Crazy Horse: Live at the Fillmore

The loosest rock and roll band worth paying attention to was probably Crazy Horse, around 1970. Neil Young and the band surrounded about 10 songs (one is here) and gave them a sound bashing over a couple of nights at the Fillmore while someone was recording. I love it to death, but it’s an acquired taste and you’d definitely want to tighten things up in the studio. By the way, the actual loosest rock and roll band in history is Alice Cooper, whose demo of “Eighteen” is unlistenable (it was on youtube but they shot it because it was too cruel to make people listen).

After playing a sound Game One against Calgary last week, the Edmonton Oilers have turned into Crazy Horse. Any team containing Connor McDavid is worth watching, but even then this group is testing the limits. Let’s hope this isn’t a winterlong experience.

  • Todd McLellan: “We’re not near competitive enough. We’re not out-working teams & structurally, we’re about as loose as we can be.” Source

 OILERS IN OCTOBER

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in October 2017: 1-2-0, goal differential -1

 WHAT TO EXPECT IN OCTOBER

  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver  (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Winnipeg, Ottawa, Carolina (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Washington (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-3-2, 12 points in  10 games 
  • Current results: 1-2-0, 2 points after three games

There’s no reason to panic based on the team’s record, an early stumble can be easily overcome. The actual product is a concern though. After getting to even last night, the Oilers gave up two jaw-dropping goals in a quick hurry. One featured a risky play by Leon Draisaitl that left him out of position and a defensive pair (Kris Russell and Matt Benning) who backed in so deep Nikolaj Ehlers could smell Cam Talbot’s breath before he rifled home the game winner. No one had a chance to settle before the team’s five best players played ‘one day late and a dollar short’ on the fourth marker of the evening by the Jets. The six men on the ice for that goal (CMD, Leon, Maroon, the Swedes and Talbot) are the heart of the order, but they were Nadir’s Raiders on that play last night. Todd McLellan mentioned after the game that the team’s stars needed to be superstars every night, I think that fourth goal may have inspired the quote. Absolute zero moment.

DEFENSE

  • Klefbom-Larsson were the best pairing based on number, but the second Ehlers goal saw both men slow to recognize danger. The game was in the balance at the time and it was a significant moment. One of the things we may see this week is a shuffle on blue, hard to argue this pairing should stay together after a sleep walk moment like that one. Klefbom was 13-10 in scoring chances, even on a tough night he seems to be able to find a way out of the blue and into the black.
  • Nurse-Gryba were high event (2 goals for, 1 against) together, Nurse picking up a nice assist on the Nuge goal and Gryba hit a post. Nurse was 7-13 in scoring chances, worst on the team. His possession numbers were reasonable (again) but SC and HD scoring chances are a concern. That’s important to keep in mind as we are likely to discuss the young blue moving up to second pair this week.
  • Russell-Benning were in trouble for much of the night and it’s clear the young righty is having a difficult time with this trip up the depth chart. There is no internal replacement for RH side, meaning we could see Nurse-Russell on Saturday. Despite the mess, they were 8-8 in scoring chances. I don’t think this pairing remains together Saturday night.
  • Cam Talbot saw five goals get past him, stopped two breakaways and many point blank chances. We can fault him but the real problem is the sheer number of 10-bell chances he is facing. Natural Stat Trick had it at 10 HD chances for Winnipeg in all disciplines, I’d say that is low.
  • Source is NST.

FORWARDS

  • Maroon & McDavid played with Leon, Yamamoto and Kassian on their RW last night. It will be interesting to see what Todd McLellan comes up with for the next practice (probably Wednesday). I’m not certain there’s an ideal fit, but Kailer Yamamoto is the most skilled and Anton Slepyshev will be the least expensive next summer. It’s also possible they just run with Leon again Wednesday.
  • Lucic-Nuge-Slepy had their moments (Nuge scored!) but gave up a lot of chances. Lucic had four giveaways according to the score sheet, bet it was more although I didn’t count on the fly. He takes off like an 18-wheeler 10 deep at a light and for some reason spends a lot of time stationary in the defensive zone. Need to fix that, and I think he might need Leon as his center. They have chem. Slepyshev didn’t look quite 100 percent but I liked his game fine.
  • Jokinen-Strome-Kassian did okay by the numbers (7-6 in scoring chances) but Strome’s line is always so passive. Kassian was placed on this line to angry up the blood but it didn’t take—they tamed him!
  • Pakarinen-Letestu-Yamamoto were fine but didn’t play together much (3:37). Yamamoto stepped up (3:22, 3-1 corsi for 5×5 with McDavid) and made some plays. I don’t think he’s going to stay but this was a positive game for him and shows progress. I still think he’s the most skilled RW not named Leon Draisaitl on this roster—and that’s not a good thing for the Oilers.

OILERS 5X5/60 SCORING AFTER THREE GAMES 17-18

  1. Connor McDavid 3.75
  2. Leon Draisaitl 2.70
  3. Patrick Maroon 2.67
  4. Zack Kassian 1.60
  5. Kris Russell 1.55
  6. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.54
  7. Milan Lucic 1.50
  8. Darnell Nurse 1.30

OILERS 5X5 SCORING AFTER THREE GAMES 16-17

  1. Zack Kassian 4.21
  2. Connor McDavid 3.86
  3. Kris Russell 3.74
  4. Leon Draisaitl 3.41
  5. Tyler Pitlick 2.80
  6. Jordan Eberle 2.74
  7. Benoit Pouliot 2.49
  8. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.56
  9. Patrick Maroon 1.54
  10. Milan Lucic 1.39
  11. Andrej Sekera 1.33
  12. Oscar Klefbom 1.25
  13. Adam Larsson 1.24
  14. Source

I think this is relevant, even though we are just three games into the season. A year ago, nine forwards and four defensemen had posted crooked numbers on the 5×5. This year, six forwards and two defensemen. That’s an entire set of five players who are missing from the score sheet. You can say Edmonton was running luck early and isn’t getting any right now, and you can also say the McDavid line is the only trio who showed well in both seasons.  Both of those statements may well be true, but the Oilers need more secondary scoring at the 5×5.

LOLLYGAGGERS???

I don’t think the Oilers are a bunch of layabouts and don’t believe they have forgotten how to play the game. The things I value (as time goes on, fewer people who read this blog do value these things but that’s okay, I’m stubborn enough for all of us) suggest this team has most of the formula in place.

  • Corsi for 5×5: 56.82 (No. 6 NHL)
  • Fenwick  for 5×5: 57.94 (No. 4 NHL)
  • Shot Share 5×5: 56.80 (No. 4 NHL)
  • Scoring chance for 5×5: 53.89 (No. 4 NHL)
  • HD scoring chances for 5×5: 56.67 (No. 8 NHL)
  • Goal Share 5×5: 45.45 (No. 19 NHL)
  • Source

How can this be? Well, there are a few reasons generally associated with this malady. Most of the time, you can blame the goalie and be on solid ground. Cam Talbot has had some wobble early, but he’s also stopped several breakaways and countless point-blank shots. I’m absolutely not going to bury him over this start.

For me, the culprit is puck handling in the defensive zone. The Oilers are making tragic decisions all over hell’s half acre in their own zone, and it is creating chance after chance for opponents. Last night, Milan Lucic was along the boards in his zone, saw his center hovering, and sent a tip pass toward his man. However, the Jets had a man hovering too, and he was closer and heading in a great direction for his team. Bang! Lost possession and we’re in the zone for another 30 seconds unless there’s a goal.

Have a care! This is basic hockey and every guy on the ice knows it. I don’t look forward to hearing about how lazy and stupid this team is over the next several days because they aren’t either of those things. What are they? Too cute, I’d say. That first game was close enough to perfect that we know they have it in them.

Even down a man on defense and struggling to find something that rhymes on RW offensively doesn’t excuse lack of execution in the defensive zone. The Edmonton Oilers aren’t making things easy on themselves, but as they stand here today this group is far better than they’ve shown since the weekend began.

WHY DID THEY LOSE????

  • It’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events. Such was the case last night.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We’re back and have (mostly) slept off the turkey. It begins at 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Jon will break down last night’s game and give us the solution. Seriously.
  • Derek Taylor, TSN. What a CFL weekend! Eskimos win a game after I said “book it!”, which is the toughest victory in sports!
  • Scott Cullen, TSN. Oh, those Oilers and OH MY those Leafs! Plus MLB playoffs.
  • Corey Graham, TSN1260. Edmonton Oil Kings are off to a strong start, we’ll explore the reasons.

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

 

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95 Responses to "Crazy Horse: Live at the Fillmore"

  1. Professor Q says:

    🎼 “Don’t worry about a thing,

    ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.

    Singing’ don’t worry about a thing,

    ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright…” 🎶

    Once the compete level increases, or hopefully increases, and things start to balance more with roster positions and injury returns, I *hope* they get their heads back to Opening Night feelings and playstyles.

    I have no idea what changed over the weekend but they have a week to figure their shyte out. And they better or we’re looking at potentially a hurtful season as fans.

    Start Broissoit and send Yamamoto down, and hopefully the phones will be running full-time this week. Don’t need to call up Jesse just yet, either.

  2. leadfarmer says:

    We knew the 2 RHD and RW were going to be an issue this season. This was visible in the offseason. Chia didnt address it. Sekera at least comes back halfway through the season but if we play Leon with Mcdavid we are a one line team. Nuge will post occasional offense but Lucic is not accomplishing anything. Bottom 6 are getting nothing done.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    I am not as concerned about the forward lines as I am about the defensive group. As I mentioned, I think, and its my opinion, that the general issue is 2/3 of the D-group playing up on the depth chart than they should be which basically means that we are weak at each of the 3-6 positions. This can only be solved by inserting a player in to the 2nd pairing and bumping every one else down a spot. I don’t see that acquisition happening prior to Saturday so think what we need is a spread out of the d-corps and a breaking up of the first pairing.

    Nurse/Larsson
    Klef/Benning
    Auvitu/Russell

    Now, its not like I think Nurse is a “top pairing” d-man at this point but I think he can at least hold his own up there with a solid partner like Larrsoon and Benning should be better on the 2nd pairing with a guy like Klef.

    I’m remiss to put Russell on the right side but if he’s on the 3rd pairing then I think he should be OK on the right side.

    Its not like i think Russell deserves the demotion over a guy like Benning who has been worse but, in order to make the lines work, I think this makes the most sense – Benning gets a guy to anchor his pairing in Klef and Auvitu gets a guy to anchor his pairing in Russell.

    They could almost run the top 2 pairing as 1A/1B like last year and Russell will get extra minutes on special teams.

    Does that make sense?

  4. godot10 says:

    “Matt Benning looks overwhelmed” because “Kris Russell is backing up all night”.

    It is really dumb to play a developing defensemen with Russell, who doesn’t play defense by the book.

  5. Professor Q says:

    godot10:
    “Matt Benning looks overwhelmed” because “Kris Russell is backing up all night”.

    It is really dumb to play a developing defensemen with Russell, who doesn’t play defense by the book.

    I think it’s more and all on Benning. It’s not on Russell.

    Benning was degrading in the playoffs last season. Hopefully he gets back up to his regular sesson strengths of past year.

  6. leadfarmer says:

    If you are paying Drai 8 and a half mil per year he needs to drive his own line and drive it with low cost forwards. If he cant then why are we paying him this much

  7. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT! You’ve provided a good accounting. Sure there are things to clean up, but if Talbo is a .892 GA for the forseable future, and we play teams whose goalies play way above .940 we are going to lose a lot games

    – If however, Talbot gets to about his .920 average, and our opponents G arent’ vezina-worthy every game, I’m sure we will win a lot of games

    – Some things to gripe about for sure, sure but we notice that more when we get scored on

    – Pittsburgh wasn’t as bad as their 10-1 loss in game 1, and they aren’t as dominant as their drubbing of Nashville in game 2..

    * McL and some posters might frame it as “not working hard enough”: it’s just a matter of settling in: no one is mailing it

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    I am on board with Nurse moving up – he deserves the chance at 2nd pairing over Benning right now.

    The issue is, how?

    If Nurse is getting increased minutes and responsibility, he needs to be paired with a stable RHD – Russell is not that guy – the only guy is Larsson.

    I’m cool with that as per my post above.

    Do we think coach Todd would possibly split Klef/Larsson in order to save the drowning bottom two pairings or will he just go Nurse/Benning or Nurse/Russell on the 2nd pairing? Both of those options are poor choices in my mind.

  9. Mr. D. says:

    Benning got the right bounces last year. He is the worst dman right now bar none. Ever since he got rattled last year he has played tentitive.
    He needs to come out. It’s not the third pairing hurting us. Benning and Russelet don’t win offensive battles. They are the teams archives heel.

  10. godot10 says:

    Professor Q: I think it’s more and all on Benning. It’s not on Russell.

    Benning was degrading in the playoffs last season. Hopefully he gets back up to his regular sesson strengths of past year.

    Some people predicted the result of Russell-Benning in the summer time. I think some even predicted that Benning would get the blame.

  11. Professor Q says:

    leadfarmer:
    If you are paying Drai 8 and a half mil per year he needs to drive his own line and drive it with low cost forwards.If he cant then why are we paying him this much

    Why are top wingers paid as much as they are?

    Drai can be a good winger and he can be a good centre. His versatility and strength and cohesion with McDavid is what was paid for.

    He’ll be on his own line soon enough. But right now the Nuge second line *is* actually playing well. So that makes it tough to demote Nuge’s line’s minutes just for Drai.

    Everyone, yes, even McDavid, need to be better. Defence, Offence, Goaltending, Systems, Ad-Libbing, Decisions, Cohesion.

    Can’t let the upstart Leafs steal Oilers’ thunder now, can we?

  12. Professor Q says:

    godot10: Some people predicted the result of Russell-Benning in the summer time.I think some even predicted that Benning would get the blame.

    Some people predicted the apocalypse as well.

  13. stush18 says:

    leadfarmer:
    If you are paying Drai 8 and a half mil per year he needs to drive his own line and drive it with low cost forwards.If he cant then why are we paying him this much

    While I don’t agree necessarily with this statement, I think the oilers are a more dangerous team and can consistently apply pressure.

    Biggest gripe is Leon plays better when he’s driving and moving his feet. He hasn’t been doing that, and after his demotion in the third he started moving and looked better.

    Todd was right. This team is too lose defensively right now. Offense comes from good defense. It’s what happened against Calgary.

  14. dustrock says:

    We knew RW and Russell-Benning would struggle, and the PK was a concern.

    The result against the Jets was actually what I feared against the Flames, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how composed the team was against Calgary and the systems worked well.

    It’s early, but when we lose the next 2 games, I wonder if we’ll see Colin Miller sooner rather than later. I’d prefer to right the ship now, rather than leave it until the deadline.

    Also, I am a little concerned about the new way the refs are calling the game and how that is going to affect Adam Larsson.

    A large part of his effectiveness is his snarl. If he can’t use that, we’re in trouble.

  15. stush18 says:

    Professor Q: Why are top wingers paid as much as they are?

    Drai can be a good winger and he can be a good centre. His versatility and strength and cohesion with McDavid is what was paid for.

    He’ll be on his own line soon enough. But right now the Nuge second line *is* actually playing well. So that makes it tough to demote Nuge’s line’s minutes just for Drai.

    GOod point.

    I honestly think nuge is driving his line right now. Lucicplayed well with kassian. I wish they would put those two together at 5v5. Kassian is an underrated passer.

    I’ll be honest I thought maroon was less noticeable than lucic. Didn’t get a thing done. When he’s playing fancy his game suffers.

  16. stush18 says:

    dustrock,

    Our penalty kill looks pretty good right now I think.

    I detest letestu on the kill, but other than that it looks pretty good.

  17. GMB3 says:

    Does anyone know what our PDO is through the first three games? It probably tells a decent story

  18. hunter1909 says:

    Hunter1909’s Oilers Death March is back for the 2017-18 season!

    Here’s how you play: Pick the exact number of points you think the Oilers will have at the end of the season.

    Now that the Oilers have dropped 2 out 3 games, they’re right back in the lottery race. Will they recover?Or will they pick another top 5 pick next spring?

    What better way to enjoy pointless, meaningless games than The Oilers Death March ™?

    New and returning players welcome!

  19. McSorley33 says:

    #93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 4. Scored a beautiful goal on a breakaway where his speed combined with Nurse’s sliced open the Jets defence. But the rest of his night was forgettable, including these on-ice numbers: +1/-5 contributions to scoring chances; +5/-12 shots on goal in 13 minutes. Also posted a desultory 4/16=25% in the faceoff circle, with his group spending a lot of time in chase mode as a direct result.
    ******************************************************************************
    This is a generous grade but he scored a nice goal from Nurse.

    This is our 2C – and his FO numbers represent all the puck / board battles he loses.
    ( including a 180lb 4th line Brandon Tanev, wow )

    6 million dollars and 24 years old.

    PC needs to maybe step in – LD is getting paid over 8 million dollars to play centre.

  20. p3rsonman says:

    McDavid also sat for the last few minutes, so I don’t think TMac was too happy with his effort either (which I would consider to be out of character for Mr. McDavid).

    The team will be better on Saturday.

  21. OriginalPouzar says:

    dustrock:
    We knew RW and Russell-Benning would struggle, and the PK was a concern.

    The result against the Jets was actually what I feared against the Flames, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how composed the team was against Calgary and the systems worked well.

    It’s early, but when we lose the next 2 games, I wonder if we’ll see Colin Miller sooner rather than later.I’d prefer to right the ship now, rather than leave it until the deadline.

    Also, I am a little concerned about the new way the refs are calling the game and how that is going to affect Adam Larsson.

    A large part of his effectiveness is his snarl.If he can’t use that, we’re in trouble.

    To my eye, the only thing the refs are calling differently is the slash to the hands – the are still allowing all the other little shots (i.e. stick to the back, etc.) – the players just need to learn to not slash the hands – it will take a bit of time but just don’t slash the damn hands.

    Larsson should be OK – its not like the slash to the hands is an integral part of his game.

  22. flea says:

    I actually thought the Oilers outplayed the Jets for a lot of the game, but they were very loose defensively and the Jets made them pay. They made some really nice plays early of, getting the puck to the net with traffic. The Jets definitely did a good job limiting the second chances. Overall, not that worried, I think they will rebound. So much luck early in the season, it’s a total crapshoot. Goalies are all over the map. Last year the luck went the Oilers way in October. Maybe it won’t this year.

    Was that the best goal of RNH’s career? I don’t remember another one.

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    McSorley33:
    #93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 4. Scored a beautiful goal on a breakaway where his speed combined with Nurse’s sliced open the Jets defence. But the rest of his night was forgettable, including these on-ice numbers: +1/-5 contributions to scoring chances; +5/-12 shots on goal in 13 minutes. Also posted a desultory 4/16=25% in the faceoff circle, with his group spending a lot of time in chase mode as a direct result.
    ******************************************************************************
    This is a generous grade but he scored a nice goal from Nurse.

    This is our 2C – and his FO numbers represent all the puck / board battles he loses.
    ( including a 180lb 4th line Brandon Tanev, wow )

    6 million dollars and 24 years old.

    PC needs to maybe step in – LD is getting paid over 8 million dollars to play centre.

    The amount of money a player makes should not determine where they play in any particular game.

    McLellan is given 23 players for his roster that fit within the salary cap – they should be deployed in the way that the coach thinks gives his team the best chance to win the game that night – regardless of how much money each player makes.

    For example, for a while last night, Drai was centering Pakarinan and Jokinen – essentially a 3-4 line.

    I’m personally happy that the coach doesn’t care how much money any player on his roster makes.

    Of course, long-term, we need Drai to perform at a certain level and likely as a center to earn his money but its 3 games in to an 8 year contract – one game at a time.

  24. Professor Q says:

    flea:
    I actually thought the Oilers outplayed the Jets for a lot of the game, but they were very loose defensively and the Jets made them pay. They made some really nice plays early of, getting the puck to the net with traffic. The Jets definitely did a good job limiting the second chances. Overall, not that worried, I think they will rebound. So much luck early in the season, it’s a total crapshoot. Goalies are all over the map. Last year the luck went the Oilers way in October. Maybe it won’t this year.

    Was that the best goal of RNH’s career? I don’t remember another one.

    I think some of the goals he’s scored where he goes down on one knee and rockets it are in contention with that. If Edmonton ever got the Nuge of that form back they’d be extra dangerous.

  25. stush18 says:

    GMB3:
    Does anyone know what our PDO is through the first three games? It probably tells a decent story

    Gotta be low. Gonna guess 945 but I have no idea

  26. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar: To my eye, the only thing the refs are calling differently is the slash to the hands – the are still allowing all the other little shots (i.e. stick to the back, etc.) – the players just need to learn to not slash the hands – it will take a bit of time but just don’t slash the damn hands.

    Larsson should be OK – its not like the slash to the hands is an integral part of his game.

    Slashes to legs are still being allowed, and those can be equally as dangerous as those to the hands.

  27. HiddenDarts says:

    Man. Not to be alarmist, but dang does Lucic look slow and turnover ready out there. Perhaps still in “preseason mode”, but c’mon, man! A good hit or two isn’t gonna help us forget the 5 bell chance you just gave away to the opposition!

    Also, hopefully Strome gets a burr in that saddle. That is one solidly vanilla player, so far. If not, is it possible we traded Eberle for a faceoff losing Eberle-lite?

    Tough game. Saturday better be a mega-improvement.

  28. Snowman says:

    Benning and Russell are having real issues. Even when they aren’t giving up chances they don’t look calm. They look out of sync and Benning is struggling with the puck.

    Mcdavid hasn’t been Mcdavid since game one. Suspect he torches the Sens something fierce on Saturday.

    Slepyshev is a good third liner. He’s doesn’t have good enough puck skills to play in the top 6 in my opinion. He has a good shot and he forechecks hard but he doesn’t make plays to sustain pressure or make plays to create pressure well enough to be in your top 6. I thought that last year and I still think that this year. I know that was his first game back but it was not a good one. Play died a lot on his stick when he was with Nuge.

    Having said all that, everyone needs to be better. These past couple games are jarring because they came after that masterpiece against the phlegms.

    Interesting times.

    Also god am I sick of the Leafs already.

  29. knighttown says:

    I posted after the Flames game that I wouldn’t be too quick to give McDavid the Rocket Richard. Teams that try to beat McDavid with a defenseman-led game plan like the Flames, tend to struggle. No defenseman can stop him once he has speed so the quality of the defense doesn’t much matter.

    The last two teams have slowed McDavid’s line by going at him with forwards and he’s not yet proven he can handle that. The Nucks did it out of the Kadri/Kesler playbook with a speedy and nasty forward in his face all game long. The Jets did it by matching him up against a terrific line and making him play defense which, let’s face it, he’s not interested in doing.

    He’s the world’s best player but because this team is so shallow at forward he’s going to have to overcome more than any other player in history. The game plan is 100% to stop McDavid and guess what, it’s 2-for-2. The more film that goes into that archive, the tougher his job gets.

    Related to this, one of the Oilers other issues is that they don’t (seem to) game plan for the other teams but rather, they game plan how to get away from the opponent’s game plan. They are the hunted and not the hunters. If you think this doesn’t matter…it absolutely does.

    Ehlers had tons of free ice. Laine got his looks from his scoring area. I bet one of the reasons the Jets normally struggle is because teams game plan to take those guys (and Scheifele) away. The Oilers game plan to get McDavid free which is great when he has the puck but when the pass misses and he’s 30 feet away you’ve now got some pretty damned talented players with free runs at our suspect defense.

    Solution?

    I’m not really sure. “McDavid as decoy” sucks away my will to live but I keep coming back to the Pens cup from TWO years ago.

    Crosby was saddled with garbage (Sheary and Kunitz) and his goal was to win the matchup but not dominate.

    Malkin was saddled with garbage too (Rust and ??) and he had the same goal.

    This allowed the 3rd, 4th and 5th best forwards (Kessel, Hagelin and Bonino) to play against the dregs and light it up.

    Because we keep trading away our talented wingers this is tougher for us to do. One option would have been, in an alternate universe:

    Maroon-McDavid-Slepy
    Pitlick- Drai- Kassian
    try to win or at least saw off the toughs….

    Hall-RNH-Eberle

    Now? Because we have zero talent after #3 (97, 39, 93) we can’t even make a soft minutes killing line.

  30. Professor Q says:

    HiddenDarts:
    Man. Not to be alarmist, but dang does Lucic look slow and turnover ready out there. Perhaps still in “preseason mode”, but c’mon, man! A good hit or two isn’t gonna help us forget the 5 bell chance you just gave away to the opposition!

    Also, hopefully Strome gets aburr in that saddle. That is one solidly vanilla player, so far. If not, is it possible we traded Eberle for a faceoff losing Eberle-lite?

    Tough game. Saturday better be a mega-improvement.

    He looked quick to me. He was even the first forward on the forecheck a plethora of times.

    And Strome was net-crashing and getting into scrums all night.

  31. stush18 says:

    HiddenDarts:
    Man. Not to be alarmist, but dang does Lucic look slow and turnover ready out there. Perhaps still in “preseason mode”, but c’mon, man! A good hit or two isn’t gonna help us forget the 5 bell chance you just gave away to the opposition!

    Also, hopefully Strome gets aburr in that saddle. That is one solidly vanilla player, so far. If not, is it possible we traded Eberle for a faceoff losing Eberle-lite?

    Tough game. Saturday better be a mega-improvement.

    I dunno if it’s actually happening or it’s just my eyes, but they seem to breakout onto lucics side all the time. I dunno if it’s cuz he posts down lower or is just a big target or what.

    Tough to make those passes to a left handed centre all the time.

    They should plan to breakout onto the right side so lucic is first on the Dorchester k.

  32. dustrock says:

    I’m alarmed at Lucic’s play, to be honest. Thought it would take another year or two before he dropped off like this.

  33. fishman says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I am on board with Nurse moving up – he deserves the chance at 2nd pairing over Benning right now.

    The issue is, how?

    If Nurse is getting increased minutes and responsibility, he needs to be paired with a stable RHD – Russell is not that guy – the only guy is Larsson.

    I’m cool with that as per my post above.

    Do we think coach Todd would possibly split Klef/Larsson in order to save the drowning bottom two pairings or will he just go Nurse/Benning or Nurse/Russell on the 2nd pairing?Both of those options are poor choices in my mind.

    Pretty clear something on D needs to change. Shuffle the deck as suggested would be one option. Is there any D help on the farm? Simpson,Lowe, Mantha? Really looks like Benning needs to come out for at least a few games? I fear a trade for a D see’s us lose potential in guys like Jones/Bear

  34. stush18 says:

    Professor Q: He looked quick to me. He was even the first forward on the forecheck a plethora of times.

    And Strome was net-crashing and getting into scrums all night.

    Ya I thought strome looked good as well. Had two great chances, and is consistently around the net. He def looks better at centre because he’s skating more.

  35. leadfarmer says:

    Professor Q: Why are top wingers paid as much as they are?

    Drai can be a good winger and he can be a good centre. His versatility and strength and cohesion with McDavid is what was paid for.

    He’ll be on his own line soon enough. But right now the Nuge second line *is* actually playing well. So that makes it tough to demote Nuge’s line’s minutes just for Drai.

    Everyone, yes, even McDavid, need to be better. Defence, Offence, Goaltending, Systems, Ad-Libbing, Decisions, Cohesion.

    Can’t let the upstart Leafs steal Oilers’ thunder now, can we?

    Well if you are spending that much money on two players those players have to be making cheap guys better. Thats why Toews and Kane dont play together much, neither does Crosby and Malkin or Kessel. Play Mcdavid, Drai, Nuge at center 18-19 min a game. Latestube can be a lead protector special teams guy as needed and can fill in on faceoffs with who is struggling. Pakarainen kills penalties. Thats it. His 5v5 time is just a waste. Yamamoto isnt ready just send him back

    Play some combination of
    Maroon Mcdavid Slepy
    Lucic Drai Kassian (Kassian to offset Lucic lead skates)
    Jokinen Nuge Strome (Latestube can take a few min from Jokinen)

    And please get an actual top 6 RW already

  36. HiddenDarts says:

    stush18,

    Dang. I wonder how I could have mis-seen Looch?

    It’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events.

    Ah. Now I get it.

  37. Brantford Boy says:

    Ahh, the sky is falling and not even Stan Weir can stop it!!!

    I think this would stop the bleeding, no?
    Maroon-McDavid-Nuge
    Lucic-Draisaitl-Kassian
    Jokinen-Strome-Slepyshev
    Khaira-Letestu-Yamamoto/Pakarinen

  38. Bag of Pucks says:

    What I’m seeing is 3 pairings that have one player on each who is starting the season with significant wobble (Klefbom, Benning, Gryba) and Russell and Nurse haven’t been appreciably better. Tough spot for MacLellan. He simply doesn’t have a stable pair he can rely on at the moment to stop the bleeding.

    They are not crisp on the breakout passes at all, and and are very very passive in gap control. Hockey Gods smiling on them that they’re getting a week of practice when they most need it. Expect to see much crisper hockey on Saturday night.

    And TMac won’t do it in a million years, but these are the lines I’d be practicing with this week.

    RNH/McDavid/Strome
    Maroon/Drai/Slepyshev
    Lucic/Jokinen/Kassian
    Caggiula/Letestu/Parkarinen

    I think that gives the team a good shot at a pretty effective 1/2 punch in the Top 6.

  39. jtblack says:

    **Strome’s line is always so passive. Kassian was placed on this line to angry up the blood but it didn’t take—they tamed him! ******

    Great Line LT!

    I am not sure we should be surprised at the D zone chaos. Nobody on this blog likes Gryba as a #6 regular He is always good for 1 or 2 turnovers The debate on Russell will tage on but most agree he needs the right partner to play Top 4 D. Benning is a sophmore and was a risk to begin with, nevermind the added responsibility. Nurse is kind of like Russell; some like his game and some don’t. He’s good for 2 turnovers a game.

    Add it up and you get chaos. Add it up firther and it doesnt matter who the forwards are; thebD cant get them the puck.

    Need Reggie back AND PC still needs to do his job and get a #2RHD.

  40. OmJo says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I am on board with Nurse moving up – he deserves the chance at 2nd pairing over Benning right now.

    The issue is, how?

    If Nurse is getting increased minutes and responsibility, he needs to be paired with a stable RHD – Russell is not that guy – the only guy is Larsson.

    I’m cool with that as per my post above.

    Do we think coach Todd would possibly split Klef/Larsson in order to save the drowning bottom two pairings or will he just go Nurse/Benning or Nurse/Russell on the 2nd pairing?Both of those options are poor choices in my mind.

    Right now we are a one line, one pairing team. Something has to change, time to spread the wealth throughout the lineup until Sekera comes back and we find a legitimate 1RW, whether from within the organization or outside it.

    Frustrating how this team has handled that 1RW spot. 15-16 they sacrifice Yakupov to give Eberle that spot. Then 16-17 they take Eberle off and give it to Draisaitl. Hand Draisaitl a massive contract and trade Eberle for Strome in the summer… 17-18 Strome is a struggling 3C instead of our shiny new 1RW and we are even more of a one-line team than we were last season.

  41. RexLibris says:

    PDO is 96.87 per Corsica.

    http://corsica.hockey/team-stats/

  42. OmJo says:

    knighttown:

    The Jets did it by matching him up against a terrific line and making him play defense which, let’s face it, he’s not interested in doing.

    How is it away teams seem to constantly get favourable matchups against us at home?

  43. P2theickles1 says:

    Lines I’d like to see in Ottawa

    19-97-91
    27-29-58
    36-93-18
    16-55-44

    Spread out McD, Drai and Nuge. The more lines with offense we have the better chance for a miss match to occur and that’s when you score a goal. All four right wingers can be switched to play with any line depending on the circumstance in the game until the RW start to show where they should play.

    As for the defense someone needs to be brought in to play 2RD

    77-6
    4-??
    25-83

    And once Sekera is back you have the “problem” of sitting a defense man every game. Send Gryba to the AHL or use him as the 8D man. Injuries happen and people have bad games or need a break every couple of games. Defensive depth is a great thing. Its time to go get one more dmen to play on that second pairing.Nurse and Benning worked well in a third pairing role last year and that’s where they should be playing to start this year.

  44. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    One of the reasons both VAN and WPG were entering the zone with possession much more than CGY was due to the back checking of the forwards imo.

    I stated here and on twitter that the CGY was one of the best gamea they’ve played without the puck since 2006.

    There was usually 3 men (2D, 1F) between the CGY puck carrier and the net and where there wasn’t the F1 wasn’t far behind the CGY player or was picking up a trailer to let the Dman take the carrier.

    None of that happened nearly as much vs VAN and WPG.

    This failing was exemplified on Ehler’s 2nd goal which LT wrote about here:

    . One featured a risky play by Leon Draisaitl that left him out of position and a defensive pair (Kris Russell and Matt Benning) who backed in so deep Nikolaj Ehlers could smell Cam Talbot’s breath before he rifled home the game winner.

    Russell and Benning *have* to back off the blue line because they are facing a 3 on 2 with no help at all from any forward. The F1 was still on the WPG side of the bloody ice.

    If a Dman steps up there and gets beat its a 3-1 so they’ll never step up there.

    Pinching the play off at the blue or close requires the Dman to see the F1 covering so he knows if the puck gets by him (even if he gets the player) his spot is covered.

    No help so they back in.

    Now, they shouldn’t have let Ehlers get to the hash marks and that’s on them, but they couldn’t try to stop the play at the blue or close due to lack of help.

    Ehlers makes a high end no look shot getting Talbot to guess pass and its in the net.

    The lack of forward support in the neutral zone and high in the dzone is causing sortie after sortie to get to scoring spots and hammer away.

    I disagree with LT.

    The forwards have been lollygagging without the puck and its gotta stop.

  45. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    OmJo: How is it away teams seem to constantly get favourable matchups against us at home?

    The first goal featured the Schiefele line vs The Testu’s line. It was the only time it happened all night, but it happened.

  46. OriginalPouzar says:

    fishman: Pretty clear something on D needs to change. Shuffle the deck as suggested would be one option. Is there any D help on the farm? Simpson,Lowe, Mantha? Really looks like Benning needs to come out for at least a few games? I fear a trade for a D see’s us lose potential in guys like Jones/Bear

    I don’t think Benning needs to come out – I think he needs to go back to third pairing minutes.

    The one thought I had was Simpson, who has experience playing both sides, but I’m not sure that helps – its not like he can move up to the 2nd pairing – he could replace Gryba, potentially, but that doesn’t help the drowning 2nd pairing.

  47. OriginalPouzar says:

    stush18: Ya I thought strome looked good as well. Had two great chances, and is consistently around the net. He def looks better at centre because he’s skating more.

    If Strome is able to get a better backhand on the rebound in close, we are all in a better mood today.

  48. Woogie63 says:

    The best defenseman on last year’s team, is being replaced by a sophomore … and it is not working.
    The next options to replace Benning are a bigger gamble.

    We need a trade to help until Sekera is back and playing at a NHL level.

    YTD

    Hall 2gm 0-3-3
    Yak 3gm 2-1-3
    Ebs 3gm 0-2-2
    Pitlick 2gm 0-0-0

  49. OmJo says:

    Woogie63:
    The best defenseman on last year’s team, is being replaced by a sophomore … and it is not working.
    The next options to replace Benning are a bigger gamble.

    We need a trade to help until Sekera is back and playing at a NHL level.

    YTD

    Hall 2gm 0-3-3
    Yak 3gm 2-1-3
    Ebs 3gm 0-2-2
    Pitlick 2gm 0-0-0

    #SecondaryScoring

    Really too bad 15-16 was plagued with so many significant injuries that it prompted the fanbase and organization to freak out and start tearing everything apart rather than making changes with a calm head. Oh well.

  50. OmJo says:

    Woodguy v2.0: The first goal featured the Schiefele line vs The Testu’s line.It was the only time it happened all night, but it happened.

    All it takes it only one time to bite us in the ass. Team has to be better without the puck, especially forwards, but TMac has to take more advantage of last change IMO.

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

    Wow the ledge is taking a pounding from all those jumping feet this morning.

    A couple thoughts:

    1) The PP is half a step off right now. Once the #1 unit and the PP writ large start to click the game complexion will change.

    2) Benning-Russel just need to relax and grip the sticks a little less tight. No need to yank Benning for a few games or anything that drastic.

    3) Patience, patience, patience (for the players not us!) two games in a row where they have come out swinging only to fall back a few goals. From there the tire fire gets lit. Stick to the game plan and good things will happen otherwise you get running around and that’s when bad things happen.

    4) The start to this year reminds of that late November early December stretch of losses last year. Team just needs to orient itself, focus and stick to the game plan.

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Agree with this wholeheartedly! The 4th GA is another example. Its a 3 on 2 down low that turns into a 2 on 1 and at the very very end Maroon gets a stick in the photo on Schieffle.

    Said it last night wayyyyy too many “wide swoops” from both CmD and Drai (especially on the PP). They need to tighten up and set an example.

  52. Whatif says:

    Chicken Little is alive and well and living amongst Oiler fans.

    Never have so many panicked so early about so little.
    Patience. This team will right itself and will begin playing like we expect.
    If a trade is needed PC will, in all likelihood, make one.

  53. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woogie63:
    The best defenseman on last year’s team, is being replaced by a sophomore … and it is not working.
    The next options to replace Benning are a bigger gamble.

    We need a trade to help until Sekera is back and playing at a NHL level.

    YTD

    Hall 2gm 0-3-3
    Yak 3gm 2-1-3
    Ebs 3gm 0-2-2
    Pitlick 2gm 0-0-0

    Yup – I’m not sure that many realized just how big a hole Sekera is leaving and the fact that promoting the 3RD from last year to 2RD (albeit a decent bet at the time), not only creates a problem for 2RD but also for 3RD (and indirectly, 2LD and 3LD).

    What does Colin Miller actually cost? What does a Nate Schmidt and Colin package cost?

  54. OriginalPouzar says:

    Maybe I’m panicking but I don’t think I am.

    I’m just watching the exact scenario that I was fearful of from the off-season.

    Yes, its only two games but its not unexpected.

    Our GM, in the days leading up to the season, acknowledged the potential for an issue on the back-end in Sekera’s absence. He said he will not be as patient with the back-end as he will be with the forwards.

    I’m not saying Chiarelli needs to make a big trade right now, however, if this continues for more than a few more games, then, yes, he will likely need to do something as its costing us games and points. If it goes on for two more weeks, a fairly sizeable hole will be dug.

    There is a reason that Chiarelli has left himself cap space – he knows there are holes on the team that we are looking at filling internally and that filling them internally may just not work.

    Its still early but early becomes too late pretty quickly.

  55. JimmyV1965 says:

    I think you can make a legit argument that the Oilers have been the better team in 10 of the 12 periods they have played. They’ve been killed by stupid brain cramps, poor play by Benning and below average goaltending. I do have concerns about Benning, but the rest of it will balance out.

  56. pocession charge says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    Wow the ledge is taking a pounding from all those jumping feet this morning.

    A couple thoughts:

    1) The PP is half a step off right now. Once the #1 unit and the PP writ large start to click the game complexion will change.

    2) Benning-Russel just need to relax and grip the sticks a little less tight. No need to yank Benning for a few games or anything that drastic.

    3) Patience, patience, patience (for the players not us!) two games in a row where they have come out swinging only to fall back a few goals. From there the tire fire gets lit. Stick to the game plan and good things will happen otherwise you get running around and that’s when bad things happen.

    4) The start to this year reminds of that late November early December stretch of losses last year. Team just needs to orient itself, focus and stick to the game plan.

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Agree with this wholeheartedly! The 4th GA is another example. Its a 3 on 2 down low that turns into a 2 on 1 and at the very very end Maroon gets a stick in the photo on Schieffle.

    Said it last night wayyyyy too many “wide swoops” from both CmD and Drai (especially on the PP). They need to tighten up and set an example.

    There is a big elephant in the room. Cam Talbot has not been sharp. The Kulikov goal and the first Ehlers goal were both stoppable. If he makes those saves, the Oilers win the game last night. How long do you give him to ‘get going’ before you let LB take the reigns? The same thing happened two years ago. Talbot was shaky to start the year, Nilsson righted the ship, then Talbot took over when he got his shit together.

    The bottom six are dreadful. Nothing good happens out there when they are on the ice. Letestu, Pakarinen, Strome, and Jokinen are all useless. And what is the deal with Klefbom? He went from looking like the Norris trophy winner in game one to looking like a third pairing guy in the last two games. He’s been very frustrating to watch.

  57. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy v2.0:

    This failing was exemplified on Ehler’s 2nd goal which LT wrote about here:

    . One featured a risky play by Leon Draisaitl that left him out of position and a defensive pair (Kris Russell and Matt Benning) who backed in so deep Nikolaj Ehlers could smell Cam Talbot’s breath before he rifled home the game winner.

    Russell and Benning *have* to back off the blue line because they are facing a 3 on 2 with no help at all from any forward.The F1 was still on the WPG side of the bloody ice.

    If a Dman steps up there and gets beat its a 3-1 so they’ll never step up there.

    Pinching the play off at the blue or close requires the Dman to see the F1 covering so he knows if the puck gets by him (even if he gets the player) his spot is covered.

    No help so they back in.

    A

  58. russ99 says:

    One thing that has dropped out is how poor Jokinen has played thus far.

    I’d like to see him moved down to the Letestu line until he gets back to his usual level

    Here’s what I like for Carolina:

    Maroon – McDavid – Yamamoto
    Lucic – Draisaitl – Slepyshev
    Pakarinen – RNH – Strome
    Jokinen – Letestu – Kassian

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Nurse – Russell
    Auvitu – Gryba (yechh) maybe Benning would be good as the cover man and Auvitu as the puck mover, back to basics.

    Brossoit – Talbot

  59. matt says:

    You’re saying that we traded Eberle for a 4R?

  60. SkatinginSand says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Great analysis! A defenceman cannot play the puck carrier aggressively in an outnumbered situation, which it obviously was. The forwards seem to think that their only job is offense.

  61. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy v2.0:

    This failing was exemplified on Ehler’s 2nd goal which LT wrote about here:

    . One featured a risky play by Leon Draisaitl that left him out of position and a defensive pair (Kris Russell and Matt Benning) who backed in so deep Nikolaj Ehlers could smell Cam Talbot’s breath before he rifled home the game winner.

    Russell and Benning *have* to back off the blue line because they are facing a 3 on 2 with no help at all from any forward.The F1 was still on the WPG side of the bloody ice.

    If a Dman steps up there and gets beat its a 3-1 so they’ll never step up there.

    Pinching the play off at the blue or close requires the Dman to see the F1 covering so he knows if the puck gets by him (even if he gets the player) his spot is covered.

    No help so they back in.

    Are you saying don’t challenge the puck carrier in a 3-on-2 situation? If so I strongly disagree.

    Every time you make them pass and/or apply pressure is a positive – even if all you get is the man and it becomes a 2-on-1.

    Further to that sort of approach – one of the most successful plays I’ve seen over the years is when defenders pressure the carrier at the blue in a 2-on-1 situation by swinging wide in their direction and having an active stick. This causes a ton of turnovers or bad passes and at worst leaves a 1-on-1 with the goalie not having to change his angle.

    The Oilers D gets caught standing in the middle way too often. More aggression and forcing the opposition to pass is needed.

  62. LMHF#1 says:

    I’m not sure where people are coming from on the forwards so far.

    I’ve seen nothing much from anyone aside from 97 and 93.

    Strome looks brutal.
    Jokinen has done nothing.
    Caggiula has decided he’s just a hitter.
    Lucic has had some strong shots but that’s it.

    I could go on – they all need to pick it up big time.

  63. OriginalPouzar says:

    My goodness – taking Matt Benning right out of the lineup is excessive, is it not?

    What Matt Benning needs is to be back on the 3rd pairing where he has been successful (or to get the luxury of playing 2RD with Sekera).

  64. leadfarmer says:

    pocession charge: There is a big elephant in the room.Cam Talbot has not been sharp.The Kulikov goal and the first Ehlers goal were both stoppable.If he makes those saves, the Oilers win the game last night.How long do you give him to ‘get going’ before you let LB take the reigns?The same thing happened two years ago.Talbot was shaky to start the year, Nilsson righted the ship, then Talbot took over when he got his shit together.

    The bottom six are dreadful.Nothing good happens out there when they are on the ice.Letestu, Pakarinen, Strome, and Jokinen are all useless.And what is the deal with Klefbom?He went from looking like the Norris trophy winner in game one to looking like a third pairing guy in the last two games.He’s been very frustrating to watch.

    Is 5 days long enough?

  65. russ99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    My goodness – taking Matt Benning right out of the lineup is excessive, is it not?

    What Matt Benning needs is to be back on the 3rd pairing where he has been successful (or to get the luxury of playing 2RD with Sekera).

    Yeah, maybe he’s doing too much, Auvitu – Benning could work if Benning focuses on coverage and Auvitu isn’t a complete defensive tire fire.

  66. Cassandra says:

    It isn’t as bad as it looks. Even with this type of performances this is easily a playoff team.

    However, it is disappointing. This team isn’t near the dominant team it should be.

    And the reason is obvious. Chiarelli wasted 10 million dollars on Lucic and Russell, and traded away Eberle for a passenger.

    Lucic is slow, and treats the puck like a hand grenade, and I actually think he has played pretty well so far. What we’ve seen is good Lucic. Much of last year he was much worse.

    Russell is a tire fire. He can’t handle the puck and his gap control is horrific. Go back and look at the video of the Ehlers goal referred to above. Woodguy is right that part of the problem is that Ehlers is allowed to gain all that speed through the neutral zone without back pressure. However, the bigger problem is that Benning and Russell never get out of their zone at all. So what happened was that they were forced to back in by a speedy player, they started backed in because they didn’t gap up properly in the neutral zone. And of the two offenders Russell is worse, starting further back.

    Benning hasn’t been good, but he is a 2nd year player, playing reasonably tough competition, with a demonstrably weak partner. Once again we see first hand how a player with reputed goal suppression abilities does not, in fact, have those abilities.

    Finally, Strome just skates around. He’s a skill player who never has the puck, and when he does have it, doesn’t do anything. He’s nowhere near Eberle as a player.

    But, on the whole, I think the team will be fine, McDavid, Draisatl and Talbot are too good. Which is good, because winning is better than losing. But bad, because winning hides the mistakes of the general manager.

  67. LMHF#1 says:

    Cassandra,

    You captured it nicely.

  68. Side says:

    Professor Q: Some people predicted the apocalypse as well.

    With the Oilers losing 2 straight, some would say the apocalypse is here already.

  69. OriginalPouzar says:

    russ99: Yeah, maybe he’s doing too much, Auvitu – Benning could work if Benning focuses on coverage and Auvitu isn’t a complete defensive tire fire.

    Potentially, however, the problem is, who plays 2RD? We don’t have a legit option for 2RD which is why I think we need to split the top pairing to give the 2RD a partner that can anchor the pairing.

    Nurse/Larsson
    Klef/Benning

    Both Nurse and Benning would be playing up the lineup but at least each has an upper-tier d-man as their partner.

  70. GMB3 says:

    I don’t think I’m on the ledge like many of the posters here, but wow Lucic is so disappointing for the money he makes. People shit on RNH and his contract, but he is either our second or third best forward and it’s not even close. It’s going to be a sad day when Milan Lucic is an Oiler and RNH has been traded for some other failed NYI first rounder

  71. godot10 says:

    Playing Benning or any young developing D with Russell is like sending your prize goaltending prospect to the Hasek/Gustavsson/TimThomas school of goaltending.

    Nurse and Benning can step up with decent partners.

    Nurse Larsson
    Klefbom Benning

    And with Russell, Gryba as the other pair, one can give an offensive situation push to Klefbom/Benning because the other two pairs should be able to handle D-zone starts.

    Russell will do less damage starting in his own end since he will be defending from the get go…no blue line to endlessly surrender.

  72. godot10 says:

    Professor Q: Some people predicted the apocalypse as well.

    Not the apocalypse. #MediocrityIsADifferentKindOfHell

  73. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oilers have a CBA mandated off day today so we won’t see any line updates or hear any verbal.

  74. digger50 says:

    Todd had an interesting comment

    “We don’t need better players” “We need our players to play better”

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    digger50:
    Todd had an interesting comment

    “We don’t need better players” “We need our players to play better”

    Someone is listening to Oilers Now…..

  76. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    One of the reasons both VAN and WPG were entering the zone with possession much more than CGY was due to the back checking of the forwards imo.

    I stated here and on twitter that the CGY was one of the best gamea they’ve played without the puck since 2006.

    There was usually 3men (2D, 1F) between the CGY puck carrier and the net and where there wasn’t the F1 wasn’t far behind the CGY player or was picking up a trailer to let the Dman take the carrier.

    None of that happened nearly as much vs VAN and WPG.

    This failing was exemplified on Ehler’s 2nd goal which LT wrote about here:

    . One featured a risky play by Leon Draisaitl that left him out of position and a defensive pair (Kris Russell and Matt Benning) who backed in so deep Nikolaj Ehlers could smell Cam Talbot’s breath before he rifled home the game winner.

    Russell and Benning *have* to back off the blue line because they are facing a 3 on 2 with no help at all from any forward.The F1 was still on the WPG side of the bloody ice.

    If a Dman steps up there and gets beat its a 3-1 so they’ll never step up there.

    Pinching the play off at the blue or close requires the Dman to see the F1 covering so he knows if the puck gets by him (even if he gets the player) his spot is covered.

    No help so they back in.

    Now, they shouldn’t have let Ehlers get to the hash marks and that’s on them, but they couldn’t try to stop the play at the blue or close due to lack of help.

    Ehlers makes a high end no look shot getting Talbot to guess pass and its in the net.

    The lack of forward support in the neutral zone and high in the dzone is causing sortie after sortie to get to scoring spots and hammer away.

    I disagree with LT.

    The forwards have been lollygagging without the puck and its gotta stop.

    I don’t think we really disagree. I’m calling Leon’s attempt to turn that puck over an error of execution (don’t take a risk shorthanded), you are saying it was lollygagging. Unless McDavid was lollygagging on that shift, and that could be, my opinion is LD is the culprit for a bad decision. I don’t think it really matters what tag we put on it, although I framed the issue in a specific way, but the overall result was the same.

    I still don’t think the defense should back in to their goalie, though.

  77. McDavidMyMuse says:

    The sky is falling, the end is nigh!
    “Apocalypse now!” and “The End!” we cry.
    McDavid is stumbling and Russell just sucks,
    our game is atrocious away from the puck.
    Our season is over, we’re done, for sure.
    Let’s pack it in folks, this curse has no cure…

    You’re triggered, I get it, that decade still haunts.
    But don’t yet succumb to our rivals / their taunts.
    Just take a deep breath, relax and remember,
    this team will be fine. You can freak in December.

  78. OmJo says:

    digger50:
    Todd had an interesting comment

    “We don’t need better players” “We need our players to play better”

    From Spectors article on Sportsnet this morning: “Players have to remember — and they will be reminded daily — how hard it is to win.”

    You could have some fun with that line, to lighten the mood.

    All TMac would need to do is play back tapes of the Sharks playoff runs for the last 7 years to show hard it is to win. *ba dum tsh*

    Cue Kevin “Knows a little bit about winning” Lowe’s return to the ice as an assistant coach during practice. Every. Single. Day.

    I’m here all night folks.

  79. McSorley33 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    McLellan is given 23 players for his roster that fit within the salary cap – they should be deployed in the way that the coach thinks gives his team the best chance to win the game that night – regardless of how much money each player makes.
    *******************************************************************************************
    McLellan’s deployment of Drai with Connor has resulted in what many, many, many people
    anticipated…….very little, or no scoring, from our 2nd and 3rd lines.

    Yes, usual round of ‘of courses’ it is early.

    I am just wondering how long Tmac will continue with Drai on McDavid’s wing.

  80. McSorley33 says:

    russ99,

    One thing that has dropped out is how poor Jokinen has played thus far.
    *******************************************************************************
    As I said in the pre-season, Jokinen has real slow boots and has trouble getting around the ice.
    ( fits in with Marroon, Lucic and Letestu)

    Again, not much surprise why Florida bought him out.

  81. OriginalPouzar says:

    McSorley33:
    OriginalPouzar,

    McLellan is given 23 players for his roster that fit within the salary cap – they should be deployed in the way that the coach thinks gives his team the best chance to win the game that night – regardless of how much money each player makes.
    *******************************************************************************************
    McLellan’s deployment of Drai with Connor has resulted in what many, many, many people
    anticipated…….very little, or no scoring, from our 2nd and 3rd lines.

    Yes, usual round of ‘of courses’ it is early.

    I am just wondering how long Tmac will continue with Drai on McDavid’s wing.

    I’m not saying his deployment has been “correct” in the first three games (not that there is a “right” and a “wrong” way, necessarily) – I’m saying, the individual salaries/cap hits of any particular player should have zero impact on his deployment – it seems he is on the same page with me given Leon’s use on both 1RW as well as shifts with Pak and Jokinen.

  82. SwedishPoster says:

    McSorley33:
    russ99,

    One thing that has dropped out is how poor Jokinen has played thus far.
    *******************************************************************************
    As I said in the pre-season, Jokinen has real slow boots and has trouble getting around the ice.
    ( fits in with Marroon, Lucic and Letestu)

    Again, not much surprise why Florida bought him out.

    Yeah smart player but his legs are gonzo, I hold on minor hope that he’s still feeling last years injury issues and incomplete preseason but I don’t see him holding his top 9 spot the full year and if he doesn’t step up he should probably play the Hendricks part as veteran presence and extra forward. Early days but so far not so good.

  83. stush18 says:

    Lowetide,

    A middle drive on a 3-2 is the toughest to defend as a dman. You “feel” like it’s a 2-1.

    I think blame is 3 parts on that goal.

    1- forwards need to apply back pressure so the dmen can step up. Harder to score on a 3-2 than 2-1, so leaving their men aren’t really viable options.
    2- Benning. We were taught to attack the players backhand side. If benning forces him, ehlers has to make a play on his backhand. Much less likely that turns into a goal.
    3- Talbot. Gotta recognize who’s shooting and challenge quicker. Tough play and great shot, but benning and Russell played their men back so the passes weren’t ever really an option. A straight challenge might mean a save. Tough play though.

  84. Woogie63 says:

    Every general has the best plan …. until the bullets start to fly

  85. Lowetide says:

    stush18:
    Lowetide,

    A middle drive on a 3-2 is the toughest to defend as a dman. You “feel” like it’s a 2-1.

    I think blame is 3 parts on that goal.

    1- forwards need to apply back pressure so the dmen can step up. Harder to score on a 3-2 than 2-1, so leaving their men aren’t really viable options.
    2- Benning. We were taught to attack the players backhand side. If benning forces him, ehlers has to make a play on his backhand. Much less likely that turns into a goal.
    3- Talbot. Gotta recognize who’s shooting and challenge quicker. Tough play and great shot, but benning and Russell played their men back so the passes weren’t ever really an option. A straight challenge might mean a save. Tough play though.

    No doubt, and it was a helluva shot.

  86. geowal says:

    russ99: Yeah, maybe he’s doing too much, Auvitu – Benning could work if Benning focuses on coverage and Auvitu isn’t a complete defensive tire fire.

    Giving Benning some 3rd pairing minutes wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. If McLelland wanted to go full blender, we “could” see
    Russell- Larsson
    Klefbom-Gryba
    Nurse – Benning
    I doubt it, don’t even think I want it, but it’s an interesting thought experiment.

  87. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Lowetide,

    I don’t think we really disagree. I’m calling Leon’s attempt to turn that puck over an error of execution (don’t take a risk shorthanded), you are saying it was lollygagging. Unless McDavid was lollygagging on that shift, and that could be, my opinion is LD is the culprit for a bad decision. I don’t think it really matters what tag we put on it, although I framed the issue in a specific way, but the overall result was the same.

    It was McDavid who lollygagged on this play, but this is just one instance of many that I saw by all F’s over the last two games.

    It might be better described as “cheating for offence” though.

    When 29 went to press Ehlers you can see 97 loop around in anticipation of 29 getting the puck.

    When Ehlers comes up with the puck, there’s not urgency by 97 to get back to help cover off the 2-1. 29.

    I’m not even saying 29 shouldn’t press in that spot, but if he does there is no way 97 can do what he did.

    The decision to press by 29 was marginal. The decision by 97 to loop towards the ozone was bad and his back check was worse.

    29 is the one who made the play to stop Ehlers at his own blue and 29 still beat 97 to their own blue.

    Not good.

    I still don’t think the defense should back in to their goalie, though.

    Agreed.

    I wrote this about that part:

    Now, they shouldn’t have let Ehlers get to the hash marks and that’s on them, but they couldn’t try to stop the play at the blue or close due to lack of help.

    Here’s a link to the goal. The slow mo replay after WPG celebrates the goal from the camera above Talbot’s net shows it well: https://www.nhl.com/video/ehlers-laser-wrist-shot/t-290848246/c-53334903

    Starts at 0:27

  88. CrazyCoach says:

    I totally agree with Stush18 as well.

    Odd man rushes are the results of turnovers and lack of back checking. I know 29 tries to slow down Ehlers at the blueline and I can’t fault him for that. He also tries to drive Ehlers to the boards, where he should be.

    I can’t see it from the replay, but I’m willing to be 97 turned h is back to the puck and wasn’t able to adjust to Ehlers driving that centre lane. One of the small things I harp on is to always maintain eye contact with the puck and never turn your back to the puck, ever.

    f1 pressures the puck carrier, and F2 should adjust to cover centre lane or at the very least, prepare to back check hard down the centre lane, to either create back pressure or pick up F3 from the opposing team.

    It all happens in the blink of an eye and I have the luxury of replay.

  89. stush18 says:

    CrazyCoach,

    Ya it’s easy for us to judge with a slowed down replay.

  90. digger50 says:

    I like:

    Maroon. Connor. Jessie/ Yammer
    Lucic. Nuge. Drai

    Cagullia. ? Kassian

    Khaira. Letestu. ?

    This looks like a strong line up with these folks at these spots.

    Strome, Jokinen still deserve a chance as it takes time to adjust. But right now they look good out of the line up.
    Pakarinen adds very little.
    Slepyshev we hope will bring some value. Remember he only scored four last year, it is a mistake to count on him.

    If you go:

    Lucic. Drai. Slepyshev
    Jokinen. Nuge. Strome

    You absolutely destroy Nuge for the season.

  91. russ99 says:

    I think part of the problem is we had too many easy chances off the rush against weaker teams in the preseason.

    Now that NHL opposition clogs the middle and constantly pressures the puck to take that away, it’s like, crap now we have to cycle.

  92. rickithebear says:

    Primary Roll of a Defence man is to make the goalies job the easiest Possible!

    if the forwards are not in position to run NZ trap

    The Dmen cannot Press the Blue.

    You Colapse to Perimeter of HD area

    if your Dpartner is not in proper position to defend .

    you colapse further into the HD Zone yeiulding inner perimeter of HD area.

    Which Allows for Defence of the Real High SH% Corsi x,y

    It also Creates a greater Surface area of the Corsi in Elevation.
    Allowing for Higher
    Block rate
    Miss rate
    Closed

    Since Russell yields the lowest % of Open Hole Corsi X,Y
    he has the best Def influence on goaltenders.

    For years here People Mocked collapsing D like Russell.

    Which is understandable. Cause you guys Do not Differntiate closed Corsi and Open Corsi.
    It is one of the 2 critical line in the sands.

    LD Corsi x,y
    ———————-
    HD Corsi X,Y

    Closed Corsi
    —————-
    Open Corsi

    Give me the Dman that collapses if no NZ trap was created by Forwards.
    1. Cause he will first try to limit the HD penetration
    2. Then colappse even further to increase the likelihood of 0% chance Corsi

    2 X 2 outcomes:

    I will take the Dman trying to Reduce HD penetration and then Colapsing Further in the HD area to icrease the chance of getting a higher rate of 0% corsi.

    I have smiled ear to ear for Top end ( high Closed shot %) Dmen like
    Fistric
    Bellimore
    Russell

  93. russ99 says:

    rickithebear,

    Love your stuff, you’re one of the few thinking differently about defense out there instead of assuming it doesn’t exist.

    Fact is no matter what hockey players do, the opposition is going to have the puck in your zone and is going to make shots. It’s what you do to reduce the chances of your goalie not saving those shots that makes a difference.

    I’m not decrying offense or assuming that holding the puck more than your opponents doesn’t make a difference, it does. Corsi has value. But we can’t wish away a vital part of the game just because one metric can predict goals, though I maintain there’s much more cause and effect involved than many think.

  94. ashley says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Lowetide,

    I don’t think we really disagree. I’m calling Leon’s attempt to turn that puck over an error of execution (don’t take a risk shorthanded), you are saying it was lollygagging. Unless McDavid was lollygagging on that shift, and that could be, my opinion is LD is the culprit for a bad decision. I don’t think it really matters what tag we put on it, although I framed the issue in a specific way, but the overall result was the same.

    It was McDavid who lollygagged on this play, but this is just one instance of many that I saw by all F’s over the last two games.

    It might be better described as “cheating for offence”though.

    When 29 went to press Ehlers you can see 97 loop around in anticipation of 29 getting the puck.

    When Ehlers comes up with the puck, there’s not urgency by 97 to get back to help cover off the 2-1.29.

    I’m not even saying 29 shouldn’t press in that spot, but if he does there is no way 97 can do what he did.

    The decision to press by 29 was marginal.The decision by 97 to loop towards the ozone was bad and his back check was worse.

    29 is the one who made the play to stop Ehlers at his own blue and 29 still beat 97 to their own blue.

    Not good.

    I still don’t think the defense should back in to their goalie, though.

    Agreed.

    I wrote this about that part:

    Now, they shouldn’t have let Ehlers get to the hash marks and that’s on them, but they couldn’t try to stop the play at the blue or close due to lack of help.

    Here’s a link to the goal.The slow mo replay after WPG celebrates the goal from the camera above Talbot’s netshows it well: https://www.nhl.com/video/ehlers-laser-wrist-shot/t-290848246/c-53334903

    Starts at 0:27

    I think you have analyzed this well. My only disagreement is that the Drai’s decision is not marginal It’s a bad one. He had the puck on his stick. Full possession and tried a cute fork in the road move to go in on a 2v1. That’s an insane decision shorthanded. Ehlers was wise to it. CMD was certainly party to the error. With that puck on his stick shorthanded, it needs to get dumped deep. That was not the time to try working some 1v1 magic.

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