G18 2016-17 OILERS AT KINGS

The Edmonton Oilers continue their three-game road trip tonight in Los Angeles. The Kings are having a strange season and this is probably the most winnable contest on the trip. No really. The early season recipe for success (McDavid gets three points, Talbot plays brilliantly) no longer rhymes, and we continue to hope for a market correction for most of the bats in the heart of the order.

REDONDO BEACH, 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: 2-5-1 goal differential -9
  • Oilers after 17, 2015: 6-11-0, goal differential -10
  • Oilers after 17, 2016: 9-7-1, goal differential +1

In 2014-15, Edmonton won 24 games, and 31 last year. This season? After that 7-2-0 October start you would have to think 40 is possible, maybe even probable. Entering tonight, Todd McLellan’s Oilers are on track to finish 43-34-5, 91 points. That would be a fantastic improvement year over year. In G18 2015-16, Edmonton lost 4-3 to the LAK as Milan Lucic scored No. 5 of the season. The entire idea ignores the elephant in the room—this team hasn’t been able to bank points for a week, California is catching them and the forlorn melodies and country lyrics and banging on the door.

DEFENSE, 2016-17

defense-nov-16

  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson have solid numbers this year, they are 51.6 together 5×5 Corsi for through 17 games.
  • Darnell Nurse—Eric Gryba are 53.8 Corsi for together, we have seen some erosion in performance since the pairing moved up the depth chart.
  • Andrej Sekera—Matt Benning are 53.2 Corsi for together, and that is very good. However, this pairing plays softer minutes and Sekera is more capable than that—Edmonton needs Brandon Davidson and Kris Russell to return.
  • Dillon Simpson still hasn’t played and at this point it is probably wise to swap him out with someone from Bakersfield.
  • 5×5/60 totals: Kris Russell 0.93; Andrej Sekera 0.88; Matt Benning 0.53; Darnell Nurse 0.45; Oscar Klefbom 0.41; Adam Larsson 0.40. That is a pretty nice group of numbers.
  • 5×4/60 totals: Matt Benning 7.09; Andrej Sekera 2.14; Oscar Klefbom 1.53.
  • Source

FORWARDS, 2016-17

nov-16-forwards

  • Maroon—McDavid—Eberle looks good across the board, this trio is sending the puck in a good direction. McDavid is 1.93/60 with Eberle and 3.28/60 with Patrick Maroon. I know lots of Oilers fans who would like to break this group up (mostly Eberle), but this trio looks good by eye and number.
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Kassian should be good but have had a helluva time getting that damn rubber thing in the blasted net! Nuge is 1.77/60 at 5×5 with Pouliot and 2.17 with Zack Kassian. Those numbers are reasonable, and the HD and Corsi looks good, but this line needs to give more.
  • Lucic—Draisaitl—Puljujarvi is uneven offensively, although Leon’s goal the other night hopefully gets the big man some confidence. Leon with Lucic is 1.69/60 and the center is 0.74/60 with Jesse Puljujarvi. Work to do here, and if the losing continues suspect we see someone new on the RW on Leon or Nuge’s line.
  • Tyler Pitlick is 2.26 with Leon (as an example) and despite the fact he has not scored with Connor McDavid, the pairing have posted a prolific 69.7 Corsi for 5×5 percentage.

MCLELLAN ON THE COOL BATS

  • McLellan: “Sometimes we’re a team that gets watching 97 and we may let ourselves off the hook if players on the second or third line are getting chances but not scoring because we’ll say, ‘That’s OK, Connor will get it done.’ Others have to pick up the slack. I’m not worried about 97, I’m worried about others.”Source

One thing McLellan could try? Running a second line with his three best options. If the team leaves the McDavid line alone, playing Lucic with Leon and Nuge might get something going, or Pouliot with Nuge and LD. The team is probably waiting on Drake Caggiula as the next offensive option, but a small trade today for a veteran RW (these guys were on waivers not long ago) could jump start things. This is all about 5×5 scoring and RWs, here is the current 5×5/60:

  1. Tyler Pitlick 2.23
  2. Jordan Eberle 1.92
  3. Zack Kassian 1.52
  4. Jesse Puljujarvi 0.91
  5. Anton Slepyshev 0.82

I like Pitlick where he is, the odds on that number diving if he plays on a big line are pretty good but there may not be an alternative. First thing I would look for (when trying to find 2R and 3R behind the guy you all want to trade) in this group is who is shooting the most:

RW shots per 60 at 5×5

  1. Anton Slepyshev 12.31
  2. Tyler Pitlick 10.76
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi 10.47
  4. Jordan Eberle 9.34

Those are all terrific numbers, the top three here lead the team currently. That Pitlick number ranks among the league’s top 20 (100 or more minutes):

shots60

This team needs a RW who is going to shoot the puck and maybe that is young Mr. Pitlick. At this point, there isn’t a lot to lose placing him on a skill line and his speed should be a lot for other clubs to handle. I have to say the young man is probably the best current option behind the guy everyone wants traded.

PLAYING IN LA

  • Milan Lucic: “It’ll be cool. It’ll be a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun last year being in L.A. and being a King. Even before I was a King, I always had a lot of fun going into the Staples Center … those are the games that you circle on the calendar.” Source

The Oilers could use a big night from the big man, whose 5×5 shooting percentage is down from 16 (to 9.5) from a year ago. I also think finding him a line may turn into a season long adventure. His most successful linemate (career) is David Krejci, and RNH is a fairly suitable comp—maybe start there.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Matt Henderson, Oilers Nation and Hockeybuzz. Oilers slump, the defense and can this team stay ahead of the Flames all season? Is this the night to play Gustavsson?
  • Ryan Pike, Flames Nation. A winning streak, Matt Tkachuk’s splendid goal, strange defensive pairings and the Gaudreau mishap.
  • Ryan Biech, Canucks Army. The state of the union in Lotusland.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. American thanksgiving is a week away, will the Oilers still be in a playoff spot when it arrives?

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

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473 Responses to "G18 2016-17 OILERS AT KINGS"

« Older Comments
  1. Ryan says:

    Pouzar,

    Pouzar:
    Well that was predictable. Night all.

    Good night.

    I’m tapping out too.

  2. godot10 says:

    Since the referees are unlikely to call the rulebook, the next best thing to lessen the problem is to score on what power plays one does get…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FnpaWQJO0

  3. Clay says:

    Anyone else hear Sonny and Cher in the background?

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

    Just shattered PoolParties stick.

    What a joke

  5. OmJo says:

    TMac needs to stop changing lineups every game. I know that the lines weren’t going to stay the same, but let the players develop some chemistry with each other.

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

    Come what a shit show, call a damn penalty for fuck sakes.

  7. Lloyd B. says:

    Benning is growing on me. For a little guy he sure throws his weight around.

    Right wing is going to be ok shortly. Eberle, Pulijarvi and Slepyshev. Not necessarily in that order but you can see it coming.

  8. SwedishPoster says:

    It’s time for Pouliot to hit the PB for a game. He kills more plays than Luke Gazdic atm.

  9. OmJo says:

    At least the scorekeeper is trying to give us a hand.

  10. admiralmark says:

    I dont normally like to blame a loss purely on reffing. But the Refs might as well be wearing Black and White Jerseys tonight….

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

    You can’t win spotting a team 2 goals in the first 10 minutes. They won’t win another game until that’s fixed

  12. commonfan14 says:

    They can’t even score a meaningless goal ay 6×5.

  13. OmJo says:

    There goes the Oilers..

  14. JDï™ says:

    555555555555555555555555555555555555555555

  15. Bag of Pucks says:

    What do you think of the team’s execution?

    I’m all for it.

  16. Lucinius says:

    admiralmark,

    Wouldn’t matter given our powerplay, though.

  17. OmJo says:

    admiralmark:
    I dont normally like to blame a loss purely on reffing. But the Refs might as well be wearing Black and White Jerseys tonight….

    Wouldn’t be the first time the refs try to help the Kings beat us.

  18. jp says:

    SwedishPoster:
    It’s time for Pouliot to hit the PB for a game. He kills more plays than Luke Gazdic atm.

    Yeah, I’ve been a fan generally, but he’s done next to nothing this whole year.

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

    Damn I’m a bit worried now. The wheels could completely fall off here. Team has to find another gear against Dallas.

    Take the fine (have Katz pay it) but TMac should call the refs out. Enough of this.

  20. OmJo says:

    Lucinius:
    admiralmark,

    Wouldn’t matter given our powerplay, though.

    This is true, too. In fact, the GWG came on our power play.

  21. OmJo says:

    “Are you not a fan of illegal video streaming” well, this is awkward…

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

    Bag of Pucks,

    Lucic had two grade a chances to tie it and came up limp on both.

    Then Guss with a softie.

  23. Bag of Pucks says:

    OmJo:
    TMac needs to stop changing lineups every game.

    I don’t know about that. I feel like if we could change this lineup for Tampa Bay’s, that might work.

  24. Kmart99 says:

    The art of interference, slashing, holding, and crosschecking is lost on the Oilers. It’s like they don’t realize how much the refs are letting teams get away with.

    Plus they can’t score.

  25. admiralmark says:

    If I was Katz i’d tell Tmac to go ahead and let loose on the reffing…

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

    I want to see the splits after the D pairings were split up and rejoined. My eye test saw everyone but Klefbom good, though Sekera makes some odd reads.

    Liked the Looch-CMD-PoolParty line. Good things happening there.

  27. JDï™ says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    Bag of Pucks,

    Lucic had two grade a chances to tie it and came up limp on both.

    Then Guss with a softie.

    And both Condors’ goalies looking good. Time to let them lean on Ellis for a while, with Gus as his backup.

  28. Bag of Pucks says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    Bag of Pucks,

    Lucic had two grade a chances to tie it and came up limp on both.

    Then Guss with a softie.

    Point?

    You know what those near misses are examples of? Losers losing.

    Not good enough.

  29. OmJo says:

    Let’s look at some +s and -s.

    + Lucic can actually do things when he’s playing with McDavid.
    – Lucic can actually do things when he’s playing with McDavid.
    + Puljujarvi had a pretty good game.
    + Connor McDavid is an Oiler.
    + Connor McDavid is an Oiler.
    + Connor McDavid is an Oiler.
    – NHL reffing.
    + Nurse had an overall solid game, minus a couple of mistakes.
    + Benning got better as the game went on.
    + Draisaitl looked better than he has been lately.
    + Maroon is a good player.
    + We can do that PK thing pretty well.
    – PP.
    – PP.
    – PP.
    – PP.
    – Did I mention the powerplay?

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

    Kmart99,

    Very real story. Two goals by two dmen tonight… Ouch

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

    Bag of Pucks,

    Dude I’m with you but there isn’t fuck all I can do about so here I am looking for positives. Why? Because I’m a fan and that’s all I can do.

  32. OmJo says:

    Bag of Pucks: I don’t know about that. I feel like if we could change this lineup for Tampa Bay’s, that might work.

    Har, har. Very funny. lol.

    Seriously though, the MacBlender was never this bad before. Serious question, have we gone consecutive games this season with the same lineup?

  33. OmJo says:

    The scar on the Sens coach makes him look so badass. If he had a strong Russian accent he could legitimately be a Russian mobster… or a villain from GI Joe or something.

  34. JDï™ says:

    OmJo,

    “You’ll do the drills, or I’ll SPLIT YA EAR TO EAR!!!”

  35. frjohnk says:

    SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!: so here I am looking for positives.

    Somebody said we won the corgis.

    Woot.

    EDIT: What the fuck is a corgis?

  36. Lucinius says:

    frjohnk,

    We seem to be horrible at winning games if we win the corsi, sadly.

  37. OmJo says:

    JDï™,

    If this guy tells you “backcheck, or else”, you backcheck… or else.

  38. stush18 says:

    OmJo:
    The scar on the Sens coach makes him look so badass. If he had a strong Russian accent he could legitimately be a Russian mobster… or a villain from GI Joe or something.

    James Bond villain.

    “Good evening mr 7. Have you met my pet shark?”

  39. stush18 says:

    I’m going bold and calling an oilers goal breakout.

    Offensively that game looked like the type that gets the legs going. .

  40. OmJo says:

    Lucinius,

    And we win games where we lose the corsi. Now, I’m very, very, very novice about to fancy stats… but could it be due to how teams play when they’re winning or losing? Is there a way so situationalize corsi? (Yes, I made that word up).

  41. HT Joe says:

    So, according to NHL.com, our goal differential is now 0. Here’s hoping we can scrape out a win on Saturday and stay out of the red.

    *EDIT* What STUSH18 said…

  42. OmJo says:

    stush18: James Bond villain.

    “Good evening mr 7. Have you met my pet shark?”

    That’s what I was looking for lol

  43. SwedishPoster says:

    The previous losses there was at least a structure and a clear idea about what the team was doing. Tonight it was just a complete mess. It’s time for McLellan to start pressboxing some of the less obvious choices, he probably won’t, bur imo he should. It’s been a long stretch of games where key players haven’t played up to par and tonight they hit rock bottom. Pouliot is a giveaway machine, Maroon is just there, Ebs is way too anonymous for a star player and has at least one big miscue defensively every game, Nuge is being way too average, Puljujärvi is bambi, Letestu and his whole line was awful all game, Pitlick needs a break because the energy has faded the last two games, McDavid looks frustrated and struggles to find proper chemistry with his wingers, Drai is mixing good with sloppy, Lucic looked a bit better tonight but man he has to put away some of his chances, Slepy has actually looked ok. Klefbom has been a rollercoaster the last few, Nurse mixes high end plays with positional mistakes, Gryba is struggling in transition but he is what he is, Sekera needs to be better, I’m still waiting for Larsson to be the force he can be, Benning does ok but man he likes to ice the puck and Gustavsson should have saved one or two of those goals, his ultra aggressive style gets him into trouble a lot of times. Tbh I don’t mind him as a backup on obvious losses night since he has that ability to steal game, against a depleted Kings squad on a losing streak not so much. He’s too hit and miss.

  44. Alpine says:

    I know 5 game losing streaks are bad, but 4/5 of the losses have been generally decent efforts and I thought we could have won at least 2 of them.

    This is what we are. A merely decent team with Some unrealized potential.

  45. frjohnk says:

    It really seems like McDavid and/or Talbot at the top of their game is when we win. If one or both dont have a strong game, we lose. Tonight, McDavid played well but couldnt get on the scoreboard. Talbot was on the bench and Gustavsson was doing his best impression of Scrivens. Monster was terribly out of position on many plays and got lucky on a few plays.

    We need more than two drivers. And Talbot is more of a part time driver.

  46. Clay says:

    OmJo:
    Lucinius,

    And we win games where we lose the corsi. Now, I’m very, very, very novice about to fancy stats… but could it be due to how teams play when they’re winning or losing? Is there a way so situationalize corsi? (Yes, I made that word up).

    Score effects. It is a thing.

    http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2011/3/25/2061334/frequently-asked-questions-12-score-effects

    One category of Corsi is Corsi Close, which only measures Corsi when the score is within one goal either way of being tied.

  47. digger50 says:

    Team has no balls. Really simple, no balls, no win.

  48. frjohnk says:

    digger50:
    Team has no balls. Really simple, no balls, no win.

    Well, the opposite, at times, can take a pounding.

    Not sure Oilers have either right now.

  49. jp says:

    Woodguy:

    Woodguy: Can a team create a sustained high SH%? Dunno, but I like the NYR model and it may as the career SH% of their current roster is about 10.8% which is very high.

    I think the answer is clearly yes.

    Someone (sorry, I forget who) posted a google docs spreadsheet of team shooting%, save% and PDO a few weeks back. The data covers from 87-88 through 2014-15 (28 years).

    I looked for teams with anomalous shooting percentages that were sustained for multiple years. Using the 1 standard deviation cutoff, there were 3 teams that sustained 1 stdev above or below average shooting for 5 straight years (the 88-89 through 92-93 Penguins, the 91-92 through 95-96 Red Wings and the 01-02 through 05-06 Panthers). The Pens and Red Wings shot better than average, while the Panthers shot below. (for what it’s worth, the 87-88 through 91-92 Oilers shot 1 stdev above average for 4 of 5 yrs)

    I *think* the random probability of falling more than 1 stdev above (or below) the mean 5 straight years (assuming a normal distribution) is 0.16*0.16*0.16*0.16*0.16* = 0.0000105 (or 1 in 9536).

    If my math is correct, it looks like it’s next to impossible that 3 teams would have had stretches of high shooting percentage like this just by chance. So I think real team shooting “skill” can drive high PDO in some cases the same way elite goaltending can.

  50. JDï™ says:

    digger50:
    Team has no balls. Really simple, no balls, no win.

    And I hear that Slepyshev is a Russian.

  51. Admiral Ackbar says:

    I thought finally this year the team being heavier would be able to muscle up. I hoped that every trip to California wouldn’t be games I’d have to watch my team get pummeled like like the schoolyard loser. Sadly, nothing changed tonight. They still got pushed around and the Kings were able to muscle a few goals into the net.

    What a load of garbage. No fight in this team aside from Maroon and Benning.

    They can’t skate with the skilled teams like Pittsburgh and NYR and they can’t bruise with teams like Anh and LA.

    Why am I even watching this garbage?

  52. JimmyV1965 says:

    Looking forward to your articles about the 2017 NHL draft LT. I think there’s a Swedish dman we might be interested. Frick. I’m so screwed up now I don’t know if I’m being sarcastic or genuine.

  53. SwedishPoster says:

    I realize my rant is a bit over the top as there are positives but that was a frustrating game. I hate when the opponent is playing pretty badly and you outworse(no not a word in swedish either) them. Ebs and Nuge had some promising shifts. Lucics ability to find space in the o zone works well with McDavid when on the cycle but if they play together the other winger needs to be able to skate with McDavid on the rush, Puljujärvi would be a good fit if he was more mature.
    I also think Drai and Slepy had some interesting time together, kinda similar in how they want to play the game. There are options to create working lines, they just have to find it. And soon.

  54. digger50 says:

    And I’m blaming the coach.

    What do you think Sutter would do?? How about boys, don’t worry about the score just win every single battle whatever it takes. Every hit, every slash, every cross check will be answered or you sit.

    This team has no respect still!!!! All the talk no action. I keep hearing about Oiler talent and skill but they are beat every day by muscle. Now they add some muscle and still no action. And I blame Tmac.

    Who has shown the most grit to get this team rolling? Kassian. And coach has him bottom line limited minutes. Where would a Sutter have him? First line center and so would I. Todd, what are you doing to hold this team back? Cut them lose, turn them loose, encourage pushback, don’t bench players don’t riegn them in.

    Play for your teammates, play for pride, play for respect, forget the scoreboard. It’s not the other guys job to be tough to play against, it is everyone. This team still has to battle demons from being bottom of league for so long. Until they get their attitude right they will lose.

    Game got me wound up. Todd the focus is coming your way.

  55. digger50 says:

    JDï™: And I hear that Slepyshev is a Russian.

    So you are saying that I state the obvious.

    Then let’s talk about why this team is lacking the nuts to get things done.

    Forget about math and stats for a minute. Why the hell is this team not stepping up to the plate. Not wins and losses, those are not the measurement for me right now. But the competitive we are hard to play against bravado that was waived around. Where did that go?

  56. Diablo says:

    Long time reader since 2007 – my first post here. Oil fan for the past 35 years, now living in the Peg.
    Have enjoyed the commentary over the years. Thanks LT for your great site.

    5 straight losses – this team looks completely lost. I had high hopes for this season, but this team, man …. a really abysmal effort …. something has to change. This season is going to be over before November is done.

    Fire the coach, make a trade … do something. But its time to stop making excuses. The Kings won this without Kopitar or Quick. That 70’s line had their way with us tonight. Their 3rd and 4th lines dominated at times tonight against our 2nd and 3rd lines. Budaj never had to deal with traffic in front of his night. We never crashed the crease, never made the goalie uncomfortable.

    I would love for Kassian, Lucic, Maroon and our other big bodies to goon it up and play just filthy dirty for a 10-15 game stretch. Just blatantly hook, clutch, grab, tackle, spear, elbow, sucker punch, and dare the refs to call everything. What’s the point of having all this size if the other team isn’t physically broken by the end of the game?

    Pouliot needs to sit – the puck dies on his stick more than any other player on this team.
    Gryba can’t transition the puck at all.
    Puljujarvi needs to be sent down to the AHL ASAP.
    Gustavsson should never play another game in goal for the Oil – he looked like a baby giraffe learning to walk every time he tried to make a stop.

    If the Oil don’t make the playoffs this year than both Chia and McLellan should go – a whole decade out of the playoffs. As a fan I’ve just really had enough of this crap. No more excuses – I asked my fiancé for a McDavid jersey this X-mas. But if they lose the next one, I’m asking for a Laine jersey instead. I don’t want to spend another decade cheering for perpetual losers.

  57. pocession charge says:

    I bow down to the Lords of Hyperbole. All is lost.

  58. russ99 says:

    McLellan has to adapt.

    Our systems may have been solid for the opponents we played early on, but they’re not against the teams we need to beat to get a playoff spot.

    On defense, early goals against to put us in a hole due to mismatches, weak forward coverage and bad D unit play again. Russell coming back could help, they’ve missed how opposition sorties die on his stick or shot block.

    On offense, not enough hard work to retain the the puck and get good chances, 40 shots, and only 5 HDSC, and no goals by forwards explains a lot, and we can’t just chalk it up to being unlucky shooters.

    Systemic changes are needed, and too many forwards are batting too high in the lineup to keep the three scoring line thing going, none of which is really scoring.

    The line blender thing during games really isn’t helping our players, and it shows how frustrated McLellan is. The coach has to keep it together when everyone else can’t. Practice is when you find out who plays well in a unit. Find groups that work and stick with them, let them work though problems.

    And winning teams don’t need the goalie to be Superman every night.

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

    russ99,

    I agree with some but not all of this.

    I’ll start with your last point. I agree they don’t need to be superman but in the last four games I’ve seen the dreaded “backbreaker” goal creeping back in. The Setoguchi goal last night was a killer and thats a rebound that Guss has to corral. Same with the Fowler goal against the Ducks, a two cent wrist shot beating you from the top of the dot after the team attempts to move heaven and earth to get back into it, that’s rough. I don’t want Superman but we need “those saves.”

    The McBlender was rough last night but I also think it landed on a few gems.

    I thought Looch-CmD-JP were excellent together. JP may be bambi but he had a few very good cycle sorties, came out of the corner and had a couple of attempts (the Kings laid down in front of him so I believe 2/3 were blocked) and I thought he wheeled really well on a few breakouts.

    Maroon-Nuge-Eberle, give this a bit of time. They had a tough time breaking the cycle at times against the Carter line but if they got into the O zone I thought they cycled well, promising.

    Poo may need a game in the press box. Haven’t been impressed all season but last night he looked two steps slow and one step disinterested which is a bad combination.

    The defensive McBlendering I think stumbled upon a good thing. I thought Larsson looked a lot more assertive when he was moved to Sekera’s pairing and while I know its dangerous due to their lack of playing time but I thought Nurse-Benning looked really good.

    In fact I think on the whole this was a coming out game for Darnell (and its been bubbling under for a few now). People are gonna rag on him over Toffoli’s first goal but the exact same play happened against the Ducks and when he bolted folks on here blamed him from leaving Kesler alone to tap the rebound in. You can’t have it both ways and on that specific goal I think Connor got puck watching and didn’t realize his man had released.

    On the flip side poor Klef. He’s had a string of tough games overall but on the positive side his offense is starting to come around.

    I think this is a precarious position for the defense, Russell back will be a huge help IMO but I think he goes with Klef on 2nd pairing duty and we start to let Sekera-Larsson do some heavy lifting. Larsson should feel more comfortable with a veteran in the top paring role and I think Russell’s all around play/chaos inhibitor will help Klef with lesser duty. I think you can rotate Benning-Gryba in on that 3rd pair with Darnell once the schedule softens or the coaching staff could giving Benning a huge pat on the back and send him down to Bakersfield with a very specific task list with the promise that he’ll be up in short order should he deliver. Overall I think the last 3 games TMac or whoever has taken the reigns off these guys offensively and while its frustrating at times to see shots blocked or go wide I’ll just put these numbers up here 24, 23, 22, 21, those are the ages of Larsson, Klef, Benning and Nurse. I know its tough to keep positive when the team is losing but I think these four men are doing pretty well given their experience and their ages.

    Most folks would say the elephant in the room is the special teams and while I agree thats an issue the real elephant is the spotting teams a goal or two right off the bat. That has to stop, they may be able to get away with it against Vancouver or Arizona but man its a tough uphill slog against good teams. I’m hoping the return of Russell can calm that chaos but I’m not holding my breath. Thats a team thing and everyone has to work at preventing those.

    Powerplay… I’m not even gonna touch that because well we all know it.

    Finally, I think it might be time for someone to “take one for the team” ala the Hendricks hit on Ekblad, the Ference hit on Kassian (2015) or the Nurse tussle with Polak. Enough is enough, I counted four plays last night where McDavid was tackled. Not sticked, or even held up, outright tackled. Listening to Colby Armstrong wax poetic during the 2nd intermission upset me something fierce. I don’t have a problem with a team playing heavy and hard, I don’t like teams that break the rules with impunity and while I know folks here are going “we were supposed to be tougher” its hard being tough when the zebra’s lift their arm every time you try and fight back. The Kassian instigator penalty against the Ducks was a farce, the refs watched Gaudreau’s hand get broken the other night and yesterday was a gong show.

    I’m honestly not a fan of violence but If the league doesn’t want to do anything that is what it is but its time to cross the boundary to fight back. Dallas is a pretty banged up team overall, it would be a shame if a stick or elbow happened to come out against Spezza or Benn or someone but I don’t know where else to turn after the last few games of pure shit.

  60. PhrankLee says:

    I don’t blame Gus one bit. When you are on the road and you both need a win and have your back up in the net your play should sparkle with defensive cohesion.

    That said you know you will have to score because the likelihood of your back up posting a shut out is nearly nil, I would guess.

    I keep seeing a squad that is looking around wondering what is going to happen next instead of a squad with their collective noses down and tails up working the hell out of the coaches system.

    Spotting leads to any team in the NHL is a great recipe to loose.

    Clean up the hee bee jee bees mentally and be ready to play the whole game.

    We do not seem to be able to keep focus for more than 10 min at a time.

  61. sliderule says:

    The own zone coverage by forwards needs to improve.

    It’s better than last few years but needs to improve.

    In first 10 minutes the Kings had several chances were there was not a forward in sight as a Knig had a chance from the slot or in tight after defence was out numbered.

    Coaching ,Lack of skill or just plain dumb I don’t know what it is.

    By the ways the rookie JP is one of the better forwards for coverage .

    Confusing isn’t it??

  62. kinger_OIL says:

    Diablo,

    – Great post! I don’t think the bar is playoffs though: being in the mix at trade deadline is enough

  63. Lowetide says:

    Diablo:
    Long time reader since 2007 – my first post here. Oil fan for the past 35 years, now living in the Peg.
    Have enjoyed the commentary over the years. Thanks LT for your great site.

    5 straight losses – this team looks completely lost. I had high hopes for this season, but this team, man …. a really abysmal effort …. something has to change. This season is going to be over before November is done.

    Fire the coach, make a trade … do something. But its time to stop making excuses. The Kings won this without Kopitar or Quick. That 70’s line had their way with us tonight. Their 3rd and 4th lines dominated at times tonight against our 2nd and 3rd lines. Budaj never had to deal with traffic in front of his night. We never crashed the crease, never made the goalie uncomfortable.

    I would love for Kassian, Lucic, Maroon and our other big bodies to goon it up and play just filthy dirty fora 10-15 game stretch. Just blatantly hook, clutch, grab, tackle, spear, elbow, sucker punch, and dare the refs to call everything. What’s the point of having all this size if the other team isn’t physically broken by the end of the game?

    Pouliot needs to sit – the puck dies on his stick more than any other player on this team.
    Gryba can’t transition the puck at all.
    Puljujarvi needs to be sent down to the AHL ASAP.
    Gustavsson should never play another game in goal for the Oil – he looked like a baby giraffe learning to walk every time he tried to make a stop.

    If the Oil don’t make the playoffs this year than both Chia and McLellan should go – a whole decade out of the playoffs. As a fan I’ve just really had enough of this crap. No more excuses – I asked my fiancé for a McDavid jersey this X-mas. But if they lose the next one, I’m asking for a Laine jersey instead. I don’t want to spend another decade cheering for perpetual losers.

    Thanks for reading and for chiming in, Diablo!

  64. Pouzar says:

    Diablo: now living in the Peg.

    poor bastard.

    Nice post.

  65. PhrankLee says:

    We are really missing Russel and his prevent and transition quickly style.

    He has warts but makes good passes.

    Nurse Russel pairing, anyone? Darryl is starting to skate!!

  66. Pouzar says:

    pocession charge:
    I bow down to the Lords of Hyperbole.All is lost.

    This.

    We are flawed but improved middle of the road team with much improved possession numbers.
    That’s it. Every poster here would have taken this improvement in a stone cold heartbeat at the end of last year. I get down too during the games because I want to win that damn game but big picture here folks. Just breathe, have a beer, it’s guarantee win night tonight!!! 😉

  67. Réal Goudenyéu says:

    Pouzar: This.

    We are flawed but improved middle of the road team with much improved possession numbers.
    That’s it. Every poster here would have taken this improvement in a stone cold heartbeat at the end of last year. I get down too during the games because I want to win that damn game but big picture here folks. Just breathe, have a beer, it’s guarantee win night tonight!!!

    You know the team has lost 8 of the last 10 right?

  68. PhrankLee says:

    Pouzar: We are flawed but improved middle of the road team with much improved possession numbers.
    That’s it. Every poster here would have taken this improvement in a stone cold heartbeat at the end of last year. I get down too during the games because I want to win that damn game but big picture here folks. Just breathe, have a beer, it’s guarantee win night tonight!!!

    My sentiment exactly. We finally have a damn team. I am grateful for it. Talking about the hockey we just played or are about to play is infinitely better than talking about who we might draft in the top 3 next year…

    We are finally a normal team and it took a fucking HUGE improvement to get us there. Expecting more is beyond reasonable.

  69. Pouzar says:

    Réal Goudenyéu: You know the team has lost 8 of the last 10 right?

    Re-read the post.

  70. Scungilli says:

    Pouzar: This.

    We are flawed but improved middle of the road team with much improved possession numbers.
    That’s it. Every poster here would have taken this improvement in a stone cold heartbeat at the end of last year. I get down too during the games because I want to win that damn game but big picture here folks. Just breathe, have a beer, it’s guarantee win night tonight!!!

    The anxiety comes for me from being close but having no faith the next steps will be taken correctly. “Wimps, let’s get Hartnell, he knows how to be a hockey player! What’s Doug Murray up to these days, he’s bigger than Buf!! Is that Ziggy Poutine guy ready for first pair yet? He’s huuuuuuge!”

  71. Pouzar says:

    Scungilli: The anxiety comes for me from being close but having no faith the next steps will be taken correctly.

    I was just thinking about this. You make the big improvement from bottom 3 to middle of the road. This is where Chia needs to start really earning his money.

  72. russ99 says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    russ99,

    I agree with some but not all of this.

    I’ll start with your last point. I agree they don’t need to be superman but in the last four games I’ve seen the dreaded “backbreaker” goal creeping back in. The Setoguchi goal last night was a killer and thats a rebound that Guss has to corral. Same with the Fowler goal against the Ducks, a two cent wrist shot beating you from the top of the dot after the team attempts to move heaven and earth to get back into it, that’s rough. I don’t want Superman but we need “those saves.”

    The McBlender was rough last night but I also think it landed on a few gems.

    I thought Looch-CmD-JP were excellent together. JP may be bambi but he had a few very good cycle sorties, came out of the corner and had a couple of attempts (the Kings laid down in front of him so I believe 2/3 were blocked) and I thought he wheeled really well on a few breakouts.

    Maroon-Nuge-Eberle, give this a bit of time. They had a tough time breaking the cycle at times against the Carter line but if they got into the O zone I thought they cycled well, promising.

    Poo may need a game in the press box. Haven’t been impressed all season but last night he looked two steps slow and one step disinterested which is a bad combination.

    The defensive McBlendering I think stumbled upon a good thing. I thought Larsson looked a lot more assertive when he was moved to Sekera’s pairing and while I know its dangerous due to their lack of playing time but I thought Nurse-Benning looked really good.

    In fact I think on the whole this was a coming out game for Darnell (and its been bubbling under for a few now). People are gonna rag on him over Toffoli’s first goal but the exact same play happened against the Ducks and when he bolted folks on here blamed him from leaving Kesler alone to tap the rebound in. You can’t have it both ways and on that specific goal I think Connor got puck watching and didn’t realize his man had released.

    On the flip side poor Klef. He’s had a string of tough games overall but on the positive side his offense is starting to come around.

    I think this is a precarious position for the defense, Russell back will be a huge help IMO but I think he goes with Klef on 2nd pairing duty and we start to let Sekera-Larsson do some heavy lifting. Larsson should feel more comfortable with a veteran in the top paring role and I think Russell’s all around play/chaos inhibitor will help Klef with lesser duty. I think you can rotate Benning-Gryba in on that 3rd pair with Darnell once the schedule softens or the coaching staff could giving Benning a huge pat on the back and send him down to Bakersfield with a very specific task list with the promise that he’ll be up in short order should he deliver. Overall I think the last 3 games TMac or whoever has taken the reigns off these guys offensively and while its frustrating at times to see shots blocked or go wide I’ll just put these numbers up here 24, 23, 22, 21, those are the ages of Larsson, Klef, Benning and Nurse. I know its tough to keep positive when the team is losing but I think these four men are doing pretty well given their experience and their ages.

    Most folks would say the elephant in the room is the special teams and while I agree thats an issue the real elephant is the spotting teams a goal or two right off the bat. That has to stop, they may be able to get away with it against Vancouver or Arizona but man its a tough uphill slog against good teams. I’m hoping the return of Russell can calm that chaos but I’m not holding my breath. Thats a team thing and everyone has to work at preventing those.

    Powerplay… I’m not even gonna touch that because well we all know it.

    Finally, I think it might be time for someone to “take one for the team” ala the Hendricks hit on Ekblad, the Ference hit on Kassian (2015) or the Nurse tussle with Polak. Enough is enough, I counted four plays last night where McDavid was tackled. Not sticked, or even held up, outright tackled. Listening to Colby Armstrong wax poetic during the 2nd intermission upset me something fierce. I don’t have a problem with a team playing heavy and hard, I don’t like teams that break the rules with impunity and while I know folks here are going “we were supposed to be tougher” its hard being tough when the zebra’s lift their arm every time you try and fight back. The Kassian instigator penalty against the Ducks was a farce, the refs watched Gaudreau’s hand get broken the other night and yesterday was a gong show.

    I’m honestly not a fan of violence but If the league doesn’t want to do anything that is what it is but its time to cross the boundary to fight back. Dallas is a pretty banged up team overall, it would be a shame if a stick or elbow happened to come out against Spezza or Benn or someone but I don’t know where else to turn after the last few games of pure shit.

    Good post! I agree with most as well.

    Puljujarvi has pretty much given the Oilers more than anyone could expect from an 18 year old as far as d-zone responsibility, playing tough on the wall and on the cycle.

    But despite a very many things going well for his game, the lack of individual skill/confidence/North American rink adjustment/whatever to create and finish scoring chances on his own as he was able to do vs. men in Sweden last year limits his usefulness.

    Considering his pedigree and draft position, I really worry about using the Pulju we have now out of desperation for players who can give us a good two-way/possession game could limit that other part of his game that we badly need in the future during ELC years. Reminds me a little of Yak, but in reverse, as Pulju is already good at all those things Eakins tried to get Yak to do.

    What’s the burn a ELC year games cut-off again? I’d think we’d definitely send him down before that.

    The other problem here is that a lot of our scoring line problems could be easily solved after a Puljujarvi AHL assignment by putting Draisaitl back at wing. We may need Caggiula back before that happens though.

  73. Bank Shot says:

    Weird that posters are praising Puljujarvi on his positioning after he was horribly out of position on the Kings 4th goal.

    What was going on with McDavid and Draisaitl being out together on the PK? That didn’t go well. I think Mcdavid should have had the guy in front there, despite some giving Nurse the blame.

    The first goal was on Pitlick. He drifted way too far into the corner and left his dman way open.

    The shorthanded goal was just something that should never happen. There is just no defensive awareness on this team.

    I didn’t notice it until watching the highlights package, but Eberle made the worst change in the world at 16:45 of the 3rd. He literally glided off the ice as the Kings were breaking away on a two on one.

    This team still has so much to learn about defending. They could have salvaged a few more wins in the last few games if they would just play the other team tight and pay attention to detail. Every team is going to have scoring slumps. That’s when you have to keep the opposition to 2 or less.

    Oilers can’t do it. Adding Russell or Davidson might not help too much, as its been the forwards blowing it most of the time.

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