NEW DAY DAWNING

The Edmonton Oilers completed their December schedule with 19 points in 14 games—a successful run for a growth team by any measure. The club will have to wait until January for win No. 20, but I can’t imagine Oiler fans waking up to this day with a lot of rage. Sometimes you have to give the other man his due, and Vancouver played an excellent road game. Strong goaltending, great work ethic and at least one skill player going. We’re on to Ohio.

NEW YEAR, 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: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
  • Oilers after 38, 2015: 15-20-3, goal differential -23
  • Oilers after 38, 2016: 19-12-7, goal differential +10

We agreed 14 points for 14 games in December would be reasonable, Edmonton gobbled up 19 of them. Successful month. Was December a more successful month than October? Considering the difficulty, I think you could make the argument.

Edmonton is on pace to win 41 games, to post 97 points, to score 233 and allow 211 (it was 199 and 242 last season). That would represent an improvement of 34 goals for and 31 goals against, if the club can continue the pace. Edmonton would go from -43 goal differential to +22, and improvement of 65 year over year. They are currently +33 in goal differential improvement year over year. The team save percentage is up from .910 to .917, team shooting percentage has gone from 8.3 to 9. North: It’s the real thing.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Klefbom—Larsson had a good night, Oscar was moving the puck well, Larsson was physical and battled hard against a pretty strong Canucks team. Went 8-4 in 6:58 against Sutter, 4-1 in 5:36 against the piss-cutters. I thought this was one of their better nights, Larsson damn near scored in overtime.
  • Russell—Benning had a lot of low event minutes, including 2-3 against the Sedins in 6:46 (Russell) and 7-2 (3:34, Benning). Much of the discrepency for this pairing came from an inexplicable 0-0 Russell—Larsson in 3:07, damned near impossible. How in hell do you go three minutes with nothing? It is like Mike Peca is back.
  • Benning got an assist, he is going to be helpful on the 5×4, his quick puck movement is of use for the skill forwards.
  • Davidson—Gryba had the wobble on this night, think it might be time for Gryba to sit. Both men were -2 on the evening, and went 4-12 in 5:28 against Bo Horvat. That is bad. Sekera needs to come back.
  • Talbot was solid again, 30 of 32 saved, .938 SP.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Connor McDavid was moving around. 16-11 with Eberle in 17:13, Lucic was 8-8 in 10:34 but was moved off the line in favor of Patrick Maroon (6-2 in 6:06) and Benny Pouliot (3-3 in 1:04). Went 9-5 in 9:13 against Sutter, and 9-10 in 10:55 against Tanev the blue. A big goal by 97, for him and the organization.
  • RNH went 12-7 with Leon, 8-7 with Maroon and 5-4 with Lucic. Also had a disastrous 37 seconds with Eberle in which they went 1-5. Fabulous assist, 62 percent in the dot. He has points in consecutive games and is gaining some momentum as we near the halfway point of the season. Still on track for a miserable year in the boxcars (82gp, 15-24-39) he is better than that and it has showed in recent games.
  • Drake Caggiula scored a goal on the power play, went 10-8 with Pouliot and Puljujarvi. I really like JP, this is approaching Marc Pouliot level madness for me. What a hockey player. The center went 4-0 against the Sedins in three minutes. Not bad.
  • Mark Letestu went 3-11 with Matt Hendricks and Zack Kassian, and I think at least one of them had the flu. Minus two for the wingers, what the hell are you going to do? Went 0-5 against Horvat the diabolical, who was to my eye the best Canuck on the ice.
  • NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca and NaturalStatTrick.

TYLER BENSON

The Oilers signed their second-round pick this week, and Steve Ewen wrote a nice article about Benson and his time in Vancouver. He also offered insight into what we may see in the next while:

  • Ewen: The WHL trade deadline, meanwhile, is Jan. 10 and while you can’t rule out Vancouver shipping him off to a contender, it’s equally unlikely. The Giants are helping host the 2019 world junior tournament and they’re looking to take advantage of a spike in interest in junior hockey that winter by having a team that’s peaking them. They don’t draft picks in trade; they want 16 and 17-year-olds and teams rarely opt to trade school-aged players. Source

Bottom line here is there is an opportunity and a reason to get Benson out of Vancouver and on to a contender. He is easily the best player on a team going nowhere, and needs a deep playoff run and some offensive success while still developing at the junior level. Ideally, he gets to a strong team by this year’s deadline.

MILAN LUCIC 2016-17

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.21 (2.04 a year ago)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 7.11 (2.83 a year ago)
  • Corsi For 5×5 %: 53.6 (59.3 a year ago)
  • Qual Comp: Top 6F
  • Qual Team: Top line
  • Corsi Rel: 2.4 (11.4 a year ago)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 92/10 percent (124/16.1 percent a year ago)
  • Boxcars: 38gp, 10-16-26 (81gp, 20-35-55 a year ago)

Lucic is having a bit of an unusual season. His boxcars are basically identical to a year ago, but he is posting the crooked numbers on the power play. Lucic is 4-9-13 this season with the man advantage, and that represents his second best total of his career in the discipline—and at that, his best year was 5-9-14 in a full season, age 22.

The 5×5 is a big issue, I keep thinking that ML should move onto a line with Leon Draisaitl. However, if you look at scoring chances for-against, the difference is not grand:

  • Lucic with Nuge: 28-23 54.90
  • Lucic with McDavid: 201-179 52.89
  • Lucic with Draisaitl: 71-65 52.21
  • Source

The eye test tells me Leon and Lucic is a very good match, but the math says the modern big M can play with any of these cats. Thoughts?

THE 30 BEST PLAYERS IN THE 2017 DRAFT

At 5pm Edmonton time today, I will post the first top 30 of the year. It will pay special attention to selections 20-30, for obvious reasons. What I am being told is that the top end of the draft is good not great, and there is no generational talent. However, there is a tier of players from about No. 12 through about No. 40 who are somewhat interchangeable, and all should have careers. We should think Martin Rucinsky, and you know that is pretty good. See you at 5.

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105 Responses to "NEW DAY DAWNING"

  1. flyfish1168 says:

    We lost the battle in the dot, below dots at our own end and along the boards by the eye test last evening. I really would like to see Lander up and Hendricks sit. Anton skates faster then Matt and can do anything Matt can.

  2. bcoil says:

    A lot folks have been riding Nuge and Eberle this year but we have to remember that they had to learn how to play the Game Todd M’s was after years of poor coaching .I feel they are now getting these new skills into muscle memory and their offence will now start to improve because they aren’t over thinking each move.

  3. Fraktal says:

    Happy New Year, LT! Thanks for waiting until January to talk about the draft – the Oilers have finally turned north!

  4. flyfish1168 says:

    bcoil:
    A lot folks have been riding Nuge and Eberle this year but we have to remember that they had to learn how to play the Game Todd M’s was after years of poor coaching .I feel they are now getting these new skills into muscle memory and their offence will now start to improve because they aren’t over thinking each move.

    Very good point. I do want to point out Jordan left the side wall not once but twice during that long sequence of pain in the 3rd. He gave Larson no outlet help with the ring around the boards. Everyone use to complain about Yak cheating and not staying along the boards for an option to help the D-man.

  5. defmn says:

    I think we acknowledge McLellan’s comment that more than a few of the guys are playing with the flu and enjoy the fact that we are 4th in winning % in the WC at the beginning of 2017.

  6. dustrock says:

    Larsson’s OT shift against the Sedins was actually pretty great. Oilers obviously missed Sekera in general, and in OT.

    As good as Gryba was the game before, he was horrific last night. The 4th line and 3rd pairing were causing some headaches last night.

    Still continue to see no chemistry between McDavid and his wingers. Given that he was making Pouliot and Yakupov score like all-stars last year, I don’t think this is McDavid’s fault. Get this young man some speed to play with, Chia.

  7. Clarkenstein says:

    I hope Gryba was one of the flu stricken players. He was the difference in the game. And I’ve liked him a lot this year. Still trying to find a role and a line for Lucic. He can’t handle the puck a lick and on a team like this that isn’t good. Connor is Connor but for my money the MVP to date this year is Talbot.

  8. Henry says:

    “Talbot was solid again”

    I’ve been reading this over and over this season. Absolutely the best move Chiarelli has made. The Oilers hitched their cart behind a fine horse.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Henry:
    “Talbot was solid again”

    I’ve been reading this over and over this season.Absolutely the best move Chiarelli has made.The Oilers hitched their cart behind a fine horse.

    You will find Oilers fans who do not agree, but I am with you. Talbot has been brilliant many times, wobbly a few times, but most importantly has answered the bell. A big part of this team.

  10. jonrmcleod says:

    Henry:
    “Talbot was solid again”

    I’ve been reading this over and over this season.Absolutely the best move Chiarelli has made.The Oilers hitched their cart behind a fine horse.

    Don’t give Chiarelli any credit for that trade. He just did what Woodguy told him to do. Plus, Sather did his old team a favour and let Chiareli have Talbot. 😉

  11. Factotum says:

    Over their last 82 games, the Oilers have earned 82 points. The last time they had a rolling 82-game points percentage as high as .500 was after game 36 of the 2009-2010 season.

    In our neck of the woods, this counts as real progress.

  12. frjohnk says:

    jonrmcleod: Don’t give Chiarelli any credit for that trade. He just did what Woodguy told him to do. Plus, Sather did his old team a favour and let Chiareli have Talbot.

    Also,Don’t forget it was MacT who made the deal. 🙂

  13. spoiler says:

    LT said…

    The eye test tells me Leon and Lucic is a very good match, but the math says the modern big M can play with any of these cats. Thoughts?

    Lucic is a passer. He needs to play with a goal-scorer. The problem is the other wing, and McD’s mercurial faith in his own shot.

  14. spoiler says:

    flyfish1168: Very good point. I do want to point out Jordan left the side wall not once but twice during that long sequence of pain in the 3rd. He gave Larson no outlet help with the ring around the boards. Everyone use to complain about Yak cheating and not staying along the boards for an option to help the D-man.

    There was a really bad one last night… pretty sure it was Larsson behind the net, holding the puck while the Oil changed lines. The new wingers came on, swooped down briefly to the circles to say “Hi” and then promptly abandoned the zone and their Dman. We didn’t clear the zone and turned the puck over.

    Last night was a sloppy game dotted with pretty moments and chances. The Oil took the Canucks too lightly… hopefully they learn from that.

  15. dustrock says:

    Burmistrov on waivers from Winnipeg. Any point taking a look at him? I know he’s been brutal this year but wonder if he’s a buy-low change of scenery option.

  16. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:
    LT said…

    The eye test tells me Leon and Lucic is a very good match, but the math says the modern big M can play with any of these cats. Thoughts?

    Lucic is a passer. He needs to play with a goal-scorer.The problem is the other wing, and McD’s mercurial faith in his own shot.

    Yes, agreed. I tried to tell people about Lucic as a shooter (he doesn’t shoot a lot, although has increased his rate iirc this year) but he is a terrific passer. I think McDavid was looking to shoot more last night, but that could be me writing the script I prefer.

  17. hunter1909 says:

    Entertaining game last night.

    Upcoming games: Gagner and Hall will be out for blood.

  18. Muletrain97 says:

    At least we got a point last night! I thought the crappy Nucks, gosh I hate them, played well and were clogging up the neutral zone all night. Good for them but then our Man, Connor, stepped up! Thank Gord! Nuge looks like he is starting to play like we know he should. Looked faster to my eye and was making plays all over the ice! Yet, don’t know TMAC thoughts for the shootout!! Why not go with the hot hands for the night? Let the Nuge, Caggiula, and Connor be the first 3 up! Thought we could have gotten the extra point if those 3 had gone. Just my 2 cents! Good game in that we still got the point. Peace out and a Happy New Year to all!!!!

  19. Scungilli says:

    A couple of stronger players and lines settling and they will be a pretty strong team. Eberle is reminding me of Gagner. He was skating well last night, he is quick enough if he has speed up. Not so much from still.

    He’s talented, just not a great NHL player overall. He gets his points but to me is the weakest link on his line and doesn’t do enough to pull his weight. Still, now he is the best scoring RW they have. If he got traded I could see him losing his TOI and linemates over time like Gagner because of his lack of everything except getting scoring chances, and then his scoring. At a lower salary as a complimentary player that can step up at times he would be good, like Gagner and Schultz. It will be an interesting summer I think.

  20. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: Yes, agreed. I tried to tell people about Lucic as a shooter (he doesn’t shoot a lot, although has increased his rate iirc this year) but he is a terrific passer. I think McDavid was looking to shoot more last night, but that could be me writing the script I prefer.

    And you’ve been dead right on this topic.

    His shot rate might be up just from banging rebounds near the crease, which he wasn’t relied upon to do as much in Boston or LA.

    But curious though… why do you hit the hot button topic of Lucic more than Eberle (equally hot button amongst the readers, I’d bet), if you think the same way on this?

    As for McD, I think it’s improving but still not where it should be with respect to shoot first, pass questions later.

    There was one moment last night where he was down low just off the Canuck’s near side post, with all the other Fs up high above the circles, and he double-clutched, losing his balance, just so he could pass back instead of shoot. Couldn’t have been more than 8 feet from the net with a decent angle.

  21. spoiler says:

    hunter1909: Upcoming games: Gagner and Hall will be out for blood.

    Lol, I’ve been warily eyeing these two games up on the schedule. Part of me hopes Hall is injured and can’t play.

  22. blainer says:

    I think it would be interesting if we looked back at this blog this time last year and compared posts.

    The complaints are completly different. I think if we said last year that on Jan 1st 2017 we would be safely in a playoff position there would be a lot of people here that would say stop drinking the koolaid.

    Now it’s time for me to say something negative for a change. I really want and expect this team to start winning games by more than one goal. I want some breathing room and want to see us winning games by 4-1 and 5-2 margins.

    Really want to see Slepy back but am happy he is getting some confidence on the farm. Sit back and enjoy 2017 and hope we get that decent back up Goalie, Jagar and/or Hanzal at the deadline.

  23. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:

    But curious though… why do you hit the hot button topic of Lucic more than Eberle (equally hot button amongst the readers, I’d bet), if you think the same way on this?

    I wrote about Eberle on December 30, so didn’t feel the need to return so quickly.

    http://lowetide.ca/2016/12/30/blue-skies-winterlong/

  24. oilersfan says:

    Re Bettman points discussion in the last comments section…

    My issue as I stated is not with the loser point it’s with the winner point.

    The nhl needs to change the point system or a team that consistently gets the winner point because of a shootout specialist or excellent goalie could get more points than teams that win more in regulation. I enjoy the entertainment value of 3×3 and the shootout but not when teams like Vancouver are 9-3 and that keeps them alive. I think Calgary is 6-2. The oilers are 4-7 … If they were just 6-5 they would be tied with San Jose in win percentage…those winner points will make a big difference come playoff time and could cost the oilers a playoff spot.

    Talbot has been good in regulation but mediocre in the shootout… And why the hell is eberle not shooting in every shootout?

  25. russ99 says:

    You got to hand it to the goalie last night, he stole at least a point.

    By my eye, McDavid was shooting more last night, which will pay off when the opposing goalie isn’t having a great night.

    There’s no reason why Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl can’t do the same things 5×5 as they do together 5×4.

  26. blainer says:

    hunter1909:
    Entertaining game last night.

    Upcoming games: Gagner and Hall will be out for blood.

    I noticed Hall hasn’t been in the lineup the last couple of games..

  27. hunter1909 says:

    blainer: I noticed Hall hasn’t been in the lineup the last couple of games..

    So long as we don’t all start posting what a choker he is, ducking the big games because it will only make him mad enough to score back to back hat tricks.

  28. Roughneck says:

    Horvat plays well, a lot. Great young player.

  29. spoiler says:

    Lowetide,

    Ahh, gotya. Fair’s fair. Just seemed like Looch was getting the hairy eyeball more often.

    Eberle looks completely snakebit. He had three chances last night where I’d say he normally buries at least one of them.

    Full credit to the ‘keepers too. Dunno if the HDSC backs this up, but to my eye the score did not reflect the number of glorious looks given up by both teams.

  30. OilClog says:

    Any complaints about Talbot is just trolling, very good goalie that needs a backup that can play the role he did in New York.

    How is Lander not on this team? coach is really a mystery box with this decision. PK has not been the same without him, it’s pretty clear with the way the 4th line plays and Father Time being undefeated, inserting some fresh agitating Swedish legs into the scenario would only make too much sense.

    Landers greatest ability seems to be able to get under other teams skins just by being there, it’s a pretty unique skillset, shows more then one way to win the bully game. Those first 56 games Renney kept him, bizarro world, he’s exactly what they wanted then, now… playing it out in the AHL.

    45 points is amazing, everything is on the up and up, for 2017 it would be nice to see the management/coaching side of things make their simpler choices alil more crisp.

    -when players have developed, play them.
    -when keeping rookies up, play them.
    -jagr that’d be fun, Iginla that’d be neat, Burrows… Swear to aliens I’ll burn your house down Friedman
    -whatever trade you’re currently working out with Snow, don’t get fucking fleeced.

  31. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:
    Lowetide,

    Ahh, gotya.Fair’s fair. Just seemed like Looch was getting the hairy eyeball more often.

    Eberle looks completely snakebit.He had three chances last night where I’d say he normally buries at least one of them.

    Full credit to the ‘keepers too.Dunno if the HDSC backs this up, but to my eye the score did not reflect the number of glorious looks given up by both teams.

    I think Eberle is in a little peril as an Oiler, to be honest. He is going to need to be more physical, harder on the puck, and that isn’t his strength. I am not saying he cannot do it, but do wonder if he can do it consistently, and do it and stay healthy.

  32. Scungilli says:

    OilClog: How is Lander not on this team? coach is really a mystery box with this decision.

    It has to be something like Pouliot, execution and aggressiveness. He’s not doing something they want because he is clearly better than some at the moment and able to do a lot of things that help.

  33. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide: I think Eberle is in a little peril as an Oiler, to be honest. He is going to need to be more physical, harder on the puck, and that isn’t his strength. I am not saying he cannot do it, but do wonder if he can do it consistently, and do it and stay healthy.

    I don’t know about the grit factor much, rather I think its like Spoiler says, he needs to bury some of those great looks.

    In the last 10 games, I would say Eberle has had enough 10-grade looks where he normally have about 3 or 4 goals in those 10 games.

    If Eberle had 4 goals in his last 10 games would there be so much rage? Probably not quite as much, I think. I’m sure if 14 was burying with any sort of regularity we would settle on another whipping boy, perhaps Pouliot or something again.

    Talk about Ebs in the corners and on the boards goes silent when he’s scoring. He needs to score. That’s what he gets paid to do, IMO. Asking him to grind is like asking a fish to climb a tree.

    To be honest he will probably get traded either way so why the fuss?

  34. spoiler says:

    russ99: There’s no reason why Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl can’t do the same things 5×5 as they do together 5×4

    I think there is concern the Nuge line will struggle without Beats.

    I wonder if Eberle is feeling the pressure… initially with starring in the feature role on McDeity’s wing and now with the scoring slump on top of that. once upon a time, I never would’ve thought this. The kid has been money in some of the highest-pressure situations on the biggest stages. Has ice water running through his veins.

    If that’s the case then I probably keep the line the way it is until he breaks through. I mean it’s not like he isn’t getting any looks and it’s not like we haven’t seen him cash a lot of these before. And it would be so helpful to the rest of the lines, if this trio could drum in unison.

    IMHO. Ebs has been the weak link on the line. But I’d have to be a coach on the room to know the state of his head, so I’m going to trust TMac for now.

  35. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: I think Eberle is in a little peril as an Oiler, to be honest

    I think so too. They’re giving him a fair enough opportunity to work through this, but if he doesn’t show some improvement on the score sheet by the end of the season, there’s a damn good chance he’ll be gone.

    He’s quick, but not fast. He’s been back-checking better and overall shown more physical involvement and tenacity, but he doesn’t win a lot of puck battles. He’s smart though, and an under-rated passer.

    Problem is, he’s getting paid and that eventually demands results. They need a 2004 Iginla there.

  36. Bruce McCurdy says:

    spoiler:
    Lowetide,

    Ahh, gotya.Fair’s fair. Just seemed like Looch was getting the hairy eyeball more often.

    Eberle looks completely snakebit.He had three chances last night where I’d say he normally buries at least one of them.

    Full credit to the ‘keepers too.Dunno if the HDSC backs this up, but to my eye the score did not reflect the number of glorious looks given up by both teams.

    Staples had the scoring chance count at 22-17 Oilers and 10-9 in Grade A chances including all 4 goals. I thought both netminders were outstanding, especially Markstrom. His glove grab off of Eberle in the last minute was a good example, Ebs took the pass, shot quickly and very accurately. Those pucks used to find the top corner, now they are finding the oversized mitts of oversized ‘tenders.

    He’s now 10 games without a goal, just 1 in his last 17 and 5 in his last 34. An unprecedented drought for a pretty reliable sniper. I’m used to seeing him run hot and cold for stretches, but nothing like this. Last couple games he seems bpto have recovered his “dangling hands”, usually a harbinger of a productive run, but I’ve been fooled a couple of times this season already that an outburst was inevitable. To say “Ebs is due” would be to understate the case rather a lot.

  37. Bruce McCurdy says:

    spoiler,

    Re: Eberle feeling the pressure, a lot of that heat has been applied by fans, or should I say former fans. I cannot imagine that constant criticism and worse is helpful in any way.

  38. spoiler says:

    Centre of attention,

    It seems crazy to say this, but I would not be surprised to see Eberle gone at expansion.

    Something like Eberle for two 2nd rounders and LV has to take Dillon Simpson (or Bear or some other card-holding Leftorium member).

    I fully expect Dustin Brown to be exposed depending on how the NHL decides to treat modified NTCs–lol, an issue that’s not likely to be decided till 5 minutes before the ED. So Eberle won’t surprise me.

  39. Atc-Nate says:

    I’ve been questioning coaching decisions all year long.

    Why is Lucic stapled to McDavid? Why not run JP and Maroon there. Full stop. Play JP or send the guy down. Lucic would seem to be the McD protector except we’ve only really seen it in the first game of the year. Maroon can do the same job. We could also call that the Happy line as Maroon and JP are outwardly, just a smiley bunch.

    Is Hendricks being showcased? Because Lander is better there, faster, a great faceoff guy etc. What happened to the team that gives us the best chance at winning?

    Also, guaranteed we win against Columbus. Why? Well, we lose to the Canucks, Leafs, Phoenix, etc.. we beat L.A. and the best teams in the west or at least get to OT. This team seems to be way more focused on the road, and seem to rise to the occasion.

    Regardless, we’ve been winning enough games and getting Bettman points so I am enjoying my Oilers this year. I just have my own opinion that they could be better. Also, I hope Connor gets on another roll.

    That’s all, thanks for reading the rant.

  40. spoiler says:

    Atc-Nate,

    I think the plan is to-not-throw-Pujo-to-the-wolves.

    I can’t remember a prospect though who came to the League so fully-formed defensively at so young an age.

    The parallels to Kurri could end up being eerie.

  41. stush18 says:

    dustrock:
    Burmistrov on waivers from Winnipeg.Any point takinga look at him?I know he’s been brutal this year but wonder if he’s a buy-low change of scenery option.

    I’m not sure you could say he’s better than lander, slepy, or even JJ right now, let alone our own players.

    Interesting, but were no longer a bottom feeder. I’d prefer him if he wa a righty

  42. frjohnk says:

    Looking at hockey analysis numbers

    EBERLE

    He was good with McDavid last year ( 2.64 pts/60)

    This year
    Pts/60 with McDavid 1.5 ( 321 minutes)

    Pts/60 with Nuge 0.94 ( 191 minutes)

    Woof!

    Remember when people said that Yak could only score with a skilled center except Nuge?
    Yak scored 0.83 pts/60 with Nuge as an Oiler.

    That’s how little the puck is going in for EBERLE right now.

    It seems like he gets the puck in the places he has been successful before, but he is just misfiring, missing the net, into the goalie, goalie makes a great save, or it is deflected/blocked.

    PS

    It should be noted that EBERLE has not had great numbers away from Hall and McDavid
    44% GF% over his career but I am surprised EBERLE is not doing well with McDavid this year. He did well last year.

  43. Chachi says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Staples had the scoring chance count at 22-17 Oilers and 10-9 in Grade A chances including all 4 goals. I thought both netminders were outstanding, especially Markstrom. His glove grab off of Eberle in the last minute was a good example, Ebs took the pass, shot quickly and very accurately. Those pucks used to find the top corner, now they are finding the oversized mitts of oversized ‘tenders.

    He’s now 10 games without a goal, just 1 in his last 17 and 5 in his last 34. An unprecedented drought for a pretty reliable sniper. I’m used to seeing him run hot and cold for stretches, but nothing like this. Last couple games he seems bpto have recovered his “dangling hands”, usually a harbinger of a productive run, but I’ve been fooled a couple of times this season already that an outburst was inevitable. To say “Ebs is due” would be to understate the case rather a lot.

    His shots on goal total per game is pretty much the same as his career average. His shooting percentage is way lower than normal. A couple of hot weeks and he could get back on track, but those who were expecting a career year out of him because of McDavid are likely to be disappointed.

  44. pts2pndr says:

    Happy New Year to all! Thank you LT for this site and your level headed approach and insight into the team. I have enjoyed this season and am looking forward to this team contunuing to mature! There were two observations I had on last nights game. The first was how nice it was to NOT have to listen to Remenda and the second is how bad the ice surface seems to be in the new arena. The puck lwas bouncing around like a basketball for much of the game. Have any of the players mentioned the ice surface or is uthat taboo for them. Tnx

  45. Johnny skid says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I cannot imagine that constant criticism and worse is helpful in any way.

    i bet yak would agree with your comment.

  46. stush18 says:

    spoiler: I think there is concern the Nuge line will struggle without Beats.

    I wonder if Eberle is feeling the pressure… initially with starring in the feature role on McDeity’s wing and now with the scoring slump on top of that.once upon a time, I never would’ve thought this.The kid has been money in some of the highest-pressure situations on the biggest stages.Has ice water running through his veins.

    If that’s the case then I probably keep the line the way it is until he breaks through.I mean it’s not like he isn’t getting any looks and it’s not like we haven’t seen him cash a lot of these before.And it would be so helpful to the rest of the lines, if this trio could drum in unison.

    IMHO. Ebs has been the weak link on the line.But I’d have to be a coach on the room to know the state of his head, so I’m going to trust TMac for now.

    I think the problem is eberle is battling for the puck when he’s scoring.

    These things go hand in hand. Call it goal legs, or whatever, but goal scorers score more when they are physically engaged.

  47. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    spoiler:
    Atc-Nate,

    I think the plan is to-not-throw-Pujo-to-the-wolves.

    I can’t remember a prospect though who came to the League so fully-formed defensively at so young an age.

    The parallels to Kurri could end up being eerie.

    I see him more as a potential Lehtinen type than a Kurri type. I don’t think he has the goal scoring capability, but I could see a 25-30 type, with occasional 30-35 seasons from him while being defensively responsible. Lehtinen was a thorn in our side for years. Thrilled we have JP.

  48. Scungilli says:

    Spoiler,

    The clutch thing was dispelled long ago, few players repeat heroics, they just get their 15 minutes.

    I was noticing Eberle has a deceptive release that fooled Markstrom but like Nuge his shot lacks velocity and isn’t reliably accurate at least this year. The guys scoring a lot seem to shoot hard as K Gretzky mentioned about Caggiula trying to shoot through the back of the net. A lot is probably to do with confidence. I don’t buy that fan critiques affect much, and if they do that player I mentally delicate. I can see words from the coach and GM rattling them, especially guys that have been around a while and are being supplanted

  49. Timeisnow says:

    Happy New Year! Eberle is an interesting topic. He’s not the same player, is getting chances but it’s not working for him.

    To me he’s playing like his feet are being held to the fire, he appears to be playing like he knows his days are numbered as an Oiler, and there isn’t much he can do to change this and he’s not happy about it. He’s saying all the right things but he’s sad. He’s proven many times to be a player that performs under pressure so I believe it to be more than pressure/slump.

    The thing is, with Eberle, being gritty isn’t his game, but he is smart and has the ability to win battles on the boards or in the corners with his elite quick hands and stick handling ability.He is a very shifty player and he needs to get back to this. He knows his strenghts well and is very confidant in his ability but this seems to have waivered a bit.

    Just my observations and a guy who has followed his career for a long time. Just a nobody’s opinion

  50. Bling says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I didn’t catch last night’s game, but I thought Eberle looked pretty good against the Kings. He had the fancy hands going and was at his (almost) slippery best.

    For all the griping about his production, he is on pace for 53 points. His career average is 63 points per 82 games. The difference (hat-tip to Coppernblue, great article, read it) is all shooting percentage.

    Visually, I think the shooting slump is getting into his head a little bit, and as a result he is overhandling the puck. 14 is at his best when he moves it quickly and finds the soft areas to dangle/snipe. He needs to get back to that.

  51. Johnny says:

    blainer: I noticed Hall hasn’t been in the lineup the last couple of games..

    Hall historically play 3/4 of his teams hockey games. This year he is on pace to play 73%, and dropping as long as this lower body injury continues. Pretty par for the course. You need a pretty long stick to help your team win from the press box.

    The NJ Devils finished with 84 points last year. They are currently on pace for 77.6 points. They have essentially the same team, if you take subbing Stempniak for Parenteau as equal. Oh yeah, and they destroyed a team in a hockey trade, upgrading the talent level on their team significantly adding a player “that helps you win hockey games”.

    I find it curious how the two teams that made this trade are trending.

  52. digger50 says:

    Eberle Drew the penalty resulting in PP and game winning goal.

    He is pulling his wieght to help the team. It is only when you bring in his salary and past production that gives pause, and these are real considerations. He has been so much better in defensive coverage and I do think he’ll find his way.

    Milan got away with another high danger giveaway. Gryba got busted badly for his giveaway. Davidson was not strong last night, regardless of Gryba, he managed that on his own.

    So it was a loss, but such a good game. The feel is different. I knew full well the Oil would come back or at least come dam close, expectations have changed, belief has changed.

  53. JimmyV1965 says:

    spoiler:
    Centre of attention,

    It seems crazy to say this, but I would not be surprised to see Eberle gone at expansion.

    Something like Eberle for two 2nd rounders and LV has to take Dillon Simpson (or Bear or some other card-holding Leftorium member).

    I fully expect Dustin Brown to be exposed depending on how the NHL decides to treat modified NTCs–lol, an issue that’s not likely to be decided till 5 minutes before the ED.So Eberle won’t surprise me.

    Any comparison of Eberle to Dustin Brown is an injustice. Brown probably has 8 pts less then Ebs and he’s been hot this year. Brown has went multiple years under 30 pts. Trading Ebs for two second rounders is loony. LA would trade Brown for literally anything.

  54. tsg says:

    Johnny,

    My understanding is that NJ is changing the way it plays. They realized their old systems were not getting them anywhere and they needed to open things up some to compete with the top of the league in the years moving forward. They simply don’t have the horses to do it however, even with the Hall trade. I expect it will pay dividends in the years ahead, but the team will have some rough sailing for a few years. A drop off in the standings as they work their way through this transition should be no real surprise.

  55. oscarmike says:

    Older veteran teams that can pass will always get the best of the Oilers. The PP looked really well last night. If the Oilers can pass like this 5on5 they will be a better team.
    What was Gryba and Kassian thinking? Is it just me or does any one else know within 10 seconds that Canucks were going to score.
    I thought Puljujarvi had some nice looks carrying the puck into the zone.
    I really don’t like how the Oilers are handling Puljujarvi. He needs at least 15-18 minutes of ice time with Top 6 players or send him down already.

  56. Bruce McCurdy says:

    tsg:
    Johnny,

    My understanding is that NJ is changing the way it plays.They realized their old systems were not getting them anywhere and they needed to open things up some to compete with the top of the league in the years moving forward.They simply don’t have the horses to do it however, even with the Hall trade.I expect it will pay dividends in the years ahead, but the team will have some rough sailing for a few years.A drop off in the standings as they work their way through this transition should be no real surprise.

    Meanwhile the Oilers are changing the way they play to a greater emphasis on defence, and have enjoyed an immediate improvement in the standings. But they oh so badly lost the trade. 😐

    Not trying to stir the embers cuz I’m bloody sick of hearing about it, I’m just saying.

  57. Chachi says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Meanwhile the Oilers are changing the way they play to a greater emphasis on defence, and have enjoyed an immediate improvement in the standings.

    While actually scoring more goals per game than they did last year. And all this with a “mediocre” coach!

  58. oscarmike says:

    I don’t believe that “Culture Shock” has anything to do with Puljujarvi conditioning. The guy is from Europe and how many different countries are in Europe.

  59. Roughneck says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    You are not alone in the “bloody sick of hearing about it”.

  60. JimmyV1965 says:

    Don’t get all this teeth nashing over Eberle. He’s in a slump. End of story. Every scorer goes through it. Jakub Voracek got 55 pts last year, 80 the year before and looks like 80 again this year. Everyone would love to see Ebs play more gritty like Gallagher. Check out his point totals. Think he’s at 17 maybe. Kopitar is seemingly in a hot streak or cold streak all the time. There are very few players who can be consistent all the time. Ebs will turn it around.

  61. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Johnny: Hall historically play 3/4 of his teams hockey games.This year he is on pace to play 73%, and dropping as long as this lower body injury continues.Pretty par for the course.You need a pretty long stick to help your team win from the press box.

    The NJ Devils finished with 84 points last year.They are currently on pace for 77.6 points.They have essentially the same team, if you take subbing Stempniak for Parenteau as equal.Oh yeah, and they destroyed a team in a hockey trade, upgrading the talent level on their team significantly adding a player “that helps you win hockey games”.

    I find it curious how the two teams that made this trade are trending.

    I keep on harping on this but correlation does not equal causation.

    Jersey has been struggling after a good start. Schneider has been pretty bad, not his usual self. Basically if you broke the segments down into first 18 games with Hall healthy: playoff team. Second 18 games with Hall injured, lottery team.

    The Oilers would be a better team this year than last even if the Larsson trade was not added.

    You can’t simply say that the Oilers’ improvement and Devils’ struggles are because Hall left here and went to Jersey. That is not provable.

  62. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    I think LT hit the nail on the head (I think it was LT) last month.

    McDavid is the puck carrier you want. His linemates should be doing everything to get him the puck then skating into seams to get open for a golden setup. Eberle and Lucic have both been dangling on their own a bit too much of late. They need to keep it simple or be swapped out for some other players who get it. Maroon is one guy that gets it.

    If I had the choice I would move both Lucic and Eberle down to the Nuge line and run Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl. Drai is good at making the short, easy pass then booking it full speed down the wings.

    Ironically McDavid might have clicked with Yak but that ship has sailed.

  63. Chachi says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:

    The Oilers would be a better team this year than last even if the Larsson trade was not added.

    This is also not provable.

  64. Confused says:

    So Ebs is having a bit of a hard time, so what is the team doing to help him?

    Ebs has always been money in the shootout, the teams response he gets dropped. Why not challenged him instead, remind him of his excellence, get him working with a sports psychologist etc. Positive re-enforcement.

    Ebs + McD + someone “feeling it” should win most shootouts. But no lets play …..

    Ebs has problems with quick releases — this is not a new problem. Again, what is the team doing? He arranged some sort of shooting class which has not helped. Why did the team not organized this? Why has it only started this year, he should have been doing this every year. Everybody should have detailed summer plans.

    Instead players get TMac’s version of working of their game “you are benched”. Is TMac never listened about how to effectively deliver messages — honey works better than vinegar. But we get a steady vinegar diet.

    I hope the coaching staff starts to take sports psychology and their practitioners more seriously and they start listening more closely about how to deliver messages and build confidence among players. Shootouts for example is a perfect area for visualizing the process and the result for developing repeatable (but differing) skills.

  65. blainer says:

    Johnny: Hall historically play 3/4 of his teams hockey games.This year he is on pace to play 73%, and dropping as long as this lower body injury continues.Pretty par for the course.You need a pretty long stick to help your team win from the press box.

    The NJ Devils finished with 84 points last year.They are currently on pace for 77.6 points.They have essentially the same team, if you take subbing Stempniak for Parenteau as equal.Oh yeah, and they destroyed a team in a hockey trade, upgrading the talent level on their team significantly adding a player “that helps you win hockey games”.

    I find it curious how the two teams that made this trade are trending.

    I see some similarities between Taylor Hall and another first overall draft pick from 1985..

    Wendel Clarke.

    Now he is not as injured as Wendel was but I can see a few season ending injuries coming in his future.

    His style of play tends to lead to injuries. Right from that tough hit from Hamonic in junior to this year. He seems to have no fear and that is one of the reasons I like the player so much.. but his body has taken some serious hits over his career.

    I wonder if the injury factor played into the decision to trade him.

    Not meaning to bring up the trade again just talkig about the player and his injury history.

  66. JDï™ says:

    blainer: I wonder if the injury factor played into the decision to trade him.

    He played all 82 last year, so I doubt it. From what I understand, it was only Hall that held any value around the league.

    But that value was certainly impacted by his injury history.

  67. New Improved Darkness says:

    frjohnk:
    It should be noted that EBERLE has not had great numbers away from Hall and McDavid
    44% GF% over his career …

    How well your legs are going on any given night is a causative factor in determining where you skate.

    Eberle + Gagner probably didn’t work out too good way down south on the left coast. That would drop him into the nameless void between Gagner and Boyd Gordon (or perhaps, the gap whose name must not be spoken, the gap that God inflicted upon Dallas Eakins as punishment in full for the deadly double down of upending the donut table (pride and wrath)—not that God gave a rat’s ass about the sprinkles or the Boston Cream, but show a little respect, would you, for the maple glazed).

    And then, recently, if it’s Draisaitl, which Draisaitl? The one we were busy ruining (his first season, where all that jam on both sides of his blade went 37-2-7-9), or the next Draisaitl—surprise!—after he passed that canoe-sized kidney stone down in junior (who then played a big chunk with Hall, which means he’s not much sampled on the Eberle away from Hall side), or the next Draisaitl—surprise!—where we hadn’t reversed our unruining by trading away Hall (with whom Eberle again spent little time, because Ebs was busy flubbing an extended audition with Connor).

    Coming up, splits for Schroeder away from { toy piano, Beethoven’s bust }.

    That would pretty much reduce Schroeder to { Lucy, baseball mitt }. (Fortunately, his world is frozen in time, and it’s only a looming conundrum.)

    Schroeder also joined Linus in dressing down the girls, when it was discovered Charlie Brown would not sacrifice the girls and Snoopy just to get uniforms for the baseball team.

    He also is one of the few players who has any respect for Charlie Brown as a manager; though he is as capable of ire at Charlie Brown’s poor performance as anyone else, such instances are few and far between.

    In one game, when Frieda desperately asked Schroeder “Wouldn’t you like just once to see Charlie Brown hit that ball?”, Schroeder’s calm reply was “No, I am not prepared to have the world come to an end”.

    ———

    After his foray into “phsyics” this morning, I think Bruce needs to brush up on his organic chemistry.

    Plan A (actual):

    and then an unconscious stop off of Adam Larsson when he got the tiniest piece of his glove (the cheater, I think) on the drive and somehow convinced the puck to defy the laws of physics

    Plan B:

    and then an unconscious stop off of Adam Larsson when he got the tiniest piece of his glove on the drive (the cheater, I think) and somehow convinced the puck to defy the laws of physics

    I suffer myself from this curse all the time.

    How many readers, in a word association game, primed with the word “cheater” would burp out the word “glove” in under ten seconds? (I suspect we can narrow this down to obsessives, goalies, and equipment managers.)

    Sometimes word association is non-commutative. Glove goes to cheater more easily than cheater goes to glove.

    Next word game. “he didn’t get much on the drive”. Are you thinking muffin or handcuffed?

    Drum roll.

    90% of people surveyed chose “muffin”.

    Without help, this phrase will automatically resolve into the active rather than the reactive. If you can work the word “against” into the phrase, you can explicitly flag the reactive frame, but often it doesn’t fit.

    When “on the drive” comes right after “glove” it helps the reader get the frame right (“incoming” frame, as Radar would put it).

    When “the cheater, I think” comes right after “glove” it helps resolve “cheater” as a part of a glove.

    Armed with those two observations, we may now further observe that there are some scenarios where newlyweds can both be on top at the same time (bulging, recalcitrant suitcases; click, “I got mine!”, click “I got mine!” followed by a double high five) and others where they can’t. You’re really going to struggle to word that sentence so that both “on the drive” and “cheater” come right after glove.

    ———

    What I’ve slowly determined about this glacial problem is that the underlying linguistic rule that governs this has all the quirky charm of organic chemistry—organic chemistry, moreover, with a new improved period table rendered in three dimensions.

    What’s this extra dimension, you say?

    “My baby has three scarlet barbells rimming her left eyebrow, a blood-red nose ring, and a ruby-red tongue stud.”

    So much for simple synonyms (did the objects really seem to differ mainly in colour?)

    Sometimes this maddening word chemistry is almost enough to dredge up fond memories of Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry, and Lewis theories of acids and bases. Sometimes.

    I won’t belabour this. I’ll just finish off by saying that I really have come to believe that the subtlety of interjections breaking the flow (or not breaking the flow) is analogous to an organic xenochemistry in which the periodic table has rows (simple substitutions usually work), columns (simple substitutions are rarely simple), and ranks (spin one-half substitutions that switch hit).

    There, that should take Schroeder’s mind off { Lucy, baseball mitt } for some while yet.

  68. blainer says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    I think LT hit the nail on the head (I think it was LT) last month.

    McDavid is the puck carrier you want. His linemates should be doing everything to get him the puck then skating into seams to get open for a golden setup. Eberle and Lucic have both been dangling on their own a bit too much of late. They need to keep it simple or be swapped out for some other players who get it. Maroon is one guy that gets it.

    If I had the choice I would move both Lucic and Eberle down to the Nuge line and run Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl. Drai is good at making the short, easy pass then booking it full speed down the wings.

    Ironically McDavid might have clicked with Yak but that ship has sailed.

    I agree.

    I think they really need someone who can onetime the puck and Ebs does not have this. Drai has it at times.

    I think Drai CMD Maroon would be one powerful line.

    At least when there down or need a swing in momentum.

    I do think JP will have the goods eventually if they don’t screw this player up.

  69. oscarmike says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    They didn’t loose the trade. That just the way it is.
    Generational players like Crosby and Mcdavid will get you any Type of player and more.
    All-Stars like Benn, Ovechkin, Stamkos , Taresenko will get you a Top RD like Hedman,Subban,Weber
    Upcoming stars like Tifollie,Hall, Seguin, McKinnon, Shiefle will get you a TOP 4RD like Larson, Jones, Ghost, Hamonic, Trouba.
    Since there is Less Top 4 RD and Top 6 RC in the league they hold more value.

    Larsson is twice the man Hall is. There’s a 50/50 chance Hall gets injured.

  70. oscarmike says:

    New Improved Darkness,

    Do people even read these long comments

  71. blainer says:

    oscarmike:
    New Improved Darkness,

    Do people even read these long comments

    His posts are popular with a few folks here and he/she uses different handles at times. I sometimes read them and at other times scroll over them like I’m sure half the people here do with my posts.

  72. oscarmike says:

    Confused,

    Some people think the problem with Eberle is that he saw a shooting coach and changed his stick size. Many believe that Eberls muscle memory couldn’t adjust from all those years playing with the same stick size. This would explain the hesitation before shooting. Also it would explain why he is missing the net from 5 feet out. Plus eberle is just to soft on the puck. Not much the Oilers can do about it.

  73. LMHF#1 says:

    Eberle’s shot has been miles off since the game where he was having a ton of trouble finishing off his hat trick.

    He started missing, hesitating, and not making the trademark Eberle-angle-change.

    He needs to go watch some tape of himself. The guy should be neck deep in goals this year.

  74. JDï™ says:

    oscarmike:
    New Improved Darkness,

    Do people even read these long comments

    Those who don’t really loose out.

  75. treevojo says:

    oscarmike:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    They didn’t loose the trade. That just the way it is.
    Generational players like Crosby and Mcdavid will get you any Type of player and more.
    All-Stars like Benn, Ovechkin, Stamkos , Taresenko will get you a Top RD like Hedman,Subban,Weber
    Upcoming stars like Tifollie,Hall, Seguin, McKinnon, Shiefle will get you a TOP 4RD like Larson, Jones, Ghost, Hamonic, Trouba.
    Since there is Less Top 4 RD and Top 6 RC in the league they hold more value.

    Larsson is twice the man Hall is. There’s a 50/50 chance Hall gets injured.

    I would like to see your analytical stats backing up the “manliness” of NHL players.

    Or is this just something you have a feel for?

  76. Confused says:

    oscarmike,

    Well get him a better shooting coach. The team should be very active if this is the case.

    Golfers work constantly with coaches to change their swings. Their muscle memory has got a flaw so they work with a coach to develop a new muscle memory. If golfers can do it, hockey players can do it.

    It all starts with identifying the correct coach and putting in the work. Where is the coach with the oilers?

    Even if this is true, it still would not stop him being effective on the shootout. Where it is about his ability to lift the puck fast from close in. If need be, use the old stick for the shootout.

  77. unca miltie says:

    I have always liked Reinhart. But that Barzel is a player. Nice pass. Fyi was watching replay of Russia game

  78. theres oil in virginia says:

    JDï™: Those who don’t really loose out.

    Loose the hounds! Or the punctuation.

    (BTW, I got it.)

    EDIT: I should say “I see what you did there.”

  79. N64 says:

    With 2016 rung out this is a McCurdy .500 team. 😉

    2-8 against 8 teams above .600 (plus 3 Bettman points)
    7-4 Against 7 teams above .500 and below .600 (no Bettman points)
    10-7 (plus 4 Bettman points)

    Not bad against the other playoff hunting teams.
    Next evolutionary step is depth and balance to match up to the best and dominate against the worst.

  80. JimmyV1965 says:

    oscarmike:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    They didn’t loose the trade. That just the way it is.
    Generational players like Crosby and Mcdavid will get you any Type of player and more.
    All-Stars like Benn, Ovechkin, Stamkos , Taresenko will get you a Top RD like Hedman,Subban,Weber
    Upcoming stars like Tifollie,Hall, Seguin, McKinnon, Shiefle will get you a TOP 4RD like Larson, Jones, Ghost, Hamonic, Trouba.
    Since there is Less Top 4 RD and Top 6 RC in the league they hold more value.

    Larsson is twice the man Hall is. There’s a 50/50 chance Hall gets injured.

    Funny thing is. Every forward on your list will likely never be traded. Why? Because they’re too damn good to trade. Just like Hall. The exception is Seguin of course and we know how that turned out. And although Larsson is a good player, I’m quite sure Jones is better than him already and Ghost has a much higher ceiling.

  81. Chachi says:

    unca miltie:
    I have always liked Reinhart.But that Barzel is a player.Nice pass

    Watching a practice?

  82. Melvis says:

    At play in the fields of the word, I see. Otherwise known as a bit too much word dusting. Just shoot the damn thing. Here’s a suggestion. Take a week at the Algonquin Hotel. Channel E.B. White.

    This won’t improve anybody’s writing necessarily, but the bar will certainly improve one’s mood. Double gin martini, two olives, straight up and out of the fridge where it’s enjoyed sufficient marination.

    Three of those and all square tables become round.

  83. tsg says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    After years of high draft picks Edmonton simply has a better roster top to bottom than NJ at this point.

    I’m simply sick of seeing the NJ is a team trending down, while Edmonton is a team trending up being trotted out as an argument (by Johnny in this case) without taking into account the larger context of each teams stage of development.

  84. frjohnk says:

    LT must have read the tea leaves.

    A draft post always soothes Oiler fans tortured souls.

    I’m actually looking forward to tonight’s post not because I want to see the top 5 picks but because it will give us a fresh look at something different ( we are probably at something from 14 to 20, hopefully higher :))

    Draft for need or draft best player available?

  85. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Chachi: This is also not provable.

    Not provable but a healthy McDavid means at least it is highly, highly probable. It is at least as probable as the scenario I pointed out was flawed.

  86. JimmyV1965 says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Not provable but a healthy McDavid means at least it is highly, highly probable. It is at least as probable as the scenario I pointed out was flawed.

    The Oilers improved tremendously the day Schultz left the team. I honestly believe it was one of the single most important moves Chia has made and had a bigger impact than the Hall trade. He was an absolute horror show 20 min a game. His subsequent miraculous improvement with the Pens is astounding and confounding.

  87. jake70 says:

    JimmyV1965: The Oilers improved tremendously the day Schultz left the team.I honestly believe it was one of the single most important moves Chia has made and had a bigger impact than the Hall trade. He was an absolute horror show 20 min a game.His subsequent miraculous improvement with the Pens is astounding and confounding.

    In his intermission interview last night he credited Sergei Gonchar (hired as developement coach) as one contributor to his improved play. I thought for sure he would get exposed when Letang went down a bit ago…..not sure how they handled the D and his ice-time specifically but he seemed not to have missed a beat. I thought he was a goat on the first Montreal goal last night however.

  88. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    JimmyV1965: The Oilers improved tremendously the day Schultz left the team.I honestly believe it was one of the single most important moves Chia has made and had a bigger impact than the Hall trade. He was an absolute horror show 20 min a game.His subsequent miraculous improvement with the Pens is astounding and confounding.

    I am not surprised in the least by Schultz. I bet Pouzar last season he would post 40 points and I was very wrong, partly due to injury, partly due to one clusterfuck season.

    The man has raw talent. Proved it in college and in the AHL. Always thought that he needed to be 3rd pair evens RD with 1PP time. In Edmonton the team did not play with a lot of structure. In Pitssburgh they now play a system that advances the puck rapidly. Schultz can pass it to Crosby or Malkin and then get out of the way then sneak in from the point.

    He is still a liability in the defensive zone on his own but the system they play can cover for his mistakes. And as he gains confidence he can fill in with Letang out for now.

    As for his absence inproving the Oilers, I have no idea. I was still sad to see him go, even though he clearly needed to as he was a one man tire fire.

  89. Chachi says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Not provable but a healthy McDavid means at least it is highly, highly probable. It is at least as probable as the scenario I pointed out was flawed.

    So, not provable yet people often state that the oilers would have improved without “the trade” as if it is a fact. No one (on either side of the dumb argument) can be sure of how it would have turned out.

  90. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Chachi: So, not provable yet people often state that the oilers would have improved without “the trade” as if it is a fact. No one (on either side of the dumb argument) can be sure of how it would have turned out.

    Correct, which was my point to begin with.

  91. Chachi says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Correct, which was my point to begin with.

    So you are comfortable calling out people who say “the trade” is the reason the Oilers have an improved record this year (I agree with you disputing this claim by the way) while also stating that “The Oilers would be a better team this year than last even if the Larsson trade was not added” as if it is a fact?

  92. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Chachi,

    No, I mean to use that as an example of things that people state about that trade that are not provable either way but state it like it is fact. So I did the same thing the other way as an example. Clearly that did not translate well in text I should have added “see what I did there ”

    I think it is possible, by the way, to lose the trade (value wise) but improve the team. And I have advocated for trading for Larsson for several years here now so I am not a hater of the man. I think he is a helluva player and people need to be patient with him.

  93. Chachi says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Chachi,

    No, I mean to use that as an example of things that people state about that trade that are not provable either way but state it like it is fact. So I did the same thing the other way as an example. Clearly that did not translate well in textI should have added “see what I did there ”

    I think it is possible, by the way, to lose the trade (value wise) but improve the team. And I have advocated for trading for Larsson for several years here now so I am not a hater of the man. I think he is a helluva player and people need to be patient with him.

    That is my fault and I apologize. That went right over my head. I should go out and buy some stilts.

  94. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Chachi: That is my fault and I apologize. That went right over my head. I should go out and buy some stilts.

    No worries at all. Sometimes I get lazy typing on my phone so that is my fault. Also even in the best of times it is hard to communicate properly in text without nuances and tone clear. So I apologize, too.

    Happy new year!

  95. Chachi says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: No worries at all. Sometimes I get lazy typing on my phone so that is my fault. Also even in the best of times it is hard tocommunicate properly in text without nuances and tone clear. So I apologize, too.

    Happy new year!

    You are very gracious. Happy New Year to you too!

  96. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Chachi,

    You are both gentlemanly scholars. a Happy New Year to all!

  97. Lowetide says:

    I have to tell you it is pretty damned awesome to drop in on a conversation that involves mature people solving issues themselves. Xxoo to the whole damned lot of you!

  98. CrazyCoach says:

    Happy New Year everyone,

    Mrs CC and I took in our first game at Rogers Place last night and we were entertained to a pretty good Oilers team from the cheap seats. Not the result we wanted, but knowing we walked out of a meaningful game in late December was pretty good. More on McDavid later, but here’s my view of things last night.

    TMac definitely has the Oilers playing a hybrid of a 1-2-2 trap and a neutral zone reminiscent of the old Soviet system they used to perfection. The NZ system requires unreal cerebral centres, of which I believe this team has 3 in McD, DRai, and Nuge, (yes, NUGE. Kid is a great two way player). The NZ system relies heavily on F2 and F3 pushing the puck to the outside and F1 for support when a pin or a pressure to the puck carrier is made. It’s a tough system to learn, but can be quite effective, but it requires your centre to guard the midlane. Will cause turnovers when executed properly, but the inverse is that it can lead to odd man rushes against if not done properly.

    The D-zone coverage is still a work in progress, but to my eye, the team is catching on. They look a little more organized and know their roles a little more. Still some hiccups though when coming back into your own zone, but it will get there.

    Individually, I thought JP played well. It’s quite obvious that this is still a kid growing into not only his role but also into his physical body. If you watch him when he skates, some times you notice that he will tend to skate in more of an upright stance, which to me is indicative of a player whose quad strength quite hasn’t caught up to his limb length.

    McDavid, McDavid, McDavid! Wow! I literally lost my mind when he scored. I think someone was cutting onions in my section during that beautiful goal he scored. Insane skill. Unreal skill. I remarked to my wife later that the first time I saw Gretz play, he never scored, but McDavid did. Yes, a 48 year old man shouldn’t be this excited over a player, but I am known as Crazy Coach.

    A word on Eberle. This kid is pure snakebit right now, and I hope it’s a mild case of the yips. Hopefully for his sake, he has a Steve Sax case of the yips and not a Chuck Knoblauch case. I feel for the kid right now. All you can do is play him and hope the light bulb switches back on.

    The Canucks outplayed the Oilers last night. Poor Gryba was the coaches target last night. I don’t think it was any accident last night that the puck got tossed in his corner and the forecheck got a little more aggressive when he had the puck. If I’m Desardins last night, #62 is going to pencilled in as a target and part of the gameplan. It showed.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts from last night.

  99. frjohnk says:

    I echo Bruce and LT,
    great job guys.

    Its posters like you guys, make this an enjoyable place.

  100. frjohnk says:

    CrazyCoach,

    Great stuff as usual.

    Glad you enjoyed the game.

  101. CrazyCoach says:

    frjohnk:
    CrazyCoach,

    Great stuff as usual.

    Glad you enjoyed the game.

    Thanks!

    It was a nice night. Short walk to city hall after the game for fireworks, then a short jaunt to the hotel for pizza and drinks.

  102. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Lowetide,

    frjohnk,

    CrazyCoach,

    Chachi,

    Right back at you all and all the best to everyone in 2017. 🙂

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