BA DE AHH, SAY DO YOU REMEMBER?

We’ll be dancing in September this year, looking forward to another winning season in the hinterlands. Winters don’t seem so severe when the city of Edmonton is driving to the rink anticipating a win. Last season did more for the general mood of this northern outpost than can be measured. Bless you boys, now do it again.

I believe a team with balance has two impressive lines, a quality 3C, a strong top 4D and an outstanding goalie. You can fill in with an average fourth line, third pairing and some wobble among the wingers on the third line. How far are the Oilers from the balance photo?

OILERS 50-MAN LIST

  • Five of the top 6F are obvious, important to have those top two lines humming. I have Anton Slepyshev listed here as the sixth man, but it could be Jussi Jokinen, Ryan Strome, Jesse Puljujarvi or Drake Caggiula.
  • If the three kids (JP, Caggiula, Slepyshev) all step forward, especially offensively, this forward group is going to shine like a diamond.
  • Connor McDavid.
  • I’m more positive about the blue line than most, I wonder if the organization agrees with Andrej Sekera about his timeline  for return.
  • I am still convinced the RHD could use one more addition and Cody Franson is still available. I’ve received lots of correspondence about my recent article at ON (including some that were beyond the pale) but for me if there’s a viable option out there, I’m going to mention it.

2005-06 OPENING NIGHT NHL PLAYOFFS

  • Ryan Smyth—Shawn Horcoff—Ales Hemsky
  • Sergei Samsonov—Jarrett Stoll—Radek Dvorak
  • Raffi Torres—Michael Peca—Fernando Pisani
  • Todd Harvey—Rem Murray—Georges Laraque
  • Chris Pronger—Jason Smith 
  • Jaroslav Spacek—Steve Staios
  • Marc-Andre Bergeron—Dick Tarnstrom
  • Dwayne Roloson (Jussi Markanen)
  • Injured: Ethan Moreau
  • Scratched: Ty Conklin, Igor Ulanov, Marc Pouliot, J.F. Jacques, Matt Greene, Brad Winchester, Danny Syvret.

This is the last truly balanced Oilers roster, Game One in Detroit. Kevin Lowe built a wonderful team, he really did. Craig MacTavish made two changes after that first game, bringing in Brad Winchester on the 4line (sitting BG) and rotating Conklin with Markkanen—the coach feeling there was little difference between the two. He would come to regret that decision, the hockey Gods were most unkind that spring.

2016-17 OPENING NIGHT

  • Milan Lucic—Connor McDavid—Jordan Eberle
  • Patrick Maroon—Leon Draisaitl—Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Benoit Pouliot—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Anton Slepyshev
  • Tyler Pitlick—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Andrej Sekera—Kris Russell
  • Darnell Nurse—Brandon Davidson
  • Cam Talbot (Jonas Gustavsson)
  • Scratches: Mark Fayne, Anton Lander, Matt Benning
  • Injured: Matt Hendricks
  • Source

Opening night last season (for me) was a solid group and maybe only a player or two from real balance. Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Slepyshev were unproven, which is not the same thing as saying unqualified. I had some questions (fewer now) about the quality of the defense, so that’s three items from balance.

PROJECTED 2017-18 OPENING NIGHT

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  • Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Anton Slepyshev
  • Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Strome—Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Drake Caggiula—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Darnell Nurse—Eric Gryba
  • Cam Talbot (Laurent Brossoit)
  • Scratches: Iiro Pakarinen, Jujhar Khaira, Yohann Auvitu
  • Injured: Andrej Sekera

How far from balance? I think that third line could hum but we have to see it. I’ll give Peter Chiarelli a lot of credit for grabbing Jussi Jokinen, that’s a fantastic addition to the roster. I also like the fourth line a bunch. On defense, if Andrej Sekera was healthy I’d consider it close to balance, then again I’m very bullish on Benning and stronger on Nurse than most. Goaltending? It’s there.

So, that’s what, two players (Strome, Slepyshev) unproven and Sekera hurt? This team is close to balance. I will tell you that we could see balance at the trade deadline. If Peter Chiarelli gets it done, I will publish the balance photo at that time.

LEAKS

I have observed this Oilers organization since the beginning and count myself as something of an expert. Here, let me give you a thumbnail sketch of each era and how news got out around town:

  • Bill Hunter would call a news conference and bellow out headlines, saving media the trouble. He might fire a coach at the same time just because it was there.
  • Glen Sather would call in one or two newspapermen (he got mad at a bunch of them so the list varied) and frame an issue. If you read something negative about Paul Coffey and contract in the early to mid 1980’s, chances are Slats had a meeting.
  • Kevin Lowe held avails, met with media and had leaks, not sure if the leaks were planned. Lowe was an open book, he is an emotional person and that works for and against him. We knew pretty much every move in advance during his admin.
  • Steve Tambellini leaked nothing. As much heat as Tambellini took, he clearly trusted no one and I do think that included people on staff. Steve Tambellini is the one general manager on this list who gave bloggers very little advance warning of transactions. Of course, he didn’t make very many, either.
  • Craig MacTavish was similar to Kevin Lowe in that all means of communication were wide open. MacT is probably the most comfortable in front of a microphone of any on this list and it surely allowed him to say too much. The Dubnyk comment, the challenge of Jeff Petry, it’s an easy era to parse because the leaks came right from the very top—during media avails!
  • Peter Chiarelli spent 2015-17 spring allowing nothing out. I’ll tell you it was very rare to hear about things in advance. Remember when you heard about the Reinhart deal? The Sekera signing? Even the Lucic signing was botched because Jason Demers was also going to be a part of it. For the first two two years here, PC kept his cards close to the vest.

It’s changed now, and I can tell you the event that caused me to change my mind. Moving Nuge to RW began (for me) as an idea on Bob’s show, and one that I looked at as an interesting twist on the roster and a potentially productive move. As the summer wore along, I kept getting credible information about Nuge and it came from a rather large variety of people who are connected one way or another in this city (and I don’t have any contacts in the organization, none of this is first hand account).

Look, we’re a gigantic small town and people talk. The only way to keep this stuff from the public is to shut the hell up! I think Peter Chiarelli is either growing more comfortable or telling more people about his ideas. We’re seeing a change in the weather. The 45 years I’ve been watching this organization tells me it’s true.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning, TSN1260, beginning at 10. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. We’ll talk about the broadcast teams for the Oilers this year and about the Labor Day classic.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Preview of the Labor Day Classic!
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. MLB has a second trade deadline!

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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64 Responses to "BA DE AHH, SAY DO YOU REMEMBER?"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    That 2006 playoff roster sure was balanced – it was more proven on the wing in the top 9 than our current roster but didn’t have the high end talent at C.

    One material difference between that roster and our roster – Chris Pronger.

    I don’t think that a team needs a stud/elite d-man like Pronger to win a cup but it sure does help.

  2. who says:

    Pretty easy to pick out the top 5 forwards in this lineup. And I think the forward group is already better than 06.
    I think you just need one of JP, Cags or Slepyshev to step forward and claim that 2RW spot and the Oilers will have two very good lines and a solid third. If the other two fall flat on their face you still have a third line of Jokinen, Strome and Kassian. That is solid.
    This is why I don’t understand why so many people are calling for a veteran right wing add. We have plenty of depth and potential at the position. Odds are at least one of these young players emerges.

  3. digger50 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    That 2006 playoff roster sure was balanced – it was more proven on the wing in the top 9 than our current roster but didn’t have the high end talent at C.

    One material difference between that roster and our roster – Chris Pronger.

    I don’t think that a team needs a stud/elite d-man like Pronger to win a cup but it sure does help.

    I think you are onto something.

    The number one player this team could use is a player like Radko Gudas. I know he’s not a pronged or established number one, and even he would cost too much at this time. But a impact defenceman would be huge.

    If I was to place a bet, Chara at the deadline is Peters number one target.

  4. Johnny says:

    who:
    Pretty easy to pick out the top 5 forwards in this lineup. And I think the forward group is already better than 06.I think you just need one of JP, Cags or Slepyshev to step forward and claim that 2RW spot and the Oilers will have two very good lines and a solid third. If the other two fall flat on their face you still have a third line of Jokinen, Strome and Kassian. That is solid.
    This is why I don’t understand why so many people are calling for a veteran right wing add. We have plenty of depth and potential at the position. Odds are at least one of these young players emerges.

    Agreed. That forward core has all kinds of depth and great bets in the question mark spots.

    With Sekera injury, blueline is a little thin, but fine. Definitley less room for error here, with possible regression/flat-line in Benning/Nurse. When the next injury strikes Chia will have to go to the Vegas well for reinforcements.

    Pretty darned balanced this team.

  5. defmn says:

    Nice to finally read what you regard as a balanced team. Nothing different than what most of us think but good to read it. You need the 7 most important forward positions, top 4 dmen and starting goalie to be all performing at appropriate levels in order to be a good team in this league. If you have that and more then you can move up on the list of top 8 teams in the league. If you don’t have those 12 players it doesn’t really matter how good your 4th line or bottom pairing is.

    This team is close. Those 12 might already be on the roster but I agree there are a couple who have yet to prove it.

  6. Johnny says:

    The spreadsheets are picking them to be 4th (5th behind LA?) in the division, but have hedged with two simple words: Connor McDavid. Fantastic, no-lose, betting position.

    Same stance as with everything Chia; he can’t win. If the Oilers succeed, it is because of McDavid. If they don’t win cup(s) he bungled the job.

    Arm chair GM’ing at it’s finest.

  7. jtblack says:

    2006: 3rd Line was just as good as any other line. Peca and or Pisani scored every game it seemed like.

    And I think that’s what this year’s Oilers will need in the playoffs; a third line that can dominate the competition. Whether that is Strome or RNH or whoever that’s one thing we need.

  8. BONE207 says:

    I’ve read on some fantasy sites that Strome will be the 3rd best Oiler this year. Nuge will be better than Lucic and Leon better than Ovechkin. My other fantasies never came true. I wonder if this one does?

  9. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    I think the RNH thing isn’t a sign the Peter is more comfortable or has sprung a leak.

    I think it came from the coach who talks to different people, or at the very least talks to someone whereas Peter doesn’t talk.

  10. LMHF#1 says:

    It wasn’t Conklin’s fault.

  11. Melvis says:

    Thanks LT!

    Yes , I remember – like it was yesterday. I met EWF on April 6, 74 backstage at Cal Jam I. All of 20 and Seals and Crofts production co-ordinator at the time. Cool dudes, great band.

    Summer Breeze on the wane – today, I’m dancing my unsettled tits off to…

    EWF and Chicago at the Greek Theatre – if your into big bands, grooves, harmony and horns.

  12. stush18 says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    I think the RNH thing isn’t a sign the Peter is more comfortable or has sprung a leak.

    I think it came from the coach who talks to different people, or at the very least talks to someone whereas Peter doesn’t talk.

    To me, I think it definetly has to come from the GM.

    TMac loved nuge against the toughs, and loved drai with mcdavid. I can’t see him planning anything different heading into this year.

    I think any talk is coming from chiarelli, imo.

  13. Cahoon says:

    digger50,

    If I was betting on Peters trade deadline plans, it is when LA flops again to go hard for Doughty.

  14. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    LMHF#1:
    It wasn’t Conklin’s fault.

    He should have stayed in his goddam net

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    Cahoon:
    digger50,

    If I was betting on Peters trade deadline plans, it is when LA flops again to go hard for Doughty.

    and then trade Drai in the off-season to make room for the one year of Doughty?

  16. commonfan29 says:

    The Hall trade/Lucic signing was leaked.

    The Yak trade and probable return was leaked.

    Details on the Russell deal were leaked.

    The scope of the McDavid deal was leaked.

    From where I sit, Chia gives Rishaug advance details on any big move that he thinks might get criticized.

    Rishaug then goes on the radio and twitter after his report to tell the faithful why the move is the only sensible course of action, while shooting down any counter-arguments.

  17. Brantford Boy says:

    I liked this post LT, but I was curious what you did here with your 3/4 D for balance…
    You liked Andrej Sekera—Kris Russell as balanced last year… but this year you didn’t give Kris Russell the blue bold stamp; Kris Russell—Matt Benning

    I wonder why? I suppose the obvious answer is Andrej Sekera provides the ‘balance’ on the 2nd pairing. After all, he is playing his natural side this year, so I guess my question is, do you consider Kris Russell a strong top 4 D on a balanced team or not? Or, did you just forget to give him the blue bold stamp?

  18. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Johnny:
    The spreadsheets are picking them to be 4th (5th behind LA?) in the division, but have hedged with two simple words: Connor McDavid.Fantastic, no-lose, betting position.

    Same stance as with everything Chia; he can’t win.If the Oilers succeed, it is because of McDavid.If they don’t win cup(s) he bungled the job.

    Arm chair GM’ing at it’s finest.

    Who is picking them to finish 4th?

    Haven’t seen that.

  19. russ99 says:

    If it happens, Nuge at wing on the first line will last as long as the third line doesn’t leak a ton of easy chances against, which if we’re looking at Strome and Puljujarvi together won’t be long.

    Todd goes with what he can trust, and Nuge locking down tougher comp at center can be trusted.

  20. leadfarmer says:

    Verbal that Nuge may be tried at wing is the smallest little bread crumb that doesnt signify any change in Chia’s style. He gave someone a breadcrumb thats all it is. If we heard what offers he was getting for Nuge now that would be something.

    As far as projections, No one is picking them to finish 4th or 5th in the division. No-one.

  21. Johnny says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Who is picking them to finish 4th?

    Haven’t seen that.

    Where are you picking them to finish?

    I have:

    ANA*
    EDM*
    SJ*
    CGY*
    LA
    VAN
    ARI
    VEGAS

    MIN*
    NSH*
    STL*
    CHI*
    WINN
    DAL
    COL

  22. jtblack says:

    Johnny,

    The original question to you was “who was picking them to finish 4th or 5th”. As Nobody has seen that prediction out there.

  23. slopitch says:

    Plus the leak on hfboards 😉

    This is the best team since 06. I’m convinced. Id like to know the difference in impact btw McDavid and Pronger. I bet its close although imo in a playoff series Pronger could have shut down McDavid. There is a lot riding on the Oilers season on JP taking a big step up. If he does, the Oilers are in a very good spot. If he doesnt they can still add a RW at the deadline.

    Either way, barring a McDavid injury, the play imo is to go for it this year. The Oilers are likely to lose an asset or 2 this summer and they seem as good a bet as any to come out of the West.

  24. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Johnny: Where are you picking them to finish?

    I have:

    ANA*
    EDM*
    SJ*
    CGY*
    LA
    VAN
    ARI
    VEGAS

    MIN*
    NSH*
    STL*
    CHI*
    WINN
    DAL
    COL

    ok but who is picking them to finish 4th?

  25. NativeNotFrench says:

    Woodguy v2.0: ok but who is pickingthem to finish 4th?

    Tremendous people are picking them to finish 4th. Just tremendous

  26. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy v2.0: He should have stayed in his goddam net

    Yes. I think most will agree if EDM wins game one they win Stanley. Conklin absolutely blew it. Fuck.

  27. jtblack says:

    Lowetide,

    Yah. +1. so Damn close. Also, as soon as Carolina scored first in game 7, although you still wanted to hold out hope you kind of knew how the game might go.

  28. jtblack says:

    Well we are going down memory lane; I will just add the Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final was probably my favorite game ever post Dynasty era. The the atmosphere and the way the team played and everything was Unforgettable.

  29. Brantford Boy says:

    NativeNotFrench,

    Great… guys, hockey, math, booze and now politics, what could possibly go wrong here…

  30. Lowetide says:

    Brantford Boy:
    NativeNotFrench,

    Great… guys, hockey, math, booze and now politics, what could possibly go wrong here…

    Hey, anyone got a match?

  31. Rocknrolla says:

    jtblack:
    Well we are going down memory lane; I will just add the Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final was probably my favorite game ever post Dynasty era.The the atmosphere and the way the team played and everything was Unforgettable.

    Absolutely the best game! Last game with my late father…we flew him out for Father’s Day and it was such a great memory.

    I remember walking out thinking we were going to win Stanley in 2 days and it was a magical feeling. Even if it was just for 48 hours.

    Will cherish that night forever.

  32. Johnny says:

    jtblack:
    Johnny,

    The original question to you was “who was picking them to finish 4th or 5th”. As Nobody has seen that prediction out there.

    At 8:26 PM the prediction was third or fourth. Sorry, my mistake.

    http://lowetide.ca/2017/08/27/the-2017-18-edmonton-oilers-never-kept-a-dollar-past-sunset/4

    It was the Oilers blueline that was ranked 5th in the division. Thankfully a 19 year old Jacob Chychrun isn’t healthy, or the Oilers would drop to 6th best blueline.

    I am also confused how a team with a top six that includes Derek Forbort, Paul Ladue and Kevin Gravel outclasses the Oilers. Doughty is unreal, but Muzzin and Martinez, for me, don’t exactly fit the #1-2 bill. So a superstar, a couple 3-4-5 kind-of-guys, and some 7-8’s is better than the Oilers.

    Riiiiight…..

    But don’t worry….McDavid.

  33. Brantford Boy says:

    Lowetide,

    Anyone got a Flames jersey? I wouldn’t even spit on it… I’d just watch it burn…

  34. commonfan29 says:

    Lowetide: Yes. I think most will agree if EDM wins game one they win Stanley. Conklin absolutely blew it. Fuck.

    Shots in that game were 38-26 Oilers.

    Drink!

  35. Lloyd B. says:

    Rocknrolla: Absolutely the best game!Last game with my late father…we flew him out for Father’s Day and it was such a great memory.

    I remember walking out thinking we were going to win Stanley in 2 days and it was a magical feeling.Even if it was just for 48 hours.

    Will cherish that night forever.

    I had the opportunity to golf with Craig Simpson a number of years ago at a charity event.

    During one of the breaks he told us a story. The coaching staff believed the team played a perfect hockey game in game 6.

    The coaches were concerned heading into game 7 that they may not have another game like that in them. They knew they were going to need it.

    Turns out they didn’t. Still a great run.

  36. geowal says:

    I think you can make a good case that Russell – Benning is better/more balanced than Sekera-Russell, on account of the improvement on Russell’s strong side (and the awesomeness of Benning). I say that with a lot of respect for Sekera.

  37. LMHF#1 says:

    Lowetide: Yes. I think most will agree if EDM wins game one they win Stanley. Conklin absolutely blew it. Fuck.

    Jason Smith.

    As a former defenceman, that play would have been on me every time no question.

    Guys named Smith cost Cups.

    Also took away from possibly the greatest goal Hemsky ever scored. That thing should have been on stamps, postcards and murals of the Cup win.

  38. Johnny says:

    leadfarmer:
    Verbal that Nuge may be tried at wing is the smallest little bread crumb that doesnt signify any change inChia’s style.He gave someone a breadcrumb thats all it is.If we heard what offers he was getting for Nuge now that would be something.

    As far as projections, No one is picking them to finish 4th or 5th in the division.No-one.

    You are right. I only have evidence of a 3/4th place finish in the Pacific prediction. My interpretation (based on the last line of the post) is the reasoning was basically the Oilers are a one man team. Really rubs me the wrong way.

  39. godot10 says:

    geowal:
    I think you can make a good case that Russell – Benning is better/more balanced than Sekera-Russell, on account of the improvement on Russell’s strong side (and the awesomeness of Benning). I say that with a lot of respect for Sekera.

    Are you ever going to be disappointed! -).

    Benning was good because he was never in his own end much. With Russell, he will be in his own end a lot.

  40. kgo says:

    I like Benning, but I’m concerned that the expectations for him are too high around these parts. If he’s noticeably improved his acceleration and conditioning then he’ll thrive, otherwise, with additional ice-time we might see a sophomore slump.

  41. godot10 says:

    The story of 2006 is that in the end, after a season of solid coaching, MacT choked. If you have to ask the question of why one would not dress your second best goaltender in game one of the Stanley Cup final….

    And that loss broke both MacT and Lowe.

  42. kgo says:

    godot10,

    Beautiful usage of the “if you have to ask the question” reference

  43. godot10 says:

    If Nurse doesn’t step up, and the team has to rely on Russell, the Oilers D will be suspect.

    I sort of think that Nurse will step up, Russell will be pushed to the 3rd pairing, and all will mostly be fine.

    Nurse, Larsson
    Klefbom, Benning
    pray.

    Till Sekera gets back.

  44. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Reporting from Montreal that RDS is picking EDM OILERS to win the Stanley Cup, 2017-2018.

  45. Doug McLachlan says:

    godot10,

    I had posted this previously but will repeat it here again.

    I heard the verbal from Chia at the year-end presser and he was pretty positive about how good Nurse and Larsson looked as a pairing when injuries forced the two together.

    I, and I believe Woodguy, have suggested that the ideal pairs (based on the PuckIQ WOWYs – with incredibly small sample size warnings) are:

    Klefbom – Benning
    Nurse – Larsson
    Russell – Gryba

    with Auvitu as your number 7.

    Personally, I would love them to bring in Franson on a one-year show me to go on the third pair RD but that could hold the fort until Sekera returns.

  46. OriginalPouzar says:

    jtblack:
    Well we are going down memory lane; I will just add the Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final was probably my favorite game ever post Dynasty era.The the atmosphere and the way the team played and everything was Unforgettable.

    Living in Calgary, I attended 7 games in Edmonton, that being one of them and, yes, it was a marvelous night – what a shitkicking that game was.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10:
    If Nurse doesn’t step up, and the team has to rely on Russell, the Oilers D will be suspect.

    I sort of think that Nurse will step up, Russell will be pushed to the 3rd pairing, and all will mostly be fine.

    Nurse, Larsson
    Klefbom, Benning
    pray.

    Till Sekera gets back.

    I’d like to think that Nurse can win the 2LD job over Russell, however, we know, given usage last year and the verbal, that the coach is a big Russell fan and trusts him. Unfortunately, I think that Russell will get alot of leash, too much leash, before him getting reduced to 3rd pairing ES minutes. I can see McLellan sticking with a regressing and struggling Russell on the 2nd pair against tough comp too long.

    With that said, I’m cheering for Russell to exceed expectations as 2LD. Natural side all the way.

  48. Lowetide says:

    Chelios is a Dinosaur:
    Reporting from Montreal that RDS is picking EDM OILERS to win the Stanley Cup, 2017-2018.

    Those bastards! Alright, the Montreal Canadiens will win the stanley Cup. Book it!

  49. OriginalPouzar says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    godot10,

    I had posted this previously but will repeat it here again.

    I heard the verbal from Chia at the year-end presser and he was pretty positive about how good Nurse and Larsson looked as a pairing when injuries forced the two together.

    I, and I believe Woodguy, have suggested that the ideal pairs (based on the PuckIQ WOWYs – with incredibly small sample size warnings) are:

    Klefbom – Benning
    Nurse – Larsson
    Russell – Gryba

    with Auvitu as your number 7.

    Personally, I would love them to bring in Franson on a one-year show me to go on the third pair RD but that could hold the fort until Sekera returns.

    I’m not against these pairing and, in fact, would probably prefer them over the standard that has been predicted.

    With that said:

    1) McLellan was express in an interview a few weeks ago that he would like to keep Klef/Larsson together at ES so I’m quite certain we will see that to start the year and they will only be split if the bottom two pairs (or one of them) are struggling and costing games; and

    2) as per my above post, Russell has the trust of the coach and I think he’ll get alot of leash at 2LD and it would take quite a bit of struggling for the coach to reduce his ES minutes.

  50. geowal says:

    godot10: Are you ever going to be disappointed! -).

    Benning was good because he was never in his own end much.With Russell, he will be in his own end a lot.

    I haven’t seen anything to suggest Russell isn’t adequate on his left side.
    The Benning we were all impressed with had Nurse as his partner. IMO Russell(left) > Nurse (last season).
    I’m assuming no regression (not progression) from Benning but he’s an older prospect so I don’t think it’s unreasonable.
    None of this is ideal, but I am more concerned about the return of a Sekera Russell pairing.

  51. Georges says:

    godot10:
    If Nurse doesn’t step up, and the team has to rely on Russell, the Oilers D will be suspect.

    I sort of think that Nurse will step up, Russell will be pushed to the 3rd pairing, and all will mostly be fine.

    Nurse, Larsson
    Klefbom, Benning
    pray.

    Till Sekera gets back.

    So,

    115 career GP, 18:56 TOI/GP Nurse as 1st pair
    62 career GP, 16:36 TOI/GP Benning as 2nd pair

    Very MacT+Lowe of you.

    The pray part is apt, if a little ironic.

  52. commonfan29 says:

    OriginalPouzar: 1) McLellan was express in an interview a few weeks ago that he would like to keep Klef/Larsson together at ES

    Nothing gets through KlefLar.

    I’ll show myself out.

  53. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Johnny: At 8:26 PM the prediction was third or fourth.Sorry, my mistake.

    http://lowetide.ca/2017/08/27/the-2017-18-edmonton-oilers-never-kept-a-dollar-past-sunset/4

    It was the Oilers blueline that was ranked 5th in the division.Thankfully a 19 year old Jacob Chychrun isn’t healthy, or the Oilers would drop to 6th best blueline.

    I am also confused how a team with a top six that includes Derek Forbort, Paul Ladue and Kevin Gravel outclasses the Oilers.Doughty is unreal, but Muzzin and Martinez, for me, don’t exactly fit the #1-2 bill.So a superstar, a couple 3-4-5 kind-of-guys, and some 7-8’s is better than the Oilers.

    Riiiiight…..

    But don’t worry….McDavid.

    Thanks.

    If you want to take a run at me, then do so.

    To do it offhandedly is weak.

    Do or do not.

    Just say “that fucking idiot Woodguy picked them 4th!!! LOLBBQ!!!!”

    It’s more satisfying than implying something.

  54. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    godot10:
    If Nurse doesn’t step up, and the team has to rely on Russell, the Oilers D will be suspect.

    I sort of think that Nurse will step up, Russell will be pushed to the 3rd pairing, and all will mostly be fine.

    Nurse, Larsson
    Klefbom, Benning
    pray.

    Till Sekera gets back.

    I think that’s best, but I don’t think McLellan will play Russell on the 3rd pair.

    New contract and all.

  55. Lowetide says:

    Who would LOL a BBQ?

  56. Doug McLachlan says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Do you really see McLellan as guided by contract?

    I think the challenge with McLellan is that he views Russell as safe and predictable. We may not agree but TMac has it in his head that if Russell fights the opponent to a draw for 20 minutes a night, he can win the game during the other 40 minutes.

  57. Johnny says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Thanks.

    If you want to take a run at me, then do so.

    To do it offhandedly is weak.

    Do or do not.

    Just say “that fucking idiot Woodguy picked them 4th!!! LOLBBQ!!!!”

    It’s more satisfying than implying something.

    Okay.

    I hate the way you call out the GM and basically think they are a shit team and credit McDavid for any/all success. That post I linked basically said their defense is complete shite, but cheered on McDavid at the end as though he is the only one that will carry them through it. Even though they finished 7th in EV GA last year.

    I hate the way you will not admit you are wrong, and the Oilers can win three cups, but it will be depsite the GM, not because of him.

    How often do you hear people say, “oh, but if it wasn’t for Crosby…”? Or “but they have Kane and Toews….”? These are members of the team. Stars. Yes, they are required to win cups. But do not guarantee anything.

    The Oilers lost plenty of games in year one with McDavid in the line-up. No, they didn’t have Klefbom, but it is obvious it takes a lot more than McDavid to win. Hell, they even had Hall and couldn’t win! Look how long it took Lemieux to win anything. A forward can play ~33% of the game. There is a lot more to it.

    Anyway, thanks for the invitation to vent.

    “Go McDavid!!!”

  58. OriginalPouzar says:

    With respect to Russell on the third pairing, I don’t think contract should have any factor in McLellan’s deployment decision (and I like to think it wouldn’t be) but we know that he does trust Russell with fairly tough ES minutes which is why I can’t see it happen and we’ll see him with a fairly high number of ES minutes..

  59. Side says:

    Johnny:

    How often do you hear people say, “oh, but if it wasn’t for Crosby…”?

    Quite a bit actually. Penguins D have had quite a few injuries on D and they are winning with star forwards.

    Don’t see why people feel insulted because others point out the Oilers D aren’t the best in the league.

  60. oscarmike says:

    It think it would be cool to see a line of Nuge-McDavid-Leon on the ice from time to time. Say if the Oilers are already up a few goals in the bottom half of the 3rd or on the odd PP unit, or something like that.

  61. rickithebear says:

    Lets work backwards.

    High CA
    Because Dmen colapse to protect the HD area

    High Entry rate
    Because Dmen or Dman (ofensive dman abandond job) does not pressure the blue

    High NZ transition
    Beciuse the forwards did not run the nuetral zone trap allowing Dmen to pressure the Blueline
    Or
    Off dman out of position

    Pocession loss
    Because
    Forward FO loss
    Or
    Forward & offensive dman
    Fail entry
    Pass interceoted
    Driven off puck
    Giveaway
    Corsi blocked
    Corsi miss
    Corsi hits goalie
    Corsi is saved and rebound not retrieved

    All leading to counter attacks with poor
    Forward and offensive dmen positioning.

    Thru this whole thing
    All corsi Against tells you is the dman’s forwards suck re pocession.
    Or
    they have an offensive D partner not strong at primary role of preventing
    Entry
    Hd penetration
    Open hole (> 0% chance) shots (Russel best in game)

    The nice thing is the true def measure of dmen are
    1. Hd penetration prevention.
    HD corsi density/ Corsi
    Larson
    Sekera
    Benning

    2. Elite (> 0% chance shot)/Corsi %
    Russel the best in game.

    I have allways been able to define Russel,s affect with my
    Open/ closed theory.
    Which most of you did not get like.

    – Hd theory
    – Situational mean ( volman’s bastardization) the 2 axis player usage chart which can be up to 60 % misleading
    – repeatability of performance.
    – goalies true relative SV% performance based on a Dpairs established high density shot mean Save%.
    – negative affect of dmen chasing inefficient 4th line to Press box even production.

  62. rickithebear says:

    Our current best
    1st comp
    HD prevention and open shot supression DPair is
    Russel – Larsson

    Our best
    2nd comp
    HD prevention open shot supression DPair
    XXX- Benning

    Gryba – nurse
    Has great symbiosis.

  63. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Johnny,

    I’ve stated, and even wrote a post that the Oilers are an average team without McDavid on the ice.

    Here’s the post at my blog: http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/2017/07/a-look-at-nhl-teams-results-with-and.html?m=1

    If you look at the post you see that the Pens are very good without Crosby. One of the best teams when their star player is not on the ice.

    That’s why they’re great. Great when Crosby is on, great when he’s off. Oilers aren’t there.

    They might be closer this year, but we don’t know that yet.

    Also,

    When you look at the Dcorps in the Pacific the Oilers are at best 4th. ANA, CGY, SJS easily have a better top 4 than EDM with Sekera out and LAK might be better too.

    Forbort played mostly with Doughty last year while the other top pair was Muzzin-Martinez. That pretty solid and better than Russell-Benning imo.

  64. OriginalPouzar says:

    You think he’s going to leapfrog Khaira?

    Ooops, wrong thread.

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