OHIO PLAYERS

The Edmonton Oilers came out flat as a pancake and it went downhill from there. During the 2016-17 season (so far), I recall only one other game that was this poor—that an early season tilt against the Buffalo Sabres. Aside from cliches like teachable moment and implying flu, I have nothing to offer you this morning in the way of a feelgood. We know Columbus is a wonderful team, but it is also right and good to say the Oilers did not give themselves a great chance to win the game. They were poor.

FINAL RESULTS FROM OHIO, 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 in January 2016: 4-5-2, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2017: 0-1-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers after 39, 2015-16: 15-21-3, goal differential -24
  • Oilers after 39, 2016-17: 19-13-7, goal differential +8

I don’t really see a need to run all the numbers, suffice to say no one looked so good that they earned a large mention beyond (for me) Cam Talbot. You may have read that Benoit Pouliot made a terrible pass and should be sent to Siberia, but for me he remains a solid NHL player having a poor NHL season. Filet away, I see no reason to back down on the issue beyond acknowledgement that he is in a dreadful period of absolute vapor lock.

You may say ‘how in hell can you defend Pouliot after last night?’ and comes my answer: If you believe in something, then one night, or even 30, or really even a season, should not alter what is established. I know it sounds stubborn, but I learned from Pete Rose’s 1974 batting average that sometimes things can go sideways for an entire year. Also, we know this: single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events.

BENOIT POULIOT 16-17 (15-16)

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.06 (2.05)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 0.00 (3.75)
  • Corsi for % 5×5: 49.5 (51.0)
  • Most Common Linemates: RNH, Kassian, Caggiula, Puljujarvi
  • Opposition: 152 minutes v. elites, 157 minutes v. mid-level, 87 minutes v. dregs
  • Corsi Rel: -1.5
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 44/11.4 (109/12.8%)
  • Boxcars: 34GP, 5-2-7 (55GP, 14-22-36)
  • Sources: Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, Woodmoney, Hockey-Reference

This is a fascinating player card. Benoit Pouliot, despite all of his troubles this year (and they have been many), is still around 50 percent in possession, still plays tougher minutes reliably and is still scoring on 11 percent of his shots. He is not scoring enough, he has taken some costly penalties, he made a bad pass last night and has been the wayward wind way more often this season.

Oilers fans and media are not onside with Benoit Pouliot today, and I think we can probably make an educated guess about how the coach feels based on handling and usage this season. I always ask a series of questions about a slumping player: Is he injuried? Is he 40? Is his shooting percentage spiraling downard? In the case of BP, the answer is no.

The problem, as near as I can tell, is that Pouliot is no longer playing with McDavid and Eberle (he had success there one year ago) and is scoring at slightly lower levels with the Nuge year over year:

  • Pouliot with Nuge 2015-16: 4-3-7 in 262 minutes (1.60 5×5/60)
  • Pouliot with Nuge 2016-17: 4-1-5 in 219 minutes (1.37 5×5/60)

Folks, Benoit Pouliot’s play this season has cost him his job. Pretty sure. The easiest thing in the world for me to write today would be a damnation of this player and for this blog to join the parade of critical verbal available pretty much everywhere else.

I won’t do it because it doesn’t make sense. Benoit Pouliot is having a bad season and maybe he has in fact lost a step and this is his future. From what I can see, this is a player who simply cannot get one damned thing to rhyme, kind of like the 1969-70 Montreal Canadiens. You can call me stubborn, you can call me worse, I see no good reason to bury Benoit Pouliot today beyond the need to follow the crowd. Which, in a very real way, is the worst reason on earth to base a decision.

I have been hammered by commenters and observers before (one day I will roll out the venom parked at my doorstep in the days following the Pronger trade to Anaheim) but having the courage of your convictions is an important thing, even in regard to something as seemingly inconsequential as an NHL player in a downward spiral. Benoit Pouliot surely will be leaving town soon, and many Oilers fans will rejoice. Me? I will want to know the team that takes the risk, because it will tell me that general manager is a pretty smart fellow. Seriously.

NOW, A WORD FROM THE COACH

  • Todd McLellan: ”It was a great test for us. For me it was a playoff-type environment, and we had some go-to people that were invisible. We’ve got to get them up and running and they have gotta understand, as we get further in, and we get to where we want to go eventually, you have gotta show up.”

I have some time for Todd McLellan’s point of view here, and as we will see in a moment at least two of the names are known to those around the team (based on a tweet from a credible source). I think there are two issues impacting the coach right now, in terms of forwards. Here is one.

Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot are the targets on many levels, this blog is not prepared to throw either man under the bus. Rather, I would point to the problem Todd McLellan has that has gone mostly unreported. Ahem.

OILERS FORWARDS EVEN-STRENGTH TOI LAST NIGHT

  1. Leon Draisaitl 17:38
  2. Connor McDavid 17:04
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 15:22
  4. Patrick Maroon 14:21
  5. Jordan Eberle 14:12
  6. Drake Caggiula 13:39
  7. Milan Lucic 12:25
  8. Benoit Pouliot 12:15
  9. Zack Kassian 10:49
  10. Jesse Puljujarvi 9:14
  11. Matt Hendricks 7:38
  12. Mark Letestu 6:36

Now. You can argue that the big problem here comes from Eberle and Pouliot, but I would argue that the names in italics are a bigger issue. Last night was a perfect example of the problem. Todd McLellan, of sound mind and body, is mad as hell and is not going to take it anymore! So, he casts about for people he can use while benching as many veterans and he can find—and finds two flat out rookies plus a slow fourth line. This is not good.

And you can argue that Anton Lander should be in there, but he is no fast train, either. Tyler Pitlick is out for the year, Anton Slepyshev is in Bakersfield and on it goes. What is the solution? Balance.

The NHL is a faster league now, so that 4line Todd McLellan is rolling out now cannot stand against a team like the CBJ. However, if he the coach had been able to insert Anton Slepyshev and Tyler Pitlick last night, then at least the speed issue would not have been as severe.

Balance: It’s the real thing. Now, more than ever.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy, still developing show this morning starting at 10 on TSN1260. I have confirmed Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey and Chris Peters from the United States of Hockey, with more to come. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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136 Responses to "OHIO PLAYERS"

  1. Woogie63 says:

    Norm Kimball used to find a capable replacement for a decling veteran before he traded that veteran to another team. The MSM in Edmonton seems to want to do this process the other way around.

  2. russ99 says:

    To me the big story today isn’t Pouliot or Eberle, the lack of results by many veteran forwards is a story for the whole year.

    Tomorrow night is game 40. If we don’t send Puljujarvi down beforehand, that’s a year of his ELC burned.

    Not to do so would be a Tambellini-like level of mismanagement.

  3. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Morning LT.

    Sorry you get so much hate mail. If you ever feel down about it I suggest you watch on the interwebs, “love letters for Richard Dawkins.”

    Now some of the talk you may find a tad offensive given he is a known atheist and scientist and you have your beliefs.

    But it is funny and may make you see your own “love letters” in a more lighthearted manner.

  4. Lowetide says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Morning LT.

    Sorry you get so much hate mail. If you ever feel down about it I suggest you watch on the interwebs, “love letters for Richard Dawkins.”

    Now some of the talk you may find a tad offensive given he is a known atheist and scientist and you have your beliefs.

    But it is funny and may make you see your own “love letters” in a more lighthearted manner.

    Oh, I haven’t gotten any emails as bad as the comments section here around the Pronger trade. Most people are very respectful when emailing me, to be honest. I think the contact button actually helped me in that way.

  5. Offside says:

    There is a difference between a players decline in production being due to circumstances outside their control and just plain lack of effort. If it is a lack of effort then Eberle and Pouliot are sabotaging their own careers. I can try to understand Pou, but Ebs has been gifted minutes beside one of the all time great talents.
    It seems to me you are arguing depth over balance here even though you’ve rightly been on the balance train for quite some time The problem with having a team that can beat you in a multiple of ways generally means that you do not have a bunch of players with similar skill sets to replace injuries or slumps

  6. sliderule says:

    The Blue Jackets had urgency in their game.You saw that in their forecheck and especially in backcheck.You would think after all those wins that they would be lackadaisical but it was oilers who were slow coming back.That is at least partly on the coaching .

    In case you haven’t noticed the oilers have turned into mostly a trap team.That may be because of heavy players without a lot of speed like Maroon and Lucic and players past their due date like Hendricks..The blue jackets until they got the big lead forechecked aggressively with a 2-1-2 system that put pressure on oiler defence and wingers.When you force the defence to throw the puck up the boards and opposition pinch you get turnovers especially when like Pouliot you are on off wing.

    The jackets when their forecheck broke down raced like mad to provide back pressure .The oilers need to start doing same if they want to stay in playoff race.

  7. Durag says:

    The most surprising thing I learned from this morning’s blog is that Pete Rose had a career .784 OPS!!! No wonder he’s not in the Hall of Fame!

  8. LMHF#1 says:

    That 5-2-7 is just horrendous.

    The part that frustrates people about Pouliot is that his baseline talent and knowledge of the game is high, and he’s large, but he sabotaged himself through laziness and stupidity. He’s reaching with his stick rather than skating and not thinking this year. There’s a reason he gets shipped out after a couple years.

    Unfortunate he can’t (or won’t) put it all together.

  9. Aitch says:

    I don’t get the sudden hate for Ebs ’round here. Eberle was never going to be known as a player who looked like he was busing his behind every time on the ice. That’s just not his style of play. He’s supposed to be the “calm under pressure” type. Yet, this year it seems because he’s not out there trying to run through people, he’s getting the “do no try” label applied to him whereas in the past he was simply known for not backchecking as hard as we’d like. No doubt there are some warts to his game, but he is still putting up points at a 1st line level and not getting destroyed at 5v5. That’s a valuable commodity in the league.

  10. Bag of Pucks says:

    Not nearly as concerned about Pouliot as I am by Connor’s play of late. Must be nursing an injury, no? Only explanation that seems to fit.

  11. Skeeziks says:

    Last night the CBJs put on a clinic.

    They played as a five man unit in all zones of the ice and this create support both offensively and defensively.

    At every opportunity they angled the Oiler forwards to the boards in the neutral zone ad this slowed any attack they were mounting and they finished their checks, not bone crushers, but effective.

    Their D men moved quickly to retrieve pucks and acted quickly when they got the puck. Because they had a five man unit, they were able to make short quick and effective passes.

    All the CBJ players can skate well, especially their D men, and they are very well conditioned. As the commentators stated, Tortarella ran a boot camp during training camp and continually told them that it would pay off during the season. It is paying off.

    The Oiler wanted the middle of the ice and it was ether denied them or they were out manned or evenly manned. They struggled.

    The Oilers D repeatedly started plays from behind heir net. They circled back and waited for their forwards get properly aligned. They did this whether they were pressured or not. As a result, the CBJs were able to establish their defensive coverage and they we able to shut down the Oilers.

    The Oilers have some very gifted forwards (McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge, Eberle etc) but they are not able to free wheel or get odd man situations for the offensive attack as often as they should. As for the Oilers transitional game it is being hampered by the D men resetting on almost every play. How many times did they make D to D passes which delayed their exit from the D zone?

    The result was that the Oilers looked like a team trying not to lose while the Jackets looked like a team fully committed to winning the puck, every battle and the game.

  12. p3rsonman says:

    I am concerned about Connor.

    Something is different with him lately. Something is off.

    Is it the flu? Injury? It has been 10-15 games I’ve started to notice this. I would say since the Philly game he has not been the same.

  13. Aitch says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Not nearly as concerned about Pouliot as I am by Connor’s play of late. Must be nursing an injury, no? Only explanation that seems to fit.

    Bag of Pucks opens Can of Worms… yup, I’ve been thinking the same thing. There’s something not right about him the past few weeks. It’s not just that he isn’t getting results. He doesn’t seem to have the same magic with the puck that he had earlier this season. He still has moments in each game where he looks the same, but he looked dangerous almost every shift in October.

  14. David says:

    I’m not certain the Oilers problem is actual speed of the players.

    List of Oilers with good to great speed:
    McDavid
    Draisaitl
    Eberle
    Nugent-Hopkins
    Pouliot
    Kassian
    Caggulia
    Puljujarvi
    Pitlick
    Slepyshev
    Klefbom
    Sekera
    Nurse
    Davidson
    Russel
    Benning

    Edmonton’s problem seems more to be the way they play the game. Columbus was super aggressive and Edmonton had no response. It seemed like the blue jackets had more skaters on the ice then we did.

    They forechecked quick, they always pressured the Oilers, we had no space in our zone, in the neutral zone, in their zone.

    When Columbus broke out they had numbers, when we broke out Columbus had numbers.

    I don’t think this is from having the fastest team ever, guys like Gagner, Savard aren’t drag racers but they were part of the system that was go go go.

  15. LMHF#1 says:

    People are having issues with Eberle because this is a guy who used to essentially never have bad games. Something is wrong. I’m nowhere near as down on him as some, but #14 needs some assistance right now.

  16. RT26 says:

    Players need to be put into roles and situations where they can succeed. For instance, I think Lucic would be a great 2LW with Draisaitl, they skate at more complimentary speeds and could cycle and control space in the offensive zone together. (And Yakupov would have been a great 2RW for these two). Now, I would place Eberle with them.

    In the same mode of thinking, if Pouliot was out back on to the 3rd line, he could be an effective out-performer for this team. If we could trade for a strong skating two-way center and play Pouliot/ Puljijarvi – that should be a great 3rd line.

    Try playing Nuge as RW with McDavid and send Caggiula to Bakersfield for the second half of the season.

  17. p3rsonman says:

    I’m not an advanced stats guy (nor do I know where to find the stats), but here are McDavid’s boxcars pre and post Philly on December 8th:

    P/GP G/GP A/GP S/GP
    Pos 0.5 0.2 0.3 3
    Pre 1.31 0.41 0.90 2.90

    A noticeable drop-off, and it aligns with visual cues that his level of play has changed.

  18. dustrock says:

    Aitch: Bag of Pucks opens Can of Worms… yup, I’ve been thinking the same thing. There’s something not right about him the past few weeks. It’s not just that he isn’t getting results. He doesn’t seem to have the same magic with the puck that he had earlier this season. He still has moments in each game where he looks the same, but he looked dangerous almost every shift in October.

    He’s never played this many games, has he? Plus the World Cup. McLellan should scale back his minutes, but there is no way in hell that will ever happen, until they’re eliminated from the playoffs.

    Don’t know if teams just don’t give McDavid any space now, but certainly it seems like he has less impact.

    LT – talking about Pouliot and Eberle, for a team that has so heavily relied on Draisaitl as of late, Neon Leon goes without a shot attempt in a big game. T-Mac must be frustrated with him as well.

    The Oilers, with this lineup, can hang with the Kings and Sharks and Blues, but they are going to lose to fast teams with an aggressive forecheck.

    And for Pouliot?

    I speak not to disprove what Lowetide spoke,
    But here I am to speak what I do know.
    You all did love him once, not without cause:
    What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
    O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with Pouliot,
    And I must pause till it come back to me”

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

    Couple Thoughts

    1) On Pouliot’s pass last night the only thing I could yell at the tv was “Pee Wee level play!” and to be fair I yelled the same thing at Matt Hendricks when he made his little spinarama pass to the CBJ blue which forced Talbot into a great glove save after the pass was fired cross ice for a one-timer. Now I don’t feel the need to pile on here so on to Point 2

    2) I’m with you on Pouliot LT and I think the same thing can be said of Eberle and to a lesser extent Nuge this year. Something is up with this trio that doesn’t seem to have affected the rest of the team. My only guess (and its a guess) is that they were read the riot act about defensive responsibility or maybe something even more vague like “character” and its seeped down deep. Did the Hall trade scare the whits out of these guys? Maybe, again I’ve got no idea but man alive is it frustrating to watch play out in real time, when as a fan you know these guys are better than this.

    3) Too be perfectly fair I’ve also thought that both Nuge and Eberle had been coming on lately, though yesterday’s game was a legit stinker.

    Now we move onto the biggest issues as we come up to the half way point of the year

    4) I would like to apologize to Bruce and retract my statements about a month back about Cam Talbot. The man was tired and has two new kids to deal with and I piled on after a few shaky outings. Cam has been lights out good lately and seems to be settling into a nice groove, this is a good thing, full stop.

    5) For the last three games (and likely before that but I can’t remember) the lack of urgency from the D men on puck retrieval and transition has me pulling my hair out. I know this was a a refrain during the GDT last night but holy crap, every single sortie begins with 4 or 5 d to d passes while the opposition simply sits back and clogs up the neutral zone. When the puck heads back deeper it gets worse. Gryba’s cough up against Van and Davidson again last night both got caught standing still by a hard forechecker, which is inexcusable IMO when you have a net in front of you to use as a barricade. I know some of this lies with the forwards (see Point 6) but I also distinctly remember the beginning of the season when the D men had their heads up and were looking North to make a pass instead of East and West. I really don’t think this is intentionally coached in because San Jose didn’t run a similar system so my guess is that its player based and it needs to end yesterday.

    6) I won’t go on too long here but for forward breakouts the basic stuff is very easy. Hard back, circle deep down low, put your stick on the ice and exit the zone together (maybe send one guy high to draw the d back) but again this is Bantam level hockey knowledge. Going back to the beginning of the year this was happening, the breakouts were tighter, they were controlled and making 5 foot passes was infinitely easier than 25 foot passes.

    7) The frustrating part is that both points 5 and 6 were handled quite well against the LA Kings. Now pure speculation on my part but me thinks phase one of the New Oilers Identity (NOI) involves getting these basics down against Pacific/Central style teams and then speeding it up against the East later on. Spec of course but it would at least allow for some sort of theory to emerge about the confounding difference in results against say St. Louis, Anaheim, LA and Washington vs Columbus and Toronto.

    8) The PK needs to be ripped down and rebuilt. The same argument levelled in Point 5 applies here, there is absolutely zero urgency these days. Stand around, wave your stick, attempt to clog up the lanes but don’t you dare try and pressure the puck carrier! Maybe this works against a team that runs their PP like a pee wee team but once teams start moving it around you look really foolish. Now I’m not saying they should start chasing but you have to apply pressure, sitting back and waiting for a mistake may work for Dave Tippet (oh wait look at that record no it doesn’t!) but it’s starting to cost the team something fierce. I will make a bet and say that we see a shakeup in how the PK is run once the team settles in for its next big homestand after this road trip.

    9) Someone posted last night “Columbus is playing to win while the Oilers are playing not to lose” I think this is 100% correct and I thought it also could have applied to the Nucks game as well. This right here is a symptom of the Decade of Darkness and needs to be sent to hell with fire. I think Boston will be a good test for this team, both from a bounce back perspective as well as from a matchup point of view. Boston isn’t as quick as Columbus and isn’t as heavy these days as say Anaheim, they are a middle road style team one that the Oilers “should” be able to dial it up against while not getting overwhelmed by the other teams speed.

    10) In fact I think the next three are all winnable games but some clouds are on the horizon. Schneider has been lights out his last two games but the Devils will be on a 2nd of a back to back on Saturday against the Oilers. Ditto with the Sens on Sunday who play the Caps on Saturday (though they have been off since New Years Day so they should be well rested despite the BtoB).

    11) Clear the cobwebs and shake off a really bad game. There are points up for grabs and then they get to be back at Rogers for an extended stay against competition that isn’t setting the world ablaze.

  20. dustrock says:

    LMHF#1:
    People are having issues with Eberle because this is a guy who used to essentially never have bad games. Something is wrong. I’m nowhere near as down on him as some, but #14 needs some assistance right now.

    I think Eberle’s lack of effort, particularly on the ol’ backcheck, has been apparent for his entire Oilers career (and going back to his junior scouting reports).

    The difference now is that we’re playing meaningful games in January. Guys like Lucic were brought in to “change the culture”, to show that guys can’t take a night off.

    So I think the hope with fans was that Eberle would score 30 goals AND learn to backcheck.

    Not going to happen.

    As long as he’s scoring, it doesn’t really matter. He’s a striker, not a defensive mid, to butcher a soccer analogy. But if he’s not scoring, then how is he contributing?

  21. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Durag:
    The most surprising thing I learned from this morning’s blog is that Pete Rose had a career .784 OPS!!! No wonder he’s not in the Hall of Fame!

    Ha ha.

    I know your comment was tongue-in-cheek and funny. 🙂

    That out of the way, you bring up an interesting point: he played (and put himself in the lineup) for years beyond his “best by” date. That did not help.

    But also OPS has its flaws. A guy who gets on base 40% of the time can still be very valuable, even if its via walk and single and he does not have much in the way of power. Examples of this are Ichiro and Rose. The straight OBP + SLG hurts the little guy more often, I think. It seems harder to get on base > 40% of the time than it is to slug .500 since more guys do the latter than the former.

    So while OPS is useful, it should not be the sole measure to determine a player’s HoF worthiness.

    A career WAR of 80 for Pete is most definitely Hall-worthy on stats alone. But of course, that was never the issue.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1011217&position=1B/OF

  22. OilFanInYOW says:

    Same thoughts circulating in my brain – what’s wrong with Connor.

    I know i’ll get skewered for saying this, but I’ve noticed that when the coach moved Lucic with Drai, he looked a bit better than when he’s with Connor. Is this a speed issue, a thinking the game issue? Not sure. Yet, at the end of last season – he made Maroon, Pou, Yak, all look like all-stars. So I go back to, is there something up with Connor?

    Aitch: Bag of Pucks opens Can of Worms… yup, I’ve been thinking the same thing. There’s something not right about him the past few weeks. It’s not just that he isn’t getting results. He doesn’t seem to have the same magic with the puck that he had earlier this season. He still has moments in each game where he looks the same, but he looked dangerous almost every shift in October.

  23. David says:

    Seems like everyday the thread has people trashing Eberle and other people at a loss for why this is. A line that has been repeated over and over is that we should know what Eberle is by now. And I agree that people who are upset he doesn’t backcheck should give it a bit of a rest.

    But for some people Eberle was thought to be more than this. He came into the league after back to back world junior heroics. His first game in the NHL he had a highlight of the year goal against Calgary. He out paced Hall his first two seasons in points and that 76 point season at age 21 had oilers fans licking their lips cause players get better from age 21-25 right?

    Well Eberle came back down to earth and never did take that next step which left some wanting more. He was paired with McDavid this year and there was talk of 40 goal seasons which has left some wanting more.

    But even if you shrug and say people shouldn’t have those high of expectations, we know what he is. Eberle isn’t that this year. Even based on a more moderate view of Eberle as a player he is having a bad year. And just like Lowetide wrote in this piece about believing Pouliot is a good player having a bad year, you can still believe Eberle is a good player. But he is having a bad year. And when players have bad years the knives come out.

    Everyone who is defending Eberle can continue to point out that just giving Eberle away as some have been suggesting is crazy. But they can’t continue to ridicule the frustration with Eberle this year. It is warranted.

  24. anjinsan says:

    Custance on the ESPN website, in reviewing the two biggie trades of last year, reported that Hall was deeply upset being traded from Edmonton, and had definitely seen himself as PART of the solution and not part of the problem going forward.

    Could the Hall trade have fractured into the espirit de corps within RNH and Eberle, and to a lesser degree and by extension some other players, and could that account for their under-performing this season?

  25. dustrock says:

    Also, McLellan stubbornly sticking with Hendricks is disappointing. I know, not many other options out there, certainly not Lander, Khaira or Slepyshev.

  26. JimmyV1965 says:

    I have never said a disparaging word about TMac, but can you please stop juggling the lines like a madman. The Maroon-Drai-RNH line has been dominating so what does he do, break it up before the game even starts. I just don’t get this. And while we’re at it, why the hell is the Drake still on PP2? For the love of god, can you please send him and JP to the minors. Part of this is on my the coaching.

  27. Woodguy says:

    I watched the game with the sound off and didn’t see them that bad in the periods 2 and 3. They held on for dear life in period one.

    I think Remenda’s constant picking apart of the team can lead many to do the same.

    My big issue was the zone exits.

    This team doesn’t exit with the puck near enough and their breakouts that rely on 80ft passes and the “long tip to the ozone” happen a lot so you know they are coached.

    I saw McLellan’s bitching this way:

    “I’m going to coach them to make low % zone exits and bitch when they turn out to be low %”

    I wonder if this is how he wore out his welcome in SJS?

    The team’s structure on the break out is not good, they don’t have possession enough in the neutral zone, there is barely any back pressure in the neutral zone when they don’t have the puck.

    Their offensive zone retrievals are decent so I’m not complaining too much about the place and chance in the ozone, but they don’t get there nearly enough and they have to roster to do so.

    The best EC teams (and SJS/MIN) have gone away from having “checkers” in their line up.

    “Checkers” are players who bring no offence, but are expected to lower the GA of the opponent.

    The problem with this concept is the “no-offence” part is guaranteed to give you a GF% below 50%.

    Running Cagulia on one line and Hendricks-Letestu combo on another almost guarantees two lines below 50%GF and the top two lines can’t make that up, especially with how RNH’s season is going.

    SLEPYSHEV, ANTON 83.3
    PULJUJARVI, JESSE 68.8
    LANDER, ANTON 62.5
    MCDAVID, CONNOR 60.8
    MAROON, PATRICK 60.5
    KASSIAN, ZACK 51.6
    LUCIC, MILAN 51.2
    DRAISAITL, LEON 51.2
    PITLICK, TYLER 50
    EBERLE, JORDAN 48.7
    LETESTU, MARK 48
    POULIOT, BENOIT 45.8
    CAGGIULA, DRAKE 38.5
    NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN 35.3
    HENDRICKS, MATT 30

    The bottom 3 guys populated 3 different lines last night.

    I don’t think that’s using your roster properly.

    Also,

    The coach seems determined to punish every error and transgression like an owner of a new puppy constatntly hitting it with a rolled up newspaper.

    Pretty soon the puppy won’t like you and will be afraid to do anything in fear of getting hit.

    Having everyone skating around afraid of making a mistake is not exactly a way to keep the players loose.

    I know that TOI is the coach’s only real stick when coaching NHLers, but FFS he doesn’t have to grind every mistake and keep the fucking blender going all the time.

    I know that McLellan changed the lines going into the third to keep his bottom two lines from getting killed (moved 29 down to play with 36) and that necessitated some other changes, but man its frustrating to watch.

  28. JimmyV1965 says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Not nearly as concerned about Pouliot as I am by Connor’s play of late. Must be nursing an injury, no? Only explanation that seems to fit.

    This is what I don’t get. For whatever reason, mcdavid isn’t playing up to his standard. Yet we keep fishing around trying to blame his many different wingers. The guy is a human being and right now he’s not playing like the best player in the world. Let him work through it and possibly give him consistent wingers.

  29. Lowetide says:

    dustrock:
    Also, McLellan stubbornly sticking with Hendricks is disappointing.I know, not many other options out there, certainly not Lander, Khaira or Slepyshev.

    Coaches love their veterans. LOVE them.

  30. Bag of Pucks says:

    Aitch:
    I don’t get the sudden hate for Ebs ’round here. Eberle was never going to be known as a player who looked like he was busing his behind every time on the ice. That’s just not his style of play. He’s supposed to be the “calm under pressure” type. Yet, this year it seems because he’s not out there trying to run through people, he’s getting the “do no try” label applied to him whereas in the past he was simply known for not backchecking as hard as we’d like. No doubt there are some warts to his game, but he is still putting up points at a 1st line level and not getting destroyed at 5v5. That’s a valuable commodity in the league.

    I think the frustration is with the lack of goals. Ebs played a good chunk of the season on Connor’s line so simply generating assists is a given. His 8 goals however puts him in an 11 man tie for 30th overall. That is barely on the cusp of ‘1st line level’ goal production playing alongside one of the best players in the game.

    Brouwer, Rieder, Stempniak, Aho. I think you’d be hard pressed to find may Oiler fans who anticipated those players as Eberle’s goal scoring ‘comps’ entering the season.

  31. stephen sheps says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,
    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    In honour of two of the best posts I’ve seen here in some time, I too am going to try my hand at a series of thoughts/observations. It won’t be as good, but I’m going to do it anyway.

    1) The sky is not falling, serenity now. This team is better than last year but they have miles to go.

    2) Eberle, Pouliot and RNH are definitely struggling this year, but as our host gently reminded us this morning, now is not the time for vilification. That said, I think Pou’s days are numbered and the team doesn’t have the depth to replace him without creating weakness in other areas.

    3) Candidates for Pou’s minutes include moving the Drake to the wing and slotting 55 or 51 as the 3C (bad); have Sleppy play his off-wing (better, but still bad because an all rookie 3rd line is not a recipe for success); Move Nuge down to 3C, shift Drake over and run 36-93-98 (better, but hurts Nuge’s already moribund production and creates a huge hole at 2RW)

    4) Hendo’s decline combined with Pou’s decline reinforces both the lack of depth and the lack of balance. This is not an easy-to-solve dilemma

    5) Eberle is who he’s always been; an offence-first player who is weak on board battles and doesn’t do much in his own zone. He’s slumping now, but he has always been a streaky player

    6) Despite last night’s poor effort, the Oilers were playing the top team in the NHL. When looking at how badly they were outplayed, this loss could actually prove valuable down the line. The team needs to know what playoff hockey feels like – sure several players on the team have played deep into the playoffs on other teams, but this team is still learning how to be consistent and how to elevate their game to the level of their competition. Last night they didn’t have it, but they will learn to get there

    7) The PK needs work, and Hendricks is part of the problem, not the solution. As I said last night, why bring up a PK ace just to sit him?

    8) Further to the PK, McDavid doesn’t need to be involved in that facet of the game. Playing all 3 disciplines might be contributing to this ‘fade’ in his game that we’re noticing

    9) Something positive – Leon is the goods and even during his average games, he is still noticeable

    10) Cam Talbot is a very good NHL goalie – a lesser goaler would have allowed 5 or 6 last night. That said, he needs someone better backing him up, and now would be a good time to find that someone

    11) Kris Russell actually can make a good breakout pass. His read to jailbreak Kassian in the 1st period last night was beautiful. Maybe he doesn’t make those passes as often as P.C.’s micro-stats suggest (h/t Woodguy, – everyone should read his most recent post w.r.t. Russell), but last night we saw what good Russell can do

    12) The defence is better overall as a team. Last night and Vancouver game notwithstanding, there have been far fewer tire-fires throughout the season, and that is a big damn deal

    13) curious personnel decisions, tactics and roster management by the coach, both in-game and in advance of games is not helping the team. At some point, P.C. needs to make a move to help his coach deal with the lack of balance and depth. I just hope he makes the right moves and uses enough evidence and foresight when he pulls whatever trigger that needs pulling. A hypothetical Pou for a 3rd trade is not smart asset management. we wait

  32. Bag of Pucks says:

    Is TMac squeezing the maximum amount of points out of the roster he has? Given the relative inexperience and lack of depth on the blue, I think he might be. Yes, the team plays a low risk ‘play not to lose’ style that leaves us wanting more against better balanced attacking squads. But isn’t that exactly where you’d expect them to be with Klefbom, Larsson and Nurse still developing? Or does the effectiveness of a youthful Seth Jones / Zach Werenski duo truly expose how ass backwards this rebuild has been and continues to be?

    To me, this team has always been ‘sellers’ at this year’s deadline, and current playoff position aside, I don’t think that’s changed. The goal was to ‘turn north’ this year in the standings and most importantly with the culture, but still leave the club in favourable position to build out around the core.

    The big question at this point is whether the remaining Austins are seen as part of the long-term solution? I suspect they’re not and it would not surprise me to see one or both of them gone at the deadline for replacement level point production at cheaper cap hits. Chiarelli has had these cards in his hand for a while now and they haven’t been making him money.

    Sam Gagner is nearly outscoring Nuge AND Eberle by his lonesome. Anyway you slice it, that is not likely to be optically palatable in the OEG ivory tower.

  33. stephen sheps says:

    Bag of Pucks: Sam Gagner is nearly outscoring Nuge AND Eberle by his lonesome. Anyway you slice it, that is not likely to be optically palatable in the OEG ivory tower.

    No it won’t be palatable to the OEG, but who cares? They’ll have to live with the decade of poor choices. Sam was one of my favourite Oilers while he played for them and I’m thrilled he’s found his niche as a 4RW/PP1 specialist, but the reality is that he never would have accepted that as his role on this team, much in the same way that Cogliano refused to believe he was anything other than a Centre until he was shipped out. Young kids take time to mature and grow into themselves, and Sam is still only 27, despite being in his 10th (!!!) NHL season.

  34. russ99 says:

    Pretty obvious from the previous posts that we need another NHL forward (preferably 2), and Chia can’t wait until the deadline, since by then it will probably be too late.

  35. Clarkenstein says:

    Ebs was noticeable on a 27-30th place team. He is not on a top 10 team.
    Pouliot is not a thinking man’s hockey player. Reactive instead of proactive. A glider not a digger. Like Eberle probably no need to shower after most games. Bottom 6 have fallen off a cliff. Nothing there. Nothing. If I’ve got a player like Connor producing what he is I’m talking to the Coach if I’m Chia. WTF is going on here TMac? When is the last time you’ve seen Connor smile? Might seem like nothing but I think it’s something! Gonna be a tough month I’m afraid.

  36. OilClog says:

    Jumbo joes comments when Tmac left the Sharks.. my biggest fear since the hiring, and they’re playing out.

    This coaching staff needs to adjust, they need to figure out why so many other teams are spending shift after shift after shift pinning then in their own zone while their own offensive schemes all seem to be one and done.

    Mcdavid is frustrated, everytime he stretches the D out, causes despair in their positioning, his line mates are 20 feet from where they need to be.

    The coach has him answering media questions every fucking day about his various line mates, for all the wrong reasons.

    Call mile high and get Duchene

    How do you not use Lander last night? Teams only true defensive C, highest face off %, lots of evidence that he’s top 3 penalty killer on this team, and he sits against the #1 pp. What in the actual fuck coach… Bush league decision making.

    so they send 98 down today right?

  37. Roughneck says:

    Could the MSM in this town survive without a whipping boy? I fear they would explode without one…..

  38. Bag of Pucks says:

    stephen sheps: No it won’t be palatable to the OEG, but who cares? They’ll have to live with the decade of poor choices. Sam was one of my favourite Oilers while he played for them and I’m thrilled he’s found his niche as a 4RW/PP1 specialist, but the reality is that he never would have accepted that as his role on this team, much in the same way that Cogliano refused to believe he was anything other than a Centre until he was shipped out. Young kids take time to mature and grow into themselves, and Sam is still only 27, despite being in his 10th (!!!) NHL season.

    The point I’m trying to make isn’t as much specifically about Sam Gagner as it is about him as a current poster boy for cap efficiency. His 14 goals for the league minimum contrasts strongly with the “Austin’s” 15 goals for $12 mil collectively.

    Those gross inefficiencies within the Oil’s cap structure are ultimately what will determine their viability as Cup contenders.

    What are they paying each of their players for their relative contributions to goals? Does Connor and Leon’s bargain contracts make up for Nuge and Eberle’s deals atm? And is that a fair way for a GM to assess it?

    I suspect Nuge/Ebs/Hall being perceived as ‘bargain’ contracts as $6 mil per was predicated on all of them eventually trending towards becoming legitimate first line outscorers. If that’s not the ceiling that’s reached, are those deals tenable at the level of the new normal? I think Eberle’s might be. He’ll be pricey for a one dimensional second line scorer but at the mean, you can make a business case for the cap hit vs goal production. RNH is more tricky cos I think they’ve realized the FO% makes the Keon/Staal role unlikely, so now he gets the Top 6 push. Nuge has to make hay with those mins in a big way. If not, a scoring W is a likely a cheaper commodity readily available in the offseason.

  39. Bruce Wayne says:

    Jonathan Toews has only six goals and 18 points.

    Toronto is going to make the playoffs.

    Scoring peaks early. Very early.

  40. jake70 says:

    Bag of Pucks:

    I suspect Nuge/Ebs/Hall being perceived as ‘bargain’ contracts as $6 mil per was predicated on all of them eventually trending towards becoming legitimate first line outscorers.

    I’ll just add, remember when it was widely believed the cap would be 90+ M by now (they would be even more of a bargain). Well, they are not outscoring and the cap is stagnant. Here we are.

  41. Mr. D. says:

    stephen sheps:
    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,
    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    In honour of two of the best posts I’ve seen here in some time, I too am going to try my hand at a series of thoughts/observations. It won’t be as good, but I’m going to do it anyway.

    1) The sky is not falling, serenity now. This team is better than last year but they have miles to go.

    2) Eberle, Pouliot and RNH are definitely struggling this year, but as our host gently reminded us this morning, now is not the time for vilification. That said, I think Pou’s days are numbered and the team doesn’t have the depth to replace him without creating weakness in other areas.

    3) Candidates for Pou’s minutes include moving the Drake to the wing and slotting 55 or 51 as the 3C (bad); have Sleppy play his off-wing (better, but still bad because an all rookie 3rd line is not a recipe for success); Move Nuge down to 3C, shift Drake over and run 36-93-98 (better, but hurts Nuge’s already moribund production and creates a huge hole at 2RW)

    4) Hendo’s decline combined with Pou’s decline reinforces both the lack of depth and the lack of balance. This is not an easy-to-solve dilemma

    5) Eberle is who he’s always been; an offence-first player who is weak on board battles and doesn’t do much in his own zone. He’s slumping now, but he has always been a streaky player

    6) Despite last night’s poor effort, the Oilers were playing the top team in the NHL. When looking at how badly they were outplayed, this loss could actually prove valuable down the line. The team needs to know what playoff hockey feels like – sure several players on the team have played deep into the playoffs on other teams, but this team is still learning how to be consistent and how to elevate their game to the level of their competition. Last night they didn’t have it, but they will learn to get there

    7) The PK needs work, and Hendricks is part of the problem, not the solution. As I said last night, why bring up a PK ace just to sit him?

    8) Further to the PK, McDavid doesn’t need to be involved in that facet of the game. Playing all 3 disciplines might be contributing to this ‘fade’ in his game that we’re noticing

    9) Something positive – Leon is the goods and even during his average games, he is still noticeable

    10) Cam Talbot is a very good NHL goalie – a lesser goaler would have allowed 5 or 6 last night. That said, he needs someone better backing him up, and now would be a good time to find that someone

    11) Kris Russell actually can make a good breakout pass. His read to jailbreak Kassian in the 1st period last night was beautiful. Maybe he doesn’t make those passes as often as P.C.’s micro-stats suggest (h/t Woodguy,– everyone should read his most recent post w.r.t. Russell), but last night we saw what good Russell can do

    12) The defence is better overall as a team. Last night and Vancouver game notwithstanding, there have been far fewer tire-fires throughout the season, and that is a big damn deal

    13) curious personnel decisions, tactics and roster management by the coach, both in-game and in advance of games is not helping the team. At some point, P.C. needs to make a move to help his coach deal with the lack of balance and depth. I just hope he makes the right moves and uses enough evidence and foresight when he pulls whatever trigger that needs pulling. A hypothetical Pou for a 3rd trade is not smart asset management. we wait

    You can also see the bad. First Russell needs to get the puck free and clear of a tough forecheck. We have 4 D guys getting regularly pushed off the puck. A good forecheck turns our”puck movers” in turnover masters. Pathetic.

  42. DBO says:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 2m2 minutes ago
    #Oilers forward lines at practice today: Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl, Lucic-RNH-Kassian, Pouliot-Caggiula-Eberle, Lander-Letestu-Puljujärvi.

    Is this the most balanced lineup we have or will this result in the blender after 1 period?

  43. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Can you claim two players on waivers in the same day?

    Is Khudobin an upgrade on Gustavsson?

    Is Nieto’s speed an upgrade in the bottom six?

  44. fifthcartel says:

    Are they really going to burn an RFA year to play Puljujarvi on the 4th line? They have to send him down before tomorrow’s game otherwise.

  45. Primetime says:

    DBO:
    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers2m2 minutes ago
    #Oilers forward lines at practice today: Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl, Lucic-RNH-Kassian, Pouliot-Caggiula-Eberle, Lander-Letestu-Puljujärvi.

    Is this the most balanced lineup we have or will this result in the blender after 1 period?

    No idea about balance, but it does mean we lose a year of control on Puljujarvi while he plays 4 minutes on the 4th line against the Bruins. If you’re going to do something like this, at least go all out and play him with McDavid….baffling….

  46. russ99 says:

    DBO,

    Interesting. I like the first two lines, third line is the doghouse line.

    Putting Pulju on the 4th line with Lander and Letestu is all kinds of wrong.

    Our mismanagement is turning a #4 pick into a checking line player.

  47. DBO says:

    russ99,

    Yeah Slepeshev in that spot and Jesse in the minors makes so much sense its stupid. Let him get his confidence. Or run him with Nuge and Lucic and play Kassian on the 4th and recreate that great 4th line we ran when things were humming along to start the year.

  48. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    DBO:
    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers2m2 minutes ago
    #Oilers forward lines at practice today: Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl, Lucic-RNH-Kassian, Pouliot-Caggiula-Eberle, Lander-Letestu-Puljujärvi.

    Is this the most balanced lineup we have or will this result in the blender after 1 period?

    Other than Kassian above Eberle, that’s pretty much the lineup I advocated for. Interesting. But that 3rd line has THREE struggling players on it. Not sure that is wise.

  49. dustrock says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Can you claim two players on waivers in the same day?

    Is Khudobin an upgrade on Gustavsson?

    Is Nieto’s speed an upgrade in the bottom six?

    Khudobin has had better years but his overall track record might be better.

    Nieto I’ve always liked and I think McLellan liked him better than DeBoer. I’d much rather pick up Nieto than burn a year on Puljujarvi.

    But Oilers won’t get a chance at Nieto.

  50. --hudson-- says:

    Bag of Pucks: The point I’m trying to make isn’t as much specifically about Sam Gagner as it is about him as a current poster boy for cap efficiency. His 14 goals for the league minimum contrasts strongly with the “Austin’s” 15 goals for $12 mil collectively.

    Those gross inefficiencies within the Oil’s cap structure are ultimately what will determine their viability as Cup contenders.

    What are they paying each of their players for their relative contributions to goals? Does Connor and Leon’s bargain contracts make up for Nuge and Eberle’s deals atm? And is that a fair way for a GM to assess it?

    I suspect Nuge/Ebs/Hall being perceived as ‘bargain’ contracts as $6 mil per was predicated on all of them eventually trending towards becoming legitimate first line outscorers. If that’s not the ceiling that’s reached, are those deals tenable at the level of the new normal? I think Eberle’s might be. He’ll be pricey for a one dimensional second line scorer but at the mean, you can make a business case for the cap hit vs goal production. RNH is more tricky cos I think they’ve realized the FO% makes the Keon/Staal role unlikely, so now he gets the Top 6 push. Nuge has to make hay with those mins in a big way. If not, a scoring W is a likely a cheaper commodity readily available in the offseason.

    It made me feel better to look at CBJ cap and see they are paying David Clarkson with buyouts for Tyutin and Jared Boll.
    Minnesota also has cap inefficiency with Pominville, Brodin, Scandella, Cooke, Vanek.
    NYR is mostly in good shape outside of the Staal and Girardi contracts, and depending on how well Lundqvist ages.

    I definitely agree with your greater point, just want to mention even the best teams have several cap issues.

  51. knighttown says:

    “I always ask a series of questions about a slumping player: Is he injuried? Is he 40? Is his shooting percentage spiraling downard?

    This seems to be a pretty simplistic view point LT. The only possible reasons a player could be be struggling is because they are really old, injured or have a low shooting percentage?

    The danger here is that a player has one good season and we consider that their new benchmark and wait forever for them to do it again.

    I remember you spent almost all last season saying RNH had the flu and then was recovering from the flu and finally that the flu sapped his energy for the second half of the season but now he’s producing a 35% GF%.

    Here are some other reasons he has not (and may not) achieve the results many predicted for him:

    – opposition scouting. Every player has tendencies, for instance, Jordan Eberle loves to come into the zone and button hook to wait for the trailer. Teams (and goalies) know these tendencies and force you to do things you don’t want to do. Kevin Maas looked like Mickey Mantle but teams eventually figured out he couldn’t hit a curveball and he never did adjust.

    – confidence. I still remember RNH breaking the ankles of Mike Fisher in his rookie season and now he doesn’t even try to beat guys one-on-one.

    – system and matchups. Connor McDavid plays disinterested defense. If you don’t believe me watch the 3-on-3 overtime from last week. The whole shift was played on the wrong side of the puck and eventually it ended up in the back of our net. The day will come (and may have already) where the coach asks him to stop cheating for offense (he really struggles as the F3) and then the big adjustment will have to come. Can he produce 3.00 EVP/60 without cheating? I think RNH and Ebs are going through this now.

    I completely agree that 10 game slumps are silly to overanalyze but some of these players are moving well into the area of establishing a new level of performance.

  52. Primetime says:

    Hendricks apparently rotating into Pou’s spot at practice…as flat as Pou has been, if TMac plays Hendy on the 3rd line and sits Pou then I’m not sure he is watching the same games I am….if you’re that desperate to play Hendy, then play him on the 4th line and send Jesse to the farm (better yet bring up Slepy and leave Hendricks in the PB)

  53. Professor Q says:

    I really don’t understand what they’re doing with Puljujärvi. Baffling. They should have sent him to the WJC and then down to Bakersfield.

    I think this is another nail and notch. I hope it doesn’t turn into another Nail, however.

  54. Durag says:

    fifthcartel:
    Are they really going to burn an RFA year to play Puljujarvi on the 4th line? They have to send him down before tomorrow’s game otherwise.

    The other frustrating bit is if a 20 game stint in the AHL works like a charm and he rediscovers his scoring touch, you now have the same dilemma over whether or not to recall him for the home stretch.

  55. stephen sheps says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    gotcha. that’s a fair point. thanks for clarifying

  56. Ryan says:

    fifthcartel:
    Are they really going to burn an RFA year to play Puljujarvi on the 4th line? They have to send him down before tomorrow’s game otherwise.

    Lol.

    Very poor decision imo (to burn a year).

  57. FunkMasterFicko says:

    Long time blog reader, first time poster here!!

    Have the Oilers replaced anyone significant in their player development team over the past 5 or 6 years?

    Because this is a concern of mine that’s growing by the minute..
    Gagner was quite promising as a rookie, even in his first couple/few seasons. Then we suffocated him and set him back HUGE. Dubnyk has decent numbers with us, we eventually rum him out of town and then he is publicly criticized for his technique. Yakupov flourishes under Kruger and then is now a healthy scratch most games. Pajaarvi has a solid rookie year (maybe should have been spent in the AHL though) and then is utilized the wrong way and is now essentially an AHL player.

    And now, most concerning, is how we are handling Jesse Puljujärvi… the consensus 3rd best player in the draft slips to 4, we force feed him NHL time (albeit only 8 minutes every other game) and then bench him basically anytime the game is close in the third. Can’t help but worry that this players confidence is getting seriously affected.

    I realize these decisions include basically everyone from coaching to management and player development. But we’ve had different coaches, different management and all of these decisions continue to be questionable.

    Anyone care to enlighten me?

  58. stush18 says:

    Loss to the best team in the league?

    Yup mclellan must be an idiot.

  59. stephen sheps says:

    Mr. D.: You can also see the bad. First Russell needs to get the puck free and clear of a tough forecheck. We have 4 D guys getting regularly pushed off the puck. A good forecheck turns our”puck movers” in turnover masters. Pathetic.

    I think you missed the point of my comment. Of course the bad was visible, and Russell has had a target on his back from the fanbase the moment he was signed. I was merely trying to highlight a positive moment in a game that had few of them.

    Apropos of nothing, and on a day where we could use a bit of laughter, here’s a puck daddy article on the 10 year anniversary of the “Stefan”.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/remembering-patrik-stefans-infamous-empty-net-goof-10-years-later-173059321.html

  60. New Improved Darkness says:

    Skeeziks:
    As the commentators stated, Tortorella ran a boot camp during training camp and continually told them that it would pay off during the season. It is paying off.

    Because if you start the season in playoff game shape, you’re guaranteed to be in double playoff game shape once the playoffs begin.

    [*] Until the puck drops in 2 OT, then you’re in doubled over game shape. So plan on running the table 16-2, which—as viewed from the mile 60 marker in the bike leg—almost looks doable.

  61. Durag says:

    FunkMasterFicko,

    It was one of those draft day deals where Columbus agreed not to take Puljujarvi at #3 if we promised to fuck up his development.

  62. Bag of Pucks says:

    –hudson–,

    Good point.

  63. frjohnk says:

    Durag:
    FunkMasterFicko,

    It was one of those draft day deals where Columbus agreed not to take Puljujarvi at #3 if we promised to fuck up his development.

    The kid who some said cant skate has 22 points in 35 games for the Flames.

    VERY EARLY, but at the moment, the Flames look to have the 3rd best player from the 2016 draft.

  64. ashley says:

    Some of us never thought Pouliot was good and said so from the day he was signed.

    He reminds of an enhanced JFJ. Fabulous size, speed and skills (JFJ lacked the latter). Terrible hockey sense and decision-making.

    To have success in today’s NHL, every shift must be played with great focus and intent. Players with half of Pouliot’s physical ability and skill have far greater success for this reason. Pouliot can have entire games where he goes through the motions which results in bad positioning, flat-footed defense, poor support of the puck for breakouts, inexplicable penalties, and own goals.

    You are stubborn LT, that is for sure, but I am too. 67 will end up in yet another new town before his career is over, further demoted to the fourth line where he will likely to continue to struggle – the classic career path of an underwhelming, former high draft pick.

    I despise these types of expensive FA signings where the writing is already on the wall and the risk is high. I hope that the Oilers avoid such projects in the future.

  65. oscarmike says:

    HERE COMES THE TEARS!!!!
    Oilers can’t win every game. They’re not the best team. They don’t have the best players. Even at their best its not good enough to be better. Columbus is a complete team. They have it all.

    Its obvious by now that Pouliot should never play again and Eberle has to go.
    Now that Pete added toughness to the line up I think Passing should be next.

    I don’t understand the logic behind the Pouliot-Drake-Jesse line. 2 rookies playing with a slacker. The

    Do the Oilers want to take a risk in running a line without Lucic or Maroon next to Mcdavid?

    Mcdavid-Drai-Puljujarvi
    Lucic-Nuge-Slepy
    Maroon-Drake-Eberle
    Lander-Letestu-Kassian

    Have Drai as a center and have Mcdavid and Puljujarvi as the shooters. Can’t put Puljujarvi on a 3rd/4th line because the line won’t be good enough and will spend more time in the defensive zone.

  66. ashley says:

    knighttown:
    “I always ask a series of questions about a slumping player: Is he injuried? Is he 40? Is his shooting percentage spiraling downard?

    This seems to be a pretty simplistic view point LT.The only possible reasons a player could be be struggling is because they are really old, injured or have a low shooting percentage?

    The danger here is that a player has one good season and we consider that their new benchmark and wait forever for them to do it again.

    I remember you spent almost all last season saying RNH had the flu and then was recovering from the flu and finally that the flu sapped his energy for the second half of the season but now he’s producing a 35% GF%.

    Here are some other reasons he has not (and may not) achieve the results many predicted for him:

    – opposition scouting.Every player has tendencies, for instance, Jordan Eberle loves to come into the zone and button hook to wait for the trailer.Teams (and goalies) know these tendencies and force you to do things you don’t want to do.Kevin Maas looked like Mickey Mantle but teams eventually figured out he couldn’t hit a curveball and he never did adjust.

    – confidence.I still remember RNH breaking the ankles of Mike Fisher in his rookie season and now he doesn’t even try to beat guys one-on-one.

    – system and matchups.Connor McDavid plays disinterested defense.If you don’t believe me watch the 3-on-3 overtime from last week.The whole shift was played on the wrong side of the puck and eventually it ended up in the back of our net.The day will come (and may have already) where the coach asks him to stop cheating for offense (he really struggles as the F3) and then the big adjustment will have to come.Can he produce 3.00 EVP/60 without cheating?I think RNH and Ebs are going through this now.

    I completely agree that 10 game slumps are silly to overanalyze but some of these players are moving well into the area of establishing a new level of performance.

    This is probably a sacred cow here based on the way people were attacked when Hall was criticized for his 6 years here, but I agree with Knighttown the first brave soul to post this about CMD. He’s too far up the ice before possession is even certain. He’s too far away from the puck.

    He’s just a kid though, and kids make this mistake all the time. It’s a right of passage. The irony is that by coming back to help with the breakout, he will actually be on the ice for more scoring chances and get even more points than he already has.

  67. Professor Q says:

    frjohnk,

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that. You have to look at all factors, including usage, not just points.

  68. Bag of Pucks says:

    ashley:
    Some of us never thought Pouliot was good and said so from the day he was signed.

    He reminds of an enhanced JFJ.Fabulous size, speed and skills (JFJ lacked the latter).Terrible hockey sense and decision-making.

    To have success in today’s NHL, every shift must be played with great focus and intent.Players with half of Pouliot’s physical ability and skill have far greater success for this reason.Pouliot can have entire games where he goes through the motions which results in bad positioning, flat-footed defense, poor support of the puck for breakouts, inexplicable penalties, and own goals.

    You are stubborn LT, that is for sure, but I am too.67 will end up in yet another new town before his career is over, further demoted to the fourth line where he will likely to continue to struggle – the classic career path of an underwhelming, former high draft pick.

    I despise these types of expensive FA signings where the writing is already on the wall and the risk is high.I hope that the Oilers avoid such projects in the future.

    I thought he was a great FA signing at a time when the Oil badly needed vet free agents to come here. Thought his first two seasons with the Oil were value for money.

    AND felt his days were numbered the minute Chia took the helm. When your new boss is a guy that previously traded you, that’s not usually a positive development. For whatever reason, I don’t think the GM is sold on this player (suspect the brain cramps leading to penalties or turnovers are a big reason) and I think that has filtered down to the coaching staff usage.

    Player voted ‘Most Likely to be back in the Eastern Conference by May’

  69. Spoils says:

    @lowetide – love the sage comments about the coach. I head from a Van fan that Torts teams eventually meltdown. Maybe he’s gotten past that. The word was – he pits players against each other, frays them to get the best. expect a meltdown in Columbus.

    there are no shortcuts.

    The big thing I can’t get past is that teams and music bands are group organisms. A great guitar player once said ‘ “you have to know what kind of guitar player you are IN the band that you are in, otherwise you just sound like a guest sitting in. You might play beautifully, but it won’t be a band sound”.

    Nuge, Ebs, Pouliot – these are the stars of the old universe. They need to be broken down, turned to ash and soil and re-set in a new constellation in McDavid’s universe.

    Without Pouliot’s give-away, maybe Dadbot steals the game. Maybe Ebs scores the late top corner chance against the Canucks.

    Parity reigns supreme in this league, and it is a thin line between love and hate.

    Sidebar- We CANNOT NOT get value for our assets. Schultz is .68 PPG or something right now for example.

    not to die on Hall mountain, but how does this team become a Dynasty? If we had gotten value for Petry, Dubnyk, Gagner, Schultz, “Barzal” …

  70. Woodguy says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Can you claim two players on waivers in the same day?

    Is Khudobin an upgrade on Gustavsson?

    Is Nieto’s speed an upgrade in the bottom six?

    In terms of Goals Saved Above Average/60, over the last two years:

    Gustavsson ranks 63/69

    Khudobin 61/69.

    Pass.

    Talbot ranks 10/69 btw.

    Not sure on Nieto.

    Edit: Had a quick look at Nieto.

    He seems be be one of the those “will bring 0 offence” type forwards who shouldn’t be employed by anyone.

  71. ashley says:

    Parts of that game were not too bad last night. A decent road game with a few gaffes.

    It’s fascinating to see some of the GM’s recognizing and making the transition to a speedy, defensive minded roster (and having great success) while other GM’s are still thinking about big and heavy players.

    Remember all of our discussion about the powerful Western Conference with its big, heavy, skilled centers that are dominating the speedy, skilled, but small Oiler players (never mind to mention the complete lack of defensive talent on the roster)? Remember some teams were thought to have better records because they played more games against the easy Eastern Conference? How things have changed.

    Woodguy has it above. The successful teams are icing speed (not necessarily size) on all four lines. Some skilled, some not so skilled, but all can be taught to play defense and basic breakout strategy. These teams tend to have the puck on their stick in the neutral zone. The Oilers shoot it down and tip it in hoping to recover it in the ozone. Most of the time, they don’t.

    I’m not sure if this is coaching or bad forward positioning or both. Feet of clay don’t help.

  72. Skeeziks says:

    New Improved Darkness: Because if you start the season in playoff game shape, you’re guaranteed to be in double playoff game shape once the playoffs begin.

    [*] Until the puck drops in 2 OT, then you’re in doubled over game shape.So plan on running the table 16-2, which—as viewed from the mile 60 marker in the bike leg—almost looks doable.

    What I have noticed very frequently is that Oiler players come off the ice after a shift and they are doubled over as if totally gassed. They don’t get to the bench quickly and seem to lag on getting back up the ice to back check. I did not see that last night with CBJ players and they were skating hard and working hard on every shift.

    These are world class athletes and should be conditioned as such. I wonder how much the World Cup affected the Oilers training camp.

  73. Woodguy says:

    oscarmike,

    HERE COMES THE TEARS!!!!

    I think you’re posting on the wrong site.

  74. stevezie says:

    Lowetide,

    You have piqued my curiosity. What were people saying? Were you defending the trade or Lowe, or Peonger… why were they mad at you???

  75. Bag of Pucks says:

    FunkMasterFicko:
    Long time blog reader, first time poster here!!

    Have the Oilers replaced anyone significant in their player development team over the past 5 or 6 years?

    Because this is a concern of mine that’s growing by the minute..
    Gagner was quite promising as a rookie, even in his first couple/few seasons. Then we suffocated him and set him back HUGE. Dubnyk has decent numbers with us, we eventually rum him out of town and then he is publicly criticized for his technique. Yakupov flourishes under Kruger and then is now a healthy scratch most games. Pajaarvi has a solid rookie year (maybe should have been spent in the AHL though) and then is utilized the wrong way and is now essentially an AHL player.

    And now, most concerning, is how we are handling Jesse Puljujärvi… the consensus 3rd best player in the draft slips to 4, we force feed him NHL time (albeit only 8 minutes every other game) and then bench him basically anytime the game is close in the third. Can’t help but worry that this players confidence is getting seriously affected.

    I realize these decisions include basically everyone from coaching to management and player development. But we’ve had different coaches, different management and all of these decisions continue to be questionable.

    Anyone care to enlighten me?

    Dubnyk is the only one of the 4 you mentioned who’s fully established himself as a NHL regular since leaving, and he’s been candid in acknowledging that the Oil couldn’t be blamed for trading him given the way he played. They were patient beyond belief with Dubie’s development, Don’t forget, the Preds and Yotes cut bait with him as well.

    Gagner had played his way out of the league and was fortunate to find a roster spot with CBJ this season. Yes, he’d made the most of it, but he’s a 4th liner on a powerhouse team who’s feasting on PP mins.

    Yakupov, bust. Paajarvi, bust. Even Cogliano, busting until he realized his NHL future lay outside the Top 6.

    I think where the Oil ran aground with these players is gifting them cherry mins, money and status before they’d earned it particularly with their two way commitment. But unfortunately, this is where the reality of ‘burn it to the ground’ smacks them in the face. The Oil equated ‘youth movement’ with expect the youth to carry them to the promise land. What they should have equated it to is, build your prospect pipeline to bursting and only graduate them to the next level once they’ve forced the issue.

    Now we’ve got slumping Eberle on the 3rd line and JP fighting to get off the 4th line. Unbelievably, that’s progress. Lowebellini would have them playing the toughs right now.

  76. Woodguy says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    Jonathan Toews has only six goals and 18 points.

    Toronto is going to make the playoffs.

    Scoring peaks early.Very early.

    One of the key reason that scoring peaks early is that younger players usually have easier assignments.

  77. Woodguy says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Even Cogliano, busting until he realized his NHL future lay outside the Top 6.

    Cogliano still has dressed for every game he was available for in his career.

    That’s not busting.

  78. Woodguy says:

    Jack MichaelsVerified account
    ‏@EdmontonJack
    If Davidson doesn’t go tomorrow, expect Sekera-Benning, Klefbom-Larson, Russell-Gryba. Hendricks rotating on 3rd line LW (Pouliot’s spot).

    You never want to see anyone injured, but this could be a very, very fortunate turn of events for McLellan and Chiarella (and the fans of course)

    If those two see 2-83 do well (they’re 59% CF and 68% GF together in 138 minutes) in a 2nd pairing role, then they might re-think 4’s deployment and put him where’s he’s best suited, on the 3rd pair.

    They also might re-think the extension (if Peter is actually thinking it, he said the same thing about Gryba last year and never did do anything until late summer)

  79. frjohnk says:

    Professor Q:
    frjohnk,

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that. You have to look at all factors, including usage, not just points.

    I believe he is playing mostly with Backlund and Frolik on the 3rd line, he gets some PP time.

    Watching some of the Flames games and while Tkachuk will most likely be in the running for “biggest jerk” in the NHL quite soon, the kid is very creative in the offensive zone. He sees the ice very well for a 19 yearold. His skating while not “elite” is nothing what some said it was. A better way to put it, is that his skating is way better than Lucic’s. Way better. I say that because that was one comparison.

    Hate to say it, but the Flames have got a very good player and he is producing right now for them. 3rd in team scoring.

  80. JimmyV1965 says:

    Bag of Pucks: Sam Gagner is nearly outscoring Nuge AND Eberle by his lonesome. Anyway you slice it, that is not likely to be optically palatable in the OEG ivory tower.

    I don’t know what this even means. Would you trade RNH or Ebs for Gagner? Not in a million years. The guy has been on what three different teams and produced zilch. Pitty the fool who pays him next year. They will be sorely disappointed.I think they call this a career year. If the braintrust at OEG somehow thinks this is a thing then we are in really big trouble.

  81. Jethro Tull says:

    ashley: This is probably a sacred cow here based on the way people were attacked when Hall was criticized for his 6 years here, but I agree with Knighttown the first brave soul to post this about CMD.He’s too far up the ice before possession is even certain.He’s too far away from the puck.

    He’s just a kid though, and kids make this mistake all the time.It’s a right of passage.The irony is that by coming back to help with the breakout, he will actually be on the ice for more scoring chances and get even more points than he already has.

    It’s al about exiting the zone. We still don’t have the ponies at d yet. You don’t ‘come back to help with the breakout’. That makes it not a break out, but a controlled zone exit. Usually on a break out, your fastest skater will take off like a scalded cat for the……wait for it….break out pass. So called because it is thus.

    The problem, as I’m sure WG and many others will back me up, is instead of using short tic-tac-toe passes to get quickly and efficiently out of the d zone (like at the beginning of the season), we’ve gone back to either ringing it around the boards or putting passes along our own blue line from the wing to center to be picked off. Also, McDavid can’t compete against supposed vets turning it over when we’re supposedly in full possession.

    Columbus was a great example of what we need to do last night. Great transition play.

    I said it before when Hall was here: Square pegs, square holes. You want McDavid embarrassing NHL d men with his speed, not complimenting him on what a solid defensive performance he put in tonight. If your doing that, you probably lost the game and are looking for silver linings.

  82. Jethro Tull says:

    Jethro Tull
    says:

    January 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    “Yay! We lose against the best team in the league and we start questioning McDavid’s attitude!

    Remember this moment folks. The start of people on the slippery slope towards “I’m a huge McDavid fan, but we could get a really good RHD for him. We should play him on the top line to pump his tires.”

    Posted this last night. Doomsday clock is ticking……

  83. Bruce Wayne says:

    ashley:

    I despise these types of expensive FA signings where the writing is already on the wall and the risk is high.I hope that the Oilers avoid such projects in the future.

    This describes Lucic perfectly.

    I was down on the signing from the beginning but he has been so much worse than I expected.

  84. LMHF#1 says:

    I watched the previous game against the Blue Jackets from down low in Rogers Place. I noted at the time that the Oilers’ breakout was not clicking at all. They were fumbling around with the puck, taking too long to make decisions and not always in the best position. This is holding them back right now as well.

    Knock him all you want, but Yakupov was able to get the puck to McDavid while he was moving in the neutral zone. Many wingers have struggled with this aspect of the game this year.

  85. OF17 says:

    Woodguy: One of the key reason that scoring peaks early is that younger players usually have easier assignments.

    I think priorities change for most too. Older players have more of a Team Canada mindset, where the best player you can be is one that does everything well. Younger players want to play like Team North America, where you beat the opposition by overwhelming them with skill and tempo. There are exceptions of course. Kane and Ovechkin never lost their youthful exuberance, but older stars tend to adopt that more rounded and level-headed game. I think Nuge fell too far into the hole and Eberle is trying to make the change but is more suited to the Kane/Ovechkin.

    Makes one appreciate Crosby even more. He made the adjustment without losing offense. My money is on Connor eventually doing the same.

  86. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy,

    Glad you’ve joined the “Noises Off” group. Prior to doing the officiating work I never had the sound on while watching. What could the announcers possibly tell me that I couldn’t see (given that they are generally SN announcers…)?

    One thing I’ve found interesting since having to have the sound on though…

    The Oilers will have a PP and generate 1, 2 or even maybe no shots on net. Remenda is quick to point this out. Yet if I were grading it, often times I would say that they had generated 1, 2 maybe 3 or more scoring chances, despite not registering a shot on net.

    So a viewer may come away from a PP listening to Remenda and thinking “wow, this pp really sucks” whereas they arguably set themselves up for a goal better than if they hammered half a dozen shots from the point with no second chances or shots in close.

  87. Bruce Wayne says:

    Jethro Tull:
    Jethro Tull
    says:

    January 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    “Yay! We lose against the best team in the league and we start questioning McDavid’s attitude!

    Remember this moment folks. The start of people on the slippery slope towards “I’m a huge McDavid fan, but we could get a really good RHD for him. We should play him on the top line to pump his tires.”

    Posted this last night.Doomsday clock is ticking……

    This is what happens when you trade Taylor hall for Adam “off the glass and out” Larsson and then replace Hall with Milan “feet of clay” Lucic.

    You have the same problems you always had, but now you don’t have Taylor Hall.
    People are going to be run out of town, but it is the wrong people.

  88. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy:
    Jack MichaelsVerified account
    ‏@EdmontonJack
    If Davidson doesn’t go tomorrow, expect Sekera-Benning, Klefbom-Larson, Russell-Gryba. Hendricks rotating on 3rd line LW (Pouliot’s spot).

    You never want to see anyone injured, but this could be a very, very fortunate turn of events for McLellan and Chiarella (and the fans of course)

    If those two see 2-83 do well (they’re 59% CF and 68% GF together in 138 minutes) in a 2nd pairing role, then they might re-think 4’s deployment and put him where’s he’s best suited, on the 3rd pair.

    They also might re-think the extension (if Peter is actually thinking it, he said the same thing about Gryba last year and never did do anything until late summer)

    Do you even realize how quickly I go through lucky rabbits’ feet with all that fur rubbing off due to things like this?

    I’m gonna have to start buying these things in bulk pretty soon.

  89. digger50 says:

    I have not been a fan of Pouliot even when he was playing well, which is fine, we all have our favorites.

    What I love is LT’s defence of BP. It is the equivalent of wading into a scrum and trading blows simply because this guy is on “my” team. That sense of team Cohesion is something we admire in players and we would do well to remember as fans.

    I do tire with all the goat type comments towards players from people who call themselves fans of the team.

    Yes, I do recognize the difference between analysis, critique and poisonous attacks.

  90. RexLibris says:

    frjohnk: The kid who some said cant skate has 22 points in 35 games for the Flames.

    VERY EARLY, but at the moment, the Flames look to have the 3rd best player from the 2016 draft.

    Early in their careers the Flames looked to have the best of the three first forwards taken in 2014 also.

    Robert Nilsson scored in his first game as an Oiler.

    Tkachuk is a very good player, but I don’t believe Puljujarvi has forgotten everything he knows about hockey over the course of four months.

    Let’s give these guys five years.

  91. digger50 says:

    RexLibris:
    Woodguy,

    Glad you’ve joined the “Noises Off” group. Prior to doing the officiating work I never had the sound on while watching. What could the announcers possibly tell me that I couldn’t see (given that they are generally SN announcers…)?

    One thing I’ve found interesting since having to have the sound on though…

    The Oilers will have a PP and generate 1, 2 or even maybe no shots on net. Remenda is quick to point this out. Yet if I were grading it, often times I would say that they had generated 1, 2 maybe 3 or more scoring chances, despite not registering a shot on net.

    So a viewer may come away from a PP listening to Remenda and thinking “wow, this pp really sucks” whereas they arguably set themselves up for a goal better than if they hammered half a dozen shots from the point with no second chances or shots in close.

    Yesterday I found on the SportsNet West website a feedback e mail. Scroll to the bottom. I sent them a little feedback on Mr. Remenda. There is power in numbers if anyone else wants to offer feedback.

  92. OF17 says:

    Larsson’s play on the breakouts this year is another suggestion that coaching might be an issue. We’ve been talking a lot about his passing prowess hasn’t shown itself as much as expected, but most of his passes in Jersey were of the 10-15 foot variety. And he’s very good at playing that game. Seeing him go from that style to the long breakouts that have crept into the Oilers’ game makes me think that it’s not just sinking back into old habits but also at least partially a coaching issue.

  93. digger50 says:

    On the breakout.

    Scouting report on Oilers was strong corecheck and d men pinch. Contact and board battles were occurring above hash marks.

    Looks to me like they switched. No winger is allowed below hash marks. (Almost funny at times as wingers pull up and wave thier stick over the hash marks – but do not cross!!)

    So wingers stay high. On breakout get up high over the blue line so when puck contact is made, board battle is initiated at least it is out of the zone.

    My observation.

  94. RexLibris says:

    digger50: Yesterday I found on the SportsNet West website a feedback e mail. Scroll to the bottom. I sent them a little feedback on Mr. Remenda. There is power in numbers if anyone else wants to offer feedback.

    Thanks for that. I might take a look. I am cynical on my expectations for customer responses by Rogers, but one never knows.

    In addition, while I’m by no means a fan of Remenda, I’m not sure I could bring myself to advocate for him losing his job. Frustrated as I am that DeBrusk and Johnson lost theirs.

  95. frjohnk says:

    RexLibris: Early in their careers the Flames looked to have the best of the three first forwards taken in 2014 also.

    Robert Nilsson scored in his first game as an Oiler.

    Tkachuk is a very good player, but I don’t believe Puljujarvi has forgotten everything he knows about hockey over the course of four months.

    Let’s give these guys five years.

    Thats why I said “VERY EARLY”

    I think the issue with JP and SwedishPoster mentioned this before the season started, is that he has not physical grown into his body yet. And because of this, it would affect his transition to the NHL. We are seeing that nightly, we are also seeing some flashes of the skill and smarts that made him the 3rd overall pick. He is big body and they sometime take longer to make it. Once he does put it all together, he is gonna be one helluva player.

    I believe Tkachuk was more NHL ready, because of his body type, ( not as tall and lanky as JP),he is a bit older, used to he NA game and that is why is having more success right now.

    Im very happy we picked JP, and do believe he will become the 3rd best player out of the draft. But right now, Tkachuk has that title.

  96. RexLibris says:

    frjohnk: Thats why I said “VERY EARLY”

    I think the issue with JP and SwedishPoster mentioned this before the season started, is that he has not physical grown into his body yet. And because of this, it would affect his transition to the NHL. We are seeing that nightly, we are also seeing some flashes of the skill and smarts that made him the 3rd overall pick.He is big body and they sometime take longer to make it. Once he does put it all together, he is gonna be one helluva player.

    I believe Tkachuk was more NHL ready, because of his body type, ( not as tall and lanky as JP),he is a bit older, used to he NA game and that is why is having more success right now.

    Im very happy we picked JP, and do believe he will become the 3rd best player out of the draft.But right now, Tkachuk has that title.

    Any defensiveness here wasn’t directed at you but rather some of what I expect to encounter as the season progresses, especially if/when the Flames pass the Oilers in the standings.

    I’ve already waded through the “Gaudreau is our McDavid” schtick.

  97. linkfromhyrule says:

    RexLibris: In addition, while I’m by no means a fan of Remenda, I’m not sure I could bring myself to advocate for him losing his job. Frustrated as I am that DeBrusk and Johnson lost theirs.

    I can. Remenda is terrible at his job, and I will be letting Rogers know that as well. There is no shortage of talented analysts out there, yet we are stuck listening to his tripe night in and night out. I actually enjoy listening to quality commentators, but more often than not I mute Remenda.

    If someone is terrible at their job and makes no effort to improve, that person should be fired to make way for a more competent person. Otherwise, you get Remenda and Quinn.

  98. frjohnk says:

    RexLibris: Any defensiveness here wasn’t directed at you but rather some of what I expect to encounter as the season progresses, especially if/when the Flames pass the Oilers in the standings.

    I’ve already waded through the “Gaudreau is our McDavid” schtick.

    No worries, all good pal.

  99. Dominoiler says:

    Can we just anoint Torts coach of the year now.. i think we’ve seen enough.. am hoping Columbus keeps on pummeling the league, might even build up some modicum of respect this season..

    Good to note that it took more than a “Rick Nash” (Taylor Hall, McD?!) to pull a shit show franchise out of the gutter..

  100. Bag of Pucks says:

    What would the thoughts be on a Elias Lindholm for RNH ‘change of scenery for both’ trade?

    How about Lindholm/Hanifan for RNH/Klefbom?

  101. Mr. D. says:

    Bruce Wayne: This describes Lucic perfectly.

    I was down on the signing from the beginning but he has been so much worse than I expected.

    From what I’ve heard his wife doesn’t like Edmonton. Sound familiar?

  102. Georges says:

    All of this love for Columbus, a 50.2 CF% and 103.53 PDO team. On a Corsi is king and PDO is random blog. Some folks are losing their religion.

    Three games ago, we beat the Kings and Darryl Sutter said give the Oilers credit, they’re a good team.

    Two games ago, Jacob Markstrom makes 42 saves and the Oilers lose in a shootout.

    Yesterday, the Oilers lose to the red-hot CBJ and there are issues everywhere, including CMD! Did no one else see him blow by Werenski the golden child?

    Good for CBJ. Let’s move on.

    The person who really needs to keep it together is TMac. He has a blame and yell at people style of management. Even Torts doesn’t do that. He tells his players he measures their performance and the performance of the team on scoring chances. He helps his players recognize the importance of scoring chances because scoring chances are much more valuable than ordinary shot attempts. The result is that his players actively try to create and deny them on both sides of the ice. Then he shows them the numbers on how they did after every game and lets them talk about it so they can recognize what works and what doesn’t. He gives them constant feedback and a clear target for improving performance. That’s how good organizations manage.

    Or they yell and tell Spector to call out Eberle and Pouliot on Twitter. That’s also fun. Stay calm, Todd. Think. Help your team play better. That Columbus lineup, player for player, is no better than the Oilers lineup. Yelling at players after a bad performance and then seeing them turn in a good performance afterward is classic regression to the mean, not good management. Noticing this yelling tendency in flight instructors is what got Kahneman and Tversky started with heuristics and biases.

  103. Bag of Pucks says:

    Mr. D.: From what I’ve heard his wife doesn’t like Edmonton. Sound familiar?

    Why does this surprise anyone? We’re a small city closer to the arctic circle than we are to Miami. I don’t see Bourdain dropping by anytime soon.

  104. Georges says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    Jonathan Toews has only six goals and 18 points.

    Toronto is going to make the playoffs.

    Scoring peaks early.Very early.

    So, Hall…

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

    frjohnk,

    If Swedishposter is correct (and I love his analysis of Scandinavian players) does this maybe account for the oddball treatment of him by the coaching staff and management?

    Below is my guess at what the convo between JP and Chia/TMac sounded like

    Chia/TMac – “Hey kid, we know you have the brain power and the tools to play at this level but you’re one lanky bugger, missed some time due to injury and haven’t quite figured out how to hang it all together yet. In fact you’re a lot like that other tall lanky fella back on the blue line who can skate like the wind but hasn’t quite put the muscle on the frame. We like you, we like you big time and we want to keep you around the team to learn from these guys but we don’t want to put you in a spot where you’ll need a shoulder or knee replacement like oh so many other young guys who came onto this team and were placed way to high up the order. We also know that you don’t have a great command of english yet, that’s fine but we really really need you to work on that this year so here’s the deal.

    We’ll keep you up for a good long time, you’ll make some nice dollars, you’ll get top of the line training and commentary from us, hell Jay and Todd will give you their cell numbers if you like, and we’ll let a bunch of these other young guys around here show you the ropes otherwise. You probably won’t play as much as you’d like, nor will you necessarily play in the top spots when you do. Don’t take it personally and don’t think you’re in the shithouse (we have plenty of vets to house in there). Just go out there and give us the absolute best you can, show us that big hockey brain and keep on top of your workouts, you’re gonna grow a lot over the next couple of years and its important you keep up your mobility while gaining strength (kinda like that other big lanky fella on the blue line, too bad about his foot though shitty luck), we’re gonna do what’s best for you and what we think is best for us, are you cool with that?”

    I’d also like to thank Centre of Attention for his work on Benson lately. I’ve only been able to catch highlights of the kid but it sounds like he’s been coming on really strong lately and the stats are starting to back that up. This could be a very valuable pickup if he can keep this up.

    Woodguy,

    This all damn day long! Big fan of Davidson so I hope its not serious but I would love to see this. I wonder if TMac got some ideas seeing Jones-Werenski last night…

  106. Georges says:

    Lowetide: Oh, I haven’t gotten any emails as bad as the comments section here around the Pronger trade. Most people are very respectful when emailing me, to be honest. I think the contact button actually helped me in that way.

    Wait. When did you start the blog, LT?

  107. Woodguy says:

    RexLibris: Do you even realize how quickly I go through lucky rabbits’ feet with all that fur rubbing off due to things like this?

    I’m gonna have to start buying these things in bulk pretty soon.

    I’ve got a little warren in my front yard eating all my trees and perennials.

    You’re free to come and take them.

  108. Woodguy says:

    Mr. D.: From what I’ve heard his wife doesn’t like Edmonton. Sound familiar?

    From what I heard his wife wanted to live in a Canadian city because of not feeling safe in the US with a young family.

    She’s from Vancouver.

  109. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks for digging into this for me.
    I won’t be back on my laptop to look at this until tomorrow, and I’m not very good at using my phone.

  110. krakman says:

    Mr. D.,

    Would be great for the Oilers to get out from that contract.

  111. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy: I’ve got a little warren in my front yard eating all my trees and perennials.

    You’re free to come and take them.

    Man, I’m having Watership Down PTSD flashbacks right now…

    …so…dark…

  112. bendelson says:

    Woodguy: I’ve got a little warren in my front yard eating all my trees and perennials

    Yeah, that’s fine but are they carrying little pitchforks and torches?

  113. Factotum says:

    Dele Alli is such a lovely footballer one thinks he cannot possibly be English. And yet he is.
    SPURS!

  114. RexLibris says:

    bendelson: Yeah, that’s fine but are they carrying little pitchforks and torches?

    Excuse me while I check Etsy for hare-sized farm implements.

    I WILL make this happen!

  115. Woodguy says:

    Georges,

    CBJ’s scored adjusted CF% is 51.86, good for 9th in the NHL.

    Red hot goalering is helping for sure.

    I haven’t checked their career SH% vs this year to see how hot that’s running.

    Bob was super fit last year at 199 and 6’2, but still lost 15 lbs (mostly muscle) to put less stress on his body.

    Interesting to watch.

    I love the style of hockey they play.

  116. Melvis says:

    Somewhat off piste…but I’m in a position to celebrate the New Year through the other calendar, and Ukrainian Xmas…thus accounting for an afternoon foray through a Sauvignon Blanc. Always a bit of an inducement and a writing prompt, for good or evil.

    Sooo… for the good. Absolutely fabulous writeup from the new, improved Darkness yesterday on personal coffee experience, prep science, and attendant minutae. Very much appreciated.

    But here’s the question. With over a 150,000,000 million blogs in the world, and counting, where else does he appear? If anywhere?

    Blessed a with good mind, imagination, research and writing skills…surely to fucking christ…there are better stages and venues for his various non oilers forays and deliberations. Unless I’m missing the inscape…. maybe something along the lines of a Charbucks roast tasting like a sous vide hockey puck posing as analogy?

    Or he just shy?

    Bruce Grenville, the current curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Mathew Teitelbaum, once chief acurator at the AGO , and now At the Boston Museum of Fine Arts – have chosen a couple of ny paintings for inclusion in various shows. But a nice coup here and there doesn’t necessarily translate into something resembling a visual comfort zone. Quite the contrary, in fact.

    The above paragraph was stated in something resembling standard blog narcissism…as all such things are….just for the record. But actually, I’m quite shy. And stats aside, ( I eschew golden mean)…and tend to cleave to the pictures.

    This also goes for linear, logical thinking. It doesn’t pass muster, when skating up the S.Sask. river with a couple of friends, dusting off a puck for a couple of miles on one of those clear, perfect January days when all things are right with the world, met at the end of which… a good good beef frank iimpaled on a sharpened willow stick over an open air fire….washed down with something interesting from the thermos, and the requisite post-exercise spliff. Heaven. Be sure there’s some one to pick you up at that point. The skate back, against the wind, can be hellish.

    Of course, I’m not opposed to stats and analysis, but the aforementioned beguiles the mathiness of such an occasion. Nor can one place a bet on it 😉

    As for the Oilers. Theres something currently missing from that skate up the river. That unbearable lightness of being. The sheer fun of it all. The fuckin game, in fact.

    Jeff Porcaro once told me, after you learn to play the notes, you gotta learn to play the spaces. It holds true for music, for life, for hockey. And it doesn’t come from over “thinking it”. It comes from some deep affection for, actually a jones for lockin’ in the pocket, for a groove, for knockin’ a dick in the dirt play – and for a complemtary cast…including a coach who gets it. Few do.

  117. frjohnk says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!: If Swedishposter is correct (and I love his analysis of Scandinavian players) does this maybe account for the oddball treatment of him by the coaching staff and management?

    Below is my guess at what the convo between JP and Chia/TMac sounded like

    Chia/TMac – “Hey kid, we know you have the brain power and the tools to play at this level but you’re one lanky bugger, missed some time due to injury and haven’t quite figured out how to hang it all together yet. In fact you’re a lot like that other tall lanky fella back on the blue line who can skate like the wind but hasn’t quite put the muscle on the frame. We like you, we like you big time and we want to keep you around the team to learn from these guys but we don’t want to put you in a spot where you’ll need a shoulder or knee replacement like oh so many other young guys who came onto this team and were placed way to high up the order. We also know that you don’t have a great command of english yet, that’s fine but we really really need you to work on that this year so here’s the deal.

    We’ll keep you up for a good long time, you’ll make some nice dollars, you’ll get top of the line training and commentary from us, hell Jay and Todd will give you their cell numbers if you like, and we’ll let a bunch of these other young guys around here show you the ropes otherwise. You probably won’t play as much as you’d like, nor will you necessarily play in the top spots when you do. Don’t take it personally and don’t think you’re in the shithouse (we have plenty of vets to house in there). Just go out there and give us the absolute best you can, show us that big hockey brain and keep on top of your workouts, you’re gonna grow a lot over the next couple of years and its important you keep up your mobility while gaining strength (kinda like that other big lanky fella on the blue line, too bad about his foot though shitty luck), we’re gonna do what’s best for you and what we think is best for us, are you cool with that?”

    Could very well be so.

    I believe they are trying to fast track his development.

    For some it works, for others not so much.

    Time will tell, on how well the JP experiment works.

  118. sliderule says:

    The oilers breakout is very similar to Pens .Wingers move to neutral zone and defence basically dump it ou if pressured.There are other teams that do that including Toronto only not as much as Pens.Its real tough for the opposing Defence to pinch when forward is behind him.

    When oilers got in trouble last night is when wingers were not able to move out and Jackets D either stripped them or made them make a turnover pass.

    If Rogers did like football and drew up the breakouts and forechecking systems being used (there are many types) they would give more interest to broadcasts.I have seen that done on USA feeds and it’s great.

  119. Woodguy says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Woodguy,

    Thanks for digging into this for me.
    I won’t be back on my laptop to look at this until tomorrow, and I’m not very good at using my phone.

    You’re welcome.

  120. delooper says:

    Georges: Wait. When did you start the blog, LT?

    I’m not certain, but I think it was at least as far back as 2005. I became addicted in the winter of 2005, when I was living in Germany.

  121. krakman says:

    Lucic evp/60 1.18 !

  122. Woodguy says:

    bendelson: Yeah, that’s fine but are they carrying little pitchforks and torches?

    Not at home, go have a look for me please.

  123. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy: Not at home, go have a look for me please.

    I’m thinking somebody should’ve asked Santa for the Holy Hand Grenade this Christmas.

  124. RexLibris says:

    delooper: I’m not certain, but I think it was at least as far back as 2005.I became addicted in the winter of 2005, when I was living in Germany.

    I thought it was just after the SC run in 2006.

  125. JDï™ says:

    Melvis: Jeff Porcaro once told me

    The Rosanna half time shuffle explained:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwyO1qr0edI

    The entire Toto lineup is elite, but I’ve always thought Porcaro flew under the radar for playing in an 80s pop-rock band.

    And for those of you already starting to talk about player’s wives, maybe you should read something unrelated to hockey for a while: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_meat_shower

  126. delooper says:

    RexLibris: I thought it was just after the SC run in 2006.

    I thought I was reading this blog during the run. That, and the blog with the 80’s album cover art. . .

    Was it Smothered in Oil? by. . . Chris! ?

  127. RexLibris says:

    delooper: I thought I was reading this blog during the run.That, and the blog with the 80’s album cover art. . .

    I didn’t start reading until I had regular internet service, so Jan 2008, give or take. But I recall reading that LT’s original blog title idea was “Horcoff and Die” which apparently was nixed by Management on account of taste, thus leading Our Venerable Leader to settle on Lowetide.

    I know he was active on HFBoards prior to that, though, as a bouncer/moderator.

  128. ashley says:

    Melvis:

    As for the Oilers. Theres something currently missing from that skate up the river….

    Jeff Porcaro once told me, after you learn to play the notes, you gotta learn to play the spaces.

    Great analogy and interesting analysis.

  129. godot10 says:

    We get an referendum (of one) on the coaching this summer, depending on whether McDavid signs an extension or NOT.

    In July, we find out if Chiarelli, McLellan, and McDavid are all seeing eye to eye.

  130. --hudson-- says:

    godot10:
    We get an referendum (of one) on the coaching this summer, depending on whether McDavid signs an extension or NOT.

    In July, we find out if Chiarelli, McLellan, and McDavid are all seeing eye to eye.

    Unfortunately the CBA will complicate negotiations. Many pundits claim he won’t sign beyond 2022 no matter what the Oilers do.

  131. Melvis says:

    JDï™,

    Thanks for the info Man.;-)….but

    I met Jeff for the first time ( and my first LA friend) – along with David Paich, David Hungate,and Louis Shelton on Dec.31, 1973. It was That night at Maple Leaf Gardens I was first drafted for the first pairing D role gig in the bigs. First production coordiantor and later road manager….chasing the dream of session musician. It’s a long story – perhaps inappropriate for this blog.

    I was all of barely 20, green and wet behind the ears. I was flown from Saskatoon to LA a week later in weather like this, met at LAX by a movie standin chauffeur with my name on a placard, before being driven up Vine in a stretch limo, passing the stack of the Capital Records building at Hollywwood and Vine along the way to the manager’s house. Heart fluttering – tits be calm. You gotta be cool man. Just maintain. You can change your shorts soon enough.

    A few days later, Jan. 74- my first tour of mostly Eastern sold out seabord college barns…Jeff’s younger brother Mike and I now fast friends. 42 years ago and I still weep serious crocodile tears at those respective losses around this time of year. In fact, I can hardly stand it.

    That, his voice, his charisma, his humility, helpfulness and the big shit eating grin… and his groove that fuckin shuffle man.

    “C’mon down”, he’d call up. And I’d be off on another weekly adventure in some recording studio. Boz Scaggs, Fagen and Becker, you name it. Or just clubbing and sitting in at with who ever at the Baked Potato.

    Jeez…what a time.

  132. JDï™ says:

    Melvis,

    Great story – I was hoping to coax out more info on that phrase of yours I quoted.

    I chased the dream for a while too, albeit it in ranks much, much lower. I’m still chasing, just can’t remember what it was I was chasing…

  133. Snowman says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    What would the thoughts be on a Elias Lindholm for RNH ‘change of scenery for both’ trade?

    How about Lindholm/Hanifan for RNH/Klefbom?

    I’d rather add bigly to Nuge and try to get Duchene. Don’t think Lindholm is in Nuge’s ballpark.

    Also don’t think Nuge is in Duchene’s ballpark but I’d rather be the team upgrading.

    Having said that I think Nuge is coming around and wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit by a pretty good second half.

  134. Melvis says:

    ashley,

    Thanks Ashley. Intuition, and acting on it immediately, has played such a significant role in my life, I’m a bit hesitant about conflating that particular moment, it’s various opportunities outcomes, and some quasi predictive future value via mathy analysis. Of course, the latter holds up over time.

    But the lather, rinse, repeat, if possible on a consistent basis, sheds anything resembling the magic in the moment. And a persistent, sometimes overly stubborn structure, confounds it.

    Besides, I still see Shultz, on the Oilers, experimentally, at one time, as a winger. It’s creative, if nothing else. Just for the hell of it:. Although Hallsy playing centre wasn’t such a great idea;-)

  135. Melvis says:

    JDï™,

    Be careful what you pray or wish for, you might get it.

    There’s a very dark, psychological downside to all of that shizz. I ended up in a love/hate relationship with LA culture, the lifestyle, the shop – therefore I am and everthing it implies. There’s no there, there for some. And the heart and head yearned for a making of something of value over time.

    I was a ham and eggs musician. My take away from those gifted by god or gords was a return to school…in Canada. OCAD, Uof T and Uof S. And smell of LA smog, can, in fact, bring on a very real puke fest. It’s different than anywhere else.

  136. MrEd says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    FU. Lucic is a player.

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