(THE ANGELS WANNA WEAR MY) RED SHOES

The decision-making process of  the Edmonton Oilers is difficult to follow in many areas, and it really gets unusual when discussing Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl. As you’ll recall, the club gave Nurse a cup of coffee in the NHL and then sent him back to develop. Based on recent reports, young Nurse is taking his disappointment out on OHL kids and touring Russians, with an eye to making the big club in the fall. More on that timeline in a moment.

  • Craig MacTavish: “We’ll make that decision on whatever’s best for Leon. We don’t want to put him in a situation that’s not best for his development. That’s really what we’ll be basing that decision on. We think he’s got lots of game, lots of size, lots of strength; he has lots of NHL-ready attributes but we don’t know that they’ll all mesh to the point that he can play this year and we’ll make that decision based on what’s best for him.”

LEON DRAISAITL TOI LAST FIVE GAMES

  • Nov. 7 at Buffalo: 10:57
  • Nov. 9 at NY Rangers: 11:03
  • Nov. 11 at Nashville: 7:25
  • Nov. 13 vs. Ottawa: 9:29
  • Nov. 16 vs. Arizona: 8:53

Lots of headlines on the way screaming ‘Oilers fancy stats spike isn’t helping’ that will miss the point by a mile. The Oilers have the Corsi’s headed in the right direction, and if they can get league average goaltending and tighten the blue things will look better. The other problem comes from using Leon Draisaitl like he’s an NHL player and not going the Nurse route. It can be very costly in terms of this young man’s development. What’s right for Lean? Yes. Good question.

BILL VIRDON HEARTS DOUG FLYNN

FLYNN

Allow me to tell you the story of these Edmonton Oilers by telling you the story of the 1983 Montreal Expos. Montreal was a strong contender 1979-82 but by 1983 Bill Virdon was manager and he was dull as dishwater. Now that Expos team had young talent everywhere and the everyday lineup boasted:

  • Tim Raines, who was a brilliant leadoff man, scoring 133 runs, driving in 71, and stealing 90 bases.
  • Andre Dawson, whose power was so great Olympic Stadium could not hold him. 32 homers, 113 ribbies.
  • Gary Carter, the best hitting catcher of his generation.

and some nice complementary pieces. HOWEVER, the Expos under Virdon also employed Doug Flynn, who was a decent fielder but couldn’t hit worth a tinker’s damn. Any normal human would have played the living hell out of Bryan Little, but Virdon had his game plan (which also included Al Oliver, he of the 8 home runs, at first base) and Doug Flynn was his second baseman. Stubborn? I can’t begin to tell you.

Lesson: ALL of the good work done by Raines, Dawson and Carter was undone by Flynn and the other addled bats in the lineup. So even though no one had a Gary Carter, the Expos gave away at 2B (and 1B and RF). Overall, their offense wasn’t special in any way.

And that’s why having Leon Draisaitl and Mark Arcobello playing on lines that need to provide offense at evens isn’t a good idea. The 5×5/60 numbers for Arco (1.20) and Leon (1.03) are basically Doug Flynn. It isn’t working, but the Oilers under Craig MacTavish are convinced it will.

So was Bill Virdon.

hall score

WHY AREN’T THE OILERS SCORING MORE?

With the Corgi’s dancing, the Oilers should be scoring more but they are not. As an example, here’s what the improved Corsi for looks like for Taylor Hall year over year?

TAYLOR HALL 13-14

  • 5×5 points per 60: 2.91 (1st among regular forwards, 4th in NHL)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 4.29 (4th among regular PP forwards)
  • Corsi For 5×5 %: 44.4 (+0.4 Corsi for Rel %)
  • Qual Comp: toughest among regular forwards (top line opp)
  • Qual Team: 2nd best teammates among regular forwards (top line)
  • Corsi Rel: 2.4 (6th best among regular forwards)
  • Zone Start: 57.9% (3rd easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 49.6% (2nd best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 250/10.8% (3rd among F’s>100 shots)
  • Boxcars: 75gp, 27-53-80 (led the team in points)

TAYLOR HALL 14-15

  • 5×5 points per 60: 2.35 (down from a season ago)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 1.84 (down markedly from a year ago)
  • Corsi For 5×5 %: 53.2 (Up drastically from a year ago)
  • Qual Comp: toughest among regular forwards (top line opp)
  • Qual Team: 3rd best teammates among regular forwards (top line)
  • Corsi Rel: 9.8 (much better, a strong number)
  • Zone Start: 66% (better than last year)
  • Zone Finish: 55.6% (better than last year)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 41/17% (much higher)
  • Boxcars: 12gp, 7-4-11 (on pace for 76gp, 44-25-69)

What’s the answer? Well, I’ll guess luck, PDO and that lingering problem involving not getting second chance scoring opps that Dellow talked about last season.

  • Dellow: What does this all tell us? I see three issues. First, the Oilers have become much more likely to dump pucks into the offensive zone with Hall on the ice at 5v5. Second, (in this sample at least but keep in mind that it was picked because it was pretty representative of the whole), they suck at retrieving those pucks. Third, they’ve gotten worse at generating shot attempts when they do carry the puck into the offensive zone.

So there’s progress and yet more work to do. I believe they’re miles better at puck retrieval and look to carry it in when possible. Not all the way there, but a recognition that the goal is ‘under control’ entry. That shot attempt part is a big deal, at evens and on the PP. They’re much better at getting the shots, now the pucks have to go in and the club needs to be dogged in their determination.

mckenzie eakins mact

TURNING NORTH

The great thing about Eakins now that he’s more comfortable in his own skin as head coach (and please don’t ask me about that ridiculous ESPN survey) and he usually puts the answer out shortly after we’re asking the question.

  • Eakins:  “Early in the season, when we were playing well and not getting the result and we still felt fairly good about it. Whatever the measure we were using, how we felt through a number of our losses this year, was that we’re better than we were last year — and we are.  We should feel good about that, but the time for those feelings is done now. It’s time now. We’ve shown that we can play with teams. We’ve shown that we can out-play teams. We’ve showed that we can get both points and we have to turn the heat on now. It’s time to turn the heat up on ourselves, for the result.” Source

I love the fact that Eakins isn’t bitching about the holes in the roster (Eakins at TC famously mentioned the C depth chart was Nuge, Gordon “and then there’s a whole bunch of mud after that”) and discussing results as if they have to happen. He is at the mercy of:

  • Luck
  • Goaltending
  • His GM’s ability to address the center position.

Still, he’s hammering through. I’m warming to Eakins in year two. If Craig MacTavish can find him a reasonable center, and the goaltending comes around, this team could hammer the Corgi’s at 50% for the year and win 35 games. I believe that. Doubt you do, but that’s the fun of being a fan. None of it happens without a center upgrade though, and right now I’ll peg them at 26-30 wins.

BARONS’ GAMEDAY

brossoit ferguson 14-15

It’s an early Barons’ game (starting in about one hour) and I’ll talk to Eric Rodgers about the Barons and their season this morning on the Lowdown. Jason Gregor had coach Todd Nelson on the show yesterday and the coach had a couple of interesting items:

  • Nelson: “(Kale) Kessy has turned the corner. He is playing well at both ends. The same for Curtis Hamilton. Our role players have been good.” 
  • Nelson on Lander: “He is doing more than he was last year. He is moving his feet a lot better which will help him in the NHL.”
  • More Nelson on Lander: “It is up to the player to take ownership in improving his game. Anton does that after every practice.”

Those quotes are via Jason’s twitter. The photo is by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Sade_1

At 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey, Oilers Nation, Sportsnet. Jon will talk to us about Leon, Martin and turning north.
  • Eric Rodgers, Tend The Farm. Update from OKC, if you have questions let me know.
  • Travis Yost, TSN Analytics. The developing Nuge, and we’ll make our weekly Ottawa-Edmonton C-D trade.
  • Corey Graham, TSN 1260 Oil Kings PBP. We’ll talk about the Oil Kings and the emerging powers in the WHL.

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

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140 Responses to "(THE ANGELS WANNA WEAR MY) RED SHOES"

  1. SiouxtheOilers says:

    I think all of this is correct. My worry is that the Oilers seldom ever get the “ifs” right. I fear another season lost and am not confident about the one after that.

  2. su_dhillon says:

    I think your pretty much bang on LT.

    No question center is a hole killing the production on this team because with these wingers their depth should be an asset they can use but young Leon sinks 2 guys every game, if Pouliot is one of the guys on his wing, well you are blowing year one of that contract. No way you get full value.

    What I don’t get with the C issue is this. Let’s take them at their word and say no trade targets out there make sense right now prices are too high. Why not call up Lander and platoon him with Archo and Leon and ride the hot hand? Marincin has been benched for Hunt and Aulie, 2 guys not anywhere near his class, so why is it Leon couldn’t sit for Lander? Why is that not even an option?

    I don’t know if Lander for Leon makes you better or how much but I am pretty sure it doesn’t make you worse and it’s a move you could make yesterday.

  3. frjohnk says:

    Corgis this year better compared to all of last year but not much better than through the first 17 games of last year

    5×5 corsi last year through 17 games was 48.9%
    This year it is 50.9%

    Oilers played 3 games against the west through the first 17 games last year and then oiler possession tanked. 5×5 corsi ended up at 44.1% last year.

    We are generating more shots (542 this year, 510 last year) but more are from the perimeter.
    Last year we had 291 shots from the “box” through the first 17 games.
    This year we have 261 shots from the “box” through the first 17 games.

    On average our shots are 3 feet further away compared to last year.

    In that case, we need more traffic in front of the net. But this is not happening. These are two reasons why our shooting percentage is 25th overall.

    WE NEED TO GET INTO THE GREASY AREAS TO GET GREASY SHOTS/REBOUNDS TO GET GREASY GOALS.

  4. slopitch says:

    LT, in the short term, would you rather run Lander in Leon’s position even though the problem (lack of offence) is the same? This isn’t 2006 where the one key add makes a world of difference. Although I do believe a good C (and a good goalie) would go along ways. Too many holes still.

  5. Ca$h-Money! says:

    I’d put in Lander right away instead of Leon, sending Leon down. Hate that we burned a year of ELC but that’s a sunk cost, still not worth keeping him up all year.

    Lander is on a 1 way contract. Even if he scores at 1.2 ppg in the AHL this year that doesn’t tell us anything. Give him 20 games to show us what he has at the NHL level, with the idea being that this is do or die time for him. I’m not expecting him to play lots of minutes, so I’m not expecting the world, but 4 points in 20 games would be a good start.

    Either way, we will know what we have in him for next year. Keeping him in the AHL leaves us with the “would Detroit dump this guy given his AHL production” question that we had at the start of this season.

    Over the next 20 games MacT works on a trade for a C, such as Brodziak. Doesn’t have to happen right now, and if Lander blows the door off (relatively) then the urgency is reduced but never eliminated.

    Also pray to god RNH is healthy all year. Because regardless of what MacT does there isn’t a C with real big-boy offense coming back the other way.

  6. PhrankLee says:

    When Tyler published that article last year I was afraid for him. I remember pointing it out to LT the morning he posted it but didn’t realize how significant it would become. I think it’s the article that got him the job. Where most people celebrated his hiring I have the feeling the logic from front office was to throw him 60K/year and sign a non disclosure clause. They are paying him to keep quiet in a back room churning out his excellent work for nothing.

  7. Clarkenstein says:

    Much of the personnel on this team is of the “square peg, round hole” variety. A competent management team would say “hmmm… square peg, round hole. This won’t work”! An incompetent management team spends years pounding the shit out of that square peg!

  8. Clay says:

    I’m going the other way on Eakins. 100 games and 35 wins to show, so 65 games of bad luck?

    There’s teams doing more with less, unless you’re arguing that the Oilers have the worst roster in the NHL (which I guess is debatable). He’s had 5 goalies over those 100 games, and all have produced save percentages well below their career averages. How can bad luck be that prevalent?

    It can’t. 100 games, his method of coaching is not right for the players he has, and he apparently doesn’t know how to fix it.

  9. PaperKurtRussell says:

    I mentioned this the other day, but it didn’t get a lot of traction (none actually). How about lending Leon to the Germans for the WJHC for a couple of weeks? Might be a good opportunity for him to get his mojo back and play at a high level. Also, supports above point to give Lander a shot. No harm, no foul. Can anyone remember any recent NHL clubs letting a prospect play in WJHC then bringing him back? I can’t think of one off hand, but seems to me it has happened before.

  10. RMGS says:

    frjohnk:
    Corgis this year better compared to all of last year but not much better than through the first 17 games of last year

    5×5 corsi last year through 17 games was 48.9%
    This year it is 50.9%

    Oilers played 3 games against the west through the first 17 games last year and then oiler possession tanked. 5×5 corsi ended up at 44.1% last year.

    We are generating more shots (542 this year, 510 last year) but more are from the perimeter.
    Last year we had 291 shots from the “box” through the first 17 games.
    This year we have 261 shots from the “box” through the first 17 games.

    On average our shots are 3 feet further away compared to last year.

    In that case, we need more traffic in front of the net. But this is not happening. These are two reasons why our shooting percentage is 25th overall.

    WE NEED TO GET INTO THE GREASY AREAS TO GET GREASY SHOTS/REBOUNDS TO GET GREASY GOALS.

    Excellent points all around.

    If the shot differential is a bit better so far this year but goal production is down, bad luck is likely partly to blame but is not the full story. If more shots tend to be coming from outside the “red zone,” then there needs to be a net presence.

    I’ve said before that it’s not a matter of size; just look at the Habs. But, it’s entirely plausible that this team’s best forwards aren’t built that way, that they’re just not ones to establish the net presence required for that type of shot generation. If that’s the case:

    a) you acquire more players with skill willing and able to effectively go to and stop at the net, or
    b) you change your system to better suit your best forwards’ skill sets.

    The latter may not be popular, but maybe this team is more of a rush, counter-attack team that generates giveaways off a speedy and aggressive forecheck than a team that can cycle and shoot the puck with established net presence.

    I’m not saying option B will work, but is it possible the coaches are asking their forwards to play a game for which they’re not suited?

  11. "Frank The Dog" says:

    Right now we are 6-10-2. For the rest of this month we’ll likely be an “unlucky” 1-5,IF we beat New Jersey. That will take us to 7-15-2.
    Here’s how we’ve been since 2008/9 at the end of November:
    2008 MacT 10-11-2
    2009 Quinn 10-13-4
    2010 Renney 7-12-4
    2011 Renney 12-10-3
    2012 Krueger 10-11-6 (1st 27 games)
    2013 Eakins 8-17-2
    2014 Eakins 7-15-2

    Source http://oilers.nhl.com/club/gamelog.htm?season=20132014&gameType=2

    What results at what point in the season will cost Dallas his job?

    There’s talk of “luck”. That word is a cop-out for unexplained variables. The better the coaching, the luckier the team gets. The WC teams all say “hello” (spits)

  12. eidy says:

    I agree on Eakins improvement this year.

    My concern is MacT’s second year.

  13. Melman says:

    PaperKurtRussell:
    I mentioned this the other day, but it didn’t get a lot of traction (none actually).How about lending Leon to the Germans for the WJHC for a couple of weeks?Might be a good opportunity for him to get his mojo back and play at a high level.Also, supports above point to give Lander a shot.No harm, no foul.Can anyone remember any recent NHL clubs letting a prospect play in WJHC then bringing him back?I can’t think of one off hand, but seems to me it has happened before.

    This makes sense on a number of levels….which is sadly why it won’t happen. I actually can’t think of any reason not to let him play there.

  14. speeds says:

    If Edmonton is essentially out of it by the Christmas break, do they look seriously at moving Perron for picks/prospects by the deadline?

    And what would they need to be offered to move Gordon? Or do they look at extending his contract this upcoming summer?

  15. Snowman says:

    PhrankLee:
    When Tyler published that article last year I was afraid for him. I remember pointing it out to LT the morning he posted it but didn’t realize how significant it would become. I think it’s the article that got him the job. Where most people celebrated his hiring I have the feeling the logic from front office was to throw him 60K/year and sign a non disclosure clause. They are paying him to keep quiet in a back room churning out his excellent work for nothing.

    I have my doubts about this. I don’t know Dellow but from what I know about him, I have my doubts he’s the kind of person to take a paycheque to shut up. I also have my doubts that he’s the kind of person who stays at a job where his contribution isn’t meaningful.

    I also have my doubts that Eakins is not trying to find any possible way to get more out of what he has. He isn’t a proven NHL coach. He’s not an idiot either I don’t think. He can’t afford to not listen to everything. He may not always take the advice but I feel pretty confident he’s listening. He has a lot to lose here.

    As for Lander, even if he brings less offence than Drai (though that’s a low bar at the minute) he at least, I think, allows you to play the line in less sheltered minutes. You can give his wingers a chance to produce without having to worry about protecting a rookie. Lander has proven he can catch at the NHL level, he just hasn’t shown he can hit. And maybe you can quit wasting Nuge on the PK.

  16. russ99 says:

    C’mon LT. Luck and PDO aren’t why we’re not scoring, and even if we tighten the D and goaltending, we’re still not scoring enough.

    It’s because our offensive system is much more oriented to cycle and hold the puck and shoot from low-scoring areas than to create space for shots in high-scoring areas.

    It’s a systemic failure and our coaching staff has no intentions of changing it.

    10/27/14:

    “I think for the group, it was more like everything we’ve put in place here will work, there’s no need to change anything,” said Eakins. “That was the one thing we were really hammering home as a staff: We’re not changing anything. We know this is the way to go with this group. It’s going to work.”

  17. HiddenDarts says:

    Love the Doug Flynn/Al Oliver story, LT. I remember those players, particularly Flynn. I also seem to remember seeing .200ish at the bottom part of the screen whenever Flynn stepped up to the plate. I was a young kid then, but now it makes far more sense.

    Great memory. Also, described the urgency of the center position with pinpoint accuracy. Fantastic stuff!

  18. "Frank The Dog" says:

    russ99:
    C’mon LT. Luck and PDO aren’t why we’re not scoring, and even if we tighten the D and goaltending, we’re still not scoring enough.

    It’s because our offensive system is much more oriented to cycle and hold the puck and shoot from low-scoring areas than to create space for shots in high-scoring areas.

    It’s a systemic failure and our coaching staff has no intentions of changing it.

    10/27/14:

    “I think for the group, it was more like everything we’ve put in place here will work, there’s no need to change anything,” said Eakins. “That was the one thing we were really hammering home as a staff: We’re not changing anything. We know this is the way to go with this group. It’s going to work.”

    If the results continue their journey to the south pole, and if Eakins stays married to a system that he insists “will work”, at what point does something happen and what?

    It’s not the players.

  19. theres oil in virginia says:

    RMGS: …is it possible the coaches are asking their forwards to play a game for which they’re not suited?

    Yes. Is it also possible that the coaches are putting into place a system that will win consistently at the NHL level against top competition, but the players, particularly the younger ones, haven’t yet mastered it to the point that they can execute the system well enough to win consistently now? It only takes a few mistakes to create a loss in the NHL.

    Arizona beat VAN 5-0 a couple nights before they beat EDM. They gave up 35 shots in each game. I’m guessing the VAN shots looked about the same as the EDM shots. ARI looked like they were pretty good at limiting or eliminating the dangerous shots from the middle of the ice in the EDM game. Dubnyk wasn’t tested. ARI doesn’t have a good record. I wonder if they’ve been working on their system. Maybe they’ll start climbing the standings.

    I’m not suggesting that the Oilers are heading for an imminent turnaround, just thinking out loud.

  20. linkfromhyrule says:

    Regarding the shots from further away, I believe it is because our defense is shooting more that the “shots from outside the box” is higher.

    2013-14 Defense shots/game = 3.84
    2014-15 Defense Shots/game = 6.22

    Somebody is telling them to shoot more. Problem is we aren’t cashing in on it

    Off topic, but I was cruising the ON comments section and I can’t help but laugh and be sad at the same time. Some of the comments make my brain hurt. Looks like NewAgeSys has ceased his rambling about the NewAgeSystem or whatever it was and taken up the anti-stats banner. Lots of opposition to advanced stats of any kind (or reason for that matter) beginning to circulate.

  21. Vaclav says:

    frjohnk:

    WE NEED TO GET INTO THE GREASY AREAS TO GET GREASY SHOTS/REBOUNDS TO GET GREASY GOALS.

    This is it in a nutshell. It’s great to outshoot your opponent but if they’re not willing to pay the price to crash the net and provide screens on shots they’re going to continue to lose more games than they win.

  22. Vaclav says:

    Many teams develop their young centermen on the wing for a stretch before moving them to their natural position when they’re ready. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t bring up Lander and do the same with young Leon.

  23. VanOil says:

    eidy:
    I agree on Eakins improvement this year.

    My concern is MacT’s second year.

    My concern is that MacT has charmed many in the Media and Oilogoshere into forgiving his sins. The narrative sported by LT and Willis today on the radio that he has only been at the job since April 2013 is wrong. They are both astute enough to know (and published on the matter) that MacT was hired as a GM in waiting the previous summer.

    Which means two things, one that even the stubborn Oilers were able to make the call on Tambellini after 4 years, two, MacT is now 2 years in – half way through this timeline. The problem is the Oilers took to long in identifying Tambo as a terrible GM and it sent the club back for many more years. How long of a leash do you give MacT?

    If MacT gets to July 2 (or whatever the day after free agency starts in 2015) still planning to have Draisaitl as the #2C and Schultz as the #1D going into next year he should be fired July 3. Don’t let the shinny baubles from the Draft or Nurse’s impending arrival fool you, if the above is true the Oilers will not make the playoffs next year as well.

  24. regwald says:

    PaperKurtRussell,

    This happened more about 10 years ago, but less so recently. The one that comes to mind for me that I remember is Alex Pietrangelo for St. Louis. I believe it was an effective development model for him although at the time I thought it was strange and might highlight a failing player not finding a fit in the NHL.

  25. godot10 says:

    Before one can be lucky, one has to be competent. One has to have a period of demonstrated competence before one can use bad luck as an excuse for underperformance. Because, by Occam’s razor, if one has never demonstrated competence, the simplest explanation is incompetence, not bad luck.

    MacT, the most inexperienced GM hire in recent history in the NHL. Eakins, the most inexperienced coaching hire in recent history in the NHL.

    Assistant coaches are basically irrelevant. Mike Babcock has had dozens of assistant coaches during his tenure in Detroit. The buck stops with the head coach.

    Eakins had awful power plays in the AHL, even though he had Jake Gardiner.

  26. Hammers says:

    I would welcome giving Lander another shot but as the 4th line center 6-9 minutes & PK time . I would give Gordon Pouliot & Purcell ; Arco , Hall & Yak ; RNH , Ebs & Perron . Lander gets Hendricks & Leon , Joensu , Gazdic or Pinzotto . Just depends who goes back to Okl . Nobody ( that I Know) feels the Oil make the playoffs and that’s the main reason to try something else . Same for the “D” by rotating Marincin into more games .McT’s real problem is not making a trade let alone a bold move .

  27. Hammers says:

    VanOil: My concern is that MacT has charmed many in the Media and Oilogoshere into forgiving his sins. The narrative sported by LT and Willis today on the radio that he has only been at the job since April 2013 is wrong. They are both astute enough to know (and published on the matter) that MacT was hired as a GM in waiting the previous summer.

    Which means two things, one that even the stubborn Oilers were able to make the call on Tambellini after 4 years, two, MacT is now 2 years in – half way through this timeline. The problem is the Oilers took to long in identifying Tambo as a terrible GM and it sent the club back for many more years. How long of a leash do you give MacT?

    If MacT gets to July 2 (or whatever the day after free agency starts in 2015) still planning to have Draisaitl as the #2C and Schultz as the #1D going into next year he should be fired July 3. Don’t let the shinny baubles from the Draft or Nurse’s impending arrival fool you, if the above is true the Oilers will not make the playoffs next year as well.

    They won’t make playoffs next year either way .

  28. 9,998,383,750,001 says:

    Hate that we burned a year of ELC but that’s a sunk cost, still not worth keeping him up all year.

    Yes, it’s a sunk cost, but it’s also presently an unsunk investment. There are many lessons about playing in the NHL that can not be learned in junior. If not now, when?

    The cost of tempering our rookies does not decrease next year. It only gets worse with Hall and Nuge and Yak one year further along and all our expectations burning even brighter daylight, while our defense is bucking green lumber. In the same way that running undersized Acro and underaged Drai at the same time causes problems (we could probably carry one or the other if the other three centers were solid), it’s not optimal to be having Klefbom and Nurse enter the regular rotation while Drai, too, is only twenty games down the mulligan blacktop.

    In all likelihood, Nurse is going to get his eighty games of mulligatawny soup next season.

    What you’re dreaming of, I think, is that we cut short Drai’s rookie season and then bring him back with second year expectations in full flower: no soup for you! It’s just not going to happen that way. Drai wouldn’t be making so many mistakes if only he had more time. Down in junior, he’ll have all day to move or handle the puck. He’ll get even better at doing what he already does well, and not adjust to NHL speed one bit, other than perhaps improving his skating. Improved skating will allow him to contest more pucks, most of those under the same time pressure he’s presently learning to cope with. Gaps in the NHL are brief, they close quickly, and the lumber leans with man strength.

    ———

    And what, too, if Yakimov makes the team out of camp next season? Bring Drai back up out of junior, and throw him onto a reduced-minute, energy line with Yakimov on his wing? Is that what Drai needs to progress in his career? Put him back in the same situation on the same amount of NHL experience he has now? In a season when four points really might be the difference between making the playoffs or not?

    It seems to me that they can better shelter Drai this year, a year in which the dream of making the playoffs was remote at best. The downside of taking the hit now on Drai’s early development is that the team simply needs more out of the slot that Arco presently occupies, if we hope to see much progress under the W column.

    I don’t think a team should count on good management and continued development for more than a ten-point improvement in the standings year over year (this plus luck or good goaltending will get you more). We really need to finish this season in the high seventies or low eighties to have a legitimate claim next season.

    ———

    Eakins constantly says that the difference between young players and veteran players lies in the consistency of their performance. We like to tell stories. Stories work best if they have a predictable story arc. When we throw a kid like Drai back down to junior, we essentially sweep his least predictable season under the story telling rug. He’ll come back older and more predictable (though not necessarily better developed).

    Since we can’t know the counterfactual (what would have happened had another course been taken) we tend to judge outcomes by the quality of the tale, which largely derives from a story matching the curve of expectation.

    It ends up being more about straight lines than high bars. We sometimes fool ourselves this way into postponing the downside.

    ———

    By making better possession plays, we’ve also made our system more predictable. Our opponents are highly practiced in playing against other teams whose players consistently make the right possession plays. It’s only our guys for whom this is a new thing to be practiced and mastered.

    Krueger must have achieved the best results on the worst fundamentals of any recent coach (I would include MacT in this group, at least). A raccoon might thrive on poached oysters, though he rarely snags the whole boar. The grass ceiling for a Krueger team might well have been the nettle-toothed underhog.

    We’ll get used to standing erect and pointing our spears at the jugular soon enough. Hogs tend to see spear tips coming. They know spears like gazelles know lions. Under Krueger, the hogs would get so skittish about entering the long grass, they sometimes forgot to throw their weight around. As soon as they became confident in their hind-quarter twist and skitter, it was game over for Krueger’s am-bush methods.

    I only believe in that to a degree, though it was some fun to tart it up.

    ––––

    No time to scan. Beware of missing n’ts.

  29. linkfromhyrule says:

    VanOil: They are both astute enough to know (and published on the matter) that MacT was hired as a GM in waiting the previous summer.

    There is no evidence to support this. It’s conjecture. It is not an uncommon thing to promote someone within an organization to take the reins after the dismissal of a “higher-up” employee. I’m not saying that I agree with the hiring process after Tambo’s firing, but to say MacT was gm in waiting seems false to me.

    MacT has made mostly good moves, with a few bad, and a couple of real bad near misses (Schneider, Clarkson). He seems to learn from his mistakes, and has turned over almost the entire roster in two season. Yes there are still holes, but if he says the asking price is too high for a replacement centre/1D how do we know otherwise? We don’t. We live off of conjecture at this blog, but it’s important to remember what is fact, and what we THINK is fact.

  30. Woodguy says:

    “Frank The Dog”: If the results continue their journey to the south pole, and if Eakins stays married to a system that he insists “will work”, at what point does something happen and what?

    It’s not the players.

    The Oilers are not getting buried in shot attempt differential. That’s a good thing.

    The Oiler players talk all the time about the need to go to the net for rebounds.

    The Oilers coach talk about how the players need to go to the net for rebounds.

    The players are not going to the net for rebounds.

    It’s the players.

  31. TireFire says:

    9,998,383,750,001: Krueger’s am-bush methods.

    Hah, nice.

  32. Bank Shot says:

    linkfromhyrule:
    Regarding the shots from further away, I believe it is because our defense is shooting more that the “shots from outside the box” is higher.

    2013-14 Defense shots/game = 3.84
    2014-15 Defense Shots/game = 6.22

    Somebody is telling them to shoot more. Problem is we aren’t cashing in on it

    When is the last time you saw an Oiler forward deflect a puck in for a goal?

    The 05-06 Oilers had a lot of guys who could/would tip pucks.

    I don’t remember the last time a current Oiler score in this way. It’s an area the team really lacks in.

  33. borisnikov says:

    With the Corgi’s dancing, the Oilers should be scoring more but they are not. As an example, here’s what the improved Corsi for looks like for Taylor Hall year over year?

    5×5 points per 60: 2.91 (1st among regular forwards, 4th in NHL)
    5×4 points per 60: 4.29 (4th among regular PP forwards)
    Corsi For 5×5 %: 44.4 (+0.4 Corsi for Rel %)
    Qual Comp: toughest among regular forwards (top line opp)
    Qual Team: 2nd best teammates among regular forwards (top line)
    Corsi Rel: 2.4 (6th best among regular forwards)
    Zone Start: 57.9% (3rd easiest among regular forwards)
    Zone Finish: 49.6% (2nd best among regular forwards)
    Shots on goal/percentage: 250/10.8% (3rd among F’s>100 shots)
    Boxcars: 75gp, 27-53-80 (led the team in points)

    5×5 points per 60: 2.35 (down from a season ago)
    5×4 points per 60: 1.84 (down markedly from a year ago)
    Corsi For 5×5 %: 53.2 (Up drastically from a year ago)
    Qual Comp: toughest among regular forwards (top line opp)
    Qual Team: 3rd best teammates among regular forwards (top line)
    Corsi Rel: 9.8 (much better, a strong number)
    Zone Start: 66% (better than last year)
    Zone Finish: 55.6% (better than last year)
    Shots on goal/percentage: 41/17% (much higher)
    Boxcars: 12gp, 7-4-11 (on pace for 76gp, 44-25-69)

    What’s the answer? Well, I’ll guess luck, PDO and that lingering problem involving not getting second chance scoring opps that Dellow talked about last season.

    I commented about what I am going to write here in a post this past summer. There were a lot of people expecting Hall to be a ppg+ player this season but I thought it may not be as much of a slam dunk as what everyone else did. It’s still early (as he’s only played 12 games) but I think that Hall’s season is going as well as can reasonably be expected. Here’s his primary and secondary scoring from last few years…

    ——–G/60—A1/60—A2/60
    11-12–0.87—0.87—–0.33
    12-13–1.08—1.62—–0.45
    13-14–0.87—1.02—–1.02
    14-15–1.34—0.67—–0.34

    When you consider Hall’s incredibly high IPP and 2nd assist rate last year, and his (short) historical A2 rate, I think a decent chunk of his 2.91 P/60 can be attributed to luck. That 1.02 A2 was one of the highest seen in recent seasons and there was no way it was going to hold.

    I think we can say that it’s possible he’s lucky to have produced the points he has to this point. A big factor in my opinion is that he’s riding a very high EV on ice SH% (12.16, mostly driven by his own 17.1 SH% I’d assume). We all know what usually follows when you start posting numbers like that. I’m not saying he’s had a bad season, he’s a dominant force, but he very likely could see a drought if the puck stops going in as easily as it has. (He’s not shooting any more than last season 3.41 vs 3.33 per game)

    A few points I considered when forming my opinion…

    – if the possession game had not improved we’d be ruing the slump that I think he would be facing.

    – The one ice shot attempt swing of 10% more for and 23% less against is a massive season to season move. The coaching staff deserves some real credit for whatever it is that they have changed in the strategy. It very likely is saving Hall from a severe production fall off.

    – His 2.01 primary points per 60 rate is pretty damn good, it would put him in the top 20 of last year’s rankings. It’s better than last year’s 1.89/60 rate, but again, that SH% is concerning.

    As I said in that link…

    My 2 cents are that Hall will have to see a jump in his primary production to keep up the P/60 number, because the A2/60 of 1.02 probably wont hold. Unless Eakins and Ramsey get the possession #s sorted out, we may see a dip in Hall’s production.

    I think that is almost exactly what we are seeing here.

    Those are my thoughts. Fire away:)

    ***numbers taken from BTN and war on ice***

  34. VanOil says:

    linkfromhyrule: There is no evidence to support this. It’s conjecture. It is not an uncommon thing to promote someone within an organization to take the reins after the dismissal of a “higher-up” employee. I’m not saying that I agree with the hiring process after Tambo’s firing, but to say MacT was gm in waiting seems false to me.

    MacT has made mostly good moves, with a few bad, and a couple of real bad near misses (Schneider, Clarkson). He seems to learn from his mistakes, and has turned over almost the entire roster in two season. Yes there are still holes, but if he says the asking price is too high for a replacement centre/1D how do we know otherwise? We don’t. We live off of conjecture at this blog, but it’s important to remember what is fact, and what we THINK is fact.

    You are correct I have no knowledge of the intentions of Katz, Lowe or Tambellini the day MacT was rehired. LT clearly believed on the day he was the next GM. “I can’t imagine Steve Tambellini lasting in his job for long.” http://lowetide.ca/2012/06/11/im-having-a-beer-and-then-im-having-another-one/

    It was also before decision such as, signing Klefbom, drafting Yakupov, and recruiting Schultz. None of which I am criticizing here, but they are all high impact decisions that MacT would have had direct input/influence on before he was GM. To suggest MacT did not is to discount the decades of relationship he had with both Lowe and Katz’s who had just rehired him.

    It may not meet your criteria of FACT but I feel it qualifies as well founded supposition, at least by blog post commentator standards.

  35. David S says:

    You know that button race car drivers push on the steering wheel while going through the pits? The one that retards the engine to keep pit lane speeds down? By not going after that 2LC MacT is pressing the Oilers’ speed inhibitor right now. It’s so obvious as to be down right comical.

    I really think LT’s “Controlled Rebuild” is dead on the money here. We could be better, as we’ve seen it’s (relatively) simple to do. Some guy posted a few days back that he believed Katz decided not one red cent of playoff revenue will fill Northlands coffers. Pretty good guess I’d hazard. I’m willing to bet the ridiculous throttling of the team we’ve seen in the last year or so is coming right from the owner. It must be killing MacT and it has to be affecting Eakins and the team. Don’t kid yourselves. They’d all know the deal.

    What worries me is if Hall decides he’s had a gutful and wants to play for a team that thinks winning is a good idea. Then boys we will be royally screwed.

  36. russ99 says:

    I also don’t buy that “greasy goals” or a Penner-like net presence is the solution either.

    You have 3 elite or near-elite players in Hall – RNH – Eberle; and if you want to look at the rest of the roster, we have additional players with a 20+ goal scoring track record in Yakupov, Perron, Pouliot and Purcell.

    And yet we’re having them all grind it out along the wall, IMHO just to prove a point and/or enforce who’s boss.

    In my book, that’s beyond wasteful.

  37. vinotintazo says:

    russ99: Yakupov, Perron, Pouliot and Purcell.

    the problem here is out of all those fowards, only 1 is a centre…

  38. godot10 says:

    linkfromhyrule: There is no evidence to support this. It’s conjecture. It is not an uncommon thing to promote someone within an organization to take the reins after the dismissal of a “higher-up” employee. I’m not saying that I agree with the hiring process after Tambo’s firing, but to say MacT was gm in waiting seems false to me.

    Yes there is some evidence. In an interview with the Edmonton Journal, Jon Cooper said MacT interviewed him for the head coaching job with the Oilers shortly after MacT completed his duties with the Chicago Wolves.

  39. VanOil says:

    If we must cheer for a tire fire can it at least be a Pirelli tire fire.

    An in depth analysis of the 2015 Calender can be found here http://goo.gl/782cuI

    Warning it may not be work appropriate.

  40. Caramel Obvious says:

    russ99:
    I also don’t buy that “greasy goals” or a Penner-like net presence is the solution either.

    You have 3 elite or near-elite players in Hall – RNH – Eberle; and if you want to look at the rest of the roster, we have additional players with a 20+ goal scoring track record in Yakupov, Perron, Pouliot and Purcell.

    And yet we’re having them all grind it out along the wall, IMHO just to prove a point and/or enforce who’s boss.

    In my book, that’s beyond wasteful.

    I’ve asked this before and never gotten an answer, but is any of this actually true?

    Do the Oilers actually dump the puck in more than other teams?
    Do they really “grind it out along the wall” more than other teams?

    Because if so, then I think Russ might be right. I just don’t think there is any evidence that this is the case.

    The system talk seems quite overstated. This isn’t football (of either variety) in which systems (American) and tactics (World) have a very large effect on how teams, and hence individuals, play.

    My understanding was that for all the systems talk in hockey, that it was a) largely confined to the defensive and transition part of the game, and b) much looser than in other sports.

    And even in those cases where the coach has more control, for instance Carlyle who is famous for having pre-designed plays all over the ice, or Constantine, who is famous for exerting dictatorial control over where players stand, I’ve heard no such talk about Eakins.

    Finally, the part of systems that really seems to be attributable to coaching, breakouts etc. are obviously better.

  41. linkfromhyrule says:

    VanOil,

    You’re right, the optics on the situation are not good. Perhaps I was projecting a bit, at least in this case. The lack of any interviewing process at all for the new GM is a hard one to rationalize. It’s just been happening wayyyy too much lately where people state that MacT/Lowe/Eakins is dumb because he failed to do (or does) X, when we are not privy to what/why these things actually happened.

    Lowe appointing Mact without interviewing anyone else certainly is damning though. At what point does that guy step down? The fans hate him, and he’s become more of a distraction than a help. How can he look in the mirror and say “I’m helping this team.”

  42. Hammers says:

    VanOil: You are correct I have no knowledge of the intentions ofKatz, Lowe or Tambellini the day MacT was rehired. LT clearly believed on the day he was the next GM. “I can’t imagine Steve Tambellini lasting in his job for long.” http://lowetide.ca/2012/06/11/im-having-a-beer-and-then-im-having-another-one/

    It was also before decision such as, signing Klefbom, drafting Yakupov, and recruiting Schultz. None of which I am criticizing here, but they are all high impact decisions that MacT would have had direct input/influence on before he was GM. To suggest MacT did not is to discount the decades of relationship he had with both Lowe and Katz’s who had just rehired him.

    It may not meet your criteria of FACT but I feel it qualifies as well founded supposition, at least by blog post commentator standards.

    You reference the high impact decisions as Klef , Yak & Schultz all part of what his job was announced to be . A middle man on new picks . Maybe you should also remember the low impact decisions of Tambo after Mac was hired.

  43. RMGS says:

    theres oil in virginia: Is it also possible that the coaches are putting into place a system that will win consistently at the NHL level against top competition, but the players, particularly the younger ones, haven’t yet mastered it to the point that they can execute the system well enough to win consistently now?

    I certainly hope so, because no system is independent of the actual players tasked with implementing it. I look forward to the day when shots come in (even from the point – gasp!) with Hall Nuge, Eberle, Yak, and Drai following Perron’s example and consistently driving and stopping at the net – and I’m not talking about the D-zone.

  44. smellyglove says:

    9,998,383,750,001,

    Wow – you sir get an award for the most mixed metaphors per line (MMPL) in a blog post.

    *********************************

    My theory for the systematic mess that we’re in? Ultimately, it stems from a lack of accountability that drips from the top down. In my opinion, there’s a culture of deference to authority in Alberta that permeates in the media. You see it in government and in energy circles, you see it in the media that supports and apologizes for the Oilers Establishment Old Boys’ Club (OEOBC). Even if there isn’t necessarily an overt agenda to prop up Katz/Lowe/MacT, there’s a natural bias to presume that the braintrust knows best–or at least should be given the benefit of the doubt, to a massive extent.

    Despite of the criticism of management by the Oilerogosphere, you still see nearly unlimited leash for Lowe and MacT.

    The narrative that the rise of the Edmonton Oilers, their return to greatness (or at least, championship contention–the new high bar of a 30 team league), is inevitable is a construction of Lowe’s time as GM and the “5 year rebuild” plan circa 2009/2010.

    “Elite talent can only be obtained through the draft, that’s our new direction,” (a paraphrase) he said. With that, Hall and his company to come, as well as Sam Gagner, still with halo, were anointed and patience was asked for. The team will mature, probe towards playoffs, learning all the way, and will eventually become a contender. That was 5 years ago, 3 years after rebuild 0.5 and the ‘youth movement’ of Gagner/Cogliano/Nilsson/Smid.

    It’s November, 2014–6 years since they threw in the towel for the Hall draft and 8 years since the ‘youth movement’–and the team is last in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League.

    The Oilers didn’t get markedly better. There was no inevitability that they would ever get any better.

    It’s clear that Edmonton Oilers are Atlanta Thrashers North™. The media establishment heralded management and the Chicago/Pittsburgh model. Fans believed it. The Oilerogosphere has carried the torch that the future has to be better.

    You know what I’d take over three #1 OV picks and five years in a row of drafting in the top 3 (on average)? Accountable, competent leadership and management that started with a mediocre roster.

  45. gcw_rocks says:

    linkfromhyrule: There is no evidence to support this. It’s conjecture. It is not an uncommon thing to promote someone within an organization to take the reins after the dismissal of a “higher-up” employee. I’m not saying that I agree with the hiring process after Tambo’s firing, but to say MacT was gm in waiting seems false to me.

    MacT has made mostly good moves, with a few bad, and a couple of real bad near misses (Schneider, Clarkson). He seems to learn from his mistakes, and has turned over almost the entire roster in two season. Yes there are still holes, but if he says the asking price is too high for a replacement centre/1D how do we know otherwise? We don’t. We live off of conjecture at this blog, but it’s important to remember what is fact, and what we THINK is fact.

    No evidence to the contrary either. It’s important to remember what is fact and what we HOPE is fact.

  46. icecastles says:

    russ99: You have 3 elite or near-elite players in Hall – RNH – Eberle; and if you want to look at the rest of the roster, we have additional players with a 20+ goal scoring track record in Yakupov, Perron, Pouliot and Purcell.
    And yet we’re having them all grind it out along the wall, IMHO just to prove a point and/or enforce who’s boss.

    Last year, Yakupov was (supposedly) stifled and held back because Eakins wanted him to improve his play without the puck. Somehow, the narrative for some seems to have become that he wants to turn all the skill players into grinders.

    This seems like a hell of a reach to me. Especially when we seem to be simultaneously seeing the arguments that

    1. The skill guys are being made to “grind it out”, and
    2. There aren’t enough players on the team willing to crash the net/grind it out/get greasy goals, etc.

    You’re clearly seeing things I’m not so it could very well be that I’m just missing this. But I’m genuinely curious to know what it is you are seeing in the skill forwards’ games that shows they are being turned into grinders? Especially when in this very thread it’s being argued that the very problem is that nobody’s doing this.

  47. gcw_rocks says:

    Woodguy: The Oilers are not getting buried in shot attempt differential. That’s a good thing.

    .

    Can we wait until they play more than one team from the west who made the playoffs last year before we put to much emphasis on this point? It’s encouraging, no doubt, but a run through Chicago, St Louis, anaheim, and San Jose could turn this pretty quickly, could it not?

  48. icecastles says:

    Clay: I’m going the other way on Eakins. 100 games and 35 wins to show, so 65 games of bad luck?

    This only holds if you are suggesting a reasonable expectation would be for them to win every game they play.

    If we call a reasonable expectation for them to go .500 (which may even be generous given the inexperience and unbalanced roster), that means 15 games of bad luck.

    I can think of 10 games in the last 14 months where bad luck on goaltending alone fixed the result.

    That leaves five games out of 100 where “bad luck” was the culprit. That doesn’t seem so impossible.

  49. godot10 says:

    icecastles:
    If we call a reasonable expectation for them to go .500 (which may even be generous given the inexperience and unbalanced roster), that means 15 games of bad luck.

    Eakins has a better roster than Krueger. A reasonable expectation should be a Kruegerish level of performance against the Western Conference.

    Krueger was 12th out of 15 teams. -9 GD in 48 games, with 45 points.

    Eakins so far this year. 14th out of 14 teams. -20 GD ins 8 games, with ONE point.

  50. G Money says:

    Been digging through “Hextally” on war-on-ice to get a better (objective) sense of what it is that ails the Oilers.

    Here’s the section that combines opportunities and absolute shooting percentage. I’ve annotated with home plate and my takeaways on the implications of the data displayed (feel free to analyze and disagree).

    http://i.imgur.com/KQnB3uc.jpg

    My main takeaways (this is looking at all three sections, not just the one I’ve attached above):

    – The Oilers are giving up a slighly higher sh% against from the point, but not nearly so much as the “bad luck/bad goaltending” narrative would suggest. In fact, it seems to me the other way round – looking at the other charts, the Oilers shoot about the same as other teams from the point, but have a zero sh%(!). ZERO. Blame it on Schultz’ shot if you like, but for me, it confirms what I’m seeing – that the Oilers don’t get traffic in front of the net. Better possession numbers will not fix this problem.

    – The Oilers get way fewer shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 82.6% relative). The Oilers give up WAY more shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 129%). That’s a huge swing. Huge.

    – The other biggest difference is the sh% from the ‘high kill zone’ area between the circles, the mid-high slot. The Oilers get fewer opportunities here than they give up, but more problematically, the other teams sh% is DOUBLE what the Oilers can manage from that zone. Can you blame a high % of goals scored from that area on bad luck and goaltending?

    I remain convinced that there is a problem here, and it is not a problem that better possession numbers will solve.

  51. OilClog says:

    This debacle is not on the players.

    Eakins says everything, anything to spin a tale so the reasoning makes sense. He did it so well, he had the GM signing the future over to him.

    He has more then what Renney or Kruger could ever dream of having and is doing less.

    The Corsi dance is dancing, sadly were losing at the same rate. The players are learning Eakins systems, it’s very clear, just like how it’s clear Eakins systems don’t work!

    Well their doing everything I ask them to do, so I can’t complain about the outcome… That’s pretty much what all “good losers” continuously spit.

  52. OilClog says:

    godot10: Eakins has a better roster than Krueger.A reasonable expectation should be a Kruegerish level of performance against the Western Conference.

    Krueger was 12th out of 15 teams.-9 GD in 48 games, with 45 points.

    Eakins so far this year.14th out of 14 teams. -20 GD ins 8 games, with ONE point.

    But Kruegers Corsi was terrible, his season was a mirage..

    It’s totally more fun to have winning Corsi and a losing record, feels so good!

  53. Pouzar says:

    G Money: Been digging through “Hextally” on war-on-ice to get a better (objective) sense of what it is that ails the Oilers.Here’s the section that combines opportunities and absolute shooting percentage. I’ve annotated with home plate and my takeaways on the implications of the data displayed (feel free to analyze and disagree).http://i.imgur.com/KQnB3uc.jpgMy main takeaways (this is looking at all three sections, not just the one I’ve attached above):– The Oilers are giving up a slighly higher sh% against from the point, but not nearly so much as the “bad luck/bad goaltending” narrative would suggest. In fact, it seems to me the other way round – looking at the other charts, the Oilers shoot about the same as other teams from the point, but have a zero sh%(!). ZERO. Blame it on Schultz’ shot if you like, but for me, it confirms what I’m seeing – that the Oilers don’t get traffic in front of the net. Better possession numbers will not fix this problem.– The Oilers get way fewer shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 82.6% relative). The Oilers give up WAY more shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 129%). That’s a huge swing. Huge.– The other biggest difference is the sh% from the ‘high kill zone’ area between the circles, the mid-high slot. The Oilers get fewer opportunities here than they give up, but more problematically, the other teams sh% is DOUBLE what the Oilers can manage from that zone. Can you blame a high % of goals scored from that area on bad luck and goaltending?I remain convinced that there is a problem here, and it is not a problem that better possession numbers will solve.

    GMoney,

    If we could find out where the Oilers rank in “Corsi Events t-Minus 4 seconds” we could basically quantify the whole “getting traffic scoring on rebounds” theory we have going on. Are you versed in this type of shot quality analysis? I know a few guys have looked into it. I would have to guess the Oilers would be near the bottom for these events.

  54. icecastles says:

    OilClog: Eakins says everything, anything to spin a tale so the reasoning makes sense. He did it so well, he had the GM signing the future over to him.

    Which part of the reasoning are you saying doesn’t make sense?

    OilClog: The Corsi dance is dancing, sadly were losing at the same rate. The players are learning Eakins systems, it’s very clear, just like how it’s clear Eakins systems don’t work!

    To repeat Woodguy’s post from earlier: The coach says they have to go hard to the net. The players say they need to go hard to the net. The players don’t go hard to the net. How is this an example of a system not working when they’re not executing the most basic parts of the system? How is this not at least partly on the players?

    If you are told to do something, you acknowledge that you need to do it, then you don’t do it, it takes some pretty convoluted logic to blame the coaching for that.

  55. borisnikov says:

    Pouzar: GMoney,

    If we could find out where the Oilers rank in “Corsi Events t-Minus 4 seconds” we could basically quantify the whole “getting traffic scoring on rebounds” theory we have going on. Are you versed in this type of shot quality analysis? I know a few guys have looked into it. I would have to guess the Oilers would be near the bottom for these events.

    I’d bet that this guy has the technical means to gather the data. He posted the “Corsi by NHL team by second after a FO by second in each zone by win or loss” table yesterday.

  56. icecastles says:

    OilClog: But Kruegers Corsi was terrible, his season was a mirage..
    It’s totally more fun to have winning Corsi and a losing record, feels so good!

    The half season you mean?

    The half season where most of the Oilers started in mid-season form having spent the past 3 months playing together as a unit in OKC?

    The half season they spent playing against teams that were largely out of practice, out of shape, and not used to playing or playing together?

    The half season where they won all of 19 games and missed 29th place on the strength of their 7 Bettman points?

    That season?

  57. "Frank The Dog" says:

    Woodguy: The Oilers are not getting buried in shot attempt differential. That’s a good thing.

    The Oiler players talk all the time about the need to go to the net for rebounds.

    The Oilers coach talk about how the players need to go to the net for rebounds.

    The players are not going to the net for rebounds.

    It’s the players.

    If the players won’t go to the net then they are going against their coaching instructions.
    If the payers don’t understand how to go to the net then they either need to be shown how or they need to be got rid of.

    We’ve had an almost complete roster turnover. Did we get bad players or is the young core at fault?
    Isn’t it the coaches’ jobs to persuade the players to follow their coaching direction, and to ask the GM to dispose of those who won’t or can’t?

    I’m contending that virtually any one of our present roster would put up better numbers on at least 20, perhaps 25 of the other teams in the NHL. Hence my belief that the coaching is at fault. As in it’s on Eakins to fix it by whatever means necessary.

  58. G Money says:

    Pouzar,

    100% agree. I think analyzing “high frequency” Corsi events would definitely be the ticket to show that effect.

    In line with Dellow’s work last year, my hypothesis would be that the Oilers give up on average to high number of those high frequency Corsi events (I say average because I *do* agree that the team is better this year in that regard, and that’s part of what we’re seeing in the high level shot metrics).

    Conversely, I think the Oilers are likely near the bottom of the league in generating those high frequency events.

    I don’t know of any source for that data, though. If anyone knows of one, please pass it along!

    I remember from one of Dellow’s articles that he has a script that someone wrote for him that parses the Game Sheets and has allowed him to generate and keep a database of all Corsi events, not just the game summary of events.

    That’s what allowed him to study the “post faceoff Corsi” effect he observed last year.

    Without that granularity of data, we’re stuck at the stage of watching the game and postulating some explanations, but without objective data to back it up (though the Hextally data does give some credence in my opinion).

  59. Woodguy says:

    gcw_rocks: Can we wait until they play more than one team from the west who made the playoffs last year before we put to much emphasis on this point? It’s encouraging,no doubt,but a run through Chicago,St Louis,anaheim, and San Jose could turn this pretty quickly,could it not?

    Well, they’ve played better fenwick teams than those you mentioned (except CHI) and I expect the results to continue along the same path.

  60. Kmart99 says:

    The losses in the opening games have been primarily on poor goaltending, poor shooting% (not getting rebounds), and brutal power play.

    The easy part of the schedule is over… and it didn’t go well. The oilers played well enough to get 9 wins, but only got 6. Now for murderer’s row.

  61. Kmart99 says:

    Woodguy: Well, they’ve played better fenwick teams than those you mentioned(except CHI) and I expect the results to continue along the same path.

    I hope so. But i’m used to STL, ANA, and SJS crushing the oil… score effects or not.

  62. frjohnk says:

    G Money:
    Been digging through “Hextally” on war-on-ice to get a better (objective) sense of what it is that ails the Oilers.

    Here’s the section that combines opportunities and absolute shooting percentage.I’ve annotated with home plate and my takeaways on the implications of the data displayed (feel free to analyze and disagree).

    http://i.imgur.com/KQnB3uc.jpg

    My main takeaways (this is looking at all three sections, not just the one I’ve attached above):

    – The Oilers are giving up a slighly higher sh% against from the point, but not nearly so much as the “bad luck/bad goaltending” narrative would suggest.In fact, it seems to me the other way round – looking at the other charts, the Oilers shoot about the same as other teams from the point, but have a zero sh%(!). ZERO.Blame it on Schultz’ shot if you like, but for me, it confirms what I’m seeing – that the Oilers don’t get traffic in front of the net.Better possession numbers will not fix this problem.

    – The Oilers get way fewer shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 82.6% relative).The Oilers give up WAY more shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 129%).That’s a huge swing.Huge.

    – The other biggest difference is the sh% from the ‘high kill zone’ area between the circles, the mid-high slot.The Oilers get fewer opportunities here than they give up, but more problematically, the other teams sh% is DOUBLE what the Oilers can manage from that zone.Can you blame a high % of goals scored from that area on bad luck and goaltending?

    I remain convinced that there is a problem here, and it is not a problem that better possession numbers will solve.

    I was just looking at the same thing and agree.

    Couple things I have been hammering away is that our forwards do not get to the greasy areas enough to score so that’s why shooting % is at the bottom of the league. And our D men are not doing a good enough job of clearing the front of the net.

    YTD
    Oilers have 0 goals on tip ins. We have had 9 tip ins go in.

    I wish there was stat on how many rebound goals we have this year. I have counted for November and we have 6 goals from rebounds. Too lazy to look at game tape from all of October! Uggh! I should do it and keep up the stat for the whole year.

  63. G Money says:

    borisnikov,

    Yeah – the technical means definitely exist. In fact, there is a Caps fan out there who wrote and made freely available a (Java I believe) program that does what I mentioned above, parses the game sheets and spits out the Corsi events in an analysis-friendly format.

    Unfortunately, my programming skills get rustier by the day and my patience for setting up the environments to run such scripts erodes even faster, so unless someone has duplicated that in Python (the only language/environment I still program in and run, and what I use for the occasional fancystats analytical articles I write and publish over at C&B), I’m on the outside looking in.

  64. G Money says:

    frjohnk,

    Yes, you’ve done some impressive analytical work this season. Please keep it up if you can!!

  65. Woodguy says:

    G Money:
    Been digging through “Hextally” on war-on-ice to get a better (objective) sense of what it is that ails the Oilers.

    Here’s the section that combines opportunities and absolute shooting percentage.I’ve annotated with home plate and my takeaways on the implications of the data displayed (feel free to analyze and disagree).

    http://i.imgur.com/KQnB3uc.jpg

    My main takeaways (this is looking at all three sections, not just the one I’ve attached above):

    – The Oilers are giving up a slighly higher sh% against from the point, but not nearly so much as the “bad luck/bad goaltending” narrative would suggest.In fact, it seems to me the other way round – looking at the other charts, the Oilers shoot about the same as other teams from the point, but have a zero sh%(!). ZERO.Blame it on Schultz’ shot if you like, but for me, it confirms what I’m seeing – that the Oilers don’t get traffic in front of the net.Better possession numbers will not fix this problem.

    – The Oilers get way fewer shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 82.6% relative).The Oilers give up WAY more shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 129%).That’s a huge swing.Huge.

    – The other biggest difference is the sh% from the ‘high kill zone’ area between the circles, the mid-high slot.The Oilers get fewer opportunities here than they give up, but more problematically, the other teams sh% is DOUBLE what the Oilers can manage from that zone.Can you blame a high % of goals scored from that area on bad luck and goaltending?

    I remain convinced that there is a problem here, and it is not a problem that better possession numbers will solve.

    You’re wrong on a few things.

    Shot rate against EDM from the slot is 1.01 = basically identical to the rest of league.

    The SH% against EDM from the slot is 1.63, which suggest awful goaltending given that the shot rate is the same.

    The high slot has both a higher rate of shots (1.45) and a higher SH% by opponents (1.64)

    The 1.64 SH% of the high slot and 1.63 SH% of the slot scream BAD GOALTENDING.

    Only the shot rate of 1.45 in the high slot shows bad defence.

    The rest of your analysis looks correct.

  66. icecastles says:

    “Frank The Dog”: If the payers don’t understand how to go to the net then they either need to be shown how or they need to be got rid of.

    Or they don’t have the skill/experience/roster to make it happen.
    If they genuinely don’t know *how* do it, I wonder how they ever got to the NHL in the first place.

    “Frank The Dog”: We’ve had an almost complete roster turnover. Did we get bad players or is the young core at fault?

    This. This is that part that is really troubling about the team from roster to coach to GM. The Oilers have not only been bad, but been more or less the same kind of bad for a number of years despite significant roster changes (and coaching changes). And it’s the one thing that implies to me that there may well be something more to blame here than the players or the lack or roster balance.

    I’ve suggested before that I fear our goalie coach is suspect, as we’ve had far too many goaltenders in the Oilers either fail to develop or regress. And that quote from Nashville about Dubnyk’s bad habits when they acquired him was an enormous caution flag.

    I think the pro scouting also has to wear an enormous part of the team’s problems. They have developed a history of finding players who have injury histories, or who are on the downward swing of their careers or, who perhaps looked good because of who they were playing with rather than on their own merits.

    Either way, you’re dead right: how does the roster change so significantly – more than once, in fact – and continue to show the same flaws?

  67. RMGS says:

    icecastles: If you are told to do something, you acknowledge that you need to do it, then you don’t do it, it takes some pretty convoluted logic to blame the coaching for that.

    Toronto FC brought in a Dutch coach schooled in ball possession-rich “total football” who then tried to implement a vulgarized version of that possession football to which the entire team committed but with only 1-2 players with enough technical skill capable of executing it. The rest of the cast was of the typical MLS “pinball football” variety. Who’s to blame, the players or the coach?

    Answer: Kevin Lowe

  68. Ryan says:

    G Money,

    This.

    Thank you.

    I can’t recall who did the original ‘mathematical proof’ that PDO is entirely driven by luck and always regresses to the mean that everyone references here?

    Anyway, I’m not sure how one accounts for factors outside of luck to make this conclusion.

    If you have a terrible goaltending tandem how often do they regress to league-wide team save percentage?

    If you have a coaching strategy that leads to players whiping pucks at the net from far distances with no screens or players there to put in rebounds, how does team shooting percentage improve?

    How much of this regression is driven by the reality that coaches, players, and he’ll even some GM’s can think? Roster turnover, coaching turnover, new systems, etc.

  69. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk,

    Couple things I have been hammering away is that our forwards do not get to the greasy areas enough to score so that’s why shooting % is at the bottom of the league.

    Getting to the greasy areas is about shot rates.

    Oilers slot shot rate is 1.01 to the league. They get there fine.

    Oilers low slot shot rate is .905 to the league. Needs to improve for sure.

    Interestingly the high slot is the worst spot at .764 to the league. That’s not rebound area though, that’s shots on the rush or off the cycle.

  70. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Do you think the Oilers will play McDavid as a centre next year or will they be able to break him in on the wing?

  71. VanOil says:

    Hammers: Maybe you should also remember the low impact decisions of Tambo after Mac was hired.

    Life is too short and I drank away those brain cells for a reason!

  72. Unicorns says:

    Perimeter puck control and a weak attack at the net was how MacT coached IIRC. Please not a return to the endless cycling with no result.

  73. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy: You’re wrong on a few things.

    The SH% against EDM from the slot is 1.63, which suggest awful goaltending given that the shot rate is the same.

    The high slot has both a higher rate of shots (1.45) and a higher SH% by opponents (1.64)

    The 1.64 SH% of the high slot and 1.63 SH% of the slot scream BAD GOALTENDING.

    Only the shot rate of 1.45 in the high slot shows bad defence.

    The rest of your analysis looks correct.

    Its been taking some time, but I have been tracking every shot for and against on ent for all oiler games this year. I have them labeled ( shot quality, difficulty of save, shot location, type of shot, off the cylcle, rebound, tip in, amongst other things)

    Shot location needs to be used in context.
    A muffin shot by Arcobello 15 feet away into the bread basket of a goalie is easier to save
    than a one timer by Petry 45 feet out going off the post going 100 mph.

    Hopefully this data I am collecting can help out.

    Will share once I get it done. But don’t hold your breath for this week at least 🙂

  74. VanOil says:

    G Money:
    Been digging through “Hextally” on war-on-ice to get a better (objective) sense of what it is that ails the Oilers.

    Here’s the section that combines opportunities and absolute shooting percentage.I’ve annotated with home plate and my takeaways on the implications of the data displayed (feel free to analyze and disagree).

    http://i.imgur.com/KQnB3uc.jpg

    My main takeaways (this is looking at all three sections, not just the one I’ve attached above):

    – The Oilers are giving up a slighly higher sh% against from the point, but not nearly so much as the “bad luck/bad goaltending” narrative would suggest.In fact, it seems to me the other way round – looking at the other charts, the Oilers shoot about the same as other teams from the point, but have a zero sh%(!). ZERO.Blame it on Schultz’ shot if you like, but for me, it confirms what I’m seeing – that the Oilers don’t get traffic in front of the net.Better possession numbers will not fix this problem.

    – The Oilers get way fewer shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 82.6% relative).The Oilers give up WAY more shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 129%).That’s a huge swing.Huge.

    – The other biggest difference is the sh% from the ‘high kill zone’ area between the circles, the mid-high slot.The Oilers get fewer opportunities here than they give up, but more problematically, the other teams sh% is DOUBLE what the Oilers can manage from that zone.Can you blame a high % of goals scored from that area on bad luck and goaltending?

    I remain convinced that there is a problem here, and it is not a problem that better possession numbers will solve.

    Great work. Rikki owes you some of that beer he is brewing.

  75. Pouzar says:

    G Money: Pouzar, 100% agree. I think analyzing “high frequency” Corsi events would definitely be the ticket to show that effect.In line with Dellow’s work last year, my hypothesis would be that the Oilers give up on average to high number of those high frequency Corsi events (I say average because I *do* agree that the team is better this year in that regard, and that’s part of what we’re seeing in the high level shot metrics).Conversely, I think the Oilers are likely near the bottom of the league in generating those high frequency events.I don’t know of any source for that data, though. If anyone knows of one, please pass it along!I remember from one of Dellow’s articles that he has a script that someone wrote for him that parses the Game Sheets and has allowed him to generate and keep a database of all Corsi events, not just the game summary of events. That’s what allowed him to study the “post faceoff Corsi” effect he observed last year.Without that granularity of data, we’re stuck at the stage of watching the game and postulating some explanations, but without objective data to back it up (though the Hextally data does give some credence in my opinion).

    GMoney, Boris

    Here is the article I referenced yesterday explaining the concept.

    http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2014/10/16/6986961/nhl-data-mining-part-1-shot-quality-and-inter-arrival-times-between

    I have no idea where any current data exists for such data this year however.
    I know Parkatti did some stuff like this before (i.e. Rebounds).

  76. Woodguy says:

    G Money:
    Been digging through “Hextally” on war-on-ice to get a better (objective) sense of what it is that ails the Oilers.

    Here’s the section that combines opportunities and absolute shooting percentage.I’ve annotated with home plate and my takeaways on the implications of the data displayed (feel free to analyze and disagree).

    http://i.imgur.com/KQnB3uc.jpg

    My main takeaways (this is looking at all three sections, not just the one I’ve attached above):

    – The Oilers are giving up a slighly higher sh% against from the point, but not nearly so much as the “bad luck/bad goaltending” narrative would suggest.In fact, it seems to me the other way round – looking at the other charts, the Oilers shoot about the same as other teams from the point, but have a zero sh%(!). ZERO.Blame it on Schultz’ shot if you like, but for me, it confirms what I’m seeing – that the Oilers don’t get traffic in front of the net.Better possession numbers will not fix this problem.

    – The Oilers get way fewer shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 82.6% relative).The Oilers give up WAY more shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 129%).That’s a huge swing.Huge.

    – The other biggest difference is the sh% from the ‘high kill zone’ area between the circles, the mid-high slot.The Oilers get fewer opportunities here than they give up, but more problematically, the other teams sh% is DOUBLE what the Oilers can manage from that zone.Can you blame a high % of goals scored from that area on bad luck and goaltending?

    I remain convinced that there is a problem here, and it is not a problem that better possession numbers will solve.

    Here’s how you figure out the back luck part:

    1) What is the Oiler;s shooting percentage this year in areas compared to previous years (ostensible with mostly the same players)

    Using the last two season vs this season we see: (all numbers even strength)

    Shooting percent relative to rest of league:

    High slot:
    2012-2014 1.29
    2014-2015 .890

    Slot:
    2012-2014 .982
    2014-2015 ..811

    Low slot:
    2012-2014 1.1
    2014-2015 .983

    We see their SH% relative to the rest of the league in much worse shape than it has been for the last 2 years. You can expect that to regress back over the next 64 games.

    In terms of effort we look at shot totals compared to the rest of the league.

    Let’s do the same exercise using 2012/12 + 2013/14 compared to this year:

    High slot:
    2012-2014 1.1
    2014-2015 .764

    Slot:
    2012-2014 .912
    2014-2015 1.11

    Low slot:
    2012-2014 .934
    2014-2015 .905

    -Massive drop off in high slot (as noted in previous post)
    -Increase in shot rates from the slot
    -Slight decrease in low slot (majority of rebound area)

    The low slot is a slight concern, slot is fine, but high slot is way out.

    I’m not sure that can be put on “going to the net”.

    To me that area is more from the rush and mostly from cycling.

    I could be wrong.

    What all this info doesn’t show is a lack of rebounds in any significant way, which surprised me because my eye was telling me otherwise.

  77. icecastles says:

    RMGS: tried to implement a vulgarized version of that possession football to which the entire team committed but with only 1-2 players with enough technical skill capable of executing it.

    Yeah this is the big worry with a coach of as limited background as Eakins when they hired him – did his team succeed because he matched the systems to the team he had, or was he fortunate enough to have a team that meshed with his systems?

    In Toronto it would seem to have been the latter. It’s not to say that he’s not capable of adjusting his systems, but it does suggest that his record pre-NHL doesn’t paint as complete a picture as one would like to have when hiring an NHL head coach.

    We’ve seen that Eakins can and does adjust his coaching methods and the systems he asks his team to play, but it thus far seems to be an odd mix of too soon/unconfident (abandoning the swarm) in some instances and too slow/stubborn (handling of Yak) in others.

    These seem like the mistakes of an inexperienced coach that get worked out over time, and we’re seeing some of them get worked out. It sucks that they had to be worked out here as HC though when so much is on the line, and with a fanbase that’s rapidly running out of patience.

    I wonder how differently it may have gone if he’d been hired as Kreuger’s assistant as initially planned, and been able to learn on the job from a coach who, while flawed, likely would have been a very good teacher.

  78. kooler says:

    I wonder who Nelson would play if he was the Oiler coach.

    Does anybody understand the difference between the Eakin vs Nelson system….bit of rookie over here.

  79. commonfan14 says:

    “(Eakins) is at the mercy of:
    Luck
    Goaltending
    His GM’s ability to address the center position.”

    This strikes me as a bit of an odd list, especially in the context of a discussion about how the corgis are barking.

    Since action on #3 will not fix either of the other two, what precisely do we expect we’d see if the centre position were addressed? By how much would the stats be improved?

    Let’s say MacT had signed Grabbo and that Leon had been sent safely back to Prince Alberta after 9 games. Would we expect to have seen a major difference possession-wise?

    If we’re all to be impressed with the underlying statistical improvements, why should we also be annoyed at the way MacT assembled the team? On the contrary, it seems from the stats like he built a much improved team and that his C plan is working out very well.

    The desire to address the “problem” at C seems to stem more from a “seeing them bad” point of view than from an analytical one.

    The fact that I don’t even disagree that there is a problem at C despite the statistical evidence available brings up some interesting considerations. Some have long argued that good possession stats are just a byproduct of a team being good, rather than good teams being a byproduct of good possession stats. Could it be that this Oilers squad will become a test case for what happens when you specifically target improvement in possession stats as a way to make a team better?

    I’m reminded of work Dellow did late last year investigating how the Oilers seemed to have shifted tactics in an effort to kind of artificially pump up Nuge and Gagner’s face-off stats. The take-away was that, while their FO performance did improve, the new tactics ended up hurting the team’s performance off draws overall.

    Could we be seeing something similar on a bigger scale right now?

  80. Pouzar says:

    OKC loses in SO 4-3

    My new fav Jason WIlliams goes 1 goal 1 assist

    Klefbom with an assist

  81. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy:
    frjohnk,

    Couple things I have been hammering away is that our forwards do not get to the greasy areas enough to score so that’s why shooting % is at the bottom of the league.

    Getting to the greasy areas is about shot rates.

    Oilers slot shot rate is 1.01 to the league.They get there fine.

    Oilers low slot shot rate is .905 to the league.Needs to improve for sure.

    Interestingly the high slot is the worst spot at .764 to the league.That’s not rebound area though, that’s shots on the rush or off the cycle.

    Im comparing box shots from this year to last year to at this point for the team. I just found the war on ice link yesterday. SO MUCH DATA! Love it, hate it.

    We had more box shots last year at this point.

    And while I have just a bit of the data, I am not counting many screens in front of the net by our forwards, remember 0 goals on tip ins. We do seem to have more screens against ( even though our shots against are lower) and there are 9 tip in goals against.

    From what I am seeing, I don’t think our goalies are as big as a problem as some think. Our D is still the biggest problem.

  82. Washingtron says:

    If, as many say, “it’s more than one thing,” and you can’t fix everything at once, then what’s one change that will affect the most areas? Sadly, I think their only play is to fire the coach. It might not work, but it literally can’t make things worse, can it?

  83. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy:
    frjohnk,

    Couple things I have been hammering away is that our forwards do not get to the greasy areas enough to score so that’s why shooting % is at the bottom of the league.

    Getting to the greasy areas is about shot rates.

    Oilers slot shot rate is 1.01 to the league.They get there fine.

    Oilers low slot shot rate is .905 to the league.Needs to improve for sure.

    Interestingly the high slot is the worst spot at .764 to the league.That’s not rebound area though, that’s shots on the rush or off the cycle.

    By eye they’re either staying to the outside, or going from slightly inside to outside.

    The Hall line has this play where either two or three of them will enter the zone, the puck carrier will be about 5-8 feet off the boards and a diagonal will form with the rest of the players to the area slightly on the other side of the net. This seems to result in strong chances and goals.

    I’ve seen that play very seldom this year. The puck carrier is always too close to the boards.

    Could be a simple matter of 5 feet.

  84. commonfan14 says:

    icecastles: The half season where they won all of 19 games and missed 29th place on the strength of their 7 Bettman points?

    If you’re going to argue that the record was inflated that year, it’s not Bettman points you should look at, which are mostly about bad luck.

    What you should be looking at is the number of extra points they got from SO wins, which are mostly driven by luck. Lots of these “Garon Points,” and you’re probably not as good as you think you are.

    Lots of Bettman points, and you’re probably better than you think you are.

  85. smellyglove says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/yost-examining-early-trends-in-team-puck-possession-1.138201?uferfiug

    Oilers are the 4th most improved team in score adjusted Fenwick %, compared to last year. New analysis by Yost.

  86. Washingtron says:

    smellyglove:
    http://www.tsn.ca/yost-examining-early-trends-in-team-puck-possession-1.138201?uferfiug

    Oilers are the 4th most improved team in score adjusted Fenwick %, compared to last year. New analysis by Yost.

    Yippeeeeeeeeee.

  87. icecastles says:

    commonfan14: If you’re going to argue that the record was inflated that year, it’s not Bettman points you should look at, which are mostly about bad luck.

    What you should be looking at is the number of extra points they got from SO wins, which are mostly driven by luck.Lots of these “Garon Points,” and you’re probably not as good as you think you are.

    Lots of Bettman points, and you’re probably better than you think you are.

    Good point, thanks.

    Also, looking at the bottom-tier teams, they were all in roughly a similar range for Bettman points.

  88. borisnikov says:

    Pouzar,

    Wholly smokes that’s an awesome post. If that is what you guys are spending your time consuming it’s no wonder why my comments/”insights” so often go without reply on here. lol
    That’s some high level analysis!

  89. Adam Wu says:

    I often see people lumping both OTLs and SOLs as “Bettman points” and that to me is simply wrong.

    If a “Bettman point” consists of a point now available to be had in the Bettman era that was not available to be had prior, then SOLs points are NOT Bettman points.

    Before the shootout, if a game is tied after OT, both teams get 1 point. The 1 point a team gets if it loses a SO is exactly the same 1 point they would have gotten if there had been no SO.

    So the “freebie” points are for OTLs and SO wins.

    The point from a SOL is business as usual.

  90. G Money says:

    Woodguy,

    I have no problem with crediting the Oilers with an improved defense this year. The coverage is better and the shot metrics agree. Like others, I’d caveat that with the fact that we haven’t really faced many offensive powerhouses as yet.

    That said, I still think there is a problem, and I’m not sure why you’d focus on just that 1.01 from the slot. Overall, what you’d like to see is that the defensive structure pushes shots out of home plate and to the perimeter.

    What’s happened with the Oilers is they have done a terrific job of moving chances out of the lower home plate (.85!). But the perimeter push is still below average (1.03). That means that the chances are still coming from within home plate, and you can see that in the high plate numbers, which are horrible (1.29).

    (NOTE: I recognize that all the numbers above should be weighted, but as I don’t have the weighting info, I’ve just used straight averages).

    When you’re still giving up those kind of shots, it’s hard to point at the goalies alone. The goaltending hasn’t been good, but asking your goalies to constantly stop those kinds of shots is playing with fire.

    On the other hand, the real issues are in the offensive zone, where the Oilers are at just .89 for shots from home plate.

    This is why the PDO looks misleading – when your chances are lousy, all the other guy has to do is not give up any softies and he looks like a Vezina candidate.

  91. McSorley33 says:

    VanOil:
    If we must cheer for a tire fire can it at least be a Pirelli tire fire.

    An in depth analysis of the 2015 Calender can be found here http://goo.gl/782cuI

    Warning it may not be work appropriate.

    Thank you sir!

  92. Adam Wu says:

    gcw_rocks: Can we wait until they play more than one team from the west who made the playoffs last year before we put to much emphasis on this point? It’s encouraging,no doubt,but a run through Chicago,St Louis,anaheim, and San Jose could turn this pretty quickly,could it not?

    No, we don’t need to wait at all.

    Because in prior seasons the Oilers were buried in shot differential against ALL teams, Western teams that DID NOT make the playoffs and Eastern teams alike.

    That makes a improvement in shot differential against Eastern teams and Western teams that did not make the playoffs a good thing.

    Just because it is not enough alone, or your aren’t satisfied that it is good *enough* doesn’t mean it isn’t, nevertheless, a good thing.

    When you’re on the long road from atrocity to mediocrity (and hopefully onward from there), you need to accumulate may good things, steadily and patiently.

    It is counterproductive to dismiss what good things you already have just because you haven’t gotten all the other good things that you also want, or need, yet.

    When developing a prospect we say that they should be given the chance to show what they can do in the AHL (or Junior) before being thrown to the wolves and expected to compete in the NHL. When rebuilding a team, before you can even think about having a shot a sawing off the shot differential with the ELITE cadre of teams (ie the Western Playoff Teams), you need to first demonstrate that you can win the shot differential against the lesser tiers within the league (ie the Eastern teams and non-playoff Western teams).

  93. SiouxtheOilers says:

    Perhaps a little off topic here, but Arizona State has added Division I men’s hockey to their collegiate sports lineup. Could be a game changer, as this may spur more teams to follow suit (USC, UCLA, et al).

  94. icecastles says:

    Adam Wu:
    I often see people lumping both OTLs and SOLs as “Bettman points” and that to me is simply wrong.

    If a “Bettman point” consists of a point now available to be had in the Bettman era that was not available to be had prior, then SOLs points are NOT Bettman points.

    Before the shootout, if a game is tied after OT, both teams get 1 point. The 1 point a team gets if it loses a SO is exactly the same 1 point they would have gotten if there had been no SO.

    So the “freebie” points are for OTLs and SO wins.

    The point from a SOL is business as usual.

    Partially agreed. The other reason we call them Bettman points though is that although regulation time ends with a tie, there is still an eventual winner who walks away with two points. Pre-2005, as you point out, all games were worth two points total. Now, some games are worth two points and some worth three.

    So that third point is a “Bettman point” and I suppose one could argue that the point to which the name refers is actually the one scored in overtime/the shootout, as it’s the true ‘third point’ that didn’t exist prior to the 2004/05 lockout.

    Really it comes down to semantics, I suppose, and the “correct” usage is whatever has been tacitly agreed upon and entered the common discourse, which I believe (could be wrong) is that the loser point is nicknamed the Bettman point even if that’s not technically accurate.

    As a brief aside, how great is it that thanks to Gary Bettman, we can now not only talk about the lockout, we actually have to specify WHICH of the three lockouts we are referring to. Sigh.

  95. Caramel Obvious says:

    godot10: Eakins has a better roster than Krueger.A reasonable expectation should be a Kruegerish level of performance against the Western Conference.

    Krueger was 12th out of 15 teams.-9 GD in 48 games, with 45 points.

    Eakins so far this year.14th out of 14 teams. -20 GD ins 8 games, with ONE point.

    Ignoring data because it doesn’t fit your narrative is what intellectually dishonest people do.

    It is appropriate to weigh results based upon strength of schedule. It is not appropriate to ignore games against the Eastern Conference.

    The Eastern conference is still apples.

  96. McSorley33 says:

    G Money:
    Been digging through “Hextally” on war-on-ice to get a better (objective) sense of what it is that ails the Oilers.

    Here’s the section that combines opportunities and absolute shooting percentage.I’ve annotated with home plate and my takeaways on the implications of the data displayed (feel free to analyze and disagree).

    http://i.imgur.com/KQnB3uc.jpg

    My main takeaways (this is looking at all three sections, not just the one I’ve attached above):

    – The Oilers are giving up a slighly higher sh% against from the point, but not nearly so much as the “bad luck/bad goaltending” narrative would suggest.In fact, it seems to me the other way round – looking at the other charts, the Oilers shoot about the same as other teams from the point, but have a zero sh%(!). ZERO.Blame it on Schultz’ shot if you like, but for me, it confirms what I’m seeing – that the Oilers don’t get traffic in front of the net.Better possession numbers will not fix this problem.

    – The Oilers get way fewer shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 82.6% relative).The Oilers give up WAY more shots than the other team from the top of the home plate (average 129%).That’s a huge swing.Huge.

    – The other biggest difference is the sh% from the ‘high kill zone’ area between the circles, the mid-high slot.The Oilers get fewer opportunities here than they give up, but more problematically, the other teams sh% is DOUBLE what the Oilers can manage from that zone.Can you blame a high % of goals scored from that area on bad luck and goaltending?

    I remain convinced that there is a problem here, and it is not a problem that better possession numbers will solve.

    Outstanding work….

  97. Eh Team says:

    russ99: grind

    What’s wrong with expecting players to grind it out and be hard on the puck? Watched Stamkos play against the Rangers and he plays as hard without the puck and in his own zone as he does offensively. That should be the expectation for everyone.

  98. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Snowman: maybe you can quit wasting Nuge on the PK.

    ATOI leaders, Western Conference centres

    Player …. EVTOI+PPTOI+SHTOI=ATOI
    ==============================
    1. RNH ……. 16:23 + 3:10 + 1:31 = 21:05
    2. Toews …. 14:56 + 3:59 + 1:39 = 20:35
    3. Getzlaf … 15:39 + 3:33 + 1:15 = 20:29
    4. Little ……. 14:57 + 3:16 + 2:01 = 20:15
    5. Kesler …. 15:01 + 2:58 + 2:13 = 20:13
    6. Seguin …. 15:55 + 3:45 + 0:05 = 19:46
    7. Pavelski … 15:06 + 3:05 + 1:21 = 19:32
    8. Vermette… 14:07 + 3:37 + 1:47 = 19:31
    9. Koivu ……. 14:06 + 3:42 + 1:42 = 19:31
    10. H.Sedin… 14:58 + 3:26 + 1:05 = 19:30
    11. Kopitar … 13:57 + 3:03 + 2:12 = 19:13

    Of the top 10 centres behind RNH, all but one of them (Seguin) average over a minute SHTOI with three over 2:00. As a group the 10 average 1:32 SHTOI, while Nuge is at 1:31. Do you think Quenneville is wasting Toews there, or Sutter, Kopitar?

    To flesh it out, RNH’s 3:10 PPTOI/G compares slightly unfavourably to the average 3:26, but his 16:23 EV TOI is a full minute and a half above the average 14:52. All in all, his ice time compares pretty well to other elite centres.

    I for one have enjoyed seeing his growing prowess on the PK, which translated into a couple of great chances last game. That’s #OilerHockey, Old Timey edition.

    Kid’s growing into a splendid 200-foot player, which also translates to “all situations”.

  99. frjohnk says:

    Bruce McCurdy: ATOI leaders, Western Conference centres

    Player …. EVTOI+PPTOI+SHTOI=ATOI
    ==============================
    1. RNH ……. 16:23 + 3:10 + 1:31 = 21:05
    2. Toews …. 14:56 + 3:59 + 1:39 = 20:35
    3. Getzlaf … 15:39 + 3:33 + 1:15 = 20:29
    4. Little ……. 14:57 + 3:16 + 2:01 = 20:15
    5. Kesler ….15:01 + 2:58 + 2:13 = 20:13
    6. Seguin …. 15:55 + 3:45 + 0:05 = 19:46
    7. Pavelski … 15:06 + 3:05 + 1:21 = 19:32
    8. Vermette… 14:07 + 3:37 + 1:47 = 19:31
    9. Koivu ……. 14:06 + 3:42 + 1:42 = 19:31
    10. H.Sedin… 14:58 + 3:26 + 1:05 = 19:30
    11. Kopitar … 13:57 + 3:03 + 2:12 = 19:13

    Of the top 10 centres behind RNH, all but one of them (Seguin) average over a minute SHTOI with three over 2:00. As a group the 10 average 1:32 SHTOI, while Nuge is at 1:31. Do you think Quenneville is wasting Toews there, or Sutter, Kopitar?

    To flesh it out, RNH’s 3:10 PPTOI/G compares slightly unfavourably to the average 3:26, but his 16:23 EV TOI is a full minute and a half above the average 14:52. All in all, his ice time compares pretty well to other elite centres.

    I for one have enjoyed seeing his growing prowess on the PK, translated into a couple of great chances last game.That’s #OilerHockey, Old Timey edition.

    Kid’s growing into a splendid 200-foot player, which also translates to “all situations”.

    Im trying to think of a better 2 way young ( under 23) center than RNH. Can’t.
    He is a bonafide number 1 center. No debate.

  100. McSorley33 says:

    David Staples – COH East vs West by Oilers

    When it comes to the game within the game, to the scoring chance data, the Oilers have averaged 15.7 scoring chances per game and given up 13.7 per game against the Eastern teams, proving those six wins were no fluke.

    Against the West, Edmonton has averaged 12.6 chances for and given up 14.2 per game. Perhaps Edmonton was unlucky to lose all nine games, but with that kind of scoring chances differential you’re not going to win more than two or three games out of ten.

  101. godot10 says:

    Caramel Obvious: Ignoring data because it doesn’t fit your narrative is what intellectually dishonest people do.

    It is appropriate to weigh results based upon strength of schedule.It is not appropriate to ignore games against the Eastern Conference.

    The Eastern conference is still apples.

    Include eastern conference games if you like. Eakins has yet to achieve a Kruegerian level of results, even if you include games against the easy conference. With a better roster, doing as good or better than Krueger in terms of results is a “reasonable expectation”.

    i.e. 76-77 points or so. The Oilers are not on track for 75 points. Plus about a -0.2 GD per game.

    The OIlers are currently on track for sixty something points and a goal differential of around -0.8 GD per game.

    The reasonable expectation should be to hang with the pack, and that means the goal differential cannot be obscene, like it has been for the entirety of Eakins tenure.

    The reaonsable expectation should be to look down and see more than Buffalo.

  102. Ca$h-Money! says:

    McSorley33,

    So we are +2 vs. the East and -1.6 vs. the West? So our performance vs. the East is better than our performance vs. the West is bad?

    I would have figured it was in the +2 vs East -5 vs. West range. Call me pleasantly surprised.

  103. fifthcartel says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    This is awesome. Thanks for this, Bruce!

  104. Kitchener says:

    smellyglove,

    Buffalo is formidably following the Tambo playbook.

  105. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: MacT, the most inexperienced GM hire in recent history in the NHL. Eakins, the most inexperienced coaching hire in recent history in the NHL.

    Pretty sure this came up before, & I mentioned that Jon Cooper had considerably less experience when hired than did Eakins. Cooper: 2 years USHL, 3 years AHL. Eakins: 3 years NHL assistant, 5 years AHL.

  106. Bruce McCurdy says:

    linkfromhyrule:
    Regarding the shots from further away, I believe it is because our defense is shooting more that the “shots from outside the box” is higher.

    2013-14 Defense shots/game = 3.84
    2014-15 Defense Shots/game = 6.22

    Somebody is telling them to shoot more. Problem is we aren’t cashing in on it

    That’s a pretty significant increase, over 1.6 times as many D shots. A part of it is Nikitin who isn’t shy about letting fly, but mostly I see it as a strategy that will only work if your forwards routinely go where angels fear to skate. A lot of goals get scored on or in the aftermath of point shots, including as I recall about 90% of the goals that mattered in the Kings-Hawks series that decided the Stanley Cup last spring.

    Last game vs. Arizona the D had 16 of Oilers 34 shots, & not surprisingly a majority of Oilers’ shots in the game came from >40 feet. I figured they thought they had “the book” on DD but it didn’t pay off as the guys on the edge of the crease — I’m looking at you, Teddy Purcell — kept stepping off to the side rather than directly in the line of fire.

    That stat about the Oilers having 0 goals on tip-ins and 9 against is very damning. 0-9, looks just like their record against the West, come to think of it.

    Oilers’ most dangerous tipper this year by my eye has been RNH who has had a few near misses. It should be a big part of Perron’s game but am not seeing it. On the other side of the equation, tippable shot-passes should be a BIG part of Schultz’s game but am not seeing enough of that, either.

  107. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Add: In their own end Oilers D are not particularly good at neutralizing opposition sticks. Fayne & Petry are about the best, & Schultz can be pretty good at it when he remembers to be somewhere in the area & to apply himself to the task of defending, but too many lapses from him & others, including Ference who is old enough to know better. This is a skill I hold out high hopes for Marincin, (dangerously) assuming he ever plays another NHL game.

  108. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2014/11/shot-chance-rates-2014-15-season/

    such and such.

    Great work Rom, you’re doing fantastic stuff.

  109. G Money says:

    Bruce McCurdy: That’s a pretty significant increase, over 1.6 times as many D shots. A part of it is Nikitin who isn’t shy about letting fly, but mostly I see it as a strategy that will only work if your forwards routinely go where angels fear to skate. A lot of goals get scored on or in the aftermath of point shots, including as I recall about 90% of the goals that mattered in the Kings-Hawks series that decided the Stanley Cup last spring.

    Yeah, this is part of what I think we concluded was meant by ‘structural problems’. Having your defensemen pursue a deliberate high shot strategy (+3 per game would pretty much explain a big chunk of the Corsi difference year on year, wouldn’t it?) would improve your shot metrics, but will not translate to better results without those angel-baiters.

    I think that would show very well in the temporal Corsi numbers that Pouzar referenced earlier – I bet the Oiler temporal Corsi (t-4) is still among the poorer teams in the league, even as the overall Corsi has improved.

    It’s not going to change until someone other than Hendricks/Joensuu drive the net without the puck.

    OILERS: DRIVE THE GODDAMN NET EVEN WITHOUT THE PUCK. PLEASE.

  110. prairieschooner says:

    There appears to be a disturbance in the force

    If the Stats guys on this blog could generate points for the Oilers we would be in good shape.

    Wins and losses are really all that matters and sadly our Oilers have not improved by the only metric that ever really counts

  111. godot10 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Pretty sure this came up before, & I mentioned that Jon Cooper had considerably less experience when hired than did Eakins. Cooper: 2 years USHL, 3 years AHL. Eakins: 3 years NHL assistant, 5 years AHL.

    Cooper had nearly 5 full years of head coaching experience for two different teams and 2 league championships. Cooper won-loss records were also mind-blowing.

    Eakins had only 4 years of head coaching experience for one team, and no championships, and only a middling record.

    4 < 5.

  112. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: Cooper had nearly 5 full years of head coaching experience for two different teams and 2 league championships.Cooper won-loss records were also mind-blowing.

    Eakins had only 4 years of head coaching experience for one team, and no championships, and only a middling record.

    4 < 5.

    3 years as an NHL assistant counts as zero? OK, let’s agree to disagree (again).

  113. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: Cooper had nearly 5 full years of head coaching experience for two different teams and 2 league championships.Cooper won-loss records were also mind-blowing.

    Eakins had only 4 years of head coaching experience for one team, and no championships, and only a middling record.

    4 < 5.

    Although one thing I suspect we Can agree on is this Internet banter to fire Eakins and replace him with Mark Messier & his 0 games of coaching experience is batshit.

  114. []JUST[]KEEP[]CALM[]AND[]CORSI[]ON[] says:

    Bruce McCurdy: replace him with Mark Messier

    Would that put an end to those cringe-worthy Rogers commercials? If so, I’ll need some time to think that proposal through.

  115. 9,998,383,750,001 says:

    The Edmonton Oilers are going to Hell in the NHL

    Against the West, Edmonton has averaged 12.6 chances for and given up 14.2 per game. Perhaps Edmonton was unlucky to lose all nine games, but with that kind of scoring chances differential you’re not going to win more than two or three games out of ten.

    I wrote a few lines of code in R.


    goals <- function (games, rate, conv) { v<-rpois(games,rate); rbinom(length(v),v,conv) }
    regulation <- function (N, orate, drate, conv) sign(goals(N,orate,conv)-goals(N,drate,conv))
    pts <- function (v) c(0,0,1,2,2,2)[1+2*(1+v)+(runif(length(v))>0.5)]
    segsum <- function (v, s) { diff(c(0,cumsum(v)[cumsum(s)])) }
    N <-1e6
    games <- 10
    a <- segsum((pts (regulation (N,12.6,14.2,0.2))),rep(games,N/games))

    This simulates 100,000 ten-game segments where we generate 12.6 scoring chances per game, our opponents generate 14.2 chances per game, with both teams having a 20% conversion rate. It assumes a regulation tie goes straight to shoot-out, where the outcome is a coin flip.


    summary(a)
    Min. 1st Qu. Median Mean 3rd Qu. Max.
    0.000 8.000 10.000 9.788 12.000 20.000

    The weird thing with the Bettman point is that a higher shared conversion rate decreases points, because it reduces the number of ties.

    Transcribing from the histogram, in decreasing order of likelihood:


    14.7% 10
    12.3% 8
    11.5% 12
    10.9% 9
    10.4% 11
    7.6% 7
    7.2% 6
    6.5% 13
    6.1% 14

    This all makes sense with the mean just under 10.

    Did Staples transcribe those statistics wrong, or is he blowing statistical smoke? What I did was pretty quick and dirty, but it looks right to me.

    It’s actually a touch pessimistic, because it assumes all our opponents over this stretch are equal rather than having a few that thump us and many others whom we can beat.

    What’s it leaves out of the story is the PDO. If we really do get collect only three wins, it’s either our PDO problem telling the story of the tape, or there really is such a thing as chance-bracket bell counts.

  116. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk: Its been taking some time, but I have been tracking every shot for and against on ent for all oiler games this year.I have them labeled ( shot quality, difficulty of save, shot location, type of shot, off the cylcle, rebound, tip in, amongst other things)

    Shot location needs to be used in context.
    A muffin shot by Arcobello 15 feet away into the bread basket of a goalie is easier to save
    than a one timer by Petry 45 feet out going off the post going 100 mph.

    Hopefully this data I am collecting can help out.

    Will share once I get it done.But don’t hold your breath for this week at least

    That will be great.

    Looking forward to it.

  117. godot10 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: 3 years as an NHL assistant counts as zero? OK, let’s agree to disagree (again).

    1) All in one organization.
    2) No record of over-achievement.
    3) No experience with undermanned rosters. The Marlies were a stacked team with Leaf money, and Burke’s penchant for winning US college free agent wars with dollars.

    Typically, the hiring process for a coach or GM casts a wide net because you can (as the hiring agent) get a wide variety of opinions and analysis of your own roster and organization, and what should or should not be done to fix or improve it.

    The “blink” hire of both MacT and Eakins was gross incompetence by both Katz and Lowe. Incestuous group think.

  118. LostBoy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Although one thing I suspect we Can agree on is this Internet banter to fire Eakins and replace him with Mark Messier & his 0 games of coaching experience is batshit.

    I don’t disagree it would be insanity giving the reins to someone whose coaching experience consists of two minor international tournaments. But once again, according to Elliotte Friedman, Krueger was only hired after the job was first formally offered to Messier. He mulled it and turned it down for family reasons (says Friedman). I sure hope it’s now “internet banter” (don’t think Eakins is being replaced unless there is an absolute faceplant anyway); but it was in the works, pre-MacTavish.

  119. Woodguy says:

    9,998,383,750,001:
    The Edmonton Oilers are going to Hell in the NHL

    I wrote a few lines of code in R.


    goals <- function (games, rate, conv) { v<-rpois(games,rate); rbinom(length(v),v,conv) }
    regulation <- function (N, orate, drate, conv) sign(goals(N,orate,conv)-goals(N,drate,conv))
    pts <- function (v) c(0,0,1,2,2,2)[1+2*(1+v)+(runif(length(v))>0.5)]
    segsum <- function (v, s) { diff(c(0,cumsum(v)[cumsum(s)])) }
    N <-1e6
    games <- 10
    a <- segsum((pts (regulation (N,12.6,14.2,0.2))),rep(games,N/games))

    This simulates 100,000 ten-game segments where we generate 12.6 scoring chances per game, our opponents generates 14.2 chances per game, with both teams having a 20% conversion rate.It assumes a regulation tie goes straight to shoot-out, where the outcome is a coin flip.


    summary(a)Min. 1st Qu.MedianMean 3rd Qu.Max. 0.000 8.00010.000 9.78812.00020.000

    The weird thing with the Bettman point is that a higher shared conversion rate decreases points, because it reduces the number of ties.

    Transcribing from the histogram, in decreasing order of likelihood:


    14.7%10
    12.3%8
    11.5% 12
    10.9%9
    10.4% 11
    7.6% 7
    7.2% 6
    6.5% 13
    6.1% 14

    This all makes sense with the mean just under 10.

    Did Staples transcribe those statistics wrong, or is he blowing statistical smoke?What I did was pretty quick and dirty, but it looks right to me.

    It’s actually a touch pessimistic, because it assumes all our opponents over this stretch are equal rather than having a few that thump us and many others who we can beat.

    What’s it leaves out of the story is the PDO.If we really do get collect only three wins, it’s either our PDO problem telling the story of the tape, or there really is such a thing as chance-bracket bell counts.

    Pretty sure that if I could have babies, I’d want to have yours.

  120. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: 1) All in one organization.
    2) No record of over-achievement.
    3) No experience with undermanned rosters.The Marlies were a stacked team with Leaf money, and Burke’s penchant for winning US college free agent wars with dollars.

    Typically, the hiring process for a coach or GM casts a wide net because you can (as the hiring agent) get a wide variety of opinions and analysis of your own roster and organization, and what should or should not be done to fix or improve it.

    The “blink” hire of both MacT and Eakins was gross incompetence by both Katz and Lowe.Incestuous group think.

    Which are valid, but different, points from “the most inexperienced coaching hire in recent history in the NHL”, which was the comment that incited my reply. 8 years pro coaching experience >> 3, and 1000+ games of pro playing experience >>> Cooper’s time in the Law School League. That said, Cooper does come across as some sort of coaching savant & was a great hire by the Bolts. Oilers apparently talked to him around the same time they talked to Messier, but eventually went with the in-house promotion of Krueger.

  121. McSorley33 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Although one thing I suspect we Can agree on is this Internet banter to fire Eakins and replace him with Mark Messier & his 0 games of coaching experience is batshit.

    Agreed.

    Which means Hunter has to have a new pool for correct date of Oiler Press Conference announcing the above.

  122. "Frank The Dog" says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Although one thing I suspect we Can agree on is this Internet banter to fire Eakins and replace him with Mark Messier & his 0 games of coaching experience is batshit.

    On a different note I think Todd Nelson would have been and remains the better hire. Todd makes lemonade out of almost anything he is given, players flourish under him and improve when they are sent back to him. He has buy-in and respect from his players perhaps more so than Dallas.
    What’s your view on Todd?

    BTW I’m not saying Dallas is a rotten coach, he’s learnt on the job and is getting a lot of stats right except for the W/L stat. I am saying that at some point and perhaps soon if the good ship Oil becomes even worse than last year, that MacT could be looking for a mid season change.

  123. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Pretty sure that if I could have babies, I’d want to have yours.

    I’d probably stop at buying him a beer, but yes, quite.

  124. Bruce McCurdy says:

    9,998,383,750,001: Against the West, Edmonton has averaged 12.6 chances for and given up 14.2 per game. Perhaps Edmonton was unlucky to lose all nine games, but with that kind of scoring chances differential you’re not going to win more than two or three games out of ten.

    Did Staples transcribe those statistics wrong, or is he blowing statistical smoke? What I did was pretty quick and dirty, but it looks right to me.

    I must admit to looking askance at the same thing. Looked like about 3 wins out of the 9 to me, maybe 3-5-1 or 3-4-2, certainly not 0-8-1. Your calculations confirm my estimate, and I think we can both agree that it’s the percentages that are kicking Oilers in the head moreso than any shots or scoring chance differential.

  125. godot10 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Which are valid, but different, points from “the most inexperienced coaching hire in recent history in the NHL”, which was the comment that incited my reply. 8 years pro coaching experience >> 3, and 1000+ games of pro playing experience >>> Cooper’s time in the Law School League. That said, Cooper does come across as some sort of coaching savant & was a great hire by the Bolts. Oilers apparently talked to him around the same time they talked to Messier, but eventually went with the in-house promotion of Krueger.

    Assistant coaching is NOT head coaching experience. That would be like saying MacT was an experienced hire for GM because he had what, eight years of head coaching experience.

    Eakins was the least experienced hired in head coaching experience in over a decade.

    Cooper was “Gretzkyish” in his head coaching experience (i.e. a phenom), and even he had more head coaching experience than Eakins when hired. Eakins was a hyped Toronto candidate, and we now know that is because he is a relentless self-promoter and sycophant to those who can advance his career.

  126. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide: I’d probably stop at buying him a beer, but yes, quite.

    If anybody’s going to have babies, it should be 9,998,383,750,001 and Stan Weir. I’ll leave it to the two of them to determine who plays what role in the process, and simply marvel at their offspring when the time comes.

  127. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: we now know that is because he is a relentless self-promoter and sycophant to those who can advance his career.

    You see, this is where you lose me.

  128. G Money says:

    9,998,383,750,001,

    Nicely done bit of Monte Carloing, good sir! R looks like the new APL to my rheumy “old programmers” eyes.

    I think its clear that Staples does not understand the conversion of scoring chance differentials to points (or if he does, he doesn’t provide evidence for his statement of “two or three games out of ten”). Your mean of just under ten points looks more correct to my eyes as well.

    You are also correct in saying that your simulation doesn’t account for PDO – or perhaps more correctly, a 20% universal conversion rate assumes a PDO of 100 for all teams, so all teams get comparable goaltending and shooting percentages. Safe assumption? Not sure. e.g. Weak goaltending is an established path to underperformance.

    And lastly of course, your simulation doesn’t account for part of what (I’m guessing) is Staples’ concern. The Oilers have a two-ish scoring chance differential against the West. But apart from LA, they haven’t even met the best of the West yet. Calgary! Vancouver! Arizona! Not exactly Murderer’s Row.

    The real concern is that those future West games will produce a much higher scoring chance differential. What happens if against those big bad teams, the SC+ drops to 11.6 and the SC- increases to 15.2 (i.e. one each per game)? What’s the point results then?

    I briefly mulled duplicating your simulation in Excel just to see, but it looks like you (correctly I think) used a Poisson and a Binomial distribution to model the scoring, and at the end of a long day, not sure I feel like tackling that challenge in Excel just at the moment!

  129. theres oil in virginia says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2014/11/shot-chance-rates-2014-15-season/

    such and such.

    That’s very well done, Rom. It greatly exceeded my expectations. (I’ll let you interpret that however you want.) 😉

  130. Bruce McCurdy says:

    G Money: And lastly of course, your simulation doesn’t account for part of what (I’m guessing) is Staples’ concern. The Oilers have a two-ish scoring chance differential against the West. But apart from LA, they haven’t even met the best of the West yet. Calgary! Vancouver! Arizona! Not exactly Murderer’s Row.

    Indeed, that (schedule strength) was the thrust of the whole article. David’s statement about “2 or 3 wins out of 10” wasn’t fully thought through, seemed more an offhand remark.

    9,998,383,750,001: What’s it leaves out of the story is the PDO. If we really do get collect only three wins, it’s either our PDO problem telling the story of the tape

    PDO does indeed tell the story, and pretty much the whole story. Applying the same principles to David’s numbers, but using scoring chance conversion % rather than shooting percentage, shows the Oilers on the top end of the percentages 6 times (“PDO” > 1), in which games they posted a 5-0-1 record. In the other 12 games, they had PDO <1 and a record of 1-10-1.

    Whereas in the 10 games that Oilers had more scoring chances they were 4-5-1, and in the 8 they had fewer SC went 2-5-1.

    Put another way, the team that had more scoring chances won 9 of 17 games (one 65-minute tie excluded) and the team that converted a higher percentage of their chances won 16 of 17. (The Buffalo game was the lone exception.) Which is another log on the fire of the conclusion that while process-oriented outcomes may be meaningful long-term, in the immediate short term the percentages absolutely rule.

    Season-to-date Oilers are very nearly break-even on scoring chances but have converted just 16% while their opponents have converted on 22%. That’s a SC PDO of something like .940 and is The underlying reason the Oil have won jut a third of their games with a goal differetial of -15.

  131. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Indeed, that was the thrust of the whole article. David’s statement about “2 or 3 wins out of 10″ wasn’t fully thought through, seemed more an offhand remark.

    PDO does indeed tell the story, and pretty much the whole story. Applying the same principles to David’s numbers, but using scoring chance conversion % rather than shooting percentage, shows the Oilers on the top end of the percentages 6 times (“PDO” > 1), in which games they posted a 5-0-1 record. In the other 12 games, they had PDO <1 and a record of 1-10-1.

    Whereas in the 10 games that Oilers had more scoring chances they were 4-5-1, and in the 8 they had fewer SC went 2-5-1.

    Put another way, the team that had more scoring chances won 9 of 17 games (one 65-minute tie excluded) and the team that converted a higher percentage of their chances won 16 of 17. (The Buffalo game was the lone exception.) Which is another log on the fire of the conclusion that while process-oriented outcomes may be meaningful long-term, in the immediate short term the percentages absolutely rule.

    Your babies are mine too!

  132. Woodguy says:

    G Money,

    You said:

    I have no problem with crediting the Oilers with an improved defense this year.The coverage is better and the shot metrics agree.Like others, I’d caveat that with the fact that we haven’t really faced many offensive powerhouses as yet.

    Here are the top 15 Goals For/Game as per NHL.com

    TAMPA BAY 3.68
    PITTSBURGH 3.62
    PHILADELPHIA 3.19
    TORONTO 3.11
    CALGARY 3.05
    NY ISLANDERS 3
    MINNESOTA 2.88
    WASHINGTON 2.88
    VANCOUVER 2.83
    ST LOUIS 2.76
    NY RANGERS 2.72
    OTTAWA 2.71
    SAN JOSE 2.7
    MONTREAL 2.68

    Oiler’s have faced 8/15. Your statement is not correct.


    That said, I still think there is a problem, and I’m not sure why you’d focus on just that 1.01 from the slot.Overall, what you’d like to see is that the defensive structure pushes shots out of home plate and to the perimeter.

    I didn’t focus there.

    I stated shot rates and SH% from low slot, slot and high slot.


    What’s happened with the Oilers is they have done a terrific job of moving chances out of the lower home plate (.85!).But the perimeter push is still below average (1.03).That means that the chances are still coming from within home plate, and you can see that in the high plate numbers, which are horrible (1.29).

    (NOTE: I recognize that all the numbers above should be weighted, but as I don’t have the weighting info, I’ve just used straight averages).

    1.03 is not below average. Its pretty much average and certainly within less than a standard deviation at 18gm.


    When you’re still giving up those kind of shots, it’s hard to point at the goalies alone. The goaltending hasn’t been good, but asking your goalies to constantly stop those kinds of shots is playing with fire.

    You can blame the team for shot rates.

    You cannot blame the team for SH% from those areas. There is a baseline SV% for those areas and the Oilers are worse than league average in every respect.

    When you have bad rates and bad SV% then you are 6-10-2.


    On the other hand, the real issues are in the offensive zone, where the Oilers are at just .89 for shots from home plate.

    Does that refer to shot rates or SH%?

    Its not clear.


    This is why the PDO looks misleading – when your chances are lousy, all the other guy has to do is not give up any softies and he looks like a Vezina candidate.

    No.

    Every team is still populated by some very good and some average and some meh NHL players.

    PDO is what it is because it does regress so hard for every team and can be counted on to measure “luck” which includes if you are lucky enough to employ a good goaltender.

    When PDO stays high or low for extended periods of time its always goaltending.

    SH% regresses very hard as a team, but some goalies are good and some are not as good.

  133. spoiler says:

    What a thread! What a day to get the internet back!

    Good work, men. I agree with everything DMW, WG, and Bruce are saying.

    I would like to see the Oil get more traffic in front of the net, especially on the point shots, but I think almost every team would say this about their play… “We need to get guys to the net, to the greasy areas.” Pretty sure that’s on Plug N’ Play in the post-game dressing room scrums throughout the league.

    The tipped goal rates from FrJohnK are a great example… There are few shots luckier than deflections. The opposition have 9 and the Oil 0, thus far. If that doesn’t SCREAM PDO, I don’t know what does.

    Now I just got to think of a way to out-slut Woodguy for those babies…

    😉

  134. icecastles says:

    godot10: we now know that is because he is a relentless self-promoter and sycophant to those who can advance his career.

    We have differing definitions of what constitutes “knowledge”.

  135. Gret99zky says:

    prairieschooner:
    There appears to be a disturbance in the force

    If the Stats guys on this blog could generate points for the Oilers we would be in good shape.

    Wins and losses are really all that matters and sadly our Oilers have not improved by the only metric that ever really counts

    Losing is the new winning.

    Now shut up, get some numbers, and shine this turd!

  136. "Frank The Dog" says:

    Post moved to the next thread.

  137. VanOil says:

    spoiler: Now I just got to think of a way to out-slut Woodguy for those babies…

    I think the Pirelli calendar link above will assist in your research.

  138. G Money says:

    Woodguy,

    I admire your steadfast devotion to the idea that the fancystats will overcome, that the Oilers really are as good (or rather, mediocre) as their shot metrics suggest and not as horrible as their record suggests.

    I have less faith than that, given we are talking about a statistic that has between 40% and 60% correlation (depending on your source) with future success.

    Don’t get me wrong – that correlation makes it a valuable statistic – which is why I am unabashedly a fancystat guy.

    But I’m also numerically literate, perhaps to a fault, and I cannot put such near-religious faith in a statistic which leaves fully 60% to 40% of future success unexplained. If a medical intervention had that much predictive power, you wouldn’t touch it with a stick. Horses for courses.

    I guess you assume that all of the variance not explained by the shot metrics can be explained by goaltending and bad luck. I have NEVER seen a cogent argument that makes this case. The argument always falls back on the correlation, which is good but not great or definitive.

    That’s why I’m doing my best to dig into what the fancystats really mean for this team, because I don’t believe that a high shot metric guarantees upward reversion to the mean. No way do the correlations suggest anywhere close to that.

    If you want your faith shaken, you may choose to peruse the following chart that shows the 4-year correlation between FF% Close, the fancystat with the highest predictive success, and actual success (as measured by ranking):
    http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/Qxd8_uII-EdHoPeeoUtQOrCtCrs=/800×0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/2414548/negativevalue.0.png

    The chart comes from here (http://www.japersrink.com/2014/11/7/7143783/fenwick-close-and-predicting-success-in-the-nhl-washington-capitals), an article I found while I was taking you up on your challenge in a previous thread to find teams that did not revert upward to their fancystats (which I want to do without having to resort to large scale number crunching, which I don’t have time for right now).

    What you need to notice on this chart is the negative bias to results – EXACTLY what I expected to find.

    See how there are MORE teams with a negative correlation to fancystats than a positive correlation? It’s a 2:1 ratio on the downside, not the 50:50 you should expect if your faith in the performance of the team reverting upward to the shot metrics in the same measure as downward reversion was correct.

    In other words, over the long term, more teams underperform the fancystats than overperform.

    This is a distinct characteristic perfectly in line with the ‘efficient market hypothesis’ I have talked about previously (you’ll find a similar result comparing mutual funds to the market index).

    Basically, the teams that outperform are virtually guaranteed to fall back to earth, because outperformance is a matter of good luck.

    But underperformance can be structural and not just a matter of bad luck. That means with high certainty that there are teams that do some really dumb things that guarantee they will never catch up to the goodness of their fancystats.

    I’m glad you believe the Oilers are currently a team that can do it, that can move results upward over time to match the shot metrics.

    I don’t.

  139. Woodguy says:

    G Money,

    Its interesting that you mention faith.

    I’ve been following this stuff for years and been watching the early season numbers converge every year.

    Sometimes SV% or SH% prevent everything from merging, but those are easy to spot.

    There’s no faith involved. Its results.

    The only team that was really vexing was NJD, but looking deeper into it they created so few shot attempts either way they left themselves exposed to more variance. Went Oh-Fer in the shoot out last year. Crazy.

    I would suggest it takes faith to have your position.

    Despite reams of information to the contrary, you think the metrics don’t matter.

    That’s fine, that’s your choice.

    The season is short and sometimes it takes multiple seasons for the shot metrics to converge with results (see” COL and TOR for good examples) but SV% and SH% notwithstanding, they converge.

    What you talk about is like when a poker player’s AA loses all in pre-flop (usually and 80% fav) 4 times out of 5.

    You are saying “I think there’s more to cards than this, 80% isn’t right”

    I’m saying “give it time,your winning percentage will converge)

    The fun part is that it can take longer than the season and teams like COL make giant bets on results that were a mirage.

    Everyone on the net seem to think that Hartley’s coaching is making CAL the first team with 3 Dmen with shoot % over 12%.

    I say no, give it time.

    As for Fen-close, its not the best tool to use.

    Try this one:

    http://hockey-graphs.com/2014/11/13/adjusted-possession-measures/

    Score Adjusted is more predictive.

    You can not agree with me, that’s fine.

    Don’t insult me by calling it faith when I have more evidence for my prediction than you do for yours.

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