MOONDANCE

We are just getting started down the long road of the 2017-18 NHL season, with all manner of stories cropping up daily. Slashing, the faceoff circle, penalties galore, but the real business to be done at this time is roster population and makeup. Todd McLellan’s words about the new rules ring true, but his actions pertaining to the roster are the real heart of the matter this September.

THE ‘A’ LIST

  • This is the list from Jack Michaels (here and here).
  • Anton Slepyshev will be on this list and many others (Ryan Stanton, Ty Rattie, Joe Gambardella) may move up as soon as tonight’s game.
  • Todd McLellan said we shouldn’t take the difference between “A” and “B” too seriously at this early point and that makes sense. Still, if you and I were to make a list of what the opening night roster might look like, this would be pretty damned close.
  • I think the forwards are mostly decided, with Slepyshev’s absence allowing some interesting things. Khaira’s strong early showing and a nice night for Yamamoto would count in this area.
  • I hope we get to see Nuge with the Finnish wingers tonight, would also like to see Russell-Benning.
  • There are likely to be cuts in the next 24 hours, so a game tonight for some of these men may signal a ticket to ride tomorrow morning.
  • The Jets lineup for tonight looks NHL-ready.

JESSE PULJUJARVI

The coach had generally positive things to say about JP, and I once again liked his game without possession. He can track down opponents who have the puck and gain possession very well. After a decade or more of watching youngsters who have neither the desire, the speed nor the ability to do same, it’s a wonderful wrinkle in his game. He needs to get that shot off quicker on the power play.

A year ago, Puljujarvi scored .29 points-per-game, that’s a little less than Tyler Seguin (.30) and Ryan Johansen (.31). Mike Fisher is in there too, entire list is here. I don’t know how much he’s going to score this year, but players in his age range can blossom overnight. Now, that .29 was garnered alongside (mostly) Connor McDavid but the young man likely gets RNH this winter and that’s a helluva center. Jussi Jokinen can also guide him.

DRAKE CAGGIULA

Two goals in game one of the exhibition season is a terrific start and Caggiula has some good arrows already. Anton Slepyshev has a malady, Caggiula has Leon as a center and the young man’s speed was on display in Calgary. At this point it would be silly to suggest he has locked down a top 6F role but he is first man up and the early results look good. Slepyshev’s issue is ankle and that could mean awhile, although Peter Chiarelli suggested it wouldn’t keep him out of camp. The hurrier you go, the behinder you get, hope Slepy waits to heal as opposed to coming back to early.

THIS IS THE TIME

If Kailer Yamamoto is going to make a move and secure nine NHL games, a gigantic plot twist probably arrives tonight or on the weekend. What would it look like? Yamamoto is on the plane to Winnipeg with an NHL center on his line, or he slides onto a line with one mid-game. He goes electric and scores a big goal or two and then there’s a media live wire for the rest of September. It’s a story that can still be crushed, by performance or by management, but it’s there, smoldering beneath the moss and thistles.

YOHANN AUVITU

He has the early lead on 7D, and if the officials are going to call things this closely, Auvitu might see action on the third pairing (maybe with Darnell Nurse or Kris Russell). I  watched him some in New Jersey last season while checking in on Taylor Hall, and Auvitu is a creative player who makes strong decisions with the puck. I didn’t really see enough of him defensively to make much of a call on him, beyond he seems to bring some chaos.

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.54 (5th among regular defensemen)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 1.19 (one point in 50 minutes)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 49.8
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: 3.1
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 49.5
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %:  1.1 (20 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 54 shots/3.7%
  • Boxcars: 25gp, 2-2-4
  • (All numbers via Puck IQStats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)

Small sample size, but enough for us to have a keen interest in him and I do think Peter Chiarelli made an astute signing. A skilled defender, good skater, excellent passer, gets pucks through the forechecker and to the net. He has some chaos in his game, but can scramble back very well. Intelligent player, makes good decisions. I like him. A lot of verbal surrounds wobble in the AHL, but we’ve heard about players having issues with the lack of structure in the minors, so I’m not completely sold on the idea that minor league struggles exposes him at the NHL level. His track record in the world’s best league screams “sign him” and the Devils went another direction. Is that a damnation of player or organization? We wait.

JUJHAR

I wrote a piece on Jujhar Khaira the other day at ON, drawing a parallel between Kyle Brodziak’s 2007 fall eruption and the early days of Khaira this fall. I’ve always felt there’s a truly thin line between AHL regulars and NHL fourth liners, and sometimes there’s no line at all beyond luck and timing. Brodziak came to camp in 2007 and looked leaner, faster and produced better results from Day One. He had a lot of competition (Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Marc Pouliot) but pushed and pushed, getting a job as an NHL regular for his hard work.

A job is there for Khaira, and he’s producing so far. Jay Woodcroft mentioned yesterday Mr. Khaira is leaner, faster and getting results. If you hang around these things long enough, you see patterns. Perhaps this is one.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’re seeing all the sports collide, this is truly a golden time on the calendar. Scheduled to appear:

  • Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Jesse Puljujarvi’s role on the 17-18 Oilers, plus Auvitu’s range.
  • Kent Wilson, Flames Nation. Calgary’s first steps in the exhibition season and how they’re fixing the holes.
  • Keegan Matheson, MLB.com. It’s Baseball America time in Jays Nation.
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Handicapping the playoffs, and how do Brodziak 2007’s and Khaira 2017’s find that edge?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. 90 minutes till show time! How’s my makeup?

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78 Responses to "MOONDANCE"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Definitely want to see Jokinen with Nuge and JP tonight. I’m a bit concerned that Jokinen is already a bit banged up.

    Great early start by Khaira – curious to see if he can have the same type of positive effect when the competition gets tougher. He may be ready to take that next step and become an effective every day 4th liner – energy player, aggressive forecheck, take the body and create turnovers. Chip on the odd goal.

    Given Simpson, Stanton and Fayne all in group B, it seems clear Auvitu has the upper hand on a roster spot.

    What happens when Auvitu is in the lineup? Does it bump Russell to the right side? That’s not a great result unless it’s 3RD paring which I don’t see Todd doing.

  2. Melman says:

    So I start my day without glasses and “Moondance” looks like “Balance”, and my first thought is this couldn’t possibly be the picture we’ve all been waiting for. So I leaned in and now I feel relieved….and old 🙂

  3. Melman says:

    ……and slower than OP.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Melman:
    So I start my day without glasses and “Moondance” looks like “Balance”, and my first thought is this couldn’t possibly be the picture we’ve all been waiting for.So I leaned in and now I feel relieved….and old 🙂

    Haha. Haha. Damn. That poor girl in the balance photo will see the light of day I promise. Someday.

  5. Clay says:

    Lowetide: Haha. Haha. Damn. That poor girl in the balance photo will see the light of day I promise. Someday.

    “Girl”. I like it already.

    So, the deadline for The Photo to make an appearance is what again? By opening night? Would it take signing a veteran backup goalie, a vet RW, and a vet dman in the next week? (Read: it’s too late for this year…)

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    I hope Slepy is able to get in to camp and get a few pre-season games in.

    Drake has done OK on the 2nd line so far but some internal competition would be nice.

    So, what happens if Slepy comes back and plays the way he left off in the playoffs? With Khaira playing so well, if he keeps it up, he’s a perfect 4th liner – more suited than the other two.

    2RW, 4LW for Drake, Anton, Jujhar – who goes to the pressbox?

    Or does JP get taken out of the lineup if he doesn’t step it up (which he will).

    What if Pakarinan continues a solid camp?

  7. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I’d think it would be like the decision to put Gryba into the line up. What’s the best roster composition based on opponent, and who’s got their mojo going currently?

  8. Pink Socks says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I hope Slepy is able to get in to camp and get a few pre-season games in.

    Drake has done OK on the 2nd line so far but so internal competition would be nice.

    So, what happens if Slepy comes back and plays the way he left off in the playoffs? With Khaira playing so well, if he keeps it up, he’s a perfect 4th liner – more suited than the other two.

    2RW, 4LW for Drake, Anton, Jujhar – who goes to the pressbox?

    Or does JP get taken out of the lineup if he doesn’t step it up (which he will).

    What if Pakarinan continues a solid camp?

    If TMac has to make that decision, it means there are no injuries further up the depth chart. So choosing Caggiula, Slepy, JP, or Pak to play in 2 lineup spots would be great since the meal tickets are healthy.

    That being said, I think the players will play themselves into their playing time as the season rolls along, IMO Caggs is going to get the big push. I see him as a less dickhead version of Marchand if he continues his development.

  9. zatch says:

    LT, you need to promise that you have sent to a trusted, younger lieutenant, in an unopened envelope, the balance photo. Only to be opened in the event of Oilers Balance after your untimely passing.

    A macabre thought, but it’s been a long wander in the desert so far.

  10. Pouzar says:

    F^ck the Jets. F6ck those guys.

  11. Brantford Boy says:

    I really hope Matt Hendricks doesn’t come out too hot out of the gates tonight, and I don’t mean wheels… I wouldn’t say he comes to target anyone but he will want to demonstrate what he can bring to his new team and get the guys respect… hopefully not at the cost of an ex-teammate… with a should have signed me look on his face… I really doubt it happens but if memory serves he was dropping the mits in like his first game as an Oiler to show what he brings… gonna be weird seeing him in a Jets jersey… fly on LT?

    As for Auvitu, Nurse should be really pushing to get all his skills in tune (ie: less wobble)… with a guy like Yohann nipping at his heals, competition, its a thing, and Chiarelli obviously likes it as a motivator…

  12. Lowetide says:

    zatch:
    LT, you need to promise that you have sent to a trusted, younger lieutenant, in an unopened envelope, the balance photo. Only to be opened in the event of Oilers Balance after your untimely passing.

    A macabre thought, but it’s been a long wander in the desert so far.

    I will inform my son, who will do the deed when it is time. 🙂

  13. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT! Re: Auvitu. Just occured to me re: Chia’s astute move: Maybe he was on Chia’s radar because last year, they wanted him in the trade, but NJ wouldn’t go for it?

    – Sorry to bring it up…

  14. Chachi says:

    Pouzar:
    F^ck the Jets. F6ck those guys.

    Preach, Original Gangster Pouzar.

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    I think I read somewhere that the Jets are going to have a pretty experienced lineup tonight.

  16. Dino says:

    All I know is big buff is playing for the Jets tonight and that makes me nervous because all he does is injure other players. The last thing this team needs is more injuries. Fingers crossed and prayers up.

  17. TO10801 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I think I read somewhere that the Jets are going to have a pretty experienced lineup tonight.

    Yeah they have Mason, Kulikov, Trouba, Morrissey, Byfuglien, Myers, Little, Petan, Wheeler, Ehlers, Laine, Sheifele, and Perreault. Plus a lot of bottom 6 guys that will be NHLers. Besically no junior players to speak of.

    I hope Yamamoto plays. Would be another great test for him

  18. OriginalPouzar says:

    TO10801: ason, Kulikov, Trouba, Morrissey, Byfuglien, Myers, Little, Petan, Wheeler, Ehlers, Laine, Sheifele, and Perreault. Plus a lot of bottom 6 guys that will be NHLers. Besically no junior players to speak of.

    Yikes – should be a good test tonight.

  19. Brantford Boy says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I think I read somewhere that the Jets are going to have a pretty experienced lineup tonight.

    Yeah, in this article with link included…

  20. Pouzar says:

    Well Jokinen is goin to WPG.

  21. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wow – the list that Darcy provided on Lowedown of the material offensive players that produced very low offensive numbers at 19 is substantial and very eye-opening.

    Its mind-boggling that many fans are disappointed in his progress and some are even using the word bust.

    Reasonable expectations.

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pouzar:
    Well Jokinen is goin to WPG.

    Good – I want to see that full line tonight (no offence to Laleggia).

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    I had Rogers GameCenter for the last few months and the playoffs last year due to some travel.

    Does that get automatically renewed for this year or do I have to actively renew it?

  24. judgedrude says:

    LT, every time I see #56’s name, I have to pause as it is still as mouthful to read. Any chance you can just refer to him as “Killer” for the rest of September?

  25. russ99 says:

    Nobody would confuse Auvitu with a skilled defender, his value is solely puck moving and offense. I hope he gets a game tonight to see how far away he is in our zone against more of a full NHL team.

    I like how Staples compared him to Brad Hunt, seems pretty apt.

    I also really hope tonight’s game is on Gamecenter. last night’s Golden Knights game was pretty fun.

  26. Bag of Pucks says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Wow – the list that Darcy provided on Lowedown of the material offensive players that produced very low offensive numbers at 19 is substantial and very eye-opening.

    Its mind-boggling that many fans are disappointed in his progress and some are even using the word bust.

    Reasonable expectations.

    Agreed. If someone is calling Jesse Puljujarvi a bust 28 games into his professional career, that says a lot more about them than it does about the player.

    The World Wide Web: Home to Kneejerk Reactions since 1990 TM

  27. russ99 says:

    judgedrude:
    LT, every time I see #56’s name, I have to pause as it is still as mouthful to read.Any chance you can just refer to him as “Killer” for the rest of September?

    I’ve been using “Killer” Kailer as well. 😀

  28. Skook says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I believe you have to renew it. It’s $20 cheaper if you renew before the end of the month. Might be different if you are getting it as a Rogers customer.

  29. OriginalPouzar says:

    Looks like Yamamoto is playing with Jokinen and Nuge tonight, not Puljijarvi.

  30. Georges says:

    Last season, the Oilers averaged around 61 minutes of TOI per game with about 5 minutes per game of PP time. Because the Oilers play 4F and 1D on their PP, this means that they needed about 116 minutes of defensemen TOI per game:

    (5 minutes PP and 1 minute OT with 1D and 55 minutes with 2D.)

    Here’s the TOI of our top defensemen from last season:

    Klefbom 22:22
    Larsson 20:08

    Sekera 21:28
    Russell 21:13

    Nurse 17:01
    Benning 16:36
    Gryba 16:08

    TMac got 116 minutes by playing the top 4 roughly 21 minutes and the bottom pair around 16 minutes on average.

    With Sekera out, we have 3 established 20+ minutes a night defensemen.

    Kelfbom’s highest TOI for his career was last season: 22:30.

    Larsson’s highest was 2015-16 with NJD: 22:22.

    (Russell’s highest was his second season with Calgary: 23:56.)

    I think TMac can get away with 24 minutes for Klefbom and 22 for Larsson if he’s prepared to give Russell-Benning 19 minutes.

    Some posters have been suggesting even bigger TOI for Klef/Lars.

    Klef will be our #1D because he’ll get PP time and Larsson likely won’t. Let’s say he averages 2 more minutes than Larsson like he did this season.

    25 minutes a night is a mark that very few defensemen pull off successfully.

    Is Klef ready and able to be a 25 minutes a night defenseman? Is that TMac’s plan until Sek is back?

  31. Brantford Boy says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I had Rogers GameCenter for the last few months and the playoffs last year due to some travel.

    Does that get automatically renewed for this year or do I have to actively renew it?

    Yes its automatically renewed… I will share this for any that are interested… every year I call Bell (my TV subscriber) and get them to pay for one of the 4 payments for the package. They charge you the 4 payments but credit your account for 1 payment. I’ve been doing this without any fuss for the last 5 years. In fact, the last 2 years I haven’t even needed to speak with anyone in the loyalty department. Make sure you get them to pay the taxes on the payment too… should be 4 payments of 52.25 (by last weeks memory), so in BC it was a 58.52 credit on my account.

    I spoke with a student one year and he revealed that if they have you at a certain cost annually then any discounts they can apply and not lose to said line in the sand they will give you the credit up to that percentage. Unfortunately I can’t recall the percentage. Anyway food for thought, but good luck.

  32. Pouzar says:

    LB/Ellis tonight.

  33. Professor Q says:

    judgedrude:
    LT, every time I see #56’s name, I have to pause as it is still as mouthful to read.Any chance you can just refer to him as “Killer” for the rest of September?

    When did we acquire Doug Gilmour?

  34. Georges says:

    russ99:
    Nobody would confuse Auvitu with a skilled defender, his value is solely puck moving and offense. I hope he gets a game tonight to see how far away he is in our zone against more of a full NHL team.

    I like how Staples compared him to Brad Hunt, seems pretty apt.

    I also really hope tonight’s game is on Gamecenter. last night’s Golden Knights game was pretty fun.

    I thought Auvitu had good on/off 5v5 results in his 25 games with NJD.

    Not sure if Hunt ever had good 5v5 results in the few games he’s played.

    I had no idea Auvitu was 28. He’s the next Mark Streit!

  35. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pouzar:
    LB/Ellis tonight.

    This is what we know so far:

    Jokinen – Nuge – Yamamoto
    Kharia – Letestu – Kassian

    Russell-Benning
    Stanton-Gryba
    Auvitu-Mantha

    Broissoit
    Ellis

  36. Pouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar: This is what we know so far:

    Jokinen – Nuge – Yamamoto
    Kharia – Letestu – Kassian

    Russell-Benning
    Stanton-Gryba
    Auvitu-Mantha

    Broissoit
    Ellis

    This could get ugly.

  37. McSorley33 says:

    Georges,

    Is Klef ready and able to be a 25 minutes a night defenseman? Is that TMac’s plan until Sek is back?
    ***********************************************************************************************
    I suspect you are bang on …..my guess is that Tmac plans to have Klef carry a very heavy load
    on the TOI front until Sek comes back.

    Unsure if Klef is ready for it…

  38. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Georges,

    Georges:
    Last season, the Oilers averaged around 61 minutes of TOI per game with about 5 minutes per game of PP time. Because the Oilers play 4F and 1D on their PP, this means that they needed about 116 minutes of defensemen TOI per game:

    (5 minutes PP and 1 minute OT with 1D and 55 minutes with 2D.)

    Here’s the TOI of our top defensemen from last season:

    Klefbom 22:22
    Larsson 20:08

    Sekera 21:28
    Russell 21:13

    Nurse 17:01
    Benning 16:36
    Gryba 16:08

    TMac got 116 minutes by playing the top 4 roughly 21 minutes and the bottom pair around 16 minutes on average.

    With Sekera out, we have 3 established 20+ minutes a night defensemen.

    Kelfbom’s highest TOI for his career was last season: 22:30.

    Larsson’s highest was 2015-16 with NJD: 22:22.

    (Russell’s highest was his second season with Calgary: 23:56.)

    I think TMac can get away with 24 minutes for Klefbom and 22 for Larsson if he’s prepared to give Russell-Benning 19 minutes.

    Some posters have been suggesting even bigger TOI for Klef/Lars.

    Klef will be our #1D because he’ll get PP time and Larsson likely won’t. Let’s say he averages 2 more minutes than Larsson like he did this season.

    25 minutes a night is a mark that very few defensemen pull off successfully.

    Is Klef ready and able to be a 25 minutes a night defenseman? Is that TMac’s plan until Sek is back?

    – Last year, Klef play 207 mins of PP (about 2.5 mins/game), only 27th D usage

    – His TOI was 22 min/game, 38th

    – I think the plan is to bump up his TOI to 25 mins/game, in the range of Josi, Weber, Trouba, OEL, Hedman, Fowler, Letang: see if he can be top-10/15 usage.

    – I think as I said before, the plan is to amp up Klef-Larsson (which is why McL played them so much last game).

    – Instead of all of Klef, Larsson, Russel, Sek between 20-22, they go:

    1) Klef-Larson: 23-25 (with more PP to Klef)
    2) Russel-Benning 16-20
    3) Nurse-Gryba (new #7) 14-18

    – Which is a more traditional 1-2-3 D usage, and opportunity for Benning and Nurse and #7 to earn more minutes

    – We dont’ have yet a bona-fide #1D for PP usage: I bet it’s Klef.

  39. McSorley33 says:

    Pouzar,

    This could get ugly.
    **********************************************************
    Especially if Maurice loads up line 1 again….Wheeler, Scheifle and Laine.

    Curious to see Russell -Benning match up against the jets top line.

    But, would strongly encourage children not to watch tonight. Mantha and Gryba may have
    a tough go of it…

  40. Bag of Pucks says:

    Brantford Boy: Yes its automatically renewed… I will share this for any that are interested… every year I call Bell (my TV subscriber) and get them to pay for one of the 4 payments for the package.They charge you the 4 payments but credit your account for 1 payment.I’ve been doing this without any fuss for the last 5 years.In fact, the last 2 years I haven’t even needed to speak with anyone in the loyalty department.Make sure you get them to pay the taxes on the payment too… should be 4 payments of 52.25 (by last weeks memory), so in BC it was a 58.52 credit on my account.

    I spoke with a student one year and he revealed that if they have you at a certain cost annually then any discounts they can apply and not lose to said line in the sand they will give you the credit up to that percentage.Unfortunately I can’t recall the percentage.Anyway food for thought, but good luck.

    Same thing with Telus. ISPs have become very aggressive with their customer retention practices now. All you have to do is give them a whiff of potentially leaving and they’ll throw whatever free services or upgrades they have on offer. I’m actually pretty amazed how well they treat me given how many warnings they’ve had to send me for Pirate Bay downloads. lol

  41. godot10 says:

    McSorley33:
    Georges,

    Is Klef ready and able to be a 25 minutes a night defenseman? Is that TMac’s plan until Sek is back?
    ***********************************************************************************************
    I suspect you are bang on …..my guess is that Tmac plans to have Klef carry a very heavy load
    on the TOI front until Sek comes back.

    Unsure if Klef is ready for it…

    It would make more sense to balance the load.

    Nurse Larsson (with a DZ start lean)
    Klefbom Benning (with an OZ start push)
    Russell Gryba. (with a DZ start lean…just get the damn puck out…both are supposedly good at defending…shouldn’t be too much to ask.)

    But it will never happen….not with this coach.

  42. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pouzar: This could get ugly.

    Strong Jets Lineup:

    #NHLJets lines: Laine-Scheifele-Wheeler, Perreault-Little-Ehlers, Matthias-Roslovic-Petan, Copp-Hendricks-Tanev. Steve Mason in goal

  43. Jethro Tull says:

    Pouzar: This could get ugly.

    It’s weird, but a few years ago, if you’d added Taylor Hall to that line up, I’d have thought, “Taylor’s amazing, but he’s only one guy, we’ll put up a fight, but ultimately lose.”

    Now, if you just add McDavid to that line up tonight, i think, “H-E-double hockey sticks, we’ve got a chance to win.”

    And I’m a big Hall fan, but we’re so blessed with Connor. A chance every game. Every damn game.

  44. godot10 says:

    Jethro Tull: It’s weird, but a few years ago, if you’d added Taylor Hall to that line up, I’d have thought, “Taylor’s amazing, but he’s only one guy, we’ll put up a fight, but ultimately lose.”

    Now, if you just add McDavid to that line up tonight, i think, “H-E-double hockey sticks, we’ve got a chance to win.”

    And I’m a big Hall fan, but we’re so blessed with Connor.A chance every game.Every damn game.

    The Oilers were just as godawful with McDavid and Hall when they had a crappy defense in TMac’s first year.

    Dallas cratered last year without a defense.

    McDavid doe NOT cure all.

  45. OriginalPouzar says:

    russ99:
    Nobody would confuse Auvitu with a skilled defender, his value is solely puck moving and offense. I hope he gets a game tonight to see how far away he is in our zone against more of a full NHL team.

    I like how Staples compared him to Brad Hunt, seems pretty apt.

    I also really hope tonight’s game is on Gamecenter. last night’s Golden Knights game was pretty fun.

    Yes, tonight’s game in on GameCenter.

    I’ve heard more positive verbal re: Auvitu than your post above and will be interested to see how he does this evening.

  46. Jethro Tull says:

    godot10: It would make more sense to balance the load.

    Nurse Larsson (with a DZ start lean)
    Klefbom Benning (with an OZ start push)
    Russell Gryba. (with a DZ start lean…just get the damn puck out…both are supposedly good at defending…shouldn’t be too much to ask.)

    But it will never happen….not with this coach.

    So, one player is out injured, and the answer is not to try and replace that player, thus keeping your other pairings with all the chemistry and drills they’ve done together, but to completely tear down and MacBlender the D? For like, 20 games? Before the season’s even started?

    This is why we have prospects – to get an opportunity to step up and either sink or swim. Otherwise, how will we know?

    I think TMac shelters Benning a little more, but they have confidence in him.

  47. Georges says:

    godot10: It would make more sense to balance the load.

    Nurse Larsson (with a DZ start lean)
    Klefbom Benning (with an OZ start push)
    Russell Gryba. (with a DZ start lean…just get the damn puck out…both are supposedly good at defending…shouldn’t be too much to ask.)

    But it will never happen….not with this coach.

    He does have more options if he splits up the Swedes.

    I don’t think the organization shares your confidence in Nurse though. Can’t see how they do that Russell contract if they felt Nurse was ready or will soon be ready.

  48. Jethro Tull says:

    godot10: The Oilers were just as godawful with McDavid and Hall when they had a crappy defense in TMac’s first year.

    Dallas cratered last year without a defense.

    McDavid doe NOT cure all.

    I didn’t bloody say he did, did I?

    I said, and I quote:

    Jethro Tull: And I’m a big Hall fan, but we’re so blessed with Connor. A chance every game. Every damn game.

  49. OriginalPouzar says:

    McSorley33:
    Georges,

    Is Klef ready and able to be a 25 minutes a night defenseman? Is that TMac’s plan until Sek is back?
    ***********************************************************************************************
    I suspect you are bang on …..my guess is that Tmac plans to have Klef carry a very heavy load
    on the TOI front until Sek comes back.

    Unsure if Klef is ready for it…

    I am very concerned about the 1st pairing playing anything over 23 minutes a night (or so).

    Although they are both in great shape, from accounts, a couple extra minutes a game really adds up and I’m worried about fatigue and injury, moreso injury.

  50. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10: It would make more sense to balance the load.

    Nurse Larsson (with a DZ start lean)
    Klefbom Benning (with an OZ start push)
    Russell Gryba. (with a DZ start lean…just get the damn puck out…both are supposedly good at defending…shouldn’t be too much to ask.)

    But it will never happen….not with this coach.

    It might happen but not to start.

    If the 1st pairing struggles with too many minutes and/or the other two pairs are struggling, the coach will eventually have to switch things up.

  51. Chachi says:

    Jethro Tull: I didn’t bloody say he did, did I?
    I said, and I quote:
    Jethro Tull: And I’m a big Hall fan, but we’re so blessed with Connor. A chance every game. Every damn game.

    We all know that “McDavid DOES cure all” is exactly what you were thinking. Except for herpes; even McDavid can’t cure that.

  52. Side says:

    Bag of Pucks: I’m actually pretty amazed how well they treat me given how many warnings they’ve had to send me for Pirate Bay downloads. lol

    ISP’s don’t really care since they can’t prove it was you who was downloading content off of sites. Although I have heard Telus may start throttling your connection and sends out a lot more notices than Shaw.

    Either way, I’m sure as long as you are paying customer your ISP would rather send you emails for downloading than not have you as a customer at all.

  53. Professor Q says:

    Chachi: We all know that “McDavid DOES cure all” is exactly what you were thinking. Except for herpes; even McDavid can’t cure that.

    I’ve never seen it proven that he can’t, until he has his first game in Vegas.

    If it stays in Vegas, then we know…

  54. Dino says:

    I ordered Gamecentre live for last season and the amount of Oilers games I COULDNT watch because of blackout restrictions was just dumb. I ended up streaming over half of all Oilers games from the internet it was a gigantic waste of money in my opinion. I was however able to watch other teams no problem as long as they weren’t from Alberta. Safe to say I won’t be spending $170-$200 to watch 30 regular season games when I can watch them for free online.

  55. Professor Q says:

    Dino,

    My GameCentre worked fine here in Ontario with no blackout restrictions on any games…even Toronto and Ottawa and Detroit.

  56. 99266in87 says:

    Professor Q:
    Dino,

    My GameCentre worked fine here in Ontario with no blackout restrictions on any games…even Toronto and Ottawa and Detroit.

    Also, if your subscribed to telus, you just need to sign into the Sportsnet app with your user name and password and through telus optic tv and the Sportsnet app I didn’t miss a game

  57. zatch says:

    Chachi: We all know that “McDavid DOES cure all” is exactly what you were thinking. Except for herpes; even McDavid can’t cure that.

    He can’t? WUH-oh

    I like having LB in for this. Throw him to the damn wolves, see what happens. We know what Talbot is. LB needs to show some stuff.

  58. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    godot10,

    Russell Gryba. (with a DZ start lean…just get the damn puck out…both are supposedly good at defending…shouldn’t be too much to ask.)

    You would be able to count the zone exits with possession on one hand per month.

  59. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10: It would make more sense to balance the load.

    Nurse Larsson (with a DZ start lean)
    Klefbom Benning (with an OZ start push)
    Russell Gryba. (with a DZ start lean…just get the damn puck out…both are supposedly good at defending…shouldn’t be too much to ask.)

    But it will never happen….not with this coach.

    It might happen but not to start.

    If the 1st pairing struggles with too many minutes and/or the other two pairs are struggling, the coach will eventually have to switch things up.

    Dino:
    I ordered Gamecentre live for last season and the amount of Oilers games I COULDNT watch because of blackout restrictions was just dumb. I ended up streaming over half of all Oilers games from the internet it was a gigantic waste of money in my opinion. I was however able to watch other teams no problem as long as they weren’t from Alberta. Safe to say I won’t be spending $170-$200 to watch 30 regular season games when I can watch them for free online.

    I ordered it last year so my parent’s could watch Oiler games while they were in Scottsdale for March and then when I was in Hawaii in April.

    I am able to connect to the firm’s system from anywhere on my laptop and “the internet” thinks I’m in Ontario whenever I’m connected so I don’t get blackouts.

  60. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    godot10,

    Russell Gryba. (with a DZ start lean…just get the damn puck out…both are supposedly good at defending…shouldn’t be too much to ask.)

    You would be able to count the zone exits with possession on one hand per month.

    Its a scary pair but 3LD is the perfect place for Russell.

    I’d be comfortable with him on the left side where he should be able to move the puck better and with third pairing ES minutes.

  61. MachoManRandySavage says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Anybody know if using a proxy to bounce your location to well.. anywhere except Edmonton will work on GCL? I think Rogers frigged up and gave me another year for free so it would be neat to take advantage if I can. Thanks!

  62. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yes, if “the internet” thinks you are outside the Oilers Viewing Region (AB and parts of SK I believe), then you should be fine.

  63. Professor Q says:

    MachoManRandySavage:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Anybody know if using a proxy to bounce your location to well.. anywhere except Edmonton will work on GCL? I think Rogers frigged up and gave me another year for free so it would be neat to take advantage if I can. Thanks!

    I believe so. That’s probably the best way.

    I guess I lucked out and watched away and national games for Leafs here; home and regional games are indeed blacked out. That sucks for Leafs fans I guess, and when Edmonton plays Toronto at home.

  64. Georges says:

    OriginalPouzar: … 3LD is the perfect place for Russell.

    Russell was a 3rd pair player before he got to Calgary in 2013-14. Not after that. Here are the total GP and average TOI for our defensemen since 2013-14, sorted by TOI.

    TOI, Player, GP

    22:52, Russell, 277
    22:13, Sekera, 308
    21:35, Klefbom, 189
    20:52, Larsson, 251
    18:56, Nurse, 115
    16:44, Gryba, 225
    16:36, Benning, 62

    Yes, our young guys should be trending up, but if PC thinks 3LD is the perfect spot for Russell, that’s a funny contract to offer the player.

    (I feel we keep doing this Russell bit. If that’s just how you feel about Russell, the hell with numbers, I’ll stop.)

  65. Pink Socks says:

    MachoManRandySavage:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Anybody know if using a proxy to bounce your location to well.. anywhere except Edmonton will work on GCL? I think Rogers frigged up and gave me another year for free so it would be neat to take advantage if I can. Thanks!

    Yes, I am connected to ExpressVPN to avoid this issue. Located in Idaho and doing significant travel in the western US I end up with a number of blackouts, the VPN always comes through 😉

  66. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Yes, if “the internet” thinks you are outside the Oilers Viewing Region (AB and parts of SK I believe), then you should be fine.

    GCL has started blocking most of the common VPN providers. They didn’t start that until about 2 months in but it makes me wary of relying on that route.

    They block these VPNs by blacklisting particular IP addresses, so the more popular then the more likely they will eventually target it. I resorted to an ssl tunnel on a server out of california. That worked great until a month before the playoffs ugh… The problem with my setup was I was using an internet host on a shared machine (so who knows who else shared that IP), so I don’t know what triggered it but somehow it got blacklisted as well. You can theoretically (depending on security etc) VPN to any machine, so there is no way GCL can blacklist all the sites you can use as a VPN service, so it is a valid solution, but I just wanted to share that it isn’t fail-proof.

    tldr; i tried paying for GCL and VPN last year to get my intake and by march was back to streaming

  67. Bank Shot says:

    I TOLD YOU, YOU WERE SLEEPING ON CAGGIULA LOWETIDE!

    I just needed to get that out of the way in case he goes goalless through the first 20 games of the regular season. 😉

    Seriously though, there is evidence that McLellan is a fan.

    It’d be nice to see Jujhar succeed too. I don’t think he has the offence myself, but he seems like a guy that the coaches all like, and those guys sometimes stick around even if their offence isn’t quite NHL calibre.

  68. OriginalPouzar says:

    Gregor is stating that Puljijarvi took a cross-check and is a little sore – not a big deal but no reason to play him if he’s a bit banged up.

    A little surprised Coach isn’t just sitting the entire line but they probably want to get Jokinen in a game and give Yamamoto a chance.

    They will likely play Yamamoto quite a bit early as, assuming he’s going back to Spokane, the Chiefs would probably like him there sooner rather than later – he’s got to get going on the WHL scoring title.

  69. flea says:

    I will chime in on the GCL conversation. I used NHL.tv for four years (it used to be called gamecenter live as well). With a popular VPN, I could sign up for the american/international NHL.tv, often at a vastly discounted rate over Rogers Gamecenter Live (which operates seperate accounts from NHL.tv – you need a Rogers account to access.) I ususally paid $70-$100 USD for the year.

    Last year, it became difficult to get the American pricing, and I got a SN Now login from a family member, so I used that to watch. GCL offers free games on Saturday nights, and I bought GCL for the playoffs. No blackouts in the playoffs, and the service worked great.

    This year, I begrudgingly will be signing up for cable TV again. Overall, the cost for limited TV plus the sports channels (around $18 per month from Shaw including hardware) is simply cheaper than going the Gamecenter + VPN route. Even at a full year, rounded up to $20 per month, is only $240, and GCL plus a VPN is a similar cost. Less hassle with cable too and you get all the extra content. (GCL blacks out a lot of the color commentary).

    I actually love GCL and if they got the price point down, and got around the blackouts, it would be a great service.

    Hoping the game tonight will be a GCL freebie, if it is, you should just need a Rogers account to watch.

  70. admiralmark says:

    I’ve said it from the 1st time I saw him play and everytime after especially the 2 games I saw him in Abbotsford. Of course he was very raw back then but to me he looks like Kesler when he skates out there. Maybe he won’t reach Keslers peak but I definitely see him as a Kesler light if you will.. Minus the douch baggery of course.

  71. Todd Macallan says:

    Tim and Sid tonight had about half of their show dedicated to an Oilers season preview, including speaking with Messier and Talbot. They had their regular “Match Game” twitter segments and asked Cam to join in by completing the sentence: This Oilers season will be ___.

    His response: “special.”

  72. Profit says:

    One more vote against GCL. I had it “for free” last year as part of my Rogers cell phone contract. I downloaded the app on my Xbox One so I could watch it on my TV.

    Well half of the time the game was blacked out (couldn’t be bothered to VPN my Xbox), 25% of the time it SAID it was blacked out when it actually wasn’t (free games, national televised games like HNC, and games when it wasn’t in my viewing location). Rogers support couldn’t correct it and basically said the Xbox app is poor and it sometimes blocks you out even when you should have access.

    They couldn’t give me anything for it as it was part of my cell phone plan.

    So needless to say, I’d never pay a dime for it as I ended up streaming half of the games online anyway. I don’t have cable and don’t want cable, so there you go. No other options to give Rogers my money to watch Oilers games.

  73. Doug McLachlan says:

    LT, I want to say that I am so pleased that you are keeping this site up and running even though you could have gone to the Athletic full-time.

    But man alive I am loving my Athletic subscription!

    Further to our earlier (an unending) discussion about Jussi Puljujarvi, Rachel Doerrie has a great piece on JP’s improved, aggressive zone entries with accompanying video. Very good read.

    If subscribed, check it out:

    https://theathletic.com/103057/2017/09/20/the-video-room-how-jesse-puljujarvis-balanced-skill-set-can-help-the-oilers/

    Eric Duhatschek has a nice article up on Lucic and his thoughts going into the season. Line of the year so far:

    “At the end of the day, you have to be cautious a little in case of overconfidence and over expectations,” he said. “I went through that in Boston. Sometimes, you just expect to be there and that doesn’t get it done.

    “Getting it done gets it done.”

    Seriously, candy-store of good articles.

    Edit to add: Really liked your Sunday piece as well LT. Others, check out as well: https://theathletic.com/103872/2017/09/17/examining-peter-chiarellis-plan/

  74. OmJo says:

    Re Yamamoto: “It’s a story that can still be crushed, by performance or by management…” or Byfuglien.

  75. Durag says:

    Todd Macallan:
    Tim and Sid tonight had about half of their show dedicated to an Oilers season preview, including speaking with Messier and Talbot.They had their regular “Match Game” twitter segments and asked Cam to join in by completing the sentence: This Oilers season will be ___.

    His response: “special.”

    *in extremely Church Lady voice*

  76. dustrock says:

    Agreed Doug.

    Only negative thing about The Athletic I’ll say is I don’t like the App at all, and I don’t really like how the front page on the website shows the content – I can usually see the OIlers stuff very obviously as they’re one of my teams to follow, but it’s hard finding other content.

  77. OriginalPouzar says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    I read The Athletic article on JP early today and it was great.

    Pronman also has a piece up about prospect that have impressed him in camp and he’s listed (and has a blub on) Jones and Yamamoto. I feel like he missed Lagesson who is up there with Jones for me.

  78. OilHub says:

    Asking for a friend..
    Is anyone using Shaw’s FreeRange Tv, if so have you figured out how to get around the licensing error when connecting a tablet/iPad to the tv?
    As soon as I plug the lighting connector to the iPad and then to an hdmi a licensing error comes up.

    Thanks

    From my friend of course.

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