AND IT’S ONE MORE DAY UP IN THE CANYON

Gary’s math says last night was an acceptable result, OT losses being the ties that bind two wins a week into playoff spring. It is a decidedly ridiculous system, but the Oilers have three Bettman points and those gems have them sitting in second place in the Pacific Division instead of holding on to the final wild cart spot. Razor thin, folks. Razor thin. HDSC: 4-12.

A LONG DECEMBER, 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, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 2-0-1, goal differential +3
  • Oilers after 27, 2015: 10-15-2, goal differential -15
  • Oilers after 27, 2016: 14-10-3, goal differential +10

When you have played 27 games, that means 33.3 percent of the season is done. Easy addition tells us that the club is on pace for 93 points if things hold (and that is a dangerous assumption) as they are today.

I still don’t think this is a playoff team. Little things keep nagging at me, like the backup goaltending (who was .939 SP last night, but made a bad decision on the winner) and the defense being a little short. Balance, that damnable word, ever elusive, just out of reach and yet vital to success.

The good thing about this season? For the first time in forever, December games mean something. And you know what else? Single losses, like the Toronto game, are often followed by victories. Edmonton has a contender in early December. Music!

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers-d-dec-4

  • Stats via NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca and NaturalStatTrick.
  • Sekera—Benning were solid in possession and didn’t get scored on. They were 3-1 in 1:58 with McDavid, 3-4 in 3:40 with Nuge, 5-2 in 4:18 with Letestu, 8-4 in 4:45 with Caggiula. So, this pairing spent about nine minutes of their 13:22 with the 3C and 4C. Sound like third pairing? And yet, they went 7-6 in 5:31 against Koivu, 6-0 in 2:16 against Staal, 4-3 in 4:57 against Haula and 3-2 in 3:06 against Graovac. Weird night, but I give this pairing a solid mark. Zorro. That kind of thing.
  • Klefbom—Fayne spent their second game in a row off off Broadway. I am concerned that the coach’s lack of confidence in Fayne is impacting his Klefbom usage and that is a bad day. However, in their 10:37 together, the duo spent a lot of time (4:19, 6-6) with Connor McDavid. Also, they were 2-3 in 3:45 with Nuge, 4-4 with Letestu. The pairing faced Eric Staal (3-8 in 5:28) and Koivu (2-0, 2:01) about half the time. The club needs to get Klefbom with someone the coach doesn’t worry over.
  • I know you don’t want to hear this, but Fayne is Fyne. Incredible to me that people defend Kris Russell while burying Fayne. Russell has far better speed, and can handle the puck better, but the long term defensive results favor Fayne. Quiet. Reliable. These words used to have meaning.
  • Russell—Larsson did an amazing impression of the French army practicing their retreats. For the second game in a row, the pairing got fed. In their 17:13 together, the pair failed McDavid (3-13, 7:25) and Nuge (3-7, 6:10) but McLellan used this duo more with 97 than the others. Wouldn’t Klefbom—Larsson work better? Hell, I think Sekera—Fayne have a good enough track record to trust, and maybe Russell—Benning can find a way.
  • Larsson no longer passes, he just lobs the puck out. Steve Staios ain’t the way.
  • I don’t like the current setup.
  • Mark Fayne picked up an assist. It was cool.
  • Gustavsson stopped a lot of shots. I didn’t like his decision on the GW, but he was better than we had any right to expect after such a long layoff.

OILERS FORWARDS

oilers-f-dec-4

  • Three games in four nights, the top two lines lose the HDSC battle 1-9. Yowza.
  • Slepyshev—Caggiula—Pitlick went 4-3 against Koivu, that is not a good matchup for Edmonton. They went 4-2 against Haula, seems more reasonable as a match. I like this line fine, but suspect we will see Puljujarvi draw in for the Buffalo game, possibly replacing Slepyshev. Why? I don’t think the wingers are getting into good spots for shots enough, and that is fair because these two are not offensive hammer. Puljujarvi should be hungry by now, but as we will see in a minute JP may not have any more success than Pitlick or Slepyshev.
  • Maroon—Letestu—Kassian was the team’s best line for the second night in a row. Maroon scored, Kassian picked up an assist. They went 7-1 against Ray-o-vac, that was a quality matchup for the Oilers. 7-6 against Staal, too. I like this line. It is the 3line though, not the 4.
  • Lucic—McDavid—Draisaitl was all around due to the protocol, but I thought they were better upon return. 97 was 1-5 in a brief run with Maroon, I think that duo will see some time together later in the year but they did not play well together last night. Line was 4-6 against Koivu (4:15) and 7-8 against Staal (6:28). I will credit three games in four nights, because McDavid wins this battle on level ground.
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Eberle showed effort, but did not score. They were 1-8 against Koivu in five minutes and 5-3 against Haula in another five. As with the McDavid line, you would think this trio would have had the edge, but the HDs were killers.

ADDING A SCORING RW

One of the issues facing Edmonton currently is scoring from the RWs. Moving Leon Draisaitl over covers off the problem for the short term, but this is going to be a problem until Jesse Puljujarvi can establish himself as an everyday offensive option. Here are the current 5×5/60 for the RWs:

  1. Jordan Eberle 1.74
  2. Tyler Pitlick 1.74
  3. Leon Draisaitl 1.68
  4. Jesse Puljujarvi 1.62
  5. Anton Slepyshev 1.51
  6. Zack Kassian 1.37

Even more damning are the 5×5/60 numbers for this group without Connor McDavid:

  1. Tyler Pitlick 1.96
  2. Jordan Eberle 1.66
  3. Leon Draisaitl 1.35
  4. Anton Slepyshev 1.21
  5. Zack Kassian 0.97
  6. Jesse Puljujarvi 0.41

I did these by hand so they may be slightly different that where you can find them online. I sussed it out via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com. This is not a pretty picture. Pitlick ran some good luck early and the market is correcting, while Eberle is at least above 1.50/60—you would like to see him at 2.00/60 but at this point in the year that isn’t many points.

Leon has not posted a strong number, Slepyshev is pretty solid for where he is in his career, Kassian has done okay considering the linemates and the phenom is learning on the job.

In Peter Chiarelli’s second season as GM in Boston—2007-08—the team improved by 18 points, from 76 to 94. Between September and March of that season, Chiarelli acquired:

  • Forward Petteri Nokelainen from the NY Islanders for Ben Walter.
  • Backup goalie Alex Auld from the Phoenix Coyotes for a draft pick.
  • Defenseman Shane Hnidy from Anaheim Ducks for Brandon Bochenski.

Each of these players contributed in-season for the Bruins, who at that time were adding a massive amount of talent from the farm system each year. None of the names above represent an enormous transaction, but each man was procured for a specific reason. The cost was not dear, the payoff helped (Auld was especially solid, although Nokelainen also did well) and Boston was strong in-season because of it.

We talk a lot about a righty blue and a strong backup, and I know you are tired of me talking about a Pisani. Edmonton probably needs to think about a veteran RW who can help offensively. P.A. Parenteau and Teddy Purcell have been available this season via waivers, but maybe Chiarelli wants a little more speed or a bigger righty shot. That’s fair, but I think we should discuss the idea of a veteran scoring winger coming here via trade. I suspect Peter Chiarelli is already mulling such a move.

I think this is fair. While we can parse the numbers and rage against the sun for shining so bright, the bottom line is that there is reason to cheer. This isn’t necessarily what we expected, and frankly some of the moves have been counterproductive in the highest, but the team is winning and there are good arrows.

If you choose to die on Reinhart hill, you may never get to enjoy the blossoming of Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning and Nick Ellis. You drive your own car, none of my business what you do. But please, for goodness sake, don’t rob yourself of feeling good just to be the Jesus of cool on the Al Gore. That’s just about the saddest thing possible after all these years.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. A busy, fun show!

  • Scott Burnside, ESPN. Does Edmonton have the horses?
  • Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue/The SuperFan. Oh, what to do with this defense!
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Signing Russell, NFL weekend.
  • Jared Book, Bluebird Banter. Jays at the winter meetings.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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109 Responses to "AND IT’S ONE MORE DAY UP IN THE CANYON"

  1. RyMosh4 says:

    Strong closing lines, LT. Very well said.

    I’m making the drive from Toronto to Buffalo tomorrow, and can’t wait to watch these guys live.

  2. Aitch says:

    I’m typically a big stats supporter. But like many this Russell has me perplexed somewhat. Last night, I really tried to focus on him when he was on the ice. He looked great individually. (FWIW, I didn’t focus on him “every” shift, but when he caught my attention I tried to watch what he was doing even when the puck wasn’t around him.)

    I know the stats community is down on him – and I was one of them – but stats guys also have to remind themselves that on any bell curve there is going to be outliers. I’m starting to think Russell is one of them. Perhaps even an extreme one.

  3. Aitch says:

    On another note, I half jokingly said last night that the reason that McDavid was pulled off by the concussion spotter had more to do with his being “off” last night compared with what we’ve been used to seeing then him hitting his head. Probably a game he’d like to play over. He had an off night. It happens. Let’s hope his buddy Jack will inspire him to bring the A game on Tuesday.

  4. Skeeziks says:

    Like almost everyone who contributes to this site, I have suffered through about 10 years of heartache as the Oilers plumbed the depths of the NHL.

    This year we are watching the Oilers play above 500 hockey into December. At the same time, we have the honor of watching Draisaitl, Nurse and JP begin to show what they are truly capable of. Then there is Connor McDavid.

    This young man is a stellar hockey player and we are so fortunate to get to see him play. Other fan bases stay up late or tune in to watch the Oilers simply so they can see him play. We get to see him every Oilers game. He is stellar at 19 and has, unbelievably, room to grow his game. What the next decade holds for us is unknown but it will be spectacular just to see him play – whatever the outcome.

    So rather than picking the team and players apart in an attempt to show how smart we all are, why not just simply support the team and enjoy our tremendous good fortune.

  5. DocFan says:

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents this morning,

    1st Cent – Draisaitl looks better and better. Beyond McDavid, he is going to be the major offensive driving force for this team and the one who really gives teams headaches (Teams will focus to shut down McDavid, but what about Drai?)

    2nd Cent – I started playing goal about 6 years ago. This after no hockey training whatsoever. After growing up always being the goalie (by choice) during street hockey, I finally started playing. At the beginning, if the play required any sort of lateral movement, I was hooped.
    Then, as I got more comfortable, I was very often flopping around a lot – I had no technique and relied only on my reflexes. It was like watching an out of control symphony.

    This year, I read Ben Scriven’s articles on the players tribune (worth the read). His focus was on maintaining your positioning and calm for as long as possible (one of the reasons Price is world-leading is because he is always calm, never scrambling). I am just starting to learn this this year.

    Last night, watching Gustavsson, it really felt like he was in scramble mode, relying on his reflexes. Very little positional play. Talbot is so amazingly calm in comparision. That being said, it’s obviously hard to get in the groove and stay calm when you only play once very 15 games, but it is concerning.

    End of cents.

  6. Wolfie says:

    There has been much hand wringing over the backup… Anytime you put up a .939 in a game you’re doing well. I recognize that he overplayed his hand on the last goal. But that is a sign Gus was just pushing a little too hard to get his team the W. That comes from not playing and wanting to make an impact when you do get the chance.

    The Oilers had a successful weekend and they managed to squeak out a point in a game where McDavid didn’t have any impact and with Cam on the bench in a back-to-back, 3 in 4 nights situation. A win would have been nice but that was an acceptable result.

    I disagree LT, this is a playoff team. I’m looking forward to this road trip. Talbot will be rested and he started showing signs last game of going on a little hot streak. I’ve notice that when he gets in a zone he can usually ride it for 4 or 5 games.

    If the Nuge line can chip in a little more regularly and take the pressure off McDavid…. look out!

  7. magneto says:

    Skeeziks,

    There is no value to the comments if we are all just high-fiving each other for being fans of the same team. I am happy with wins, and have varying degrees of disappointment in losses. Analyzing the moments and players, good and bad, is the reason LT has a comment section.

    Teams don’t need your support in comment sections of (highly influential) blogs. Comment with whatever makes you feel good! Others will do the same

  8. Bruce Wayne says:

    Aitch:
    I’m typically a big stats supporter. But like many this Russell has me perplexed somewhat. Last night, I really tried to focus on him when he was on the ice. He looked great individually. (FWIW, I didn’t focus on him “every” shift, but when he caught my attention I tried to watch what he was doing even when the puck wasn’t around him.)

    I know the stats community is down on him – and I was one of them – but stats guys also have to remind themselves that on any bell curve there is going to be outliers. I’m starting to think Russell is one of them.Perhaps even an extreme one.

    Were you watching on the first goal? It is striking how once people decide something no amount of visual evidence will dissuade them.

    Also, that isn’t how statistical outliers work.

    The Larsson–Russell pairing is a nice bit of performance art. It is as if someone wanted to crystallize all of Chiarelli’s mistakes in one ensemble. The best part of this particular piece of art is that the joke is on the audience, having turned themselves into knots trying to justify each acquisition separately, they are now inside out, and yet they go on as if everything is ok.

    This team is run by double agents, from the general manager to the coach.

  9. Skeeziks says:

    magneto,

    I have no problem with comments that are constructive or that raise legitimate questions about players or the team. What irks me is some who are constantly negative or those who do hatchet jobs on players.

    Remenda is carved on almost every site I go to because of his constant negativity and what appears to be an anti Oilers slant on games/plays. This makes watching and listening to games difficult. Yet many of the same types of comments appear on this and other sites and are accepted.

    By all means comment however you wish. It just seems that we are so used to complaining about shortcomings that we seldom seem to take enjoyment from this years version of the team.

  10. Fog of Warts says:

    I think I just figured out why the Y chromosome is an ass. It’s so that, when we’re on our best collective behaviour, you can actually tell.

    ———-

    Peachy

    I miss the days of legend—yes, even the nadir of our debacle had a silky lining—where we were impelled to our Friday evening best with some regularity.

    ——-—

    Origins of peachy keen.

    Jim Hawthorne, a young Pasadena disc jockey, used to be bored with his job ($85 a week). Sometimes he would sign off with a sneer: “This is KXLA, the 10,000-watt jukebox.” But he is bored with his job no longer.

    One night, without notifying his bosses, Hawthorne suddenly turned his show into a carefree, wit-loose “Hellzapoppin on the air.” Next day, before the station had time to fire him, the place was snowed under with fan mail. By last week, the scattyboo platter session was being broadcast over five Southern California stations (“the net-to-net coastwork of the Oh-So-Peachy-Keen Broadcasting Company”). Both ABC and Mutual were dickering for national network rights. Hawthorne’s salary is now $450 a week. The Hawthorne formula is a well- stirred ragout of one part Henry Morgan, three parts Arthur Godfrey and a dash of Colonel Stoopnagle; it is a blend of the outrageously unexpected and the shaggy dog joke. In the middle of a recording, voice may suddenly announce: “I’ve got cole slaw in all my pockets I’m cold.” Sometimes Hawthorne heckles his lovesick records. “What are you in the mood for, honey?” he will ask during the opening bars of a song. “I’m in the mood for love,” the record croons back.

    Whatever adults — and sponsors — may think of such carryings-on, Hawthorne and his peculiar banana-split lingo have become the rage of Southern California’s younger set.

    ———

    But wait, there’s more.

    Most popular root word is “hogan” (example: “I was driving my carahogan in from Pasadena-hogan so I could get a hoganburger”). The young folks also overwork Hawthorne’s favorite adjectives: keen, peachy-keen, and oh-so- peachy-keen.

    Surprisingly, this one (hogan) proved less durable, if nevertheless equally interesting. Linguistically, this is an early entree to the Paris Hilton meme machine, where the humour derives entirely from over-exposure, but you had to be there (at the Friday-night beach party and toke circle) in order to realize just how worked to death it already was.

    Then it gains second wind, as the alpha rascal goes around the next day having all kinds of fun poking people with the expression, to see just who has yet managed to get the news, and who didn’t. The slightly younger alpha-rascals-in-training (still at the almost-tender age of gathering in packs, even though there can only be one Danny Partridge) pick up the phrase, already red and throbbing, to further beat it to death (this was before Danny Partridge, but formed the actual adolescent tureen of torment which later coughed up his red-freckled face onto the prototypical beach).

    ———

    The phrase “hogan” is now far from home, and gaining NASA velocity.

    Hogan: Navaho Indian dwelling, 1871, American English, from Athapaskan (Navaho) hoghan “dwelling, house.”

    Via KXLA and the alpha rascals and the fevered cultural expropriation of the early television era, it gets worked into Hogan’s Heroes, from there to the “hero” sandwich (more than a few soon-to-be-congealed Woodstockians recalled “hoganning” a huge sandwich or three in their feckless adolescence).

    From here, it was but a small splash away to “yellow submarine”—first applied to the crazy rust-belt mid-westerners who yoinked waaaay too damn much mustard onto their sesame bun—this in an era where mustard was but one step removed from Gestapo (which certainly sounds like a condiment—take note that sounds can be deceiving).

    Thereupon, “yellow submarine” succumbs to Jules Verne erection of the first kind, and off to the moon we go, supramarine vessel hoganning incomprehensible immensities of oxygen and hydrogen, missile-tipped with a human sardine-can to the stars and beyond.

  11. Oilin4 says:

    The Oil looked exhausted and off. I thought they looked tired, particularly at the end of periods. After a long month and at the end of back-to-back they clawed to the tie and picked up a point. They almost clawed through the chaos (3-on-3), to have a chance at the coin flip (shootout) and pick up another. All against a playoff team with the best GD in the West. Progress.

    Fayne looks calm and useful. IMO Whole defense looks better with everyone on their proper side. May be why some are seeing Russel good in the last two games as well.

  12. dustrock says:

    LT – your comment on Larsson was spot on. I really enjoyed his clever little moves the first 5-10 games of the year and I could see he was a smart player.

    Now he is just dumping the puck out. I wonder if this is what McLellan has asked, because he’s doing it even when he’s not under extreme pressure.

    Or else his confidence is shot. Either way, he’s not making the same intelligent plays.

  13. Clarkenstein says:

    Agreed LT… this is still not a playoff team. You need more than two players that are outstanding (Connor and Talbot) most nights. This is ABSOLUTELY not a playoff team Defence…. yet. Finally, WAY too many invisible forwards most nights. It’s becoming more evident that Nuge is truly a 3rd line Centre on a playoff team. Just doesn’t get the job done on Line 2. And while Caggs and Letestu may be a step up from the past 10 years of Centres that have come thru here they don’t make me rest easy when they are on the ice.

  14. Fog of Warts says:

    When I click “click to edit” I get:

    +————————————————+
    Are you sure you want to do this?

    Please try again.
    +————————————————+

    If I click “try again”, weirdness ensues.

    ———

    Fortunately, this one would have only received minor preenings.

    Also: site seems to have logged me out in between posting and attempting to edit.

  15. Fog of Warts says:

    Fourth time lucky. Now the site is working again.

  16. magneto says:

    Skeeziks,

    I agree with the hatchet job stuff, but I feel the same way with the “Chiarelli is smart, do you watch the games” crowd that thinks the team is great all the time. The Oilers employ poor players, but it’s not the players fault.

    I think we all need to find a middle ground, you sound like you have that. Highs too high, lows too low and the like

  17. Dino says:

    RE: The Russell debate

    I was one of those who believed in him after the first dozen games in Oilers uniform. I was pleased with his play and I didn’t understand what in the world analytics was talking about when it claimed he wasn’t a good enough defender. But I would say since the Toronto game I’ve seen him really really bad. He makes a couple of nice blocks and plays a game but for each good play he makes about 2-3 bad plays and most are subtle but if you really watch you can find them. I’ve seen him lose several board battles these past few games, some led to goals some led to chances. He doesn’t prevent zone entering at all, which is one of the events that led to the OT goal, he’s too easy to gain zone time against. Him and Larsson spent so much of the last two games hemmed in their own zone it’s ridiculous. How can anyone say they saw him well lately? Coach needs to separate Larsson from him and restore the KlefLar pairing that was pretty effective in the past. I want to see Russell on the 3rd pairing playing 17min a night with a partner that can move the puck forward. I think he would succeed most in that position.

  18. magneto says:

    Dino:
    RE: The Russell debate

    I was one of those who believed in him after the first dozen games in Oilers uniform. I was pleased with his play and I didn’t understand what in the world analytics was talking about when it claimed he wasn’t a good enough defender. But I would say since the Toronto game I’ve seen him really really bad. He makes a couple of nice blocks and plays a game but for each good play he makesabout 2-3 bad plays and most are subtle but if you really watch you can find them. I’ve seen him lose several board battles these past few games, some led to goals some led to chances. He doesn’t prevent zone entering at all, which is one of the events that led to the OT goal, he’s too easy to gain zone time against. Him and Larsson spent so much of the last two games hemmed in their own zone it’s ridiculous. How can anyone say they saw him well lately? Coach needs to separate Larsson from him and restore the KlefLar pairing that was pretty effective in the past. I want to see Russell on the 3rd pairing playing 17min a night with a partner that can move the puck forward. I think he would succeed most in that position.

    I was never a fan, my thoughts are that he over plays the wrong moments but that is what earns him those flashy defensive moments.
    The first goal against there were a lot of things going wrong for a few people. Russell overplays his man and ends up out of the danger area becoming a “also in photo” player. Playing with Larsson is exposing both of their weaknesses and it is unfortunate that they are continuing with that pairing.

  19. flea says:

    Just a couple things from last night.

    I still don’t think this team is catalyzed but starting to show signs. Kassian/Maroon seems to be a good match on a line, Talbot has been good, and McDavid – if he stays healthy – is likely going to win the Art Ross and maybe the Hart. Wow! I still think this team has another gear, and the question is going to be if they find it or not. I think that will define if they make the playoffs. They have shown resiliency too which is a good sign.

    Secondly, I think McDavid needs to be a little more supportive of the concussion protocol. He can be mad after getting pulled right after going out for another shift, but not for getting pulled. Bottom line, you don’t know if you have a concussion or not. The young ones watching heard Connor say that – “It wasn’t that bad, not sure why they pulled me” but that is the point. Better safe than sorry and the league isn’t taking chances with their top young player.

  20. kb says:

    Seeing Russell playing 5×4 or 4×4 hurts me to watch. He holds on to the puck too long and seems to just throw it at the net in panic. Seen this a couple times over the past few games.

  21. Woogie63 says:

    Not sure Pulivarjari’s start is an issue of desire or will. I think he is a teenager growing into a big lanky body who has teenager strength playing at against men.

  22. Wolfie says:

    flea,

    The problem is the league takes a half-assed approach to protecting their players. Someone mentioned fights last night… As in how come the combatants aren’t sent to the quiet room after taking punches to the face? Blind-side hits?

    Connor did not display any signs of concussion other than he banged his chin on the ice. Can you imagine if that call is made in Game 7 of the SCF?!?

  23. dustrock says:

    Leafs have waived Enroth. What?

  24. Timeisnow says:

    Fayne played a good game, I think it’s time to trust him a bit more. Reducing Russell’s time wouldn’t hurt him or the Oilers.

    The monster scares me,no matter what his SV% is.

  25. Jethro Tull says:

    Wow, great closing statement from LT and fuck me, some of you feel the breeze, but it might as well have been Whooping Cranes, it was so far over your heads.

    Let’s see: “Great article LT, but don’t you think player x is the worst person since Ghengis Khan? And isn’t every single employee of the Oilers organization trying to maliciously keep us another ten years from the playoffs? I did raed the whole article, honest.”

    That should cover it.

  26. flea says:

    Wolfie,

    Fair enough, and if they are mad about anything, it should be that – I agree. How is he allowed to go out for an additional shift if it’s so imperative he goes to the quiet room? It’s bush league stuff.

    But it isn’t up to him to determine how he feels, concussions are very tricky things. I guess that’s all I’m saying. League has to protect their players, and expect them to be extra careful with important players like McDavid.

  27. Eastern Oil says:

    LT says: “I know you don’t want to hear this, but Fayne is Fyne.”

    I think you meant to be positive with this statement but whenever I ask my wife is she’s mad at me, and she says she’s “fine”…. it is not positive…

  28. CrazyCoach says:

    LT “Russell has far better speed, and can handle the puck better, but the long term defensive results favor Fayne. Quiet. Reliable. These words used to have meaning.”

    Yeah, I don’t understand the hate for Fayne. I loved having guys like that on my team when I’m coaching. Quiet, reliable, does their job. Nothing wrong with that. My suspicion is that because he plays a rather boring style, people hate him just for that. This is where numbers are such a good reliable indicator. It always reminds me of the scene in Moneyball where the guy speaks of a good pitcher that managers hate merely because he has a strange looking delivery. Fayne appears to be one of those guys.

  29. RexLibris says:

    On the D pairings, I’d be very reluctant to put Benning with Russell.

    Russell gets himself and his partner into trouble by giving up the zone too easily at the blueline. Benning is still too raw a rookie to have to deal with the ensuing chaos brought on by a leaky partner.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t put Nurse with him, and he has looked far steadier than Benning.

    If I’m re-uniting Larsson and Klefbom I’m putting Sekera and with either Russell or Benning because Sekera is a proven, solid veteran defenseman who can handle the you-know-what hitting the fan when his partner screws up. Fayne is in that same category but to the extent of being a 3rd pairing version. Fayne/Benning would be just fine by me. Sekera, unfortunately, gets the thankless task of keeping Russell from hoisting himself on his own petard.

    When Davidson comes back, I’d run Klefbom/Larsson, Sekera/Benning, Fayne/Davidson and then as Davidson acclimates and gets his legs back under him swap he and Benning. Once Nurse comes back, I send Benning back down to digest what he’s learned and tear the AHL a new one and replace him with Darnell.

    That means Russell plays either 3rd pairing or sits.

    Obviously that won’t happen and this team is going to lose some games based on Russell’s decision-making and his partner’s inability to cover for him – and I fully expect that there will be those who cover this team who will lay the blame at the individual failing to cover rather than the one who authored the chaos.

  30. kinger_OIL says:

    kb:
    Seeing Russell playing 5×4 or 4×4 hurts me to watch. He holds on to the puck too long and seems to just throw it at the net in panic. Seen this a couple times over the past few games.

    – Here’s the thing: either all the posters who see him bad are really smart, and the coach is really dumb, or there are other factors that measure his effectiveness and/or explain deployment.

    – Last night Russel had the highest TOI (22:46), with no time on power-play

    – I’m inclined to side with the coach who gives him that time, and reason that they must have other measures than corsi/fenwick etc, than all of us on our couches.

    – Perhpas the coach is sh%t and dumb and has blinders on. Or perhaps given no other RHD, he’s the best option at 2RHD we have, or he’s giving a message to GM to get an upgrade.

    – From a development perspective Russel is better there than Benning/Nurse/Gryba

    – All’s I know is that after 33% of games played we are playoffs, and that’s a strong predictor of actually making the playoffs

  31. Pescador says:

    Fog of Warts:
    I think I just figured out why the Y chromosome is an ass.It’s so that, when we’re on our best collective behaviour, you can actually tell.

    ———-

    Peachy

    I miss the days of legend—yes, even the nadir of our debacle had a silky lining—where we were impelled to our Friday evening best with some regularity.

    ——-—

    Origins of peachy keen.

    ———

    But wait, there’s more.

    Surprisingly, this one (hogan) proved less durable, if nevertheless equally interesting.Linguistically, this is an early entree to the Paris Hilton meme machine, where the humour derives entirely from over-exposure, but you had to be there (at the Friday-night beach party and toke circle) in order to realize just how worked to death it already was.

    Then it gains second wind, as the alpha rascal goes around the next day having all kinds of fun poking people with the expression, to see just who has yet managed to get the news, and who didn’t.The slightly younger alpha-rascals-in-training (still at the almost-tender age of gathering in packs, even though there can only be one Danny Partridge) pick up the phrase, already red and throbbing, to further beat it to death (this was before Danny Partridge, but formed the actual adolescent tureen of torment which later coughed up his red-freckled face onto the prototypical beach).

    ———

    The phrase “hogan” is now far from home, and gaining NASA velocity.

    Via KXLA and the alpha rascals and the fevered cultural expropriation of the early television era, it gets worked into Hogan’s Heroes, from there to the “hero” sandwich (more than a few soon-to-be-congealed Woodstockians recalled “hoganning” a huge sandwich or three in their feckless adolescence).

    From here, it was but a small splash away to “yellow submarine”—first applied to the crazy rust-belt mid-westerners who yoinked waaaay too damn much mustard onto their sesame bun—this in an era where mustard was but one step removed from Gestapo (which certainly sounds like a condiment—take note that sounds can be deceiving).

    Thereupon, “yellow submarine” succumbs to Jules Verne erection of the first kind, and off to the moon we go, supramarine vessel hoganning incomprehensible immensities of oxygen and hydrogen, missile-tipped with a human sardine-can to the stars and beyond.

    No such thing as too much mustard

  32. RexLibris says:

    CrazyCoach:
    LT “Russell has far better speed, and can handle the puck better, but the long term defensive results favor Fayne. Quiet. Reliable. These words used to have meaning.”

    Yeah, I don’t understand the hate for Fayne.I loved having guys like that on my team when I’m coaching.Quiet, reliable, does their job.Nothing wrong with that.My suspicion is that because he plays a rather boring style, people hate him just for that.This is where numbers are such a good reliable indicator.It always reminds me of the scene in Moneyball where the guy speaks of a good pitcher that managers hate merely because he has a strange looking delivery.Fayne appears to be one of those guys.

    I used to harp on about guys who could give a coach 12 to 15 quiet minutes a night.

    A coach likes a guy they can send over the boards and not have to worry about while he’s out there. They are what used to be called “anchors” in a positive sense. They held things steady while the sea swirled around them. Fayne has that in him, but I think he also has some improvements to work on.

  33. bendelson says:

    While there certainly was significant wobble in the Oilers games this weekend, 3 pts in back-to-back games vs the Ducks and Wild is a big victory. Three points in back-to-back games against the Ducks and Wild without C97 registering a point? I wouldn’t have thought it possible.

    Re: the Monster. I haven’t seen an old school poke-check like that since… Dubnyk! Always looks great, creates excitement, and typically doesn’t end well.

  34. Jethro Tull says:

    flea,

    Stauffer actually had a great point: Gabriel had his bell rung. Even Kassian took a couple of shots in that fight. Neither one pulled by the league.

    So is player safety the concern, or just enough visible contrition to give the lawyers ammo in court?

  35. CrazyCoach says:

    RexLibris: A coach likes a guy they can send over the boards and not have to worry about while he’s out there. They are what used to be called “anchors” in a positive sense. They held things steady while the sea swirled around them. Fayne has that in him, but I think he also has some improvements to work on.

    Oh definitely.

    Problem with anchor guys is that because they are quietly effective, no coach really feels the need to kick his ass and make him work on certain things. Having been a lifetime anchor player, I know exactly what happens. You never make the All-Star game, but you always have a place.

  36. Pescador says:

    Wolfie:
    There has been much hand wringing over the backup…Anytime you put up a .939 in a game you’re doing well.I recognize that he overplayed his hand on the last goal.But that is a sign Gus was just pushing a little too hard to get his team the W.That comes from not playing and wanting to make an impact when you do get the chance.

    The Oilers had a successful weekend and they managed to squeak out a point in a game where McDavid didn’t have any impact and with Cam on the bench in a back-to-back, 3 in 4 nights situation.A win would have been nice but that was an acceptable result.

    I disagree LT, this is a playoff team.I’m looking forward to this road trip.Talbot will be rested and he started showing signs last game of going on a little hot streak.I’ve notice that when he gets ina zone he can usually ride it for 4 or 5 games.

    If the Nuge line can chip in a little more regularly and take the pressure off McDavid…. look out!

    I agree, most of us believe this is a playoff team.
    That’s what I’m hearing

  37. Merchant says:

    kinger_OIL,

    This seems like a sound approach to the Russell teeth gnashing. Not top 2 pairing RHD, by eye or stats, but close to it at least by eye. I also think he is riding a swell of support from his first 7 games where he was great.

    Given todays roster I would prefer 77/6 & 2/5 & 83/4, in descending order in terms or QOC and TOI. Wonder where Davey fits back in when hes back? 3LD seems like a good place to start. If anyone can get Russell going again its Davey.

  38. kinger_OIL says:

    Pescador: I agree, most of us believe this is a playoff team.
    That’s what I’m hearing

    – You would need odds to bet against them making the playoffs. Straight up, I’ll take all bets that the Oil make the playoffs: any takers? 87% chance as of today:

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html

    – History, performance and math don’t support the idea that this isn’t a playoff team. LT is mis-guided. They could not be, but a lot would have to go wrong.

  39. Bag of Pucks says:

    Benning with Russell would be a disaster. Opposing HCs would immediately roll out their biggest lines against this diminutive duo and cycle/shoot to their heart’s content.

    TMac always pairs Benning with a big boy opposite and I think that’s the best way to give the youngster some cover and confidence.

    Loved Kassian sticking up for the lad last night. Nuge and Ebs muts’ve looked at that and wondered, ‘where the hell was that when we were rooks getting run by every cement head in the league?’

    Love the fact that there’s pushback throughout the lineup now. The fact this team is a pain to play against now is definite progress in the right direction and something worth celebrating.

  40. GMB3 says:

    Clarkenstein:
    Agreed LT… this is still not a playoff team.You need more than two players that are outstanding (Connor and Talbot) most nights. This is ABSOLUTELY not a playoff team Defence…. yet. Finally, WAY too many invisible forwards most nights.It’s becoming more evident that Nuge is truly a 3rd line Centre on a playoff team. Just doesn’t get the job done on Line 2. And while Caggs and Letestu may be a step up from the past 10 years of Centres that have come thru here they don’t make me rest easy when they are on the ice.

    RNH plays with two garbage wingers and he’s not good enough to drive offense on his own. That line is pretty content with being kept to the outside when a team plays well positionally on then.

    People harp on RNH for being a third line C yet he managed to put up 50+ as a rookie. If we trade him to a playoff team….. Well we will be getting laughed at

  41. Diablo says:

    Both Russell and Fayne have their warts, but having them as depth this season is such a refreshing change from years gone by, when one injury to our D would be the death knell for this team. From TMac’s perspective, he must have thought that Russell-Benning or Russell-Fayne would be worse, than Russell-Larsson. The pairings will make more sense once Davidson gets back. Then they can go to:

    Klefbom-Larsson
    Sekera-Benning
    Davidson-Fayne/Russell

    McDavid needs to shoot on the PP, but he can’t get an open look from the half wall. I would like to see him on the point with Draisaitl or Nuge manning the half wall. Getting Davidson and his point shot back, should also help.

    I’m with LT on this one – 2nd game of a back to back, against Dubbie and the Wild, who have owned us for the last decade. They came out strong in the first – progress! They lagged as the game went on, and didn’t get much traffic in front of Dubbie. But they held on, despite some misadventures and garbage reffing, and got a point, and this morning they hold down 2nd in the Pacific. And they’ve done it without Davidson. So no need to panic, things are adequate in Oilerland.

  42. VvV says:

    Lowetide, If you took out the Bettman points the Oilers would not be in the last Wildcard spot, you’d also have to remove them for other teams, they would still be in 2nd in division.

  43. Bruce Wayne says:

    From an intellectual perspective, I loved the fact that after Kassian fought their guy to send a message, defend honour, pump up the crowd, and motivate the bench, and after Lucic quietly sent a message with words, the Wild immediately scored off of an aggressive forecheck, and yet all the commentators, seemingly completely oblivious to what just happened in front of their “eyes” kept talking about how good it was for the Oilers to be a bigger, tougher, team that wouldn’t be intimidated anymore.

    Narrative. It is a thing. Pushback is just a story we tell ourselves, not simply after the fact but in some cases against the facts.

  44. jake70 says:

    bendelson:
    .Three points in back-to-back games against the Ducks and Wild without C97 registering a point?I wouldn’t have thought it possible.

    This was my big picture take home from the back-to-backs on the weekend. This is huge, needs to continue (not that I want to see 97 go pointless in games….he does need to shoot more though).

  45. Bruce Wayne says:

    kinger_OIL: – You would need odds to bet against them making the playoffs.Straight up, I’ll take all bets that the Oil make the playoffs: any takers?87% chance as of today:

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html

    It is funny that you think making the playoffs constitutes success, and a vindication of the regime. They have the best player in the world and an excellent goaltender. Making the playoffs isn’t good enough.

  46. GMB3 says:

    CrazyCoach: Oh definitely.

    Problem with anchor guys is that because they are quietly effective, no coach really feels the need to kick his ass and make him work on certain things.Having been a lifetime anchor player, I know exactly what happens.You never make the All-Star game, but you always have a place.

    I see what you mean, but I think the “anchor” types that play the slow and steady game tend to get exposed when they are used too much. They keep shit from hitting the fan by playing a simple game, but are liable to be beat 1 on 1 and lose key puck battles.

    I know that the fancy stat community says Russell is bad, Fayne is good, yet it seems to me that TMac feels the opposite and at some point I think the years of hockey experience trump the years of number crunching. The Coach has to go with the guys he feels gives him the best shot to win every night.

  47. jonrmcleod says:

    Enroth is on waivers. Many here would have given their left arm for the Oilers to sign Enroth instead of the Monster. Maybe LT would have even been tempted to show us his much-anticipated balance photo.

    What was that about goalies being voodoo?

  48. Chachi says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    From an intellectual perspective, I loved the fact that after Kassian fought their guy to send a message, defend honour, pump up the crowd, and motivate the bench, and after Lucic quietly sent a message with words, the Wild immediately scored off of an aggressive forecheck, and yet all the commentators, seemingly completely oblivious to what just happened in front of their “eyes” kept talking about how good it was for the Oilers to be a bigger, tougher, team that wouldn’t be intimidated anymore.

    Narrative.It is a thing.Pushback is just a story we tell ourselves, not simply after the fact but in some cases against the facts.

    Oh yes, narrative is sure a thing all right. I would say people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but all the windows blew out when the water heater exploded.

  49. GMB3 says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    From an intellectual perspective, I loved the fact that after Kassian fought their guy to send a message, defend honour, pump up the crowd, and motivate the bench, and after Lucic quietly sent a message with words, the Wild immediately scored off of an aggressive forecheck, and yet all the commentators, seemingly completely oblivious to what just happened in front of their “eyes” kept talking about how good it was for the Oilers to be a bigger, tougher, team that wouldn’t be intimidated anymore.

    Narrative.It is a thing.Pushback is just a story we tell ourselves, not simply after the fact but in some cases against the facts.

    Are you not just using a single example to paint a narrative for yourself? I could argue the exact opposite with them scoring after Lucic fought Boll against Anaheim.

    You are right Caramel, narrative, it is a thing.

  50. classict says:

    jake70,

    He’s got the 22nd most shots in the league so far this year. I think the idea that he needs to shoot more (I see it and think it at times too) might come from just how many plays he makes but might not actually be true…

    I mean there’s definitely been a few chances I would have liked to have seen a shot, but I think most players have those times. And just 6 more shots would put him top 10 in the league. He’s by no means not getting enough shots off.

  51. LadiesloveSmid says:

    getting a point out of a back-to-back, 3rd game in 4 days. Not really upset about last night, really just wish the flames would stop crushing teams the night after they take it to the oilers all night long

  52. jake70 says:

    classict:
    jake70,

    He’s got the 22nd most shots in the league so far this year. I think the idea that he needs to shoot more (I see it and think it at times too) might come from just how many plays he makes but might not actually be true…

    I mean there’s definitely been a few chances I would have liked to have seen a shot, but I think most players have those times. And just 6 more shots would put him top 10 in the league. He’s by no means not getting enough shots off.

    Situational then? I said he needs to shoot more but I also think he should have passed on the 2 on 1 with Draisaitl. He is so gifted he can get to the slot so often – it’s about keeping the D and goalie honest more than anything (If I am a goalie playing him I am cheating pass).

  53. kinger_OIL says:

    Bruce Wayne: It is funny that you think making the playoffs constitutes success, and a vindication of the regime.They have the best player in the world and an excellent goaltender.Making the playoffs isn’t good enough.

    – Where did I say it constitutes success, or a vindication of the regime?

    – YoY though, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t assert that a +/- 25 point increase constitutes success. Last year they had the same player and goalie: things evolve.

    – Why would you take the 23 game mark and make assumptions about vindication of regime?

  54. flea says:

    Jethro Tull:
    flea,

    Stauffer actually had a great point: Gabriel had his bell rung. Even Kassian took a couple of shots in that fight. Neither one pulled by the league.

    So is player safety the concern, or just enough visible contrition to give the lawyers ammo in court?

    Yah, I do agree. Even on the McDAvid one, he should be going straight to the room, not out for a PP shift and then pulled. Their “policy” obviously needs work. More B&W needed.

    What I’m saying is McDavid’s commentary afterwards wasn’t appropriate. He can’t be the judge of when he needs to go to the room. It should be an automatic. The league will try to protect mcDavid, for sure. I just think it was a bad example for the little ones to hear McDavid say – oh, it wasn’t that serious – not his call at the end of the day.

  55. Lowetide says:

    My apologies for the time out, think we might be back.

  56. hunter1909 says:

    Skeeziks: why not just simply support the team and enjoy our tremendous good fortune.

    Might it have something to do with watching a decade of abject failure?

    When they got off to a great start, everything seemed well. When the wheels started falling off, some of us thought “Oh here it comes again”.

    Now they’re doing “okay”, winning a few then losing a few, while gently sliding down the standings. The Hall cluster was, pre-Eakins guaranteed to produce at least 1 cup win. Suddenly Hall is gone, and although they’re clearly improved, the team still struggles. It’s hard to take.

  57. N64 says:

    Lowetide:
    My apologies for the time out, think we might be back.

    Just knocked it’s chin. Quiet room protocol.

  58. Lowetide says:

    N64: Just knocked it’s chin. Quiet room protocol.

    Fabulous joke, will anyone get to read it????

  59. Chachi says:

    Lowetide: Fabulous joke, will anyone get to read it????

    We will never know.

  60. delooper says:

    It’s funny watching the Oilers now. I don’t have the sense of dread I had for much of the past 10 years. But the joy isn’t back, at least, not the kind I had 11+ years ago. I’m not scared but I’m not fully ready to love yet. . .

    Please don’t hurt me, Oilers!

    The oilers are a mid-pack NHL team and they’ll be a bubble team (or close to it) all the way until the end of the season, is what I expect. If I was fully confident of that I’d probably have the kind of joy I had watching those Doug Weight teams. But I feel like this is a season the Oilers need to prove it to me.

  61. JDï™ says:

    Lowetide,

    Thanks for the ear worm today. I’ve always thought that was one of the slickest songs in the history of songs, and never get tired of hearing it.

  62. leadfarmer says:

    Russell is a one year stop gap so I’m shocked at how much hatred there is of the player. Analytics make him appear worse then he is and we’ve known that but he is still not a long term second pairing RHd solution.

    Sekera’s turd polishing skills are vastly underrated. Him and anyone is a solid pairing.

    I think Enroth has been upset at the lack of starts but no one wanted him.

  63. Lowetide says:

    JDï™:
    Lowetide,

    Thanks for the ear worm today. I’ve always thought that was one of the slickest songs in the history of songs, and never get tired of hearing it.

    Agreed. It grabs you at the piano and holds you for the entire song.

  64. JDï™ says:

    Lowetide: holds you for the entire song.

    To tell you the truth, I’m not really a fan of that band, or the singer, at all. Haven’t heard any other song by them come close to this one.

    Ghost writer? Stopped clock? Bad taste on my part?

    Hopefully you won’t need to quote my 2nd favorite December song, one by Mr Merle Haggard.

  65. Eastern Oil says:

    leadfarmer:
    Russell is a one year stop gap so I’m shocked at how much hatred there is of the player.Analytics make him appear worse then he is and we’ve known that but he is still not a long term second pairing RHd solution.

    Sekera’s turd polishing skills are vastly underrated.Him and anyone is a solid pairing.

    I think Enroth has been upset at the lack of starts but no one wanted him.

    I think the fact that it’s out there that the Oil are considering an extension makes the angst more critical. I think he’s doing fine now as a stop gap, but the math scares the hell out of me if we’re talking 3/4 years at anything north of $3 mil.

    Partly because of the player, but mostly because he is not the RH PP Dman we sorely need.

  66. fifthcartel says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Benning with Russell would be a disaster. Opposing HCs would immediately roll out their biggest lines against this diminutive duo and cycle/shoot to their heart’s content.

    TMac always pairs Benning with a big boy opposite and I think that’s the best way to give the youngster some cover and confidence.

    Loved Kassian sticking up for the lad last night. Nuge and Ebs muts’ve looked at that and wondered, ‘where the hell was that when we were rooks getting run by every cement head in the league?’

    Love the fact that there’s pushback throughout the lineup now. The fact this team is a pain to play against now is definite progress in the right direction and something worth celebrating.

    Benning’s played just as much with 6ft tall Andrej Sekera than he has with Nurse.

  67. CrazyCoach says:

    GMB3: I see what you mean, but I think the “anchor” types that play the slow and steady game tend to get exposed when they are used too much. They keep shit from hitting the fan by playing a simple game, but are liable to be beat 1 on 1 and lose key puck battles.

    Then it speaks to the coach controlling ice time and not using him too much.

  68. Lowetide says:

    JDï™: To tell you the truth, I’m not really a fan of that band, or the singer, at all. Haven’t heard any other song by them come close to this one.

    Ghost writer? Stopped clock? Bad taste on my part?

    Hopefully you won’t need to quote my 2nd favorite December song, one by Mr Merle Haggard.

    Love that Merle tune.

  69. treevojo says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    I think we have found Lowetide’s “JESUS OF COOL”.

    You are a little overdue for a name change anyway.

  70. blainer says:

    Interesting to see how the coach deploys the D when they are healthy. I guess Fayne doesn’t match the coach’s system and his contract is too much to take on for other teams.

    To me Fayne is a good bottom 4 D. I see our D in this order.

    Klefbom
    Larsson
    Sekera
    Nurse
    Davey
    Benning
    Fayne
    Russell

    I really like the lefty righty pairings.

    Sekera Larsson

    Klef Benning

    Davey Fayne

    Would like to see those pairings for a few games. Doubt very much they will sit Russell though. If Benning keeps up his play the coach will have a tough decision on his hands. It was hard to wipe the smile off the coach’s face after the hit Benning put on MacKinnon.

    For me I was disappointed with the November result but am still picking the Oil to win the division as long as CMD and Talbot stay healthy.

  71. BONE207 says:

    Secondly, I think McDavid needs to be a little more supportive of the concussion protocol. He can be mad after getting pulled right after going out for another shift, but not for getting pulled. Bottom line, you don’t know if you have a concussion or not. The young ones watching heard Connor say that – “It wasn’t that bad, not sure why they pulled me” but that is the point. Better safe than sorry and the league isn’t taking chances with their top young player.

    Stauffer actually had a great point: Gabriel had his bell rung. Even Kassian took a couple of shots in that fight. Neither one pulled by the league.

    So is player safety the concern, or just enough visible contrition to give the lawyers ammo in court?

    Per the comments above…

    Player concern seems on the decline recently. Take the hits on the Sedins lately. The whacks & hacks on Connor/Crosby/Goudreau. There used to be suspensions weekly for hits from behind, blatant head contact and other questionable behavior. Where is the concern for the big names in the league who are the faces of the new New NHL??? I’m all for concussion protocol but if there is so much concern for the head, why not the other body parts. Suspensions for blatant head targeting or at least fines/2 games suspensions for errors in judgment to those that don’t respect others. Why allow fights at all if they give them penalties for removing their helmets. So hypocritical in many of these player safety decisions that it’s no wonder the glacial change of upper management types seem to keep the league from ascending higher in quality.

  72. Scungilli says:

    N64: Just knocked it’s chin. Quiet room protocol.

    Ya but what about when posters punch the blog in the face, WordPress does nothing then. And next thing you know Lowetide is gooning somebody but he never gets a penalty.

  73. russ99 says:

    blainer:
    Interesting to see how the coach deploys the D when they are healthy. I guess Fayne doesn’t match the coach’s system and his contract is too much to take on for other teams.

    To me Fayne is a good bottom 4 D. I see our D in this order.

    Klefbom
    Larsson
    Sekera
    Nurse
    Davey
    Benning
    Fayne
    Russell

    I really like the lefty righty pairings.

    Sekera Larsson

    Klef Benning

    Davey Fayne

    Would like to see those pairings for a few games. Doubt very much they will sit Russell though. If Benning keeps up his play the coach will have a tough decision on his hands. It was hard to wipe the smile off the coach’s face after the hit Benning put on MacKinnon.

    For me I was disappointed with the November result but am still picking the Oil to win the division as long as CMD and Talbot stay healthy.

    Klef needs a crease clearer, and Benning isn’t one.

    This would opitimize Corsi over defense and the pucks would be rolling in our net considering how poor both players are away from the wall without the puck in the D-zone.

    Davidson – Fayne isn’t a horrible idea.

    We need balance on the D-pairings too – one puck mover and one defender. All of our defenders are playing on the right, so IMO, Benning is out when Davidson comes back.

    Sekera – Larsson
    Klefbom – Russell
    Davidson – Fayne

  74. Oil2Oilers says:

    RexLibris: That means Russell plays either 3rd pairing or sits.
    Obviously that won’t happen and this team is going to lose some games based on Russell’s decision-making and his partner’s inability to cover for him – and I fully expect that there will be those who cover this team who will lay the blame at the individual failing to cover rather than the one who authored the chaos.

    Sad when you can see it coming, but its coming.

  75. PerryK says:

    LT, I stopped reading as soon as you mentioned “balance”. I will go back and read the rest after this post.

    It is not that we can’t put a balanced team on the ice, but it is that the management refuses to do so!

    We are 1 RW and 1 RD away from icing a team that would be very dangerous to the Rangers / the Penguins / the Kings / the Black Hawks of this world.

    I am a little disappointed and very excited at the same time. Chia, please figure it out!

    And Go Oilers!

  76. kinger_OIL says:

    russ99,

    – I’ve not heard this turn of phrase that you used: “This would opitimize Corsi over defense” I like you Russ!

    – I have said that evaulating the overall merits of a Defencemen includes things that Corsi does not track: clearing out the net is one such thing. Whether its clearing out the net so the goalie has a better sight-line, or reducing the ability of the other team to grab a quality rebound, these are defensive attributes that are not attributable via corsi.

  77. Oil2Oilers says:

    Lowetide: Agreed. It grabs you at the piano and holds you for the entire song.

    Can anyone think of another Rock video babe that has a longer or more distinguished career than Courteney Cox. Others have been more prolific, or hit a cultural zeitgeist as an artists muse but ‘A Long December’ and ‘Dancing in the Dark’ are classic songs from different generations.

  78. BONE207 says:

    Lots of complaints today about Russell. Maybe we forget that he’s playing his off wing. Perhaps pairing him with a RHD would benefit his game somewhat.

    Also, the defender talk about net front clearing.

    Would this work?
    Klef / Lars
    Sek / Benn
    Russ / Gryba or Fayne

    Sort of like a Huddy for every Coffey.

  79. treevojo says:

    BONE207:
    Lots of complaints today about Russell. Maybe we forget that he’s playing his off wing. Perhaps pairing him with a RHD would benefit his game somewhat.

    Also, the defender talk about net front clearing.

    Would this work?
    Klef / Lars
    Sek / Benn
    Russ / Gryba or Fayne

    Sort of like a Huddy for every Coffey.

    If only that Larsson fella was right handed.

  80. McSorley33 says:

    Larsson no longer passes, he just lobs the puck out.
    **************************************************************
    Yep…..and for the 2nd time in 5 days Adam Larsson was in our goalies blue paint – facing our net – as an apposition player scores behind him.

    It is a unique trick for a defensemen to defend neither the pass, nor the man.

    Yes, it is a small sample size. But I have seen enough of the Russell / Larsson pairing…

  81. BONE207 says:

    LT…doing math by hand.

    So funny you are!!

    I feel we are like brothers of different mothers.

    I like to do math the old way (sometimes abacus) just to see if I still can do something without a screen on it. I also had a 66 Chev Belair as my first car but mine ran longer than yours. Our love for CR and VCRs with tapes of Stanley cup victories. (got the 87 still)

    One of these days I’m going to shake your hand…if not your fist.

  82. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide:
    My apologies for the time out, think we might be back.

    You did it on purpose, didn’t you?

  83. Lowetide says:

    PerryK:
    LT, I stopped reading as soon as you mentioned “balance”.I will go back and read the rest after this post.

    It is not that we can’t put a balanced team on the ice, but it is that the management refuses to do so!

    We are 1 RW and 1 RD away from icing a team that would be very dangerous to the Rangers / the Penguins / the Kings / the Black Hawks of this world.

    I am a little disappointed and very excited at the same time.Chia, please figure it out!

    And Go Oilers!

    Exactly how I feel. Stop listening to the former GMs in the building, there is a reason they are former GMs in the building!!!

  84. böök¡je says:

    So, is there universal agreement that the Hall for Larsson trade was an absolutely terrible trade yet?

    I seem to remember a bunch of people wanting to wait 20 games before deciding?

    Hall is running at a point per game now.

  85. Lowetide says:

    BONE207:
    LT…doing math by hand.

    So funny you are!!

    I feel we are like brothers of different mothers.

    I like to do math the old way (sometimes abacus) just to see if I still can do something without a screen on it. I also had a 66 Chev Belair as my first car but mine ran longer than yours. Our love for CR and VCRs with tapes of Stanley cup victories. (got the 87 still)

    One of these days I’m going to shake your hand…if not your fist.

    Haha. I do too (the math), because the numbers are old friends by now.

  86. Fog of Warts says:

    I started to think about that word “ingratiation” and had this feeling that this is one of those words where you’re not quite sure you know it when you see it, it’s more of a diffuse aura than a thing thing (I’m not talking here about the obvious and self-evidently oleaginous behaviour of Polonius, but ingratiation in a more artistic context—look out, waaay out, into the sleepy bedroom communities of fan service).

    So I looked this humble word up, and immediately realized you can capture about half the essence with a handy mnemonic neologism of the moment (HMNM): purrsuasion.

    ———

    Silver lining: not many people know that gorillas purr while eating.

    Koko “Purrs”

    ———

    From a nature clip:

    “Belch vocalization is a way to let the gorillas know that you know a little bit about gorilla etiquette. Only people who know what they’re doing should belch vocalize.”

    Yes, you wanna let the guides do that, otherwise, operation Hapless Ecotourist Gorilla Ingratiation likely ends with a purr you didn’t intend.

  87. Lowetide says:

    böök¡je:
    So, is there universal agreement that the Hall for Larsson trade was an absolutely terrible trade yet?

    I seem to remember a bunch of people wanting to wait 20 games before deciding?

    Hall is running at a point per game now.

    Hadn’t really noticed much discussion either way after June 30 or so. Hall for Larsson, right? No, no, cannot say we have had much verbal.

  88. Professor Q says:

    böök¡je:
    So, is there universal agreement that the Hall for Larsson trade was an absolutely terrible trade yet?

    I seem to remember a bunch of people wanting to wait 20 games before deciding?

    Hall is running at a point per game now.

    I don’t see how that has anything to do with anything.

  89. BONE207 says:

    treevojo: If only that Larsson fella was right handed.

    Oh…I guess so if he’s facing the wrong way. Too much exposure to Gusto and his habit of pirouetting.

  90. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide: Haha. I do too (the math), because the numbers are old friends by now.

    Would you say that they’re…Familiar?

  91. Lowetide says:

    Professor Q: Would you say that they’re…Familiar?

    Yes!

  92. BONE207 says:

    Professor Q: Would you say that they’re…Familiar?

    I swear to Gord…sometimes they are just liars

  93. GMB3 says:

    delooper:
    It’s funny watching the Oilers now.I don’t have the sense of dread I had for much of the past 10 years.But the joy isn’t back, at least, not the kind I had 11+ years ago.I’m not scared but I’m not fully ready to love yet. . .

    Please don’t hurt me, Oilers!

    The oilers are a mid-pack NHL team and they’ll be a bubble team (or close to it) all the way until the end of the season, is what I expect.If I was fully confident of that I’d probably have the kind of joy I had watching those Doug Weight teams.But I feel like this is a season the Oilers need to prove it to me.

    I relate to this. I’ve been burned too many times believing in false promises of improvement, and I’m tentative to do more than get my feet wet at this point.

    Maybe by March I’ll be ready to jump in, but I’m enjoying the recent run of success for what it is.

  94. JDï™ says:

    böök¡je: Hall is running at a point per game now.

    Also missed 8 games so far.

  95. bendelson says:

    delooper:
    It’s funny watching the Oilers now.I don’t have the sense of dread I had for much of the past 10 years.But the joy isn’t back, at least, not the kind I had 11+ years ago.I’m not scared but I’m not fully ready to love yet. . .

    Please don’t hurt me, Oilers!

    The oilers are a mid-pack NHL team and they’ll be a bubble team (or close to it) all the way until the end of the season, is what I expect.If I was fully confident of that I’d probably have the kind of joy I had watching those Doug Weight teams.But I feel like this is a season the Oilers need to prove it to me.

    “It is better to love wisely, no doubt: but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.”

  96. BONE207 says:

    bendelson: “It is better to love wisely, no doubt:but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.”

    Awww…this kind of talk will not get anyone kicked out of here. It’ll be like the land of Oz. If the team can now make 90+ points then we’ll all be going to Disneyland.

  97. GMB3 says:

    The song is a great fit for this article.

    Rumor has it Duclair is on the block. What would y’all be willing to give up to get him?

    Maybe trade poo and eat some salary? Makes us younger and faster, he seems like he would be a Chia type player too.

    Not sure how the logistics of that deal would work out.

  98. bendelson says:

    BONE207,

    Just trying to Makepeace with Delooper’s post.

  99. Lowetide says:

    Do we think Enroth will get claimed?

  100. Professor Q says:

    Is it worth it for Enroth, or do we still wait for a RHD or third line forward?

  101. Bag of Pucks says:

    For me, the 10 year debacle has been good cos it lessened my personal investment which makes for a far more balanced life.

    I used to watch WAY too much hockey. Now I PVR the games and 10mins in to viewing, if the entertainment value is low or it’s clear they’re going to lose, I’m zipping through.

    The amount of personal and professional development I’ve been able to facilitate while the Oil have been bad vs when they were good? No comparison.

    It’s freeing to lose the obsession. Thank you Steve Tambellini. You were the methodone I needed.

  102. The Hermit says:

    Lowetide:
    Do we think Enroth will get claimed?

    Don’t think so. He’s cheap but hasn’t performed well this season in limited action.

  103. jm363561 says:

    Doing the math by hand (counting fingers), after starting 7 – 1 Oil are now 14 – 10 – 3. Last 19 games we are 7 – 9 – 3. I think they will just make the play offs but it’s going to be close.

  104. bendelson says:

    bendelson,

    Harumph. Must be a Dickens crowd.

  105. hags9k says:

    LT, I’m on board. I like Fayne just fyne. BUT!

    Please don’t deride Steve Staios! He is a sacred cow to me.

    Russel is looking like a goalie leading the league in saves because he gives up a ton of rebounds.

    Without the extra jump or quickness he showed in the first half dozen games, he looks poor. He needs to get his RPMs back up to redline to be effective.

  106. Ryan says:

    delooper:
    It’s funny watching the Oilers now.I don’t have the sense of dread I had for much of the past 10 years.But the joy isn’t back, at least, not the kind I had 11+ years ago.I’m not scared but I’m not fully ready to love yet. . .

    Please don’t hurt me, Oilers!

    The oilers are a mid-pack NHL team and they’ll be a bubble team (or close to it) all the way until the end of the season, is what I expect.If I was fully confident of that I’d probably have the kind of joy I had watching those Doug Weight teams.But I feel like this is a season the Oilers need to prove it to me.

    We’re only saved by Bettman from the Oilers classic race for 8th place, but we’re back in a variant of it,

  107. Clarkenstein says:

    GMB3</strongI
    I think when you pay a player $6M (which is about $8MCDN right now) you would expect him to be trending for more than 12 goals and 36 points wouldn't you? Arguably his best season was his rookie year. Fact is he's untradeable unless you take a similar under achiever in return.

  108. Suntory Hanzo says:

    Hall hit reminded me of Wendel Clark hit from those old rock em sock em.

    He did shy away from the oncoming hit tho. Pussy.

    *dries tears in now invalid Hall jersey.

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