A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION

The great baseball manager Casey Stengel was famous for all kinds of sayings, but one of them seems to fit this Oilers team like a glove. Stengel used to say there were 50 games you were going to lose no matter what, be it acts of God, your starter didn’t have his good stuff, your rookie shortstop makes two errors. There were also 50 games you were going to win no matter what, the heart of your order hammers three homers and your ace is so good you fall asleep in the fifth because he is a rocking chair picture. It’s what you do in those other 50, Stengel would say, that determines who wins the pennant.

If you apply that to hockey, it is 25. In the extra 25 games, that’s how you determine who makes the playoffs. Last night was one of those 25 games. Pretty sure. This morning, you will read about goats and bad ice and how the Oilers don’t know how to win. The truth is a little different, and you will have to keep reading to find my opinion. This much is true: I still believe in this team. Tough loss.

  • Todd McLellan: “The desire was there, we just didn’t execute. We need to get prepared for another game,and move on.”

 SAM POLLOCK IS SMILING, 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: 9-4-1, goal differential +8
  • Oilers in February 2016: 3-8-2, goal differential -18
  • Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers in March 2016: 8-8-0, goal differential +5
  • Oilers in March 2017: 1-2-1, goal differential -5
  • Oilers after 68, 2015-16: 26-35-7, goal differential -36
  • Oilers after 68, 2016-17: 35-24-9, goal differential +11

Edmonton’s clear growth is obvious in the lines across all of these months and in the overall record. You would like to see the club reach the 80-point plateau before reaching Game 70, meaning at least a tie against the Dallas Stars.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Detroit, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Montreal (Expected: 2-2-0) (Actual 1-2-1)
  • At home to: Dallas, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 3-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Anaheim, Colorado (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-5-1, 15 points in 13 games
  • Current results: 1-2-1, 3 points in 4 games

A very disappointing game for Edmonton last night, Sunday nights are not a friend to Oildrops. They have four home games straight ahead and the expectation is six points. I remain convinced this team will make the playoffs, and am dead certain they have turned north, but we are about to see a real test, one that could frame and define the season. Is there blood in the water? The Los Angeles Kings are not going to let off the guess, this much is true.

DEFENSE LAST NIGHT

  • Klefbom was unlucky on the second GA. I wanted to say that because I read last night that the play was reflective of his poor overall effort last night. That isn’t really analysis, that is story weaving. Single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events.
  • Russell and Sekera got overloaded on the first GA, you would like Russell or Pouliot to contain the passer but the modern defender is unable to hold his opponent as was the case in the good old days.
  • Brendan Gallagher went 9-5 against Sekera.
  • The one important item to take from the stats above? The Oilers were terrible in possession. As the game went on, it looked like the club as a whole decided to get into a defensive shell. Bad idea. For me, that is one of the things the club has to improve. By the midway point of the second period, they had become a dump team, very little chase. At that point, you are running luck pretty hard and it cost them.
  • On a night when the Oilers blue were ineffective passing, I thought Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson were the only ones fully able to carry the puck out of the zone. Needs to be part of the arsenal.
  • Cam Talbot was brilliant, stopping 37 of 39, .949sp.

1LINE

  • McDavid didn’t get a lot of daylight. This is the kind of play we are going to see from here on in, and Todd McLellan is going to have to adjust. One thing he could do? Have a more capable pair of wingers on the 4line, allowing 97 to double shift in order to get a more handsome matchup.
  • McDavid had a bunch of takeaways, I counted four but missed a shift or two. Crazy hockey player.
  • Shea Weber went 11-9 against Connor McDavid.
  • Leon looks tired, which probably means he has some injury or malady. Probably not scurvy. The bad ice probably isn’t helping.
  • Maroon had a gigantic chance, Leon sent a brilliant pass, when it was 1-0. So close.

2LINE

  • Lucic’s goal was a highlight, wonderful individual play. It looks like the last 20 games are going to be far better than the first 50. Good to see, and the Oilers need him. I wonder if we see the big man back with 97 soon.
  • Nuge: “At the start of the year if you asked us if we’d be in this spot, I’d take it after five years not even being close.” People are up in arms about this, but it is true. The problem is that RNH isn’t having the kind of season where he can say that and not receive pushback. Could McDavid say it? Hell yes. Talbot say it? All day. Nuge? Suspect we will hear booing Tuesday. If they run Nuge out of town, I will be very upset. Klefbom, too. Seems fans are settling on the next bad guys.

3LINE

  • Pouliot took another penalty. Lordy. I imagine that gets a lot of play today on the Lowdown. He also was a hair late to cover the pass on the first GA, impeding Russell a little (or you could make the case). Neither item (penalty and coverage) is worth a benching, but one suspects the veteran has very little rope at this point in the season.
  • Desharnais was quiet.
  • Zack Kassian is a steamroller, baby. Love his effort this season.

4LINE

  • Well, folks, I don’t have much to say. Todd McLellan may want to put Slepyshev and Khaira on the Letestu line, if only so McDavid will have better linemates for double shifting.

NEW LINES?

Probably. Maybe we see Jesse Puljujarvi up from the farm, too. I think it might be time to try Leon back at center, and move Lucic-Eberle up to the big line. Maybe Nuge gets a push there, too. Anton Slepyshev should get a start in my opinion. Pakarinen’s return to the lineup has faded the Russian, looks like a mistake from here.

STANDINGS

This morning’s standings have the Oilers solidly inside the playoffs. LAK are going to push, but the gap (five points) is difficult to make up unless a team above you is collapsing. Many fans believe the Oilers are such a team, I remain convinced they have enough to win the day. The team has been winning with McDavid and Talbot and pray for rain all season, and it has worked. This week is an important one, there are winnable games. Many fans are counting on the Flames fever to break, but with the Calgaries about to play the Kings, perhaps you should re-think it.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

For much of the game, the Oilers played a passive place and chase game, losing the Corsi battle in period one by five events 5×5:

  • Corsi for 5×5 in first period: 19-14 Montreal.

There was a point in the game where Corsi events were even, and there were a few chances (Nuge had a couple of good looks, but paused and his path to the net gobbled up) for the Oil. The Habs did a nice job of cutting off McDavid in the early parts of the game. When this happens, Edmonton needs secondary scoring, and on this night they would get one in the second period. The transport from defensemen to forwards under control was not good at all last night, and that was a big part of the problem.

  • Corsi for 5×5 in second period: 19-16 Montreal.

At the 4:17 mark of the second period, Milan Lucic scored. After that, the Oilers continued to dump but the chase portion often meant Kassian driving to the puck while his linemates changed (as an example). I would estimate that by the 10-minute mark of the second, game half over, Edmonton put their rifles away and started building walls.

  • Corsi for 5×5 in third period: 23-10 Montreal.

By the third period, the Oilers were more interested in setting up defense for the sorties than actually making Carey Price stop a dangerous shot. Montreal, having contained Edmonton’s power source, no longer had to worry much about the popgun offense the rest of the lineup.

The rest is storyline. You are going to read a lot today about the sky falling and that is untrue. You will also read about Benoit Pouliot and Oscar Klefbom as culprits and this is unfair. What is the problem?

They are not balanced. Same as it ever was. The good vibe we had after the Penguins game has been replaced by real worry about roster makeup, passive play and ineffective lines. What you need to know is this: The Edmonton Oilers, as currently constructed, can make the playoffs unless they start doing addled things. That includes management, coaches and players. They have this and should not panic. Nor should you.

Now. Go panic because I know you will. In an insane bit or irony, panic and fury are home for Oilers fans. At some level, this is familiar. Crazy crazy.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Scott Burnside, ESPN. It is getting very interesting in both conferences. Suddenly a lot of things are up in the air.
  • Jeff Hauser, Radio Hauser. How is NFL free agency going?
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Hadwin, Oilers loss, NL wins!
  • Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue plus The SuperFan. Sunil breaks down the weekend.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

 

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153 Responses to "A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION"

  1. Mr. D. says:

    When you have 3 out of 6 D who can move the puck in the d zone you are pretty much done if you can only score 1 goal.
    If they sign Russell this team is in trouble.

  2. russ99 says:

    Mr. D.:
    When you have 3 out of 6 D who can move the puck in the d zone you are pretty much done if you can only score 1 goal.
    If they sign Russell this team is in trouble.

    Puck moving is the least of our troubles. We still got the puck out and our offensive troubles were all after gaining the zone, with nobody going to the tough areas and our only offensive play was winging it back to the point.

    Even with a quality point shot, that’s not going to score many goals…

    Chasing the opposition is the biggest issue on D. The only times I saw Russell and Sekera bad were overcommitting on entries a few times and chasing behind the goal line on that first goal. But the two forwards not committed to a man on the wall didn’t adjust to cover either.

    Klefbom was all over the place and he’s “unlucky”. We all have our favorites, but this is ridiculous.

  3. texmex says:

    The sad truth about this team is unless Talbot or McDavid play out of their minds, we cannot win. RNH brings little to no offense as a 2nd line center.

    7 points up on the Kings as of this morning. We play them 3 more times this year with either Quick or Bishop starting in net. YIKES.

    Me thinks the games against Philly, Pit and NYR earlier in the season where we blew the game is gonna bite us in the a$s.

    Test Tube as 2nd Shooter in the SO??? Every goalie knows what he is going to do now. Not sure how though. I mean he has shot 9 times in a shoot out and made the same move every time. It’s like they watch video of him in the SO or something?

  4. dustrock says:

    3 against Van, 2 against Colorado. 10 points needed

  5. Pink Socks says:

    No reason at all to panic. Minus one tremendously unlucky bounce and minus one huge Carey Price moment and we bag a 2-1 victory. LT is spot on, this was one of the 25.

    That being said, 23 and 26 are replacement level players and without injuries which force them into the lineup, dressing them is a disservice to the rest of the team. 55 and 13 are the 3C and 4C, there should not be too much disagreement on that. With that established, there are 6 wingers that can and should be rotating through those 4 spots in place of Hendricks and Pakarinen. All of 54/42/36/44/67/51 are better players and deserve to be in the lineup in front of these two. I understand inserting players into the lineup if they are HS for a handful of games in a row to make sure no permanent rust develops, but don’t handcuff the team by reducing it to 9 forwards capable of taking a regular 5v5 shift.

  6. Pink Socks says:

    texmex,

    Letestu is tied for 5th in shootout goals in the NHL this year and has been the most consistent shooter for the Oil this year in that department. Having him in there is the least of our issues.

  7. Mr. D. says:

    Well the first part of puck moving is GAINING CONTROL. Can’t move the puck if you ain’t got it. So puck moving wasn’t good.

    russ99: Puck moving is the least of our troubles. We still got the puck out and our offensive troubles were all after gaining the zone, with nobody going to the tough areas and our only offensive play was winging it back to the point.

    Even with a quality point shot, that’s not going to score many goals…

    Chasing the opposition is the biggest issue on D. The only times I saw Russell and Sekera bad were overcommitting on entries a few times and chasing behind the goal line on that first goal. But the two forwards not committed to a man on the wall didn’t adjust to cover either.

    Klefbom was all over the place and he’s “unlucky”.We all have our favorites, but this is ridiculous.

  8. Aitch says:

    I’ve been really liking what I’ve seen out of Kassian the past little while. He’s skating like a demon and he has enough confidence that he’s looking to make skill plays. If the Oilers are going to move Draisaitl back to C, I’d love for Kassian to get a few games on McD’s wing. He might be one of the few that can skate well enough to keep up.

  9. Diablo says:

    russ99: Puck moving is the least of our troubles. We still got the puck out and our offensive troubles were all after gaining the zone, with nobody going to the tough areas and our only offensive play was winging it back to the point.

    Even with a quality point shot, that’s not going to score many goals…

    Chasing the opposition is the biggest issue on D. The only times I saw Russell and Sekera bad were overcommitting on entries a few times and chasing behind the goal line on that first goal. But the two forwards not committed to a man on the wall didn’t adjust to cover either.

    Klefbom was all over the place and he’s “unlucky”.We all have our favorites, but this is ridiculous.

    Klefbom has been mistake prone defensively – I don’t think LT is disputing that. The goals that have been scored when he’s “also in the picture” have happened too many times this year to be coincidence anymore. But he still hasn’t played a full NHL season yet or 200 NHL games. We need to wait till next year around this time to see if he can iron out his uneven play.

    I don’t think Larsson gets enough credit for his defensive work this year – I think its obvious now that he’s been carrying Klef in the D-zone. Without Larsson, Klef’s pairing would be all sorts of chaos.

    Definitely need another puck mover, but looking over the UFA list this year, there’s nobody available who’s going to help in that regard (Shattenkirk’s not signing here). So that either means trading one of the Steve Austins or re-signing Russell for another year as a stop-gap. As long as the term and cap hit are reasonable, the later is the safer move.

    Leon – I don’t see anything in his game to suggest that there’s a major injury that he’s dealing with. At this time of year everyone is dealing with nagging aches and pains – that should not be an excuse held exclusively in reserve for Leon. He’s dragging his ass out there because he’s “gassed” – he needs to improve his fitness level this summer or the same thing will happen next year.

    TMac needs to cut his minutes back in order to get more effective play out of him – put him on the second line and second PP – and make him earn back the ice time with McDavid. Same for Maroon.

  10. HeavySig says:

    If the pitchforks are out for RNH after that comment, then this town just wants to burn itself down. There may even be fans upset at this season’s success and are just waiting to pounce on them if, and/or when, they eventually fail.

    “At the start of the year if you asked us if we’d be in this spot, I’d take it after five years not even being close.”

    I don’t find that inflammatory, regardless of who is saying it. You have to bet that something like that has been said in the dressing room after Oiler losses a few times now. It is just a coping mechanism to allow them to compartmentalize a loss and allow them to move on. Goalies, in particular, have to have this attitude.

    Do we want them to be gutted with every loss and take it upon themselves? Taking responsibility is fine now and again, but you can’t play that card every time. RNH is one of those who have played through some horrendous seasons for the Oilers, while carrying the weight of unrealistic expectations on his back. That gives him the right to make that comment.

  11. hunter1909 says:

    Hunter1909’s 2016-17 Oilers Death March Update:

    Oilers lose a stinker and drop to a 95 point season pace.

    Currently there are 14 players tied for 1st place. They are:

    Giant Squid Overlord
    Marconaise
    KGO
    Yakupov Me
    Spengler
    Ashley
    Ryan
    The Mook
    Haz Wasted
    Kev
    Doug McLachlan
    Jordan
    Voxwah
    A-Frame

  12. hunter1909 says:

    HeavySig: If the pitchforks are out for RNH after that comment, then this town just wants to burn itself down.

    Perhaps fans are tired of hoping a scrawny little runt that never seems to emerge from adolescence suddenly starts playing like a 1st overall draft pick.

    Every season it’s the same. Rookie dominates for 20 to 40 odd games, takes a monster hit then goes into a shell for the rest of his career.

    Of course at 6 million a year he’s already set for life. No reason for RNH to worry about anything anymore.

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

    HeavySig,

    This all day long!

    People seem to be mixing up what is unlikely among a couple of scenarios, especially the one where everyone was supposed to see and believe that the Flames would win 9 in a row. I caught a little flack last week for suggesting a 9 game winning streak was a Black Swan because such streaks are somewhat common in the grand scheme of NHL hockey. While that is fair, I would like to point out that Calgary’s current winning streak isn’t just a 9 gamer among NHL teams, its also a franchise record. When you set a record for wins that has never occurred in almost 40 years, that is my friends a Black Swan Event

  14. leadfarmer says:

    Can’t get out of the zone. Can’t get a pp set up. People complain about the ice but this team does only slightly better on the road. Taking and making a pass is a skill that has been lost on this team. Overshooting McDavid by a good 10 feet on a stretch pass and we’re blaming the ice.

  15. Yeti says:

    HeavySig: “At the start of the year if you asked us if we’d be in this spot, I’d take it after five years not even being close.”
    I don’t find that inflammatory, regardless of who is saying it.

    Absolutely. Wouldn’t we all emphatically agree with his statement? I’ve have taken this position in a heartbeat! It doesn’t mean that RNH or anyone else is happy with losing games or isn’t striving to improve.

    In terms of lines, I’d be very wary of bringing Puljujärvi back up and sticking him straight on the top line as some may be suggesting. Personally, I’d gently ease him into the lineup. Put him on the fourth line in place of Pakarinen and let him re-adjust to the pace and intensity without losing confidence or feeling overwhelmed. He is not (yet) the solution to the balance question. Our priority is to make sure he grows into that solution over time.

  16. Yeti says:

    hunter1909: Of course at 6 million a year he’s already set for life. No reason for RNH to worry about anything anymore.

    I’ve never met RNH, so I can’t say this with any authority. But everything I have seen and heard from him gives me the idea that a lack of will to succeed and improve is not his problem. I imagine that his relative lack of production is worrying him plenty. It’s called integrity and professional pride. I get the impression that RNH has both in spades.

  17. hags9k says:

    Nothing a little winning streak won’t cure.

    But the next game is big, because the enemy is the narrative of a collapse and the last 10 years becoming too loud.

    Need to get the momentum back.

  18. Bag of Pucks says:

    Fully agree LT. The team tried to sit on a lead for a period+ and it cost them.

    This is their first playoff drive as a group. They’ll learn from that I’m sure. Maroon buries that pass across and it’s different conversation this morning. Still not panicking…yet

    Nurse manning up against McCarron. Darnell is definitely a bubble off plum and I love it. Caveat being, as long as he doesn’t get hurt in one of these tilts.

    Saw Larsson very good last night. When the forecheck hit the wall, he made the opposition pay every time. Reminded me of Gator last night. Adam is some nasty business. The ‘gutless Swede’ meme has been dead for decades thankfully and it’s player like Larsson that keep it well and truly buried.

    The worst part of the game last night was the entertainment factor – largely nil. Let’s hope we see more of a free flow skating game on Tuesday.

  19. Bag of Pucks says:

    Btw, if MacLellan is looking to doubleshift Connor, I’d love to seem him take a turn alongside RNH. At this point, TMac’s refusal to give RNH a look on the wing is bordering on stubbornness imo.

  20. Yeti says:

    Bag of Pucks: Btw, if MacLellan is looking to doubleshift Connor, I’d love to seem him take a turn alongside RNH. At this point, TMac’s refusal to give RNH a look on the wing is bordering on stubbornness imo.

    Would you straight switch Draisaitl and RNH for a couple of shifts?

  21. Pink Socks says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Btw, if MacLellan is looking to doubleshift Connor, I’d love to seem him take a turn alongside RNH. At this point, TMac’s refusal to give RNH a look on the wing is bordering on stubbornness imo.

    100%, I have been wishing for this:

    27-97-29
    67-13-44
    93-97-14
    19-55-42

    Run this for 10 minutes and see what happens. Puts a few players on the pine for a bit, but gets a good run of 97 on the ice for 50% of the time.

  22. Bag of Pucks says:

    Yeti: Would you straight switch Draisaitl and RNH for a couple of shifts?

    Absolutely. Leon’s in a funk. So is Nuge. Give them some fresh looks.

    Btw, I noticed Eberle playing more physical last night, taking a few hits to make some plays. That’s a big part of this. Players needing to bust out of slumps should consider spending more time in the hard areas.

  23. Pink Socks says:

    Aitch:
    I’ve been really liking what I’ve seen out of Kassian the past little while. He’s skating like a demon and he has enough confidence that he’s looking to make skill plays. If the Oilers are going to move Draisaitl back to C, I’d love for Kassian to get a few games on McD’s wing. He might be one of the few that can skate well enough to keep up.

    Also a good point. It can’t hurt to throw 44 out there for a few shifts while Leon sits for a few to refuel.

  24. HeavySig says:

    hunter1909: Perhaps fans are tired of hoping a scrawny little runt that never seems to emerge from adolescence suddenly starts playing like a 1st overall draft pick.

    So people being disappointed in a player means that the player must remain silent and not say anything?

    Good thing that rule of yours doesn’t apply to posters on Lowetide, eh? Then where would you be?

    Those fans probably don’t realize that only one player from RNH’s draft year, Garbriel Landeskog, has scored more NHL points (20 in 32 more games). Landeskog has had a worse current season scoring than RNH on a dreadful Avalanche team, but then it’s not like RNH was ever on a winning team before this year. Sean Couturier was touted as the main alternative pick for #1 vs RNH and he is 10th in scoring from his draft class. In half a decade’s worth of hindsight you could pick someone that might be better now, but that is a fool’s game.

    Why don’t you dig up who you picked as #1 back then?

  25. DBO says:

    Change up the lines. Give Drai some shelter. And you don’t break up the one line getting some chemistry in the Nuge line.And give McDavid someone that can skate with him, and be a bit of our Pisani.

    Maroon-McDavid-Desharnais
    Lucic-Nuge-Eberle
    Cagguila-Draisatl-Kassian
    Pouliot/Hendricks-Letestu-Khaira

  26. Yeti says:

    DBO: And give McDavid someone that can skate with him, and be a bit of our Pisani.
    Maroon-McDavid-Desharnais

    Interesting idea, although – IMO – even if we had the original Pisani, I wouldn’t be putting him with McDavid. I do like the idea of pairing Drai with Kassian. I’d look for Maroon on the LW of that unit.

  27. StixMalone says:

    This morning’s standings have the Oilers solidly inside the playoffs. LAK are going to push, but the gap (five points) is difficult to make up unless a team above you is collapsing.

    That’s exactly what the Calgary didn’t think. Five points was easy for them…gosh I hate the Flames!

  28. NativeNotFrench says:

    I was at the game last night, my second game in the new arena but it was my dads first. His eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas when he saw that scoreboard. He looked around the arena from the very top before we went down to our seats and he teared up and audibly said “WOW”. He’s been an Oilers fan since the glory days but the DECADEOFDARKNESS has definitely taken its toll on his viewership. It was our first game together since they lost 8-1 to the flames on a march Saturday night a few years ago and we had a blast even though they lost.

    Lowetide, last night was one of the 25 I fully agree. It was a slow, choppy, weird game from the start with no real flow and Montreal found a way to hang on and got a dumb bounce and won the game. The sky is not falling, we still control our own destiny and I believe in this team as well. I hope the next game we go too together can be in the playoffs

  29. Bruce Wayne says:

    People keep telling me the team is better (see Penguins game which I didn’t watch) but every time I watch (last night) it is like watching paint dry.

    It was a close game and they could have easily wonit, but who cares. I don’t want to cheer for a team that plays that way, win or lose. The Canadians are my least favourite team (well them or the Bruins) but I was happy they scored to tie the game, because teams that dump the puck in every time and give up trying to score deserve to lose.

    The Oilers have Connor McDavid and they are still one of the most boring teams in the NHL. The coach has to wear some of that.

  30. dustrock says:

    Thought after Pens game they’d go on a roll. Don’t like McLellan lineup decisions either. Benning out for Gryba? Hendricks continuing to play. Drai is struggling. Call up Puljujarvi, put him with McDavid, put Drai with Desharnais and Kassian. Pouliot-Letestu-Slepyshev 4th line

  31. texmex says:

    Pink Socks,

    Pink Socks,

    While agree 4 for 9 in the SO is good for 5th in the league in SO percentage, I wonder where 1 for 5 puts him because those are his stats in the last 5 attempts. Again, it’s like the goalies know what he is going to do (i.e. a little fake and shoot far corner over the pad)

    This isn’t a knock on Test Tube so much as it is a Knock on TMac for not switching it up. McDavid is 2 for 4 in the SO meaning TMac has chosen Mark over Connor 5 times in the SO.

    I’d prefer the 2nd best player in the league shooting over MT.

    Just my opinion

  32. leadfarmer says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    This team plays a terrible brand of hockey “Whack a puck”

  33. Scungilli says:

    I think the team overall has turned north. It’s been a great season, a breath of fresh air. My mind still wants to move forward, it’s part of how I enjoy hockey, looking at what makes an ideal team, what would make my team ideal.

    To me individual mistakes and weak personal play are what sinks. Perhaps the system is causing problems, but does any coaching staff tell players to just stand in a spot and ignore opponents moving into scoring positions? Are they not allowed to collapse when they see danger? I don’t know, but how could that make sense?

    Fair enough if teams make great plays and beat good coverage to win. But that’s not what happened yesterday, it was execution as McLellan said. So execute them!

    Joking aside, Russell and Desharnais don’t have youth as an excuse as the gents do with the weak plays on the winning goal. Yes it was flukey, but if normal coverage was executed maybe it doesn’t happen, the coverage was sloppy from the centre and the two D, particularly the D in the middle.

    As it stands four players are driving this team IMO – McDavid, Talbot, Larsson and Sekera. To be a better team players need to be better down the roster. Young players will improve, but Chiarelli needs to think hard about guys that aren’t doing a good enough job, or the team won’t be as good as it should be.

    Players that for me are doing enough and being consistent enough given their role but of course still need to push ahead

    McDavid
    Draisaitl
    Lucic
    Kassian
    Letestu

    Sekera
    Larsson

    Quite a bit of work to do to solidify this group as I see it. Some improvement would come from pushing players down the roster. On D Klefbom is not a first pair defender yet. Nurse needs time. They need a plan to balance out better.

    My solution on defense is a 2 RD who can cover elites well with Sekera to take pressure off Larsson Klefbom. So Sekera and Larsson anchor the top 2 pairs as now but Sekera needs a stronger partner. I don’t see Russell as enough, and he’ll be too expensive for what he brings. He’s a good 3 LD, and the Oilers don’t need one.

    At forward, things are a mess. To my way of thinking, if you have a young core the support players should be veterans who can carry weight, and as the core ages the support players are their replacements in training.

    So the first solution is a 3C who can play elites defensively and has appropriate wingers to do that. Letestu needs the right wingers as well. That might mean a bunch of these young wingers go to the AHL until they can displace a solid experienced player, and not be gifted a spot they can’t do enough in. A sign of this to me will be Kassian slotted as the 4RW.

    The team now has too many rookies where experience is needed, and too many experienced players crapping the bed. It’s not an easy task, but the GM needs to make the right call on underperforming experienced guys – keep or move or let walk – and find enough veterans to shore up weak areas.

    If this wasn’t Connor McDavid’s Oilers maybe you could let players grow into positions. But that isn’t the case and there is no good excuse to not ice the best possible team as soon as possible and ride every glorious McDavid season as far as possible.

    Waiting on many rookies is a bad idea. Let them steep until they displace a good experienced players, which is now an option because Connor, players will want to be on the Oilers, no need to do favours much.

  34. Pink Socks says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    People keep telling me the team is better (see Penguins game which I didn’t watch) but every time I watch (last night) it is like watching paint dry.

    Tough game to watch for sure, little to no flow.

    Bruce Wayne:
    It was a close game and they could have easily wonit, but who cares.I don’t want to cheer for a team that plays that way, win or lose. The Canadians are my least favourite team (well them or the Bruins) but I was happy they scored to tie the game, because teams that dump the puck in every time and give up trying to score deserve to lose.

    The Oilers have Connor McDavid and they are still one of the most boring teams in the NHL.The coach has to wear some of that.

    TMac isn’t going to really care about the entertainment factor, his longevity is based on the win column no matter how they come. It’s sad that you watch a team that you don’t want to cheer for, I certainly don’t watch the Canucks for the fun of it. Deep down I know you love the Oil, but you haven’t yet put the offseason in the rear view mirror. How bout that Lucic last night?

    I do agree, however, that it is extremely frustrating to watch the Oil when they go into the mode where additional goals are not the primary concern.

  35. dustrock says:

    The irony here, of course, is that the terrible Rogers ice is going to make what should be a nice end-of-season gift in a homestand into a toss-up every single night.

    Did we cover how many points the ice has cost us this season?

  36. Doug McLachlan says:

    A couple of Ws will go a long way towards settling everyone down.

    Hunter, nice to see my 95 point prediction looking solid, though the number was selected thinking we’d be on the outside looking in. Like Nuge, our current position does seem pretty sweet from the perspective of the start of the season.

    As for Calgary, they just set a record but do they truly look like the greatest Flames team ever? Chill out people, we got this.

  37. Pink Socks says:

    texmex,

    But Connor has said himself that he isn’t that great in the shootout. Letestu has been good, I was not aware that he was in a SO slump, but he and even Hendricks I don’t have much issue in the SO since they both have a track record that is above average. Agree though that TMac needs to shake it up there once in awhile.

  38. DBO says:

    Bruce Wayne,

    If they suck every time you watch. maybe you shouldn’t watch anymore. Just saying.

  39. admiralmark says:

    I know this not gonna be popular around here. But i’m not so much worried about the players as much as i’m worried about the coach. Zero thinking outside the box with his game plan and line combinations. Don’t get me wrong I think he’s a decent enough coach. But I think were lookin at a meat and potatoes kinda guy as opposed to a coach with ingenuity.

    Also long term McDavid is going to need more of a sniper on his line. Maroon god love em just doesnt have the hands to cash in on the McDavid feeds. Too many stellar setups going to waste from what I see.

    I always thought this team would be lucky to play 1 round in the playoffs and that hasnt changed. Like I said im more concerned with what im seeing and not seeing from TMac. This last month will say a lot about wether he has the ability to think outside of his box.

  40. Bruce Wayne says:

    Pink Socks,

    Lucic’ goal was excellent. A great play.

  41. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    WC standings using points %. Shown as “points over/under .500” to see spreads between teams.

    MIN 25
    CHI 23
    SJS 21
    ANA 13
    CGY 12
    EDM 11-1st wildcard
    NSH 9
    STL 8-2nd wildcard
    ————-
    LAK 5
    WPG -3
    VAN -3
    DAL -4
    ARI -11
    COL -26

    EDM slips a bit. LAK gain. CHI close to 1st.

    WC games tonight:

    WPG at NSH – NSH needs to bank some points

    PIT at CGY – The clash of the two best teams in the NHL and a Stanley Cup Final preview if my twitter feed is correct. CGY has the game to beat PIT like EDM does. Will be interesting to watch.

    BOS at VAN – BOS needs to add some padding to their playoff spot here

    COL at ARI – Garbage.

    STL at LAK – another game worth watching. This is the current battle for the 8th and final playoff spot. Would be nice to see STL win in regulation. Go Paajarvi!!

  42. McSorley33 says:

    Looks like Hendricks and Letestu were trying to” sit on a 0-0 game ” right from the opening faceoff….

  43. npanciroli says:

    Here is what I would do.

    Pouliot McDavid Puljujarvi
    Lucic RNH Eberle
    Maroon Draisaitl Kassian
    Desharnais Letestu Slepyshev

    Send Cagguila down for max AHL minutes along with Pak.

  44. McSorley33 says:

    dustrock,

    Thought after Pens game they’d go on a roll
    *******************************************************
    Some opposition teams have the temerity to ice a healthy lineup…..

  45. Bruce Wayne says:

    I think the panic over the playoffs is silly. They are going to make the playoffs.

    The problem is that making the playoffs shouldn’t be the goal. It isn’t whether or not they make the playoffs that matters, it is how they make the playoffs.

    I’ve been watching Lighning, Leafs, and Islander games lately because that race is pretty exciting. All three teams are more fun to watch than the Oilers, the Lightning and Leafs especially.

    The Oilers, on the other hand, are in a category with the Kings and the Canadians. Blah teams. And this isn’t just about the entertainment factor. Teams like the Lightning and the Leafs have the higher ceiling (not this year for the Leafs–their D is pretty bad) you need to play with the top teams in the NHL.

  46. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    EC standings using points %. Shown as “points over/under .500” to see spreads between teams.

    PIT 27
    WSH 27
    CBJ 25
    NYR 21-1st wildcard
    OTT 17
    MTL 17
    BOS 10
    TOR 9-2nd wildcard
    ——————-
    NYI 8
    TBY 6
    PHI 3
    FLA 2
    CAR 0
    BUF -1
    DET -4
    NJD -6

    A 4 horse race for the last wildcard spot and a 2 horse race for 3rd place in the Atlantic. (BOS/TOR)

    TBY just won’t go away. Beat FLA a couple days ago missing 2 starting centers. (and Stamkos of course)

    EC games tonight:

    TBY-NYR – every game is important for TBY. NYR can glide into 1st wildcard without much effort. Lunqvist on the shelf for 3 weeks with a groin issue. Raantanen is very good too.

    CBJ at PHI – PHI is out of it. CBJ in the thick of fighting for home ice advantage.

    CAR at NYI – a MUST WIN for NYI, but CAR isn’t an easy out unless you can generate a bunch of shots on their 2nd and 3rd rater goalering

    PIT at CGY – Can CGY make it 10 in a row? Betting line has PIT as slight fav, but basically a toss up.

    BOS at VAN – BOS is a -210 favorite. Yikes!

  47. texmex says:

    Pink Socks,

    Connor is his own worst critic. In his mind, if he doesn’t score every time, then he “no good” at SO’s.

    I’d take Connor at 25% confidence over any other shooter on the team (maybe the league).

    Nevertheless, onto the next game.

    Cheers

  48. russ99 says:

    leadfarmer:
    Can’t get out of the zone.Can’t get a pp set up. People complain about the ice but this team does only slightly better on the road.Taking and making a pass is a skill that has been lost on this team.Overshooting McDavid by a good 10 feet on a stretch pass and we’re blaming the ice.

    Why are we relying on stretch passes? There’s no substitute for hard work in the o-zone to outbattle your opponent, create space and get more high danger chances.

    Anytime we have to face a good defensive team, we have trouble. That’s not a coincidence. When the going gets tough, we throw it back to the point.

  49. LMHF#1 says:

    Pink Socks:
    texmex,

    But Connor has said himself that he isn’t that great in the shootout.

    Someone needs to correct him.

    He’s really overthinking the breakaways.

    Even the greatest need coaching sometimes.

    “Go in there with blazing speed, change your angle some, and stick to the forehand.”

    He’ll score nearly every time. He’s too good not to.

  50. digger50 says:

    I was a believer in this team last year and continue to be a believer this year.

    Being a believer, I can still be disappointed in a slide in the standings.

    I can still rally for the team to improve at every opportunity. While a believer, I was still posting”it’s not enough” in the off season moves and again at trade deadline. I don’t support blind or short term trades, just any opportunity for gain, value, sustained improvement. And we have seen some of that. (Still want more lol)

    Team still needs to learn. Great cycle, no dangerous outlet pass – multiple posters mention this. Learn from other teams. Penguins create chances like crazy from thier cycle and forecheck, shooter has only inches and fraction of a second but they get the shots away.

    Coaches still need to learn. Pulling into defensive shut down mode last night was a mistake. Power play needs to evolve, adapt, improve. Lots of other successful models to copy. Not seeing this.

    Biggest fear is this team stalls out at mediocrity. They must drive procurement, development, coaching, roster, execution….. And on a larger scale we are seeing this so lots of posative going on but still room for improvement.

    I think most would agree. Not trying to run anyone out of town, fire Peter C, or any type of real panic,just fans being fans.

  51. LMHF#1 says:

    Question for the group – why does every NHL team elect to shoot first in the SO? I’d usually choose to go last.

  52. digger50 says:

    russ99:

    When the going gets tough, we throw it back to the point.

    So, so true

  53. McSorley33 says:

    Now, if I am reading the Oilers PR Machine Notes correctly – David Desharnais – is going to be okay in
    the *grind* of WC playoff hockey…..

    But, I must admit, I do have some doubts about his ‘game’ carrying over into WC playoff hockey.

    Time for the usual round of ‘of courses.’

    Of course, I am glad to be contending and heading for the playoffs….

  54. Scungilli says:

    russ99: Why are we relying on stretch passes? There’s no substitute for hard work in the o-zone to outbattle your opponent, create space and get more high danger chances.

    Anytime we have to face a good defensive team, we have trouble. That’s not a coincidence. When the going gets tough, we throw it back to the point.

    The hard part about cycling is developing the attack from it. Specific attack like we see teams do to us, players going to the front in a seam to get a quick shot off. Part of the issue is inexperience.

    Another problem is player style. The first Habs goal came from quickness. Small players making quick plays and moves. The oiler big guys protect the puck well, but the smaller guys need to be quicker and make faster plays. The longer it’s in the corner the more their odds of winning the battle drops. Connor is already quite good at it. Other smaller guys aren’t getting enough done IMO.

    To me the Oilers need an attacking style backed up by playing solid defense. McLellan knows how to coach an attacking style, I’m not sure what they are trying to accomplish right now.

  55. dustrock says:

    McSorley33:
    dustrock,

    Thought after Pens game they’d go on a roll
    *******************************************************
    Some opposition teams have the temerity to ice a healthy lineup…..

    Sorry, thought the Oilers played outstanding against the Pens, after the first.

    “Healthy lineup” or not from the Pens, Letang is actually not as important as you’d think. And they were steamrolling teams. Also, pretty sure they are the current Champs.

  56. Kepler62 says:

    “If they run Nuge out of town, I will be very upset. Klefbom, too. Seems fans are settling on the next bad guys.”

    Nope, no one was settling on Nuge and especially not Klefbom as “bad guys” until you said it – and no one was talking about “running them out of town” until you did.

  57. digger50 says:

    Scungilli,

    Excellent post thanks.

    Comment on Kassian. Take away his history, agitating manner and occasional crazy eyes ; most of which I like anyway but for a moment just give him a clean slate.

    He is showing speed, forecheck, back checking, tenacity, vision, hands, skill. Are we really looking at a fourth line winger here?

  58. hunter1909 says:

    Yeti: I’ve never met RNH, so I can’t say this with any authority. But everything I have seen and heard from him gives me the idea that a lack of will to succeed and improve is not his problem. I imagine that his relative lack of production is worrying him plenty. It’s called integrity and professional pride. I get the impression that RNH has both in spades.

    You may well be correct. I’m not trying to come across like an expert. I’m just an emotional fan.

    HeavySig: So people being disappointed in a player means that the player must remain silent and not say anything?
    Good thing that rule of yours doesn’t apply to posters on Lowetide, eh? Then where would you be?

    In this rhetorically absurd universe of yours, will I get to make $6,000,000?

    If so – count me in!

  59. digger50 says:

    McSorley33:
    Now, if I am reading the Oilers PR Machine Notes correctly – David Desharnais – is going to be okay in
    the *grind* ofWC playoff hockey…..

    But, I must admit, I do have some doubts about his ‘game’ carrying over into WC playoff hockey.

    Time for the usual round of ‘of courses.’

    Of course, I am glad to be contending and heading for the playoffs….

    David is hanging in there right now but I don’t see him long term.

    You know the problem being his size? It’s always having to prove yourself, every league, every step up in competition, every game. He’s has defied the odds and succeeded. And starting with a new team his competitive nature and desire to prove himself will return.

    But the hardest thing for David in my opinion, is that proving yourself for so long just gets dam tiring, and I think that’s what is happening to his game.

  60. leadfarmer says:

    russ99,

    Relying on stretch passes? How are we relying on something that usually ends in icing. Our 15 foot passes end up in the players skates. The pass to the point is usually the only one open. Once the opposition defense is set we have serious issues breaking it down.

  61. Yeti says:

    hunter1909: You may well be correct. I’m not trying to come across like an expert. I’m just an emotional fan.

    Understood. You clearly know a little bit about emotion, if there’s ever a concern. 😉

  62. who says:

    Doubt we see any change in lines for tomorrows game but since everyone else seems to have an opinion, here is mine.
    Poo Mcdavid Kass
    Would like to see more speed on Mcdavids wings. Think it would create real headaches for defenders. I know neither of these wingers is a proven goal scorer but the two he has right now aren’t exactly lighting it up. Don’t really see a winger on this team right now who is a pure shooter.
    Lucic RNH Eberle
    Why mess with a line that is finally starting to play well together.
    Maroon Drai Slep
    I think its time Drai gets his own line to drive. Think he defers to Macdavid too much and he would be more comfortable in the middle. Would still get powerplay time with Macdavid. Has shown chemistry with Slep and Maroon was scoring without Macdavid at the start of the year. I don’t think DD is any sort of long term answer at 3C, although he is an improvement, at least offensively, over Caggulia.
    Whoever Letestu Whoever
    Make the wingers on this line earn their time. You are looking for players who can kill a penalty and inject some energy into the game. I personally prefer speed over physicality here, which would probably take Hendricks out, but I don’t think the fourth line wingers are going to make a huge difference either way.

  63. Dino says:

    3 weeks ago the Oilers had an 11 point lead on the Flames.

    Today the Oilers have a 7 point lead on the Kings, and play them 3 times in the upcoming month, that’s 6 points on the table. Who do you think will be more desperate?

  64. GMB3 says:

    russ99: Puck moving is the least of our troubles. We still got the puck out and our offensive troubles were all after gaining the zone, with nobody going to the tough areas and our only offensive play was winging it back to the point.

    Even with a quality point shot, that’s not going to score many goals…

    Chasing the opposition is the biggest issue on D. The only times I saw Russell and Sekera bad were overcommitting on entries a few times and chasing behind the goal line on that first goal. But the two forwards not committed to a man on the wall didn’t adjust to cover either.

    Klefbom was all over the place and he’s “unlucky”.We all have our favorites, but this is ridiculous.

    You should really look at Gmoneys shot charts if this is what you truly believe. Kris Russell is our worst defenceman full stop.

  65. fifthcartel says:

    https://twitter.com/sunilagni/status/841334495794016256

    I’m really curious what happened around Jan.8-20th. Since then they’ve been trending down hard. I thought this would coincide with Draisaitl and Maroon moving up to McDavid’s line but I’m not sure.

  66. npanciroli says:

    fifthcartel,

    Has to be Draisaitl moving up. Lucic RNH Eberle playing a bit better has helped but this team needs to desperately go back to 3 strong centers.

  67. hunter1909 says:

    HeavySig: Why don’t you dig up who you picked as #1 back then?

    Grovelling apologies, as I really have no one to offer. I do like RNH as a player, but wonder where that Datsykian-like offence he showed a few seasons ago went.

    It’s not like he’s strong enough to be a particularly great defence first player. Or, 6 mill a season should provide a lot more than he provides.

    I got bored with critiquing every piss poor move the past 6 coaches(estimate !) have been making. Now, I reckon McLellan is a good enough coach, and Chiarelli’s a good enough GM. Particularly compared to those dynasty hangers-on Lowe+MacT. I wonder what Tier 1 fans think when they realize they’ve blown six figures watching these clowns, while Lowe pontificates to them, all the while living in luxury. I guess they have money to burn in a town where having season tickets is one of the biggest bragging points available.

    Last night after the score went 2-1 I thought I was going to take a week off from the team, then realized I’m hooked, like everyone else, lol.

  68. fifthcartel says:

    npanciroli,

    I’m looking at it right now, and I’m pretty sure this is the case. Draisaitl needs to go back to center.

  69. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: Here’s a fitting Stengel quote for the Oilers:

    “If we’re going to win the pennant, we’ve got to start thinking we’re not as smart as we think we are.”

  70. Pouzar says:

    Oilers Twitter:

    ‘It’s been talked about and debated…We’ll likely give this group an opportunity again.” Coach McLellan on possible #Oilers line shuffling

    *breaks sh!t*

  71. Diablo says:

    Pouzar:
    Oilers Twitter:

    ‘It’s been talked about and debated…We’ll likely give this group an opportunity again.” Coach McLellan on possible #Oilers line shuffling

    *breaks sh!t*

    Now I’m ready to call out the coach – are you f@cking kidding me?

  72. Bag of Pucks says:

    I forget which coach said it, might’ve been Babcock, but his observation was that the level of play/intensity in the NHL went up progressively in 20 game increments. The final 20 game stretch is the one most approaching playoff intensity (although the prospect of sudden elimination likely dials up the focus in ways you truly can’t replicate in the regular season).

    In short, now is the time this mostly young team learns what it takes to play when the games really matter and everyone is bringing their A game to the rink. This is the point when warts/inconsistencies in your game will kill you as the true contenders become separated from the pretenders. It is also when lack of depth, balance becomes truly prohibitive.

    It would not surprise me in the least to see this team play .500 down the stretch as the real hard lessons start now. But what impactful and long lasting lessons they will be.

    I believe in these lads because I think A) Chiarelli has started to assemble a team that can play whatever style of game the opposition throws at it & B) the days of players taking a game or a week off have largely disappeared under TMac. The skill was always there but the ‘try’ is now strong with these young Jedi’s. And when I start throwing out Yoda paraphrases, you know I’m bullish on this team cos I fackin’ hate Star Wars.

    To add to RNH’s comments, if you’d have told us fans this time last year they’d nearly win a 1-0 game over a legitimate playoff contender fighting hard for its slot, we’d have taken that in a heartbeat.

    This team is made of tougher stuff now. How tough? Well, finding that out is the fun part, isn’t it?

  73. ashley says:

    Thinking more about that game last night, and all the games at Rogers; I believe this team is at a slight disadvantage at home. They have succeeded this year with skill, great passing, and speed. These are neutralized on the Rogers ice tilting the favour to the team that can work hard on the boards and grind. On average, they are not that team.

    NHL teams are so close to each other in ability that the difference between winning and losing is very small for the most part. So much so that something like bad ice can actually affect a speedy, skilled team’s odds of winning a game.

    They have won surprisingly convincing games away from home including in California and Calgary. I don’t think those were flukes. I think this team is real. However, this roster is not constructed to have an advantage on this ice which is a shame as it is where they play half their games.

    Is Northlands available in April?

  74. ashley says:

    And because of the home ice disadvantage, I don’t think March will be as easy as it has been touted. Perhaps we should consider this month Pike’s Peak.

  75. Bag of Pucks says:

    ashley:
    And because of the home ice disadvantage, I don’t think March will be as easy as it has been touted.Perhaps we should consider this month Pike’s Peak.

    Agree

  76. Bag of Pucks says:

    Btw, if Patrick Kane thinks he’s going swoop in on the final 1/4 mile and win the Art Ross, he can go and piss up a rope.

  77. Steelrat says:

    dustrock,

    First post from a long time lurker, Oiler fan from the start in the NHL and I have a question. Is the other team playing on a different sheet of ice? Last time I checked, both teams are on the same patch of ice. Crappy ice or not, we play on that Ice more often than any other team, shouldn’t the Oilers have a better idea of how to play on that ice?

    I think today’s Oilers are still learning how not to be a losing team. That losing culture has been in that locker room for far too long. It is definitely changing, as you can see from this season, but it still creeps in on occasion. Some of it’s coaching, some of it’s the players, either way, if it’s the Ice’s fault, maybe we would be better off in a wild card spot so we don’t have to play on crappy ice.

  78. Melvis says:

    We rank 23rd in Home games won. The remainder are essentially bottom feeders

    We’re on par with the Caps, Pens, Sharks in Away wins. Is the ice making a difference? Probably.

    Does the visitor win on the same crappy ice? Yes

    Does the same visitor play at Rogers 41 times? No

    Should we be better at it by now? No. Because it’s 41 different kinds of crappy from game to game.

  79. npanciroli says:

    Pouzar,

    *gently weeping*

  80. Melvis says:

    I meant Ducks. Socal. Fuck em. There’s no there, there anyway.

  81. GMB3 says:

    Bruce Wayne:
    People keep telling me the team is better (see Penguins game which I didn’t watch) but every time I watch (last night) it is like watching paint dry.

    It was a close game and they could have easily wonit, but who cares.I don’t want to cheer for a team that plays that way, win or lose. The Canadians are my least favourite team (well them or the Bruins) but I was happy they scored to tie the game, because teams that dump the puck in every time and give up trying to score deserve to lose.

    The Oilers have Connor McDavid and they are still one of the most boring teams in the NHL.The coach has to wear some of that.

    Haha! And you cheered for the Oilers when there were in the cellar! Super exciting last placed hockey

  82. Georges says:

    – Last night, I posted that the Oilers have 7 games left against WC playoff teams. Made a mistake. I counted LAK as a playoff team. Getting ahead of myself. A couple of years ago, the Oilers did their part to keep the Kings out of the playoffs in the last few games of the season. 3 games left against the non-playoff 2-time former champs. You come at the Kings, you best not miss.

    – I looked at the 5v5 G +/- for forwards this year. I wanted to test the relationship between team results and the results for forwards getting 1st line, 2nd line/3rd line, and fringe 3rd line/4th line minutes. The question I was asking was simple, where in the lineup does winning come from? It turns out the correlation between team results and the results for the bottom of the lineup is lower than the correlation with the top and middle of the lineup. The Hendricks of the NHL can expect to get outscored. Finding windows to match your best against the other team’s worst is a winning strategy so long as you also find a way to protect your worst. But, as you would expect, it’s the play of your top and middle lines that determines how you do.

    – Having said that, an open question for me is how do you get better? Do you focus on getting better at the top end, the middle, or the bottom of your roster? Because of salary caps and contracts, most of the league’s good teams are locked in for who they have at the top. They all seem to be in a kind of arms race for getting better in the middle and bottom of their lineup. They’re looking for less leaky fourth lines, because they’ll outplay other team’s fourth lines and manage more draws when matched against the other team’s better lines.

    – That’s why I’m ambivalent when Pouzar calls out Hendricks and crew. Their results for fourth liners aren’t that bad at 5v5. Our young guys haven’t done better. And it looks like the numbers suggest that fourth line results don’t matter as much. But then I see that if you’re one of the teams that can more tightly couple team results to fourth line results, you’re going to catch other teams who don’t keep up napping. I think Pouzar is saying we’re napping…

    – Another 3rd line GA. No offsetting GF. The Desharnais giveth and the Desharnais taketh away.

    – The relationship between outshooting your opponent and outscoring your opponent seems to be picking up as the season winds down. LAK and BOS, the runaway leaders, are winning games. The relationship is still a ways away from what it’s been in previous seasons.

    – TMac’s the coach, but the net 5v5 benefit of CMD-Rig-Drai is now less than it was for CMD-Lucic-Ebs. I think Lucic and Ebs have looked great recently. Lucic has been in a ton of these stretch runs. Look at his game log in the final 20 games in LA last year. And you can see that his first stretch run means a lot to Ebs. Not playing those guys with CMD at this stage would be like what that Orioles manager did. Not choosing your best option. The crazy thing is TMac likes his vets. And he’s playing a second-year kid and a career 3rd liner with his superstar. It was good while it lasted. Lucic can handle it. And Ebs deserves the shot to be a difference-maker. Drai and Maroon can make a bigger difference lower in the lineup than they can make higher in the lineup.

    – Also, please replace Drai on PP1 with Nuge. Damn, if Nuge could just win faceoffs, we could swap Letestu for Ebs on PP1 as well.

  83. JDï™ says:

    That performance was off the charts:

    https://twitter.com/OilersNerdAlert/status/841112723496747009

    @WG – Good segment with Bob.

  84. GMB3 says:

    Georges,

    Excellent post.

  85. Chachi says:

    For those that only come here to post when the Oilers lose games and flood our days with their repetitive vision of gloom and doom I say shame on you. Now that doesn’t mean I think you should stop posting, after all who am I to make such a suggestion? What I will say, however is that when I read your posts I visualize you as The Evil Fuckaire from Cheech and Chong’s the Corsican Brothers. So rail away with your negativity and your told-you-so’s because in my mind you are clad in a ridiculous S&M outfit, your face painted white, getting your jollies by trying to create anguish for others.

    This is not to say all is right with the Oilers, but as someone who had modest expectations for improvement this year I am going to see how this all plays out before I freak the hell out.

  86. JDï™ says:

    Chachi,

    Inter-dimensional demons, who come here to feed on sorrow, or better known today as trolls.

    So if we show no grief, sadness or sorrow, they go home hungry.

    Games are every other day now for a while, so hopefully they can find some kind of rhythm, while resting Drai when they can. I forgot that he played in an Olympic qualifying tourney before the world cup.

  87. ashley says:

    Chachi:
    For those that only come here to post when the Oilers lose games and flood our days with their repetitive vision of gloom and doom I say shame on you. Now that doesn’t mean I think you should stop posting, after all who am I to make such a suggestion? What I will say, however is that when I read your posts I visualize you as The Evil Fuckaire from Cheech and Chong’s the Corsican Brothers. So rail away with your negativity and your told-you-so’s because in my mind you are clad in a ridiculous S&M outfit, your face painted white, getting your jollies by trying to create anguish for others.

    This is not to say all is right with the Oilers, but as someone who had modest expectations for improvement this year I am going to see how this all plays out before I freak the hell out.

    I usually enjoy your posts, but this one is distinctly unsavory.

  88. bassguy says:

    Chachi:
    For those that only come here to post when the Oilers lose games and flood our days with their repetitive vision of gloom and doom I say shame on you. Now that doesn’t mean I think you should stop posting, after all who am I to make such a suggestion? What I will say, however is that when I read your posts I visualize you as The Evil Fuckaire from Cheech and Chong’s the Corsican Brothers. So rail away with your negativity and your told-you-so’s because in my mind you are clad in a ridiculous S&M outfit, your face painted white, getting your jollies by trying to create anguish for others.

    This is not to say all is right with the Oilers, but as someone who had modest expectations for improvement this year I am going to see how this all plays out before I freak the hell out.

    JDï™:
    Chachi,

    Inter-dimensional demons, who come here to feed on sorrow, or better known today as trolls.

    So if we show no grief, sadness or sorrow, they go home hungry.

    Games are every other day now for a while, so hopefully they can find some kind of rhythm, while resting Drai when they can. I forgot that he played in an Olympic qualifying tourney before the world cup.

  89. bassguy says:

    hi, beautiful post Chachi!

    Chachi:
    For those that only come here to post when the Oilers lose games and flood our days with their repetitive vision of gloom and doom I say shame on you. Now that doesn’t mean I think you should stop posting, after all who am I to make such a suggestion? What I will say, however is that when I read your posts I visualize you as The Evil Fuckaire from Cheech and Chong’s the Corsican Brothers. So rail away with your negativity and your told-you-so’s because in my mind you are clad in a ridiculous S&M outfit, your face painted white, getting your jollies by trying to create anguish for others.

    This is not to say all is right with the Oilers, but as someone who had modest expectations for improvement this year I am going to see how this all plays out before I freak the hell out.

    JDï™:
    Chachi,

    Inter-dimensional demons, who come here to feed on sorrow, or better known today as trolls.

    So if we show no grief, sadness or sorrow, they go home hungry.

    Games are every other day now for a while, so hopefully they can find some kind of rhythm, while resting Drai when they can. I forgot that he played in an Olympic qualifying tourney before the world cup.

  90. spoiler says:

    Chachi,

    Agreed… Although the images are a little different.

  91. bassguy says:

    just for a break from the oilers…and for a few laughs..are all you posters hip to the “shred “videos?
    ..nobody is sacred..I wonder if you have seen these LT?..heres one that I really like..it all started about 8 years ago with a hilarious eric clapton shreds
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYc4DT18EJg

  92. spoiler says:

    JDï™,

    Drai isn’t tired. It’s just another narrative assuaging people’s minds over why results aren’t matching their expectations. They’ve hardly played over the past 40 days. He ain’t tired, and there’s been no word of injury, missed practices etc.

  93. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Okay… getting on my soapbox again as I am in LAX.

    I reiterate…worst airport in a developed nation in the world. The Northeast US airports have nothing on LAX.

    The. Worst.

    Okay. off soap box

  94. Chachi says:

    JDï™:
    Chachi,

    Games are every other day now for a while, so hopefully they can find some kind of rhythm, while resting Drai when they can. I forgot that he played in an Olympic qualifying tourney before the world cup.

    I agree, the Oilers should use the rhythm method to bring this regular season to completion.

  95. treevojo says:

    Chachi,

    I miss one game.

    Catching up on all the comments it seems like I missed a 10 game stretch where the oil didn’t pick up a point.

    Man people love them some doom and gloom.

  96. spoiler says:

    Melvis: There’s no there, there anyway.

    A helluva thing for a person to say about their hometown, but what an incisive and succinct knife blade of truth.

    Stein… I’d probably give my left nut to spend a year in Paris hanging out in her salon.

  97. Chachi says:

    treevojo:
    Chachi,

    I miss one game.

    Catching up on all the comments it seems like I missed a 10 game stretch where the oil didn’t pick up a point.

    Man people love them some doom and gloom.

    It was a truly awful game, but it was just one game.

  98. JDï™ says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Okay. off soap box

    You need some Ex-LAX!

  99. Pouzar says:

    spoiler:
    JDï™,

    Drai isn’t tired.It’s just another narrative assuaging people’s minds over why results aren’t matching their expectations.They’ve hardly played over the past 40 days. He ain’t tired, and there’s been no word of injury, missed practices etc.

    Agreed.

  100. JDï™ says:

    spoiler: Drai isn’t tired.

    I’m going on what coach Todd said.

  101. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    JDï™: You need some Ex-LAX!

    comedy of airport errors today. haha.

  102. Radiusofnerdature says:

    Woke up angry today and feeling sorry for myself after that game last night.

    Then a man in an intersection of 50th and 137ave pulled out a high powered rifle and pointed at my face while chanting eeny meenie miney moe. Gottta say my perspective on the day has changed. I’ll be drinking some beers tonight and happy to kiss the kids goodnight!

  103. spoiler says:

    treevojo,

    You didn’t miss much. Oil get a goal midway through the game on a fine play by Looch and then make the rookie mistake of trying to hang on to a tenuous lead, which didn’t work out so well. Pretty boring game as Julien has Habs In full Bruins button-down Brooks Bros shirt mode and Oil went into their defensive shell far too early.

    Now we scapegoat, usually in favour of things we want to see happen, building our own narratives to justify our aims.

  104. Chachi says:

    Radiusofnerdature:
    Woke up angry today and feeling sorry for myself after that game last night.

    Then a man in an intersection of 50th and 137ave pulled out a high powered rifle and pointed at my face while chanting eeny meenie miney moe. Gottta say my perspective on the day has changed. I’ll be drinking some beers tonight and happy to kiss the kids goodnight!

    Holy crap!

  105. spoiler says:

    JDï™,

    Drai came to TMac and said “I’m tired?”?

    I don’t doubt he looks tired, but he really has no reason to be. They haven’t played a lot of games. They might have to adjust his workout routine if that is the case, look into mono, the flu, cancer (sugar thief), whatever. If he is actually tired.

  106. spoiler says:

    Radiusofnerdature: Then a man in an intersection of 50th and 137ave pulled out a high powered rifle and pointed at my face while chanting eeny meenie miney moe.

    WTF!!? Glad you are okay.

    Cops come?

  107. hunter1909 says:

    Radiusofnerdature:
    Woke up angry today and feeling sorry for myself after that game last night.

    Then a man in an intersection of 50th and 137ave pulled out a high powered rifle and pointed at my face while chanting eeny meenie miney moe. Gottta say my perspective on the day has changed. I’ll be drinking some beers tonight and happy to kiss the kids goodnight!

    You really dodged a bullet there.

  108. JDï™ says:

    spoiler,

    Or TMc is playing into the narrative, I don’t know.

  109. JDï™ says:

    Radiusofnerdature: pulled out a high powered rifle

    Oh deer!

  110. Radiusofnerdature says:

    We didn’t stick around to watch the aftermath but a CTV reporter told me afterwards that he fired at the police and then was taken down. My wife filmed some of it up until he pulled the rifle out. Should be on CTV tonight if they air her video.

  111. bendelson says:

    Radiusofnerdature,

    I have to ask – was the sinister ‘chant’ you mentioned a little poetic license on your part or very dramatic breaking news here on the blog?

  112. godot10 says:

    Georges:

    – That’s why I’m ambivalent when Pouzar calls out Hendricks and crew. Their results for fourth liners aren’t that bad at 5v5. Our young guys haven’t done better. And it looks like the numbers suggest that fourth line results don’t matter as much. But then I see that if you’re one of the teams that can more tightly couple team results to fourth line results, you’re going to catch other teams who don’t keep up napping. I think Pouzar is saying we’re napping…

    Hendricks is killing the PK. Bottom of the roster players don’t matter if they PK well, or can win a faceoff.

    Lander and Pitlick with Letestu were outscoring the other team 4th lines early in the season, and the PK was in the top ten in the league.

    Hendricks, Caggiula, and Pakarinen are NOT NHL players.

    It doesn’t have to be Lander. You can play Khaira instead. And Slepyshev is better than Pakarinen, and when Maroon and Draisaitl are tuckered out, one can play him with McDavid.

    #MediocrityIsADifferentKindOfHell

  113. hoser313 says:

    I’d like to see RNH skate the puck more.

    Seems to me like he’s too quick to pass or dump the puck when he’s actually the better puck carrier.

  114. Melvis says:

    spoiler,

    Actually, Saskatoon born and bred. Grade school Prince Albert. Farm in-between. I was going to say something about a fictional game played like a herd of pigs getting a whiff of roadside ditch horse radish – at some point. Those who are unfamiliar with the phenomena might imagine a mosh pit crossed with a decent dirt works reiteration of the Maginot Line.

    It’s likely unknown in the San Fernando Valley, but surprisingly, a considerable percentage of it’s residents don’t know much about the beach either.

    As for any mention of Gertrude Stein, I think it’s time to do a 30 day dry out.

  115. Radiusofnerdature says:

    bendelson:
    Radiusofnerdature,

    I have to ask – was the sinister ‘chant’ you mentioned a little poetic license on your part or very dramatic breaking news here on the blog?

    No, that’s actually what he did and it’s on film if they show it tonight. Anyway, I just thought I’d share the story because Oilers nation seems to be blowing up this morning and I thought there may be a small lesson on perspective and life in sharing this. It certainly made me adjust my lens on what’s really important and what’s not.

  116. Richard S.S. says:

    Edmonton must play better.
    They face Boston on the 16th after Calgary played them in the 15th.
    They face L.A. Kings on the 20th after Calgary played them on the 19th.
    Edmonton has one back-to-back, the 22nd and 23rd while Calgary has none.

    Calgary plays L.A. Kings on the 29th after Edmonton played them on the 28th.
    Calgary plays San Jose on the 31st after Edmonton plays them on the 30th.
    Calgary plays Anaheim on the 2nd after Edmonton plays them on the 1st.

    Calgary has the schedule advantage over Edmonton despite playing stronger teams

  117. JDï™ says:

    Todd’s quote on Drai:

    “A little bit of his play, I think, is based on fatigue. He’s played more hockey than probably anybody in the league. He went, prior to the World Cup, over to Olympic qualifiers – he started his season in August. (He) went to the World Cup and has played a lot of minutes lately.”

    Bagged Milk just posted his thoughts on what was said today at ON.

    Edit: He also mentioned that Drai was being hard on himself lately, which would mean it’s not only fatigue that’s affecting his game.

  118. spoiler says:

    Melvis,

    Lol, I better clarify.

    “There’s no there, there” is a quote from Gertrude Stein about Oakland, which was her home town before setting up in Paris.

  119. bendelson says:

    Radiusofnerdature: It certainly made me adjust my lens on what’s really important and what’s not.

    Indeed.

  120. LMHF#1 says:

    spoiler: http://www.edmontonsun.com/2017/03/13/second-high-profile-police-incident-in-less-than-a-week

    After reading the article, I’m a little surprised nobody ran him down. Glad no one was hurt.

    A question for those who may know – aren’t the police trained to shoot to kill? I’m wondering how this guy made it to hospital.

  121. spoiler says:

    JDï™,

    Thank you for the transcript!

    Wow, dunno. We know the “minutes” thing is false… the number of games has been light at best with multiple extended breaks. Maybe he has a girlfriend keeping him up or taxing his stamina? The length of the season shouldn’t matter much as these guys don’t take much for breaks these days. Couple of weeks in the summer.

    The travel grind is unique to the season though.

    But the second bit is very interesting… that could speak to mental fatigue, too. But he does appear to be visibly hard on himself.

  122. spoiler says:

    LMHF#1: A question for those who may know – aren’t the police trained to shoot to kill? I’m wondering how this guy made it to hospital.

    Well, they are also trained to shoot to disable. We also don’t know about any protective gear the rifleman may have been wearing.

  123. spoiler says:

    Radiusofnerdature: It certainly made me adjust my lens on what’s really important and what’s not.

    Hear, hear!

  124. LMHF#1 says:

    spoiler: Well, they are also trained to shoot to disable.We also don’t know about any protective gear the rifleman may have been wearing.

    Hmm. I thought ‘shoot to disable’ wasn’t allowed because it poses a risk to the police.

  125. spoiler says:

    LMHF#1,

    I believe the import of British officers has changed the culture a great deal on this issue. I am speaking anecdotally from stuff friends who are officers tell me… no real data.

  126. LMHF#1 says:

    spoiler:
    LMHF#1,

    I believe the British import of officers has changed the culture a great deal on this issue.I am speaking anecdotally from stuff friends who are officers tell me… no real data.

    Gotcha.

  127. Georges says:

    godot10: Hendricks is killing the PK.Bottom of the roster players don’t matter if they PK well, or can win a faceoff.

    By Hendricks is killing the PK, did you mean:

    1. Man, we’ve got to get Hendricks off the PK. He’s killing us out there.

    or

    2. I’m so happy we have Hendricks on the PK. He’s killing it out there.

    I’m probably being dense but I can’t quite tell from your wording and the other points in your post.

    Also, are you saying bottom of the roster players matter or don’t matter at 5v5?

  128. JDï™ says:

    spoiler: mental fatigue

    I imagine playing for your first contract can be a pressure-cooker of a situation to be in.

  129. Scungilli says:

    JDï™: I imagine playing for your first contract can be a pressure-cooker of a situation to be in.

    I read ‘metal fatigue’ – Leon’s been into too much Metallica!

  130. Melvis says:

    spoiler,

    Really lol. Oh, it gets better.

    I’m reading In Montmartre by Sue Coe. The birth of modernist art. The Steins, Picasso, Matisse et al, basically scuffling and hanging out between 1900 and 1910. So I em’d my sis about the trip in September…mentioning all that. For a second, thought I’d doubled it up here. sheesh

  131. Scungilli says:

    Chachi: It was a truly awful game, but it was just one game.

    You can call crap out and still enjoy the successes. I am not ready to compartmentalise pre- Chiarelli/McDavid until the patterns we are oh so used to seeing change. Some things are better, but not playing the BAP, leaving gaping roster holes, liquidating talent in deals, valuing half useless players for things not related to winning hockey games haven’t quite cleared up. I remain suspicious so crap play isn’t a short term event.

  132. digger50 says:

    Georges,

    I enjoy these tactical thinking posts

  133. JDï™ says:

    Scungilli: Metallica!

    Or Alan Holdsworth.

  134. Chachi says:

    Scungilli: You can call crap out and still enjoy the successes. I am not ready to compartmentalise pre- Chiarelli/McDavid until the patterns we are oh so used to seeing change. Some things are better, but not playing the BAP, leaving gaping roster holes, liquidating talent in deals, valuing half useless players for things not related to winning hockey games haven’t quite cleared up. I remain suspicious so crap play isn’t a short term event.

    You remain suspicious?

    I think you are caught in a trap, and you can’t walk out because you love the Oilers too much maybe. Why can’t they see what they are doing to you when they don’t believe a word you’re saying about roster deployment? You and the Oilers can’t go on together with suspicious minds and you can’t build your playoff dreams on suspicious minds.

    Just a thought.

  135. VOR says:

    LMHF#1

    Most police departments are now taught to shoot to kill. The problem is the situations you meet on the street are very different than the ones you faced on the shooting range. First of all the adrenalin has turned you into a twitching mess of conflicting signals.

    Second, you don’t have, or don’t feel like you have the time to calm your heart beat, still your hands, take aim and gently squeeze the trigger. Which is pretty much what you are taught to do by your shooting instructor. They also teach that once you commit to shooting you have to stop thinking. It should all be autmoatic from that moment forward. But you can’t help thinking, do I really need to take this shot, am I about to kill somebody I could reason with, etc. etc.

    Beta blockers are banned in competitive shooting because they make you less responsive to stress hormones. The calmer you are the, the steadier your hands and breathing the better you shoot. Someone shooting at you or other people is not a calm making situation and however good a shooter you are you lose some of your skill.

    Some suspects get killed when the officer meant to just disable. Some suspects get shot or killed when the officer has no memory of firing their gun, or making a decision to fire their weapon. Sadly, sometimes officers get shot or killed because under stress they miss or hesitate. Occasionally bystanders get hit by mistake. Every bullet that misses (which is why you go center mass if you don’t think there is armor involved) has the chance of maiming or killing someone by mistake.

    Bottom line is expecting a 100% kill rate is unrealistic. If nobody other than the suspect got shot then this was by definition a great outcome and a testimony to the officers training and bravery. That the suspect is still alive is probably more down to what shot the officers had (angle, armor, etc.) and how long they had to take that shot.

  136. Dicky94 says:

    Diablo,

    He is one stubborn coach.

  137. CrazyCoach says:

    Radiusofnerdature: No, that’s actually what he did and it’s on film if they show it tonight. Anyway, I just thought I’d share the story because Oilers nation seems to be blowing up this morning and I thought there may be a small lesson on perspective and life in sharing this. It certainly made me adjust my lens on what’s really important and what’s not.

    I agree wholeheartedly. This season, good and bad games since January, has been a pleasant distraction since the unexpected death on my dad on January 3rd.

    One thing that my dad put forward to me and I’ve come to realize through countless cups of bad arena coffee, is this, at it’s absolute worst and absolute best, hockey is just a game. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Glad to here you and your family are OK.

  138. LMHF#1 says:

    VOR,

    Thanks VOR, interesting stuff about obviously difficult situations. Was curious on procedure since I’d last read about it.

    Beta blockers are banned in golf for the same reason.

  139. Scungilli says:

    Chachi: You remain suspicious?

    I think you are caught in a trap, and you can’t walk out because you love the Oilers too much maybe. Why can’t they see what they are doing to you when they don’t believe a word you’re saying about roster deployment? You and the Oilers can’t go on together with suspicious minds and you can’t build your playoff dreams on suspicious minds.

    Just a thought.

    I don’t want to be a tiger, ’cause tigers play too rough, I don’t want to be a lion, ’cause lions ain’t the kind you love enough, and I sure as shit don’t want to be Kingsway’s teddy bear anymore.

  140. Scungilli says:

    CrazyCoach: I agree wholeheartedly.This season, good and bad games since January, has been a pleasant distraction since the unexpected death on my dad on January 3rd.

    One thing that my dad put forward to me and I’ve come to realize through countless cups of bad arena coffee, is this, at it’s absolute worst and absolute best, hockey is just a game.Nothing more, nothing less.

    Glad to here you and your family are OK.

    Sorry about your Dad – his sage advice spoken for truth.

  141. HT Joe says:

    Chachi: For those that only come here to post when the Oilers lose games and flood our days with their repetitive vision of gloom and doom I say shame on you.

    Here here! Everyone, pick up your socks! We must strive harder, to share repetitive visions of doom and gloom even after Oiler victories!
    – “They won the boxscores, but were dominated in possession numbers”
    – “That strong performance was uncommon… they will likely regress next game”
    etc.

    Thanks for the suggestion Chachi. 😉

  142. Lowetide says:

    Scungilli: I don’t want to be a tiger, ’cause tigers play too rough, I don’t want to be a lion, ’cause lions ain’t the kind you love enough, and I sure as shit don’t want to be Kingsway’s teddy bear anymore.

    Los Angeles give me Doughty or better
    about the deadline one nine
    Tell the folks back home this is the promised land calling
    And the Mcdavid will bring it in on time.

  143. Chachi says:

    HT Joe: Here here!Everyone, pick up your socks!We must strive harder, to share repetitive visions of doom and gloom even after Oiler victories!
    – “They won the boxscores, but were dominated in possession numbers”
    – “That strong performance was uncommon… they will likely regress next game”
    etc.

    Thanks for the suggestion Chachi. 😉

    That’s the spirit!

  144. Chachi says:

    Scungilli,

    Lowetide,

    Fantastic!

  145. Yeti says:

    JDï™: Or Alan Holdsworth.

    Holdsworth? Maybe. But I’m guessing Kraftwerk.

  146. HT Joe says:

    Chachi: That’s the spirit!

    In all seriousness, the Oilers organization has essentially been trying to get fans excited about high draft picks every spring since 2009-2010. This could have played a part in creating large numbers of fans who struggle with consistently cheering in a positive fashion.

  147. Yeti says:

    JDï™: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBbVnw-B3Zw

    Ah! Thankyou.
    (Never could get into Holdsworth. Technically unparalleled but somehow didn’t connect with me on a musical level.

  148. oilfan17 says:

    fifthcartel:
    https://twitter.com/sunilagni/status/841334495794016256

    I’m really curious what happened around Jan.8-20th. Since then they’ve been trending down hard. I thought this would coincide with Draisaitl and Maroon moving up to McDavid’s line but I’m not sure.

    Not sure what you mean by trending down after Jan.8-20th. This doesn’t coincide with Drai moving up. He was moved on January 5, game 40, in an effort to get McDavid going.

    From this very blog (Jan 5, 2017)
    “Second column: 5×5/60. The second column for forwards is alarming. Why? Back on November 27, Connor McDavid was at 3.22/60 at 5×5. He was 22gp, 8-11-19 on that day. Since then, he is 17gp, 2-5-7. That, my friends, is a problem. Coach Todd McLellan is moving Leon Draisaitl back on to the 97 line tonight, in an effort to re-start the fire. Does he have any dry kindling? We wait.”

    What happened was that in the following 13 games, Jan 5-31 inclusive, McDavid got 16 points and Drai 14. In the month of January the Oilers picked up 19 of a possible 26 points.

    Then came the all star break and bye week, and February proved slower than molasses,, although in 12 games McDavid still got 12 points, Drai 7. RNH and Ebs picked up a bit. The playoffs seemed a sure thing.

    But other teams also figured out ways of shutting Line 1 down. It happens. Frustration sets in. Hands get cold, guys start overthinking, and pressure builds.

    Drai also has the added pressure of knowing he was put on the line to help McDavid achieve the league scoring title and possibly the Hart.

    No need for outlandish theories
    Let him work it out.

  149. GCW_69 says:

    The trend in the goal differential has to be concerning.

    We are starting to see the flaws in TMac’s coaching for sure. Stubborn on players and lines when the evidence isn’t there to support his decisions.

    At this point, I would like to see:

    Deharnias – McDavid – Slepy

    Lucic – Nuge – Eberle

    Maroon – Leon – Kassian

    Pouliot / Lander – Letestu – Khaira

  150. Ryan says:

    GCW_69:
    The trend in the goal differential has to be concerning.

    We are starting to see the flaws in TMac’s coaching for sure. Stubborn on players and lines when the evidence isn’t there to support his decisions.

    At this point, I would like to see:

    Deharnias – McDavid – Slepy

    Lucic– Nuge – Eberle

    Maroon – Leon – Kassian

    Pouliot / Lander – Letestu – Khaira

    I’d love to see the look on McDavid’s face when you tell him he’s playing with Desharnais and Slepy.

    There’s thinking outside of the box and then there’s madness.

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