Rockin´ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu

For the Edmonton Oilers’ players, today is a very lonely place. The general manager is disappointed, the media brought out the hammer yesterday and from what we can tell influenza has come for its annual November visit. In the words of Jimmy Cox, nobody knows you when you’re down and out. In order to rise, a low point must be reached. Perhaps it was yesterday, fittingly in Dallas and against the Stars. There’s still time to turn north.

THE ATHLETIC

The special Lowetide offer is here. I want to thank so many of you for coming over and am especially pleased that the comments are increasing. Are you enjoying the experience? Let me know.

FLY BACK NORTH, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in November 2015: 3-6-1, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in November 2016: 3-6-1, goal differential -8
  • Oilers in November 2017: 4-5-1, goal differential -3

Despite yesterday’s loss, this edition of McLellan’s Oilers remains the most successful November crew. Yesterday’s loss left the fan base miserable but I think the team is better than they’ve shown. Once the flu bug (remember McDavid and Klefbom missed the skate Friday morning) is complete, Edmonton should be more competitive. That’s not the same as saying they are a complete team (they are not) but there should be wins on the way even with no roster changes.

AFTER 20, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 7-12-1, goal differential -8
  • Oilers 16-17: 11-8-1, goal differential +7
  • Oilers 17-18: 7-11-2, goal differential -13

Last year’s Oilers team is the outlier here, this year’s model looks like 2015-16 all over again. This is us. That 2015-16 team won 31 games, surely this crew does far better than the team that lost rookie McDavid for much of the season.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN NOVEMBER

  • At home to: Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Detroit (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
  • On the road to: NYI, New Jersey, NYR, Washington (Expected: 1-2-1) (Actual: 2-1-1)
  • At home to: Vegas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual: 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Arizona, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-7-2, 16 points in 16 games 
  • Current results: 4-5-1, nine points in 10 games

Edmonton needs six points from this trip, that hasn’t changed. They are not a confident bunch and Cam Talbot doesn’t look like he’s close to stealing a game in the next while. The season remains a frustrating series of stops and starts, no relief in sight.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Larsson went 17-6 and 2-1 in HDSC’s when they were on the ice together. Went 8-6 with Strome line and 6-2 with McDavid, 4-0 with Letestu. Went 6-3 against Benn-Janmark-Radulov.
  • Klefbom-Benning went 11-4 and 2-1 in HDSC’s, but 0-2 in GF. Damn. Went 7-1 against Shore-Seguin-Ritchie, We know Klefbom missed practice Friday morning (reportedly flu). Benning looked out of sync, too.
  • Russell-Gryba went 11-8 including 6-3 with the Nuge line and 7-6 against Benn-Janmark-Radulov. I think Russell may also have the flu, the sights on his passes were poor and he was a house by the side of the road on many sorties.
  • Cam Talbot did not have a strong game beginning to end. I believe Talbot is a good goalie, he’s in a slump along with his teammates. Do you bet on him to recover? I do.
  • Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Khaira-Letestu-Kassian had good possession numbers (8-2) and were 3-1 in high danger scoring chances. Khaira is coming on now, Kassian got another breakaway. I’m a little worried about Letestu, appears a step slow currently (might have the flu, too).
  • Maroon-McDavid-Caggiula had a high event afternoon, McDavid posting three points and Caggiula firing two goals in the game. Went 4-7 as a line, 1-4 HDSC and 1-3 GF. That’s terrible. McDavid’s last two games (with Maroon-Leon and then Maroon-Caggiula) tell me he’s with the flu. My takeaway from the last two games is 97 is unwell but gutting it out, your mileage may vary. I hope coach McLellan gives it another shot.
  • Cammalleri-Strome-Puljujarvi went 11-5 together but 0-2 in HDSC’s. It was a nothing rhymed afternoon.
  • Lucic-Nuge-Draisaitl were my pick for most disappointing line. Went 8-3 together but 2-3 in HDSC’s and didn’t impact the game as hoped. Line was not the defensive Choatica of the McDavid line but neither did they create much at all. I understand the reasons why McLellan ran this line yesterday, but hope we see Leon on another line in the coming week.

It’s possible. I don’t believe the Oilers will be in the lottery at the end of this season but do believe it’s reasonable to talk about this group as a non-playoff crew. I’ll be writing a piece at The Athletic today on the subject (should be up later today or first thing tomorrow) and how things got this way. I won’t be talking draft until January.

LE MONTREAL

Based on Nick Kypreos verbal from last night, the Habs might be poised to complete the flushing of a pretty damn good hockey team that began with the  P.K. Subban trade. Among those who could be available are Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Carey Price and Shea Weber. I think both forwards are interesting.

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202 Responses to "Rockin´ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu"

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  1. godot10 says:

    OmJo:
    PunjabiOil,

    The thing about Kassian is he’s not put in a position to produce offensively 5v5, playing with Letestu and whoever else on the 4th line for 10 minutes a game. He gets no PP time and very few looks in the top 6. Where is the offense supposed to come from?

    I think he’s a better offensive player than he’s shown. He’s fast, has decent hands, and plays physical. To be honest I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Maroon at the trade deadline and having Kassian replace him on McDavids wing and the 2PP for the rest of the season, if we really are out of the hunt by then.

    Pitlick produced in Kassian’s spot last year with Letestu and Lander. If you are earning nearly $2 million on the 4th line, you had better be a 4th line river pusher. And Kassian isn’t pushing the river. He is significantly underperforming his contract.

    Kassian was given one year too much in duration, and about $500K too much. Security has not been good for his effort or production this year. The bad penalties are returning.

  2. godot10 says:

    who: The funny thing about Kassian is that, despite all the struggles and turmoil at the right wing position, he has never been given a shot with a skill center for any period of time.
    They have literally auditioned every other warm body on the roster, yet Kassian remains stapled to Letestu and the fourth line.
    Did Chia and Tmac not discuss this before they gave him the new contract?

    Kassian got an extended period at the start of last season with Lucic and Nugent-Hopkins. He produced eff all.

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