CHANCE

A winning streak ended last night, but I believe another will be along shortly. Yes. The Edmonton Oilers are capable of another long winning streak during this season—and maybe more than one winning streak. They won when they played well, they won when they outscored their problems and they won when their goalie was less than splendid. These things are true. The ability to win games more than one way should mean Edmonton avoids a substantial losing streak, and that is key.

I’LL TAKE MANHATTAN, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • 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 in December 2014: 2-8-4
  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-1-0
  • Oilers after 32 in 2014-15: 7-20-5, 19 points (-46 GD)
  • Oilers after 32 in 2015-16: 14-16-2, 30 points (-9 GD)

December has been the breakthrough month, and honestly the club has been winning games they should not have—bringing us back to do (re-mi) after some of those early games didn’t reward with points. McDavid, Klefbom, lots of big issues for this team, they are 6-1 in December.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

Nikitin—Schultz had a strong game by the numbers, although Nikitin looked far better to my eye than Schultz. Based on last night, I would not hesitate to put Nikitin with Nurse (they were 4-1 on the road in 1:41 together). Schultz badly needs to play for a team that can use his talents while also covering for his shortcomings, and I hope he gets there.

Davidson—Gryba were solid to my eye, good lord Davidson is a nice hockey player. If the Oilers have this tandem as third pairing in the new year, I could live with it, and that is even with the knowledge Gryba under pressure with the puck is chaos incorporated. Brandon Davidson is one of the best rookie defensemen in the NHL this season, but few know his name.

Nurse—Sekera is no longer working. Nurse with Sekera at evens last night was 2-14. That is bad. Todd McLellan is a smart man and I do think Nurse—Nikitin may see more time in Chicago on Thursday (McLellan appears to tip his hand in regard to lineup changes by taking them out for a spin in the previous game). I like both Nurse and Sekera very much, but they are worn down from climbing Everest every night. One day Darnell Nurse will be the player he is trying to be now, important for the organization not to place him in a position to fail.

CENTERMEN, LAST NIGHT

oil c nov 30

Mark Letestu and his line traveled well last night, although he had only one individual shot attempt (via War-on-Ice). He needs to deliver more in 10 EV minutes.

Leon Draisaitl got a point on a glorious pass to Hall for a PP marker, but he was challenged against the big Rangers both on Friday and last night. Skated miles, worked hard, and I felt he was one of the Oilers who was effective at the ‘place and chase’ McLellan prefers.

Anton Lander had a weird night, including 4-0 Corsi events 5×5 with Teddy Purcell in 1:23. He took a ghastly penalty late, and he may have earned a seat for the next game, he played far less than Letestu last night. We can bitch and moan about the offense, but I do like the idea of giving him some time with more skilled forwards. Lander has some ability, even though it is a difficult argument to make this season.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made a wonderful pass to Eberle for his goal, and was 50 percent in the faceoff circle. He had a lot of beef to work through, including Staal and McDonogh on the blue. I know people will hammer him, but anyone who saw Nuge-Eberle playing with Klinkhammer (7:31), Gazdic (3:22) and Anton Lander (1:29) knows that line was not at optimum (no disrespect intended).

WINGS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

Matt Hendricks had a very good night, damn near scored before getting crosschecked without a penalty being called. Luke Gazdic is playing his best hockey as an Oiler, I believe that absolutely.

Teddy Purcell is doing two things: Increasing his trade value for the deadline and perhaps increasing the chances of another contract. I vote new contract, very impressed with him—despite some hesitation in decisioning on the power play last night. Lauri Korpikoski has been playing better of late, he remains inconsistent and not worth the contract, but he has performed better.

Taylor Hall scored a sweet goal on the power play, just fabulous command of the game with the puck on his stick. Won his Corsi event matchup against the Nash line and on the second of a btb I value that highly. Stud. Jordan Eberle also scored a beautiful goal but he and his line faced the McDonagh-Staal duo along with the top line and they did not win the battle. As mentioned in the comment on Nuge, a lot of their efforts ended poorly because of their third.

I have always called him Chance, because Taylor Hall gets so many in a game. We are lucky he is an Oiler, because boring games are rare with No. 4 on the ice. Sure, you can hit the head when he is on a breakaway (I think he thinks too much, just clear your mind and let your instincts do the work!), but beyond that, he is such a sublime talent. The years 2010-2015 were difficult for Oilers fans like me, but when healthy Hall was and is worth the price of admission all by his lonesome. Currently No. 4 in league scoring, I go back to the RE this summer and what we discussed:

  • How good IS Hall? He is still a match for John Tavares, marching in lock-step—but our man Taylor is developing an injury history. In his first five seasons in the NHL, Taveres went 350GP, 136-179-315 (.900) and now five years in Hall is 299GP, 106-157-263 (.880). It’s still on par, but Hall has played 51 fewer games, 10 a year. That’s a lot. Taylor Hall is an impact player, a revelation and he’s doing it against the toughest division in the infantry. He’s all-world. I love the guy. He needs to stay healthy.
  • How good IS Hall? He’s a great player, absolutely an Olympian and there are awards, the season ending ones, in his future. The man is a chance machine and a human fireball. Defensemen should have sphincter/60 as a rating, you can see it in their behavior when he comes on the ice. Back up, pray the cameras break and the video of the upcoming play isn’t recorded. In full flight with the puck on his stick, Taylor Hall’s talent is breathtaking. Chance. He’s fantastic.
  • Source

Updating the Tavares—Hall race, JT is currently at 461, 187-237-424 (.919) for his career, and Hall is 331, 121-177-298 (.900). A very nice neighborhood, Taylor Hall is a helluva player, who by the way is still ahead of Tyler Seguin in career points-per-game (Seguin is currently at .842).

Bear is now 31, 11-24-35 and in his most recent three games, is 5-1-6. Many asking about WJs but I asked Guy Flaming yesterday and he said it is rare to get an invite due to in-season performance. Bear was a later pick, but this season should get him on the radar for next Christmas. Helluva run by this young man.

NIKITIN

He looks….okay. So far, his possession numbers are good, he does make a nice pass and his foot speed issues haven’t cost the team yet (although he had a helluva time last night with one well placed dump in). Looking at the Oilers Corsi for 5×5 percentage this morning, easy to identify the current problem:

  1. Brandon Davidson 52.13
  2. Oscar Klefbom 50.80
  3. Mark Fayne 49.38
  4. Justin Schultz 49.38
  5. Nikita Nikitin 49.06
  6. Eric Gryba 47.71
  7. Griffin Reinhart 47.08
  8. Andrew Ference 46.34
  9. Andrej Sekera 45.27
  10. Darnell Nurse 43.34

I really like both players, but it is time to change things up. When Klefbom is healthy, I would (if I were King of the world) run:

  • Sekera—Fayne
  • Klefbom—Davidson
  • Nurse—Gryba

Your mileage may vary, but I think we can all agree an adjustment is required. There is no shame in being 20 and playing on the second or third pairing of an NHL team. None.

bardot2

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun show with great guests this morning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. The game last night, Nurse and Schultz, is this a playoff team?
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. A change on the weather for the NHL, as the bottom is pushing to the top.
  • Jeff Krushell, TSN1260. A special opportunity to win a big prize.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. 90 minutes!

December 16, 2014

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109 Responses to "CHANCE"

  1. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    No is absolutely the right call. I feel really bad for his problems, I really do, but some demons need to be fought with the help of loved ones and friends. That takes real courage, time, and work and a few months in a league-mandated program aren’t enough. I wish him the best in his recovery but don’t want him on the team while he goes through it.

    Next two games on the road trip are tough. Colorado just shut out Patty Kane and the Blackhawks, too. And you know Kane will be fired up against the Oilers as a result. And then we face said, Colorado. 1-2-1 might still be what we see on this road trop, if we are lucky. Hurry back, Oscar.

  2. leadfarmer says:

    I still think by the end of the season Davidson will take Nurse’s job higher in the lineup. He makes Gryba look like a decent defenseman and that is not easy to do. The reason I didn’t want Nurse to get called up earlier in the season is I was worried that he would be thrown to the wolves. And now he just keeps getting thrown to the wolves.

    And I think Belander is closer to waivers than he is playing on a skill line. He has done nothing to deserve batting higher in the lineup.

    I wonder what Halls point totals would be if he had Benn on his line and top pairing defense behind him.

  3. Zeabs93 says:

    Can I just reiterate something? Yakupov is out with a long term injury, caused by the REFEREE. How does that happen?!? Has anyone ever seen anything like that before, ever? In any sport? Out long term, injured by an official?

    I honestly still cannot believe it. Was there a response from the ref who injured him? Did he at least apologize? I haven’t heard anything since the injury.

  4. Ducey says:

    Hmmm. Nikitin comes back from the minors a better player. Maybe letting players sort out their issues in the minors works, eh?

    Once Fayne has sorted himself out in the minors, bring him up, and send down Nurse.

    10 – 20 AHL games practicing a lot and playing top minutes would do Nurse a world of good.

  5. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great stuff LT: Idea for you: add YoY points delta with your running summary of 2014 v. 2015: for 2014, include the points total(62), for current year, run projected final point total (77 points projection, based on .9375 pts per game: 30/32, but you can come up with whatever formula).

    – So a current projected 15 point improvement over last year, which is great in my mind.

  6. Really? says:

    Right now it feels like we are being tortured by an expert. We are seeing the signs of a turn to the north with the current level of play. What is so painful is knowing that, in the wings of the IR, we have a pool of world class talent that can really make a difference over the coming months.

    Waiting for McDavid and Yakupov and Pouliot and Klefbom to return to the line up is like 2 months of Christmas Eves.

  7. Oil2Oilers says:

    Chance is a beauty, when the rest of the league figures it out will we be jealous?

    I am OK with Klefbom resting his finger until boxing day. As much as the Oilers miss him the opportunity to take an extra week right now is ideal. We are not in the playoffs yet no need to tough it out and risk further injury and infection.

    Last night was a tough night schedule wise and the Oilers were missing there entire second line and one of there few capable defenders. While I did not feel they played a good game, they had a chance to win or at least tie. This is a huge step forward, I really like this coach. Once he stops playing Schultz on the PP I might develop even stronger feelings for him.

  8. OF17 says:

    Ducey:
    Hmmm.Nikitin comes back from the minors a better player. Maybe letting players sort out their issues in the minors works, eh?

    Once Fayne has sorted himself out in the minors, bring him up, and send down Nurse.

    10 – 20AHL games practicing a lot and playing top minutes would do Nurse a world of good.

    Nurse should stay. His problem isn’t that he isn’t ready for the NHL, it’s that he isn’t ready to play 15:30 at evens matched against Rick Nash. Find someone else for Sekera, drop Nurse down a peg or two, and hopefully don’t give him Schultz as a partner. I think his underlying numbers would improve drastically.

  9. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Really?,

    I just want people to not break their ankles jumping off the bandwagon if the Oilers lose 3 or 4 straight here. It’s entirely possible, likely, even.

    The 2nd 25 game stretch, well I always thought it would be close to .500 hockey before the big push the final 32. 6-0 was an insane start. 6-4 isn’t bad.

    It’s all about perspective. The turn north still happened in the losses to Chicago and Washington last month.

  10. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Oil2Oilers,

    The whole “Schultz isn’t actually good on the power play” seems like exactly the type of thing Tyller Dellow would notice, likely before most anyone else.

    He does still work for the team… right?

  11. Woodguy says:

    Not having an NHL caliber Dcorps was everything last night.

    That and a PP that couldn’t get shots through.

    This team is so close to going supernova when McDavid gets back.

    2 Dmen away if everyone is healthy.

    Last night here is what I saw in terms of Dmen and their assignments:

    Sekera – 1st – proper spot in the roster
    Nurse – 1st – Should be 3rd – don’t send him to drown
    Nikitin – 2nd – Should be 3rds, still speed issues
    Schultz – 2nd – Should be 3rd due to hockey awareness issues
    Davidson – 3rd – Proper spot, could probable play 2nds with right partner – 3rds is best
    Gryba – 3rd – I see him as a 7 Dman so 3rd is ok, but I’d prefer an upgrade on skating and passing ability there

    So 3 Dmen in their proper slot (Sekera, Davidson, Gryba)

    This team still has too many 3rd pairing Dmen.

    Come back Oscar!!

    Make a trade Chia!!!!

  12. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Oil, Canadian dollar continue their death spiral. What happens at 1.50 to the USD and 27 bucks a barrel? NHL cap will go down.

  13. Woodguy says:

    PACIFIC DIVISION STANDINGS VIA GAMES (PTS%) (TIES BROKEN BY ROW)

    LAK +10
    SJS +1
    ARI 0
    —————-
    CAL 0
    EDM -2
    ANA -2
    VAN -2

  14. Woogie63 says:

    Rookie Defensemen who have played 10 games.

    Total in NHL 20
    Total on the Oilers 3

    Ranking

    Nurse
    Scoring 6/20
    TOI/GM 2/20

    Davidson
    Points 8/20
    TOI/GM 8/20

    Reinhart
    Scoring 20/20
    TOI/GM 14/20

  15. Cameron says:

    Zeabs93:
    Can I just reiterate something?Yakupov is out with a long term injury, caused by the REFEREE.How does that happen?!?Has anyone ever seen anything like that before, ever?In any sport?Out long term, injured by an official?

    I honestly still cannot believe it.Was there a response from the ref who injured him?Did he at least apologize?I haven’t heard anything since the injury.

    I believe Orlando Brown’s career was effectively ended by an NFL ref hitting him in the eye with a penalty flag.

  16. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy:
    Not having an NHL caliber Dcorps was everything last night.

    That and a PP that couldn’t get shots through.

    This team is so close to going supernova when McDavid gets back.

    2 Dmen away if everyone is healthy.

    Last night here is what I saw in terms of Dmen and their assignments:

    Sekera – 1st – proper spot in the roster
    Nurse – 1st – Should be 3rd – don’t send him to drown
    Nikitin – 2nd – Should be 3rds, still speed issues
    Schultz – 2nd – Should be 3rd due to hockey awareness issues
    Davidson – 3rd – Proper spot, could probable play 2nds with right partner – 3rds is best
    Gryba – 3rd– I see him as a 7 Dman so 3rd is ok, but I’d prefer an upgrade on skating and passing ability there

    So 3 Dmen in their proper slot (Sekera, Davidson, Gryba)

    This team still has too many 3rd pairing Dmen.

    Come back Oscar!!

    Make a trade Chia!!!!

    You’re right about Nurse and not sending him drown. Don’t send him down and don’t send him out to drown either.

  17. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Zeabs93,

    I’m not sure Yak sitting out while McDavid is out is the worst thing. He just can’t cash without he exact right fit at C, and withut McDavid I’m not sure we have that (maybe he would work with Drai/Hall… maybe).

  18. Bar_Qu says:

    leadfarmer: You’re right about Nurse and not sending him drown.Don’t send him down and don’t send him out to drown either.

    There is a nice balance between demotion and top pairing minutes. I believe it is called 3rd-line minutes.

    I have faith in McClellan to see this and give him less playing time. He is pushing the right buttons so far this season. Even the place and chase (which I don’t understand as better/different than dump-ins) seem to be paying dividends, despite the widespread skepticism here.

  19. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    I’m a very happy Oiler fan these days. I see progress everywhere and can’t help but have an extra bounce in my step these days. Couple of quick thoughts.

    1) I agree with LT and WG now. Nurse while unbelievably talent should definitely play down a peg for a few games. The schedule gets a lot lighter come January and February and I think a few games to iron out kinks on a lower pairing would help his development and maybe even free him up for some special teams time on the PP. I watched a lot of OHL playoffs last year and I know the man can shoot so I hope they give him a chance.

    2) I like how the team has rejigged their zone entry formations on the power play over the last two-three games. A forward or man begins the breakout but just after hitting the redline (and before hitting the wall of defenders that form along the opposition blueline) a drop pass is made to a followup forward. Seems to me that this has been catching opposing teams a little flat footed and has allowed either deeper more controlled dump ins or a controlled entry. Early days but I like this step.

    3) While I went off a bit last night on the PP and TMac’s handling of players I can see a method to the madness here. That being said for the system they are running guys are standing still way way to often. If you watch teams like Chicago or the Rags their players are in constant motion on the ice. Not always doing something or going somewhere but always moving, this helps create a little chaos among defensive systems and usually leads to a guy being wide open. The Oil worked it great on the Hall goal but then shied away from it later. I want to see guys moving their feet more, rather than the 10-12 stationary passes we see over and over again. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where a soccer match finally comes to town but all that happens is a pass to the half-wall down to the goal-line, back to the half-wall, to the point back to the half-wall etc etc etc. Obviously part of this has to do with not having a reasonable option on the point to shoot (NO MOAR SCHULTZ DAMMIT!!!) but I do think it lies at the feet of the forwards just as much to get moving and give each other options.

    4) This problem gets solved once Poo-Yak-McD start returning but the PP combos right now are way out of whack. I feel sorry for Eberle in that TMac hasn’t given him just one extra skill guy on his unit to help him out. I say pull Nuge from PP1 and put Hendricks (hell even Nurse actually) in his place and have him stand in front of the net to block out the sun.

    5) I really hope that Dustin Schwartz has a chat with his goalers over the holiday break about cheating off the post. The GWG last night made my skin crawl because it was anything but a special play on Nash’s part (despite the fawning of Remenda). Three goals in the last three games because Nilsson/Talbot were cheating. Not to rain on the work that each guy has put in this month but this has been a problem all year and I would love to see it rectified.

    6) We are closer than ever to having the Precious back in the lineup. I sleep easy knowing we are only a few weeks away from having a team where Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl are the 2nd and 3rd most talented guys playing on any given night.

  20. Really? says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    Agree fully. For me it isn’t a question of bandwagon jumping rather that incredible feeling when you know something really good is going to happen. You just don’t know exactly when it will happen.

  21. Professor Q says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Oil2Oilers,

    The whole “Schultz isn’t actually good on the power play” seems like exactly the type of thing Tyller Dellow would notice, likely before most anyone else.

    He does still work for the team… right?

    Apparently more of a management role as opposed to coaching?

  22. Bag of Pucks says:

    Zeabs93:
    Can I just reiterate something?Yakupov is out with a long term injury, caused by the REFEREE.How does that happen?!?Has anyone ever seen anything like that before, ever?In any sport?Out long term, injured by an official?

    I honestly still cannot believe it.Was there a response from the ref who injured him?Did he at least apologize?I haven’t heard anything since the injury.

    No win situation for Chiarelli. Publicly embarrass the zebra fraternity and you’ll be on the wrong side of the calls for Gord knows how long.

    It was a freak accident. That said, I think the linesmen should’ve been sent to a minor league for a stint as it certainly was gross incompetence on his part. Don’t know what the hell he was thinking when he seized upon Yak to break his fall. Blind panic.

  23. Bag of Pucks says:

    Gregor was really banging on about the impossibility of running three scoring lines last night on his drive home show. Claims it’s impossible cos your top Fs just don’t get enough mins in that setup. He sees Nuge eventually moving to the wing upon McDavid’s return. Gregor says when Staal played with the Pens, they didn’t run 3 lines with him as 3C, but rather the bulk of Jordan’s mins were played on the wing in the Top 6?

    Very odd conclusion to reach.

    The primary reason I postulated trading RNH was the significant asset value he has that could potentially balance the lineup with a Top 2 D coming back.

    However, when someone says something can’t be done, that’s when I most want to see it. lol

    The way it stands now, I’d like to see the Oil chase the 3line unicorn when McDavid gets back, The experiment being: can a team imbalanced towards the offensive side score enough to make up for its deficiencies and lack of depth on the D side? If it gives us more games like last Friday’s tilt, I’m all for it. It’s not like we’re winning the Cup this season anyway.

    A return to classic Oilers river hockey. Could be just what the doctor ordered for this long suffering fanbase?

  24. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Professor Q,

    I can’t imagine there is a hard line delineation though. It’s not an organization of 1000 people. There’s like 15 or 20 guys between management and coaching in the room. Hardly room to create hard and fast silos.

    Someone has to have brought this up.

  25. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy:
    PACIFIC DIVISION STANDINGS VIA GAMES (PTS%) (TIES BROKEN BY ROW)

    LAK +10
    SJS +1
    ARI 0
    —————-
    CAL 0
    EDM -2
    ANA -2
    VAN -2

    Are you implying that the Oilers and Flames are both better than the Canucks?

    Them’s fightin’ words! 😉

    I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this day.

  26. blainer says:

    Bar_Qu: There is a nice balance between demotion and top pairing minutes. I believe it is called 3rd-line minutes.

    I have faith in McClellan to see this and give him less playing time. He is pushing the right buttons so far this season. Even the place and chase (which I don’t understand as better/different than dump-ins) seem to be paying dividends, despite the widespread skepticism here.

    Agreed.

    Like LT and Pouzar I am a big fan of Nurse.

    He is defiantly struggling out there on the top pair and is not quite ready for it yet. I think he will be by seasons end.

    Thing is there aren’t really any options to play the top pair other than Klef. Forget Jultz.. he is third pair at best.

    Try.

    Sekera Klef

    Davidson Gryba

    Nurse NN..

    Play

    Sekera Klef …24 mins

    Split the rest of the ice team between

    Nurse NN …

    Davidson Gryba

    Will have to keep the pairings the same til Klef returns.

  27. OTO says:

    Does anyone here think we should pick up kassian?

  28. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Really?:
    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    Agree fully. For me it isn’t a question of bandwagon jumping rather that incredible feeling when you know something really good is going to happen. You just don’t know exactly when it will happen.

    Oh I wasn’t accusing you of that at all, just to be clear. Just a portion of the fan base that seems to gloat when a little win streak happens but then have the sky falling after losses and want to trade players away. I see a little bump in the road coming here and worry about that.

  29. stevezie says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    That is my concern also. I’ve seen teams run three good lines that can score, but I don’t remember seeing three offensive centres with their own high powered lines on a single team.

    Not sure about the Staal part, but Staal was never an elite scorer. Nuge can play two-ways real fine, but I’d still call him an offensive player. Can we use that many guns to their full potential?

  30. Professor Q says:

    stevezie:
    Bag of Pucks,

    That is my concern also. I’ve seen teams run three good lines that can score, but I don’t remember seeing three offensive centres with their own high powered lines on a single team.

    Not sure about the Staal part, but Staal was never an elite scorer. Nuge can play two-ways real fine, but I’d still call him an offensive player. Can we use that many guns to their full potential?

    I wouldn’t want to trade centre depth that we finally have achieved away just to find out.

  31. Pouzar says:

    I would run:

    4-93-29
    67-97-14
    Best players on the ice more often.

    Also, get Nurse the **** down the lineup before the mediots start calling him a bust.

  32. blainer says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Gregor was really banging on about the impossibility of running three scoring lines last night on his drive home show. Claims it’s impossible cos your top Fs just don’t get enough mins in that setup. He sees Nuge eventually moving to the wing upon McDavid’s return. Gregor says when Staal played with the Pens, they didn’t run 3 lines with him as 3C, but rather the bulk of Jordan’s mins were played on the wing in the Top 6?

    Very odd conclusion to reach.

    The primary reason I postulated trading RNH was the significant asset value he has that could potentially balance the lineup with a Top 2 D coming back.

    However, when someone says something can’t be done, that’s when I most want to see it. lol

    The way it stands now, I’d like to see the Oil chase the 3line unicorn when McDavid gets back, The experiment being: can a team imbalanced towards the offensive side score enough to make up for its deficiencies and lack of depth on the D side? If it gives us more games like last Friday’s tilt, I’m all for it. It’s not like we’re winning the Cup this season anyway.

    A return to classic Oilers river hockey. Could be just what the doctor ordered for this long suffering fanbase?

    Jordan Stall was taking over 1200 faceoffs per year with Pitts.. That is not a winger. Gregor is off on that one. Unless it was for the PP and or injuries.

    There is some truth though to loading up two lines and I think we will see that at times during games especially where score effects are involved.

    We will see both unicorns and a stacked top six many times.

    Stacked top six

    Hall Drai Nuge

    Poo CMD Ebs

    Unicorns

    Hall Drai Purcell

    Hendy Nuge Ebs

    Poo CMD Yak

  33. blainer says:

    OTO:
    Does anyone here think we should pick up kassian?

    NO !

  34. jimmers2 says:

    blainer,

    According to Hockey Reference, Jordan Staal’s ATOI:

    06-07 : 14:56
    07-08 : 18:16
    08-09 : 19: 51
    09-10 : 19:24
    10-11 : 21:21
    11-12 : 20 : 23

    During that time Crosby: ATOI ranges from 18:08 to 21:55. while Malkin’s ranges from 19:10 to 22:31. Pitt did have fourth line centres who actually played so obviously some of those minutes were on the wings but otherwise PITT played their three big centres remarkably evenly. For comparison, Boyd Gordon played 13:20 and 14:45 the last two seasons in Edm, as a third line centre getting pretty big minutes.

    I think that three strong centres can indeed take the majority of minutes (the 4th doesn’t play so much) with total ice time in between 15 and 20 minutes each, so long as they share the ice on speciality teams.

    EDIT: I conveniently forgot the long-term injuries both Crosby and Malkin have had in this little comparison. These numbers are average TOI per game not necessarily calculated on the whole season. In any case, centres never get injured in Edmonton…

  35. Melvis says:

    Ahhh, today the unrepentant male gaze feasts on La Bardot, as febrile imagination roams below the southern border of the picture plane. And those ichorous lips. Oo la la. More than faintly resembling those of the poster boy at the top of the thread. Try some contrast and compare. C’est non?

    Useful ornamental feature on a hockey blog. A Sunshine Girl on a dreary winter afternoon. But what I really lust for today is a double cheese In and Out burger.

    Just sayin…as the saying goes.

  36. LMHF#1 says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Gregor was really banging on about the impossibility of running three scoring lines last night on his drive home show. Claims it’s impossible cos your top Fs just don’t get enough mins in that setup. He sees Nuge eventually moving to the wing upon McDavid’s return. Gregor says when Staal played with the Pens, they didn’t run 3 lines with him as 3C, but rather the bulk of Jordan’s mins were played on the wing in the Top 6?

    Gregor is constantly wrong about nearly everything, including basic points of fact.

    So we should have 3 scoring lines humming along at 5-v-5 fairly soon.

  37. Quinlan says:

    In this discussion of unicorns I thought I’d post this…

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/PIT/2009.html

    A couple of things jumped out to me:

    1) Jordan Staal was an interesting case. He had better Corsi numbers than Malkin (still less than 50% though), significantly lower production (49 pts), and a mountain to climb every night (DZS 60%).

    2) It looks like Evgeni Malkin was the one who moved to the wing, considering how his TOI totals clash with his FO totals.

    3) The coach managed to get the top 3 Cs (Crosby, Malkin, Staal) on the ice a lot. He was able to mix and match the lines, consistently getting all 3 C’s out for more than 60 mins combined/game.

    4) Overall, the Penguins were a much worse possession team than I had expected. We’re talking here about the year they won the Cup! Crosby, Malkin, and Staal were all below 50% CF. Talbot had his head kicked in (44%) and Malkin was only slightly better (46%).

    5) Were the 2008-09 Penguins even really a 3 scoring line team? Look at Dallas this year too, a team that’s been rolling 3 lines pretty reliably, even 4, with quite a bit of talent on each. How many points is that “3rd scoring line” actually scoring? Is 30 pts/player the line in the sand? 40? Pittsburgh had 4 forwards over 40 pts (Malkin, Crosby, Staal, Sykora). Dallas this year is on pace for 5 (Benn, Seguin, Spezza, Sharp, Eakin) with Nichushkin very close.

    6) Conclusion: IMO, the Oilers have better forwards than any team I can think of in the Bettman era of hockey. Consider these pairs (trios):

    Draisaitl – Hall (Purcell)
    Mcdavid – Yakupov (Pouliot)
    Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle (Pakarinen? Khaira? Slepyshev?)

    Wow. This may be unprecedented. I’d prefer to have a more known offensive commodity with Nuge and Eberle, preferably one with size, but still… Wow.

    That’s a forward corps that has to at least make you think that outscoring your mistakes may actually be a good game plan. Get them the puck, and let them roll.

    All game long.

  38. dessert1111 says:

    I hear a lot of concerns about TOI when running 3 scoring lines, but to me this concern is unfounded. If your top 3 centres/lines play 18 min/night, as I’ve seen mentioned here before, you can roll 3 lines most the night and have your last line for penalty kill and some specialty situations.

    You tend not to see 3 scoring lines because teams tend not to have such talent in their top 9.

    I would try to think of the forwards less hierarchical and more in terms of minutes played. You can always load up lines towards the end of the game to get all the #1s, Draisalt and Eberle out together.

    Playing Purcell, Yak or Pouliot with less skill is less worthwhile, especially since there will be injuries.

    The only open spot in the top 9 right now IMO is next to RNH and Eberle, and I think Sleppy eventually could be a fit and Khaira looked good for some games.

    I would have Khaira ahead of the other energy guys for skill minutes simply because of his hands. He makes better passes and stick handles better than Hendricks or Klinkhammer.

    The biggest decision for the top 9 for the rest of the year is what to do with Purcell, as I see it. Trade, re-up, or use him for a playoff push. Might depend on injuries and how well guys like Sleppy are playing.

    Long story short, breaking up 3 solid scoring lines because of TOI concerns I think is silly because you can just play the 4th line less. It’s a concern in 2 years when more people have to get paid, but so much changes in 2 years that trades can be made then.

    Those 3 scoring lines might be good enough that you can live with high scoring games from defensive mistakes, since you can still come out on top.

  39. Jordan says:

    Whenever we look at statistics for players, we always reference their time on ice and games played, as a reference to identify how they do as a player individually.

    However, this omits all time spent injured, suspended, demoted, or press-boxed.

    I see value for GMs and fantasy sports enthusiasts to get true numbers.

    Numbers not based on the player, but based on the team, and the season as a whole. I expect it would have value in looking beyond the player’s individual value at their value to the team as a whole.

    I’m not going to do anything with this idea. But I thought it might be worth something to someone, so better to post it here and hope one of you guys can make some money from it.

    Cheers,.
    .

  40. Centre of attention says:

    Klefbom to IR.

    Oh dear.

  41. OrangeandBlue says:

    Zeabs93,

    That’s something that has bothered me a bit since the injury…if a ref goes down I don’t see how he should be allowed to put his hands on a player to try to save himself. It was just an instinct on his part to do it and of course he didn’t mean to hurt Yak, but I almost feel that there should be some sort of rule or safeguard in place to protect players from this kind of incident in the future. I know it’s been a while since it happened, but it has crossed my mind from time to time.

  42. Woodguy says:

    Quinlan,

    Re: PIT in Cup winning year

    They were 47.1% SAC (score sdjusted corsi) when they fired Therrian 57 games in.

    In the last 25 games under Bylsma they were 53.1% SAC

    That’s the team that won the Cup.

  43. Woodguy says:

    Centre of attention:
    Klefbom to IR.

    Oh dear.

    Fuck sakes

  44. Caramel Obvious says:

    LMHF#1: Gregor is constantly wrong about nearly everything, including basic points of fact.

    So we should have 3 scoring lines humming along at 5-v-5 fairly soon.

    Exactly. Once you remember that Gregor is wrong about everything and loves to grind axes you realize that you can be very safe thinking the opposite of him.

    The Oilers’ biggest problem is the back end of the roster is terrible.

    Solution: Make three good lines and stop using the fourth.

    The idea that you can’t have three scoring lines is self-contradictory. Every team is always talking about getting goals from outside the top six. You can’t win without them, i.e., you can’t win without three lines that score.

    So if you can’t win without three lines that score it can’t be impossible to have three scoring lines.

    The very notion of “scoring” lines or “top six” is self-refuting. It’s a good example of the language we use making us stupid.

  45. SwedishPoster says:

    Ofcourse you can roll three scoring lines, just cut the ice time for the fourth line, they are basically around for PK, special faceoffs, energy and when the big guns need release. With Laleggia playing fwd in Bako a future option might be to carry him as a fourth line winger and PP QB if our other options keep up their struggles.

  46. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy: Fuck sakes

    Stauffer has a point, it might be to open up a spot to activate Pouliot.

    Too bad K-bomb wont be back until we get home :/

  47. Caramel Obvious says:

    dessert1111,

    Completely agree. I would also add that it isn’t true that scoring lines necessaily give up more defensively. That’s nonsense.

    An energy line is what you ice when you don’t have any options. No one should do it on purpose. It’s trying to lose.

    An energy player is simply code for a bad player. These guys bring nothing to the table. Nothing.

  48. Woodguy says:

    Re: Unicorns

    Many coaches want their best forwards to on the ice 20-22 min/gm

    To run unicorns with high end talent on each line takes roughly 18 min/line for the top 3 lines and 5 for the 4th.

    I can’t blame a NHL coach saying “I want both Hall and McDavid on the ice for 22 minutes”

    For the Oilers to have unicorns under this coach it will take kid-line type 3rd scoring line.

  49. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    So the Fed hikes rates. Someone here told me it would never happen in 2015. I should have bet him a Woodguy, eh!

    Sucks about Klefbom. Hard to see another win in the next two.

  50. Doomoil says:

    It was actually Kassian who said RNH should go to the wing, never gave any reasoning at all.

    I would assume that he meant Drai but he specifically brought up the rnh-mcdavid-eberle line twice.

    Why they decided that he was going to be a regular on 1260 is a mystery. Despite having been an actual NHL player his total and utter lack of actual hockey knowledge is mind blowing. When he’s asked anything specific it’s just stammering while he fumbles out some nonsense.

  51. BONVIE says:

    Woodguy:
    Re: Unicorns

    Many coaches want their best forwards to on the ice 20-22 min/gm

    To run unicorns with high end talent on each line takes roughly 18 min/line for the top 3 lines and 5 for the 4th.

    I can’t blame a NHL coach saying “I want both Hall and McDavid on the ice for 22 minutes”

    For the Oilers to have unicorns under this coach it will take kid-line type 3rd scoring line.

    Yes but running 4 forwards on the PP is where the extra minutes come in, that bring the star forward player from that 18 minutes to over 20, especially if they do some penalty killing.

  52. Quinlan says:

    Woodguy,

    Good call.

    Incredible the change that Bylsma made. It wasn’t just a flash in the pan either, they dominated the next season.

  53. Doomoil says:

    I finally got a chance to listen to the PDOcast that addresses the stupidity of trading Nuge and they killed it. Then I listened to Dom and young Willis provide better analysis in 30 minutes then the average MSMer will put forth in an entire year.

    The utter disdain that Yost shows for Spector and his bile, not relegated to only the Nuge focused cast, makes me smile too.

  54. theres oil in virginia says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    So the Fed hikes rates. Someone here told me it would never happen in 2015. I should have bet him a Woodguy, eh!

    Sucks about Klefbom. Hard to see another win in the next two.

    It wasn’t me, but I would have taken that position. Wow.

  55. Armchair GM says:

    Anyone who can’t see how to deploy 3 scoring lines is ignoring that a game is 60 minutes long. That’s 20 minutes a piece for each line. Most forwards don’t play 20 minutes so you can see that there is plenty of time. Sure the power play and short handed situations skew the results but not that much over a season. Most teams have a couple of lines which are expected to do the bulk of the scoring and two ‘filler’ lines (hoping to take up time to give the real hockey players a rest until they can go back on the ice to win the hockey game for you.)

    The 3rd and 4th lines in hockey are line all those ‘filler’ songs placed on records to get enough material to put out a full length album. (And don’t tell me about all those great album songs that weren’t hits. For every ‘Come Down in Time’ on Tumbleweed Connection, you have thousands of barely listenable garbage).

    Play 3 offensive lines, have the 4th line to hold your penalty killers and rock and roll away. The only reason we have the current roles assigned to the various lines today is because there isn’t enough real talent to go around to stock all the teams with honest to goodness hockey players.

    As an added bonus, imagine the internal competition from the 3 high skilled duos for ice time. They’ll be chomping at the bit to get involved. Also NO ONE has enough competent checkers to stop the unicorn. With all due respect to Crosby, Malkin and Stall, they never had a set of sidekicks with the talent of Hall, Eberle and Yak to run with in Pittsburgh.

    When you find yourself with sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter, you’ve just got to light it up don’t you?

  56. Bag of Pucks says:

    Quinlan:
    In this discussion of unicorns I thought I’d post this…

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/PIT/2009.html

    Wow. This may be unprecedented. I’d prefer to have a more known offensive commodity with Nuge and Eberle, preferably one with size, but still… Wow.

    That’s a forward corps that has to at least make you think that outscoring your mistakes may actually be a good game plan. Get them the puck, and let them roll.

    All game long.

    The thing that also has me thinking this could actually work is the change in Dzone tactics I’m seeing under TMac.

    What I’m seeing is a D that’s been schooled to look for the breakout pass and if it’s not there and the forecheck pressure is coming, they’re dumping it into the neutral zone and expecting the Fs to fight to get it back. The message to the Fs is simple, if you can’t get open to give your D a viable pass target, then you’ll be fighting for the puck in the neutral zone. Your call, but your burden either way.

    By my eye, this team gives up possession more readily if A) possession presents the possibility of a turnover in the defensive scoring zone or B) teams are clogging the neutral zone preventing a clean entry for the Fs.

    Conversely, the D under Eakins appeared as if they were instructed to hold it at all costs until a viable breakout pass presented itself. And when it didn’t, they either rimmed it around the boards to their partner, tried cross-ice to their partner, ate the puck, or more often than not, turned it over.

    I think we’re seeing the same thing with the Fs given more of a greenlight to dump n chase.

    I think it’s the smart system of a coach that knows he’s dealing with a young team overall and a VERY inexperienced D core.

    TMac wants and appreciates possession, but not at all costs. His teams will lob it out under pressure to avoid the costly turnover or protracted cycles. By the same token, he’s schooling his Fs how to actually strategize, position and win the dump n chase battles. It’s another option entering the zone – another bullet in the arsenal.

    This isn’t the 70s era Soviets. There is another way to exit and/or gain the zone.

  57. Woodguy says:

    BONVIE: Yes but running 4 forwards on the PP is where the extra minutes come in, that bring the star forward player from that 18 minutes to over 20, especially if they do some penalty killing.

    5v4 is included in both the 20-22 and 18 min numbers.

    That’s why most coaches wouldn’t do it.

    McLellan mused about it with Draisailt and Yak on the 3Rd scoring line but at the time no one knew what Saddle was and I doubt hw was thinking that line was going to get equal time.

  58. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy:
    Re: Unicorns

    Many coaches want their best forwards to on the ice 20-22 min/gm

    To run unicorns with high end talent on each line takes roughly 18 min/line for the top 3 lines and 5 for the 4th.

    I can’t blame a NHL coach saying “I want both Hall and McDavid on the ice for 22 minutes”

    For the Oilers to have unicorns under this coach it will take kid-line type 3rd scoring line.

    Oilers could run unicorns and give their best players 20-22 mins a game.

    Line 1 Hall-Drai-Purcell
    Line 2 Poo-McDavid-Yak
    Line 3Hendricks-RNH-Ebs
    Line 4 Korp-Letestu-Lander

    Run these 4 lines at even strength.

    On the power play, run 4 forwards per PP unit. So everyone from the first 3 lines except Hendricks.

    When down a goal and/or you want to load up the top 2 lines.

    Line 1 Hall-RNH-Drai
    Line 2 Poo-McDavid-Eberle

    Doesn’t really matter on the wings, throw in Yak or Purcell in the top 6 if they are going, but RNH, Drai and McDavid are 3 of our 6 best forwards and if their ice time is low, then we are not giving ourselves the best chance to win.

    So the Oilers could definitely have
    RNH-20 mins
    McDavid-20 mins
    Drai-20 mins
    Letestu- 10 mins

    That is 70 minutes for the centers. But they would not be playing center 100% of the time. They would be taking minutes from the bottom 6 wingers.

    People look at the Pens 3 centers with Staal and they ran some sort of unicorns. But when needed, the Pens would load up those 3 centers on the top 2 lines. For instance, in 09-10, Malkin played just over 25% of his even strength time with either Crosby or Staal. Not to mention that Malkin and Crosby played together on the 1st PP unit.

    I can see McLellan doing the same sort of thing.

  59. Bag of Pucks says:

    Doomoil:
    It was actually Kassian who said RNH should go to the wing, never gave any reasoning at all.

    That’s right. Good catch.

  60. Caramel Obvious says:

    There are 24 forwards with 20 or more minutes a game, less than one per team. Most of those are right around 20 minutes, only three are over 21 minutes.

    You could get three centers 20 minutes a game if you wanted to. There is no obstacle but the will to do it.

  61. Bag of Pucks says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    There are 24 forwards with 20 or more minutes a game, less than one per team.Most of those are right around 20 minutes, only three are over 21 minutes.

    You could get three centers 20 minutes a game if you wanted to.There is no obstacle but the will to do it.

    One of the considerations is how do they keep them all (and their agents) happy?

    If you consistently feed just one line the toughs, it impacts their counting numbers (hence their longterm compensation). The exception is likely McDavid who in time will outscore the toughs anyway, as Hall does now.

    Ideally, I think you’d like to change it up based on matchup. Playing the Kopitars and Getzlafs of the world. Drai might be the best fit for taking the toughs that night. Toews or Datsyuk on the sched. RNH we need you. A pure burner like Seguin or TBay seems to have in abundance, McDavid eats their lunch?

    Damn it’s good to finally have options!

  62. BONVIE says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    There are 24 forwards with 20 or more minutes a game, less than one per team.Most of those are right around 20 minutes, only three are over 21 minutes.

    You could get three centers 20 minutes a game if you wanted to.There is no obstacle but the will to do it.

    With three relatively equal scoring lines, the only way to keep up the top forwards minutes would be Deploying Draisatel, Hall, McDavid, and Nuge all on the penalty kill as well. Which would add a lot of interest especially having the speed of Hall and McDavid on the penalty kill, kind of scares the crap out of any forward playing the point on an opposing teams PP.

  63. khildahl says:

    TOI for any given line can vary greatly between any two games. Maybe Hall-Drai are completely unstoppable in one Ame and play 20+ to lock up a win, but then get 17 minutes the next night because they’re tired in the third period. Having two other elite scoring lines that played less the day before and can pick up the slack will win the team a lot of hockey games.

  64. AsiaOil says:

    They can win if they play hard and the goalie is exceptional – same recipe as the winning streak.

    Don’t worry about the Fed hike – they likely cut next month. They had to raise after 9 years or their credibility was completely destroyed and they can go no further in the face of global demand crashing, commodities crashing, emerging markets being crushed, the high yield sector looking like a bubble popping, and of course all of this at the end of a business cycle that has largely been driven by Fed liquidity injections rather than real growth. Yeah everything is fantastic……..

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    So the Fed hikes rates. Someone here told me it would never happen in 2015. I should have bet him a Woodguy, eh!

    Sucks about Klefbom. Hard to see another win in the next two.

  65. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Why not run three lines and only three lines?

  66. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons:
    Why not run three lines and only three lines?

    Yeah, that way Oilers could dress all 9 of their d-men.

  67. dustrock says:

    Wondering how much longer we’ll have to endure Justin Schultz.

  68. theres oil in virginia says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Yeah, that way Oilers could dress all 9 of their d-men.

    Third pairings all around!

  69. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    AsiaOil:
    They can win if they play hard and the goalie is exceptional – same recipe as the winning streak.

    Don’t worry about the Fed hike – they likely cut next month. They had to raise after 9 years or their credibility was completely destroyed and they can go no further in the face of global demand crashing, commodities crashing, emerging markets being crushed, the high yield sector looking like a bubble popping, and of course all of this at the end of a business cycle that has largely been driven by Fed liquidity injections rather than real growth. Yeah everything is fantastic……..

    When did I say everything is fantastic? Having lived in Japan and worked in that market for as long as I did I am a markets skeptic to be sure. You have always made me look like an uber bull by comparison though!

  70. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    P.S. I am not worried too much about the US markets at the moment. Canada on the other hand continues to be a huge worry for me, as it has since last fall and have espoused here consistently over the past 15 months.

  71. Melvis says:

    I don’t give a damn about the Nucks. But here’s the thing. They’ve played about a third of their games in OT. It’s an extreme example, but in all too many cases, it’s not a 60 min game. It’s a 65 minute game, plus shootout.

    Ergo, you can’t run 3 lines and only 3 lines with anything resembling competence over extended duration while hoping to salvage a point or two. Tthe physical toll adds up over 82.

  72. Caramel Obvious says:

    On the subject of trading RNH, the discussion always breaks down because those suggesting trading him (I’m looking at you Rishaug) never specify what would be an adequate return.

    Everyone would trade RNH for Doughty. Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen.

    But would you trade RNH and Schultz for Hamonic and Grabovski?

    I wouldn’t but that’s the kind of deal it would be.

    So the question if you think the Oilers need to trade a forward for a D, is what is your minimum deal?

    What is the worst trade you would accept?

    If you can’t find one then the alternative is three scoring lines.

  73. HeavySig says:

    OTO:
    Does anyone here think we should pick up kassian?

    Definitely!

    Then drop him off something high.

  74. HeavySig says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Yeah, that way Oilers could dress all 9 of their d-men.

    Finally a place to put all those 4th pairing guys!

  75. Melvis says:

    I meant a quarter of their games…but you know what I mean. I hope.

  76. G Money says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: When did I say everything is fantastic?

    Um, I think it was you that said everything is awesome. And you said it in the format of a song, for some reason. I’m pretty sure that was you.

  77. Melvis says:

    Kassian? I lived with a substance abuser who went through rehab a couple of times…after which she kept falling off the wagon, among other issues…including verbal and physical violence.

    You can’t live with them if you want to salvage your sanity. But you can learn to live without them.

  78. Bruce McCurdy says:

    I wrote a piece about depth at talented-centre shortly after the lottery which stands up fairly well today, other than the occasional Boyd Gordon or Derek Roy reference. (In a sense both were replaced by Letestu.)

    In it I mentioned the Pens as the best analog since the lockout with their three consecutive pivots taken in the top 2 overall. I did note Staal was more defensive in nature that any of the Oilers stalwarts, with statistical markers like SH TOI and zone starts to support that memory. Bylsma used to stack Malkin and Crosby on one line at times, especially if the team was trailing in the back half of a game, or sometimes for a few games if the team was slumping. The club did take a massive leap in possession after Bylsma took over. All of which has already been touched on by various folks in the excellent thread above which I’m just catching up to.

    The Pens like the Oilers had three lefties, not ideal, and a tendency to get owned on the dot, also not ideal.

    An earlier analog was the Nordiques of the eaarly ’90s, who traded Mats Sundin when Peter Forsberg came aboard. Forsbear teamed with incumbent Joe Sakic to form a formidable 1-2 punch for years, though at times they were teamed up on one line in a similar manner as Malkin-Crosby, when the team really needed a goal or a shake-up of some kind. I always wondered how good would the Nordiques have been had they simply kept all three future Hall of Famers. Then again I have wondered how good would the Penguins have been if they had drafted Jonathan Toews instead of Jordan Staal in 2006.

    Another comp might be the 2002 Red Wings whose embarrassment of riches of listed centres included Yzerman, Fedorov, Larionov and Datsyuk. Holy crap. Basically four Hall of Famers, though that team still found important ice time for Kris Draper to play a huge role. The analogy is less good because of the range of ages of those named — Datsyuk was a rook, but Larionov & Yzerman were anything but. Bowman moved Yzerman to the wing and found a way to make do with the rest at centre. Fedorov was an option at wing as well, or defence for that matter. That guy could do anything.

    For the modern Oilers, I don’t mind the “3 pairs” option, but the nice part is that 3×2 “accordions” very nicely into 2×3. e.g. …

    Hall-Drai
    McD-Yak
    Nuge-Eberle

    … becomes …

    Hall-Nuge-Drai
    Yak-McD-Eberle

    … in a heartbeat, and just like that two lines are loaded for bear, and ready to play 4 of the last 5 minutes or 7 of the last 10.

    Of course, such happens naturally on the powerplay, where the skill players of different lines get plenty of opportunity to play with one another (unless you’re Jordan Eberle just now — yowsa). But when all are healthy there is enough talent to stack 2 units 4 forwards deep.

    All in all, a nice problem to have, & a problem I would prefer to have for a few years rather than try to “resolve” it prematurely, as the Nords did with Sundin.

  79. khildahl says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Whether you meant to say “Forsbear” or not, you won the thread with it.

  80. AsiaOil says:

    Sorry man you misunderstood – I was just quoting the MSM line on the US economy – did mean to imply anything about you.

    I’m an über bear on the US and global economies in general. This entire “recovery” has been fake to the extent that income levels and labor participation rates for ordinary middle class Americans have done nothing but plummet over the past decade. The 0.01% have done fabulously but everyone else is struggling. Add Obamacare on top of it (love my 35% increase in health care costs next year) and it’s not good. But as you know Japan has been an economic zombie for the last 2 decades and they could drag out the show for a while yet.

    Marxism is a stupid way to run an economy – but it’s still the clearest lens to view the development of capitalist societies. We are well and truly into the excess capacity stage where you cannot keep shifting income from labor to capital without destroying aggregate demand. Part of this is globalization, part technology, part pure greed on the part of the 0.01% – but this contradiction and excess capacity is always dealt with the same way. Load up the workers with debt and when they can’t carry any more – you blow stuff up.

    ….and on that cheery note – Merry Christmas!

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: When did I say everything is fantastic? Having lived in Japan and worked in that market for as long as I did I am a markets skeptic to be sure. You have always made me look like an uber bull by comparison though!

  81. Bruce McCurdy says:

    khildahl:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Whether you meant to say “Forsbear” or not, you won the thread with it.

    Definitely did mean it, my circle of ‘keeper league’ pals all referred to him that way for years. Described him perfectly.

  82. Caramel Obvious says:

    “Marxism is a stupid way to run an economy – but it’s still the clearest lens to view the development of capitalist societies. We are well and truly into the excess capacity stage where you cannot keep shifting income from labor to capital without destroying aggregate demand.”

    I could not agree with this more.

    The relationship between productivity and aggregate demand is the single biggest problem we face and no one is talking about it, or even seems to recognize it as a problem.

  83. hunter1909 says:

    Bravely missed last night’s action, thanks to annual festivities.

    RNH McDavid Yakupov

    Hall Draisraitl Eberle

    My dream top six…

    RNH fills in as McGenius’s Yin to Yakupov’s Yang. Driven by the boy wonder, this might be all time famous line.

    Meanwhile, Eberle gets to rejoin the big dogs.

    Good luck stopping this top pair.

  84. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Yeah, that way Oilers could dress all 9 of their d-men.

    lol

    Seriously, though, is there a legit reason not to?

  85. hunter1909 says:

    AsiaOil: ’m an über bear on the US and global economies in general. This entire “recovery” has been fake to the extent that income levels and labor participation rates for ordinary middle class Americans have done nothing but plummet over the past decade.

    There is no middle class. That died around 2007.

    Today it’s the very rich, and the mob, and outer party members who can afford to buy nearly anything but an honest life.

  86. Lowetide says:

    Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons: lol

    Seriously, though, is there a legit reason not to?

    They might play them?

  87. AsiaOil says:

    Hey Bruce – agree we have some time – but the DET example is less valid as it was pre-cap.

    I’m all for keep as many of these forwards as possible – but not at the cost of defense and goaltending. At some point the team will have to address these issues to get better as a team and deal with the cap. It will also be impossible to maintain everyone and fix the defense/goalies after McDs next contract – especially is Drai continues to evolve as projected.

    I actually really want to go for it in the 3rd year of CMDs entry level deal – it’s an opportunity – but the young dmen will not be completely ready since we drafted them late. If we can get a guy like Hamonic without giving up Eberle or RNH then you do that – then you could also load up with a pending UFA dman at the trade deadline 2 years from now and go for it.

    Going to be real interesting to see how Chia juggles this going forward. I would love to get Burns or Weber over the summer but can’t see picks, prospects and extras doing it. Something “big” (RNH or Ebs) would likely have to go as well. RNH to NASH certainly – but Ebs+ to SJS might work since they have Couture and Pavelski and one of Thorton/Marleau may come back at a reduced price for a couple of years. If Chia can get one of Weber or Burns for less then build the statue right now and keep everyone as long as possible – but it’s unlikely.

    Bruce McCurdy,

  88. Loyal2theoil says:

    What would you guys think of Goligoski as a FA pick up next summer.

  89. AsiaOil says:

    Hey CO – and in fact we are making it worse with trade deals like the TPP and technology making more and more unskilled labor redundant. You are right – it’s the 800 lbs gorilla that no one dares mention.

    Laughed my ass off listening to NPR last week as some poor naive climate scientist went on about an “unprecedented” situation this year where global CO2 levels decreased during a time of “robust economic growth”. Had to shake my head listening to the guy totally miss an indicator of economic activity that cannot be seasonally adjusted, revised or just plain faked. He simply accepted the fairytale economic stats without question which is something that he would never do with the climate numbers. Faith in TPTB was strong in that one 🙂

    Caramel Obvious:
    “Marxism is a stupid way to run an economy – but it’s still the clearest lens to view the development of capitalist societies. We are well and truly into the excess capacity stage where you cannot keep shifting income from labor to capital without destroying aggregate demand.”

    I could not agree with this more.

    The relationship between productivity and aggregate demand is the single biggest problem we face and no one is talking about it, or even seems to recognize it as a problem.

  90. Lowetide says:

    Loyal2theoil:
    What would you guys think of Goligoski as a FA pick up next summer.

    Absolutely a target, just not sure where he would land on my list.

  91. Tire Fire says:

    AsiaOil: and in fact we are making it worse with trade deals like the TPP and technology making more and more unskilled labor redundant.

    Yeah, damn those horseless carriages hauling my goods to market! Why, in my day, we would’ve hired ten stable boys and a farrier for every tonne of goods. Those were the days!

  92. khildahl says:

    Lowetide: They might play them?

    Ference and Gryba and Schultz, oh my!

  93. AsiaOil says:

    Yes mass production in the teens and 20s led to huge productivity and output increases which was followed by excessive debt, the crash of the 1930s, and a sustained period of “blowing things up” in the 40s. You just stopped the story a bit too soon 🙂

    Tire Fire: Yeah, damn those horseless carriages hauling my goods to market!Why, in my day, we would’ve hired ten stable boys and a farrier for every tonne of goods.Those were the days!

  94. khildahl says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Definitely did mean it, my circle of ‘keeper league’ pals all referred to him that way for years. Described him perfectly.

    Perfectly indeed.

    On a completely non-hockey tangent, man, Venus looks fantastic around 7am lately.

  95. thehop says:

    Melvis,

    And I thought dead man walking was strange. You sir are from a different dimension of strange.

    In and out is good though.

    Seriously though, any thoughts on the oilers or the game of hockey in general?

    Regards,

    Hop

  96. thehop says:

    Melvis,

    My dad is an alcoholic and I live with him. I haven’t lost my sanity or thought about abandoning him.

    And you had the balls to call somebody and ignorant asshole yesterday.

    Take a look in the mirror rock star.

  97. Tire Fire says:

    AsiaOil:
    Yes mass production in the teens and 20s led to huge productivity and output increases which was followed by excessive debt, the crash of the 1930s, and a sustained period of “blowing things up” in the 40s. You just stopped the story a bit too soon

    ….. so….. you think we shouldn’t develop technology to make goods and services more efficient?

    What year should we have stopped this process then? It would be a little too convenient if 2015 happened to be the perfect year.
    Maybe the 1980’s–electronic music, but not really any computers?
    Perhaps the 1950’s–home appliances, but not much medical imaging?
    Did the Amish select the right year to stop? Were they too soon, or too late?

  98. Tire Fire says:

    khildahl:
    On a completely non-hockey tangent, man, Venus looks fantastic around 7am lately.

    You know, I don’t doubt it, though I’ve always been more of a Serena kind of guy.

  99. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    This has been a strange place of late. Gentlemen don’t kiss and tell.

    I really would like Hall to catch Seguin in points this year. I don’t think it happens, but it would be great to not have to hear so much about how Tyler is better.

  100. khildahl says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    Just imagine how many more points he’d have if tripping him was a penalty.

  101. commonfan14 says:

    Tire Fire: khildahl:
    On a completely non-hockey tangent, man, Venus looks fantastic around 7am lately.
    You know, I don’t doubt it, though I’ve always been more of a Serena kind of guy.

    I thought Johnny was the morning man.

  102. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Lowetide,

    I realize it sounds ridiculous or against convention.

    But based on the discussion, the main barrier to unicorns (other than injury) is there isn’t enough time to go around, so why not scrap the fourth line?

  103. jm363561 says:

    I have not had time to read the comments, but (i) I love these post game analyses, and (ii) agree with absolutely everything you have written. Even with an entire second line and best D man missing the team competed – I can forgive a lot if I see this. BDavidson – bloody hell.

  104. stevezie says:

    Caramel Obvious: Solution: Make three good lines and stop using the fourth.

    This makes complete sense to me. I have been saying for a couple years that between radically improved conditioning and tv timeouts the fourth line has never been less essential.

    That said, I don’t think Gregor’s doubts are stupid ones (in this case). We’re poised to do something that is never done. Yes, that’s how history is made, but there are times where things aren’t done for a reason. I don’t fault someone for wanting to be double sure before attempting the unprecedented.

    But it does seem like it should work.

    I would stack the fourth line with cheap penalty killers that could live with playing maybe one or two even strength shifts the entire game and making peanuts. Not really that different from a line full of fighters. Lander may yet have a role.

  105. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Definitely did mean it, my circle of ‘keeper league’ pals all referred to him that way for years. Described him perfectly.

    “Foppa” was my fave player for a long time. So much so that when I went to Sweden in 2001 for the first time, one of the places I Had to go was Ornskoldsvik, or O-vik (Ur-veek) as the locals call it. Went to see the rink Foppa, the Sedins, Markus Naslund and various other skated on (Kempehallen).

    Of course, being a Canadian hockey coach made me something of a celebrity, so the lovely people from Modo Hockey sent me home with a sweatshirt and great memories.

  106. jm363561 says:

    Ducey:
    Hmmm.Nikitin comes back from the minors a better player. Maybe letting players sort out their issues in the minors works, eh?

    Once Fayne has sorted himself out in the minors, bring him up, and send down Nurse.

    10 – 20AHL games practicing a lot and playing top minutes would do Nurse a world of good.

    This whole debate – play the Best 6 D to win, vs Develop Your Best Prospects – is a very tough call. DN is undoubtedly one of the best 6 D but he is regressing before our eyes. I do not know the answer but I can see (I) playing him top pairing is not helping his development, but (ii) the team is doing well. Tough call.

  107. Bruce McCurdy says:

    stevezie: This makes complete sense to me. I have been saying for a couple years that between radically improved conditioning and tv timeouts the fourth line has never been less essential.


    I would stack the fourth line with cheap penalty killers that could live with playing maybe one or two even strength shifts the entire game and making peanuts. Not really that different from a line full of fighters. Lander may yet have a role.

    My fourth line is something like Hendricks – Lander – Letestu. All can kill penalties, take — and WIN — faceoffs, and come in under $2 MM each & $5 MM combined.

    The idea that a fourth line is somehow redundant or superfluous is dead wrong IMO. What the fourth line needs to be is different, and fill different needs.

  108. jm363561 says:

    AsiaOil:
    They can win if they play hard and the goalie is exceptional – same recipe as the winning streak.

    Don’t worry about the Fed hike – they likely cut next month. They had to raise after 9 years or their credibility was completely destroyed and they can go no further in the face of global demand crashing, commodities crashing, emerging markets being crushed, the high yield sector looking like a bubble popping, and of course all of this at the end of a business cycle that has largely been driven by Fed liquidity injections rather than real growth. Yeah everything is fantastic……..

    Want to bet on a Fed cut in January?

  109. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    But what makes dropping the fourth line dead wrong?

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