MCLELLAN’S OILERS

On the night they drove old Rexall down, the crowd gave Todd McLellan an enormous ovation. It came as no surprise to me, I have long since become convinced the fans are onside with whatever this management and coaching group brings. Patience with some of the No. 1 overall picks is gone, but the new coach has all kinds of honeymoon time ahead.

  • Todd McLellan responding to Terry Jones in regard to Oilers fans: “Well, they sure don’t want to hear the words rebuild and patience and I’m not using that. I think they want to hear that they are considered in the evaluation. So we have to start with them.” Source

This is one reason he is popular with the fans. Straightforward, no BS, and he takes responsibility. Man up, my Dad used to say. Works every damned time.

  • McLellan: “You have to look in the mirror. I certainly know I can better, I made numerous mistakes. Did I set the tone with my body language? You have to start with yourself and that filters down to the staff.” Source

I think McLellan has a few things we can place at his door, but it is also true there was some progress over the year. Many are pointing to the save percentage as the only improvement, but there are some other things (and we will review them as time rolls along).

WAR ON ICE HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES (YEAR OVER YEAR) (5X5)

  • High-Danger Scoring Chances For-Against: 746-819 (683-851)
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances Differential: -73 (-168)
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances Percentage: 47.7 (44.5)

The year over year in most of the important areas either stayed the same or improved slightly, but it would be hard to suggest any of these disciplines represents a major win:

  • Goals-For Percentage 5×5: 44.3 (39.9)
  • Goals-For per60 5×5: 2.04 (1.93)
  • Goals-Against per60 5×5: 2.56 (2.91)
  • Shots-For per60: 28.4 (27.2)
  • Shots-Against per60: 30.2 (29.6)
  • Corsi-For 5×5 per60: 48.8 (48.1)
  • Shooting Percentage 5×5: 7.17 (7.10)
  • Save Percentage 5×5: .915 (.902)
  • PDO 5×5 percentage: 98.7 (97.3)

Goals-For percentage is up over four percent, but for me the big news is the 5×5 save percentage and the improved high-danger ratio above. Corsi For is a little encouraging, but I am not enough of a math man to know if that is just randomness. Would be nice to hit 50 percent in that category someday.

mclellan capture 170915

  • McLellan: “I’ve seen improvement in a lot of areas, but (the delinquent play) comes back in. It’s like a disease that you think you have cured, then it reappears. You’ve got to get it out of your system.” Source

The Oilers, over the years, have had more than their share of forwards who flew the zone. There are also a bunch of players who don’t haul ass without the puck, although I do think that has improved. In talking to Jen Lute Costella on the Lowdown yesterday, the mind reeled with the task of placing her brilliant work onto what we know about the town team. An example:

  • Costella: Consecutive adds periods of possession together when the same team was on the attack, i.e. Team A enters the zone, has some meaningful possession of the puck, Team B is able to get the puck out of the zone, but Team A recovers the puck and goes back on the attack before Team B can establish any period of possession in their offensive zone. Source

The Oilers are Team B a lot, and I mean it. Costella’s work is universal, for all 30 teams, but when you read it, much of what teams do incorrectly sounds familiar to Edmonton. I do believe Todd McLellan is improving the team in this area, but it is going to take a lot of work. The high-danger scoring chances against (above) were not reduced a whole lot season over season. We know there are problems on defense, but if we are honest, many of the forwards jailbreak faster than Phil Lynott could lay down a base line. Delinquent play. Great phrase.

MCLELLAN’S OILERS

We talk about Chiarelli’s summer all the time (or I do, anyway), but what about McLellan? Well, you can tell a lot about a coach when looking at his own past. McLellan had a lot of success with a veteran team, but he doesn’t have that luxury here. So, what does he need?

  • the new Dan Boyle (PP QB and a guy who can play in the heart of the order 5×5)
  • Jason Demers (a RH minutes eater who can play a two way game)
  • the new Joe Pavelski (RH C who can move up and down the lineup, and play wing)

Now, I would like them to add a Pisani, but suspect McLellan loves Korpikoski (in fact, I think he likes both Finns). Based on how he ran his team this past season, my guess is that McLellan’s wish list to Chiarelli excludes names like Mark Fayne, Anton Lander and Nail Yakupov.

  • Maroon—McDavid—Eberle
  • Hall—Nuge—Leon
  • Pouliot—NJP—Pakarinrn
  • Korpikoski/Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian
  • Klefbom—NDB
  • Sekera—Demers
  • Nurse—Davidson
  • Talbot—Enroth

Easy, right? Well, it is a wish list.

Central’s final list is out and there are some interesting items. Instead of placing these thoughts in any specific order, I am just going to go random:

  • C Pierre-Luc Dubois moved up from No. 7 to No. 1 on the NA lists. He has been surging on other lists and one wonders if he might break into the top 5 overall at the draft.
  • D Charlie McAvoy moves up from No. 9 to No. 6, I have heard and read that he is trending as a prospect. Seems to have a nice range of skills. He shoots right.
  • R Julien Gauthier is falling. I think it might be footspeed, or his Koufax numbers.
  • D Dennis Cholowski moved way up, from No. 48 to No. 23. That is second-round territory.
  • L Tyler Benson fell from No. 21 to No. 24. Considering the injury season, that is amazing. Scouts must love this guy.
  • C Noah Gregor spiked in a big way, from No. 75 to No. 45. Skilled player, determined.
  • G Evan Fitzpatrick has moved ahead of Carter Hart for No. 1 G NA. I don’t see it.
    List is here.
  • D Cam Dineen moved way up on the final list, he ranks No. 39 after being placed No. 117 mid-season. I had him at No. 33 on my last top 60. My ranking is purely on math, but the spike suggests he is visually appealing to scouts as well.
  • D Wade Allison is an interesting cat. Tri-City Storm currently, on the way to Western Michigan.
  • G Colton Point is an interesting player.
  • G Veini Vehvilainen played 25 games in the Sm-Liiga and posted a .925SP. That is good.
  • C Tage Thompson is a guy to watch. I have him on my list, he is a 6.05 RHC who stepped up offensively this season. CS has him at No. 20NA on their final list, that works out to late first-round when combining them. He may go higher.
  • C Nathan Noel was No. 48 on my list last season. CS has him No. 171 overall this year, that is in the range where he may not get drafted. Maybe a post-draft signing? Nope. He is a 1997, so would have one more year of eligibility (unless a team did that training camp thing).
  • C Tyler Soy was No. 75 on my list a year ago and he had a strong year in Victoria. CS has him No. 150 NA, that is right on the fringe of getting drafted.
  • List is here.

The Senators are among a group of teams who should be vulnerable this summer. The Oilers are not a great match in reality, because Ottawa needs at least two defensemen. However, management there kept talking about adding a scoring forward before Bryan Murray stepped aside, maybe they are just ruffled enough to do something really dumb? Nah. I see they are looking for a veteran stay-at-home defender, though, and Mark Fayne would fit that bill. Maybe the two teams can do business again this summer.

Chiarelli was Bruins GM when Khokhlachev was drafted, he is skilled, 22 and was over a point-per-game in the AHL last season. Lefthanded C, not a big player, suspect the wind won’t blow him to Edmonton this summer. Still, worth noting the connection.

If Elliotte Friedman mentions a name, it is not for nothing. So, Wideman, despite any misgivings you and I might have, has to at least be placed in the ‘possible’ section of the procurement pool for this summer (in my opinion). He had a 56-point season two years ago, but plummeted this past season, making his $5.25 million cap hit and $6 million salary next season an albatross. I would think Wideman would be at the very bottom of the shopping list, but this news tells us he is probably either on the list—or Calgary is pushing the idea as possible.

As late as last night, Oilers were apparently in on two of these fellows (Stecher and Caggiula). I read somewhere (here) the decision by Stecher might come today. Maybe some good news for the Lowdown!

there will be blood

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning on the show, TSN1260 at 10. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We continue our postmortem on the season and look forward to summer.
  • Jason McKee, Head Coach and GM for the Spruce Grove Saints. Looking forward to another final!
  • Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun. We will touch base on a truly unusual 72 hours in the nation’s capital. Garrioch might be the only guy who is safe!
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Jeff will chat some baseball and talk about a big show he has coming up tonight at 7 on TSN1260—Golf! Masters and more.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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82 Responses to "MCLELLAN’S OILERS"

  1. Jethro Tull says:

    No to Wideman. The refs already hate us.

  2. LMHF#1 says:

    I’m not seeing the numbers when it comes to Stecher.

    Shouldn’t an offensive D put up more points than he has?

  3. jonrmcleod says:

    ***SPAM ALERT***

    Relive the McDavid magic. Here are my top 10 McDavid moments (with videos).

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2016/04/top-10-mcdavid-moments/

  4. Jethro Tull says:

    As I understand it, Bryan Murray is still an advisor to the Sens. I wonder if Dorion has supreme executive power, or Murray’s nod is still needed. Rumour has it they like Mike Yeo, but if the players thought Paul MacLean was stern, then they’re going to love Mike.

    We have to believe that Karlsson isn’t available for anyone that isn’t going to hurt our team as much as that trade would hurt them. So who would we want from the Sens?

    Not to derail the thread, but who are people pulling for in the playoffs?

  5. Aitch says:

    I still believe one of the biggest hurdles that the Oilers have to overcome is their own past. Too many teams and players are confident playing against the Oilers because they’ve had success against them in the past. And we all know that players who feel confident, generally tend to play better. There’s going to be a tipping point where teams start to question if they can beat the Oilers, but until the Oilers actually start winning games on a more consistent basis, they are going to fight this. A decade of losing means that a large portion of the NHL only have good memories of playing against the Oilers. That has to change.

  6. monsterbater says:

    Now you’re just taunting me LT with The Band reference. They were my choice for the RE series 🙂

  7. SierraRacs says:

    About looking for the NJP; given the comments about Leon over the last couple of days, it seems like he is being molded into that role. To me, it comes across as ‘we need that kind of player and we have someone who has the ability to do that so let’s start that process from the ground up’.

    I wouldn’t complain about Leon becoming the NJP, makes the decision to go with a top centre at the draft easier if we are lucky enough to go first.

  8. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Jethro Tull,

    Flyers in the East and Sharks in the west.

    2 reasons:

    1. Both teams play an exciting style of hockey. If the Flyers beat the caps in round 1 they will likely play the Pens in round 2 (I don’t think much of NYR other than their goalie and their superb coach). Flyers vs. Pens is often some of the best hockey you can watch. Giroux and Crosby in particular seem to dislike each other a great deal.
    2. Giroux and Burns are my favorite non Oilers players.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Apologies to those having a difficult time getting on this morning. Working on it!

  10. Cameron says:

    Off topic, but who won Hunter’s points predicted pool?

    Also, my best (really only) Rexall memories were;

    – Attending the draft where Steve Kelly was picked instead of Shane Doan.

    – 91, the ‘Fleury roll’.

  11. CalVag says:

    OTP (sorry LT) but found this interesting. Looks like our friend Tyler Dellow is doing well.

    http://www.tsn.ca/hockey-at-the-2016-sloan-sports-analytics-conference-1.454293

    Apologies if someone already posted this recently.

  12. Frank the dog says:

    Lowetide,

    There’s a lot of DDOS activity going on right now.

  13. godot10 says:

    Ottawa would be a great team for Todd Nelson, but I expect they want a NHL retread.

  14. dustrock says:

    Hey LT, just reposting some thoughts from last night, when the entry got deleted.

    – should we be talking more about Clayton Keller? His USNDT totals aren’t far off from one Jack Eichel. Is a top 5 pick too high for him? Seems like he’s flying under the radar a bit.

    – re McAvoy – he is a freshman and he is very young. Consistency was a problem for him, heard he’s been much better post WHJC. Don’t know much about him but he sounds like a long-term project compared to Chychrun, Juolevi and Sergachev.

    – re Chychrun – he’s become my favorite prospect to obsess over – in Draisaitl’s year, it was Leon, as I knew the Oilers likely wouldn’t get Ekblad. From reports in the U-18 4-3 exhibition loss to Sweden last night, he played the last 4 minutes of the 3rd. People have talked about him running the umbrella on the PP and how good his skating is.

    To me this guy could be the Oilers Pietrangelo, an all-situations D man who plays 25 minutes per game. Because that’s basically what he’s already doing for Sarnia.

    I like Juolevi a lot, but he plays on a stacked London Knights team and doesn’t PK, for whatever that’s worth in junior.

  15. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    Cameron:
    Off topic, but who won Hunter’s points predicted pool?

    A few of us picked 71 points, and someone picked 69… nobody picked 70. Being an Oilers-related blog, it should be of no surprise that there was no winner for Hunter’s pool.

  16. jake70 says:

    Cameron:
    Off topic, but who won Hunter’s points predicted pool?

    Also, my best (really only) Rexall memories were;

    – Attending the draft where Steve Kelly was picked instead of Shane Doan.

    – 91, the ‘Fleury roll’.

    Well, I and I think 2 others had 71 points…we were quite close to the projection for like a couple of months it seemed. I know I was hoping the Oil would win the shootout Saturday to get to 71. Don’t think anyone had 70 and maybe a couple had 69 …..not sure.

    On the forwards jailbreaking….sometimes it’s quite obvious but mostly it’s subtle, just slight shifts of their weight, direction toward their own blue line, takes them out of the play going toward their own net.

  17. Woodguy says:

    Cameron:
    Off topic, but who won Hunter’s points predicted pool?

    Also, my best (really only) Rexall memories were;

    – Attending the draft where Steve Kelly was picked instead of Shane Doan.

    – 91, the ‘Fleury roll’.

    Favorite Saddledome memories:

    1) It flooding and smelling like the cesspool that it is.
    2) The team stealing vaccines from kids and the poor.
    3) The idiotic design to reflect the cowpattie heritage so that Calgarians don’t get most of the good concerts.

  18. G Money says:

    Corsi For is a little encouraging, but I am not enough of a math man to know if that is just randomness. Would be nice to hit 50 percent in that category someday.

    One way to suss that out is to pull out the components of CF% and see if there is more substantive change in those.

    For example, you could have no change in CF%, but a significant improvement in ‘for’ and a significant decline in ‘against’ and that would indicate a noteable underlying change even as the CF% showed nothing.

    In the Oilers case (I have used the per 60 numbers to isolate away changes in number of penalties called year over year):

    CF/60 … 2014: 24th @ 53.26 -> 2015: 18th @ 55.24

    CA/60 … 2014: 24th @ 57.58 -> 2015: 24th @ 57.72

    So my answer to you is: yes, the small change in CF% does represent something significant.

    Specifically, the team is noteably better (two attempts per game, almost league average) at generating shot attempts this year. Half an attempt per game more would be 15th (BOS).

    Given the three teams immediately ahead of the Oil all play in the East (switch conferences with any of them and the Oilers surge ahead, I’m 100% sure), I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Oilers WERE basically league average in this department.

    But … the team remains among the worst in the league at preventing shot attempts, and pretty much identical to last year.

    There are some interesting tiebacks from this to the conclusions from Jen Lute Costella’s brilliant articles (there are three of them so far and you should read all of them) vis a vis Oiler coaching style and dump and chase, and the need for better defensemen, but I’ll leave that for an article I’m writing.

  19. Woodguy says:

    godot10:
    Ottawa would be a great team for Todd Nelson, but I expect they want a NHL retread.

    Elliott mentioned him as a dark horse for the OTT job as well.

  20. russ99 says:

    The most important thing I want to see from McLellan this summer is to figure our how he really wants to consistently use his scoring forwards next year, both even strength and on the power play, which seemed to me to be exactly the same this season.

    Because there were serious mixed signals between three scoring forwards with some free rein once controlled entry/possesion is established, and two scoring forwards and one bigger forward – who’s job is primarily to keep the cycle going over any offensive instincts.

    Case in point:

    Hall – RNH – Draisaitl – #1
    Pouliot – McDavid – Eberle – #1

    Hall – Draisaitl – Kassian – #2
    Maroon – McDavid – Eberle/Yak – #2

    This will be even more vital if we move away from unicorns to a more 2-way third line.

  21. dustrock says:

    G Money,

    If McLellan’s dump and chase style doesn’t work for the Oilers, why was it successful for the Sharks? Just a different lineup? Ditto the PP.

  22. dustrock says:

    One more Chychrun spam from me and that’s it for now:

    From a HF Boards thread:

    I was at the Canada Sweden U18 game last night in Winnipeg and came away very impressed with Chychrun. As a season ticket holder who watched Bogosian play live about 80 plus times in the first 4 seasons I understand how his name is linked to Chychrun but I breathed a sigh of relief after watching the game and I liked Bogosian.

    The biggest problem Zach faced in Winnipeg is they kept trying to convert him into a shut down defender and he was always meant to be the offensive puck rushing D man with a more O first role. Because Buff was On the team and they are both right shots Zach was never going to own the correct role and I think he was misused. It’s not that Zach is a dum hockey player he is just not high IQ type. He makes some high profile blunders like most offensive D men do but because he is shoehorned into a shut down role the optics are worse. I am a Bogosian fan though so a prospect being compared to him is not all bad.

    Now to the guest of honor. Chychrun looked really good last night and I see no issues with how he thinks the game. He is a much better pure defender than Zach and always looked really comfortable in his assignments (minus one incident). To me I see him filling a very important spot for a pro team. I think I will like his O but love his D and puck transition skills.

    When the boys on the Jets board pressed me a bit I said stylistically at the NHL level I see Chych more like Hampus Lindholm than Zach Bogosian. A guy that will always get his points but points alone will not reflect his true value as an all around player.

    Every team in the NHL could use what this kid will most likely become but the key to me is allot of the NHL teams could use what he is right now today. He might get another season in junior to be safe but IMO I was watching an NHL ready defender last night. The question is who’s going to blink first on draft day.

  23. Caramel Batman says:

    dustrock:
    G Money,

    If McLellan’s dump and chase style doesn’t work for the Oilers, why was it successful for the Sharks?Just a different lineup? Ditto the PP.

    How successful was it? The Sharks, an aging team that should have been on the decline, were much better this year with a different coach.

  24. vinotintazo says:

    Woodguy: 1) It flooding and smelling like the cesspool that it is.

    I kinda feel bad for laughing.

  25. dustrock says:

    Caramel Batman: How successful was it?The Sharks, an aging team that should have been on the decline, were much better this year with a different coach.

    Yes, other than last season, all those playoff appearances and 2 Conference Finals sure were disappointing.

  26. Chachi says:

    Woodguy: Favorite Saddledome memories:

    1) It flooding and smelling like the cesspool that it is.
    2) The team stealing vaccines from kids and the poor.
    3) The idiotic design to reflect the cowpattie heritage so that Calgarians don’t get most of the good concerts.

    “1)” and “3)” are hilarious. Re “2)” the funny thing is how many Flames fans are o.k. with what happened. Perfect match of fans and organization.

  27. Amadeus says:

    Does anyone have an idea as to McLeod’s skating ability?

    One scouting report said something about jet speed. Is it more like McDavid, Hall, or Cogliano?

  28. dustrock says:

    LMHF#1,

    Well, at least there’s some logic sometimes.

  29. G Money says:

    dustrock,

    My initial conclusion (this is what I’m writing up right now) is actually the opposite! That McLellan and his system are _not_ the problem.

    This isn’t a new view on my part, I’ve been saying this pretty consistently in my posts this year. What disappoints me about the coaching this year are some of the mystifying roster decisions, and the power play. But I think the angst over ‘dump and chase’ is misguided.

    Where this ties to JLC’s work is that she found much the same thing: even the Hawks, the most consistent ‘carry it in’ team she studied, dumps and chases 50% of the time. This contrasts with the big heavy teams like ANA and LAK, who dump and chase 75% of the time.

    The reason for that is that if you become a one-dimensional team, the other teams defense simply adjusts. If you subscribe to the fantasy that you can carry the puck in all the time, the other team will choke off the neutral zone and stand you up at the blue line, and you’re toast.

    Even the best teams need balance. Talent (which the Oilers have) gives you the ability to carry it in. But dump and chase is what sets up the ability to carry it in.

    If you can’t dump and chase, you can’t carry either. I believe that’s what McLellan is trying to mold the Oilers into this year – a balanced team that can do either well, depending on what’s available.

    As for the Sharks – it’s laughable cherry-picking at its finest to look at last year (McLellan’s worst in SJ) and compare it to this year and say “see, TMc is a lousy coach.”

    Every coach has a lifespan with a team, and TMc hit his in SJ, and it showed. This years San Jose team is certainly not better than the SJ teams that TMc had running at his peak.

  30. Caramel Batman says:

    dustrock,

    Bogosian has terrible numbers, both with Winnipeg and with Buffalo. He’s a Jack Johnson type. Comparing someone to him is not a compliment.

  31. Caramel Batman says:

    dustrock: Yes, other than last season, all those playoff appearances and 2 Conference Finals sure were disappointing.

    Whatever. They are better by every measure under DeBoer. That’s a simple fact.

    Whether that is because of the coach, I don’t know. But the players didn’t get better.

  32. vinotintazo says:

    Caramel Batman: Whatever.They are better by every measure under DeBoer.That’s a simple fact.

    Whether that is because of the coach, I don’t know.But the players didn’t get better.

    same DeBoer who didnt like playing Jagr much?

  33. Jethro Tull says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Jethro Tull,

    Flyers in the East and Sharks in the west.

    2 reasons:

    1. Both teams play an exciting style of hockey.If the Flyers beat the caps in round 1 they will likely play the Pens in round 2 (I don’t think much of NYR other than their goalie and their superb coach).Flyers vs. Pens is often some of the best hockey you can watch.Giroux and Crosby in particular seem to dislike each other a great deal.
    2. Giroux and Burns are my favorite non Oilers players.

    I find it interesting that when Peter DeBoer was HC of NJ, NJ was (and still is) regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. He moves teams and with new players, SJ is one of the most exciting to watch. Is he a good coach that adapts to what he has?

  34. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    G Money,

    It strikes me as being similar to the running game in football. Even Tom Brady hands the ball off a ton. If he didn’t he wouldn’t complete nearly as many passes.

    Now, if a coach had Brady, or any other elite arm, on throwing 15 to 20 times per game you could be critical. But to expect a steady stream of deep passes is crazy too.

  35. Caramel Batman says:

    I don’t think McClellan is a bad coach, but he’s been sanctified in Edmonton. I think Deboer, to take someone who is only mildly regarded, is clearly a better coach. He took an only ok Devils team tot he finals, and not through luck they were playing great, and now he has markedly improved a declining Sharks team.

    I wish he was our coach.

  36. Jethro Tull says:

    Caramel Batman: Whatever.They are better by every measure under DeBoer.That’s a simple fact.

    Whether that is because of the coach, I don’t know.But the players didn’t get better.

    Well, that’s not entirely true. They could be playing better than last year. Remember Calgary last year had a bunch of players that had career years and were blowing the doors off the PDO. Same with Colorado the year before. It stands to reason that if a bad team can go one way (to the good) and fluke into the playoffs, a good team can slump out of them.

  37. Jethro Tull says:

    Caramel Batman: and not through luck they were playing the neutral zone trap to perfection

    FIFY

  38. Hockey Buddha says:

    Like the fact that Edmonton is in the conversation for Troy Stecher and Drake Caggiula. It would be nice to land one or both of these players.

  39. RJ2016 says:

    Costella seems to be writing/talking about the Oilers specifically in that quote.

    If you follow any work being done by microstats folks, it becomes very hard to stomach the Oilers’ lack of a skilled puck mover. The struggles they have with controlled zone exits and controlled zone entries should be tied in part to poor positioning on the part of the forwards, but more should be tied to the inability of Oilers D to make passes.

    Fayne is particularly egregious in this light given his TOI. Get the puck out of the defensive zone through firing around the boards then the Oilers need to re-gain possession in the neutral zone. Failing to do so allows the opposition to re-double their attacks.

  40. G Money says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!,

    I think that’s exactly the right analogy.

    If you try to pass 100% of the time, the defenders will pin their ears back and max out the pass rush, while the defenders will play tight bump and run and count on disrupting the receivers patterns and then staying close long enough for the pass rushers to arrive. And the safeties will play deep in case neither happens on that play.

    But they WILL make life very difficult.

    So even a great passing team NEEDS to have a capable run game to keep the other side honest and allow the pass game to work.

    So dump and chase = run.

    Carry it in = pass.

    And the defense won’t let you have the second if you don’t have the first.

    TMc is trying to get a passing team to run the ball capably, but I’ve seen plenty of carries and turn-it-back-and-try-again’s, so no way do I believe that TMc is trying to make the Oilers into the Sharks.

  41. Jethro Tull says:

    Hockey Buddha:
    Like the fact that Edmonton is in the conversation for Troy Stecher and Drake Caggiula.It would be nice to land one or both of these players.

    My belief is that (and sorry if it’s been stated better here by somebody else) with the pick going to Boston this year and the loss of a pick last year to SJ, that Chia has directed some hard scouting at the NCAA. I don’t think this is a bad idea in any year. We need those diamonds in the rough. We need LT’s Fernando Pisani type players.

  42. G Money says:

    Caramel Batman,

    I think DeBoer is a good coach. I would not have an issue with him being the coach here either.

    Is he a ‘better’ coach than TMc? No idea. His teams sure as hell haven’t been as good. But that says nothing, as we’ve only seen TMc with powerhouses in Detroit and San Jose – and now one year of an established weak sister in Edmonton.

    But given your insistence on sound reasoning and evidence, using one year of San Jose as your evidence for DeBoer being a better coach than TMc … well.

  43. G Money says:

    RJ2016,

    Yes.

    The most key takeaway IMO from JLC’s article is the importance of controlled D zone exits to setting up the O zone entries.

    The Oilers are poor at the former, so it compromises the latter.

  44. Caramel Batman says:

    Jethro Tull,

    By my recollection, the Devils did not play the neutral zone trap, at least in the playoffs. They forechecked hard, and their D were very aggressive with pinching at the blueline. That isn’t the trap.

    Regarding the Sharks I wasn’t referring to their record. I looked at it a few weeks ago, by every metric (scoring chances, fenwick, whatever) the Sharks are better this year than last.

  45. Caramel Batman says:

    G Money,

    I’m not saying he’s definitely better. There isn’t evidence of that. I’m saying I think he’s better and that there is evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, to support that position.

    I also think you are giving him (and all coaches) too much credit with the football/game theory analogy. I do think what you are saying is true. I just don’t think coaches are smart enough to know that, and if they are they haven’t turned it into a self-conscious strategy. To push the analogy further, the NHL is where the NFL was in the eighties before the introduction of the run n’ shoot. All of the innovative strategies in the NFL came from outside the league first. The NHL, on the other hand, seems incapable of learning from other brands of hockey, perhaps because those institutions seem similarly hindbound.

  46. Jethro Tull says:

    Caramel Batman: Regarding the Sharks I wasn’t referring to their record. I looked at it a few weeks ago, by every metric (scoring chances, fenwick, whatever) the Sharks are better this year than last.

    Yeah, I didn’t word that quite how I would have liked. What I meant to say was that they just had to play better than last year. And if the players didn’t get better, did they get worse? We know age does have an effect, outliers like Jagr aside. Was it purely coaching? A combination of that and players reverting to normal after a shitty year?

  47. LMHF#1 says:

    dustrock:
    LMHF#1,

    Well, at least there’s some logic sometimes.

    Yep, we’ll see if this changes their assessment processes and how many people immediately jump up and down when WADA says something.

    I doubt it does much.

  48. Jethro Tull says:

    Caramel Batman: By my recollection, the Devils did not play the neutral zone trap, at least in the playoffs. They forechecked hard, and their D were very aggressive with pinching at the blueline. That isn’t the trap.

    That’s the thing with personal recollection, because I absolutely hated that series against the NYR. I saw lots of trap hockey from both sides. But did I really see that?

  49. Caramel Batman says:

    Jethro Tull: That’s the thing with personal recollection, because I absolutely hated that series against the NYR.I saw lots of trap hockey from both sides.But did I really see that?

    It’s not just recollection. It has to do with, on the one hand, the fluidity of hockey, and on the other, the fundamental similarity of tactics. Every team in the NHL traps some of the time, when the forecheck isn’t there, on a change, in the third period when they are trying to kill the game, etc. So the differences are hard to see.

    That’s why I think the differences are more on the offensive side of the puck, the way that Chicago uses the stretch pass, the way the KIngs play close together and support the puck, how some teams give more freedom to the D to activate, while other teams do this less (this is very much the Oilers).

    The problem with scoring in the NHL isn’t just the trap, it is that teams have no incentive to break the trap because even if you do it is so hard to score.

  50. PhrankLee says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I hope the damn ice is better in the new barn. It seemed to get worse every year in Rexall.

    The reputation for fast hard ice is long gone. i hope they can start anew on that score.

  51. Hockey Buddha says:

    Jethro Tull,

    Yeah, but both guys look like fairly high end offensive players, and neither is very big. Caggiula is a LWer, who has some nice hands and slick moves (almost an Eberle type with the puck and a great shot) and Strecher is an offensive defenseman; he’s the most coveted player available in the NCAA. I’m not holding my breath on getting either player. I think that Strecher might go to the ‘Nucks (he’s from Richmond), and Caggiula’s being courted by about 5 different teams. Still, Edmonton is in the conversation on both players, which is positive.

  52. John Chambers says:

    A Senators – Oilers deal could have legs. Here’s a plausible scenarios for the two teams:

    Edmonton is building a cluster of players from the ’08 – ’15 draft to be their core.

    Ottawa might look to a cluster of players from ’10-’17 to be their core.

    Edmonton could offer up Draisaitl (’14), Reinhart (’12), this- AND next-year’s 1st’s for:

    Karlsson (’08), and Kyle Turris (’07).

    The Oilers get their RHD with 3 years left on a value contract as well as a vet 3C to play behind RNH and McDavid.

    Ottawa gets to build around Ceci, Reinhart, Chabot, and let’s say Julolevi on D, Zibanejad, Draisaitl, Lazar, and White at C, while maintaining Hoffman, Stone, and Ryan on wing.

    We advance our ‘core’ to a more mature age, while they centre their core around players from the upcoming as well as very recent drafts.

    AmICrazy?

  53. Caramel Batman says:

    John Chambers,

    You are crazy. Ottawa isn’t rebuilding. They have no reason to rebuild, and your trade proposal is cap impossible for the Oilers.

    Neither is Montreal, for that matter. Trading Subban and Karlson is a hockey trade. And the reason either team would do it is because they don’t know what they have. They know they are good but they think they have weaknesses, when in the real world they are among the best players in the league.

    Both situations fit the psychology of bad decisions that spring from failure.

  54. LMHF#1 says:

    PhrankLee:
    I don’t know about anyone else but I hope the damn ice is better in the new barn. It seemed to get worse every year in Rexall.

    The reputation for fast hard ice is long gone. i hope they can start anew on that score.

    It will be. If I remember right they had concrete and ice plant issues in Rexall that were unfixable without major renos. The new building won’t have that issue.

  55. speeds says:

    Caramel Batman,

    Whatever the issues with the deal, I don’t think that trade would be end up being cap impossible for the Oilers. Might require some other moves to do some other things, but I don’t know about cap impossible.

  56. G Money says:

    Caramel Batman,

    Well, I pretty much agree with that assessment, except that this:

    I’m not saying he’s definitely better. There isn’t evidence of that. I’m saying I think he’s better and that there is evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, to support that position.

    Doesn’t seem consistent with your earlier statement:

    I think Deboer, to take someone who is only mildly regarded, is clearly a better coach. He took an only ok Devils team tot he finals, and not through luck they were playing great, and now he has markedly improved a declining Sharks team.

    And I don’t think one Devils team having a cinderella run to the Finals and one year of the Sharks doing better than the previous weak(est) year is in any way enough evidence to outweigh multiple years of TMc having the best regular season (largest sample size) team in hockey.

    By that token, there is evidence that Sutter was a lousy coach with a lousy team last year and a great coach with a dangerous team this year.

    Sometimes veteran teams after years of success can get some combination of tired, complacent, or unlucky.

    Often having a bad year is exactly what it takes to shake them out of that – regardless of whether the coach changes in the meantime or not.

  57. LMHF#1 says:

    Having not seen any discussion of it here (might have missed it), I was interested to see that Sam Hinkie is no longer GM of the Sixers.

    I’m not an NBA or a Sixers guy, but any takes?

    Here’s his weird, rambling resignation letter – quoting everyone and their dog.
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/307277292/Hinkie-Letter#fullscreen

  58. Water Fire says:

    When folks say McLellan is mistaken trying to get the Oilers to chip and chase it reminds me of the Brazilian soccer coach being criticized after Pele retired I think for not playing enough samba style (or whatever they called it).

    His response was give me those players and I’ll play that way. The Oilers are the same. The game they aren’t equipped to play is a keep away full possession style, until they get a few better horses in back.

    A team has to be able to use that style anyway to counter certain defensive strategies.

  59. hunter1909 says:

    Cameron,

    HeatTreaterJoe,

    jake70,

    Hunter1909’s Official Death March™ Would like to thank you for taking interest.

    Out of over 200 entries, no one was able to predict the 1st place position of 70 points. The closest were:

    72 Points:

    719
    Kinger_oil
    Doyne West

    71 Points:

    TOML
    HeatTreaterJoe
    Jake70

    69 Points:

    Knighttown

    60 Points:

    Kitchener

  60. stephen sheps says:

    G Money:
    Ca$h-McMoney!,

    I think that’s exactly the right analogy.

    If you try to pass 100% of the time, the defenders will pin their ears back and max out the pass rush, while the defenders will play tight bump and run and count on disrupting the receivers patterns and then staying close long enough for the pass rushers to arrive. And the safeties will play deep in case neither happens on that play.

    But they WILL make life very difficult.

    So even a great passing team NEEDS to have a capable run game to keep the other side honest and allow the pass game to work.

    So dump and chase = run.

    Carry it in = pass.

    And the defense won’t let you have the second if you don’t have the first.

    TMc is trying to get a passing team to run the ball capably, but I’ve seen plenty of carries and turn-it-back-and-try-again’s, so no way do I believe that TMc is trying to make the Oilers into the Sharks.

    I also think this is pretty much the perfect analogy except I would switch up the comps.

    Dump and chase = Pass (as evidenced by the occasional need to use check-downs to a TE and quick screens)

    Carry it in = Run (explosive runs to the outside, goal line work and zone-read run plays).

    Transition offense/score off the rush = Read Option

    Thankfully the Oilers have their very own version of Cam Newton, someone who can kill you with his arm and his legs, in Connor McDavid, a player so talented that opposing defenders have to be ready for anything and everything as well as more of a Roethlisberger type in Taylor Hall likely anchoring the ‘2nd’ line. That’s two top tier QB types coexisting on a single team. Both of these players can play place & chase or enter the zone as carriers and distributors of the puck and take what defenders can give them (i.e. what TMac himself describes as playing their games within the context of the team game, where creativity is welcomed but freelancing is not) and given their talent levels seem to play a bit more like QBs who can play the zone read effectively. (And having both Cam and Ben on your fantasy team is kinda the dream, isn’t it 😉 )

    What the team needs now is a d-man who can think the game and see the field like a QB but with the finishing ability of a LeVeon Bell type 3 down running back.

    I love football. Hockey will always be my favourite sport, but the level of skill and tactics that goes into football systems play is incredible.

    In many ways I still wonder why with the emphasis on systems over the old school ‘let ’em play’ mentality why we haven’t seen a rise in specific position coaches beyond goalies in professional hockey. Adam Oates raised that question in his recent player’s tribune article and it really got me thinking a lot about the role coaches play as the game evolves. It’s not as funny as the Kuznetzsov and Whitney articles, but for those interested in systems and tactics, it’s a really good read. (http://www.theplayerstribune.com/adam-oates-nhl-wayne-gretzky-skill-in-hockey/)

  61. Quinlan says:

    Lots of talk about OEL, Subban, Karlsson, who are all great and would be stupendous upgrades to this team, depending on their cost.

    That said, Hedman is who we should be shooting for. Not as famous (yet), shier in point production, but absolutely dominant in every metric I’ve looked at.

    Especially if Tampa backs up the Brinks truck for Stamkos, the Oilers should push for Hedman. I admit some concern over injury, but I think he’s worth that risk.

  62. John Chambers says:

    Caramel Batman,

    When you add up the remaining contract years for Karlsson (3) and Turris (2), and compare them with the years under contract they receive from Draisaitl (1 more ELC + 4 min), Reinhart (same), as well as a top-5 pick (3 ELC’s + 4 min), they stand to gain an overwhelming number of productive years at multiple key positions from high pedigreed players. At low cost.

    It’s a matter of Ottawa orienting their core cluster toward a similar, but young age. It’s a wise way to re-build as the median age of their core would be ~20, unlike Edmonton’s where the median age of our core was 15 when the Fall for Hall started in 2010.

  63. kinger_OIL says:

    hunter1909:
    Cameron,

    HeatTreaterJoe,

    jake70,

    Hunter1909’s Official Death March™ Would like to thank you for taking interest.

    Out of over 200 entries, no one was able to predict the 1st place position of 70 points. The closest were:

    72 Points:

    719
    Kinger_oil
    Doyne West

    71 Points:

    TOML
    HeatTreaterJoe
    Jake70

    69 Points:

    Knighttown

    60 Points:

    Kitchener

    – Good reminder that we on this blog don’t no “jack” about hockey and are highly biased towards our team. Nothing wrong with that: We talk about really interesting stuff, and there is awesome insight, but we are all just delusional fans.

    – LT this blog is awesome, and the conversations great, I love the cast of characters and personalities in here. Keep up the good work.

    – Hunter what was the median/average point prediction: low 80’s?

  64. blainer says:

    Things that I found perplexing with TMc..

    – Time on ice Taylor Hall… He did not play Hall nearly enough after CMD’s return and it shows in his stats. This is one of the best players in the world but he decides to give more ice to 3rd and 4th liners. I don’t buy the schedule as an excuse for this.

    – deploying Letestu on the PP. I am aware he is RT shot but My gord there were much better options especially after RNH get back and he is normally a PP wizard.. he should have been given more time on the PP regardless of his faceoff abilities . They need to get Stamkos or a RT shot center who can score in place of this player especially for the PP. I like Letestu for the Boyd Gordon role.

    – I also question a lot of his ice time decisions on D as well.

    I was impressed he admitted he could be better as should the team so lets hope there is not much learning on the job with the same players next year.

    This team desperately needs more Vet players.

  65. Adam Wu says:

    G Money:
    dustrock,

    The reason for that is that if you become a one-dimensional team, the other teams defense simply adjusts.If you subscribe to the fantasy that you can carry the puck in all the time, the other team will choke off the neutral zone and stand you up at the blue line, and you’re toast.

    Even the best teams need balance.Talent (which the Oilers have) gives you the ability to carry it in.But dump and chase is what sets up the ability to carry it in.

    If you can’t dump and chase, you can’t carry either.I believe that’s what McLellan is trying to mold the Oilers into this year – a balanced team that can do either well, depending on what’s available.

    As for the Sharks – it’s laughable cherry-picking at its finest to look at last year (McLellan’s worst in SJ) and compare it to this year and say “see, TMc is a lousy coach.”

    Every coach has a lifespan with a team, and TMc hit his in SJ, and it showed.This years San Jose team is certainly not better than the SJ teams that TMc had running at his peak.

    This is also what Eakins was doing those last 2 years when he was getting the Hall line to dump and chase more.

  66. blainer says:

    John Chambers:
    A Senators – Oilers deal could have legs. Here’s a plausible scenarios for the two teams:

    Edmonton is building a cluster of players from the ’08 – ’15 draft to be their core.

    Ottawa might look to a cluster of players from ’10-’17 to be their core.

    Edmonton could offer up Draisaitl (’14), Reinhart (’12),this- AND next-year’s 1st’s for:

    Karlsson (’08), and Kyle Turris (’07).

    The Oilers get their RHD with 3 years left on a value contract as well as a vet 3C to play behind RNH and McDavid.

    Ottawa gets to build around Ceci, Reinhart, Chabot, and let’s say Julolevi on D, Zibanejad, Draisaitl, Lazar, and White at C, while maintaining Hoffman, Stone, and Ryan on wing.

    We advance our ‘core’ to a more mature age, while they centre their core around players from the upcoming as well as very recent drafts.

    AmICrazy?

    That is a fair return IMO and probably not far off what it would take to get Karlsson. They may ask for Nurse instead of Reinhart and if they did I would still do it… But it’s certainly a good offer from the oil as Nurse alone has the potential to be that top pairing D…

  67. dustrock says:

    LMHF#1:
    Having not seen any discussion of it here (might have missed it), I was interested to see that Sam Hinkie is no longer GM of the Sixers.

    I’m not an NBA or a Sixers guy, but any takes?

    Here’s his weird, rambling resignation letter – quoting everyone and their dog.
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/307277292/Hinkie-Letter#fullscreen

    Basically, to misquote Bane, Hinkie looks at Lowe and Tambo and says ” you think you know how to tank, but I was born in the tank. I perfected the tank.”

    He came to a similar conclusion as the Oilers – no big free agents were going to sign in Philly, the draft was the only way to rebuild. So he traded away any decent players that Philly had, for draft picks. Sometimes he took bad players on expensive contracts to get draft picks.

    Sometimes he drafted players with noticeable injury question marks (Embiid, etc) and then was happy when their #2 overall draft pick had to miss the entire year.

    Their drafting was poor, though – not always picking quality players, especially with the deeper picks.

    And the fans began to rebel – this was making a mockery even of the tank process. The Board of Governors basically wanted Adam Silver (the commish) to force out Hinkie because he was embarrassing the entire league.

    Kristaps Porzingis, a top 5 pick in last year’s draft, told Philly they were refusing to work out for the team, and don’t even think about drafting him, because he would not report.

    And so, one way or another, Hinkie is gone – and then he leaves this bizarre, rambling resignation letter like he was Jerry Macguire or something. He tries to sell this as some kind of brave thing he did that no one else had the guts to take to the extreme, but it’s very clear he does not have a clue about how to run a professional sports organization.

    One commenter said the resignation letter sounds like someone who watched every single TED Talk but doesn’t have any ideas of his own.

  68. AsiaOil says:

    TMac gets love because he largely “tells it like it is” after a bad loss. He’s not perfect. His bizarre love for Korpse and Letestu in spite of the evidence, poor handling of Lander and Yak, and a few other strange decisions on defense exist. But a lot of this may be old voices from the inside hanging around and creating trouble. Hope they fix that this summer.

    TMac shows accountability to himself, the team and the org – even when he’s ripping players after a bad loss he includes himself and his staff in the failure – unlike certain other ex-coaches with nice hair. This is also not the case with some of the core who have explicitly avoided personally owning any poor results even when these were on full display for all to see. Hiding behind the team and saying that “we” need to be better is not accountability – it’s the opposite – and it’s part of “the crap” that TMac said they thought they got rid of. Chia will fix that this summer after a full season of watching to see who has the desire, work ethic and accountability to be a winner and who doesn’t – and we still have a few who don’t on this team. Shultz was not the only problem on this team but getting rid of him was a good start – a few more cuts and addition by subtraction moves are yet to be made.

  69. dustrock says:

    Caramel Batman:
    dustrock,

    Bogosian has terrible numbers, both with Winnipeg and with Buffalo.He’s a Jack Johnson type.Comparing someone to him is not a compliment.

    No, I agree. The (perceived) knock on Chychrun is that he could turn out to be Zach Bogosian, a guy who had size, skating and some offensive chops, and didn’t turn out in the pros like everyone expected.

    The commenter was specifically commenting on Chychrun not looking like Bogosian.

  70. LMHF#1 says:

    dustrock:

    One commenter said the resignation letter sounds like someone who watched every single TED Talk but doesn’t have any ideas of his own.

    Something like that. And as if the ability to take snippets from others without necessarily integrating them or even having the ability to process them makes a difference. “You may question me, but I was channeling Lincoln chopping a tree – so neener neener!”

    Just so weird. And that people borderline worshiped this guy is just hilarious.

  71. Truth says:

    Well I’ve been bored and killing some time, so bear with me on my armchair GM ideas:

    Oilers re-sign:
    Pakarinen
    Kassian
    Gryba

    Sign as UFA:
    Demers
    Backes

    Trade:
    Letestu and / or Korpikoski for picks

    Hall, Klefbom, and Yakupov for Subban and Gallagher (this is the fantasy portion of the post)

    Draft:
    Puljujarvi

    Next Season Starting Lineup:

    Maroon – McDavid – Eberle
    Draisaitl – RNH – Gallagher
    Pouliot – Backes – Puljujarvi
    Kassian – Lander – Hendricks

    Sekera – Subban
    Fayne – Demers
    Davidson – Gryba
    Reinhart

  72. Water Fire says:

    AsiaOil: TMac gets love because he largely “tells it like it is” after a bad loss. He’s not perfect. His bizarre love for Korpse and Letestu in spite of the evidence, poor handling of Lander and Yak, and a few other strange decisions on defense exist. But a lot of this may be old voices from the inside hanging around and creating trouble. Hope they fix that this summer.

    I think it’s important to factor in that McLellan and Chiarelli were very unlikely to have thought they had a playoff team, and decisions were being made on setting up a structure and getting players to actually do it, which it wouldn’t have taken them long to see was not going to be a no brainer.

    To me the love for guys that went hard and gave a full effort, despite failing at it, speaks to teaching that doing what is asked is paramount and leads to perks like TOI and linemates. You first have to get the inmates to stop rioting before you can teach them to make license plates.

    I will be surprised if it continues once there are better options and everybody buys in (because everyone else gets traded for OEL). Moreover it was absolutely the right thing to do. A wasted year becomes productive if the nasty things get done so they don’t have to happen when there are real opportunities. The Oilers used to waste wasted years, get depressed about it and get wasted.

  73. Lowetide says:

    I think the fan base is now absolutely onside with the GM and coach. If Chiarelli traded one or even two of the big guns, there would not be the kind of outcry we would have seen if MacT did it. These guys are bona fide.

    Not saying they will make a better deal, or make it work out. Just saying those are the facts as I see them.

  74. frjohnk says:

    Lowetide:
    I think the fan base is now absolutely onside with the GM and coach. If Chiarelli traded one or even two of the big guns, there would not be the kind of outcry we would have seen if MacT did it. These guys are bona fide.

    Not saying they will make a better deal, or make it work out. Just saying those are the facts as I see them.

    If MacT was still GM with a 29th place finish, most fans would be calling for his head. Heck, he is not GM anymore and people still want his head. And I know that Nelson is well liked here; I liked him, but if he was still coach, many fans would be questioning the decision to keep a rookie coach with this young team. With McLellan, there is not that question.

    Bringing in Chia and McLellan, 2 guys with winning track records, has allowed the fanbase to dig deeper into their patience barrel. But the bottom has been scraped.

    The fanbase is onside today, but a faceplant next fall will change that.

    I know its been said the last 5 summers, but this summer is very important to turning North. If this team doesn’t turn North, these 2 will be put onto the scrap heap.

    I’m a huge fan of both and I’m reasonably confident they will address the team needs for this fall

  75. hunter1909 says:

    kinger_OIL: – Good reminder that we on this blog don’t no “jack” about hockey and are highly biased towards our team. Nothing wrong with that: We talk about really interesting stuff, and there is awesome insight, but we are all just delusional fans.

    Well….considering your own prediction came within millimeters of the bulls eye, I’d more say congratulations are in order for you having the brains, foresight, and realistic view of the situation.

    kinger_OIL: – Hunter what was the median/average point prediction: low 80’s?

    Low 80’s to mid 90’s, although there was solid action between the numbers 77 and 101. This proves that, collectively Oilers Death March™ fans are a balanced lot.

  76. AsiaOil says:

    I’m reasonably confident in next year as well. There were actually very few complete ass-kicking embarrassments this year – DAL/WAS early, TOR on the road, MON/NYI trip, and CAL late. Pretty much every other game they were in. That’s a big improvement in and of itself – and the reaction to the effort shown in those games was the opposite of resignation as seen in years past. The entire mgmt team was freaking livid – as were the fans. That stuff is just not acceptable any more.

    We didn’t do a complete tear-down – nor did we have to – but a few bad pieces were removed and a few good ones added. A few more pieces need to be shipped out and added over the summer to make us competitive – but these need to be the right ones. I think after evaluating for a year the mgmt team has a pretty good sense of who still needs to go and who they need to bring in.

    Not much to do except wait for the period between June 15 and July 15 when most of the moves will be made. I still have a feeling that there is a deal left incomplete with ANA – maybe Vatanen coming over. Maroon was only the first part of the deal and a bigger chunk of cap space may go the other way in the summer when ANA can fit it in.

  77. hunter1909 says:

    frjohnk: If MacT was still GM with a 29th place finish, most fans would be calling for his head. Heck, he is not GM anymore and people still want his head. And I know that Nelson is well liked here; I liked him, but if he was still coach, many fans would be questioning the decision to keep a rookie coach with this young team.

    Exactly where else but Katz’s OBC(paid for in full by the people of Edmonton) can someone with zero head coaching experience get handed an NHL team to “learn on the job” for long enough to get a retirement party?

    MacT was and remains a washed up coattail hanger-on. Whatever happened to that “MacT can get a job anywhere in the NHL” bullshit the MSM used to peddle?

    The fact is, without Katz’s patronage, MacT(and Lowe) would probably be running a two man paving company in Penticton.

  78. hunter1909 says:

    AsiaOil:
    TMac gets love because he largely “tells it like it is” after a bad loss. He’s not perfect. His bizarre love for Korpse and Letestu in spite of the evidence, poor handling of Lander and Yak, and a few other strange decisions on defense exist. But a lot of this may be old voices from the inside hanging around and creating trouble. Hope they fix that this summer.

    TMac shows accountability to himself, the team and the org – even when he’s ripping players after a bad loss he includes himself and his staff in the failure – unlike certain other ex-coaches with nice hair. This is also not the case with some of the core who have explicitly avoided personally owning any poor results even when these were on full display for all to see. Hiding behind the team and saying that “we” need to be better is not accountability – it’s the opposite – and it’s part of “the crap” that TMac said they thought they got rid of. Chia will fix that this summer after a full season of watching to see who has the desire, work ethic and accountability to be a winner and who doesn’t – and we still have a few who don’t on this team. Shultz was not the only problem on this team but getting rid of him was a good start – a few more cuts and addition by subtraction moves are yet to be made.

    This makes much sense. You’re one of the better posters on Lowetide. Most everything you say is correct.

  79. AsiaOil says:

    hunter1909,

    Thanks man – we’re not he same page most of the time – and this site is full of people like you who provide great content. Kudos to LT for providing the lounge where a bunch of us can hang out and BS about the team – now if we can just manage a few more wins than losses next year – it will be a lot more jolly in the neighborhood.

  80. Ribs says:

    Just noticing Gryba is not signed for next year. Huh.

  81. Oilspill says:

    dustrock:
    G Money,

    If McLellan’s dump and chase style doesn’t work for the Oilers, why was it successful for the Sharks?Just a different lineup? Ditto the PP.

    Big tough with some skill = good in the western conference. Ie San Jose LA.

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