White Line Fever

You’d think this day would produce a lull in Oilerville. I could write a ‘tracers’ article about some scandalous activity performed by Sam Pollock that ruined the competitive balance of the first dozen years of expansion. You could read it, think to yourself “boy, that guy sure can hold a grudge” and we could spend the day discussing all manner of things. Alas, these are the Edmonton Oilers and there’s always something going on.

MCLELLAN’S LINES

If the Oilers hit the ice today featuring Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the same line, I expect this blog will blow up. There’s a sense, three games in, that this team needs the big man in the middle to make things go. If that is the case, allow me to suggest lines and pairings that this blog would prefer.

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Anton Slepyshev
  • Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Zack Kassian
  • Drake Caggiula—Mark Letestu—Ryan Strome
  • Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
  • Yohann Auvitu—Kris Russell
  • Darnell Nurse—Matt Benning
  • Cam Talbot (Laurent Brossoit)

I left out Kailer Yamamoto, Jujhar Khaira, Iiro Pakarinen and Chris Kelly up front, Eric Gryba on the back end. Zero chance this is the lineup in practice today, I am very much looking forward to the lines and pairings this morning.

STEALING HOME

  • Glen Sather, fall 1983“Sammy Pollock used to say all jobs are open in Montreal but who was he kidding? Nobody was going to take Larry Robinson’s job or Guy Lafleur’s. In our camp I refuse to tell the players that. But I’d love it if somebody took a job away from a returning player. If that happened, that would make our team stronger.”

Raimo Summanen scored five points in two games, Pat Conacher hung around all year, but Sather didn’t have anyone who could take a job away from a veteran fall 1983. If you look at the Oilers roster as it stands here today, and identify what would be needed to make it hum right away, it becomes clear just how far from balance this team is right now. Adding to the worry is the great unknown that will be Andrej Sekera on his return. Will he be 100 percent? His injury has a history of lingering and having an impact that lasts one calendar year.

What the Oilers need badly is for Jesse Puljujarvi, Matt Benning and Anton Slepysev to emerge as substantial talents in feature roles. Life doesn’t work like that however, and we are back to the dilemma of summer: How can you find a way to put Leon Draisaitl at 1R and 2C? Answer: You can’t.

JESSE PULJUJARVI

The best answer I can find is a Jesse Puljujarvi recall. Puljujarvi, along with Anton Slepyshev on the 2line with Lucic and Leon, are the best available options (Caggiula is not a superior offensive player to either man, Yamamoto is more talented offensively but probably needs another year) at this time. I’ve suggested a Josh Leivo acquisition and still think there are players on the scrap heap who can help. Edmonton may want to go that route in the coming days. For now, I believe the big Finn, warts and all, should be recalled. Today.

TYLER BENSON

  • Steve Ewen, Vancouver Province: Giants general manager Glen Hanlon had told Sportsnet 650 on Sept. 22 that he expected Benson, the team captain currently rehabbing from off-season sports hernia surgery, would return to the squad during their upcoming six-game Eastern Conference road trip, which starts Friday with a visit to the Swift Current Broncos. On Monday, Hanlon directed questions regarding Benson to the Edmonton Oilers, who used a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft to nab the 6-foot, 190-pound forward. The Oilers signed Benson, an Edmonton native, to a three-year, entry-level deal last December. Source

This sounds like one of two things: Either Benson’s recovery is snail slow, or the Oilers are applying some pressure on the Giants to get their man traded somewhere. This is a vital season for Benson, so he’s going to have to play when ready. The Oilers liked Benson from the start, but it has to be a bitter pill to see Connor McDavid’s former linemate Alex DeBrincat doing so well in the NHL at this time. We wish the best for young Benson, while also acknowledging precious development time has already slipped away.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, a full boat of great guests from across the sports world. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Lines and pairings, JP and Kailer, is there an easy fix to the blue?
  • Sean Fleming, Canadian National (Soccer) staff coach. A massive day in World Cup qualifying, we’ll try to comprehend just what happened while Sean explains it.
  • Derek Taylor, TSN. The CFL season is finally starting to make sense but there’s another wild weekend straight ahead.
  • Keegan Matheson, mlb reporter. BoSox looking for a new manager, Nats-Cubs Game Four, Jays summer.

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

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141 Responses to "White Line Fever"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    I am very curious to see what the lines and pairings look like in practice today.

    Lots of verbal among the fan-base re: potentially shuffling the D-pairings. Do we think McLellan will do it after three games or will he hope for a good week of practice and improved play?

  2. 36 percent body fat says:

    So Debrincat looks good.

    So if the oilers fired all old school guys when Chia came in, and we dropped the hunt for the Lucic type as well as the Edmonton area and oil kings bias when drafting, instead of Bensen; we could have had Debrincat, Carlo and Barzal.

    But hey we got bigger players who wont play in the NHL for us and likely wont pass 100 games.

  3. LMHF#1 says:

    Don’t understand why they’d recall #98. He’s shown next to nothing this year.

    This guy’s available: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=130614

    I’d be going after a defenceman – but Chiarelli seems to see his group very differently than I do.

  4. LMHF#1 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I am very curious to see what the lines and pairings look like in practice today.

    Lots of verbal among the fan-base re: potentially shuffling the D-pairings.Do we think McLellan will do it after three games or will he hope for a good week of practice and improved play?

    You would hope he would see that Russell-Benning is fundamentally flawed…but he probably won’t.

  5. McSorley33 says:

    The irony of trying to find a RW to play with McDavid as a guy that shredded the OHL is off to a
    rather good start in Chicago.

    As mentioned by Bruce last night, people need to see the one time pass by Debrincat in the game against Montreal. Anismimov had no choice but to score.

    Unreal.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    I belive the newest verbal on Benson is that he won’t join the Giants until the tail end of the 6-game road trip or early November.

    I’m looking forward to him being 100% (presumably) and having a great season – maybe even still pushing for a spot on Team Canada in Buffalo.

    He is a legit top end talent.

    Injury history is vast and discouraging but he’s also a teenager still – lots and lots of time to become more “durable”.

    Lets not forget, at this time last year, we were wondering if Klefbom would ever be able to stay healthy *knock wood*.

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    With respect to Puljijarvi, the organization send him to the AHL because they determined he needed some more development time in the developmental league. He’s played a grant total of 1 game.

    I would suggest that we allow Jesse the privilege of actually developing a little bit in the proper league and not rush him to the NHL and play him in a material role relied on for scoring because he have a hole at the NHL level.

    If he’s in the AHL because he’s not quite ready for a top 6 role in the NHL then he should stay in the NHL notwithstanding the need for a RW in the Oiler top 6.

    He is too important of a prospect to now allow the opportunity to develop.

  8. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I belive the newest verbal on Benson is that he won’t join the Giants until the tail end of the 6-game road trip or early November.

    I’m looking forward to him being 100% (presumably) and having a great season – maybe even still pushing for a spot on Team Canada in Buffalo.

    He is a legit top end talent.

    Injury history is vast and discouraging but he’s also a teenager still – lots and lots of time to become more “durable”.

    Lets not forget, at this time last year, we were wondering if Klefbom would ever be able to stay healthy *knock wood*.

    Benson has lost a lot of time since draft day, his resume is somewhat similar to Marc Pouliot’s in this regard. Sometimes an injured player emerges whole on the other side but the lack of playing time for Benson is severe.

  9. McSorley33 says:

    2017 Oilers 5 x 5 Forward Goals – without McDavid Help:

    Game 1 – 0
    Game 2 – 0
    Game 3 – 1

  10. HiddenDarts says:

    No matter your thoughts on Russell, it’s pretty clear he’s a “complementary d-man”, which IMO means a d-man who helps, but is miles from the best defenseman on his pair.

    Hence, the Benning Predicament.

    The only place I see some success for him is 3rd pair. Is he better than Gryba? Yes! Is he gonna be able to handle 3rd pairing competition? Yes!

    Who will move the puck?

    *crickets*

    Sorry, how long do we have this Russell guy for?

  11. stush18 says:

    Klefbom-Russell
    Nurse-Larsson
    Auvitu-benning

    Klefbom is our best puckmover. Makes sense to put Russell with him

    Nurse-Russell and Russell-Larsson don’t seem to be as good as pairings.

  12. N64 says:

    The dreaded 1 for 3? Is a GM taking a F and 2D today to make room in Vegas for Theodore and the centre?

    Danny Webster @DannyWebster21
    Have just been told Shea Theodore is leaving Chicago. @shepardprice, who is at Wolves practice, says he was not there today.

    Can’t see 1 team taking 3 waiver eligibles. But something is afoot.

  13. JimmyV1965 says:

    I’m not quite sure how Russel is affecting Benning. I see Benning bobbling easy passes, making really bad decisions like the Horvat goal and playing like a young man with very little confidence. His issues started last year when he wasn’t playing with Russel. Move him to the third pair and hope he figures it out.

  14. leadfarmer says:

    Bringing Puljujarvi back because we are desperate for someone to put up points is a recipe for disaster. Let him develop at his own pace. If you can’t beat our middling collection of right wingers in preseason then you probably can’t beat them 1 game later.

    Many of us saw the big hole in RW during the summer. It’s on Chia that he didn’t find a solution

  15. stush18 says:

    With respect LT, I’m not sure how you can propose those lines. You tried to go right past unicorns into some quadrapod thing. Haha

    I wouldn’t put our only two right handed centres on a line. And demoting strome seems strange when’ he’s played decent.

    Maroon-mcdavid-strome
    Lucic-nuge-kassian
    Caguilla-Leon-slepy
    JJ-letestu-jokinen

    Imo those lines present unicorns and a defensively sauve fourth line, although they wouldn’t score much. They also wouldn’t play much either.

    Strome can take the right side faceoffs for mcdavid. Gives them each a strong side to focus on faceoffs.

    Lucic and kassian have looked very good together.

    I also like slepy and Leon together. Those two seem to play well, but it might just be my eyes.

    Thoughts?

  16. PerryK says:

    JimmyV1965:
    I’m not quite sure how Russel is affecting Benning. I see Benning bobbling easy passes, making really bad decisions like the Horvat goal and playing like a young man with very little confidence. His issues started last year when he wasn’t playing with Russel.Move him to the third pair and hope he figures it out.

    All of that being true (it is IMO), still requires Chia to obtain a 2RD! Or, are you thinking that Gryba can move to 2RD? Just kidding!

  17. Nuclear leak says:

    Yamamoto with what he’s shown in his two regular season performances.. he’s two years away.

  18. Brantford Boy says:

    stush18,

    You posted this yesterday and I can’t ignore the Leon $8.5M man on the third line… Nuge at $6M has many on this blog saying this is his last year at that salary, imagine Leon there. Simply swapping the 2nd/3rd centres at least makes it more palatable, plus you get the line ‘pairs’ back that have shown chemistry.

    Then personally, I would have Jokinen and Cags swapped as well… just my 2 cents…

  19. Yeti says:

    OriginalPouzar: Lets not forget, at this time last year, we were wondering if Klefbom would ever be able to stay healthy *knock wood*.

    How quickly you forget that Klefbom has already been sidelined this year after his left foot caught the flu from making out with Woodguy’s phone.

  20. pocession charge says:

    JimmyV1965:
    I’m not quite sure how Russel is affecting Benning. I see Benning bobbling easy passes, making really bad decisions like the Horvat goal and playing like a young man with very little confidence. His issues started last year when he wasn’t playing with Russel.Move him to the third pair and hope he figures it out.

    You’re not following the anti-Russell narrative. Remember that Benning isn’t playing very well because of Russell. If he was paired with any other player in the NHL, he’d be playing like an all-star right now. Let’s not analyze Benning’s play based on reality, okay?

  21. Yeti says:

    stush18: Klefbom-Russell
    Nurse-Larsson
    Auvitu-benning

    If Russell is headed back to the right, then I believe this is precisely the best way to do it with the current players.

  22. oscarmike says:

    I think people are getting way too excited about the Oilers loosing 2 games in a row, very silly. Was it last year that the Oilers won 7 in a row and then lost 7 in a row? Last year CHI was first in the west and then out in 4 staight games in the playoffs. Couple years ago the Ducks went 0-10 in their first 10 games of the season and still finished strong. We all knew that the Canucks where going to play good hockey since it’s was their opening night at home to start the season and the Jets where looking for their first win of the year. Oilers fans either experience extreme highs or extreme lows but they’re never in the middle.

  23. pocession charge says:

    PerryK: All of that being true (it is IMO), still requires Chia to obtain a 2RD!Or, are you thinking that Gryba can move to 2RD?Just kidding!

    Chiarelli took a huge risk by not addressing 2RD in the offseason. If they were adequately covered off, Benning could slide to the third pairing where he belongs. Or an occasional press box night, which wouldn’t hurt him. There is no way they can do that right now.

  24. DBO says:

    Maroon-McDavid-Puljujarvi
    Lucic-Draisatl-Slepeshev
    Jokinen-Nuge-Strome
    Cagguila-Letestu-Kassian
    Khaira-Pakarinen

    Klefbom-Larsson
    Russell-???
    Nurse-Benning
    Gryba

    That is as balanced with speed, two way and experience as i can see. Let McDavid (like Crosby) raise the game of the rookie and allow the other lines to get the more seasoned players. The big hole is 2RD until Sekera comes back. Depth is not a bad thing. We have mentioned him before, but I still like Green from Detroit. And James Neal at RW at deadline if Jesse is struggling, or sooner. That is a team that can compete for a cup.

    Now who at 2RD? UFA next year, two way ability, a vet (since they have no room with the kids in the AHL to have someone take a spot long term.. My issue with the Russell signing)

    Green
    Chara
    Franson
    Jack Johnson
    Emelin
    DeHaan
    Enstrom

    With Russell able to play RD, I would love DeHaan as best fit with potential for longer.

  25. pocession charge says:

    oscarmike,

    Expectations are high this year. Performance has not matched expectation so far, which is why the fans are feeling anxious. Once the power play and Talbot start to click, everything will be fine.

  26. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    oscarmike,

    – Great post LT!

    – I agree Oscar: After game 1, here were some of LT’s observations”

    ” Outstanding effort across the board.”

    “Klefbom is going to get a lot of attention this season, on merit. Larsson is less flashy, but very effective.”

    “Nurse-Gryba: A balanced pairing on the night”

    “. Russell is stronger left side and Benning looked like the freewheeling rookie of last year with the puck on his stick”

    “McDavid was brilliant, Talbot made some fantastic saves and the rest of the team played well. Strong on the puck, calm feet, patient outlet passing”

    – Bottom line: You win some you lose some…They are gonna win a lot, then playoffs

  27. Snowman says:

    Nuclear leak:
    Yamamoto with what he’s shown in his two regular season performances.. he’s two years away.

    You can tell that from 18 minutes over two games?

    Not saying you’re wrong but he’s really not had a chance to do anything. He played on the 4th line for at least half that time. He’s never going to be a bottom 6 player in the NHL. So playing him in the bottom 6 is just not productive.

    The Oilers are hoping he turns out to be a Ferrari but they’re using him to haul a load of lumber. I don’t get the usage so far. Its really odd. The guy is going to make the NHL in basically one role. Why not try him in that role for a few minutes?

  28. Professor Q says:

    The most important thing is winning in the playoffs.

    The players will be hungry to prove the now doubters wrong, and to prove their contracts, and even if that doesn’t result in them winning or being contenders in the scoring races, they’ll want to fight all that harder once they get in to that tournament at the end of the rainbow.

    And what an exciting few months that will be, hopefully!

  29. Professor Q says:

    Snowman: You can tell that from 18 minutes over two games?

    Not saying you’re wrong but he’s really not had a chance to do anything. He played on the 4th line for at least half that time. He’s never going to be a bottom 6 player in the NHL. So playing him in the bottom 6 is just not productive.

    The Oilers are hoping he turns out to be a Ferrari but they’re using him to haul a load of lumber. I don’t get the usage so far. Its really odd. The guy is going to make the NHL in basically one role. Why not try him in that role for a few minutes?

    I’d say let him go back to Spokane and rip it up for a year, with hopefully a lot of hardware to show for it, and come back next training camp hungry and desiring to be all that much better than DeBrincat, and a huge fit for McDavid.

  30. Snowman says:

    Professor Q: I’d say let him go back to Spokane and rip it up for a year, with hopefully a lot of hardware to show for it, and come back next training camp hungry and desiring to be all that much better than DeBrincat, and a huge fit for McDavid.

    Oh yeah I 100% agree. That’s what I think will ultimately happen. I just don’t understand the logic of having him up here if you’re going to put the kid in a role that he didn’t make the team in, can’t succeed in and with players who don’t play the same game as him.

  31. Silver Streak says:

    Yeti: How quickly you forget that Klefbom has already been sidelined this year after his left foot caught the flu from making out with Woodguy’s phone.

    Hilarious…..gotta be the reply of the year !!

  32. jfry says:

    Two losses and schizophrenic lt emerges! 😉

    Less than a week ago Drake had enough chemistry to be on the first line, now after not playing, his offense is shy and the 19 yo from the minors is the option?

    Take a deep breath lt, or your gonna melt down before they play again!!

  33. pocession charge says:

    Snowman: Oh yeah I 100% agree. That’s what I think will ultimately happen. I just don’t understand the logic of having him up here if you’re going to put the kid in a role that he didn’t make the team in, can’t succeed in and with players who don’t play the same game as him.

    I think he got three minutes with CMD — doesn’t that count? All joking aside, I think the GM has some egg on his face for improperly analysing JP’s development and not adequately replacing Jordan Eberle. Yamamoto will be good but he’s not ready for the NHL yet. Why is he still here?

  34. stush18 says:

    Brantford Boy:
    stush18,

    You posted this yesterday and I can’t ignore the Leon $8.5M man on the third line… Nuge at $6M has many on this blog saying this is his last year at that salary, imagine Leon there.Simply swapping the 2nd/3rd centres at least makes it more palatable, plus you get the line ‘pairs’ back that have shown chemistry.

    Then personally, I would have Jokinen and Cags swapped as well… just my 2 cents…

    I think the idea is you roll three lines for around 18 min a game. I wouldn’t say they have a third line, just three balanced lines that teams need to decide how to defend.

    If you focus on mcdavid (rightly) then Leon has lots of time to free wheel. And that nuge line looked good together.

    The fourth line is used mostly for pk. Leon still gets number one pp time.

    I’m thinking back to the third period of last game. The oilers came out rolling with four lines and sustained some massive pressure. Now if you push those talents onto three lines rather than four, I think you’ll see more goals.

    Also I’m just not a fan of jokinen. He’s prolly the slowest skater on the team. You can see his intelligence, but I don’t think he’s quick enough.

    Also I think Leon plays better when he’s moving his feet, and playing with slower players slows him down.

  35. OriginalPouzar says:

    I am very curious to see what the lines and pairings look like in practice today.

    Lots of verbal among the fan-base re: potentially shuffling the D-pairings. Do we think McLellan will do it after three games or will he hope for a good week of practice and improved play?

    stush18:
    Klefbom-Russell
    Nurse-Larsson
    Auvitu-benning

    Klefbom is our best puckmover. Makes sense to put Russell with him

    Nurse-Russell and Russell-Larsson don’t seem to be as good as pairings.

    Oh my goodness, I can’t think of anything worse than Russell on the right side of a material pairing.

    The only place where Russell could play right side is in a 3rd pairing role.

    I’m sorry but that is a recipe for absolute disaster.

  36. OriginalPouzar says:

    JimmyV1965:
    I’m not quite sure how Russel is affecting Benning. I see Benning bobbling easy passes, making really bad decisions like the Horvat goal and playing like a young man with very little confidence. His issues started last year when he wasn’t playing with Russel.Move him to the third pair and hope he figures it out.

    How do we move him to the third pair? There is absolutely noone to play 2RD and, no Kris Russell is definitely not the answer there.

    The answer is to pair him with someone better than Russell that can anchor the pair, Oscar Kelfbom.

  37. npanciroli says:

    Since we talking lines and it is my favourite thing to do.

    Maroon – McDavid – Strome/JP
    Lucic – Draisaitl – Slepyshev
    Jokinen – RNH – JP/Strome
    Cagguila/Khaira – Letestu – Kassian
    Khaira/Cagguila

    D is what is hard to figure out.

    Klefbom Russell
    Nurse Larsson
    Auvitu Benning
    Gryba

    I would maybe try something like that.

    Russell being a LHD is a real pain. Wish we got another RHD instead of him.

  38. OriginalPouzar says:

    Nuclear leak:
    Yamamoto with what he’s shown in his two regular season performances.. he’s two years away.

    Next year Kailer should be battling for a roster spot with the absolute thought that he very well could be in Bakersfield for all or a portion of the season.

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yeti: How quickly you forget that Klefbom has already been sidelined this year after his left foot caught the flu from making out with Woodguy’s phone.

    What I do not forget is that “someone watching practice” saw Klefbom take a shot off the foot and a wild extrapolation was made as to why he was not at practice for a grand total of one day.

  40. jtblack says:

    McSorley33,

    LT has been preaching this point all summer. What can the Oilers do when McD is in the bench. So far- Not Much.

    I think the GM would like to see Leon at 2C. But the coach won’t budge.

    I think Todd should play Leon at 2C and give it more than 2 periods. Thats our best chance at long term success IMO.

    PDO super low, so we knowthings will get better.

    If you look at the Oilers schedule, it is very tough until early January. Then there is a slate of AZ, VG, COL. I think as long as the season doesn’t get away from us via more major injuries or sustained losing streak; we will be OK post X Mas.

  41. OriginalPouzar says:

    pocession charge: You’re not following the anti-Russell narrative.Remember that Benning isn’t playing very well because of Russell.If he was paired with any other player in the NHL, he’d be playing like an all-star right now.Let’s not analyze Benning’s play based on reality, okay?

    That’s not what most are saying. What most are saying is that the pairing is simply not working, not necessarily because of Russell dragging down Benning but partially because Benning is struggling and likely requires an legit 2LD to anchor the pairing and Kris Russell isn’t the player to be anchoring at top 4 pairing.

  42. Snowman says:

    As an aside, Hemsky is on the 4th line in Montreal right now. Maybe we should swap out our 4th line RW for theirs.

    Strome for Hemsky.*

    *I don’t think Strome is a 4th liner. I do think Hemsky is better than Strome.

  43. DBO says:

    Snowman,

    Maybe we should trade one of our excess centres in Strome (an issue in Montreal) for a great two way player who is a 2 RD. I hear Petry is solid……………

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    Snowman:
    As an aside, Hemsky is on the 4th line in Montreal right now. Maybe we should swap out our 4th line RW for theirs.

    Strome for Hemsky.*

    *I don’t think Strome is a 4th liner. I do think Hemsky is better than Strome.

    Firstly, Ales Hemsky is one of my favorite Oilers of the modern era, however, are you saying that a 34 year old Ales Hemsky, coming off of major injury and unable to move out of the fourth line on an offensive strapped team and UFA after his current contract is more valuable to the Oilers than the 24 year old Ryan Strome who is an RFA after this season?

  45. npanciroli says:

    I actually thought Strome has been ok so far. Some issues with finishing but that should come if they are winning the possession battle.

  46. godot10 says:

    stush18:
    Klefbom-Russell
    Nurse-Larsson
    Auvitu-benning

    Klefbom is our best puckmover. Makes sense to put Russell with him

    Nurse-Russell and Russell-Larsson don’t seem to be as good as pairings.

    One has the same problem with Klefbom Russell and that one has with Russell Benning. Klefbom and Benning are forced because of Russell to play defense backing up surrendering the blue line easily, and spend all (okay…much more) of their time in their own end defending, which is not either’s stronger skill.

    Play Russell with Gryba. They are both good a defending in their own zone. Give them plenty of D-zone starts, and play to get the puck out of the zone.

    Play Klefbom with Benning and give them an offensive zone start push.

    Play Nurse with Larsson, and give them d-zone starts.

    Two pairs, Nurse and Larsson AND Russell and Gryba with d-zone starts, with Nurse and Larsson facing the stronger competetiion

    and Klefbom and Benning with o-zone starts.

  47. npanciroli says:

    godot10,

    I would like to see this. Don’t see the GM/Coach ever playing Russell below top 4 based on the contract he has, unfortunately.

  48. OriginalPouzar says:

    Leon and Drake are not at practice today.

    Hopefully just a maintenance day or an under the weather day for Leon – I don’t recall him not finishing the game on Sat night.

  49. OriginalPouzar says:

    npanciroli:
    godot10,

    I would like to see this. Don’t see the GM/Coach ever playing Russell below top 4 based on the contract he has, unfortunately.

    Contract should be meaningless in roster deployment.

    The coach is given 23 players for his roster than fit withing the cap compliance requirements. The coach needs to deploy those 23 players in the manner that he believes gives the team the best chance to win that night – without any regard as to their salary or cap hit.

    I believe the coach agrees with me on this given his deployment of Leon with Jokinen and Pakarinan for portions of the last game.

    I believe that the coach will give Russell a long leash prior to giving him 3rd pairing ES minutes but that has nothing to do with salary but solely to do with him liking and trusting Russell and, even if Russell is struggling, the coach will give him a long leash to find his game.

  50. godot10 says:

    npanciroli:
    godot10,

    I would like to see this. Don’t see the GM/Coach ever playing Russell below top 4 based on the contract he has, unfortunately.

    It is not below top 4. It is three pairing with no clear first, 2nd, or 3rd pair. It is a slightly stronger defensive pairing in Nurse/Larson, an offensive pairing in Klefbom/Nurse, and a slightly weaker defensive pairing in Russell/Gryba.

    It is a functionally constructed defense, not an ability constructed defense. It is constructing a defense to optimize what one has, not to fit an arbitrary best to worst ranking.

    Carlyle glued Montour to Lindholm last year. Pronger played with rookies many times in St. Louis to break them in.

  51. JimmyV1965 says:

    OriginalPouzar: How do we move him to the third pair?There is absolutely noone to play 2RD and, no Kris Russell is definitely not the answer there.

    The answer is to pair him with someone better than Russell that can anchor the pair, Oscar Kelfbom.

    My concern with Benning is all the unforced errors. He’s given up two breakaways in three games by bobbling the puck at the offensive blue line. I don’t think a better line mate fixes that. Chia needs to bring in a legit RD. I think Benning really needs to be on the third pair. There is no player on this team that worries me more then Benning.

  52. godot10 says:

    Yamamoto better be leaving with Spokane when the Chiefs come to Edmonton on October 22nd. Basically, after the Carolina game, he should join up with Spokane on their road trip to prairie CHL teams. Two more games. Better be ONLY two more games.

  53. Cassandra says:

    JimmyV1965:
    I’m not quite sure how Russel is affecting Benning. I see Benning bobbling easy passes, making really bad decisions like the Horvat goal and playing like a young man with very little confidence. His issues started last year when he wasn’t playing with Russel.Move him to the third pair and hope he figures it out.

    This is a good example of why the eye test fails. I see the exact opposite. I see Russell treating the puck like a hand grenade and having awful gap control.

    Whose eyes should we trust? Should we go to a third set of eyes? Should we vote?

  54. godot10 says:

    npanciroli:
    I actually thought Strome has been ok so far. Some issues with finishing but that should come if they are winning the possession battle.

    Strome hasn’t scored much for two full seasons. That probably isn’t a slump. It is more likely a demonstrated level of ability. There really isn’t anything that Strome is good at. He is “meh” at everything.

  55. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    From Reid Wilkins at practice:

    Klefbom-Larsson
    Nurse-Russell
    Auvitu-Gryba
    Benning

    Maroon-McDavid-Strome
    Lucic-RNH-Yamamoto
    Jokinen-Letestu-Kassian
    Pakarinen-Khaira-Slepyshev

    Draisaitl not on the ice. Caggiula still out.

    No Draisaitl at practice today.

  56. OriginalPouzar says:

    Maroon-McDavid-Strome
    Lucic-RNH-Yamamoto
    Jokinen-Letestu-Kassian
    Pakarinen-Khaira-Slepyshev
    Kelly

    Presumably, Drai does not replace strome at 1RW but at center on the 2nd or 3rd line.

    If that’s the case, I like these lines as I was hopeful that we’d see Strome at 1RW and Drai at center.

  57. stush18 says:

    Cassandra: This is a good example of why the eye test fails.I see the exact opposite.I see Russell treating the puck like a hand grenade and having awful gap control.

    Whose eyes should we trust?Should we go to a third set of eyes?Should we vote?

    Typically your eyes aren’t seeing the same as us, so I don’t think a third pair of eyes is necessary in this case.

  58. OriginalPouzar says:

    Klefbom-Larsson
    Nurse-Russell
    Auvitu-Gryba
    Benning

    Now, this, I don’t like at all.

    Benning does need to be taken out of the lineup – he either needs (a) to be on the third pairing or (b) to have a better partner on the 2nd pairing (i.e. Klefbom).

    Russell on the right side with Nurse is one of the worst possible pairings I could imagine – that is awful.

  59. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    OriginalPouzar: How do we move him to the third pair?There is absolutely noone to play 2RD and, no Kris Russell is definitely not the answer there.

    The answer is to pair him with someone better than Russell that can anchor the pair, Oscar Kelfbom.

    McLellan: “Hold my beer”

  60. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Nurse-Russell

    Not. Good.

  61. McSorley33 says:

    Gryba over Benning……

    I mean Benning has struggled no question but I think he would be okay on the 3rd pair.

    Please let Drai just be under the weather….

  62. Yeti says:

    OriginalPouzar: What I do not forget is that “someone watching practice” saw Klefbom take a shot off the foot and a wild extrapolation was made as to why he was not at practice for a grand total of one day.

    I know, the stress that rumour caused was crippling.

  63. Pouzar says:

    Stick to play by play Jack. That is horrendous.

    Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) · Twitter

    https://twitter.com/EdmontonJack

    Since Russell can play right side, wonder if EDM considers Larsson w/Benning to allow latter to settle in a bit and goes w/Klefbom-Russell..

  64. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Pouzar: Not. Good.

    I think McLellan’s plan is to play 77-6 for 30 minutes.

    He better.

  65. Snowman says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Just a joke OP. Just a joke.

    I do think Hemsky is a better hockey player than Strome though. Even at 34. Even coming off an injury.

    I don’t think that’s a trade they should/would make. Lowetide had Strome on the 4th line and so I thought it was funny.

    Less than half of what I say should be taken half as seriously as many people seem to take it.

  66. Yeti says:

    godot10: Strome hasn’t scored much for two full seasons.That probably isn’t a slump.It is more likely a demonstrated level of ability.There really isn’t anything that Strome is good at.He is “meh” at everything.

    Are you actually suggesting that he should be known as Dylan Stromeh?

  67. godot10 says:

    Klefbom was able to play well with Schultz with big minutes and an o-zone push. Benning with Klefbom would be a similar pairing, one a team with a deeper defense to target their situational deployment more effectively.

    Carlyle was willing to break-up Lindholm Manson when injuries meant he had to play Montour last year.

    The Oilers D situation right now, with Sekera injlured, means that it is misguided to keep Klefbom and Larsson together. They have to be split until Sekera is healthy, or another competent D is acquired in a trade.

  68. Cassandra says:

    stush18: Typically your eyes aren’t seeing the same as us, so I don’t think a third pair of eyes is necessary in this case.

    And yet this isn’t at all true. The composition of people who post here has radically changed in the past two years. LT commented on it just the other day.

    Confirmation bias is real and powerful. Outcome bias is real and powerful. And yet in this place, which used to be a forum to resist these things, there was the suggestion, with a great deal of support, of treating goals for and against as an important part of a single game story. While goals are surely important from a storytelling perspective, focusing on them is a dramatic step backward in our ability to see the game for what is happening.

    Interestingly, is that in these past two games, focusing on goals should have led to a discussion of Russell, and his failings, his +/- is worse, and made glaring errors on two of them) and yet instead it has led to blaming Benning for Russell’s mistakes.

    Benning might not be ready to be the best defender on a second pairing, but he was better than Russell last year, and he has been better than Russell this year. Both eyes and numbers say this is the case.

  69. godot10 says:

    godot10:
    Klefbom was able to play well with Schultz with big minutes and an o-zone push. Benning with Klefbom would be a similar pairing, one a team with a deeper defense to target their situational deployment more effectively.

    Carlyle was willing to break-up Lindholm Manson when injuries meant he had to play Montour last year.

    The Oilers D situation right now, with Sekera injlured, means that it is misguided to keep Klefbom and Larsson together.They have to be split until Sekera is healthy, or another competent D is acquired in a trade.

    LA broke up Muzzin Doughty when they had to play young guys last year.

  70. McSorley33 says:

    The Oilers D situation right now, with Sekera injlured, means that it is misguided to keep Klefbom and Larsson together. They have to be split until Sekera is healthy, or another competent D is acquired in a trade.
    ***************************************************************************
    I think I agree with this……

  71. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0: I think McLellan’s plan is to play 77-6 for 30 minutes.

    He better.

    I am solidly on the GODOT train of Nurse-Lars; Klef-Benning. Can’t hurt to try.
    They seem to be fixated on Russell being a Top 4.

  72. OriginalPouzar says:

    Coach says that Drai took a puck or stick near the eye last game and they are just waiting for the swelling to go down prior to him taking the ice.

    Sounds like he’ll be fine to play on Saturday.

  73. jtblack says:

    DBO,

    The whole “I wish we had ex oilers” card gets a bit tiresome. Every team in the League has traded multiple players. Just go team by team and cherry pick the good guys they let go or traded. You will get a clear picture that all teams are similiar aand many players get recycled throughout the League.

    At least if Jagr scores tonight, about 10 different team blogs can talk about IF they still had him.

  74. jtblack says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Drai took a pretty big hit. I wonder if it may be from that

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0: I think McLellan’s plan is to play 77-6 for 30 minutes.

    He better.

    He better.

    Both of those bottom two pairings are just awful.

    I can’t imagine winning a hockey game with those two pairings, I just can’t – the structure is that bad.

    McLellan clearly doesn’t see an issue with Russell on the right side and that’s an issue in itself.

  76. OriginalPouzar says:

    Snowman:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Just a joke OP. Just a joke.

    I do think Hemsky is a better hockey player than Strome though. Even at 34. Even coming off an injury.

    I don’t think that’s a trade they should/would make. Lowetide had Strome on the 4th line and so I thought it was funny.

    Less than half of what I say should be taken half as seriously as many people seem to take it.

    No worries, however, now that the new d-pairings have come out, and they are absolutely atrocious, there shall no more joking – its literally put me in a shittier mood and I’m simply not looking as forward to Saturday as I was an hour ago.

  77. russ99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I am very curious to see what the lines and pairings look like in practice today.

    Lots of verbal among the fan-base re: potentially shuffling the D-pairings.Do we think McLellan will do it after three games or will he hope for a good week of practice and improved play?

    Oh my goodness, I can’t think of anything worse than Russell on the right side of a material pairing.

    The only place where Russell could play right side is in a 3rd pairing role.

    I’m sorry but that is a recipe for absolute disaster.

    You guys are missing the forest for the trees.

    If we really play a game with Auvitu – Gryba as a pairing, we may need two goalies.

    Nurse – Russell may be decent, Nurse has been playing better this year and Russell can settle in and be the defender while Nurse moves the puck.

    LT: I’d buy your Sam Pollack book in a heartbeat.

  78. OriginalPouzar says:

    McSorley33:
    The Oilers D situation right now, with Sekera injlured, means that it is misguided to keep Klefbom and Larsson together. They have to be split until Sekera is healthy, or another competent D is acquired in a trade.
    ***************************************************************************
    I think I agree with this……

    Its looking that way but I’d rather give Russell/Benning more games to try and work on it that see Nurse/Russell plus Auvitu/Gryba.

    Gross!

  79. OriginalPouzar says:

    russ99: You guys are missing the forest for the trees.

    If we really play a game with Auvitu – Gryba as a pairing, we may need two goalies.

    LT: I’d buy your Sam Pollack book in a heartbeat.

    That pairing is worse than the Nurse/Russell.

    This can’t be happening.

  80. Pouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar: That pairing is worse than the Nurse/Russell.

    This can’t be happening.

    Until they realize Russell isn’t a top 4 (especially on the right side) we are doomed.

  81. mit167 says:

    I’d like to see the following pairs:

    Maroon CMD
    Lucic Drai
    RNH Strome
    Jokinen Letestu

    With the RW maybe going

    Cags or Yamamoto
    Slepy
    Kassian
    Pakirainen

    And until Sekera gets back

    Nurse Larsson
    Klefbom Benning
    Russell Gryba

  82. pocession charge says:

    OriginalPouzar: That’s not what most are saying.What most are saying is that the pairing is simply not working, not necessarily because of Russell dragging down Benning but partially because Benning is struggling and likely requires an legit 2LD to anchor the pairing and Kris Russell isn’t the player to be anchoring at top 4 pairing.

    Unfortunately there are several people who are blaming Russell for Benning’s mistakes. Talk about confirmation bias! We know Russell’s gap control is poor, that isn’t new news. But Russell’s poor gap control has nothing to do with Benning bobbling the puck on the offensive blue line. Also has nothing to do with wingers blowing around him like a pylon. Something is off with Benning right now and it is not Kris Russell. If Russell is so terrible, why were Sekera and Russell so effective in a top 4 role last year? If it was all Sekera, how can we explain Russell’s strong playoff performance when Sekera went down?

    Benning started last year like a house on fire. Then he got injured and his performance dropped off quite substantially. Then he picked it up during the playoffs and did well. His training camp performance this year was not good at all. His first game against Calgary was good. The next two games were brutal. He has been up and down (normal) regardless of teammate.

  83. Gollum says:

    I only remember Benning getting blown by once – by Horvat , who is no slug. Every D-man gets turnstiled once in a while.

    My confirmation bias is seeing Russell bad and both Jokinen and Strome as contributing nothing positive to the team – so far.

    Since the season is only 3 games old, I believe that both Jokinen and Strome may have a lot more to show us once they get their Oiler skates under them and that even a Benning/Russell combo may work if they get more than 3 games to work it out.

  84. Melvis says:

    Of what can be construed as the five major league sports – North American football, global soccer, basketball, baseball, and hockey – the latter is least well served by the tv camera.

    For the most part, we “see” less than a third of the playing surface at any given time… in a much faster game than the others within which a disproportionally small object zipping around within a limited frame of reference is the object of attention.

    Is it any wonder stay at homes disagree on the eye test?

    For my part, I’m taking in a lot more WHL games this winter. One can play the role of a scout for about 20-25 bucks unbound to a seat – thus walking around and actually taking a few notes. Ear plugs in, celli in the glove compartment..where it belongs.

    Good practice in the Swedish poster sense of the game.

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

    And here I thought yesterday’s ledge was worn down but this is another level of panic.

    First practice in a stretch that has them off for 4 days and you’d swear this was the lineup card handed to Bob right before puck-drop. Yeesh, for crying out loud the team isn’t even practicing on the main ice surface today!

    pocession charge,

    Thank you for this. The anti-Russell chants have been deafening and I’m several thousand km from Edmonton.

    Someone posted last night that the fancies have the Oilers in a decent light over the first three games, final scores not withstanding.

    As our host regularly says: “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.”

    I think we all need to chill out a tad here.

    Yes Rusell-Benning had some rough games. Last year in early December so did Larsson-Klefbom to the point that some of the most level headed folks around here were contemplating trading Mr. Abs.

    It’s early days guys/gals, they will have played 4 games in a span of 13 days until the schedule evens out next week. I don’t know about you but I personally hate that setup, nowhere near enough games for guys to settle in, get into a groove or even have enough ice time to forget about the bad results of a previous game.

    Small sample size will rule until the first road trip starts next week.

    Until then lets just all breath in and out, in and out

  86. pocession charge says:

    Gollum:
    I only remember Benning getting blown by once – by Horvat , who is no slug. Every D-man gets turnstiled once in a while.

    Also by Laleggia in the intersquad game. It was ugly.

  87. OriginalPouzar says:

    Apparently practice was quite intense today. Here is a tidbit from Gregor’s ON blog:

    There were many drills, from line rushes, to five-on-five and three-on-three battles, and all involved battling in close quarters. If a drill wasn’t completed to the coach’s satisfaction, he blew the whistle and voiced his displeasure. He wasn’t yelling, but his intensity was high. He pointed out errors and the practice was crisp and fast.

    After a few sequences of any drill, he would blow the whistle and players would take a fast lap. Players call this a “grinder” of a practice. It tests their legs and willingness to push through.

    The intensity was the highest I’ve seen in any practice this season. McLellan has been around long enough to know when he can push his players. They had a day off yesterday and they don’t play until Saturday, so today was a perfect time for a fast-paced, energetic practice.

    Early in practice, Connor McDavid went one-on-one against Oscar Klefbom and ended up crashing into the net. He was fine, but it illustrated the pace of practice. “I want to see that intensity in a game, I don’t want to see that in practice all the time. We shouldn’t need to do that stuff in practice. I want to see that (battle level) in a game,” said McLellan.

  88. misfit says:

    Pouzar: Until they realize Russell isn’t a top 4 (especially on the right side) we are doomed.

    Realizing it and being able to do something about it are two very different things.

    I mean, what is the alternative? Is Nurse any more capable of carrying a line than Russell? Is Gryba? Auvitu? This is also assuming we’re fine with Benning in that role already.

  89. JimmyV1965 says:

    Gollum,

    My concern with the Horvat play is that Benning was positioned perfectly to angle
    him off. Yet for some inexplicable reason he decided to turn around and skate forward. That’s when Horvat blew by him. If he just kept his positioning Horvat could not have possibly blown by him. Heck, McDavid couldn’t have got by him. It was a total brain fart that tells me he lacks confidence right now.

  90. pocession charge says:

    Pouzar: Until they realize Russell isn’t a top 4 (especially on the right side) we are doomed.

    Until the manager acquires the proper personnel for the appropriate role, there are going to be hiccups. He should have addressed the problem in the offseason but instead gambled that Benning would be ready for a top 4 role (he’s not), Gryba could play a regular top 6 role (he can’t), and unproven players like Anton Belov, er, Johan Auvitu would be a smart addition to the lineup (he isn’t).

  91. Pouzar says:

    misfit: Realizing it and being able to do something about it are two very different things.

    I mean, what is the alternative?Is Nurse any more capable of carrying a line than Russell?Is Gryba?Auvitu?This is also assuming we’re fine with Benning in that role already.

    I gave you the alternative. Nurse-Lars. In a small sample they have been real good. I know of one way small samples become large samples. Admittedly I do not recall the numbers for Klef-Benning. Perhaps WG can chime in.

  92. Gret99zky says:

    Woodguy v2.0:

    Draisaitl not on the ice.

    No Draisaitl at practice today.

    I hear he’s holding out for another million.

  93. Snowman says:

    Pouzar: .
    They seem to be fixated on Russell being a Top 4.

    Giving a guy 4×4 million and then playing him on the third pair isn’t a good look.

  94. Pouzar says:

    Snowman: Giving a guy 4×4 million and then playing him on the third pair isn’t a good look.

    Even worse on the 2nd pairing.

  95. digger50 says:

    I do not think it is the two losses that are stinging here.

    I think it is reality colliding with preseason optimism.

    Most knew deep down that the Oilers did not get better this summer. Too many depth signings, no real difference makers. Too many non NHLers.

    But still there is optimism that the club will get it right and all the pieces will fall into place. The first few games are telling us the pieces just may not fall into place. And counting on internal development…..all clubs count on players getting better. As Drai gets better, so does Mathews.

    Peter still has a solid team due to high end talent, but if you want to build a Cup team you have to try harder. This is far from saying incompetent, I am far away from that. Just saying optimism and hope only go so far and those things are up to us fans. GM should be covering bets, no stone unturned, no opportunity missed, give the team every chance possable. “Let’s see how things go” should not be a GM plan.

  96. Chachi says:

    Cassandra: And yet this isn’t at all true. The composition of people who post here has radically changed in the past two years. LT commented on it just the other day.

    It has changed because a good chunk of posters who used to post here have moved on either because they get paid to write about hockey elsewhere or they have moved to twitter where they can limit communication to only people with whom they agree about everything. I have been reading (not posting) here since the beginning and there are way more “numbers people” than “watch the game” people now compared to 2 years ago.

  97. Richard S.S. says:

    Oh my God, the peons are panicking again. The goaltending is good enough, it could be better but it’s good enough. The defense is good enough, it could be better but it’s good enough. McDavid line is good enough, it could be better but it’s good enough. The remaining three lines are not good enough, they’re almost nonexistent. This is where the Oiler’s biggest problems are, who plays with who. The talent is there, the desire needs to be there also. When they get going, then we can worry about the other stuff.

  98. Cassandra says:

    Chachi: It has changed because a good chunk of posters who used to post here have moved on either because they get paid to write about hockey elsewhere or they have moved to twitter where they can limit communication to only people with whom they agree about everything.I have been reading (not posting) here since the beginning and there are way more “numbers people” than “watch the game” people now compared to 2 years ago.

    There are no words for how much I disagree with this.

    Once upon a time the commentators of this site used to argue about the numbers. What they were, what they meant, which ones were the right ones, etc.

    Then the numbers discussion gained some credibility, and with credibility, was attacked. So the discussion shifted to the defense of the numbers.

    Now we are in stage 3. The seen em good, my opinion is as good as yours crowd have won. And no one discusses anything. Just one opinion after another.

  99. Chachi says:

    Cassandra: There are no words for how much I disagree with this.

    Once upon a time the commentators of this site used to argue about the numbers.What they were, what they meant, which ones were the right ones, etc.

    Then the numbers discussion gained some credibility, and with credibility, was attacked.So the discussion shifted to the defense of the numbers.

    Now we are in stage 3.The seen em good, my opinion is as good as yours crowd have won.And no one discusses anything.Just one opinion after another.

    That’s just your opinion. But seriously, I understand you are upset that everyone didn’t jump on to your Milan Lucic hate train. Also, it seems strange that you have such a wistfulness for the good ol’ days of a site you vowed to troll incessantly.

  100. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Anyone else think Yamamoto is just up with the big club to earn the reward of an NHL paycheck on the 15th? Maybe two pay checks if he hangs around to the end of the month?

  101. VOR says:

    Digger,

    I just want to say that Peter Chiarelli should do exactly nothing.

    All the metrics are screaming that the Oilers are an elite hockey team. They outplayed all their opponents to date, got average goaltending, well below average power play production, and average penalty kill performance. The Oilers record in powerplays and in game scores reflects that they have run into a string of hot goaltenders.

    Their PDO is well below average at .970. Otherwise at the offensive end they are playing brilliantly (top 3 in underlying metrics). They are better than league average on defence (14th) without Andrej Sekera in the lineup.

    Are players making mistakes and doing dumb things and getting caught loafing on the back check? Sure, and a coach has to try and correct those mental errors. However, we wouldn’t be here having this conversation if the Oilers were shooting league average at EVS. Focusing too much on the indivdual trees prevent us from seeing the beautiful lush green forest growing right in front of our eyes.

    No changes need to be made, the Oilers’ luck just needs to improve.

  102. McSorley33 says:

    Richard S.S.,

    The remaining three lines are not good enough, they’re almost nonexistent.
    ************************************************************************************
    Well, this is incredibly reassuring….thanks.

  103. Side says:

    Cassandra: There are no words for how much I disagree with this.

    Once upon a time the commentators of this site used to argue about the numbers.What they were, what they meant, which ones were the right ones, etc.

    Then the numbers discussion gained some credibility, and with credibility, was attacked.So the discussion shifted to the defense of the numbers.

    Now we are in stage 3.The seen em good, my opinion is as good as yours crowd have won.And no one discusses anything.Just one opinion after another.

    This is rich, coming from a guy who said this:

    “It’s the dreaded 1 for 3 deal without the 3
    I hate being right. I’ve disliked Chiarelli since the beginning and he’s only gotten worse.
    I make this vow. I will poison this board with hatred for Chiarelli for as long as he lives. I don’t care if the Oilers make the playoffs. It they do, they would have made it anyway. It they don’t, it is his fault.
    I don’t even care if they win the Stanley Cup. If they do, it is in spite of this move.
    Anyone who defends Chiarelli from here until the end of time will be trolled mercilessly. Begone traitors. Your attitude has aided and abetted the ruination.”

    You don’t look like someone who is having an intelligent discussion here. You look like a troll who attacks other posters opinions. Maybe you should take a look in the mirror if you’re looking for someone to blame for the site’s “lack of discussions”.

  104. John Chambers says:

    Cassandra,

    I dunno

    I think it’s also fair to say that although this community was at one time passionate about numbers, it seems the air has been taken out of the tires somewhat regarding obsessive statistical analysis.

    Plus minus is a flawed stat. Corsi is a flawed stat. “Events” in hockey are not like baseball at-bats and need to be assessed in context.

    The best statistical method IMO is Staples’ contributions to scoring chances for and against. It’s not perfect but it is a mechanism that marries numbers with the eye.

    We’re actually a much smarter community than 3 or 4 years ago. Then there was a curiosity and zeal over all the new available data, and most of it has been rendered and put to productive use.

  105. Cassandra says:

    John Chambers:
    Cassandra,

    I dunno

    I think it’s also fair to say that although this community was at one time passionate about numbers, it seems the air has been taken out of the tires somewhat regarding obsessive statistical analysis.

    Plus minus is a flawed stat. Corsi is a flawed stat. “Events” in hockey are not like baseball at-bats and need to be assessed in context.

    The best statistical method IMO is Staples’ contributions to scoring chances for and against. It’s not perfect but it is a mechanism that marries numbers with the eye.

    We’re actually a much smarter community than 3 or 4 years ago. Then there was a curiosity and zeal over all the new available data, and most of it has been rendered and put to productive use.

    This is exactly what I am talking about. Staples method has been beaten to death here many times, each time with the resounding conclusion that it is not simply flawed but actively misleading. It is a very good example of the abuse of statistics. And yet, here it is cited as “the best” method.

    This is not progress. This is not even having the same conversation over and over again. This is not a revisiting of past assumptions with new reasoning or evidence. We are not learning, we are forgetting.

  106. Lowetide says:

    John Chambers:
    Cassandra,

    I dunno

    I think it’s also fair to say that although this community was at one time passionate about numbers, it seems the air has been taken out of the tires somewhat regarding obsessive statistical analysis.

    Plus minus is a flawed stat. Corsi is a flawed stat. “Events” in hockey are not like baseball at-bats and need to be assessed in context.

    The best statistical method IMO is Staples’ contributions to scoring chances for and against. It’s not perfect but it is a mechanism that marries numbers with the eye.

    We’re actually a much smarter community than 3 or 4 years ago. Then there was a curiosity and zeal over all the new available data, and most of it has been rendered and put to productive use.

    I think there’s a lot of truth in what you say. I’ll still bring the advanced stats to each game, but the value I see in these numbers doesn’t appear to permeate the group who come here to read and interact. Quite the change from five years ago. Neither good nor bad, but certainly a change.

  107. digger50 says:

    VOR:
    Digger,

    I just want to say that Peter Chiarelli should do exactly nothing.

    All the metrics are screaming that the Oilers are an elite hockey team. They outplayed all their opponents to date, got average goaltending, well below average power play production, and average penalty kill performance. The Oilers record in powerplays and in game scores reflects that they have run into a string of hot goaltenders.

    Their PDO is well below average at .970. Otherwise at the offensive end they are playing brilliantly (top 3 in underlying metrics). They are better than league average on defence (14th) without Andrej Sekera in the lineup.

    Are players making mistakes and doing dumb things and getting caught loafing on the back check? Sure, and a coach has to try and correct those mental errors. However, we wouldn’t be here having this conversation if the Oilers were shooting league average at EVS. Focusing too much on the indivdual trees prevent us from seeing the beautiful lush green forest growing right in front of our eyes.

    No changes need to be made, the Oilers’ luck just needs to improve.

    Appreciate your comment, some good news in those numbers.

    And lord i hope he does not change anything right now. There would be a high probability he makes an awful trade at this point. If you do make a trade Peter please take your time, get it right.

    He has built a team that can make the play offs – so success.

    But you still could not convince me he could have, and should have , done more in the off season. And my major point being this slight readjustment in expectations is what has fans upset, more than simply two losses on the scoreboard.

  108. McDavidMyMuse says:

    Chachi,

    Oh Lowetide, oh Lowetide, oh how things have changed!
    This place is a haven, though sometimes deranged.
    I’ve lurked here for years, and now I must post
    to remind fellow patrons of our gracious host.
    As we now embark on this fresh season new,
    let’s give thanks to Al who bleeds copper and blue.
    So thank you, oh Lowetide, for presenting facts,
    for letting us comment, discuss and react.

    This board is a privilege so act with some class,
    avoid condescension and do not harass,
    let’s argue and wrestle and laugh at the sass,
    and next BOA let’s watch Kass beat up Glass 🙂

  109. The Concept JDî says:

    DBO: I hear Petry is solid…

    We can’t have a bunch of guys on the back end making $4M per season…

  110. OriginalPouzar says:

    Snowman: Giving a guy 4×4 million and then playing him on the third pair isn’t a good look.

    Salary/cap hit is a non-factor when determining deployment of the 23-man roster within any particular game. If the coach thinks Russell on the 3rd pairing gives the team the best chance to win the game then Russell plays on the third pairing.

  111. Chachi says:

    McDavidMyMuse,

    McDavidMyMuse:
    Chachi,

    Oh Lowetide, oh Lowetide, oh how things have changed!
    This place is a haven, though sometimes deranged.
    I’ve lurked here for years, and now I must post
    to remind fellow patrons of our gracious host.
    As we now embark on this fresh season new,
    let’s give thanks to Al who bleeds copper and blue.
    So thank you, oh Lowetide, for presenting facts,
    for letting us comment, discuss and react.

    This board is a privilege so act with some class,
    avoid condescension and do not harass,
    let’s argue and wrestle and laugh at the sass,
    and next BOA let’s watch Kass beat up Glass


    Now, if you come here and enjoy it give the donate button a hit,
    Otherwise you know you’re a real cheap piece of ….

  112. pocession charge says:

    Lowetide: I think there’s a lot of truth in what you say. I’ll still bring the advanced stats to each game, but the value I see in these numbers doesn’t appear to permeate the group who come here to read and interact. Quite the change from five years ago. Neither good nor bad, but certainly a change.

    I think it’s a great thing that people are questioning the validity of the numbers. If we blindly follow numbers that act as proxy for something else, analytical mistakes can easily be made. Same goes for the eye test. If a scout/poster says that a player is great or terrible based on a few viewings, it can lead to flawed conclusions. When chip tracking enters the equation, I think that people will be more inclined to take the stats at face value.

  113. pocession charge says:

    Chachi:
    McDavidMyMuse,


    Now, if you come here and enjoy itgive the donate button a hit,
    Otherwise you know you’re a real cheap piece of ….

    You’re a scholar and a poet!

  114. Lowetide says:

    pocession charge: I think it’s a great thing that people are questioning the validity of the numbers.If we blindly follow numbers that act as proxy for something else, analytical mistakes can easily be made.Same goes for the eye test.If a scout/poster says that a player is great or terrible based on a few viewings, it can lead to flawed conclusions.When chip tracking enters the equation, I think that people will be more inclined to take the stats at face value.

    Absolutely agree. I have high hopes for DFF as we track it through this season as well.

  115. John Chambers says:

    Lowetide: I think there’s a lot of truth in what you say. I’ll still bring the advanced stats to each game, but the value I see in these numbers doesn’t appear to permeate the group who come here to read and interact. Quite the change from five years ago. Neither good nor bad, but certainly a change.

    You sir should keep doing what you’re doing, in any way you damn well wish, because youre a legend. Thank you for enhancing the experience of being a fan of this team, when it was miserable and when it is joyful.

    Corsi is still worth examining. It provides a window, albeit one that demands scrutiny. Plus minus no different.

    I think where I truly value your stewardship LT is that emotionally we can’t get too bent out of shape when things ain’t going right, that we shouldn’t become overzealous when it fires on all cylinders, and that we will always be learning and digesting new things that should make us laugh at our former selves for being so foolish.

    And the prose. Such rich rich prose.

  116. pocession charge says:

    Cassandra: This is exactly what I am talking about.Staples methodhas been beaten to death here many times, each time with the resounding conclusionthat it is not simply flawed but actively misleading. It is a very good example of the abuse of statistics.And yet, here it is cited as “the best” method.

    This is not progress.This is not even having the same conversation over and over again. This is not a revisiting of past assumptions with new reasoning or evidence.We are not learning, we are forgetting.

    Is there really a better method than Staples is currently using? We definitely are aware of the flaws of his analysis (plus it is extremely time consuming to deduce contributions to scoring chances). However, there are notable flaws that exist with other, more popular fancy stats.

  117. russ99 says:

    pocession charge: I think it’s a great thing that people are questioning the validity of the numbers.If we blindly follow numbers that act as proxy for something else, analytical mistakes can easily be made.Same goes for the eye test.If a scout/poster says that a player is great or terrible based on a few viewings, it can lead to flawed conclusions.When chip tracking enters the equation, I think that people will be more inclined to take the stats at face value.

    I’ve been converted as a eye test only guy to seeing how numbers can help us see what they eye can’t. Mostly from this site. 🙂

    My issue is that for some of the more vocal analytics fans, all that work done 3-4 years ago is where they stop. Corsi For tells us a lot, especially when used on a team basis, but it doesn’t sum up everything about hockey. There is much more to be gleaned and more advancements to be made, especially once the NHL starts tracking the puck and players.

    I don’t completely agree with WoodMoney’s defensive evaluations (Fenwick flat out annoys me, and there are many other nascent shot quality and zone entry/exit defensive metrics who’s validity can be discussed) but it’s solid new work, and especially on the comp side, shines new light on something that was previously hidden. Props guys.

  118. John Chambers says:

    Cassandra: This is exactly what I am talking about.Staples methodhas been beaten to death here many times, each time with the resounding conclusionthat it is not simply flawed but actively misleading. It is a very good example of the abuse of statistics.And yet, here it is cited as “the best” method.

    This is not progress.This is not even having the same conversation over and over again. This is not a revisiting of past assumptions with new reasoning or evidence.We are not learning, we are forgetting.

    Who are you referring to exactly?

    I can’t really say I experience the same feeling. Thankfully there is a diversity of opinion on this site, but by and large I find people make reasonable points. If they don’t I kinda just stop reading their posts.

    It certainly doesn’t make sense to become agitated by people’s POV, no?

  119. pocession charge says:

    VOR:
    Digger,

    I just want to say that Peter Chiarelli should do exactly nothing.

    All the metrics are screaming that the Oilers are an elite hockey team. They outplayed all their opponents to date, got average goaltending, well below average power play production, and average penalty kill performance. The Oilers record in powerplays and in game scores reflects that they have run into a string of hot goaltenders.

    Their PDO is well below average at .970. Otherwise at the offensive end they are playing brilliantly (top 3 in underlying metrics). They are better than league average on defence (14th) without Andrej Sekera in the lineup.

    Are players making mistakes and doing dumb things and getting caught loafing on the back check? Sure, and a coach has to try and correct those mental errors. However, we wouldn’t be here having this conversation if the Oilers were shooting league average at EVS. Focusing too much on the indivdual trees prevent us from seeing the beautiful lush green forest growing right in front of our eyes.

    No changes need to be made, the Oilers’ luck just needs to improve.

    A solid post as always VOR. Not sure if the metrics scream elite team or an elite line backed by a decent team. I think it is what LT refers to when he says ‘balance’ — it just isn’t there at this time. Totally agree with you that the team is better than we have seen. Need the power play to get going and Talbot to be the .920 we know he can be.

  120. flea says:

    As I watched the Winnipeg game on Sunday, I realized that during the game, Quinn and Remenda talk very little about the actual game. There is literally no in game analysis. They are pulling up canned stuff from prior games that they’ve carefully prepared, a few feel good pieces and that is it. It’s really embarrassing for the Canadian hockey broadcasters that they haven’t come up with a better product in all these years.

    It made me shift to thinking about analytics, and what stats would be interesting to see during a game. It also made me think that some of the divide between the analytics community and hockey community is that the hockey guys didn’t come up with the analytics. Casual and dedicated fans built on each others work to create a new way to look at hockey. And I can’t help but think it’s in direct response to the low quality broadcasting that was happening.

    Here’s a few things I thought that I’d like to see. I’m a fairly casual fan but I enjoy the analytical work, it teaches me more about the game.

    1. Shift changes should be shown graphically somehow, show me who is on the ice. Show when changes are taking place
    2. They were ranting and raving about McDavid’s speed on that breakaway in the Calgary game (40km/h!) Hey it’s impressive, that little piece got a lot of attention, and their response is to re run it multiple times. How about you show me players speed and direction in every replay. A player tracer could be really cool to see where the player was on the ice up until a play/goal happened.
    3. Shot charts – they used to do this, but how neat would it be to see one overlaid on the actual ice surface, an augmented reality view.

    Those are just a couple ideas. I don’t think the MSM will adopt analytics until they invent their own analytics. But their broadcasts are total garbage, and they are all afraid to try things. Put a damn chip in each players sweater, get their heart rates, shot speeds, skating speed, location on ice and start telling me something interesting during the broadcast that actually adds to the game I’m watching!

  121. pocession charge says:

    russ99: I’ve been converted as a eye test only guy to seeing how numbers can help us see what they eye can’t. Mostly from this site.

    My issue is that for some of the more vocal analytics fans, all that work done 3-4 years ago is where they stop. Corsi For tells us a lot, especially when used on a team basis, but it doesn’t sum up everything about hockey. There is much more to be gleaned and more advancements to be made, especially once the NHL starts tracking the puck and players.

    I don’t completely agree with WoodMoney’s defensive evaluations (Fenwick flat out annoys me, and there are many other nascent shot quality and zone entry/exit defensive metrics who’s validity can be discussed) but it’s solid new work, and especially on the comp side, shines new light on something that was previously hidden. Props guys.

    Woodguy and GMoney are doing great work to advance the cause and there is huge value in it. But like you mentioned, it still doesn’t tell the whole picture. DFF is probably my stat of choice at the moment, though. Funny enough, I used to be an ‘only stats’ guy (and used to have huge fights with Gregor about stats vs. eye test — remember Yakupov for Clarkson?) but I’ve tried to balance stats vs visual because there is definitely value to the eye test.

  122. godot10 says:

    pocession charge: Woodguy and GMoney are doing great work to advance the cause and there is huge value in it.But like you mentioned, it still doesn’t tell the whole picture.DFF is probably my stat of choice at the moment, though.Funny enough, I used to be an ‘only stats’ guy (and used to have huge fights with Gregor about stats vs. eye test — remember Yakupov for Clarkson?) but I’ve tried to balance stats vs visual because there is definitely value to the eye test.

    With puck and player tracking, Woodguy and GMoney will be able to greatly improve their shot difficulty model. i.e. as the shot difficulty model improves, DFF as a stat will give better results.

  123. The Concept JDî says:

    All those MacT quotes, together in the same article, is like a gut-punch – 10 inches lowe.

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/craig-mactavish-in-his-own-words-on-the-edmonton-oilers-defence

  124. John Chambers says:

    The Concept JDî,

    Imagine if MacT had been able to sign Petry even to a 2-year “challenge”, we could’ve started the ’15-’16 season with a D that looked like:

    Sekera – Petry
    Klefbom – Schultz
    Nurse – Davidson

    Chiarelli probably doesn’t feel the urgency to trade for Reinhart as well.

  125. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    The Concept JDî:
    All those MacT quotes, together in the same article, is like a gut-punch – 10 inches lowe.

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/craig-mactavish-in-his-own-words-on-the-edmonton-oilers-defence

    – Great post LT! Really like the discussion thread today actually. Some great insights + thoughts

    – JDI: I was honestly going to read this article (as I was never a MacT fan and questioned him all the time), but once I read this first line, I couldn’t:

    “Looking back, a lot of MacTavish’s forward additions – Benoit Pouliot, David Perron, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks – worked out well for Edmonton.”

    – Not sure in what context this means, but “worked out well” must mean something different to Willis than it does to me…

  126. treevojo says:

    Cassandra,

    For a guy that views himself as the “Ser Gregor Clegane” of stats, you sure love to give your opinion.

  127. Doug McLachlan says:

    With respect to the D, I think we are all hoping that we can get Sekera back to see where the D really is.

    Until then it’s all bailing wire and duck tape.

    With that in mind, might I suggest a horrifying idea:

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/source-canadiens-trying-trade-defenceman-mark-streit/

    RHD, IIRC – though the article says LHD. His PuckIQ numbers with the Flyers were reasonably positive for middle to grittensitiy.

    http://www.puckiq.com/players/8468309

  128. dustrock says:

    Streit good on the PP too, no?

  129. The Concept JDî says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: worked out well

    As in, a deep hole with water in it – hopefully fresh water.

    As opposed to his defense moves, which was a not so deep hole, filled with shit.

  130. The Concept JDî says:

    dustrock:
    Streit good on the PP too, no?

    Not sure that he’s good on anything right now, other than maybe a chair near a beach with a drink in-hand.

    And I think his cap hit stays even if you bury him in Barkersfield, because of his age.

  131. CrazyCoach says:

    Hey LT,

    White Line Fever is one my fave Haggard songs, right up there with “Workin’ Man Blues”. I cut my musical teeth on “Merle Haggard and his Strangers-Live from Muskogee, Oklahoma”. That and JC’s LIfe From Folsom Prison, and Edhar Alvis Owens (you might know him as “Buck”) & The BUckaroos-Live from Carnegie Hall. Seminal albums of my youth and great times with my dad who tolerated my screechy vocals to “Tiger by The Tail”, knowing that one day I’d have a pretty good voice.

    Anyway, it’s pretty early to be pushing the panic button here, but as many have said before, there is a definite need at RW that was not addressed this summer. Chia gambled on Strome and Jussi, but so far they seem out of their element. I agree with you in pulling JP up for a game or two.

    Something has to happen. The teams looks tentative at best and downright scared the rest of the time.

    I hate these lonmg layoffs between games, but I know I can always count on coming here for the good word.

    Cheers!

  132. Chachi says:

    treevojo:
    Cassandra,

    For a guy that views himself as the “Ser Gregor Clegane” of stats, you sure love to give your opinion.

    Making a Mountain out of a molehill.

  133. The Concept JDî says:

    CrazyCoach: fave Haggard songs

    Mama Tried! Okie from Muskogee!


    Haggard: “Funny you mention that, Johnny.”

    Cash: “What?”

    Haggard: “San Quentin.”

    Cash: “Why’s that?”

    Haggard: “The first time I ever saw you perform, it was at San Quentin.”

    Cash: “I don’t remember you being in that show, Merle.”

    Haggard: “I was in the audience, Johnny.”

  134. Lowetide says:

    CrazyCoach:
    Hey LT,

    White Line Fever is one my fave Haggard songs, right up there with “Workin’ Man Blues”.I cut my musical teeth on “Merle Haggard and his Strangers-Live from Muskogee, Oklahoma”.That and JC’s LIfe From Folsom Prison, and Edhar Alvis Owens (you might know him as “Buck”) & The BUckaroos-Live from Carnegie Hall.Seminal albums of my youth and great times with my dad who tolerated my screechy vocals to “Tiger by The Tail”, knowing that one day I’d have a pretty good voice.

    Anyway, it’s pretty early to be pushing the panic button here, but as many have said before, there is a definite need at RW that was not addressed this summer.Chia gambled on Strome and Jussi, but so far they seem out of their element.I agree with you in pulling JP up for a game or two.

    Something has to happen.The teams looks tentative at best and downright scared the rest of the time.

    I hate these lonmg layoffs between games, but I know I can always count on coming here for the good word.

    Cheers!

    Me too! Buck Owens live at Carnegie Hall was a favorite.

  135. treevojo says:

    Chachi: Making a Mountain out of a molehill.

    Ha!

  136. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    The Concept JDî: As in, a deep hole with water in it – hopefully fresh water.

    As opposed to his defense moves, which was a not so deep hole, filled with shit.

    – This made me laugh: my 7 year old son is asking why I laughed!

    – Indeed , does he mean a well that is now flooded, like an old well that once gushed a lot of Oil, but now its flooded with water or something?

  137. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    The Concept JDî: Mama Tried! Okie from Muskogee!


    Haggard: “Funny you mention that, Johnny.”

    – If you don’t love it leave, let this song that I’m signing be a warning…

  138. OriginalPouzar says:

    Question: Can Streit be a solid 2RD?

    Answer: No!

    Analysis: Should not be acquired.

  139. CrazyCoach says:

    Lowetide,

    I remembered that 8-track long after out 8-track player bit the dust. I finally managed to hear it again after finding a copy of it on CD at Tower Records in Seattle in the summer of 97. I know it’s only an album, but it feels like a family heirloom to me seeing music was such a strong connection to my dad.

    I’m going to Vegas in a month for a cigar show, but this time I’m making a trip into Bakersfield to see Buck Owens Crystal Palace. It’s something my dad always wanted to see, so it just feels like the right thing to do. Sadly, the Condors are on the road at that time, but I finally get to see the house that Buck built.

    Cheers

  140. CrazyCoach says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – If you don’t love it leave, let this song that I’m signing be a warning…

    I can hear Roy Nichols plucking that Tele now.

  141. russ99 says:

    LOL, I was thinking about Motörhead, not Merle Haggard. 🙂

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