ONE TRUE THING

The Edmonton Oilers lost in overtime last night, but it was a terrific game and capped a brilliant road trip—one in which the club grabbed five of a possible six points. Lots of anger and disappointment in the comments section, but this team is in every game and grabbing points with regularity.

There is only one true thing on the downbeat about this team: They don’t have the horses, they don’t bring the balance. That true thing was on display last night.

There is an opportunity for this team to get better in some important places when the NHL comes out of the break. The injury to Tyler Pitlick gives Peter Chiarelli a chance to make a roster move that will impact the team. Added to Taylor Beck’s inability to impact the game at this level, and someone’s (don’t know who) hesitancy to play Jesse Puljujarvi, and you are looking for two starters on the starboard starting now. Eberle, Kassian, and two more cards from the pile? Or do they recall Anton Slepsyhev, Anton Lander, and move Leon back on to the McDavid line? Oh, and is it time for a trade?

MORE PRESENTS, 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: 6-2-4, goal differential +1
  • Oilers after 36, 2015: 15-18-3, goal differential -18
  • Oilers after 36, 2016: 18-12-6, goal differential +8

You would love to see Edmonton in first place at the Christmas break, but honestly there are many good things about this team, at this time. Can you believe McDavid? How about that shot by Maroon? Heh. Talbot was dandy too and there is some growth here for sure. Miles to go, but we are making good time, this time.

The Oilers play 14 December games (two to go) and our line in the sand was 14 points this month. At this point, after last night, the Oilers have collected 16 points in the month—effectively returning to a point per game status since the brilliant October run. In November and December games so far (27 games), Edmonton has 28 points. If the team continues along this track for the rest of the season, the record will be 41-27-14, 96 points. That would represent a spike of 10 wins and 26 points—and the most total points for an Oilers team since 1987-88.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Davidson—Gryba went 16-13 together last night, playing mostly with Leon (6:36, 9-5), Letestu (4:49, 3-7) and McDavid (3:55, 9-2). Went 8-7 against the Pavelski group (fabulous polkas!) in 4:54 and 4-3 against the Tierney line in 3:24. I prefer Benning, but like this pairing. Davidson is once again delivering the quality play we have come to expect, and hammered a terrific shot on net from a stunning Leon pass that should have counted had the Gods been on our side.
  • Sekera—Russell went 6-9 together in 8:55. Sekera caught on with Larsson (1:33, 2-0) for a time and Russell went 2-3 with Larsson in 2:58. Went 5-5 in 5:45 with McDavid and 0-5 in 2:15 with the Letestu unit. Went 3-4 against Marleau—Thornton—Pavelski (what a line!) and 2-3 in 4:18 against Logan Couture. Sekera’s point came on yet another deft pass up to the forwards, I thought this was an effective pairing, especially at even strength.
  • Klefbom—Larsson went 7-13 in 12:04 and were split up for a time, Larsson’s minutes listed above and Oscar didn’t play a lot without Larsson. Went 4-10 in 5:06 with McDavid, that is very poor. Went 1-4 in 4:40 against the Pavelski trio (tight rhythm section) and 1-3 against Logan Couture in 2:39. Oscar made a terrible decision on the second goal, Todd McLellan did a roll-eyes that could be seen from the International Space Station. The young man is making some strange decisions in important minutes, hopefully this is part of the maturation process. Remember, NHL defensemen take a lot of time to develop.
  • As an aside, Oscar Klefbom continues to remind me of Serge Savard when he carries the puck. It is uncanny. The mind, as you get older, tends to blurt out thoughts that are random and worthless, but my brain keeps screaming Serge Savard! every time Oscar begins a painstakingly careful sortie up the ice and into the opposition zone. There is no real point to this observation, except that hockey can be delightful in rushing back memories in creative ways.
  • Cam Talbot was fire and rain, handy man, and Carly Simon (anticipation) last night. That first period save was astounding.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • NaturalStatTrick, HockeyStats.ca and NHL.com.
  • Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian went 3-3 in about five minutes, Hendricks—Letestu—Pouliot went 3-4 in 2:52. Letestu went 1-5 against Pavelski, as he played a whole lot. The two wingers on this line didn’t use the brain God gave them for miles and miles last night. Hendricks, a pretty smart hockey player, decided Zack Kassian (Zack Kassian!!!) couldn’t take care of his own business and paid in full with a two-minute fine. Kassian himself decided Brenden Dillon’s sins were enough to spend four screaming minutes in the penalty box, and contributed to a saggy mattress second period that was completely avoidable. Love the aggression, hate the decisions on this night.
  • Maroon—McDavid—Draisaitl went 10-4 in 5:46, Maroon—Draisaitl—Nuge went 2-5 in 5:12. Maroon’s acquisition was highway robbery, the shot that found net last night was a terrific example of the gap between an actual hockey player and a Coke Machine. My word that was a nice shot. Leon was not the complete Leon all night, he was lumbering a bit in his skating and seemed to be a day late and a dollar short. However, even in a game like this one, he had moments. The pass to Brandon Davidson for his great chance was tremendous, just beautiful. That kind of ability is going to make him a beloved player in this town. Nuge hasn’t been Nuge for some time, not a lot we can say.
  • Lucic—McDavid—Eberle went 7-10 in 7:40 and gave way to an impact trio of some note: Maroon—McDavid—Draisaitl went 10-4 in 5:46. That was fire. McDavid faced Braun—Vlasic a ton (12:43) and went 16-15. Went 8-8 against Pavelski, 2-2 against Couture and 5-6 against Tierney.
  • Lucic had a subpar game, mostly because the puck wasn’t getting to where it needed to be in a timely fashion. Had a nice look after getting the puck back from his own shot, but did not have a strong game—eventually being moved off McDavid’s line (as we had discussed as a productive option yesterday).
  • Eberle had some jump, and made a brilliant pass to Nuge in the slot (and RNH did get a good rip at the puck), but there are too few of these types of events in recent games .I think, as is the case with Lucic, Eberle might benefit from spending time on the 2line for a little while. It doesn’t mean the club can’t come back to it later, but the shuffle in the third period showed a fresh set of linemates can benefit everyone.
  • McDavid had a strong third period once Todd McLellan decided to re-set his linemates. His goal reminded me of pinball at the K.V. Bowl in Maidstone but it still counts for one and there is no tilt in hockey. Fabulous pass on the Maroon goal, Edmonton’s centers are all so good at passing to open ice and 97 is the best of the lot.
  • Pouliot—Caggiula—Beck went 0-2 in 2:10.
  • The game (for me) came down to some big stops by Talbot and 97’s patented ‘to hell with this noise’ third period. He sets his jaw and starts passing opposition like they are a house on the side of the road. He plays where speed and skill meet determination, and my goodness it is a joy to behold. Leads the league in points, you know. True statement.
  • The power play was not strong, but credit the Sharks, they seem to have an extra man out there in stealth mode.

TODD MCLELLAN

  • Todd McLellan: “We were never in that game. They were better in every facet you could think of in the game. I don’t think we clawed our way back in. We got lucky and came away with a point. A disappointing performance from an awful lot of individuals tonight, so we’ll steal the point and get home. We’ve obviously got to get better if we want to play against these types of teams.” Source

I wish the pre-game coach and the post-game coach could have a conversation on nights like this one. It could be beneficial, and perhaps make changes easier and more timely. I am generally easy on the coach, he can only deploy the troops who show up, but last night was an example of McLellan getting stubborn on some players.

  • Benoit Pouliot played one less minute than Matt Hendricks, even with all of the Hendricks penalties. And if we apply the same punishment for stupid penalties to everyone as McLellan has to Pouliot, we can safely assume Kassian and Hendricks will be HS against Los Angeles.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi is a better player today than Taylor Beck and Drake Caggiula. Dressing those two men and keeping JP in the pressbox time and again makes no sense to me. Peter Chiarelli needs to get his coach playing this young man or get him to Bakersfield, but no one can look me in the eye and tell me the Finn was the lesser option last night. No one.
  • Matt Benning and his speed/offensive acumen would have been a strong option last night. Sitting Kris Russell will not extinguish the good that has been done this season, and Sekera—Benning is a fine idea.

It is perhaps unfair to be critical of a coach who has one fewer option (Pitlick) than normal, but in a game that had such importance to him (clearly), I do think it is far to call him stubborn on some of his roster choices. Credit to McLellan for moving Lucic off the McDavid line (as I had suggested in the post yesterday, and had been suggested by thousands previously), but optimal is in the dictionary for a reason.

JESSE PULJUJARVI

If I was Peter Chiarelli, the young Finn would be a topic of conversation with the coaching staff. I think he should be playing, and for me the NHL option is on the table. He is offensively shy, and perhaps a trip to Bakersfield will straighten it out. That said, last night he was one of the 12 best forward options, don’t think anyone (including McLellan, who played Beck 4 minutes) can argue.

Send him down if he is struggling, but is he struggling, or can we pin this on the coaching staff for being stubborn? If we are sincere in our thoughts, Jesse Puljujarvi should have been on that ice last night. Pretty sure.

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82 Responses to "ONE TRUE THING"

  1. leadfarmer says:

    Merry Xmas eve all.

    Here’s an interesting read for anyone interested. Wonder what legal implications this causes for everyone’s favorite GM.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl-team-wrongfully-withheld-documents-in-brain-injury-case-1.636989

  2. dcsj says:

    “In every game” … That’s what is making this season so much better than the last ten.

    Really wish Pitlick could have stayed healthy, really enjoy his enthusiasm.

  3. Professor Q says:

    But why not just send Puljujärvi and Caggiula down to Bakersfield anyway, even if they’re not struggling?

    Does Edmonton’s brass have the brass to do that?

  4. Diablo says:

    Lots of reasons to be thankful this Holiday season.
    1. McDavid
    2. Draisaitl – has taken a stranglehold of the #2 C spot
    3. Talbot
    4. Depth on D for the first time since 2006
    5. Lucic – others may disagree, but I’m still pinching myself that a premier free agent signed with the Oilers for less money than other teams were offering. Remember when we were going to offer Clarkson more money and term? Like LT, I didn’t expect Lucic to score more with McDavid. Last year he played with Kopitar, before that Bergeron – those guys are pretty good too.
    6. Our grinders – Letestu, Kassian, Maroon, Pitlick, and Hendricks. These guys never give up – that kind of attitude has been missing for the past ten years.
    7. Our coaching staff – I was impatient with them in November, but I failed to acknowledge the lack of practice time due to the World Cup and the busy schedule. They’ve travelled more than any team in the NHL, and yet TMac and his staff have found ways to improve the PP and PK during that time.
    8. LT – for giving us this slice of the internet.

  5. sliderule says:

    The heroes from Arizona were the goats of San Jose ..Coach has to get the adrenalin under control.

    Davidson is playing like he did last year.How to sneak him past expansion draft?

    Jesse should get the same treatment as the Drake .Ice time and some power play.If he doesn’t produce send him down..

  6. Edmonton_fan says:

    Common sense suggests that Puljujarvi needs to play hockey; and a lot of minutes per game. Since that is not occurring in the NHL, Bakersfield must be the option. No disrespect to the players talent – just a coaching decision staring us in the face…

  7. Clarkenstein says:

    It’s Christmas Eve and we’ve more to be thankful for than any time in the past 11 years. Having said that it has been a good news, bad news team to date. A lot of yeah buts. Several players have been pleasant surprises… you know who they are but so many have seen their games regress recently. Fatigue? Maybe. But some of the personnel deployment at times are headscratchers. I’m sure Oscar has never seen this much ice time in 36 games by Christmas in his life!! That was a season for him in past years. I think he’s tired. Caggs is an AHL’er. Everybody can see that but management. Beck hasn’t sized this opportunity at all. And the list goes on but you all know who they are. No question it’s time for a deal to be made. Maybe time for another project player.

  8. jm363561 says:

    Yet another PP goal conceded last night:
    – PK season to date 36 games: 91 / 111 = 82% (worst in league is currently 74%)
    – Last 12 games running at 72%
    – PK without Lander 20 games: 51 / 66 = 77%
    – PK with Lander 16 games: 40 / 45 = 89%

    If there had been an 89% kill in the 20 games Lander has not played, 8 fewer goals would have been conceded.

    These figures are brought to you by the Anton Lander Appreciation Society(ALAS).

    Merry Christmas to all, especially the LoweTides.

    P.S. The ALAS would like to express our thanks for the photo above. Maybe Sophia Loren next time.

  9. leadfarmer says:

    I wouldn’t get worked up about minutes given in a game before a break. These guys are in different states of banged up and some guys are just trying to make it to the break.

  10. who says:

    sliderule:
    The heroes from Arizona were the goats of San Jose ..Coach has to get the adrenalin under control.

    Davidson is playing like he did last year.How to sneak him past expansion draft?

    Jesse should get the same treatment as the Drake .Ice time and some power play.If he doesn’t produce send him down..

    Everyone is worried about losing Davidson in expansion draft and I don’t know why. Sekera, Larsson, Klefbom, Davidson. He will be the fourth dman protected. At this point I can’t see the oilers protecting more than 4 forwards.

  11. square_wheels says:

    sliderule,

    After last night Davidson is firmly back inside the Oilers top 3 D for me. Grossly underappreciated player and I hope it stays that way.

    If he ends up in Vegas and plays another 8 yrs anchoring a second pair, I’m not going to be disappointed for the player. He’s earned the right to play higher in the order and with that, earn himself a much better contract.

    However, cap issues are coming our way. I wonder if Chia approaches Sekera about waiving ?

  12. Lowetide says:

    who: Everyone is worried about losing Davidson in expansion draft and I don’t know why. Sekera, Larsson, Klefbom, Davidson.He will be the fourth dman protected. At this point I can’t see the oilers protecting more than 4 forwards.

    Ah. Using logic and reason when it applies to expansion drafts doesn’t work. I agree completely with you, but history tells us we will all be surprised at the actual protected list.

  13. Edmonton_fan says:

    jm363561:

    – PK without Lander 20 games: 51 / 66 = 77%
    – PK with Lander 16 games: 40 / 45 = 89%

    If there had been an 89% kill in the 20 games Lander has not played, 8 fewer goals would have been conceded.

    These figures are brought to you by the Anton Lander Appreciation Society(ALAS).

    This is the season we use him or lose him. Everything suggests we should be using him.

    When we drafted him, Anton was described as a leader & a consummate team mate; his years with the Oilers proved that description accurate. Whatever occurs, I wish him the best.

  14. PhrankLee says:

    Well the teeth gnashing over PDO and Hockey Gods should be over after that game.

    I cannot believe we came out of it with a point.

    They really laid an egg.

    Klefbom really serves up about one doozy of a blunder per game this year.

    It really burned him last night and was so egregious that I wondered about his eyesight and brains!

    That one was glaring. I hope the foibles of youth are to blame as well. That has to stop happening!

  15. square_wheels says:

    who,

    I hope you’re correct.

    Speaking of cap hits though, when does Chia start talking to Drai’s agents ?

    And then there is McD’s……

    Just an anecdote, but McDavid is already becoming this generations Crosby. Many colleagues and hockey buddies have kids deeply committed to the hometown Flames, but almost all of them are saying that during mini-sticks games there is arguments about who gets to be McDavid.

    In fact, one seasons ticket Flames die-hard sheepishly admitted he bought his son a new stick the other day, and he asked to exchange it. They get back to Hockey Life, his son doesn’t even browse the aisle, just picks the CCM Super Tacks…..

    I suspect the best paid player in hockey will be 97, justifiably so, but it’s going to force difficult choices.

  16. tcho says:

    PhrankLee:
    Well the teeth gnashing over PDO and Hockey Gods should be over after that game.

    I cannot believe we came out of it with a point.

    They really laid an egg.

    Klefbom really serves up about one doozy of a blunder per game this year.

    It really burned him last night and was so egregious that I wondered about his eyesight and brains!

    That one was glaring. I hope the foibles of youth are to blame as well. That has to stop happening!

    You saw about what I saw. I would agree with Klefbom last night (far too much wobble) but I’d quibble with the year’s assessment of Klefbom. So inconsistent this season.

  17. Rich M says:

    who,

    We’re concerned about losing Davidson because we don’t know what Chia’s thoughts are re: protecting him versus other d-men on the roster and because the early scuttlebutt is that Davidson looks like a very attractive option based on comments from those analyzing the roster.

    At this point, it’s difficult to justify moving Sekera because night in/night out he’s one of the steadiest on the blueline. Coach has confidence in him and has run him with a lot of different partners (Nurse last year, Russell, Benning). It may not always work, but the versatility is important. He may not be able to do that in 2-3 years, but for now, you can’t afford to lose him if the goal is to achieve balance.

    Question though. Would it make sense to sign Russell to a contract after Jan 1 – without a no movement clause – and when you protect d-men, leave him exposed and keep Davidson as the 4th? If you have to have a certain number of players draft eligible from the blueline, this potentially solves the problem.

  18. Woogie63 says:

    Earlier in December we bought the kids student ski passes for Sunshine, $648 each.

    Last night I bought the kids (and Dad) tickets to the January back to back Battle of Alberta, $788 each.

    Look on my surprised wife’s face tomorrow morning …..priceless

  19. hags9k says:

    I don’t think JP is a better option than Drake right now. Neither is creating any offense, but to me JP is just too long and loose with the puck, especially around both blue lines. The Drake rarely does anything to hurt us.

    JP needs to tighten up his puck handling and decision making before getting more TOI.

    The AHL seems to be the right call here. Maybe they are intentionally limiting his “innings” this year as he grows and adjusts on and off the ice in his first year in NA?

    I can’t look anyone in the eye on Beck, I just don’t know the player.

  20. frjohnk says:

    We really had trouble getting pucks on the net last night on the PP.

    An aggressive PK by San Jose last night highlighted the Oilers need for some right handed shooters who can one time the puck on the PP.

    And I think the right handed shooters need to be Dmen. As they would be the first and easiest option for McDavid from off the half wall.

  21. frjohnk says:

    Rich M: Would it make sense to sign Russell to a contract after Jan 1 – without a no movement clause – and when you protect d-men, leave him exposed and keep Davidson as the 4th?

    I find it hard to believe Russell would do this.

  22. Evilas says:

    Merry Christmas everyone, and safe travels those who are driving in the snow.

    I am confused regarding decisions made about player deployment. Why do they monitor stats if they don’t use them?

    I have been watching this team very closely for the past 7 years and it is plain to see using my eyes and the info I glean from the superstar fans like LT, WG and GM who put what we are watching into context. What has shown the brain trust that Taylor Beck is a better option at the NHL level than JP or Sleppy? It doesn’t make any kind of sense.

    I have posted this a few times since Oct, and with couple of minor changes due to injuries I would run the roster like this:

    Maroon- McDavid-JP
    Poo-RNH-Ebs
    Looch-Drai-Sleppy
    Kharia-Letestu-Kassian
    Hendo

    Sekera-Larsson
    Klef-Benning
    Davidson-Gryba
    Russell

    Talbot-LB

    Send down DC and Monster run this line-up for 3 games and watch this team shake, rattle and hum.

  23. stephen sheps says:

    Good morning everyone.

    Merry Xmas (and happy Hannukah to my fellow jewish friends who happen to read this fine blog).

    I just thought I should share a little bit of good news with y’all. Despite my best efforts to leave academia while simulateously applying to any university that would have me, my 6 months of unemployment/sabbatical has come to an end.

    Ryerson university has decided to hire me.

    In many ways 2016 was pretty much the worst, but 2017 looks to be much better. I believe the same could be said about our beloved Oilers. 96 point pace, 2nd in the division heading into the Xmas break. The team far from perfect, of which last night was a shining example, but they are turning north. The lack of balance and flaws are very evident, however for the first time in a long time progress is being made.

  24. Scungilli says:

    stephen sheps:
    Good morning everyone.

    Merry Xmas (and happy Hannukah to my fellow jewish friends who happen to read this fine blog).

    I just thought I should share a little bit of good news with y’all. Despite my best efforts to leave academia while simulateously applying to any university that would have me, my 6 months of unemployment/sabbatical has come to an end.

    Ryerson university has decided to hire me.

    In many ways 2016 was pretty much the worst, but 2017 looks to be much better. I believe the same could be said about our beloved Oilers. 96 point pace, 2nd in the division heading into the Xmas break. The team far from perfect, of which last night was a shining example, but they are turning north. The lack of balance and flaws are very evident, however for the first time in a long time progress is being made.

    Congrats to you and happy Hannukah. Now you can be a Leafs fan!

  25. Diablo says:

    stephen sheps:
    Good morning everyone.

    Merry Xmas (and happy Hannukah to my fellow jewish friends who happen to read this fine blog).

    I just thought I should share a little bit of good news with y’all. Despite my best efforts to leave academia while simulateously applying to any university that would have me, my 6 months of unemployment/sabbatical has come to an end.

    Ryerson university has decided to hire me.

    In many ways 2016 was pretty much the worst, but 2017 looks to be much better. I believe the same could be said about our beloved Oilers. 96 point pace, 2nd in the division heading into the Xmas break. The team far from perfect, of which last night was a shining example, but they are turning north. The lack of balance and flaws are very evident, however for the first time in a long time progress is being made.

    Congrats – I myself left the academic world after a a PhD and post-doc as I saw a bleak future in it. Switched to medicine and haven’t looked back. Nice to hear it worked out for you – enjoy tenureship!

  26. Lowetide says:

    Congrats, Stephen!! Ryerson produced Jay Onrait, Bob McKenzie, Jack Layton and Gail Kim! Interesting group!

  27. dustrock says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone. Have a fantastic and peaceful time with friends and family.

    Happy the Oilers are where they are. Only negative thing I’ll say is that if our 2nd line is $18m, they’d better start producing.

  28. stephen sheps says:

    Diablo,

    Sadly it’s just a 1 year contract. The tenure dream is still just that, but it’s a great opportunity that doesn’t involve moving again.
    Scungilli,

    Leafs? Never! 😝

    Lowetide,

    That is an interesting group! Lofty company.

    Thanks.

  29. mit167 says:

    Congrats on the job…

    Merry Xmas to everyone

  30. frjohnk says:

    Nice to get a point when we probably shouldnt have.

    We have had games in which we should have gotten at least 1, if not 2 but didnt get any.

    All pretty much evens out.

    Pacific
    GP team PTS
    34 SAN JOSE 43
    36 EDMONTON 42
    35 ANAHEIM 40
    34 LOS ANGELES 38
    36 CALGARY 38
    35 VANCOUVER 31
    34 ARIZONA 27

    Western Conference
    GP TEAM PTS
    36   CHICAGO 49
    34   SAN JOSE 43
    33   MINNESOTA 46
    36   EDMONTON 42
    35   ST. LOUIS 41
    35   ANAHEIM 40
    34   LOS ANGELES 38
    36   CALGARY 38
    33   NASHVILLE 35
    35   DALLAS 35
    36   WINNIPEG 35
    35   VANCOUVER 31
    34   ARIZONA 27
    33   COLORADO 25

    2nd in the Pacific and 4th in the conference at Christmas time.

    We have turned North no doubt.

    Woot!

    Stick a fork in the Yotes, Avs and Canucks. They are done.

    The Western Conference is a 11 team race for 8 spots. We are 7 points up on 9th in the West (though they have 3 games in )

    But Im saying it.

    Playoffs baby!

    Playoffs!!!

  31. Scungilli says:

    Happy Christmas Eve all. My first stretch of more than two days off since last Christmas, I feel giddy.

    It is great to see this team in every game. One thing to also be happy about is the future. The Oilers impact players are all young except Sekera. That cannot be said about many western conference competitors.

    Over the next few years the teams that should stay good and be our foes in the playoffs based on roster age of the better players are the Preds, maybe the Jets, maybe the FLames, and the Jets and FLames will have good forwards and lose their better D unless they get lucky or find some.
    Chicago is hard to call but their defense is getting old and once Seabrook and Keith fall off they`ll be riding Toews and Kane completely.

    If Chiarelli can grow or find another goalie and right shooting defense, the Oilers should be the best team in the West for a while. It`s been a long time.

    As I looked at the various rosters, Doughty`s a free agent in 2 more seasons and will be thirty in the first year of his new contract. LA needs to retool, they only have Kopitar and Doughty as impact players with some prime left, I don`t see their youth as impact players without the older guys. Hmmm.

    I hope we see players changing places in the new year. I`d like to see JP, Cag, Beck down and Lander, Slep up. They have a lot to offer if they are used with some creativity. I chose 97 points this year for obvious reasons and I thought they could pull off a big swing in goal diff, and am happy/surprised they are on pace.

  32. Scungilli says:

    The Oilers are currently in the fourth, but they are also the fourth best team in the west in terms of quality. The only other team not in the top four with a positive goal diff is LA, and I think the Oilers are better overall now. Wow, quite a turn around.

  33. square_wheels says:

    stephen sheps,

    Congrats Sheps,well earned.

    Btw really enjoyed your music list !

  34. The Trade Guy says:

    I’m telling people this McDavid goal was intentional. And the legend grows…

    I agree with LT. Missing the horses and the bottom six went a bit crazy but I can live with it. Teams have to be served notice that the Oilers are not a decade long doormat anymore and assert themselves. They’re coming together and seems like they’re starting believe they deserve to be as good as they are.

    A nice xmas gift for my Oiler fandom. The team wandered the desert for so long. Stripped of hope and pride by hard winds and sand. Then the Oasis that is McDavid and the promise land beyond.

    Don’t mess it up Peter and Todd!

  35. Confused says:

    stephen sheps,

    Congrats!

  36. Woodguy says:

    stephen sheps:
    Good morning everyone.

    Merry Xmas (and happy Hannukah to my fellow jewish friends who happen to read this fine blog).

    I just thought I should share a little bit of good news with y’all. Despite my best efforts to leave academia while simulateously applying to any university that would have me, my 6 months of unemployment/sabbatical has come to an end.

    Ryerson university has decided to hire me.

    In many ways 2016 was pretty much the worst, but 2017 looks to be much better. I believe the same could be said about our beloved Oilers. 96 point pace, 2nd in the division heading into the Xmas break. The team far from perfect, of which last night was a shining example, but they are turning north. The lack of balance and flaws are very evident, however for the first time in a long time progress is being made.

    Nice!!

    Working at what you love in a city where you want to be is pretty much winning at life.

    Congratulations Stephen.

  37. Professor Q says:

    Cooked up some peameal bacon and eggs for tomorrow morning, and now cooking up chili with Gram, Aunt, and Uncle for tonight!

  38. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    Yesterday you posted this, which blew my mind:

    Having Connor McDavid on the ice is a massive advantage for Edmonton, but only if they use it to their complete benefit. McDavid with Eberle (1.70) fades in comparison to McDavid without Eberle (4.52/60).

    I dug a little deeper with Puckalytics Super WOWY and found this: (all 5v5)

    27-97-14 get 1.65 GF/60 in 181 min

    27-97 without 14 get 3.74 GF/60 in 192 min

    For some reason 14 is kryptonite (like you found) but Lucic is *probably* ok there (I’d prefer someone faster)

    This is weird because 97-14 were 3.79GF/60 last year (mostly with Pou)

    I don’t think Eberle is hurt now (was earlier), but his results w/ 97 are just ghastly and he’s even worse away from 97

    97-14 2.06 GF/60
    14 w/o 97 1.68 GF/60

    The only heartening thing is that the corsis and xGFs away from 97 are ok, so it could be running cold, but lordy he’s in Yakutsk.

  39. Woodguy says:

    Professor Q:
    Cooked up some peameal bacon and eggs for tomorrow morning, and now cooking up chili with Gram, Aunt, and Uncle for tonight!

    I can’t believe I missed the Barrie – bury thing yesterday.

    I’m pretty thick sometimes.

  40. flyfish1168 says:

    stephen sheps,

    Congrates on your new position. Your trying to get into the work force and I’m trying to get out. They’ll be times where you wish you stayed in school.

    I’m in the camp that Anton should be up here. He is still a better option than Jesse, Taylor and Drake. At least equal to Ted and Poo. JMHO

  41. Offside says:

    Finally we have a team capable of winning the feats of strength this Festivus season. But instead, most Oiler fans only enjoy participating in the airing of grievances

  42. theres oil in virginia says:

    stephen sheps: Ryerson university has decided to hire me.

    Excellent news! Congratulations. Oh, wait, that’s in Toronto? My condolences.

    Heheh.

  43. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk:
    Nice to get a point when we probably shouldnt have.

    We have had games in which we should have gotten at least 1, if not 2 but didnt get any.

    All pretty much evens out.

    Pacific
    GPteamPTS
    34 SAN JOSE43
    36 EDMONTON42
    35 ANAHEIM40
    34 LOS ANGELES38
    36 CALGARY38
    35 VANCOUVER31
    34 ARIZONA27

    Western Conference
    GPTEAMPTS
    36 CHICAGO49
    34 SAN JOSE43
    33 MINNESOTA46
    36 EDMONTON42
    35 ST. LOUIS41
    35 ANAHEIM40
    34 LOS ANGELES38
    36 CALGARY38
    33 NASHVILLE35
    35 DALLAS35
    36 WINNIPEG35
    35 VANCOUVER31
    34 ARIZONA27
    33 COLORADO25

    2nd in the Pacific and 4th in the conference at Christmas time.

    We have turned North no doubt.

    Woot!

    Stick a fork in the Yotes, Avs and Canucks.They are done.

    The Western Conference is a 11 team race for 8 spots.We are 7 points up on 9th in the West (though they have 3 games in )

    But Im saying it.

    Playoffs baby!

    Playoffs!!!

    Same thing, but using pts/gm to account for gp differences

    League
    1 CBJ 0.781
    2 PIT 0.700
    3 MIN 0.697
    4 WSH 0.688
    5 CHI 0.681
    6 MTL 0.676
    7 NYR 0.653
    8 SJS 0.632
    9 OTT 0.632
    10 PHI 0.611
    11 STL 0.586
    12 EDM 0.583 ***
    13 ANA 0.571
    14 CAR 0.561
    15 LAK 0.559
    16 BOS 0.556
    17 TOR 0.530
    18 NSH 0.530
    19 TBY 0.529
    20 CGY 0.528
    21 FLA 0.514
    22 DAL 0.500
    23 DET 0.500
    24 WPG 0.486
    25 NJD 0.485
    26 BUF 0.485
    27 NYI 0.485
    28 VAN 0.443
    29 ARI 0.397
    30 COL 0.379

    WC
    1 MIN 0.697
    2 CHI 0.681
    3 SJS 0.632
    4 STL 0.586
    5 EDM 0.583 ***
    6 ANA 0.571
    7 LAK 0.559
    8 NSH 0.530
    9 CGY 0.528
    10 DAL 0.500
    11 WPG 0.486
    12 VAN 0.443
    13 ARI 0.397
    14 COL 0.379

    Pacific
    1 SJS 0.632
    2 EDM 0.583
    3 ANA 0.571
    4 LAK 0.559
    5 CGY 0.528
    6 VAN 0.443
    7 ARI 0.397

    That’s very nice to see.

    Meaningful hockey in the Spring looks to be certain Good Gord willing and 97/33 stay healthy.

    January is a fairly even schedule in terms of home/away and vs playoff/non-playoff teams.

    February is tough with only 3 of 12 games at home, but then they get paid back the next month

    March has 11/13 games at home. That is the time to make hay while the sun shines.

    Hopefully they have the ice more dialed in at Rogers at that point.

  44. sliderule says:

    Teams are figuring out our power play.

    Swarm Connor on the sidewall and we seem to bunch up with him leading to turnovers.

    Meanwhile when Connor does control at side Lucic is placed beside the net were we pass to him which either results in a return pass or a force to front of net that to my eye has not ever worked for them.

    When the puck goes to point by the time Lucic gets to net front the lanes are cut off and our point guys are not good at sliding to find lanes.

    Get Lucic to front of net and park him there and use Connor and other players with movement to get shots would be my suggestion

  45. Woodguy says:

    Oilers record vs. WC and EC

    Remember that EC is killing it this year:

    vs WC
    13-4-4 (.714pts%)

    vs EC
    5-8-2 (0.400pts%)

    Only CBJ and NYR have a better pts% vs the West than EDM

    CBJ 13-3-3 (.763)
    NYR 12-4-0 (0.750)
    EDM 13-4-4 (.714)
    CHI 14-6-3 (.673)

    Nice to see.

  46. Professor Q says:

    Thoughts on Steve Downie?

    Or a bit controversial and should be left until after a few drinks and the World Juniors? 😛

  47. Professor Q says:

    sliderule,

    I mean, the PP has only been actually working for a few games though, right? It wasn’t working to start the season. To our chagrin. So it wasn’t like they didn’t have it figured out before.

  48. Woodguy says:

    Some fancystats via @DTMAboutHeart

    Oiler xGF (His own metric, not Manny’s) power ranking: 14th (50.5%)

    Oilers playoff probability 83.8%

    Yay!

  49. sliderule says:

    Professor Q:
    sliderule,

    I mean, the OP has only been actually working for a few games though, right? So it wasn’t like they didn’t have it figured out before.

    As teams look at film I think you will see more of the overload like Sharks ,Leafs and Coyotes used.

  50. Scungilli says:

    The idea of going after a big fish on D intrigues me, I have nothing to do at the moment, so here’s an idea of what the Oilers might look like after Chiarelli completes revamping the team (which I think he will do), based on what seems to be their player preferences and overpaying which also seems a part of how he goes. I think there are reasonable incentives for the other teams involved, and big trades seem to surprise everyone so you never know:

    Nuge, Klefbom and a first for Doughty, Brown.

    Slep Yakimov and a second for pending UFA Turris

    Eberle to Florida for a first

    Sekera to the Bruins for a prospect and a third

    LA needs to rebuild to become a contender again, Doughty is approaching UFA, Lombardi wants to shed a bad contract and get younger. Ottawa is deep at centre and Turris may not resign, so they trade him for assets. Florida wants to be better and needs scoring and salary. The Bruins need to replace Chara and the Oilers need to shed salary. Patrick Eaves signs UFA, he’s from Alberta you know. Brown gets bought out when they need the cap space for JP and re-signing Doughty.

    Maroon McDavid JP 2.5 10.0 .925

    Lucic Drai Pitlick 6.0 5.5 1.0

    Brown Turris Eaves 5.875 4.5 2.5

    Khaira Caggiula Kassian 1.0 1.0 2.0

    Davidson Doughty 3.0 7.0

    Nurse Larsson 4.0 4.166

    Reinhart Benning 1.25 1.0

    Talbot
    Brossoit 4.166 1.0

    Pakarinen .8, Dillon 1.0 and Gryba 1.25 are the extras. There is 2.566 in cap space and 2.5 in bonuses based on a 74M cap. That looks like a Chiarelli team and would probably be pretty good.

  51. Lowetide says:

    WG: Interesting stuff. I think Lucic-McDavid is an option any time, but for me putting Maroon or Pouliot there is a strong option, too. One of the things we do (I do) as fans is speak about lines with finality. As you point out, weird stuff can happen, even over largish sample sizes.

    One thing I notice with Eberle (who I like) is that he gets into spots with 97-27 where he needs to win a puck battle—and he is basically Joffrey Lupul at that particular skill. So, agree with your overall point in terms of style as well.

  52. Rich M says:

    frjohnk,

    That makes sense, but that would then put Chia in a very difficult position. He will badly need value contracts moving forward as McDavid and Drai will have to be paid.

    Davidson gives him another year at a great value – and then given where Larsson and Klefbom’s contracts slot, it will be difficult for Davidson (or Nurse for that matter) to argue for more than what either of them make. If you have 4 d-men locked up at reasonable numbers, it will make it easier down the road.

    Russell presents a conundrum on many levels for the GM.

  53. spoiler says:

    Woodguy:
    Lowetide,

    Yesterday you posted this, which blew my mind:

    Having Connor McDavid on the ice is a massive advantage for Edmonton, but only if they use it to their complete benefit. McDavid with Eberle (1.70) fades in comparison to McDavid without Eberle (4.52/60).

    I dug a little deeper with Puckalytics Super WOWY and found this: (all 5v5)

    27-97-14 get 1.65 GF/60 in 181 min

    27-97 without 14 get 3.74 GF/60 in 192 min

    For some reason 14 is kryptonite (like you found) but Lucic is *probably* ok there (I’d prefer someone faster)

    This is weird because 97-14 were 3.79GF/60 last year (mostly with Pou)

    I don’t think Eberle is hurt now (was earlier), but his results w/ 97 are just ghastly and he’s even worse away from 97

    97-14 2.06 GF/60
    14 w/o 97 1.68 GF/60

    The only heartening thing is that the corsis and xGFs away from 97 are ok, so it could be running cold, but lordy he’s in Yakutsk.

    Precisely. As I explained yesterday, the problem looks like it is RW. When you have a player like Lucic, who is typically a passer at a personal historic low for assists yet putting the puck in the net 4 times more often than Eberle (8g to 2g), the guy who is supposed to be finishing, isn’t.

  54. nelson88 says:

    Intersted in houghts on a hypothetical

    So let’s say we get to the end of January and the Oilers are in contention for the Division lead and playing well.

    Do you add at the deadline?

    What is the major area to address? Who do you think fills the hole and might be available.

    Would you consider trading for the sedins using a package that consists of Nuge, Poo, Reinhart?

    Personally I think the D needs the most attention but the cost in assets and cap space to bring in a big minutes right shot D is prohibitive.

    Sedins are only signed through 17-18 so the Oilers are one of the only contending teams that has enough cap space to bring them both in and keep their “core” (minus Nuge) in place. Gives this season and next to make a serious play for Lord Stanley. Realize they have a NMC but not that far from “home” and might be tempted to take one last run at it together.

    I love Nuge and short of something very enticing would prefer Chia to keep his powder dry in general and give the current team a shot at making a run in the playoffs but find the Sedin hypothetical interesting.

  55. who says:

    Rich M:
    who,

    We’re concerned about losing Davidson because we don’t know what Chia’s thoughts are re: protecting him versus other d-men on the roster and because the early scuttlebutt is that Davidson looks like a very attractive option based on comments from those analyzing the roster.

    At this point, it’s difficult to justify moving Sekera because night in/night out he’s one of the steadiest on the blueline.Coach has confidence in him and has run him with a lot of different partners (Nurse last year, Russell, Benning).It may not always work, but the versatility is important.He may not be able to do that in 2-3 years, but for now, you can’t afford to lose him if the goal is to achieve balance.

    Question though.Would it make sense to sign Russell to a contract after Jan 1 – without a no movement clause – and when you protect d-men, leave him exposed and keep Davidson as the 4th?If you have to have a certain number of players draft eligible from the blueline, this potentially solves the problem.

    I will concede a lot can change between now and the expansion draft. But based on where we are now, Davidson is clearly the choice for the 4th dman protected. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think if Fayne gets a few more games in this year he will satisfy the requirement for dman exposed.
    I just don’t see them protecting 7 forwards. I can only come up with 5 worth worrying about. Drai, Lucic(I would expose him if we could), Nuge, Eberle, Maroon. That’s it. Nurse, Benning,Connor, JP and Caggulia are exempt and there is your core moving forward. Think it will come down to a choice between Eberle and Maroon and Vegas may take Reinhart instead of either of them.
    This would have been my list last spring and nothing has changed in my eyes. Lots of season left though, and shit happens.

  56. Professor Q says:

    Is it a concern if one’s fireplace begins to smell like a gluegun?

  57. fishman says:

    Lowetide,

    LT thank you providing this island of sanity (for the most part!) for Oiler fans. I retired this past summer and likely check in a couple of times a day to read. Have cheered for the Oil since WHA days and long for days of respectability (Are we there yet?) Cautiously optimistic. After 10 years of wandering the desert it seems like the tide is coming in! Like most long term suffering Oil fans having trouble believing and get downcast with every backwards step. I know this site is heavy on analytics and my eyes glaze over when reading a lot of these threads. The crowd that hangs here are intelligent passionate fans and thank you all for your contributions. Wishing you all the best for this Xmas season and a playoff spot this spring!!!!!!

  58. Lowetide says:

    fishman:
    Lowetide,

    LT thank you providing this island of sanity (for the most part!) for Oiler fans. I retired this past summer and likely check in a couple of times a day to read. Have cheered for the Oil since WHA days and long for days of respectability (Are we there yet?) Cautiously optimistic. After 10 years of wandering the desert it seems like the tide is coming in! Like most long term suffering Oil fans having trouble believing and get downcast with every backwards step. I know this site is heavy on analytics and my eyes glaze over when reading a lot of these threads. The crowd that hangs here are intelligent passionate fans and thank you all for your contributions. Wishing you all the best for this Xmas season and a playoff spot this spring!!!!!!

    Thank you Fishman, Merry Christmas and all the best. Enjoy retirement, but I bet you are doing things on the side. 🙂

  59. Lowetide says:

    Professor Q:
    Is it a concern if one’s fireplace begins to smell like a gluegun?

    Yes.

  60. spoiler says:

    I really don’t mind them keeping Pujo out last night. That was a mean hard game and its better for Pujo to see it and understand before being thrown on the tracks to help contain the runaway train that is the Sharks. I think there’s value in that choice. He’ll get his shot.

    It has been commented many times, by Swedish Poster and others, that Scandinavian players (in general) lack the same physical confidence at the same age that players coming out of the more rough and tumble Jr leagues here have.

    Stick your toe in before jumping in the deep end. I actually think that was a smart move by TMac.

    The Beck thing is mystifying though. If he’s here for a look-see, actually give him one. 4-5 minutes a night is not fair to anybody. If the confidence in the player isn’t there then send him back and get Sleppy in the lineup.

  61. frjohnk says:

    nelson88:
    Intersted in houghts on a hypothetical

    So let’s say we get to the end of January and the Oilers are in contention for the Division lead and playing well.

    Do you add at the deadline?

    What is the major area to address? Who do you think fills the hole and might be available.

    Would you consider trading for the sedins using a package that consists of Nuge, Poo, Reinhart?

    Personally I think the D needs the most attention but the cost in assets and cap space to bring in a big minutes right shot D is prohibitive.

    Sedins are only signed through 17-18 so the Oilers are one of the only contending teams that has enough cap space to bring them both in and keep their “core” (minus Nuge) in place. Gives this season and next to make a serious play for Lord Stanley. Realize they have a NMC but not that far from “home” and might be tempted to take one last run at it together.

    I love Nuge and short of something very enticing would prefer Chia to keep his powder dry in general and give the current team a shot at making a run in the playoffs but find the Sedin hypothetical interesting.

    I wouldnt go after the Sedins.

    I wouldnt spend assets for a rental, so Id be looking at teams who are most likely out of the playoff race who might also be willing to part with an asset with term to make their decision for the expansion draft a bit easier.

    Say there is a team out of the race with 4D and 4F that would most likely protect, I would see if we could pry one of their D away ( right handed one) who has some offense, so then they could protect 3D and 7F.

    For example if Russell could return a second rounder, a B prospect and a bottom pairing D at last years deadline, would our 1st, (lottery protected) plus Russell for a 2nd pairing RH Dman with offense be enough? They could then flip Russell at the deadline for some assets. Depending on the team and the RHD, it may be enough.

  62. frjohnk says:

    nelson88,

    Some of the teams that are possibly looking at protecting 4D and 4F and if stumble might fit the criteria of my above post

    A package of Russell and our 1st

    Nashville- Ryan Ellis
    Winnipeg-Tyler Myers
    Colorado-Tyson Barrie ( probably are not doing the 4D and 4F, but he might shake lose)
    Florida- Jason Demers

  63. tcho says:

    stephen sheps,

    Congratulations Mr. Sheps!

    And best of the season to my fellow Lowetidians.

  64. Diesel says:

    I don’t see Chia making any traditional “rental” acquisitions. Not only do I expect him to recognize that we aren’t in that window of contention yet, but his verbal on the Maroon deal, for example, suggests that he is only looking for trade opportunities that pay multi-year dividends.

  65. Woodguy says:

    Russell PDO & narratives/7gms:

    1st 7: 107.7-Superman
    2nd 7 :104.1-Best EDM Dman
    3rd 7: 99.83-Top 4 guy
    Last 8: 95.74-Sekera’s pretty good eh?

    Hehe.

    I like Russell for what he is.

    A competent 5-6 LHD.

    Not his fault they play him above his head.

    I’m just poking fun at the people who declared him the Oilers best Dman when he was riding the PDO pony and most of them should know better by now.

  66. SwedishPoster says:

    God Jul to you LT! And ofcourse all of you merry(well…) men and women in the comment section. Thanks for providing this excellent space to argue all things Oilers and the occasional OT convo, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

    In Sweden christmas eve is when we celebrate so me and the wife have been eating massive amounts of food, opened presents and now I’m laying on the sofa like a beached whale with a glorious glass of whiskey. Happy holidays all! We have McDavid on our team!

  67. Dexter says:

    Coach was way over the top with his criticism post game. So his personal agenda was to beat the Sharks cuz they fired him and it didn’t happen. Reality is the team iOS in second place within the division and could be higher if HE didn’t screw up with HIS actions earlier in the season. e.G? Bennington out against the Rangers in the last two minutes of a tied game? In his first NHL game? Really? Relax Todd. P.S. Why bench Kasian? He was stirring the pot just fine.

  68. spoiler says:

    Woodguy,

    Would you re-sign him, WG?

    I’m thinking he wouldn’t take a 1 yr again unless the market forces him to and he won’t know that till summer, so if Jan 1, that’s all Chia is offering, we won’t be hearing about an extension for many months.

    Plus he’d probably require an NMC to be protected against expansion… altho you could make it a limited one yr NM.

    His versatility is nice, and he’s a good skater, but he doesn’t have much offense for that kind of player and the Leftorium is packed fuller than a Bethlehem inn.

    If we had one more RH shot Dman, or say someone better than Gryba or Fayne–or more experienced than Benning–would any rational GM even be considering re-signing Russell?

    I’d wait till the summer, leave him unprotected and see what happens. Or use him as deadline trade bait.

  69. blackadder says:

    Unless you’re planning to protect Russell, I don’t see the point in signing him. And if we we’re going to protect four D I’d rather they keep Davidson.

    We definitely need another forward. Would love to see a centre added so that Drai or Nuge can move to the wing.

    It’s nice to see the Oilers doing as well as they are, particularly with injuries to the defence and forwards who are underperforming offensively. If Eberle and RNH can start scoring, this team only gets better.

  70. Lowetide says:

    blackadder:
    Unless you’re planning to protect Russell, I don’t see the point in signing him.And if we were going to protect four D I’d rather they keep Davidson.

    The question is: Does Peter Chiarelli feel the same?

  71. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: The question is: Does Peter Chiarelli feel the same?

    It’s nice to see the PDO come back to earth prior to Jan 1 (good post WG). Hopefully that stays Chia’s hand somewhat. Also when they signed Russell, they didn’t know what they had in Benning. Would they have even signed Russell in the first place if they had known?

    That kid might cost Russell his next contract with the Oil (crosses fingers).

  72. Woodguy says:

    spoiler:
    Woodguy,

    Would you re-sign him, WG?

    I’m thinking he wouldn’t take a 1 yr again unless the market forces him to and he won’t know that till summer, so if Jan 1, that’s all Chia is offering, we won’t be hearing about an extension for many months.

    Plus he’d probably require an NMC to be protected against expansion… altho you could make it a limited one yr NM.

    His versatility is nice, and he’s a good skater, but he doesn’t have much offense for that kind of player and the Leftorium is packed fuller than a Bethlehem inn.

    If we had one more RH shot Dman, or say someone better than Gryba or Fayne–or more experienced than Benning–would any rational GM even be considering re-signing Russell?

    I’d wait till the summer, leave him unprotected and see what happens.Or use him as deadline trade bait.

    Sekera
    Klefbom
    Nurse
    Davidson

    I like that those 3 lefties.

    No need to sign Russell.

  73. OilClog says:

    Reading this its like last nights game wasn’t for 1st in the division before the Christmas break…

    This team just pushed the defending western conference champions to perform their best game of season.

    42pts!

    What does balance get you 60?

    Every team has holes, sharks have holes.. Parody?

    42pts!

    Biggest gripe has to be Lander not on the roster.. He’s vital. Beck, Drake, pulj.. they’re not, this season.

  74. Woodguy says:

    spoiler: It’s nice to see the PDO come back to earth prior to Jan 1 (good post WG).Hopefully that stays Chia’s hand somewhat.Also when they signed Russell, they didn’t know what they had in Benning.Would they have even signed Russell in the first place if they had known?

    That kid might cost Russell his next contract with the Oil (crosses fingers).

    Agreed.

    We also need to remember that Peter signed him late in the summer.

    If he really liked him he would have signed he earlier.

    I hope.

  75. OilClog says:

    How does this team not have one right handed shot that can load up…

    Davidson needs to be put into a position to succeed for the teams benefit.. Loaded right handed shot

  76. OilClog says:

    Russell regardless of he said she said a.. Is a NHL defender. Teams need 10.. Before we cast him off, let’s make sure the team has 9? Russell is a dandy with his stick play, takes experience to get to that point.. Not rookies.

  77. spoiler says:

    Woodguy,

    Another good point.

  78. spoiler says:

    OilClog,

    Oh fer sure, but he’s a pretty penny for that kind of depth.

    He’ll be 30 next year. He’s on pace for 0-13-13 this year. He makes over $3M a year.

    He’s 4th in TOI, but I want a better player for that money in that role.

  79. digger50 says:

    Dexter: respectability

    I agree. I think Tmac comes across too negative at times. Turning this ship around will take place in many ways. Coach always publicly mentioning the team isn’t good enough does not help. That can be internal. Watch Babcock support the young players, even when they fall on thier faces.

  80. nelson88 says:

    frjohnk,

    Ellis would be nice.

  81. russ99 says:

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    Pouliot – Did you see Dreger’s comments? Sounds like Bakersfield could be in the cards.

    Draisaitl – Leave him on McDavid’s line already.

    Lucic – ditto. What he brings on the cycle after the rush more than makes up for the misplays. IMO he needs to be a crease presence 5×5 leading to more garbage goals a lot more than making and receiving pretty passes,

    Puljujarvi – he needs to play in the AHL where he can get used to finding offensive space on North American ice. Propping him up on McDavid’s line or pressboxing him is not helping.

    Benning – Kid has had a really good year, but sitting Russell and playing him the way the Sharks played in our zone would have been a recipe for disaster. Besides if we’re sitting anyone right now for subpar play, it would be Klefbom.

    McLellan – how’s about finding the right combinations and sticking with them? Once again he gets angry and blends the lines, also not helping,

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