A LONG DECEMBER, WITH A REASON TO BELIEVE

The problem is, you develop a past. When a fan base first becomes aware of a player, a clock begins ticking in their brain. There were actually patient Oilers fans when Taylor Hall was drafted, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, too. All of that patience is gone now, for fans, but it is important for the Oilers management to stay the course. Fans are yelling now, for the heads of their best players, men like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. PC cant trade those men for the offers on his desk, he must keep his powder dry. We can be struck by madness, Peter Chiarelli can not, and that is vital to the future of this franchise.

Why? As angry as the fans are now, imagine Hall winning a Stanley Cup in Calgary, Vancouver or Montreal. As a devout follower of the Montreal Expos, ask me how it felt to see Gary Carter win the 1986 WS in a Mets uniform. Yeah. Sucks. And blows.

chiarelli draft capture

I was heartened by the words of Peter Chiarelli a few days ago, when he made a tremendous amount of sense for a man overseeing a team that (at times) appears to be intent on reenacting the scenes from Slap Shot.

  • Chiarelli on making a trade to save the season: “It doesn’t mean that you won’t make a move, but the last thing you want, is to try and go out and force a move to shake things up. I’m not adverse to making moves and certainly I’ve had a lot of conversations in the last two weeks. But to think I have to go out and make a move because I have to shake things up, I think that’s the wrong way to approach it.” Source

Those words have iron, but the man who chose them must have moments where he, just like the fans he represents, feels like taking a Louisville Slugger to the hotel furniture. Stay the course, Chiarelli, and well try to remember youve been on the job for six months.

PRIDE: ITS A THING, SEASON OVER SEASON

  • Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
  • Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
  • Oilers after 25 in 2014-15: 6-15-4, 16 points (-36 GD)
  • Oilers after 25 in 2015-16: 8-15-2, 18 points (-16 GD)
  • Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
  • Oilers in December 2015: 0-0-0

I had hoped we would be talking about taking off ramps and heading back to the land of unicorns, clear mountain streams, women of genuinely questionable repute, really good beer and no hangovers. Instead, were back in Shawshank, I think this is the laundry room.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

  • Nurse-Sekera had a solid evening, I like the veterans game. He was -2, but had inside coverage on Kadris goal (tip) and the EN was an EN goal. Nurse had his wheels going, tough to do in a week with a lot of games. I remain hopeful the Oilers continue this pairing, should pay off later this season when the rookie takes a step forward.
  • Klefbom-Fayne was a tale of two cities. Klefbom was challenged and hurried and injured, but kept his head and came out fairly well. Fayne, who I support as the other half of the pairing, was very poor. Errant passes, always a step slow and didnt make many solid decisions with the puck. I suspect well see new pairings and if we do, I blame Fayne for what is to come.
  • Davidson-Schultz had its moments of good and bad, I could live with this as a third pairing I think. Schultz was in chase mode on the PP GA, but Ill credit some slick puck movement by the other team. 19 gave the puck away a time or two, really needs to tighten that up. Hit a post, and sent a puck 200 miles above earth on a fantastic PP chance. Hit the net, Justin! Davidson didnt play in the second half of the game, suspect injury and we should find out today.

If I had to pick a defenseman to pull from the lineup, it would be Fayne, no question. Based on the roster and available options, that would be a mistake, also no question.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

  • Leon-Hall-Purcell are really kicking it now, absolutely feeling it and getting some nice matches. The concern? Offense was spotty despite good possession stats and (I thought) good chance totals. War on Ice had Individual high-danger scoring chances for this line at Hall (4), Leon (2), Purcell (2). The rest of them? One for Khaira, one for Darnell.
  • Nuge-Pouliot-Eberle got some looks but nothing dangerous. It sounds like Todd McLellan is getting impatient with this line and we may see a change. I am not worried about the Nuge as an Oiler, but the other two may be drifting from the rest of the cluster in terms of future.
  • Lander-Hendricks-Khaira didnt get much done offensively, but that isnt something were likely to see from them. I thought there were some good things, Khaira probably earned another week in the show (now watch, theyll send him out today).
  • Korpikoski-Letestu-Pakarinen and I have mentioned it before but Korpikoski is struggling badly and he might be bad enough to get a veteran’s healthy scratch. That’s a rare thing in all kingdoms but he earned it. Letestu was also bad, poor passing riddled this line along with a penchant for icing and general tomfoolery. Pakarinen was the best of a bad lot but he could be in Bakersfield by sundown.

THE HEAT IS ON

Todd McLellan had some words after the game. McLellan is an effective communicator and it doesnt take a lot to read between the lines:

  • “I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”  Source
  • “When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the (Leon-Hall line) that provides that.” Source
  • “We’re not where we need to be. We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.” Source

I think its fair to identify Nuge and Eberle as the main targets of that scoresheet item, but the Nuge doesnt belong on the list in my opinion. Why? Lets look at scoring over the last 10 games and see where the real issue lies:

  1. Leon Draisaitl 10, 5-6-11
  2. Taylor Hall 10, 3-6-9
  3. Teddy Purcell 10, 2-6-8
  4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 9, 1-4-5
  5. Benoit Pouliot 9, 2-2-4
  6. Jordan Eberle 10, 2-0-2
  7. Mark Letestu 10, 1-1-2
  8. Iiro Pakarinen 10, 2-0-2
  9. Lauri Korpikoski 7, 1-0-1
  10. Anton Lander 9, 0-1-1
  11. Nail Yakupov 7, 0-1-1

Eberle is fighting it for sure, he has been slow to come back from injury and thats a concern. Nuge? I do think hes shy at evens but the points are there and lets remember he gets the horns in terms of matchups every night. The sins of this team are not specific to the Nuge or even Eberle, they are (once again) the sins of youth and lack of real depth in important places.

This tells you that Peter Chiarelli is doing his job, folks. Jordan Eberle  is a $6 million dollar a year winger who cant stand up for falling down, but this too shall pass, and when Eberle starts scoring again hell be too valuable to trade. Eberle and Nuge will find a way, their history screams it.

The defense looks far better than it did awhile ago. Still major issues, but if Im PC another forward who can check and score is a really good fit about now (and this assumes Davidson is okay).

  • Frank Seravalli, TSN: Babcock suggested after the morning skate on Monday that the Oilers were ahead of the Leafs’ rebuild, given that Edmonton has so many top picks already in the NHL while most of the Leafs are in the AHL or junior. Aside from a cornerstone like McDavid, it’s fair to debate whether the Oilers are truly further down the path from Toronto. Source

I think this probably represents the thinking of most observers currently, but for me there are major differences between the two teams.

  • Edmonton has a jaw-dropping group of talent with real, exceptional strengths. When they are locked and loaded and healthy, other teams will feel the pain. They have real and substantial problems, but they are missing 6s and 7s and 9s; they have the Jacks and Kings.
  • Toronto has a great coach and veteran workers like Daniel Winnik, who I love as a hockey player. They arent close to having the kind of talent that will take them to the promised land, it will take time, and a lot of it, to get there unless Steven Stamkos comes available this summer.

If you want to know the reasons Edmonton lost, there are some that hold water beyond the usual.

  • Three games in four nights
  • McDavid is hurt
  • Yakupov is hurt
  • The center position remains badly in need of more scoring depth
  • Korpikoski is a tire fire
  • Darnell Nurse, as good as he is, remains a rookie pro
  • The bottom 6F dont have a lot of actual talent

On the other hand, there are some things to like:

  • Goaltending seems to have settled
  • Defense isnt as bad as it was previously, less running around
  • Leon and Hall are fantastic together, and Purcell fits like a glove
  • The toughest part of the schedule is done

Today, because of Todd McLellans comments, youre going to read and hear a lot of negatives about the Nuge and Jordan Eberle. Thats fine, they are professionals and that comes with the territory.

None of it matters, unless Peter Chiarelli does something in a fit of pique. If he does, the same angry fan base calling for him to take action will never forgive him.

Ever.

And thats the struggle for Peter Chiarelli this morning.

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229 Responses to "A LONG DECEMBER, WITH A REASON TO BELIEVE"

« Older Comments
  1. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money,

    Your observations are helping the knuckledraggers. I know you live in Calgary and hence don’t have to suffer through the Gregor and Rishaug’s of the world, but they are making the same observations you have, numbers be damned.

    And their solution to the problem that the Oilers only having one line that can score is to get rid of “small, skilled” players who play “soft” and who “if they aren’t scoring they aren’t contributing,” is to trade them for someone who brings “65% of the offense but more grit.”

    That’s right. To the problem of not enough offense, their answer is to go get someone who provides less offense.

    This is how the rebuild becomes permanent. The Oilers are going to do their version of Neal and Niskanen for Goligoski.

    Now, if instead they trade Schultz and Yakupov, well I’ll say, no harm no foul. But who the hell would trade anything of value for them.

  2. Psyche says:

    I have been an Oilers fan since the March 2007. Before that I cheered for the NHL Jets of old. Dale Hawerchuk, then Teemu Selanne were my favourites.

    I haven’t experienced many successful NHL seasons as a fan.

    Not many of Chia’s off-season moves appear to have turned out as planned. Shit happens. The team has key injuries interrupting this season. Out of everyone’s control.

    So here we are in a world of hurt as Oiler fans. This is our reality. Unfortunately it won’t change anytime soon since Chia doesn’t have the depth or assets to address the roster’s main issues. And now we wait.

    Trading off a quality player, thus creating another hole in the line-up, is nuts. We’ve experienced too much crazy the past numbers of seasons and should know better by now. This season is lost from a playoff perspective, but there are smaller hills to climb.

    Suffering is part of the Oiler fan existence. I’m okay with that. Because I know we will be just fine in the long term. It won’t always be this way. Other teams will cycle down as we cycle upwards. We will deal from a position of strength and lean on the vulnerable. Tables will turn. Frowns will turn upside down. We will drink in celebration, not to drown our sorrows.

  3. CrazyCoach says:

    Kiltymcbagpipes: Those of you who have coached hockey know this. When you’re struggling, go out win puck battles, take the body if need be and gain momentum for your team one shift at a time.

    Yes, and you would put a goal on each shift as in, “This shift I want 3 turnovers created by checks, 3 possession changes on the boards”, etc.

    That’s still a number and stat to track.

  4. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Woodguy

    Don’t let Rishaug torpedo Nuge please.

  5. CrazyCoach says:

    Psyche: Suffering is part of the Oiler fan existence. I’m okay with that. Because I know we will be just fine in the long term. It won’t always be this way. Other teams will cycle down as we cycle upwards. We will deal from a position of strength and lean on the vulnerable. Tables will turn. Frowns will turn upside down. We will drink in celebration, not to drown our sorrows.

    And believe me my friend, I will drink on a I’m-on-vacation-with-the-boys-on-Fremont-Street-in-Vegas-on-a-Friday-night level!

    The liver will need more ice than Jason Smith’s body did on a nightly basis.

    Party like it’s 1990!

  6. stevezie says:

    As far as juicing the scoring goes. I once was a traditionalist, but now I see. Which is to say I was an idiot. The traditionalists are fighting to save something, “pure hockey”, that has never existed.

    1. Even without changing the rules/equipment it is already impossible to make plain statistical comparisons between eras. The games shifts and evolves and context matters. Everyone knows this. (eg. No one thinks 1989 Bernie Nichols is better than Alex Ovechkin.)

    2. There have already been monumental rule changes that switched things up just much as equipment changes would have. (1 goal powerplays, obstruction, two-line passes etc.)

    3. There is a rich history of sports changing the equipment/field to make the game more fun. Baseball lowering the mound, CFL switching balls, Hockey getting new goalie equipment, composite sticks, eliminating the rover, allowing the forward pass…
    3a- Larger nets seem a perfectly reasonable reaction to larger/lighter goaltending equipment.

    4. We owe “pure hockey” nothing. Hockey exists for fun, not as a sacred duty or a natural kind.

    I’m not saying larger nets are an automatic, but they should be on the able (as, ideally should permanent four on four but the PA will never allow this). I don’t think anyone disagrees, but I am venting anyway because the traditionalist argument is so God-blessed stupid it makes my head spin.

  7. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    My observation is that last night was a terrible effort and a terrible game, fancystats be damned. (Yeah, you can quote me!)

    I don’t care what Gregor says, ’cause he’s a moron. But there’s the whole broken clock thing, yes?

    I do, however, care what Todd McLellan says, and he says last night was a terrible effort and a terrible game.

    If you can honestly look at plus Corsi on the night and think “yeah, that agrees with my eye, it was actually a good game”, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re on an island there, I think.

    Other than the Hall/Drai line, the team got owned, shift after shift.

    That the ownership did not turn into shots is a reflection on the grotesque incompetence of the Leafs, and also a reflection of the nature of shot metrics (which you yourself have noted quite vociferously are not ‘possession’, though they function as a proxy for possession most of the time … but last night I suspect was not one of those times).

    I depart quite rapidly thereafter from the knuckledraggers. Nuge may be in a slump, but you won’t hear me calling him soft or demanding he be traded.

    I’m also on record as being a believer that the team has improved, despite what the record might say.

    But the inconsistent effort level (which varies tremendously not just game to game, but period to period) will continue to frustrate me. The volatility of effort in this team is like no other team I’ve seen.

    Growth for this team may mean nothing more than learning to bring a consistent and sufficiently high level of effort each night.

  8. CrazyCoach says:

    stevezie: 1. Even without changing the rules/equipment it is already impossible to make plain statistical comparisons between eras. The games shifts and evolves and context matters. Everyone knows this. (eg. No one thinks 1989 Bernie Nichols is better than Alex Ovechkin.)
    2. There have already been monumental rule changes that switched things up just much as equipment changes would have. (1 goal powerplays, obstruction, two-line passes etc.)
    3. There is a rich history of sports changing the equipment/field to make the game more fun. Baseball lowering the mound, CFL switching balls, Hockey getting new goalie equipment, composite sticks, eliminating the rover, allowing the forward pass…
    3a- Larger nets seem a perfectly reasonable reaction to larger/lighter goaltending equipment.
    4. We owe “pure hockey” nothing. Hockey exists for fun, not as a sacred duty or a natural kind.

    I agree with you. What exactly is pure hockey and when was it officially pure and simple? Was it the game the Patrick brothers decimated when they instituted the forward pass and line changes on the fly to the Western League? Was it the original game in Kingston way back when between the RMC and Queens? I’m sure Anatoly Tarasov would say he created pure hockey?

    You speak the truth when you say we don’t owe pure hockey anything, except maybe for all of us wanting to keep it the most exciting game out there.

  9. kinger_OIL says:

    – Billy is a very good student when he applies himself. He needs to work on his concentration

  10. vinotintazo says:

    PDL,

    to quote LT on another day… reading this I was getting madder and madder, then I was ok at the end. 🙂

  11. Rebilled says:

    Ladies and gentlemen: Your Laundry Room Oilers.

  12. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    G Money,

    That’s just it, see. Volatility was to be expected. This team flat out doesn’t know how to win. 4 or 5 years of bad habits and different coaches and different systems. This was always going to be an uphill battle this year and McLellan’s vision likely won’t truly be realized until year 2 or 3.

    Perpetually losing franchises panic here and make rash trades.

    The argument that it’s the fault of the Core because the bottom 6 has been changed out and still sucks and the coach is a good coach and the team still sucks holds no water for me.

    What this team needs is time. A healthy lineup and time to learn and buy into the new system. You can’t pull the plug now just 25 games into trying to get things right.

    You have to be strong and ride this one out for the long term.

    What I am amazed at is how many people thought the arrival of McDavid and Chia-TMac would suddenly turn this team around overnight. We are less than 1/3 of the season in, folks. And we haven’t had a healthy lineup all year.

    And these guys aren’t alchemists. Yes everyone has a right to be frustrated. BUT frustration and desperation are not synonyms.

  13. knighttown says:

    stevezie:
    As far as juicing the scoring goes. I once was a traditionalist, but now I see. Which is to say I was an idiot. The traditionalists are fighting to save something, “pure hockey”, that has never existed.

    1. Even without changing the rules/equipment it is already impossible to make plain statistical comparisons between eras. The games shifts and evolves and context matters. Everyone knows this. (eg. No one thinks 1989 Bernie Nichols is better than Alex Ovechkin.)

    2. There have already been monumental rule changes that switched things up just much as equipment changes would have. (1 goal powerplays, obstruction, two-line passes etc.)

    3. There is a rich history of sports changing the equipment/field to make the game more fun. Baseball lowering the mound, CFL switching balls, Hockey getting new goalie equipment, composite sticks, eliminating the rover, allowing the forward pass…
    3a- Larger nets seem a perfectly reasonable reaction to larger/lighter goaltending equipment.

    4. We owe “pure hockey” nothing. Hockey exists for fun, not as a sacred duty or a natural kind.

    I’m not saying larger nets are an automatic, but they should be on the able (as, ideally should permanent four on four but the PA will never allow this). I don’t think anyone disagrees, but I am venting anyway because the traditionalist argument is so God-blessed stupid it makes my head spin.

    Not a word out of place.

  14. Caramel Obvious says:

    My objection to larger nets is that I think amateurs and professionals should play the same game, under the same rules.

    Now I know there are lots of ways that it is reasonable to deviate from this, but I think it is a reasonable starting point, and I’d like to maintain the continuity if possible.

  15. CrazyCoach says:

    Caramel Obvious: My objection to larger nets is that I think amateurs and professionals should play the same game, under the same rules.

    But that doesn’t work under the Long Term Athlete Development plan hockey associations are utilizing today. I know Hockey Canada, under Tom Renney is once again looking at the model of having smaller ice surfaces for the younger kids. I know the US does it and have done tons of studies on it and the overwhelming evidence is that is helps the younger players develop quicker in terms of puck possession, shots taken, passes made, etc.

    Continuity is great but let’s not do it simply because the pros do it. The pro sports model is not one we should be emulating with young kids.

  16. Pajamah says:

    CrazyCoach: And believe me my friend, I will drink on a I’m-on-vacation-with-the-boys-on-Fremont-Street-in-Vegas-on-a-Friday-night level!

    The liver will need more ice than Jason Smith’s body did on a nightly basis.

    Party like it’s 1990!

    *Inexplicably vomits*

    3 Football Gin & Tonics, yet I still wish to go back.

  17. CrazyCoach says:

    Pajamah: *Inexplicably vomits*
    3 Football Gin & Tonics, yet I still wish to go back.

    We drink like we watch our hockey team. It makes us so sick sometimes and we swear that’s the last time we’ll ever do it, but pretty soon, Friday rolls around again and then….

  18. SoCaloil says:

    I’m going to frame your point LT on a comparative basis with the Kings
    Their bottom 6 doesn’t do much scoring
    But they make life difficult with a hard checking game

    Our bottom six give the opposition minutes to catch their breath…at best

  19. 4th_Line_Plug says:

    Does anybody know if the forensic audit report is complete and submitted? Who gives a damn who we trade, the main goal of this whole thing should be ensuring Connor does not grow up in the same toxic losing environment that Taylor, Ryan, and Nail did. Colorado is no further ahead than we are and they are filled with “gritty” vets. Trade Eberle sign Lucic in the summer and let the rest gel with the same coach and systems for a few years.

    God speed Peter.

  20. Caramel Obvious says:

    CrazyCoach: But that doesn’t work under the Long Term Athlete Development plan hockey associations are utilizing today.I know Hockey Canada, under Tom Renney is once again looking at the model of having smaller ice surfaces for the younger kids.I know the US does it and have done tons of studies on it and the overwhelming evidence is that is helps the younger players develop quicker in terms of puck possession, shots taken, passes made, etc.

    Continuity is great but let’s not do it simply because the pros do it.The pro sports model is not one we should be emulating with young kids.

    I completely agree with respect to kids. However, kids aren’t amateurs in the same sense.

    Hockey Canada has a great video showing the relative size of an NHL sized rink for Novice aged kids. It’s the equivalent of playing hockey in a rink the size of a football field.

    The other point regarding net sizes is the long established practices tend to have an organic rationality behind them. The size of a baseball diamond is an excellent example of this. And this coincides with the point above. It is no problem to adjust the size of the diamond to correspond to the different ways the game is played (kids, softball, etc.).

    But that doesn’t change the underlying principle of continuity. It just means it is possible to have differences while maintaining the continuity, and that fundamental changes to the game should be done with this in mind.

  21. bendelson says:

    NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker":
    G Money,

    That’s just it, see. Volatility was to be expected. This team flat out doesn’t know how to win. 4 or 5 years of bad habits and different coaches and different systems. This was always going to be an uphill battle this year and McLellan’s vision likely won’t truly be realized until year 2 or 3.

    Perpetually losing franchises panic here and make rash trades.

    The argument that it’s the fault of the Core because the bottom 6 has been changed out and still sucks and the coach is a good coach and the team still sucks holds no water for me.

    What this team needs is time. A healthy lineup and time to learn and buy into the new system. You can’t pull the plug now just 25 games into trying to get things right.

    You have to be strong and ride this one out for the long term.

    What I am amazed at is how many people thought the arrival of McDavid and Chia-TMac would suddenly turn this team around overnight. We are less than 1/3 of the season in, folks. And we haven’t had a healthy lineup all year.

    And these guys aren’t alchemists. Yes everyone has a right to be frustrated. BUT frustration and desperation are not synonyms.

    1. Turn North.
    2. Develop consistency.
    3. Learn how to get points in those tight games.
    4. Learn how to win.
    5. Playoffs! (Where the learning curve starts again).

    I have the Oilers turning north (though it is hard to see with the current injuries).
    Consistency of effort is next in my estimation, and we are not there yet (understatement).
    Points? Wins? They will come, in time.

    McDavid’s return will have an immediate impact and help move the team along (no shit) but it is a process – a slow, brutally painful process.

    Interesting wager. I don’t think you win the bet but figure it’ll come down to OT results. It’ll be that close.

    Your posts have been great. Well considered, and always (OK, usually) under control.
    Thank you for that.

  22. CrazyCoach says:

    Caramel Obvious: I completely agree with respect to kids. However, kids aren’t amateurs in the same sense.

    That’s right. I should have clarified I meant kids.

  23. böök¡je says:

    I predict that changing net size will create the same kind of chaos that getting rid of the penny did!

  24. knighttown says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    My objection to larger nets is that I think amateurs and professionals should play the same game, under the same rules.

    Now I know there are lots of ways that it is reasonable to deviate from this, but I think it is a reasonable starting point, and I’d like to maintain the continuity if possible.

    By amateurs I assume you don’t mean everyday shmoes like you and I. The differences between beer league and pro hockey are endless starting with full body contact.

    I assume you mean the continuum from elite minor hockey through Junior and into AHL and NHL. I assume the AHL would follow suit and junior certainly could too. There are size issues in minor hockey that make that tougher but that isn’t uncommon when dealing with teens. I assume high school baseball doesn’t use 400 foot fences. Do they pitch from 60’6″? Not sure.

    Don’t think it’s too big an issue. Slightly smaller nets when the goalies are small and when they’re full grownish they move into big boy nets. Probably junior.

    As coach says, smaller ice surfaces are a thing now for kids.

  25. Water Fire says:

    4th_Line_Plug:
    Does anybody know if the forensic audit report is complete and submitted? Who gives a damn who we trade, the main goal of this whole thing should be ensuring Connor does not grow up in the same toxic losing environment that Taylor, Ryan, and Nail did. Colorado is no further ahead than we are and they are filled with “gritty” vets. Trade Eberle sign Lucic in the summer and let the rest gel with the same coach and systems for a few years.

    God speed Peter.

    I’m not a particular fan of Milan’s flavour of machismo, but boy does he fit the bill at a fair rate if he’s willing to stand up for his team. Perfect.

    I wouldn’t change the net size. It’s an equipment issue like brooms in curling. Sticks may be one day if offense goes to high. Shrink goaler pads, a few years later the goalerds (typo but I like it) will shrink as well as speed as opposed to being shooter tutor sized regains importance.

    It’s good to remember to not disparage previous eras. The people at that time to rise to the top were the best just as they are now. Of course many might not fit contemporary play, but many would like Gretzky and Lemieux, Mess, Tik, Anderson.

    If goaler kit went down it would be a return to guys like Cujo Hasek Roli, reaction players. I think I’d like that better.

  26. stevezie says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    To clarify, larger nets are definitely not Plan A, I just don’t think we are beholden to anything. All options are available.

    I agree eliminating the loser point ought to be Plan A. It’s Plan A for a lot of reasons.

    That the league continues to keep defending the loser point shows the Bettman NHL has less genuine interest in scoring than an asexual nun on her period at a micropenis convention. (Quoted my own twitter there).

  27. Bank Shot says:

    AsiaOil:
    Yes but you would trade RNH for any of those guys at 22 without hesitation. Are you really trying to suggest he’s a legit member of that club? There is no evidence that RNH has the extra couple of gears of offense all those others guys have. Been that way since junior. That said he’s a damn fine player – just not elite – and there is nothing in his pro or junior record to suggest he ever will be elite.

    No kidding. RNH is also the only one in that group that failed to have a 70 point season before age 23 as well. He’s not in their range and its not close.

    Trying to lump RNH in with the Crosby’s, Kopitar’s, and Stamkos’s is just as bad as the guys on the other side of the fence calling Hopkins a third liner.

    Lets not over estimate the value of the Oilers top players here. Sure the Oilers lose because they have roster holes and depth issues, but they also lose because their best players aren’t quite as good as the other team’s as well. As of right now RNH is maybe the 10th or 11th best center in the West. When you line up night after night against teams that have better top end, and better depth, I guess its no surprise that the Oilers are in the position they are in the standings.

  28. Dominoiler says:

    Great article, just got a chance to read it.. Wouldnt have time to read all the comments before posting, plus this that is already buried, but wanted to say two things.. I want to put a vote in for the player name font / etc to be smaller if bold or bigger without bold?.. Little too much bubble of white, not enough black space, just an opinion tho.. Second, LT, in your opinion, does Edmonton have the jacks and kings on defense too?..

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