THREE DAYS AT THE CONDOR

Todd McLellan was a helluva get, even if he didn’t bring Brent Burns and Joe Thornton with him. In the coming weeks, we’re going to see the Edmonton Oilers of Eakins/Nelson (plus some additions) through McLellan’s eyes and there are likely to many surprises. One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is roster deployment and finding similar Edmonton pieces to his Sharks lineup. Let’s start with defense.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER, SAN JOSE BLUE

mclellan vollman d

  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic—Justin Braun: The key pairing for SJS, Vlasic is an elite shutdown defender and the Oilers don’t have one. Braun is a good two-way defender who can move the puck, defend and has a plus shot as well. The Oilers have three possibles (as I see it) for the role in Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne and young Oscar Klefbom. McLellan did use Vlasic this way in the young defender’s second year (and McLellan’s first) in 2008-09. Projected: Klefbom—Sekera (based partly on Chiarelli’s words).
  • Brenden Dillon—Brent Burns: Both are big men and both can play a two-way role, although Burns is a more substantial player by a lot. A lot got done with Burns on the ice this past season, finding a comp for him among Oilers blue is impossible. Projected: Nikitin—Fayne (giving up a lot of puck movement but I do like the idea of a veteran second pairing).
  • Scott Hannan—Matt Irwin: This wasn’t a good pairing, although Irwin is underrated (and I think Boston got a good player). They faced easy street and got very little done. Projected: Ference—Schultz (this pairing might also include Griffin Reinhart and Eric Gryba as required). Edmonton’s third pairing should be far better than the Sharks, lord knows it’s going to cost enough.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER, SAN JOSE FORWARDS

mclellan vollman f

  • Patrick Marleau—Logan Couture—Various: Faced the toughest opposition but (as was the case with all of the other SJS forwards) had good ZS’s. Matt Nieto was the most used winger and the trio did fine work together. Projected: Taylor Hall—Connor McDavid—Teddy Purcell/Nail Yakupov. McLellan will try (I’m sure) to line the Nuge line up against tough opponents but the bullet train is going to face difficult challenges all year.
  • Various—Joe Thornton—Joe Pavelski: A very effective duo who played most often with Melker Karlsson and Thomas Hertl. There’s not too much clearance between the two lines and hopefully we see something similar in Edmonton this season. McLellan mixes and matches well. Projected: Benoit Pouliot—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jordan Eberle. Departure from past McLellan lines (he likes pairs) and that may mean Eberle plays on the Hall-McDavid line often enough to be considered a swingman between the top two lines. I always put him on Nuge’s line because RNH is still emerging, not certain how much longer that will be the case.
  • Chris Tierney—Tommy Wingels—Various: Finding McLellan’s third and fourth lines is like trying to find an Oilers low-event shift 2006-14—damned near impossible. Wingels played up quite a bit and there appear to be eight actual top 9F’s based on the Vollman. We’re going to need some adjustment time. Projected: Lauri Korpikoski—Anton Lander—Teddy Purcell/Nail Yakupov. This line should play more than SJS’s third line, but McLellan appeared to move up (or down) and really I think we’re seeing three pairs the more I look at things. If it’s Hall-McDavid and Nuge-Eberle maybe the third pair will be Lander-Yakupov or Letestu-Yakupov? Interesting possibilities.
  • Barclay Goodrow—James Sheppard—Various: Mind numbing now, someone named Ben Smith may have just performed faceoffs and disappeared like a Spinal Tap drummer. The Sharks had some minor league players down here, no doubt in my mind hello John Scott. Projected: Matt Hendricks—Mark Letestu—Various. Oilers have a nice group here, this isn’t the same level of fourth-liner the Sharks used a year ago (holy hell they were bad). I have no idea who wins that 4line job, suspect it’ll be a rotating group.

THREE DAYS AT THE CONDOR

After the rookie camp and Peter Chiarelli’s prospect comments, it’s fun to have another lash at the possible Bakersfield Condors 2015-16 opening night lineup. I’ll go ahead and suggest this team will be stronger than any offered to the good people of Oklahoma City.

  • L1: Anton Slepyshev—Leon Draisaitl—Andrew Miller
  • L2: Ryan Hamilton—Bogdan Yakimov—Iiro Pakarinen
  • L3: Kale Kessy—Kyle Platzer—Tyler Pitlick
  • L4: Josh Winquist—Jujhar Khaira—Greg Chase
  • IR F: Mitchell Moroz
  • Extra F: Alexis Loiseau, Marco Roy, Connor Rankin, Braden Christoffer
  • D1: Darnell Nurse—Brandon Davidson
  • D2: David Musil—Brad Hunt
  • D3: Jordan Oesterle—Dillon Simpson
  • Extra D: Martin Gernat, Joey Laleggia, Ben Betker
  • G1: Laurent Brossoit
  • G2: Anders Nilsson (Eetu Laurikainen in case of waivers)

I wouldn’t mind tooling down to California at some point this season to see the minor league team. They have historic possibilities.

The final Rexall season begins tonight at the U of A-Oilers rookies game (I’ll have a GDT up this afternoon). I’ll talk to Steve about this (and other things) Friday morning but the tweet reminded me of the first (several) times I visited “Northlands Coliseum” in my youth. Growing up as a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I saw Northlands (and the Pacific Coliseum) many times during the summer conventions held by that religious organization. In what was surely the cruelest joke of all played on me by life (as a kid, it always seemed I was visiting cool places during non-cool times) I had good seats in summer and snow in winter. I absolutely remember working out where the faceoffs might be and thinking about Rusty Patendaude and Norm Ullman. By the early 80’s I was no longer attending the Kingdom Hall or the conventions, but Lansky’s tweet took me back to 1974 (or so) and the first time I saw Northlands. Parents, if you take your kids to cool places in uncool times, PLEASE make sure to also bring them back for the good stuff. Seriously. It’s a thing.

MCDAVID’S POINT PROJECTION

Everyone is chiming in about Connor McDavid’s point projection now (I was pleased Scott Cullen’s number was similar to mine, he’s very good at these projections) but the truth is there’s so much we don’t know about Connor, the Oilers under McLellan, and this transition season. I have him at .886 points-per-game as an NHL rookie, that’s 73 points in 82 games. One of the problems I have with hanging a higher number on McDavid is the quality of the team around him. The forwards are fine, in fact very good, but the defense is poor and McDavid will be on the ice with some clunkers as things stand. Kane’s defensemen in his rookie season? Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Seabrook, James Wisniewski, Brent Sopel, Cam Barker. There are some good passers and puck movers in the group. Edmonton’s issues with passing tape to tape and hitting the exiting forward on the fly are legend, so projecting McDavid—even as I did—could be too strong. We’ll see, he’s a tough projection because he is so very talented. I’d be shocked to my shoes if he gets 85 points in today’s NHL, though. Beware of those projecting 85 points and nice try Mr. Chiarelli but 40 points is too far the other way.

wood time

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy day as we catch up with some of our hockey folks who have been on the move. A day dedicated to getting ready for the training camps, for the Golden Bears—Rookie game, for the McDavid—Eichel season long battle. 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Scott Burnside, ESPN. Scott is covering the Sabres early in TC, we’ll talk about Connor v. Jack and the Sabres impressive summer of procurement.
  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Big game tonight, Bruce will guide us through some of the past games and of course we’ll discuss what we should see tonight at Rexall. Did you know that Rexall ice has seen the home team boast generational talents in every decade? If you count Mark Messier and Chris Pronger (as I do), the record will be cemented during McDavid’s first shift tonight as an Oiler.
  • Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. We’ll discuss Peter Chiarelli’s recent Bob McKenzie interview and the types of things we may see in TC and beyond. Is a 50-point season possible for Justin Schultz? Will Todd McLellan identify Edmonton’s Melker Karlsson and use him with Nuge and Eberle?
  • Brian King (PDO), NonStopSportsPicks. I had Brian on last week to predict some NFL and CFL games and he ran the table. Despite being a Ravens fan, he knows the football. We’ll discuss this week’s games at 11:25.

10-1260 text and @Lowetide twitter. See you on the radio!

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71 Responses to "THREE DAYS AT THE CONDOR"

  1. flyfish1168 says:

    Nice article LT on comparing how TMac uses his lines back in SJ. I can’t help but think Todd most be giddy seeing the talent up front and cries when he looks at the projected dmen on opening night.

  2. godot10 says:

    McLellan is NOT the dementor. Ain’t no way Schultz, Ference, and Nikitin hit the ice in the same game, especially the opening game, without a plethora of injured defensemen.

    The opening game is against St. Louis. Gryba will be in the lineup. I expect Chirarelli and McLellan will want the OIlers to physically show up for the game.

    Sekera, Fayne, Klefbom, Schultz, Reinhart, Gryba.

  3. dustrock says:

    godot10: McLellan is NOT the dementor. Ain’t no way Schultz, Ference, and Nikitin hit the ice in the same game, especially the opening game, without a plethora of injured defensemen.The opening game is against St. Louis. Gryba will be in the lineup. I expect Chirarelli and McLellan will want the OIlers to physically show up for the game.Sekera, Fayne, Klefbom, Schultz, Reinhart, Gryba.

    One can only hope. St. Louis is a nice test right off the hop as well, the last few years they’ve felt like one of those teams we have no hope of beating, like Fat Albert yelling “a piece of paper” with the Oilers on his back.

  4. RMGS says:

    godot10:
    McLellan is NOT the dementor.Ain’t no way Schultz, Ference, and Nikitin hit the ice in the same game, especially the opening game, without a plethora of injured defensemen.

    The opening game is against St. Louis.Gryba will be in the lineup.I expect Chirarelli and McLellan will want the OIlers to physically show up for the game.

    Sekera, Fayne, Klefbom, Schultz, Reinhart, Gryba.

    So, the team will carry 8 D and put $8.25 million (and maybe the C) in the PB? Or are they carrying 7 D, demoting Nikitin, and putting the C in the PB? I like this, but…

  5. Snowman says:

    RMGS: So, the team will carry 8 D and put $8.25 million (and maybe the C) in the PB?Or are they carrying 7 D, demoting Nikitin, and putting the C in the PB?I like this, but…

    Those aren’t Maclellan’s players. Those aren’t Chia’s contracts. They’re going to ice the best team possible. They can’t afford to make decisions based on optics. They need to win hockey games.

    They’re going to ice the best team and MacT and Howson may have to pay the price for their mistakes after those two boat anchors are put out for the new boss to see in game.

  6. godot10 says:

    RMGS: So, the team will carry 8 D and put $8.25 million (and maybe the C) in the PB?Or are they carrying 7 D, demoting Nikitin, and putting the C in the PB?I like this, but…

    If Katz looks at Chiarelli, he points at the VP of Hockey Ops WearsGlasses, and say, his guys, his mistakes. You know, the guy you wouldn’t let me fire.

    Sunk cost. Opportunity cost. One doesn’t double down on a mistake. Nikitin and Ference are sunk costs Doubling down on the mistake will incur large opportunity costs.

    Chiarelli and McLellan are not going to repeat the KNOWN mistakes of MacT and McLellan.

  7. Pouzar says:

    Vish to Hawks on PTO

  8. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    I’d like to say on this board, since it has far more reach than my twitter following, how impressed I am with Travis Yost. The only member of the mainstream media that hasn’t gone full Ostrich on the Pat Kane front. The near full media blackout on this has been quite disappointing, Yost on the other hand has taken, from my view, a reasonably balanced position. I’m weirdly proud of the guy….

  9. Hammers says:

    Snowman: Those aren’t Maclellan’s players. Those aren’t Chia’s contracts. They’re going to ice the best team possible. They can’t afford to make decisions based on optics. They need to win hockey games.

    They’re going to ice the best team and MacT and Howson may have to pay the price for their mistakes after those two boat anchors are put out for the new boss to see in game.

    We should be so lucky .but maybe .

  10. TheOtherJohn says:

    Think CMD kills it 3 on 3.—>> 75 pts

    Viz could be a great specialist on Hawks

    PK Subban is a very conscientious pro athlete

  11. meanashell11 says:

    RMGS,

    Pretty impressed with that. Have to say I have not been a PK fan but that may have changed.

  12. thehop says:

    Lt, what are the chances Chiarelli calls Florida about Huberdeau? Spitballing here but would Yak, Schultz and one of the aging, overpaid dusters get you Huberdeau and Petrovic or Gudbranson?

  13. thehop says:

    I can’t find player usage for Petrovic but Gudbranson was marching towards Death Valley and his bubble was the color of poop. His pedigree is stellar, he is a big guy, plays a mean game. I’d call if I were Pistol Pete.

  14. wheatnoil says:

    PK Subban has been the lone bright spot on my Twitter timeline for the last 24 hours.

    Hailey yesterday. Then Ahmed. Then there’s Pat Kane attending camp (not nearly as much of an outrage as the first two, obviously, but not helping).

    Good on you PK.

  15. godot10 says:

    I think McLellan gets down to 31 players in camp fairly quickly.

    Talbot, Scrivens, Nilsson

    Sekera, Fayne, Klefbom, Schultz, Gryba, Reinhart, Nurse, Nikitin, Ference, (Davidson)

    Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, Draisaitl, Lander, Letestu, (Yakimov)
    Hall, Pouliot, Purcell, Hendricks, Pakarinen, (Slepyshev)
    Eberle, Yakupov, Korpiskoski, Klinkhammer, MIller, Pitlick

    If Nilsson plays well at all, I could see Scrivens waived to try to free up the cap space.
    Bracketed players are almost certainly headed to Bakersfield, but one needs bodies for games.

    So the only real training camp decisions are:
    0) Ference to pressbox because of NMC.
    1) Nikitin or Reinhart or Nurse.
    2) Three of Draisaitl, Klinkhammer, Pitlick, Miller, Pakarinen.
    3) Nilsson or Scrivens

  16. wheatnoil says:

    Sanford-McDavid-Slepyshev
    Winquist-Draisaitl-Christoffer
    Linaker-Loiseau-Bukharts,
    Rankin-Platzer-Chase— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) September 16, 2015

    Oilers Rookies D: Nurse-LaLeggia
    Jones-Bear
    Betker-Leveille— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) September 16, 2015

    Slepyshev gets some time with McDavid and Sanford really has an opportunity here to show well. Drai stays at centre for at least another game. Roy gets scratched in favour of three invites and there’s no mention of him being injured. That’s not good.

    On D, they really like Nurse – Laleggia. Wonder if we’ll see that in camp and into Bakersfield? Leveille gets the bump as far as invites go, which makes sense.

  17. Pouzar says:

    wheatnoil: Sanford-McDavid-Slepyshev

    I wonder if Chia really wants to see Slepy get comfortable on the right side.

  18. rich says:

    I do hope you are wrong on the last D pair (Schultz-Ference).

    Schultz-Gryba. So be it. Can live w/that.

    Totally get Ference was batting too high up the lineup last year and glad the coach recognized it.

    But 7th D should be the former captain’s correct position. He’s batting below the Mendoza line and that’s not acceptable for a day-in/day-out player. Utility man perhaps. Regular player, no thanks.

  19. Ducey says:

    godot10:

    If Nilsson plays well at all, I could see Scrivens waived to try to free up the cap space.

    Nilsson makes $1 million whether he is on the farm or not.

    Therefore, sending Scrivens to the AHL doesn’t free up any Cap space. Expecting him to be picked up on waivers is unrealistic, especially if he plays poor enough to be beat out by Nilsson.

    Scrivens is on the team. Nilsson will be sent down. If Scrivens struggles in the first 25 games, then I think we could see him waived to the AHL, but they won’t do something like that based on a training camp and 3 exhibition games.

  20. dustrock says:

    wheatnoil: Slepyshev gets some time with McDavid and Sanford really has an opportunity here to show well. Drai stays at centre for at least another game. Roy gets scratched in favour of three invites and there’s no mention of him being injured. That’s not good.On D, they really like Nurse – Laleggia. Wonder if we’ll see that in camp and into Bakersfield? Leveille gets the bump as far as invites go, which makes sense.

    Probably not a good sign for Roy. On the other hand, he has a definite AHL contract. The invites they might want more time to see if they’re worth signing.

  21. wheatnoil says:

    Pouzar: I wonder if Chia really wants to see Slepy get comfortable on the right side.

    Well, Lander and Drai both shoot left, so might go to the left wing if they move off centre. And there’s a spot opening up on the right assuming they don’t resign Purcell.

    Or if they trade Yak.

    *ducks*

  22. wheatnoil says:

    dustrock: Probably not a good sign for Roy.On the other hand, he has a definite AHL contract.The invites they might want more time to see if they’re worth signing.

    True, though he’s the only AHL contract to be scratched. The other scratches are Moroz (injured) and Soy, who is an invite.

  23. Real_Hockey_Fan says:

    Talk all you want about Andrew Ference but the man has deceptive slowness. The other team expects that he’ll be in one spot and he’s not their yet and BAM! he takes the puck and fires it down the ice. Most people don’t think of things like that.

  24. papa96 says:

    LT. It’s been a while. On McDavid’s RE, when I heard Chiarelli’s comment, it sounded like a mis-statement, as if he had intended to say 20G, 40A. Anyway he decided to stick with what came out. But I think 60 points is conservative, 40 points way low.

  25. dustrock says:

    papa96: LT. It’s been a while. On McDavid’s RE, when I heard Chiarelli’s comment, it sounded like a mis-statement, as if he had intended to say 20G, 40A. Anyway he decided to stick with what came out. But I think 60 points is conservative, 40 points way low.

    Certainly I think the average person would say “20 and 20, so 40”, rather than “20 and 40”.

  26. Ducey says:

    dustrock: Probably not a good sign for Roy.On the other hand, he has a definite AHL contract.The invites they might want more time to see if they’re worth signing.

    Maybe. I think they gave Roy an AHL contract out of a hope they didn’t totally blow that 2nd round pick. Based on what he did last year I don’t have high hopes.

    I have lost track of the invites. They are Sanford, Leveille, Bukharts and Linaker? Any others? So far none of those guys looks like he should be getting an ELC.

  27. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    rich,

    Agreed.

    Ference at 7D is, realistically, a gift.

    That puts him ahead of Reinhart, Davidson, and Nurse on my projected depth chart (Gryba is #6 in this scenario).

    Based on what I’ve seen, he is worse today than all three of those guys. Him at 7D is the opposite of an insult, realistically.

  28. wheatnoil says:

    Ducey: I have lost track of the invites.They are Sanford, Leveille, Bukharts and Linaker?Any others?So far none of those guys looks like he should be getting an ELC.

    Soy is the other forward. Waltz and Davis are the D-men along with Leveille.

  29. RexLibris says:

    Some TSN headlines this morning:

    “Leafs fans shouldn’t be overly optimistic”

    “Bozak, Leafs expect offence to be much different”

    Wow, that’s some earth-shattering news.

    Overly optimistic? This team is scheduled to be a doormat this year. And you don’t think that Nathan Horton is going to be able to replace Kessel’s production?!

    Scanning that roster just now and wow, is that team a mess.

  30. RexLibris says:

    On another note, the Flames, that team with oodles of cap space and a young core group of players that are better balanced than the Oilers, you know, that team, they currently have $220,000 in cap space available for the season.

    Oh, but don’t worry. They only have $48 million and change committed to 14 players next year, not including any of their 1st line players of Gaudreau, Monahan and Hudler.

    Yes, the Flames have this whole rebuild thing in the bag. Absolutely no problems on the horizon.

  31. hoser313 says:

    A few comments on the D:

    – They will want Ference’s veteran presence in the line-up. At least to start the year.

    – They will have been sold on the merits of Klefbom-Schultz, so I’d be surprised if they don’t try that to start the year.

    – There’s too many D at the AHL level. I wonder if one or two of those guys might be better off playing in say Switzerland?

  32. RexLibris says:

    Let the conspiracy theories commence!

    https://twitter.com/MacSapintosh/status/644182751403311104?lang=en

    mc79hockey seems to have been disappeared.

  33. blainer says:

    RMGS: So, the team will carry 8 D and put $8.25 million (and maybe the C) in the PB?Or are they carrying 7 D, demoting Nikitin, and putting the C in the PB?I like this, but…

    This is how I hope the Frank talk went between Chia and Ference..

    Chia…. Andrew..I’m glad you called we have another buyout window open and are considering using it on your contract… before we decide I wanted to know if you would prefer to stay here knowing that a large portion of the your season will be in the PB as we need to make room for the kids. We will also be re visiting the captaincy decision. We would be happy not to use the buyout if you are interested in Mentoring the kids and helping out with a positive attitude for them in the room. Is that something you think you would be interested in?

    Ference… The thought of my being here to help the prospects mature and learn the game is something I would love.. as a captain or not. The opportunity to play with CMD is awesome even If I don’t get to play every night. You can count on me to be there for the team..

    Hopefully that is why Ference is still here..

  34. hags9k says:

    If we are looking at all the Chiarelli verbal and making projections then I think we also need to discuss the captaincy. I think they are going to ask Ference to pass it along, as he will not be seeing the ice enough.

  35. Drew says:

    RexLibris:
    Let the conspiracy theories commence!

    https://twitter.com/MacSapintosh/status/644182751403311104?lang=en

    mc79hockey seems to have been disappeared.

    I think he is in a “better place”. I know this doesn’t mean what I think it means as well.

  36. Магия 10 says:

    RexLibris:
    Let the conspiracy theories commence!

    https://twitter.com/MacSapintosh/status/644182751403311104?lang=en

    mc79hockey seems to have been disappeared.

    Hr’s just clearing the way to leave hockey to fill in for a fired candidate for mp (who forgot to delete a twitter account).

  37. dustrock says:

    Usually go to 3 games per year with my brother (family friends have season tickets and we have a lottery every year with a bunch of friends) and I get: Bruins, Sharks and Flames. Could not be happier.

  38. AnOmYnOuS1 says:

    wheatnoil,

    Strange the Oilers site has the line combos as this instead:

    Slepyshev-McDavid-Sanford
    Christoffer-Draisaitl-Winquist

    Wonder which is correct? They’ve swapped which side for the wingers on both lines. Either way McDavid has more skill from his wingers this game.

  39. Pouzar says:

    AnOmYnOuS1:
    wheatnoil,

    Strange the Oilers site has the line combos as this instead:

    Slepyshev-McDavid-Sanford
    Christoffer-Draisaitl-Winquist

    Wonder which is correct? They’ve swapped which side for the wingers on both lines. Either way McDavid has more skill from his wingers this game.

    Slepy is Center now?

  40. kinger_OIL says:

    – LT : You grew up a Jehovah Witness? If that was common knowledge on this blog, I must of missed it. Some of my friends, kids of highly religious parents, who “escape” have very interesting perspectives: you’ve got some neat stories to tell no doubt based on that upbringing.

    – Let’s hope we don’t have another training camp like last year, when Dallas was grinding out figuring who was the 14th F, or shuffling the D lines, to figure out which one would be the bench warmer.

  41. B S says:

    I just watched an abridged video of the LA game in Krueger’s season (with the infamous Yak celly) and I’m starting to think that many of us are underestimating how much better this team could look under TMac. The team was rolling that night. Aside from a couple of gaffs, typically carrying through the neutral zone, the team looked solid and back-checking, forechecking and support was solid across the board. Even Schultz looked like a real Dman that game, walking the blue line and keeping pucks in.

    I know it’s a hell of a game to cherry pick but I NEVER saw the team play that well under Eakins and that was the sort of tight defensive game he was supposed to be teaching them how to win. I was never a fan of the Eakins hire, to lay my biases bare, but I’ve tempered my expectations for this year given the glut of unimpressive D stuck on the roster and uncertainty in goal and how much of last season’s problems may not have been the coaching. In the midst of all the hype coming into training camp I’m starting to have a hard time avoiding optimism. The experienced, successful head coach could be the biggest addition to this team in the offseason (with the GM up there too), and that’s including our hockey saviour.

    I think he’s also going to be pleasantly surprised by Yakupov. I think we will have our answer on Schultz by the end of the season (contrary to a lot of posters on here I know Schultz CAN play a solid defensive game, he’s done it before under Krueger and even a couple of games last season, it will just depend on whether he will play properly or forever be a liability). And I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised by how much better this team will look under an excellent (or even just competent) coach.

  42. Pouzar says:

    Jezzuz Stauffer gets a huge woody when ever talks about the ABG.
    Took him an hour to get through their lineup.

  43. B S says:

    kinger_OIL,

    bench warmer? Dallas was trying to figure out whether Brad Hunt was a first pairing Defenseman. He didn’t know who his top players were coming into TC. If only someone had recorded video of the team from previous seasons for him to watch. Instead it took him through October to sort out just the top of the roster.

  44. Drew says:

    Pouzar:
    Jezzuz Stauffer gets a huge woody when ever talks about the ABG.
    Took him an hour to get through their lineup.

    As well he should, is an amazing program. If the Oilers want to emulate anything they should look in that direction. Skill, hard work, puck pursuit, offense, defence, developing players, etc…

    Enough of the Chicago model, the Detroit model bla bla bla etc., the model is in their backyard.

    My time at the U was great as well.

  45. Pouzar says:

    If anyone here is interested in a pair of tix at MTS centre for Oilers vs Jets (Sep 25)let me know. The seats are directly behind Oiler bench so you’ll be getting some air time. 🙂

    Cheers.

  46. LoDog says:

    Have some people forgotten this is not the MacT and Lowe show any more? Ference will sit unless he has a miraculous turn around. There is also a very real possibility that he is not the captain when training camp is over.

  47. Rational Zealot says:

    B S:
    I just watched an abridged video of the LA game in Krueger’s season (with the infamous Yak celly) and I’m starting to think that many of us are underestimating how much better this team could look under TMac. The team was rolling that night. Aside from a couple of gaffs, typically carrying through the neutral zone, the team looked solid and back-checking, forechecking and support was solid across the board. Even Schultz looked like a real Dman that game, walking the blue line and keeping pucks in.

    I know it’s a hell of a game to cherry pick but I NEVER saw the team play that well under Eakins and that was the sort of tight defensive game he was supposed to be teaching them how to win. I was never a fan of the Eakins hire, to lay my biases bare, but I’ve tempered my expectations for this year given the glut of unimpressive D stuck on the roster and uncertainty in goal and how much of last season’s problems may not have been the coaching. In the midst of all the hype coming into training camp I’m starting to have a hard time avoiding optimism. The experienced, successful head coach could be the biggest addition to this team in the offseason (with the GM up there too), and that’s including our hockey saviour.

    I think he’s also going to be pleasantly surprised by Yakupov. I think we will have our answer on Schultz by the end of the season (contrary to a lot of posters on here I know Schultz CAN play a solid defensive game, he’s done it before under Krueger and even a couple of games last season, it will just depend on whether he will play properly or forever be a liability). And I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised by how much better this team will look under an excellent (or even just competent) coach.

    This is selective memory. The team under Eakins at the beginning of both seasons looked very good and dominated large sections of games. That you don’t remember this, or even didn’t see this at the time, is immaterial to the truth.

  48. Optimism is Foolish says:

    “I wouldn’t mind tooling down to California at some point this season to see the minor league team. They have historic possibilities.”

    Wow this looks like a wonderful line up. A while ago there was a conversation here regarding the amount of non prospects getting the at bats. Certainly seems to have changed drastically in a short period of time.The only AHL vets here at or over the 25 year old mark Include Miller, Hamilton, Hunt and Nilsson. If they do well and go deep in their playoffs that would be the ideal way to get them used to winning and developing at the same time.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Dhiren Mahiban ‏@dcmahiban 2m2 minutes ago

    Former #Oilers’ draft pick John McCarron has signed an #AHL contract with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

  50. LOObird says:

    Hey Pouzar!

    I’d love tickets for the game on the 25th. What do you want for them?

  51. pocession charge says:

    Rational Zealot: This is selective memory.The team under Eakins at the beginning of both seasons looked very good and dominated large sections of games.That you don’t remember this, or even didn’t see this at the time, is immaterial to the truth.

    In B S’s defense, the team also got killed several times at the start of last two seasons. In Eakins’ first season, I flew out to Vancouver to watch game three (Canucks home opener). That game was a complete domination by the Canucks. The Oilers looked like an AHL team with stars in their eyes. For me, the writing was on the wall after that one. Granted, the blame cannot be placed solely on Eakins’ shoulders due to awful roster construction (and goaltending, of course).

  52. Pouzar says:

    LOObird:
    Hey Pouzar!

    I’d love tickets for the game on the 25th. What do you want for them?

    You on twitter Loo?

  53. B S says:

    Rational Zealot,

    The teams under Eakins early in the seasons did look good at times. In fact one of the things that impressed me most at the start of last season was how they finished (and therefore started) in the offensive zone so darn often, it was very Kings or Sharks-esc in that way and the team’s Corsi and scoring benefited from it. The problem under Eakins at all times (including those early-season games, where the puck was carried so well through the neutral and into the offensive zone) was that the Oilers players looked like chickens with their heads cut off in their own zone. Even in their best games under him this was a problem for many of the players. I get the “it’s the goalies stupid talk” except the goalie isn’t the one leaving shooters open in the far slot. The Oilers looked like a complete package that LA game (they rarely did before and after that game mind so it wasn’t an established level of play, just a possible one).

    My point is that those same players looked much more defensively responsible and with better positioning under Krueger, during several games that season (there were also definitely games where Krueger’s teams were as bad defensively as Eakins and much worse at maintaining possession) during his season as HC, while I really can’t recall any of Eakin’s teams transition from Defense to offense effectively at any point during the season.

    Much as I preferred Krueger as HC to Eakins there definitely things that Eakins did much better than Krueger (his zone entry and neutral zone support early in the season were much better, as were his set plays off the draws, just as examples), but one of the main criticisms of this team has been its inability to play a defensive game, and I think the severity of that actually stems from coaching more than just the players. I will be interested to see whether McLellan runs into the same “personality” issues Eakins supposedly had getting the young stars to defend.

  54. B S says:

    Rational Zealot,

    oh, and yes there is certainly selective memory going on too.

  55. LOObird says:

    Pouzar,

    Yes. @schmidtjordan

    Tried finding you but I gave up pretty quickly. There seems to be a lot of pouzars.

  56. stevezie says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!,

    If the same story happened with an Oilers player I would not want him in camp

    Before it becomes a conversation, is there a blog policy on discussing Pat Kane?

    B S,

    He was obviously far from perfect (for my money the PP got him fired), but for me it is impossible to distinguish Eakins’ mistakes from his goaltending. The morale and buy-in were finished before they started each season. And I don’t by the idea it was his fault. Too much data suggesting historically bad luck.

    I’m glad he got another job. I look forward to seeing him away from the Oilers.

    That Kings game was great though.

  57. RexLibris says:

    stevezie: Before it becomes a conversation, is there a blog policy on discussing Pat Kane?

    Nothing formal, so far as I’ve seen.

    Probably just the usual implied stuff such as:

    – keep it between the ditches
    – remember it is alleged
    – there are two people, and lives, involved so be wary
    – try to stick to the facts

    For my 2 cents, I’m 50/50 that the Hawks trade him within a year. If a conviction comes, then I think you’re probably looking at 90/10 in favour they move him (depending on the contractual fallout, legal standing, etc).

  58. Rational Zealot says:

    stevezie:
    Ca$h-McMoney!,

    If the same story happened with an Oilers player I would not want him in camp

    Before it becomes a conversation, is there a blog policy on discussing Pat Kane?

    B S,

    He was obviously far from perfect (for my money the PP got him fired), but for me it is impossible to distinguish Eakins’ mistakes from his goaltending. The morale and buy-in were finished before they started each season. And I don’t by the idea it was his fault. Too much data suggesting historically bad luck.

    I’m glad he got another job. I look forward to seeing him away from the Oilers.

    That Kings game was great though.

    Completely agree on Eakins. He got killed by goaltending and the powerplay. One of these can reasonably be attributed to coaching. If he had had either things would have played out differently.

    That said he had to be fired when he was. The players had given up and were playing much worse than they had been. It’s important here to disentangle the two versions of the team. The team at the beginning of the year played much better than they were at game 20. It seems reasonable to me that the best explanation of the difference is that the early team, despite playing well, didn’t win. Not having success the players stopped doing the things that would make them successful (and no the team did not get much better under Nelson).

  59. Pouzar says:

    LOObird:
    Pouzar,

    Yes. @schmidtjordan

    Tried finding you but I gave up pretty quickly. There seems to be a lot of pouzars.

    @conkanen

    Shoot me a message and I will get back to you tonight during gametime.

    Tix are $178 each

    Cheers

  60. B S says:

    stevezie: The morale and buy-in were finished before they started each season.

    The thing is, that’s part of the coaches’ job. One of the things I remember from the shortened season is that Krueger’s team didn’t get off to a great start either (despite all the reasons that they should have), but he got them going again, and had other points in the season (that nine game road trip) where the wheels fell off, but he always picked them back up again.

    I strongly believe (this is the important word here as there aren’t metrics for this stuff) that Eakins was sunk by a poor ability to communicate with his players, and through that an inability to build their confidence and to get them to understand his systems. A lot has been written on this blog suggesting that his systems were probably fine (in some cases very effective), but you don’t get shooting percentages (or save% from future vezina candidates) so far below league average by accident. In other words I’m suggesting that the Goaltending is partially on him (it takes two to tango, or in this case 3 given the GM didn’t procure at least a reliable backup).

    I know many on here have blamed injury on Eberle’s poor shooting, but as I saw it he was loosing the puck a lot earlier then normal, in low chance situations, and typically shooting it from poor position and into the pads (the latter could be due to injury, but not the former), and he wasn’t the only one on the team doing that. I think that comes from nerves and not being sure he can score if he holds onto the puck. That is the sort of thing the coach is supposed to address, as an example.

  61. B S says:

    Rational Zealot,

    I’ll disagree with you on the Eakins front as to how much he influenced his own results (though losing and goaltending errors didn’t help his position), but agree with you on Nelson (though they were more fun to watch under him). I do think that Eakins as a victim of circumstance is just as possible as what I’ve said, just not my preferred narrative. And there was definitely a shift early on last season where the losing added up, despite some really good play in the first dozen or so games, I just hold Eakins accountable for the performance of the team including the Goalies, so I blame him for those losses as well.

    I will also say that based on the facts (results, save and shooting percentages and other metrics) there doesn’t seem to be any way to determine how much failure falls on whom, but depending on how much of the last couple of seasons was coaching, the new, experienced HC (feels weird to type it) could be a game changer for this season, or we could be milling around in 25th in the league.

    Season can’t come fast enough

  62. B S says:

    RexLibris,

    I’ll avoid commenting anymore on the Kane case until things (hopefully) come out and are settled fairly, however that means it will go. But given the potential charges if he’s convicted I’m guessing the Hawks will have to settle for being excused from his contract, he probably won’t see daylight for 5-15 years, will certainly see jail time (again only if he’s convicted of course).

  63. stevezie says:

    RexLibris,

    Right now it looks like it won’t see trial, but wouldn’t a conviction result at least one of jail time and a significant suspension from the league? I realize it’s not the same slam-dunk evidence-wise, but this is worse than Voynov.

    Reports say they’re headed for a settlement, leaving him legally free and probably giving the Hawks and the League enough room to do whatever they want. What do they want? They’ll surely have access to evidence the public doesn’t, and if OJ taught us nothing else just because you know something doesn’t mean you can prove it (either way).

    If they think he’s innocent, how do they address this publicly? I’m trying hard to avoid gossiping and bragging of unprovable inside sources (which many of us on here have), but can we safely say the public at least finds these accusations believable? How do they welcome back an innocent man without looking like they don’t care about the worst crime we have?

    And If they think he’s guilty? Good mercy, what do you do? Immigration may be kind enough to solve the Voynov problem for them, but this is on their plate. I’m no lawyer so I have no idea what their power is if he goes unconvicted (let alone found “not guilty”), but surely just trading him to Nashville will not cut it.

    And in the likely event that no one but the woman and possibly Kane have any better than a guess as to what happened that night?

    Could you cheer for Kane?

    EDIT: I should answer my own question. I’m trying to suspend judgement but right now I don’t think I could.

  64. stevezie says:

    B S,

    I admire your being up front about having a preferred narrative. For my part I always liked Eakins personality and was baffled by those who didn’t. Ah well. More evidence will come in one way or the other from the AHL this year. If it goes against him, this wouldn’t be the first time someone I like turned out no good. At least standard divorce joke here.

  65. dustrock says:

    Wonder how tired Draisaitl will be.

  66. B S says:

    stevezie,

    I really only bring it up because if I’m right, then the Shiny New Coach could cause a huge (playoffs?) turnaround, despite an only marginally improved Defense (Given the depth to forward we should expect some improvement regardless of coaching), if Eakins really is as smart as he, and many on here, think he was then we won’t see much improvement, and in particular should see a lot of the same defensive brainfarts that landed us McDavid and Drai.

    For my part it was a combination of liking Krueger (everyone likes a winner), and disliking how Eakins came into camp without watching video or talking to players, then proceeded to dick around with roster combinations including tweeners well into the start of the season, then blame an entire game on basically a rookie, who was hung out to dry on that play anyway. I know he talked a lot, but I disliked him based on his actions (also everyone hates a loser right).

    I will also say that I don’t think it’s fair to judge him on his success in the AHL this season, 1) the talent and competition is lower, and 2) he won’t necessarily have access to the same talent or resources as he did in Toronto. I think our best chance to see what he had will really come down to whether, or when, he gets another shot at an NHL job.

    On a personal level, I actually don’t think he was a bad guy. I do think he cared a lot and I don’t believe the problems he had were the result of malice or spite or anything like that.

  67. Snowman says:

    dustrock:
    Wonder how tired Draisaitl will be.

    I wonder if that was the point. Nurse needs to play more disciplined and not so walkabout. Mcdavid has to score 900 points. Draisaitl needs to prove he can keep his pace up even with a heavy schedule.

  68. AnOmYnOuS1 says:

    dustrock:
    Wonder how tired Draisaitl will be.

    He shouldn’t be too bad. He played in the NHL for 37 games last year so he’s used to the grind. Also didn’t look like he was going all out during some of the games. He was trying but he didn’t look like he was leaving it all out there the way some of the invitees were. They’ll probably find time to rest him during some of the pre-season games if he needs it.

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