G4 2015-16: BLUES AT OILERS

Connor McDavid’s first road trip saw him score his first NHL goal. It included skill and speed (entering the zone), hand-eye (on the goal) and a solid celly. McDavid came home with the Corgi’s barking at about 50%, and Oilers fans can’t wait to see him score in a regular season home game. Let’s get the party started.

McDavid left on the road trip with one set of linemates and returns with another set. That’s going to change again I’m sure, but the Pouliot—McDavid—Yakupov trio looked sharp, showing some nice things in Texas. Not perfect, mind, there were some coverage issues and that’s going to factor in to who gets to play on 97’s line this season. Still, among the group who have seen time with McDavid, Pouliot and Yak appear to have an edge in terms of quality.

OILERS FORWARDS IN A BOX

THREE GAME OILERS F IN A BOXThis is so early it’s laughable but I wanted to post this for a few reasons.

  • Taylor Hall has looked less than 100% to my eye (even before the Dallas game and when with McDavid) but his nine-shot game gives him the Corgi crown in early days. When he breaks out, and hopefully it’s tonight, we should see good things happen. Hall has 14 shots this season and a career shooting percentage of 10.9, so if my math works No. 4 is a little overdue for a goal but that’s no biggie (we’re three games in). His 14 shots have him in the league’s top 15 overall this year. Among the things I’m not worried about is Hall, he seems more comfortable with the Nuge.
  • The Connor McDavid line is the scoring line 5×5 so far, with Nail Yakupov and Benoit Pouliot both getting in on the action. I’ve read a few places that McDavid should get a shot with Eberle when he returns, but the Yakupov experiment is going well so far, suspect they’ll continue it for awhile.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a tough night in Dallas, but I love his play and suspect we’ll see him spike offensively when Hall goes off, or at the latest when Eberle returns. Yakupov could do the team an enormous favor by hanging a big number on the McDavid line in the next month.
  • Anton Lander had TWO solid offensive options on the wing in pre-season, but he’s down to none and the numbers don’t rhyme. He’s played most often this year with Lauri Korpikoski and Anton Slepyshev, making him the Oilers real nowhere man.
  • Matt Hendricks. He’s been good. I know he’s not a sexy offensive player and seeing him on the 1line (at center) in Dallas tells you something’s wrong, but hell if he doesn’t fill a lot of roles and get reasonable results. Small sample size, but he’s looking good with (what is for him) improved zone starts.
  • Lauri Korpkikoski is probably the 13F based on merit so far. He has made some good defensive plays but there doesn’t seem to be much offense in that stick. We’ll see, early days.

OILERS DEFENSE IN A BOX

THREE GAME OILERS D IN A BOX

Three games in and the Vlasic pickles are Sekera—Fayne unless they’re the Klefbom—Schultz. It looks like McLellan is still searching for his Vlasic pairing and I hope he tries Sekera—Klefbom. The problem with doing that? What to do with the second pairing (no Klef for Schultz) so a trade would have to be made. This is one reason the Reinhart trade didn’t make as much sense as a more established acquisition, we’re still waiting but now the team is waiting on more people. McLellan also likes Eric Gryba for the third pairing and we have no idea about who is winning the 6D job (unless you’ve heard something). Gryba looked pretty bad in St. Louis, a few performances like that one and their entire third pairing could be a dizzying rotation of prospects, suspects, also-rans and NMC’s. Anyway, too early for any of this but I thought it would be cool to have a first blush on a cool fall morning.

I think Oscar is the key though. He’s rugged and skilled and fast and smart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph he’s a stone alone. Justin Schultz didn’t look good at all in G3.

Jiminy Cricket this is early, folks. Teddy Purcell’s trade value is a draft pick, but Pouliot is a guy who could get some quality return. That said, Pouliot is also a valuable member of the team, currently helping Connor McDavid adjust to big league pitching. Get good players, keep good players. If PC is looking to make a trade, Mark Fayne is a solid candidate. He’s an NHL D, but Edmonton needs a two-way RH blue, not a stay-at-home in that slot.

The Blues have a terrific history, one of the richest among the 1967 expansion teams. I think their 1976 draft, that delivered Bernie Federko, Brian Sutter and Mike Liut, is the best in franchise history. A recent draft that could one day rival that one? 2010, when Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko were both first-round picks. Kevin Shattenkirk may not play tonight.

A small misunderstanding came out of yesterday’s show, and I’d like to set it straight. In discussing Nail Yakupov’s game in yesterday’s thread, I wrote the following:

  • “Nail Yakupov skated miles last night and had some terrific moments. He also had one or two moments of less than perfection and you’re bound to read all about it today. I’ll allow those on other sites to rail about Nail, I love that his possession number is damn close to 50 and that he’s a substantial part of the team. That’s all this kid ever wanted, in my view.” Source

In the remains of the day, a dissenting opinion appeared on my show and gave at least one person (above) the general idea that I was somehow anti-Yak. I think anyone who has read this blog over the last four years knows that my opinion of Nail is one of hope and cheering like hell, despite the struggles. I’m genuinely encouraged by his performance this season, even a little surprised (and delighted) he is playing so well on the McDavid line. Misunderstandings occur, but I wanted to set the record straight.

WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE HORSES

mclellan capture 170915

When I was a kid watching games with my Dad, he would bring out all kinds of old timey phrases (this blog has employed many over the years). If we were watching the Washington Capitals against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Bill Clement scored, I might say “well, if they can get another one….” and my Dad would murmur “they don’t have the horses.” Not enough, by plenty.

That’s kind of what this Oilers season is shaping up like, and we knew it this summer. We talked about the defense being one shy, about how much better it would be with Jeff Petry added to the current group—or even signing Franson and buying out Nikitin. It didn’t happen.

We’re left with a few home truths:

  • This season is about finding out about Griffin Reinhart, Brandon Davidson and later on Darnell Nurse.
  • This season is about burning off the Nikitin contract.
  • This season is about burning off enough of the Ference deal to make a buyout palatable.
  • This season is about Peter Chiarelli, but it’s also about the new management paying too much heed to Craig MacTavish (Andrew Ference, Brandon Davidson) and Scott Howson (Nikita Nikitin). At some point, Chiarelli will figure it out and hire his own men, but this year appears to be lost because the sins of the past aren’t being swept away.

I hope this season is also about trading for Damon Severson or someone with more experience who can play RH side and move the puck—or a lefty who can step in alongside Justin Schultz and behind the Klefbom—Sekera pairing.

“Don’t have the horses” aside, I’m genuinely disappointed in Todd McLellan’s breakout schemes. In fact, I’m not sure there are any. In reading about McLellan in San Jose, the promise of structure and set pieces filled the imagination and fueled the mind, but we don’t have that here, today.

Expect change. Chiarelli and McLellan didn’t come here to fail and I absolutely believe they have the authority to pull the trigger on a trade. For Oilers players, the lack of alternatives should clear the mind and we’re bound to see a much better effort. If not? There will be blood. They don’t have the horses.

there will be blood

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy and fun morning on the Lowdown at 10, scheduled to appear on TSN 1260:

  • Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Yak on McDavid’s line, McLellan’s ‘Place and Chase’ and what to do with the blue?
  • Jamie Nye, CJME Regina. The Roughriders traded most of their backfield at yesterday’s deadline, we’ll talk about the fallout of a lost season in Saskatchewan.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. We’ll talk about McDavid’s first NHL goal and the pressure/hype, Ovechkin sitting a game because he slept in, and the LAK season so far.

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

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699 Responses to "G4 2015-16: BLUES AT OILERS"

« Older Comments
  1. blainer says:

    Lucinius: Except the only reason there haven’t been shorties against have been due to better goaltending and some great back-checking at times. There have been, from what I recall, better scoring chances against than for on our powerplays.

    Agreed.. We are on the CLOCK.. A blow up is coming..

    VERADAD for GM…LOL.. although I have to admit he did bring up the problem on D a little too often for most.. Man can you imagine Karlsson on our PP instead of Jultz..

  2. Rebilled says:

    The curse on this team must have been done by a lot of witches.

  3. Woodguy says:

    Corgis 5v5

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 56.25
    Taylor Hall 52.63
    Luke Gazdic 50
    Matt Hendricks 50
    Nail Yakupov 50
    Benoit Pouliot 47.37
    Mark Letestu 45.45
    Connor McDavid 43.33
    Anton Slepyshev 41.67
    Lauri Korpikoski 30
    Teddy Purcell 27.78
    Anton Lander 15.79

    Oscar Klefbom 56.41
    Justin Schultz 54.76
    Mark Fayne 47.37
    Andrej Sekera 36
    Griffin Reinhart 28
    Eric Gryba 25

    You can say “its only the 3rd pairing” all you want but consider the 5v5 TOI

    Justin Schultz 18:47
    Taylor Hall 18:31
    Oscar Klefbom 17:21
    Matt Hendricks 17:10
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 16:10
    Eric Gryba 15:33
    Griffin Reinhart 15:21
    Connor McDavid 14:48
    Andrej Sekera 13:48
    Teddy Purcell 11:48
    Mark Fayne 11:33
    Lauri Korpikoski 11:30
    Anton Lander 11:20
    Nail Yakupov 10:57
    Benoit Pouliot 10:48
    Mark Letestu 7:30
    Anton Slepyshev 5:51
    Luke Gazdic 4:09

    They play more than everyone except RNH’s line.

    Based on 5v5 TOI McLellan is treating Sekera-Fayne like the 3rd pair

    That’s 3 coaches in a row that shuttle Fayne to bottom pair via 5v5 TOI.

    Not good.

    The Oilers D is just not good.

  4. Southern Oil says:

    Anyone watching the interviews on the Oilers site? Just showed some Blues player naked in the locker room. Camera guy nearly dropped the camera trying to re-adjust things. Laughing my ass off down here in the ATL.

  5. Kitchener says:

    Who we gonna trade for Omark? That’s the missing ingredient.

  6. Woodguy says:

    Woodguy:
    Corgis 5v5

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins56.25
    Taylor Hall52.63
    Luke Gazdic50
    Matt Hendricks50
    Nail Yakupov50
    Benoit Pouliot47.37
    Mark Letestu45.45
    Connor McDavid43.33
    Anton Slepyshev41.67
    Lauri Korpikoski30
    Teddy Purcell27.78
    Anton Lander15.79

    Oscar Klefbom56.41
    Justin Schultz54.76
    Mark Fayne47.37
    Andrej Sekera36
    Griffin Reinhart28
    Eric Gryba25

    You can say “its only the 3rd pairing” all you want but consider the 5v5 TOI

    Justin Schultz18:47
    Taylor Hall18:31
    Oscar Klefbom17:21
    Matt Hendricks17:10
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins16:10
    Eric Gryba15:33
    Griffin Reinhart15:21
    Connor McDavid14:48
    Andrej Sekera13:48
    Teddy Purcell11:48
    Mark Fayne11:33
    Lauri Korpikoski11:30
    Anton Lander11:20
    Nail Yakupov10:57
    Benoit Pouliot10:48
    Mark Letestu7:30
    Anton Slepyshev5:51
    Luke Gazdic4:09

    They play more than everyone except RNH’s line.

    Based on 5v5 TOI McLellan is treating Sekera-Fayne like the 3rd pair

    That’s 3 coaches in a row that shuttle Fayne to bottom pair via 5v5 TOI.

    Not good.

    The Oilers D is just not good.

    As expected here’ Hall & RNH’s most common opponents sorted via TOI against all players at least 5min TOI against:

    Paul Stastny 9:43
    Alex Pietrangelo 9:29
    Jay Bouwmeester 9:20
    Vladimir Tarasenko 9:10
    Alexander Steen 8:38
    Carl Gunnarsson 6:08
    Colton Parayko 5:32

    Yeah, Hall’s the problem.

  7. G Money says:

    Lucinius,

    Indeed. The point, though, is that even after he took over it took some time for things to improve. I remember back then harping on the ’20 game 20 game’ point over and over and over.

    There are some here suggesting that Todd McLellan should watch video of Todd Nelson’s power play – as if Nelson’s power play magically took off the second he took over, and TMc’s powerplay hasn’t been the class of the league for five years.

    The question at hand is whether you believe this putrid Oiler PP is going to stay that way forever. That either TMc doesn’t know what he’s doing, or that Todd Nelson magically had the formula to unlock this group and no one else does.

  8. Woodguy says:

    Kitchener:
    Who we gonna trade for Omark?That’s the missing ingredient.

    Can he play defense?

  9. hunter1909 says:

    Those poor Oilers. Can’t seem to catch a break.

  10. frjohnk says:

    I’m saying it now.

    We could be staring at a 0-6 record come Monday morning.

    That would be October 19th. That’s the earliest we would be out of the playoff race compared to previous face planting starts.

    LT, better sharpen up your 2016 draft preview pencils.

  11. godot10 says:

    G Money:
    For those canonizing Todd Nelson, perhaps it is worthwhile remembering they went 0-3-1 after he took over, against a weaker set of teams (CGY, ARI, DAL, SJS), and scored just 1 PPG in those 4 games.

    MacT coached those games. Todd Nelson won his first game as coach against LA 3-2 in OT.

  12. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    Woodguy,

    In fairness, shouldn’t we also consider the overall time…

    Schultz – 24:39
    Klefbom – 21:19
    Sekera – 19:45
    Gryba – 17:54
    Reinhart – 17:11
    Fayne – 12:07

    Hmm… well, looks like coach is still treating Fayne as a bottom-pairing D-man, but at least Sekera is being treated to almost as much time as Dreamy Klefbom when also considering special teams.

    Schultz with the most minutes (by a long shot)… what am I missing??

  13. G Money says:

    godot10,

    It’s a nice excuse, but Nelson was the coach. MacT was “observing”.

  14. hunter1909 says:

    Oilers are sooo fucked.

  15. Numenius says:

    There were some nice things in that game. Especially good to see Hall starting to look like himself again.

    Things I’d like to see changed:

    1. Put Lander on 1st PP and switch one of the wunderkinds.
    2. Fix the breakouts.
    3. Dump Gryba and run Nurse-Reinhart
    4. Trade Gryba back for Marincin, who can actually break the puck out.

  16. Woodguy says:

    HeatTreaterJoe:
    Woodguy,

    In fairness, shouldn’t we consider the overall time…

    Schultz – 24:39
    Klefbom – 21:19
    Sekera – 19:45
    Gryba – 17:54
    Reinhart – 17:11
    Fayne – 12:07

    Hmm… well, looks like coach is still treating Fayne as a bottom-pairing D-man, but at least Sekera is being treated to almost as much time as Dreamy Klefbom when also considering special teams.

    Schultz with the most minutes (by a long shot)… what am I missing??

    As frustrating as Jultz is, he’s one of the best on the team.

  17. Woodguy says:

    HeatTreaterJoe: Schultz – 24:39
    Klefbom – 21:19
    Sekera – 19:45
    Gryba – 17:54
    Reinhart – 17:11
    Fayne – 12:07

    I talk about 5v5 and special teams separately, but you are right to also show all game states.

    5v5 is where the rubber hits the road imo.

  18. G Money says:

    frjohnk,

    Saturday is the first game against a non-elite team this season.

    No excuses for that one.

    The Oilers pissed away last season because of their abysmal record against bottom feeders. If this isn’t just another hopeless pissed away season, it has to start that night.

  19. blainer says:

    Derek:
    Hoo boy.If this team goes 0-5 on the season on a Saturday night against their hated provincial rivals there will be no shelter.

    Lol.. new management who seem to think there is no pressure in yet another development year…. There seems to be no Tortorella vibe in Tmac’s comments..

    IMO Chia’s thoughts.. the last 10 years means dick .. I wasn’t here.. Chia.. Wake up pal.. Tambo and MacT were told the same thing.. No worries it is another development year.. You are also on the clock..

    Now normally an 0 for 4 start would be ok but not after 10 years of this shit !! I’d rather watch the condors…

  20. böök¡je says:

    G Money:
    godot10,

    It’s a nice excuse, but Nelson was the coach.MacT was “observing”.

    I in no way romanticize Todd Nelson and I have no problem with people noting that he wasn’t a great success, but MacT ran those games, it was clear.

    With that said, I’m pretty sure you and I are in agreement because you put “observing” in what I presume to be air quotes, but if those are actual quotes and not simply air quotes, then we are disagreeing.

  21. hunter1909 says:

    5 games into the season,and we’re already in Death March mode.

    A…mazing.

  22. Bag of Pucks says:

    This team has a chance of making the playoffs, the same way Lloyd had a ‘chance’ with Mary at the end of Dumb and Dumber.

  23. böök¡je says:

    hunter1909:
    I’m considering starting a crow funding campaign that sends me to Tenerife. Santa Cruz, to be exact.

    I seriously need to get away from NHL hockey.

    Were I to start this process, I’m wondering: Just exactly how much can I expect via support off Lowetide?

    Please feel free to be frank. And not simply Frank the Dog.

    Well, I think we are going to need a lot of crows to carry you off, but I think crows are pretty cheap so…

  24. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy: As frustrating as Jultz is, he’s one of the best on the team.

    Nice.

  25. Gerta Rauss says:

    hunter1909:
    I’m considering starting a crow funding campaign

    Crows are notoriously frugal Hunter, good luck with that.

    And lousy tippers

    *edit-is it too late to adjust my Death or Glory point total…lol

  26. godot10 says:

    G Money:
    godot10,

    It’s a nice excuse, but Nelson was the coach.MacT was “observing”.

    MacT was interim coach. They started winning as soon as MacT left.

  27. Centre of attention says:

    Eberle coming back should help the power play.

    Pakarinen driving the net and shooting the puck a million times a minute could help 5 v 5 scoring.

    Nurse could help the defense.

    Other then that, I got nothing.

    We wait.

    LT, with you magical Crystal Ball, How long you think until Chiarelli makes a minor trade on the defense? I’m talking Fayne+prospect for decent but not sexy bottom 4 defenseman to play with Rienhart/Gryba. It has to be soon. Chiarelli cannot be caught dithering, and I bet if the Oilers are win less after this weekend this should only speed up the process.

  28. hunter1909 says:

    Gerta Rauss: Crows are notoriously frugal Hunter, good luck with that.

    And lousy tippers

    I know.They’re bitches.

  29. Shizuka says:

    frjohnk:
    I’m saying it now.

    We could be staring at a 0-6 record come Monday morning.

    That would be October 19th.That’s the earliest we would be out of the playoff race compared to previous face planting starts.

    LT, better sharpen up your 2016 draft preview pencils.

    Geez, that is incredibly depressing to think on — but potentially very true. 0-6 to start…

  30. dustrock says:

    Woodguy: As frustrating as Jultz is, he’s one of the best on the team.

    Still kills us on the power play.

  31. G Money says:

    böök¡je,

    Then we are disagreeing. I put the quotes because MacT was on the bench, which he should not have been no matter how closely he wanted to observe. But Nelson was the coach, and he ran the games. As you say, contrary to the romanticization, Nelson’s team at even strength did not show much improvement (I would say – none) over Eakins’ team. But the (slight) improvement in his record vs Eakins’ record came from the powerplay, which he did ignite. I am on record in being an admirer of that aspect of his coaching. But it was not an instantaneous thing by any means.

  32. hunter1909 says:

    Those poor Oilers.

  33. Bag of Pucks says:

    These Denver Broncos can’t string two passes together. They should draft Elway.

    Realize I may have been a tad harsh on the boys this afternoon. They may not be too lazy or too gutless for pro hockey. They might just be too stupid.

    Connor, we should probably apologize in advance. This is going to be painful.

  34. Lucinius says:

    G Money:
    Lucinius,

    Indeed.The point, though, is that even after he took over it took some time for things to improve.I remember back then harping on the ’20 game 20 game’ point over and over and over.

    There are some here suggesting that Todd McLellan should watch video of Todd Nelson’s power play – as if Nelson’s power play magically took off the second he took over, and TMc’s powerplay hasn’t been the class of the league for five years.

    The question at hand is whether you believe this putrid Oiler PP is going to stay that way forever.That either TMc doesn’t know what he’s doing, or that Todd Nelson magically had the formula to unlock this group and no one else does.

    I’m hoping TMac can fix it. He’s a proven good coach, so there’s hope. My only concern is that the powerplay, more than anything else, in my opinion, is reliant on the coaching staff as they are the ones designing it. The Oilers powerplay hasn’t been struggling due to lack of execution (one of the few areas we can say that, though), but the powerplay system itself not showing very well. Hell, the system itself may be fine and it is merely that the coaching staff has the wrong players put together (an example of which is what a number of us have called for; elevate Lander to the first unit, drop McDavid to the second).

    Also, unlike Nelson’s powerplay which struggled at times, you were almost immediately able to see the potential in it, even if it failed to produce (such as when he first took over), I don’t really see that so far with the current powerplay. There’s just nothing there.

  35. godot10 says:

    G Money:
    frjohnk,

    Saturday is the first game against a non-elite team this season.

    No excuses for that one.

    The Oilers pissed away last season because of their abysmal record against bottom feeders.If this isn’t just another hopeless pissed away season, it has to start that night.

    Dallas didn’t make the playoffs last year. How are they an elite team? The OIlers were playing their backup goaltender, and they have a young defense with a couple of old clunkers.

  36. fifthcartel says:

    Why are Sekera and Fayne playing so little even strengh time?

    That Gryba TOI seems absolutely insane.

  37. böök¡je says:

    I would be less concerned about this team if I didn’t see MacT and Lowe in the press box. Even a 10% influence by them could be enough to maintain the ineptitude.

  38. frjohnk says:

    G Money:
    frjohnk,

    Saturday is the first game against a non-elite team this season.

    No excuses for that one.

    The Oilers pissed away last season because of their abysmal record against bottom feeders.If this isn’t just another hopeless pissed away season, it has to start that night.

    Can we beat Calgary Saturday night? I hope so, got money on every Calgary vs Edmonton game this year. I have been taken to the cleaners in that bet over the last 3 years. There are some flashes, but man this team is still far far away. Hoping they win on Saturday, but wouldn’t be surprised with a loss.

    We also play Vancouver the next night. Vancouver has started quite strong. That will be our 3rd game in 4th nights. We most likely lose that one.

  39. G Money says:

    godot10: ns

    They were a top 10 team in possession last year.

    They got torched by shaky defense and horrendous goaltending. Much like the Oilers, but with vastly better scoring.

    This year, they have shored up both areas. I remain suspicious of their goaltending (I don’t think it will sustain, but its been OK for them so far). If they get do get it, they will be extremely dangerous.

  40. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    Woodguy,

    Ah, gotcha. Thanks!!

    And yes, at this time, Jultz is really one of the better d-men on the team.

  41. böök¡je says:

    G Money,

    The day after MacT went upstairs, I remember Nelson saying in an interview that “Today was the first day I really got a chance to talk to the team” or something of the sort. That somewhat sold me that he didn’t really have free reign when MacT was in the room/on the bench. I also don’t see MacT as the type of guy who doesn’t say anything and just lets his rookie head coach have control when the team has basically crashed and the weight of the failure is on his shoulders.

    I don’t buy that MacT was a neutral observer. Either way, it doesn’t substantially change any measure of Todd Nelson’s success.

  42. godot10 says:

    fifthcartel:
    Why are Sekera and Fayne playing so little even strengh time?

    That Gryba TOI seems absolutely insane.

    Reinhart >> Gryba >> Fayne Sad, but true.

  43. Centre of attention says:

    In other news, Max Domi is going to run away with the Calder. Holy crap-on-a-stick go watch his goal against Minnesota tonight.

  44. G Money says:

    godot10: Reinhart >> Gryba >> FayneSad, but true.

    It’s funny, Reinhart’s CF numbers are abysmal, but I barely noticed him, and when I did, he was usually making a decent defensive play.

  45. G Money says:

    Then again, in a day or two I’m going to publish a heretic (for fancystats) article that basically shows that Corsi is a completely useless number for evaluating individual defensemen, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the discrepancy!

  46. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    böök¡je,

    I can’t find a youtube clip, but I seem to remember Nelson trying to run the players through the game plan, followed by MacTavish running the players through a (potentially different) game plan while Nelson just looked sullen and quiet.

    Am I dreaming this up? I can’t find the footage, but I thought everyone here was making fun of it at the time.

  47. böök¡je says:

    G Money,

    Read this and see if you think that there was not some uncertainty over who was in charge of the team during that phase.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/mactavish-turns-over-oilers-coaching-reins-to-nelson/article22241174/

  48. BAUCE says:

    böök¡je,

    The Oilers (7-22-7) have the fewest points in the NHL and have won just a single game over their last 21.

    I can’t even.

  49. CrazyCoach says:

    Hey folks,

    First full game I have seen this season. Some observations.

    The PP continues to struggle and its execution is so obvious that other teams are ready for it. Could they not just dump it in hard from the left side? I realize you are trying to gain the blueline, but why not try a dump in from the right side, or even a soft dump into the quiet zone?

    Poor Schultz is nervous with the puck in the offensive zone. If, and its a big if, he can hang onto the puck and other players get open, the PP will be more effective. Schultz does some nice things out there, but other times he looks completely lost.

    Hall and Nuge push the river for this team. Oh dear lord, please let them both be injury free this season, please.

  50. G Money says:

    böök¡je,

    Hmmm, yes, that does sound different from my recollection. I remember watching the two on the bench during the games (not so much to see who was in charge but to watch the interaction) and it was Nelson running the game. But I guess that doesn’t speak to the practices.

  51. Bag of Pucks says:

    G Money:
    Then again, in a day or two I’m going to publish a heretic (for fancystats) article that basically shows that Corsi is a completely useless number for evaluating individual defensemen, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the discrepancy!

    Not heretical at all. You’re preaching to the choir from my pov.

    We need the chip in the puck!

  52. Ronald Chevalier says:

    russ99: Nice to see someone watching what’s going on and not piling on and finding someone to blame…

    Work in progress. If everyone had Yak’s offensive focus and McDavid’s ability to create space and be responsible defensively (especially the forwards) we’d be a vastly better team.

    Agreed! Yak, hall and Shultz get shit on for every mistake they make while others get a pass. Hall had a hell of a game tonight and I thought yak and Justin played with a lot of heart. Everyone f&$ks up at some point….not fair to focus on only the negative with these guys.

  53. Stelio Kontos (Formerly Zangetsu-Formerly Thinker) says:

    Atlas must have taken a vacation, because the sky is officially falling.

  54. Lowetide says:

    G Money: It’s funny, Reinhart’s CF numbers are abysmal, but I barely noticed him, and when I did, he was usually making a decent defensive play.

    I thought Reinhart had another good game. Didn’t like his partner though.

  55. Bank Shot says:

    Lowetide: I thought Reinhart had another good game. Didn’t like his partner though.
    Really?

    I thought he made mutiple bad passes.

    Definitely not worth the squeeze thus far.

  56. wheatnoil says:

    Bank Shot:

    I saw him reasonably well. Good gap control through the neutral zone and positioning in the defensive end.

  57. bendelson says:

    Woodguy: As frustrating as Jultz is, he’s one of the best on the team.

    woot? woot?

    So…………. anyone have the early odds on whether TCAF draws into the lineup Saturday night?

  58. wheatnoil says:

    If you look at the possession graph of this game, the Oilers were right there in it. Then Tarasenko scores and the bottom falls out. The Oilers are in their end for the next 10 minutes. Hall gives them a prayer but their PP didn’t do squat and they were pummeled at even-strength.

    They were almost even at corsi until the Blues took the lead and yet finished the game at 43.7%. Frustrating as hell to watch. The Blues are tough to beat when they have the lead, but when you get 5 powerplays…

    Ugh, I need to sleep and post-mortum this in the light of day.

  59. Centre of attention says:

    Taylor Hall sums it up for tonight:

    “Three years ago I would of taken a moral victory from that. Not anymore. I’ve had too many of those”

  60. G Money says:

    wheatnoil,

    Yeah that’s the deadly 10 minutes I talked about earlier that Hunter doesn’t believe.

    The Oilers were step for step until the 35:00 mark. Then they flatlined for 10 minutes and fell hopelessly behind. Then the rest of the game was also pretty even.

    What happened, and why? Bizarre.

    Keep the feet and brains moving for those ten minutes, and score one lousy PP goal, and it’s a different result.

    But it’s been nine years of ‘if only’ and ‘what happened’ and ‘that’s bizarre’.

  61. Ronald Chevalier says:

    Shizuka,

    やばいね!

  62. JDï™ says:

    Centre of attention:
    In other news, Max Domi is going to run away with the Calder. Holy crap-on-a-stick go watch his goal against Minnesota tonight.

    http://gfycat.com/MiniatureBigCooter

  63. Lowetide says:

    Bank Shot: Reinhart has been making the safe play (and that’s alright) but tonight there was a small play that offers hope. He was moving up the neutral zone to center and was going to shoot it in, that would have been the play for him based on what we know.

    Except he changed up, fooled his mark and sent a nifty little pass to Letestu who got some clean air. It’s a small item, I admit. That is however the goal and he’s showing an ability to do it. I hope they keep him in the lineup. would love to see Fayne as his partner.

  64. JDï™ says:

    Jagr wins the Richard trophy: https://streamable.com/v93t

  65. Lowetide says:

    Centre of attention:

    LT, with you magical Crystal Ball, How long you think until Chiarelli makes a minor trade on the defense? I’m talking Fayne+prospect for decent but not sexy bottom 4 defensemanto play with Rienhart/Gryba. It has to be soon. Chiarelli cannot be caught dithering, and I bet if the Oilers are win less after this weekend this should only speed up the process.

    I think Nurse is the logical move, and that would be my suggestion. Part of Edmonton’s problem currently is speed (again). I know the Oilers already have an issue with lack of experience but for me Nurse is one of the six best D in the organization at the pro level and should be here.

  66. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money:
    Then again, in a day or two I’m going to publish a heretic (for fancystats) article that basically shows that Corsi is a completely useless number for evaluating individual defensemen, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the discrepancy!

    Let me guess some of the results.

    The differentiation of Corsi for D is smaller than forwards (that is they are grouped closer to 50%.

    Consequently it is harder to see who is good amongst D because the Corsi number is going to show a smaller difference between D than we would expect.

    I don’t think this makes Corsi useless. It simply confirms what we already know about any shot metric, or the game of hockey for that matter. The quality of any individual player is only a small factor in Corsi, smaller than quality of teammates, opponents, and zone starts. Much of the differnence between forwards and D can be explained by the fact that most forwards never play with fourth line pluggers, but all defenseman do.

    Corsi is useful only to the extent that these other factors even out. If they don’t (as zone starts doesn’t) then you have to adjust your Corsi number. Fortunately, for zone starts there is a linear relationship between zone starts and shots. Unfortunately, there is not a linear relationship between QoT and QoC. The reason for this is that these measures are Corsi measures, and hence the relationship is tautological (good players play against good players, this reduces their Corsi, which in turn reduces their QoC, which makes it seem like good players aren’t playing against as good as players as they are).

    But none of this means Corsi is useless, even for one game. If a guy has 17% Corsi he got his head kicked in.

  67. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Nope, it’s not the differentiation that is the issue, it’s the (non) correlation between big picture results and the list of D generally regarded as elite. And not just Corsi, but quite a few different statistics.

    I wasn’t looking at it as a descriptive game type of statistic, but an evaluative statistic.

    On the topic of QoC, it actually elicited an entirely different concern.

    If you’d like to proof read it for me and give me some feedback, I’d be happy to hear it.

  68. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide,

    So waive Davidson bring up Nurse? Chiarelli should feel foolish for sending him down only to call him up less then 10 games later.

    I don’t think Fayne is the issue its just he doesn’t seem to be part of the solution. Looked awful tonight flubing the puck on a play when the Oilers had the momentum, then taking a penalty that ended up being the 4-2 goal.

    I don’t know if its just he can’t communicate with Sekera or what, but that pairing is all sorts of awful by eye.

    Who would you run Nurse with? Where would Rienhart slot then? There has to be some kind of trade to clear up some space, unless:
    Sekera-Schultz
    Klefbom-Rienhart
    Nurse-Fayne/Gryba
    Ference

  69. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money,

    Now I’m curious. I’d love to read it.

  70. Yeti says:

    Lowetide: I think Nurse is the logical move, and that would be my suggestion. Part of Edmonton’s problem currently is speed (again). I know the Oilers already have an issue with lack of experience but for me Nurse is one of the six best D in the organization at the pro level and should be here.

    While I agree that Nurse has the precise talents that the Oilers so desperately lack, I can’t help thinking that he should be kept in the AHL until there is a clearer sense of structure throughout the rest of the team. For instance, it’s not for the lack of Nurse that the Oil cannot pot a single goal on the powerplay. Hell, if we were converting 1 in 5 powerplays we’d be looking at a very different situation…

  71. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious: But none of this means Corsi is useless, even for one game. If a guy has 17% Corsi he got his head kicked in.

    But I think this point has validity no matter what.

    Corsi is a useful large sample statistic for evaluating teams, but only generally has predictive value after about 20 games. I think that number is all the larger for individuals.

    Descriptively, it tells you what happened even in a single game, but you have to be really careful about accounting for the tiny sample size.

    As you say, a 17% almost certainly means cranial damage. But in a single game for a single player, there is likely no meaningful difference between 45% and 50%. The error bars are wide, which means the difference is meaningless.

  72. Lowetide says:

    Centre of attention:
    Lowetide,

    So waive Davidson bring up Nurse? Chiarelli should feel foolish for sending him down only to call him up less then 10 games later.

    I don’t think Fayne is the issue its just he doesn’t seem to be part of the solution. Looked awful tonight flubing the puck on a play when the Oilers had the momentum, then taking a penalty that ended up being the 4-2 goal.

    I don’t know if its just he can’t communicate with Sekera or what, but that pairing is all sorts of awful by eye.

    Who would you run Nurse with? Where would Rienhart slot then? There has to be some kind of trade to clear up some space, unless:
    Sekera-Schultz
    Klefbom-Rienhart
    Nurse-Fayne/Gryba
    Ference

    Klefbom—Sekera
    Nurse—Fayne
    Reinhart—Schultz

    Young, young. And yet, there’s a better first pairing, Fayne gets a fast partner he can mentor and Schultz gets third pairing minutes (at evens).

  73. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Got it – go ahead and delete.

  74. Zelepukin says:

    Is there any stats on successful breakouts? Honestly, we have to be the worst team in the NHL year on year, for the past 5 or so. Obviously it starts with the D, but even then when we have possession we’ll fuck it up by trying the ol’, slapshot down the boards (lets call it the Ference) to the winger cherry picking for a tip-in dump-in, which probably amounts to a loss of possession 95% of the time.

    This in my mind, is going to kill any Calder conversations with McD. We’ve got one of the best players in the world who we can’t even get the puck to. Unless he realizes that, oh shit, I guess I have to carry the puck out myself, he is going to have work even harder to generate offense.

    I can’t even remember the last time we had an odd man rush that wasn’t a result of the opposition D making an error but because of a success breakout.

  75. McSorley33 says:

    So, poor goaltending is scratched off the list as an excuse….

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

    I have been railing about Fayne before it became fashionable but…

    They are (most of them) at least NHL defenceman….see last years lineup.

    None of this explains how our PP. can look so completely abysmal.

    I wonder what Connor’s family is thinking…..

    To repeat from the summer , please keep drafting defencemen…and don’t stop.

    I shall stick with tough schedule for now, I guess.

    Wow, just remembered no Shattenkirk tonight.

  76. G Money says:

    Lowetide,

    I think we may need to try that.

    Then again, maybe TMc knew the growing pains would be ugly, and wanted to keep Drai and Nurse safely out of harms way until he had the rest of the team playing with a little more stability.

    Faint hopes.

  77. G Money says:

    Yeti,

    Or what you said.

  78. JDï™ says:

    McSorley33: I wonder what Connor’s family is thinking…..

    That like his first year in Erie where they won only 19 games all season, being drafted first overall is still an honor?

    And to not be “that guy” who quits before the real work has even begun?

    Pah-leez.

  79. SwedishPoster says:

    Decent game where the PP kills us but they have to start churn out wins now, Hall is right on the money with his moral victory comment. I still think we need to give McLellan a little bigger sample size before we start hitting the panic button but the clock is starting to tick. Now they have two games against lesser teams. They should get at the very least one win,, Calgary just isn’t a very good team the Nucks game is a back-to-back and those are usually dodgy but they better show up big time both nights. Two points is barely ok, three points is good, four points is ofc great but in no way should it be impossible if this team is for real.

    The PP is such a disaster. The #1 PP suffers from too many chefs syndrome and the second lacks a true playmaker. How about swapping some players between the two units? Let RNH run the first and McD run the second. McDavid is still looking to find his groove and has been pretty meaningless on the PP thus far, let him find his ground on the second PP and let the first PP get some muscle in that spot, how about a RHS in Slepy, he struggles a bit 5v5 but he has a big shot, good boardwork and some skill to make plays. I also think Lander is a better net prescence than Pouliot and should get that first PP spot, certainly better than having him as the second PP playmaker, that’s not his game. Just some thoughts, tbh I don’t care what they do as long as they do something because this setup just ain’t working.

  80. G Money says:

    *** LATE NIGHT NERD ALERT ***

    Fancystats don’t work very well for defensemen.

    https://oilersnerdalert.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/fancystats-and-defensemen-an-uneasy-combination/

    (late night error – hit the damn publish button instead of save draft. Oh well. Would have wasted a lot of time agonizing over this anyway)

  81. Yeti says:

    Lowetide: Klefbom—Sekera
    Nurse—Fayne
    Reinhart—Schultz

    Young, young. And yet, there’s a better first pairing, Fayne gets a fast partner he can mentor and Schultz gets third pairing minutes (at evens).

    Yes, it’s immediately better. But I feel we shouldn’t let the thrill of exciting-last-place-hockey interrupt a very clear developmental strategy that the management have set for Nurse and Drai. We’ve been uneasy for so long at the Oil throwing players into the deep end. We’ve pleaded for a measured approach for developing prospects. It’s not their fault that the team is still flawed. So shouldn’t we sit on our hands and be patient for a while longer? And yes, I know Rome is burning.

  82. Yeti says:

    > “Assessing NHL defensemen is hard. Just ask MacT about Petry, Fayne, Nikitin, Ference, etc. On second thought, don’t ask MacT!”

    Nice work (again) GMoney. Clearly the obvious solution is to defer to Howson.

  83. BONVIE says:

    Lowetide: Klefbom—Sekera
    Nurse—Fayne
    Reinhart—Schultz

    Young, young. And yet, there’s a better first pairing, Fayne gets a fast partner he can mentor and Schultz gets third pairing minutes (at evens).

    I love these Defense proposed pairings except Rheinhart and Shultz would be 2nd pair, Nurse and Fayne third pair. Shultz i feel is a very good Defenseman when he plays with a partner with size structure and positioning, I think once they play him with Rheinhart they will find he is a better fit then even Klefbom.

  84. BONVIE says:

    Lowetide: Well, then you better get Staios on the ice, he’s got about 20 years of skating to do.

    Exactly a good Defenseman will know when off the boards or glass and out to centre is the right play, let’s not get carried away with this narrative that making the safe smart play, makes you a bad Defenseman.

  85. Centre of attention says:

    So, you think by giving Fayne more minutes is the best way to make him perform? His performance by eye and mostly by fancy stat shows Fayne is just not playing up to his contracts value. I mean, he hasnt been a tire fire but its not been ideal. I dont think making him a top 4 defenseman and exposing him even more is the best way to cut down his fumbles/60 or errantpasses/60. I’m being a tiny bit hard on the guy but he partly deserves it being one of the “mentoring veterans” i dont want nurse to learn from fayne how to bobble the puck on a break out, turn it over then take a penalty out of frustration soon after. thats already something nurse is at risk of doing by mistake and watching”veteran” fayne do it would be counter productive IMO.

  86. russ99 says:

    Our defensive effort (Fs and Ds) last night was a bit Swarmalicious.

    Too much reacting to the opponent and puck, we should know where to be on the ice and what to do with the opponent and puck when they arrive.

    I know our former coaches sent different signals and may have messed up a few players, but that’s not this year. At some point you need to man up and execute.

    I think it can happen with the majority of this group, but if not we need to bring in players who can.

    Another thing, we need to bring in vets, not rookies. Learning on the job doesn’t help. Too bad we can’t dump our sunk cap players, at least yet.

  87. PhrankLee says:

    hunter1909: Please feel free to be frank. And not simply Frank the Dog.

    Er…Well I support you Hunter, old pal. Frankly I cant see why anyone would not.

  88. russ99 says:

    A power play isn’t rocket science.

    Enter the zone with possession, hold the puck while the umbrella and crasher(s) set up then move it quickly to create space snd opportunities for high quality shots and crasher tip ins.

    One of these was done last night, good puck movement on the first unit in the third period.

  89. Centre of attention says:

    Oh, and Hemsky has 6 points in 4 games playing on Dallas’s 3rd line. That hip surgery must have really helped.

    Why can’t we have sublime RW talents like Hemsky…oh wait…

  90. sliderule says:

    Do the oilers have no control over schedule .

    Five of first six on road .

    Five of games against playoff teams.

    Tmac must have blanched when he saw the schedule.

    Now they are playing with zero confidence ,rushing shots and overcommiting.

    They have to slow the game in the offensive zone and find the goalie holes rather than trying to fire it right through the pads.Thats you Yak and others.

  91. PhrankLee says:

    The team is better than it was last year.

    Now it’s mental toughness that needs to be preached.

    We were in this game nearly the entire time.

    Eliminating the lull and taking lessons from StL on how to push back is important.

    I was pretty pleased with their effort for about 50 min of that game.

  92. Johnny Larue says:

    I was at the game last night and it was about as exciting as watching paint dry. The Oilers had sent a message to be in our seats early for the opening cerimonies and then it was nothing they introduced the team big whoop. I can say that I didn’t even notice Connor Mcdavid out there at all he was completley a non factor. They now are charging $20.00 for parking at Northlands rip-off artists I guess Northlands wants to squeeze every last cent out but after last night I am not in any hurry to go back. $8.50 beers ,$20.00 parking paint drying not to inticing so far. I know that it early but I think most fans are in the show me something stage and if we are out of it by November again things could get very ugly.

  93. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    The team is about what we all expected it to be.

    We knew they weren’t going to win very many games in their first 20.

    If you break that down even further, I think we all expected them to lose AT LEAST 3 of the first 4.

    The only game I thought they might have a chance in was Dallas, but of course that’s the one where they played their worst hockey (I blame the Blue Jays).

    The only team that routinely grinds us into the dirt over the last few years harder than St. Louis or Nashville is, maybe, San Jose (and god-damn Minny). We ALWAYS lose these games. We usually get outshot 42-18.

    0-4 is dissapointing but hardly unexpected. Let’s all step back from the ledge.

  94. Adam Wu says:

    The very fact we are angsting about the powerplay not scoring goals, (as opposed to giving up SHs) is a vast improvement from last year. It means the team is actually IN the games such that 1 or 2 PPGs would have made a difference.

    That was not so last year.

  95. Oil2Oilers says:

    G Money:
    *** LATE NIGHT NERD ALERT ***

    Fancystats don’t work very well for defensemen.

    https://oilersnerdalert.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/fancystats-and-defensemen-an-uneasy-combination/

    (late night error – hit the damn publish button instead of save draft.Oh well.Would have wasted a lot of time agonizing over this anyway)

    Excellent work. Clears the path to move forward. I especially like the grouping of stats examining if defender type can be defined.

  96. godot10 says:

    Adam Wu:
    The very fact we are angsting about the powerplay not scoring goals, (as opposed to giving up SHs) is a vast improvement from last year. It means the team is actually IN the games such that 1 or 2 PPGs would have made a difference.

    That was not so last year.

    Nelson’s power play was rocking-n-rolling … top decile.

    McLellan and Woodcroft have all perimeter guys on the first unit power play. Pouliot over Lander as the net front presence, and Nugent-Hopkins over Lander as the face-off guy are both just really bad decisions. Pouliot has never demonstrated excellence in that role. Lander has for three seasons (two years in that role in an elite AHL power play, and last year in the NHL when Nelson took over), and he can occasionally win a face-off. The power play was also elite with Horcoff in that role under Krueger.

    Woodcroft seems to think his San Jose powerplay optimized for San Jose’s talent is transferable. That is a very bad coaching assumption. You have different players with entirely different skill sets and experience. A coach wedded to preconceived notions. You have to coach the players you have, not the ones you had.

    Woodcroft is a coach who has only had success with one group of players. He is assuming what works for that previous group is transferable. A good coach builds and adjusts systems for the players he has, and doesn’t try to get players to play a preconceived system.

  97. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: Nelson’s power play was rocking-n-rolling … top decile.

    McLellan and Woodcroft have all perimeter guys on the first unit power play. Pouliot over Lander as the net front presence, and Nugent-Hopkins over Lander as the face-off guy are both just really bad decisions.Pouliot has never demonstrated excellence in that role.Lander has for three seasons (two years in that role in an elite AHL power play, and last year in the NHL when Nelson took over), and he can occasionally win a face-off. The power play was also elite with Horcoff in that role under Krueger.

    Woodcroft seems to think his San Jose powerplay optimized for San Jose’s talent is transferable.That is a very bad coaching assumption.You have different players with entirely different skill sets and experience.A coach wedded to preconceived notions.You have to coach the players you have, not the ones you had.

    Woodcroft is a coach who has only had success with one group of players.He is assuming what works for that previous group is transferable. A good coach builds and adjusts systems for the players he has, and doesn’t try to get players to play a preconceived system.

    Agree with you (& SwedishPoster) about Lander & the PP. Happily, today so does McLellan. Lander is best net front guy Oilers have IMO & it’s not close. Good on puck retrieval. Faceoffs a bonus. He’s closest thing to Horcoff since Horcoff.

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