STORMS NEVER LAST

The Edmonton Oilers won a game against the St. Louis Blues last night, in October, while still in contention for a playoff spot. It was not a perfect effort, but a win is a win is a win—and they are officially rolling in October. Rare air, ladies. Call out the instigators, because there’s something in the air.

GOOD DAY SUNSHINE, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 1-4-0, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in October 2016: 4-1-0, goal differential +4

This was a big win for the organization, seriously the momentum at the beginning of the season for this team has been wretched for many years. I have suggested 5-2-1 would be a good October, but with this start it is probably fair to hope for more.

  • HD SCF-SCA (5×5): 14-8 (63.64 percent) (Source)
  • CORSI FOR-AGAINST (5X5): 44-62 (41.51 percent) (Source)
  • DANGEROUS FENWICK (5×5): 35-35 (50 percent) (Source)

Interesting night for things other than Corsi, as the HD and DFF had the Oilers tied or ahead, while the Corsi numbers favored the Blues by a wide margin. G and friends have been doing great work and this kind of distance (and being on the right side of the result) is a good arrow for the measure. Now, we need seasons of evidence that DFF is a better predictor of success, but small victories are big steps. I remain a stubborn Corsi man, but look forward to the journey ahead.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

defense-last-night

  • Oscar Klefbom had a terrific night, he can wheel and makes good decisions—even went deep into the offensive zone a time or two. Played 14:58 with Adam Larsson, and faced Steen, Schwartz and Tarasenko most often. His best game of the season.
  • Darnell Nurse—Eric Gryba played some high event hockey (nine total high-danger scoring chances is a lot for a third pairing) but survived. If Edmonton plans to make a playoff push, the third pair is going to be an issue, unless Nurse takes a step this season. I see signs, but never trust a fan.
  • Kris Russell is getting better press than Connor McDavid these days, he had five blocked shots and two takeaways. He faced Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny most often while partnering with Andrej Sekera. So far this season, Russell has a Corsi for percentage 5×5 of 47.26, ranking him No. 2 among regulars (Nurse 50.0). Edmonton’s overall number is 46.36, meaning Russell is slightly above average in this area. Too soon to make any sweeping statements, and of course we have to remember it is five games into the season. That said, Russell has had a nice run.
  • Andrej Sekera played with Russell most often, and they lost the Corsi battle while doing well in the scoring chance metric. I don’t have an answer for it, it will be interesting to see if it follows a trend.
  • Adam Larsson is going to be a favorite of mine, he was gold with Klefbom (everyone was) and blocked three shots. He also took a penalty on a pretty strong elbow to Tarasenko, he is at least rugged and maybe a mile or two past that at times. Interesting to see him come into view.
  • Cam Talbot has had two strong recovery games since the Buffalo roamed, good for him. Edmonton needs him to be consistently the best goaltender in every game they play.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

forwards-last-night

  • Lucic—McDavid—Eberle went 6-2 in HD SCs and 12-5 in scoring chances. That is fantastic, and of course the winning goal came from this trio. Faced Bouwmeester—Pietrangelo much of the night, very successful evening. Easily the best night by far for Lucic, McDavid seemed quiet for two periods but ripped the cover off the ball in the third period. The end play of the GWG featured McDavid and Lucic in starring roles, but we shouldn’t forget the Eberle pass. So far this season, in five games, the McDavid trio has scored nine goals. This 97 is going to run over the wild west for a long, long time. McDavid 53 percent on the dot, nine shots on goal for the trio.
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—Slepyshev line impresses me with how much they get done. They have skill, work hard, forecheck well and can pass and take a pass. Did not cash but this group gave a solid effort. Leon was 78 percent on the dot, six shots on goal—four from Maroon.
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Kassian got some things done tonight although they did not cash a goal. Nuge had a really strong moment with Maroon and Pitlick, maybe we see that at some point. Nuge was up against the Tarasenko group for 8:45, I think that was probably the matchup both coaches could live with (McDavid faced Fabbri-Stastny, but did get about five minutes of Tarasenko).
  • Lander—Letestu—Pitlick didn’t play a lot, Letestu less than five minutes at evens, but they got a goal. Don’t know why, but the Oilers are getting all kinds of secondary goals from these fellows. Pitlick has three goals this season! Insanity.

MARK SPECTOR

Spec had an interesting quote via twitter:

  • Jake Allen: “They are not the Oilers of the last few years, I’ll tell you that. They are a good hockey club, made some good additions.” Source

I get emails from folks who worry that the Oilers will do well and Taylor Hall will be blamed for it. Seriously. I feel very strongly this team needed (and needs) better balance, with a backup goalie, a RH puck moving D and a Pisani added. Hard to make any argument and be heard this morning, the Edmonton Oilers have a mitt full of wins after just five games.

You know what stills the thunder? Winning. Winning hockey games makes it hard for me to argue that Peter Chiarelli stopped before balance, that the Jonas Gustavsson bet was not a good one, that Kris Russell is shy in terms of addressing need. We are very early in the season, and it seems silly to suggest storms never last after a decade plus, but the Oilers are 4-1-0 this morning. To the victor goes the spoils.

That said, I remain convinced the Hall-for-Larsson trade was not full value and am not going to surrender on the need for more balance. Chiarelli and McLellan may have found a Pisani (Tyler Pitlick does not have great possession numbers but it is early and the young man is scoring), but the defense needs a hammer and the goaltending is thin on depth.

The early winning streak does give me hope that the team will be aggressive in-season if these issues hurt the team’s chances. The possession totals are still an issue, but at 4-1-0 it is more difficult today to rage and be heard. Winning changes everything.

This video is a sign that things are getting through to the prospects. Sallinen scores, gets leveled by Scott Kosmachuk and then takes several rights from Griffin Reinhart. Oilers want aggressive defensemen—at the blue line, along the wall and after the whistle.

khaira ferguson 1415

Photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved

Jujhar Khaira is emerging as a strong candidate for early recall on the basis of his early season production for the Bakersfield Condors. He is 2gp, 3-1-4 so far and with Jesse Puljujarvi possibly heading to the minors (Edmonton is winning with the young Finn in the pressbox) we could see it happen. Matt Benning is 2gp, 1-1-2 and we might also see a recall (with Ben Betker sent back) before the minor league team heads to America.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We kick off an interesting weekend and a fantastic evening in sports with:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Jays run ends, what is next? Oilers good early.
  • Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Oil Kings update plus early season performances from top draft prospects.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Why aren’t we more excited about the Winnipeg outdoor game?
  • Paul Almeida, SSE. Oilers are 4-1-0, can they keep going?

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

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252 Responses to "STORMS NEVER LAST"

« Older Comments
  1. RexLibris says:

    I’m not on here as frequently as I was a few years ago, but in those instances when I have been able to log in (more often recently) I’ve noticed a newer generation of visitors and a change in the tone of discussion.

    Not all of it for the worse (I can recall some very heated and awkward arguments here over the years).

    I’ve tried to bring some humour and gentle ribbing to the forum, but in cases where I may have overstepped, I apologize.

    Where I see the greatest frustration is when comments are made which cross the threshold between having a strong opinion and attacking the opinions or reputations of others.

    I haven’t seen a great deal of it here recently, but I am beginning to think that this is because of the increasing activity of our generous host in moderating this behaviour.

    The thing I have taken away from this site, aside from some entertaining camping stories, is the great connections I have made with others including Woodguy, Supernova, Romulus, WheatnOil, Gentleman Backpacker, GMoney, Center of Attention, and many others.

    It would be a shame if others deprived themselves of the chance to make similar connections with fellow fans all on account of their choice of comments.

    Okay, I’m done with the preachy dad-rant now.

  2. RexLibris says:

    stevezie: I’d still move him for Barrie now!
    *Cracks the knuckles on Rex’s other hand*

    Ow! That hurts!

  3. khildahl says:

    hunter1909:
    When I was young, hockey was about hitting, skating, and goal scoring. Fighting was a sideshow but not the ridiculous situation with a Boogard vs Laraque scenario.

    *realises no one uner 30 know’s who I’m referring to”.

    Between this and your earlier reference to rototillers, you’re certainly dating yourself.

    Next you’ll be telling as about how you watch hockey from your chesterfield and your beer came in stubbies.

  4. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    And if anyone is wondering 4 games into his Panthers career Demers has the worst advanced stats on the team.That guy was not going to be worth the 30 mil he wanted

    This could also be stated as:

    “Demers has a 48.28%CF while playing with rookie Matheson vs 2nd pairing comp, which we know is pretty close to first pairing comp while getting the toughest zone starts.”

  5. Showerhead says:

    I think a big part of the problem is that we forget that not everyone has been having the same conversation we have had for years. You can say “the game is not in your spreadsheets” and not mean anything aggressive by it, but it gets tiresome to refute the same cursory criticisms for years.

    Of course, it’s the first time person X has offered such a criticism and they’re often at a loss as to why it gives so much offence.

    This applies to more than just hockey message boards, you know.

    You are very wise.

    Seriously this is terrific insight and I agree with you that it applies to many contexts in life and hurray!

  6. RexLibris says:

    McSorley33:
    For the record, Russell has looked very good.

    I was *very* critical of the signing…but, as WheatnOil has shown, his puck retrieval is what I really,
    really am impressed with.

    It is early. But Russell appears to be a MAMMOTH upgrade on Mark Fayne.

    There was some Bruce M guy in here a while ago….talking about waiting to see Russell
    play first before we judge him.

    Man, I bet Bruce feels bad now…..being so wrong.

    Yes, I was pretty upset at the Russell addition.

    I was not a fan, and I remain very skeptical.

    He has looked good so I am reminded that when Feaster traded for him (a 5th to the Blues which became Jaedon Descheneau) he looked very similar for the first while there as well. He moved the puck well, transitioned it well, made a nice first pass, all those things. It was in his following season and a half under Hartley that things gradually degraded until by the end the fans there were ready to run him out on a rail.

    I am happy that he is playing well because it helps the team, but I remain very concerned that this will lead to an extension and an eventual regression to the mean in his overall game, leaving the Oilers with yet another left-handed depreciated asset on the blueline.

  7. Woodguy says:

    There are many people who are far too sure that results from 5 games mean something other than a team or player has had a good/bad 5 games.

    I find it tough to believe that people who frequent and post regularly on a stats heavy site would put so much weight into 5 games of results.

    Then again, many of the same people have ignored years of evidence of other things so I guess its only when a particular narrative looks correct that stats have their place.

  8. wheatnoil says:

    haters:
    wheatnoil,

    Hi Wheat.
    Question for you or for anyone that thinks they can answer.
    People used Russels shot share data to make a case of why to stay away from him.
    We all understand that score effects contribute to lopsided corsi.
    Would it not seem obvious that if the coach believes you are one of the best four options to shutdown oppsoning teams that your shot share data will be crooked in the wrong way ?

    I see a lot of people talk at length on sample size. But in this case does a larger sample size not get extremely diluted due to things like score effects and injurys ect ect ?

    Is there yet a metric that measures individually won battles that end in a zone exit or shot on goal etc ..

    Maybe I’m not getting it so excuse my ignorance.
    Thanks

    I think usage is a big deal. In addition to score effects (whether the coach puts you on more if you’re trailing or leading), I think competition matters (though some in the stats community disagree) and zone starts (though maybe not THAT much).

    Some of that comes out in the wash in a larger sample size. Competition certainly matters more in a small sample size than a large one because who you play against doesn’t have time to even out. For score effects, we can use score and zone adjusted corsi to help compensate for that a little bit.

    Of course, my zone tracking accounts for none of any of those things, so we have to keep that in mind when interpreting the results. So far, I don’t believe Russell has got the toughest comp (that’s Larsson / Klefbom). I don’t believe he’s been put out more when leading but I could be wrong about that.

    If course, so far his relative corsi hasn’t been bad (as G Honey pointed out).

  9. Rondo says:

    I disagree , Vancouver will go undefeated this year.

    Woodguy:
    There are many people who are far too sure that results from 5 games mean something other than a team or player has had a good/bad 5 games.

    I find it tough to believe that people who frequent and post regularly on a stats heavy site would put so much weight into 5 games of results.

    Then again, many of the same people have ignored years of evidence of other things so I guess its only when a particular narrative looks correct that stats have their place.

  10. wheatnoil says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    wheatnoil,

    On the zone entry front, is the correct strategy to try to disrupt entry at the blue line every time for every player?Is Russell trying to disrupt entry and doing a poor job of it, or does he back off the entry in order to defend against chances another way?

    By my eye, Russell is not really getting blown by at the blue line but is ceding the zone and engaging within the defensive zone. I think that’s part of the reason he looks good by eye. He’s not getting beat often. Sometimes he’s quite successful at that too. The only problem is that you’re ceding the defensive zone and now the opposition has the puck in the zone with control and if you do that enough, it’ll probably bite you.

    Last year, I found allowing more controlled entries against was correlated strongly with corsi. Not sure if that’s a hard and fast rule or if it was just for the Oilers last year. It makes sense theoretically.

  11. classict says:

    wheatnoil:
    If course, so far his relative corsi hasn’t been bad (as G Honey pointed out).

    Actually I think it’s G Punny now. C’mon keep up.

  12. wheatnoil says:

    classict:
    wheatnoil,

    Great stuff! Wonder if, given the difference between the /60 zone exit rates between Sekera and Russell, Russell’s deferring the pass to Sekera since he’s on his off side. I feel like it’s something I’ve seen in game a few times. Nurse certainly does it too.

    It doesn’t seem like it would be from Sekera retrieving the puck significantly more…

    I started tracking defensive zone passes and separating them by pass to D-partner and pass to forward for this very question. Started doing it two game ago. So far, I’d agree that Russell notably defers to Sekera when it comes to zone exits. Interestingly, in the game where Fayne was injured and the pairings were all screwed up, I noted Russell deferring to Sekera, but Nurse deferring to Russell…so there’s a hierarchy of sorts going on.

  13. spoiler says:

    Woodguy: There are many people who are far too sure that results from 5 games mean something other than a team or player has had a good/bad 5 games.
    I find it tough to believe that people who

    This.

    Although I feel fairly confident in saying that the Oilers’ Tirefire/60 has changed for the better.

    And on the other Thread Issue of the Day, I just want to add…

    One thing never brought up in the Hall discussions is the message it sent to the other young drafted stars. That message would likely be there if RNH or Ebs had been traded instead, but Hall going would have the most mental/emotional impact.

  14. wheatnoil says:

    Alpine:
    wheatnoil,

    Nurse looks quite good by these numbers. Looks like the third pairing role is ideal for him, as we all expected.

    He’s had a nice start to the year, agreed. I think the main problem (and my tracking numbers don’t pick this up) is that his defensive zone positioning is off. He’s not losing battles, he’s just not in position. I think that’s why he has a disproportionate number of tire-fires.

    G, did you ever figure out a way to record tire-fires off the NHL data? I know you were thinking of trying that earlier in the summer.

  15. McSorley33 says:

    RexLibris,

    He has looked good so I am reminded that when Feaster traded for him (a 5th to the Blues which became Jaedon Descheneau) he looked very similar for the first while there as well. He moved the puck well, transitioned it well, made a nice first pass, all those things. It was in his following season and a half under Hartley that things gradually degraded until by the end the fans there were ready to run him out on a rail.
    I am happy that he is playing well because it helps the team, but I remain very concerned that this will lead to an extension and an eventual regression to the mean in his overall game, leaving the Oilers with yet another left-handed depreciated asset on the blueline.
    ***********************************************************************************
    Great points..

  16. wheatnoil says:

    RexLibris:
    The thing I have taken away from this site, aside from some entertaining camping stories, is the great connections I have made with others including Woodguy, Supernova, Romulus, WheatnOil, Gentleman Backpacker, GMoney, Center of Attention, and many others.

    It would be a shame if others deprived themselves of the chance to make similar connections with fellow fans all on account of their choice of comments.

    Second this dad-rant.

  17. Yak Efron says:

    Woodguy:
    Then again, many of the same people have ignored years of evidence of other things so I guess its only when a particular narrative looks correct that stats have their place.

    Mathiness!

  18. hunter1909 says:

    khildahl: Between this and your earlier reference to rototillers, you’re certainly dating yourself.

    Next you’ll be telling as about how you watch hockey from your chesterfield and your beer came in stubbies.

    If not for Lowetide’s earlier offer to close the blog, I’d be more than happy to rip you a new asshole.

  19. wheatnoil says:

    classict: Actually I think it’s G Punny now. C’mon keep up.

    I remember when he was G Money! Damn these stat-heads! Always changing things. How can one keep up? Get off my lawn!

  20. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy: I find it tough to believe that people who frequent and post regularly on a stats heavy site would put so much weight into 5 games of results.

    What exactly do you expect from a decade out of the playoffs fanbase…balance?

  21. Bag of Pucks says:

    RexLibris: Ow! That hurts!

    K, I’ll bite. Why Barrie for Nurse now?

    Do you project Barrie’s upside as better than Nurse’s in the longterm? Or is this sacrificing potential long-term gains for immediate improvement? Or simply swapping in the better known quantity with Barrie for the unknown quantity in the still developing Nurse?

    That’s a good analytics project right there. At what success rate do prospects realize their projected production ceiling? If it was less than 50%, you’re theoretically better off always swapping those yet to achieve their ceiling for those who’ve already reached it – provided the ceilings are projected to similar levels of production and the age disparity isn’t such that you’d lose considerable production output as a result. You certainly wouldn’t trade Austin Matthews for say Ryan Getzlaf at this point.

    Obviously the success rate would decline the lower they’re taken in the draft. 2nd rounders in particularly would be interesting. They don’t pan out that often (or more specifically not as often as their pedigree would indicate they should), and many orgs are very enamoured with these players for likely far too long. If an org has a 2nd round prospect that’s recently panned out (i.e. hit his projected production ceiling) and wants to trade him for your 2nd round prospect that’s still a question mark, development odds probably indicate you should always make that trade for the known quantity over the unknown.

    The key lies in the definition of their projected production ceiling. It can’t be GPs. Something like baseball’s WAR metric would be far more beneficial.

  22. RexLibris says:

    Rondo:
    I disagree , Vancouver will go undefeated this year.

    And will do so despite never having a lead in regulation time.

    It worked that time Montreal beat the Riders in the Grey Cup, ergo it is an established occurrence in sports.

  23. OmJo says:

    hunter1909:
    Re Lucic:

    He’s a big ape; big apes normally only like to break out every third game or so.

    Stop whining: Oilers have a superior NHLer in Lucic!

    I’ll never understand Oilers fans who say ‘Lucic only shows up when he wants to, and it’s a good thing’ lol..

  24. Bag of Pucks says:

    hunter1909: If not for Lowetide’s earlier offer to close the blog, I’d be more than happy to rip you a new asshole.

    That sounds a bit gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  25. theres oil in virginia says:

    Holy Corolla, Rheinhart needs to hurry up and get his ass up to the NHL level. What a cheap shot by that punk he took down. Reminds me of Gary Suter and Paul Kariya, which still pisses me off.

  26. jimmers2 says:

    khildahl: Next you’ll be telling as about how you watch hockey from your chesterfield and your beer came in stubbies.

    Stubbies on the chesterfield. It was plaid. Those were the days.

  27. stevezie says:

    Drew,

    The only time I am any good on here is when I’m supposed to be writing something else.

  28. maxwell_mischief says:

    It is amazing how negative people are with a 4-1 start… lets look at numbers at game 20, and just watch some hockey for a bit.
    Lots of positive arrows for the oilers but there seems to be an insistence to find the negative. I think that is a little bit the coaches rhetoric, but mostly i would blame that on ten years of failure (except its all good cuz Mcdavid).
    Drai! is so good…
    slepyshev and pitlick look like real nhl hockey players
    THE WHOLE DEFENSE looks like an NHL DEFENSE
    I think the things that need to settle will settle and the Oilers will be playing some real good, competitive hockey this year.

    I miss Hall and Yak
    but I’m generally quite happy with the hockey

  29. RedNed says:

    To my eye, Eberle is getting more involved on the back check around the boards. I’ve only watched him for the last three years but it seems a bit of a barometer in terms of team attitude. Go Oilers!

  30. OmJo says:

    Tyson Barrie is what Justin Schultz should have been. He’s marginally better than Schultz defensively, but he has what, +100pts in the last two seasons? He’s a third pairing PP guy.

    Nurse is 21. People saying how Larsson is still going to improve at 23 should understand and respect the fact Nurse is two years younger than him. He’s going to get better. He already is getting better. This isn’t the best example because Davidson had some serious injury issues, but it took him until 25 to crack into the NHL. Nurse is showing to be a good 3LD at 21 years old.

  31. stevezie says:

    Showerhead,

    Hurray indeed, sir!

  32. khildahl says:

    hunter1909,

    Hey, I know what all of those things are, so it’s not like I’m any younger.

    jimmers2: Stubbies on the chesterfield.It was plaid.

    Don’t think I ever saw one that wasn’t.

  33. wheatnoil says:

    wheatnoil: Second this dad-rant.

    To add to this:

    The tracking and other work I’ve been doing since starting to blog has generally been well received (much better received than I had predicted it would be). There has been the occasional detractor and I usually try to engage & discuss when I feel they have genuine questions and/or legitimate criticism. Some people, however, just appear to be trolling. These people I try to ignore because it’s frankly not worth my time.

    1) On this blog, I’ve always appreciated the criticism I’ve received as being more of the former category. People raise good points, ask questions, and I have to reasonably explain what I’m trying to do, which makes me better at it.

    2) Where I get more (though thankfully only occasional) trolling is on Twitter. I usually don’t engage but every now and then someone jumps in to my defence. While entirely unnecessary, I do usually smile as I recognize the name as a Lowetide commenter. I think it goes to show that, as a community, we generally have each other’s backs even if we are occasionally at each other’s throats.

  34. RexLibris says:

    Bag of Pucks: K, I’ll bite. Why Barrie for Nurse now?

    Do you project Barrie’s upside as better than Nurse’s in the longterm? Or is this short-term improvement to sacrifice potential long-term gains? Or simply swapping in the better known quantity with Barrie for the unknown quantity in the still developing Nurse?

    That’s a good analytics project right there. At what success rate do prospects realize their projected production ceiling. If it was less than 50%, you’re theoretically better off always swapping them out for those having successfully achieved their projected ceiling – provided the ceilings are projected to similar levels of production. You certainly wouldn’t trade Austin Matthews for say Ryan Getzlaf at this point.

    Barrie as a right-handed point-producing D has more value given the other assets of left-handed shutdown types the Oilers currently have.

    Nurse may develop into a nasty, smashmouth shutdown 2nd or even 1st pairing guy, and he might not, but the Oilers need a Barrie right now more than a Nurse.

  35. RexLibris says:

    wheatnoil: To add to this:

    The tracking and other work I’ve been doing since starting to blog has generally been well received (much better received than I had predicted it would be). There has been the occasional detractor and I usually try to engage & discuss when I feel they have genuine questions and/or legitimate criticism. Some people, however, just appear to be trolling. These people I try to ignore because it’s frankly not worth my time.

    1) On this blog, I’ve always appreciated the criticism I’ve received as being more of the former category. People raise good points, ask questions, and I have to reasonably explain what I’m trying to do, which makes me better at it.

    2) Where I get more (though thankfully only occasional) trolling is on Twitter. I usually don’t engage but every now and then someone jumps in to my defence. While entirely unnecessary, I do usually smile as I recognize the name as a Lowetide commenter. I think it goes to show that, as a community, we generally have each other’s backs even if we are occasionally at each other’s throats.

    Great comment, Wheat.

    Now get back to work, those spreadsheet aren’t going to write themselves!

  36. jimmers2 says:

    Lowetide: He used to skate out on the ice after the whistle and then go back to the bench, and THAT changed the atmosphere of the game. Seriously.

    He also gave the impression he could let out his scarily crazy-angry real self whenever he felt like it.

  37. stevezie says:

    Bag of Pucks: K, I’ll bite. Why Barrie for Nurse now?
    Do you project Barrie’s upside as better than Nurse’s in the longterm? Or is this sacrificing potential long-term gains for immediate improvement? Or simply swapping in the better known quantity with Barrie for the unknown quantity in the still developing Nurse?

    All three.

    I think Nurse will be an NHLer, but I don’t think he’ll hit top three. I do not say with with a tonne of confidence, but I think that Barrie is a solid second pairing guy right now, and believe that even if Nurse exceeds my expectations the certainty of what Barrie is right now is worth the risk.

    Especially since Barrie is what we sorely, sorely lack (right-handed offence from the blue), and Nurse is trying to become what we are actually already pretty well stocked in (left-handed defenceman who defend first). You can argue Nurse provides the grit we desperately lack, but we don’t actually desperately lack that so much anymore. Between Lucic, Maroon, Kassian, and (to my surprise) Larsson, we have a little snarl outside Nurse. We do not have anyone who can run a first unit powerplay. Not just be on it, but run it.

    We’ve seen how much fear of McDavid makes teams hold back, allowing Kris Russel to thrive. How much more would Barrie? (there was a great post on this yesterday- I think it was Wheat.

    Finally, Barrie himself is only 25. Undersized offensive defenceman tend to really benefit from experience. I don’t have any intelligible evidence to back up that claim, just the anecdotal late blooming careers of Boyle, Rafalski, and Kris Russel.

    (That last one was kind of a joke, but we’ll see what happens).

  38. spoiler says:

    jimmers2: Stubbies on the chesterfield.It was plaid.Those were the days.

    Pretty sure it was tweed.
    😉

  39. stevezie says:

    OmJo,

    1. Barrie himself is only 25.

    2. This team needs a right handed third pairing pp expert who has two fifty point seasons before turning 25 more than we need another left handed defence-first guy.

    Many of us have called Hamonic a good best-case scenario for Nurse, but Adam Larsson isn’t bad either. We already have Larsson and there’s no guarentee that Nurse hits his ceiling in the near future. Or at all.

  40. Showerhead says:

    wheatnoil:

    2) Where I get more (though thankfully only occasional) trolling is on Twitter.

    Yeah, wow.

    I am not a major presence on Twitter but I said one heavily retweeted thing (about the Oilers’ RW depth) and wow. A small but very vocal minority of folks disagreed with me with such vitriol I couldn’t imagine what more active users have to deal with. Gave me a lot of empathy for Lowetide, Matt Henderson, G Money, Woodguy, etc.

    So in short I get what you’re saying and am glad it doesn’t bug you.

  41. spoiler says:

    Semenko… The thing about Sammy is that he was the most quiet unassuming soft-spoken guy… out of uniform. Used to walk around all summer in a shoulder-to-ankles caftan and open sandals. Almost expect him to be accompanied by a zitar and a host of Buddhist monks.

  42. russ99 says:

    wheatnoil: By my eye, Russell is not really getting blown by at the blue line but is ceding the zone and engaging within the defensive zone. I think that’s part of the reason he looks good by eye. He’s not getting beat often. Sometimes he’s quite successful at that too. The only problem is that you’re ceding the defensive zone and now the opposition has the puck in the zone with control and if you do that enough, it’ll probably bite you.

    Last year, I found allowing more controlled entries against was correlated strongly with corsi. Not sure if that’s a hard and fast rule or if it was just for the Oilers last year. It makes sense theoretically.

    That’s why Russell is effective, because he’s not standing up at the line, he’s anticipating where the puck will be and getting in the places to stop it. If he stood up at the line, he’d need to track back and chase to get to those same areas, and be less effective in stopping them.

    Allowing entries don’t really matter if we get the puck back and send it the other way. So in Russell’s case, the way he plays makes HDSC is a better measure of his worth than CF%.

    The numbers are information, how it’s being applied to come up with a shot-based theory of hockey relativity where there’s only one way to play to be successful and all the others are bunk (kind of what Bob McKenzie said today) are a tad on the frustrating side to a thinking hockey fan who values both numbers and the good old eye test.

  43. wheatnoil says:

    russ99,

    For most defenders, their corsi and their HDSC tend to even out. Specifically, their scoring chances tend to migrate towards their corsi.

    It’s possible Russell is an exception to that. I’m on my phone so it’s hard to look it up, but if Russell is an exception, we should be able to see evidence of it since he’s been around for a few years.

  44. wheatnoil says:

    RexLibris: Great comment, Wheat.

    Now get back to work, those spreadsheet aren’t going to write themselves!

    Yes sir. (Sad emoticon. Closes window. Clicks on Excel)

  45. Philosophil says:

    RexLibris,

    I find your observation regarding Russell (Kurt Russell?)very intriguing (every player needs a nickname, no?). if we accept that the current level of play is the ideal combination of motivation, new team/new season (honeymoon phase) and optimal health and energy (long season wears players down), what measurable factors explain the steady decline in play, aka regression to mean?

    I’m driving at two points here – How much did the player/coach relationship affect Kurt’s play, and how can we actually measure? Agree with the theory that the player allows zone entry and plays to the outside (forget the poster’s name) but has other niche skills that make him valuable.

  46. hunter1909 says:

    khildahl:
    hunter1909,

    Hey, I know what all of those things are, so it’s not like I’m any younger.

    Sorry man, I get em….um…. awkward at times.

    Great comeback, lol.

  47. classict says:

    russ99,

    Definitely and by metrics like DFF% or xGF%, that account for his ability to limit high danger shots and block shots, he looks better than he does just looking at his Corsi. But in the past those numbers still haven’t been very good either. Better but still not very good.

    These last 5 games however, he’s been very good. If he keeps it up for the whole season it will be the best year of his career, which is fantastic. But when the signing was made how many people were predicting a career year out of a 29 year old?

  48. hunter1909 says:

    Bag of Pucks: That sounds a bit gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Gayness isn’t a thing I’m intimately aware of. I’ll be happy to defer this over to you.

    Having said that, in this day and age I’d probably consider being gay. Divorce courts have gone crazy on men.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Among the things I don’t think we will see in my lifetime is an openly gay active NHL player. I think the world might be a better place for it, but we haven’t seen a FORMER player come out. I wonder where the NHL will be in 100 years, hope it is still in Edmonton.

  50. Genjutsu says:

    alLowetide:
    Among the things I don’t think we will see in my lifetime is an openly gay active NHL player. I think the world might be a better place for it, but we haven’t seen a FORMER player come out. I wonder where the NHL will be in 100 years, hope it is still in Edmonton.

    I wonder about that the kids in school have a different attitude and outlook on the whole thing.

    Also society is changing norms and what’s acceptable at a geometric rate.

    Things were much different 10 years ago and will be even more so ten years from now.

  51. Lowetide says:

    Genjutsu: I wonder about that the kids in school have a different attitude and outlook on the whole thing.

    Also society is changing norms and what’s acceptable at a geometric rate.

    Things were much different 10 years ago and will be even more so ten years from now.

    Yes, agreed. I think it is for the better, for tolerance, acceptance. I hope so anyway.

  52. Justthestatsman says:

    RexLibris,

    RexLibris: I nearly ran into Semenko once, literally. Was walking in the mall and this great big sheet of plywood in a black leather jacket was right in front of me when I looked up. He turned around I realized who it was.

    He looked right overtop of me.

    When we consider the average size of a player back in that era, it’s not wonder when he, Otto or Messier dropped the gloves, the linesmen earned danger pay.

    I’m definitely a tier 3 or 4 fan…I haven’t seen a game live for 10 or 15 years, and don’t see many of the players out and about. In the early 1990’s CFCW had won the radio broadcast rights for Oilers games and were trying to drum up interest in the surrounding communities. They sent out a few active players, alumni and radio personalities to play a slo-pitch game in our town and I got to play in the game.

    Dave Semenko was an alumni then. For one of his times at bat our pitcher managed to sneak out a painted grapefruit or cantaloupe and served it up perfectly for Semenko to blast it. I honestly don’t think he knew what our pitcher had done a took a huge cut. If it had been a real ball it might have gone into orbit. As it was the fruit sprayed everywhere, including all over Semenko. He did an fake charge to the mound much to the everyone’s delight…except the pitcher whose life flashed before his eyes.

    The game ended with perhaps the world’s only 8-6-2 double play, with Shayne Corson tagging out two runners at home plate, one right after the other.

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