressures.

    Young core 1-2C’s and 1D’s are the kinds of players you have to develop internally.

    When the Oilers began this rebuild in 2010 the die was cast when that year the BPA was Hall or Seguin, both forwards, and the team did not already have a stud 1d still in the stage of his career that he could be the D anchor for the early phase of the rebuild, like Calgary is getting this year. These circumstances, which are beyond the team’s control, guaranteed that the Oilers would have to endure the first half of the rebuild as an unbalanced team. Better management might have shortened that period of imbalance, but arguing so is also the logical fallacy of hypothesis contrary to fact.

  59. linkfromhyrule says:

    McSorley33:
    8 of our next 9 games will be played against the West…..

    Thank the hockey gords hall will be back in the next 1-2 games (hopefully)

  60. McSorley33 says:

    rich,

    Agree w/Bag of Pucks on the issues. Coach is doing the best he can with what he has – an imbalanced roster.
    **************************************************************************************
    Do you think the next Oilers coach will roll out Justin Schultz for 25 min/ game?

  61. Bag of Pucks says:

    @adam eu

    Tyler Seguin, Erik Johnson, Rick Nash, Jakub Voracek, Nino Neidereiter, Benoit Pouliot, Luongo, Ilya Kovalchuk

    Blue chip picks get traded more than you think. Even moreso in the cap era where production vs spend is even more critical.

    All a trade requires is two partners with complimentary assets for complimentary needs. Pedigree should not overrule logic.

  62. barry.moore23 says:

    Please don’t rush Hall back. There just isn’t any reason. Is there ?? Despite everything I still love the Oilers. Peace, guys. 🙂

  63. Ribs says:

    Holy crap. Schlemko on waivers. *waives Schlemko flag*

  64. commonfan14 says:

    SK Oiler Fan: Man, goaltending is one of the areas I thought they’d be ok.

    I told myself this all summer too. It was fun to buy into the notion that MacT had “fixed the goaltending on the fly.”

    Then just before the season started, the fact that Scrivens and Fasth had less than 100 career NHL starts between them forced its way into my consciousness. It was much less fun.

    I console myself with remembering just how freaking amazing Nuge was on that third goal last night. He’s going to make one hell of a second line C behind McDavid.

  65. frjohnk says:

    Bag of Pucks: Would you trade our first rounder for Jones straight up?

    A smart guy like Poile might take a ticket in the McDavid/Eichel lottery in exchange for Jones. He’s stacked with D.

    The team need is SO massive for a 1D with the Oil, I think Jones has more value to this team than Eichel. Suspect the Sabres will tank as much as needed to secure McDavid.

    I do that trade but Nashville wouldn’t. The chances of them getting McDavid would be small ( at best 25%, that’s if oilers out tank Sabres) , my money says oilers are picking 4th to 9th overall this year. In the case of that trade the Preds would have to wait a couple of years for that prospect to make an impact where Jones is close to that already.

  66. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious: You lost me yesterday when you said that if Scrivens had saved that puck it would have been a miraculous save. Everything after that is just rationalization. You’ve moved into Godot territory.

    Did you actually watch the shot unfold in slow mo and see what the goaltender saw , or just react like everyone else watching and assign the goalie blame because that was the easy and obvious (and frankly, completely wrong) thing to do?

    I have no idea how that puts me in Godot territory, but I always assume ad hominems are the desperate last resort of an argument that has failed on its own merits.

    Caramel Obvious: But there is no data that supports the idea that the Oilers are particularly worse at this. Parkatti’s data both last year and this year directly contradicts your hypothesis. The Oilers do not do worse by shot quality metrics.

    I’m a fan of Parkatti’s work, it’s an important contribution, and I was happy to see him post his “after 15 games” article. But if you really want to dig into the numbers, you’d have to separate what his data is showing into “vs good” and “vs bad”. Because they are worlds apart.

    Half the explanation for the decent numbers come against horrible teams (Buf), or huge score effects (like when you get down 3-0 in consecutive games). Not exactly reason for comfort.

    If what you’ve seen so far doesn’t at least give you cause for worry, if you’re happy looking at the shot metrics and putting your fingers in your ears and shouting “la la la” to those who see real cause for concern – I would say there is no evidence, rationale, or analysis that will convince you.

    These next 20 games, on the other hand, I suspect will give us a definitive answer.

    Between now and the end of December, I’m guessing that the Oilers will go something like 6-11-4, they’ll continue to be in last place in the West, and those glorious shot metrics will come crashing down to a nasty and harsh reality.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t count hope as a strategy.

    If the Oiler performance over that time normalizes to the shot metrics, and middlingish results (10-10-1 maybe) against good teams follow, I’ll gladly tell you that you were right.

    If you are wrong, and the 6 win segment is the new normal, I get the sense you’ll still be insisting that all is right with the Good Ship Oiler.

    Will be interesting to see if anything changes your mind.

  67. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money,

    We are so far apart we can’t even agree on what constitutes evidence. If the Oilers play badly in the next 20 games and get outshot etc. that won’t tell us anything about how the last 20 games have gone. It will only tell us how those 20 games went.

    The problem with attributing cause and effect is that the attribution of what caused what is not something can be determined by empirical evidence, since the evidence itself presupposes we already have a relationship.

    So this dispute cannot be resolved empirically. It is a theoretical, or rational, dispute, and so there is no “evidence” that could convince me, since what counts as evidence is presupposed in the dispute.

    For instance in your scenario in which shot metrics regress to goals, we have one given set of facts and two possible explanations of that given set of facts.

    Fact: shot metrics go down, wins and losses stay the same.

    Explanation #1: the shot metrics “regressed” to “performance.”
    Explanation #2:” the performance changed.

    Both explanations fit the data. Which one is correct? The data can’t tell you.

  68. slopitch says:

    I for one am glad that MAF resigned in Pittsburgh so we dont have to worry about the Oil chasing him this offseason. “Goaltending, its not that important until you dont have any.” Who said that?

    LT, question for you. If Nuge and Yak emerge as legit players and the Oilers still finish 25th overall, is that a successful season for Eakins? For the record dont think its possible both emerge and we finish that bad but with the goaltending where it is, that might be the case.

    Really liking Perron and Yak lately.

  69. TheOtherJohn says:

    Oilers have played a number of injury decimated EC teams: TB, Philly, Boston and have a 6-3 record against the EC. Have played a single tradtiional WC power: LAK and got killed. Played Nashville twice and got schooled both times.

    At some point we are going to start a steady diet of the big boys and its gonna get ugly

    Nuge is, though, really starting to play some excellent hockey

  70. OilClog says:

    YAKUPOV is not a bust, anyone suggesting he’s a bust is a fool, full stop.

    Trading Yakupov for whatever player isn’t going to turn this team around. Madness to suggest removing Yakupov for Murray would solve this teams problems.

    Yakupov only has as many points as Arcobello.. Omg shoot him out of a cannon and deep into cold lake, clearly he has no use, just fish food that Yakupov is.

    Furthermore if Yakupov was Katz pick, good luck on anyone convincing Katz to trade him for anything less then diamonds.

  71. OilClog says:

    What amazes me is Ranford got Scrivens from Toronto, he immediately noticed flaws in Scrivens game, fixed them and he ended the season amazingly.. One summer with Chabot and he’s back to his Maple leaf standards… Why is Ranford not our goaltending coach?

  72. Bag of Pucks says:

    OilClog:
    YAKUPOV is not a bust, anyone suggesting he’s a bust is a fool, full stop.

    Trading Yakupov for whatever player isn’t going to turn this team around.

    Do you have any quantitative or qualitative data to support this argument?

    Or does calling someone a fool qualify as a rational argument for you?

  73. Protagonist says:

    OilClog:
    What amazes me is Ranford got Scrivens from Toronto, he immediately noticed flaws in Scrivens game, fixed them and he ended the season amazingly.. One summer with Chabot and he’s back to his Maple leaf standards… Why is Ranford not our goaltending coach?

    Isn’t it more likely that the Kings world class defensive corps has more to do with it than Ranford does? I think all we have on the effectiveness of Goaltender coaches is a correlative connection, which is tenuous at best. After all, that “fantastic” goalie coach in Nashville has the benefit of his guys playing behind Shea Webber …

  74. Pouzar says:

    Bag of Pucks: Do you have any quantitative or qualitative data to support this argument?Or does calling someone a fool qualify as a rational argument for you?

    He only gained 8 lbs?

  75. "Frank The Dog" says:

    Ca$h-Money!:
    It’s like when you are troubleshooting an IT problem, or trying to fix something around the house you don’t 100% understand.The goalie situation is reminiscent of the coaching situation:

    1.SV% and GAA suggest goalie is struggling, as does eye test
    2.Replace goalie
    3.New goalie see’s SV% and GAA worsen vs. historical norms
    4.Replace goalie
    5.New goalie see’s SV% and GAA worsen vs. historical norms

    If this is an IT problem (I’m not an expert but it’s a small office and I do what I can) I start to say to myself “it can’t possibly be X, the odds that two X’s have the same deficiency are next to 0.It’s gotta be something else.

    The same can be said for coaches.Just like the goalies, we’re not necessarily replacing them with premium parts, but at the same time, the odds that the last 4 coaches are terrible seems damn unlikely, hence the idea that you can’t fire the 4th coach (unfortunately it could very well be that the 4th coach is in fact the only one who really needs to be fired, along with maybe the first).

    On the issue of replacing the goalie with a proven starter…not sure that’s possible.I’m not sure a marquee goalie would sign here, since it sure seem to be where goaltending careers go to die.The only guy that signs here is a guy who’s got potential but has been held down on the depth chart, and wants to take the opportunity to win a starting job and is willing to risk a SV% below 0.9 and a GAA north of 3.

    Maybe Markstrom’s available….He’s never done it at the NHL level but holy cow is he killing it in the AHL this year, 4 shutouts in 8 games, sub 1 GAA, SV% around .96.He would represent yet another swing for the fences and hope it works out type move, but I suspect that’s all we’ve got at this point.That or it’s not the goalie….I just don’t know at this point.

    This logic is exactly what led me to the conclusion that Bucky and Smith had to go. You’re correct about the goalie logic too, except DD hasn’t been good anywhere else – yet.

    But when I did bring up canning the Goalie coach a while back the response was tha the’s actually a very good goalie scout. In which case maybe he should be scouting goalies instead of coachng them because our goalies do seem to deteriorate under his tender care.

    On the other hand most goalies (DD excepted) look a lot better when behind a competent D that shuts the box, restricting opponents to long shots at awkward angles. Look how far Detroit used to go with mediocre goalies.

    So yeah, fix the goalie coach, then let the goalie coach fix the goalies you signed to cheap contracts.

  76. Bag of Pucks says:

    Pouzar: He only gained 8 lbs?

    Nice backcheck by your boy last night.

  77. Melman says:

    OilClog:
    What amazes me is Ranford got Scrivens from Toronto, he immediately noticed flaws in Scrivens game, fixed them and he ended the season amazingly.. One summer with Chabot and he’s back to his Maple leaf standards… Why is Ranford not our goaltending coach?

    Because LA has better beaches? I wonder if he did come how many would roll out the “old boys club” complaint – in truth though he has a good track record with goalies & Chabot has done nothing with the goalies he’s had here. This would seem to be an area where they could improve coaching.

  78. Kmart99 says:

    If Hall can push the River alongside Arco and Yak/Perron… Wowow. Two lines that can play 20mins.

  79. Kmart99 says:

    I don’t think any of Ebs, Perron, or Yak can get this team the Centre or Goalie they are looking for.

    Man, both major bets MacT made(Draisaitl, Scrivens/Fasth) have not panned out so far.

    I wonder if Hall Arco Yak is def better than Hall Drai Yak.

  80. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious: So this dispute cannot be resolved empirically.

    Of course it can. OF COURSE IT CAN.

    This isn’t a fucking black hole or the Higgs boson we’re talking about.

    This isn’t some deep abstract academic exercise.

    It’s hockey, for fucks sake.

    Hockey.

    It is not a mystery.

    I will be watching (as much as I will hate much of it) pretty much every single one of those games.

    I expect fully that the pattern we’ve seen repeat so many times – dominate (ineffectively at times) bad teams, get dominated by good teams, poor starts followed by heroic but just-shy comebacks – will continue unabated. Because that’s what bad teams that “look good” do.

    I expect at the end of that time, the team on the ice will be exactly the same as what we’ve seen so far, but the shot metrics, which seem illusory to me, will by then coincide with the steaming turd observed on the ice, and not the other way round.

    At that point, you can hide behind meaningless logic constructs like “Oh, well this only told us how THESE 20 games went, not how the previous twenty games went”, or “Yeah, but you can’t attribute cause and effect because the evidence itself presupposes the relationship” or “Well, we don’t know if the data regressed or the performance changed.”

    NO.

    Hockey. Not theoretical physics. Hockey. It’s a straightforward game, and you can determine an enormous amount just by observation.

    And the observation at that time – I fully expect – will be categorically in favour of “this team is shit”. The metrics will have regressed to the play, and the attribution will be easy and obvious.

    If that isn’t the case – if the on ice product actually changes, and we see for example consistent complete 60-minute efforts against good teams, or sturdier non-perimeter play in the offensive zone, etc. – then I will (happily) attribute this to the performance beginning to match the underlying metrics.

    It’s easy to make that attribution. Because it’s hockey.

  81. G Money says:

    If we prove the existence of the Hockey Boson, will LT get a Nobel Prize?

    Then again, I think most of us are more focused on the hockey bosom.

  82. TeeVee says:

    Bag of Pucks: Scott Howson does not deserve your benefit of the doubt.

    Scott Howson traded Couturier and Voracek for Jack Johnson.

    That makes me very sad 🙁

  83. cmcousine says:

    After watching Eberle’s 100 goals, no way do we trade him. He’s a beauty!

  84. "Frank The Dog" says:

    After reading this blog I’ve gone from cautiously optimistic to somewhat pessimistic.
    The greatest likelihood is that this team goes on a series of extended losing streaks while we all fight with eachother over what’s wrong with the team/roster/coaching/organization.

    Why can’t we just had a team of tryers like the little team that cold in the late 90’s that consistently made it to the playoffs and were never a funn team to lay against at Rexall? (or was it Skyreach then?)

  85. Pouzar says:

    cmcousine: After watching Eberle’s 100 goals, no way do we trade him. He’s a beauty!

    But…but….back checking…………

  86. G Money says:

    “Frank The Dog”,

    It’s funny you mention that – those teams are exactly what I have in my head as a mental contrast to what I see on the ice today.

    Those teams could never match the talent of the big clubs pre-cap.

    But man, they were just absolute beasts to play against. No one wanted to come into Skyreach or Northlands or whatever, because win or lose, you were going away with tired legs and bruises all over your body.

    It’s fun to mock thecaptainethanmoreau, but the play I have emblazoned in my mind of “the captain” is when he hit a player, got tripped and slid feet first into the boards, came up limping but still threw himself forward to block a shot. Then he hobbled to the bench with what I recall was a BROKEN ANKLE.

    Then I watch this team shit the bed with a half-assed effort to start the game two games in a row – to go along with a whole bunch of other half-assed efforts during many periods and many shifts this year and for at least two or three or four years prior – and I wonder what the hell happened.

    It’s fun for fancystaters to mock concepts like “hard work” and “effort” … but all the great shot metrics in the world won’t make up for not showing up for 60 minutes.

  87. cmcousine says:

    G Money,

    How hard would it be to add an “effort” measure to the parameters. Obvious plays where there was little effort, 0.5. Didn’t stand out? 1.0. Threw yourself in front of a puck with your face (or broken bones) 1.5. Come on smart people! Figure out how to make this work!

  88. leadfarmer says:

    Scott Howson brough Nikitin who has been absolutely terrible for more than two years now just as I warned this summer.

  89. OilClog says:

    Bag of Pucks: Do you have any quantitative or qualitative data to support this argument?

    Or does calling someone a fool qualify as a rational argument for you?

    Well when dealing with a fool, yes, yes it does.

  90. Bag of Pucks says:

    Pouzar: But…but….back checking…………

    Note further up the thread were I advocate trading Yakupov instead of Eberle.

    I have consistently said Eberle’s ability as a finisher has value. MacT has said he needs to become a driver of the play. Along those lines, I think there’s other areas of Eberle’s game he can work on to become a more complete player. I would say the same thing about Hall and he’s an absolute killer. No one on this poor team is perfect.

    Your main beef seems to be that someone has the temerity to suggest Eberle isn’t perfect as is. That doesn’t make you rational. It makes you a fanboy.

    I get it. Authentic jerseys ARE pricey.

  91. OilClog says:

    Protagonist: Isn’t it more likely that the Kings world class defensive corps has more to do with it than Ranford does? I think all we have on the effectiveness of Goaltender coaches is a correlative connection, which is tenuous at best. After all, that “fantastic” goalie coach in Nashville has the benefit of his guys playing behind Shea Webber …

    Go back and listen to Scrivens interview about Ranford, take a look at quick, bernier, that other kid that’s coming up. Defence don’t stop the puck, they don’t tell the goalie where to position his glove, how to use his blocker effectively.. So on and so forth. Ranford is a goalie genie.

  92. Bag of Pucks says:

    frjohnk: I do that trade but Nashville wouldn’t.The chances of them getting McDavid would be small ( at best 25%, that’sif oilers out tank Sabres) , my money says oilers are picking 4th to 9th overall this year.In the case of that trade the Preds would have to wait a couple of years for that prospect to make an impact where Jones is close to that already.

    You’re right. Poile would have to see the Oil as a lock for a top 2 pick at least, so a trade likely wouldn’t happen until the deadline if it does at all. If the Oil were that far in the cellar then, MacT would be fully committed to a solid shot at Eichel and an outside shot at McDavid.

    We’re so fu€%ed with this team as it’s currently built.

  93. G Money says:

    cmcousine,

    I’m certain it could be done.

    As an observer, effort shows up very distinctly in a few places:
    – races to the puck. It’s usually clear who wants to get there more
    – battles for the puck. Strength and size are a big determinant, but effort wins out more often than not. Can also apply to position battles e.g. front of the net
    – catching up to a turnover. Skate like hell, or glide and watch?
    – back checking. How badly do you want the puck back?
    – sacrifice, aka “taking a hit to make a play”. Take the hit, or bail out and turn the puck over?

    Of course, Justin Schultz is the poster boy for lollygagging, and you can use the list above to assess that … races to the puck? Despite his plus skating, he doesn’t win very often. Puck and position battles? Almost never … Catching up to a turnover? Let’s glide. Back checking? Nah (though when he does do both of the last two, it’s very very impressive). And lastly, sacrifice … pretty much never.

    This metric, as with a number of others (e.g. assessing defensemen by number of smart vs dumb plays made) is very labour intensive, which is why I think we prefer to ignore or make fun of what is actually a measurable concept.

  94. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Pouzar: cmcousine: After watching Eberle’s 100 goals, no way do we trade him. He’s a beauty!
    But…but….back checking…………

    If Ebs back checked the way he scores goals the Oilers would have won last night.
    Also, surely Schlemko is an upgrade on a few of these so called “NHL” Dmen the Oilers boast.

  95. cmcousine says:

    G Money,

    Maybe, for fun (with all my free time) I’ll PVR the next Oilers game and use your matrix to come up with an “effort” score. Probably won’t be worth doing. As some have said (somewhere) big guys like Drai look like they’re lollygagging while they are not, yet others like Arco look like they’re flying, but may be less effective.

    Interesting anyhow.

  96. Lowetide says:

    Please be nice to each other. Thanks.

  97. godot10 says:

    Ca$h-Money!:
    I

    The same can be said for coaches.Just like the goalies, we’re not necessarily replacing them with premium parts, but at the same time, the odds that the last 4 coaches are terrible seems damn unlikely, hence the idea that you can’t fire the 4th coach (unfortunately it could very well be that the 4th coach is in fact the only one who really needs to be fired, along with maybe the first).

    With far worse defensemen, in Renney’s 2nd year, and in Krueger’s year, the goals against average was not obscene, like it has been under Eakins for 1.25 seasons, and five goaltenders, all of whom have demonstrated at least a marginal level of NHL competence elsewhere.

    It is the coaching, the utilization of the available D, and the systems, not the goaltenders.

    MacT and Eakins came in last year, misdiagnosed the situation, and broke everything again. The Oilers still have not got the GAA to Renney and Krueger levels.

    And well, Petry is likely gone soon, so more spinning wheels in the ditch.

  98. G Money says:

    cmcousine,

    Yeah, you’d need to ‘correct’ for that.

    That said, some will dismiss the results as not valuable because they’re subjective. As measurement science has shown, subjective assessments when done in a reasonably objective framework can have tremendous value.

    If you do try it, make sure you let us know!

    Even recording that for a single period would make for an interesting exercise. I did that ‘goodness of D’ exercise for Jeff Petry for a period and I thought the results were quite informative.

    After some thought, I did think of one thing I would add to my ‘matrix of effort’ … urgency when not under pressure. That’s an interesting one, but a noticeable one. It’s: how fast do you skate, and with how much intensity do you e.g make passes when not under pressure?

    This one is especially noticeable on the power play.

    I am of the opinion that good teams treat power plays with urgency no matter whether they are behind or not. Their effort scores from the rest of the matrix are also high as a result.

    The Oilers seem to treat most PPs with urgency only when they are behind.

  99. cmcousine says:

    G Money,

    Kind of like how the Oilers play when they’re down by 3 after the first as compared to the sleepwalking they do in the first! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  100. G Money says:

    Lowetide:
    Please be nice to each other. Thanks.

    Except for that G Money guy. He’s an asshole.

  101. rich says:

    McSorley33,

    Unless he’s Pat Quinn, he will if the GM tells him to.

  102. G Money says:

    cmcousine:
    G Money,

    Kind of like how the Oilers play when they’re down by 3 after the first as compared to the sleepwalking they do in the first! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    Cool! Just a suggestion: you might want to keep the scoring simple. Like you mentioned earlier, as simple as “less than”, “same as”, or “more than” the other guy will work.

    In a single game, that becomes a tricky measure e.g. in the Nsh game, when the Oiler started working harder in the second period, was that because they were ACTUALLY working harder, or did the Preds start to mail it in? Ditto yesterday.

    That said, the measure of relative effort matters tremendously, so I think it will be definitely be interesting.

  103. Adam Wu says:

    G Money: Of course it can.OF COURSE IT CAN.

    This isn’t a fucking black hole or the Higgs boson we’re talking about.

    This isn’t some deep abstract academic exercise.

    The Higgs boson isn’t a “deep abstract academic exercise”. The Higgs boson can (has already been/will be soon) verified empirically.

    It’s deep (sort of), but it sure isn’t abstract.

    And as the source of gravity in this universe, it sure isn’t just academic….

  104. Adam Wu says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    @adam eu

    Tyler Seguin, Erik Johnson, Rick Nash, Jakub Voracek, Nino Neidereiter, Benoit Pouliot, Luongo, Ilya Kovalchuk

    Blue chip picks get traded more than you think. Even moreso in the cap era where production vs spend is even more critical.

    All a trade requires is two partners with complimentary assets for complimentary needs. Pedigree should not overrule logic.

    And in each of the cases you list above, trade rumours swirled for months. The reasons the player was up for trade was a major news topic, debated endlessly. Many times there were non-hockey related issues in play. In many other cases the player was considered to be potentially damaged goods. Sometimes with attitude problems. Sometimes with questions about health. Sometimes after having played particularly poorly for a season with questions as to whether or not former form would be recovered, of if this was not, in fact, the beginning of the downward spiral to the end.

    The team trading for such a player was therefore not trading for a sure thing, but assuming a certain degree of risk.

    Most of these trades also occurred during known and established periods for trades, such as at the trade deadline, or in the offseason.

    So where are the similar trade rumors swirling around players of similar caliber that are available now?

  105. RexLibris says:

    Some beautiful shots of NYC in the snow(hope NYCOil enjoys).

    http://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2014/nov/14/new-york-snow-vivienne-gucwa-pictures

  106. RexLibris says:

    Adam Wu,

    He may have been referring to the debates surrounding it prior to the recent experiments.

    This did make me wonder though: Justin Schultz in a supercollider…irresistible force v. un-hustleable object?

  107. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Adam Wu: The Higgs boson isn’t a “deep abstract academic exercise”. The Higgs boson can (has already been/will be soon) verified empirically.

    It’s deep (sort of), but it sure isn’t abstract.

    And as the source of gravity in this universe, it sure isn’t just academic….

    I would contend that, relative to an Oilers blog, it meets the initial criteria well enough.

  108. SwedishPoster says:

    I think Ebs has looked much better the last few games and his skill with the puck is undeniable but he has that controller diconnect when playing D and/or backchecking quite often and you could see it against Nashville. Maybe they should have the “Yak-talk” with Eberle. If he was named Juri Eberleev media would be on him like a dog in heat.

  109. Bag of Pucks says:

    Adam Wu: And in each of the cases you list above, trade rumours swirled for months. The reasons the player was up for trade was a major news topic, debated endlessly. Many times there were non-hockey related issues in play. In many other cases the player was considered to be potentially damaged goods. Sometimes with attitude problems. Sometimes with questions about health. Sometimes after having played particularly poorly for a season with questions as to whether or not former form would be recovered, of if this was not, in fact, the beginning of the downward spiral to the end.

    The team trading for such a player was therefore not trading for a sure thing, but assuming a certain degree of risk.

    Most of these trades also occurred during known and established periods for trades, such as at the trade deadline, or in the offseason.

    So where are the similar trade rumors swirling around players of similar caliber that are available now?

    Well trade rumours have come up regarding Yakupov, Kadri and Evander Kane to name three players off the top of my head.

  110. Younger Oil says:

    I know we’re saying that this year is an improvement over last year, but if we had the record we had this year last year, we’d still be last place in the west.

    Bottom line, this is still a really, REALLY bad hockey team, on every single level. We can talk about the improvements all we want, but if the team is still one of the worst in the league, is that really something to be proud of?

    I am a big believer in fancy stats, and can see that the Oilers have shown great improvement in them, which is good to see, but just as a fan watching the games, it is clear to see that they are very rarely outplaying the other team, or matching the other team’s work ethic.

    Sure you can say “They played really well, except for that one turd period”, but if that turd period is happening essentially every single game, and they are consistently losing as a result of it, there is something fundamentally wrong with this team. It could be the players not having the right attitude, it could be the coach not getting enough out of his players, or it could be the GM not putting together a good enough team, but the thing is, it is probably all three. And that is absolutely unacceptable, especially after 8 years of not making the postseason.

    But Gord help me, after all of this time, I can’t stop supporting this team.

  111. AZOIL says:

    What did it take for Nash to get Neal again?

    Is there a team out there that has a #1 D that is being held back because he has 2 studs in front of him?

    With our young D prospects I would think we could get them a package of players and picks that works.

  112. Kmart99 says:

    Younger Oil:
    I know we’re saying that this year is an improvement over last year, but if we had the record we had this year last year, we’d still be last place in the west.

    Bottom line, this is still a really, REALLY bad hockey team, on every single level. We can talk about the improvements all we want, but if the team is still one of the worst in the league, is that really something to be proud of?

    I am a big believer in fancy stats, and can see that the Oilers have shown great improvement in them, which is good to see, but just as a fan watching the games, it is clear to see that they are very rarely outplaying the other team, or matching the other team’s work ethic.

    Sure you can say “They played really well, except for that one turd period”, but if that turd period is happening essentially every single game, and they are consistently losing as a result of it, there is something fundamentally wrong with this team. It could be the players not having the right attitude, it could be the coach not getting enough out of his players, or it could be the GM not putting together a good enough team, but the thing is, it is probably all three. And that is absolutely unacceptable, especially after 8 years of not making the postseason.

    But Gord help me, after all of this time, I can’t stop supporting this team.

    They played two strong periods and lost.
    OTT played one strong period and won.

    If the Oil outplay their opponent for 40/60 mins every game, they’ll likely win more than half of them.

  113. Kmart99 says:

    Kmart99: They played two strong periods and lost.
    OTT played one strong period and won.

    If the Oil outplay their opponent for 40/60 mins every game, they’ll likely win more than half of them.

  114. Washingtron says:

    Here’s a horrifying thought my Oilers-abused mind just spat out: It might be better to have Hunt playing than Schultz. This is what I’ve been reduced to.

    It seems like we the collective fan base don’t know what we’re rooting for anymore. We’re so desperate to put our huge enthusiasm someplace and so used to the tank strategy that if we win we celebrate like we won the lottery and if we lose we are ready to burn things to the ground to get into the other kind of lottery.

    I hope they win, and then they Oilers, and then a sick part of me hopes they lose by fifteen. Just so something will be forced to shake loose.

    I’m just so nauseous from this Rolly-coaster guys! Flag down the pimply-faced teen, tell him to stop trying to pick up girls and get me off this ride.

  115. stevezie says:

    AZOIL,

    Or an overpaid number one holding back the studs? Like byufliglien, off the top of my head. The oil are in good.position to absorb an overpaid.player. I will give tambo credo for exactly that much.

  116. cahill says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    re: Yakupov. Beyond Joe Thornton, do we have any other comparables for 1st OVs that struggled out of the gate this badly before figuring it out.

    Thornton seems very much the exception not the rule (i.e. Most 1OVs hit the ground running and don’t stop).

    For those who think trading Yakupov at this juncture would be a mistake, I’m curious as to what’s causing you to believe he’s not going to be a bust? What are you seeing that leads you to believe he’s going to be a consistent goal scorer in this league?

    Seem to recall that Dave Chyzowski had an absolute cannon of a shot as well. Sometimes that’s not enough.

    I wanted to give a list of early picks that Yakupov might be comparable too. The +N is + their draft year – Points /G – ATOI

    Yakupov
    +1 – .65 – 14:34
    +2 – .38 – 14:19
    +3 – .41 – 14:59

    Kessel
    +1 – .41 – 14:04
    +2 – .45 – 15:14
    +3 – .86 – 16:34

    Vorachek
    +2 – .48 – 12:40
    +3 – .62 – 15:37
    +4 – .58 – 16:58

    Horton
    +1 – .4 – 13:20
    +2 – Lockout
    +3 – .66 – 16:53
    +4 – .76 – 18:04

    J. Staal
    +1 – .52 – 14:56
    +2 – .34 – 18:16
    +3 – .6 – 19:51

    Iginla
    +2 – .61 –
    +3 – .46
    +4 – .62 – 16:30

    Samsonov
    +1 – .58 – 16:23
    +2 – .65 – 16:32
    +3 – 58

    Spezza
    +2 – .64 – 12:40
    +3 – .71 – 14:38

    Marleau
    +1 – .43 – ?
    +2 – .56 – 15:11
    +3 – .49 – 14:11

    Hemsky
    +2 – .51 – 12:04
    +3 – .48 – 14:26
    +4 – .95 – 16:59

    If you want some positive news.

    Patrick Stefan:
    +1 – .35 – 14:49
    +2 – .47 – 14:07
    +3 – .39 – 15:58

  117. stevezie says:

    Some of my favourite posters are debating the trees when the forest tells the story.

    The save percentage isn’t good enough. You could argue the sample size isn’t big enough, but I would disagree.

    Goalies aren’t just paid to not let in soft goals, they should make the odd good save. Maybe the oil are giving up too many quality chances, but even then the save percentage is still too low.

    The goalies have cost us points. I dont see how you can argue that.

    Unrelated note: I have seen Ference good lately. G Money is right about this: there arenimportant, but difficult to quantify things that this team lacks.

  118. icecastles says:

    stevezie: Unrelated note: I have seen Ference good lately. G Money is right about this: there arenimportant, but difficult to quantify things that this team lacks.

    This is why Eyeglow/60 and WTF/60 need to be more widely adopted.

  119. stevezie says:

    icecastles,

    Right?

    Wake up nerds!

  120. Factotum says:

    By my reckoning, the Oilers have lost six games by a margin three or more goals and five games by two or fewer. Of the five games they’ve lost by two or fewer goals (including their one shootout loss), they’ve received from their goaltender a save percentage < .900 exactly one time – last night.

    Not saying the goaltending has been good enough – a league-average overall save percentage should have resulted in 10 fewer goals against so far, so this has has got to improve PDQ. I'm just not sure how many more standings points are realistic to have expected from the actual games played so far. What do the big brains think?

  121. Factotum says:

    Kmart99:

    If the Oil outplay their opponent for 40/60 mins every game, they’ll likely win more than half of them.

    That would be great to see, given that the last regular season in which the Oilers won more than half of their games was 1987-88.

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