WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

Last night’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks was a thoroughly enjoyable game for Oilers fans. Connor McDavid amazed, Cam Talbot astounded, and some of the support players impressed with displays of skill. It seems everyone in the Capital was pleased with the game. HDSC 6-4. Your Edmonton Oilers will be in a playoff spot on American Thanksgiving. Count your blessings!

  • Todd McLellan: “That’s the closest we’ve come to a complete game. It’s a really good sign for our team going forward.”

LOADED FOR BEAR, 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: 4-6-1 goal differential -3
  • Oilers after 20, 2015: 7-12-1, goal differential -8
  • Oilers after 19, 2016: 11-8-1, goal differential +7

Edmonton has been a streaky bunch this year (7-2-0, lose five, now two wins in a row) and that often happens for young, emerging teams. The formula for success is short on depth (McDavid kills it on offense, Cam Talbot stops all the mistakes) but as long as the wins keep coming, can’t we just dance?

Remember our 15 points in 15 games line in the sand? We are now at nine points in 11 games—Oilers would need to go 3-1-0 in the final four games this month to make that happen. Seems like a steep hill, but these last two wins are important, and last night was not (imo) just another win. Chicago is the class of the western conference, and they brought it, but the Oilers won the game.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

defense-no-21

  • Sekera—Russell had the best 5×5 possession numbers among the pairings, and were low event besides. Eureka! Sekera scored a goal, Russell ran over a Motte and they blocked 400 shots. And scene. In 7:28 with McDavid, they were 4-5, and with Nuge in 5:19 they were 6-2. That implies feature minutes, and the pair faced Toews (3-6 in 7:01) and Anisimov (5-0 in 5:00). Looks like a fantastic night to me.
  • Klefbom—Larsson finished well under 50 percent in possession, and were high event. Klefbom going 6-3 in HDSC seems like a first, and Oscar’s 1-1-2 and four shots was very impressive. The pairing spent time with Nuge (5:12, 4-4), Caggiula (5:04, 2-6), McDavid (4:16, 4-5) and Draisaitl (3:01, 5-3). So, if you take out the 4line, Klefbom (in this case) went 13-12 on the night. Combined with the goals and such, I thought this duo was fun all night. Klefbom went 4-4 in 5:19 against Toews and 4-5 in 3:52 agains Anisimov. That Nick Schmaltz line was a going concern, this tandem went 4-4 in 5:21.
  • Nurse—Benning were a high wire act for the evening, trailing and racing and on the run. I did think Nurse calmed things down at times, a sign of progress. Benning picked up an assist and had four hits. They went 1-15 with Caggiula (in eight incredible minutes) and 0-2 in 52 seconds with McDavid. The group faced the Schmaltz line (1-8 in 3:24) and the Toews line (1-8 in 2:37). They were 4-4 in 3:39 against Anisimov. I really think this pairing needs more experience, but also like both players. It will be interesting to track progress, and also fascinating to watch Todd McLellan take some risk to get Benning into the lineup. This is not a conservative decision imo.
  • Cam Talbot was outstanding. He is No. 12 in save percentage now, .920.

scoring-leaders-nov-21

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

forwards-no-21

  • Maroon—Nuge—Eberle were great in possession, did not have a lot in terms of HDSC and Jordan Eberle had six shots on goal. Nuge went 5-1 against the Kruger line, 2-6 against Toews and 2-2 against Anisimov. The 6:10 against Toews would represent the heavy work for this line.
  • Slepyshev—Draisaitl—Kassian had a strong night in HDSCs, this trio had a terrific evening. Leon scored twice, Slepyshev scored another and the line had six shots on goal. They went 7-3 in 5:13 against Anisimov, but suffered when Quenneville got Toews out there (3-9 in just 3:49). I thought Leon did great work against Toews, but his line would be the third option. Three goals is a great night for these three men.
  • Lucic—McDavid—Puljujarvi posted four assists on the night, with each man getting in on the action. McDavid now leads the NHL in points, Lucic finally posted a crooked number after an extended slump, and the rookie is now collecting points at a reasonable clip. They were 5-5 in 6:10 against Toews, 97 had some impressive exchanges with the center (and with Patrick Kane) during the evening—McDavid is making a difference in all three regions of the game.
  • Hendricks—Caggiula—Pitlick got hammered in possession, lose the HDSC battle and this must stop. Benoit Pouliot could help Caggiula, I believe that, so if the young forward is going to play center on a 4line that needs to be one tweak before the road trip. McLellan kept Caggiula away from Toews (0-3) for the most part, 2-9 against Hinostroza, 1-6 against Kruger and 1-3 against Anisimov. Caggiula did pick up a point, this line got leveled. Hendricks took an unnecessary penalty. I think Pouliot and Letestu should draw in for the road trip, but am unsure either man gets the call.

KRIS RUSSELL

All kinds of fury over Kris Russell now, I am getting lots of help from folks in regard where to shove certain things. I am among the group who has been targeted as ‘negative’ towards Russell as an Oiler. Let’s be clear about a few things: First, I always cheer for every Oiler, hope they do well. Second, when I point out the possession numbers, it isn’t to point fingers at Russell (or anyone), it is to gain a more accurate knowledge of the player. The blog believes that possession numbers tell a story, but this blog does not insist that you agree, and increasingly there are fewer people who believe Corsi tells a big part of the story. I can accept that, can you accept my view? I hope so. This is not a life and death struggle for the one true measure, this is a journey, a conversation, and it should be civil. It should also be noted that the more measures (that make sense, and that are not biased) the better. Can Corsi and HDSC exist together? I believe they can, but would like to see a direct connection between HDSCs and winning. That (for me) is the true test of any measure.

As it stands, Kris Russell has a Corsi for 5×5 percentage of 45.1 and since he blocks a lot of shots we should mention his Fenwick (47.1). I asked this question yesterday, no one I saw chose to discuss it, but for me this is an interesting avenue. If we buy these possession numbers, and the idea that playing on your off side punishes by three to six percent, what should we be saying about Kris Russell as a player? Remember, I asked this yesterday, so am not cherry picking after what the math says was his best game in some time.

For me, I look forward to the rest of the season. The numbers suggest there is a bubble here, and history tells is it will burst at some point—we do not know when. I hope it is next year, but suspect that will not be the case. In the meantime, go Kris Russell! And for crying out loud don’t get sucked into a useless argument about the one true God of hockey measure. It is insulting to our collective intelligence, let alone God, and is exactly one colossal waste of time.

CHASER

CHASE WILLIAMS

Photo by Mark Williams

Bakersfield Condors play tonight, there are seeds growing under the winter snow (I know, but work with me here) and some prospects are getting a push. One of them is Greg Chase, although the boxcars aren’t moving yet. Chase spent much of his first pro season in the ECHL, but this year is on the AHL club and lately has been getting a more prominent role. How can I tell? Shots on goal. In his six games so far this season, Greg Chase has 16 shots on goal—including five and four in his last two games.

This is an encouraging sign. The young man has not cashed yet, but he is showing some progress and the club has given him a look in this small window. The AHL is an unusual league and the Oilers are a funny team—they play veteran AHLers too much. That said, when they do give a young player a push, it is notable and sometimes leads to progress at that level. I hope this is the case with Mr. Chase.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Andy McNamara, TSN4Downs. Dallas versus New England in the Super Bowl? I may have to cheer for the Seahawks to ruin the party.
  • Derek Taylor, TSN. We break down the Eskimos loss and look forward to what might be a blowout Grey Cup.
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. The Oilers will spend American Thanksgiving in the playoffs! Is there a parade for that? Also, the Maple Leafs making some noise.
  • Jonathan Willis, Oilers Nation. Jon and I will discuss the Oilers season after 20, and this inviting schedule just ahead.

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

 

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222 Responses to "WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD"

« Older Comments
  1. fifthcartel says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks! This is exactly what I was curious about.

    I remembered something saying he was suspect defensively and I can’t imagine that improves as he goes into his thirties.

    I thought they’d get a little discount if the term was as long as it is but I don’t think 8m is one at all.

  2. Woodguy says:

    Georges,

    I’m not sure that the first 20 games are any less/more predictive than any random 20 games.

    Let us know!

  3. Bruce Wayne says:

    With Bendelson’s news I guess this post is appropriately named after all.

    Regarding Burns’ contract, I’m trying to conceive of how those negotiations went. What was the give and take such that it ended at 8 x 8?

    No one who had to deal with the repercussions of such a deal would ever offer it. Steviezie and Woodguy are right.

  4. Woodguy says:

    fifthcartel:
    Woodguy,

    Thanks! This is exactly what I was curious about.

    I remembered something saying he was suspect defensively and I can’t imagine that improves as he goes into his thirties.

    I thought they’d get a little discount if the term was long but I don’t think 8m is at all.

    Phenomenal 5v4 shooter

    Has become very good 5v5 offensive player.

    Still sketchy without the puck.

    Nearing “the cliff age”

    Offensively gifted players tend to hit the cliff later, but there are a lot of miles on his body for sure.

  5. JDï™ says:

    Bruce Wayne: No one who had to deal with the repercussions of such a deal would ever offer it.

    Maybe Wilson is banking on a hip problem and career ending surgery in 3 – 5 years? I’m not saying that relying on LTIR is a good strategy, just trying to make sense of those numbers.

    Until then, I still can’t see how $8M per season is worth it, but maybe the Burns camp started negotiations with ‘we’re going to UFA’?

    Either way, he had his career year at a great time (UFA – 1), and now we get to watch Wilson fiddle while Brent Burns.

  6. Woodguy says:

    who: Wouldn’t you say Patrick Kane is also a good example of number 1

    No, he’s been a negative Rel for player as often as a positive.

    Really depends on who his C was.

    Also,

    Chachi’s answer was World Class.

    There should be a Chachi burger at the rink.

  7. Professor Q says:

    Woodguy:
    Georges,

    I’m not sure that the first 20 games are any less/more predictive than any random 20 games.

    Let us know!

    Like when Ottawa, Montréal, Carolina, etc. won all those first games in a row and went far in the playoffs?

  8. tcho says:

    bendelson,

    Good news (relatively).

  9. tcho says:

    JDï™:

    he had his career year at a great time (UFA – 1), and now we get to watch Wilson fiddle while Brent Burns.

    *slow clap*

  10. Woodguy says:

    Professor Q: Like when Ottawa, Montréal, Carolina, etc. won all those first games in a row and went far in the playoffs?

    Pretty much.

    Random 20 is probably a bit more predictive, but I doubt it’s by much.

  11. CrazyCoach says:

    Glass: I’m kind of over Trouba at this point. Might be some character issues there due to contract issues in the past which will surely re-emerge in the future. I’m content with keeping Nurse, but I could see Pouliot being a trade chip for a D.

    I’m never in on a guy that demands a trade like he did. It’s one thing to want a trade to get closer to your family (ala Hamonic), but another to act like a pouty douche. Once that crap gets into a dressing room, it is hard to get rid of, and there is always collateral damage.

  12. CrazyCoach says:

    Woodguy: There should be a Chachi burger at the rink.

    Chachi off Happy Days?

    If so, it should be smothered in douche and come with a side of wing dings

  13. fifthcartel says:

    Woodguy,

    I was very interested in him with the lack of that sort of player here in Edmonton and the potential of him reaching free agency, but I’m quite happy the Oilers aren’t the ones dishing out that contract.

    Although, Stauffer is usually pretty connected and I thought this was the ‘big fish’ he was hinting the Oilers would go after. I wonder if this was their big plan next summer.

  14. CrazyCoach says:

    Frank the dog: Moreso the commenters on this blog are one of the more eclectic collections of people

    If that means good, I’m that to.

    *paraphrasing Ali here*

  15. CrazyCoach says:

    bendelson: Good news today

    Glad to hear that, and that he is relatively ok.

    As a veteran of a 40 foot fall, 25 years ago, what looks bad at first, turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

  16. Diablo says:

    I fell off my couch when I saw the length of the Burns deal!

    We need to find the next Burns – underappreciated young d-man who’s put up some offence but hasn’t put it all together yet. I for one don’t think that’s going to be Trouba – seen him enough here in Winnipeg to know he does not have that kind of scoring prowess in him.

    I’m more intrigued with Stone out of Arizona – UFA this coming off-season, big, mobile with a respectable point shot; if ‘Zona can’t sign him, then I’m in there offering Davidson. Even just for this season, Stone would really check a lot of boxes here.

  17. Jethro Tull says:

    Ice Sage,

    What’s the singular for sheeple? A sherpson?

  18. stevezie says:

    Lowetide: Smart words with the coming of winter. DO NOT DO ANYTHING WEIRD WHILE HANGING CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

    -Lowetide’s 1980s groin.

    Of the many times LT’s groin has reached across time to communicate with me, this is by far the most sensible message.

  19. stevezie says:

    JDï™: Either way, he had his career year at a great time (UFA – 1), and now we get to watch Wilson fiddle while Brent Burns.

    I like it. The phrasing, I mean.

    This deal is barely justifiable in the SHORT term. Good mercy. Usually a contract like this requires either the cap the spike, the player to stay good.healthy, or a great deal of confidence that you can trade the deal right as it starts to sour. This deal may need all three.

  20. who says:

    Woodguy: No, he’s been a negative Rel for player as often as a positive.

    Really depends on who his C was.

    Also,

    Chachi’s answer was World Class.

    There should be a Chachi burger at the rink.

    Your definition of number 1 is a guy who carries the puck from his zone into the offensive zone. Every time I watch Chicago play that is exactly what he does, in fact the team waits for him to loop back into his zone before they even start to break out on many occasions. I am curious how you come to this conclusion.

  21. stevezie says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    That’s a good point. What could the starting point possibly have been to arrive here?

    I’m projecting, but I see the Burns camp telling Wilson, “Look, this is what we’ll forgo the open market for. This. Call us if you are willing to offer this. Otherwise don’t bother. Been fun negotiating.”

    To which Wilson spent a couple of months thinking, before looking at the state of the west, the difficulty of a rebuild in a thirty team league, and his own proximity to retirement (or firing) before declaring, “Cuss it. Someone fetch me an ink and quill.”

  22. Chachi says:

    Woodguy: There should be a Chachi burger at the rink.

    I’d buy that for a dollar!

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