I HEAR YOU KNOCKING

Among those who spoke to the media today (MacT will probably have an avail tomorrow or Tuesday) was Todd Nelson, who said all the right things and clearly wants the head coaching job in Edmonton. I hope he gets it (have explained why) but doubt it comes quickly, if at all. This sounds like an active summer among NHL coaches and the Oilers are in no hurry now to make any decisions about the position.

I wanted to talk about this a little bit, because there are emails and dm’s coming my way with two different takes and I’d like to add mine. This issue first came up when Jordan Eberle talked about how much he’d improved under Todd Nelson and Pouliot’s item above marches in lock step. I’m getting two wildly different takes about this, and they sound like this:

  • “Eakins ruined everything and this is proof!”
  • “Don’t be a Nelson apologist, nothing’s changed!”

I am very hopeful that one day we can discuss Dallas Eakins without being accused of committing treason or having people threaten Hara-Kiri, but I know we’re not close to that day at this time. I would like to step back from the violent verbal and the pointing finger of Al Gore to suggest there’s a way we can proceed without making this ‘he said he said’ or being called asshat all the live long day.

  • It’s the GM dummy
  • It’s the goalie stupid
  • It’s the ‘mannish-boy’ defense idiote!

Dallas Eakins was a qualified coach in waiting for an NHL job when he got one. I absolutely believe he was told that there would be a certain period of time where tailoring the team had more importance than wins and I do believe he was fired in that window.

The war is over.

Todd Nelson is a qualified coach in waiting for an NHL job and he may or may not get one. When someone says ‘hey, Nelson’s PP looks good’ it doesn’t mean ‘Dallas Eakins has cooties’ and if I say ‘the Todd Nelson Oilers are not in any way a good possession team’ it does not mean ‘I’m hoping to get into a long conversation about how stupid I am, so please email me soon!’

  • On the day he was fired, Dallas Eakins’ Edmonton Oilers had a 5×5 Corsi for % of 50.9.
  • Todd Nelson’s Oilers were 17-23-7 with him solo and his team had a 5×5 Corsi for % of 46.8.

Those are the facts as I understand them. I think Jordan Eberle probably forgot he couldn’t lift the puck before New Year’s and Benoit Pouliot felt (as we all do) fresh air and a change during a trying season was welcome.

We don’t know, folks. We don’t know how Dallas Eakins was received by his players, we don’t know if Todd Nelson is Jesus in an (ever improving) suit. We do have facts before us. Let’s argue them.

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66 Responses to "I HEAR YOU KNOCKING"

  1. leadfarmer says:

    Eberle was injured earlier in the season hence his shooting issues.

    Eakins had Perron, Petry, and otherwise a much healthier lineup. Nelson had the OKC Barons.

    I did have Eakins gone by Xmas 🙂

  2. smellyglove says:

    I would like to see some detailed analysis of Eakins versus Nelson on the Al Gore one day. I was never an Eakins fan, but his attitude no doubt soured many on him. My Android phone auto corrects Eakins to ‘saliva’ btw.

    On the draft, obvious oberservation: Oilers more likely to pick #4 than anywhere else. I like that spot given proximity of the next three. Less pressure.

  3. stevezie says:

    Eakins made mistakes- most galling was the powerplay- but I don’t see how the facts since the coaching change don’t show that the main problem was the personnel.

  4. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Give Nelson the job, but this time please Gord give him an NHL lineup before you ship him out. Krueger and Eakins had nothing for lineups before being canned. Blood’s on management’s hands not coaching

  5. neojanus says:

    The roster makes these coaches look worse than they were/are.

    No living human being asks Schultz to play the way he does and no coach can fix that at this level of hockey. That is entirely on the player.

    Nikitin: Same thing.

    Scrivens: Same thing. How does either coach have any say in the brutal brutal play of this player?

    The Oilers woes comes down to having a terribly unbalanced roster, an inability/unwillingness to address a shameful core of defensemen, and having goalies that let the team down more often than not.

    95% of the problem, sadly, comes from management… which might foreground a bigger problem in the managers’ manager.

    A sad state of affairs.

  6. Doubting Olive says:

    Dave Edmonds or Fats Domino?

    Man, this song is a classic, covered by a lot of people.

    However, isn’t the general gist of the song telling someone to bugger off?

    I don’t think there’s any harm in giving our Nell a year. Players talk around the league. UFAs don’t want to come here because of the losing, the weather, the travel, the losing. But they might, just might, want to come here for the coach.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Doubting Olive:
    Dave Edmonds or Fats Domino?

    Man, this song is a classic, covered by a lot of people.

    However, isn’t the general gist of the song telling someone to bugger off?

    I don’t think there’s any harm in giving our Nell a year.Players talk around the league.UFAs don’t want to come here because of the losing, the weather, the travel, the losing.But they might, just might, want to come here for the coach.

    Neither actually

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HDdiz8MU8o

    I meant to call it ‘Can’t you hear me knocking’

  8. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    I like Nelson. But fact is, under him, the Oilers were still 17-30, good for 27th in the NHL. The problems with the Oilers run so Damn deep before we even get to talking about the coach. If the players love him and continue to grow under him, then for gord’s sake give them that stability at last.

    The Oilers can’t go out and change everything now for the sake of not setting a new NHL playoff futility record. They’ve chosen the rebuild by glacier way and like it or not, with the environment they’ve created, our young players are developing by sundial. See Lander. And then consider Yak and Schultz wandering in the desert still. Structure takes time to implement at the NHL level for these types of players, especially when they are thrown in the deep end without strong veteran help. We’ve said so many Damn times the NHL is not a development league.

    So keep Nelson around, clean house, bring in good players. And by that you’re going to have to be ruthless with some decisions. There are vets that need to go and be upgraded and with a flat cap this has to be the summer to do it. Get someone in who recognizes that.

    Also, how do you threaten harakiri? Just curious.

    Fin.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Here’s a brilliant Mick Taylor outtake from Gimme Shelter. Jesus what a guitar player

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b72_9jSXETg

  10. Lowetide says:

    NYCOIL "Taking Photos":

    Also, how do you threaten harakiri?Just curious.

    Attempt at humor. 🙂

  11. godot10 says:

    Eakins was the least experienced head coach hired into the NHL in the last ten to fifteen years. He was hired by a similarly inexperienced GM on an impulsive whim without a hiring process.

    That it would be a catastrophic disaster was clear after game 2, October, 2013, against Vancouver.

    I don’t think Eakins would have been hired by any competent NHL organization with a rigorous hiring process.

  12. kinger_OIL says:

    Have a process to determine the next head coach. I am sure that is why they hired Nicholson: to put in checks and balances. Nelly’s record on an interim basis, in terms of W/L, or slippage in some of the fancy stats is not encouraging. I suspect he would not get the full-time job based on that, but there are other factors to consider. Also, they are going to be hard-pressed to find another coach that would accept the job: that’s Nelly’s opportunity: and if he gets it, he should run with it.

  13. cabbiesmacker says:

    Many players have had the same opinion of Eakins vs Nelson. Not just Eberle and Pouliot. Lander, Hendricks, Nuge, etc etc. If it walks like and duck and quacks like a duck…..

    I know it’s hard for some here to contemplate that stats don’t tell the whole story but they just don’t.

    Nelson didn’t have a training camp to incorporate systems. Nelson didn’t have Hall for large chunks. …Nelson only had one second tier goalie where Eakins had two…yada yada All the way down to the all rookie D for the last couple of weeks.

    There is absolutely zero reasonable argument to suggest Eakins was better for this team. None. If he’d been given the full second season, O wow he would have had a dynamo C like Roy, that would have been proven in spades.

    MacTavish owns this for sure. He and his reacharound partner Lowe, but Eakins was a bad fit and things would only have gotten worse. Adios Mr Attitude. May you land safely in Austria because that the top speed you can handle.

  14. GCW_69 says:

    We can’t know for sure the players preferred Nelson to Eakins, but there have been enough hints from comments on the pace of practise, to Corsi to the power play, to this one that suspicion is not unwarranted.

    The fact is unless we had microphones in the room we can never know. But tris is the Internet. It’s a blog. The whole point is to speculate on what we learn. This isn’t a court room.. There is no burden of proof required. It’s a forum for sharing perspectives and engaging in debate about them.

  15. godot10 says:

    Where are Dallas Eakins’ Chris Vandevelde’s and Colin McDonald’s and Marc Arcobello’s?

    Where is his Jeff Petry?

    All Eakins’ has to show for himself are three 1st rounders in Kadri, Colbourne, and Gardiner, and a whole bunch of nothing. A few guys bounced around the bottom of the NHL roster but none are going to have 100 plus games, and probably 200 plus games like Nelson’s trio.

    And look at Nelson’s pipeline of prospects that have shown up this year.

    A rigorous hiring process would have discovered Eakins’ atrocious AHL power play, and the complete absence of prospect development.

  16. teddyturnbuckle says:

    Nelson may not be the coach that wins the cup in Edmonton but he is a good fit with where this team is right now. He is an underdog, just like the Oilers. I live in B.C. and the Oilers are considered a joke of a team that will never turn it around.

  17. GCW_69 says:

    Looking at overall corsi fails to account for the score effects that Eakins rode hard to get to that corsi percentage. If we are going to debate the facts, let’s dig into them.

    What was the situational corsi?

    What was the average years of experience on the ice per game?

    And so on and so forth. Picking a blended corsi number that doesn’t adjust for the massive difference in time Trailing vs time leading between the two is like comparing apples and oranges.

  18. Edmonton_fan says:

    Much as neither Coach had the basic building blocks to create a successful team – Eakins had to go. Some players (Yakupov especially) had absolutely no confidence – you could see fear in their eyes whenever they made a mistake; no matter how minor.

    This leads to the second part. Should any blame be placed on Nelson – my answer is NO – he only got improvement from Yakupov when Roy showed up as a mentor. He then lost Hall. Then was forced to ice 5 AHL defensemen (blame goes to Management).

    The question is whether Nelson deserves the Coaching position next season. IF the answer is NO – then the Oilers better give him one heck of a raise to keep him – to train the next wave of young players in the system!

  19. Doubting Olive says:

    teddyturnbuckle:
    Nelson may not be the coach that wins the cup in Edmonton but he is a good fit with where this team is right now.He is an underdog, just like the Oilers.I live in B.C. and the Oilers are considered a joke of a team that will never turn it around.

    This is my feeling also. The Eakins years are, sadly, a write-off. Nelly is/was the developmental coach we needed. Right under our noses, too.

    You should tell those guys in BC that the Canucks are considered an even funnier joke of a team that will not win a cup for the foreseeable future. At least we know we’re shit.

    *cough, Sedins getting older with no replacements, cough*

  20. RexLibris says:

    It’s funny (in an unhealthy kind of way) but getting caught in a Nelson/Eakins argument feels like being a child in a contested divorce.

    Currently one of the things for which I hold out hope for next season is an end to the Eakins/Nelson comparisons.

    I was never entirely in Eakins’ camp but was more than willing to give him time.

    When the deployment went sideways in the middle of November I made the comment that perhaps the next body they should call up from OKC was Todd Nelson.

    I’ve been very impressed with Nelson’s work going back three years now and hold out hope that he can be an NHL coach of some merit.

    In that regard I hope more than anything that Nelson’s boss gets him the NHL players a coach needs in order to have a fighting chance, and that means fewer subtractions of Jeff Petrys and additions of Nikita Nikitins and more additions of Benoit Pouliots and Derek Roys (or better).

    If Nelson gets sunk by MacTavish’s poor signing and roster management this coming season we’ll have a new reservoir of resentment against management on which to draw.

    Because all the other wells were obviously running dry…

  21. Pretendergast says:

    I hate to say it but the leafs i think are in good hands.
    POHO shanahan understood the culture needed to change and so he cleaned house.

    Nonis isnt a bad gm, id let him in before mact, but shanny undersgands the roots of the organization need to be uplifted and restarted.

    Wish the oilers wouldve have those kinda guts with their front office instead of
    periodically sacrificing a lamb.

  22. Numenius says:

    “On the day he was fired, Dallas Eakins’ Edmonton Oilers had a 5×5 Corsi for % of 50.9.
    Todd Nelson’s Oilers were 17-23-7 with him solo and his team had a 5×5 Corsi for % of 46.8.

    Those are the facts as I understand them.”

    ————
    Those are facts, but only a small number of facts.

    ————
    “We don’t know, folks. We don’t know how Dallas Eakins was received by his players.”

    ————
    I’d say we know quite a few facts about that. To add to what we know from Pouliot, Eberle, and Belov, Yak’s comments today were remarkably revealing. He took the high road and didn’t talk about Eakins directly, but what he said about Nelson (e.g. Nelson gave him and others “another life”) quite clearly revealed what he did think. Here is a transcript I made of the relevant section to get a sense for the strength and nuance of what Yakupov was saying.

    Yak Interview, April 12, 2015

    Reporter: “Talk about your season, Yak. It looked like early on in the year, you struggled a little bit, but you really turned it on when Nelson got here.”

    Yak: “I think the last half year was pretty good, and, um, I’m really happy to have Nelly. He gave me kind of a second life. I was really enjoying to play, I was really enjoying to practice, and being around the hockey rink to play the game, so I think that’s the really important thing in your favourite job. And, again, yeah, it was really enjoyed, I just want to thank Nelly for giving me support, and uh, he was such a nice to me, and it just helps a lot, you know, and I really enjoyed the half year.

    Reporter: “Was it just bad communication with Dallas early in the year or you just didn’t understand what he wanted from you, or what, like, why didn’t it work with Dallas early in the year? Why was it [working (?)] with Todd?”

    Yak: “I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about what happened in the past. We had a really good half season with Nelly, so I just, it’s all about Nelly. See it’s not just about me, I think he gave another life for another guys [on the team (?)], we feel pretty comfortable, and we play as a team now, everyone played, and we played for each other, and we played against best teams, we fight against best teams, and you know, we showed [pretty good (?)] hockey.”

    Seems to give a pretty clear picture about how Eakins was received (at least by Yak) to me. Pretty damning, I’d say.

  23. RexLibris says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/sabres-fire-nolan-after-last-place-finish-1.255167

    I hope Nolan got a nice severance package. Last season was on Regier’s roster and this season Nolan was tasked with dragging a carcass around the battlements for 82 games.

    Working relationships aside, he was at least partially sunk twice by management’s roster decisions.

    He may never coach in the NHL again but he deserves some reward for what work he did with what he was given.

  24. Doubting Olive says:

    RexLibris:
    http://www.tsn.ca/sabres-fire-nolan-after-last-place-finish-1.255167

    I hope Nolan got a nice severance package. Last season was on Regier’s roster and this season Nolan was tasked with dragging a carcass around the battlements for 82 games.

    Working relationships aside, he was at least partially sunk twice by management’s roster decisions.

    He may never coach in the NHL again but he deserves some reward for what work he did with what he was given.

    Ahhhh! Of course, this is why Nelly hasn’t been confirmed. Ted has shaken loose and can get us Austen Mathews. Unlike our Nell, Ted CAN be stopped.

  25. RexLibris says:

    Numenius,

    Reason #46 to like Yakupov as a person.

    Good kid.

    As Brownlee would say, I cheer for him to SIUTBOHC.

  26. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide: Neither actually

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HDdiz8MU8o

    I meant to call it ‘Can’t you hear me knocking’

    That’s what ran through my head, anyway, when I read the title.

  27. Rondo says:

    McDavid looks good tonight. Not the best game for Strome

  28. Lowetide says:

    Rondo:
    McDavid looks good tonight.Not the best game for Strome

    Strome has faded a little, especially offensively, early in the playoffs. Small sample size and all that but something to factor into the equation.

  29. Seismic Source says:

    I miss the lockout.

  30. Unicorns says:

    GCW_69:
    Looking at overall corsi fails to account for the score effects that Eakins rode hard to get to that corsi percentage.If we are going to debate the facts,let’s dig into them.

    What was the situational corsi?

    What was the average years of experience on the ice per game?

    And so on and so forth. Picking a blended corsi number that doesn’t adjust for the massive difference in time Trailing vs time leading between the two is like comparing apples and oranges.

    This is so true. The Oilers carried play a lot more under Nelson even if they lost. That was not the case before. The eyes don’t lie, they just don’t tell the truth.

  31. Dashingsilverfox says:

    Pretendergast:
    I hate to say it but the leafs i think are in good hands.
    POHO shanahan understood the culture needed to change and so he cleaned house.

    Nonis isnt a bad gm, id let him in before mact, but shanny undersgands the roots of the organization need to be uplifted and restarted.

    Wish the oilers wouldve have those kinda guts with their front office instead of
    periodically sacrificing a lamb.

    I think the Leafs will go very hard after Mike Babcock to be their GM/Coach.

    Shanahan has already created a management team that could surround Babcock with the hockey people to make that feasible and, of course, Shanahan and Babcock have a history from the Red Wings.

    More from Bob McKenzie here:

    http://www.tsn.ca/shanahan-s-new-gm-must-align-with-leafs-vision-1.255117

    If the Leafs win the draft lottery, starting a rebuild with McDavid, Kadri, Rielly and Gardiner is not too shabby and, of course they will also be getting some return for Kessel, Phaneuf, Bozak, Van Reimsdyk and others.

    They also have Nashville’s 1st round pick in the draft which could be pretty good if Nashville exits early.

  32. Unicorns says:

    RexLibris:
    http://www.tsn.ca/sabres-fire-nolan-after-last-place-finish-1.255167

    I hope Nolan got a nice severance package. Last season was on Regier’s roster and this season Nolan was tasked with dragging a carcass around the battlements for 82 games.

    Working relationships aside, he was at least partially sunk twice by management’s roster decisions.

    He may never coach in the NHL again but he deserves some reward for what work he did with what he was given.

    Sacrificial lamb, he never had a chance from the start.

  33. DBO says:

    Seismic Source:
    I miss the lockout.

    Lol. Painfully true.

    Be great if they pulled a Shanahan and cleaned house. Not gonna happen. So please get a real defence men. Beg Petry to comeback. Dump nikitin. Add a decent (not even great goalie). Funny how teams with good D look much better. Goalies look better and forwards get the puck on their stick and out if the zone in control quickly.

    Phaneuf (or similar) – Petry (or similar)
    Klefbom – Fayne
    Marincin – Schultz
    Ference

  34. dustrock says:

    There was a period against the first game against the Flames and the Oilers looked outstanding. Never put the game away and lost in the 3rd. Felt they started with some jump with Eakins but it went sour fast.

  35. thejonrmcleod says:

    Yak with a big endorsement of Nelson:

    “Yeah, I think my last half of the year was pretty good,” said Yakupov. “I’m really happy to have Nelly. He gave me kind of a second life. I was really enjoying to play, really enjoying practice and to be around the hockey rink and play the game. I think that’s really the important thing in your favourite job. It was really, really good. I just want to thank Nelly too for giving me support. He was so nice to me and it just helps a lot, you know? I really enjoyed the (second half) of the year.”

    Edit: I see that I was beat to the punch.

  36. justDOit says:

    “For me, it’s obviously building some more strength to help me in the battles in the corners and my defensive game, which is obviously something I need to improve on. That’s going to be my focus and hopefully I can make some strides this summer,” Schultz said.

    Well. You mean that all the golfing last summer didn’t help your NHL readiness? Huh…

  37. lance says:

    OMG Louisiana sucks. There is no surface to which I cannot stick. It’s April. And a month ago the wind came direct from Winnipeg. Probly the worst climate I’ve ever seen ever. And it’s made me realize that players aren’t dissing Edmonton because weather. That concept has come up in almost every thread for the last couple days and I want to dispel that once and for all. From one who’s lived in nearly every North American region, on a continental level, Edm Is probably at least average.

    The Oiler problem is not the weather. Here there are cockroaches 3″ long that fly. Poisonous snakes, giant furry spiders and real actual alligators who all ahow up with unrighteous humidity. And mosquito populations that defy math. The bayou is a wild place to live. That people lived here without AC is completely unimaginable.

    For reasons of credibility please lose the climate narrative and focus on the losing.

  38. stevezie says:

    Dashingsilverfox,

    I think McD would end their rebuild as soon as it began. As loathe as I am to admit it, their depth is superior to Chicago’s or Pitts when they started their rebuilds, and clearly better than us, Arz or Buf. They can go straight into “find good players, keep good players” mode. Learn the lessons of the Oiler disaster.

    They have Nylander and Rielly, so it’s not like they would need another few years of sucking to acquire young complimentary talent. Keeping Lupul, Kessel, JVR would give McD the support our kids never had. Especially guys like JVR who are on nice deals. Of course, their defence needs work but they’re also starting with competent goal tending.

    Of course if they don’t win the lottery they’re the same tweener team and they will probably trade everyone you listed. An instant 1st line C will transform most teams.

  39. flyfish1168 says:

    3 things to help be a good coach.

    1) knowledge- strategies, analytics,
    2) teach- being able to get message across
    3) motivate -ability to get your team to give it all all the time even when it looks bleak.

    I believe Ralph was strong in all three areas, Nelson seems to have most of these three areas down.
    Dallas unfortunately is missing 2 and 3.

    Ralph had us briefly looking at the playoffs with an inferior line only playing against Western division teams. That has to mean alot. Ralph and Todd maybe falling behind in the corsi and some other possession stats but they alone don’t win games. Wins is the most important indicator. Dallas failed in teaching and ability to motivate. dallas I believe had an easier schedule and better lineup and still couldn’t win. JMHO

  40. stevezie says:

    flyfish1168: Wins is the most important indicator.

    In measuring past success, yes. In predicting future success, no.

  41. SVR says:

    Does anyone know the extent of Bogdan Yakimov,s injury? And if he is going to be back for the playoffs?

  42. Unicorns says:

    Krueger’s forte was underdog hockey. Made the Swiss respectable, the Oilers hoped he’d make them respectable.

    The thing is Edmonton aren’t Underdogs (is it still on TV?) they are ‘overdogs’. Underdogs lack talent. Overdogs are overloaded with young talent that need direction.

    Buffalo is going to be King Overdog soon. They have a massive haul of youthful talent. The Oilers are not far behind if they use the first 3 first picks they have for drafting.

    Buffalo should be plundered by a crafty GM. Their firing of Nolan I think signals they start moving forward next year.

    Finances dictate it. Katz has milllllliiiiions rolling in despite BOtB.

  43. flyfish1168 says:

    stevezie: In measuring past success, yes. In predicting future success, no.

    You have a good point. probably why lots of good coaches have an expiration date.

  44. G Money says:

    *** NERD ALERT ***

    Where I look at whether regular season success on special teams carries over to the playoffs.

    https://oilersnerdalert.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/predicting-special-teams-performance-in-the-playoffs-predictive-variables-extravaganza-part-2/

    (Hint: no)

  45. Zack says:

    Lowetide (and anyone else willing to chip in),

    With the firing of Dave Nonis today, say by some odd reason Oilers also fired MacTavish and other brass too, who do you think would be the next Oilers GM. Who would be most probable and who would you like personally?

    Mike Futa VP Hockey Ops LA
    Paul Fenton Ast. GM Nashville
    Ray Shero
    Peter Chiarelli GM Boston
    Other

  46. delooper says:

    The Oilers under Eakins vs. Nelson is a pretty compelling argument that “advanced stats” as construed on this blog are too weak an indicator to be able to make any convincing arguments that are not self-referential, like “better advanced stats lead to better advanced stats”.

    You can argue that good teams have better advanced stats of whatever variety you like. But there is absolutely no evidence that a blind pursuit of advanced stats does anything other than create losing teams. Advanced stats may be a side-effect of good winning teams, but it’s clearly not a cause of winning.

  47. Lowetide says:

    delooper:

    But there is absolutely no evidence that a blind pursuit of advanced stats does anything other than create losing teams.

    Absolutely agree. THAT would be crazy.

  48. Lowetide says:

    Zack:
    Lowetide (and anyone else willing to chip in),

    With the firing of Dave Nonis today, say by some odd reason Oilers also fired MacTavish and other brass too, who do you think would be the next Oilers GM. Who would be most probable and who would you like personally?

    Mike Futa VP Hockey Ops LA
    Paul Fenton Ast. GM Nashville
    Ray Shero
    Peter Chiarelli GM Boston
    Other

    Those are strong candidates. Honestly? I don’t know. Fenton is a guy who has been mentioned many times and I do like Nashville’s way of going about their business. Beyond that, too many questions I don’t have the answers for before drawing a conclusion.

  49. lance says:

    The lady is processing photos of a skate park that was supposed to be open in February. And we’re in a tiny house on the bayou with megre cel service. After reading that post I thoufht I should add one in defense of the south.

    Houma is about the size of Red Deer with a similar median income and cost of living. Dave’s a realtor and says that the last four months have produced more listings but a minimal drop in buyers. Houses still sell. It’s all still pretty much a go. Now that oil prices have stabilized it already feels like Amarillo did in November.

    Black people welcome us easily. White people treat us like family. I notice they never really live near each other. We’ve been shown a hospitality I can only liken to the Maritmes. Beautiful loving giving people. Cajuns. Just like Red Deer they can fix your car and build a dormer but have never heard of Tolstoy. Unlike Red Deer if you say you’re vegetarian they don’t look at you like you’re a homo but instead admit they’ve never met one before.

    It’s amazing to me how apologetic people are towards the oil companies. They know the water is poisoned and laugh about the multinationals paying no taxes while they drive on America’s worst roads. It’s all fine. This will be the last state to revolt.

    The SOLA bayou people have a real love. It’s not like Los Angeles where the neighbours change every six months. It’s a way longer term. And they offer the same to the traveling photographers.

    There have been times where this blog has really helped me out. To survive by producing art is hard enough. To try and do it for a new client while couch surfing 3000 miles from anything familiar because the project is delayed and we’re down to our last fifty bucks can be a little trying. Sometimes this blog reminds me where I’m from, it maybe keeps me genuine. Thanks for that. I think this corner of the world contains some pretty fine art.

  50. Hammers says:

    One last post before leaving . The truth is neither Eakins or Nelson should have been in this position to begin with but when I compare them I see two men one totally arrogant and one communicative . One who thought no sense watching last years game films as I know how I’m running things and the other with a total knowledge of the players he had both good and bad . One who took the usual things away as in ( ping pong ) and one smart enough to know its a relaxant . One who seemed to talk about them and the other about us . One a thinker the other a guy who does it . That’s my synopsis of them both but remember you don’t have to be liked to have a winning team but it helps when you are liked/respected especially when your a bottom team for years .

  51. lance says:

    delooper: there is absolutely no evidence that a blind pursuit of advanced stats does anything other than create losing teams.

    Is there evidence that advance stats create losing teams? (I suspect there’s no evidence eiither way.)

  52. Woodguy says:

    delooper,

    . Advanced stats may be a side-effect of good winning teams, but it’s clearly not a cause of winning.

    Taking the majority of the shot attempts and having the puck in the ozone more than your dzone does not cause winning.

    Ok then.

  53. Woodguy says:

    Unicorns: This is so true. The Oilers carried play a lot more under Nelson even if they lost. That was not the case before. The eyes don’t lie, they just don’t tell the truth.

    Here are the metrics adjusted for score effects. As per puckon.net

    This year:

    Eakins (31gp)
    Score adjusted Corsi 48.7%
    Score adjusted Fenwick 48.1%
    Rating: Not good

    Nelson alone (since Dec 28) (46gp)
    Score adjusted Corsi 46.7%
    Score adjusted Fenwick 46.5%
    Rating: Still not good

    There’s a dip, but it’s more like 2% than the 4% indicated in the original post.

    Its the roster.

  54. Numenius says:

    Just checked on one Jeff Petry. From the deadline to the end of the regular season, he tied for 3rd with Subban in total 5×5 scoring for Montreal. That’s 3rd on the entire team.

    Gms, G A P (5×5)
    Tomas.Plekanec 20, 3 6 9
    P.A..Parenteau 16, 2 5 7
    P.K..Subban 20, 1 5 6
    Jeff.Petry 19, 4 2 6

    His sh% was pretty unsustainable (23.53), but he had a far tougher ZS%rel than Subban (-11.49 vs. 4.5).

    Sure glad we didn’t sign that guy.

    (Edit: Compare Justin Schultz, same time period 5×5: 19, 1-2-3)

  55. spoiler says:

    Numenius,

    My Habs buddy is just loving him.

  56. Numenius says:

    spoiler,

    Interesting. Finally getting the respect he deserves.

  57. spoiler says:

    Here’s my thinking on the Eakins-Nelson debate. I think it differs a bit from the two avenues LT posted up top, maybe another angle…

    Once the losing had entered the ouroborosian proportions it had, a change was necessary. It didn’t matter whether Eakins was a good coach anymore. It’s irrelevant; a bit of a moo point, as WG would say.

    Losses had become a self-fulfilling prophecy… a self-perpetuating cycle… the sheer amount of which was humiliating, in front of their fans and their peers. That happens and the players will lose faith and trust in their coach, much like the goaltending they have behind them. Losing like that has to shake anyone’s belief system.

    And you could tell that system had been shattered once the streak took off. No one was playing for anyone else anymore. Not each other, not the coach. No one.

    The players needed a jolt to snap them out of the stupor. Something to believe in, to cling to. A fundamental change to the culture, to the atmosphere, the stream of consciousness. Firing Eakins is a helluva lot easier and more effective in that regard than a big trade and keeping the coach.

    And naturally the players would have good feelings about such a change. Would you expect them to say anything else? These kids are young. They must have been mortified to be losing that badly, pinned to the basement floor yet again.

    MacT had to do something, and he did the right thing. Whether or not Eakins was a good coach. It wasn’t working in the here and now and it had reached a point of no return.

    MacT knows it is his roster and he knows the roster’s limitations is his responsibility. Hence the “blood on my hands” comment. Fasth and Bartleby looked like reasonable bets, but turned out to be awful bets. Some of that is due to a young supporting cast. Some of that is due to a lack of a good solution to the C weakness. I wish the Lander we see now showed up in camp. Then they could’ve put Drai back in junior sooner. I think they were counting on a step forward from Schultz, and more help given to him from NIkitin. And those bets failed too.

    Jultz will get one more year to prove himself. If he doesn’t take a step, I think MacT will pull the cord. He won’t be worth a great deal, but the better option right now I think MacT believes, is to see if the light will go on. Give him his 300 games.

    That said, I think the chance of a trade at the draft centering on the Pitt 1st is about 50-50 right now. If Pitt had missed the playoffs, I would’ve put that at more likely we keep the pick. Still, I wouldn’t count out a trade even then; that pick would have attracted some serious offers at 14.

    And I’d say, depending on the return, Schultz is a candidate for trade bait at the draft. His recent exclusion from the core seems to indicate so too. But I doubt he’s a priority to trade in MacT’s mind.

  58. SwedishPoster says:

    spoiler,

    I made a comment somewhere early in the season, when the losing had started but it hadn’t gotten out of hand late october maybe, that the players never talked about Eakins as a good coach, that they felt confident with him or how they learnt something from him. Counter that with how Nelson is getting praise from his players and there’s a world of difference.

    Eakins might have some great ideas but there was a massive disconnect between him and the players. It doesn’t matter how clever your tactics are if the men put to execute those tactics don’t respect you. More than one player has made comments about how the structure got better after the arrival of Nelson so they either didn’t think Eakins had very good structure, they didn’t understand what the structure he had put in place or he had lost the room to extent that they didn’t listen. Either way the coach has failed. Big time.

    I do hope we can move on from Eakins now that the season is over. And I do hope Nelson get a shot to coach this team with a full training camp, a somewhat healthy squad and without the lingering frustration from a crashed season. And hopefully, one must dare to dream, he gets to coach a roster without glaring holes unlike his predecessors. Give him a 1+2 year contract. If both parts are happy at the end of next season he gets two more years when the team is supposed to be a playoff team for real and you go from there. He’s been successful at every level so far and has the ears of a roster and core group with a history of being tricky to coach. Let’s see what he can do for a full season.

  59. russ99 says:

    I find it annoying that the fancystat crowd just can’t fathom that Dallas Eakins was not only a poor coach, but he was just about the worst possible hire for this group at the time he was hired, and he was hired for all the wrong reasons.

    And thankfully with the Kings and Bruins missing the playoffs this year, everyone can stop trying to copycat them and get back to playing hockey. If possession metrics are the Moneyball of hockey, than hopefull this year’s playoff demise is like the 2007 A’s.

  60. Unicorns says:

    Woodguy: Here are the metrics adjusted for score effects. As per puckon.net

    This year:

    Eakins (31gp)
    Score adjusted Corsi 48.7%
    Score adjusted Fenwick 48.1%
    Rating: Not good

    Nelson alone (since Dec 28) (46gp)
    Score adjusted Corsi 46.7%
    Score adjusted Fenwick 46.5%
    Rating: Still not good

    There’s a dip, but it’s more like 2% than the 4% indicated in the original post.

    Its the roster.

    I think Hall’s injury might account for 2% itself, he has the puck a lot when he plays. Do you see the flow of play as I do, that the Oilers under Eakins were on their heels a lot more? I though Edmonton under Nelson took it to other teams at a respectable level.

    Nelson’s team has also been facing opponents when games have more urgency for opponents who do things like playoffs.

  61. j says:

    The coach of the Oilers this year was irrelevant in terms of wins/losses. The team was not built for success. Consequently the stats are somewhat meaningless. When in a situation where the stats (objective) aren’t going to tell the whole story, you have to lean more heavily on the narrative (subjective). It is OK to have a very analytical coach with very little personal connection to the players when you are winning. If you are not winning, you better be a ‘players coach’ who has the players motivated and engaged. Through this lens, Nelson is far superior. He alone changed the culture of the team and began putting forth an identity (with a hobbled group). Will this be enough next year? That is up to MacT and his ability to improve the objective (fill the holes!!).

  62. alice13 says:

    I think the balance between ‘players coach’, systems coach, disciplinarian coach, nurturing coach, Al Pacino coach – I think it all has to be there, but not in the same individual. The trick is to figure out the assistants that fill your particular gaps, because you need all those things in your kit, for every makeup of team. Not ‘the young teams need X, the vet teams need Y’ – every team needs the full spectrum. It’s a long season and some players need different stimulus than others. Worrying about whether Nelson has a 46% Corsi…. Nelson! He can directly affect Corsi about the same as the goalie can. It’s the roster. He’s competent, support him with what he needs.

  63. alice13 says:

    And thanks LT for that Mick Taylor clip, he plays in the groove, the timing and rhythm – while it’s ‘lead’ work – is just remarkable. Slippery – and that’s the sound until Ron Wood gets there and puts things back on beat.

  64. pts2pndr says:

    Woodguy
    I am new to the site and I believe there is value in advance stas! If as a coach you use metrics as a
    tool when dealing with a player you can effect a situation such as in Eberle’s situation where he was shooting to satisfy his coaches performance edict rather than delay slightly for a real scoring chance!
    I believe that advanced stats should always be checked out on players you are going to bring into your organization wether by free agency, trade and or drat!
    I truly appreciate the experience and ideas expressed by LT and the posters on this site!

  65. spoiler says:

    SwedishPoster: I made a comment somewhere early in the season, when the losing had started but it hadn’t gotten out of hand late october maybe, that the players never talked about Eakins as a good coach, that they felt confident with him or how they learnt something from him. Counter that with how Nelson is getting praise from his players and there’s a world of difference.

    Actually Hall came out and specifically said good things about Eakins. No one was throwing him under the bus last autumn. The criticism from the players at that time was directed at themselves.

  66. delooper says:

    Woodguy:
    Taking the majority of the shot attempts and having the puck in the ozone more than your dzone does not cause winning.

    You are correct. The only cause of winning is having more goals at the end of the game.

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