OILERS AT LEAFS, G53 2014-15

On Saturday mornings, our house was quiet. My Dad worked on Saturdays—all the Dads worked the sixties, 6 days a week—and Mom had the house quiet with reading or yard work. I would grab my bike and head down the road (this is Whonnock, up past Thornhill School, past Haney) to various friends and people who were doing cool things. My Grandpa had a great big horse (Tom) but he was working most days too (seriously, everyone worked in the sixties) and the older kids (my brother, my aunt Shannon) were either doing boring things or stuff they’d get in trouble for if I was included (one of those things, climbing in the woodpile near the sawmill, damn near killed me once. I was impaled by a massive nail, no one around. Jesus it was scary, I was maybe five).

Mostly I rode my bike until someone strolled or rode along and then we decided what fun we could have with the day. We did stupid stuff I won’t mention (this was 45 years ago) and every day was different but the same, and perfect. My recollection of Saturdays as a kid (even in fall) was basically carefree living and fun, fun, fun. Around four or so everyone had to go home (it was like a homing chip kicked in) and I’d always go to Grandma’s house. Tom the horse was there but the real pull was Grandma, who (unlike my Mom) was an outstanding cook and baker. She made homemade bread pretty much every day of my childhood and I can still recall opening the door of their house and being run over by the aroma of that freshly baked bread. Always the same: bread with butter and strawberry jam. It was the best thing ever.

Their house was very old, you passed the piano and a bedroom to the right as you walked in, plus the stairs to the left going up to the other bedrooms. A few more steps and it opened up into the kitchen and living room. I did much of my childhood hockey viewing in that room. Saturday nights were hockey nights, with cards and beer and cigar smoke and laughter. My brother would stroll in a little later, then Mom and Dad, my uncle Ross (he was older, and a little dangerous and crazy. He was my favorite) would receive the biggest reaction because it was uncertain he’d be there any given Saturday.

The hockey game was turned on promptly and the big sofa and the chair would be filled for several hours. Grandma had these quilts that were so warm it was sometimes hard to stay awake but the hockey kept me alert. Frank Mahovlich and Dave Keon were my favorites, the older folks liked Johnny Bower and Allan Stanley and every once in awhile the Leafs had someone we’d never heard of (this would gather momentum as the decade wore on and by 1970 you needed a program).

Saturday nights were what I lived for, what we all lived for I think, because the men were home and I got to sit with my Dad and Grandpa and watch the game. It was just a few precious hours but they meant the world to me and I held on to them as hard as I could every Saturday night.

Still do.

The Oilers brass were in the stands to watch McDavid and Strome but Darnell Nurse turned in an outstanding performance. MacT talked about putting Nurse in the AHL next fall but I’ll believe it when I see it. This guy is exactly what Edmonton wants: A roughhouse defenseman who can wheel.

svechnikov

Evgeni Svechnikov (left)

LOWETIDE TOP 30, 2015

  1. (1)C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) 29gp, 24-49-73.
  2. (2)C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) 24gp, 15-25-40.
  3. (4)C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) 49gp, 33-59-92.
  4. (3)D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA) 26gp, 4-11-15.
  5. (5)R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL) 45gp, 35-58-93.
  6. (8) D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). 47gp, 12-39-51.
  7. (6) D Oliver Kylington, Farjestad (SHL) 17gp, 2-3-5.
  8. (7) D Zach Werenski, Michigan (NCAA). 21gp, 5-13-18.
  9. (10) C Nick Merkley, Kelowna (WHL). 52gp, 16-55-71.
  10. (11) L Evgeni Svechnikov, Cape Breton (QMJHL). 40gp, 20-30-50.
  11. (9) R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML).  42gp, 5-11-16.
  12. (14) C Anthony Beauvillier, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL). 51gp, 34-42-76.
  13. (13) C Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) 23gp, 8-16-24.
  14. (12) D Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL). 41gp, 5-34-39.
  15. (16) R Timo Meier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). 44gp, 29-36-65.
  16. (15) C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL). 26gp, 11-12-23.
  17. (20) C Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars (WHL). 52gp, 17-43-60.
  18. (18) C Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL). 47gp, 21-29-50.
  19. (21) C Filip Chlapik, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL). 47gp, 24-31-55.
  20. (17) R Daniel Sprong, Charlettown Islanders (QMJHL). 51gp, 26-34-60.
  21. (19) L Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). 37gp, 19-11-30.
  22. (22) L Jake Debrusk, Swift Current (WHL). 52gp, 31-22-53.
  23. (23) D Mitchell Vande Sompel, Oshawa (OHL). 42gp, 8-38-46.
  24. (24) R Jens Looke, Brynas (SHL). 34gp, 2-4-6.
  25. (28) C Kyle Connor, Youngstown (USHL). 34gp, 15-25-40.
  26. (25) D Jakub Zboril, Saint John Seadogs (QMJHL). 33gp, 8-14-22.
  27. (26) R Nikita Korostelev, Sarnia Sting (OHL). 38gp, 16-22-38.
  28. (NR) D Thomas Chabot, Saint John (QMJHL). 50gp, 8-22-30.
  29. (30) R Brock Boeser, Waterloo (USHL). 35gp, 23-18-41.
  30. (NR) G Daniel Vladar, G, Kladno (Cze Jr). 8gp, 1.97 .933.

I go back and forth with Strome and Hanifin but the bottom line is 6.03, 187 teenage centers with elite skill are extremely rare. The question I cannot answer? Who is No. 5 on the Oilers list? One suspects my top four is their top four (we’re pondering order) but the fifth guy? I think he’s my No. 21 player. As recently as last night, MacT was quotedin regard to Strome and his ‘considerable skill package‘.

petry3

ANOTHER TEST

Somewhere along the line the Edmonton Oilers lost their ability to identify useful defensive talent. It was probably at the moment they decided trading Chris Pronger and elevating Ladislav Smid to the NHL was a reasonable idea. They fiddled away Jan Hejda and fumbled and bumbled their way to we are here. There was a time when Edmonton would sign a Steve Staios or trade for a Jason Smith but the latter day management has lost the touch.

The Jeff Petry situation appears to be reaching its conclusion in the days before the trade deadline. MacT spoke of how well Petry is playing yesterday and raved about what an attractive option he would be to a playoff team. Jesus, Mary and Joseph MacT, he’s valuable to the Oilers too! Petry is apparently speaking to his agent this weekend and will have an idea about the direction of his life over the next few weeks.

Pack lightly, Jeff Petry. Oilers fans have no good news here, no voice and no real sense a good result arrives. Your money RH’s are Justin Schultz and Mark Fayne; Jeff Petry is not the chosen one but he is the best one.

And in Edmonton, incredibly, that isn’t enough. Sending away good defensemen at 31 is a crime, doing it at 27? The mind boggles. It is extremely difficult to marry success and Craig MacTavish when discussing this move. He’s making a terrible mistake.

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429 Responses to "OILERS AT LEAFS, G53 2014-15"

« Older Comments
  1. Numenius says:

    Auston Matthews ’16:
    Numenius,

    WG was bemoaning the fact that his over under bet was ruined by Gadzooks.

    Ah, of course. My bad…

  2. Pouzar says:

    Weird reactions by some here and on Twitter. Look forward to LT’s blog tomorrow.

  3. Auston Matthews '16 says:

    Halfwise:
    Auston Matthews ’16,

    Does that help?

    Thx. I was on mobile, or would have done the same.

  4. Auston Matthews '16 says:

    Numenius: Ah, of course. My bad…

    That’s okay – a lot of bad going around tonight.

  5. Auston Matthews '16 says:

    The Artist formerly known as “NYCOIL”:
    Auston Matthews ’16,

    This time next year we’ll be talking about you even more. Are your ears burning yet?

    More than zero… I guess that’s sumpin!

  6. 8p0intgame says:

    kinger_OIL,

    Thank you, Kinger. I have the upmost respect for the “math guys” but I feel like they dismiss things they can’t quantify a little too quick. It’s not that we can’t quantify it, we just don’t have the data we need to quantify it.

    Perhaps I’ll do a project on the effects of newborns on goalie save percentages, if anyone is interested?

  7. hunter1909 says:

    kinger_OIL,

    This must be what it feels like to drink poison.

  8. Bling says:

    I saw a Habs/Hawks game in Chicago in early December, and boy oh boy, guys, what we’re following is not NHL hockey. The Oilers are so far away from being a good team it’s terrifying.

    Between the comments here and Dennis King saying he wouldn’t be surprised if Eakins is back behind the bench next season, I’m real happy I’ve checked out of this gong-show.

    I encourage you all to do the same. Read some books, spend time with the important people in your lives, learn an instrument, etc.

    Save your hard earned dollars for other things, hell give it to charity.

    I think we’ve all given enough to this particular one.

  9. Numenius says:

    You know, I was at the game today, and as bad as it was, I didn’t think it was as bad as some are saying. I certainly didn’t get the utterly hopeless, nadir feeling as I did in the Eakins era. Maybe my evaluator is off because I saw it live and because I have rosy-coloured Nelson glasses on, but to me:

    1. Eberle actually played quite well and mainly had some bad luck. If he’d have scored on his breakaway, the game would have been completely different.

    2. The team didn’t deflate like they’ve done in the past in similar losing situations. Sensing this I told my buddy they’d score at least one goal by the end. They took their sweet time doing it, but they finally did.

    3. There were several times when the game could have swung the Oilers way before it got out of hand. The Oilers were lucky to get out of the first at only 0-0, but the Leafs were lucky to get out of the second with no goals for the Oilers.

    4. The 4th line (Lander’s line) seemed to outplay the Leafs 4th line (I’m assuming that’s the line it usually was), several times hemming them in in the offensive zone. It was nice to see.

    and finally

    5. It felt like one of those games where the hockey gods just laugh at you no matter how hard you try.

  10. Bling says:

    LT, not that you would consider it (would you?):

    I would love to see this blog do some sort of silent protest. One week or two weeks or something. Maybe turn it into a Blue Jackets blog?

    I’m dead serious.

    The fact that there’s been a forensic audit and MacTavish is still standing tells you all you need to know about where this organization’s priorities lie.

  11. 8p0intgame says:

    Numenius,

    Blood for the blood god?

  12. 8p0intgame says:

    Bling,

    I am curious to know what good you think that would do. I mean, Lowetide has a helluva following but I think he’s popular with the minority of Oilers fans.

  13. Bruce McCurdy says:

    The Artist formerly known as "NYCOIL",

    Great report! I should have gotten you to write guest game grades for CoH, then I wouldn’t’a had to. That said, I think we saw the same game, don’t you?

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Who ya gonna call? SLUMP BUSTERS

    By the way, I pre-wrote my headline two hours before game time. Just saying.

  15. Dark Asia says:

    Bling:
    I saw a Habs/Hawks game in Chicago in early December, and boy oh boy, guys, what we’re following is not NHL hockey. The Oilers are so far away from being a good team it’s terrifying.

    Between the comments here and Dennis King saying he wouldn’t be surprised if Eakins is back behind the bench next season, I’m real happy I’ve checked out of this gong-show.

    I encourage you all to do the same. Read some books, spend time with the important people in your lives, learn an instrument, etc.

    Save your hard earned dollars for other things, hell give it to charity.

    I think we’ve all given enough to this particular one.

    Bling…… like a number of the truly “old guard” – I now see this entire gaudy farce as totally kitsch. The entire org should be a centerpiece in the Museum of Bad Art. Lowe and the rest of his cronies are so “outed” as flaming incompetents that it’s interesting to see what they can screw up next. Finally do OK in a trade – not for long – seeya Perron for a draft pick 13 spots lower than the guy we traded him for. Sell your best dman for 3rd round pick – why not! Watch the goalie you screwed over and drummed out of town turn in a top 10 season one year later – art baby!

    I just drop by now and then to marvel at the sheer madness of it all and wonder if they put ritalin in the beer to keep all those “tier one” fans passive and paying for this punishment. At this point you just have to sit back and watch it crater into a massive black hole that swallows anything good, or positive, or hopeful – and once that happens – maybe change will happen. Like many of the self-proclaimed north american business elite – katz’s empire is likely built on sand and promises that may not hold up to the coming storm that’s brewing. How else do you square his “success” in pharma with his utter failure as an owner in the NHL. Enjoy the kabuki and pass the popcorn…….when the tide goes out we will see who is wearing what.

  16. frjohnk says:

    Bruce McCurdy: By the way, I pre-wrote my headline two hours before game time. Just saying.

    You just know this team too well don’t ya!

  17. jake70 says:

    After the 11-0 win by Hartford over Oilers in 1984.

    “” While the Whalers and their fans celebrated, Oilers Coach Glen Sather could only bemoan “an entire collapse of our hockey team.”

    “The only positive thing is that things can’t get any lower,” Sather said. “”

  18. GCW_69 says:

    GCW_69:
    Bets on the Oilers laying an egg? There is no better cure for breaking a losing streak or scoring drought than playing theOilers.

    Called it!

  19. kinger_OIL says:

    Auston Matthews ’16,

    Hey – looks better formatted! Thanks Matthews! That was a fun rant to post, hope some enjoyed it. Really neat to see all those Hockey anaylsts shooting the breeze after the game and giving me their two cents. Seeing that game was a real eye opener for me…This team as built has a limited future…

  20. The Artist formerly known as "NYCOIL" says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Yours was better, and we seemed to see virtually the same game, which I think I’m going to take as a good thing for me, since I have a ton of respect for your approach and demeanor and point of view.

  21. UnjustEnrichment says:

    Numenius:
    You know, I was at the game today, and as bad as it was, I didn’t think it was as bad as some are saying. I certainly didn’t get the utterly hopeless, nadir feeling as I did in the Eakins era. Maybe my evaluator is off because I saw it live and because I have rosy-coloured Nelson glasses on, but to me:

    1. Eberle actually played quite well and mainly had some bad luck. If he’d have scored on his breakaway, the game would have been completely different.

    2. The team didn’t deflate like they’ve done in the past in similar losing situations. Sensing this I told my buddy they’d score at least one goal by the end. They took their sweet time doing it, but they finally did.

    3. There were several times when the game could have swung the Oilers way before it got out of hand. The Oilers were lucky to get out of the first at only 0-0, but the Leafs were lucky to get out of the second with no goals for the Oilers.

    4. The 4th line (Lander’s line) seemed to outplay the Leafs 4th line (I’m assuming that’s the line it usually was), several times hemming them in in the offensive zone. It was nice to see.

    and finally

    5. It felt like one of those games where the hockey gods just laugh at you no matter how hard you try.

    I was at the game as well. I’m glad I was given the ticket for free.

    It was a bit surreal to be sitting a few rows away from the “real” Walter Gretzky while there were numerous fans wearing Wayne Gretzky jerseys sprinkled throughout the building.

    My observations, in brief:

    1) Not enough drive to the net–the Oilers were very weak at getting guys to the net, and Reimer had an easy night as a result. But aside from Gazdic at the end of the game, I did notice Lander buzzing around the net from time to time. There was effort in his game. I await the arrival of Yakimov, as we most certainly need more size down the middle of the ice.

    2) Not enough hitting by the defence–Oiler defencemen were not making the Leafs pay when the Leafs went to he front of the Oiler net. Sometimes, much to my dismay, the path to the front of the Oiler net seemed absolutely clear. I probably could have slid on boots down the centre of the ice without being touched (not being able to skate). One exception was Klefbom. I thought he was at least trying to be physical. On several occasions, I saw Schultz turn away from an opportunity to make a hit. Ference was almost always out-muscled. Fayne seemed quite uninspired in his play. Is there some way we can morph Justin Schultz into Denis Potvin? If there is, we better find out how to do it. We need a Potvin back there.

    3) Yakupov is looking much better. He is skating like the wind out there, but will finish up a great rush down the ice with a poorly planned pass. That makes me wonder about communication issues between him and his teammates. When Eakins was the coach, Yakupov actually seemed like one of the slowest players on the ice. In fact, everyone seemed slow and plodding, as if playing chess for the first time with too much instruction. Now, at least, he is skating again, and I think, if we have the necessary patience, he may be reborn in time. One can always hope. I liked the look of determination on his face last night. He was trying.

    4) Marincin looked uncertain and tentative out there, as if he did not really know how to seize the bull by the horns. He also seemed unhappy. I am hoping that Nelson can find the right button to push to get Marincin playing more confidently again. The Oilers need a defenceman with his size and reach, but one who can actually dish out some physical punishment as well.

    5) I do not know now the team can play a Saturday night game in Toronto, on Hockey Night in Canada, and come up so flat. Not enough desire, not enough desire….

  22. frjohnk says:

    kinger_OIL:
    Auston Matthews ’16,

    Hey – looks better formatted!Thanks Matthews!That was a fun rant to post, hope some enjoyed it.Really neat to see all those Hockey anaylsts shooting the breeze after the game and giving me their two cents.Seeing that game was a real eye opener for me…This team as built has a limited future…

    Yup. I enjoyed it. Good post.

  23. Bruce McCurdy says:

    The Artist formerly known as “NYCOIL”:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Yours was better, and we seemed to see virtually the same game, which I think I’m going to take as a good thing for me, since I have a ton of respect for your approach and demeanor and point of view.

    Why thank you kind sir. I only read yours after mine was written, & you did a fantastic job. For sure we saw similar things from a significant percentage of Oilers.

    I have done a tiny number of game grades based on live rather than televised views and it is way harder without the 15-second rewind button.

  24. Eastern Oil says:

    Thank you very much to everyone that had some notes on the game. Bruce, JW, and occasionally WG, do a great job with the game grades at CofH but I always enjoy reading different takes and opinions.

    Much appreciated.

  25. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Why thank you kind sir. I only read yours after mine was written, & you did a fantastic job. For sure we saw similar things from a significant percentage of Oilers.

    I have done a tiny number of game grades based on live rather than televised views and it is way harder without the 15-second rewind button.

    Truth.

    When you ask me to grade, I rewind every good/bad sequence to make sure I know how they got from A to B.

    When its live I just scream and spill my beer.

  26. wheatnoil says:

    Late to the party here. I was following the thread yesterday but was too busy to post. I just wanted to offer a ‘thank you’ to NYCOIL, G-Money, Spoiler et al on the investment discussion. As a man who knows very little about money management (other than ‘don’t spend more than you have’ and ‘budgets are very useful’), that was an excellent little primer for me.

  27. Bruce McCurdy says:

    hunter1909: Looks like merely watching hockey isn’t good enough anymore.

    This part of Katz’s diabolical plan is working to perfection.

  28. RexLibris says:

    The Sabres are a bad team, granted. That -86 GD is abhorrent.

    However, factor in that the Oilers have 9 OTL to the Sabres 3 and the Oilers, had they lost six of those in regulation, would be four points behind what is widely considered to be the worst team in recent NHL history.

    I realize that if the Oilers played in the East they’d probably get a few more wins…maybe, but either way we’ve changed the GM, coach (twice) and virtually the entire supporting cast and this season bears a striking similarity to 2011-2012, standings-wise.

    I’ve been a supporter of Lowe and MacTavish in the past, and I like Todd Nelson, even suggested he should be groomed as an eventual replacement head coach for the Oilers given his success in OKC.

    However, my loyalty to Lowe ends at his time in the President’s position. My loyalty to MacTavish runs out when the best defenseman on this team isn’t re-signed for vague reasons never given but which seem to run completely contradictory to every other word this management team says in regards to the kind of defenseman needed in the modern NHL. I still like Nelson, and he has shown some good things but we can’t hang our hopes for another season on yet another unproven coach. It is time for a more experienced coach who can see with unbiased eyes the who on this team is a capable NHL player and who is not.

    Separating the wheat from the chaff on this group isn’t hard. The problem is that it undermines the actions of the management group and they have thus far been unwilling to admit those mistakes but instead are compounding them by actively sending out one, two, or three players who are capable NHL players in Petry, Roy and Fasth.

    That all three are pending UFAs is a factor in being offered for trade, and we have no assurance that any would wish to re-sign here, but a good manager needs to identify them as good players and at least try to re-sign them. If they then chose to pursue free-agency nobody could say with a straight face that the media in this city wouldn’t bring this information to light via their relationship with management. Painting the traded players as wanting out is Hockey Management 101 and the Oilers are a case study.

    There are other teams I can “cheer” for (at least other non-Canadian teams) and while I’ll never replace the Oilers, I might need to park my enthusiasm for anything this ownership and management group does for the time being because I simply cannot advocate for a group that shows such willful disregard for competence and sound judgement.

    Godspeed Bob Green, you seem like a good man and I hope you can find some success and independence of action in this dysfunctional collective. He’s my only hope left for something to cheer for with this team – an intelligent and effective draft.

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