MANKATO MAVERICK

Lots of opinions about last night’s loss to the Dallas Stars, suspect we can argue all day and boil it down to opportunities lost. The team got secondary scoring, lots of shots, maybe didn’t get that big save and shot the daylights out of Mr. Corsi. It was one game. Remember our line in the sand? We agreed 15 points in 15 games was the goal. This morning, the Oilers trail the line, and a win Sunday against the Rangers gets them back to even. If you want to worry, perhaps the lack of scoring from the Nuge line is a good place to start.

CLENCH, UNCLENCH, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
  • Oilers in November 2016: 2-3-1 goal differential -4
  • Oilers after 15, 2015: 5-10-0, goal differential -8
  • Oilers after 15, 2016: 9-5-1, goal differential +6

The Oilers could spiral downward for some time and not get close to last season, but one hopes we don’t witness it. I do think the lack of balance is an issue, on right wing, on defense (injuries have impacted both) and perhaps we will see Peter Chiarelli step in and shore up these positions.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

defense-nov-11

  • Sekera—Benning are occupying the Klefbom—Schultz position from the past, getting a nice push and hopefully doing some good at the other end. Both men were +2 on the evening, they were 7-1 in 4:52 with Connor McDavid and 4-2 in 3:43 with the Nuge. This pairing played just 3:04 (2-2) against Tyler Seguin but spent most of the evening against Gemel Smith and Justin Dowling. Sekera can play higher on the depth chart, but this pairing needs a more experienced hand to play with him.
  • Nurse—Gryba had a strong night across the board, and I thought it was possibly the best game of the year by Nurse. He has wheels and I think we might see him blossom a little offensively later in this year. They were 10-5 in 7:21 with McDavid and 11-6 against Jamie Benn. This is a good line for the pairing, and they continue to be a big part of the PK.
  • Klefbom—Larsson got caved in HDSC and did just okay (6-4) in 4:58 with 97, 6-2 in 3:45 with the Nuge and 4-6 in 6:51 with Leon. They were 4-9 in 7:28 against Seguin and 8-3 against Devin Shore—didn’t see Benn much. Larsson gave out a monstrous hit the crowd didn’t notice.
  • The defense did not post any points, and that makes sense. The headman pass did not have much to do in this game. That has to change.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

forwards-no-11

  • Pouliot—Nuge—Puljujarvi are hitting line drives now, JP is getting closer to scoring a bunch and the Nuge and Poo had good looks. The line won the Corgis, even on the HDSC and 13 shots (seven from the center). Played 5:10 against Justin Dowling/Gemel Smith and didn’t score, despite going 6-1 against them. I think there was a goal in that matchup tonight but it didn’t come.
  • Maroon—McDavid—Eberle did score, points all around for the line. They had 13 shots on goal and McDavid was 60 percent on the dot. They went 14-5 against the Benn line, but they also had some wobble and of course Jordan Eberle was in chase mode on the GWG, with Maroon also looked off what would have been his man.
  • Lucic—Draisaitl—Pitlick got a goal, terrific individual play by Tyler Pitlick. Other than that, quieter than the other scoring lines (six shots) but they seemed to keep the pucks deep and didn’t get run over. They went 2-6 against Seguin, the Nuge line would have been the choice save for the young Puljujarvi on that line. Coach a little boxed in there methinks.
  • Lander—Letestu—Slepyshev didn’t play much, although Slepyshev got two guitar solos and a chance to sing harmony on two of the hits. Slepyshev was 2-0 in 1:07 with Connor McDavid, 4-1 with Nuge. Interesting ad lib by the coach. The Russian got a good look courtesy a nifty pass from Letestu, but the Dallas goaler made a fine save.
  • HDSC: 13-15
  • Natural Stat Trick
  • HockeyStats.ca
  • Summary

TIME TO PANIC?

One of the reasons we create lines in the sand is for moments like this one. I can see in the comments already that the usual arguments are returning, the sky is falling and this team will never be right after the Hall trade. If you believed this team was a lock for the playoffs, last night must have been tough. If you believed this team had learned not to get caught looking in the first minute of the game, last night must have been frustrating.

I didn’t think this was a playoff team, don’t believe it to be true now. That said, they are closer to being one than I projected them to be at the end of training camp and that deserves a mention. Back when we talked about the lack of balance on the roster, I suggested there were three areas of need for this team to reach that goal:

  • A quality backup goalie (Jonas Gustavsson has certainly filled that role in the early days).
  • A RHD who can play well at evens and help the PP (Matt Benning is in the role currently).
  • A Pisani (Tyler Pitlick is having real success in this area, we will see)

I have to admit that so far the solutions have been good to excellent, and PC did in fact attempt to shore up that RHD slot before the season began (Kris Russell). Benning is actually having a little success on the power play, although I wonder if this is viewed as the ideal solution. We will see, I suspect the club is at least considering a move at the Benning spot (depending on how close Brandon Davidson and others are to returning).

TODD MCLELLAN

  • “Give Dallas credit. Now flip it over, [we were] a sleepy team. We weren’t ready to go right off the bat. I thought we did a lot of watching and then reacting instead of anticipating. Finally got it later in the game, but they checked well, and their goaltender gave them a chance to win.” Source

I don’t think the Oilers were especially smart with the puck and the defensive coverage issues were obvious (how many Stars were all alone in front of the net to receive a pass last night? Six? I bet it was six) to anyone watching. Some of this is luck, and some of this is injury, but generally speaking I think it is fair this morning to suggest we are looking at a market correction. The Oilers sit this morning at 9-5-1, and that is probably a little generous based on the actual quality of this team. I do think Todd McLellan has to figure out if Jesse Puljujarvi is the right man for the Nuge line and that may be next step.

BECK

Oilers sent Taylor Beck down after the game last night, that probably means Zack Kassian draws in against the Rangers. The obvious odd man out is Slepyshev, who looked good to my eye last night. The Oilers do have better depth this season and that is a good thing.

  • Brad Treliving on Nakladal when the Flames signed him: “He’s a good-sized, right shot defender. He can move a puck, he’s got a big shot, but his game is a defending type of game with the ability to make simple plays, simple outlet plays. I don’t want to confuse him with a guy who’s going to take the puck from one end to the other, but he’s a solid, stable defender.” Source

Nakladal is on waivers this morning and for me this is a player the Oilers should have interest in, while it is also obvious that Edmonton still needs a power-play option. Beck being sent out means there is room. I would pick him up on waivers. Would you?

TYLER PITLICK

I always cheer for the underdog, goes back to Larry Mavety and before. Who is Larry Mavety? He is the ultimate outsider, a man who never played an NHL game despite being a capable player. I have always believed there were men in the minors who could flourish as NHL role players given a chance, and since that means a lot of luck those players hold special interest for me.

Mavety would always be in the fall guides and magazines; he’d get maybe one sentence that went “Doug Barrie, Ray McKay and Larry Mavety are also in the mix.” The mix. Man, the mix didn’t treat Larry Mavety very well. The mix laughed at Larry Mavety. Passed on him every time, and then caused coaching staffs to forget his name all year long.

The mix had a chuckle or two about Tyler Pitlick too, but it looks like the young man may have the last laugh.

  • Todd McLellan: “I like the way he plays. I like his tenacity, I like his speed, his ability to finish checks, he drives the puck to the post, has a heavy, hard release. There’s a lot of real positives for him.” Source

Tyler Pitlick has five goals in the season’s first 15 games. That is a terrific early story, and I sincerely hope it continues. Well done, Tyler Pitlick.

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124 Responses to "MANKATO MAVERICK"

  1. Frank the dog says:

    Same old same old. Beat some good teams, lose the so-called scheduled wins, held down by iffy reffing and injuries.
    The sad fact is that they could actually beat the Rangers at home.
    That’s what kills me and others about this team. They’e like one of Trumps 76 election promises: Consistently unpredictable.

  2. russ99 says:

    It’s time to send Jesse down and put Leon on the Nuge line at RW. Need finish more than Finnish.

    Especially for those 3 nasty road games coming up and with tough as nails Hendricks almost ready to play.

  3. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great post LT!: I love his line: “Pouliot—Nuge—Puljujarvi are hitting line drives now”

    – I was a huge advocate of Nurse-Gryba as 3rd pairing for a long time: glad its got some traction.

  4. bbf_iii says:

    russ99:
    It’s time to send Jesse down and put Leon on the Nuge line at RW.

    Especially for those 3 nasty road games coming up and with tough as nails Hendricks almost ready to play.

    That leaves a massive gap at 3C that I don’t think they are healthy enough to fill yet.

  5. russ99 says:

    The

    bbf_iii: That leaves a massive gap at 3C that I don’t think they are healthy enough to fill yet.

    Not if the third line becomes a cycle line. Letestu centering the third and Lander or Hendricks centering the fourth.

    There are very few soft minutes on the road vs. Anaheim, LA and Dallas.

  6. murphy says:

    3 reallly good centers, talbot, klef and a 4th line that can contribute has been the key to our success along with other things like pitlick, maroon, etc.

    Whats not working is that 2nd pair RD spot and 2nd line RW. Also i know hes got 5 but getting milian going would be nice as well.

    I think we missed the boat on the 2nd RW spot when we passed on parenteau, now the option is internal and may be ebs and move kassian or slepy with connor and see if he can make it work.

    2nd pairing RD is going to require a shroud move by our GM with a spotty trading history. We need him to make a maroon type trade not a hall. We can’t give up a piece at forward, we need to turn russell or sekera into a 2nd pairing RD who can help on the PP… Tough task. Hopefully dougie keeps struggling down south….

  7. dcsj says:

    I thought Lehtonen was a huge difference in the game last night. He absolutely robbed Slepyshev, that sot goes in, we have a different game.

    I agree that we have been perhaps playing a little over our heads, and were sloppy at points last night, but it was a game that could have easily gone our way.

  8. frjohnk says:

    kinger_OIL: Nurse-Gryba as 3rd pairing for a long time

    Id say right now they are playing as our 2nd pairing.
    Nurse played 10:15 against Benn last night and except for the lucky/skilled play by Benn in the first 30 seconds, Nurse did more than just hold his own.

  9. Bos8 says:

    I give Rolfe a lot of credit for utilizing what the team had. And you could see the goalie gaining confidence with each stop.

  10. flyfish1168 says:

    After last evening. I feel its time to change the make up of our 1st line. Jordan has always played with skill and still makes to many mental mistakes. I get frustrated watching all his shots with his slow release and never gets off a one timer. Yes he can, dingle, dangle and yes he can stick handle but when you play with Connor and you are on the PP you need that release. I have been saying it for years his shot selection is a selfish. Never shots to create a rebound. The shot dies in the goalies glove or misses the net and then we are in chase mode. When was the last rebound you see he created. Jordan still has the schultzing mentality when it comes to the d-zone. He needs more urgency. He is our best option at RW but that doesn’t mean he should not be accountable.

    I would like to see Pitlick, Leon or Slepy get an opportunity with Connor. Nuge has history with Eberle. It’s time.JMHO

  11. sliderule says:

    Oilers lost the turnover battle 17-5

    Dallas collapsed to the net so that there was always three stars to outman the oil.

    The oil left the box area to the defence with nary a forward in sight.

    The oil took two bad penalties .One undisciplined one stupid and both involving the same player.

    Better correct some of this before Sunday .

  12. frjohnk says:

    flyfish1168: When was the last rebound you see he created

    Last night in the 1st period.
    Maroon buried the rebound. 🙂

    But I dont disagree with you. Id like to see someone else with McDavid.

  13. Woogie63 says:

    russ99:
    The

    Not if the third line becomes a cycle line. Letestu centering the third and Lander or Hendricks centering the fourth.

    There are very few soft minutes on the road vs. Anaheim, LA and Dallas.

    I see Khaira has only played 4 GM in Bakersfield. He could be a solution for the 3C, a line of

    Lucic – Khaira – Pitlick

    Is going to be big, fast and tough on the cycle

    Pouilot – Nuge – Driasaitl should be a very strong second line

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    flyfish1168:
    After last evening. I feel its time to change the make up of our 1stline. Jordan has always played with skill and still makes to many mental mistakes. I get frustrated watching all his shots with his slow release and never gets off a one timer. Yes he can dangle and yes he can stick handle but when you play with Connor and you are on the PP you need that release. I have been saying it for years his shot selection is a selfish. Never shots to create a rebound. The shot dies in the goalies glove or misses the net and then we are in chase mode. When was the last rebound you see he created.

    Uhh, Maroon’s goal last night?

    EDIT: FR John has noted same thing.

  15. jp says:

    Pitlick won’t score 25 goals, but he sure as hell looks like he could be a keeper as a 10-15 goal guy in the bottom 6. Really nice to see after all this time!

  16. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk: Id say right now they are playing as our 2nd pairing.
    Nurse played 10:15 against Benn last night and except for the lucky/skilled play by Benn in the first 30 seconds, Nurse did more than just hold his own.

    Here’s the TOI together (5v5) with everyone Nurse played more than 2 minutes with last night and their raw corsi +/- on night:

    Eric Gryba 14:36 +7
    Connor McDavid 7:21 +5
    Jordan Eberle 6:46 +5
    Patrick Maroon 6:27 +6
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 4:58 +4
    Benoit Pouliot 4:48 +4
    Jesse Puljujarvi 4:27 +4
    Milan Lucic 2:31 0
    Anton Slepyshev 2:07 -3
    Leon Draisaitl 2:06 +1
    Tyler Pitlick 2:04 +1

    That’s a pretty fine night’s work.

    Really encouraged by his progress this year.

  17. flyfish1168 says:

    frjohnk: Last night in the 1st period.
    Maroon buried the rebound.

    But I dont disagree with you.Id like to see someone else with McDavid.

    Yes he did I should rephrase that the ratio of rebounds from his shots is not high. I use to hate that about Hall also

    I watch an interview with Quenneville, Toews and Kane years back and how they like to shot at the pads of goalies for rebounds for the trailer. They were commenting creating good scoring chances.

  18. Woodguy says:

    I wonder about flipping Pitlick up to 97’s line and moving 14 with 93 to give it some scoring touch.

    Let 44 or 98 play with 27-29

    97 seems to thrive with speedy wingers who can keep up and dig the puck out of corners.

    That’s pretty much Pitlick.

  19. Bruce McCurdy says:

    frjohnk: Id say right now they are playing as our 2nd pairing.
    Nurse played 10:15 against Benn last night and except for the lucky/skilled play by Benn in the first 30 seconds, Nurse did more than just hold his own.

    Nurse is the focal point of the pairing, but for a guy who stewed on the market all summer, took a PTO, signed a 2-way deal & cleared waivers, Eric Gryba is playing pretty damned well.

  20. flyfish1168 says:

    Woodguy:
    I wonder about flipping Pitlick up to 97’s line and moving 14 with 93 to give it some scoring touch.

    Let 44 or 98 play with 27-29

    97 seems to thrive with speedy wingers who can keep up and dig the puck out of corners.

    That’s pretty much Pitlick.

    Thumbs up to that

  21. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Nurse is the focal point of the pairing, but for a guy who stewed on the market all summer, took a PTO, signed a 2-way deal & cleared waivers, Eric Gryba is playing pretty damned well.

    Defensive defenseman. No value. Next.

  22. blainer says:

    I am soo up beat about this team.. Rough loss last night but that is gonna happen in a long season like this.

    My prediction hasn’t changed and I still believe they win their division and one playoff round. Tabs and CMD will have to stay healthy.

    I think the right deadline deal will really put us over the top to make the playoffs and with the correct deal we will make some noise.

    I am expecting us to beat the Rangers on Sunday to put us back to 500 for the month which is what a lot of us were hoping for.

    Man Darnell is just looking great. I think he may be top three by seasons end if he keeps playing the way he has been lately.

  23. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide: Defensive defenseman. No value. Next.

    This old goalie from another century loves the defensive d-men. Especially the greasy ones.

  24. frjohnk says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Nurse is the focal point of the pairing, but for a guy who stewed on the market all summer, took a PTO, signed a 2-way deal & cleared waivers, Eric Gryba is playing pretty damned well.

    yup.

    I also think it helps that these two are consistently playing together and not having a revolving door of partners

    Last year, they were both thrown into the D blender because of injuries and lack of depth and they struggled quite a bit.

    Having the continuity with the same partner is a thing and sure helps.

  25. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Defensive defenseman. No value. Next.

    Well Chia paid a pretty penny for one……..

  26. Woogie63 says:

    I keep looking at the bottom of our division, Calgary, Arizona and Vancouver are in deep trouble this year… we have 11 more games against these three teams. The schedule should help us as the year wears on.

  27. frjohnk says:

    flyfish1168: Yes he did I should rephrase that the ratio of rebounds from his shots is not high. I use to hate that about Hall also

    I watch an interview withQuenneville, Toews and Kane years back and how they like to shot at the pads of goalies for rebounds for the trailer. They were commenting creating good scoring chances.

    Actually EBERLE has been throwing pucks at the goalie pads quite a bit from the right wing on rushes.
    Remenda made mention of this a couple of games ago.

  28. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Well Chia paid a pretty penny for one……..

    One good thing, Larsson has played well enough to avoid the slings and arrows. That is a positive.

  29. HT Joe says:

    Right now, RNH is on pace for 38 points (well short of the 55 points in the Reasonable Expectation). Nuge does so many things well, so I’m not trashing him or calling him a lesser centre; I’m just hoping that this can be turned around by tweaking the wingers on the lines.

    If other teams decide to just do everything possible to shut down McDavid, it would be really helpful if RNH’s line could put up more points.

    I really want Eberle back on RNH’s line… ideally put the whole Pouliot – RNH – Eberle line back together, so long as McDavid can keep producing with Maroon and whoever on the right side (Pitlick)?

  30. Lowetide says:

    HT Joe:
    Right now, RNH is on pace for 38 points (well short of the 55 points in the Reasonable Expectation). Nuge does so many things well, so I’m not trashing him or calling him a lesser centre; I’m just hoping that this can be turned around by tweaking the wingers on the lines.

    If other teams decide to just do everything possible to shut down McDavid, it would be really helpful if RNH’s line could put up more points.

    I really want Eberle back on RNH’s line… ideally put the whole Pouliot – RNH – Eberle line back together, so long as McDavid can keep producing with Maroon and whoever on the right side (Pitlick)?

    The seven minute gap in EV TOI between McDavid and Nuge suggests to me thatthe coach either wanted a specific matchup for RNH or has lost some confidence in the line.

  31. Wolfie says:

    Last night was not a scheduled win. Despite the fact Dallas is banged up and they played the night before. The letdown after a long road trip is a real effect. The Oilers looked better than they have in the past in the first game back after a long trip.

    They gave up a few too many HDSC to a very good scoring team… And Lehtonen seems to always play well against the Oilers.

    It’s hard to score when there are 3 or 4 defenders in the blue paint. Which is what Dallas did in the last 6 mins.

    The Oilers pushed hard after a crappy start and they could have won that game. Last year it would have been a 6-0 loss.

    If this team is still in a playoff spot by game 20 they will make the playoffs. It’s not that much of a stretch to see the playoffs this year….

    Calgary and Vancouver are awful and the Kings injury woes keep growing. At worst the Oilers finish 4th in the pacific. The central is no screaming hell this year. Chicago, St Louis, Minny and the Jets should be there. Arizona, Colorado and Nashville are all very beatable.

    They don’t have to be world beaters to make the playoffs and the good start helps a ton. I look forward to a better defensive effort against the Rangers.

  32. HT Joe says:

    Lowetide: The seven minute gap in EV TOI between McDavid and Nuge suggests to me thatthe coach either wanted a specific matchup for RNH or has lost some confidence in the line.

    I won’t disagree with this. But if it’s a matter of the coach losing confidence in RNH, I would hope that he would first try tweaking the wingers to give RNH a better chance at success.

    I didn’t realize the gap between RNH and McD EVTOI and took another look…
    – McDavid played nearly 25 minutes total
    – Drai played just under 21 minutes total
    – RNH played just over 21 minutes total (but the only of the “big 3 centres” to play any PK – over 2 minutes)

    Lordy, the coach is playing the hell out of those 3 centres (obviously there’s substantial overlap between the 3 players).

    Do you think they’re going to wear down prematurely throughout the year if they keep playing those kinds of minutes?

  33. Bag of Pucks says:

    Lucic needs to play better. This has been a ‘thing’ for a few games now imo.

    TMac seems to be all carrot and no stick with Ebs. Might be time for some stick. Amazing how a player can still pick his spots on the backcheck when all around him are hell bent for leather.

    Worrisome that two of our biggest underperformers currently are also two of the largest contracts.

  34. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: One good thing, Larsson has played well enough to avoid the slings and arrows. That is a positive.

    Oiler fans get on players who:

    1) Look like they don’t try hard enough (Penner, Jultz)

    2) Are talked about in the media as being “entitled” (Hall)

    Larsson are neither of those, so I don’t expect any pitchforks.

  35. Woodguy says:

    Left Wing Lock ‏@Left_Wing_Lock 9m
    9 minutes ago

    Jakub Nakladal: Has cleared waivers and been reassigned to the AHL. http://www.leftwinglock.com/news  #nhl #Canes

    I guess not.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Lucic needs to play better. This has been a ‘thing’ for a few games now imo.

    TMac seems to be all carrot and no stick with Ebs. Might be time for some stick. Amazing how a player can still pick his spots on the backcheck when all around him are hell bent for leather.

    Worrisome that two of our biggest underperformers currently are also two of the largest contracts.

    I think Lucic made some good decisions last night, a subtle play helped the Pitlick goal and he sure as hell didnt make bad decisions with the puck. I think he will be fine, no injuries and still settling in. As for Eberle, he is the best scoring winger on the team, best to replace him before burying him.

  37. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Oiler fans get on players who:

    1) Look like they don’t try hard enough (Penner,Jultz)

    2) Are talked about in the media as being “entitled” (Hall)

    Larsson are neither of those, so I don’t expect any pitchforks.

    Ah, if he had played badly there would have been plenty, pretty sure.

  38. Bag of Pucks says:

    Lowetide: I think Lucic made some good decisions last night, a subtle play helped the Pitlick goal and he sure as hell didnt make bad decisions with the puck. I think he will be fine, no injuries and still settling in. As for Eberle, he is the best scoring winger on the team, best to replace him before burying him.

    Historically Eberle has been the best scoring winger on this team. He has competition for that role now. Maroon for instance is getting more done with less skills.

    Let’s not forgot he went 9 games without a goal, playing on McDavid’s line. That is not maximizing your greatest asset.

    No one’s burying Eberle, but his spot on the first line shouldn’t be a given, particularly given his defensive play. McDavid is going to attract tough opps.

    Right now, today, I think Pitlick deserves a game or two alongside Connor.

  39. jp says:

    HT Joe: I won’t disagree with this.But if it’s a matter of the coach losing confidence in RNH, I would hope that he would first try tweaking the wingers to give RNH a better chance at success.

    I didn’t realize the gap between RNH and McD EVTOI and took another look…
    – McDavid played nearly 25 minutes total
    – Drai played just under 21 minutes total
    – RNH played just over 21 minutes total (but the only of the “big 3 centres” to play any PK – over 2 minutes)

    Lordy, the coach is playing the hell out of those 3 centres (obviously there’s substantial overlap between the 3 players).

    Do you think they’re going to wear down prematurely throughout the year if they keep playing those kinds of minutes?

    I think you added total TOI to PP and SH TOI. The actual totals for last night are:

    McDavid 22.5
    Draisaitl 18.5
    Nuge 17.0

    Nuge’s PK TOI gets him closer, but that’s still a real big gap.

  40. Bag of Pucks says:

    Lowetide: I think Lucic made some good decisions last night, a subtle play helped the Pitlick goal and he sure as hell didnt make bad decisions with the puck. I think he will be fine, no injuries and still settling in.

    He looked lethargic to me and a step behind most of the night, but I’m sure he’ll snap out of it. Would like to see some young turk try him in a tilt. That might wake him up.

  41. Lowetide says:

    Bag of Pucks: Historically Eberle has been the best scoring winger on this team. He has competition for that role now. Maroon for instance is getting more done with less skills.

    Let’s not forgot he went 9 games without a goal, playing on McDavid’s line. That is not maximizing your greatest asset.

    No one’s burying Eberle, but his spot on the first line shouldn’t be a given, particularly given his defensive play. McDavid is going to attract tough opps.

    Right now, today, I think Pitlick deserves a game or two alongside Connor.

    Maroon is not a proven scorer. I like him, but emerging scorer fits better. Eberle is a flawed, one dimensional player but that dimension has enormous value

  42. jp says:

    Bag of Pucks:

    TMac seems to be all carrot and no stick with Ebs. Might be time for some stick. Amazing how a player can still pick his spots on the backcheck when all around him are hell bent for leather.

    There’s talk Roussel should have been Maroon’s man on the GWG (haven’t gone back to verify that myself).

    The also in photo for Eberle sure didn’t look good, but maybe McLellan doesn’t think Eberle deserves the stick in this case.

  43. fifthcartel says:

    Kind of curious to see a Maroon-McDavid-Pitlick line too.

    RNH needs some help and I like 98 on Draisaitl’s line more.

  44. Bag of Pucks says:

    Lowetide: Maroon is not a proven scorer. I like him, but emerging scorer fits better. Eberle is a flawed, one dimensional player but that dimension has enormous value

    It has value but the league is changing to a 200ft pressure game and players that don’t excel in the other two thirds of the rink are getting pushed out of the lineup, particularly if they’re streaky scorers like Eberle.

    Kessel got traded cos of perceived defensive deficiencies and his redemption came from improved efforts on the d side of the puck. Eberle is capable of similar imo.

    The thing that amazes me about this is why do we ‘excuse’ Eberle for not having the other dimension? All it requires is improved effort, focus and tenacity for Jordan to add this to his game. Why should we just accept this being beyond him?

    This is not the 80s. Even the stars have to backcheck now. It cost us a point last night, possibly two.

  45. stush18 says:

    Lowetide: The seven minute gap in EV TOI between McDavid and Nuge suggests to me thatthe coach either wanted a specific matchup for RNH or has lost some confidence in the line.

    I would say the lack of scoring winger on his line is hurting him.

    I’d love to see
    Lucic-nuge-ebs
    Maroon-mcdavid-pitlick
    Pou-drai-slepy

    JP isn’t helping offensively, and he’s dragging down nuge imo. Lucic seems like the perfect compliment to nuges game, strong on the cycle. Nuge has clear history with ebs.

    Typically every line has an f3 that comes into the zone late when they don’t have the puck. Mcdavid likes to be that man, waits for his opportunity and then jumps in front of his man.

    Just makes sense to me. IMO

  46. Lowetide says:

    Bag of Pucks: It has value but the league is changing to a 200ft pressure game and players that don’t excel in the other two thirds of the rink are getting pushed out of the lineup, particularly if they’re streaky scorers like Eberle.

    Kessel got traded cos of perceived defensive deficiencies and his redemption came from improved efforts on the d side of the puck.

    The thing that amazes me about this is why do we ‘excuse’ Eberle for not having the other dimension? All it requires is improved effort, focus and tenacity for Jordan to add this to his game. Why should we just accept this being beyond him?

    This is the 80s. Even the stars have to backcheck now. It cost us a point last night, possibly two.

    Nobody excuses it, or they shouldn’t but there is a difference between a flawed player who brings a valuable tool and a useless tit. I think people who harp on Eberle fail to realize his true value,. Yes he is more Anson Carter than Billy Guerin, but there are things he brings to the game that are not duplicated on the roster. JP may, Pitlick is off to a good start, but these are all possibilities and Eberle is proven. This is kind of like the arguments I hve about Mark Fayne, but at the other end of the roster. Everyone wants 23 complete players, but this is the world we live in.

  47. Bruce Wayne says:

    Lowetide: One good thing, Larsson has played well enough to avoid the slings and arrows. That is a positive.

    That is because Klefbom is taking all the arrows for him. II don’t see that as a positive.

  48. jp says:

    fifthcartel:
    Kind of curious to see a Maroon-McDavid-Pitlick line, too.

    Pitlick does have speed, and a hot hand right now.

    And Pouliot-Nuge sure look like they could use Eberle.

    I just don’t see Pitlick continuing to score, even with McDavid. The man has scored 28 goals in 196 career AHL games. He bumped it up and was quite consistent over the past 3 yrs and totaled 18 goals in 90 GP. Despite the start, I just don’t see a top 6 scorer there. Could work short term, but extremely unlikely he’s the answer to any question regarding a scoring line.

  49. Bag of Pucks says:

    Lowetide: Nobody excuses it, or they shouldn’t but there is a difference between a flawed player who brings a valuable tool and a useless tit. I think people who harp on Eberle fail to realize his true value,. Yes he is more Anson Carter than Billy Guerin, but there are things he brings to the game that are not duplicated on the roster. JP may, Pitlick is off to a good start, but these are all possibilities and Eberle is proven. This is kind of like the arguments I hve about Mark Fayne, but at the other end of the roster. Everyone wants 23 complete players, but this is the world we live in.

    Pitlick and Eberle are currently tied for Gs and Tyler is doing this without the cherry linemates and PP time. Nuge is struggling. I think there’s an opportunity to shuffle things up and possibly improve both lines.

    I think our HC has to spot which players are elevating their game and which are running in place.

    If Eberle has ‘proven’ to be Anson Carter to this point in his career, that jibes with my feeling that Eberle is best suited for the second line and soft comps. JP has miles to travel yet but we may have found money with Pitlick? The timing on this could actually be perfect for Connor too.

    We wait.

  50. marchmentsknee says:

    Lowetide,

    Finally a level head. Please remember, Nuge’s line is taking on the opponents top offensive line. I’m not sure that should be a role for Eberle to fill.

  51. spoiler says:

    Bag of Pucks: Pitlick and Eberle are currently tied for Gs and Tyler is doing this without the cherry linemates and PP time. Nuge is struggling. I think there’s an opportunity to shuffle things up and possibly improve both lines

    I don’t think anyone believes Pitlick is Saad if only he had the right linemates

    Eberle is the better player, but I do wonder if Pitlick might work there better because he’s a more north-south guy, which makes it easier for McD’s reads. But no way anyone thinks Lance has Eberle’s mitts. Ebs wins that joust every time.

    There were two tire fires last night that ended because Lucic became the deep guy back, got the puck, and there was no panic just the simple pass. I am beginning to love him for that.

    Can’t believe I saw the D behind the net attempting passes to the Fs over or near the blue line last night. Thought that shit had died. But apparently nothing dies with youth. Where was the help? Stars also moved into a trap with the lead and that still confounds us. But the cheat for O from the forwards last night was old Oil and not good to see.

  52. Dino says:

    LT I posted a comment about 10 min ago and I can’t seem to find it. Maybe a glitch? I don’t know.

    And regarding Eberle, he misses a back check assignment (sure it cost us the game) and all of a sudden he should be off of Mcdavid’s wing? Sorry but I don’t see the correlation between back checking and scoring goals, which is what Eberle does. Nobody was asking for his removal after the Pens game when he scored 2 beauty goals, which lets face it I don’t think anyone else on the roster could score.

    Keep Eberle with Mcdavid, mistakes happen and hopefully he learns not to make that awful play again. But they have chemistry and goals are only finally starting to go in for Eberle. He can capitalize the best on the chances gifted to him by young Connor.

    The line that needs to get going imo is the RNH line. Let’s hope they figure it out because once they do, this team will take off running. Losses like the one last night will be a lot less likely.

  53. Bruce McCurdy says:

    jp: There’s talk Roussel should have been Maroon’s man on the GWG (haven’t gone back to verify that myself).

    The also in photo for Eberle sure didn’t look good, but maybe McLellan doesn’t think Eberle deserves the stick in this case.

    Maroon was the first forward back into the zone (F1). On a 3-on-4 rush the job of F2 is usually to look for the trailer, & the job of a winger generally is to guard the points not the net front. But after Eberle released his man Maroon floated into no man’s land, &’Eberle was unable to make up the lost ground. A misread? yes. A mistake? Probably. Lazy entitled lack of effort? I didnt see it that way. But that’s the narrative surrounding Jordan Eberle this year.

  54. spoiler says:

    spoiler,

    That said, with a reasonable shooting percentage last night, we win.

  55. flyfish1168 says:

    Good thing about tomorrow nights game is there are no ex Oilers making their 1st game back in Edmonton. So now we need to take care of the 1st goal against it the 1st minute.

  56. Woodguy says:

    marchmentsknee:
    Lowetide,

    Finally a level head. Please remember, Nuge’s line is taking on the opponents top offensive line. I’m not sure that should be a role for Eberle to fill.

    He did it for 5 years already and is the most qualified RW on the roster to do it.

  57. Bag of Pucks says:

    Dino:
    LT I posted a comment about 10 min ago and I can’t seem to find it. Maybe a glitch? I don’t know.

    And regarding Eberle, he misses a back check assignment (sure it cost us the game) and all of a sudden he should be off of Mcdavid’s wing? Sorry but I don’t see the correlation between back checking and scoring goals, which is what Eberle does. Nobody was asking for his removal after the Pens game when he scored 2 beauty goals, which lets face it I don’t think anyone else on the roster could score.

    Keep Eberle with Mcdavid, mistakes happen and hopefully he learns not to make that awful play again. But they have chemistry and goals are only finally starting to go in for Eberle. He can capitalize the best on the chances gifted to him by young Connor.

    The line that needs to get going imo is the RNH line. Let’s hope they figure it out because once they do, this team will take off running. Losses like the one last night will be a lot less likely.

    Eberle went 9 games without scoring a goal on McDavid’s line.

    This is not all ‘narrative’ driving this player assessment. The numbers have something to say as well.

  58. Oilspill says:

    Very often it is a read issue. Anticipation of what your players will do is often the reason for someone uncovered. Looking for fault isn’t as easy an one thinks. The teams simply need to gel and communicate.

    Bruce McCurdy: Maroon was the first forward back into the zone (F1). On a 3-on-4 Rush the job of F2 is usually to look for the trailer, & the job of a winger generally is to guard the points not the net front. But after Eberle released his man Maroon floated into no man’s land, &’Eberle was unable to make up the lost ground. A misread? yes. A mistake? Probably. Lazy entitled lack of effort? I didnt see it that way. But that’s the narrative surrounding Jordan Eberle this year.

  59. spoiler says:

    Bag of Pucks: Eberle went 9 games without scoring a goal on McDavid’s line.

    This is not all ‘narrative’ driving this player assessment. The numbers have something to say as well.

    Oh dear Gord.

  60. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bag of Pucks: Eberle went 9 games without scoring a goal on McDavid’s line.

    This is not all ‘narrative’ driving this player assessment. The numbers have something to say as well.

    And now McDavid has gone 7 games without a goal. Maybe it’s time to demote him from Eberle’s line. 😐

  61. Bag of Pucks says:

    Ironically, what we’re saying is Eberle is too weak defensively to play with Nuge but this shouldn’t be a problem alongside McDavid.

    I suspect TMac believes this as well and it’s why Eberle gets the longest leash.

    McDavid’s speed and anticipation is likely seen as the best tonic for Eberle’s defensive lapses.

  62. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bruce McCurdy: And now McDavid has gone 7 games without a goal. Maybe it’s time to demote him from Eberle’s line.

    Or we could try him with a different linemate instead of being stubborn about things?

  63. spoiler says:

    Bruce McCurdy: And now McDavid has gone 7 games without a goal. Maybe it’s time to demote him from Eberle’s line.

    I’m not sure Connor will ever be the player Lance is.
    😉

  64. HT Joe says:

    jp: I think you added total TOI to PP and SH TOI. The actual totals for last night are:

    McDavid 22.5
    Draisaitl 18.5
    Nuge 17.0

    Nuge’s PK TOI gets him closer, but that’s still a real big gap.

    Sorry I wasn’t clear. You’re correct… I did list total time on ice. Thanks

  65. Pastor of Disaster says:

    Wolfie:

    Chicago, St Louis, Minny and the Jets should be there.

    I definitely read those last two teams in Elton John’s voice. “Minny! Minny! Minny, Minny, Minny, Minny and the Jets!”

    UNEDUCATED OPINION: I don’t know the stats and I don’t know if one even exists, but it seems like part of the value of having Eberle on McDavid’s line is that Jordan is really subtly good at collecting the puck in the defensive zone and making smart passes up to Connor for quick breaks (and then often finishing). He is getting some top quality assists on that line. I find it hard to believe that having him with McDavid is the problem in any way. But, again: UNEDUCATED OPINION.

    That said, I think the idea of having Pitlick buzzsaw around and reclaim lost pucks for McDavid has merit, as does returning Eberle to the Nuge.

  66. spoiler says:

    They play half way smart and get a bounce at the net and they win last night going away laughing. Last night was not about which players were in the line-up where. It was about how smart and how consistent they played, and the lack of random variance. There were plenty of bonehead plays that didn’t end up in the net, but they’re not marked. It was a stupid young game with no help from Lady Luck despite the offense generated.

  67. HT Joe says:

    Bruce McCurdy: And now McDavid has gone 7 games without a goal. Maybe it’s time to demote him from Eberle’s line.

    Too bad we couldn’t demote McDavid from McDavid’s line… that McDavid kid attracts all of the tough opposition. 😛

  68. Woogie63 says:

    There is real temptation to have players playing higher in the batting order. We should resist this unless there is at least 40 games of evidence that they can handle the tougher competition. Pitlick, Nurse, Gryba, Letestu, Simpson, LB and Benson must be feeling wonderful about their game right now, that can change quickly.

  69. fifthcartel says:

    jp,

    Probably not at this rate, but 20-30 points *might* be possible. I think he has enough speed and smarts to be fine with McD, and maybe those 20-30 points become ~40 with the McDavid boost?

    Obviously a downgrade from Eberle’s 50-60+, but he still likely gets that with RNH adding more balance to the lineup.

  70. marchmentsknee says:

    Woodguy,

    He’s done it the last 5 years on a losing team. We expect a different role from Nuge than we have in the past. I think the coaches expect McD’s line to score and Nuge’s line to prevent goals. I know that’s a simple explanation of a nuanced subject but it’s hard to see otherwise for me.

  71. Pescador says:

    frjohnk: Actually EBERLE has been throwing pucks at the goalie pads quite a bit from the right wing on rushes.
    Remenda made mention of this a couple of games ago.

    One of those plays you don’t really take note of unless it creates the scoring chance you were trying for. Or cashes a goal.

  72. Pescador says:

    Last night was a frustrating game because;
    A. I thought they should have won based on the play. &
    B. I felt like if they win that game, we are talking about a playoff team.
    I know it’s early but I thinking more about confidence, momentum & putting precious points in the bank.
    I’m over it now, the organization will be relieved to find this out. Excuse me, I should probably go call Chiarelli and give him a vote of confidence, I’m sure he’s been pacing around his office all morning waiting for the phone to ring.

  73. Bank Shot says:

    Wolfie:
    It’s hard to score when there are 3 or 4 defenders in the blue paint.Which is what Dallas did in the last 6 mins.

    I think the Oilers will always struggle in the offensive zone with teams that collapse around the net until they get a scoring threat on the blue line.

    As it stands, other teams don’t have to respect the point threat. If you have a hammer back there or a sneaky, creative player it keeps the defence honest.

    Dallas won’t let Weber T up the puck from the middle of the ice. They could care less if Larsson or Sekera is walking the line with possession.

    As long as there is no threat to score from the blue, the other team is free to use all of their players to clog up Mcdavids space down low.

  74. SkatinginSand says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    No, the primary job of the winger (unless providing back pressure on the puck carrier) is to pick up the most dangerous player and cover right to the net until that player is picked up by the defensive zone (or m to m) coverage.

    Roussel was completely uncovered. yet Eberle did not take one stride from the offensive blue line until the puck was in the net.

    Maroon made a coverage mistake. Every player makes many mistakes in every game, but the one thing that every player has complete control of is their effort. I have been quiet on the Eberle debate, I have thought that he has generally been more engaged this year. However, an egregious lack of effort is not excusable, he needs to be better. The flawed player argument is an excuse, Gryba is flawed from a lack of talent, which he has no control over, not a lack of effort.

  75. nelson88 says:

    Late to last night’s thread and the comments on bad ice so will ask a question here.

    Can an Ice guru; and I have little doubt we will have one or 100 on this blog, explain to me how a brand new purpose built arena located in a spot with 7 (8?) months of cold temps and low humidity have bad ice?!

  76. Confused says:

    You can feel the frustration on the blog.

    After years of nothing, finally something to believe in…. but then they start losing and defending the box disappears and ….

    Alas we are very young, so lots of growing pains this year

    1. AdamBom are having a hard time — but they are very young for this role. And Klef played limited hockey last year. They need time.

    2. Benning is another project — super young — but we have that injury bug again.

    3. Playing against the trap, here again inexperience seems to dominate, but they will figure it out hopefully by Christmas.

    4. JP is another project — Christmas again?

    5, …..

    Basically, we are growing and learning and we should expect that we get better and better. But growing and learning does not happen in a straight line — many highs and lows will be the norm.

    Still think we will make the playoffs and expect the second half of the year to outshine the first.

  77. Derek says:

    marchmentsknee:
    Woodguy,

    He’s done it the last 5 years on a losing team. We expect a different role from Nuge than we have in the past. I think the coaches expect McD’s line to score and Nuge’s line to prevent goals. I know that’s a simple explanation of a nuanced subject but it’s hard to see otherwise for me.

    Yea I don’t believe Eberle is the winger for RNH in his current role. Eberle competed against the best on the hall line in the past but IIRC they were doing so in a primarily offensive role, heavy offensive zone starts. Nuge is typically slogging uphill against the other teams best. I realize own zone draws aren’t correlated as heavily to poor possession numbers as we thought earlier but what do they have to say about SC and HDSCs against? Nuge needs another Pouliot and a couple lucky bounces IMHO.

    Edit to add – This is where they need Leons line to pick up the slack as LT has been mentioning. Conner takes the top defensive pair and checking line on and needs to score. Nuge battles the other teams offensive heavyweights and hopefully Leon slips in the soft middle area and puts the team ahead.

  78. kinger_OIL says:

    nelson88:
    Late to last night’s thread and the comments on bad ice so will ask a question here.

    Can an Ice guru; and I have little doubt we will have one or 100 on this blog, explain to me how a brand new purpose built arena located in a spot with 7 (8?) months of cold temps and low humidity have bad ice?!

    – It’s a great question. It amazes me they could build a billion dollar arena with a 2 cent ice rink. I alluded to it being a real problem, that no one is happy with.

    – It’s too bad they don’t ask the players about it in interviews. The one’s I talk to say its a joke

  79. jp says:

    SkatinginSand:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Roussel was completely uncovered. yet Eberle did not take one stride from the offensive blue line until the puck was in the net.

    Yeah, I don’t know who’s responsibility Roussel should have been, but I do know the above is not a factual statement.

  80. jp says:

    fifthcartel:
    jp,

    Probably not at this rate, but 20-30 points *might* be possible. I think he has enough speed and smarts to be fine with McD, and maybe those 20-30 points become ~40 with the McDavid boost?

    Obviously a downgrade from Eberle’s 50-60+, but he still likely gets that with RNH adding more balance to the lineup.

    I have no problem with those as outer markers (in fact, I think 20-30 pts is a completely reasonable expectation from a 3rd/4th liner with some skill). I just think those expecting to keep up anything close to what he’s done so far this season are in for some disappointment. Like the player, just don’t see him as anything other than a secondary or tertiary scoring option.

  81. Woodguy says:

    spoiler:
    They play half way smart and get a bounce at the net and they win last night going away laughing. Last night was not about which players were in the line-up where.It was about how smart and how consistent they played, and the lack of random variance.There were plenty of bonehead plays that didn’t end up in the net, but they’re not marked.It was a stupid young game with no help from Lady Luck despite the offense generated.

    Get that level headed thinking out of the thread!!

  82. OmJo says:

    Confused:
    You can feel the frustration on the blog.

    After years of nothing, finally something to believe in…. but then they start losing and defending the box disappears and ….

    Alas we are very young, so lots of growing pains this year

    1. AdamBom are having a hard time — but they are very young for this role. And Klef played limited hockey last year.They need time.

    2. Benning is another project — super young — but we have that injury bug again.

    3. Playing against the trap, here again inexperience seems to dominate, but they will figure it out hopefully by Christmas.

    4. JP is another project — Christmas again?

    5, …..

    Basically, we are growing and learning and we should expect that we get better and better. But growing and learning does not happen in a straight line — many highs and lows will be the norm.

    Still think we will make the playoffs and expect the second half of the year to outshine the first.

    I am not singling you out for this, so please don’t take what I’m about to say as directed specifically to you.

    But…

    I am tired of the “young team” excuse this team still gets for making the same mistakes we always make. We have been a “young team” since 2007. It’s not even the young guys that are making most of the game-deciding mistakes lol. They’re actually playing very well, it’s the veterans who are underperforming at the moment – and it’s been underperforming veterans that have been one of the reasons we haven’t seen playoffs since 2006.

    I can accept the young player excuse when Pitlick, JP, Slepy, Nurse, or Benning make mistakes. But when you have established NHLers making mistakes…. the “young team” excuse doesn’t seem reasonable.

    IMO at least.

    /rant

  83. stush18 says:

    OmJo,

    Agreed. Nurse getting outsmarted by Benn? Young player excuse.

    Eberle and/or maroon missing there assignments? Not a young team excuse.

  84. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bag of Pucks: Or we could try him with a different linemate instead of being stubborn about things?

    Yeah, they put the two of them with Maroon and things have changed for the better. That line has been pumping in the goals of late. Change of chemistry was just what the doctor ordered.

    McLellan appears convinced Eberle is the best choice on McDavid’s right flank and considering the alternatives at his disposal this observer is not inclined to disagree with him.

  85. Confused says:

    OmJo,

    Thanks for the reply. The vets have known problems which will come to the fore from time to time. One bad goal does not make a season.

    But blending a team takes time, we have very young people at most of the major points in the team, I regain confident they will improve.

    At their season goes, so will the team while, on average, the vets remain more constant.

  86. Pescador says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Yeah, they put the two of them with Maroon and things have changed for the better. That line has been pumping in the goals of late. Change of chemistry was just what the doctor ordered.

    McLellan appears convinced Eberle is the best choice on McDavid’s right flank and considering the alternatives at his disposal this observer is not inclined to disagree with him.

    Don’t think it would hurt to try Pitlick up there as everyone has suggested, 5-6 games ago I wanted to see how Maroon would work with McDavid so far **Borat voice**
    “Great success, very nice, I like”
    I’m feeling the same way about Eberle with RNH.
    The issue so far, this season with the forward core, the Oilers have Eberle & 4 bottom 6 RW’s
    JP, Sleppy, Pit, Kass.
    Of course JP will be a bonifide top 6 RW- probably as early as next year.
    Just need a temporary place holder for this year.
    Viola forward depth & balance,
    Now about that righty D….

  87. Melman says:

    Hi gang, I didn’t see the box score: was it Modano or Hull who got the GWG?

  88. JDï™ says:

    Melman,

    Hull, but the replay showed that his skate was in the crease.

  89. JDï™ says:

    Dis gon b gud…

  90. frjohnk says:

    Maroon and Pitlick.

    Those wingers were a year ago

    1. a guy who came into camp out of shape and not very committed. Was cast off by a budget team who was willing to hold a quarter of his salary just to get rid of him at the trade deadline.

    2. an injury prone player who after half a decade of being drafted seemed destined for a career in the minors.

    Love that these guys have committed themselves, are healthy and showing that they can make an impact.

    Not saying these guys are actual 1st line players because they are not, they are complimentary players; but I will say that Chia deserves credit for not only getting Maroon for a bag, but also resigning Pitllick.

    These are the type of players we didnt have over the last 5 years and they are cheap.

  91. frjohnk says:

    JDï™:
    Melman,

    Hull, but the replay showed that his skate was in the crease.

    But he had control of the puck.

    And the hot dog vendors had no more wieners, so it was time to go home.

  92. Woodguy says:

    marchmentsknee:
    Woodguy,

    He’s done it the last 5 years on a losing team. We expect a different role from Nuge than we have in the past. I think the coaches expect McD’s line to score and Nuge’s line to prevent goals. I know that’s a simple explanation of a nuanced subject but it’s hard to see otherwise for me.

    Hall-RNH-Eberle weren’t the reason the team was bad.

  93. stush18 says:

    I think the problem people have with eberle is we all see him turn on the jets when there is an offensive opportunity. He blows past defenders and fights to score.

    Where is the effort when he is on defense?

    The reason he lost his man last night is because there was a lost puck at the blue line. He hesitated for a second turning his body slightly. He was ready to bust up the ice. By the time he realized it, his man was wide open.

  94. Lowetide says:

    Guys, I am working now if you could be respectful I would appreciate it.

  95. bendelson says:

    nelson88:
    Late to last night’s thread and the comments on bad ice so will ask a question here.

    Can an Ice guru; and I have little doubt we will have one or 100 on this blog, explain to me how a brand new purpose built arena located in a spot with 7 (8?) months of cold temps and low humidity have bad ice?!

    While I’m no ice guru…

    It’s not that they don’t know how to make great ice – they do. Visiting players have mentioned the community rink (that they practiced on) next door was the best sheet of ice they had seen (hard and fast). It’s building usage that creates the problem. Roger’s Place is a multi-use facility so the ice is always being covered/removed/not developed for other events before the rush is back on to prepare the ice for hockey the next day…

    That is my take – just an educated guess…

    This of course would mean this a likeky a problem that won’t be solved by some expert flying into town and waving a magic wand.

    Want better ice? Convince OEG to use the building less for non-hockey events… and good luck with that.

  96. Yak Efron says:

    Was it not built primarily for hockey?? And that the old rinks ice factory no longer being satisfactory was one of the justifications for building a new barn? Thought that was the verbal for a few years.

  97. JDï™ says:

    Yak Efron: Was it not built primarily for hockey??

    It was built to make money.

  98. Yak Efron says:

    JDï™,

    This I believe.

  99. Pescador says:

    frjohnk,

    Draft & develop, trade/sign inexpensive but effective “complimentary” players.
    Sign your core stars or if your lucky superstar (hehe)
    The Chicago blueprint is the only way to build & sustain a competitive salary cap team in the NHL.
    These things I believe.
    Go ahead boys, tear me apart.
    I’m an easy target.

  100. meanashell11 says:

    Pescador:
    frjohnk,

    Draft & develop, trade/sign inexpensive but effective “complimentary” players.
    Sign your core stars or if your lucky superstar (hehe)
    The Chicago blueprint is the only way to build & sustain a competitive salary cap team in the NHL.
    These things I believe.
    Go ahead boys, tear me apart.
    I’m an easy target.

    Speaking of Chicago, they drafted a kid I know well, he played for many years with my son. He will captain the Yale team this season and graduate. Let’s see if he signs. He does have some connections to Chicago’s owners but we have a good record of signing Yale players! His name is John Hayden.

  101. Bruce McCurdy says:

    haters: Yea let’s stick a 4th line fringe AHL player on the first line so he can get crushed against the NHL’s best. That will be great for his confidence.
    I would suggest moving him to the middle comp for a bit to see if he can handle it. But slotting him against the best players on the opposing team when they don’t even trust him to penalty kill yet seems a tad silly sorry.

    Stick to your spread sheets nerd

    That last comment is completely unnecessary. I do however agree with your main point and was going to take it up with Pescador anyway, so will here. Pitlick started the season as a (surprise) fourth liner who played single digit minutes for the first 10 games before making it all the way to 10:02 in Game 11. In Game 12 two RWs went down in the first period and he got promoted into the middle six, where he has played 14, 15, 12 and 14 minutes. The 15:11 he played vs. Detroit was the second-most of his now 42-game NHL career.

    Point being, he already JUST got promoted. He’s taking his chance in the middle-6 and making a go of it — a tough game in Pittsburgh, but good ones vs. the Wings and Stars. That is a huge assignment for him, the toughest of his career. And now we want to promote him again, to the top line? I just don’t see it.

    Jordan EBERLE meanwhile is a seven-year veteran who has played Top 6 minutes his entire career and top line minutes for most of it. He’s an established 18-minutes a night player, not to mention 25-goal, 60 point scorer.

    He’s had a glitchy start to the current season, but check out his boxcars by 5-game blocks:

    1st 5 GP: 3-3-6
    2nd 5 GP: 0-0-0
    3rd 5 GP: 2-4-6

    Hot and cold, obviously, but over 15 GP he is 5-7-12 and on pace for 27-38-66*. Average ice time 18:28. Pretty typical for him, in other words.

    One would hope for more of a McDavid bump than that, but I am fervently hoping that those first and third segments will become the normal production rates and that second one will prove to be the anomaly.

    As for defensive play let’s just say I am glad EBERLE is a winger and not a centre. But he is an ace in the transition game, both with breakout passes and controlled zone entries, doesn’t get enough credit for either IMO. Also very good in the cycle, not so much in “grinder” mode as a clever handler and distributor of the puck. Used to be known as “possession” before the term was usurped (by, ahem, spread sheet nerds 🙂 ). Some of those skills are a fine complement to McDavid.

    Due respect to Tyler Pitlick, who I love like a son, but I do not see him in that sort of role any time soon. And I am very, very happy to see him exactly where he is just now. Great progress being made, but under appropriate shelter.

  102. Professor Q says:

    In the Summer and in PreSeason every team was saying Rogers Place had the best ice (even if they did have ice guru who does all the outdoors games anymore, who when he left Rexall Place, took its good ice with him).

    Now apparently that’s no longer the case? How could only a few weeks change that? The poor management?

  103. McSorley33 says:

    Man, I sure appreciate RNH/Poo line out shooting Dowling/Smith…but at some point they have to score goals.

    A few years ago, I posted a line from then WFP columnist Gary Lawless saying Mark Scheifle was the best centre in the 2011 draft.

    I ripped Gary.

    Scheifle: 16gp – 10goals + 10 assists = 20 points
    RNH : 15 gp. – 2 goals + 5 assists = 7 points

    One of these players is facing 1st pairing Dmen and one them is not.

    RNH needs to produce offence.

  104. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Professor Q:
    In the Summer and in PreSeason every team was saying Rogers Place had the best ice (even if they did have ice guru who does all the outdoors games anymore, who when he left Rexall Place, took its good ice with him).

    Now apparently that’s no longer the case? How could only a few weeks change that? The poor management?

    I attended the Oil Kings opener, the Oilers preseason opener, and the Oilers regular season opener, and from various distances I kept drawing the same conclusion: the ice is not good. Pains me to say it. I remain hopeful that the ice-making system simply needs to be broken in, as do the people in charge of making it work. Things like that tend to be a combination of science and black art, and I would imagine every rink has its own foibles. I hope they figure it out soon.

  105. lynn says:

    McSorley33:
    Man, I sure appreciate RNH/Poo line out shooting Dowling/Smith…but at some point they have to score goals.

    A few years ago, I posted a line from then WFP columnist Gary Lawless saying Mark Scheifle was the best centre in the 2011 draft.

    I ripped Gary.

    Scheifle: 16gp – 10goals + 10 assists = 20 points
    RNH :15 gp. – 2 goals + 5 assists = 7 points

    One of these players is facing 1st pairing Dmen and one them is not.

    RNH needs to produce offence.

    I love having RNH on the Oilers: great skater, pursues the puck well, gives his best each game, but he is a third-line centre on a good team. RNH will never be a juggernaut point producer. I’m glad he made his millions before the truth was known.

  106. Lackadaisical says:

    McDavid has a proven ability to bring lesser players to a higher level. Why not create an overloaded second line, so defences and coaches panic?

    Is Eberle so far above his historic numbers, that putting him with Nuge to get that line going, will cripple our top line and overall scoring?

  107. Ryan says:

    McSorley33,

    It’s crazy, but no one saw this dip in RNH’s offensive production coming this season.

    Oh wait. Me. :/ *pats self on back.*

  108. Pescador says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Good points all Mr Bruce,
    For the record I’m not down on Eberle, I have read the thrust of your argument here, many times before & I agree with it. In loo of that, Pitlick is fine where he is. I was thinking more about 2nd line scoring then promotions & demotions.
    Also, I come from a long line of flip floppers

  109. Professor Q says:

    McSorley33:
    Man, I sure appreciate RNH/Poo line out shooting Dowling/Smith…but at some point they have to score goals.

    A few years ago, I posted a line from then WFP columnist Gary Lawless saying Mark Scheifle was the best centre in the 2011 draft.

    I ripped Gary.

    Scheifle: 16gp – 10goals + 10 assists = 20 points
    RNH :15 gp. – 2 goals + 5 assists = 7 points

    One of these players is facing 1st pairing Dmen and one them is not.

    RNH needs to produce offence.

    Yes, Nuge is the one facing top opposition. He also has been limiting their production. That’s worth a lot.

  110. SwedishPoster says:

    I didn’t hate last nights game tbh. They looked like a good team on an off night and not a bad team on yet another crappy night. There’s still some line tweaking left to do but they still look like a team with a lot going for them imo. And it’s not like we’ve seen a lot of individual players perform near their top level. It’s Talbot and the 4th liners playing above what you can expect. I think this team is for real.

    On line tweaking and the always infected Ebs debate. Him and McD makes sense since Eberle is the most skilled winger on the roster and until Puljujärvi fully figure out the NHL it’s not really close. The question is if McDavid desperately needs to play with the most skilled player on the team to be optimized or if he needs a player with a different set of skills.

    You could argue that there’s enough to question with the combo to at least try something different. Especially since Nuge isn’t really scoring and him and Ebs have a good track record together. How much less would McDavid score with another, lesser, winger. And would that possible, or probable, decrease in scoring from McDavid’s line still mean a net gain in 5v5 scoring if RNH can make music with Eberle?

    And that’s just offense. For all his magic McDavid is still not quite up to par defensively yet and might benefit from a more defensively strong winger to avoid losing time mocking about in the D zone instead of making D-men look foolish. And on the other hand Eberle might benefit from a more positionally strong center in RNH. Again, there’s enough questions to at least try something different.

    While on the subject of linemates one of the weirdest stats this season, and this is honestly not an attempt to discredit Eberle, Eberle is a -5 so far this season while McDavid is +4 according to NHL.com. How does that even happen? I know McDavid has been double shifted at times but still. It’s not like Eberle spent a lot of time with any other center.

  111. SwedishPoster says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I attended the Oil Kings opener, the Oilers preseason opener, and the Oilers regular season opener, and from various distances I kept drawing the same conclusion: the ice is not good. Pains me to say it. I remain hopeful that the ice-making system simply needs to be broken in, as do the people in charge of making it work. Things like that tend to be a combination of science and black art, and I would imagine every rink has its own foibles. I hope they figure it out soon.

    New arenas are too warm. They sacrifice ice quality for audience comfort. Which is silly because most people I know wants it to be a bit chilly when watching hockey, it’s part of the experience. Well not the -20 degrees (celsius) we had in my home barn growing up ofcourse, though the ice was amazing.

  112. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Pescador:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Good points all Mr Bruce,
    For the record I’m not down on Eberle, I have read the thrust of your argument here, many times before & I agree with it. In loo of that, Pitlick is fine where he is. I was thinking more about 2nd line scoring then promotions & demotions.
    Also, I come from a long line of flip floppers

    As do I. Indeed, as a much younger fellow I was a goalie.

  113. MrEd says:

    SwedishPoster,

    I’m not sure why McLellen is being stubborn with not giving JP a shot with McDavid. JP does seem to have a knack for the defensive side of he puck and surely he’d get a few more opportunities in good shooting positions. Unlock the Finn!!
    I’d even give them D-zone starts with Nurce-Gryba as long as McDavid keeps improving on draws.

    Pouliot-RNH-Ebs with the Swedes.

    Lucic-Leon-Pitlick. O-zone starts with Benning and Sek.

  114. Pouzar says:

    “Pouliot—Nuge—Puljujarvi are hitting line drives now,”

    DAMN THE BABIP GORDS!!!! DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL!!!!

  115. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy: I wonder about flipping Pitlick up to 97’s line and moving 14 with 93 to give it some scoring touch.

    Yes please.

  116. GMB3 says:

    McSorley33:
    Man, I sure appreciate RNH/Poo line out shooting Dowling/Smith…but at some point they have to score goals.

    A few years ago, I posted a line from then WFP columnist Gary Lawless saying Mark Scheifle was the best centre in the 2011 draft.

    I ripped Gary.

    Scheifle: 16gp – 10goals + 10 assists = 20 points
    RNH :15 gp. – 2 goals + 5 assists = 7 points

    One of these players is facing 1st pairing Dmen and one them is not.

    RNH needs to produce offence.

    Well Scheifle also plays with significantly better linemates then POO and JP. He’s broken 50 points once in his career. Not sure I agree.

    For real though Lucic has more offensive touch/skill than Poo and IMO I’d like to see Lucic with RNH. Poo is struggling right now.

  117. GMB3 says:

    We have enough skill for two offensive lines IMO. Some combination of Drai RNH Lucic McD ebs and Maroon/Poo. We have two 2.5 lines instead of a true second line. At least the way they are playing at the moment.

  118. MrEd says:

    MrEd,

    I think I’m Russian.

  119. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Maroon was the first forward back into the zone (F1). On a 3-on-4 rush the job of F2 is usually to look for the trailer, & the job of a winger generally is to guard the points not the net front. But after Eberle released his man Maroon floated into no man’s land, &’Eberle was unable to make up the lost ground. A misread? yes. A mistake? Probably. Lazy entitled lack of effort? I didnt see it that way. But that’s the narrative surrounding Jordan Eberle this year.

    I know we discussed this on Twitter to a great extent, and having watched that play about 20 times at various angles, there is no way anyone in their reasonable mind could say Eberle is lazy, entitled, or showed a lack of effort. He was put into a Catch-22 as he was clearly covering for Klef and Maroon, but not wanting to leave the point wide open. If one were to assign blame there, I would say Klef 45%, Maroon 50% and Ebs 5%.

    I think where people get carried away is watching Eberle that shift for the 10 seconds before the goal. He makes a hit on Seguin and separates him from the puck, but does not receive a support person to retrieve the puck, he then needs to read the play and adjust, 77 & 19 get caught in no-mans land, Eberle adjusts in trying to catch Roussel, which is a moot point. Now, guys like m e can sit there and analyse the play with the convenience of replay, pause, etc.

    What people forget is that the decisions made on ice have to be completed in milliseconds and at a high rate. Hockey is tough in that there really are no set pre-determined paths, except on faceoffs. Guys coming down that midlane can came at various speeds and paths and all of sudden change speed and path in the blink of an eye. That’s what makes teaching/coaching the game tough sometimes. I’ve seen it countless times where I’ve gone over defensive zone coverage and stood in one spot, and guess what happens during drills and games? Players hit that same spot exactly. I can’t be too upset about that. Coaching requires patience and repetition. PR

  120. Bruce McCurdy says:

    CrazyCoach: I know we discussed this on Twitter to a great extent, and having watched that play about 20 times at various angles, there is no way anyone in their reasonable mind could say Eberle is lazy, entitled, or showed a lack of effort.He was put into a Catch-22 as he was clearly covering for Klef and Maroon, but not wanting to leave the point wide open.If one were to assign blame there, I would say Klef 45%, Maroon 50% and Ebs 5%.

    I think where people get carried away is watching Eberle that shift for the 10 seconds before the goal.He makes a hit on Seguin and separates him from the puck, but does not receive a support person to retrieve the puck, he then needs to read the play and adjust,77 & 19 get caught in no-mans land, Eberle adjusts in trying to catch Roussel, which is a moot point.Now, guys like m e can sit there and analyse the play with the convenience of replay, pause, etc.

    What people forget is that the decisions made on ice have to be completed in milliseconds and at a high rate.Hockey is tough in that there really are no set pre-determined paths, except on faceoffs.Guys coming down that midlane can came at various speeds and paths and all of sudden change speed and path in the blink of an eye.That’s what makes teaching/coaching the game tough sometimes.I’ve seen it countless times where I’ve gone over defensive zone coverage and stood in one spot, and guess what happens during drills and games?Players hit that same spot exactly.I can’t be too upset about that.Coaching requires patience and repetition.PR

    Thanks for this, Ben.

  121. JimmyV1965 says:

    I think it is a huge mistake to play JP for 10 minutes a game. That is how bad teams develop players. He either gets a full shift with time on the power play, which I think is a mistake, or he’s sent down to the minors.

  122. JimmyV1965 says:

    Ryan:
    McSorley33,

    It’s crazy, but no one saw this dip in RNH’s offensive production coming this season.

    Oh wait. Me. :/ *pats self on back.*

    There is an awful lot of season left. I would hold off on that back patting. RNH is on fire right now. I suspect the offence will follow soon enough.

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