G41 2016-17: OILERS AT DEVILS

We had no money really, she worked at the bank and I at the radio station in Red Deer. We both worked overtime to afford the little extra’s, and on this day, the one I am about to tell you of, both things came into play. I did a remote from 10am-4pm on the Saturday in summer, those dollars would make my paycheque enough for us to take our first vacation. I rushed back from the remote (conveniently located at the Olds Auction Mart) and flew back to the radio station to drop off the equipment, hang the keys to the van on the wall, and start my vacation.

We had a 1976 Dodge Colt, it was white with a denim hardtop roof. We had to get gas, so hit the Mohawk (by the Tastee Freez, over by Bower Mall) on the way out of Red Deer. We had been married one year and a little bit, I took a picture of her walking out of the Mohawk with two Cokes and some cheezies. Still have that photo, still remember the promise in that moment. This is us.

When we grow attached to dreams, the really good ones, it hurts to let them go. We, Oilers Nation, had a dream, it included Taylor Hall, front and center and part of the bad times and surely part of the good days that lay ahead.

That was the promise, that was the hope. That dream is gone now, today. We are left to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. We will do so in our own time, individually. Dreams, the really good ones, die hard, as they should. This is us.

ACROSS THE RIVER TO THE JERSEY SIDE, 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: 1-1-0, goal differential -1
  • Oilers after 40, 2015-16: 16-21-3, goal differential -24
  • Oilers after 40, 2016-17: 20-13-7, goal differential +9

Game 41 a year ago saw Andrej Sekera score a beauty in overtime. That win, No. 17 on the year, would be followed during January by two more victories, five more losses, and two more ties. That kind of record this season could see the Oilers slide right out of the playoffs—meaning this game and every other one needs to bring points to Edmonton.

FACING THE OLD TEAM

  • Taylor Hall: “It’s going to be weird, but to be honest, it was really nice to have a game [Friday] against a different team. I guess now I start thinking about it. I’m just trying to stay focused on helping my team and trying to get two points for us. It’s definitely going to be weird and I’m not going to downplay that. It’s going to be a super strange atmosphere for me, but the quicker I put that aside and just focus on playing hockey and focus on my contribution to the team, I think that’s the best way to go.” Source

Sometimes it works the other way, where the team plays poorly against their former mate, so I don’t think it wise to believe either team has an edge. I also believe it will be weird for Oilers fans too, because Taylor Hall as enemy is going to take some time.

CURRENT STANDINGS

Everyone but Anaheim plays tonight, Edmonton cannot be caught from behind this evening thanks to a valiant effort by the Vancouver Canucks. They broke Calgary’s heart last night, just a wildly unfair result for the red team. Edmonton must push this evening, zero points would be a harsh result.

PAC-7 LAST 10 GAMES

  1. Vancouver Canucks 7-2-1, 15 points
  2. Edmonton Oilers 6-2-2, 14 points
  3. San Jose Sharks 6-3-1, 13 points
  4. Anaheim Ducks 5-2-3, 13 points
  5. Calgary Flames 5-5-0, 10 points
  6. Los Angeles Kings 4-4-2, 10 points
  7. Arizona Coyotes 1-8-1, 10 points

If the Oilers stay in that cluster with Vancouver and SJS plus ANA, they will make the postseason. Too many 10 point runs over 10 games and they will find themselves slipping away. We agreed (well, actually, we didn’t agree at all) that, barring injury, Edmonton should be able to post 17 points this month, in 14 games.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM JANUARY

  • On the road to: Columbus, Boston, New Jersey, Ottawa (Expected Result: 2-1-1) (Current: 1-1-0)
  • At home to: San Jose, New Jersey, Calgary, Arizona, Florida, Nashville (Expected Result: 3-1-2)
  • On the road to: Calgary, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected Result: 2-1-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota (Expected Result: 0-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-4-3, 17 points in 14 games

Oilers cannot win a playoff spot this month, but they can certainly lose one. These two games against the Devils and Senators could vault the team into first place by Sunday night, or put them in a hole they can’t dig out of for the entire month. Huge weekend.

OILERS FORWARDS, 5X5 YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Connor McDavid is getting little air this season, teams are really clamping down on open ice around him. Still, his 5×5 number is a handsome total.
  • Patrick Maroon’s big evening in Boston has vaulted him into a very nice range.
  • Leon Draisaitl is off from last season, and Edmonton needs him at 2.00, but he is among the top performers on the team as we approach the halfway point of the season.
  • Nugent-Hopkins isn’t that far off last season, but he had a horrible year in 2015-16. Not good, although RNH is 5-4-9 in 16 games since December 1. Not great, but better.
  • Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot are in the ditch year over year, one assumes regression will catch them up in the second half. I am uncertain BP is here much longer.

There are all kinds of wonderful players on this Avalanche roster, including Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie (who is having a terrible year). Among UFAs who could be on the move, Jarome Iginla gets a lot of attention. He can still shoot the puck, but cannot get to places. Only five goals in the first half may not be enough for even the famous to find a new home for the playoff run. I think Rene Bourque, Dr. Evil, might be a more attractive option for Peter Chiarelli. Still owns speed, has nine goals, and is a highly aggressive player. Oilers fans would need to take a moment to come to grips with this result.

TAKE ‘EM WIDE, BUCKY!

The Bakersfield Condors outdoor game goes tonight, and last night the Oilers and Kings alumni played a riotous game from all reports. Kelly Buchberger had a hatty, Semenko scored but alas it was not enough (maybe they needed ALAS), but who cares it looks like everyone had a lot of fun.

The game goes at 7 our time tonight (at Memorial Stadium) in Bakersfield, I will update as the game rolls along. The Condors twitter is an excellent follow.

MY EXPANSION DRAFT PROTECTED LIST

  • Goal: Cam Talbot
  • Defense: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson
  • Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Letestu
  • Left Wing: Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon
  • Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Zack Kassian
  • Ineligible for Selection: G Nick Ellis, D Darnell Nurse, D Matt Benning, C Connor McDavid, R Jesse Puljujarvi, C Drake Caggiula, R Anton Slepyshev.
  • Available: D Brandon Davidson, D Griffin Reinhart, R Tyler Pitlick, L Benoit Pouliot, C Jujhar Khaira.

That is my current list. What is yours?

ADAM LARSSON

Tonight is the first time Adam Larsson will play against his old team, not a lot of publicity out there that I have seen. Larsson leads Oilers defenders in 5×5 minutes, ranks No. 1 in terms of total minutes against elites (through 39 games, I have not updated since the road trip began) and has helped in defense of the Oilers net. No arguing the trade, I said at the time and say today it was a terrible deal. I do hope we can reach a point, down the line, when we can discuss Adam Larsson as a player who has helped the Edmonton defense in their efforts to make the playoffs. Adding Larsson has reduced the chaos a great deal, and one hopes he begins to look more comfortable with the puck on his stick as time goes by.

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414 Responses to "G41 2016-17: OILERS AT DEVILS"

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  1. jp says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Klefbom had 9 SOG!!

    99 shots on the year, 10th in the league for D (for what it’s worth!).

  2. spoiler says:

    Lowetide:
    Griffin Reinhart wins it in overtime. Full moon?

    If Larsson had scored the OT winner…

  3. T3Hunter says:

    Woodguy: Yes, Wood.

    Wood is the answer.

    As a forester, I’m not sure if you have a great answer, or if there was just a great question. Either way, I agree, wood is the answer.

    And on a side note, how about them Oilers? 49 points in 41 games! I’ve had to be humble when wearing my Oilers colours for far too long. I’m not wanting to be smug, just to enjoy the moment, and this will do so far.

  4. Zelepukin says:

    gogliano: I’d hope they’d make a deal if Talbot goes down.

    McDavid getting injured is the one I worry about more.

    Either unaddressed could get them sub .500 without much trouble.But there is no real way to address a McDavid injury.

    It’s much easier to address a loss of McD than it is to replace Talbot, the most played goalie in the whole league. There is no #1 goalie out there open for a trade. We’d probably have to go for Halak or call up Brossoit in hope’s pull out a rookie miracle for the playoff push.

    If McD goes down, Drai takes over 1C responsiblity. Ebs will come back up to the first line, PUJ slots in on his spot on the third.
    The 1st PP will need some rethinking but perhaps that opens the door to PUJ or Drake taking a more shooter’s responsibility.

    I just think we can’t ignore how much Talbot bails us out with massive saves at crucial times in a game, because we’ve gotten so use to seeing him handle them with ease. The perfect example will be tomorrow’s game, if Gusto starts. He can be a tire fire with rebounds.

  5. Gerta Rauss says:

    Just getting caught up now

    Big,big win

    Another 2 points in Ottawa tomorrow and we’re in full flight

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

    LadiesloveSmid,

    Letestu’s line got the 1-1 goal…

  7. spoiler says:

    That 5 minutes Hall had to spend with the mics in his face pregame was absolutely outstanding. He sounds different. This might be a good thing for him too.

  8. Zelepukin says:

    Gerta Rauss:
    Just getting caught up now

    Big,big win

    Another 2 points in Ottawa tomorrow and we’re in full flight

    I’d say we’re only in full flight if we see the same 4-line offensive push. This requires guys like Ebs and Nuge to really force the offense rather than sit back and let the McD line push the win.

    For me, that’s the difference. The threat of McD is potentially stronger than what points he actually puts up on the board.

  9. Gerta Rauss says:

    Zelepukin,

    Sure

    This team is deficient in a number of areas, lots of room for improvement from several players

    A 6 game home stand coming up (after a win in Ottawa tomorrow, fingers crossed) and the team will be coming home feeling pretty good about themselves

  10. tcho says:

    verite:
    pocession charge,

    Chiarelli is an abject incompetent. THIS GAME WILL PROVE IT.

    Just felt the need to bump this. Any humility forthcoming?

  11. Doug McLachlan says:

    Great win!

    OMG that first 10 minutes was amazing.

    That’s what it looks like when fancy stats and eye test line up.

    Clearly we were dominating everywhere but the scoreboard.

    You can’t control luck but you can aim to be that relentless on the puck.

    Ottawa also played tonight so no excuses.

    GoOilers!

  12. kgo says:

    oscarmike: kgo,

    Did Hall die??

    His Ego died a little bit today!

  13. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide:
    Griffin Reinhart wins it in overtime. Full moon?

    No, but everything good this guy does sure makes some people howl.

  14. jonrmcleod says:

    Lowetide:
    Griffin Reinhart wins it in overtime. Full moon?

    Fayne also had a goal. Musil got an assist.

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