WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM

The Edmonton Oilers had a W in the bag, but could not hold on in Buffalo last night. I will credit a terrible penalty call against Adam Larsson, but a playoff team seals that victory and heads to Philadelphia with two points in the bank. Edmonton remains on pace for a playoff spot, but the theme for this season might be six months in a leaky boat. Oh, bother.

  • Todd McLellan: “Obviously the end is disappointing, but we were very sluggish & slow in the 1st period. That cost us.” 

UPSTATE, THEY’LL NEVER FIND HIM, 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: 2-0-2, goal differential +2
  • Oilers after 28, 2015: 11-15-2, goal differential -13
  • Oilers after 28, 2016: 14-10-4, goal differential +9

Edmonton is on pace for 94 points, with Connor McDavid serving as the heart of the order most every night. Cam Talbot has been a strong second in MVP voting this year, but his SP is down to .914—NHL average is .912. The club has several galling tendencies, one of which is leaving points on the board against lower echelon teams. Such was the case last night.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers-d-dec-6

  • Numbers via NHL.com, NaturalStatTrick and HockeyStats.ca.
  • Mark Fayne played 4:34, was minus one on a play where he was a day late and a dollar short, and then left with injury.
  • Andrej Sekera was 17-7 in 13:54 with Matt Benning, that duo is effective. He was also 3-0 in 58 seconds with Adam Larsson, a pairing that makes sense. Finally, he was 4-2 in 2:07 with Kris Russell, meaning the Oilers were dandy with Sekera on the ice last night. He was 9-2 against the O’Reilly line, 6-2 in 2:39 against Eichel. Had an assist, three SOG. Andrej, you beautiful defenseman!
  • Matt Benning had three shots, four hits and one blocked shot. His number with Sekera is above, and he was 8-5 in 6:52 with Klefbom. Lots of good things, drew a penalty and was 14-6 in 9:45 when with the Nuge. 10-2 against Eichel, 11-5 against O’Reilly. What’s not to like?
  • Oscar Klefbom went 1-3 in 2:06 with Adam Larsson (I would love to see them reunited), 2-2 in 3:57 with the king of Fayne and 8-5 with Benning. Three shots, one blocked shot, 3-5 against O’Reilly and 5-1 against Eichel. Played a lot on special teams.
  • Kris Russell went 6-9 with Larsson in 14:21 (very low event for the minutes), 4-2 with Sekera and 1-0 with Benning. Went 1-3 in 4:04 against O’Reilly and 4-7 in 7:43 with Eichel. He did not have a good game by my eye, losing a reaction battle in the crease on the tying goal in the third and failing to execute in a few areas over the 60 minutes. He has had good games, this wasn’t one of them.
  • Adam Larsson took a tough penalty at the end of the game and received some rage online, but I think it was a shabby call. His numbers with other blue are above, solid with Sekera and the Klefbom pairing beckons. 0-2 against O’Reilly and 4-8 against Eichel. He defers to Russell on the passing and I don’t think it benefits the team. I think he might be a little injured, or sluggish, or both.
  • Cam Talbot was not strong.

KRIS RUSSELL’S SKILLS

  • Peter Chiarelli: “Because he puts them into position to shoot by giving them passes that lead to entries into the zone.” Source

I don’t agree with the quote, nor do the numbers, but do think there are defensemen on the team who do get the party started. Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Matt Benning—who coincidentally had the most HDSCs last night—would seem to fit the bill more closely than Russell.

For me, the advantage Russell has over someone like Mark Fayne is his speed. Allows him to be aggressive at the blue line defending sorties and then scoot back to retrieve the puck and make a play. I do not see what Mr. Chiarelli sees and the math of the situation runs counter to the statement.

And that leads us to this question: What, exactly, is Peter Chiarelli looking at? Kris Russell is fast, he blocks shots and even when things go wrong he is fast and he blocks shots.

chia-trades

YOU BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN

You believe in what you believe in, and at some point that truth is baked in. Let me give you an example: Back in my radio advertising days, much of my competition came from newspapers. The world has changed now, but at that time, if I wanted a bigger piece of the ad buy, I would have to find a way to convince my client to buy a smaller ad in the local paper(s)—or to go B&W.

What I found was this: If my station advertised a remote and it did not go well, my radio station took the hit—even if newspaper was also involved. The client would blame me because, in his view, not enough people were listening to my station. However, if he advertised the same remote in the newspaper? In his view, that meant no one wanted to buy his product that day.

You see what happened there? Because he read the newspaper, his assumption was everyone read the newspaper, and simply passed on buying his product on that day. But radio? Oh, you don’t have enough listeners! I argued against that for 20 years, and had the facts to back it up (radio advertising is the most targeted and immediate avenue—spend money on radio!), but my client (some of them) saw the world just that way.

Peter Chiarelli sees the world through a lens that believes Kris Russell can do all kinds of things with or without the puck. He probably has his own internal math that backs it up. I don’t doubt his sincerity, any more than I doubted the sincerity of my client years ago. I do doubt his being correct, though, and it could take one astounding contract to find out who is right.

  • Note: I do not hate Kris Russell. I like him fine, just as I believe Mark Fayne is a good NHL defenseman. If you are coming here to troll about KR, move along please and thanks. This is a conversation about re-signing Russell, not about burying him as an NHL defensive option.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

oilers-f-dec-6

  • Before we get to the numbers, the Nuge line had no HDSCs either way. Mike Peca running those notes across the piano has value, but Edmonton needs RNH to contribute to 5×5 offense.
  • Also, McDavid and HDSCs go together like sunshine and good times. My goodness.
  • Maroon—Nuge—Eberle owned the possession at 5×5, and two men (Eberle goal, Nuge assist) posted crooked numbers. Eberle was the best player on the line in my opinion, he and Nuge seem to be coming on now. Is Maroon the right LW? Need more danger in their offensive game.
  • Lucic—McDavid—Draisaitl/Caggiula were the heart of the order last night, posting all kinds of offense (Lucic goal, McDavid and Caggiula two assists, Leon goal). Fifteen shots on goal, my goodness this line is a nightmare no matter who plays RW. HDSCs: 7-2! I am worried about Leon’s hand injury, that looked like a nasty slash. Milan lost his mark on the Gionta goal, don’t really know if he or Fayne was more to blame.
  • Kassian—Caggiula—Puljujarvi did not really have much impact. I saw Kassian take a penalty, get loose after a puck hit the Oilers bench (and was called). I saw JP good in one shift and that was about it.
  • Hendricks—Letestu—Pitlick didn’t get much done together, but the veterans and Leon had some good touches during the game. Hendricks was the culprit on another big goal against, the Oilers are losing games here and that would be important if the playoffs were the goal.
  • Frankly, the third and fourth line kind of disintegrated last night, as McLellan hit shuffle on the CD player.
  • Drake Caggiula is a fine young player.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi is going to need more playing time if the team plans on keeping him here.

simpson williams 1

Dillon Simpson photo by Mark Williams. All rights reserved

INJURIES

Mark Fayne left the game early, Leon Draisaitl played after a vicious slash, and we are here. The IR already contains Brandon Davidson (who could be back soon), Darnell Nurse, Andrew Ference, Eric Gryba and Iiro Pakarinen. We might see Dillon Simpson making his NHL debut tomorrow night in Philadelphia. If Leon can’t go Thursday, we should expect a recall (probably Lander) today.

KAILER YAMAMOTO

I promise not to write a 2017 Top 30 ranking post until January, but do have to start getting to know some of these young prospects. Today, I am looking at a cross between Jordan Eberle and Johnny Gaudreau—named Kailer Yamamoto. He comes from Spokane—that valley area is one of my favorite places—and he also plays for the Chiefs.

  • RW
  • 5.09, 160
  • Boxcars: 21, 17-14-31
  • NHLE: 82, 18-15-33
  • Hannah Stuart wrote an interesting article on Yamamoto here.
  • He has a diary up at NHL.com, fascinating read and a connection to Tyler Johnson.
  • Chris Dilks: Yamamoto doesn’t have the same size as some of the other top prospects, but it doesn’t matter because he’s just a true hockey player. He’s fast, but more important is how he uses that speed. He’s not afraid to go into tough areas to fight for pucks or angle off defenders to get himself into position to make a play. He’s a high-effort, high-energy player. Source

Greg Chase scored his first goal of the season last night against San Diego, and hopefully he can build on it and score more playing time. This is an important season for Chase, as he spent more of his first pro season with Norfolk of the ECHL. He scored well there (43, 18-19-37, NHLE 82, 8-8-16) and in an AHL audition (19, 1-6-7, NHLE 82, 2-12-14) in 2015-16. He is now 11, 1-1-2 this year and needs to get into the everyday lineup and move up that depth chart. The Condors have a condo of  AHL veterans and a bunch of college forwards, too. Hopefully Chase gets a chance, he is a Chiarelli type player and should be able to prove it with playing time. Ben Betker also scored his first AHL goal in an OT loss last night (like parent, like farm team).

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

It is a still fluid guest list for the Lowdown this morning, we get rolling at 10 on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Breakdown of last night’s game and Oilers playoff chances.
  • Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report. David Pastrnak has arrived.
  • Blue Jays, Oilers prospects, Raptors all possible just waiting on confirm.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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140 Responses to "WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM"

  1. sliderule says:

    The one statistic for defencemen that I never see is allowed shots on goal per 60.

    It would also interest me as to what percentage of total Corsi against actually hit the net

    It would seem to me if you are a great defender you would not allow many by good positioning and skill.

  2. Pescador says:

    **KRIS RUSSEL**
    Peter Chiarelli: “Because he puts them into position to shoot by giving them passes that lead to entries into the zone.” Source

    Pescador “he puts them in a position to shoot by giving them easy entries into our zone”
    No Souce

  3. Hockey Project says:

    Life as Herb Tarlek isn’t always easy, LT.

  4. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    The one statistic for defencemen that I never see is allowed shots on goalper 60.

    It would also interest me as to what percentage of total Corsi against actually hit the net

    It would seem to me if you are a great defender you would not allow many by good positioning and skill.

    Shots against on goal, per 60 (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis)

    1. Sekera 27.99
    2. Klefbom 28.40
    3. Benning 28.46
    4. Russell 29.49
    5. Gryba 29.52
    6. Larsson 30.24
    7. Nurse 32.11

  5. Aitch says:

    I spent another night watching Russell even when the puck wasn’t on his stick. As good as I saw him against the Wild on Sunday night, he looked equally as bad last night. But with Davidson, Nurse, Gryba and now Fayne out, we’re going to have to hope against hope that whatever he brings to the table in a positive fashion suddenly becomes his forte over the next little while. We need the “saw him good” Russell.

    I wonder sometimes if his foot speed isn’t working against him on Corsi? Is it possible that players get into the zone against him, but then he closes a little on them and they think, “eh, might as well shoot, not getting around him.” I know that mentality happens sometimes. I know I do it against those dmen in my beer league that I can’t outskate. Just throw it on net and hope for the best. (Yes, I’m grasping at straws, but there has to be something that explains the difference in what we see most nights and the numbers afterwards.)

  6. Woogie63 says:

    Re: Russell

    Over my career I have signed 100’s of deals I wished were better, but at the time “that” was the best deal I could get done.

    The collective of Larsson, Russell, Sekera, Benning, Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson, Fayne, Gryba might be the best group of dman we have had since Slats ran the team.

  7. TO10801 says:

    JP NEEDS to go down to the AHL now. That line had nothing going all night. Also, we are currently a one-line team with a good PP. I have no clue what TMac can do, but a good place to start may be:

    Lucic-McDavid-Caggiula
    Nuge-Drai-Eberle
    Maroon-Lestestu-Kassian
    Poo-Lander-Pitlick

    Line 1 will produce because McDavid. Line 3 has shown they can dominate the cycle game, and it gives the 2nd line the most amount of skill. That 2line needs to get going at 5×5.

  8. Fog of Warts says:

    I argued against that for 20 years, and had the facts to back it up (radio advertising is the most targeted and immediate avenue—spend money on radio!), but my client (some of them) saw the world just that way.

    I’m making a list, and appending onto it twice a day.

    My list concerns abuses of certain small, innocuous, potent words such as “just” and “only” (and many others of the same kind, who shall remain nameless, for present purposes).

    Truth: A man who has his eyes peeled rarely fails to hear footsteps.

    I heard them coming, like buffaloes on the prairie, only they turned aside into a different room. For a cup of tea.

    I argued against that for 20 years, and had the facts to back it up … but my client (some of them) just saw the world that way.

    19 blockheads out of 20 would have dropped the j-bomb through door number one.

    It’s a small thing, yet a big thing. Perhaps I’m keeping the right company, after all.

    ———

    The other night we watched Husbands and Wives in which Woody Allen has Mia Farrow express passive-aggressive relationship discontent exactly as he wrote it and under his oversight and direction (while all and sundry in the script go dizzy over younger and less embittered models).

    Sometimes it’s the smallest nuance that distinguishes the BFF from the FBF—that fucking bastard.

    Other times, it’s epic beyond all belief, and you can’t even find a word for it, so you just say “Woody Allen”.

  9. jm363561 says:

    Lander – Letestu – Pitlick were an excellent fourth line. So how is the PK going these days Todd? Face offs – possible room for improvement might we agree? As President of the Anton Lander Appreciation Society (ALAS) do I really need to state the bleeding obvious?

    How did Caggiula suddenly appear on the McD RW? In all fairness he played pretty well but the guy was a college LW, had played a few games at C and Bam, he miraculously appears on the top line RW. Todd, we really need to talk – it’s not me, it’s you!

  10. Durag says:

    Our starter is clearly fatigued and our coach clearly doesn’t trust the backup enough to spell the starter. With Brossoit and Ellis both playing well on the farm, are we looking at a recall soon?

  11. TO10801 says:

    Talbot with a .901 Sv% since the schedule turned to November. That is the reason we needed a strong backup. I trust Cam will turn it around, but holy hell he needs to get it figured out and in a real hurry.

  12. JDï™ says:

    Hockey Project:
    Life as Herb Tarlek isn’t always easy, LT.

    It is if you know where to buy a white men’s belt.

  13. Frank the dog says:

    As per my post last night:
    1) The Oilers did a lot better than they did against the Sabres last game at home; from a home 6-2 lossa to an away 4-3 OT loss after leading up to the last minute of the game.
    2) This years team did not do as well as last years team against the Sabres.

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    jm363561:
    Lander – Letestu – Pitlick were an excellent fourth line. So how is the PK going these days Todd? Face offs – possible room for improvement might we agree? As President of the Anton Lander Appreciation Society (ALAS) do I really need to state the bleeding obvious?

    ALAS is a contender for Acronym of the Year. Very nicely done, & with the facts in your corner.

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

    TO10801,

    I don’t like piling on but I agree with this wholeheartedly. Granted there have been a couple of games that Cam has stolen for the Oil (particularly in the early parts) I haven’t been seeing him good lately.

    Last night was case in point. That first goal against cannot go in. A snap shot from a player holding the puck on the half-wall for about 5 seconds before shooting. Man Kane didn’t just dust the puck off before shooting he spit shined it.

    Ditto with the tying goal, though I’ll admit O’Reilly has a good shot but the same exact thing. Cam was over, he was set, he was staring straight at him and got beat under the arm (and yes I blame Russell for failing to tie up Kane’s stick) but my point is that shot shouldn’t have made it through.

    Now i know this seems somewhat unfair but I’ve got Cam in one of my hockey pools and I can tell you that as great as he was helping me out during October its games like last night (4 against and an .847 save percentage) that have nuked my goalie stats for the last month.

    Brutal schedule, too much playing time and twins back at home.

    Give the guy a rest TMac, trust Gus because honestly aside from that one slippery game against the Kings or Ducks can’t remember I haven’t exactly seen him bad (questionable poke check against Minny aside). This isn’t a fatally flawed goaler, I think he could handle a couple more starts and it would give Cam some rest before we hit the ugly month of March where they play every 2nd day through the month.

    End Rant

  16. PhrankLee says:

    We wouldn’t have been in that game if Buffalo hadn’t given us the most disappointing PP goal in recent memory.

    It was weird and I felt conflicted with joy that we had scored and aghast at the wholly unnecessary pass attempts through the middle.

    That was no PP. That was the utter demise of PK on Buffalo.

    Sheesh.

  17. russ99 says:

    I hope Todd has gotten all his crazy line shuffling out of his system, it’s past time to stop reworking things constantly and stick with what works. Take a cue from Arsene Wenger, no changes for reasons other than injury or fatigue.

    Giving up a two goal lead is no reason to mess with line cohesion, and Draisaitl has show in the powerplay that he can score consistently with McDavid.

    If we’re short a center, bring up Lander.

  18. Bruce Wayne says:

    There are so many things wrong with Chiarelli’s quote it is hard to know where to begin.

    First, the data might be, could be, probably is, wrong. In any case, when other people have tracked this very thing Russell has not shown to be particularly good at this skill.

    Second, even if the data is correct, it is bad social science. The quote presumes that conclusions are drawn on the basis of data. That is incorrect, no conclusion can ever be drawn from data. Rather, conclusions are drawn from theory, which the data either supports or does not support. The theory always comes first. [The reason for this is that for any collection of data it is always possible that more than one interpretation [i.e. theory] will fit the data, hence there is no way for data to sort out between competing interpretations].

    Chiarelli has no real theory here, and because he has no theory, he has no criteria for distinguishing between what data is relevant and what data is not, and because he has no criteria for distinguishing between what data is relevant and what data is not, he chooses to believe the data that fits the view he already has. This is bad social science. I believe Chiarelli is a smart man, but he has never been taught how to think.

    Which is just another way of saying “you believe what you believe,” with the added provision that this condition is neither necessary nor universal. Learning to think is something that can be taught.

  19. dustrock says:

    I am having a hard time as an Oilers fan right now, after losing twice to the Leafs *spits*, Yotes and Sabres.

    I want to believe in McLellan and it seems like the team is heading in the right direction, but I don’t understand the following:

    (1) Usage of Puljujarvi. I’ve wanted him in the AHL since we drafted him and I don’t see the point of playing him 7 minutes per game.

    (2) Not using home line matchups. He pretty much rolls his lines.

    (3) Rolling his D pairings evenly. I would prefer playing Klefbom-Larsson more, to be honest.

    (4) Russell-Larsson seemed like a bad idea at the time and nothing has changed anyone’s mind on that.

    (5) Playing guys like Hendricks. I love Matt, but he’s molasses now. Especially when quicker wingers like Slepyshev and Pitlick help the overall team speed.

    I honestly don’t know what game I’m watching anymore when I see the media going out of their way to praise Kris Russell. I really don’t, I don’t understand. Spector had an article PRAISING RUSSELL’s PDO as being the highest on the team and the 10th highest in the NHL!

    According to Spector (and please god, tell me this isn’t what Chiarelli is thinking), Russell has a high PDO because he has the highest save percentage on the team, because he gives up the lowest quality shots.

    Talk about getting it bass ackwards.

    I worry about the contracts for our young players, and foresee Chia signing Russell to 4 years at $4m per. Then I see Eberle and RNH being shipped out for more coke machines.

    I”m at the lowest amount of trust in Chiarelli and McLellan that I’ve ever had.

  20. jake70 says:

    In the last 36 days, since Nov1 the Oilers:

    -have played 19 games
    -have crossed time zones 7 times (twice to the eastern TZ)

    Wonder if they are not going on fumes at this point. The TZ changes are killer more than distance traveled I believe.

  21. PhrankLee says:

    jake70,

    I’m pretty sure the Oilers have one of the more favorable travel schedules in the NHL this year.

  22. russ99 says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    There are so many things wrong with Chiarelli’s quote it is hard to know where to begin.

    First, the data might be, could be, probably is, wrong.In any case, when other people have tracked this very thing Russell has not shown to be particularly good at this skill.

    Second, even if the data is correct, it is bad social science.The quote presumes that conclusions are drawn on the basis of data.That is incorrect, no conclusion can ever be drawn from data.Rather, conclusions are drawn from theory, which the data either supports or does not support.The theory always comes first. [The reason for this is that for any collection of data it is always possible that more than one interpretation [i.e. theory] will fit the data, hence there is no way for data to sort out between competing interpretations].

    Chiarelli has no real theory here, and because he has no theory, he has no criteria for distinguishing between what data is relevant and what data is not, and because he has no criteria for distinguishing between what data is relevant and what data is not, he chooses to believe the data that fits the view he already has.This is bad social science.I believe Chiarelli is a smart man, but he has never been taught how to think.

    Which is just another way of saying “you believe what you believe,” with the added provision that this condition is neither necessary nor universal.Learning to think is something that can be taught.

    You don’t know what data he’s using, so this is speculation.

    Posters on this site overvalue Corsi, and it’s obvious he’s not using shot-based metrics to determine this.

    This just becomes one of those “your data is better than my data” arguments, which frankly is a big turn off for those who are on the fence about the value of fancystats.

    It would be a better tack to come up with mathematical proof he’s wrong,

  23. Bag of Pucks says:

    Radio and print fighting it out while online leaves them both in the dust. Time waits for no one.

    I think TMac’s two primary issues are A) injuries to the D core & B) the underwhelming production of RNH, Pouliot, Eberle

    The team simply doesn’t have the depth yet to replace an injured Davidson and Nurse. So the HC fills cracks in one part of the foundation while it starts to sink elsewhere. It’s a work in progress, and as much as we might be inclined to moan about KR, having him is better than not having him for now imo.

    This team was counting on its veteran, big money skill players to feast on the softer comps that McDavid’s cover would provide, and it ain’t happening. RNH and Pouliot in particular are having the kind of seasons that kill a career and they need to turn it around asap. Eberle underwhelmed alongside Connor and that was likely unexpected by the org as well. When he looked at his whiteboard in the offseason, I guarantee TMac thought they’d done enough to guarantee production from the Top 6 and the bulk of his time would be spent mentoring and mixing the rooks into the Bottom 6. Instead, MacLellan is in full on blender mode trying desperately to find the consistent production recipe across all 4 lines.

    In short, Nuge is the flashpoint. He needs to step up and provide MacLellan with a viable and consistently producing second line. It’s kind of what’s expected for $6 mil per.

    If Chia would’ve sweetened the deal for Seth Jones with RNH AND Yak? Our Top 6 might be zooming right now.

  24. TO10801 says:

    jake70,

    Yeah I agree. It has been an extremely bust stretch, but that is also why you need to be able to trust your backup. I would give Gus the Philly and Winnipeg games just to give Cam a break. He looks like he might need it.

  25. dustrock says:

    PhrankLee:
    jake70,

    I’m pretty sure the Oilers have one of the more favorable travel schedules in the NHL this year.

    They haven’t had many back-to-backs, but in the last 1.5 months it’s been rare that they’ve had more than 1 day off inbetween games.

    I can see fatigue being a factor for sure.

    After this week, things start to get more spaced out I believe.

  26. Sevenseven says:

    I’d like to see Davidson/Benning as a pairing. Both seem to have great numbers no matter who they are paired with.

  27. frjohnk says:

    Chia either does not understand advanced stats well or the guys working for him to suss out the info dont understand it correctly

    SPORTLOGiQ ‏@SPORTLOGiQ Feb 29
    Kris Russell was 2nd on the #Flames in controlled carry outs with 2.8/20 mins, and 1st in overall DZ exits at 19.2/20. #Stars

    SPORTLOGiQ ‏@SPORTLOGiQ Feb 29
    While part of the reason Russell has so many DZ exits is he’s stuck there too much, he does exit the zone well, could be useful

    We dont know the stats of other Dmen so Russell “could” have been 2nd in the league in last year in offensive passes to the offensive zone but at least here we have some context. He was ( and still is) stuck in his own zone way too much.

    But then
    Andrew Berkshire
    📎 Verified account He definitely did not get 2nd in the league from SL ( this is in regards to Kris Russell)

    So Chia either read or understood the info incorrectly that Russell was 2nd in the league last year

    If we look at the work Dimitri Filipovic did last playoffs looking at zone exits by Dmen ,https://public.tableau.com/profile/sean.tierney#!/vizhome/Zoneexits/Dashboard1Russell does not get a very good review

    Russell’s 40.9 per cent exit rate with possession was 70th of 92 qualified defencemen (min. five games) this post-season. The 13.3% of the time he failed to get the puck out of his zone on a clearing attempt was the 10th-highest rate amongst his 91 peers.

    He was arguably even more futile at defending entries, as the ugly habits he’d become known for during his time with the Flames continued.

    I can’t specifically speak to the intel Nill was receiving, but from the outside it sure seems like he was sold a bill of goods.
    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/kris-russell-defying-analytics-critics/

    And then if we look at the work WheatnOil is doing https://twitter.com/WheatNOil/status/806350565017985024 Russell is basically average on the Oilers with zone exits.

    We should also note that “zone exits” are really a microstat in the overall picture of advanced stats, so even if Russell is good/elite ( numbers say average) at it, he must be worse at other defensive abilities/metrics to continually “drag” his teammates down in metrics such as corsi, scoring chances etc. Russell also continues to seem to have the ice tilted towards the Oilers end more heavily than the majority of Oilers Dmen in advanced stats such as corsi, shots and scoring chances.

    Chia could also just be sticking up for his guy as Russell has taken a bunch of flak because “he is bleeding shots against” and nothing wrong about that but if he really believes Russell is elite, and is looking to sign him to a top 4 UFA contract, we are in trouble.

  28. anjinsan says:

    LT,
    Yesterday was a painful game. Lousy call on Larsson at the end. But KR should not have been on the ice at the end and in OT. Bad on McLellan.

    Chiarelli signed KR under pressure to do something. KR’s not really a 2nd pairing; he’s not a right shot; he’s not a play hard and heavy Bruin type. I love they guy’s heart and speed and reasonable skill, but he’s not what the Oilers needed and need.

    Schultz is 3-8-11 +13 in 28 games and 17 minutes/game.
    Hall is 7-10-17 +0 in 17 games and 20:37/game.
    Dubnyk 10-6-3 with 1.63 GAA and .946 save %.

    Improvement has been made for sure, but errors and costs have been painful.

  29. Pescador says:

    Aitch wrote;
    but there has to be something that explains the difference in what we see most nights and the numbers afterwards.
    The money quote, how much money we shall see.
    How much is to much for a very good third pairing veteran dman?? (credit: Woodguy)
    We have witnessed Chiarelli sign players to both value (Davidson,Klefbom?) & bloated contracts (Lucic).
    I believe Kris Russell will be resigned, I also believe Chia will offer a 2 year deal at a reasonable number. $3.75million seems to fit. Pulled directly from ass

  30. frjohnk says:

    Pescador: $3.75million seems to fit. Pulled directly from ass

    Impressive.
    I think.

  31. PhrankLee says:

    Pescador: How much is to much for a very good third pairing veteran dman?? (credit: Woodguy)

    Ask Fayne!

    (ducks)

  32. OmJo says:

    TO10801:
    Talbot with a .901 Sv% since the schedule turned to November. That is the reason we needed a strong backup. I trust Cam will turn it around, but holy hell he needs to get it figured out and in a real hurry.

    I think he just needs a break. I don’t have the numbers to back this up, but I think he’s just playing too many games in a row this season. He leads the league in GP and total TOI. Gustavsson has started 3 games this season. 3.

    I agree that we need a strong backup though. It would force us to play the backup more. I haven’t seen Gustavsson terrible however. A very small sample size but he’s played like a decent backup.

  33. JustWatt says:

    I haven’t seen it mentioned (haven’t read every comment either, so forgive if this is a repost) but this seems a pretty heavy stretch of games. Just finished a 3 in 4 nights turn and immediately started another 3 in 4 span with only one day’s rest and flying to the East Coast. This has got to be a tired team on some level. They looked it in the first for sure. I’m more happy with the comeback then I am with the slow start because I didn’t find that too surprising.

  34. Confused says:

    Cam is tired, too much hockey, needs a break.
    But TMac does not trust the monster.

    Something is going to break!

  35. Woogie63 says:

    IMO here is what the coach knows at this point of the year.

    1. We are in the play-offs
    2. A few line combinations have emerged
    3. We are getting quality goaltending from both men.

    I would begin to play the following combos more often

    Line 1 – Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl
    Line 2- XXXX- RNH – Eberle
    Line 3 – Maroon – Letestu – Kassian
    Line 4 – Slepyshev – XXX- Pitlick

    D1 – Klef – Larsson
    D2 – Sekera- Russell
    D3 – Nurse – Benning

    G1 – Talbot
    G2 – Monster

    That is two open spaces up for grabs and some good veteran options to play those minutes

  36. frjohnk says:

    Bruce Wayne, hold on to you gotch.

    Digging a bit more.

    From Andrew Bershire.

    Here is the list of the top 10 Dmen in zone exits and zone entries from last year.
    Karlsson, Mike Green, Letang, Adam Larsson, Fowler, Rielly, Pietrangelo, Klingberg, Josi.

    Yup, our Adam Larsson.

    If Im piecing the puzzle together correctly, it seems like Chia values the advanced microsstat zone exits by Dmen quite a bit.

    But without the proper context, every advanced stat can be understood incorrectly. Larsson had the most extreme zone defensive zone starts in the league last year, so he was in his zone way more than other Dmen. So he would have more chances per 60 to get the puck out compared to other Dmen. So his zone exit numbers were pumped up because of this.

    This year, he does not have the extreme zone starts with the Oilers, and his numbers are below average on the Oilers. https://twitter.com/WheatNOil

    It should be noted, Im just speculating, but If Chia used some advanced stats in that trade and this was one of them, oh boy.

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

    Bag of Pucks,

    Agreed but I think we can start removing Eberle from that list. He’s on pace for 62 points this year which is right about average, and is one goal away from closing in on his career high. I agree without reservation that he is streaky but we’ve always known that.

    Nugey is the one in the crosshairs I totally agree but I think the last few games have been encouraging, he’s picked up a few points and seems to be involved in offensive sorties a bit more. I’d like to see him a bit more confident on the PP (where I believe Eberle is getting stronger) so hopefully he keeps trending up.

    dustrock,

    I agree but I also think we have to keep in mind that this is in some ways a development year for a lot of players on the team. Now I know that doesn’t give a coach carte blanche to constantly fiddle with lineups and what not but I think there is a method behind the madness. These guys are trying to figure out who is gonna be here long term, how much seasoning they are going to need and how their respective skill sets fit into the lineup.

    I’m with everyone on this blog in believing that they shouldn’t intentionally kibosh the position they are in right now by monkeying around but at the same time things haven’t exactly gone off the rails and there have been an awful lot of injuries to the backend already as well as several key veterans underperforming expectations.

    I have a feeling there is going to be a culling of the herd at some point in the near future. Does it come before the holiday trade freeze I don’t know but I think several guys have their days numbered and its an exercise of finding out if there is an internal replacement for them or if throwing a line into the player sea is the better option.

    I know this sounds like an excuse for a lot of bizarre roster decisions but this is just me trying to think through them and see if there is a rational reason to why it seem stop happen every 2 or 3 starts.

  38. sliderule says:

    Lowetide: Shots against on goal, per 60 (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis)

    1. Sekera 27.99
    2. Klefbom 28.40
    3. Benning 28.46
    4. Russell 29.49
    5. Gryba 29.52
    6. Larsson 30.24
    7. Nurse 32.11

    Thanks LT
    This kind of agrees with my eye test.
    Russell probably looks pretty good in not allowing a lot of sog by percentage of Corsi considering how many shots he blocks.

  39. gvsbdisco says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    Bruce.
    Not to nit pick, BUT, your criticism is rooted in a positivist research perspective. Other approaches suggest you can in fact generate theory from the data (see grounded theory).

  40. stephen sheps says:

    LT, is today’s title your most clandestine Neil Young reference yet ?

    for those that don’t know, Neil soundtracked the Bill Murray-as-Hunter S Thompson film ‘Where the Buffalo Roam’, which included this version of Home on the Range

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDV6rD7UCg8

    Didn’t watch the game last night, so I have nothing of note to add to the conversation today. Please carry on.

  41. Bruce Wayne says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    I believe RNH is playing the toughest competition amongst the centers on the team. In any case he is not getting soft minutes.

  42. JimmyV1965 says:

    I’m really feeling conflicted as an Oiler fan right now. I have zero confidence in the GM and coaching staff. I really question the decision to keep JP and the Drake up here. It really tells me the team still has no idea how to develop players. More than that though, I actually had more hope and more fun cheering for the team last year. I actually thought we were in the playoff hunt until February, until we got smoked by the Habs and Islanders in one week. But I cheered so much and I was happy because our defence was so bad that it should have been easily improved. Now our defence is okay but still not playoff good, our secondary scoring is really blah and we no longer have trade chips to make improvements.

  43. Bruce Wayne says:

    gvsbdisco:
    Bruce Wayne,

    Bruce.
    Not to nit pick, BUT, your criticism is rooted in a positivist research perspective.Other approaches suggest you can in fact generate theory from the data (see grounded theory).

    This is cool nit pick. I also like the image it produces in my head of Chiarelli sitting at his desk, parsing the qualitative data in order to generate theory. Yeah, I’m sure that is what is happening here.

  44. Bruce Wayne says:

    russ99: You don’t know what data he’s using, so this is speculation.

    Posters on this site overvalue Corsi, and it’s obvious he’s not using shot-based metrics to determine this.

    This just becomes one of those“your data is better than my data” arguments, which frankly is a big turn off for those who are on the fence about the value of fancystats.

    It would be a better tack to come up with mathematical proof he’s wrong,

    I’m not at all saying my data is better than his data. I’m saying I have a theory and he doesn’t, and because he doesn’t have a theory*, his data is just random numbers.

    *I’m sure he will say things that sound like theory, but like the numbers, the words are meaningless because they aren’t grounded in anything. To turn what Chiarelli says into a theory you need to have a relationship between the independent and dependent variable (a correlation) and identify a mechanism (to attribute causation). Chiarelli has none of that, which is why he doesn’t notice that Russell does not, in fact, make passes that lead to better shots.

  45. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bruce Wayne: I’m not at all saying my data is better than his data.I’m saying I have a theory and he doesn’t, and because he doesn’t have a theory*, his data is just random numbers.

    *I’m sure he will say things that sound like theory, but like the numbers, the words are meaningless because they aren’t grounded in anything.To turn what Chiarelli says into a theory you need to have a relationship between the independent and dependent variable (a correlation) and identify a mechanism (to attribute causation).Chiarelli has none of that, which is why he doesn’t notice that Russell does not, in fact, make passes that lead to better shots.

    This all pure speculation on your part propped up by bias.

    You have no demonstrable data on what Chia does or not factor into his decision process.

  46. LadiesloveSmid says:

    I don’t mind Russell if he isn’t an everyday player.

    McLellan’s deployment of him makes him steaming hot garbage to me. There are better combinations with this D.

  47. Bruce Wayne says:

    frjohnk,

    Yesterday, LT made the observation that Larsson was becoming an off the glass and out kind of player. Well, while watching the game last night I saw an Oilers defenseman make an entirely unnecessary (he wasn’t under pressure) off the glass and out pass that went down the ice for an icing. I rewound it back and sure enough it was Larsson. After that I watched him more closely and I don’t think I saw him make a single pass out of the zone. He either banked it off the class, flipped it high into the neutral zone, or passed to Russell.

    Why this is happening I have no idea, but I don’t like it.

    Hall was awesome last night, by the way. Dominant.

  48. meanashell11 says:

    I am surprised no one has mentioned the line up iced after the time out when the Sabres scored to tie it. Four forwards and a D. The TV guys were talking about it non-stop and then boom, goal….. Bad decision by TMac.

  49. Bar_Qu says:

    I think the challenge with Russel isn’t so much that people were against him to start with, but that there seems to be a managerial blindness to his shortcomings as a defenseman (not just in Edmonton either). It leaves a fan nowhere to go but full astonishment when he is played as a 1-3 D rather than a 5-7. Call it the Justin Schultz effect (corollary to the Jack Johnson phenomenon).

  50. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    Bag of Pucks,

    I believe RNH is playing the toughest competition amongst the centers on the team.In any case he is not getting soft minutes.

    Corsica shows McDavid playing the toughest comps by a hair now. Would imagine this number goes up in McDavid’s favour when the team’s on the road and down in Nuge’s favour when they’re home and the Oil have last change. Favour probably not the best word to describe drawing the tougher matchup.

    That said, TMac rolls his lines so these QoC comparisons aren’t nearly as drastic as they would be with someone like say, Quenneville.

    Any way you slice it, RNH has to make more hay with the mins and comps he’s given.

  51. Bruce Wayne says:

    Bag of Pucks: This all pure speculation on your part propped up by bias.

    You have no demonstrable data on what Chia does or not factor into his decision process.

    We have his words. He explains what he is thinking all the time. Indeed, this very conversation is prompted by him explaining himself.

    I don’t think you know what the word speculation means. Perhaps, you meant to say I am interpreting. This is true. But the relativistic skepticism of your comment should not be applied to interpretations. To say that something is an interpretation does not imply that we cannot evaluate it rationally. My interpretation is the correct one. If you do not agree provide a rational argument that it is incorrect. Saying we do not know is not a rational argument.

  52. fifthcartel says:

    Matt Benning keeps looking really good out there.

  53. Bank Shot says:

    Bag of Pucks: Corsica shows McDavid playing the toughest comps by a hair now. Would imagine this number goes up in McDavid’s favour when the team’s on the road and down in Nuge’s favour when they’re home and the Oil have last change.

    That said, TMac rolls his lines so these QoC comparisons aren’t nearly as drastic as they would be with someone like say, Quenneville.

    Any way you slice it, RNH has to make more hay with the mins and comps he’s given.

    Do you think he can?

    He’s on his 6th season, and I think we are basically seeing a finished product offensively.

    If the Oilers management is really viewing this season as a development year as some believe, they should glue RNH to McDavid and Draisaitl on the heavy lifting line.

    Pump RNH’s value and keep Draisaitl’s next contract low.

  54. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bruce Wayne: We have his words.He explains what he is thinking all the time.Indeed, this very conversation is prompted by him explaining himself.

    I don’t think you know what the word speculation means.Perhaps, you meant to say I am interpreting.This is true.But the relativistic skepticism of your comment should not be applied to interpretations.To say that something is an interpretation does not imply that we cannot evaluate it rationally.My interpretation is the correct one.If you do not agree provide a rational argument that it is incorrect.Saying we do not know is not a rational argument.

    No GM worth his salt is going to reveal his decision process and methodology in full to the public and thus the competition.

    Particularly with a considered and close to the vest GM like Chiarelli, it’s fool’s gold to parse the small snippets offered up for public consumption in the belief that you can thus perform what essentially amounts to a performance review. The only meaningful data you can judge him on is his actions in terms of procurement, roster and cap management. In other words, if he throws a big money contract at KR, you’ve got the makings of a case.

    It is actually the epitome of rational thought to state that we can’t make declarative judgements based on data that is completely lacking in quality and context (i.e. what Chia really thinks when he makes a decision).

    You’re right though. Speculation is too kind a word to describe your ‘interpretations.’ Rhetoric is more applicable.

  55. kinger_OIL says:

    – One of the challenges in micro-examing a game, or a series of plays is that the randomness inherent in Hockey results is a challenge to appreciate.

    – Down 2-0 the Oil sucked, scoring 3 goals they were awesome, then they let in a goal in the last 51 seconds and they sucked, then they got scored on OT, and sucked more

    – More teams score goals in the last minute down 1 than you might think. There are 2,624 games of hockey played a year (I think!). Lots of randomness happens in those games.

    – Big picture, Edmonton has a 85.8% chance of making playoffs: deal with it: Sweat the small stuff sure, but in the context of reality:

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

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

    Bank Shot,

    So you put all of your centre’s on the same line? Who’s centring the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines now?

    Lander, Letestu and Cagguilla?

    I’m all for shaking things up but this seems like a really odd use of assets

  57. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bank Shot: Do you think he can?

    He’s on his 6th season, and I think we are basically seeing a finished product offensively.

    If the Oilers management is really viewing this season as a development year as some believe, they should glue RNH to McDavid and Draisaitl on the heavy lifting line.

    Pump RNH’s value and keep Draisaitl’s next contract low.

    I think we have to hope he can, because if he can’t generate meaningful offense with that contract, it becomes difficult to trade him for meaningful return.

  58. Dicky94 says:

    meanashell11,

    Agree 100%. The loss is on Todd but he blames it on a sluggish start. Which I also blame on him for messing with the lines. Leave well enough alone. The three games prior had all four lines playing quite well. I believe Todd is a very good coach but his stubbornness is costing them games.

  59. kinger_OIL says:

    Dicky94:
    meanashell11,

    Agree 100%. The loss is on Todd but he blames it on a sluggish start. Which I also blame on him for messing with the lines. Leave well enough alone. The three games prior had all four lines playing quite well. I believe Todd is a very good coach but his stubbornness is costing them games.

    – His coaching sucked in the beginning and the end, but in the middle he wasn’t stubborn?

  60. Jethro Tull says:

    Not hockey related, but you guys should check this out:

    NOT A WOLF@SICKOFWOLVES

    On the twitters.

  61. NF Oiler says:

    I know people don’t wanna hear it, but it’s time to bring Reinhardt up..defence has looked soft since nurse went down..Reinhardt did play solid at the end of the year last year and has been solid the last few weeks with the condors

  62. Bank Shot says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    Bank Shot,

    So you put all of your centre’s on the same line? Who’s centring the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines now?

    Lander, Letestu and Cagguilla?

    I’m all for shaking things up but this seems like a really odd use of assets

    No you put RNH and McDavid together and Draisaitl with the rest of the scrubs.

  63. Bag of Pucks says:

    What was the caramilk secret behind Dubie’s career resurrection?

    http://www.tsn.ca/career-salvation-for-dubnyk-did-not-come-easy-1.625716

    He says it was this:

    Dubnyk distinctly remembers after his third game of the 2014-15 season, a 6-5 win Nov. 2 at the Washington Capitals, that Burke took him aside and showed him a video that helped his positioning through more efficient movement.

    “He wanted me to beat the pass on my feet and be set. That was really it, it was pretty simple,” Dubnyk said.

    “It just sharpened everything up for me, that’s what got everything going for me.”

    Interesting article. Good on Dubnyk for turning it around. Wish it could’ve happened here.

  64. Oilin4 says:

    Here’s a problem with signing Russel longterm. You can’t trade Taylor Hall for 50 cents on the dollar (you might say 60 or 70 or 80, but at a discount) in part because “the righty-lefty thing is important on defense ” (Quote from Chiarelli press conference after Hall for Larson), and then sign Kris Russel as your longterm 2 RD. This is at best hypocritcal. At worst, you’ve already admitted you’re committing to a poor decision.

    Please note: Although I disagree with it I understand the logic of Russel as a stopgap solution in a season where he wasn’t able to fill the spot. I don’t see the logic longterm, using Chiarelli’s own words.

    Please note #2: Yes I realize this post just conflated probably the two most polarizing things in Oilers discussions: The Taylor Hall trade and Kris Russel’s merits.

  65. Ribs says:

    “You guys are nuts. Kris Russel is the best defenceman the NHL has ever seen. He’s gold! Every time he touches the puck his team scores ten goals. He’s second in zone entries and first in every teammate’s heart. He once stopped a bus from running over my dog by throwing out a shin pad. He’s everything you could ever ask for in a defenceman and possibly the very best human alive today! Of course he’s worth your first rounder at the deadline, fellow NHL GM!”

    *Chia Troll Face*

  66. JDï™ says:

    Bag of Pucks: Wish it could’ve happened here.

    Play the value out of the goalie, trade him for pennies on the dollar, and THEN fire the goalie coach.

    I haven’t clicked the link yet, but I believe it’s called Head Trajectory.

  67. Bag of Pucks says:

    JDï™: Play the value out of the goalie, trade him for pennies on the dollar, and THEN fire the goalie coach.

    I haven’t clicked the link yet, but I believe it’s called Head Trajectory.

    Yes, the article is not an endorsement of the Oil’s goaltender development process by any means. Seems clear the goaltending coaching in other orgs benefitted him greatly.

    But is interesting to read that Dubnyk confirms that he needed to fail before he could succeed. Doing so reset his mental outlook.

    I think we can all agree that he looked too tightly wound during his time as an Oiler starter, and the article confirms he simply wasn’t equipped to mentally handle that kind of pressure at the time.

  68. classict says:

    Bank Shot,

    I don’t think that would up RNH’s value at all. Any team trading for him wants to see that he’s playing strong at C, not picking up points on the wing of the best player in the league.

    Edit: Though I wouldn’t trade Nuge at all given the choice

  69. dustrock says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    frjohnk,

    Yesterday, LT made the observation that Larsson was becoming an off the glass and out kind of player.Well, while watching the game last night I saw an Oilers defenseman make an entirely unnecessary (he wasn’t under pressure) off the glass and out pass that went down the ice for an icing.I rewound it back and sure enough it was Larsson.After that I watched him more closely and I don’t think I saw him make a single pass out of the zone.He either banked it off the class, flipped it high into the neutral zone, or passed to Russell.

    Why this is happening I have no idea, but I don’t like it.

    Hall was awesome last night, by the way.Dominant.

    And Larsson wasn’t doing this the first few games. WheatNOil said it depends on the game, but certainly since Game 7, Larsson has been dumping the puck more.

    He either always passes to Klefbom/Russell, or lofts the puck.

    This is either intentional by T-Mac, or else Larsson has lost confidence.

    If only we had some MSM member who could ask about it.

  70. JDï™ says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    The year he posted a .920 (behind Schultz and Schultz), his GM questions whether or not he’s a bonafide starter in the league.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  71. Timeisnow says:

    meanashell11:
    I am surprised no one has mentioned the line up iced after the time out when the Sabres scored to tie it. Four forwards and a D. The TV guys were talking about it non-stop and then boom, goal….. Bad decision by TMac.

    This isn’t right when the Sabres tied the game up Oilers had 29-55-23, 2-4 on the ice. In OT
    they had 29,77-4 on the ice. It’s best to keep the facts straight

  72. Timeisnow says:

    JDï™:
    Bag of Pucks,

    The year he posted a .920 (behind Schultz and Schultz), his GM questions whether or not he’s a bonafide starter in the league.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    In my mind, this was the end for Dubbie and his confidence. When the GM says that about you, he purposely shattered you as a player. Not sure why he would do this other than the fact he had no idea how to handle his own players. Should have never been in that position to begin with.

  73. treevojo says:

    Timeisnow: This isn’t right when the Sabres tied the game up Oilers had 29-55-23, 2-4 on the ice. In OT
    they had 29,77-4 on the ice. It’s best to keep the facts straight

    I’m good with numbers.

    Common theme.

    29 & 4

    This loss is on them.

    Who needs to watch the game?

  74. meanashell11 says:

    Timeisnow,

    I was just going off of what the commentators said as they finished the time out??

  75. Bruce Wayne says:

    JDï™:
    Bag of Pucks,

    The year he posted a .920 (behind Schultz and Schultz), his GM questions whether or not he’s a bonafide starter in the league.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    This is a classic example of how the same people who will bend over backward to defend everything Chiarelli does, bend the other way to construct tortured narratives to blame MacTavish for the failings of others.

    It is a character type.

  76. Side says:

    Bruce Wayne: This is a classic example of how the same people who will bend over backward to defend everything Chiarelli does, bend the other way to construct tortured narratives to blame MacTavish for the failings of others.

    Who are these people exactly?

  77. Bag of Pucks says:

    JDï™:
    Bag of Pucks,

    The year he posted a .920 (behind Schultz and Schultz), his GM questions whether or not he’s a bonafide starter in the league.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    I wondered at the time if MacTavish thought going public with that would motivate Dubnyk? If he did, it’s clear it had the opposite effect, effectively cratering Doobie’s confidence and ending his time with the Oil.

    The strangest thing was it was a complete about face from how the club had handled Dubnyk historically. He was slow played and patiently graduated up the ranks at a snails pace. Even in that .920 season, he hadn’t been handed the #1 reins yet and Khabi tended to get the more difficult starts.

    What’s fascinating to me is it shows how much of the game for a goaltender is mental outlook and confidence. By the end of his time with the Oil, DD was slouching way back in his net. Now he’s 10ft tall and bulletproof. And from that article, he appears he had to get to the point where he had nothing left to lose before he could play well. Best of all, he had a modest regression after signing the big deal with Minny and has since rebounded, so he’s faced the pressure of being the starter, processed it, and is now thriving under the challenge. That’s amazing progress from the talented but tentative goalie he used to be.

  78. frjohnk says:

    RE: Duby
    I dont think the main issue was the GM opening his mouth.
    I dont think the mainissue was having kids

    The main issue was a new coach implementing a system the players could not adapt to which led to Duby left on an Island by himself trying to stop pucks.

    I dont have the numbers from war on ice anymore, but the Oilers were allowing something like 11 HD scoring chances a game in that first month. The average in the league was somewhere near high 7’s, low 8’s. After a month, Eakins disbanded the swarm and by the end of the year the Oilers settled somewhere around 9 per game.

    Alot of these chances were opposing forwards left alone in front. My belief is that Duby tried to compensate and failed thus leading to his confidence being shot, as everything he had known to make him successful was not working.

    Carey Price would have been fucked with the inablility of the Oilers Dman to comprehend and understand Eakins swarm.

    EDIT: And I do believe that Eakins “swarm” is not unlike what McLellan uses today.

  79. JDï™ says:

    Side: Who are these people exactly?

    ACME

    Apparently not

    Craig

    MacTavish

    Enthusiasts

  80. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bruce Wayne: This is a classic example of how the same people who will bend over backward to defend everything Chiarelli does, bend the other way to construct tortured narratives to blame MacTavish for the failings of others.

    It is a character type.

    I’m a died in the wool cynic so there’s definitely a risk of the whole kettle/black thing here, but you are a seriously negative individual.

    Honestly, try thinking the best of people for a while instead of the worst. You might be amazed at the results.

  81. JDï™ says:

    frjohnk: Carey Price would have been fucked with the inablility of the Oilers Dman to comprehend and understand Eakins swarm.

    Good point. I’ll never understand why Chiarelli stood by his bad coaching decision for so long.

  82. Chachi says:

    JDï™: Good point. I’ll never understand why Chiarelli stood by his bad coaching decision for so long.

    Obviously for the same reasons Chiarelli thought Petry needed to be “challenged” and ultimately moved out for nothing, that “if you have to ask the question” Dubnyk was a no-goodnyk and that Justin Schultz was a shoe-in to win the Norris. Man that Chiarelli is an incompetent!

  83. Side says:

    Bag of Pucks: I’m a died in the wool cynic so there’s definitely a risk of the whole kettle/black thing here, but you are a seriously negative individual.

    Honestly, try thinking the best of people for a while instead of the worst. You might be amazed at the results.

    I don’t think he was saying it to be totally negative, imo. Pretty sure he was saying it to try and convince people that he is above those character types. That he is unbiased and totally logical. That all of his theories are sound and that he knows all others are wrong. He’s pumping his own tires here.

    I think if CBWB spent more time trying to demonstrate how knowledgeable he is about topics, rather than trying to convince people that he is knowledgeable, the end product would be a lot less negative.

  84. russ99 says:

    I think we all can agree that the new previously successful and supposedly progressive coaching and management are being sticks in the mud over a number of issues.

    Maybe after only 28 games isn’t enough time to be really worried about it, but it is a concern.

  85. JDï™ says:

    russ99: but it is a concern.

    Agreed. In some respects, it’s as if the old regime never left!

  86. Chachi says:

    Side: I don’t think he was saying it to be totally negative, imo. Pretty sure he was saying it to try and convince people that he is above those character types. That he is unbiased and totally logical. That all of his theories are sound and that he knows all others are wrong. He’s pumping his own tires here.

    I think if CBWB spent more time trying to demonstrate how knowledgeable he is about topics, rather than trying to convince people that he is knowledgeable, the end product would be a lot less negative.

    In the alternative, contemptibly obnoxious is also a character type.

  87. Bag of Pucks says:

    Side: I don’t think he was saying it to be totally negative, imo. Pretty sure he was saying it to try and convince people that he is above those character types. That he is unbiased and totally logical. That all of his theories are sound and that he knows all others are wrong. He’s pumping his own tires here.

    I think if CBWB spent more time trying to demonstrate how knowledgeable he is about topics, rather than trying to convince people that he is knowledgeable, the end product would be a lot less negative.

    That’s a very positive spin on what sounds like textbook narcissism : )

    BW can and likely will ignore my suggestion. Completely his right. It’s just an observation that has served me well in life so I thought I’d share.

  88. su_dhillon says:

    Even if you see Russell good or have some numbers that show him as a top 4 player, in terms of asset allocation how does it make sense to sign him long term?

    You have 3 LD’s signed long term, Klef, Sekera and Nurse. You have a young cheap LD in Davidson signed for next year. You have needs at RD at 5×5 and on PP. Russell is not a good long term option for either of those holes.

    Why would you allocate money beyond this season on a 32 year old LD that doesn’t help you on PP when you have 4 LD’s already on roster?

    Beyond the GM’s understanding of analytics, who he sees good or doesn’t, what he should see is the best way to allocate money on defense. You have X amount of dollars to allocate and you have clear holes, why would you allocate more dollars on a player that doesn’t fill those holes and duplicates players you already have signed?

    Unless you are moving one of Nurse, Sekera or Klefbom there is no reason to sign Russel over a right shooting defenseman or if you do end up with a LS dman, they have to be a first PP player. Russell should be what he was this summer, a break in case of emergency signing, that is the only reason to sign him.

  89. vinotintazo says:

    Musil Recalled.

  90. Chachi says:

    su_dhillon:
    Even if you see Russell good or have some numbers that show him as a top 4 player, in terms of asset allocation how does it make sense to sign him long term?

    You have 3 LD’s signed long term, Klef, Sekera and Nurse. You have a young cheap LD in Davidson signed for next year. You have needs at RD at 5×5 and on PP. Russell is not a good long term option for either of those holes.

    Why would you allocate money beyond this season on a 32 year old LD that doesn’t help you on PP when you have 4 LD’s already on roster?

    Beyond the GM’s understanding of analytics, who he sees good or doesn’t,what he should see is the best way to allocate money on defense. You have X amount of dollars to allocate and you have clear holes, why would you allocate more dollars on a player that doesn’t fill those holes andduplicates players you already have signed?

    Unless you are moving one of Nurse, Sekera or Klefbom there is no reason to sign Russel over a right shooting defenseman or if you do end up with aLS dman, they have to be a first PP player. Russell should be what he was this summer, a break in case of emergency signing, that is the only reason to sign him.

    Other than the fact that Russell is 29 years old, not 32, everything about this post is exactly right.

  91. --hudson-- says:

    One question I have on zone exits/corsi/fancystats – what influence does the pass recipient have on the stats?

    – Like the play where Russell was trying to pass to Drake Caggiula but he’s not in position and the puck ends up hitting him in the butt creating a 2 on 1 for the Sabres.
    – Maybe this is why Larson is an off the glass and out player more often? The forwards are going for the stretch pass per their senses or the coaching staff direction.
    – And we all know the Connor McDavid influence, the most generic pass to him leads to an easy zone exit and often a shot on goal.

    Anyway, just curious, how you would suss out those stats. Is there a way to normalize Russell’s performance in his zone exits with say Klefbomb, to the same pass recipient with the same quality of opposition? Or would it all be rolled into corsi/fenwick/xGF and using WOWY?

  92. OmJo says:

    su_dhillon,

    On top ofc that, trading one of Klefbom, Nurse or Sekera to make room for Russell is just as bad. We have a plethora of LDs who can replace him by the trade deadline.

  93. Bag of Pucks says:

    su_dhillon:
    Even if you see Russell good or have some numbers that show him as a top 4 player, in terms of asset allocation how does it make sense to sign him long term?

    You have 3 LD’s signed long term, Klef, Sekera and Nurse. You have a young cheap LD in Davidson signed for next year. You have needs at RD at 5×5 and on PP. Russell is not a good long term option for either of those holes.

    Why would you allocate money beyond this season on a 32 year old LD that doesn’t help you on PP when you have 4 LD’s already on roster?

    Beyond the GM’s understanding of analytics, who he sees good or doesn’t,what he should see is the best way to allocate money on defense. You have X amount of dollars to allocate and you have clear holes, why would you allocate more dollars on a player that doesn’t fill those holes andduplicates players you already have signed?

    Unless you are moving one of Nurse, Sekera or Klefbom there is no reason to sign Russel over a right shooting defenseman or if you do end up with aLS dman, they have to be a first PP player. Russell should be what he was this summer, a break in case of emergency signing, that is the only reason to sign him.

    I think Chiarelli floating the possibility of a new contract and having initial talks along those lines keeps the player motivated and performing in the here and now too. Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

  94. --hudson-- says:

    su_dhillon,

    All good questions!

    I hope it’s Chiarelli defending the signing, trying to pump his trade value, or telling the other GM’s he’s not desperate for a RHD at premium value (even though he should be).

    I’m hoping it’s not Chiarelli convincing himself Russell is better than he is.

  95. OmJo says:

    Ribs:
    “You guys are nuts. Kris Russel is the best defenceman the NHL has ever seen. He’s gold! Every time he touches the puck his team scores ten goals. He’s second in zone entries and first in every teammate’s heart. He once stopped a bus from running over my dog by throwing out a shin pad. He’s everything you could ever ask for in a defenceman and possibly the very best human alive today! Of course he’s worth your first rounder at the deadline, fellow NHL GM!”

    *Chia Troll Face*

    He’s second in zone entries and first in every teammate’s heart.

    This line 😂

  96. leadfarmer says:

    Has a one year signing ever caused such controversy. People make it sound like Russell was traded for Hall and then given a 10 mil a year contract.

    It was a good signing. Provided a guy that can fill in on his off side for a year providing some shelter so Benning didn’t get thrown into the deep end and Gryba wasn’t playing each game. If we fall out of the playoff race you can flip him for a pick

  97. OmJo says:

    meanashell11:
    Timeisnow,

    I was just going off of what the commentators said as they finished the time out??

    Yup, I heard them mention it too but TMac changed it up.

  98. OmJo says:

    leadfarmer,

    The problem isn’t the signing. The problem is the blind praise the organisation and it’s mouth pieces in the media are giving him, with talks of that “one year signing” becoming longer.

    Plus he took Halls number. Not a good first impression.

  99. Mattaklap says:

    I’m late here (perils of living the PST and Island Time) but was wondering if anyone else checked out Wheatnoil’s twitter last night, especially regarding data on zone exits. I don’t have time to link anything (see above), but wanted to say that the part I liked most was the comparison of how different defenders clear the zone (passing skating chipping). I’m not very smart, but it looked useful, especially to those that love dreamy eyes and don’t love shot blocks.

    Good conversation today, all. I commend you.

  100. JDï™ says:

    OmJo: Plus he took Halls number.

    That was a Lowe blow alright.

  101. --hudson-- says:

    Mattaklap:
    I’m late here (perils of living the PST and Island Time) but was wondering if anyone else checked out Wheatnoil’s twitter last night, especially regarding data on zone exits. I don’t have time to link anything (see above), but wanted to say that the part I liked most was the comparison of how different defenders clear the zone (passing skating chipping). I’m not very smart, but it looked useful.

    Good conversation today, all. I commend you.

    I saw them, I hesitate to draw too much meaning from them, since I know a D passing to a forward in the neutral zone can have many different results, especially if one is named Joffrey Lupul and the other is Connor McDavid. It’s why I asked earlier. (And knowing this site it was dissected 8 years ago and everyone has moved on already 🙂 )

  102. OmJo says:

    JDï™: That was a Lowe blow alright.

    Putting Principe to shame last night and this afternoon haha

  103. thebiggestmanintheworld says:

    Why would he not spin this to make Russell look good?

    See what he got last year at the deadline?

    Or maybe he’s totally inept and already has the contract written up…

    Interesting to see what happens when Davidson gets back…

  104. treevojo says:

    OmJo:
    leadfarmer,

    The problem isn’t the signing. The problem is the blind praise the organisation and it’s mouth pieces in the media are giving him, with talks of that “one year signing” becoming longer.

    Plus he took Halls number. Not a good first impression.

    Don’t forget about that asshole Drake Caggulia.

    The nerve it must take to don Charles Linglet’s #

  105. su_dhillon says:

    Chachi: Other than the fact that Russell is 29 years old, not 32, everything about this post is exactly right.

    Crap, not sure why my brain had him at 31, thx for correcting.

  106. JDï™ says:

    su_dhillon: Crap, not sure why my brain had him at 31, thx for correcting.

    Smaller shot-blocking defender who hits two weight classes above his mass?

    He’s essentially 32 right now.

  107. Timeisnow says:

    –hudson–:
    su_dhillon,

    All good questions!

    I hope it’s Chiarelli defending the signing, trying to pump his trade value, or telling the other GM’s he’s not desperate for a RHD at premium value (even though he should be).

    I’m hoping it’s not Chiarelli convincing himself Russell is better than he is.

    You know, it seems rather funny that a gm is so high on a player when he had all off season to sign him and didn’t. Being so high on this player he waited to sign him what 2-3 days before the season started? I think it’s better to pump up a player when you can, rather than sewer the player. Kind of a strange concept for these Oilers if that’s what’s happening. I’m with you, I hope that’s what is going on

  108. Lowetide says:

    Musil recalled. Do you want the No. 15 prospect at 5pm, or an item on Musil?

  109. JDï™ says:

    Lowetide: No. 15 prospect at 5pm, or an item on Musil?

    You mean #15 isn’t Musil?

    I’ll take door number 15, because it will probably be Simpson who gets into the lineup first.

  110. kinger_OIL says:

    Lowetide:
    Musil recalled. Do you want the No. 15 prospect at 5pm, or an item on Musil?

    – Wasn’t Simpson recalled? So both Musil and Simpson up: nice! do Musil please!

  111. Side says:

    Lowetide:
    Musil recalled. Do you want the No. 15 prospect at 5pm, or an item on Musil?

    Musil item, imo!

  112. VOR says:

    I don’t mean this as a swipe at any individual poster here.

    Lately, reading the comments on LT’s posts I have been reminded of my friend Harold. Harold was a super fan. He attended every Edmonton Eskmos home games for well over fifty years. The Eskimos actually honoured him at half time of a game the year he hit fifty years. It was a classy gesture by a classy organization.

    Harold believed you had to treat winning and losing just the same. He sure saw his share of horrible teams and lots of losing. Occasionally the Eskimos would win more than they lost. They even won the odd Grey Cup. But Harold loved his Eskimos win or lose.

    Then one summer day Harold phoned me up. He was super excited.

    Harold you see had been invited to take in Eskimos training camp. One of the perks of being a super fan. So he had the opportunity to be there when everything changed. And he knew enough about football to recognize the moment. I’ll never forget what he said to me.

    “Most fans go their entire lives and never get to see greatness. Today I saw greatness. This kid is way too good for Edmonton but I am going to enjoy every second he’s here.” And believe me Harold did just that.

    The kid was of course Warren Moon and what followed is five consecutive Grey Cups. I got to see it happen as the wildly eccentric veteran quarterback mentored the kid and then stepped aside. I got to see Moon be good, then dominant, then great. It was an amazing experience but maybe the best part was sharing it with Harold.

    Watching Harold floating on clouds that entire time taught me a lot about how to be an Oilers fan and how to appreciate Wayne Gretzky. I never forgot I was being given a chance many fans go their entire lives and never have. I was watching greatness. I tried to burn every frame, every second into my memory because I knew I’d never have the chance again, not to see such a unique, generational talent come of age.

    The thing was, I was wrong. One day I went to an exhibition game and watched Connor McDavid play his first exhibition game. It is all happening again and I am back trying to store every astonishing moment in my memory.

    Those of you who are too young to have grown up with Moon and Gretzky in the City of Champions need to understand. For you as hockey fan this may be as good as it gets, your one and only chance to see greatness up close in real time. Seize the day.

    The next time you are tempted to whine and complain on this or some other blog consider the words of my friend Harold, “we are blessed to see greatness. “

  113. Bruce Wayne says:

    leadfarmer:
    Has a one year signing ever caused such controversy.People make it sound like Russell was traded for Hall and then given a 10 mil a year contract.

    It was a good signing.Provided a guy that can fill in on his off side for a year providing some shelter so Benning didn’t get thrown into the deep end and Gryba wasn’t playing each game.If we fall out of the playoff race you can flip him for a pick

    It is a controversy because his cheerleaders in the media keep talking about how good he is. One of the main purposes of so-called analytics is to provide an antidote to the vapidity of the people who cover the team in the media. Indeed, it is the reason “analytics” exists in the first place. If the people who covered sports provided insightful commentary no one would have ever bothered to find a better way of understanding in the first place. They are right to view it is an attack. It is one.

    That said, while Chiarelli obviously doesn’t’ know what he is talking about, I also don’t think he really believes Russell is worth 4 x 4 or something absurd like that. In any case no one is arguing with Chiarelli here, he’s not the target, Spector (and his ilk) and the fanbase of oilersnation is the target.

  114. Bruce Wayne says:

    VOR,

    I kind of agree. Indeed, it is why I am still watching the games. But what are we going to say when the greatest player to ever play the game doesn’t win any Stanley Cups?

  115. su_dhillon says:

    OmJo:
    su_dhillon,

    On top ofc that, trading one of Klefbom, Nurse or Sekera to make room for Russell is just as bad. We have a plethora of LDs who can replace him by the trade deadline.

    Agreed, I wouldn’t do it and would much rather use Davidson in that slot but if they did deal one and replace with Russell, at least you could make the case there is a spot where he could fit.

  116. Lowetide says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    VOR,

    I kind of agree.Indeed, it is why I am still watching the games.But what are we going to say when the greatest player to ever play the game doesn’t win any Stanley Cups?

    Oh for Christ sakes. Really? Good God people, you do know that there are limits to your wisdom, right? Holy shit.

  117. JDï™ says:

    Bruce Wayne: But what are we going to say when the greatest player to ever play the game doesn’t win any Stanley Cups?

    That at least we had the team’s owner trolling us in the hockey blogs.

    I’m sorry that the hockey world pressured you to jettison your old buddies from their retirement jobs, with the selection responsibility of McDavid.

  118. sliderule says:

    VOR:
    I don’t mean this as a swipe at any individual poster here.

    Lately, reading the comments on LT’s posts I have been reminded of my friend Harold. Harold was a super fan. He attended every Edmonton Eskmos home games for well over fifty years. The Eskimos actually honoured him at half time of a game the year he hit fifty years. It was a classy gesture by a classy organization.

    Harold believed you had to treat winning and losing just the same. He sure saw his share of horrible teams and lots of losing. Occasionally the Eskimos would win more than they lost. They even won the odd Grey Cup. But Harold loved his Eskimos win or lose.

    Then one summer day Harold phoned me up. He was super excited.

    Harold you see had been invited to take in Eskimos training camp. One of the perks of being a super fan. So he had the opportunity to be there when everything changed. And he knew enough about football to recognize the moment. I’ll never forget what he said to me.

    “Most fans go their entire lives and never get to see greatness. Today I saw greatness. This kid is way too good for Edmonton but I am going to enjoy every second he’s here.” And believe me Harold did just that.

    The kid was of course Warren Moon and what followed is five consecutive Grey Cups. I got to see it happen as the wildly eccentric veteran quarterback mentored the kid and then stepped aside. I got to see Moon be good, then dominant, then great. It was an amazing experience but maybe the best part was sharing it with Harold.

    Watching Harold floating on clouds that entire time taught me a lot about how to be an Oilers fan and how to appreciate Wayne Gretzky. I never forgot I was being given a chance many fans go their entire lives and never have. I was watching greatness. I tried to burn every frame, every second into my memory because I knew I’d never have the chance again, not to see such a unique, generational talent come of age.

    The thing was, I was wrong. One day I went to an exhibition game and watched Connor McDavid play his first exhibition game. It is all happening again and I am back trying to store every astonishing moment in my memory.

    Those of you who are too young to have grown up with Moon and Gretzky in the City of Champions need to understand. For you as hockey fan this may be as good as it gets, your one and only chance to see greatness up close in real time. Seize the day.

    The next time you are tempted to whine and complain on this or some other blog consider the words of my friend Harold, “we are blessed to see greatness. ”

    My buddy and I had a season tickets both with oilers and Esks during glory years.

    He would always say to me “I don’t think fans appreciate what we are seeing out there”

    Twenty plus years have passed and I thought that I would never see anything like Moon and the whole oilers glory years team.

    Watching Connor this year I can say that he is better than any of the stars we had back then and I am not sure that just like then that the fans are appreciating it.

    My advice just enjoy every moment as I don’t think it will ever be as good for an oiler fan as watching Connor.

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

    Lowetide,

    I spit water all over the floor after reading this in laughter.

    Two a day posts on non-game days and putting up with the most bi-polar fan/commentary-base you ever did see (myself included no question).

    Thanks LT you’re the best

  120. treevojo says:

    Lowetide: Oh for Christ sakes. Really? Good God people, you do know that there are limits to your wisdom, right? Holy shit.

    I knew there was more then one of him!

  121. theDjdj says:

    Kris Russell presents a terrific opportunity for the analytics community. Oilers fans have always been thought leaders in hockey analytics. They now have an intimate perspective on a divisive player.

    Kris Russell is the perfect embodiment of passing the eye test and failing the paper one.
    If the community can successfully quantify Russell’s impact, marrying the facts against how Russell plays, it will be a boon for mainstream adoption of analytical thinking.

  122. classict says:

    leadfarmer:
    Has a one year signing ever caused such controversy.People make it sound like Russell was traded for Hall and then given a 10 mil a year contract.

    It was a good signing.Provided a guy that can fill in on his off side for a year providing some shelter so Benning didn’t get thrown into the deep end and Gryba wasn’t playing each game.If we fall out of the playoff race you can flip him for a pick

    The controversy becomes a little more prominent when the coach decides a fill in 4-6 D should be playing top pairing minutes in place of a measurably better defenceman. It’s cost the Oilers points already, it’s going to cost them more points. Borderline playoff teams can’t afford to give up free points.

    Played like a depth signing though, I agree, this team is better with him than without.

  123. Chachi says:

    su_dhillon: Crap, not sure why my brain had him at 31, thx for correcting.

    As JDI said, getting hit by as many shots as Russell throws himself in front of is likely to prematurely age a player.

  124. classict says:

    theDjdj:
    Kris Russell presents a terrific opportunity for the analytics community. Oilers fans have always been thought leaders in hockey analytics. They now have an intimate perspective on a divisive player.

    Kris Russell is the perfect embodiment of passing the eye test and failing the paper one.If the community can successfully quantify Russell’s impact, marrying the facts against how Russell plays, it will be a boon for mainstream adoption of analytical thinking.

    I think Kris Russel was passing the eye test for his first ~10 games, coincidentally he was also decent by the numbers (what are the odds). He kept looking ok for a while after the numbers started dipping but I’ve seen him real bad the last few games. I don’t know what anyone who says he’s had a good last 3 games is watching.

  125. Bruce Wayne says:

    theDjdj:
    Kris Russell presents a terrific opportunity for the analytics community. Oilers fans have always been thought leaders in hockey analytics. They now have an intimate perspective on a divisive player.

    Kris Russell is the perfect embodiment of passing the eye test and failing the paper one.If the community can successfully quantify Russell’s impact, marrying the facts against how Russell plays, it will be a boon for mainstream adoption of analytical thinking.

    This is a classic example of question begging. You have presumed your own conclusion.

    In any case the point of thinking (i.e. analysis) is not to confirm your prejudices (i.e. the eye test).

    One of the funniest things about the Russell saga is that people seem to believe that by the eyes he is limiting scoring chances and this “disproves” Corsi/fenwick, when a simple counting of scoring chances, which is just counting, proves definitively that people are either not seeing, or not remembering, what is right in front of their eyes.

  126. Bag of Pucks says:

    Bruce Wayne: It is a controversy because his cheerleaders in the media keep talking about how good he is.One of the main purposes of so-called analytics is to provide an antidote to the vapidity of the people who cover the team in the media.Indeed, it is the reason “analytics” exists in the first place.If the people who covered sports provided insightful commentary no one would have ever bothered to find a better way of understanding in the first place.They are right to view it is an attack.It is one.

    That said, while Chiarelli obviously doesn’t’ know what he is talking about, I also don’t think he really believes Russell is worth 4 x 4 or something absurd like that.In any case no one is arguing with Chiarelli here, he’s not the target, Spector (and his ilk) and the fanbase of oilersnation is the target.

    Jim Corsi was frustrated with sportswriters? I did not know that.

  127. Doug McLachlan says:

    Ok, I am really feeling for LT right now.

    He has been dealing with the mess that has been the Oilers of the last decade, plodding along with this blog, and trying to find glimmers of light in a deep pool of blackness for what must seem like eons and now, with the blessings of the hockey gords, we get this kid gifted to us. Why are we all so glum?

    Is the team in balance yet – hells no – but that Bettman point has us sitting in first spot in the Division on the 7th of December?!?! Enjoy it! If not for yourself than for LT.

    I know there is every reason to fret that this house of cards falls before the playoff train leaves the station – things are that tight – but we have more ROWs than everyone in the West not named Chicago, St. Louis and San Jose. The homeside is sporting a division-leading +9 goal differential. Oh, and we have McWooooot. Revel in our time people.

  128. Pink Socks says:

    Lowetide: Oh for Christ sakes. Really? Good God people, you do know that there are limits to your wisdom, right? Holy shit.

    Now that this has made my December, I’m not sure what to do with myself for the remainder of the month.

    Thanks as always LT for your insightful writing that makes each morning and evening a blessing to read your art.

  129. Pink Socks says:

    If in September I took out my crystal ball and saw 14-10-4 after 28 I would have been ecstatic. Whether it’s Hall or Russell, or a PP that goes through incompetence that makes my head explode, we won’t be watching the lottery this season. That alone is worth the price of admission.

  130. jm363561 says:

    Dear Mr Tide

    I apologise for intruding in your internet blog site but I think I have to ask a favour from you. My husband is quietly sobbing in our bedroom and is clearly distressed about something to do with discussions about tiling our hall that are never going to end (which I don’t quite understand as all our condo floors are wood). I have not seen him so upset since he was shouting about how useless Eber – Lay is, which was upsetting for me at the time as I was hoping we might carpet our living room.

    Where I think I need to ask your help is to reassure your friend Mr Wayne that my husband is not a violent man and I am fairly sure he will not pursue his vow to kill him – he hardly ever does anything like that – and that he should not worry unnecessarily about this threat. However, I think it would help if the hall discussions could be suspended for a while.

    Once again I am sorry to intrude on your home improvement discussions.

    Very truly yours

    Mrs JM363561

  131. JDï™ says:

    jm363561: Dear Mr Tide

    Alright – close it down, I think we’re done here!

    👍

  132. Bag of Pucks says:

    theDjdj:
    Kris Russell presents a terrific opportunity for the analytics community. Oilers fans have always been thought leaders in hockey analytics. They now have an intimate perspective on a divisive player.

    Kris Russell is the perfect embodiment of passing the eye test and failing the paper one.If the community can successfully quantify Russell’s impact, marrying the facts against how Russell plays, it will be a boon for mainstream adoption of analytical thinking.

    We’ve had divisive players before. Gilbert, Petry, Gagner, Horcoff, Hemsky, etc. I’m not sure one side every really convinces the other. But the discussions do lead to a more nuanced appreciation of the player in question.

    Fayne is the most recent example of a player that analytics loved (albeit at time of procurement, not so much with the Oil) and the eye guys have not.

    Defensive Defenceman have also historically been players that do better by the eye test than analytics. Corsi like its Dmen frail and pass happy : ) Fortunately, the data is improving to better quantify the contributions of the stay at home type.

    If there’s a way to solve the Russell conundrum, I think it has to start with his shot blocking. His strengths in that area are obviously skewing the data in some fashion that is unpleasing to the conventional analytic eye.

    Personally I’m ok with him as a stopgap, but think the need is higher for a RH PP wizard longterm.

  133. theres oil in virginia says:

    JDï™: He’s essentially 32 right now.

    “Essentially”? I’m sure you mean “literally”. Come on, old man, learn English.

  134. Lowetide says:

    jm363561:
    Dear Mr Tide

    I apologise for intruding in your internet blog site but I think I have to ask a favour from you. My husband is quietly sobbing in our bedroom and is clearly distressed about something to do with discussions about tiling our hall that are never going to end (which I don’t quite understand as all our condo floors are wood). I have not seen him so upset since he was shouting about how useless Eber – Lay is, which was upsetting for me at the time as I was hoping we might carpet our living room.

    Where I think I need to ask your help is to reassure your friend Mr Wayne that my husband is not a violent man and I am fairly sure he will not pursue his vow to kill him – he hardly ever does anything like that – and that he should not worry unnecessarily about this threat. However, I think it would help if the hall discussions could be suspended for a while.

    Once again I am sorry to intrude on your home improvement discussions.

    Very truly yours

    Mrs JM363561

    Haha..

  135. GMB3 says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    VOR,

    I kind of agree.Indeed, it is why I am still watching the games.But what are we going to say when the greatest player to ever play the game doesn’t win any Stanley Cups?

    I think the grumpy cat meme would make a great avatar for you.

    http://www.catster.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/grumpy-cat-meme-00.jpg

  136. delooper says:

    Oilers fans seem to have a daily requirement of panic attack and fearmongering. The Oilers are a clearly better team than any Oilers team in the past decade. It’s good times, folks. Even good teams have problems. Lighten up and enjoy.

  137. JDï™ says:

    delooper: daily requirement

    It’s like we’re caught in a loop. Any ideas?

  138. Atc-Nate says:

    Eberle.

    8 goals.

    3 PPG.

    3 ESG.

    2 ENG.

    Prior to this season, he had 5 empty netters from 2010-16.

    At current rate, he will score 24 goals, but 6 will be empty netters. So. If we put in a lot of off season work, working on the one timer, we can get better at empty net scoring.

    #sarcasm #trolling

    (All stats courtesy of NHL.com)

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