BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN

It was not a Rembrandt, but the Edmonton Oilers got both points last night, now December begins to look like a month of good overall arrows. There are 14 games on the December schedule, and the Oilers now have 11 points in the first nine contests on the calendar. This is not an easy road, but last night, despite the warts, should give some hope to Edmonton fans. That was one ugly win, but they all count in the standings.

START THE CAR! 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: 4-2-3, goal differential E
  • Oilers after 33, 2015: 14-17-2, goal differential -15
  • Oilers after 33, 2016: 16-12-5, goal differential +7

Edmonton is now at 37 points, with several games to go before G41. These are fun steps along the way to success, and it also helps that a win like last night burns every Flames fan in existence as their team attempts to catch up.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Davidson—Benning went 11-12 together on the evening, I love watching both men play and hope we see them plenty in the future. Davidson had four shots and Benning got mugged. They went 8-2 in four minutes against Tyler Johnson, 5-8 in 4:09 against Point-Killorn. Maybe they will emerge as a modern Trammell—Whitaker. The best line for Tampa imo, the Filppula-Boyle-Drouin group, went 3-1 against this pairing.
  • Klefbom—Larsson went 8-13 in 15:40, Klefbom was brilliant with other partners in small time zones. Klefbom had four shots, Larsson four blocked shots. Went 1-3 in 7:19 (!!!) against Filppula line, that is a lot of skating without much Corsi business going on. They were 8-3 in about five minutes against Point-Killorn.
  • Sekera—Russell went 10-16 in 13:57, the bend but don’t break twins ended up -1 but Sekera grabbed a pair of apples. Two shots each, Russell blocked a shot, took a terrible hit from behind and the duo kept on humming. Went 2-2 in four minutes against the Filppula-Boyle, 3-8 in five minutes against Brayden Point, 3-7 in four minutes against Namestnikov. Rej made a terrible blind back pass on the PP midway through the first, Talbot bailed him out.
  • Cam Talbot was excellent last night.
  • NaturalStatTrick, NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian did well in possession, eight shots on goal, won 13 of 22 faceoffs (Hendricks eight of 10), skated half miles, Letestu picked up an assist on a dandy power-play goal. Went 5-1 against Boyle, 5-8 against Point, 6-7 against Namestnikov. Wildly unpopular trio online, I think they had a terrific night. Kassian sure gets a lot of breakaways for a guy who doesn’t get a lot of breakaways.
  • Lucic—McDavid—Eberle had some interesting events. Lucic scored on the power play, McDavid clinched it with a pretty shootout goal—and won 11 of 17 on the dot. The center had his usual jump, but the giant Boyle and the other giant Hedman were royal pains in the asses. Jordan Eberle had a quiet night overall, a lot of try but very little room.
  • McDavid may need more skill on his line. Early in the first, with the top line jumping, Eberle missed the net by a mile on a distant bell shot. I like 14 fine, but he needs to take care of that puck there. McDavid inside the offensive zone, with possession, is pretty much the entire game. After the miss, 97 got the puck, found a promising equation with a nifty back pass to Lucic in the high slot, but the big man cradled and then lost the puck. I get that the ice is bumbly, but the men playing with McDavid need to have the quick hands.
  • If you woke up this morning worried about McDavid’s recent lack of offense, you are being silly. You are free to worry about finding the right linemates though, don’t think we are there yet. I do think Eberle on RW is the best option (unless the plan is to move Leon to RW).
  • Boyle was 6-7 against McDavid, he was a royal pain. Give Cooper credit, he was masterful in getting matchups in a road game.
  • Victor Hedman was 5-0 against McDavid, in six minutes.
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—Caggiula were an absolute mess (3-9 in Caggiula time) so Todd McLellan tore it down to the block and started over. Leon scored and set up goals, both were quite lovely. He also ran 4-3 in 4:34 with the Nuge. Went 4-8 against Tyler Johnson, 3-7 against Killorn.
  • Beck—Nuge—Pitlick were not a line for long, less than five minutes. Nuge was 4-3 with Maroon and Leon, good lord he needs stronger linemates. This is tragic. Nuge went 6-4 against Tyler Johnson, and he had some reasonable looks—but was minus one, 25 percent on the dot and had nothing to show for five shots on goal at the end of the evening. If Edmonton cannot find him better help, make him a winger and have him help Leon.
  • Todd McLellan went Borg on two lines last night, suggesting to me that he didn’t have enough talent, and that he doesn’t trust a lot of roster players. That is not a good sign.
  • Beck, Caggiula and Pitlick played less than nine minutes at 5×5. If you are looking for men to come out of the lineup so Benoit Pouliot and Jesse Puljujarvi can return, this is a good place to start.

THE CLUSTER

Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan continue to add pieces to the heart of the order, and this year we are seeing the additions of some very interesting players. Rookies tend to cost goals and games (especially defenders) but this Oilers club may have found a real gem in young Matt Benning. Added to the big Finn, and the young college star, and the Russian winger with size and speed, this is shaping up to be a very strong year for freshmen.

  1. R Jesse Puljujarvi 23gp, 1-7-8, and anyone who watched last night’s game knows damn well he has more skill than a bunch of those guys. Play the man!
  2. F Drake Caggiula 15gp, 1-4-5, he clearly has NHL ability and that bodes well for the depth of this team. I think his presence makes it more difficult for JP to establish himself and vice versa, suspect the Finn (who is much younger) will head down to California.
  3. L Anton Slepyshev 15gp, 2-2-4, he is in the AHL now but impressed with his size, speed and skill. I have no idea if he is going to be an NHL player, but there is enough evidence to give him another turn at some point in time.
  4. RD Matt Benning 24gp, 0-4-4, this guy is a revelation—the second year in a row the Oilers have uncovered a solution from an unlikely source (Brandon Davidson). This is an actual NHL defenseman out of the box, a perfect-fit righty for the roster. Music!
  5. LD Dillon Simpson 3gp, 0-0-0, he showed well and offers the team move depth on the blue line.

This is a surprisingly strong group considering the outstanding crop of one year ago. I believe in clusters, probably because of the 1979-81 rookie group the glory Oilers produced and their impact on the game. If we consider Puljujarvi, Caggiula and Benning as strong rookies who have  a good chance of productive careers, this would rank as a top drawer crop. That said, consider the past two seasons:

  • 2015-16—Connor McDavid, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, Iiro Pakarinen.
  • 2014-15—Leon Draisaitl, Oscar Klefbom, Tyler Pitlick

Folks, that is a cluster. If you are adding two impact rookies a season, it doesn’t take long to see a change in the weather. Draisaitl, Klefbom, McDavid, Davidson, Puljujarvi, Benning and Caggiula (potentially) represent a terrific talent re-boot in Northern Alberta.

Can the Oilers do it again next year? I think it will be very difficult. The first round pick (if the draft picks were doled out today) would see the Oilers select No. 19 overall—that is unlikely to be a plug-and-play option.

Should Peter Chiarelli trade the pick for immediate help? Dangerous plan, ladies. There are still holes to fill and the draft is going to be a major part of any success we see rolling out over the rest of this decade and into the next one. Procurement: It’s the real thing.

TOP 20 PROSPECTS

We are counting down (thanks, Casey Casem!) to the end of the Top 20 and I will run 21-30 at 5pm today (unless the Oilers make some kind of roster move). A couple of updates:

  • Tyler Benson is on fire of late, scoring 2-6-8 in his last three games.
  • Filip Berglund is 25gp, 0-4-4 in the SHL. That tells us one thing, he is playing in a good pro league before his 20th birthday in May. Also, his NHLE is 10 points—and he is averaging 8:42 per game.
  • Caleb Jones is projected to play a major role for Team USA at the World Juniors.
  • It looks like Aapeli Rasanen will be a big player for Finland as well.

 

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131 Responses to "BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN"

  1. Ben says:

    Maybe Hendricks and Beck over Pouliot and Pujuljarvi is setting up McLellan’s big “I am not left handed!” moment.

  2. Dino says:

    Coach needs to ice his best possible lineup. We are already weak on the wings and he sits 2 faster and more offensive options to play Beck and Hendy? Sorry but that’s not good enough. Oh and Lander should be back in the NHL by now, the PK needs him.

  3. Woodguy says:

    Standings this morning via pts/gm to remove “games played” effect

    Overall
    CBJ 0.750
    MTL 0.710
    PIT 0.703
    CHI 0.697
    WAS 0.683
    NYR 0.682
    MIN 0.667
    SJS 0.629
    PHI 0.621
    OTT 0.597
    STL 0.594
    ANA 0.578
    LAK 0.567
    EDM 0.561 -14th
    BOS 0.547
    CAR 0.532
    TOR 0.517
    NSH 0.517
    BUF 0.517
    FLA 0.516
    TBY 0.516
    CGY 0.515
    DET 0.500
    NJD 0.500
    DAL 0.485
    WPG 0.470
    NYI 0.467
    VAN 0.452
    ARI 0.435
    COL 0.397

    Western Conference
    CHI 0.697
    MIN 0.667
    SJS 0.629
    STL 0.594
    ANA 0.578
    LAK 0.567
    EDM 0.561 – 7th
    NSH 0.517
    CGY 0.515
    DAL 0.485
    WPG 0.470
    VAN 0.452
    ARI 0.435
    COL 0.397

    Pacific Divison
    SJS 0.629
    ANA 0.578
    LAK 0.567
    EDM 0.561 -4th
    CGY 0.515
    VAN 0.452
    ARI 0.435

    I have one thing to say about McLellan’s line up card from yesterday’s game.

    If he ever fills out a line up card that forces him to play 23 after he shortens his bench he should be kneecapped, tied to a chair and hidden in a closet with Peter reporting that he has a “LBI”

    Was at the game last night.

    They should have dominated but didn’t.

    Break outs with possession were poor.

    Not shooting when in shooting areas was rampant.

    Too many players who weren’t NHL quality last night.

    Ugly win for sure, and they needed it.

    I think the Oilers will be around 7th in WC and 4th in Pacific for the year meaning every game will have meaning and pins and needles with the game is up for grabs.

    Nice feeling to have.

  4. Westchester Oil says:

    Yes, an ugly two points, but sometimes you really need a W.

    No idea what the Oilers are doing with Puljujarvi. If he ends up with 42 NHL games and burns a year of team control before free agency, I’ll shoot myself.

    BTW, anybody see the HNIC after hours interview with Jon Cooper? He’s a very likeable guy. If I was an NHL player, I’d bust my butt for him.

  5. 36 percent body fat says:

    I see raw talent in Caggulia but this guy is not NHL ready.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Mike Morreale ‏@mikemorrealeNHL 2m2 minutes ago

    So here are what appear to be reg. def pairs from USA Hockey select camp: Lindgren-McAvoy; Jones-Fox; Ahcan-Cecconi; Krys-Fitzgerald

    Jones-Fox is Oilers-Flames. Heh.

  7. jm363561 says:

    Count me in on the cluster losing faith in TMac. Caggiula may be an NHL player one day, but not yet. Lander – Letestu – Pitlick were an excellent 4th line, sourced the third best PK unit in the league, closed down games, then Bam, blown away. We might debate where PJ should play but I think we can all agree he should be playing somewhere. Line blending has gone berserk; what kind of a line is Beck – Nuge – Pitlick? On the plus side the PP is humming, and it only took 110 games to fix.

    I feel that describing a knee capping as a LBI is a bit of an understatement. JMHO.

  8. Woodguy says:

    RD Matt Benning 24gp, 0-4-4, this guy is a revelation—the second year in a row the Oilers have uncovered a solution from an unlikely source (Brandon Davidson). This is an actual NHL defenseman out of the box, a perfect-fit righty for the roster. Music!

    THE procurement story of the year, no question.

    Here’s the Dmen WoodMoney TOI% vs. Elites, Relative CF%, and Relative DFF% numbers vs Elite forwards.

    Both are “Rel Comp” which means they are compared to how the team does vs Elites when they are off the ice, and not compared to all competition.

    Everyone knows CF, but if you don’t know DFF its “Dangerous Fenwick” which is a weighted shot metric for all unblocked shots. Its almost identical to Manny’s Expected Goals, so think “expected goals”

    NOTE: Samples sizes are still very small so don’t read this as the bible, but as a map to where they are going.

    % of TOI spent vs Elite Forwards

    Sekera 38
    Russell 36
    Larsson 35
    Klefbom 33
    Benning 30
    Gryba 29
    Nurse 25

    This is super-duper interesting.

    When I did my 23 game evaluation of the Dmen the TOI% was this:

    Russell 35
    Larsson 34
    Sekera 34
    Klefbom 33
    Gryba 29
    Nurse 25
    Benning 25

    So net change since that time:

    Benning +5
    Sekera +4
    Russell +1
    Larsson -1
    Klefbom 0
    Gryba 0
    Nurse 0

    Nurse and Gryba haven’t played much so you can discount them.

    I think this shows McLellen seeing that Sekera is his best Dman and leaning on him more.

    I think this also shows that when Sekera-Benning play together (last time was during the 3 game 4-6 and 77-5 pairings) McLellan gives them the full Top 4 Dman treatment and as you’ll see below THEY EXCEL AT IT.

    Actual TOI vs Elite Forwards

    Sekera 199:00
    Larsson 197:25
    Klefbom 174:48
    Russell 163:55
    Benning 105:32
    Nurse 97:41
    Gryba 60:27

    EDM DMen RelComp CF% vs Elite Forwards

    Benning 7.90
    Gryba 7.00
    Nurse 4.30
    Sekera -0.10
    Klefbom -1.90
    Larsson -3.10
    Russell -3.90

    EDM Dmen RelComp DFF% vs Elite Forwards

    Benning 11.3
    Nurse 4.9
    Gryba 2.3
    Sekera -0.7
    Klefbom -1.9
    Larsson -1.9
    Russell -4.4

    I know that McLellan tries to get McDavid out with the 3rd pair when against Elite forwards, but those numbers for the bottom pairing guys is excellent.

    It would be great to have WM WOWY to see exactly what is going on there. Gmoney has been working hard to do WoodMoney WOWY, but its a computational nightmare. Everyone light a candle for him.

    What he has been able to do is post the five most common linemates vs various comp.

    Benning vs Elite F is: Andrej Sekera, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl

    Nurse vs Elite F is: Eric Gryba, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid

    Nurse’s list is more impressive given his results.

    Nurse was playing well when he went down and that helped Gryba.

    Benning plays well with everyone and I’m close to saying he’s the Oilers best RHD because I get excited about stuff like this lose my mind a bit. Small samples are my kryptonite.

    You can see how much better Sekera is with Benning than with Russell in his number as well.

    I’m not going to say too much about the two guys at the bottom. We don’t need yet another thread on THE TRADE or OMGRUSSELLBBQ!

    So, if we used WM to help us put together the Dpairs, today its: (in order of TOI vs Elites)

    2-83
    77-6
    4-88

    Someone tell the boss.

  9. pells says:

    Mcdavid needs someone. A lot of pieces written lately about how bad the Avs are and the availability of Iginla. I’d like to think bigger and better. What would you give up for Duchene? Nuge, Nurse and a first? Can you imagine that two fasted players in the world together for the next ten years. There were rumours about him being available at one time. Just a Sunday morning, fuzzy head, still laying in bed thought.

  10. dustrock says:

    Yes, let’s blame McLellan for dealing with a highly flawed roster. Can you blame him for using the blender? Guys like Puljujarvi, Slepyshev, Caligula , Hendricks, etc probably don’t play on a good team, or maybe there’s 1 of them, not 4 of them. Ask Chiarelli why McLellan is moving guys around.

    Individual decisions like Hendricks, sure you can critique, but it’s clear to me McLellan is not comfortable with the forward group.

  11. Sevenseven says:

    Jesse Puljujarvi is 28th in rookie scoring. Leafs look like they have an impressive cluster. They have SIX rookies ahead of JP, including the 2,3,4,15,16 and 21 spot on that list.

  12. dustrock says:

    Also this game is a perfect example of why having a functional PP can help you win games you have no business winning.

    Oilers lose this game in November because of the PP, Bolts win 2-0 and people are melting down about how a team playing 3 in 4 without any of its good forwards can beat a lethargic Oilers team.

    Instead we get 2 points and can have a conversation about how uninspired they look. Not sure if they just need practice time but hard to blame McLellan for the Oilers being unable to pass tape to tape.

  13. Woodguy says:

    jm363561:
    Count me in on the cluster losing faith in TMac. Caggiula may be an NHL player one day, but not yet. Lander – Letestu – Pitlick were an excellent 4th line, sourced the third best PK unit in the league, closed down games, then Bam, blown away. We might debate where PJ should play but I think we can all agree he should be playing somewhere. Line blending has gone berserk; what kind of a line is Beck – Nuge – Pitlick? On the plus side the PP is humming, and it only took 110 games to fix.

    I feel that describing a knee capping as a LBI is a bit of an understatement. JMHO.

    What we need to remember about 36 is that college FA’s often negotiate NHL gp when signing.

    I don’t know how much Peter guaranteed him, but its a real thing and everyone does it so there is no point in deriding Peter about it, it just is.

    I wonder how many gp Peter guaranteed for 36? I wonder if its actual gp or just games on the roster (so they can collect a NHL paycheck) I’d bet its games on roster.

    That said, 23 and Beck should sit before 36 imo.

    67 should be in everyday.

    The last spot should be a fight between 23 and 98 as long as 98 is on the big club.

  14. Lowetide says:

    dustrock:
    Yes, let’s blame McLellan for dealing with a highly flawed roster. Can you blame him for using the blender?Guys like Puljujarvi, Slepyshev, Caligula , Hendricks, etc probably don’t play on a good team, or maybe there’s 1 of them, not 4 of them.Ask Chiarelli why McLellan is moving guys around.

    Individual decisions like Hendricks, sure you can critique, but it’s clear to me McLellan is not comfortable with the forward group.

    I agree overall, but unless Pouliot was hurt (there was no report I saw), his being a HS is an unforced error.

  15. Psyche says:

    It would be nice to see Tyler Benson become part of that cluster. Is the 2017-18 season an AHL experience for him? Or will his game be polished enough to crack the Oilers roster?

  16. dustrock says:

    Lowetide: I agree overall, but unless Pouliot was hurt (there was no report I saw), his being a HS is an unforced error.

    Yeah, he had been playing better with Draisaitl and then gets HS. Clear he’s worn out his welcome. Happened on other teams as well, history repeating.

  17. 36 percent body fat says:

    Psyche,

    Its not polished enough to get out of juniors yet. Next year WHL and than 1 year AHL.

    He was an injured 2nd round pick why would Oilers rush him.

  18. jake69 says:

    The question I have is does it make any sense to try Nuge with McDavid. Both are very smart hockey minds. I think he’s the only one not been there

  19. Lowetide says:

    Oilers cannot put Benson in the AHL 2017-18 without a rule change.

  20. Lowetide says:

    jake69:
    The question I have is does it make any sense to try Nuge with McDavid.Both are very smart hockey minds.I think he’s the only one not been there

    It is a fine idea.

  21. Confused says:

    Flames we have lots of very winnable games coming up.

    We need to get that motor running.

    They look lost at the moment, TMac seems to trust almost nobody except
    hendo!

    Resulting in musical chairs, less hope not on the Titanic

  22. prefonmich says:

    dustrock,

    When the coach bases his decisions on ‘we need his voice’ as he has stated he is doing with Hendricks I wonder what else is driving his decisions. It is clearly not analytics because he makes many curious decisions in this regard. Also, Tampa is a fast team and TMac took out two faster, fairly effective players in Poo and Pulujarvi for two slow boats in Hendricks and Beck. Our team as a whole looked very slow compared to the Lightning last night. Maybe this is TMac’s plan to scare other teams with McDavids sped even more by icing a ridiculously slow lineup outside of McDavid to make him appear even faster! I kid.

  23. Macman97 says:

    jake69,

    I would like to see Nuge and McDavid for a few games also. I think it would be magic.

  24. Psyche says:

    Benson is intriguing to me. I’m not aware of his current state of health, but I’ve been under the impression he possesses elite offensive skills. His numbers in the WHL are difficult to separate due to past injuries and role/usage.

    Has anyone watched him consistently this season to fairly assess his skating, passing, puck handling and shooting abilities? (Also his physical ability?)

  25. kinger_OIL says:

    – Totally off-topic, but I like wine and was spoiled living in France for 2 years. This is a good piece about ranking wines, does a nice job of explaining the stats beng applied, and what the stats mean and dont mean:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/12/15/13892364/amateur-wine-scores-critics

    *for those who don’t frequent vox.xom: it is a fascinating site, one can get lost for hours going through things. Kind of an online hybrid of the Economist, New Yorker and Vanity Fair IMO: money, politics, economics, social issues and Hollywood.

    – What are some other sites that people here frequent, and why? (besides Lowetide and porn!)

  26. sliderule says:

    I think Nuge with Connor or Leon would work.

    They don’t have the talent to run three scoring lines and Nuge isn’t good enough at face offs or has the strength to be a shut down center.

    You put Nuge on wing with Connor and his speed would contribute both defensively and offensively

  27. Scungilli says:

    To my eye there are 3-4 players carrying the team. There are too many passengers still, always a day late and a dollar short.

    Speed is an absolute necessity now with how the game is going. A team can carry one slow guy, but more than that is hurting the effort. Maroon and Lucic on the same team is not a good idea in 2016. Lucic is the better player and isn’t going anywhere anyway.

    Pouliot makes every centre better, has skill and is fast and aggressive. What is the deal? Cagiulla outplayed Eberle by a mile, that is a problem.

    Leon is an unbelievable player. I love that guy.

    Nuge needs to find some love for the game again. He is taking a lot of shots but they are not the type that will score with his shot. He needs to find some creativity and regain some confidence.

    Larsson is a good player, I hope he has another step to take, you can see it in there but like Nuge it has to show on the ice at this point in the career.

    I hope that there are multiple processes in play this season and that this is the last we see of an unbalanced rookie laden roster.

  28. Timeisnow says:

    Wasn’t impressed with the game last night, was expecting more. But saying that, TB has a lot of really good players that can gut it out in tough situations. They didn’t make it as far in the playoffs as they have without gutting it out when in tough.

    We won which was very good, more than likely would have lost this game in the past. Saying that they need to be better in the next three games before Christmas.

    Would like to see Lander back up and Slepy.

  29. Scungilli says:

    Nuge with Connor is good but who plays RW? They need some size to compliment them IMO, it can’t be Leon, is Pitlick good enough? Is JP ready for that?

  30. Timeisnow says:

    jake69:
    The question I have is does it make any sense to try Nuge with McDavid.Both are very smart hockey minds.I think he’s the only one not been there

    I would definitely put Nuge with McDavid see if it turns things around for him.

  31. Scungilli says:

    It is worth noting the rested Oilers couldn’t take down a very tired team playing a wobbly goalie and missing many if it’s best players.

    There is a lot of work to do for sure.

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

    Some thoughts (and I missed everything but the last five minutes of the 3rd last night so these are general comments more than game specific).

    1) Good to get the win, good to see Talbot was strong and good to see that Leon kept up the strong play. On this note I’m really curious to see how the rest of the season plays out for Herman. To my eye he’s slowly starting to impose his will on games, a key metric for a river pusher, but is still inconsistent at the effort. Seriously good arrows for this young man and I’m loving his progress year over year over year since his draft. LT if Leon plays out the year and hits his “as of today projection” of 70 points what are we looking at for an extension here? I’m assuming the team would want to max him out on term but iirc there are dollar limits for RFAs isn’t there?

    2) Nugey nugey nugey. Clearly the coach trusts him to break in rookies but man o man that stat line is bad news bears. I really really hope he can regain some mojo here because its getting to the point that its painful to watch.

    3) Pouliot. Something is clearly going on under the radar here. The guy is signed for two more years at $4 million and that contract will be very difficult to move if the Oilers don’t eat a ton of salary. Whatever is happening behind closed doors I hope to Gord they can figure it out because like Nuge this seems like an absolute albatross around the team’s neck right now.

    4) and this is directly tied into Woodguy’s post above

    Woodguy,

    I went and did a very cursory analysis of Pacific division schedules a few days ago right after the Columbus game I think or right before. Basically the shit travel schedule the Oilers had to start the season, Calgary, San Jose and LA have to close out the year. San Jose especially has an absolutely brutal March, tons of away games, four different back-to-backs and many time zones crossed. Seriously if the Oilers can stay in the hunt and can start cruising at home games there is going to be a very big opening come the last 25 or so games of the season. Which brings me to point 5

    5) I agree with LT about college free agents and guaranteed games. In a way I feel pretty bad for Cagguila because i think if he doesn’t get hurt in the pre season (with a hip injury nonetheless) I believe we’d be having a very different conversation about this player. Trying to get caught up, as your team is slogging through a tough schedule while because of your injury you haven’t been able to skate or practice all the while everyone kinda forgets that youre a rookie is a tough way to break into the league. There’s enough flashes that I think we have a serious player here but he definitely needs to build up the man strength and if at all possible find himself a bit of nasty to add to his game. Small, skilled guys can be very effective if they can rattle other teams. Drake fits the mould he just needs some time.

    7) Connor. Hasn’t looked himself the last two weeks or so. Not that he’s been bad but has just looked a bit off. Wonder if theres a little nagging injury or maybe a bug that has slowed him down. He may also be getting frustrated at all the liberties being taken on him (and the Oilers generally) and that has got him off stride a bit. I’m not worried but there has been a noticeable shift (though his line mates not cashing is also an issue). He’ll break out of it shortly here, I don’t doubt that, especially with Tarasenko nipping at his heals now.

    6) Roster construction. We’re still in extended tryout phase and I believe that this scenario exists until the new year. The trading of Hendricks probably starts the cascade but I’m not really too upset with the coaches or the GM. Look I know its tough to swallow after all these years (especially with the team right in the thick of it) but given Chia’s acquisition list during the past two off-seasons I don’t think any of this should be a surprise. Despite some questionable moves I don’t think anyone can with a straight face say Oilers management is sacrificing long-term for short-term which is a huge break from the Decade of Darkness. In my own head I’ve chalked up many of the roster moves into finding out who is here long-term and who is running out of rope mixed with “what the hell do we have in the system” soul searching. If in the end Pouliot becomes the odd man out while guys like Benning, Cagguila and say Pitlick become regulars well that kinda sucks for Pouliot but this kind of internal building is what we’ve been lacking since the late 1990s/early 2000s.

    Overall its a very big development in my mind and I do think Chia is showing that he, and the Oilers generally, are a very good organization for college players looking to make the jump. We can’t underestimate just how important that factor will be in the years to come. Benning and Cagguila (who has warts but can play NHL hockey) have been plug and play options. If you can continue to pickup early 20s players on sweetheart entry level dollar deals for only money and a few intimate conversations and they can jump into your lineup and contribute that takes a huge amount of pressure off your draft and development system. Not that I want the Oilers to neglect the draft and development model just that if they continue the turn North we won’t have the luxury of top 5 choices year in and year out finding young players who can contribute without having to rely on the dice that is the NHL entry draft would be a great coup for this organization.

  33. Woodguy says:

    LT,

    Did you know this?

    Jeff VeilletteVerified account
    ‏@JeffVeillette
    Hold up, http://NHL.com ‘s goal differential table uses shootout wins/losses as +1 / -1’s? My goodness that’s brutal.

    I doesn’t change the Oilers’ goal diff (they lost 2 and won 2 in SO), but its something to keep in mind.

  34. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Scungilli:
    Nuge with Connor is good but who plays RW? They need some size to compliment them IMO, it can’t be Leon, is Pitlick good enough? Is JP ready for that?

    Nuge plays RW. One of Lucic, Maroon, Pouliot (most likely Lucic) plays LW.

    I’ve always seen Nuge as a natural centre but 6 years into his career we are Still talking about his lack of strength and his poor results on the dot so maybe it’s time for a rethink.

  35. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy:
    LT,

    Did you know this?

    Jeff VeilletteVerified account
    ‏@JeffVeillette
    Hold up, http://NHL.com ‘s goal differential table uses shootout wins/losses as +1 / -1’s? My goodness that’s brutal.

    I doesn’t change the Oilers’ goal diff (they lost 2 and won 2 in SO), but its something to keep in mind.

    Yeah the standings count ersatz shootout “goals” as actual goals. You have to subtract out shootout results (shown in a separate column) or else go to team stats for Goals and Goals Against to get real totals. As with most things shootout, it’s a royal pain in the ass & an assault on logic, not necessarily in that order.

  36. Bag of Pucks says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Nice post and a hearty +1 to point #6 in particular.

  37. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    LT,

    Did you know this?

    Jeff VeilletteVerified account
    ‏@JeffVeillette
    Hold up, http://NHL.com ‘s goal differential table uses shootout wins/losses as +1 / -1’s? My goodness that’s brutal.

    I doesn’t change the Oilers’ goal diff (they lost 2 and won 2 in SO), but its something to keep in mind.

    Yes. Big pain and I do get caught once in awhile, but Bruce usually dms me. 🙂

  38. Scungilli says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Nuge plays RW. One of Lucic, Maroon, Pouliot (most likely Lucic) plays LW.

    I’ve always seen Nuge as a natural centre but 6 years into his career we are Still talking about his lack of strength and his poor results on the dot so maybe it’s time for a rethink.

    He he not enough coffee I guess. Pouliot Connor Nuge might be a nice line. They could at least sorta keep up with Connor

  39. Centre of attention says:

    Man, Pouliot sure was invisible last night. He needs to have an impact in order to stay in the line up!

    Wait a minute…

    Why is an established top 9 NHL forward in the pressbox and why is a career AHL’er eating his lunch?!

    This team won last night in spite of their poor roster decisions. I’ll take it. Now smarten the F up.

  40. Bag of Pucks says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – Totally off-topic, but I like wine and was spoiled living in France for 2 years.This is a good piece about ranking wines, does a nice job of explaining the stats beng applied, and what the stats mean and dont mean:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/12/15/13892364/amateur-wine-scores-critics

    *for those who don’t frequent vox.xom: it is a fascinating site, one can get lost for hours going through things.Kind of an online hybrid of the Economist, New Yorker and Vanity Fair IMO: money, politics, economics, social issues and Hollywood.

    – What are some other sites that people here frequent, and why? (besides Lowetide and porn!)

    Thanks for the link. Great resource to help with the vino procurement : )

    Deadspin and Digg are two of my faves. Fair.org as well when I’m hungry for ethical reporting.

  41. Scungilli says:

    Scungilli: He he not enough coffee I guess. Pouliot Connor Nuge might be a nice line. They could at least sorta keep up with Connor

    Assuming they finish enough of the million chances they’ll get.

  42. JJS says:

    We all know what the obvious gaps in balance are but one of the areas that has been highly visible lately is our wingers general inability to receive passes and skate through the neutral zone.

    We really don’t have anyone with high to elite puck handling skills and speed on the boards which means Nuge, McD and Drais are constantly trying to create space through the middle of the ice. Our opposition have the book on this unfortunately.

    It can get a bit tedious watching Lucic, Maroon, and Kassian plodding across center ice knowing they are not capable of making a play.

    I love the idea of an elite winger for this team who can play top two lines. And I am not attempting to ignite a Hall discussion at this point but that is exactly the player type this team needs. Or a Hemsky for the right side.

    It seems we swing from having elite wingers to elite centermen without ever overlapping. Weight and Smyth/Geurin the last ones?

  43. Bag of Pucks says:

    Why does TMac quit on lines so quickly, especially when they show solid chemistry?

    Maroon/Letestu/Kassian looked like a keeper.

  44. commonfan14 says:

    Who carries the ball for this team if Nuge starts running deep routes with McDavid?

  45. Centre of attention says:

    “Leon Draisaitl is the best forward of the 2014 draft.”

    Give me your best argument against that statement.

    *EDIT*
    I would rank the top 4 (forwards only) as:
    1: Drai
    2: Pasta
    3:Willy Nylander
    4: Sam Bennett

  46. Woodguy says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    I went and did a very cursory analysis of Pacific division schedules a few days ago right after the Columbus game I think or right before. Basically the shit travel schedule the Oilers had to start the season, Calgary, San Jose and LA have to close out the year. San Jose especially has an absolutely brutal March, tons of away games, four different back-to-backs and many time zones crossed. Seriously if the Oilers can stay in the hunt and can start cruising at home games there is going to be a very big opening come the last 25 or so games of the season.

    That’s interesting.

    The Oilers’ March is pretty sweet for them schedule-wise:

    They start March 4 after 3 days off

    13 games
    11 at home
    2 on the road

    No home games back to back

    Road games are ANA-COL back to back.

    7 games are vs opponents in a playoff spot today (PIT, MTL, BOS, LAK(2), ANA, SJS) only ANA on the road

    6 games are vs non-playoff teams today (DET, NYI, DAL, VAN, COL(2)

    3 games where team played the night before: DET, BOS, LAK

    If they can get to the end of the tough 6 game road trip that ends Feb 28th in a playoff spot, March sets up fairly well.

    Assuming the majority of the team (#97, #29, #33) are healthy.

  47. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Yeah the standings count ersatz shootout “goals” as actual goals. You have to subtract out shootout results (shown in a separate column) or else go to team stats for Goals and Goals Against to get real totals. As with most things shootout, it’s a royal pain in the ass & an assault on logic, not necessarily in that order.

    Thanks Bruce.

    I’m surprised I read a post by you that included NHL chicanery in regards to the S/O and you weren’t ready to rip Bettman a new one by the end of it.

    😀

  48. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy,

    Something like 13 of the Oiler’s last 18 games are at home or something ridiculous like that.

    It will be cool if we get a deadline acquisition, we would be able to work him into the line up easier with last change.

  49. sumaclab says:

    RNH may need a change of scenery. Great player currently lost in the backwash of Conner MCdavid. There is a team out there with a coach who likes RNH alot. Babcock. I also would look at the Rangers. I think the Oilers need to bring back a shooter for MCDavid. Whoever that is we will see.

  50. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: Thanks Bruce.

    I’m surprised I read a post by you that included NHL chicanery in regards to the S/O and you weren’t ready to rip Bettman a new one by the end of it.

    Yeah I merely said “a royal pain in the ass” & “an assault on logic” but I did neglect to include the de reigueur #BettmanMath.

  51. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Last night’/ highest & lowest scoring games in regulation:

    2x 6-4 wins. Each worth 2 total points
    3x 1-1 ties. Each worth 3 total points.

    Someone explain to me again how this points system encourages offence. I must have missed it.

  52. Lowetide says:

    commonfan14:
    Who carries the ball for this team if Nuge starts running deep routes with McDavid?

    McDavid and Nuge are doing the heavy lifting currently, and the 5×5/60 numbers are frightening for all but 97, Pitlick and Leon. It might get Nuge’s offensive juices flowing, and then we can review.

  53. Woodguy says:

    Apropos to the conversation, here’s Drai’s wingers this year sorted by GF/60 together (small sample size alert as per usual)

    DRAISAITL, LEON 2.37/60 overall

    KASSIAN, ZACK 3.87
    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON 3.77
    POULIOT, BENOIT 3.17
    LUCIC, MILAN 2.73
    PITLICK, TYLER 2.31
    MCDAVID, CONNOR 2.15 (Drai the winger obv)
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE 1.71
    MAROON, PATRICK 1.67
    CAGGIULA, DRAKE 1.45

    Oh, the last two guys on the list are the ones McLellan has decided to run him with.

    That’s just great.

  54. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy:
    Apropos to the conversation, here’s Drai’s wingers this year sorted by GF/60 together (small sample size alert as per usual)

    DRAISAITL, LEON2.37/60 overall

    KASSIAN, ZACK3.87
    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON3.77
    POULIOT, BENOIT3.17
    LUCIC, MILAN2.73
    PITLICK, TYLER2.31
    MCDAVID, CONNOR2.15 (Drai the winger obv)
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE1.71
    MAROON, PATRICK1.67
    CAGGIULA, DRAKE1.45

    Oh, the last two guys on the list are the ones McLellan has decided to run him with.

    That’s just great.

    If Pouliot is scratched again I’m going to lose my mind.

  55. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Woodguy,

    Where does McLellan rank in your mind in terms of current NHL head coaches?

  56. Roughneck says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Sumthin sumthin Bettman
    Sumthin sumthin Fuqtard

  57. Centre of attention says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Woodguy,

    Where does McLellan rank in your mind in terms of current NHL head coaches?

    Somewhere from #10 to #15.

    His actual 5 on 5 system is good. If he had a better roster to work with this team would eat Corsi for breakfast.

    That being said, it can be argued that he is not making perfect decisions when it comes to the players that he already has. You gotta make the best of what you got and so far you can’t say thats what he’s been doing.

    I suspect the GM has a say in which rookies are playing at what time. Le sigh.

  58. Bos8 says:

    Yep, TMac the perpetual coachin machine. Remember the story of players renting ice in the summer and inviting him. Had to stop because he started coaching. Remember Buffalo and ninety seconds?

    Plus or minus two goals in the second – shortening and blending. Why? Because he can. Team is tired, no shit Sherlock.

    Cooper rubbed his nose into how to manage a tired team, last night. Ego’s in the way.

    Damned it’s disappointing.

  59. fifthcartel says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Last night’/ highest & lowest scoring games in regulation:

    2x 6-4 wins. Each worth 2 total points
    3x 1-1 ties. Each worth 3 total points.

    Someone explain to me again how this points system encourages offence. I must have missed it.

    The NHL needs to badly increase/encourage offense but it seems like they’re more content with goalies having a .920 save percentage than top scorers putting up 90-100 points.

  60. Klima's_Bucket says:

    fifthcartel,

    Do you propose going back to wood sticks with goalies wearing equipment from the 80’s?

  61. OmJo says:

    Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl
    Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle – you can fight it for only so long TMac, but it will happen eventually dammit!
    Maroon-Letestu-Kassian
    Slepyshev-LANDER-Pitlick

    This is the lineup I think I go with if I’m TMac. Send Puljujarvi and Cag to the AHL.

  62. --hudson-- says:

    kinger_OIL,

    You should watch Somm on Netflix if you haven’t already, a documentary following some youngsters seeking master sommelier credential. There is also a second documentary with a similar title, much of the same people, and it gets into the history behind a bunch of wineries. Beautifully shot and entertaining.

  63. OmJo says:

    Lowetide: McDavid and Nuge are doing the heavy lifting currently, and the 5×5/60 numbers are frightening for all but 97, Pitlick and Leon. It might get Nuge’s offensive juices flowing, and then we can review.

    IIRC Drai was struggling 5v5 too before playing a couple games with 97.

    If anybody can get Nuge going it’s going to be 97.

  64. stush18 says:

    I love nuge, but he needs some help.

    If you’re running him as a winger with mcdavid, which I would like, that has to be the de facto top line against the elites. So you prolly have

    Lucic-mcdavid-nuge
    Poo-drai-ebs
    Maroon-letestu-kassian
    Pitlick-cags-beck/JP.

  65. Lowetide says:

    I actually like the current level of offense. A 3-2 game is my favorite.

  66. stush18 says:

    Personally from past experience, I always found it was easier to break onto a team when I played with other rookies/new guys.

    Breaking into a good line, you really try hard to play there game, get Chen with them. Seemed I would run interference more than score goals. When you play with other rookies, you weren’t told where to go, you all played a very basic system that everyone grew up on, until you got comfortable.

    Point is, I think the best you’ve seen cags/JP/pitlick/slepy together was when they ran there kid line together. Quick feet, and they played a simple north/south game, hit lots, and fired everything on net.

    So running beck-cags-pitlick might work best imo. They would actually be your fourth line, because rookies are gonna rook in the defensive end. But I would like seeing those three together.

  67. stush18 says:

    Lowetide:
    I actually like the current level of offense. A 3-2 game is my favorite.

    3-2 regulation, or do you care whether or not it goes to OT?

  68. Scungilli says:

    OmJo:
    Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl
    Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle – you can fight it for only so long TMac, but it will happen eventually dammit!
    Maroon-Letestu-Kassian
    Slepyshev-LANDER-Pitlick

    This is the lineup I think I go with if I’m TMac. Send Puljujarvi and Cag to the AHL.

    My thinking as well. Lander has issues but plays two ways and with speedy wingers with skill and easier minutes I think he can help, and do some PK work as well.

  69. Fog of Warts says:

    Woodguy with the epic post yesterday.

    ———

    A cluster

    Yesterday, I went to visit my safety deposit box—right end, second shelf down, first unit, second tier—my personal holdshelf cubbyhole at the local library, only to discover that holds placed yesterday, the week before, the month before, the month before that, and the month before that, had all arrived on the same day. Now this wouldn’t mean much if I maintained a continual 50-book list. But I actually had only eight items in my queue, and six arrived in a clump.

    * But What If We’re Wrong — Klosterman
    * Friend & Foe — Galinsky
    * Brief Candle in the Dark — Dawkins
    * The Terror Years — Wright
    * Power, Inc. — Rothkopf
    * Steps to an Ecology of Mind — Bateson

    Now sometimes I put a book on my list just to find out if the author is as full of shit as something he once wrote (which one day swam past my scuba mask), and some of these go back several months, so even I don’t presently know the sugarplums from the deadly pufferfish.

    F&F, whose full title is Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both, is exactly the kind of title added to my list for reasons other than winning, and checking it now, while it garners a smattering of high “fives” (in the coopertition mosh-pit of social media) there are mild bleatings among the more incisive reviews that this is just another wind-up-briefcase power meal supersized with a side order of social psychology lipstick and lingerie.

    ———

    On listening

    To listen. To not listen. A big question.

    A certain Steve did not exactly make the great corporate fortune of modern times by being a good listener. In truth, he was a notoriously bad listener. The great business lesson of modern times is just how close Apple came to being melted down for conflict minerals before the wax-eared messiah’s second coming.

    I totally get Woodguy’s awesome N=1 business anecdote. However, I’ve swum too deeply in the Fundamental Uncertainty of Life Fortune, amid the sugarplums and pufferfish that so easily defy discrimination in the shifting plankton haze.

    ———

    Slumming it

    I’m having a bit of trouble identifying with the team this year. Normally what I do is put my left thumb over a blemish, and my right thumb over a blessing, and then ask myself “what have we really got here?” After subtracting out the second half of the Lucic contract, and all of Connor McDavid, what have we got here?

    A couple of Nice Things (established edition) in a Spot of Bother (Nuge, Eberle) and a fistful of hatching eggs (Drai, PJ, Klef, Nurse). So last night, instead of gravitating toward the game feed, I ended up watching Atheist Experience #702 instead of following the game feed.

    The host, Matt Dillahunty, shared a stage recently with Richard Dawkins, in Vancouver. He was articulate, so I thought I would check the guy out. This particular episode is the top-rated episode (per the ever-reliable social media coopertition mosh-pit) of a fairly substantial back catalogue. Okay, knock it out of the park guys. Impress me. I’m in the mood.

    What do we get instead? (Not that I’ve already given the verdict away or anything by the tone of my prelude.)

    What we get instead is a top-drawer example of speaking at cross purposes. Smart. Earnest. Engaged. No question, I’ve seen infinitely worse.

    However, the conversation becomes inescapably semantic. My diagnosis is that Ray Comfort believes in the existence of non-existence. This naturally creates the question “where does existence come from?” while naturally excluding present company.

    As Sherlock once said, once present company has been thoroughly excluded (down to the last rib), what remains—however preposterous—must be God.

    Where does Ray finally hang the existence of non-existence? Common sense. I’m now twenty minutes in, and I doubt I can stomach another minute.

    ———

    I’ve looked at turtles (on both sides now)

    Dillahunty and Glasser do not push back quite so directly, but they do manage to put forward “natural process” as the alternative cognitive frame to reasoning from non-existence. This is not without difficulties, either.

    So physics has many theories about how natural processes unfold over time and a Big Stick called the scientific method, in which all truth ultimately grinds fine under the giant mill wheel of experimental evidence (a tireless mission, whose job is never done).

    The problem is that it’s very hard to get t1 into the beaker on the left, and t2 into the beaker on the right. (I mean by t1 and t2, time one and time two.) Turns out we never directly compare the situation at t1 with the situation at t2. What we do instead is compare our memory of t1 to our memory of t2. But what is memory? Memory is the current configuration of now. So you interrogate “now” on why it believes in t1 and t2 and it answers back “because I do”.

    Julian Barbour: Does Time Exist?

    Physics has real problems with time. It’s almost as bad as believing from faith/common sense in the existence of non-existence (hint, hint, to some of the nuttier metaverse cosmologists).

    ———

    The language of cross purpose

    At this point, the dialogue between Dillahunty and Comfort has degenerated into “what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to conceive”.

    What I would call your standard type #1 word salad.

    We all want the hand (in which we discover that what the “hand” itself wants is a lazy afternoon Coke, Italian style.)

    I don’t believe that this kind of directed argument gets us anywhere, which is why most of what I write concerns the gaps between words, rather than the words themselves. (If the words won’t give me the gaps I want on first blush, I take them behind the woodshed and renovate.)

    ———

    A good conversation

    I was fortunate to have a great conversation this week, venue: office party, status: SO-in-tow. The person I conversed with was a politician of some note, a charmer, a book worm, and my polar opposite in natural disposition. But we are both healthy skeptics, so it wasn’t hard to engage. Even better, neither of us was trying to convince the other. We were sparring mainly for the purpose of getting each other to give a truer account of their own worldview.

    As I saw it, by the end, we had one major difference. He believes in bright lines. I think they’re a blight. What I wrote in my notes afterward:

    So often, one person’s neat and tidy bright line is another person’s exasperated flash point.

    In my view, every bright line is an externality just waiting to happen. It could be a woman forced to bear a child fathered by her rapist (miracle of conception / protecting the innocent). There are hundreds of others. Find bright line, lift carpet, reel in horror.

    The downside to my view is that eliminating bright lines requires a constant expenditure of nuance (and tired arms frisking the hold shelf).

    ———

    Nuance express excess

    Let me criticize myself, here. I drink from a bottomless cup of market economic fundamentalism known as EconTalk. Because the guests are good. Even after three hundred hours at this particular banquet table, it’s still not comfort food.

    Russ has an answer for everything: competition. And in truth, there are many, many problems one can imagine better competition resolving.

    A question Russ never asks: is there a systems theoretic limit on how much competition a system can carry?

    Is competition a scarcity? By shrinking the government, does competition become a magic “free refill” soda fountain Pepsi? Can an economic system be organized so that you have competition everywhere you want it, at all times?

    My answer to this question is no.

    Common definition of economics: science of allocation of scarce resources

    ———

    A role of government less imagined

    Here’s a novel way to look at government. Government is how we allocate the scarce resource of competition. Some things are so brutally stupid, we just get the government to say “don’t do that” so that the priceless gold of market competition can be allocated to other things, things that no person, however sage, could decide from an ivory tower.

    Here’s a list I had near to hand:

    * AT&T, Verizon Tell FCC To Back Off On Net Neutrality Complaints
    * AT&T To Cough Up $88 Million For ‘Cramming’ Mobile Customer Bills
    * US Government Sues AT&T/DirecTV, Calls It ‘Ringleader’ of Collusion Scheme
    * AT&T Is Spying on Americans For Profit, New Documents Reveal

    I’m personally not convinced that we should deploy the crown jewel of competition to slap AT&T down. Does that even work?

    Does anyone here live in a city where “competition” has resulted in your local ISP being anything less than 100% PITA when that dreaded “we need to talk” phone call becomes inescapable?

    My list of arrogant acts I wish to punish with my feet: lengthy. My list of places my feet can take me—through personal effort short of the Apollo program—not nearly so long. As a business card. Ripped in half.

    Turning this on myself, perhaps “nuance”, too, is a scarcity, and it’s just asking too much of society (and its moral mullahs) to banish all bright lines, now and forever.

    ———

    Woodguy response

    So here, finally, is my answer to Woodguy.

    Generally, competence resides not in a person (once you get past the fat, couch-potato hump of the bell curve), but in fitness for a particular environment. Right person, right place: you have your Oscar (one word: “war”; official supplier of pantyhose to Nazi apparatchiks).

    The problem (re: Fundamental Uncertainty of Life Fortune) is that “environment” can be sliced a thousand different ways.

    ———

    My own anecdote

    I’ll share my own personal story.

    My grandfather, who did well on the markets, once confided in me a pearl of wisdom: “watch the Reichmanns, they always have a shrewd angle”. Fortunately (for his fortunes), my granddad passed away shortly before Canary Wharf hit the fan.

    But he was right. The Reichmanns did have an angle (but not an angel). Turns out their angle was investing against the inflation rate. More than expected inflation triggered nominal repayment targets—sooner rather than later—and the rest is negative cash-flow history.

    Superficially, Alan Greenspan had a great run. Then this:

    “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

    Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) then pressed him to clarify his words.

    “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Waxman said.

    “Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

    Greenspan admitted fault in opposing regulation of derivatives and acknowledged that financial institutions didn’t protect shareholders and investments as well as he expected.

    Well, it takes about 40 years, even for the wizards of Goldman Sachs, to arrange for all of Wall St. to show up in Washington with their out-turned white pockets a trillion dollars light. Here’s the thing, Alan. You were supposed to hear the machinery humming an unsavory tune. That was your job, had you chosen to do it.

    ———

    Environment as the thing

    If the environment is mostly the thing, the next step is to ask how the business environment differs from the GM environment. Should the same rules of success apply?

    My personal silver lining throughout this entire decade of debacle was the window this created to ask and answer this very difficult question.

    Ten years later, I’m precisely nowhere—but it’s now a nowhere exceptionally well scouted.

    Steps to an Ecology of Mind is a book from 1972 on language and systems theory, and all things difficult. (What it lacks in the inscrutable aperçus of Wittgenstein it makes up for by having many woolly pages.)

    I already know what this book will tell me: to assess and classify an environment, examine the feedback loops.

    The GM has a special feedback loop, type “fishbowl” (subtype “incestuous”) that few standard lines of business replicate.

    There’s a second problem that that market functions as a market more for the haves than the have-nots (remain a member of the second class long enough, and all your goods are of type “tainted” and even a gem trades straight across for the solid but uninspiring).

    Schindler was (mostly) a pre-war failure and (mostly) a post-war failure. But during war itself, he was golden.

    One by one, it will take them.

    Managers arrive here with bright and shiny plans for world dominate. By the end of the second summer of thin fishing, the plan subtly (or not-so subtly) mutates into some form of get-out-of-have-not panic.

    Happy bedtime thought.

    What if Connor asks out?

    Why worry? Connor is such a nice guy—with a legendary tolerance for finishing last (where “last” is any ranking with more than a single digit).

    ———

    Chia: Hey, honey, would you pass the can of bedbug bite-away.

    Chia’s licorice fern: Awww, nightmares again? Here—try to keep it on your side.

    ———

    Environmentalists on Vancouver Island have recently [2011] discovered what is being dubbed as “Canada’s mossiest rainforest”. Near Honeymoon Bay, roughly a 40-minute drive from Lake Cowichan, “Fangorn Forest” truly is a magical place. Moss covers nearly everything here.

    Growing all the way up to the top of most trees, the moss provides a thick fuzzy green layer up these twisted giants. Getting so thick, collections of gigantic moss clumps have fallen and now carpet the ground of Mossy Maple Rainforest.

    ———

    Portability

    Of course, stories of human ambition, arrogance, and failure are portable everywhere. But success is a different beast. Office of the GM business as usual? Or not just business as usual?

    Ten years in, I remain undecided.

    (At this point, with a bit more time, I’d meld the lyrics of Mr Tambourine Man into Like a Rolling Stone. All set up, and ready to rumble, but I must turn away and salvage the remains of my jingle-jangle morning.)

  70. Confused says:

    Would rather see Nuge with Drain, both playing C/ RW with poo if you can get him going. Drai taking most draws.

    3C is now a problem as Letestu minutes need to be watched with him on the PP and PK

    So it’s Cags or Lander.

    Thought: if Hendo can take draws, surely Kassian can be taught this as well. Would give Cags cover if you play Kassian 3RW

    If not, how good is JJ in the dot? And defensively?

  71. Pescador says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – Totally off-topic, but I like wine and was spoiled living in France for 2 years.This is a good piece about ranking wines, does a nice job of explaining the stats beng applied, and what the stats mean and dont mean:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/12/15/13892364/amateur-wine-scores-critics

    *for those who don’t frequent vox.xom: it is a fascinating site, one can get lost for hours going through things.Kind of an online hybrid of the Economist, New Yorker and Vanity Fair IMO: money, politics, economics, social issues and Hollywood.

    – What are some other sites that people here frequent, and why? (besides Lowetide and porn!)

    Define frequent

  72. Centre of attention says:

    OmJo: IIRC Drai was struggling 5v5 too before playing a couple games with 97.

    If anybody can get Nuge going it’s going to be 97.

    Drai when on ice with McDavid 5 v 5 has 2 points

    He is definitely feasting with 97 on the powerplay, that is for sure. But I don’t know how you can see that as a bad thing. This teams powerplay was awful until Leon-Connor found that high slot tip play and it’s working real well now.

    I’m personally not worried about Leon. He’s going to be a beast.

  73. Woodguy says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Woodguy,

    Where does McLellan rank in your mind in terms of current NHL head coaches?

    I don’t know enough about the other coaches to rank any but the one’s I’ve paid attention to.

    Fwiw, @dtmaboutheart has a coach ranking system based on player’s career results vs deployment by the coach and McLellan ranked 23/33.

    He has stated he’s not sure of the veracity of his metric at this point but its interesting to look at.

    Link to the tweet: https://twitter.com/DTMAboutHeart/status/784050300386742272

    Personally, I’ve been underwhelmed.

    Not just by the line/pair combos, but by how often his 3rd/4th line with 3rd pair is out vs the other team’s best on home ice.

  74. Georges says:

    One very important line in LT’s write up: Cam Talbot was excellent last night. .939 sv%. Kept the other team to 2. Stopped 2 of 3 in the shootout.

    Benoit Pouliot’s teams have outscored opponents 5v5 in 7 of the past 8 seasons (including this one) when he’s been on the ice (last season was the exception). In all of those seasons, his teams have done better on GF% 5v5 with him on the ice than off. Another player who has managed to do that over the same time frame is Patric Hornqvist.

    Matt Hendricks’ teams have been outscored 5v5 in 7 of the last 7 seasons when he’s been on the ice. In 6 of those 7 years, his team has done worse on GF% with him on the ice than with him off (last season was the exception). Another player who has managed a similar streak of getting outscored leading up to this season is Nick Spaling. Nick Spaling is 28 years old and is currently playing in the Swiss League. Matt Hendricks is 35 years old and is currently getting 11:39 of ice time with the Edmonton Oilers .

    But Benoit Pouliot takes dumb penalties, right? Since 2014-15, the penalty difference with Pouliot on the ice is +4. With Hendricks on the ice, it’s -20. Matt Hendricks must take smart penalties.

    But Matt Hendricks is a heart and soul PK guy who puts his whole body on the line. Matt Hendricks was one of our most effective penalty killers last year (3.95 GA60 4v5). This year, in very limited minutes, he’s been our worst (7.3 GA60 4v5). (And Pouliot has better 4v5 GA60 numbers than Hendricks in both years although with far fewer minutes last year.)

    Maybe Hendricks is a good process, bad outcomes guy and Pouliot is a bad process, good outcomes guy. I don’t know what they know, but, in my book, playing Hendricks and sitting Pouliot is a legitimate reason to question and worry about Oilers coaching and management.

  75. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy,

    McLellan keeps saying that its easier to get match ups on the road and it really makes me wonder.

    Other teams coaches seem to have no problem getting match ups at home.

  76. OmJo says:

    Scungilli: My thinking as well. Lander has issues but plays two ways and with speedy wingers with skill and easier minutes I think he can help, and do some PK work as well.

    I just think having Lander on this team will help in a few ways. 1) It gives TMac two good faceoff options for the PK. 2) Nuge should then get more PP time than PK time. Which should help his production 3) It gives Letestu less of a workload at C. 4) Lander can play wing, too. The option of reuniting Lander-Letestu-Pitlick as 4Line is a good thing. Those three did good things together.

    I think he’s clearly too good for the AHL at this point in his career. Does that mean he’s good enough to be in the NHL? Well.. I think so. Not as a feature player who’s going to put up 40pts a season but as a cheap 4C who can play any F position in the bottom six if needed. Somebody who can win important faceoffs and you feel confident putting out to hold a lead with 2 minutes left in a game.

    Anton Lander, IMO, has Marcus Kruger-like potential. Which isn’t a bad thing. Wasn’t there a rumour we were going to trade Yakupov for him this summer? Well we probably have one right here.

  77. OmJo says:

    I really don’t understand why TMac hasn’t given the Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle a single look this season. Out of all the blending he has done, why not just try it? And I don’t mean have them out for one shift late in the third period.

    I might sound obsessive but it really seems odd he won’t even consider this an option. Instead you have Nuge playing with Beck and Pitlick and then blending it all up when he realizes it was a mistake.

  78. Professor Q says:

    Wait. So now we’re on the “Play Puljujärvi in the NHL” Train, instead of “Develop Him In the AHL” Train?

  79. Professor Q says:

    Centre of attention:
    “Leon Draisaitl is the best forward of the 2014 draft.”

    Give me your best argument against that statement.

    *EDIT*
    I would rank the top 4 (forwards only) as:
    1: Drai
    2: Pasta
    3:Willy Nylander
    4: Sam Bennett

    I think Larkin and Ehlers are 3/4 instead of Nylander and Bennett, however.

  80. Woodguy says:

    Fog of Warts,

    Excellent.

    Thank you for that.

    For me the key to success has been:

    1) Luck
    2) Recognizing luck when its there when possible
    3) Making burnt offerings in thanks of the luck
    4) Having failures not ruin you
    5) Be lucky enough that you are around to write “4) Having failures not ruin you”

    Yesterday’s post detailed some of my process, but none of the cosmic underpinnings.

    Maybe running a business is like raising a child?

    I’ve been reading lately about how important it is let your child fail so they can experience and become able to cope with it so they don’t require a safe space later in life when the universe is not unfolding like they had hoped.

    One item most of the writers I have read agree with is “let them fail at smaller things”. Once they can deal with that let them fail at larger things and as they grow older and they’ll be more equipped when on their own. One caveat is that you can still intervene and keep them from failing at catastrophic things (face tattoos at age 16 etc)

    I’ve been very lucky in many ways. (starting with selling a luxury good product in the hottest economy on the planet for the last 18 years)

    I’ve also been lucky that the times I have failed, they have not been catastrophic.

    When the friend from yesterday’s post changed his marketing strategy he removed 25% of my sales with the wave of his hand.

    Crippling wave of a hand.

    He wasn’t my friend after that. He said it killed him to do it to me, but he had to for the health of his business. Shit happens. I hope I’m never in that spot.

    I got lucky and found another vendor 6 months later to fill his void, then after almost another 12 months of product development and a few trip to Wisconsin we were ready to launch.

    Over $100K inventory in my warehouse and another $50K spent on the initial marketing and *poof* they go broke.

    Damn shame too, the product was fabulous. They key was the price I was buying it at, but apparently my price was tied to their inability to cost their products correctly.

    Who knew? Not me. Oops.

    That failure was followed by a couple others along similar but not the same vein until the past 18 months or so when the void was truly (but still not completely) filled.

    Multiple failures while staring business mortality in the eye (kind of, but more “if this is the new normal, I might do something else”) , but no failures large enough to make me have to get repeated laser surgery on my face.

    I thank the Gords and their lucky stars that its still fun and my overheads are fairly scale-able.

  81. Woodguy says:

    Georges:
    One very important line in LT’s write up: Cam Talbot was excellent last night. .939 sv%. Kept the other team to 2. Stopped 2 of 3 in the shootout.

    Benoit Pouliot’s teams have outscored opponents 5v5 in 7 of the past 8 seasons (including this one) when he’s been on the ice (last season was the exception). In all of those seasons, his teams have done better on GF% 5v5 with him on the ice than off. Another player who has managed to do that over the same time frame is Patric Hornqvist.

    Matt Hendricks’ teams have been outscored 5v5 in 7 of the last 7 seasons when he’s been on the ice. In 6 of those 7 years, his team has done worse on GF% with him on the ice than with him off (last season was the exception). Another player who has managed a similar streak of getting outscored leading up to this season is Nick Spaling. Nick Spaling is 28 years old and is currently playing in the Swiss League. Matt Hendricks is 35 years old and is currently getting 11:39 of ice time with the Edmonton Oilers .

    But Benoit Pouliot takes dumb penalties, right? Since 2014-15, the penalty difference with Pouliot on the ice is +4. With Hendricks on the ice, it’s -20. Matt Hendricks must take smart penalties.

    But Matt Hendricks is a heart and soul PK guy who puts his whole body on the line. Matt Hendricks was one of our most effective penalty killers last year (3.95 GA60 4v5). This year, in very limited minutes, he’s been our worst (7.3 GA60 4v5). (And Pouliot has better 4v5 GA60 numbers than Hendricks in both years although with far fewer minutes last year.)

    Maybe Hendricks is a good process, bad outcomes guy and Pouliot is a bad process, good outcomes guy. I don’t know what they know, but, in my book, playing Hendricks and sitting Pouliot is a legitimate reason to question and worry about Oilers coaching and management.

    *STRONG CLAPPING*

  82. Woodguy says:

    OmJo,

    I really don’t understand why TMac hasn’t given the Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle a single look this season.

    He did.

    Their results in a very small sample may tell us why he hasn’t gone back.

    via puckalytics super wowy:

    43:50 together
    43.5% CF
    33.3% GF (981 PDO)

    Last year’s result for the trio:

    214:37 together
    53.2% CF
    43.8% GF (986 PDO)

    So while they have been 52.5% CF together since McLellan got here, they only have 42.1% GF as a trio in that time.

    We *know* that Peter values goal metrics more than shot metrics as he has stated as much, so its fair to assume the coach looks at goal metrics and Scoring Chance metrics and discards shot metrics (he has said as much too)

  83. Woodguy says:

    Professor Q:
    Wait. So now we’re on the “Play Puljujärvi in the NHL” Train, instead of “Develop Him In the AHL” Train?

    If he’s here, play him and shelter him.

    If you’re not playing him, send him down so he can play

  84. Lowetide says:

    Interesting that Hendricks is the target, despite the fact Taylor Beck played in Pouliot’s spot on the Nuge line. Just want to place a little item here: Hendricks had a good night on the checking line. The issue was Beck. That is certainly on McLellan, but I am unsure why Hendricks is taking a beating in this comments section. I must have missed something.

  85. JimmyV1965 says:

    Woodguy: What we need to remember about 36 is that college FA’s often negotiate NHL gp when signing.

    I don’t know how much Peter guaranteed him, but its a real thing and everyone does it so there is no point in deriding Peter about it, it just is.

    I wonder how many gp Peter guaranteed for 36?I wonder if its actual gp or just games on the roster (so they can collect a NHL paycheck)I’d bet its games on roster.

    That said, 23 and Beck should sit before 36 imo.

    67 should be in everyday.

    The last spot should be a fight between 23 and 98 as long as 98 is on the big club.

    Although I remember the Drake saying specifically in an interview that he was okay with being sent down. I remember because I thought it was very refreshing.

  86. Lowetide says:

    Bruins shutout Kings. That is a nice item.

  87. JDï™ says:

    Lowetide:
    Bruins shutout Kings. That is a nice item.

    Great effort from Rask: https://streamable.com/o42z6

  88. Woogie63 says:

    Best Left Wings. 1. Lucic, 2. Maroon 3. Pouilot 4. Slepyshev 5. Lander 6. Hendricks
    Best Centers; 1. McDavid 2. Driasaitl 3. Hopkins 4. Letestu 5. Caggulia
    Best Right Wingers 1. Eberle 2. Pitlick 3. Kassian 4. Puliarjarvi 5. Beck
    Best Defense 1. Sekera 2. Larson 3. Klefblom 4. Nurse 5. Benning 6. Russell 7. Davidson 8. Gyrba
    Best Goalie 1. Talbot 2. Monster

    Play the 1-3 more on 5×5 and the PP
    Play the 3-6 more in dzone face-offs and PK

    We have a great line up that can and should dictate the play more than we are seeing

  89. The Hermit says:

    Georges: Maybe Hendricks is a good process, bad outcomes guy and Pouliot is a bad process, good outcomes guy. I don’t know what they know, but, in my book, playing Hendricks and sitting Pouliot is a legitimate reason to question and worry about Oilers coaching and management.

    Looks to me like Pouliot is not doing what Coach wants so he is sitting him.

    What that is I have no idea.

  90. Georges says:

    OmJo,

    I agree with you. We have a lot of players in our lineup who can play. I don’t see how our lineup is so much more flawed than other teams.

    Start the game with 4 lines:

    McDavid-Lucic-JP
    Nuge-Pouliot-Ebs
    Drai-Maroon-Kass
    Letestu-Caggiula-Pitlick

    Finish the game with 3 lines, Drai moved up to first, Letestu moved up to 3rd between Maroon and Kass.

    Some of TMac’s decision making and calling out of players does make me wonder how steady the hand guiding the ship is. Why is he so easily agitated? Goals go in against every coach, all the time. TMac’s reactions to goals against are worrying. It’s like he needs to show everybody he’s coaching and he’s the one who really cares and these damn players keep letting him down. When coaches have no other answers to goals against than it’s the players, coaches have no answers. If your players have less success than you expect with your process, question your process not just your players.

  91. Lowetide says:

    Woogie63:
    Best Left Wings. 1. Lucic, 2. Maroon 3. Pouilot 4. Slepyshev 5. Lander 6. Hendricks
    Best Centers; 1. McDavid 2. Driasaitl 3. Hopkins 4. Letestu 5. Caggulia
    Best Right Wingers 1. Eberle 2. Pitlick 3. Kassian 4. Puliarjarvi 5. Beck
    Best Defense 1. Sekera 2. Larson 3. Klefblom 4. Nurse 5. Benning 6. Russell 7. Davidson 8. Gyrba
    Best Goalie 1. Talbot 2. Monster

    Play the 1-3 more on 5×5 and the PP
    Play the 3-6 more in dzone face-offs and PK

    We have a great line up that can and should dictate the play more than we are seeing

    I would put Pouliot with McDavid. Mentioned a few days ago, BP is the one winger who actually increases scoring by 97 while with 97. I understand he is having a subpar season, but there is no real reason to keep him away (Lucic isn’t killing it).

  92. Zelepukin says:

    Lowetide:
    Interesting that Hendricks is the target, despite the fact Taylor Beck played in Pouliot’s spot on the Nuge line. Just want to place a little item here: Hendricks had a good night on the checking line. The issue was Beck. That is certainly on McLellan, but I am unsure why Hendricks is taking a beating in this comments section. I must have missed something.

    Was there any verbal on why Beck was brought up? I don’t think Pou has an injury that would have kept him out, so my guess is that they see Beck as a showcase job given his scoring success.

  93. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Interesting that Hendricks is the target, despite the fact Taylor Beck played in Pouliot’s spot on the Nuge line. Just want to place a little item here: Hendricks had a good night on the checking line. The issue was Beck. That is certainly on McLellan, but I am unsure why Hendricks is taking a beating in this comments section. I must have missed something.

    This is why:

    Player GF%
    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON 83.3
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE 68.8
    LANDER, ANTON 62.5
    MCDAVID, CONNOR 58.7
    MAROON, PATRICK 54.8
    KASSIAN, ZACK 53.8
    POULIOT, BENOIT 52.4
    LUCIC, MILAN 51.3
    PITLICK, TYLER 50
    LETESTU, MARK 47.6
    DRAISAITL, LEON 47.2
    EBERLE, JORDAN 45.7
    CAGGIULA, DRAKE 36.4
    NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN 34.5 (!!!!)
    HENDRICKS, MATT 20

    Coach decides he doesn’t trust Sleppy (#1 on this list btw…..) enough to play him so he and Peter decided to send him down and bring up Beck as he’s earned it.

    Good on Beck, they’re going to play him a least one game.

    So McLellan decides he’s playing vs Tampa and pulls 67 out and leaves in 23.

    That’s why its directed at 23. (its actually directed at the coach, 23 is who he is)

    The decision by the coach to pull 67 over 23 is the issue.

    Beck was/is going to play at least one game, who comes out so he can is the can of worms.

    It also doesn’t matter a whole that 23 wasn’t bad last night (although being on the wrong side of his check in the dzone and taking a penalty isn’t good) because its about process, process, process and not immediate results.

  94. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide,

    Poo-McDavid-Eberle
    Lucic-Nuge-Drai
    Maroon-Cagguila-Kassian
    Lander-Letestu-Pitlick

    That work? I wonder about trying Jesse as 3C. It sounds crazy but its not like Cagguila has knocked it out of the park.

  95. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Lowetide:
    Interesting that Hendricks is the target, despite the fact Taylor Beck played in Pouliot’s spot on the Nuge line. Just want to place a little item here: Hendricks had a good night on the checking line. The issue was Beck. That is certainly on McLellan, but I am unsure why Hendricks is taking a beating in this comments section. I must have missed something.

    I thought Hendricks had a good night last night but was poor in his last several outings. I’m on team Slepyshev and Pulju. I’d play both every night.

    Pouliot-McD-Pulju
    Lucic-Drai-Slepy
    Maroon-RNH-Eberle
    Kassian-Letestu-Pitlick

  96. Woogie63 says:

    Lowetide: I would put Pouliot with McDavid. Mentioned a few days ago, BP is the one winger who actually increases scoring by 97 while with 97. I understand he is having a subpar season, but there is no real reason to keep him away (Lucic isn’t killing it).

    If BP put some good games back to back to back he has the potential to be 1LW on this team. Passing Maroon and Lucic is not an impossible task in my mind.

  97. LadiesloveSmid says:

    as for the D, I really just wish Russell wasn’t on the team and Fayne/Gryba would stay healthy

    Sekera-Benning
    Davidson-Larsson
    Klefbom-Gryba/Fayne

    not sure how I’d split those minutes/comp but I like the pairs

  98. Lowetide says:

    Zelepukin: Was there any verbal on why Beck was brought up? I don’t think Pou has an injury that would have kept him out, so my guess is that they see Beck as a showcase job given his scoring success.

    Agreed. That said, the coach needs to anticipate what might happen if Beck falters. It looked to me as though he benched Beck, Caggiula and Pitlick, preferring to run Nuge with Leon and the fourth line as the third line. None of which is on Hendricks, which was my point.

    I am basically just being a policeman here. A little sensitive after the Horcoff wars. 🙂 For those who don’t recall, posters pummeled Horcoff for his performance as No. 1 center, something he performed to the best of his ability (and was still ignited over).

    I have no quarrel with sitting Hendricks, but he had a pretty good game last night. We should absolutely make the distinction, as WG did in his first post above.

  99. Woodguy says:

    This list begs for commentary:

    Player GF%

    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON 83.3 – To the AHL with you!
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE 68.8 – Scrachted often
    LANDER, ANTON 62.5 – Another AHL bound

    The top 3 at least show McLellan can shelter correctly, but all 3 not playing is not good imo.

    MCDAVID, CONNOR 58.7 – Our laird
    MAROON, PATRICK 54.8 – Great trade – slotted correctly
    KASSIAN, ZACK 53.8 – Great trade – might actually be a target to move up
    POULIOT, BENOIT 52.4 – Oh Pou, I wish they loved you
    LUCIC, MILAN 51.3 – Their love for you will never die
    PITLICK, TYLER 50 – Pitty!! Finally!! Woot! Good for you!
    LETESTU, MARK 47.6 – The improvement over the last 6 weeks is excellent
    DRAISAITL, LEON 47.2 – Another one digging out of a hole, most offence is 5v4
    EBERLE, JORDAN 45.7 – C’mon man. Not at $6MM
    CAGGIULA, DRAKE 36.4 – This young man needs to sit and never misses a shift.
    NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN 34.5 (!!!!) -Nuuuuge!! What happened man????
    HENDRICKS, MATT 20 – Old Warrior. Well earned rest, but rest ye must.

  100. Centre of attention says:

    LadiesloveSmid: I thought Hendricks had a good night last night but was poor in his last several outings. I’m on team Slepyshev and Pulju. I’d play both every night.

    Pouliot-McD-Pulju
    Lucic-Drai-Slepy
    Maroon-RNH-Eberle
    Kassian-Letestu-Pitlick

    On second thought I like those lines better!

  101. JDï™ says:

    Woodguy: Player GF%
    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON 83.3

    I thought it was just my eyes that loved Slepy.

    The lines seemed so balanced with Slepy, Pitlick and Pou in. There was enough speed and grit to spread it throughout the lines, and the threat to score was consistent.

    But coach had to change a winning lineup, and now he probably won’t change a winning lineup after that bad game that was masked by a (Bettman) win.

  102. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy:
    This list begs for commentary:

    Player GF%

    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON83.3 – To the AHL with you!
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE68.8 – Scrachted often
    LANDER, ANTON62.5 – Another AHL bound

    The top 3 at least show McLellan can shelter correctly, but all 3 not playing is not good imo.

    MCDAVID, CONNOR58.7 – Our laird
    MAROON, PATRICK54.8 – Great trade – slotted correctly
    KASSIAN, ZACK53.8 – Great trade – might actually be a target to move up
    POULIOT, BENOIT52.4 – Oh Pou, I wish they loved you
    LUCIC, MILAN51.3 – Their love for you will never die
    PITLICK, TYLER50 – Pitty!! Finally!! Woot! Good for you!
    LETESTU, MARK47.6 – The improvement over the last 6 weeks is excellent
    DRAISAITL, LEON47.2 – Another one digging out of a hole, most offence is 5v4
    EBERLE, JORDAN45.7 – C’mon man.Not at $6MM
    CAGGIULA, DRAKE36.4 – This young man needs to sit and never misses a shift.
    NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN34.5 (!!!!) -Nuuuuge!! What happened man????
    HENDRICKS, MATT20 – Old Warrior.Well earned rest, but rest ye must.

    And I thought Peter liked goal-based metrics better than CF?!

    What in the actual hell is going on around here?

  103. Georges says:

    Lowetide:
    Interesting that Hendricks is the target, despite the fact Taylor Beck played in Pouliot’s spot on the Nuge line. Just want to place a little item here: Hendricks had a good night on the checking line. The issue was Beck. That is certainly on McLellan, but I am unsure why Hendricks is taking a beating in this comments section. I must have missed something.

    Hendricks falls into that category of veteran the Oilers have seen a lot of: good character, bad results. Jason Strudwick, Steve Staios, Andrew Ference, Marty Reasoner. Throw them onto the ice and by the time they come back, you’re a little worse off. Other teams are questioning assumptions and trying to ice lineups that don’t include these type of players. We should too.

  104. Lowetide says:

    Georges: Hendricks falls into that category of veteran the Oilers have seen a lot of: good character, bad results. Jason Strudwick, Steve Staios, Andrew Ference, Marty Reasoner. Throw them onto the ice and by the time they come back, you’re a little worse off. Other teams are questioning assumptions and trying to ice lineups that don’t include these type of players. We should too.

    No quarrel there.

  105. OmJo says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks for that. Still think it would be worth another look. RE last season, how much do you think injuries affected their play together? All three missed significant amount of games last season.

    But if Chia and TMac don’t care much about shot metrics (maybe why they see Russell as being so good?) then I guess I will have to keep dreaming about the trio being put together.

  106. Georges says:

    Lowetide: Agreed. That said, the coach needs to anticipate what might happen if Beck falters. It looked to me as though he benched Beck, Caggiula and Pitlick, preferring to run Nuge with Leon and the fourth line as the third line. None of which is on Hendricks, which was my point.

    I am basically just being a policeman here. A little sensitive after the Horcoff wars. For those who don’t recall, posters pummeled Horcoff for his performance as No. 1 center, something he performed to the best of his ability (and was still ignited over).

    I have no quarrel with sitting Hendricks, but he had a pretty good game last night. We should absolutely make the distinction, as WG did in his first post above.

    I respect that LT. You’re right, it’s easy to take a position and have a one-sided view. Also, not a good habit to run down any of our players. I didn’t watch the game last night. I like Matt Hendricks as a person but the evidence of Hendricks as a player is stark. Particularly in comparison with Pouliot. Building up Pouliot was a more important objective for me today than tearing down Hendricks.

  107. Gordies Elbow says:

    Woodguy:
    This list begs for commentary:

    Player GF%

    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON83.3 – To the AHL with you!
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE68.8 – Scrachted often
    LANDER, ANTON62.5 – Another AHL bound

    I’d say it’s due to the sample size.

    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON: 5GF, 1GA, (5/6=83.3) in 165 minutes.
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE: 11GF, 5GA, (11/16=68.75) in 246 minutes.
    LANDER, ANTON: 5GF, 3GA, (5/8=62.5) in 122 minutes.

    Those three also lead the team in PDO with 105.12, 104.34, and 103.43 respectively.

    One guy the fancy stats loves (and is finally getting to the point in minutes played where sample size is less of an issue with greater than 350 minutes) is Matt Benning. His GF% is 60. (18GF, 12GA) He looks like a stellar signing at this point.

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

    Woodguy,

    In March San Jose has a stretch that sees them play 8 games in 12 nights that ends with a back to back in Dallas and Minnesota. Their schedule resumes four days later on Friday the 24 with a game in Dallas only to head to Nashville for a game on Saturday and then back to San Jose for a home game against the Rangers on Monday the 27. Thats a lot of travel in four days for an older team.

    Also have 4 sets of back to backs, three of which are on the road.

    Calgary has a pretty heavy January they play every 2nd day from the 3-26 (a couple of back to backs tip the scales) but not a lot of travel. Come March they play every second night from the 9 until the end of the season. Also from March until the end of the season they only play 4 games against non-playoff teams and have a doozie stretch that sees them play Pittsburgh, Boston, Dallas, LA, Washington, Nashville and St Louis in 12 days. They are relying on Johnson big time right now and can that hold over the entire year? Interesting to watch the Ben bishop saga unfold with all this happening.

    LA is on the road until December 29th and have a back to back against Nashville and Dallas to close out before Xmas. They start 2017 with a back to back in against Vancouver and Edmonton on the 28-29 and have pretty heavy stretch against western playoff teams to start 2017. They don’t get Quick back until February, I think the Kings are facing an uphill battle over the next 4 to 6 weeks. If the Oilers outperform December I think it sets them up very well, particularly if the GM and coach cull the heard at forward, make a pickup and/or sending a few guys away (Hendricks and maybe Pouliot but I can’t imagine they want to move him at this low of a price) in the new year.

    I’m really curious to see how Chia plays this as we move into the trade deadline. If the Oilers are competitive (and by that I mean holding a playoff spot) does he try and accelerate things? It’s really tough to measure the converse of that (how do you measure “accelerate”?) but I think its something we should explore should the team stay in the hunt.

    I just can’t say enough good things about Matt Benning. If he keeps on this course (and that’s a lot to ask from a rookie that’s played more than 50 games in exactly one season of his hockey career) and Davidson returns to form we could be cooking with gas on the backend for once. And that’s before one factors Nurse into the equation. Its still a young group but there’s a lot of potential here, scoring threat would help though.

  109. Woodguy says:

    Woogie63:
    Best Left Wings. 1. Lucic, 2. Maroon 3. Pouilot 4. Slepyshev 5. Lander 6. Hendricks
    Best Centers; 1. McDavid 2. Driasaitl 3. Hopkins 4. Letestu 5. Caggulia
    Best Right Wingers 1. Eberle 2. Pitlick 3. Kassian 4. Puliarjarvi 5. Beck
    Best Defense 1. Sekera 2. Larson 3. Klefblom 4. Nurse 5. Benning 6. Russell 7. Davidson 8. Gyrba
    Best Goalie 1. Talbot 2. Monster

    Play the 1-3 more on 5×5 and the PP
    Play the 3-6 more in dzone face-offs and PK

    We have a great line up that can and should dictate the play more than we are seeing

    More in that vein…..

    Here is every center’s GF/60 with their wingers over the past 2 years (min 75 minutes together)

    (Should actually do this with CF/60 at this point, but Peter and Todd like goal metrics so……)

    McDavid
    Player GF60
    MCDAVID, CONNOR 3.24

    PULJUJARVI, JESSE 6.13
    MAROON, PATRICK 4.22
    POULIOT, BENOIT 3.61
    KASSIAN, ZACK 3.20
    EBERLE, JORDAN 3.20
    LUCIC, MILAN 2.95
    DRAISAITL, LEON 2.05

    So you could run 98/44 as RW and 67/19 as LW. No need to give him the high priced help.

    He so good with everyone it could be that how the wingers play with the other C’s should dictate who he gets as long as one of em is good without the puck. (98 is good without the puck)

    RNH
    Player GF60
    NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN 2.07

    KHAIRA, JUJHAR 5.04 (left him there for a reason)
    DRAISAITL, LEON 3.79 (mostly w/Hall on RW)
    HENDRICKS, MATT 3.16 (all with Hall)
    EBERLE, JORDAN 2.03
    POULIOT, BENOIT 1.90
    KASSIAN, ZACK 1.88
    MAROON, PATRICK 1.66

    Bring up JJ!!! Put Eberle and Pou there.

    Its the right thing to do and the number back it up although ~2GF/60 is pretty meh.

    Draisaitl (more wonky as a lot of last season was on the wing)

    Player GF60
    DRAISAITL, LEON 2.53
    NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN 3.79 (Drai on wing)
    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON 3.71
    LUCIC, MILAN 2.73
    KASSIAN, ZACK 2.71
    POULIOT, BENOIT 2.59
    MAROON, PATRICK 2.31
    PITLICK, TYLER 2.31
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE 1.71
    EBERLE, JORDAN 0.82

    Lots of almost equal options here. Sleppy come back!!

    Lucic and Kassian look to be ones given who is better with the other C’s.

    Letestu
    Player GF60
    LETESTU, MARK 1.40

    PITLICK, TYLER 3.71
    MAROON, PATRICK 3.36 (its 2.40 this year, some of that is last year with Hall)
    LANDER, ANTON 2.18 (Anton!!!)
    KASSIAN, ZACK 1.44
    HENDRICKS, MATT 1.15
    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON 1.09
    POULIOT, BENOIT 0.85

    I think its clear 15, 19, 51 have scored the most.

    So:

    19-97-98
    67-93-14
    27-29-44
    51-55-15

    42, JJ/36

    Might be the optimal (as far as goals for go….) line for the Oilers.

    This makes me laugh because TSN 1260 had a sound bite playing all week with Pierre Macguire going ballistic that the “computer boys” in FLA were suggesting line combos to the coach.

    Yeah, who the hell would want any extra information when making important decisions?

    The nerve.

  110. Woodguy says:

    JimmyV1965: Although I remember the Drake saying specifically in an interview that he was okay with being sent down. I remember because I thought it was very refreshing.

    Good.

    They should soon as long as Peter keeps his agreement on gp.

    Important to do what you say to keep the college FAs flowing.

    If you don’t word gets around in a hurry

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

    Woodguy,

    This is great. I haven’t felt as bad for any Oiler in the last few years more than I do for Zach Kassian right now. By eye and by numbers he’s been playing good to great lately for his line mates and skill set but has had 3 goals called back, two of the somewhat dodgy variety. Hope he pots a couple over the next few games it could do him a world of good.

    With Hendricks I think its as simple as trying to get a decent pick for him and nothing else. Guy missed a lot of games to start the year and came back into a situation that saw zero practice time and a butt load of travel. Not trying to say he’d all of a sudden be performing at Pitlick’s level or anything but its a tough spot.

  112. JDï™ says:

    Gordies Elbow: I’d say it’s due to the sample size.

    But why not keep him and see if the stats sort themselves out or not? I think that’s the point here.

    Great stats in small sample = ride the bus?

  113. Chachi says:

    Columbus and Vancouver just finished a period of hockey that consisted of 9 total shots (3 for the Dys) 0 goals and 0 penalties. I did not watch the period but I assume it involved players getting the puck, skating to the nearest corner and falling on it until the whistle blows.

  114. Woodguy says:

    Gordies Elbow: I’d say it’s due to the sample size.

    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON: 5GF, 1GA, (5/6=83.3) in 165 minutes.
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE: 11GF, 5GA, (11/16=68.75) in 246 minutes.
    LANDER, ANTON: 5GF, 3GA, (5/8=62.5) in 122 minutes.

    Those three also lead the team in PDO with 105.12, 104.34, and 103.43 respectively.

    One guy the fancy stats loves (and is finally getting to the point in minutes played where sample size is less of an issue with greater than 350 minutes) is Matt Benning. His GF% is 60. (18GF, 12GA) He looks like a stellar signing at this point.

    Yeah, I’m using GF because of Peter and Todd’s stated preference for those metrics.

    Every metric, fancy and non-fancy love Benning.

    Kids has arrived like he’s been shot out of a cannon.

  115. OmJo says:

    Georges,

    Good post.

    Not sure how he was in San Jose but wow can he be really arrogant and stubborn sometimes. And watching him blend lines almost every game is so frustrating… let these guys build chemistry. A single mistake by one player isn’t enough of a reason to bench him for the remainder of the game and mess up the other three lines in the process.

    How do you think he would have handled the Laine situation from the other night? Do you think Laine would have been back out there to try and redeem himself or stapled to the bench?

  116. Woodguy says:

    So, using goal metrics, which Peter and Todd love, the optimal lines are:

    19-97-98
    67-93-14
    27-29-44
    51-55-15

    The optimal pairs are:

    2-83
    77-6
    88-4

    Give em a run make the computer boys happy!

  117. Woodguy says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Thanks for that info.

    Its possible they catch LAK for 3rd in the division if things break right.

    I think SJS and ANA will be 1/2

    CGY is the wild card, but their hole is still not easy to get out of.

  118. trencan says:

    I watched previous season very often some highlights of SM Liiga because of these two Finnish wonderkinds on the draft. I was looking for some info about Jesse and found an older but interesting article. Maybe it helps a little bit to understand to Oilers fans what do we have in Jesse and what to expect in the future…
    http://canucksarmy.com/2016/4/14/a-tale-of-two-finns-patrik-laine-vs-jesse-puljujarvi
    I personally see Jesse as more offensive version of Jere Lehtinen. Sorry for my english…

  119. Lowetide says:

    trencan:
    I watched previous season very often some highlights of SM Liiga because of these two Finnishwonderkinds on the draft. I was looking for some info about Jesse and found an older but interesting article. Maybe it helps a little bit to understand to Oilers fans what do we have in Jesse and what to expect in the future…
    http://canucksarmy.com/2016/4/14/a-tale-of-two-finns-patrik-laine-vs-jesse-puljujarvi
    I personally see Jesse as more offensive version of Jere Lehtinen. Sorry for my english…

    Your English is excellent, and thanks for the info and link!

  120. Woodguy says:

    Gordies Elbow,

    I’d say it’s due to the sample size.

    Using goals is a bad idea at this point in the season, even if a player has played all the games.

    CF% would be much better, but its Sunday.

    Its CF’s day off.

  121. jm363561 says:

    OmJo:
    Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl
    Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle – you can fight it for only so long TMac, but it will happen eventually dammit!
    Maroon-Letestu-Kassian
    Slepyshev-LANDER-Pitlick

    This is the lineup I think I go with if I’m TMac. Send Puljujarvi and Cag to the AHL.

    Yep, love it for the Drai-on-wing option.

    Drai-at-centre option has a big hole at RW1.

  122. JDï™ says:

    Chachi: falling on it until the whistle blows.

    That would have actually been more entertaining. Maybe it was the ‘morgue like’ atmosphere in the rink, but I couldn’t watch more than about 4 minutes.

    I recommend this for some quality Sunday afternoon time, while wearing your cleanest dirty shirt:

    http://www.livefromdarylshouse.com/

  123. Chachi says:

    JDï™: That would have actually been more entertaining. Maybe it was the ‘morgue like’ atmosphere in the rink, but I couldn’t watch more than about 4 minutes.

    I recommend this for some quality Sunday afternoon time, while wearing your cleanest dirty shirt:

    http://www.livefromdarylshouse.com/

    Awesome, thanks for the link.

  124. JDï™ says:

    Chachi,

    If you like live music (I’m crazy for it), and don’t mind pop music, it’s a great show. The band is first rate, the production is excellent, and the interview clips between songs are really great too. The joke at the end of the Kenny Loggins episode had me in stitches.

    I don’t care who you are, if ‘You Make My Dreams’ doesn’t set your toes a tapping, you have no soul.

  125. JimmyV1965 says:

    Avs lose again today 4-1. Now is the perfect time to make a trade with them. Would love to get Barrie. He’s having a horrible year and we know he will turn it around. It might take a change of scenery though. Hello Chia. Lookin at you! They’re like a worse version of the Oil right now. As bad as their defence is, they just can’t score. The sum is way less than the total of all their parts. Not sure what it would take to get him. They really need defence, but scoring too. And like us, I don’t think they have a lot on the farm.

  126. GMB3 says:

    We need to find McDavids Chris Kunitz. Someone who will bury what he is selling

  127. Woodguy says:

    trencan,

    I personally see Jesse as more offensive version of Jere Lehtinen. Sorry for my english…

    Your english is better than many native english speakers/writers.

    I’d be thrilled with a more offensive version of Lehtinen.

    He and Langenbrunner drove me crazy.

    You could never score when they were on the ice and they got the goals that needed getting (memory narrative)

    He was around 059pts/gm for his career and 0.70at his peak (very steady for many years)

    If JP can be .70pts/gm in today’s NHL and be a killer without the puck that’s a very, very valuable player.

  128. Centre of attention says:

    Iggy scored on a slap shot from the blue line today for the Avs.

    He can still shoot the puck, that’s for sure.

  129. kinger_OIL says:

    Pescador: Define frequent

    visit (a place) often or habitually.
    “bars frequented by soldiers”

  130. Scungilli says:

    Fog of Warts,

    My favourite of yours ever. So clear and so much in it.

  131. Scungilli says:

    OmJo: I just think having Lander on this team will help in a few ways. 1) It gives TMac two good faceoff options for the PK. 2) Nuge should then get more PP time than PK time. Which should help his production 3) It gives Letestu less of a workload at C. 4) Lander can play wing, too. The option of reuniting Lander-Letestu-Pitlick as 4Line is a good thing. Those three did good things together.

    I think he’s clearly too good for the AHL at this point in his career. Does that mean he’s good enough to be in the NHL? Well.. I think so. Not as a feature player who’s going to put up 40pts a season but as a cheap 4C who can play any F position in the bottom six if needed. Somebody who can win important faceoffs and you feel confident putting out to hold a lead with 2 minutes left in a game.

    Anton Lander, IMO, has Marcus Kruger-like potential. Which isn’t a bad thing. Wasn’t there a rumour we were going to trade Yakupov for him this summer? Well we probably have one right here.

    100% agree. I often think we covet players we already have but don’t use in the same way

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