2017 PLAYOFFS (G13): G7 OILERS AT DUCKS

There are moments in life that are so good they hit you like a full force gale, carry you, stay with you forever. My wife and I used to have dinner Sunday nights in the dining room of the Hotel Saskatchewan when we could afford it. We would get our special table (it was over by the far wall and had a window with a view) and we would order wine, an appetizer, a meal and dessert. Probably did that one dozen times in my life, and collectively they form a wonderful memory. Beautiful woman, nice setting, good food, conversation and maybe a reminder of rewards available for hard work and blind luck. My hope for all of us tonight, is that we collectively enjoy something worth remembering forever. Bless you boys, one more win in California. Tonight.

OILERS ROSTER AND SCORING, THIS SERIES

  • The series has had many twists and turns, none bigger than Leon Draisaitl’s move to center.
  • Connor McDavid has been quiet in this series compared to his own established levels, but clean air has been hard to find. It is wildly unfair to expect him to deliver an epic performance in Game 7, but the spotlight waits for greatness.
  • Patrick Maroon and Milan Lucic have been inconsistent in this series, but have been able to cobble together some offense. Both men need to stay out of the penalty box, but have contributed in my opinion.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is snake bit for sure, but has been productive in this series with and without the puck. His 2017 spring is the single biggest reason I believe he’ll be here in the fall as an Edmonton Oiler. No guarantees though, have to give in order to get.
  • Mark Letestu is having the playoff of his life. I hope he gets at least one more series.
  • The right-wing position is suddenly different at the top. Big performances in this series by Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev are developing stories.
  • Zack Kassian and Jordan Eberle are the mirror men to Maroon and Lucic on the other side, but have had less impact (partly due to usage). Big games tonight from both veterans would be massive.
  • Oscar Klefbom is going to play Game 7! Music! He and Adam Larsson may play close to half of the game depending on how things roll.
  • Kris Russell, Matt Benning and Darnell Nurse played very well in Game 6 and a repeat on the road would be ideal for Edmonton.
  • Eric Gryba likely stays in the lineup while Griffin Reinhart sits, we’ll get confirmation later today. Possible 7D?
  • Cam Talbot will play in game No. 86 tonight, Edmonton is here because of him.

GAME SEVEN’S, HELL AND HEAVEN

The Edmonton Oilers have been involved in many Game 7’s (Down Goes Brown has a wonderful trip through time out currently) and tonight will be sheer heart attack. Win and it’s music! Lose, and it’s a sock to the jaw and a kick in the nuts. Good Day Sunshine or King of Pain! Which will it be? My favorites include Anderson in over the line 1987, Esa 1991 dagger, Joseph save-Marchant gone. The daggers? 1986 and 2006, with a couple more quoted by Down that still linger. It can be a nasty evening, but the rewards are as good as it gets for hockey fans. I wouldn’t miss this for the world. The girl I took to the Hotel Saskatchewan dining room? She’ll watch until it gets too intense, and then call down from upstairs for updates. She’s missed/watched all the Stanley’s and all the playoff runs exactly this way. Incredible.

LAST NIGHT’S POST

Lots of feedback on last night’s post, in the comments and dm’s, twitter, et cetera. Here are a few things mentioned:

  • A few passed along the idea that Connor McDavid will take less cap in order to win. That’s a grand idea, but it implies something we cannot know. McDavid’s second contract is going to be eight years times a massive number. Whatever that number, he is worth it.
  • A couple of comments suggesting Nuge makes too much to be a 3C. I would frame it another way: Nuge has the utility to move up and down the depth chart and to play on both special teams. Usage is going to have many dimensions.
  • Several felt that bringing back Kris Russell was a bad idea. My post yesterday was an attempt to reflect the team’s plan, and I think Russell may have earned another contract in their estimation. The alternatives are men like Cody Franson, so we’ll see. I suspect Russell has plenty of value on the open market, he may price himself out of Edmonton’s cap availability.
  • Lots of love and hate for Jordan Eberle, and I come down on the ‘he has real value’ side of the conversation. The only reason Eberle is on my trade list? Cap. Cap. Cap. Get used to that word.

WHAT WE DO HERE

One of the things I have to do every once in a while is re-state how this blog works. The purpose of this blog is to have an open discussion and to exchange ideas while learning about this beautiful game. I have been, and will be, on the other side of countless discussions we have in the coming months. That is fine. If you want to convince me, do what Leon Draisaitl did: Show me convincing evidence that something I am suggesting (Leon as RW) isn’t the only idea worth pursuing.

Issue framing, name calling, general asshattery, that doesn’t move the conversation forward. Want to convince me that Mark Fayne is inferior to Eric Gryba? Show me the numbers, and “Todd McLellan doesn’t agree with you” isn’t going to get it done.  I can show you just how harmful Gryba’s penalties are, and Fayne’s issues (foot speed, no offense) do less damage.

When you comment on this blog, I love it, but you have to bring something in order for us to value your presence. If you are here to waste time while at work, fill your hat. If you want to make a point, to be a part of the group, use the big part of your brain. Please and thanks.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun show today, TSN1260 starting at 10. Scheduled to appear:

  • Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Game 7! Who wins?
  • Keegan Matheson, MLB. Are the Jays on the comeback road?
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. Game 7! Live report from Frank!
  • Tentative guest, very cool guy we’ll see.
  • Update: Cool guy got back to me. Travis Yost, TSN, 11:25.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. See you on the radio!

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830 Responses to "2017 PLAYOFFS (G13): G7 OILERS AT DUCKS"

« Older Comments
  1. --hudson-- says:

    VOR,

    Thanks for your post on decision making a few days ago. Very interesting perspective and I look forward to seeing the young Oilers improve in that area.

  2. danny says:

    danny:
    2006 NHL Playoffs
    Faceoff PCTG

    #1 Rob Brindamour 57.3%
    #2 Shawn Horcoff 54%
    #3 Chris Drury 51%
    #4 Jarrett Stoll57%
    #5 Mike Peca51%

    It’s NOT rocket science

    2017 playoffs
    Letestu 50.5%
    Draisatl 49.0%
    Nuge 43.9%
    McJesus 43.2%

  3. OmJo says:

    Veterans versus youth. Even when the youth includes a generational talent, never doubt the veterans. It took the dynasty Oilers a few tries before winning cup #1. Let’s not forget this team wasn’t even predicted to make the playoffs – all of this was a bonus to a year of not finishing bottom 5, IMO. I get it, once you get a taste of playoff hockey you want more and more. More will come. There’s a clock constantly ticking down due to the cap, but the time will come. We can still become the Sharks, or we can still become the Penguins. Only time will tell.

  4. OF17 says:

    ShakyJack,

    Glad you’ve joined the comments. Don’t be a stranger!

  5. McSorley33 says:

    Great season for sure but …..not loving game 7.

    Ring it around the boards to an oiler winger, where a Duck is waiting. Again and again.

    Lucic was a tire fire along the wall.

    Ducks were the better team.

    Can’t blame refs.

    Or MSM.

  6. VOR says:

    LMHF,

    That is also the last dynasty in the NHL. So we have no idea what a team would need to do this year in order to be a dynasty in the current NHL. But the last dynasty took years to emerge.

    In fact, the history of generational players is that it takes a number of years for them to win their first Stanley Cup. The average for Lemieux, Gretzky, Orr, Lafleur, and Crosby is something like 4.6 years. Lafleur is an outlier in that he joined that power house Canadians team. Without him it takes at least 4 years. We just saw McDavid’s Year Two.

    So tell me, since there is no modern dynasty for you to base your claim that we had to go to the finals this year in order to become the first modern era dynasty exactly how you reached that conclusion and can now categorically say this generation of Oilers won’t be that team? That is how do you not conclude that this was a fabulous beginning on what will be a truly amazing run?

  7. Thinker says:

    They were much better than expected. Can’t fault Chia for no moves. Last 30 games were a wild ride.

    Face-offs hurt us, but only because we lost so badly. IMO it’s not that big of a deal so long as you are within 5%.

    I think Benoit Pouliot cost either Ebs or RNH a job. You can see eberle coming up the wing on transition with both RNH and Pouliot driving the net, or moving into positions to be covered. Pouliot’s cycle game is also greatly diminished.

    Hopefully we showed enough to do well in the UFA market. There’s not much out there this year, but there should be a valuable piece. We need to be aware that we replace whoever we trade with a good option. Quite honestly Eberle and RNH recovering is a better bet than any UFA out there.

    Would like to get Kulikov. That pisses off the RH crowd, but he is the best DMan available imo. Sekera could play the off side, he has before.

    Klef Larson
    Kulikov Sekera
    Nurse Benning
    Reinhart/UFA

    I also think we should be wary of Maroon not putting up near 30 goals again. A solid 3C could allow us to move RNH to the wing, or Draisatl. Gives us good options. Hanzal would be gold, but he is spensive. If he is cheap, Deharnais might be worth bringing back as an insurance winger on the 3/4line. Markie Mark is probably gone to Vegas, so we need a 4C too. I also think we need to bring in a top 6 winger who is relatively inexpensive. Someone like PA Parenteau. Shame we never found out what lander is. He would be a perfect fit.

    Brossoit may have done enough to get the backup job, but would be nice to bet on an older guy like bernier.

  8. OmJo says:

    Emotions are high right now. Going to call it a night. I know tomorrow morning LT will write something to calm us all down and remind us this team is still a work in progress. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

    One game away from the Western Conference finals. Not bad for a work in progress. Good night everybody. And while I probably won’t watch too much playoff hockey from here on, I’ll be rooting for the Senators to slay goliath.

  9. Thinker says:

    Would also love to see the NHL clamp done on clutch and grab, slashes, pick plays, etc that are slowing the game down. The highlight package on Johnny Playoffs early in the year should be an embarrassment to the league. You either allow for enforcers, or call the damn rulebook.

  10. OmJo says:

    Thinker,

    Maybe after they teach their officials what is and what isn’t goaltender interference. That’s what makes this loss so hard to accept. This series was taken away from us by piss poor officiating. Not excusing the play in game 7, but that doesn’t excuse the reason we even made it to game 7.

  11. Professor Q says:

    Thinker:
    Would also love to see the NHL clamp done on clutch and grab, slashes, pick plays, etc that are slowing the game down. The highlight package on Johnny Playoffs early in the year should be an embarrassment to the league. You either allow for enforcers, or call the damn rulebook.

    Although enforcers have 0 effect on that, or the game as a whole.

    It’s the inconsistent and vague and contradictory rules and implementations of those rules.

  12. LMHF#1 says:

    VOR:
    LMHF,

    That is also the last dynasty in the NHL. So we have no idea what a team would need to do this year in order to be a dynasty in the current NHL. But the last dynasty took years to emerge.

    In fact, the history of generational players is that it takes a number of years for them to win their first Stanley Cup. The average for Lemieux, Gretzky, Orr, Lafleur, and Crosby is something like 4.6 years. Lafleur is an outlier in that he joined that power house Canadians team. Without him it takes at least 4 years. We just saw McDavid’s Year Two.

    So tell me, since there is no modern dynasty for you to base your claim that we had to go to the finals this year in order to become the first modern era dynasty exactly how you reached that conclusion and can now categorically say this generation of Oilers won’t be that team? That is how do you not conclude that this was a fabulous beginning on what will be a truly amazing run?

    I get all that. But between entry level deals and who the team will be able to keep, who’s maturing and gettting better as well as who’s not, there was a golden opportunity here.

    Oh well, it’s probably not the time for it anyway. Too raw. Seriously…a 2-0 road sweep and a lead by 3 in game 5… man…

    I’m spent. Night all.

  13. SwedishPoster says:

    Tough end to a great year. The team didn’t take enough chances to really be in the game, I think the early goal made them worried about holding on to the lead and they kept making the safe play all the time allowing Anaheim coming in waves without the Oilers creating anything of value. You have to take chances in these high pressure games or you won’t get anywhere since everyone is so focused and every team is so prepared and structured. If you always make the safe play you can never break down the structure and you get pounded. The safe play is a lie really.
    Imo the reason Ottawa can be so successful with their clamp down is that they have Erik Karlsson who always takes chances and atm does it at a higher level than anyone in hockey (with a fractured heel ffs). Ofc it’s not about making low percentage plays and Gryba trying to dangle, it’s about pushing the pace, being creative despite the magnitude of the game.

    As far as the series goes the Ducks were the better team overall. They had more of their key offensive guys going, their stars looked more playoff primed. Oilers would’ve needed one star forward outside of Leon at the top of his game make that last push. Either McDavid playing out of his mind instead of just ok/good. Or the six million men being difference makers and not just NHL level forwards.
    But when all is said and done if someone had told me the Oilers would push the Ducks to seven in the second round of the playoffs without McDavid being dominant and RNH/Ebs having zero goals I’d think she/he was crazy. Imo outside of Leon showing he’s truly elite this playoff push has shown me that the depth is better and more ready than I thought. Caggiula and Slepy showing they can raise their game is massive imo. The D group holding up the way they’ve done is also a good sign, yeah they probably need one more guy with high end puckmoving for these kind of nights, especially if Klefbom is showing up playing such a typically “swedish D in a crucial game” type of game where you hold on to your security blanket with both hands and your teeth not making any kind of risk play, no goals against ofc but very little going on in the good end, Karlsson needs to hold master classes for swedish D really as great puckmovers suddenly starts using the boards as shooter tutors when big games are on the line, not playing badly just way too risk averse. Ok, back on the road, but yeah, the depth and D overall had a stronger showing than expected which is a big deal. Truly interesting summer as some astute moves from Chia could make the team a proper contender next season.

  14. unca miltie says:

    Sad result tonight but a fun season. My 93 point prediction that I thought was optimistic, was light. Good times ahead for this team.

  15. delooper says:

    Wonderful season Oilers. Wasn’t quite worth the past 10 years, but another season or two like this and the wounds will heal!

  16. Centre of attention says:

    So I totally called the post season bracket w/ Hunter1909. I went 7 and 6, with the Oilers losing in game 7 to the Ducks.

    What do I win?

    Anyways so here it goes: with all the eulogy’s here wrapped up for the most part, the Oilers were still only a bounce and a favorable call away from winning and advancing to the conference final.

    Seriously though this season was awesome and honestly how much more can you ask for as a result? The Ducks were the better team at even strength for most of the series, they have this nasty habit of occupying the same space as an Oiler trying to receive a pass, leading to turn overs and endless shots against.

    Big picture; the Oilers looked near dominant when their passes were crisp and they were able to leave the zone quickly before the Ducks can set up that man-to-man coverage & deploy those dastardly pass interceptions.

    Upgrading our #4D as well as more development for Benning/Nurse will go a long way to helping that transition game but it’s also up to the wingers to step up.

    Guys like Lucic, Maroon, Eberle (who actually had a decent game tonight) all need to make the play on the boards to get that puck out when it comes around. Too often it dies there and either the pass is weak and intercepted or they just lose it in their feet. Who knows. Maybe a few new names slot into those places and those pucks get out next year.

    Also, I know this will sound stupid, but Connor needs to be and he WILL BE better next playoffs. This was his first toe in the pool, just testing the waters so to speak. Next year will be 100% McDavid because he will trust himself to perform at that level. I can’t help but feel at times he was hesitant to carry the puck, some of that is teammates but some is also confidence. He’s only 20 and will get even better. It seems impossible but just wait and see.

    To wrap up:

    Great season. Good playoffs. Lots of memories, I’m sure we’ll have lots of “hey remember when” moments this summer. Loved the atmosphere this spring at the blog, I feel like there was a bit of a sense of togetherness even if there were disagreements. Nice to see.

    Good night everyone, I have to be up for work in 4 hours and 45 minutes, but before I go one more point about that missed interference call in the 3rd period-…. *slips into coma mid sentence*

  17. OF17 says:

    LMHF#1: Yep. And that’s the thing. We glimpsed it. We can just hope now that this result leads to adjustments being made.

    Agreed. Thankfully I don’t think we need big adjustments. Even swapping Eberle’s 0-2-2 for Williams’s 3-6-9 could’ve made a difference. Those players were 0-1-1 and 0-3-3 in the second round, so not a big gap, but we did just lose a series by a goal.

    Sekera was missed tonight. The key to this defense is that they have three guys that can wear the pants on their pairing. With Sekera out, McLellan was down to two, one almost assuredly not 100%, and he played them on the same pair. Went from having 45 minutes a night with pan wearers to 25 minutes. The Ducks were on their game and exploited that. Adding another Klefbom/Larsson/Sekera would have a huge impact on this team’s ability to outperform.

  18. oilersfan says:

    Stan Weir totally didn’t show up

    We really missed sekera. If he isn’t injuredI bet we
    Win game 5 and tonight (if necessary)

    Inability to break puck out was very evident tonight

  19. Oilanderp says:

    I love the Oilers. I love all of you. You are facets of myself. I love you so much. Seriously.
    Please stop yelling late at night. She doesn’t like it. I love you. I know. But… it IS a weeknight. Ok? Good. I love you.

  20. kgo says:

    By my count, Russel saved sure goals in games 5 and 7…I hope we bring him back to play in the 4/5 slot

  21. Whatif says:

    LMHF#1: This is fine…but they whiffed on just a massive opportunity. This series should have ended in 5 once the Oilers got up 2-0. They blew it. They have to own that.

    I just hope it means they make some of the changes they need.

    I understand your disappointment but ease up a bit.
    The Oilers finished behind the Ducks in the standings.
    The Ducks team is filled with veteran douche bags
    The officiating was a travesty.
    Numerous Oilers forwards had lousy playoffs (Maroon, Lucic, Eberle, Pouliot and McDavid)Next year will be very interesting as will the off-season.

  22. russ99 says:

    kgo:
    By my count, Russel saved sure goals in games 5 and 7…I hope we bring him back to play in the 4/5 slot

    If he’s not back, I’ll wear my orange Russell jersey with pride, since he really battled hard for the orange and blue this year, and especially in the postseason.

    But if he’s not coming back we need someone better, equally as stout deep in our end with better passing and puck skills.

    As for Connor, all the greats get to this point and use the disappointment and lessons learned to drive themselves to the next level. I have little doubt he’ll do the same.

  23. hunter1909 says:

    I expected them to lose in the 3rd round, and didn’t want them to make the finals and lose again.

    I also started getting into the mad idea they were going to win the cup after they went up 2-0 vs the Ducks, who were an outstanding veteran team that managed to hang on by the skin of their remaining teeth; probably for the last time in a decade vs Chiarelli’s Oilers.

    Which brings up another point: I haven’t had faith in a GM since Sather. Chiarelli’s proven to me he knows what he’s doing as did Todd McLellan. Oilers are set both on the ice and in the front office, which is outstanding.

    Lowetide posed the question(or I think he did) which Oiler was going to emerge as the Pisani of the playoffs and Letestu, Caggiula, Kassian, Benning and others who I’m sure others can name did just that; while the RNH/Eberle axis proved itself offensively to be worse than Nail Yakupov would have been. What Chiarelli does is beyond my interest right now but whatever he does to move the Oilers forward is fine by me.

    Prediction for next season? Western Conference regular season champions in a canter. Hunter1909 might be a fool but he’s seen enough hockey to know a potential dynasty when he sees one.

  24. StixMalone says:

    Anaheim have little time to get ready for next series. Nashville has had time to prepare and I think they will take the series. Ducks are going to be tired. I for one think Nashville takes it all this year. Won’t be watching this series. Hope the Preds don’t fall to any of the crap we had to endure….

  25. Centre of attention says:

    Agree with the point that if you move on from Russel you need to find someone better. Maybe that guy is Benning by the time fall rolls around and hes got a bit more man strength / starts off with another camp under his belt and with a healthy Sekera along side.

  26. StixMalone says:

    hunter1909,

    The expansion draft will be interesting. Things will get done….

  27. StixMalone says:

    Centre of attention,

    I wonder if Sekera dislocated his shoulder? I’m sure the injury reports will come out soon. Hope he’s back for training camp.

  28. Sugar Reijo says:

    Whatif
    The officiating was a travesty.

    Oh, I don’t know. The OIlers were merely tasked with winning 6 of the 7 games. It’s not like the NHL was making us win *all* 7.

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

    StixMalone,

    It looked like his left knee when he went down. Got his leg pinched and may have went knee on knee when Getzlaf rubbed him out. He’ll be back.

    Hot damn wasn’t that a wild ride? I mean the ending sucked but I wouldn’t trade that nailbiting, edge of the seat, tighter than a gordian knot sphincter feeling for anything right now.

    Here is where the majority of folks had the team to start the year

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/news/article/thn-s-2016-17-nhl-season-preview-edmonton-oilers

    5th in the Pacific was pretty standard

    They finished with more wins than the Ducks and were one point away from first!

    What a year over year progression. Turns out a healthy team is important!

    Klefbom needs to spend the summer with Erik Karlsson if at all possible

    Nurse, Drai, JP, CmD, Caggs and Benning need to hit the weight rack

    And Cam Talbot? Rest dear goalkeeper, rest. What an unbelievable fucking season from that man. Now that it’s over I hope the entire team signs up for rotating babysitting shifts so that Dadbot and Ms. Dadbot can relax for a few weeks.

    The night sucked, but the sun rose this morning. Its a new day in Edmonton and for Oiler fans.

    The Decade of Darkness is over, these guys are for real and the Oilers while not finding Stanley yet are winners once again! Holy shit does it feel good to write that.

    Godspeed men, enjoy the offseason, but remember the bitterness you felt last night, keep a vial of that stuff somewhere close by every second of the day. You know now what it takes to win and reminding yourself everyday how much it fricken sucks to lose will keep that fire alive.

    And to those that are likely sailing on in the next few months thanks for this year.

    I hope everyone in this excellent community here enjoyed that ride as much as I did!

    As always GO Oilers!

  30. Jethro Tull says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Hahaha, that article is awesome. A predictive WOWY with Versteeg riding shot-gun with McDavid? Priceless.

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