The absence of alternatives clears the mind. Leon Draisaitl is injured and will not play tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators. That’s a kick in pants for the Oilers and represents another obstacle for the team in early days 2017-18. These are challenging times, and call for toughness of spirit and acts of bravery. A little verbal inspiration may also help. The British are fantastic at the verbal, “Stiff upper lip!” and “Tally ho and all that rot!” along with “pip pip” and the collected radio works of Winston Churchill (bugger brought in the ratings big time). The music back then (Churchill) had a ‘can do’ spirit that got toes tapping and work done in double time, as reflected by the song that serves as inspiration for this post’s title. My God, Harry James, you madman!
PROJECTED ROSTER TOMORROW NIGHT
- Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Kailer Yamamoto
- Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Zack Kassian
- Jussi Jokinen—Ryan Strome—Anton Slepyshev
- Jujhar Khaira—Mark Letestu—Iiro Pakarinen
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Darnell Nurse—Kris Russell
- Yohann Auvitu—Eric Gryba
- Matt Benning
- Cam Talbot (Laurent Brossoit)
Life without Leon isn’t going to be as much fun, so hopefully we see a surge in performance from the men who have NHL experience. Unfair to expect a young player to step up (although it is welcome), but I think expecting more from the veterans (Maroon, Lucic, Nuge, Kassian, Jokinen, Strome, Letestu) up front is reasonable. Connor McDavid is on his own planet and we can assume he’ll bring the goods (the Senators will focus on him for sure but 97 will have last change and the RW’s will be rotating until chemistry is found).
It’s damned risky asking Yamamoto to carry the load, so Todd McLellan may have to check down. To WHO? Well, Mark Letestu, at 5×5 this season, has 15.38 shots per 60. If Edmonton has to run three lines during the game—and my goodness it’s possible—perhaps Letestu could be the man who slides onto the line in Yamamoto’s spot. That said, Yamamoto’s 5×5/60 shots so far this year is 13.64 and that’s damned good.
WHAT ABOUT SCORING CHANCES?
NaturalStatTrick has a stat called “5×5 Individual High-Danger Scoring Chances per 60” I used a year ago for a time, thought we’d try it again this season (all year if you like, we’ll also draw in some Puck IQ stuff as it comes available).
- Anton Slepyshev 11.03
- Mark Letestu 7.69
- Connor McDavid 7.49
- Leon Draisaitl 6.74
- Drake Caggiula 6.29
- Iiro Pakarinen 5.56
- Patrick Maroon 5.35
- Zack Kassian 4.8
- Kailer Yamamoto 3.4
- RNH 3.08
- Milan Lucic 3.00
- Ryan Strome 1.82
This is going to be interesting. If you pluck out the RW’s (orange) in tomorrow night’s game, perhaps Anton Slepyshev is the correct answer. If you look at other options, Letestu and the two injured forwards come into view. It’s a mess. Edmonton plays tomorrow, then Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. I’m fascinated to see what Todd McLellan plans on trying, and interested in seeing how patient Peter Chiarelli will be if the challenge becomes longer term (Draisaitl’s malady).