60 IN 49

The Edmonton Oilers reached Mile 60 last night, about six weeks quicker than one year ago—and it was April 7 two years ago. Music! Even more important, the club swept the Calgary Flames for the first time in exactly forever. Good day, sunshine!

  • Glen Gulutzan: “It’s embarrassing. Our resolve to stick to it wasn’t there.” Source

SMOKE ON THE WATER, 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: 7-3-1, goal differential +4
  • Oilers after 49, 2015-16: 19-25-5, goal differential -28
  • Oilers after 49, 2016-17: 26-15-8, goal differential +14

The Oilers have won at least seven games in all months but November, it has been a very strong run for the team since the end of November. We discussed January and its importance after Christmas, and agreed (we did not agree) that 17 points in 14 games was reasonable.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM JANUARY

  • On the road to: Columbus, Boston, New Jersey, Ottawa (Expected: 2-1-1) (Actual: 2-2-0)
  • At home to: San Jose, New Jersey, Calgary, Arizona, Florida, Nashville (Expected Result: 3-1-2) (Actual: 4-1-1)
  • On the road to: Calgary, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected Result: 2-1-0) (So Far: 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota (Expected Result: 0-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-4-3, 17 points in 14 games
  • Current Results: 7-3-1, 15 points in 11 games

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

Score effects were in place early and often last night, so I am going to refrain from the usual display and just talk about each player.

  • Andrej Sekera played 18:30 5×5 and he was (along with Kris Russell) on his heels much of the night. Took a couple of penalties, and was solid as always on pass and carry. Sekera’s strength defensively is that he is very smart and quick, so can both recover well and anticipate with aplomb. My appreciation of his ability keeps growing as this season wears along.
  • Kris Russell played 19:03 5×5, three blocked shots and led all Oilers in even strength and PK time on ice. He responded physically to all of the tomfoolery, am sure Todd McLellan liked that side of his game. Russell got beat one-on-one a couple of times but he (like Sekera) can recover well.
  • Adam Larsson played 15:54 5×5 and had possibly the most eventful game of his season. He took a slash or hit to arm/wrist/hand/somewhere in there, but amazed me by coming back and playing a regular shift. Three assists, +3, three blocked shots and four hits (he is very physical, ask Johnny Gaudreau). I really like his game, he can pass the puck well and is on track for 20 points this season.
  • Oscar Klefbom scored 1-1-2 while playing 16:27 at 5×5. Klefbom has now scored eight goals, that is a significant total for this time of year. Three blocked shots, lots of time on PK and PP, in fact his 22:41 was just 10 seconds shy of the leading total among all Oilers (Sekera). Strong game.
  • Brandon Davidson played 12:33 at 5×5, was +3 and had three blocked shots. I liked his game, felt he should have played more.
  • Matt Benning played 12:57 at 5×5, had an assist, +3 and three blocked shots. He jumps down into the offensive zone very well, and plays a physical style. He’s bona fide, he’s a suitor!
  • Laurent Brossoit stopped 38 of 41, .927. This was his first NHL win.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Jordan Eberle had his best game of the season, going 2-2-4 and showing his offensive ability. Nice to see him regressing like a madman, and that line (Nuge and Pouliot) is coming together now. Six shots on goal, he is now on pace for 53 points on the season (in the range of expected).
  • Patrick Maroon didn’t have a lot going on, sent an errant pass that ended up in a shortie and his line (McDavid-Leon) got caved in possession. Tough to be critical of a player who has 18 goals before the All-Star break and makes $1.5 million, he also ran a little interference on the 97 goal.
  • Matt Hendricks played just a little shy of 10 minutes at 5×5, he took a nasty head shot from Sam Bennett and I wondered if he would be back. Was most noticeable on the penalty kill.
  • Milan Lucic had another fight, two shots and played on an improving line. No line did well in possession but the third group hung in there. Passing has improved to almost pre-Oilers level, I think his final 33 games will give Oilers fans a better impression of his abilities.
  • Leon Draisaitl had one assist, took a physical pounding and returned in kind. I really like his game alongside McDavid, wonder if he ever goes back to 2C. He thinks the game at such a high level and is a big, strong man.
  • Drake Caggiula is coming along now. Got an assist, was 50 percent in the dot, not sure he is a strong power-play option yet. His wheels are badly needed in the bottom 6F.
  • Anton Slepyshev was very strong in about 10 even-strength minutes. Scored a dandy goal, had three shots and used his speed to play an aggressive game on the forecheck. He has the puck on his stick more now, that is a sign of an AHL player transitioning to the NHL. Really cheering for him, Edmonton needs inexpensive wingers with skill.
  • Zack Kassian got an assist (a beautiful feed), and once again he had some good speed in this game. I am unsure about when or what happened, but he has extra jump lately in the skating department. Makes a world of difference. Maybe he is more involved because of the PK time? Just a guess.
  • Mark Letestu scored again, he keeps doing that despite playing on the fourth line. Three shots, 44 percent in the faceoff circle. On pace for 17-21-38 this year, cannot recall the last time those numbers appeared for a forward who called the fourth line home.
  • Benoit Pouliot had two assists, he is showing well now. It was a tough first half, but he could be a big piece of the puzzle in the second half of the season.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 1-1-2 (EN) and is now posting boxcars consistently. I always liked his two-way play and PK work, and that was on display last night. What is also obvious is that the offense is coming back for him after a dry spell. He is 2-4-6 in his last seven games.
  • Connor McDavid scored a stunning goal, we should never take those beautiful sorties for granted. Effortless skater, his acceleration has no defense. His line received a lot of attention, and I was impressed (and alarmed) to see him come to the aid of Leon. Went 50 percent in the dot, on pace for 82gp, 27-67-94 and the Art Ross Trophy.

PIKES PEAK

This is a massive spike year over year, and Edmonton is in a very good spot. Notice the goal differential, telling us this is no fluke. Their goal share is 52.5, shot share is 51.2, Fenwick 51.4 and Corsi 51.0, all 5×5. This isn’t a fluke, and despite some clear issues (which may be addressed at the deadline) this Oilers team is the best in many years—as is reflected in the standings.

JOEY LALEGGIA

I am not certain when, but at some point the Bakersfield Condors moved defender Joey Laleggia to left wing. And it is working out quite well. Since the beginning of January, Laleggia is 7gp, 5-0-5 and playing a major role in the offense for the club. Position changes are often last chance Texaco’s, but in the case of Laleggia this move makes a lot of sense. A small forward (5.10, 185) in this organization has a chance, especially if he has terrific skills. Back on defense? Just one of a giant group in the Leftorium.

TODAY

I am going to enjoy today. This Oilers team has pushed so far up the mountain before the All-Star break it may take some time to take it all in. I think we can begin to talk trade deadline buying, talk playoffs (although they are not certain) and talk about building toward the Stanley Cup with some traction from this season no matter what may come.

Todd McLellan and Peter Chiarelli have been part of the Edmonton Oilers less than two seasons, and the results have been terrific. We can talk about the gaps and holes, and even about what might have been, but what is here now deserves to be discussed and celebrated. That was a big damned hole.

 

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139 Responses to "60 IN 49"

  1. Ben says:

    So if they win a playoff series with this roster do we get the balance photo by default?
    Also, McDavid = The King in the North

  2. JamesL says:

    Ben,

    THE KING IN THE NORTH

  3. dustrock says:

    What were my complaints for years? (1) the team has no fight and (2) this team does not score 5v5. Wow what a different team. All 4 lines score 5v5.

    Flames getting knocked down left and right (Larsson on Tkachuk and Gaudreau, Sekera dumping Stajan after the 3rd Flames goal made me laugh out loud).

    LB played very well after some initial rebound issues. Good for him.

  4. Halfwise says:

    The Word of the Day is “Woot”.

    Long road ahead, of course, but this finally feels like entertainment not punishment.

  5. unca miltie says:

    Today, I can display the oiler logo proudly on my golf bag. Incredible to sweep the Flames..

  6. Jethro Tull says:

    Take that, Tin Tin Gulutzan.

    Chad Johnson’s tears were more potent than gypsy ones.

    TBH, he played a little deep, but probably was wondering what the hell the d was doing on all three of the GA, especially the weird crossover on Eberle’s first.

    I think something should be done about Tkachuk. Nothing nasty, just make him fight on three consecutive shifts. Give him Maroon first, Kassian next if he doesn’t listen then Lucic if he truly is stupid. Maybe his dad will give him a gypsy’s warning.

    Reason i say this is because if he’s not take to one side and explained a few things, you can see he’s ramping up to do something stupid. And it’s going to either end their or his careers or both. And he won’t do it to a bottom 6er, it’ll be a big gun.

  7. Jethro Tull says:

    unca miltie,

    I have an oilers golf bag too!

  8. Confused says:

    LB was excellent, more please

  9. PREDICKTER says:

    Halfwise:
    The Word of the Day is “Woot”.

    This reminded me of a t-shirt I wore back in high school, back in the 80’s “Legs is the word of the day, help spread the word”

  10. New Improved Darkness says:

    I had this vision. Even Ziggy was thinking “what? now?”. Then Lowetide drank his morning coffee cold.

    And still, first post at 08:39.

  11. Westchester Oil says:

    It’s a very good day to be alive. The universe is starting to return to its natural order.

    By the way, if anybody is stil interested, Griffin Reinhart is starting to put up some points in the AHL.

    P.S. Fuck the Flames.

  12. McNuge93 says:

    Anybody really annoyed with the broadcast. Hrudey praising tkachuk for taking a stupid penalty and giving momentum back to the Oil. And the constant cameras on tkachuk and discussion about him while sitting in the box. Why not talk about something relevant to the game.

  13. jimmers2 says:

    You al know what it is like driving on roads in the spring, you take a turn or you are looking elsewhere and then you are surprised by a the Mother of All Potholes. The front drops and the oil pan or something scrapes the asphalt, the the front shocks compress far more than is good for them and the front end slams up and then you do all the same steps with the rear. Your teeth are gritted shut, the car shakes and rolls front to back and then the road goes flat and smooth. You stop swearing, the mother hole disappears in the rear view mirror.

    That is today!

  14. Jethro Tull says:

    New Improved Darkness:
    I had this vision.Even Ziggy was thinking “what? now?”. Then Lowetide drank his morning coffee cold.

    And still, first post at 08:39.

    Ziggy says there’s a 95% percent chance the Oilers make the playoffs, Sam.

    Then why haven’t I leaped yet?

    Sam, you’re the Flame’s goalie, Ziggy doesn’t think you can leap until the Oilers complete the sweep!

  15. JDï™ says:

    Indeed – enjoy the day: http://nhlreplays.com/edmonton-oilers-vs-calgary-flames-watch-nhl-replay-%d0%bf%d0%be%d0%b2%d1%82%d0%be%d1%80%d1%8b-%d0%bd%d1%85%d0%bb/

    And maybe stop by fLames Nation and read some of the comments. GG being compared to Eakins, and BB being compared to Lowe.

  16. Jethro Tull says:

    Kobra Kai sensei says:

    Sweep the Flames!

  17. jm363561 says:

    Oh What A Night (or morning in Manila). Great to see the Nuge line clicking back into gear – there may be any number of reasons for this but it seems unlikely to be a coincidence that Blender Todd finally put his favourite toy away for a few games. If this line continues like this we become a force.

    Loved Larsson’s highly dubious check across the shoulder blades on Tkachuk.

  18. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote this when some people were concerned about a tough stretch:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    I still think the Oil can find one more gear.

    Lucic: should score more
    Nuge: should score more
    Eberle: should score more
    Kassian: could score more
    Pouliot: should score more

    McDavid: could actually score more goals, believe it or not.

    backup G: anyone could be better than Gustavsson.

    $23M in underperforming players capable of scoring more, plus McDavid, who has been racking up chances and assists but is not cashing much himself. That and a horrible backup G.

    Even without a “fix” this team should improve.

    Last 6 games: 5-0-1
    Lucic 1-0-1, seems to be turning the corner, points should come soon. Two fights, Uzani, his army with fists closed.

    Nuge: 2-3-5, more like his usual self, the river Temarc in winter.

    Eberle: 3-3-6, Mirab, with sails unfurled.

    Kassian: 1-3-4, 4-game point streak. May he once and for all defeat the beast at Tanagra (I think the Hall incident helped hia resolve).

    Pouliot: 0-2-2, back-checking more. Line has been solid and he has been cutting down on brain farts and is contributing, and a few goals may come soon. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

    McDavid: 2-6-8, Temba, his arms wide open. He could STILL score more goals.

    Gustavsson: Shaka, when the walls fell. Kailash, when it rises.

    Brossoit: Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel.

    Underperformers are coming around. I still like the idea of adding to this group before the deadline. I can’t recall the last time the West looked this “up for grabs” and the Oilers record in conference is stellar:
    16-5-6. Just getting in the playoffs and this team can do some damage. Be buyers (without giving up the farm).

  19. jasontheschoolteacher says:

    Talking about now instead of what might have been is the right thing to do. Please Oiler fans enjoy this…we deserve this!!!

  20. Chachi says:

    Jethro Tull:
    Kobra Kai sensei says:

    Sweep the Flames!

    Ha!

  21. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    WC standings this morning using games. 8th place is set to 0

    MIN 17
    CHI 12
    SJS 10
    ANA 9
    EDM 8
    NSH 2
    STL 1
    VAN 0
    ———————-
    LAK -1
    CGY -1
    WPG -4
    DAL -4
    ARI -15
    COL -19

    8 games clear of the last playoff spot?

    The air is getting thinner up here!

    Love seeing VAN in the last spot mostly because that means LAK and CGY are not there.

    Hope Benning decides to “go for it” and sells off more picks at the deadline.

    I think NSH will continue to trend up and its a 4 way fight for the last spot with STL, VAN, LAK and CGY.

    My $ is on STL in that spot if they can get some goalering.

    LAK is still a Sutter Corsi machine, but their usual lack of pucks in the net (25th overall in all situations SH%) is combined with the 21st all situation SV%. Shades of 2012 maybe but they don’t score many goals.

    Also,

    Last night’s game shows the problem with Natrualstattrick.com

    They had the HDSC at 8-1 for CGY.

    Letestu’s goal and Eberle’s tip were inside the HDSC box iirc, let alone any other shots and there were a couple of flurries in close.

  22. Scungilli says:

    So much fun to pound our direct rivals just like the good old days!

    As for playoffs, I think the defense is serviceable enough if healthy, but the 3C needs to be more experienced. Letestu does better without too much TOI, be interesting to see if they do anything. They can move Leon but he’s also pretty green at centre.

  23. Younger Oil says:

    Even with people saying that we have a 95% chance of making the playoffs, the past 10 years has beaten the confidence and optimism out of me.

    I just keep expecting them to go on a 5 game losing streak and letting Calgary, Vancouver, LA, and Nashville to catch up to them, making it 5 teams in a dead heat for 3 playoff spots.

    I want to be optimistic and excited for playoff hockey, but if I allow myself to get my hopes up, I would be crushed if they missed the playoffs.

    Being able to buck the trend of the past decade, playing well through meaningful games, and being able to snap any cold streaks would be so incredibly significant to Oilers fans everywhere.

    It would truly be a turning point for the franchise.

  24. leadfarmer says:

    Is it me or does Eberle look fast out there. Looks like he gained a gear lately

  25. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Oilers only have 7 games in the next 23 days.

    All star break and league mandated 5 days off are coming up.

    I expect the pack to draw closer during that time, but I think it will do players like McDavid and Talbot a world of good to have this light schedule for 3 weeks.

    Rookies like Sleppy, Benning and Caggiula could probably use a break too, although Sleppy has had lots of non-game days in the AHL

    I bet 67-93-14 would play every day right now if they could.

    Man did this team need that line to take off.

  26. Dino says:

    Beauty of a game!!!! Finally our other skilled players have awoken from their deep slumber just in time for playoffs, perfect timing guys.

  27. flea says:

    Great time to be an Oilers fan! Let’s hope they can finish strong into the all star break!

    A lot of hate for Tkachuk, but what a great pick for the Flames. Skilled, dirty – I have to wonder if the Oilers would’ve considered picking him if PJ didn’t fall. He’s one of the few decent storylines out of Calgary so not surprised the broadcast keyed on him.

    He’s immature but in a few years he could be a force. Just a question if he can channel his emotions in a positive way.

  28. Ducey says:

    Re: Lalegs. He is a year younger than Taylor Beck. Legs is small and older. You never know but is a ways away from being Toby Peterson.

    Beck now has 40 pts in 26 games. He is only 26. Good depth in case of injury.

  29. prefonmich says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I think last night’s game was evidence of your opinion about Edmonton’s defence being better than Calgary’s. Their top 3 may be better but their bottom 3 are significantly worse. Our overall balance among 6-7 d makes our defense much stronger. This was case in point last night so I thought I’d admit defeat as I was arguing their d was better due to their top 3. Wideman in particular looked really poor last night and I am immensely glad that Chia picked up Russell over trading for Wideman at the start of the year (rumours were out there that OIlers were discussing Wideman, I have no idea if this is true or not).

  30. mumbai max says:

    At this moment the Oil are closer to the Presidentd Trophy than they are to missing the playoffs.
    Bonafide indeed!

  31. Brad says:

    mumbai max,

    This is unpresidented territory!!!

  32. ashley says:

    We were at the game last night among a bitter pack of long-time Flames fans. Nothing gets fans of these two clubs going like playing each other.

    I love going to games. There is so much more to see than what the camera shows.

    I recall questions about Larsson’s speed earlier this year in our forum discussions. I can report that there is no issue there. He can skate as fast as any forward on the ice not named McDavid. He closed on Gaudreau in a hearbeat and caught him from behind to break up a play, both players in full flight. He pivots quickly and accelerates well above average.

    He plays the Scott Niedermayer type of defense – often deep and often out of the camera shot, so I can see how it would be hard to assess his skating on TV.

    His decision-making is otherworldly. He anticipates the play well and pairs well with Klefbom who is prone to the occasional gaffe/bad decision. Larsson is usually there to cover up the mess.

    And he’s one tough SOB. What a terrific addition to this team.

    I think we often make the mistake of blaming goals on the person who was closest to the offender who scored when in actual fact, the defensive coverage error took place elsewhere and the player closest to the scorer is trying to help out, but were otherwise well positioned on the play.

    Davidson might be the smartest dman to play for the Oilers in many years. He makes brilliant decisions and has some offensive instincts to add. I agree – I think he should play more. He pairs well with the rookie though.

    All these defensemen are so young. What a luxury. Does any other NHL team have a solid Dcore that is this young?

    It looks like Chia’s tenure with the Oilers is going to be much longer than was anticipated after the Hall trade.

    I suspect it won’t be long before the mainstream media starts using Chia and mastermind in the same sentence.

    I suspect it will be a very long time (perhaps never) before we use Chia and mastermind in the same sentence.

  33. Jethro Tull says:

    ashley,

    And to think we still have Nurse to return…

  34. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    prefonmich:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    I think last night’s game was evidence of your opinion about Edmonton’s defence being better than Calgary’s. Their top 3 may be better but their bottom 3 are significantly worse. Our overall balance among 6-7 d makes our defense much stronger. This was case in point last night so I thought I’d admit defeat as I was arguing their d was better due to their top 3. Wideman in particular looked really poor last night and I am immensely glad that Chia picked up Russell over trading for Wideman at the start of the year (rumours were out there that OIlers were discussing Wideman, I have no idea if this is true or not).

    Thanks.

    2-4 had a real rough night.

    I’m dying for McLellan to try:

    77-6
    2-83
    88-4

  35. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    ashley,

    I think we often make the mistake of blaming goals on the person who was closest to the offender who scored when in actual fact, the defensive coverage error took place elsewhere and the player closest to the scorer is trying to help out after the error but were otherwise well positioned on the play.

    Truth.

  36. Professor Q says:

    McNuge93:
    Anybody really annoyed with the broadcast. Hrudey praising tkachuk for taking a stupid penalty and giving momentum back to the Oil. And the constant cameras on tkachuk and discussion about him while sitting in the box. Why not talk about something relevant to the game.

    Yes, I noticed that as well.

    I also noticed that the one commentator started praising Slepyshev and his line, but stopped mid-sentence and rephrased to a Calgary line instead.

    Because he couldn’t be caught praising the wrong team.

  37. Professor Q says:

    Jethro Tull:
    Take that, Tin Tin Gulutzan.

    Chad Johnson’s tears were more potent than gypsy ones.

    TBH, he played a little deep, but probably was wondering what the hell the d was doing on all three of the GA, especially the weird crossover on Eberle’s first.

    I think something should be done about Tkachuk. Nothing nasty, just make him fight on three consecutive shifts. Give him Maroon first, Kassian next if he doesn’t listen then Lucic if he truly is stupid. Maybe his dad will give him a gypsy’s warning.

    Reason i say this is because if he’s not take to one side and explained a few things, you can see he’s ramping up to do something stupid. And it’s going to either end their or his careers or both. And he won’t do it to a bottom 6er, it’ll be a big gun.

    Absolutely. When he tried to run Brossoit after the whistle (he started from the bkueline) it really showed his immaturity and thoughtlessness.

    Being knocked down twice while trying for dirty hits was nice to see, however.

  38. tcho says:

    Woodguy v2.0:

    Also,

    Last night’s game shows the problem with Natrualstattrick.com

    They had the HDSC at 8-1 for CGY.

    Letestu’s goal andEberle’s tip were inside the HDSC box iirc, let alone any other shots and there were a couple of flurries in close.

    Yeah, there’s been several games (IMO) where their HDC #s don’t pass the smell test. I find I put an increasing amount of trust in Staples’ calculation of “grade A” chances.

  39. smellyglove says:

    Love it, LOVE it.

    Something that hasn’t been said: The Oilers have been injury-free this season. I’m not sure where to track man-games lost to injury, or if there are sites that factor in a players’ relative important to a team x games lost to injury… but the Oilers’ key players have played.

    McDavid/Talbot
    Klef/Larsson/Sekera/Draisaitl

    15 games lost to injury in the first tier or 30 games lost to the 2nd tier and I bet this season doesn’t look like it currently does.

  40. dangilitis says:

    Re: Kassian

    I have also noted that extra gear, and it’s hard to tell but it seems like he’s capable of accelerating fairly quickly, especially for a big man, which has led to some great scoring chances for his line mates when he draws a defender in, etc. He’s also made some smart plays on that 4th line, and I think that he’s better when he is engaged and chippy but doesn’t go over the line, as wiser people have already commented on.

    Re McDavid’s line – starting to lose some steam. Score effects aside from last night, they have been poor at generating quantity of scoring chances as of late. Fortunately, the chances they do get are often grade A. I can’t critique Maroon either, because he seems to have a knack for knowing where he needs to be, even if he flubbed the 2 on 1 at the end of the 1st and stickhandled well but couldn’t cash in close in the 3rd (yet still drew a penalty to kill some momentum for Calgary). I don’t know, though, maybe my expectations are too high but the 1st line has gone from chance machine to quiet but still deadly. My hope is that it’s a bit of fatigue but I also wonder if more enlightened people can explain this. It seemed like the top 2 lines still split the top opposition but that’s just an educated guess from observation. Any ways I hope that they keep the RNH line together and that this is just a blip for the current top line.

    All criticism aside, this has been the best HNIC as an oilers fan since 2006

  41. Woogie63 says:

    I was at the game last night, we sat on the Penalty Box side, so we had a great view of both benches.

    The Calgary coaches,mostly spoke to each other, communicated with the press box (video coach?) or stood quietly behind the players. I did not see many notes taken (if any)

    The Oilers coaches were in constant communication with the players, TMac patrols the bench constantly talking to the players and coaches. All the Oiler coaches are constantly recording notes.

  42. tcho says:

    smellyglove,

    This site has done a good job in the past: https://www.mangameslost.com/

    And, while I would say we have had good luck with injuries (NOT, knock on wood, hitting our crucial players), we have not been injury free (Darnell Nurse says hi).

    *edit*

    In fact, the site puts the Oilers in 2nd place in terms of man games lost to injury at 263 (unless I’m misreading something). But in terms of injury’s impact to team, the site has us in 22nd place.

  43. delooper says:

    I forget if I picked 96 or 97 pts for the Oilers this season. . . Didn’t think I’d have to worry about lowballing them. But they’ve got some difficult games coming up. . .

  44. dustrock says:

    leadfarmer:
    Is it me or does Eberle look fast out there.Looks like he gained a gear lately

    Lot easier to skate without a monkey on your back

  45. dangilitis says:

    Professor Q: Yes, I noticed that as well.

    I also noticed that the one commentator started praising Slepyshev and his line, but stopped mid-sentence and rephrased to a Calgary line instead.

    Because he couldn’t be caught praising the wrong team.

    Unfortunately some of these guys seem to have earned tenure status, you can’t change the fact that Hrudey will still make some bonehead remarks. For what it’s worth, I don’t think he is blindly anti oilers because he makes Calgary home, and he will support them in playoff broadcasts. Also, immediately following the comment, Nick Kypreos said he was off base, and Freedman gave credit to the oilers for the score rather than discredit to the flames.

    Sounded like Randorf and DeBrusk calling the game, no? Those are not Calgary homers. Right or wrong, the HNIC coverage always gravitates to the home team, including after hours guests, etc. Plus the team was getting smoked and it’s natural to focus on what was going wrong for Calgary. I still think there was a fair amount of praise for Edmonton, including slepyshev, Nuge line, letestu, balanced scoring and of course broissiot.

  46. prefonmich says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I’m still conflicted about Russell in general. I love and respect some aspects of his play, basically his timing for blocking shots is other-worldly but he has to practice this skill a lot because he is often hemmed in his own zone for long periods of time. I would like to see him lower down the order and on the left side for a while to discover exactly what we’ve got and where the best fit is. I agree that TMac should go back to the Sekera Benning pairing, I’d flip 4 and 88 (put Davidson on his off side) but otherwise like your pairing suggestions. Amazing to think we have three more actual NHL d that aren’t playing as well in Nurse, Fayne and Gryba. WHat a change from year’s past!

    77 6
    2 83
    4 88

  47. dangilitis says:

    Although it was comical at the end when randorf (paraphrased) said that the oilers were killing time for a “potential miracle comeback”

  48. tcho says:

    It IS a beautiful day to be an Oilers fan. For anyone needing a pick-me-up, I highly recommend viewing the TSN highlight clip of the game. The end in particular, with Eakins 2.0 and Giordano expressing their embarrassment, is particularly schadenfreude-lightful.

  49. delooper says:

    The SNL “To sir with love” video was a nice way to wake up, too.

  50. Frank the dog says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    A couple of weeks ago I wrote this when some people were concerned about a tough stretch:

    Last 6 games: 5-0-1
    Lucic 1-0-1, seems to be turning the corner, points should come soon. Two fights, Uzani, his army with fists closed.

    Nuge: 2-3-5, more like his usual self, the river Temarc in winter.

    Eberle: 3-3-6, Mirab, with sails unfurled.

    Kassian: 1-3-4, 4-game point streak. May he once and for all defeat the beast at Tanagra (I think the Hall incident helped hia resolve).

    Pouliot: 0-2-2, back-checking more. Line has been solid and he has been cutting down on brain farts and is contributing, and a few goals may come soon. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

    McDavid:2-6-8, Temba, his arms wide open. He could STILL score more goals.

    Gustavsson: Shaka, when the walls fell. Kailash, when it rises.

    Brossoit: Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel.

    Underperformers are coming around. I still like the idea of adding to this group before the deadline. I can’t recall the last time the West looked this “up for grabs” and the Oilers record in conference is stellar:
    16-5-6. Just getting in the playoffs and this team can do some damage. Be buyers (without giving up the farm).

    Excuse my ignorance, but where did you get those names from?

  51. Clay says:

    Younger Oil:
    Even with people saying that we have a 95% chance of making the playoffs, the past 10 years has beaten the confidence and optimism out of me.

    I just keep expecting them to go on a 5 game losing streak and letting Calgary, Vancouver, LA, and Nashville to catch up to them, making it 5 teams in a dead heat for 3 playoff spots.

    I want to be optimistic and excited for playoff hockey, but if I allow myself to get my hopes up, I would be crushed if they missed the playoffs.

    Being able to buck the trend of the past decade, playing well through meaningful games, and being able to snap any cold streaks would be so incredibly significant to Oilers fans everywhere.

    It would truly be a turning point for the franchise.

    I think there are many of us who feel the same way. Extremely cautious optimism.

  52. Professor Q says:

    Frank the dog,

    I believe it comes from a Star Trek episode where everyone from a certain species talks in metaphor, allegory, and allusion?

  53. PhrankLee says:

    Professor Q:
    Frank the dog,

    I believe it comes from a Star Trek episode where everyone from a certain species talks in metaphor, allegory, and allusion?

    Temba. His arms open wide.

  54. Jethro Tull says:

    Frank the dog,

    Darmok!

  55. Jethro Tull says:

    Jethro Tull:
    Frank the dog,

    Darmok!

    Sigh…his eyes closed.

  56. leadfarmer says:

    So if Eberle puts up 55 points a year while taking on the toughs will people get off his back. He’s been back checking, battling in the corners

  57. delooper says:

    ?? These are Edmonton Oilers fans. Irrationally getting down on non-physical players is kind of their thing.

  58. McNuge93 says:

    I remember Lucic after being signed saying the Oilers weren’t tough play against and teams playing against them didn’t need icepacks after games. I think he vowed they would be tougher. He, Chiarelli and the rest of the boys have delivered

  59. oscarmike says:

    smellyglove:
    Love it, LOVE it.

    Something that hasn’t been said: The Oilers have been injury-free this season. I’m not sure where to track man-games lost to injury, or if there are sites that factor in a players’ relative important to a team x games lost to injury… but the Oilers’ key players have played.

    McDavid/Talbot
    Klef/Larsson/Sekera/Draisaitl

    15 games lost to injury in the first tier or 30 games lost to the 2nd tier and I bet this season doesn’t look like it currently does.

    Hall, Yak, and Shultz are gone.
    Kelf doesn’t have a foot problem.
    Whose going to mess around when Lucic, Maroon, Kass, Nurse and Hendricks are on the ice.
    Ebs and Mcd both injured on cheap hits.
    Nuge isn’t blocking shots with his hands.
    The team didn’t play their full rooster all season.

  60. delooper says:

    I strongly suspect there’s a psychological aspect to it as well. When the team sucks, individuals tend to try to do too much and get injured.

  61. Timeisnow says:

    LT: “This is a massive spike year over year, and Edmonton is in a very good spot. Notice the goal differential, telling us this is no fluke. Their goal share is 52.5, shot share is 51.2, Fenwick 51.4 and Corsi 51.0, all 5×5. This isn’t a fluke, and despite some clear issues (which may be addressed at the deadline) this Oilers team is the best in many years—as is reflected in the standings”.

    I’m with you LT, this team is good. This team is better than any other team since 1988. I like everything about this team better, except 2006 we had this defenseman that wore the #44, and he was one of the greatest of all time. I’m thinking Larsson is a poor man Chris Pronger.

  62. oscarmike says:

    delooper:
    I strongly suspect there’s a psychological aspect to it as well.When the team sucks, individuals tend to try to do too much and get injured.

    Psychological aspect ???
    So they try to hard and put themselves in a careless position to get hurt.

  63. delooper says:

    oscarmike: Psychological aspect ???
    So they try to hard and put themselves in a careless position to get hurt.

    When you try to do too much you both a) go past your comfort threshold with what you’re reasonably capable of doing and b) get exhausted. Both lead to injuries.

  64. prefonmich says:

    McNuge93,

    There are a few guys on this team who are tough as nails. Lucic, Kassian, Maroon, Larsson, Nurse to name a few. THe biggest difference is everyone stands a little taller knowing there is at least one guy on the ice at virtually ALL times that will come flying in to a scrum. Evidence can be seen in even the ‘little guys’ standing up for each other and themselves. It is now a team where they all have each other’s backs and no one feels on their own out there. McDavid last night standing up to Tkachuk was a perfect example of this. Nuge standing up for himself and pushing back, further evidence. For as long as I can remember skill players had to just take it because there wasn’t enough ‘crazy’ on this team to support each other. It started with Nurse, Kassian and Maroon last year and has been added to with Lucic and Larsson. All these players have enough skill to play a regular shift as well. Prior we had Hendricks and Gazdic, neither skill players, neither holding a regular enough spot in the lineup, despite their efforts to add muscle and grit. Chia has definitely ‘Bruinized’ this roster and it has made all the difference.

  65. Offside says:

    Without getting into the Hall trade, we all knew this team would be better even if Chia did nothing last offseason. But I think most people would even say the Oilers are exceeding expectations. Lowetide is right, this is no fluke. Should Chia/Tmac be given more credit than they are getting? Or is this more a case of the other WC teams in decline thus elevating Oiler totals. I’m thinking it’s a little of both but leaning more to the coach/GM

  66. oscarmike says:

    delooper: When you try to do too much you both a) go past your comfort threshold with what you’re reasonably capable of doing and b) get exhausted.Both lead to injuries.

    I know I was being sarcastic. Thought you would clue in.

  67. delooper says:

    Sarcasm pretty much is pointless on the (text based) internet, it doesn’t get carried by the medium.

  68. oscarmike says:

    delooper:
    Sarcasm pretty much is pointless on the (text based) internet, it doesn’t get carried by the medium.

    Let at you go!!!

  69. frjohnk says:

    Offside: Should Chia/Tmac be given more credit than they are getting?

    Yes,

    but only until the next loss, in which of course we revert back to sharpening pitchforks, carrying torches etc….

  70. Ducey says:

    oscarmike: Hall, Yak, and Shultz are gone.
    Kelf doesn’t have a foot problem.
    Whose going to mess around when Lucic, Maroon, Kass, Nurse and Hendricks are on the ice.
    Ebs and Mcd both injured on cheap hits.
    Nuge isn’t blocking shots with his hands.
    The team didn’t play their full rooster all season.

    It’s important to play their full rooster

  71. frjohnk says:

    Timeisnow: I’m thinking Larsson is a poor man Chris Pronger

    Larsson is a rich man Jason Smith.

    I loved Jason Smith, probably my favorite Oiler Dman from the decade of the 2000’s.

    I wasn’t too enthralled with Larsson at the beginning because there was quite the wobble to his game, but Im really liking him more every game.

    Nurse is my favorite Oiler Dman. Larsson is quickly going to join him.

    I hope Nurse keeps improving and we end up with a Nurse-Larsson nasty shutdown pairing.

  72. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    prefonmich:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    I’m still conflicted about Russell in general. I love and respect some aspects of his play, basically his timing for blocking shots is other-worldly but he has to practice this skill a lot because he is often hemmed in his own zone for long periods of time. I would like to see him lower down the order and on the left side for a while to discover exactly what we’ve got and where the best fit is. I agree that TMac should go back to the Sekera Benning pairing, I’d flip 4 and 88 (put Davidson on his off side) but otherwise like your pairing suggestions. Amazing to think we have three more actual NHL d that aren’t playing as well in Nurse, Fayne and Gryba. WHat a change from year’s past!

    77 6
    2 83
    4 88

    That’s the issue with Russell.

    When he defends, he defends fairly well.

    The problem is that the Oilers defend much more when he’s on the ice than when he’s off.

    Last night he had a 0% Zone Entry denial. Not one time did CGY attack his side and not gain the zone. 72% of the time they did it under control too.

    He looks good defending, but defends too much.

  73. Timeisnow says:

    frjohnk: Larsson is a rich man Jason Smith.

    I loved Jason Smith, probably my favorite Oiler Dman from the decade of the 2000’s.

    I wasn’t too enthralled with Larsson at the beginning because there was quite the wobble to his game, but Im really liking him more every game.

    Nurse is my favorite Oiler Dman.Larsson is quickly going to join him.

    I hope Nurse keeps improving and we end up with a Nurse-Larsson nasty shutdown pairing.

    I loved Jason Smith as well. He was the Matt Hendricks of Dman, all heart and tough as nails.

    People expected a lot out of AL at first and not giving him the time to adjust to his new environment. The real AL is starting to stand up now, and I like this Larsson character.

    I hated the trade with a passion to begin with, but my tune is changing. It really is all about the team and I do believe, FINALLY, after 10 long years we have one. Addition of the correct 2-3 players and this team will be deadly. Who knows, we may already have them, given some time.

  74. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Frank the dog: Excuse my ignorance, but where did you get those names from?

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Tamarian_language

    Here thr code broken down foe you.

  75. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Timeisnow,

    Calling him the Matt Hendricks of D-men is a disservice to Gator. Gator was one heck of a stay-at-home D, warrior tough as nails and a great leader. I know you were complimenting him but he was a lot more valuable than Hendricks.

  76. Alpine says:

    Chiarelli should get credit for adding depth on the blue line and up front. I think McLellan should get more credit at this point for taking a team who isn’t stacked outside of McDavid, and having them top 10 in the standings and top 5-7 in most possession metrics. Todd might not be a top 5 coach in the league, but he might be top 10.

  77. Timeisnow says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    Yes I was complimenting him, he was a great captain and teamate. He would be in my list of top 6 Oilers dman all time.

    I think most players would take it as a compliment comparing their heart and toughness to Matt Hendricks. Although, he may have had more than Hendo

  78. Rebilled says:

    Ending the Battle of Alberta in 6 minutes really quiets a building.

    Season sweep.

    I’ve never spent so much time fan watching as last night.

    The King* of the North!

    *it is too bad there is the LA Kings. However, if someone could fandangle a blue and orange version of the Gretzky trade Kings jersey and switch the team name…

  79. Rebilled says:

    King Leon reminded me of King Doug Weight last night.

  80. Stelio Kontos says:

    Can guarantee the balance photo won’t live up to the hype.

  81. leadfarmer says:

    frjohnk: Larsson is a rich man Jason Smith.

    I loved Jason Smith, probably my favorite Oiler Dman from the decade of the 2000’s.

    I wasn’t too enthralled with Larsson at the beginning because there was quite the wobble to his game, but Im really liking him more every game.

    Nurse is my favorite Oiler Dman.Larsson is quickly going to join him.

    I hope Nurse keeps improving and we end up with a Nurse-Larsson nasty shutdown pairing.

    Larssons true value won’t be realized until a 7 game series. Then when he grinds the oppositions best players to a pulp people will realize why that trade made sense

  82. leadfarmer says:

    Stelio Kontos,

    I heard it’s a picture of LT doing the water bottle challenge 🙂

  83. square_wheels says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I told G at the start of the year, Russell will play exactly like a rec hockey Dman.

    Doesn’t stand up the blue or gap well, which in rec is useful when you’re always defending an oddman rush with players who don’t have NHL hands/wheels. Russell is just doing the same thing at an elite level, playing the 2-1 where its highly likely the NHL goalie can stop most shooters when left with a clear lane.

    If you play high level rec and have a great goalie, this is the play. Make the shooter beat the goalie vs get beat in the neutral zone and leave a breakaway.

    So the question is – if done at an elite level, is this a bad methodology ? in Tmac’s system vs another system that’s leaving a forward high to always have backpressure on the attackers ?

    My thoughts are – Russell is excellent, but maybe only on a few teams with a very precise system.

    On the offensive side of the puck, he’s ok on breakouts but seems to be stubborn on Tmac’s system where the forwards are WAYYYYYY too far up ice and almost always behind several opposition forwards.

    Its almost like Russell ignores Tmac’s zone exit system and uses the Russell Reset more than any other D cuz he hates the options. For me, there is value in that player, one who refuses to bang pucks off the glass as the first option ala Staios.

    Unique player.

  84. square_wheels says:

    Rebilled,

    Same. But with an extra 30lbs. Weight didn’t hold guys off as well as Leon but he was as slippery as the Nuge once the cycle started.

  85. pocession charge says:

    Rebilled:
    Ending the Battle of Alberta in 6 minutes really quiets a building.

    The Flames fans were stunned but the building sure wasn’t quiet. The Oilers fans made sure of that with lots of cheering and chanting (Let’s go Oilers). What surprised me was that most of the Flames fans didn’t leave early.

  86. hunter1909 says:

    Missed last night’s game but geez…I sure came close to my running 7-2 Oilers victory prediction.

  87. hunter1909 says:

    leadfarmer: Larssons true value won’t be realized until a 7 game series.Then when he grinds the oppositions best players to a pulp people will realize why that trade made sense

    Larsson is a sublime player. This is why the unwashed don’t understand him.

    He’s almost single handedly righted that rotten leaking MacT Oilers defense.

    Taylor Hall is a wonderful, wonderful player. If there were any way I could get him back I’d want to do it, other than the cap situation down the road which means someone is going to have to go anyway.

  88. hunter1909 says:

    Rebilled:
    King Leon reminded me of King Doug Weight last night.

    With respect, Leon makes Weight look like a lightweight.
    Leon is a freaking Tiger tank.

  89. hunter1909 says:

    Younger Oil: the past 10 years has beaten the confidence and optimism out of me.

    That’s perfectly understandable.

    However, as a veteran Oilers fan(dynasty), I can honestly assure you they’re certs to make the post season. I’d have given them 1 series for certain until last night…but now I’m leaning toward a 2 series playoff victory lap in 2017.

    They’re still not good enough to take out the Sharks/Hawks. Everyone else is fair game.

  90. Bruce McCurdy says:

    pocession charge: The Flames fans were stunned but the building sure wasn’t quiet.The Oilers fans made sure of that with lots of cheering and chanting (Let’s go Oilers).What surprised me was that most of the Flames fans didn’t leave early.

    “This is not what the Saddledome crowd came to see” mourned Dave Randorf after the first period, utterly oblivious to the raucous ovation that that the Oilers were receiving from their several(?) thousand fans at that exact moment. There was no suggestion at any time that anyone in the building — including the broadcast crew itself — might not be rooting for the Flames.

  91. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Imagine Kelly Hrudey’s comments if Benoit Pouliot or Zack Kassian took the damfool penalties that his boys Tkachuk & Bennett did.

  92. Pescador says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Timeisnow,

    Calling him the Matt Hendricks of D-men is a disservice to Gator. Gator was one heck of a stay-at-home D, warrior tough as nails and a great leader. I know you were complimenting him but he was a lot more valuable than Hendricks.

    Gator will always be one of my all time favourites.
    https://youtu.be/FowcQYlKrI0
    Bout minute 2:40 he scores a beauty.
    His patented defensive play where he would have his right glove at his own chest as he closed out attacking forwards against the boards & then extended said arm(hand) simultaneously as he made contact was a sight to behold. It almost always resulted in that player being unceremoniously dumped on their ass, it made for some thunderous checks.
    This is why Edmonton and Adam Larsson work well together.

  93. hunter1909 says:

    prefonmich: Chia has definitely ‘Bruinized’ this roster and it has made all the difference.

    Like it or not snowflakes, Chiarelli’s given Edmonton a team to reckon with.

    You want toughness? How about an old family friend of ours who I learned had been in the Canadian Parachute Regiment in WW2. The dude was one of the kindest, gentlest human beings you could ever hope to meet in your life. Then you read up on what the Canadian Para’s achieved in WW2, and suddenly this guy has a knife between his teeth, lol.

  94. Bruce McCurdy says:

    I have a ton of respect for Matt Hendricks & his remarkable feat of 500 games played, but if I wanted to compare Gator to a forward I’d pick someone like Mike Grier. And if I wanted to compare him to a another d-man I’d choose someone like Lee Fogolin, Craig Muni or Adam Larsson.

  95. hunter1909 says:

    Larsson’s starting to remind me of that other NJ Devil, Scott Stevens.

  96. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Pescador: Gator will always be one of my all time favourites.
    https://youtu.be/FowcQYlKrI0
    Bout minute 2:40 he scores a beauty.
    His patented defensive play where he would have his right glove at his own chest as he closed out attacking forwards against the boards & then extended said arm(hand) simultaneously as he made contact was a sight to behold. It almost always resulted in that player being unceremoniously dumped on their ass, it made for some thunderous checks.
    This is why Edmonton and Adam Larsson work well together.

    What made that check particularly effective was that Gator’s left hand would be on his own stick which would be chipping away at the puck at the same time he was depositing said player on his ass. He could play the man and the puck simultaneously as well as anyone.

  97. frjohnk says:

    When Larsson cranked Johnny Hockey, I gave a Woot!. More please. We now have Regher, they now have Hemsky.

    Also wanted to note that there was one play not mentioned here was when Johnny had the puck on the right wing close to top speed and Klefbom stayed with him skating backwards. Klefbom’s mobility was redlining but he stopped Johnny because of his mobility and positioning. Not many Dman in this league can do that.

    I know that Woodguy says Russell is Dreamy but Id say so is Klefbom 🙂

  98. dangilitis says:

    pocession charge: The Flames fans were stunned but the building sure wasn’t quiet.The Oilers fans made sure of that with lots of cheering and chanting (Let’s go Oilers).What surprised me was that most of the Flames fans didn’t leave early.

    Waiting to hear 50/50 numbers?

  99. hunter1909 says:

    frjohnk: When Larsson cranked Johnny Hockey, I gave a Woot!. More please. We now have Regher, they now have Hemsky.

    Larsson is a monster. Just a wonderful, wonderful player.

    Suddenly Chiarelli’s Oilers have so many great players…McDavid…Larsson… Leon…Talbot…Lucic…Nurse…Maroon…(lol at Maroon but wtf)

  100. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: What made that check particularly effective was that Gator’s left hand would be on his own stick which would be chippingaway at the puck at the same time he was depositing said player on his ass. He could play the man and the puck simultaneously as well as anyone.

    The stiff-arm is perfectly legal, yet players have gone away from it.

    I’ve seen stiff-arm get called “holding” hip-check called “tripping”

    Refs should do some remedial work on what’s legal and what’s not.

  101. Frank the dog says:

    Stelio Kontos:
    Can guarantee the balance photo won’t live up to the hype.

    It’s more a case of LT declaring balance than whatever the photo is, although I’m sure that it’s an impressive photo.

  102. Jethro Tull says:

    Woodguy v2.0: The stiff-arm is perfectly legal, yet players have gone away from it.

    I’ve seen stiff-arm get called “holding” hip-check called “tripping”

    Refs should do some remedial work on what’s legal and what’s not.

    Since when has the mere fact of legality ever influenced a ref’s decision? They call it how they feel it.

  103. hunter1909 says:

    Eventually Leon’s going to make a huge impact on German ice hockey.

    Just think: In 20 years(I’ll probably be dead by then lol) Germany will start producing incredible hockey players. Look out Canada!

  104. OF17 says:

    In addition to all of the positives already mentioned, one thing I appreciated in Larsson’s game last night was that he was jumping into the play on offense more often. Can’t remember when exactly it happened, but there was a sequence where Larsson dropped down in the offensive zone to recover a puck, held it to get past the defender, and sent it to a forward parked in the crease for a deflection. No goal, but it was a legit scoring chance, and we haven’t seen Larsson make that move too often this season. He’s getting more comfortable, which is good.

    He’s also regained a lot of confidence in his passing. He was deferring to Klefbom far too often on breakouts at the beginning of the year, but now it’s a lot more balanced, and that’s increased the pair’s effectiveness quite a bit. General pattern seems to be one of them recovers the puck, draws a forechecker, crosses to the partner, and then the partner starts the breakout. Having both guys capable of playing either role in that exchange is huge, since it gives the pair so much versatility. Klefbom-Larsson is going to be a very good pair for a long time. All we need is someone to pair with Sekera to go with Nurse-Benning, and we’ll have one of the better and more balanced transition D corps in the league.

    Russell is easily my least favorite D in the top 7 right now (Nurse included). Guy passes neither eye test nor number test for me. Ever notice how he loses almost every puck battle he’s engaged in? He gives it his all, which is respectable, but Russell might be the worst player on the team at actually winning those puck battles. That’s the biggest reason why his numbers are so bad IMO, since it’s almost like playing with 4.5 guys as soon as the opposition gets clean possession in our zone. Combine that with Russell’s difficulties holding lines, and no wonder the pairings he’s on get caved. His calmness, passing ability, and silky skating are nice, but they’re far outweighed by his less noticeable weaknesses. For a team built to win one-on-ones and play a strong disruption and transition game, I’m having a hard time figuring out why Russell is given such high marks.

  105. Bruce McCurdy says:

    dangilitis: Waiting to hear 50/50 numbers?

    Heh, last night they were 30/70 numbers

  106. hunter1909 says:

    Jethro Tull: Since when has the mere fact of legality ever influenced a ref’s decision? They call it how they feel it.

    People love to rip the refs, but they play an integral part in policing “The Game”.

    Just imagine if Vancouver, with all that diving had won that cup. By now the entire league would be diving like so many freaking pieces of halibut, and it would be horrible. The refs intervening and letting Boston whore those West Coast flakes goes down in Hunter’s book as one of the great services to professional sports.

  107. OilClog says:

    Hemmer for the stretch drive!

  108. hunter1909 says:

    OF17: His calmness, passing ability, and silky skating are nice

    Geez this is a bottom pairing player we’re discussing. You can’t expect Serge Savard at this level.

  109. Timeisnow says:

    The point is, Oiler fans are starting to like and appreciate Adam Larsson. The comparables are all really good, tough as nails dman, who we all want on our team. The good part is he’s just starting to show who he is.

  110. Frank the dog says:

    pocession charge: The Flames fans were stunned but the building sure wasn’t quiet.The Oilers fans made sure of that with lots of cheering and chanting (Let’s go Oilers).What surprised me was that most of the Flames fans didn’t leave early.

    That’s because the Flames fight to the end and sometimes come back. Especially against the Oil.

  111. OF17 says:

    hunter1909: Geez this is a bottom pairing player we’re discussing. You can’t expect Serge Savard at this level.

    I’m not expecting Serge Savard, but I am expecting a player that can both defend and pass effectively. Russell has one of the two. We’re also not talking about a bottom pairing player. In ability maybe, but not in role. We have Nurse, Benning, and Davidson to hold down the 5/6/7 roles for the foreseeable future, and if Davidson goes, I can’t see Russell accepting or being given the 7 slot. I don’t like Russell at RD, so where does that leave him? I’d rather go get a UFA for a million bucks or park Reinhart in the press box than keep Russell. It’s an even talent exchange or better, and you have an extra $2 million or so to play with.

  112. Kris11 says:

    This team is finally, finally starting to make me just a little bit hopeful. Having lived and watch Oilers games all these years, that hope is really scaring me

  113. Bruce McCurdy says:

    OF17,

    In his last 7 games, Larsson is 0-6-6, +8. Every last one of them a secondary assist, but each time a solid play to win/move the puck up to a forward with room to do something with it.

    He is a defence-first guy without question, but not defence-Only. Now on pace for 20 points, none of them on the PP.

    Btw, some may have seen it already, but the other day I wrote <a href="http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/it-took-a-while-but-oilers-rearguard-adam-larsson-has-been-finding-his-form“>this post on Larsson, riffing off my own entry in this comments section the day before, & borrowing FrJohn's stats from this forum.

  114. Jethro Tull says:

    hunter1909: People love to rip the refs, but they play an integral part in policing “The Game”.

    Just imagine if Vancouver, with all that diving had won that cup. By now the entire league would be diving like so many freaking pieces of halibut, and it would be horrible. The refs intervening and letting Boston whore those West Coast flakes goes down in Hunter’s book as one of the great services to professional sports.

    Yes and no. Vancouver earnt a reputation for diving and the big bad bruins were the prototypical old guy’s hockey team with grititude. The point is calls aren’t being made when they’re supposed to be. Consistency is a dirty word to them. What one ref in one game against a certain team or player calls, another lets slide.

    Btw, not sticking up for the ‘sucks, don’t ever think that!

    Nice halibut reference! “All i said was that bit of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!”

  115. OF17 says:

    One thought: I bet Slepyshev is gone at the deadline. The Oilers are going to have to make some room for players next year. If not traded, I’d count McDavid, Draisaitl, Maroon, Lucic, Eberle, Letestu, Kassian, Puljujarvi, Nuge, Caggiula, and Pitlick as near-certain Oilers next season. That’s 11 slots with Khaira, Slepyshev, Lander, and any new additions still to factor in. Khaira, Lander, and Slepyshev are all too good for the AHL, and I bet they’d choose Khaira if they had to pick one. That leaves Slep in a bit of a weird place with regards to next year’s roster, and he’s shown enough this year to pique teams’ interest IMO. Dealing him, maybe in a package, for a rental forward makes a lot of sense.

    Matty just might get his Stafford acquisition after all. Lucic-Caggiula-Stafford would be an interesting line.

  116. OF17 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Hadn’t seen your article yet Bruce, thanks for posting. I definitely agree that there’s been a shift in his play the last 7-10 games or so. He’s looking more like how he looked in New Jersey, where he would’ve had a lot more points IMO if he had some forward talent to work with. Makes me more confident that he’ll hit that ~30 point level in time, which combined with his defense, physicality, skating, and breakouts would make him one seriously valuable defender. My favorite type of defender too, one that puts both goaltenders and forwards in an excellent position to succeed.

  117. hunter1909 says:

    OF17: I’m not expecting Serge Savard, but I am expecting a player that can both defend and pass effectively. Russell has one of the two. We’re also not talking about a bottom pairing player. In ability maybe, but not in role. We have Nurse, Benning, and Davidson to hold down the 5/6/7 roles for the foreseeable future, and if Davidson goes, I can’t see Russell accepting or being given the 7 slot. I don’t like Russell at RD, so where does that leave him? I’d rather go get a UFA for a million bucks or park Reinhart in the press box than keep Russell. It’s an even talent exchange or better, and you have an extra $2 million or so to play with.

    I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to say here. For my money, Russell’s been an exemplary player this year.

  118. hunter1909 says:

    Jethro Tull: Yes and no. Vancouver earnt a reputation for diving and the big bad bruins were the prototypical old guy’s hockey team with grititude. The point is calls aren’t being made when they’re supposed to be. Consistency is a dirty word to them. What one ref in one game against a certain team or player calls, another lets slide.

    Btw, not sticking up for the ‘sucks, don’t ever think that!

    Nice halibut reference! “All i said was that bit of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!”

    LOL I just love how the refs were able to “take over” the NHL during that series. The Canucks were a good team but the diving was sickening. As everyone and their little sister knows, the NHL is a “copycat” league. Getting rid of that evil trend gives the refs a whole lot of leeway in my book, is all.

  119. OF17 says:

    hunter1909: I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to say here. For my money, Russell’s been an exemplary player this year.

    If you think Russell has been exemplary, we probably won’t have a lot to talk about here, since I’ve seen him on the opposite end of the spectrum. My point is that I’d only be comfortable bringing Russell back in a 5/6/7 role, and all of those slots are currently taken by more qualified candidates. If one of those more qualified candidates gets traded or claimed by Vegas, I’d rather shop elsewhere for a replacement than tap Russell for it.

    Russell has been a definite improvement on the calibre of D we’re used to seeing in these parts, but we can and should aim higher moving forward, especially since we really only have the 2RD hole to fill.

  120. N64 says:

    Good thing they’ve padded the lead heading into a challenging stretch. Oilers are at .610. But that breaks out to .389 against the top 15 teams. That’s all they play the next 7 games. So the over/under for the next 7 games would be 5½ pts.

    Washington .740
    Columbus .735
    Minnesota .720
    Pittsburgh .700
    Montreal .655
    Chicago .655
    NYR .640
    San Jose .640
    Anaheim .620
    Ottawa .615
    Edmonton .610
    Toronto .580
    Nashville .555
    St. Louis .545
    Carolina .535

  121. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    OF17,

    If the Oilers trade Slepy for Stafford I will throw up.

  122. OF17 says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    Yeah, wouldn’t be my first choice (Slepyshev in a deal for Hanzal would be my target), but the pieces line up so nicely I think it’s a real possibility.

  123. Pescador says:

    Woodguy v2.0: The stiff-arm is perfectly legal, yet players have gone away from it.

    I’ve seen stiff-arm get called “holding” hip-check called “tripping”

    Refs should do some remedial work on what’s legal and what’s not.

    Yes indeed, although when Gator did it it was much more then just the ol running back stiff arm. He would make the initial contact with his shoulder then extend the “stiff arm” into the opposing players chest. It always looked like he was just pushing guys down to the ice but there was so much leverage there, which imo is where the skill was & like Bruce alluded to he would most often separate the puck from the man. Either way he was the best at it and if you never got a chance to see it that’s a shame.

  124. square_wheels says:

    Is this the NHL now ???

    Detroit outshoots the Rags 21-19 but lose 1-0 in OT.

    Worst game of the year award ?

  125. hunter1909 says:

    OF17: My point is that I’d only be comfortable bringing Russell back in a 5/6/7 role, and all of those slots are currently taken by more qualified candidates.

    Although I can see your point, in the end Russell’s been a good addition.

  126. square_wheels says:

    OF17,

    UFA D with lots of (perceived) miles left, maybe he’s thinking Vegas signs him and he leverages that extra year ?

  127. square_wheels says:

    OilClog,

    YES PLEASE !

  128. frjohnk says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    OF17,

    In his last 7 games, Larsson is 0-6-6, +8. Every last one of them a secondary assist, but each time a solid play to win/move the puck up to a forward with room to do something with it.

    He isa defence-first guy without question, but not defence-Only. Now on pace for 20 points, none of them on the PP.

    Btw, some may have seen it already, but the other day I wrote <a href=”http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/it-took-a-while-but-oilers-rearguard-adam-larsson-has-been-finding-his-form“>this post on Larsson, riffing off my own entry in this comments section the day before, & borrowing FrJohn’s stats from this forum.

    Great article Bruce.

    I think has played better as he has gotten more used to the coaching/systems/players on the Oilers team.

    And I don’t think we have seen his best yet.

  129. GMB3 says:

    Woodguy v2.0: That’s the issue with Russell.

    When he defends, he defends fairly well.

    The problem is that the Oilers defend much more when he’s on the ice than when he’s off.

    Last night he had a 0% Zone Entry denial.Not one time did CGY attack his side and not gain the zone.72% of the time they did it under control too.

    He looks good defending, but defends too much.

    The irony of paying defenders to defend but not defend too often. A real catch-22

  130. OF17 says:

    square_wheels:
    OF17,

    UFA D with lots of (perceived) miles left, maybe he’s thinking Vegas signs him and he leverages that extra year ?

    I’m looking at Buffalo for him. Not a lot there for LHD, and Bogosian would solve a lot of Russell’s issues with being hard at the lines and winning puck battles. At the same time, Russell’s passing and puck skills would cover a lot of Bogosian’s weaknesses. Seems like a pretty good fit, and Buffalo will have the money to pull it off.

  131. OF17 says:

    GMB3: The irony of paying defenders to defend but not defend too often. A real catch-22

    I think the idea is that you want defenders that defend effectively and quickly. Get the puck back as soon as possible as far away from high danger areas as possible and get a flat pass to a guy in a position to make a play. Paying guys to either defend or transition without the other element is missing the point IMO. It’s why I’m such a big fan of most of our D corps. Sekera, Klefbom, Larsson, Davidson, Benning, and Nurse are all good at playing that style of game. Shut things down, get the puck, and be effective in transition. Puts your forwards in a position to create offense and your goalie in a position to make saves.

  132. greenshifter says:

    I was at the the Portland vs Kelowna game last night to see Caleb Jones in action. A very Jekyl and Hyde performance.

    In his own end without the puck he was not very good. Anticipating plays and coverage was poor. He did a lot of floating around, 1 hand on stick, looping circles and not engaging in battles. He did, however make a very strong play defending a 2 on 1.

    On the other hand when the puck was on his stick he turned into a different player. His wheels would start turning and would make very nice passes when under pressure. Also led quite a few rushes and some quality chances came from some. He QB’s the powerplay and walks the blue line very well. By far he is the best skater on Portland.

    What I saw last night was the opposite of how he played in the WJ tournament, where he was used as more of a defensive player and his offense abilities weren’t on show. He can play the tough, hard defensve minutes but why he wasn’t doing it last night I’m not sure.

    But the night belonged to Kole Lind of Kelowna. Can this kid ever create offense and has unreal hands. Can skate well, goes to the net, runs the PP from the half wall. 3 or 4 times he left defenders looking for their jockstraps.

    Cal Foote also looks good. This kid is thick and hits hard. Looks like a linebacker out there! Kelowna has some massive kids on their blue! Didn’t show much offensively but was solid in his own end. Get’s to loose pucks quickly and wins battles. Skating was pretty good for a big guy.

    Got home late and watched Oilers demolish the Flames!
    Great night!

  133. Chachi says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Heh, last night they were 30/70 numbers

    This is funny, very funny.

  134. Chachi says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    OF17,

    If the Oilers trade Slepy for Stafford I will throw up.

    We would need a vomitorium so we could all join you.

  135. spoiler says:

    delooper: SNL “To sir with love”

    I nearly puked. We’re talking about a warmonger who was given the Peace prize. This is so not SNL.

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