BESTING HITCH

Ken Hitchcock has some of Sparky Anderson in him. Time and again, pre-game Hitch is all about aw shucks humility, with the post-game resembling biblical pontificating. Last night, the Oilers won a hockey game Hitch wanted badly. And it was good.

TELL TCHAIKOVSKY THE NEWS, 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: 5-2-3, goal differential +1
  • Oilers after 33, 2015: 14-18-2, goal differential -19
  • Oilers after 33, 2016: 17-12-5, goal differential +8

The Oilers won a big game last night, and have a chance to enter the Christmas break on a real high. They are nine points ahead of last year’s pace, 27 goals better than a year ago, and have two men inside the league’s top 15 scorers. They beat a pretty damned good team on the road, and had to come back to do it. Their goalie was poor early, had to shut the door, and did just that thing. We’re on to Chandler.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Cam Talbot had a poor first period, but recovered and stopped the bleeding. Well done. His SP was .926 for the evening, it was about 100 points south of that number in the first period.
  • NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca, NaturalStatTrick.
  • Davidson—Gryba went 11-8 in 14:22 together. Spent time with McDavid (6:30, went 3-4) and Draisaitl (2-0 in 3:07). Went 6-3 in 3:58 against Lehtera, 1-2 in 5:19 against Berglund, 3-0 in 2:21 against Stastny and 2-3 in 3:58 against Brodziak. I thought they were solid as a pairing, both men looking composed despite having missed plenty of action.
  • Sekera—Russell went 17-15 in 18:19 together.  They were 3-3 in 5:13 with McDavid, 8-8 in 7:01 with Draisaitl. Went 10-4 in 8:33 against Paul Stastny, seemed to be a hard match (don’t know it it was Hitchcock, McLellan or both). They were 3-3 against Lehtera in 3:25, that was the action Jackson line. Finished above 50 percent in possession, I think you could make a case for allowing soft entry on both GA, but we can also agree that goals were not high danger opportunities. Overall, I thought the pairing did well on the evening.
  • Andrej Sekera is money money money in overtime.
  • Klefbom—Larsson went 16-18 in 16:18 together. They were 7-9 in 5:55 with Leon, 5-5 in 4:13 with McDavid, and 5-1 in 4:03 with Letestu. They were 1-4 in 5:09 against Lehtera (that line houses Tarasenko), 7-4 in 3:24 against Stastny line. I liked the pairing as a whole, Oscar seems to have the wobble a times, can’t explain it but it is there for sure.
  • Here’s one: The six defensemen who played last night posted good performances, and the guy who drew the HS has played very well all year. Is this what depth looks like? Asking for a friend.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian went 7-3 with Sekera—Russell, and I swear Zack Kassian damn near made the deke of the year. In fact, he did make the move, but could not cash on the chance. Went 8-1 against the Stastny line, that’s where we get the Sekera—Russell numbers. The Stastny line houses Schwartz and (last night) Yakupov, the trio posted two shots on goal all night. I wonder why Hitchcock kept running this matchup, that is a trade McLellan makes all night long.
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—Pitlick went 9-10 in 8:25 before Pitlick—who scored earlier—went down with an injury. Just a terrible result, we hope for the best. I have watched the play many times, looks like he might have hit a rut, and of course it was clearly interference. Such a bad turn.
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—RNH was fire, absolute fire. They were only 4-3 in Corsi for over just a few minutes but that doesn’t tell the story. Oilers Nerd Alert had them at 94 percent DFF and that reflects what I saw. Suspect we have a new line in our town.
  • Emotional moment during and after the game, as the Maroon family were introduced to the Edmonton audience. Later, Patrick Maroon scored and it was terrific to see the celebration. Still later, when talking to Gene about the goal (Gene did splendid work throughout the piece), Maroon became emotional talking about his boy. It was riveting television, and a forceful reminder about what is really important in life.
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Caggiula went 5-6 in 5:43 before Todd McLellan borged the group and moved Nuge up (out of necessity). They were 3-0 against Stastny, in 2:16. The line wasn’t together long, suspect Caggiula may be centering a fourth line (possibly with Pouliot) by the time this team hits Winslow.
  • Lucic—McDavid—Eberle went 11-11, and the only point from the line came when they were not together. Ken Hitchcock hard matched Patrik Berglund to 97 and it worked, until the extra period. In 11:19 against Berglund, McDavid went 5-8, and Ken Hitchcock has to be happy with Berglund (plus David Perron and Alexander Steen).

ABOUT THE MCDAVID LINE

The Oilers have to be way smarter about their McDavid minutes. It seems to me that 97’s wingers have two main jobs: Aid in getting possession in the offensive zone (very important now that McDavid has a designated shadow in all the towns), and then moving the puck quickly until McDavid gets the disc inside the offensive zone. After that, it is just seams and release. Lately, I have noticed both wingers making back passes, stickhandling in a phone booth, going fancy Dan. WHY go fancy Dan when the REAL Dan is on the ice with you?

No sir. The job of McDavid’s wingers is to cut out the fancy, keep your stick on the ice, and be on the lookout for tip-ins, open chances, shock and awe. Edmonton is wasting their McDavid minutes right now because the wingers are trying to do too much. Suspect we see a simplification of their execution in the coming days.

PITLICK

Well, crap. Pitlick is 31gp, 8-3-11 this morning and their is a chance we don’t see him until spring. Scored a goal-scorer’s tally to get Edmonton going last night, played with his usual abandon. If we are making a list of wildly unfair events this year, Pitlick getting hurt surely ranks high on the list.

UNICORNS

  • Tempest: I thought Nuge and Draisaitl looked dangerous together. If that combination continues to perform (and better yet, produce), how do feel about the potential of walking away from the idea of three scoring lines?

I am in favor of abandoning the idea of unicorns and pursuing this idea. Why? The Oilers need to have two scoring lines before finding a third. This is the key question of the morning, wrapped around the Pitlick injury. Leon, Maroon and Nuge were dynamite last night in a very short sample, but we can project the line as being strong based on the resumes for each man. What does that do to the rest of the lineup? Well, with Pitlick out, there is probably a window of opportunity for young Jesse Puljujarvi. Combine this fact with Jordan Eberle being somewhat quiet on the 97 line, and what about this:

  • Pouliot—McDavid—Puljujarvi
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—Nuge
  • Lucic—Caggiula—Eberle
  • Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian

Too much change? Probably. Here is a more conservative (and likely) lineup:

  • Lucic—McDavid—Eberle
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—Nuge
  • Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian
  • Pouliot—Caggiula—Puljujarvi

I think Pouliot should get a chance on the 97 line (they played very well last season, in fact BP helps McDavid spike, as we discussed recently), but his sideburns have gone too far, I expect.

  • McDavid with Pouliot: Corsi for 5×5 (53.4) and 5×5/60 (3.22)
  • McDavid w/o Pouliot: Corsi for 5×5 (52.7) and 5×5/60 (2.64)
  • Pouliot with McDavid: Corsi for 5×5 (53.4) and 5×5/60 (2.82)
  • Pouliot w/o  McDavid: Corsi for 5×5 (49.6) and 5×5/60 (1.32)

5x5x5x5x5x5

Edmonton badly needs 5×5 scoring, and they just lost one of their 2.00/60 men in Tyler Pitlick. I had a dm late last night asking why all the worry about Edmonton’s 5×5 offense? Idea being the Oilers are No. 4 in goals for (100), so why sweat it? Well, if you are Todd McLellan, getting average or above performances from players is important, and 5×5 is the largest game state. Allow me to post the 5×5 numbers for Oilers players, along with their rank across the NHL (200 or more minutes):

  • No. 6—Connor McDavid 2.76
  • No. 42—Tyler Pitlick 2.08
  • No. 84—Leon Draisaitl 1.81
  • No. 105—Jesse Puljujarvi 1.70
  • No. 147—Patrick Maroon 1.54
  • No. 147—Mark Letestu 1.54
  • No. 173—Jordan Eberle 1.44
  • No. 196—Zack Kassian 1.33
  • No. 215—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.28
  • No. 218—Milan Lucic 1.27
  • No. 221—Benoit Pouliot 1.26

Now, imagine what this team’s record might be if Nuge, Lucic, Pouliot and Eberle were flying above 1.70. Music! Oilers veterans need to be performing at a higher level 5×5, especially those who are playing with 97. Lordy.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Starting at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, Oilers Nation. Tyler Pitlick’s loss, the new Drai line, even-strength scoring.
  • Kent Wilson, Flames Nation. Calgary looks strong now, can they keep going?
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. Oilers No. 11 in the latest power rankings, and you will never guess who is No. 1.

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

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99 Responses to "BESTING HITCH"

  1. jonrmcleod says:

    SPAM

    A look back at some predictions I made before the season started:

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2016/12/jons-bold-predictions-update/

    Feel free to comment on why I’m an idiot. 🙂

  2. leadfarmer says:

    Klefbom having some wobble is an understatement. I know the popular thing is to bash Larsson, but for some reason he plays sweeper position. I don’t know if its McLellans plan for him or Larsson not trusting his partner. I know the stats people are saying he is “deferring” to his partner on zone exits but he is consistently the last one out of the zone so it is natural to pass it to the other player closer to the blue line. I’m curious to see how it plays out

  3. DocFan says:

    Hate to jinx it, but this team reminds me a lot of 05-06 Team. Lots of potential, Lots of wobble. Maybe with an astute trade at the deadline, and the team gels, we get more than 2 playoff games.

  4. freelancer says:

    Eberle has 3 even strength goals this year… looking at the St.Louis roster I discovered that he is tied with Nail Yakupov in that regard…. who has played 13 fewer games than Eberle. As something different, I would like to see Nuge play with McDavid and see if Eberle can get away from the toughest competition by playing with Draisaitl instead.

  5. leadfarmer says:

    They really need to find a right winger for McDavid. He gets hard matched so there is little room on the ice when he is out there which is Eberle’s kryptonite. Puljuharvi is also not ready for that kind of suffocating play. I wonder if Maroon and Drai with Eberle would create enough room for Eberle.

  6. krakman says:

    Eberle didn’t have a good game but I thought Lucic was way worse. I don’t remember Lucic making a single play other than his two shots one on a nice pass from Eberle and the other the open net. Lucic has to be better than this right?

  7. Woodguy says:

    Here’s one: The six defensemen who played last night posted good performances, and the guy who drew the HS has played very well all year. Is this what depth looks like? Asking for a friend.

    Don’t forget Nurse on the shelf (kinda like Elf on the Shelf but with more malice)

    Depth.

    No reason to sign Russell long term.

    None.

    Go 8 skaters and a goalie and protect Davey

    27-93-14-29 protected – 98, 97 with immunity idols
    2-77-6-88 protected – 25, 83 vaccinated

    That’s 6 high end forwards and 5 good Dmen under contract and who can play every night.

    Getting wingers on the open market to play with 97 and 29 won’t be too much of an issue.

    Make it so Peter.

  8. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer,

    I know the stats people are saying he is “deferring” to his partner on zone exits but he is consistently the last one out of the zone so it is natural to pass it to the other player closer to the blue line. I’m curious to see how it plays out

    I think you may be conflating cause and effect here.

    Larsson is the last one out of the zone because he defers to Klef who has the ability to skate it out (Larsson isn’t swift enough on the blade for that to be a regular option)

    He stays back because Klef leads the exits more often than not. Klef does not lead the exits because Larsson stays back.

  9. krakman says:

    Lucic 1.27 esp/60 with maybe 90% of his ice time with McDavid!

  10. John Chambers says:

    Can the Oilers afford to abandon the three Centres? They can🏹🚣🏾🏈🎱

    Reason is that a Pouliot – Letestu – Kassian line would be a great third line. Letestu has played a very effective game, posting enough offence to play with quality wingers and free up RNH for a more offensive role.

  11. russ99 says:

    The RW on McDavid line needs to score, plain and simple, and secondarily retain possession after the initial rush.

    Pulju is a poor choice, he’s good on the cycle but then the only good shots will then come from the point.

    Eberle seems to have stopped scoring on McDavid’s line, and he’s poor on the cycle.

    Draisaitl really is the only choice.

  12. PhrankLee says:

    Ah. A lovely win.

    Gene Principe for Mayor!

  13. Confused says:

    Woodguy,

    I would go even further trade 14 for the missing RHD, still 8 skaters.

  14. slopitch says:

    I commented after the Philly game that it was the worst Ive seen RNH. Well last night was as good as Ive seen him in a while.

    Eberle and Lucic were BAAAAD last night. If you count the number of times the play dies at Lucic its way too high. He doesnt play McDavids high tempo game imo. Seems odd to split up the 2nd line but Id run the following lines while rotating Eberle and Puljujarvi depending on who is hotter.

    Maroon—McDavid—Eberle
    Lucic—Draisaitl—Nuge
    Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian
    Pouliot—Caggiula—Puljujarvi

    Id still like to see this team add some pieces between now and the deadline. Likely a 3C and perhaps then can move Russel for a guy with 1-2 years left on his deal.

  15. Clarkenstein says:

    If you’re on to “Chandler” you’ll likely miss the game. Because the game is in Glendale! Lol

  16. frjohnk says:

    jonrmcleod:
    SPAM

    Feel free to comment on why I’m an idiot.

    Leaving the door open with this crowd?

    Ballsy!

  17. Bruce Wayne says:

    krakman:
    Eberle didn’t have a good game but I thought Lucic was way worse. I don’t remember Lucic making a single play other than his two shots one on a nice pass from Eberle and the other the open net. Lucic has to be better than this right?

    Lucic is having an awful season, disguised by gift points on the power play. For every lucky stone upturned there is a terrible mistake that threatens to sink everything. For all the grief of the Hall trade that is mostly about what could have been, Larsson is at least a useful player if nowhere near a first pairing defender. Lucic on the other hand is a six million dollar anchor for the duration of McDavid’s career.

    I stand by what I said earlier. You couldn’t trade Lucic for a seventh round pick.

  18. Woodguy says:

    Lucic is scoring at a 3rd line rate with McDavid (1.39pts/60)
    Lucic & McDavid 5v5 GF ON/60 = 2.95
    McDavid w/o 27 5v5 GF ON/60 = 3.40

    Eberle is scoring at a 3rd line rate with McDavid (1.65pts/60)
    Eberle & McDavid 5v5 GF ON/60 = 2.36
    McDavid w/o 14 5v5 GF ON/60 = 3.80

    That’s $12MM worth of nonperformance with the best player in the NHL.

  19. Woodguy says:

    Confused:
    Woodguy,

    I would go even further trade 14 for the missing RHD, still 8 skaters.

    Peter tried to do that this past summer.

    No bites.

  20. Woodguy says:

    John Chambers:
    Can the Oilers afford to abandon the three Centres? They can

    Reason is that a Pouliot – Letestu – Kassian line would be a great third line. Letestu has played a very effective game, posting enough offence to play with quality wingers and free up RNH for a more offensive role.

    I was going to write that exact thing.

    Bring up 51 to center 36/23/98 or whoever and give them 7 minutes a night.

    No one loves unicorns more than me, but they don’t have the forward depth to pull it off right now.

    Or at the very least they have some under-performing wingers who are holding them back.

  21. PhrankLee says:

    I noticed more than a few times where 97 had no other choice but to slow down for his line mates.

    He is dragging them both around at present.

  22. JDï™ says:

    jonrmcleod: Feel free to comment on why I’m an idiot. 🙂

    You did better than I did. The only things I predicted was the Oilers get 91 points (ballpark), and the Blue Jackets will be front runners for Nolan Patrick (still hoping for a 50 game losing streak…).

    Also loved the comment you quoted.

  23. DBO says:

    Bring up lander. Send down Jesse for playing time on a scoring line. Run two scoring stacked lines and two solid lines.

    Lucic-McDavid-Eberle (McClellan needs it to work)
    Maroon-Draisatl-Nuge
    Pouliot-Lander-Caggulia (may surprise in two way outscoring role)
    Hendricks-Letestu-Kassian (Hendricks on last leg but effective trio)

    The 3/4 line can play in own zone and the Lender line may surprise (especially when lander actually gets offensive players with him)

  24. LMHF#1 says:

    I’m still struggling with two things that the supposedly smart forwards on this roster haven’t figured out:

    1 – when McDavid has the puck in the attacking zone, go to the low slot. He’ll find you or generate a rebound for you.

    2 – Anywhere on the ice, at least 1 guy should be lurking near McDavid when the opposition has the puck close to him. He generates so many turnovers that no one is there to retrieve. This is where chances are born!

  25. jonrmcleod says:

    JDï™: Also loved the comment you quoted.

    Ah, yes, our old friend, the Dashing Silver Fox.

  26. oilfan9911 says:

    Woodguy: Peter tried to do that this past summer.

    No bites.

    True enough, and certainly Eberle’s performance to date isn’t helping his trade value. At the same time though, the Oilers having a good first third of the season and non-terrible depth tremendously improves Chiarelli’s bargaining position. It’s a lot easier to hold the line on a guy with desperate need to improve the teams defense and position in the standings.

  27. dustrock says:

    Woodguy:
    Lucic is scoring at a 3rd line rate with McDavid (1.39pts/60)
    Lucic & McDavid 5v5 GF ON/60 = 2.95
    McDavid w/o 27 5v5 GF ON/60 = 3.40

    Eberle is scoring at a 3rd line rate with McDavid (1.65pts/60)
    Eberle & McDavid 5v5 GF ON/60 = 2.36
    McDavid w/o 14 5v5 GF ON/60 = 3.80

    That’s $12MM worth of nonperformance with the best player in the NHL.

    Surely Chiarelli and McLellan must be screaming at the least internally about this. I didn’t like the Lucic signing at all, but I also thought he’d be useful for 3 years.

  28. JDï™ says:


    Jack Michaels ‏@EdmontonJack 13h13 hours ago

    Lost in OT heroics fact that, w/an assist on RNH winner, Connor McDavid STILL hasn’t gone more than two games without a point in NHL career.

  29. russ99 says:

    The thing that’s odd is it all seems to work on the powerplay, Milan plays in the slot and cashes often. Draisaitl is a beast as the trailer. McDavid plays as a rover.

    I really can’t see why it won’t work 5×5. The problem is that every one is playing the McDavid line in a 1-3-1 and there’s no time or space in the high slot where McDavid likes to work.

    So it behooves us to use our best cycle players and good shooters on that line to create space after the rush. This is why Caggiula, Puljujarvi, and to a lesser extent, Eberle at RW doesn’t work.

    Kind of like beating a dead horse, using one of the best cycle players in the league on the rush and bailing to the point shot as a plan B. I hate that it takes 20-30 games for McLellan to adapt to anything.

  30. Jethro Tull says:

    PhrankLee,

    LMHF#1,

    Morning guys! You seem to have fallen into one of the classic mistakes, one of course being ‘never start a land war in asia.’ Another being, you expect everyone to cash in on McDavid. You’re thinking “how hard can it be? Even I could get 60pts playing with him! Lucic and Eberle are 60pt players, they are professionals, ergo they must score eleventy zillion points! Hussar!”

    Not so. Gretzky, Sid, Mario all had to learn to play with players way below their own ability. McDavid is still learning, and last night he showed this in overtime with the dirty pull up and feed into Nuge.

    McDavid is so skillful, he WILL improve those who play around him, but he will also highlight their little foibles for all to see. In a normal world, Lucic is a little slow, but can keep up usually. Playing with McDavid, he looks like a tortoise. You don’t notice his speed so much with Drai and Maroon when they establish that deep cycle. Eberle has the hands in tight. But McDavid has him beat because he can do it at Mach 10. Nuge was the PP witch, with killer split seam passing. Again, McDavid is thinking not only two moves ahead, but two games ahead.

    So, in conclusion, judging players against probably the best player in the league doesn’t quite hold water. You’ll ALWAYS be disappointed.

    Have a good day!

  31. Woogie63 says:

    Last after 33 games we had 105 goals against us, in 2016 that would put us dead last in the league. This is a significant part of the improvement of this teams record.

    1) I think we have had 13 goals scored against using the first 7 minutes of the game …. This can be a coaching to improve this area of our game in the back half of the season

    2) Suspect Benning, Nurse, Davidson and Klefbom get better as they play more games.

    3) The toughest part of the schedule is over

    4) Since Sekera, Russell, Larsson are playing the toughest/most minutes IMO they are major contributors to this change.

    I think TMCL is looking for a 40 goal swing YOY and he is on pace to exceed this.

  32. LMHF#1 says:

    Jethro Tull:
    PhrankLee,

    LMHF#1,

    Morning guys!You seem to have fallen into one of the classic mistakes, one of course being ‘never start a land war in asia.’Another being, you expect everyone to cash in on McDavid.You’re thinking “how hard can it be? Even I could get 60pts playing with him!Lucic and Eberle are 60pt players, they are professionals, ergo they must score eleventy zillion points! Hussar!”

    Not so.Gretzky, Sid, Mario all had to learn to play with players way below their own ability.McDavid is still learning, and last night he showed this in overtime with the dirty pull up and feed into Nuge.

    McDavid is so skillful, he WILL improve those who play around him, but he will also highlight their little foibles for all to see.In a normal world, Lucic is a little slow, but can keep up usually.Playing with McDavid, he looks like a tortoise.You don’t notice his speed so much with Drai and Maroon when they establish that deep cycle.Eberle has the hands in tight.But McDavid has him beat because he can do it at Mach 10.Nuge was the PP witch, with killer split seam passing.Again, McDavid is thinking not only two moves ahead, but two games ahead.

    So, in conclusion, judging players against probably the best player in the league doesn’t quite hold water.You’ll ALWAYS be disappointed.

    Have a good day!

    I haven’t said what you appear to have think I said.

    Not sure how you arrived here – but thanks for the hearty good day!

  33. Skeeziks says:

    Last night Draisaitl Maroon and RNH were the best line on the ice, for either team, while they were together.

    It would be criminal if the Toddler were to break up that combination. They were that good.

    As for the McDavid line, Lucic is a boat anchor and Eberle, at present, is not much better. Is this where the coach has to get creative. Time for him to show his smarts.

    Does this mean JP and BP?

  34. Woogie63 says:

    It feels like we are watching “play-off” type hockey games and we are holding our own.

  35. Durag says:

    Pouliot—McDavid—Puljujarvi
    Maroon—Draisaitl—Nuge
    Lucic—Caggiula—Eberle
    Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian

    Love that, except I would like to call up Lander and put him in Hendricks’ spot.

  36. PhrankLee says:

    Jethro Tull,

    Not sure you get what I mean, sir.

    McDavid needs faster wingers. Not equal in speed to himself.

    Faster than the ones he is currently deployed with.

  37. JDï™ says:

    Skeeziks: It would be criminal if the Toddler were to break up that combination.

    Not sure if he’ll basket those eggs from here on out, but I doubt he’ll forget what worked:

    “When Leon got together with Nuge and Patty Maroon, held onto pucks down low and made it hard for the (other) team, those are all real good signs for us. Tyler Pitlick, before he got hurt, was a catalyst in creating some physicality and energy. We’ll miss him,” McLellan added.

    He also said it didn’t look like Pitlick will be back soon.

  38. incubo_nero says:

    Dear Messrs. Chiarelli and McLellan:
    McDavid needs to play with the fastest wingers currently on the NHL roster who can match his tempo and maintain possession in the offensive zone. As far as I can tell, that’s Pouliot on the LW and Kassian on the RW (should have been Pitlick). Bowlful of elite D.

    Lucic and Eberle need to be matched to a center that does not completely outpace them: RNH. Heaping plate of elite F.

    Call up Slepyshev and leave him here: Maroon-Draisatl-Slepyshev. Sample tray of mid-comp D.
    Call up Lander and leave him here: Lander-Letestu-Caggiula. Table scraps and PK duties.

    You’re welcome.
    Sincerely,
    3rd Tier Fan (only goes to games when he gets free tix) tired of protracted pre-season line combos

  39. Pescador says:

    slopitch:
    I commented after the Philly game that it was the worst Ive seen RNH. Well last night was as good as Ive seen him in a while.

    Eberle and Lucic were BAAAAD last night. If you count the number of times the play dies at Lucic its way too high. He doesnt play McDavids high tempo game imo. Seems odd to split up the 2nd line but Id run the following lines while rotating Eberle and Puljujarvi depending on who is hotter.

    Maroon—McDavid—Eberle
    Lucic—Draisaitl—Nuge
    Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian
    Pouliot—Caggiula—Puljujarvi

    Id still like to see this team add some pieces between now and the deadline. Likely a 3C and perhaps then can move Russel for a guy with 1-2 years left on his deal.

    I love Matt Hendricks but he is best suited for the 4th line. Suspect he has a new home by the deadline. I hate the roasting that goes on here in the GDT.
    I’m all for calling up Lander, but would also like a look at JJ K.

  40. Pescador says:

    Woogie63:
    It feels like we are watching “play-off” type hockey games and we are holding our own.

    We are, if they can solve the Yote puzzle tomorrow we can begin planning the playoff party.
    I’ve already started decorating.

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

    I know its tough but we also have to remember that Connor McDavid is only 19 years old and there are warts to his game despite being the Heir Apparent to the best player in hockey title.

    Case in Point #1 PP last night the forced drop pass to know one that got cleared away.

    Case in Point # 2 the wind ups in the hash mark that involve trying to go 1 on 3 at the opposing blue line which end in A) a dump in where each winger is standing still or B) a turnover or quick stick check that necessitates a re-grouping.

    Now don’t take this as ragging on Connor because it isn’t but as guilty as we make it sound that Eberle and Lucic aren’t deferring to Connor enough it also behooves “the best young player in the game” to utilize his line mates. Team sports are two way streets here and as the league figures out McDavid’s tendencies he’ll need to adapt his game in order to turn the tide of the individual games.

    I don’t know about you guys/gals but since the turn of the month or so I’ve noticed that McDavid isn’t really playing like McDavid. Again not trying to trash the kid or anything but the skid coincides with teams giving him a shadow and taking every physical liberty known to man against him in order to slow him down and for a brief stint here it seems to be working.

    This should be expected. He’s 19, missed half of his rookie year and is now trying to skate around with guys that have 30lbs on him riding his back. Its a tough slog for anyone and to expect McDavid to skate through it all without be sidetracked is unreasonable.

    He will adapt, one of Crosby’s biggest strengths (and most definitely Gretzky’s biggest) was learning to be efficient on the ice. That doesn’t mean he takes a step back and coasts or anything just that not every single shift needs two rushes that begin with him winding it up at his own hashmarks only to end with a heavy collision in the opposing corner or at the blue line.

    Those tire a guy out, they make you lose concentration and the lead to frustration (which is what I believe we are seeing now) and when those three things combine you begin to see reckless play which can lead to the worst of the worst, injuries.

    Connor is an unbelievable talent, the best we’ve seen in decades. I don’t for a second think that he isn’t more talented than Crosby is/was. But he needs to round out his game, allow his teammates to do some of the work for him so that when the chips are on the line (PPs, dying minutes, overtime, right after a goal against etc.) he can take over and be the difference maker.

    This isn’t too excuse the not so spectacular scoring totals of his wingers but I don’t think its completely fair to say “these guys are shitting the bed after being gifted McDavid,” when one can just as easily say “hey these guys have never played with someone like McDavid (in fact very few people have) and he’s still for all intents and purposes a rookie who at takes may be too exuberant to get and maintain control of the puck.”

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle worked so well not because Nuge-Eberle completely deferred at every opportunity but because they were all at least within one standard deviation of each other talent wise, read plays similarly and could play at each others pace. None of those things apply to McDavid who can warp time and space around himself. Just like anyone who has ever worked with an insanely smart/talented individual can attest, they are often on a different wave length, and its tough for mere mortals to catch up and play at that level for longer than short bursts in time. Real genius comes when the uber talented individual learns who to maximize those around him to the greatest possible extent. Connor McDavid will learn to do this (he is already but it takes time just ask Crosby), and the Oilers are going to be an absolute force when he does.

  42. Confused says:

    Anyone seen an update on Tyler’s condition?

  43. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy,

    Next time you notice the oilers have a free break out from their zone (doesn’t happen often) please note Larsson’s position on the ice and Klefbom’s. Larsson stays very deep in his zone as if expecting a turnover

  44. Professor Q says:

    Or just hack, slash, and hook him on a breakaway.

    The refs won’t care, and you might be able to disrupt him.

    Damn Pietralangelo and damn refs.

  45. Professor Q says:

    PhrankLee:
    Jethro Tull,

    Not sure you get what I mean, sir.

    McDavid needs faster wingers.Not equal in speed to himself.

    Faster than the ones he is currently deployed with.

    It’d be nice if we could get people like Larkin, Matthews, Tarasenko, Laine, and MacKinnon to play with him (fast enough and skilled enough). Don’t know how that’d be possible, however.

  46. leadfarmer says:

    I don’t think being Connors wingman is as easy as people are making it sound. This isnt the 80s. Teams are playing close to all out d including a system mean to suffocate when he is on the ice, and you are expected to be able to read a player that is so gifted that no one (opposition or teamates) can anticipate his next move. TMac has been trying to get Connor to dumb his game down a bit by bounce passes of the goalie pads but everyone playing with him is having the expectations of putting up a 100 points

  47. fifthcartel says:

    Am I crazy or would Bozak for the 3rd line be a really interesting option? RHC, good at faceoffs so McLellan can cool it with Hendricks/Letestu abit.

  48. npanciroli says:

    Honestly, Draisaitl already looks like that second line driver. Too bad our winger vets are just so bad this year.

    I have to say – I know Eberle is a proven goal scorer, but he is so terrible this year. We just lost our best RW in Pitlick.

  49. npanciroli says:

    Also, Maroon looks consistently great regardless of who he plays with.

    A lot of the team could learn from how he battles on the boards and gets the puck to the net.

  50. digger50 says:

    Thank you. I made a similar point yesterday. Connor can make you look great but he can also make you look bad!

    Best linemates for him are young young speedsters who will adapt to him and think similar.

    Last week I had hoped for Drai on the left, Connor in the middle and Pitlick on the right. Shame about Pitlick injury.

    Also, when Connor is being shadowed and he cannot dish the puck it also shuts down Eberle and Lucic. For those games I think Tmac needs a plan b. Change out Eberle and Lucic (maybe) for Kassian and Marroon and switch to a dump, crash and chase, waiting for opportunities.

    In the meantime load up your second and third line if possible and beat them there.

    Jethro Tull:
    PhrankLee,

    LMHF#1,

    Morning guys!You seem to have fallen into one of the classic mistakes, one of course being ‘never start a land war in asia.’Another being, you expect everyone to cash in on McDavid.You’re thinking “how hard can it be? Even I could get 60pts playing with him!Lucic and Eberle are 60pt players, they are professionals, ergo they must score eleventy zillion points! Hussar!”

    Not so.Gretzky, Sid, Mario all had to learn to play with players way below their own ability.McDavid is still learning, and last night he showed this in overtime with the dirty pull up and feed into Nuge.

    McDavid is so skillful, he WILL improve those who play around him, but he will also highlight their little foibles for all to see.In a normal world, Lucic is a little slow, but can keep up usually.Playing with McDavid, he looks like a tortoise.You don’t notice his speed so much with Drai and Maroon when they establish that deep cycle.Eberle has the hands in tight.But McDavid has him beat because he can do it at Mach 10.Nuge was the PP witch, with killer split seam passing.Again, McDavid is thinking not only two moves ahead, but two games ahead.

    So, in conclusion, judging players against probably the best player in the league doesn’t quite hold water.You’ll ALWAYS be disappointed.

    Have a good day!

  51. Georges says:

    Just a fantastic feeling win from yesterday. I watched the Nuge OT clip on nhl.com a billion times. So much to love about this team in those 69 seconds:

    https://www.nhl.com/video/nugent-hopkins-ot-winner/t-283246582/c-47557903

    Talbot, again, gave us a chance to win the game. But there were also two times I want to point out where the puck didn’t end up in our net because our skaters made some good difference-making plays. The first we left Reaves (I think) all alone in front of Talbot (just like the JVR goal in the TO game), but this time Kassian recognized, closed the gap and tied up the stick enough to prevent multiple chances. Then, with seconds left, we left a guy alone with the puck right in front of the net for what looked like a clear shot but it looked like Larsson managed to get down and block it. Those are two chances from the high danger area that we eliminated. We need to keep the puck out of that area as much as we can. But when it gets there we need to make these difference-making plays.

  52. JDï™ says:

    Georges,

    The best replay site on the web – no ads, no spoilers:

    http://www.dtmts.com/?id=2016020479&vid=47559703

  53. Georges says:

    Someone pointed out last night that, unlike previous seasons, this season’s Oilers don’t fold when they’re down. I see this too, both when I watch and in the numbers.

    Oilers 5v5 CF% ranking when trailing:

    2010-11 28
    2011-12 27
    2012-13 30
    2013-14 30
    2014-15 25
    2015-16 19
    2016-17 5

    Players leading the charge, their on-ice 5v5 CF% when trailing, and their league ranking among the 565 players that have played at least 50 minutes in this game state:

    Pitlick, 67.0, 15
    Maroon, 65.6, 22
    Benning, 65.0, 32
    JP, 64.3, 42
    Larsson, 63.3, 54
    McD, 62.2, 73
    Sekera, 62.0, 75
    Klefbom, 59.2, 138
    Pouliot, 58.9, 157
    Draisaitl, 58.4, 167
    Kassian, 58.3, 169
    Lucic, 58.3, 171
    Nurse, 58.0, 179
    Nuge, 57.6, 192
    Eberle, 57.4, 196

    Pitlick was doing very well for us. And he wasn’t backing down when his team was down. Damn, damn shame.

    This team clearly has a lot more fight than previous editions. It was awesome to see them rewarded last night.

  54. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Georges:
    Just a fantastic feeling win from yesterday. I watched the Nuge OT clip on nhl.com a billion times. So much to love about this team in those 69 seconds:

    https://www.nhl.com/video/nugent-hopkins-ot-winner/t-283246582/c-47557903

    Talbot, again, gave us a chance to win the game. But there were also two times I want to point out where the puck didn’t end up in our net because our skaters made some good difference-making plays. The first we left Reaves (I think) all alone in front of Talbot (just like the JVR goal in the TO game), but this time Kassian recognized, closed the gap and tied up the stick enough to prevent multiple chances. Then, with seconds left, we left a guy alone with the puck right in front of the net for what looked like a clear shot but it looked like Larsson managed to get down and block it. Those are two chances from the high danger area that we eliminated. We need to keep the puck out of that area as much as we can. But when it gets there we need to make these difference-making plays.

    Yes that was Larsson with the critical shot block with 7 seconds left in regulation. Utterly brutal rebound by Talbot, a goal there would have been absolutely crushing. File one in the good books for Larsson.

  55. who says:

    Still think this could be a three scoring line team if they would just deploy their wingers properly but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.
    If they are going to load up two lines I think they will have to bring up Lander as a fourth center and run Letestu, Kassian and ? (don’t like Hendricks here, maybe Poo) as their third line. Caggulia is struggling at wing in his own end and was a tire fire when they tried him at center earlier. It will probably mean more minutes for the top two lines and a lot less minutes for the 4th line. Maybe that is what you have to do in a cap world.

  56. Georges says:

    JDï™,

    Wow. Did not know about this site. Thanks!

  57. spoiler says:

    Woodguy:
    Lucic is scoring at a 3rd line rate with McDavid (1.39pts/60)
    Lucic & McDavid 5v5 GF ON/60 = 2.95
    McDavid w/o 27 5v5 GF ON/60 = 3.40

    Eberle is scoring at a 3rd line rate with McDavid (1.65pts/60)
    Eberle & McDavid 5v5 GF ON/60 = 2.36
    McDavid w/o 14 5v5 GF ON/60 = 3.80

    That’s $12MM worth of nonperformance with the best player in the NHL.

    That doesn’t tell us cause and effect nor does it eliminate the possibility that what we are witnessing is “random” variance and we are just expressing our need to assign a narrative.

    But it IS pretty damning confirmation that the results of this trio thus far have been absolutely bleh.

    I wonder though how much of the issue IS variance. Seems that chances have abounded and really what has been missing is Finish. And Finish can be a pretty finicky fellow.

    What does your database tell us w.r.t. HDSC? Are they getting the looks but not the results?

  58. spoiler says:

    JDï™:
    Georges,

    The best replay site on the web – no ads, no spoilers:

    http://www.dtmts.com/?id=2016020479&vid=47559703

    Just Did It… hadn’t heard of it either, thank you.

  59. delooper says:

    So many of you read very “crabbily”. This isn’t a win at any cost season for the Oilers, don’t-cha-know? This is a season for the Oilers to figure out what they have and to experiment with what they can be. That’s why you see long auditions for lines that don’t click (that, and lack of depth).

    Last year, few of you would have bought that the Oilers would be in playoff contention this season. . . but here we are. Least of all Mr. Crabby Pants “Bruce Wayne”. It must sting to be proven wrong, day after day. . .

    I’m impressed with where the Oilers are. I’m happy they’re finding a way to get RNH back to looking like his potential. The Oilers don’t appear to have enough fuel for 3 scoring lines, at least, not yet. Hopefully one or two free agents will change that over the summer. This team is starting to look pretty good — maybe a smidge better than an average NHL team.

  60. Georges says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Yes that was Larsson with the critical shot block with 7 seconds left in regulation. Utterly brutal rebound by Talbot, a goal there would have been absolutely crushing. File one in the good books for Larsson.

    I watched the replay. You’re right. Bad rebound at a bad time. Stastny was open because he had pinned Maroon to the boards, he held him there with a crosscheck until Parayko was ready to shoot and then he went free to the net to pick up the rebound. That’s some crafty play. Dealing from the bottom of the deck. We’ve been victimized so often by teams making plays like this. Crushing is the exact word for a loss in that game in the last 7 seconds. Thank goodness it didn’t work out for the Blues.

  61. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Pouliot-McDavid-Pulju
    Maroon-Drai-Slepy
    Lucic-RNH-Eberle

  62. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Georges: I watched the replay. You’re right. Bad rebound at a bad time. Stastny was open because he had pinned Maroon to the boards, he held him there with a crosscheck until Parayko was ready to shoot and then he went free to the net to pick up the rebound. That’s some crafty play. Dealing from the bottom of the deck. We’ve been victimized so often by teams making plays like this. Crushing is the exact word for a loss in that game in the last 7 seconds. Thank goodness it didn’t work out for the Blues.

    Well if you want to talk about crafty plays let’s mention Maroon’s little criss cross in front of Pitlick off the faceoff win on the 1-1 goal, or Sekera briefly but crucially tying up Tarasenko’s stick as he charged towards the net in overtime. Each play designed to give a teammate a critical foot of space and tenth of a second to let fly.

    Veterans making veteran plays — who knew? And getting “veteran” treatment from the zebras in the process. Nothing to see here.

    Detroit used to kill with plays like this for years. It’s kinda fun to be the killer rathe than the killee for a change.

  63. stephen sheps says:

    Will happily catch up on the thread soon, but I thought I’d share a thing I wrote that isn’t hockey related.
    For the last 6 years I’ve done a year end review of music. I usually just post it on my facebook page, but since I’m not connected to any of you over there and yet I’ve had several really great music chats with many of you over the years, I thought I’d put it up on my main page (I stopped writing at the Oiler Rig, but that’s a story for another day) and share it with y’all.

    so Music Spam Alert:

    http://bringingbacktheglory.blogspot.ca/2016/12/my-annual-music-year-in-review.html?view=sidebar

    End Spam

  64. JDï™ says:

    spoiler: hadn’t heard of it either,

    Hey – I said no spoilers!

  65. spoiler says:

    JDï™,

    Surprise!!

  66. blainer says:

    I find that Lucic and Ebs together with Connor is not a good match. It’s ok to keep one but he needs speed on one of his wings IMO.

    The player that will help send Connor over the top is not here yet me thinks. This player is gonna fall from the sky somehow. Either at the deadline or free agency.

    Or it just may end up being JP at some point.

    Slepy should be called up and playing. He has the size and the speed to be here.

  67. NativeNotFrench says:

    incubo_nero:
    Dear Messrs. Chiarelli and McLellan:
    McDavid needs to play with the fastest wingers currently on the NHL roster who can match his tempo and maintain possession in the offensive zone. As far as I can tell, that’s Pouliot on the LW and Kassian on the RW (should have been Pitlick). Bowlful of elite D.

    Lucic and Eberle need to be matched to a center that does not completely outpace them: RNH. Heaping plate of elite F.

    Call up Slepyshev and leave him here: Maroon-Draisatl-Slepyshev. Sample tray of mid-comp D.
    Call up Lander and leave him here: Lander-Letestu-Caggiula. Table scraps and PK duties.

    You’re welcome.
    Sincerely,
    3rd Tier Fan (only goes to games when he gets free tix) tired of protracted pre-season line combos

    +1

  68. JDï™ says:

    The Oilers are on the ice for practice at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

    Forward lines appear to be:

    Lucic – McDavid – Eberle
    Maroon – Draisaitl – Nugent-Hopkins
    Pouliot – Caggiula – Puljujarvi
    Hendricks – Letestu – Kassian

    Taylor Beck is also rotating into the bottom two lines.

    From the Oilers’ site.

    Aside from Maroon, Draisaitl and RNH, Todd has the PCP line going too.

  69. spoiler says:

    The Edmonton Oilers are a hockey team in the NHL…

    And it has been such a very long time since this was a good thing.

    But right now it shore is.

  70. spoiler says:

    JDï™: Aside from Maroon, Draisaitl and RNH, Todd has the PCP line going too.

    I shall call them Angel Dust, henceforth.

  71. Moose says:

    fifthcartel:
    Am I crazy or would Bozak for the 3rd line be a really interesting option? RHC, good at faceoffs so McLellan can cool it with Hendricks/Letestu abit.

    Not crazy at all. Seems like a perfect fit, but the asset cost is probably prohibitive, not to mention TOR’s needs seem similar to ours and the Oilers don’t have much in the way of RHD or futures to give up. Can’t imagine they’d give him up cheap because he has another year left.

    But having Davy, Benning and Nurse on cheap deals for another year certainly provides the Oilers with a lot of flexibility to upgrade 3C and 1/2 RW. Suddenly the D looks to have legit NHL depth. What a difference a year of development and procurement makes.

  72. incubo_nero says:

    Pouliot – Caggiula – Puljujarvi

    {insert Russian proverb here}

  73. Confused says:

    JDï™,

    Sounds good. Drai and RNH were so good together, we need to give it another go to see what they might have.

    Hope Beck gets another game to two, I know the first one was rough, but a trial needs to last longer than a single game,

    Also, if they are sticking with Cags, can we play him in the same position every night. This constantly moving him around cannot be helping him.

  74. Chachi says:

    Bruce Wayne: Lucic is having an awful season, disguised by gift points on the power play. For every lucky stone upturned there is a terrible mistake that threatens to sink everything.For all the grief of the Hall trade that is mostly about what could have been, Larsson is at least a useful player if nowhere near a first pairing defender.Lucic on the other hand is a six million dollar anchor for the duration of McDavid’s career.

    I stand by what I said earlier.You couldn’t trade Lucic for a seventh round pick.

    You are absolutely right although you are stating the obvious. You couldn’t trade Lucic for a seventh round pick because he has a full NMC until the end of the 2020-21 season. He has a modified NTC/NMC in the final two seasons of the contract in which he can be traded to a handful of teams and you would likely get more for him in a trade then anyways since his cap hit will be higher than his salary.

  75. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    Woodguy,

    Next time you notice the oilers have a free break out from their zone (doesn’t happen often)please note Larsson’s position on the ice and Klefbom’s.Larsson stays very deep in his zone as if expecting a turnover

    Yes.

    Every Dman who isn’t moving the puck covers for a potential turn over.

    Klef moves the puck, Larsson stays at home.

  76. russ99 says:

    blainer:
    I find that Lucic and Ebs together with Connor is not a good match. It’s ok to keep one but he needs speed on one of his wings IMO.

    The player that will help send Connor over the top is not here yet me thinks. This player is gonna fall from the sky somehow. Either at the deadline or free agency.

    Or it just may end up being JP at some point.

    Slepy should be called up and playing. He has the size and the speed to be here.

    The problem is everyone assumes that Connor needs speed wingers for the rush. The opposition has pretty much taken away that weapon, either systems-wise or via blatant uncalled violations.

    What’s more important are wingers who can either keep the puck or get to tough areas and not fumble but get good shots and score after the rush.

    What invariably happens instead is the puck goes either to the point for shots or to Connor in traffic.

    We need a real plan B for McDavid’s line when the rush is taken away.

  77. Woodguy says:

    spoiler: That doesn’t tell us cause and effect nor does it eliminate the possibility that what we are witnessing is “random” variance and we are just expressing our need to assign a narrative.

    But it IS pretty damning confirmation that the results of this trio thus far have been absolutely bleh.

    I wonder though how much of the issue IS variance.Seems that chances have abounded and really what has been missing is Finish.And Finish can be a pretty finicky fellow.

    What does your database tell us w.r.t. HDSC?Are they getting the looks but not the results?

    To be fair to Eberle, he put up 2.8pts/60 with McDavid last year as they scored 3.79 GF On/60

    Lucic was good GF/60 wise last year with Kopitar with 3.76 gf/60 (Kopitar 2.14 w/o Lucic)

    Not as good with Carter 2.59/60 (Carter 2.21 w/o Lucic)

    I think Stauffer nailed it today when he said “Lucic is spending most of the shift trying to catch up with the play” (paraphrased)

    Square peg, round hole.

    Whoever suggested 67 was right.

    15 could keep up too before the walking boot.

    Keep up, stick on the ice, go to the net.

  78. Woodguy says:

    spoiler,

    What does your database tell us w.r.t. HDSC? Are they getting the looks but not the results?

    Will look when I can.

    Driving around for a living today.

  79. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Well if you want to talk about crafty plays let’s mention Maroon’s little criss cross in front of Pitlick off the faceoff win on the 1-1 goal, or Sekera briefly but crucially tying up Tarasenko’s stick as he charged towards the net in overtime. Each play designed to give a teammate a critical foot of space and tenth of a second to let fly.

    Veterans making veteran plays — who knew? And getting “veteran” treatment from the zebras in the process. Nothing to see here.

    Detroit used to kill with plays like this for years. It’s kinda fun to be the killer rathe than the killee for a change.

    Noticed both and loved it.

    Good post Bruce

  80. stephen sheps says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Well if you want to talk about crafty plays let’s mention Maroon’s little criss cross in front of Pitlick off the faceoff win on the 1-1 goal, or Sekera briefly but crucially tying up Tarasenko’s stick as he charged towards the net in overtime. Each play designed to give a teammate a critical foot of space and tenth of a second to let fly.

    Veterans making veteran plays — who knew? And getting “veteran” treatment from the zebras in the process. Nothing to see here.

    Detroit used to kill with plays like this for years. It’s kinda fun to be the killer rathe than the killee for a change.

    Agree with Darcy, great post Bruce. It’s a nice change of pace to see veterans doing veteran things for the team I cheer for.

    Another thing I’ve noticed – Drai appears to be turning into Kopitar before our eyes. Some of the work he was doing down low protecting the puck and just imposing his will on the game is very noticeable now. He keeps play alive in the O-zone, sometimes entirely on his own now. Very impressive few weeks for the young man.

  81. Woodguy says:

    G weighs in:

    McDavid lines, >=50min EVTOI, Corsica xGF%:

    Looch/Pulju 60%

    Looch/Drai 58%

    Maroon/Ebs 57%

    Looch/Ebs 52%

    @OilersNerdAlert Possible conclusion: it is actually Looch & Ebs that just don’t mesh.

  82. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy:
    G weighs in:

    McDavid lines, >=50min EVTOI, Corsica xGF%:

    Looch/Pulju 60%

    Looch/Drai 58%

    Maroon/Ebs 57%

    Looch/Ebs 52%

    @OilersNerdAlert Possible conclusion: it is actually Looch & Ebs that just don’t mesh.

    How much will McDavid separate himself from the rest of the NHL when the Oilers get a set of wingers or at least one where he has good to great chemistry?

    Here is something to consider;

    McDavid might be underrated.

  83. Melvis says:

    Speaking of crafty – I think LT meant Raymond Chandler…in reference to Looch and The Big Sleep. But then, I maintain a tendency to read too much into things…”everything is a metaphor”, e.g..

    I’m into a bit of Looch bashing too these days. OTH…I’m not certain he’s found his place and a home on this team just yet…regardless of original intention. I’m giving it another couple of months. We’ll love him to pieces if he pots the goal moving the oilers from 17th to 16th when it counts.

    Either that, or he knocks out some assholes teeth between now and then.

  84. Professor Q says:

    frjohnk: How much will McDavid separate himself from the rest of the NHL when the Oilers get a set of wingers or at least one where he has good to great chemistry?

    Here is something to consider;

    McDavid might be underrated.

    Depends on whether or not the opposition are allowed to continue to wear him down through obvious infractions that aren’t called. It could hurt his health long term.

  85. stephen sheps says:

    Woodguy:
    G weighs in:

    McDavid lines, >=50min EVTOI, Corsica xGF%:

    Looch/Pulju 60%

    Looch/Drai 58%

    Maroon/Ebs 57%

    Looch/Ebs 52%

    @OilersNerdAlert Possible conclusion: it is actually Looch & Ebs that just don’t mesh.

    This actually matches what the dreaded eye-test seems to tell me, that Lucic and Eberle are the wrong kind of players for each other. They don’t compliment each others strengths and tend to magnify each others weaknesses (ie Ebs not being a great cycle game player). It’s not that I think either player is bad, but that maybe they’re bad for each other and the best player in the world might be suffering a bit because of it.

    Pouliot and Eberle work well together, Pou and McDavid work well together. As LT suggested, maybe trying 67-97-14 might be worth while. Sadly something tells me that the coach isn’t likely to try that anytime soon.

  86. frjohnk says:

    Professor Q: Depends on whether or not the opposition are allowed to continue to wear him down through obvious infractions that aren’t called. It could hurt his health long term.

    If the NHL went back to calling penalties like in 06, McDavid would draw about 3 per period.

  87. dustrock says:

    stephen sheps:
    Will happily catch up on the thread soon, but I thought I’d share a thing I wrote that isn’t hockey related.
    For the last 6 years I’ve done a year end review of music. I usually just post it on my facebook page, but since I’m not connected to any of you over there and yet I’ve had several really great music chats with many of you over the years, I thought I’d put it up on my main page (I stopped writing at the Oiler Rig, but that’s a story for another day) and share it with y’all.

    so Music Spam Alert:

    http://bringingbacktheglory.blogspot.ca/2016/12/my-annual-music-year-in-review.html?view=sidebar

    End Spam

    Nice. I did a best songs of the year list on Spotify:

    https://play.spotify.com/user/12166765737/playlist/2KceqWt7YSFOElRDZR0GrZ

    Favorite albums would probably include

    Bowie
    White Lung
    Pixies
    Blood Orange
    Shearwater

  88. dustrock says:

    Can we call up Lander and Khaira and send down JP and Caligula?

  89. stephen sheps says:

    dustrock: Nice.I did a best songs of the year list on Spotify:

    https://play.spotify.com/user/12166765737/playlist/2KceqWt7YSFOElRDZR0GrZ

    Favorite albums would probably include

    Bowie
    White Lung
    Pixies
    Blood Orange
    Shearwater

    We have a bit of overlap if that’s the case. I loved the White Lung record and what more can be said about Blackstar? Most people don’t leave gifts to anyone but their families before dying, but Bowie gave one to the entire world.

    Blood Orange is an interesting record that I just couldn’t really get into.

    I’ll definitely check out your playlist.
    Edit: It won’t let me for some reason. I am an apple music guy but tried to sign up for the free version of spotify. I can access the free content but whenever I copy the link it redirects me to the main page.

  90. Melvis says:

    stephen sheps,

    Thanks for that. I’ll certainly check it out. The xmas season tends on reflection, and I wouldn’t mind sharing an anecdote or two;-)

    I’m into anything and everything. Today it’s Dizzy, whom I had the good fortune of meeting. Perfidia got under my skin…Benny Goodman via James Elmore – and Beethoven’s Archduke Trio…various, contrast and compare – but mostly Heifetz, Rubentein et al.

    But then I can also share a Kenny Koggins story, or better yet, a weird Bootsy Collins Pfunk remarque – with whom I once did an abbreviated tour.

  91. stephen sheps says:

    Melvis: But then I can also share a Kenny Koggins story, or better yet, a weird Bootsy Collins Pfunk remarque – with whom I once did an abbreviated tour.

    yes please – that would be quite the story I’m sure!

  92. Scungilli says:

    Pouliot hasn’t been playing well but he suits McD best. Looch isn’t policing or playing well enough so do for Pou’s speed. I’d play Slep on his right because he’s a shooter.

    Keep the Nuge Leon line and see if it goes like it might.

    Keep the Letestu line for hard work and let Lander anchor an easier minutes youth line. They could roll four and keep everyone more fresh. Especially Connor. His game is about energy, he needs to be played at a high TOI but just below where he is fatigued. His explosiveness is the key to his game.

  93. blainer says:

    russ99: The problem is everyone assumes that Connor needs speed wingers for the rush.The opposition has pretty much taken away that weapon, either systems-wise or via blatant uncalled violations.

    What’s more important are wingers who can either keep the puck or get to tough areas and not fumble but get good shots and score after the rush.

    What invariably happens instead is the puck goes either to the point for shots or to Connor in traffic.

    We need a real plan B for McDavid’s line when the rush is taken away.

    This is also true. It would be really sweet if ebs could bury those chances the way we all know he can. I guess the coach is gonna leave them together for a bit.

    Maybe he see’s something there.

  94. commonfan14 says:

    russ99: What’s more important are wingers who can either keep the puck or get to tough areas and not fumble but get good shots and score after the rush.

    Iginla’s going to be great at that.

  95. Dac189 says:

    Any thoughts on:

    Pouliot-McDavid-Eberle (Maybe Pouliot is the answer for McDavid?)
    Maroon-Draisatl-Nuge (Get Nuge going)
    Lucic-Letestu-Kassian (Cycling line)
    Slepy-Cagiula-JP (Rookie line with sheltered time)

    Hoping Ebs and Nuge up their production soon. After 6/5 years of bottom of the league it would suck for them to be traded now.

  96. jm363561 says:

    spoiler: Just Did It… hadn’t heard of it either, thankyou.

    Same highlights are on the Oilers official site.

  97. jm363561 says:

    incubo_nero:
    Pouliot – Caggiula – Puljujarvi

    {insert Russian proverb here}

    Not knowing any Russian proverbs I will stick with gentle sobbing.

  98. PhrankLee says:

    jm363561: Not knowing any Russian proverbs I will stick with gentle sobbing.

    Oddly enough I know a guy who is expert at both.

  99. Oilspill says:

    Lucic came for the promise that getting to play with mcD and get 7mIL would be a great ending to his career. Well the money is in stone but time to reneg on the McD promise.

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