Back when I was a kid, stopping for gas was a big deal. A man would come to the driver’s side window, ask my Dad how much gas he wanted (might be “a dollar gas” to “fill ‘er up!” depending on the day), if he wanted the oil checked and windows washed. Meanwhile, my brother and I would hit the washroom (“go now, we’re not stopping!”) and then we’d race out to see if we could get a Coke or Mountain Dew. Not always, but sometimes we’d find a hamburger or fish n’ chips joint nearby, but that was a rare day. The whole thing probably took 10 minutes, but the break did everyone a lot of good and the general mood in the car would be more positive. In the 1960’s, you did a lot of living in the family car, and that’s a fact.
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- New Lowetide: On Cam Connor, Jujhar Khaira, Ryan Strome and Anton Slepyshev
- Lowetide: Jones, Bear and Mantha
- Lowetide: Year-end taking stock
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid: The Athletic’s Person of the Year!
LONG DECEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- December 2015: 7-3-0, goal differential -1 (14 points)
- December 2016: 5-2-3, goal differential +1 (13 points)
- December 2017: 7-3-0, goal differential +11 (14 points)
G11 December 2015 was a 2-1 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks (Jannik Hansen goal) and last year it was a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. This Oilers team has a chance to post a stronger December than the previous two McLellan seasons, but have to keep the train rolling. I spoke to Jason Strudwick last week, he told me these games right after Christmas are damned tough because your focus has been away from hockey. I bet it is, this will be a big test for Edmonton.
AFTER 37, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 15-18-3, goal differential -18 (33 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 18-12-6, goal differential +8 (42 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 17-17-2, goal differential -4 (36 points)
G37 in 2015 saw Edmonton lose 5-3 to the Calgary Flames (Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano). Last season? A 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings (Eric Gryba the winner). This game is important, as the Oilers can keep pace with other teams and maybe gain some ground. Most important, the club could possibly pass another team before January 1, 2018.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 1-0-0)
- At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Toronto, Columbus (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 2-1-0)
- At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 3-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Chicago, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-2, 12 points in 13 games
- Current results: 7-3-0, 14 points in 10 games
The final three games of this month are very important. Just like those gas station stops in the 1960’s, a productive stop can lead to a good run for the rest of the way, contributing to success. We’ll know if it was a “fill ‘er up!” or “dollar gas!” stop on New Year’s Day. This team can really help itself in the coming days. Big time. Was it a Coca-Cola holiday? Mountain Dew? Or was it Fresca? Or Tab?
It is my belief Johnny Bower is talking Leafs 1960’s with my Dad and Father-in-law this morning. If there’s one thing you can be sure of today, it’s that everyone who lived in Canada during the 1960’s was impacted in one way or another by the news of Bower’s passing. Bower and the Leafs were the only NHL team in English Canada, won pretty much every year Montreal lost, and Bower was a favorite with both genders and all ages.
My Dad was born in Radisson, Saskatchewan in 1912. Johnny Bower was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1925. Wes (father-in-law) was born in Wolseley, Saskatchewan in 1929. I knew two of them very well, to the point where I feel like I knew the other guy, too. They all thought Gordie Howe was the best player ever, two of them talked about the Richardson curling team to the point where I could identify Ernie from Sam; about baseball (Dimaggio and Feller) and about the War. I think my Dad was unique in that his memories of the Depression were stronger, but it hit me upon hearing of the passing of Mr. Bower just how much of our history, and the first hand knowledge of it, is passing in real time. I’m blessed to have heard many of those stories and to have lived through some of them myself.
Those boys traveled a long way from their homes and they changed a world in doing it. Johnny Bower’s passing was inevitable, but it’s a sad thing all the same. I really miss those guys. RIP, Mr. Bower.
#WJC: LW Brady Tkachuk (Ranked No. 8) & LHD Quinn Hughes (Ranked No. 10) combine to set up RW Kailer Yamamoto (EDM 1st/2017), giving Team USA a 4-0 lead. I have a feeling Hughes missed the net on purpose — he and Tkachuk showed similar chemistry last year with the NTDP. pic.twitter.com/h5AlgGMSUh
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 27, 2017
Kailer Yamamoto had some nice chances and scored the fourth goal last night for Team USA at the World Juniors. I’ve been asked a few times about Yamamoto’s struggles during his WHL games this season. My own opinion is that Yamamoto should rebound in Spokane and show well at the WJ’s. The young man already showed us some interesting things during his NHL time. I’ve read some pretty incredible statements about his future in the comments section and would admonish those who are making a negative call on a young career. We don’t know what we don’t know, and when talking about someone who is 19, that’s one whole helluva lot.
OILERS FORWARDS, HIGH DANGER SCORING CHANCES, 2017-18
This is every Oilers forward currently in the organization who has played 100 or more minutes 5×5, with their NHL rank at 5×5 high-danger scoring chances and total. As you can see, Kailer Yamamoto did pretty well in the metric during his nine games with the Oilers. Will he do that again next year? Don’t know, but suspect he’ll get a chance to show us. I published this list (via NaturalStatTrick) because it’s very interesting across the board. Check out the names inside the top 100. I wouldn’t have guessed those names.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy Wednesday as we get back on the highway, starting at 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Oilers four in a row, McDavid worries and Letang?
- Josh Eberley, HOOP mag. We’ll chat 76ers, Raptors and Lebron not getting the call.
- Jon Abbott, TSN1040. WJ’s play-by-play man gives us the latest.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!