YOUR MOUTH DON’T MOVE BUT I CAN HEAR YOU SPEAK

The Edmonton Oilers won their 30th game of the season, the first time since 2011-12 and Tom Renney. In what has been a wildly disappointing season, it does represent a turn north. Where would this team be with 77 games of McDavid, Klefbom, Davidson? Hard to say. I will guess outside the playoffs but pushing toward No. 22 overall.

  • Todd McLellan: ”Our group has to learn how to bring it every night.”

DO U KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE, 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: 7-6-1
  • Oilers in January 2015: 5-7-1
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2
  • Oilers in February 2015: 5-6-1
  • Oilers in February 2016: 4-8-2
  • Oilers in March 2015: 5-6-3
  • Oilers in March 2016: 7-6-0
  • Oilers after 77 in 2014-15: 23-41-13, 59 points (-72 GD)
  • Oilers after 77 in 2015-16: 30-40-7, 67 points (-37 GD)

The Oilers improved the goal differential season over season (lost 5-1 a year ago, won 6-3 this year—+7 differential) and of course they can now see 70 points ahead. Small victories are big steps.

HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES

  • Three: Jordan Eberle
  • One: Taylor Hall, Patrick Maroon, Connor McDavid, Lauri Korpikoski, Jordan Oesterle

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

  • Reinhart—Oesterle had another fine evening by the numbers, and the visual looked good too. Oesterle had a brilliant offensive chance (slot, point blank), Reinhart played a steady game. He seems a little more confident each outing. I spoke to his Dad last summer, after the trade, and asked him if GR could have a smooth transition to the NHL. Paul Reinhart said his son would probably need some games to adjust to the speed of the game, and we are here now. No guarantees, and mistakes are there, but encouraging signs late in the year. I think both men are making a case for employment next season, perhaps as callups.
  • Nurse—Clendening had an eventful evening. Nurse had a fight early, an assist later and ended the evening +4. Clendening had a goal and an assist in the game, and was also +4. The pairing faced both the Thornton and Couture lines, and that is some real skill. A good night overall.
  • Sekera—Fayne had a difficult night in possession, and again both men had some oops moments. After the long season, maybe they are losing the script a little, but I remain convinced both should return next year. Why were the Corgi’s so bad? I don’t know—this duo got a healthy dose of the Leon line, and that should be a good thing. Sekera two apples.

CENTERS, LAST NIGHT

oil c nov 30

WINGERS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

  • Maroon—McDavid—Eberle had a massive night in San Jose. Two goals, three assists, five shots on goal and five of the eight high-danger scoring chances—along with stomping the Sharks in possession. They got the Burns-Martin pairing and (mostly) the Couture line, won going away. Paul Martin played hard but that McDavid fellow is already one of the best players in the game.
  • Maroon is fabulous, he was terrific with or without the puck and over the top with the mic in front of him. He reminds me of those small tweaks Slats used to make when no one was watching. Those tweaks often turned into strong, productive players. Maroon may be just that kind of addition.
  • Korpikoski—Letestu—Pakarinen got the ball rolling, as the Finn cashed to start the comeback. They had an effective game, especially on the forecheck (a theme for the evening).
  • Note: Honestly, these line and opposition matchups were a moving target. I have cobbled together this information as best I can, but both coaches were moving their chess pieces around like crazy.
  • Hall—Draisaitl—Yakupov had a good night in my opinion. Fantastic work on the forecheck, reflected by the Hall goal—he is now up to 25 goals and 60 points on the year. Both Leon and Nail picked up assists, and I would like to see this line again.
  • Gazdic—Hendricks—Pakarinen had little impact, Hendricks played just over five minutes on the evening, Pakarinen ended up on another line.
  • Hall—Draisaitl—Kassian got killed, they were 2-6 together. Kassian ended up spending some time with Letestu and Korpikoski (2-1 with them) but mostly he was making bad decisions and spent much of the evening in the penalty box. On a night when things seemed on the edge, only Kassian among both rosters was truly over the top. He was not helping.

MCDAVID, PUTTING THE BOOTS TO THE OILERS ORGANIZATION

The McDavid move captured in the GIF above is the kind of thing that one doesn’t forget. Because of the uniqueness of the moment, it stands out and has a life of its own. Lost in the rage and anger of boot stomping that is going on around the Oilers is the number of games missed by McDavid. Lots of people will tell you the Oilers are garbage, nothing. Look for the commentators who give you the full view, and are willing to recognize what losing this player for 37 games meant to the season. 37 games is a lot, you know.

I think people come out of their shoes sometimes being critical of the Oilers, and that is fair. I wonder if they believe Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan are poor hockey men, like they believed Steve Tambellini and Dallas Eakins were not bona fide.

You know, a lot of unkind words were written about Dallas Eakins, and I see the same thing happening now with Todd McLellan. For me, I would like to give the Chiarelli-McLellan duo another time at-bat, while also acknowledging this season has been a disappointment. I think we can do that without getting vicious and personal, though. I don’t think twitter is going to be able to do that, one hopes we can keep it from being that way here. Let’s try, anyway.

And for the record, this blog tried very hard to be fair to Dallas Eakins, so doing the same with Todd McLellan is keeping with tradition, not breaking it.

LEAFS FANS V. OILERS FANS

I think twitter will probably be a mess for the rest of the spring, certainly through to lottery day. When the Leafs won last night, the media, bloggers and fans took to the twitter machine and expressed how impressive Toronto is looking (and they are). Some of those fans then engaged in baiting the Oilers group, talking about when the rebuild began (7 years! 10 years!) and it spiraled downward. When Edmonton won later, the fanbase went back and threw some haymakers, but all of the Leafs fans had gone to bed. A few facts:

  • The Toronto rebuild has some very nice things. They have a long way to go, but we can be impressed with the progress while also knowing there are going to be ups and downs.
  • The Edmonton rebuild has taken forever, but when you lump Steve Tambellini and Peter Chiarelli into the same group there is probably going to be some pushback. Just saying.
  • Arguing over who is better based on their hold on 29th place is just about the dumbest thing I have ever seen. And I saw the pet rock craze.

Happy Easter. Be good to each other.

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135 Responses to "YOUR MOUTH DON’T MOVE BUT I CAN HEAR YOU SPEAK"

  1. Woodguy says:

    Arguing over who is better based on their hold on 29th place is just about the dumbest thing I have ever seen. And I saw the pet rock craze

    I laughed out loud.

    Thanks for that.

    Also,

    I spent a significant portion of my teens trying to think of something so I could become like “the pet rock guy”

    Got rich on a business with almost no production costs except for boxes and the marketing was “viral” which was rare back then.

    I applaud that guy. Love those stories.

  2. Woodguy says:

    I didn’t see the game last night, but based on Twitter and the GDT it nice to hear Nurse, Reinhart and Oesterle had good games.

    The Dcorps has been actual rotten core (due to depth, not personalities) of the Oilers.

    If the 5-8 slots are getting filled up with young men who can play and keep their heads above water then that’s something we haven’t seen in 10 years.

    Chia fills in a couple guys above them and we’re finally cooking with gas.

  3. Snowman says:

    LT you get better and better. Wonderful post.

    When you see plays like that one last night from McDavid it just makes a guy happy he’s on the Oilers for the next forever. There’s been a lot of nights where I have watched games where I really felt like I could better spend my time and #97, more often than not, has made that decision a good one with his tremendous talent. Just spectacular to watch.

  4. Bad Seed says:

    Another at bat? Excuse me, but I don’t think anyone here is disputing that the gm and coach will be back.

  5. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Happy Easter, LT. Great post as always.

    I think McLellan is easily the best coach this team has had in a while. The players care about him and play for him. And he has their backs when they play well. Yesterday he commented post-game how he thinks the players have worked hard this year despite the results.

    Look, I think we are all guilty of being armchair coaches sometimes and of looking at advanced stats as a way to point out flaws in player usage and power play deployment.

    It reminds me of baseball in a way. Where you should, statistics say, NEVER bunt. But the reality is maybe you should keep that tool in the tool box to keep the element of surprise there. Or how certain managers rely too much on the lefty-righty split for bringing in relievers without actually considering the batter. For example, and I use Ichiro again, Ichiro would hit better against lefties than righties. Yet for years opposing managers would bring in lefties to face him, not looking at the batter’s individual splits.

    Anyway, I guess it came down to finding a manager who wasn’t totally old school and would use advanced stats, but the reality is you’re never going to find a spreadsheet be a coach. So the best coaches are the ones players will play hard for, who are willing to change a bit and grow with the new info and times, but still command respect.

    In that manner, McLellan will do some “old school” things that frustrate us, but overall he is the best this team has had in a while. I like him. Want him to be in Edmonton for a decade. I would be happy with that. I think he could be a Cup-winning coach one day. No guarantees of course.

  6. Colieo87 says:

    The pet rock phase. A hahaha LT that made me giggle. As forest Gump says” stuiped is as stuiped does”.. Lol fighting over who’s better sitting at 29 place. Happy Easter LT

  7. smellyglove says:

    ” In what has been a wildly disappointing season, it does represent a turn north.”

    Oilers are ‘looking’ better by pts and goal differential, not sure how they compare on a fancy stats basis to the last 5 years (or when did they start the first rebuild, 7 years ago?).

    Looked at the NHL standings last night for the first time in a while and the Oilers were indeed last (now the Oil are two points ahead of Toronto, but the Leafs have four games in hand!).

    Oilers are still last in points percentage.

    If the Oilers are looking marginally, internally better, is the rest of the league just getting better too? Sure, Bettman points, but when the Oilers cut their negative goal differential in half, and are still absolutely bottom of the bucket, I don’t know what to think. Maybe it’s time to take up another sport,…. like knitting! (Fubar reference, couldn’t help myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WhhWPsJy08)

  8. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    smellyglove,

    Entire bottom of the league has improved the goal differential greatly.

    With this being the lowest scoring year since before the lockout, that’s to be expected.

    They don’t call penalties anymore and the Bettman point playing not to lose has become such a thing.

    Essentially for the worst teams they score 2.25 for and give up 2.75 against. Look at the best teams. They score 2.75 for and give up 2.25 against.

    No big outliers on either end. The NHL has parity. Boring parity, but parity nonetheless.

  9. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    Haven’t posted in a while. Mostly out of exasperation with this team and its terrible injury luck. But I have been reading along. Understanding my own personal bias, the Oilers DO get the shaft from the refs and the press and the entire NHL world really. Not sure why this is. But sure seems to be a thing.

    To this point, may I ask the collected group here why it is that not a single word was said about the pretty bush league maneuver pulled by the Sharks last night? I speak of course of the “call up AHL plug fighter and challenge Nurse” thing. Which is I believe is a total bull#@#t play. Kudos to Nurse for answering the bell, though he easily could have turtled – not as though others (?Polak) haven’t done the same.

    What gets me about this is first why wasn’t Gazdic out there for that? Why have the guy if he doesn’t handle that situation? Second, why was this plug fighting Roman F@#%ING Polak’s battle? Third, where is the commentator, press, fanbase outrage over this blatant “despoiling of the game”?

    Am I totally off base on this? Am I just sick and tired of the hockey universe raining crap on the Oilers? Have I snapped?

    Forget that last question – I probably have snapped.

    I did not watch the game last night (Ontario resident, long work week, current head cold….) But I did check this site (as I always do – again much praise for LT for running such a great site) and the NHL site, then watched some highlights. It just ticks me off that – had this been a Montreal Canadien or a Flame that was forced to fight an AHL garbage player – instead of the so-called wounded party sticking up for himself there’d be no end of outcry. Hell Montreal would probably look into getting the police involved.

    What does Darnell Nurse get? Not a f%*@%ing word. Was Darnell off base going after Polak? Yeah ok (homer glasses off) sure. But shouldn’t Polak settle that score? Shouldn’t Gazdic let it be known in warmup that if someone wants a piece of his teammate the road goes through him first?

    Still I am pleased to see the Oilers step up, come back from a deficit in a place they haven’t won in since – what since Clinton was president?

    Personally I would love to see more of this type of effort from these guys. Would’t even care if they lost but if they lost giving it all, standing together and fighting the other team, the refs, the fans and the media.

    F@#% ’em all. Go Oilers. (Sorry for the anger – I think it’s the head cold…)

  10. Lowetide says:

    smellyglove:
    ” In what has been a wildly disappointing season, it does represent a turn north.”

    Oilers are ‘looking’ better by pts and goal differential, not sure how they compare on a fancy stats basis to the last 5 years (or when did they start the first rebuild, 7 years ago?).

    Looked at the NHL standings last night for the first time in a while and the Oilers were indeed last (now the Oil are two points ahead of Toronto, but the Leafs have four games in hand!).

    Oilers are still last in points percentage.

    If the Oilers are looking marginally, internally better, is the rest of the league just getting better too? Sure, Bettman points, but when the Oilers cut their negative goal differential in half, and are still absolutely bottom of the bucket, I don’t know what to think. Maybe it’s time to take up another sport,…. like knitting! (Fubar reference, couldn’t help myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WhhWPsJy08)

    Their possession number is up, 48.8 from 48.1, but I don’t know if that is significant (I am not a math person, just pedal like hell). As for overall improvement, last season saw a lot of forced losing, so is a difficult year to assess and compare.

  11. OF17 says:

    Watched the last 15 minutes of the game on the Sharks broadcast, and the Sharks color guy said he asked Giordano and one other Flames defender, can’t remember who, who was the hardest player in the league to defend against. They both said McDavid. Color guy had that disbelief but really belief in his voice that we all get with McDavid. Said it was only the third time he had heard that about a rookie after Gretzky and Lemieux.

    Just an insane hockey player. No matter what it is, he’s better at it than everyone else. OK, not at crushing people, but put him in the corner with Getzlaf and I bet the big boy loses the puck. Man, what a treat to watch. Probably the last time in our lives we’ll get to see someone this good playing for our team, so we better enjoy every minute of it.

  12. Woodguy says:

    Really interesting take on the expansion rules.

    If the Oilers don’t buy out Ference, will they be forced to protect him due to his NMC?

    http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/3/24/11296024/expiring-contracts-are-the-missing-piece-of-the-nhl-expansion-draft

  13. 99266in87 says:

    LT, I’ve bought in to Chia and coach the moment they arrived, and haven’t unwavered one moment. I agree with the posters here this morning, 97 is a marvel and truthfully he has kept me into the season 6 months longer than previous years. That gif in the opening of this blog, is one of many things that Connor does that few others can. Not only was he blindingly fast, but it takes a brilliant hockey playing mind. If you think fast, you’ll be fast. One receive of the puck, one step, one move, and 120 feet of jets. Unparalleled. It’s coming together. They are learning to not give up, but one thing I noticed. SJ takes that extra step to pressure our pucks, to the point of contact where I saw many times we stopped a step to their pucks. If we could pressure and finish our checks a little more, physicality and skill marriage makes this team more monstrous. Thing is…..I see the upcoming tweaking happening.

  14. Woogie63 says:

    Can PC wait for Klefbom, Davidson, Nurse and Reinhart to become consistent everyday defensemen?

    Those four can be the future … collectively;

    Have played just 268 NHL games, which averages 67 games per player
    Average age 22.2 years old

    All four can handle the puck, skate, and break up the cycle.

  15. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Woodguy:
    Really interesting take on the expansion rules.

    If the Oilers don’t buy out Ference, will they be forced to protect him due to his NMC?

    http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/3/24/11296024/expiring-contracts-are-the-missing-piece-of-the-nhl-expansion-draft

    Yes, been talked about for a while in other locations. It seems at best muddy at the moment. I didn’t post it because I don’t have a more legit source.

  16. flyfish1168 says:

    The Oiler organization as a whole is great, not many teams can say the have 5 SC. But the last 10 years we are bad. I truly believe when a new GM takes over a bad team it is very difficult to turn up immediately. The structure of player contracts these days, its difficult to get rid of them and stay within the CAP. As we witness sometimes you just let the contract run its course example Nikitin and Ference. I would hope this summer will be the one that PC will have more flexibility to show his knowledge and skill as a GM. JMHO

  17. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Really interesting take on the expansion rules.

    If the Oilers don’t buy out Ference, will they be forced to protect him due to his NMC?

    http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/3/24/11296024/expiring-contracts-are-the-missing-piece-of-the-nhl-expansion-draft

    This is why reacting to the first blush of expansion is a bad idea. By the time expansion draft day arrives, the rules will not resemble what is being discussed today. The NHL acts like a baseball roto league. Bah.

  18. Richard S.S. says:

    The Oiler’s should easily win 12 of Connor McDavid 37 missed games if he stays healthy/injury free all season long. A healthy McDavid will determine whether or not the Oilers make the Postseason.

  19. Woogie63 says:

    Woodguy,

    WG

    Would Ference make a good Assistant GM? IMO he is a quality person, Has demonstrated he can lead (November Project and NHL environmental changes), He seems to have thought the world at a different level than most hockey players. Has played on winning teams and PC publicly (Behind the B) said he likes and respects Andrew.

    If he has designs to move to management this might be the leverage he needs.

  20. Guy in the Bushes says:

    Greetings All, long time lurker (well my whole life I guess) After last night I felt inspired to poke my head out and say thank you; To all the posters here & to A.M.
    Because of this site I’ve changed my perception wildly of the game I thought I understood, owing to the ongoing (& at times hilariously heated) debate over which analytics should be used, & more importantly what they are telling us.
    Love the content & love the comments that follow. Thanks for making this site my favourite source of daily infotainment. Mixed with coffee in the morning, “It’s the best Jerry!! The best”
    Keep up the good work all.

  21. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Lowetide: This is why reacting to the first blush of expansion is a bad idea. By the time expansion draft day arrives, the rules will not resemble what is being discussed today. The NHL acts like a baseball roto league. Bah.

    The list of teams affected shows that the Bruins, Flyers, Leafs, Wings, Rangers, Hawks won’t be hurt even if they hold teams to this rule on the NMCs. Based on that if you were to handicap the race you would assume it would work against the Oilers.

  22. Ryan says:

    Woodguy:
    I didn’t see the game last night, but based on Twitter and the GDT it nice to hear Nurse, Reinhart and Oesterle had good games.

    The Dcorps has been actual rotten core (due to depth, not personalities) of the Oilers.

    If the 5-8 slots are getting filled up with young men who can play and keep their heads above water then that’s something we haven’t seen in 10 years.

    Chia fills in a couple guys above them and we’re finally cooking with gas.

    I have to say one item that was a thing of beauty were the shifts were we kept the puck in San Jose’s zone while making line changes.

    Is there a better way to kick sand in someone’s face than doing that?

  23. Ryan says:

    NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker": The list of teams affected shows that the Bruins, Flyers, Leafs, Wings, Rangers, Hawks won’t be hurt even if they hold teams to this rule on the NMCs. Based on that if you were to handicap the race you would assume it would work against the Oilers.

    What about LTIR and the expansion draft?

    Let’s send Josi for a tune up on his shoulder so that we can protect three other dmen?

  24. Water Fire says:

    Happy Easter to you all

    Nice come back, the team needs tweaks but they are playing with anyone they want, when they want to, which isn’t often enough as the coach has been saying.

  25. rich says:

    Been nice to see Reinhart progress in this stint. Thought last night was a solid game.

    Been said by the coach, he’s playing w/more confidence because he knows he’s going to play and you can’t underestimate that in a young player. New d-men will make mistakes, it’s part of the process. He’s getting used to the speed of the game and showing a physical element.

    Can’t under-estimate (as one of the posters mentioned last night) that last point about the physical side of the game. Fans of this team will forgive d-men who can’t make a pass if they have grit.

    We still may never win the trade by which he was acquired, but he’s at least giving us a return on the investment.

  26. leadfarmer says:

    Chia and TMacs evaluation year is next year. You can’t give Chia the boot when he had his hands tied by his predecessors contract stimulus package which gave him no cap space to work with and you cant put the blame on TMac for having 2 NHL defensemen for the better part of the season and spending a decent chunk of the season with 2 teenage centers, even though they are fantastic teenage centers. You can blame TMac for the PP and Nurses and Schultz’ handling, but that is far from being enough to fire a guy. Chia is a guy that likes to wheel and deal and I’m sure next years team will have a different look to it.

  27. leadfarmer says:

    It’s amazing how much better Reinhart looks with a guy that can move the puck and can skate the puck out of trouble than he does with Gryba. That pairing was rather redundant although choices were very limited

  28. Ryan says:

    leadfarmer,

    The game just stated getting good last night right when you averted your gaze.

  29. byrne18 says:

    Heaven forbid this team might actually starting to learn what it is like to play big boy hockey. I am proud of nurse handling his own business. I hope he skated by polak after and called him a b###h for not doing his own business. Does anybody else think Zack should spend the summer with big rig and learn some things.

  30. PhrankLee says:

    Good write up, LT.

    Im not in the camp that feels wildly disappointed. I’m mildly disappointed that we will not finish at or threatening .500 because I miss my chance at winning or placing in the hunter1909 sweepstakes two years in a row.

    I am happy as hell about the in season GM ing. Not because what he did made us so competitive but he played tipped his cards to the fans and has shown through action and not words that bigger and stronger were going to happen.

    He has also shown that the bigger and stronger he is talking about is capable of taking regular contributing shifts within the top 6F and hopefully in the top 4D.

    Never at any point this year or last summer did I think we would make the playoffs this year. Not even a sliver of me hoped for that and I have not been let down.

    See? The best way to avoid disappointment is to simply lower your standards faster than things can turn to shit! Ha ha.

  31. Clay says:

    Woogie63:
    Woodguy,

    WG

    Would Ference make a good Assistant GM?IMO he is a quality person, Has demonstrated he can lead (November Project and NHL environmental changes), He seems to have thought the world at a different level than most hockey players.Has played on winning teams and PC publicly (Behind the B) said he likes and respects Andrew.

    If he has designs to move to management this might be the leverage he needs.

    I could see him being in a “Assistant GM – Public Relations” type thing. Less about hockey ops, more about community events. It wouldn’t be a bad thing. The amount of respect / equity he built with the city with his involvement with Spider Mable is no small thing.

    He seems to genuinely enjoy it too.

    “Maroon is fabulous, he was terrific with or without the puck and over the top with the mic in front of him.”

    Maroon is the new Lummer. Book it.

    In his post-game interview, Maroon was asked about what the Oilers did differently in the 2nd and 3rd to hold SJS to so few shots. His reply was essentially the same as Darryl Sutter’s from a few years ago, about not so much playing defence as keeping possession and playing in the other team’s end.

    That was what stood out most for me with last night’s game. The Oilers have won from time to time in California in the past 6 years or so, but it is usually a matter of unreal goaltending and weathering 19 minutes of the third period with the opposition cycling in the Oilers’ end.

    Last night was the opposite. They even completed a line change while keeping the Sharks hemmed in their own zone at one point.

    On the road, against that level of competition, I can’t remember the last time I saw that with the Oilers. Maybe the Doug Weight era?

  32. Johnny skid says:

    Clay: On the road, against that level of competition, I can’t remember the last time I saw that with the Oilers.

    this is what i was thinking while watching the third period.

  33. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    byrne18:
    Heaven forbid this team might actually starting to learn what it is like to play big boy hockey. I am proud of nurse handling his own business. I hope he skated by polak after and called him a b###h for not doing his own business. Does anybody else think Zack should spend the summer with big rig and learn some things.

    Totally agree with this! Polak should be embarrassed by the way he handled this situation. So should DeBoer.

  34. jake70 says:

    Watching McDavid in that clip just made me giddy. Freakin ping pong balls. Chuckling now as I type.

    Little trip down memory lane..from Sportsnet site last April.

    “Prior to the drawing of the final ball, the Maple Leafs had the highest odds (36.36%) of winning. Buffalo (27.27%), Edmonton (18.18%), Carolina and Columbus (each 9.09%) also had a shot. Here are the combinations that were still in play:

    1, 5, 6, 14 (EDM)”

  35. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: This is why reacting to the first blush of expansion is a bad idea. By the time expansion draft day arrives, the rules will not resemble what is being discussed today. The NHL acts like a baseball roto league. Bah.

    We can bank on one thing.

    The rules will favour whatever team Lou is running.

    Leaf’s only NMC is Horton, who won’t be picked in an expansion draft (obv) so I expect that teams will be forced to protect players with NMC as it favors Lou.

    Will the GMs know the NMC-expansion draft rules before the end of the last buy out period this summer?

    Doubt it as, like you mentioned, the NHL makes it up as they go along.

  36. Woodguy says:

    Ryan: I have to say one item that was a thing of beauty were the shifts were we kept the puck in San Jose’s zone while making line changes.

    Is there a better way to kick sand in someone’s face than doing that?

    Damn.

    After watching SJS do that to the Oilers since 2006 I would have liked to watch that.

  37. Woodguy says:

    Woogie63:
    Woodguy,

    WG

    Would Ference make a good Assistant GM?IMO he is a quality person, Has demonstrated he can lead (November Project and NHL environmental changes), He seems to have thought the world at a different level than most hockey players.Has played on winning teams and PC publicly (Behind the B) said he likes and respects Andrew.

    If he has designs to move to management this might be the leverage he needs.

    No clue.

    I actually think that “Actual NHL playing experience” may be a negative due to my belief that management needs to strive to be 100% dispassionate about their players in order to be fully objective.

    Having been in the NHL trenches *may* make it easier for an exec to like / dislike a player for reasons that have nothing to do with winning hockey games.

    Just an opinion.

    I’m sure many smart ex-players could do it, but it’s something they’d have to work at.

  38. flyfish1168 says:

    Walter Gretzkys Neighbour: Totally agree with this! Polak should be embarrassed by the way he handled this situation. So should DeBoer.

    I agree with what you guys said here. But I want to add in that if Darnell had lost the fight badly, haley would have to face the music with Gazdic.

  39. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    It’s amazing how much better Reinhart looks with a guy that can move the puck and can skate the puck out of trouble than he does with Gryba.That pairing was rather redundant although choices were very limited

    I think that’s an excellent point.

  40. JDï™ says:

    Woodguy: Damn.

    After watching SJS do that to the Oilers since 2006 I would have liked to watch that.

    Link to the second period: http://rutube.ru/video/7bda050f0ca8840718209f34856b0226/?pl_type=user&pl_id=979571

    Long ad before the stream starts. It doesn’t want to play for me right now, but this site is usually pretty good. Possibly because it’s prime time in Russia right now.

  41. Woodguy says:

    JDï™: Link to the second period: http://rutube.ru/video/7bda050f0ca8840718209f34856b0226/?pl_type=user&pl_id=979571

    Long ad before the stream starts. It doesn’t want to play for me right now, but this site is usually pretty good. Possibly because it’s prime time in Russia right now.

    Thanks!

  42. elgruntus says:

    Walter Gretzkys Neighbour:
    Haven’t posted in a while. Mostly out of exasperation with this team and its terrible injury luck. But I have been reading along. Understanding my own personal bias, the Oilers DO get the shaft from the refs and the press and the entire NHL world really. Not sure why this is. But sure seems to be a thing.

    To this point, may I ask the collected group here why it is that not a single word was said about the pretty bush league maneuver pulled by the Sharks last night? I speak of course of the “call up AHL plug fighter and challenge Nurse” thing. Which is I believe is a total bull#@#t play. Kudos to Nurse for answering the bell, though he easily could have turtled – not as though others (?Polak) haven’t done the same.

    What gets me about this is first why wasn’t Gazdic out there for that? Why have the guy if he doesn’t handle that situation? Second, why was this plug fighting Roman F@#%ING Polak’s battle? Third, where is the commentator, press, fanbase outrage over this blatant “despoiling of the game”?

    Am I totally off base on this? Am I just sick and tired of the hockey universe raining crap on the Oilers? Have I snapped?

    Forget that last question – I probably have snapped.

    I did not watch the game last night (Ontario resident, long work week, current head cold….) But I did check this site (as I always do – again much praise for LT for running such a great site) and the NHL site, then watched some highlights. It just ticks me off that – had this been a Montreal Canadien or a Flame that was forced to fight an AHL garbage player – instead of the so-called wounded party sticking up for himself there’d be no end of outcry. Hell Montreal would probably look into getting the police involved.

    What does Darnell Nurse get? Not a f%*@%ing word. Was Darnell off base going after Polak? Yeah ok (homer glasses off) sure. But shouldn’t Polak settle that score? Shouldn’t Gazdic let it be known in warmup that if someone wants a piece of his teammate the road goes through him first?

    Still I am pleased to see the Oilers step up, come back from a deficit in a place they haven’t won in since – what since Clinton was president?

    Personally I would love to see more of this type of effort from these guys. Would’t even care if they lost but if they lost giving it all, standing together and fighting the other team, the refs, the fans and the media.

    F@#% ’em all. Go Oilers. (Sorry for the anger – I think it’s the head cold…)

    There was a good quote on Twitter last night, (sorry, forgot the poster) that made a point about instigating a fight with less than 5 minutes left in a game is an automatic game misconduct, but you can call up a player from the AHL, with the specific intent of instigating a fight with a targeted player, and not a peep. Something very wrong about this

  43. JDï™ says:

    elgruntus: call up a player from the AHL, with the specific intent of instigating a fight with a targeted player,

    Bush league play, and looks very bad on the franchise to be sure. Imagine the legal ramifications if Nurse gets badly hurt in that fight.

  44. kevin says:

    flyfish1168,

    Not if he didn’t want to.

  45. DRFNsuperstar says:

    leadfarmer:
    It’s amazing how much better Reinhart looks with a guy that can move the puck and can skate the puck out of trouble than he does with Gryba.That pairing was rather redundant although choices were very limited

    I hope the Condors make the playoffs and put Nurse and Reinhart together. Nurse can skate the puck out of any situation and Reinhart makes up for the heavy feet with very accurate passing. It would be even better if this was the top pairing in Bako next season!

    The captaincy is going to be an interesting situation next year. I’m a betting man so if I were to guess I’d say Connor with the C, Maroon with an A, Sekera with an A, maybe the third line C they bring in with the last A. Maroon seems like a guy Tmac will love, he is always ripping on the dressing room in his interviews for giving up when things get tough and he seems like he was built specifically for the chip and chase.

  46. JDï™ says:

    The post game interviews are very revealing, and Maroon seems like a genuinely nice guy. He’s sitting beside Yak in the locker room too.

    So when does the team start scouting the roller hockey leagues?

  47. godot10 says:

    Ryan: What about LTIR and the expansion draft?

    Let’s send Josi for a tune up on his shoulder so that we can protect three other dmen?

    There is no LTIR in the off-season.

  48. Woogie63 says:

    Woodguy,

    thanks for your POV

  49. Melman says:

    DRFNsuperstar,

    Funny I was thinking about posting just that. TMac made a post game comment when asked about what he said during the first intermission, that it was 97 who really dug in and lead the charge. If Hall is still here, it’ll be interesting to see who gets the C. I also think it will be McDavid.

  50. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    flyfish1168: I agree with what you guys said here. But I want to add in that if Darnell had lost the fight badly,haley would have to face the music with Gazdic.

    Not a word out of place, but the ridiculousness of the situation just reminds me of an old Treehouse of Horror episode of the Simsons:

    They brought up an AHL goon to fight our player, but we won’t stop there. We’ll use our goon to fight their goon, and then their new goon will fight our goon. They’ll bring in bigger and bigger goons, and then they’ll bring in a goon so large, he will destroy us all… *best Kang and Kodos laughter*

  51. flyfish1168 says:

    kevin:
    flyfish1168,

    Not if he didn’t want to.

    Its the code

  52. prefonmich says:

    JDï™,

    I agree. I loved Debrusk’s mini rant in the first intermission. I love listening to him and its so nice to have a more ‘Oilercentric’ panel member when watching Sportsnet rather than a bunch of guys killing time until they can discuss how great the Leafs are next!

  53. DRFNsuperstar says:

    godot10: There is no LTIR in the off-season.

    How’s that? A GM can’t buyout a player on LTIR in the summer, that would make me think LTIR does apply in the summer.

  54. mustang says:

    Walter Gretzkys Neighbour: Totally agree with this! Polak should be embarrassed by the way he handled this situation. So should DeBoer.

    Yes, it’s an embarrassment to Polak and the organization. To bring up a AHL goon to fight a kid is a joke. If it was Little Joe or Coulture that Nurse beat the hell out of I could understand the actions. It was Roman freaking Polak, this is a bush league joke for a coach and organization.

  55. flyfish1168 says:

    Oilers have a true blue video on Connor. What a class act he is. with a 2nd and 3rd watch.

  56. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    HeatTreaterJoe: Not a word out of place, but the ridiculousness of the situation just reminds me of an old Treehouse of Horror episode of the Simsons:

    They brought up an AHL goon to fight our player, but we won’t stop there.We’ll use our goon to fight their goon, and then their new goon will fight our goon.They’ll bring in bigger and bigger goons, and then they’ll bring in a goon so large, he will destroy us all… *best Kang and Kodos laughter*

    I get that – what I was pointing out was how ridiculous it was that the Sharks did this goon intimidation thing with basically a rookie no less and the response from the media was nothing at all.

    McLellan said it well in the post game – “Darnell’s a big boy and he can look after himself” Then he said it probably was a distraction for the Oilers initially. But the team handled it, Darnell stood up for himself no need for a goon to goon showdown.

    What’s really stupid, I think, is how this looks on San Jose. And that was my issue – why no “huffing and posturing” from the media types. Had this happened to a Flame or Canadien they’d be falling all over themselves decrying the “goon tactics” from San Jose.

    The Oilers handled this well, in the best way possible – they beat San Jose, in San Jose, after being down 2.

    Much as he is a total dinosaur – wonder if Cherry will have anything to say… (odds are he won’t).

  57. russ99 says:

    I don’t think anyone can deny that McLellan is a good coach. He’s got a solid track record and he’s better at working with and communicating with players than Dallas Eakins will ever be.

    But deciding that dump/cycle is the hill he’ll die on, the overall lack of adjustment for players and opponents, and some of the player usage is worrisome.

    Maybe next year with a better roster more tailored to his style of play and more overall success will let him pick spots to loosen the reins a bit, like Renney eventually did.

  58. JDï™ says:

    mustang: To bring up a AHL goon to fight a kid is a joke.

    I agree entirely, but it could also say something about Darnell too.

    Deboer: Alright, who wants to say hi to Nurse tomorrow night?

    Team: stares at floor…

  59. JDï™ says:

    prefonmich: I loved Debrusk’s mini rant in the first intermission.

    I watched the Shark’s feed, so missed that, but yeah – Louie has been talking straight lately.

  60. who says:

    Interesting game. God were they awful in the first. But scoring 6 goals in the next two periods was something we haven’t seen in a while. Reimers goaltending helped a lot and maybe the Sharks took their foot off the gas after dominating like that but it was still an impressive comeback.
    Watching our d the last few games gives me hope for next year. I think the ideal situation in training camp would be Oesterle, Reinhart and Nurse fighting it out for the 6th spot in a pairing with Fayne. That puts Sek, Klef and Dav in the top four. This would require just one major move by Chia this summer. If he can do it without touching the current d I would be happy.
    So who does he go after. Easiest move would be signing Demers and a lot of you are advocating this. If he can get him for 3 years at 4-4.5 mil I would say do it but most people are thinking a Sek type deal in money and term. I think this would be a huge mistake. We are already going to be hamstrung with the last half of Sek’s contract, I see no reason to add another.
    Hamonic is still my first choice to add. Good contract. If we can get him for Eberle or Eberle plus I would do it.
    Shattenkirk would be a nice short term solution depending on the ask. Would buy another year of development for the young d and we may not need to replace him when he leaves via free agency. Don’t know if Eberle for Shattenkirk is a good trade. I think most people here would value him more than 1 year of Shattenkirk. The thing is, I wonder if other GMs see Eberle’s contract as a negative, and devalue him because of it. Don’t think Pietrangelo is available.
    Vaatanen does not really interest me as a primary add. Would prefer Manson but again, I doubt he is available. Would add Vaatanen as a second or third pairing guy to run powerplay but don’t see him in a top pairing role and wouldn’t want to give up a lot for him.
    Guess we won’t be adding Myers or Trouba this summer. That dream is dead, for now.
    Don’t really know of any other righty dmen that are available. Kinda slim pickings, after Hamonic, in my opinion.

  61. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    Walter Gretzkys Neighbour: I get that – what I was pointing out was how ridiculous it was that the Sharks did this goon intimidation thing with basically a rookie no less and the response from the media was nothing at all.

    McLellan said it well in the post game – “Darnell’s a big boy and he can look after himself” Then he said it probably was a distraction for the Oilers initially. But the team handled it, Darnell stood up for himself no need for a goon to goon showdown.

    What’s really stupid, I think, is how this looks on San Jose. And that was my issue – why no “huffing and posturing” from the media types. Had this happened to a Flame or Canadien they’d be falling all over themselves decrying the “goon tactics” from San Jose.

    The Oilers handled this well, in the best way possible – they beat San Jose, in San Jose, after being down 2.

    Much as he is a total dinosaur – wonder if Cherry will have anything to say… (odds are he won’t).

    I didn’t intend my comment as a poke or jab at you. I was riffing off of the need to have our knuckle dragger fight their knuckle dragger (and if Nurse got badly walloped, you need to expect some retaliation).

    Long ago I stopped expecting most of the talking heads to get much right with hockey games. Many still seem to think that Hall is part of the problem and that he should be traded. *sigh

  62. SumOil says:

    Woodguy:
    Really interesting take on the expansion rules.

    If the Oilers don’t buy out Ference, will they be forced to protect him due to his NMC?

    http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/3/24/11296024/expiring-contracts-are-the-missing-piece-of-the-nhl-expansion-draft

    The expansion is after next season. Ference will be a FA no?

  63. steveb12344 says:

    JDï™: I agree entirely, but it could also say something about Darnell too.

    Deboer: Alright, who wants to say hi to Nurse tomorrow night?

    Team: stares at floor…

    LOL…

    That’s awesome.

  64. mustang says:

    russ99:
    I don’t think anyone can deny that McLellan is a good coach.He’s got a solid track record and he’s better at working with and communicating with players than Dallas Eakins will ever be.

    But deciding that dump/cycle is the hill he’ll die on, the overall lack of adjustment for players and opponents, and some of the player usage is worrisome.

    Maybe next year with a better roster more tailored to his style of play and more overall success will let him pick spots to loosen the reins a bit, like Renney eventually did.

    What he doesn’t want is them dippsy doodling at the blue line and turn the puck over and create odd man rushes. If they can back the D off with speed and gain the blue uncontested then go for it. If not then dump it in and get on the forecheck hard.

  65. fifthcartel says:

    McDavid is already so good. Even if he doesn’t get another point these last 5 games, his 43 points in 45 games would pro-rate to a 78 point (per 82 games) season.

  66. Norman Greenbaum says:

    Last night, the last night of the pool season, busy bar, titles are on the line and everybody, I mean everybody, stops to watch McDavid.

    If he was any better, he’d be twins.

  67. Woodguy says:

    SumOil: The expansion is after next season. Ference will be a FA no?

    Read the link.

    Expansion draft will take place in June.

    Contracts don’t expire until July 1.

  68. Little Poteet says:

    Walter Gretzkys Neighbour,

    Apparently Polak’s nose was still broken from the last time Nurse for him

  69. Southern Oil says:

    JDï™: I agree entirely, but it could also say something about Darnell too.

    Deboer: Alright, who wants to say hi to Nurse tomorrow night?

    Team: stares at floor…

    I don’t know – it could have something to do with the injury to his nose still being quite fresh. I wouldn’t want to get back throwing fists until at least the thing had healed fully.

  70. godot10 says:

    DRFNsuperstar: How’s that? A GM can’t buyout a player on LTIR in the summer, that would make me think LTIR does apply in the summer.

    A team cannot buyout an injured player. Has nothing to do with LTIR, which doesn’t exist during the summer.

  71. meanashell11 says:

    Woodguy,

    His contract expires before the expansion draft. He only has next year left.

    edit: maybe not apparently but he can retire, no??

  72. GCW_69 says:

    In terms of improvement, the Oilers need 5 points in their last 5 games to match Todd Nelson’s Oilers 82 game pace.

    On the goal differential, Ryan Batty over and c’n’b put up a post showing the GD improvement 5×5 is all goaltending driven, so while we should be happy that the Oilers seem to have fixed the goaltending, the fact that there is little measurable improvement in GD being driven by anything else should be a concern.

  73. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    HeatTreaterJoe: I didn’t intend my comment as a poke or jab at you.I was riffing off of the need to have our knuckle dragger fight their knuckle dragger (and if Nurse got badly walloped, you need to expect some retaliation).

    Long ago I stopped expecting most of the talking heads to get much right with hockey games.Many still seem to think that Hall is part of the problem and that he should be traded.*sigh

    Oh me neither – I wasn’t taking your comment as a jab! Not at all. Sorry if what I wrote made it sound that way. I was saying I hear you and agree.

    I shall blame my lack of clarity on my head cold, constant cough and the fact that every one here in my family (wife, kids, even the dogs!) scowl at me when I cough – like it’s something I enjoy doing to bug them.

    Tell the truth I’m still giddy they came back to win, stood up like a team and then of course, McDavid!

  74. godot10 says:

    russ99:
    I don’t think anyone can deny that McLellan is a good coach.He’s got a solid track record and he’s better at working with and communicating with players than Dallas Eakins will ever be.

    But deciding that dump/cycle is the hill he’ll die on, the overall lack of adjustment for players and opponents, and some of the player usage is worrisome.

    Maybe next year with a better roster more tailored to his style of play and more overall success will let him pick spots to loosen the reins a bit, like Renney eventually did.

    Depends on the meaning of “good”. If by “good”, you mean adequate or mediocre, I’ll agree with you. If by “good”, you mean a difference-making coach, a coach who is able to maximize talent, a coach who is able to make adjustments, I’ll disagree with you.

  75. GCW_69 says:

    DRFNsuperstar: How’s that? A GM can’t buyout a player on LTIR in the summer, that would make me think LTIR does apply in the summer.

    A GM cannot buy out an injured player in the summer. Whether they would qualify for LTIR doesn’t matter.

    There is one important exception. An injured player may be bought out if he agrees to it. With the expansion draft coming up, the Oilers would be well advised to offer Ference an attractive job in hockey ops to entice him to take a buyout regardless of injury.

  76. OilClog says:

    No suspension or fine for the blatant hit to the head of Nugent Hopkins. A young rising star in the league taken out of games due to an illegal hit to the head.

    This whole League is bush league.

    Allowing San Jose to dress a player for a clear retaliation, bush league, indefensible, moment in the game that isn’t even hockey.

    The Sharks organization should be fined.

    Players scraping in the heat of battle is one thing, dressing a player just to attack someone because your damn team is a bunch of sunny California weak willed wimps… Maybe there’s a reason that damn team crumbles every time it faces adversity.

  77. godot10 says:

    Woodguy: Read the link.

    Expansion draft will take place in June.

    Contracts don’t expire until July 1.

    Except Ference is likely to be bought out this June, a year before the expansion draft, so his NMC is off the books by the expansion draft.

  78. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    Southern Oil: I don’t know – it could have something to do with the injury to his nose still being quite fresh.I wouldn’t want to get back throwing fists until at least the thing had healed fully.

    Ok, so now I feel kind of stupid. That would make perfect sense that Polak wouldn’t fight. But still, bring up a career AHL goon? That’s the best they could come up with?

    I absolutely agree with your comment and the reasoning. I’m still just surprised that there was no mention of how dumb the Sharks handling of this situation was in the highlights. Again I didn’t watch the game and also didn’t hear Debrusk in the intermission so I am missing those bits.

  79. Klima's_Bucket says:

    GCW_69: There is one important exception. An injured player may be bought out if he agrees to it.

    At full price.
    Florida did this with Jovanovski.
    He agreed to be bought out for the full amount of what was left on his contract.

  80. Centre of attention says:

    No Talbot or Nurse at practice.

    LB forced to sprint up and down ice to do drills in both nets. #JustOilerThings

  81. Bruce McCurdy says:

    JDï™: I agree entirely, but it could also say something about Darnell too.

    Deboer: Alright, who wants to say hi to Nurse tomorrow night?

    Team: stares at floor…

    Not sure what kind of statement the Sharks thought they were making but if it was “we’re a team that looks out for one another… so let’s call up a hired gun to do it” it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

    What a crock of shit.

  82. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    Walter Gretzkys Neighbour: Oh me neither – I wasn’t taking your comment as a jab! Not at all. Sorry if what I wrote made it sound that way. I was saying I hear you and agree.

    I shall blame my lack of clarity on my head cold, constant cough and the fact that every one here in my family (wife, kids, even the dogs!) scowl at me when I cough – like it’s something I enjoy doing to bug them.

    Tell the truth I’m still giddy they came back to win, stood up like a team and thenof course, McDavid!

    Thanks for clarifying, and yes, I’m pretty thrilled with the results from last night too. 😀

  83. Klima's_Bucket says:

    The optics on the Nurse beatdown on Polak was bad.
    But the training staff for the Sharks made it even worse.
    It’s not as if Polak was in the far corner and they struggled to come to his aid.
    He laid on the ice, right in front of the Sharks bench with blood pouring out of his nose for quite a long time before anyone even had the audacity to throw the big fucker a towel to clean himself up.

  84. Walter Gretzkys Neighbour says:

    OilClog:
    No suspension or fine for the blatant hit to the head of Nugent Hopkins. A young rising star in the league taken out of games due to an illegal hit to the head.

    This whole League is bush league.

    Allowing San Jose to dress a player for a clear retaliation, bush league, indefensible, moment in the game that isn’t even hockey.

    The Sharks organization should be fined.

    Players scraping in the heat of battle is one thing, dressing a player just to attack someone because your damn team is a bunch of sunny California weak willed wimps… Maybe there’s a reason that damn team crumbles every time it faces adversity.

    This – totally!

  85. Centre of attention says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Not sure what kind of statement the Sharks thought they were making but if it was “we’re a team that looks out for one another… so let’s call up a hired gun to do it.”

    What a crock of shit.

    I think the Sharks had the idea that they were “above” doing something they consider “taking out the trash”

    Burns would be a better fight but what if he gets hurt? Likely the same thought went threw the coaching staffs mind, so they call up someone to do their bidding.

    I think Brendan Dillon is the one who should be ashamed. He fought Khaira but ducked on Nurse? Speaks volumes about just how scary #25 is. Dillon was also running around a little bit last night, though Hall nailed him with a good check.

    PS: That Haley kid was gripping and pulling Nurses sweater for dear life. If Nurse got that jack hammer free Haley would of been another bloody mess.

  86. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Cheer up gang, it could be worse. Remember when all the MSM was chiming in on what Calgary was going to do this year after snagging Hamilton. Those were good times……How would you like to be those fans right now?

    Its a bumpy road to climb out of the basement and be a legitimate contender and shortcuts are few. Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa will experience it no doubt just like Edmonton, Columbus, Calgary, Colorado, Buffalo have had to endure.

  87. Gordies Elbow says:

    godot10,

    Even if Ference wasn’t off the books next year, his entire contract will have been paid out, so in the buyout window that starts on June 15th, they could buy him out for $0 (no cap impact.) If they did this, they wouldn’t be able to use his prior year salary as part of the exposed 25%, though.

  88. McSorley33 says:

    San Jose TV crew relating a story…..they were interviewing TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames and asked them who was the toughest forward in the NHL….

    They both named Connor McDavid.

  89. McSorley33 says:

    Is it just me or does Maroon fit this team like a glove?

  90. BONVIE says:

    russ99:
    I don’t think anyone can deny that McLellan is a good coach.He’s got a solid track record and he’s better at working with and communicating with players than Dallas Eakins will ever be.

    But deciding that dump/cycle is the hill he’ll die on, the overall lack of adjustment for players and opponents, and some of the player usage is worrisome.

    Maybe next year with a better roster more tailored to his style of play and more overall success will let him pick spots to loosen the reins a bit, like Renney eventually did.

    mustang: What he doesn’t want is them dippsy doodling at the blue line and turn the puck over and create odd man rushes. If they can back the D off with speed and gain the blue uncontested then go for it. If not then dump it in and get on the forecheck hard.

    This is one area where the Oilers have made big improvements over the course of the season is dumping and chasing. This is so important that your team can play this game otherwise every team will stand there Dmen up at the blue and stack the blue line causing the Oilers turnover after turnover. When your team has an effective dump, it makes teams play you different because stacking the blue makes it harder to retrieve pucks that are dumped in. So an effective dump and chase opens the ice up for your skilled players to carry it and then we can play our game.

    A compareable analogy would be a UFC fighter that loves his stand up and has knockout power, but can’t defend a take down and hasn’t worked hard on his ground game. Every single opponent he faces will have the same gameplan take him down to the mat, and the fighter will spend most of his time fighting where he is the weakest. If he establishes both his ground game and takedown defense, and it is no longer perceived as his glaring weakness and he will have the chance to fight his standup game.

    Teams see the Oilers as having a weak cycle and dump and chase so they stack the blue, the Oilers now have the speed and heaviness to become efficient at the cycle making teams think twice about stacking the blue, when their D are getting smashed retrieving pucks dumped in. For years its been the gameplan of every team coming to play in Rexall. Now that we are developing this style of play it will open up the ice at the opposing blue for carries with possession.

    One other thing which has vastly improved is the Oilers wingers are starting to consistently make the chip on the boards past the dman when they are in their own zone. Teams have been coming in here for years having their dman sit on top of our wings not respecting our breakout, a simple chip and chase by our forwards changes everything. Eberle set up a couple last night for Conner and Hall’s line has been doing it most of the year, last night I saw a great chip by Yakapuv. This team has the speed to really make other teams pay by playing the D low and aggressive like that its just a few simple chips on the boards and a few breakaways by Hall, Draisatel, McDavid, and Yakapov and burn a few opposing D early and again the game opens up so much.

  91. Little Poteet says:

    Can a player agree to waive their no move clause to be exposed for the expansion draft? If Ferrence was convinced to do that, it solves a lot of issues. Also, I’m sure one or two players would do the same to have a chance at living in Vegas

  92. Chachi says:

    Centre of attention: I think the Sharks had the idea that they were “above” doing something they consider “taking out the trash”

    Burns would be a better fight but what if he gets hurt? Likely the same thought went threw the coaching staffs mind, so they call up someone to do their bidding.

    I think Brendan Dillon is the one who should be ashamed. He fought Khaira but ducked on Nurse? Speaks volumes about just how scary #25 is. Dillon was also running around a little bit last night, though Hall nailed him with a good check.

    PS: That Haley kid was gripping and pulling Nurses sweater for dear life. If Nurse got that jack hammer free Haley would of been another bloody mess.

    My favourite part of last night’s game was Polak failing to keep up with the not fleet-footed Maroon on the game winning goal. Also, pretty funny that Logan Couture, who has whined for years about getting ignored while Hall and Eberle got all the attention is going to spend a good chunk of his career getting asked about how hard it is to line up against McDavid!

  93. leadfarmer says:

    Ryan:
    leadfarmer,

    The game just stated getting good last night right when you averted your gaze.

    Yeah I saw the score this morning and had to see it for myself. Really impressed by their ability to cycle the puck. Maroon adds a very important element to this team. Hes not fast but he lives in the difficult area of the ice and creates a lot of room for others.

  94. Frank the dog says:

    OilClog:
    No suspension or fine for the blatant hit to the head of Nugent Hopkins. A young rising star in the league taken out of games due to an illegal hit to the head.

    This whole League is bush league.

    Allowing San Jose to dress a player for a clear retaliation, bush league, indefensible, moment in the game that isn’t even hockey.

    The Sharks organization should be fined.

    Players scraping in the heat of battle is one thing, dressing a player just to attack someone because your damn team is a bunch of sunny California weak willed wimps… Maybe there’s a reason that damn team crumbles every time it faces adversity.

    Who’s still claiming the league doesn’t discriminate against the Oil? Then there’s that ridiculous schedule.
    It’s not the coach, management or the players. If the reffing and schedule wasn’t like this, and our top players weren’t always getting injured in pretty sure TMac would be COTY and the oil would be in the playoff mix.

  95. LMHF#1 says:

    One thing that gets lost because of how he is used is that Haley is actually a decent hockey player. Scores goals each year in the AHL. Clearly strong. Makes decent decisions with the puck. Clearly a classic tweener but certainly not just a fighter.

    If I were him I’d be happy for the NHL pay day, but also ragging on Polak for him not being willing to fight his own battles.

  96. Hockey Buddha says:

    If Edmonton wins one of the next two games this month (Kings, Sharks) it has a winning record on the month. Nice to see the boys turning the corner without having a full, healthy line up. The team needs to be tweaked over the summer, not completely overhauled. We are starting to see what this team is made of and its getting much more enjoyable to watch.

    Clendening had a solid game.

  97. Bad Seed says:

    LMHF#1,

    Why would he rag on Polak? That’s what got him up to the show. Should be taking him out for a nice dinner.

  98. blakehavard says:

    Don’t know why people are slinging mud at Todd and Peter. A healthy team and we might have a different story standings wise. Some good moves bringing in some bigger guys who can play and further development in a positive direction for young D. More changes to be made. Culture changing.
    Lets see the team put in a few solid efforts in a row and start believing in themselves. Up to the players now if they want to take the next step here.

  99. stush18 says:

    McSorley33:
    Is it just me or does Maroon fit this team like a glove?

    Who would have thought adding size to out top nine was a good idea.

    I’ve been looking into adding competent dmen to this team. A little off the board, I know, but it’s crazy enough it might just work.

  100. Woodguy says:

    godot10: Except Ference is likely to be bought out this June, a year before the expansion draft, so his NMC is off the books by the expansion draft.

    If he’s going to be LTIR all next year due to his hip then that’s better than buying him out.

    Expansion draft throws the curveball at that given the uncertainty around NMC and whether on not they *must* be protected.

  101. JDï™ says:

    stush18: Who would have thought adding size to out top nine was a good idea.

    There’s an intriguing player on Klagenfurt – 6’3″, 230 lbs, 37 points in 42 games.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0016112016.html

  102. Woodguy says:

    Little Poteet:
    Can a player agree to waive their no move clause to be exposed for the expansion draft? If Ferrencewas convinced to do that,it solves a lot of issues. Also, I’m sure one or two players would do the same to have a chance at living in Vegas

    No one knows.

    Not even the NHL.

    They haven’t made those up yet.

    Hence the conversation.

  103. AsiaOil says:

    Understand Polak still had a bad beak but I’m not going to be sad for him as he’s a trash player – but calling up an AHL guy to challenge Nurse was weak sauce from the Sharks. Jumbo was whining like a little boy all night as well and it was fun watching them get fed in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

    Things are changing. The breakouts are still not great – but they are not horrific either anymore – and the defense/forwards are doing it with a beat up roster against good heavy teams like the Sharks. Progress.

    Reinhart and Oesterle played great. Oesterle stepped up his physical game while continuing his usual great passing and skating. Could have had his first goal. Nobody expects him to destroy guys but he has to engage and get in the way. Reinhart played a heavy aggressive game. Just destroyed Hertl (I think) along the boards and was quietly effective all night. Waiting for W&O’s entry denial numbers and I would be surprised if GR didn’t show very well in this area. A good complimentary pair.

    Maroon-CMD-Ebs were great and this is a nice line that compliments Ebs skills in particular. The Maroon add was brilliant by Chia as he is the kind of character guy with size who can play with skill that we needed. Great hustle to break free from Polak at the blue line and haul ass down ice to support CMD and get his goal.

    Yak was buzzing and a line with Drai/Hall should work as well. I’m just not sure how “into it” Hall is. I’m not a “Hall is cancer” or “Hall is a failure” guy – I like the player – but something looks wrong with the guy and I don’t know what it is. Hope I’m wrong.

    Kassian was a loose cannon but I can accept this on a team that has generally been so passive. Teams are starting to realize that if they goon up the Oilers that Kassian or Nurse or Maroon or Hendrick will take a piece out of someone and it won’t be a staged goon fight either.

    Looking forward to the LA game in a way I wasn’t a few days ago.

  104. JDï™ says:

    Woodguy: Hence the conversation.

    They also need to address side deals – we’ll trade you player X in return for a conditional pick and a guarantee you won’t pick player Y.

  105. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy: Read the link.

    Expansion draft will take place in June.

    Contracts don’t expire until July 1.

    They will have to work out the kinks in these decisions. Otherwise you are going to have a good chunk of UFA that would normally re-sign with their team have a under the table contract that will all of a sudden be revealed after July 1st. That way they can retain their asset and use a protected slot on a player with an existing contract.

  106. Bruce McCurdy says:

    leadfarmer:
    It’s amazing how much better Reinhart looks with a guy that can move the puck and can skate the puck out of trouble than he does with Gryba.That pairing was rather redundant although choices were very limited

    Woodguy: I think that’s an excellent point.

    Possibly a case where a lefty-lefty combo is preferred because the mixes of their other talents is better than the lefty-righty duo?

  107. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Centre of attention: I think the Sharks had the idea that they were “above” doing something they consider “taking out the trash”

    If the Sharks are “above” that, there’s a simple solution: don’t do it.

  108. AsiaOil says:

    GR needs a partner who can pass, skate and be in the right place in the defensive zone. Oesterle does that. If the partner is also solid defensively and has some snarl and size – then they will be very effective and miserable to play against in the defensive zone. Guys like Gryba are not a good fit as they are basically a poor man’s GR with worse skating and passing. I would not retain Gryba for this reason as he’s a poor complement to Nurse and GR unless he comes very cheap.

    Bruce McCurdy: Possibly a case where a lefty-lefty combo is preferred because the mixes of their other talents is better than the lefty-righty duo?

  109. Bruce McCurdy says:

    stush18: Who would have thoughtadding size to out top nine was a good idea.

    I’ve been looking into adding competent dmen to this team. A little off the board, I know, but it’s crazy enough it might just work.

    Well played.

  110. speeds says:

    Woodguy: If he’s going to be LTIR all next year due to his hip then that’s better than buying him out.

    Expansion draft throws the curveball at that given the uncertainty around NMC and whether on not they *must* be protected.

    I think you can argue it both ways.

    If you don’t care about the money, and he’s legitimately injured for the year, it could well end up working out better.

    On the other hand, if you can buy him out and don’t, and then he’s healthy and ready to play, you’d probably wish you’d have bought him out even though it lasts an extra year.

  111. Hockey Buddha says:

    LMHF#1:
    One thing that gets lost because of how he is used is that Haley is actually a decent hockey player. Scores goals each year in the AHL. Clearly strong. Makes decent decisions with the puck. Clearly a classic tweener but certainly not just a fighter.

    If I were him I’d be happy for the NHL pay day, but also ragging on Polak for him not being willing to fight his own battles.

    Polak had a beak injury courtesy of Darnell, I believe. A broken nose takes Polak out of any fist o’ cuffs, I’d think.

    According to S.J.’s coach, Haley is their regular call up guy. He has NHL experience and an edge to his game. I think Haley would see it as incumbent upon himself to stick up for a teammate, given the nature of the game he plays. I didn’t mind the seemingly inevitable scrap. Haley got the better of Nurse in the bout, but he didn’t hang a real lickin’ on him. I think the fight went the best possible way to avoid the game getting stoopid.

    I like running both Kassian and Maroon out there. They add an element to the team. They can get the other team thinking about other things. We’ve needed an effective agitator on this team for, like, forever, and Kassian is an agitator of the highest order. He has the skills to play. Maroon has nice hands, and he’s a monster who likewise intimidates with his size. In both guys, we get protection for our young stars, decent cycle/corner guys and guys with decent hands who can get to the net. Kudos to Chiarelli for acquiring those players. They were sorely needed on this squad.

    Wow, an actual, legitimate rivalry with another team. It’s been a long while, and it’s a good thing.

  112. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Possibly a case where a lefty-lefty combo is preferred because the mixes of their other talents is better than the lefty-righty duo?

    Always play your best talent as much as possible.

    Always try to have an even split L-R in your D talent.

    If the drop off in talent from L-L to L-R is significant, then go L-L.

    It’s interesting that Seabrook is decent to good with every LHD, but his most common partner is RH and they are terrible together.

    Van Reimsdyk (his most common partner) is also RH and is better with every LH on the roster than Seabrook.

    Yet CHI goes L-L, R-R and their record running those as top 4 is not good.

    Top pair is L-L Keith-Hjarlmasson.

    Using CF%:
    Keith is best with Seabrook and vice versa

    Hjarlm is best with VRD and vice versa.

    Yet a very, very good coach is not running these L-R pairs and people are wondering “what’s wrong with CHI?”

  113. Woodguy says:

    speeds: I think you can argue it both ways.

    If you don’t care about the money, and he’s legitimately injured for the year, it could well end up working out better.

    On the other hand, if you can buy him out and don’t, and then he’s healthy and ready to play, you’d probably wish you’d have bought him out even though it lasts an extra year.

    It’s a conversation you have with Ference before the season (if you can expose NMC to the draft)

    Assuming he doesn’t muck up the expansion protection you ask him “would you rather us buy you out or go LTIR for the season’

    Given the difference in $ and Ference stating that his career is done, he might choose LTIR.

  114. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: Always play your best talent as much as possible.

    Always try to have an even split L-R in your D talent.

    If the drop off in talent from L-L to L-R is significant, then go L-L.

    I don’t think we are so far apart on this.

  115. speeds says:

    Woodguy: It’s a conversation you have with Ference before the season (if you can expose NMC to the draft)

    Assuming he doesn’t muck up the expansion protection you ask him “would you rather us buy you out or go LTIR for the season’

    Given the difference in $ and Ference stating that his career is done, he might choose LTIR.

    Any theoretical savings from LTIR could well be dwarfed by cap circumvention penalties if it were decided by the league that the Oilers were trying to game the LTIR rules.

  116. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy:

    It’s interesting that Seabrook is decent to good with every LHD, but his most common partner is RH and they are terrible together.

    Despite the seeming paradox, I am more likely to look askance at R-R pairs than L-L, for the simple reason that lefties are in the majority so many/most of them gain experience playing their weak side. Whereas righties generally only get that opportunity on teams that go against that natural split, which is to say, not all that often in their development years. If you’re a right-shooting d-man, you are going to get almost all of your experience playing right side.

    I wonder if that’s an issue in Winnipeg where their top 3 minute munchers are all righties, all have been healthy (until now) and the total is much less than the apparent sum of the parts.

  117. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I don’t think we are so far apart on this.

    We never have been.

    We just can’t stop trolling each other.

  118. Woodguy says:

    speeds: Any theoretical savings from LTIR could well be dwarfed by cap circumvention penalties if it were decided by the league that the Oilers were trying to game the LTIR rules.

    Not in Gary’s NHL.

    Possible, but as probable as a camel getting through the eye of a needle.

  119. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Despite the seeming paradox, I am more likely to look askance at R-R pairs than L-L, for the simple reason that lefties are in the majority so many/most of them gain experience playing their weak side. Whereas righties generally only get that opportunity on teams that go against that natural split, which is to say, not all that often in their development years. If you’re a right-shooting d-man, you are going to get almost all of your experience playing right side.

    I wonder if that’s an issue in Winnipeg where their top 3 minute munchers are all righties, all have been healthy (until now) and the total is much less than the apparent sum of the parts.

    I think that’s a pretty astute observation.

  120. Ducey says:

    AsiaOil:
    GR needs a partner who can pass, skate and be in the right place in the defensive zone. Oesterle does that. If the partner is also solid defensively and has some snarl and size – then they will be very effective and miserable to play against in the defensive zone. Guys like Gryba are not a good fit as they are basically a poor man’s GR with worse skating and passing. I would not retain Gryba for this reason as he’s a poor complement to Nurse and GR unless he comes very cheap.

    Reinhart with Gryba 44.5%
    Reinhart with Oesterle 45.5%

    Not a significant difference

    Gryba without Reinhart 50.8%
    Oesterle without Reinhart 47.2%

    That 50.8% for Gryba says he would be a good guy to resign. Just don’t put him with a rookie.

    Of course this is just CF%. I am not smart or patient enough to figure out Gryba’s high danger chances + Fenwick against when playing against tough competition with Reinhart on the road. This could paint a different picture 🙂

    In any event, $1 million for a tough RH defenseman who can get it done in the third pairing seems like a smart move. Keep Reinhart, Nurse and Oesterle on the farm.

  121. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: We never have been.

    We just can’t stop trolling each other.

    Quoted for truth.

  122. stush18 says:

    JDï™: There’s an intriguing player on Klagenfurt – 6’3″, 230 lbs, 37 points in 42 games.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0016112016.html

    Intriguing player. Can you tell me anything about his history?

  123. Johnny Larue says:

    Bohologo:
    Just chiming in to salute the Exile on Main Street reference.

    How bold would it be to suggest a RE series based off of only one album?

    That’d be something.

    It’d have to London Calling, right?

    (Greatest Hits records do not count, you scalawags.)

    Yes ,Death or Glory,All lost in the supermarket I have been advocating for the Clash for a while nice to have company

  124. Woodguy says:

    Ducey,

    Gryba without Reinhart 50.8%
    Oesterle without Reinhart 47.2%

    Interestingly both Gryba and Oesterle’s main partner away from Reinhart is Davidson.

    Gryba w/ Davidson (283min) 53.7% (L-R)

    Oesterle w/ Davidson (56min) 46.1% (L-L) Not sure who played RD on that pair.

    Also, fwiw:
    Reinhart w/ Davidson (39min) 57.5% (L-L) Not sure who played RD on that pair either.

  125. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Ducey,

    Gryba without Reinhart 50.8%
    Oesterle without Reinhart 47.2%

    Interestingly both Gryba and Oesterle’s main partner away from Reinhart is Davidson.

    Gryba w/ Davidson (283min) 53.7% (L-R)

    Oesterle w/ Davidson (56min) 46.1% (L-L)Not sure who played RD on that pair.

    Also, fwiw:
    Reinhart w/ Davidso (39min) 57.5% (L-L) Not sure who played RD on that pair either.

    I am fairly certain it was Davidson.

  126. Professor Q says:

    I wonder if Katz could use his money hoard to convince both Gary Roberts and Adam Oates to work with the Young Guns?

  127. Магия 10 says:

    Great angles on the expansion draft & NMC. Think the most GM friendly and likely scenario is expiring NMC do not have to be protected and can count to the 25%. Otherwise as pointed out some will waive as it does not really effect them and imagine one that doesn’t??? Bonus points for $0 buyouts!!! Another reason it won’t be necessary.

  128. MrEd says:

    I just don’t see a huge turnover for next year. Plus I’m a huge homer.

    Hall-RNH-Laine
    Pouliot-McDavid- Yak
    Maroon-Leon-Kass
    Chimera-Brodziak-Letestu

    Sek- Hamonic
    Klef-Fayne
    Davidson-Gryba

    Talbot
    LB

    Carry Hendi, Pak and Pardy.

  129. Lowetide says:

    MrEd:
    I just don’t see a huge turnover for next year.Plus I’m a huge homer.

    Hall-RNH-Laine
    Pouliot-McDavid- Yak
    Maroon-Leon-Kass
    Chimera-Brodziak-Letestu

    Sek- Hamonic
    Klef-Fayne
    Davidson-Gryba

    Talbot
    LB

    Carry Hendi, Pak and Pardy.

    I think the Oilers forwards are just fine. If they could grab Demers for money and another righty for something that currently exists on defense, then giddyup.

  130. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great write-up LT! LT says: In what has been a wildly disappointing season

    – I do not want to appear smug, but they are within a few points of where I predicted. LT (and most here) predicted north of 85 points. If I thought this was a playoff team this year, I guess I would be disappointed as well

    1) Talbot, struggled for quite awhile, which was to be expected, when you give a career back-up on a Cup team the starting job for the worst team in the NHL (see Bunny Laraque amongst many). There was some good work identifying Talbot as a good bet (but turns out he was not the best). There was no consideration given to the likelihood that he would struggle (which he did), or that combining him with a KHL special was not a good combo. Talbot and Nillson and now Brossoit is still one of the worst G tandems in the league

    2) How can you be disappointed when you starting D consisted of
    a) one bonafide top-4 pick-up in Sekera (expected to be the best D on team)
    b) A guy who maybe played top-4 mins for 40 of his 80 game in the NHL in Klef
    c) A rookie (Griff),
    d) A plug from another team who was barely bottom-6 (Gryba)
    e) Fayne: miscast as a top-4 D on this bad team, coming from an aweosme D team to a gong show
    f) Jultz: enough said
    – That is a last place team Defense. How can you be disappointed

    – The Steve Austins did what they did: and again were not able to play 70+ games each: they are rarely all healthy at the same time. The roster sucked, again, and they have not been able to move the needle in the past with a crap roster: why expect that this was the year they would put the team on their back and just win.

    – McDavid was awesome: more so than anyone expected so even with his lost games, Chia was on record as saying he figured Conner would be 50 points, so his net contribution after injury = push

    – Drai did way better, which was awesome for a bit, but he did not bring it for 82 games, so net fine

    – Davidson performed at the level that one hoped Griff and or Nurse did: so good depth there

    – Honestly LT, you are only disappointed as you and the blog all wished blindly for great things. But for the most part, you are all just blind OIL fans, and that is what a fan is: fanatical

    – You are getting so much better this season of seeing things as they are, and depending on what happens this off season, it is incumbent upon you to do an honest assessement of where this team is entering next season. Put down your fan hat, and be cold rational.

    – This was a lottery team in my mind going into the year. They now have a year under the new management belt, and McDavid,and lots to move the dial this off-season.

    Why be disappointed: this team sucked, and I guess if you look back, you knew better (93 points- come on!)

    P.S.: I love the OIL, and am a huge fan of the team and this blog: keep up the good work!

  131. MrEd says:

    Lowetide,

    Korp is too rich for 4th in the depth chart. It’s weird that we’re sellers here. He has had a pretty good season. Good for everyone except the Fin we’ll draft.

    It’s the Yak or Ebs question that keeps me up.

  132. Skeeziks says:

    Many posters have commented about Nurse having to drop the gloves with an AHL goon because the San Jose Sharks decided that was how they would deal with this issue.

    Strangely enough, what their handling of this issue tells me is exactly why, despite having had some very good teams over the past few years, they have never won anything major. They don’t. collectively, have the stones. If I played for the Sharks I would be totally embarrassed that the coach had to call someone up from the minors to look after business.

    Based on the results of the game, it would appear the Hockey Gods agree with me.

  133. Dustylegnd says:

    kinger_OIL,

    Good lord Kinger_Oil you speak the truth, the Defence is beyond awful and the cupboard in the minors is bare, the construction of the forward corp is fatally flawed and our goaltending is middling with no suitable backup ready for support. Your observations are spot on, the outcome should have been expected. Change will be made, and the fanboys will all be shocked and chagrined about the “over payment” right up until the point this team actually starts winning games…. after the hard decisions have been made. Excellent post

  134. square_wheels says:

    Johnny Larue,

    If LT goes with The Clash for the RE series he will never pay for drinks again in Calgary.

    Although having both Blue Rodeo and U2 on the list has me hopeful.

    Connor McDavid – Diamond Mine

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