Hotel California

They should never have let Charlie Huddy go. The year they did it, Craig MacTavish stood in front of a microphone and told us he’d been too long at the fair. I was a little upset about his resignation, because MacT was a good teacher for fans and a very funny man. In terms of entertainment, MacT was one of the best coaches in the history of the game, and he could coach a team at even strength just like ringing a bell.

I heard a rumor (that should be Edmonton’s theme song) right away they were going to keep Charlie Huddy from the staff and let everyone else go. Important, because Huddy was bringing along the blue (taught Laddy Smid the backdoor play, the single most difficult chore in the history of man) and fun veterans like Lubomir Visnovsky, Sheldon Souray, Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov. Huddy had applied an extra coat of tinfoil on Grebeshkov and that group was coming along.

A good defensive group is a Godsend for an NHL team and it takes time to move a mountain. Huddy was (is!) good at getting the best out of his defense and the Oilers benefited from his expertise for the first eight seasons of this century.

I don’t know Jack Diddly about Jim Johnson but do know these defensive chemistry sets take a long time to develop and year two is better than year one and on it goes. Fans want everyone fired and I get that, but I’ll tell you Charlie Huddy helped and he seemed to have a better group every year (except after they traded Pronger, no man could overcome that). Fire the mall if you must, but relationships build and starting at Mile One has its own challenges across the board.

THE ATHLETIC!

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 RED RUM, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • January 2016: 2-2-0, goal differential -1 (4 points)
  • January 2017: 2-2-0, goal differential -2 (4 points)
  • January 2018: 1-3-0, goal differential -12 (2 points)

Goodness this is a difficult post-Christmas run. The Oilers aren’t close, as reflected in the goal differential we’re seeing in January. There are only six more games this month, I may have to start referencing the Donner party again.

 AFTER 43, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 17-23-3, goal differential -25 (37 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 21-15-7, goal differential +6 (49 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 18-22-3, goal differential -23 (39 points)
The 2015-16 Oilers finished with 70 points, can this team beat that total? It never occurred to me that question would have to be asked. What an astonishing season, not because it’s bad, but because it’s so bad.

 WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER

  • At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, Arizona, Vegas (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-2-0)
  • At home to: Vancouver, Buffalo, Calgary (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 4-4-2, 10 points in 10 games
  • Current results: 1-3-0, two points in four games

We’re off the grid now, this team might lose all three games before the break. There are no breakout passes, there is no coverage, scoring chances occur mainly via brilliant individual efforts and they are rare indeed.

LAST NIGHT

Connor McDavid was brilliant, Darnell Nurse was high event, I’d bring back Mike Cammalleri next season over some of the younger wingers, Yohann Auvitu is a pretty interesting player and this team is just waiting to lose right now.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Klefbom-Benning went 11-14 in 13:01 together, 0-1 in both GF and HDSC’s. I think both men are playing better than they have in recent weeks, seem to be recovering and heading in a better direction. We may not see the six true blue healthy together this season. Went 11-4 against Bouma-Panik-Wingels, 1-7 in 4:40 against Hartman-Schmaltz-Kane.
  • Nurse-Russell were 13-21 in 15:34, a trying and high event afternoon. Were 1-2 in GF, 2-6 in HDSC’s. Both men played a high risk game, both men need to have calm feet in order to be successful. Nurse has struggled since Christmas, might be time to move him down to the third pairing for a couple of weeks. Paring were 8-19 in 11:21 against the Kane line, that’s the heart of the order. Safe to say the Swedish pairing needs to reform and take on these giants.
  • Davidson-Larsson were 4-12 in 13:00, going 0-1 GF and 1-2 HDSC’s. Oilers seem to be running two shutdown blue on the same pairing quite a bit lately, I would prefer the Swedes together and Nurse with Benning. That leaves Davidson, Sekera and Russell as the other pairing. Were 4-6 in 5:22 against the Toews line, 0-1 against Kane.
  • I’d suggest Quenneville was fine with McLellan running Nurse-Russell against the Kane line and so both men basically hard matched. That’s the only way I can see arriving at Kane’s icetime breaking 11:21 Nurse-Russell, 4:40 Klefbom-Benning and 2:55 Davidson-Larsson. I’d run Klefbom-Larsson starting now.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 25 of 29, .862.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Khaira-Strome-Cammalleri went 11-3, 1-2 in GF and 0-1 in HDSC’s. My opinion is that Cammalleri looked good, while the other two gents were shy without the puck on goals against. In the comments section there was some disagreement about Strome’s guilt, so I will reiterate my opinion on Strome’s role in the GA may not be universal. Line did well in possession and did not do well in execution.
  • Auvitu-Letestu-Kassian was a nifty little line, Auvitu adds a “suicide bomber” element to the trio and gets Letestu out of the house. Went 7-7, 0-1 GF and 1-0 HDSC’s.
  • Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl were 16-20 in 15:31, 0-0 GF and 4-2 HDSC’s. The fact this group didn’t win the possession battle in what should be an important game tells you the goose is cooked. Went 13-14 against the Toews line. Leon’s in a little danger here imo, despite having a good season to my eye. One of my theories about the Hall exit pertains to performance after the season was lost, and LD’s contract makes him a possible early trade option (saving Nuge and Oscar). The young man is going to have to perform well in nothing road games through Easter.
  • Lucic-Nuge-Puljujarvi faced Everest. Went 9-20, 0-1  GF and 0-5 HDSC’s. Of course they faced the Kane line (11:58) and went 9-20 against them, and you cannot
  • Kane played 10:55 against Nuge (22-6); 4:40 against Connor McDavid (4-3), 2:40 against Strome (0-1) and 1:09 against Letestu (0-0) at 5×5. The Nuge line was sacrificed in the name of McDavid’s line providing offense, offense that never came. That is confirmation that the season is dead. Hallelujah, amen.

I expect we’ll see Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe and Keith Gretzky in more prominent roles, Chiarelli (who has already muted himself/been muted) probably takes on some kind of advisory role in an organization that most closely resembles the Hotel California.

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341 Responses to "Hotel California"

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  1. Ryan says:

    Mike Wazowski:
    Ryan,

    What would the defence have looked like?Larsson was a much needed addition to the team. A price had to be paid to get him.

    With those top two lines, I am not sure you couldn’t run run Nurse and Oesterle as your top pairing and win the Corsi and GF’s.

    Hall during his tenure could carry a top line to a positive GF with brutal blue line behind him.

    Imagine what he’d do on the second line lol?

  2. knighttown says:

    Side:

    The DoD teams wouldn’t have been a Stanley Cup team just because McDavid would have been added.

    Of course not and no one is saying this. The decade of darkness left a lot of gifts behind. Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Klef and Nurse and the Oilers had found Talbot. In that McDavid #1 season he got hurt and when he came back they completely stumbled down the stretch. I remember a huge stinker in game, maybe, 70 or 71 vs the Flames. 5 or 6 nothing. This was in the middle of a 6 losses in 8 games finish to the season. Management came out and lambasted the team and roster and at that point the writing was on the wall for the summer. Changes were coming. Management had seen enough and the progress wasn’t there.

    Had they simply played .500 hockey after McDavid’s return I truly believe the tone would have been more optimistic. We improved in McDavid season 1 and when we get him back healthy with a few minor tweaks we’ll see what we have. Instead they traded Hall and signed Lucic. It could be argued that this losing streak combined with Klefbom and McDavid’s injury was a bit of a blessing because a team with that much talent shouldn’t be drafting in the top 4. Remember, we nearly got Matthews or Laine.

    Sure there were some on the far right that this was the end of the franchise and others that loved the move because Hall was a cancer and Lucic and Larsson would bring toughness and leadership but a few of us sat in the center-right. I just felt sadness because I though the decision to move away from Hall lowered the ceiling while acknowledging that (I thought) it raised the floor.

    They were thiiiiis (fingers 2 inches apart) close to overwhelming the league with talent. They would have had McDavid, Hall, Nuge, Draisaitl, Eberle and Puljujaarvi. I acknowledge that this would have taken some major stones as their defense was in shambles with Klefbom a huge question mark but many felt the right decision (and hindsight shows this to be true 100%) was to keep the powder dry.

    Build around that overwhelming forward group and be patient adding the right pieces on defense.

    So when people say that he inherited a guaranteed Cup winner, of course they’re being a bit over-the-top but it wasn’t hyperbole to say that it was considered a dream job to walk into.

    Getting a rookie like McDavid is a dream scenario but adding him to some of the pieces they had in place is a once in a lifetime chance.

  3. Mike Wazowski says:

    McSorley33,

    John Shannon had a good point after last game… the Oilers speed looked just fine during the winning streak and it’s the same lineup now.

    I get the feeling that at times when the team looks slow it’s less about physical speed and more of a “paralysis by analysis” event. Confidence is low and they’re overthinking it.

  4. knighttown says:

    OriginalPouzar: The contract that DAL offered Pitlick was off the charts – a 3 year term was out of the realm of reasonableness.

    Pitlick himself (in an interview the first time DAL came to EDM this year) said that he was just hoping to get a one-way contract with a team and was floored with the offer from DAL and had no choice but to jump on it.

    Its turned out to be good so far from DAL but they went off the charts with their offer.

    They saw what I saw then…a potential 3rd line Corsi monster who would be a pain in the ass the play against. Agreed tho…that offer was way more than expected…only argument would be that they could have signed him anytime before the actual UFA window opened and let Dallas sneak in. If he’s saying all he wanted was a one-way…a one-way at league minimum should have wrapped it up. Dallas outbid the other teams but the Oilers could have had him before it got to that point.

  5. DBO says:

    AsiaOil,

    Are you saying we, as Oilers fans, overvalue our players and prospects and don’t have realistic expectations of their actual talent and skills!??

    How dare you!!!!

  6. Cassandra says:

    knighttown: .

    So when people say that he inherited a guaranteed Cup winner, of course they’re being a bit over-the-top but it wasn’t hyperbole to say that it was considered a dream job to walk into.

    Getting a rookie like McDavid is a dream scenario but adding him to some of the pieces they had in place is a once in a lifetime chance.

    Right. And it took Chiarelli only a matter of months to blow a massive whole in that scenario with the ludicrous at the time Reinhart trade.

    The one thing Kinger is right about is that Chiarelli shouldn’t be fired over the results this season. If you liked him last year you should like him this year. His track record is no different.

    I think he should have been fired for the Reinhart deal.

  7. OmJo says:

    Ryan: With those top two lines,I am not sure you couldn’t run run Nurse and Oesterle as your top pairing and win the Corsi and GF’s.

    Hall during his tenure could carry a top line to a positive GF with brutal blue line behind him.

    Imagine what he’d do on the second line lol?

    Do the Devils have a world-beater defence right now?

    Greene-Vatanen
    Moore-Santini
    Butcher-Seversen

    Going off TOI, not sure their exact pairings.

    Meanwhile, Taylor Hall is 3rd in LW scoring.

    Do people still think the Devils trade him straight up for Larsson? Lol.

  8. Ryan says:

    Mike Wazowski:
    McSorley33,

    John Shannon had a good point after last game… the Oilers speed looked just fine during the winning streak and it’s the same lineup now.

    I get the feeling that at times when the team looks slow it’s less about physical speed and more of a “paralysis by analysis” event.Confidence is low and they’re overthinking it.

    Honest question for the group. I missed the past several games.

    Has the team been worse playing with Sekera (as he’s returning from a major injury/ not the player he was last year obviously)?

  9. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Lacking speed:

    it’s not skating speed. It’s playing speed. Passing the puck quickly is faster than any skater, including McDavid. This team’s breakout consists of

    option A: Hand it to McDavid and let him skate–and then guess what–have to wait above the hashmarks for his slower wingers to catch up, negating much of his speed,

    option B: hand it to Nuge,

    option C: D set up in their own zone then attempt an 80ft stretch pass, which works once every four attempts.

    responsibility: coaching 50%, personnel decisions (not enough good passers on D, especially right handed) 40%, players (playing without confidence, hot potato): 10%

  10. Mike Wazowski says:

    sliderule,

    Maybe it’s the rec-level goalie in me but I’m still trying to figure out which goals Talbot should have had back?

    The guy uncovered going across the crease at full speed?
    The bank shot off Letestu?
    The tip by a Hawks forward on an odd man rush?
    Or another tip?

    I’m far more concerned by a group of skaters that can’t seem to shut down passing lanes.

  11. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    OmJo,

    You won’t get anywhere with poking the bear.

    Remember last year the W-L record was proof that the Oilers won the Larsson trade. This year it is that Hall and Eberle were effectively replaced by Lucic and Maroon.

    In other words, people have made up their minds already. The majority of the hockey world outside Edmonton was shocked at the trade when it was made. But we as fans are living inside the fishbowl bubble.

    The incompetence by this organization has created a toxic cesspool. It’s becoming the Blackhawks, or the Raiders: fanbases tortured under ownership who could somehow do no right.

  12. Mike Wazowski says:

    OmJo,

    As recently as the end of last season they sure would have.

  13. JD_Wry says:

    Mike Wazowski:
    OmJo,

    As recently as the end of last season they sure would have.

    S’trooth, mate!

  14. Mike Wazowski says:

    frjohnk,

    I think there’s still a good shot that Klefbom and Larsson turn out to be that top pair. Klef is still dealing with a bad shoulder and I believe that Larsson has a bad back. If they develop into that top pair at just over $8 million I think Chiarelli deserves an apology from the “the GM is an idiot crowd”.

  15. HT Joe says:

    AsiaOil:
    The “GM is an idiot” crowd don’t seem to consider the actual value of players traded.

    Eberle has 2 goal in his last 15 games and is -12 over that period
    Yakopov has 1 goal in his last 15 games and is even
    Hendricks has 1 goal in his last 15 games and is -3
    Shultz has 0 goal in his last 15 games and is +3
    Pouliot has 2 goal in his last 15 games and is -3 over that period

    That is a combined 6 goals from these 4 players over a combined 75 games (basically a season) along with a collective -15 (mostly due to Ebs). How exactly would this level of performance help the Oilers this season? Any argument that we somehow lost massive value trading these players goes against evidence. Perhaps they were simply not that good. Maybe? Possibly?

    I think one issue I take with this perspective is why did our GM trade away all of their players during their absolute lowest value? I am NOT proposing the mythical pump ‘n dump. Chia should just be smart enough to wait for things to normalize (don’t trade Eberle after a terrible playoff… trade him several months later once he’s re-established himself as a consistent regular-season scorer).

  16. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    AsiaOil,

    With respect your sample size is a complete cherry-picking exercise. You’re a much better poster than that.

  17. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    AsiaOil,

    With respect your sample size is a complete cherry-picking exercise.
    15 games?
    Include Hendricks but not Hall?
    Choose goals only rather than points?

    You’re a much better poster than that.

  18. StixMalone says:

    HT Joe: I think one issue I take with this perspective is why did our GM trade away all of their players during their absolute lowest value?I am NOT proposing the mythical pump ‘n dump.Chia should just be smart enough to wait for things to normalize (don’t trade Eberle after a terrible playoff… trade him several months later once he’s re-established himself as a consistent regular-season scorer).

    And if he doesn’t get better?

  19. russ99 says:

    Guess some fans forgot its not 1986 anymore.

    You can’t load up lines with the most scoring talent you can get and ignore the rest of the team and expect to win anything in the postseason when open ice disappears and refs stop calling the rule book.

    This is what Chiarelli realizes from experience in Ottawa and Boston.

    It’s never been about “heavy hockey” it’s about balance, something the DoD teams never came close to.

  20. StixMalone says:

    JD_Wry: I think they’ve got enough video of special teams play.

    I would suggest several conference standings spots below reality. I think reality is somewhere in between, but point taken.

    If they even watch tape anymore. I guess I shoulda said let Herbers come down and punt one of the 2 assistants upstairs for a change if it would do any good…😜

  21. Mike Wazowski says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Angry fan edit.

  22. Scungilli Slushy says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    OmJo,

    You won’t get anywhere with poking the bear.

    Remember last year the W-L record was proof that the Oilers won the Larsson trade. This year it is that Hall and Eberle were effectively replaced by Lucic and Maroon.

    In other words, people have made up their minds already. The majority of the hockey world outside Edmonton was shocked at the trade when it was made. But we as fans are living inside the fishbowl bubble.
    H

    The incompetence by this organization has created a toxic cesspool. It’s becoming the Blackhawks, or the Raiders: fanbases tortured under ownership who could somehow do no right.

    The worrisome thing is that there can be more bad trades. In fact there has to be some wins to balance out just like you’re stock days. It’s what troubles me most about the current situation. He said he wouldn’t be rash, but what does that mean given the heat and calls coming from inside the house.

    Another poor decision will really set them back without subsequent miracles.

    *your

  23. JD_Wry says:

    StixMalone: If they even watch tape anymore

    Well technically they watch a drive.

  24. Mike Wazowski says:

    OmJo,

    One of the biggest “ifs” in that lineup is “if” Ederle would have been able to overcome his own confidence issues playing in the Edmonton market?

    I liked Eberle a lot but based on his comments about the Edmonton media I have my doubts it would have been quickly, if at all.

  25. OmJo says:

    StixMalone: And if he doesn’t get better?

    Wouldn’t improve from a season in which he had a career low shooting percentage?

    Of all the bets that General Disappointment made this summer, Eberle rebounding would have been the most likely to happen.

  26. Mike Wazowski says:

    frjohnk,

    Wingers can be much easier to acquire than three centres like that.

  27. OmJo says:

    Mike Wazowski:
    frjohnk,

    Wingers can be much easier to acquire than three centres like that.

    *If you’re trading with Chiarelli 😉

  28. AsiaOil says:

    Wyndi,
    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

    Hall was not part of the original discussion – the other players were. Taylor Hall is fine player and benefit to any team – but he’s only scored 3 more goals than Lucic since these pieces were exchanged. That’s trivial. Hall provides better possession but Lucic provides better qualitative (checking, toughness, leadership etc). We gave up 3 goals and got Adam Larsson in the deal. I can live with it but others clearly can’t.

    Yes I cherry picked the last 15 games – point is – all of these players are struggling mightily right now. Just like the Oilers – and just like they did over long stretches while they were part of the team. Nothing has changed really. Ebs is still streaky and can’t play defense. Shultz doesn’t seem to be able to perform at a high level without the threat of unemployment hanging over his head. The others are washed up (Hendricks) or barely hanging on to their careers (Yak Pou). It’s a damn motley crew.

    The deal that is indefensible is the GR trade and yeah someone should have lost their job over that one. Chia was barely in his seat and seemed clueless about the guy – so I think it was voices inside the house pushing for it. But bottom line is that the GM owns all deals under his watch and that one turned out horribly.

  29. Thinker says:

    Mike Wazowski:
    frjohnk,

    Wingers can be much easier to acquire than three centres like that.

    Name me an elite winger (even top 30 either side), who you can aquire for less than the cost of nuge.

  30. Thinker says:

    russ99:
    Guess some fans forgot its not 1986 anymore.

    You can’t load up lines with the most scoring talent you can get and ignore the rest of the team and expect to win anything in the postseason when open ice disappears and refs stop calling the rule book.

    This is what Chiarelli realizes from experience in Ottawa and Boston.

    It’s never been about “heavy hockey” it’s about balance, something the DoD teams never came close to.

    Hindering the 1st line to make it closer in skill to a 3rd line is not achieving balance.

  31. Ryan says:

    russ99:
    Guess some fans forgot its not 1986 anymore.

    You can’t load up lines with the most scoring talent you can get and ignore the rest of the team and expect to win anything in the postseason when open ice disappears and refs stop calling the rule book.

    This is what Chiarelli realizes from experience in Ottawa and Boston.

    It’s never been about “heavy hockey” it’s about balance, something the DoD teams never came close to.

    Obviously, you’re referring to me.

    Come on, lol. The Oilers during the DOD were bereft of talent, so I do not agree that you’re making a fair comparison.

    I hear the Bolts play some really good heavy hockey. They must have seven or eight guys that play gritty hockey like Kesler and Getzlaf.

  32. Mr. D. says:

    I dont see the d improving at all. I think it’s time JJ is tossed and an actual systems/skill technician coach is brought in. The PK sucks and the d aren’t creative enough. This can be taught.

  33. HT Joe says:

    StixMalone: And if he doesn’t get better?

    An earlier poster already pointed out that ALL of them DID get better to some degree. All of them.

  34. AsiaOil says:

    HT Joe: I think one issue I take with this perspective is why did our GM trade away all of their players during their absolute lowest value?I am NOT proposing the mythical pump ‘n dump.Chia should just be smart enough to wait for things to normalize (don’t trade Eberle after a terrible playoff… trade him several months later once he’s re-established himself as a consistent regular-season scorer).

    All of the guys we traded aside from Hall have serious warts and I don’t miss any of them to be honest. Ebs is exactly who he is this season. A streaky 20 goal scorer with serious defensive issues and a $6 million salary. Some people like these types but I think they are a liability in terms of net results and cap. I suspect many GMs think this way as well.

    We replaced Ebs, Pou, Yak, and Hemtricks with Strome, JP, Khaira and Cammy. I fail to see how that is a massive downgrade. I prefer Cammy to Hendo, prefer Khaira to Pouliot, prefer JP to Yak, Ebs and Strome are a wash to me as Strome’s offensive shortcomings versus Ebs are compensated by better defense. It doesn’t much matter much either way as the players involved are all flawed to some degree.

    The issues this season are goaltending, some really shitting luck (disease and PDO early on), coaching (stubbornness on certain players like Letestu and special team systems) and immaturity of the young leadership group (which includes McDavid and Drai). I’m interested to see who folds and who performs like a pro over the last half of the season. Next year starts NOW and they better be one hell of a lot more ready to start next season that this year. You cannot as an organization continue to fire people after 2 years and expect to win or develop any credibility – but I agree that heads should roll early next season if results don’t change.

  35. HenryDrix says:

    I think part of what we are seeing is evidence that Unicorns cannot exist. D and G aside, that kind of talent and cap space up the middle requires bargain priced wingers, and that is what we have. If we want excellent talen to play with McDavid, they will get paid (Either at some point ala Maroon or in hard cap and/or acquisition cost).

    Point being, perhaps 1RW is where LD belongs. We know it works, we know LD can win draws and give our #1 line the puck more often than not. That leaves RNH as 2C (where he belongs). A 3C should easier to find (not Strome) than a 1RW. That’s would I would do. Note: JP also looks good on 1RW.

    If I were coach, I would ideally like to see the following for the rest of the season (barring trades, my ideal line based on current roster):
    19-97-29
    27-93-98
    16-18-44
    81-55-91
    77-6
    25-2
    4-83-88

    PP1: 97-29-19-98-77
    PP2: 97-93-27-55-25

    PK1: 4-6-44-55
    PK2: 88-83-97-29

    Lines 1 and 2 should be good enough. Is the rest of the roster? Current results say NO. But I’m only writing as the coach, not the GM.

    Try to Stick to set lines and let the players adapt to each other and build the chem.

  36. Professor Q says:

    HenryDrix:
    I think part of what we are seeing a evidence that Unicorns cannot exist.D and G aside, that kind of talent and cap space up the middle requires bargain priced wingers, and that is what we have.If we want excellent talen to play with McDavid, they will get paid (Either at some point ala Maroon or in hard cap and/or acquisition cost).

    Point being, perhaps 1RW is where LD belongs.We know it works, we know LD can win draws and give our #1 line the puck more often than not.That leaves RNH as 2C (where he belongs).A 3C should easier to find (not Strome) than a 1RW.That’s would I would do.Only problem, JP also looks good on 1RW.

    If I were coach, I would ideally like to see the following for the rest of the season (barring trades), my ideal line based on current roster:
    19-97-29
    27-93-98
    16-18-44
    81-55-91
    77-6
    25-2
    4-83-88

    PP1: 97-29-19-98-77
    PP2: 97-93-27-55-25

    PK1: 4-6-44-55
    PK2: 88-83-97-29

    Try to Stick to set lines and let the players adapt to each other and build the chem.

    Then maybe Draisaitl should be on Connor’s left, with Puljujärvi on his right.

    Basically the PP but on 5v5.

    Then have Yamamoto and Benson pair up with the Nuge in a few years. Until then, I guess it should be Lucic and Maroon or a mix-and-match with the College Crew and CHL Signees.

    Even Khaira can jump up aside Nuge from time to time, while mostly playing on thr 3rd/4th.

  37. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    I don’t think this all lands at the feet of Chiarelli.

    I have not been in Cassandra’s camp, and the term I have used over and over to slot Chiarelli was “mediocre” and “average NHL GM.” And I have yet to see anything to make me change my opinion on that. And no, that does not make me Godot, either–who has used that term to describe McLellan, who I think is probably an above average coach, but sometimes even good coaches lose a room, or a season.

    My criticisms of Chiarelli, I think have been consistent: he loses deals where the most valuable piece is leaving the organization–now I know that sounds about as obvious as saying standing in the rain without an umbrella will result in your getting wet, but it’s true. When Chia has sent out a face card, he has done poorly. On the other hand, he has made a number of good moves, too. When I add it all up, I get mediocre results.

    Now, I’ve also said that I far prefer mediocre to the godawful gongshow that was the tail end of the Lowe whale-hunting/Tambo doing nothing / MacT dog’s breakfast D corpse he is comfortable with era.

    The problem is that we as fans have been so used to dogshit management that we settle for “average” and somehow paint it as being great.

    To me Chia inherited a mess. Yeah, in my opinion he made it a bigger mess by making that Reinhart deal. This is not hindsight trading. (I could have bought AAPL when it was $5–actually I did in the summer of 2000 when it almost went under, but I sold it at $10 damn it). He has tried to do what he can to make it better.

    But some of the same holes we had in 2015 remain–he is burning picks in a deep draft year to get a backup goalie like Montoya with an extra year on his deal? I don’t get that. That could have been and should have been addressed in the summer with just money. They wanted to give LB a shot? Well, as LT says, too many auditions. You get a veteran goalie on a one-year deal, if LB outplays him and wins the job, you can always let him go.

    To me, just blaming Chia for all the team’s woes and getting rid of him does nothing productive. I always believe in looking for solutions to problems, not just pointing out the problems. I try to ask what can be done to make things better.

    Things Chia has addressed well:

    Depth on D. There are 7 or 8 NHL D on this roster. That’s better than Nikitin, Schultz and a ball of string.

    Grit and size: Kassian, Lucic, Maroon add a heavy element this team was lacking.

    Things that have not been addressed well:

    The left D- right D balance
    The defensive D vs. puck-moving D balance
    The pendulum has swung too far to gritensity and away from skill (in my opinion). It needs to be corrected.

    Solutions I see:
    Move one of the leftorium for a righty of similar skill. Carolina, Winnipeg would be my targets. Winnipeg has Myers, Trouba, Buff and prospects waiting in the wings on the right side. They are either going to re-sign Trouba and move on from Myers or be unable to afford Trouba and be moving on from him. Myers, by the way, much-maligned a few years ago is starting to round into a capable puck-moving RHD. I’d be interested in him if he shakes loose.

    A goalie to push Talbot as a 1B–well looks like they have opted to go instead with a clear backup. It’s not what I would have done, but I have been a Talbot fan since his NYR days–the problem was his sample size as a starter was very small, and in my opinion he is not as good as he was last year, not as bad as he was this year. He should be a middle of the pack starter, if kept to 60 games. Or so I hope. He was overworked, got hurt this year, hasn’t really been the same guy. It happens, but I still believe in his ability if deployed correctly.

    Skill on the wings: How many more wasted chances do we need to see from McDavid passes before enough’s enough? OK, so people are looking at Winnipeg: Ehlers broke in one year, then Laine, then Connor this year. They bring in ONE top 6 winger each year. They surround them with vets who are producing: Wheeler, Scheifele, Perreault, Little. I would say that Lucic barely qualifies in this category because of his footspeed. Maroon was a career bottom sixer who caught lightning in a bottle last year. He is useful, but a good team should have him as 3LW, not 1LW. The Oilers need to go out and get a good, veteran winger for McDavid. A guy like Justin Williams would have been great, but it takes two to tango. Hoffman might be a solution but if the cost is futures, that’s not something this team can afford right now.

    I’d be clearing salary and acquiring picks for a quick rebuild. Paddy Maroon? 2nd rounder. Thank you for your service. Ryan Strome? 3rd rounder–maybe Arizona would be interested. Mark Letestu–Pittsburgh you need a C: how about a 2nd for him? Kris Russell– a contender wants you (and we’ll retain $1m to make it happen), would you be interested in waiving your NMC? Fetch a 2nd. OK, maybe the Russell one is unrealistic.

    I then use every damn pick on a high skill guy this summer. I make the lefty for righty switch on D, and I add a winger who can play: Hornqvist or Hoffman or someone else, and replace Maroon. I keep Yamamoto and Benson in the AHL and Puljujarvi is the only raw young’un in the top 6 next year.

    What would hinder all this is firing Chiarelli into the sun without a proper replacement.
    To me the biggest curse on this team is the entire culture in the management of it. Firing Chia is putting all the blame on the one outside voice who came in, and validating the OBC again. No, if anyone ought to be fired it should be everyone in the entire organization, perhaps bar Nicholson. If Chia is blamed for all and Gretzky/Lowe/MacT/Howson creep back in then we are truly Nadir’s Raiders.

    Chia is imperfect. He is mediocre as a GM goes. As I have said many times, I don’t see anyone available who is better. I would consider the switch if that person emerges. But absent that, I stick with him. That said, he has to be better. And he knows it. The question is if his bosses will let him see this through.

  38. HT Joe says:

    AsiaOil: All of the guys we traded aside from Hall have serious warts and I don’t miss any of them to be honest. Ebs is exactly who he is this season. A streaky 20 goal scorer with serious defensive issues and a $6 million salary. Some people like these types but I think they are a liability in terms of net results and cap. I suspect many GMs think this way as well.

    Yes, they all had warts. But every player has some warts. It’s not up to the GM to just throw his hands in the air and exclaim “I’m dumping these guys for suboptimal returns because they’re imperfect”. The GM needs to have a skillset and mindset to grind for every small amount of advantage to help the team be better. I’m not saying that he’s stupid; I am questioning his skills and mindset as a shrewd negotiator.

    AsiaOil: We replaced Ebs, Pou, Yak, and Hemtricks with Strome, JP, Khaira and Cammy. I fail to see how that is a massive downgrade. I prefer Cammy to Hendo, prefer Khaira to Pouliot, prefer JP to Yak, Ebs and Strome are a wash to me as Strome’s offensive shortcomings versus Ebs are compensated by better defense. It doesn’t much matter much either way as the players involved are all flawed to some degree.

    Implying that “JP” was somehow part of the return for the collective of Ebs, Pou, Yak and Hemtricks seems pretty unreasonable.

    If you’re simply saying that JP filled the spot that Eberle had, then yes, you’re right. But with Eberle still on the team (and Strome off) we could have had JP on the 2nd line or 3rd line, with Eberle on the top line with McDavid. Because Eberle is no longer on the top line, every other RW has to play a rung higher up the batting order than they should be. This isn’t inconsequential. Eberle is a warty flawed and sometimes infuriating 1st line RW, but during his tenure as an Oiler, he has been a 1st line RW. Strome is not a 1st line RW. He is not even a VERY warty 1st line RW.

    We as fans can be apathetic about trades (“I don’t give a damn… the value looks close enough”), but Chia cannot take this type of approach.

  39. godot10 says:

    fifthcartel:
    Cody Franson on waivers.

    Q.E.D.

  40. Professor Q says:

    godot10: Q.E.D.

    Q. E. W.?

  41. HT Joe says:

    AsiaOil: The issues this season are goaltending, some really shitting luck (disease and PDO early on), coaching (stubbornness on certain players like Letestu and special team systems) and immaturity of the young leadership group (which includes McDavid and Drai). I’m interested to see who folds and who performs like a pro over the last half of the season. Next year starts NOW and they better be one hell of a lot more ready to start next season that this year. You cannot as an organization continue to fire people after 2 years and expect to win or develop any credibility – but I agree that heads should roll early next season if results don’t change.

    I do agree that goaltending, shitty luck, etc. DO play a part. From where I’m sitting, Chia seems to have made this bad season worse through his wheeling and dealing.

  42. StixMalone says:

    HT Joe,

    On a different team. What if they stayed here?

  43. AsiaOil says:

    HenryDrix,

    There is some merit to this and you pick your poison in a cap league with no solution lasting long (guys get paid and need to be moved). I think a better approach now may be loading the top two lines as well, but, the bottom two lines need to be trap machines and make sure nothing happens while on the ice. All they need to do is break even against who ever they play and let the top 6 try out-score. Problem is this year, the bottom 6 has been a disaster with vets like Letestu, Cammy and Jokinen being to slow and the young guys being totally overwhelmed. It’s a disaster and they had to move RNH down there and go unicorns to stem the bleeding. Why they continue to play Letestu in key roles and never play RNH with McDavid or Drai is a mystery to me.

    Lucic McDavid JP
    Maroon Drai RNH (until deadline when you trade Maroon for a young RW and flip RNH to LW)
    Khaira Strome Kassian (Stome needs to become a checking center IMHO or he’s toast)
    Cags xxx Pak (Letestu is done, Slepy and Cags a mess, Pak can kill penalties, yuk).

  44. Admiral Ackbar says:

    AsiaOil:
    We replaced Ebs, Pou, Yak, and Hemtricks with Strome, JP, Khaira and Cammy. I fail to see how that is a massive downgrade. I prefer Cammy to Hendo, prefer Khaira to Pouliot, prefer JP to Yak, Ebs and Strome are a wash to me as Strome’s offensive shortcomings versus Ebs are compensated by better defense.

    I think you’re quite off here and coming from some serious cognitive dissonance. Eberle is a top 6 winger, Strome is not. Pouliot is a middle 6 winger, JJ is not and Pou is great on the PK. Cammy is offensively superior to Hendo but doesn’t help the PK. JP is quite a bit superior to Yak, so you’re right there.

    You’re suggesting that an inexperienced group is close to par with an experienced group. I don’t think that calling one group vastly superior to the other is fair, but it’s no question that last year’s group is superior to this year’s.

    Furthermore, we’ve asking the wrong question. If we’re comparing these players, clearly we’re having a shite season and looking for solutions in the wrong places. The issue this year is that the team still have no depth outside of C. There’s little balance on C and D and holes that were attempted to be filled with ‘ifs’ have not panned out.

  45. HT Joe says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): Chia is imperfect. He is mediocre as a GM goes. As I have said many times, I don’t see anyone available who is better. I would consider the switch if that person emerges. But absent that, I stick with him. That said, he has to be better. And he knows it. The question is if his bosses will let him see this through.

    A lot of people, including myself, don’t know enough about investing, or have the intestinal fortitude to do it properly. This doesn’t make everyone stupid or terrible – but if we hire a good investment person, that is an example of us identifying a weakness or shortcoming, and working around it.

    Further pointing out my own inabilities, I brought someone very smart and capable with me when I negotiated the purchase of my current vehicle. I got a better deal than I would have on my own.

    Would it not be possible for Chia to hire someone whose sole job would be to assist with contract / trade negotiations? Is this as ridiculous as it sounds?

  46. OmJo says:

    AsiaOil: We replaced Ebs, Pou, Yak, and Hemtricks with Strome, JP, Khaira and Cammy. I fail to see how that is a massive downgrade.

    The only winger on the team on pace for more than 20 goals this season is centre Leon Draisaitl. None of the players you mentioned can finish the chances McDavid creates for them.

    Eberle has one goal in his last 15 games and yet would still be 2nd on this team in scoring.

    That seems pretty bad to me.

  47. HT Joe says:

    StixMalone:
    HT Joe,

    On a different team. What if they stayed here?

    Before I answer your question, are you proposing that the Oilers team is so terrible that once a player goes through a dry spell, they will never EVER get better? If you think this is the case, am I correct to assume that you believe that TMac is a terrible coach and must be fired?

    *EDIT FOR CLARITY* I don’t believe that TMac is such a terrible coach that he is singlehandedly preventing players from playing their ways through dry spells.

  48. Lloyd B. says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

    Excellent post. I have had these thoughts but could never put them down in such a coherent post.

    A perfect mix of identifying the problems, presenting solutions with realistic target types and acquisition costs.

    Common sense with a voice of reason seems to get the short end of the stick around here.

    VOR last night and now you tonight….great stuff.

  49. StixMalone says:

    HT Joe: Before I answer your question, are you proposing that the Oilers team is so terrible that once a player goes through a dry spell, they will never EVER get better?If you think this is the case, am I correct to assume that you believe that TMac is a terrible coach and must be fired?

    *EDIT FOR CLARITY* I don’t believe that TMac is such a terrible coach that he is singlehandedly preventing players from playing their ways through dry spells.

    Nope I like TMac. I’m saying would Eberle be the better on this team with the pressure pot boiling over? Almost everyone including myself got on Ebs after the playoffs. I think he wouldn’t have improved here this year. No pressure on a new team and no set up for failure. I love Ebs and am sorry to see him gone. But no way he improves if he was still here….

  50. AsiaOil says:

    HT Joe: I do agree that goaltending, shitty luck, etc. DO play a part.From where I’m sitting, Chia seems to have made this bad season worse through his wheeling and dealing.

    HT Joe,

    I hear what you are saying but Ebs is terrible defensively. Sure if you only look at offensive results then he’s adequate. But goals against count just as much as goals for and Ebs has leaked goals against his entire career aside from the back half of last season where he finally tried to play a two way game. How long do you wait for a guy’s game to mature? He is what he is at some point and I think we reached that time last year. I don’t think he would have made any significant difference this year.

    Basically I agree that Chia’s moves did not help. The option of standing pat would not have done anything either. The players he moved over the past year and a half (Ebs included) would not have rescued this season. I guess you can criticize him for is not getting more for the flawed players he shipped out to fill holes that became obvious early this year. Problem is, those holes were not very obvious after G7 of the quarter finals and a 103 point season. But life isn’t fair for a GM and he owns it.

    It’s easy to sit on your laurels after success and IMHO the entire org did that over the summer. The GM, coaching staff, and even young stars like McDavid and Drai are getting their noses rubbed in it right now. What matters now is how GM, coaching staff and players respond to this adversity. The last 40 games are not useless. This org can use it to learn how to play hard and smart every game, how to respond to adversity, and what needs to happen wrt coaching, development and acquisitions. Getting ready for next year starts now and anyone not up to the challenge needs to go (stars, coach and GM all included).

  51. AsiaOil says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

    Nice post and thank you for time you put into it. Pretty much agree on all points.

  52. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    AsiaOil,

    I think the problem, and you’ve touched on it, is this.

    Yeah, Eberle is a flawed player. But unless you’re upgrading him you aren’t getting better by shipping him out and not bringing anyone else in to replace him.

    Strome isn’t close to being good enough defensively to replace Eberle’s departed production.

    I think ironically you’re looking at balance needed on a team, but you’re not seeing that the team has moved too far the other way. If you have 5 defensively aware guys in the top 6, the value of a defensively weak winger who can score 25 goals is higher to that group than another defensively aware winger.

    The problem is the Oilers went from having a lot of skill on the wings to very little. The balance is off. And yeah, if we could somehow have 4 Jere Lehtinens on out top two lines we’d be laughing.

    As it stands, there is one guy who might get there in a couple of years (JP), and then some bigger wingers who cannot keep up with our best centres.

    We can have one Lucic, one rookie (JP), the other two wingers need to have some speed and skill and be veterans. Does that make sense? Now, if Strome had been a solution that would be one thing, but his stock was on the decline for a while: he is not fast, has a hard shot but does not seem to be a goal scorer, has size but is not physical, I’d say he is at best average defensively and way below average offensively to be a top 6 solution. So, say what you will, but the replacement for Eberle was Yamamoto and Pulju. Strome was brought in to be in the bottom 6 and improve that…which he really hasn’t so far.

    Agree that 39 games left they still need to keep working on fixing things.

  53. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    AsiaOil:
    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

    Nice post and thank you for time you put into it. Pretty much agree on all points.

    Thanks, and I agree with a lot of what you are saying as well. I just think your argument is strong enough without the 15 game comparisons. The only part where we disagree is that the replacements are as good as what left. Agree that on paper the bottom 6 should be as good as last year, but it just isn’t. That’s too bad. That said, the top 6 is not as good, right now, if you ask me. It has the potential to be better, but too much faith was put in that potential being realized this year.

  54. godot10 says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Oddly enough, lost amidst all the calls for Chiarelli’s head is the fact that arguably his most celebrated acquisition has been one of the key, if not ‘the key’, contributor to this year’s downturn. Cam Talbot sitting at .901 sv pct.

    But that save percentage is entirely a reflection of a penalty kill that sucks at historically bad levels. Talbot’s even strength save percentage is fine.

  55. godot10 says:

    Crazy Pedestrian: I honestly don’t think the oilers will win ANY meaningful trades as long as Chia is at the helm. All the other GMs know now that he will fold like a paper bag in any negotiations. He got taken to the wood shed by Snow twice, and gift bagged NJ an elite game changer in Hall for a shutdown dman widely considered a #3D or #2D TOPS with average-at-best puck moving skills. No GM will take him seriously anymore.
    It’s unfortunate, but he has to go. I’d give tmac another chance to redeem himself, seeing as he didnt have enough skilled wingers to play with his centres three (seems he knew this when everyone was clammering for drai and McDavid to get split up), and you can’t really control crappy goaltending.

    EDIT: + what Snowman said.

    McLellan has no wingers because he ran them all out of town (metaphorically).

    He wanted Lucic over Hall.
    Strome over Eberle
    A four year cap penalty over Pouliot
    Kassian at twice the price of Pitlick
    Nothing over Yakupov
    Caggiula over Lander (who could win a faceoff and PK and actually get under the skin of the opposition).

    If the coach had liked Hall, there is no way he would have been traded. McLellan said he got here that they would change the players, rather than coach the players.

  56. Lloyd B. says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): Thanks, and I agree with a lot of what you are saying as well. I just think your argument is strong enough without the 15 game comparisons. The only part where we disagree is that the replacements are as good as what left. Agree that on paper the bottom 6 should be as good as last year, but it just isn’t. That’s too bad. That said, the top 6 is not as good, right now, if you ask me. It has the potential to be better, but too much faith was put in that potential being realized this year.

    You two are knocking it out of the park tonight ! Add in the comments from VOR last night and …

    finally, some cool, calm, common sense and collected reason without the drama and hyperbole.

    Well done folks, well done.

    If we could get some facts and stats from Woodguy and Padre this would be epic !!

    And of course … if we could get a recipe or two from Pouzar ( not the Original variety) it could be a night for the ages.

  57. godot10 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: If we had Keith we’d have a lot of young D lookingpretty good as well.

    Franson had his shot with Keith. Even Keith couldn’t make him into a serviceable option.

  58. Decidedly Skeptical Fan says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    OmJo,

    You won’t get anywhere with poking the bear.

    Remember last year the W-L record was proof that the Oilers won the Larsson trade. This year it is that Hall and Eberle were effectively replaced by Lucic and Maroon.

    In other words, people have made up their minds already. The majority of the hockey world outside Edmonton was shocked at the trade when it was made. But we as fans are living inside the fishbowl bubble.

    The incompetence by this organization has created a toxic cesspool. It’s becoming the Blackhawks, or the Raiders: fanbases tortured under ownership who could somehow do no right.

    Mostly agree with this if not all of the finer points.

    Not sure the majority of GMs were shocked. That community spoke loud and clear … Hall asset was damaged to the point of not being worth much more than Larsson plus cap savings. I don’t think Chia turned down any better offers. Just not all that much demand for Hall … rightly or wrongly.

    Raiders tortured fanbase is tortured no more. They are elated over the fact that ownership just dumped a bad coaching staff, one that started to place blame on the players and accept no responsibility themselves, in favor of Jon Gruden. The GM there is on double secret probation and probably has no more than a year to get his act back together. That is good ownership in my book.

  59. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Decidedly Skeptical Fan,

    Yeah the Raiders reference was to the Al Davis gongshow. Hawks to the Bill Wirtz.

    Both teams are finally recovering.

    I am not doubting Katz’ intentions to make this franchise better, but he has presided over the biggest gongshow in team history.

  60. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Decidedly Skeptical Fan,

    There was a quote from Friedman or someone at the time, likely on Twitter, that quoted a GM as saying he would have offered a top 4D and two first round picks for Hall.

    Unfortunately I can’t find it anymore.

    Also, Bob McKenzie and others did express shock that it was a one for one deal.

  61. GMB3 says:

    russ99:
    Guess some fans forgot its not 1986 anymore.

    You can’t load up lines with the most scoring talent you can get and ignore the rest of the team and expect to win anything in the postseason when open ice disappears and refs stop calling the rule book.

    This is what Chiarelli realizes from experience in Ottawa and Boston.

    It’s never been about “heavy hockey” it’s about balance, something the DoD teams never came close to.

    Yet we are back at DoD levels with Chia.. this isn’t the same NHL as even 5 years ago.

  62. McSorley33 says:

    Mike Wazowski,

    Mark Letestu
    Milan Lucic
    Mike Cammy
    Patrick Maroon

    IMO , world class slow. 2 of the above might not be in the league in 24 months.

    Throw in below average, or if you want to argue average at best, Strome and Khaira ( I love him ) and you at looking at half our forward group.

    Sometimes, things are exactly as they appear.

  63. HT Joe says:

    StixMalone: Nope I like TMac. I’m saying would Eberle be the better on this team with the pressure pot boiling over? Almost everyone including myself got on Ebs after the playoffs. I think he wouldn’t have improved here this year. No pressure on a new team and no set up for failure. I love Ebs and am sorry to see him gone. But no way he improves if he was still here….

    I think Eberle would have looked (relatively) better this regular season compared to the playoffs, but your answer seems very reasonable. Thanks.

  64. godot10 says:

    OriginalPouzar: The contract that DAL offered Pitlick was off the charts – a 3 year term was out of the realm of reasonableness.

    Pitlick himself (in an interview the first time DAL came to EDM this year) said that he was just hoping to get a one-way contract with a team and was floored with the offer from DAL and had no choice but to jump on it.

    Its turned out to be good so far from DAL but they went off the charts with their offer.

    3 years for $1 million per season is not off the charts for a 4th line winger (Pitlick), Essentially no cap impact if you have to send him to the minors.

    3 years for $1.96 million per season, on the other hand, IS off the charts for a 4th line winger (Kassian).

    Pitlick and Lander were doing a lot of the PK when the PK was good last year. The PK began to stink when Pitlick got hurt and Caggiula was played and Lander sent away to oblivion.

    Now all Kassian does is take penalties and fails the kill the ones that he doesn’t take. Caggiula is still horrid defensively.

  65. HT Joe says:

    AsiaOil: This org can use it to learn how to play hard and smart every game, how to respond to adversity, and what needs to happen wrt coaching, development and acquisitions. Getting ready for next year starts now and anyone not up to the challenge needs to go (stars, coach and GM all included).

    If the team doubles-down and manages to have a stronger 2nd half, then yes, that would set up the team for an improved 2018-2019 season. I’m pretty worried that we won’t see any improvement, and will in fact see the team spiral down the toilet the way pre-McDavid teams consistently did. I really don’t want this group of players to experience terrible failure and have it poison their future.

  66. JimmyV1965 says:

    Mike Wazowski:
    McSorley33,

    John Shannon had a good point after last game… the Oilers speed looked just fine during the winning streak and it’s the same lineup now.

    I get the feeling that at times when the team looks slow it’s less about physical speed and more of a “paralysis by analysis” event.Confidence is low and they’re overthinking it.

    Absolutely true. People stopped talking about how slow we were in
    December. I’m not sure if the narrative is back though.

  67. godot10 says:

    knighttown:

    Sure there were some on the far right that this was the end of the franchise and others that loved the move because Hall was a cancer and Lucic and Larsson would bring toughness and leadership but a few of us sat in the center-right.I just felt sadness because I though the decision to move away from Hall lowered the ceiling while acknowledging that (I thought) it raised the floor.

    #ItMayNOTHaveRaisedTheFloor

    This Oiler team (and two of McLellan’s three Oilers teams) are tracking behind Nelson’s and Krueger’s teams in points per game.

    Quite the accomplishment for Todd McLellan.

  68. Decidedly Skeptical Fan says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    Decidedly Skeptical Fan,

    There was a quote from Friedman or someone at the time, likely on Twitter, that quoted a GM as saying he would have offered a top 4D and two first round picks for Hall.

    Unfortunately I can’t find it anymore.

    Also, Bob McKenzie and others did express shock that it was a one for one deal.

    Had not heard that. If Chia passed on a trade like that, assuming the top 4D wasn’t 38 and pulling down $6M with term, then I would gladly side with those calling for his job.

    As for McKenzie and others, when they occupy one of the 31 GM chairs I will give their shock the high credit it rightly deserves. Until then, their expression of shock isn’t much more meaningful than yours or mine. Just my opinion, not worth a lot.

  69. JimmyV1965 says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    Lacking speed:

    it’s not skating speed. It’s playing speed. Passing the puck quickly is faster than any skater, including McDavid. This team’s breakout consists of

    option A: Hand it to McDavid and let him skate–and then guess what–have to wait above the hashmarks for his slower wingers to catch up, negating much of his speed,

    option B: hand it to Nuge,

    option C: D set up in their own zone then attempt an 80ft stretch pass, which works once every four attempts.

    responsibility: coaching 50%, personnel decisions (not enough good passers on D, especially right handed) 40%, players (playing without confidence, hot potato): 10%

    Don’t forget Nurse. He’ll skate it out occasionally.

  70. AsiaOil says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    AsiaOil,

    I think the problem, and you’ve touched on it, is this.

    Yeah, Eberle is a flawed player. But unless you’re upgrading him you aren’t getting better by shipping him out and not bringing anyone else in to replace him.

    Strome isn’t close to being good enough defensively to replace Eberle’s departed production.

    I think ironically you’re looking at balance needed on a team, but you’re not seeing that the team has moved too far the other way. If you have 5 defensively aware guys in the top 6, the value of a defensively weak winger who can score 25 goals is higher to that group than another defensively aware winger.

    The problem is the Oilers went from having a lot of skill on the wings to very little. The balance is off. And yeah, if we could somehow have 4 Jere Lehtinens on out top two lines we’d be laughing.

    As it stands, there is one guy who might get there in a couple of years (JP), and then some bigger wingers who cannot keep up with our best centres.

    We can have one Lucic, one rookie (JP), the other two wingers need to have some speed and skill and be veterans. Does that make sense? Now, if Strome had been a solution that would be one thing, but his stock was on the decline for a while: he is not fast, has a hard shot but does not seem to be a goal scorer, has size but is not physical, I’d say he is at best average defensively and way below average offensively to be a top 6 solution. So, say what you will, but the replacement for Eberle was Yamamoto and Pulju. Strome was brought in to be in the bottom 6 and improve that…which he really hasn’t so far.

    Agree that 39 games left they still need to keep working on fixing things.

    Agree that Strome has been a disappointment but he’s been deployed as 3rd line player for a lot of the year. His production will likely be pretty much equal to the previous 2 years. I think he needs to make a serious career decision and commit to try being an elite 3rd line center. A 3rd line C who can play tough opposition to a draw and score 15 is a valuable guy but he would need to change his approach and work on his boots over the summer. Not sure he’s inclined to give up being a top 6 player. It’s a tough pill to swallow for a guy who has been top 6 his entire career. I don’t see a role for him any other way. So the top 3 lines for me last game actually work for me pretty well: McDavid, RNH, Strome.

    I’ll be honest and admit I like TMac, but his coaching this season has totally baffled me. So slow to adapt and stubborn. He’s got RNH playing the best hockey of his career and I hope he doesn’t mess that up. I’ve been critical of RNH but he’s been wonderful this year for the most part. Even added a physical side to his game. He’s got to put RNH into good situations the rest of the year.

    Lucic McDavid JP
    Maroon RNH Drai
    Khaira Strome Kassian

    The 4th line is a disaster but maybe Cags xxx Pak (he can PK) could work?. Letestu is done and he needs to be traded to get him away from TMac. I wanted a 4th line center in the summer who can PK and we still need one. I’d even try Malone at this point as all you want is for these guy is to put the game asleep for 7 or 8 minutes a night. None of Cammy, Slepy, Letestu or OV2 can do that. Trading Maroon for a young winger works for me. A guy like Lehtonen (not saying it’s a sensible trade) would be nice. Someone with a motor.

    As for goalie. I believe in Talbot as a decent starter who can elevate but he’s not Price. Doesn’t ned to be anything but mid-range for us to succeed. Lefty-righty and puck mover – defensive balance on defense also needs to be addressed. People bitch about Russell but he’s matched Hamonic (not that tough a comparable) and can you imagine the noise if we had traded what CGY did for Hamonic. At least Russell was free.

    Look it’s a mess but good orgs use these periods to get better. Sh*t happens sometimes. Some is luck and some is self-inflicted. But that balance doesn’t matter at this point. You have get better. Giving up is not an option, and as you said, firing Chia or TMac simply allows others (on and off the ice) to evade responsibility. One thing that needs to be said though is that McDavid and Drai as core leaders also have to look in the mirror. I think they have their heads on straight but it would be a problem if either of those guys are not taking responsibility for the results. They can’t play defense or goal but this doesn’t turn around with a whole lot of personal accountability on their part.

  71. VanIsleOil says:

    AsiaOil:
    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

    Lloyd B.: You two are knocking it out of the park tonight !Add in the comments from VOR last night and …

    finally,some cool, calm, common sense and collected reason without the drama and hyperbole.

    Well done folks, well done.

    If we could get some facts and stats from Woodguy and Padre this would be epic !!

    And of course … if we could get a recipe or two from Pouzar ( not the Original variety) it could be a night for the ages.

    Agree 100% Lloyd B… Really enjoying the cogent debate.

    This kind of earnest and intelligent discourse is why I keep coming back to LT”s place.

    ( VOR adds so much to this blog, always look forward to his posts)

  72. JimmyV1965 says:

    Maybe we should trade Maroon to the Isles for a seventh rounder and complete the trifecta. Then Chia can say he built a helluva good second line….. In New York. LOL

  73. Pouzar says:

    Lloyd B.: if we could get a recipe or two from Pouzar

    Idiot proof Super Bowl Wing Recipe.

    Marinade Wings (3-4lbs) overnight in a mixture of 1/2 half cup of buttermilk and 1 cup Franks hot sauce. Add whatever seasoning you’d like. I add garlic and some pepper. Keep it simple.

    Grill on the BBQ on Medium High Heat turning every 3 min. for about 30-40 min.
    You can char the outside and the inside stays moist and tender.
    I usually re-coat the wings after in a mixture of Franks and butter but they are just as good naked.

    Cheers.

    PS. If it’s too cold for grilling just pop them in the oven on 400 F for 45 min (turning half way through).
    Parchment paper is your friend here.

  74. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    So let’s switch gears for a minute. Humour me.

    Recall the Nuge for Jones trade that was close. Columbus trumped the Oilers by offering Johansen and Poile favoured size and proven assist totals over 2-way acumen. Johansen had a good season and playoffs until hurt, followed by a below average season this year so far.

    Now, a lot of posters were not in favour of a Nuge for Jones swap because Seth was unproven and had some shaky seasons, kind of missing the fact that once these young D establish themselves their value skyrockets.

    The exact same thing happened on this site three years ago with Larsson. People did not want to trade Yakupov for him because Larsson had some shaky years and was even in the AHL for a stint. A few thought this made him precisely a good target.

    My question then is twofold:

    1) Do people prefer Hall and Jones on this team or Nuge and Larsson? Legitimate question. I think we’ll see a 50/50 split.
    I would rank current value as Jones a clear notch above, Hall, closely followed by Nuge, Larsson so I lean towards Hall and Jones. And I say that as a big Nuge fan and a fan of Larsson.

    2) So, who is the next RHD with the tools and pedigree but not yet established, who might be had due to his struggles. Talked Myers above although he is older. Ristolainen? Ideas?

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    godot10: 3 years for $1 million per season is not off the charts for a 4th line winger (Pitlick),Essentially no cap impact if you have to send him to the minors.

    A 3 year commitment to a player that was a UFA because he didn’t play enough games (Group VI), a player that could barely get through a third of a season in his professional career without a serious injury is indeed off the charts.

    Pitlick was floored himself, as he expressly stated.

  76. VOR says:

    Thinking About the Draft – 6 – The Ole Fishing Hole – Strategies for Gaming the Draft

    As my time here draws to a probable close (we are still negotiating) I have been thinking about all the things I want to share in this series before I go.

    Like, the Reinhart trade was botched but it was a brilliant strategy. AHL prospects are always undervalued relative to draft picks as the draft approaches. Acquiring a nearly ready to play NHL D for a couple of draft picks in a draft where you knew you had hit a home run before the day ever arrived was genius. Imagine if instead of Griffin Reinhart and the Islanders the target had been Colton Parayko (who you could have gotten for less) and St. Louis. Bad execution of a very good idea.

    I am going to start talking about strategies tonight – ones that could be developed to radically improve the draft. I already gave some rules of thumb. Tonight I am talking about strategies that are dependent on what all the other scouts and GMs do at the draft.

    This is going to be easy to understand conceptually and a mathematical challenge.

    What we are looking for is discontinuities and arbitrage opportunities and a way to use the effect of present and future events to create present “best” strategies.

    We have to return to my discussion of cradles of imminence. Right now the OHL is killing it in terms of elite players, impact players, and useful NHLers. You are almost twice as likely to get it right if you choose an OHL player in the draft over any other league.

    But how do you turn that commonly known fact into a draft strategy.

    I encourage you all to learn to think of the draft as a fishing derby.

    This is a weird fishing derby. There are over a thousand fish, some years well over a thousand fish spread out among at least 10 ponds more or less evenly. But in all of those fish there are at best 60 good sized fish. However, you are not allowed to know the size of the fish you caught for years. How do you maximize your success in this derby?

    Since we know that the OHL pond is more heavily stocked than the other ponds lets assume 20 of the big fish are in the “OHL” pond. Now assume that each of ten ponds (including the OHL pond) has 100 fish in it. Now, final step, assume the WHL pond has 10 of the 60 fish.

    Sixty picks into to the draft 20 fish have been caught from the OHL pond. Now we have to allow for the fact that the first few fish caught in this fishing derby are the most likely to be good eating size. Say 40 of the best sized fish have been caught in the first 60 fish and that is equitably spread over all 10 ponds. In other words 13 of the twenty good sized fish in the OHL pond have been caught already leaving 7 in a group of 80 that are still good sized or 8.75%. Meanwhile no fish have been removed from the “WHL” pond. Where should you be fishing? What your opponent has already done determines your best strategy.

    Now I can well imagine the “skill above all purists” screaming bloody murder. I am not slaying your sacred Ox, yet. In the WHL pond I am going to trust either A) the advice of the consensus of the best fishing scouts in the business or B) the wake the fish leaves in his wake – his “results” to guide me in which fish to catch.

    But lets re-imagine this derby with all the common hockey skills, passing, skating, shooting, finishing, stick handling, back checking, etc. as the 10 ponds. This time fish may appear in more than one pond but most appear at most in two ponds and 25 or 30 in only one pond. After 60 fish have been caught 66.6% of the 10 skill/pond fish have been caught, but like the OHL the skating pond is seriously depleted. Which pond do you go fishing in?

    My point is these things are knowable if you are following your opponents behavior in real time, and as long as historic trends hold. Every year people think this draft is different but the truth is after skating hockey IQ is the next best predictor of hockey success – can you play the game fast, can you think the game fast? But finishing, the ability to actually score is odd as this sounds undervalued. I have looked at more than 40 years of late round successes and what they tend to share in common is they could score – just not in a cradle of imminence. Anderson, Hull, etc.

    You can do this same exercise with size. While I can’t see a consistent pattern to average size players being undervalued there are certainly years where they are, where big guys and then little guys get picked in preference to the average Joe. In which case you want to fish in the average sized player pond.

    All of these things (and their are a lot more) can be quantified, turned into numbers and overlaid in a map of the best fishing holes, one that updates based on probable outcomes every time a new fish is caught. Now why wouldn’t you want to use that map?

    Off course the skill people are saying BPA and the go big or go home crowd are saying pick the player with the chance to be an impact player.

    But what does history teach us? That once the monotony flat lines (near the end of the second round) nobody has a clue how to spot the BPA or the probable impact player. No individual scout, no single team, no draft strategy has outperformed chance by much or for long. But the overlaid map of fishing holes turns a guessing game into a probabilistic strategy – one with increasing returns as you go further in the draft and the arbitrage opportunities become more and more obvious.

  77. OriginalPouzar says:

    VanIsleOil:
    AsiaOil:
    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

    Agree 100% LloydB…Really enjoying the cogent debate.

    This kind of earnest and intelligent discourse is why I keep coming back to LT”s place.

    ( VOR adds so much to this blog, always look forward to his posts)

    VOR’s posts are great but I need a smoke break to get through them – and I don’t even smoke……

  78. Confused says:

    Let’s switch again.

    Is it really more about systems?

    We play McL version of SWARM, many other teams play zone.

    Is SWARM really viable? Both in terms of its impact on defense and breakout?

    I believe the answer is no, imfactically no. Basically, too much movement these days.

    That moving forward and keeping this strategy are almost incompatible.

  79. Scungilli Slushy says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    Decidedly Skeptical Fan,

    There was a quote from Friedman or someone at the time, likely on Twitter, that quoted a GM as saying he would have offered a top 4D and two first round picks for Hall.

    Unfortunately I can’t find it anymore.

    Also, Bob McKenzie and others did express shock that it was a one for one deal.

    That could have been a GM spouting sour grapes or sabotaging Chiarelli, but I have never bought that Hall for Larsson was the only and best option. There is definitely a backstory of some sort.

    The big issue for me is weirdness. I am tired of unusual dealings. Just be normal Oilers, we’ve paid our dues. Since 1988.

  80. jtblack says:

    OriginalPouzar: VOR’s posts are great but I need a smoke break to get through them – and I don’t even smoke……

    I also like VOR’s books. Just finished novel 2. Can’t wait to start the 3rd Edition …

  81. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    VOR,

    Okay, I like this premise, however as we say in the markets, ‘past performance is not predictive of future results.’ They are useful, but then applying those strategies over and over may or may not work out.

    So, just because the OHL has produced 1/3 of the big fish over the last few years does not mean that The SEL or the WHL or Finland may not be the best pool in a given year.

    So I think it makes sense to adapt your model and first have your scouting team and management rank the leagues and overall talent in a given year. Establish your expected universe and rank it, then react to what other teams are doing and fish in the highest probability ponds for that given year.

    I think it makes sense for the NHL to follow the NBA and move the draft age to 19. Then you add college players to the mix and drafting will become much more predictable of future success, I think.

  82. Professor Q says:

    jtblack: I also like VOR’s books.Just finished novel 2. Can’t wait to start the 3rd Edition …

    The Vorkosigan Saga is a really intriguing Sci Fi series.

  83. Professor Q says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    VOR,

    Okay, I like this premise, however as we say in the markets, ‘past performance is not predictive of future results.’ They are useful, but then applying those strategies over and over may or may not work out.

    So, just because the OHL has produced 1/3 of the big fish over the last few years does not mean that The SEL or the WHL or Finland may not be the best pool in a given year.

    So I think it makes sense to adapt your model and first have your scouting team and management rank the leagues and overall talent in a given year. Establish your expected universe and rank it, then react to what other teams are doing and fish in the highest probability ponds for that given year.

    I think it makes sense for the NHL to follow the NBA and move the draft age to 19. Then you add college players to the mix and drafting will become much more predictable of future success, I think.

    With perhaps an agreement with the CHL about having said 19 yos sign some form of AHL contract, if they are eligible for Exceptional Status.

  84. McSorley33 says:

    Pouzar,

    Post of the day!

    Thank you.

  85. frjohnk says:

    I put this poll up on twitter earlier.

    Just gauging some opinions.
    Which hiring was worse for Oilers?

    Eakins as coach
    44%
    Chia as GM
    56%
    548 votes · 17 hours left
    3:47 PM · Jan 8, 2018

    Pretty hard to find a fan for Chia today but for majority of pollsters to favour Eakins surprises me.

  86. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    frjohnk:
    I put this poll up on twitter earlier.

    Just gauging some opinions.
    Which hiring was worse for Oilers?

    Eakins as coach44%
    Chia as GM56%
    548 votes · 17 hours left
    3:47 PM · Jan 8, 2018

    Pretty hard to find a fan for Chia today but for majority of pollsters to favour Eakins surprises me.

    People are influenced by the media, and the MSM are painting the picture that PC is to blame right now.

  87. Pouzar says:

    McSorley33:
    Pouzar,

    Post of the day!

    Thank you.

    Yer welcome…make these every Grey Cup and Super Bowl and it’s a hit every time!

  88. godot10 says:

    frjohnk:
    I put this poll up on twitter earlier.

    Just gauging some opinions.
    Which hiring was worse for Oilers?

    Eakins as coach44%
    Chia as GM56%
    548 votes · 17 hours left
    3:47 PM · Jan 8, 2018

    Pretty hard to find a fan for Chia today but for majority of pollsters to favour Eakins surprises me.

    Recency bias.

    Plus, the stupidity of the crowd.

    Eakins destroyed the value of Hall (and Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle and Yakupov and Schultz and Petry) in the eyes of the league.

    The damage caused by Eakins is immensely greater. Chiarelli and #ThoroughlyMedicoreCoach are pikers in franchise destruction in comparison.

  89. JD_Wry says:

    Pouzar:
    Parchment paper is your friend here.

    Wry and Parchie. S’godda ring toit.

  90. VOR says:

    Thinking About the Draft – 6 continued

    I hope if nothing else in the last post I got you to accept that what the other 30 teams do effects your best strategy.

    In this post I want to look at future events and how they shape current strategies.

    One thing that leaps out at you as you study all the drafts since the inception of the Amateur Draft is that events we couldn’t predict at the time have shaped how successful a draft year is and for that matter where the talent in the draft was picked.

    Wait, I can’t mean that. But I do. Every time there is a lockout for example the few drafts before or during the lockout produce an unusual number of late draft gems. Most recently 2003 and 2011 follow this pattern.

    Anyone doubt we are coming up on a lock out?

    My modelling tells me that the 2019 draft is likely to be materially, violently effected by a lock out. The results of this coming draft may also be impacted. A lot of late bloomers will get a chance to bloom before the NHL is ready to move on from them. I will talk about 2019 in a later post. For now I want to focus on 2018.

    I have said I want as many picks as possible in 2018. This strategy is not predicated on how deep this draft is or isn’t.

    My interest in 2018 is largely because of the Oiler’s performance to date this year. There are going to be a bunch of openings on the Oilers and where there is opportunity there is an increased likelihood of good outcomes. So I want to stock up on prospects. But the looming lock out means that projects are more likely to turn into players than in a normal draft.

    For any team my advice coming into 2018 would be go looking for late bloomers. For the Oilers it would be multi-fold. At the top of the draft I would break my own rule of BPA (by which I mean the consensus best player) in the first two rounds and go with draft for need. Take the best right handed D available in the first and second round. We can argue about best RHD but I would still go with the consensus, just by position.

    In the later rounds the Oilers should go looking for late bloomers that can score in leagues that are undervalued. Particularly if said player scores off the forecheck and forechecks with speed and purpose. They also need to play a 200 foot game and support the puck in their own end very well.

    Now how did I come by that idea? Well, the Oilers need to compliment Connor McDavid. That means playing fast. You can pass the puck faster than anyone can skate but you have to have somebody to pass the puck to and them getting open comes down to speed, aggressiveness, and thinking fast.

    A player who will come back to support the play is vital to the entire process. The forechecking requirement is because speed and skill up the middle works better if the opposing D have to allow for the center dumping the puck past them and fast, dominant forecheckers chasing it down. Having a great forechecker on a line, or more than one, opens up controlled zone entries which are the secret to offensive success.

    And what does Connor McDavid need most of all, finishers. And the thing about most finishers is they have shown an ability to finish before they reach the NHL, before they are ever drafted.

    So in the late rounds I would be going for the three fs: fast, forechecking, finishers.

    Now on to 2019.

  91. JD_Wry says:

    godot10: Recency bias.
    Plus, the stupidity of the crowd.

    And brain cells executed because of Eakins. I figure in 6 – 10 years he could run for mayor and WIN.

    But he would probably veto a $350M funding request to fix up Rogers place (new ice plant, additional luxury boxes and more toilets), and then watch the team leave to Cleveland. You know you’ve been screwed when your team leaves for Cleveland!

    #cleavesland

  92. VOR says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    VOR,

    Okay, I like this premise, however as we say in the markets, ‘past performance is not predictive of future results.’ They are useful, but then applying those strategies over and over may or may not work out.

    So, just because the OHL has produced 1/3 of the big fish over the last few years does not mean that The SEL or the WHL or Finland may not be the best pool in a given year.

    So I think it makes sense to adapt your model and first have your scouting team and management rank the leagues and overall talent in a given year. Establish your expected universe and rank it, then react to what other teams are doing and fish in the highest probability ponds for that given year.

    I think it makes sense for the NHL to follow the NBA and move the draft age to 19. Then you add college players to the mix and drafting will become much more predictable of future success, I think.

    I agree with you that you need to be updating the database each and every year coming into the draft. However, the truth is that most scouting staffs aren’t unbiased observers. In my post on 2019, next in the que I start to show how teams would adapt the scouting heat maps to reflect current data in an unbiased way. Hopefully, it will address some of your concerns.

  93. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    VOR,

    I look forward to it. Also, I still hate that we gave up a 2018 pick for a backup goalie for half a lost season and locking in next year. I also think this is a draft we need to be loading up picks for.

  94. Professor Q says:

    JD_Wry: And brain cells executed because of Eakins. I figure in 6 – 10 years he could run for mayor and WIN.

    But he would probably veto a $350M funding request to fix up Rogers place (new ice plant, additional luxury boxes and more toilets), and then watch the team leave to Cleveland. You know you’ve been screwed when your team leaves for Cleveland!

    #cleavesland

    Leaving Rogers Place…Baron.

  95. Confused says:

    VOR,

    Does not the sudden upsurge on Swedish defenders suggest that it is a non-stationary process?

  96. HT Joe says:

    frjohnk:
    I put this poll up on twitter earlier.

    Just gauging some opinions.
    Which hiring was worse for Oilers?

    Eakins as coach44%
    Chia as GM56%
    548 votes · 17 hours left
    3:47 PM · Jan 8, 2018

    Pretty hard to find a fan for Chia today but for majority of pollsters to favour Eakins surprises me.

    Without Eakins, the Oilers would never have been bad enough to win the McDavid draft.

    I’m feeling conflicted, but I guess we should all thank Eakins for destroying the confidence and trade value of several players?

  97. Lloyd B. says:

    This is an incredible football game !!!!!

  98. HT Joe says:

    VOR: Thinking About the Draft

    Thank you VOR, so very much for this excellent series!!

  99. JD_Wry says:

    Professor Q: Leaving Rogers Place…Baron.

    Only to say later that he thought the council members could defend the veto, adding “My bad.”

  100. Pouzar says:

    Lloyd B.:
    This is anincredible football game !!!!!

    Man that poor kicker was nervous as **** on the sideline.

  101. McSorley33 says:

    frjohnk,

    Eakins impact was pretty short term.

    Chia on the other hand will have a lasting impact.

    We are going to watch some 2015 kids light up the league for years…..

  102. Lloyd B. says:

    BAMA misses??? You have got to be kidding! Game on.

    Pouzar: Idiot proof Super Bowl Wing Recipe.

    Marinade Wings (3-4lbs) overnight in a mixture of 1/2 half cup of buttermilk and 1 cup Franks hot sauce. Add whatever seasoning you’d like. I add garlic and some pepper. Keep it simple.

    Grill on the BBQ on Medium High Heat turning every 3 min. for about 30-40 min.
    You can char the outside and the inside stays moist and tender.
    I usually re-coat the wings after in a mixture of Franks and butter but they are just as good naked.

    Cheers.

    PS. If it’s too cold for grilling just pop them in the oven on 400 F for 45 min (turning half way through).Parchment paper is your friend here.

    </blockquote
    Thank you WTF ?
    Alabama wins! ! Damn.

  103. JD_Wry says:

    McSorley33: Eakins impact was pretty short term.

    I disagree. The lasting impact on the development of prospects, and his sewering of player value, is still being felt.

    But all Chia’s successor has to do, is turn McDavid into The Lindros Haul.

  104. Lloyd B. says:

    OriginalPouzar: VOR’s posts are great but I need a smoke break to get through them – and I don’t even smoke……

    PFFT !! I need to smoke to get through your posts.. and I don’t even breathe.

  105. Pouzar says:

    Lloyd B.:
    BAMA misses??? You have got to be kidding!Game on.

    WHAT A PASS!

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

    Pouzar,

    Such an epic finish!

  107. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    JD_Wry: I disagree. The lasting impact on the development of prospects, and his sewering of player value, is still being felt.

    But all Chia’s successor has to do, is turn McDavid into The Lindros Haul.

    Brett Lindros was no McDavid.

  108. Pouzar says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    Pouzar,

    Such an epic finish!

    My Uncle’s Alma mater so I am stoked for him. Lives is Huntsville too.

  109. Professor Q says:

    JD_Wry: I disagree. The lasting impact on the development of prospects, and his sewering of player value, is still being felt.

    But all Chia’s successor has to do, is turn McDavid into The Lindros Haul.

    Edmonton has no Sakic in order to trade their Lindros. Nor do they have an opportunity to obtain a Roy.

    No Sundin to trade, either.

    And they also probably couldn’t trade McDavid to two teams at once and have an arbitrator up the price for them. Not in this CBA.

  110. JD_Wry says:

    Professor Q,

    Nor is their Lindros merely a Lindros.

  111. Munny says:

    To fire the Coach and/or the GM, I think one would have to explain the difference in home-away splits on the PK. Or how they can look like world-beaters one month and a team that could lose to our Moms next month. And then show how the Coach/GM caused those differences.

    The best explanation for the differences IMO is player confidence… whether that has resulted from shaky goal-tending, illness, bad luck, self-fulfilling prophecies, all of the above, or whatever

    This season is on the players. IMO.

    Now can a coach affect confidence? Well, he can certainly destroy it, but I doubt he can create it. He can only provide opportunities for it to return.

    Has TMac destroyed it? I made the point a couple of months ago that I didn’t like the first-week bag skate. I think it was Hat Trick Joe that brought up the New Years practice. Maybe there are other examples of which we are unaware, but these are the only two I’ve seen mentioned. As they’ve gone unremarked by the media, I suspect HT and I are wrong on this issue.

    So without evidence otherwise, I’m keeping Chia and TMac.

    As for the players… obviously there are some tough choices ahead. You always want to improve, and a GM is always trying to (non Steve-Tambellini division any way).

    But some people are suggesting moving 8 or 9 players out. That’s not going to happen, nor should it.

  112. VOR says:

    I think, strategically thinking, 2019 is our chance to forever wash the taste of 2003 out of our mouth.

    This time we could be San Jose or Anaheim. Well better.

    To understand my very odd strategy we have to go back to the three center problem/opportunity and the need to complement/maximize Connor McDavid and deal with salary cap issues.

    But before I get to that we need to look at ways of avoiding scouting bias. We can’t afford to miss the winds of change. Or to draft a series of coke machines while Adam Oates isn’t even drafted.

    Let me be clearer. I intend my map idea to be a tool for improving drafting but not in a completely linear way.

    It isn’t that I disrespect scouts, by now it should be clear to everyone that the exact opposite is true. But I have worked with enough to know that they develop a template in their mind and fit every player to it. The best remain open to the music of the universe but even they are capable of epic misses.

    Their is actually a gallows humor to it. They will meet out on the road (scouts from multiple teams) and take turns telling about the one that got away. It goes beyond self-deprecating.

    Many teams have long since gone to scoring systems for prospects. They work at teaching their scouts to all rank players on the exact same scale in the exact same way. This actually makes the problem worse. It implies all players present in exactly one way. Which history tells us they don’t. And that all scouts think the game in the same way. Which history tells us they don’t.

    The answer is to embrace the bias. Give it an implacable enemy. Like my maps. Let them convince their colleagues and bosses that they know better than the maps. Better yet let them prove the maps are wrong. Give them control of the process of fine tuning the maps.

    I hope every scout comes to hate my maps. I hope they celebrate every time they prove it wrong. We humans do best when we are messing with the man and jamming up the gears of the system. That is where true innovation comes in to play.

    I hope every scout comes to curse my AI program, ADA.

    These are tools for helping humans improve their performance.

    Now, on to my strategy for 2019, which actually began in 2018.

  113. VOR says:

    My 2019 draft strategy is predicated on 2018 actually filling holes (well it would be great if some of the 2017 kids ended up being useful players as well). Imagine if we managed to conjure the next Paul Coffey out of the ether in the first round of the 2018 draft.

    In any case, we have to fill the obvious holes. We need more depth on RD and some hope of high end talent to come (or more hope). And we need wingers, real substantial prospected on both left and right wing. I proposed a couple of trades of existing roster players to help speed that process up. They probably wouldn’t work but they show the sort of thinking we need to practice.

    As odd as it sounds we need to trade actual NHL players for prospects that fit our needs better. That along with a superb 2018 draft class (enriched by some extra draft picks for players like Letestu) should allow us the freedom to follow my odd strategy for 2019. The first pick to me is irrelevant to the strategy. I would probably trade it along with Strome for something like Crouse and Duclair – feel free to suggest your own version.

    But I am planning where possible to increase our number of picks in 2019 by trading down over and over again. Yes, I know it didn’t work for Craig MacTavish but it is still a rock solid idea if executed properly. This is because there is a point usually near the end of the second round where the value of draft picks from there on is pretty much equal but that is hard to accept for many people/GM/teams. Thus there remains a massive arbitrage opportunity.

    With all those picks I am going to challenge my scouts to find the sleepers. To search the world looking for players that everyone else has missed. This time we are specifically looking for projects and late bloomers. If there is a lockout the chances are one or more of those kids will be a hit.

    I know many of you think it is nearly impossible to find a Pavel Datysuk, a talent everyone else has missed, any more. I beg to differ. I think it is easier than ever. This is because the rapid expansion of hockey around the world, most particularly in the US. All the demographics and research say the total pool of draft eligible kids is increasing every year. And scouting budgets are resources are at best remaining static.

    The result is kids like Warren Foegele. At sports analytics events they have started talking about S and I players, Scouted but Ignored referring to players who have been seen by many scouts but despite great stats either totally ignored or only on one or two teams draft boards. Those are the kids we want to draft in 2019.

  114. JD_Wry says:

    Embrace the fact that McDavid is likely gone soon, and it will hurt less when it happens.

    McDavid will be the 9th best (as it stands now) Oiler traded. Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Coffey, Fuhr, Weight and Pronger.

  115. Munny says:

    VOR,

    Awesome stuff this winter, VOR.

    It’s tough to accumulate picks though if we are going to trade for prospects.

    I like the trading for prospects idea because we know these players better (if more due diligence is done than there was in the case of Reinhart), because they are older and closer to the core, and because, as you say, there might be an arbitrage opportunity near the draft.

    So what I take from under-value is that Oiler players that are traded at the deadline need to be traded for picks and the players at the draft for prospects..

    I also think if a team is forced into being a deadline seller, trades should be made within the division whenever possible. These are typically pending UFAs, so what the heck. Shift a draft pick from a divisional competitor to yourself–a shift in future talent–and also give them a better chance of finishing with an even poorer draft choice in the picks they keep. Sure your one is a little worse but it’s worth it.

    And your former players might be a little happier because they’re are as close to family as they can be. Something like Elk Point boy Letestu to the Flames for a 3rd. Maroon to former home ANA/LA for a 2nd.

    Strome at the draft with whatever for the prospect.

  116. €v¥£€us says:

    JD_Wry,

    JD, why?

  117. JD_Wry says:

    €v¥£€us: JD, why?

    Well, the other 8 Oilers traded are at least in some way better than McDavid, making him 9th.

    #thegranderplan

  118. €v¥£€us says:

    I’ve been thinking that trading Drai might be on the horizon. What if, like Eberle, Leon’s second year at 21-22 yrs of age, represents his best season. He is far from that player this year, is it a lingering illness or injury or, have we seen his peak already?

    Who is comfortable with Nuge as the #2 Center moving forward, and if so, what kind of return would you expect for Leon? Next year it starts and he and CMD will cost more than 25% of the team’s total cap. Yiiikes………

  119. JD_Wry says:

    €v¥£€us: I’ve been thinking that trading McDavid might be on the horizon.

    I figured you would come around.

  120. €v¥£€us says:

    JD_Wry,

    🙂 It was more of a rhetorical question, my bad.

    I just learned the symbol for sarcasm recently, what would the symbol for rhetorical question be? /s

    Am I doing it right?

    No, seriously, am I?

    Speaking of symbols, I am also trying to learn what the symbols mean that the neighborhood kids have been burning into my front lawn. They keep stealing my pitchforks to use them as torches and I’ve got nothing to chase them off my yard with now. In fact, they’ve turned the tables on me and chase me back into my house. Durnblam kids.

    I blame this guy:

    https://youtu.be/WwRA6AzXnyU

    He’s my neighbor and he creeps everyone out. They stole my onion belt too damn it! Damn fashion trends, I just can’t keep up….

    Oh and how about them Oilers, eh?

  121. JimmyV1965 says:

    Munny:
    To fire the Coach and/or the GM, I think one would have to explain the difference in home-away splits on the PK. Or how they can look like world-beaters one month and a team that could lose to our Moms next month.And then show how the Coach/GM caused those differences.

    The best explanation for the differences IMO is player confidence… whether that has resulted from shaky goal-tending, illness, bad luck, self-fulfilling prophecies, all of the above, or whatever

    This season is on the players. IMO.

    Now can a coach affect confidence?Well, he can certainly destroy it, but I doubt he can create it.He can only provide opportunities for it to return.

    Has TMac destroyed it?I made the point a couple of months ago that I didn’t like the first-week bag skate. I think it was Hat Trick Joe that brought up the New Years practice.Maybe there are other examples of which we are unaware, but these are the only two I’ve seen mentioned.As they’ve gone unremarked by the media, I suspect HT and I are wrong on this issue.

    So without evidence otherwise, I’m keeping Chia and TMac.

    As for the players… obviously there are some tough choices ahead.You always want to improve, and a GM is always trying to (non Steve-Tambellini division any way).

    But some people are suggesting moving 8 or 9 players out.That’s not going to happen, nor should it.

    This may be way off base, but it bothered me back then and maybe it sheds some light on the coach. Way back at the Penticton tournament Tmac did an interview, I think with John Shannon, where he expressed concern about the team meeting the lofty expectations suddenly placed on them. To me it showed a lack of confidence in his team weeks before the season even started. Is it possible he transfers this angst to his players and his fears become reality? It might also partially explain his lack of playoff success with the Sharks. If the coach is wound up tight and worried, can he transfer this to his players, who become tight and worried as well. I’m probably off base with this, but the comments bothered me at the time because they came out of nowhere.

  122. AsiaOil says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): 2) So, who is the next RHD with the tools and pedigree but not yet established, who might be had due to his struggles. Talked Myers above although he is older. Ristolainen? Ideas?

    I think he’s the one. Having another mediocre year offensively (1 more point than Nurse but 1 less goal) and defensively and he was not good last year either. BUF seems like the old (new?) Oilers who are destroying kids. Risto is also being paid now ($5.4 x 5). It would take one of Klef/Nurse to start the conversation. I’d be leary of giving more. Same with Trouba. Those guys are what we need since our drafting has been so damn bad.

    Would not have been an issue if we had just drafted RH Risto to begin with, but the OBC did not know right from left and I can’t bitch as I was a big Nurse fan in his draft year. The pickings are awfully slim after that if you want a guy who could break out soon.

    But yeah Barzal and Corvo would be useful now huh? Of course everyone goes on and on about Barzal, but the famous Mitchell Stevens is never mentioned. That’s how the draft goes.

  123. JimmyV1965 says:

    Munny:
    To fire the Coach and/or the GM, I think one would have to explain the difference in home-away splits on the PK. Or how they can look like world-beaters one month and a team that could lose to our Moms next month.And then show how the Coach/GM caused those differences.

    The best explanation for the differences IMO is player confidence… whether that has resulted from shaky goal-tending, illness, bad luck, self-fulfilling prophecies, all of the above, or whatever

    This season is on the players. IMO.

    Now can a coach affect confidence?Well, he can certainly destroy it, but I doubt he can create it.He can only provide opportunities for it to return.

    Has TMac destroyed it?I made the point a couple of months ago that I didn’t like the first-week bag skate. I think it was Hat Trick Joe that brought up the New Years practice.Maybe there are other examples of which we are unaware, but these are the only two I’ve seen mentioned.As they’ve gone unremarked by the media, I suspect HT and I are wrong on this issue.

    So without evidence otherwise, I’m keeping Chia and TMac.

    As for the players… obviously there are some tough choices ahead.You always want to improve, and a GM is always trying to (non Steve-Tambellini division any way).

    But some people are suggesting moving 8 or 9 players out.That’s not going to happen, nor should it.

    This may be way off base, but it bothered me back then and maybe it sheds some light on the coach. Way back at the Penticton tournament Tmac did an interview, I think with John Shannon, where he expressed concern about the team meeting the lofty expectations suddenly placed on them. To me it showed a lack of confidence in his team weeks before the season even started.

    Is it possible he transfers this angst to his players and his fears become reality? It might also partially explain his lack of playoff success with the Sharks. If the coach is wound up tight and worried, can he transfer this to his players, who become tight and worried as well. I’m probably off base with this, but the comments bothered me at the time because they came out of nowhere.

  124. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    AsiaOil: I think he’s the one. Having another mediocre year offensively (1 more point than Nurse but 1 less goal) and defensively and he was not good last year either. BUF seems like the old (new?) Oilers who are destroying kids. Risto is also being paid now ($5.4 x 5). It would take one of Klef/Nurse to start the conversation. I’d be leary of giving more. Same with Trouba. Those guys are what we need since our drafting has been so damn bad.

    Would not have been an issue if we had just drafted RH Risto to begin with, but the OBC did not know right from left and I can’t bitch as I was a big Nurse fan in his draft year. The pickings are awfully slim after that if you want a guy who could break out soon.

    But yeah Barzal and Corvo would be useful now huh? Of course everyone goes on and on about Barzal, but the famous Mitchell Stevens is never mentioned. That’s how the draft goes.

    I think Risto is miscast. He isn’t ever going to be a total package like Jones, but he could be quite good with the right partner. Also, unlike Jones, he should not cost RNH+.

    Trading Nurse to get him is just like having a do-over on the draft, but I am not sure that makes sense. I think the two of them together could be quite good, however. Nurse just doesn’t have the offense. We know Risto does–he is just on an awful team that is depressing his numbers.

    I am not sure what the cost would be to get him. If Benning had taken another step forward this year, he + 2019 1st might have been enticing.

    Trouba, if he comes with a reasonable extension would be someone I would move Klef for, as long as any addition required would be minor.

    So maybe the most attainable candidate would be Myers? He is flawed, too, but should cost less than Trouba, and probably less than Risto.

  125. stevezie says:

    Cassandra: Right.And it took Chiarelli only a matter of months to blow a massive whole in that scenario with the ludicrous at the time Reinhart trade.

    The one thing Kinger is right about is that Chiarelli shouldn’t be fired over the results this season.If you liked him last year you should like him this year.His track record is no different.

    I think he should have been fired for the Reinhart deal.

    Boy do i ever agree with all of this. Chia has got back luck and bad goaltending this year.

    Fire him for the process. That’s the part he controlled.

  126. OriginalPouzar says:

    In Nashville tonight and they are playing as bad as they have all season.

    Going to be a tough one.

    They’ll probably pull out a win with a great performance.

  127. OriginalPouzar says:

    The Cody Franson ship has sailed right?

    I do see some logic in picking him up on waivers (at this point, do we really care about the 50 contract limit – I see us ditching contracts for picks not the other way around).

    Right shot D that can move the puck and play the PP – 3rd pairing plus PP.

    It would force Auvitu on to waivers/Bakersfield and end the silly experiment of playing a tweener d-man at forward and maybe force the coach to play Slep a bit more – #freeslep.

    I don’t see it happening but I wouldn’t mind a 3rd pairing of Davidson/Franson.

    It would also allow Russell to play the left side predominantly.

    Franson remains an “advanced stats darling” – the puck does move the right way when he’s on the ice.

  128. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):

    2) So, who is the next RHD with the tools and pedigree but not yet established, who might be had due to his struggles. Talked Myers above although he is older. Ristolainen? Ideas?

    – Some nice posts NYC

    – He’s not an upcomer, but I bet OEL, they could be convinced to move him. He’s only got a few years left on contract, down year, team struggling…

    – I know that’s whale hunting, and not what I’d advocate, but he’d cost a Nurse, another roster player, and a good prospect +

    -If you trade for a RHD, and lose RNH for example, that’s not good: stealing from peter to pay paul

  129. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    VOR,

    – VOR: this is all so great: VOR says: ” there is a point usually near the end of the second round where the value of draft picks from there on is pretty much equal ”

    – How are you determining the value of those picks? The 200-game rule? The chance of being an impact player?

    – Vegas has a ton of draft picks accumulated for 2018: they should be in great shape, based on your prediction of a lock-out, and extra year of development for those picks…

  130. OmJo says:

    godot10: Recency bias.

    Plus, the stupidity of the crowd.

    Eakins destroyed the value of Hall (and Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle and Yakupov and Schultz and Petry)in the eyes of the league.

    The damage caused by Eakins is immensely greater.Chiarelli and #ThoroughlyMedicoreCoach are pikers in franchise destruction in comparison.

    I don’t disagree that General Disappointment > the Dementor, who had no business being a head coach at the time. And it’s even worse when you consider who was fired and how they were fired.

    But in terms of damage caused, I think you could make the argument Chiarelli caused greater damage. The damage from Eakins is/was reversible, for the most part. It would take some time, but all of those players – minus Yakupov who coaches in this league genuinely seem to despise – have rebounded.

    The damage caused by Chiarelli could end up being permanent because it’s roster damage, not mental damage. We already have a bunch of AHL wingers on this team and little cap space to work with as of next season. Our best hopes are that the team has drafted well with the picks General Disappointment hasn’t given away and will continue to do so.

  131. OmJo says:

    McSorley33,

    Bah… Beat me to it!

  132. frjohnk says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Some nice posts NYC

    – He’s not an upcomer, but I bet OEL, they could be convinced to move him.He’s only gota few years left on contract, down year, team struggling…

    – I know that’s whale hunting, and not what I’d advocate, but he’d cost a Nurse, another roster player, and a good prospect +

    -If you trade for a RHD, and lose RNH for example, that’s not good: stealing from peter to pay paul

    OEL is left handed.
    UFA next summer.

  133. OriginalPouzar says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Some nice posts NYC

    – He’s not an upcomer, but I bet OEL, they could be convinced to move him.He’s only gota few years left on contract, down year, team struggling…

    – I know that’s whale hunting, and not what I’d advocate, but he’d cost a Nurse, another roster player, and a good prospect +

    -If you trade for a RHD, and lose RNH for example, that’s not good: stealing from peter to pay paul

    OEL is a leftie I believe – great player but doesn’t solve the leftie/rightie issue (nor does Dahlin but Dahlin allows us to trade a high end LHD for signifigant assets after a couple of years – Dahlin will be cheap for the first few years – NHL ready but not to be forced up the lineup).

  134. OriginalPouzar says:

    Hands up – who’s looking forward to the game tonight?

    *OriginalPouzar puts his hands up*

    Each game night is a new opportunity to watch Connor McDavid play hockey, to watch the continued development of Jesse Puljijarvi and Darnell Nurse, to evaluate each and every player and their talent level, fit, effort and commitment, to be potentially entertained and, in the end, to watch my hockey team.

    Playoffs aren’t in the cards in 2018 for the Oilers but there are still games to watch – come on boys, show some professional integrity and put on a good performance tonight.

  135. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar: OEL is a leftie I believe – great player but doesn’t solve the leftie/rightie issue (nor does Dahlin but Dahlin allows us to trade a high end LHD for signifigant assets after a couple of years – Dahlin will be cheap for the first few years – NHL ready but not to be forced up the lineup).

    I guess just bank on Doughty or Karlsson coming here in FA…

    *unlikely*

  136. thehop says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Mr. Katz??? Is that you?

    I always get a kick out of a guy saying that the Oilers are “his”. Unless you really are Bruce Wayne…which explains the eternal optimism!

    I’ll always look back on last year fondly. One good season every ten just doesn’t cut it for me. I find the Oilers are hard to watch….again. Even with all the players you mentioned. I love watching hockey but I don’t have time for this team and the way they play. It stinks. Top to bottom. Clevland Browns style.

  137. Pouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    I am done watching Oilers hockey until there is some material change in Mgt, Coaching, Players or All of the above. Apathy has set it…is that final stage of Oiler fan grief?

  138. VOR says:

    Munny:
    VOR,

    Awesome stuff this winter, VOR.

    It’s tough to accumulate picks though if we are going to trade for prospects.

    Ilike the trading for prospects idea because we know these players better (if more due diligence is done than there was in the case of Reinhart), because they are older and closer to the core, and because, as you say, there might be an arbitrage opportunity near the draft.

    So what I take from under-value is that Oiler players that are traded at the deadline need to be traded for picks and the players at the draft for prospects..

    I also think if a team is forced into being a deadline seller, trades should be made within the division whenever possible.These are typically pending UFAs, so what the heck. Shift a draft pick from a divisional competitor to yourself–a shift in future talent–and also give them a better chance of finishing with an even poorer draft choice in the picks they keep. Sure your one is a little worse but it’s worth it.

    And your former players might be a little happier because they’re are as close to family as they can be. Something like Elk Point boy Letestu to the Flames for a 3rd. Maroon to former home ANA/LA for a 2nd.

    Strome at the draft with whatever for the prospect.

    The math says trade for picks at the deadline, even though it is a common strategy. It also says trade for prospects at the draft which isn’t a common strategy. It is far less clear what the correct strategy is today, midway through a season.

  139. VOR says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    VOR,

    – VOR: this is all so great: VOR says: ” there is a point usually near the end of the second round where the value of draft picks from there on is pretty much equal ”

    – How are you determining the value of those picks?The 200-game rule?The chance of being an impact player?

    – Vegas has a ton of draft picks accumulated for 2018: they should be in great shape, based on your prediction of a lock-out, and extra year of development for those picks…

    Average # of NHL games played, average #of goals scored, and chance of drafting an 8 or better on the Cullen scale (impact player).

  140. OriginalPouzar says:

    thehop:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Mr. Katz??? Is that you?

    I always get a kick out of a guy saying that the Oilers are “his”. Unless you really are Bruce Wayne…which explains the eternal optimism!

    I’ll always look back on last year fondly. One good season every ten just doesn’t cut it for me. I find the Oilers are hard to watch….again. Even with all the players you mentioned. I love watching hockey but I don’t have time for this team and the way they play. It stinks. Top to bottom. Clevland Browns style.

    Pouzar:
    OriginalPouzar,

    I am done watching Oilers hockey until there is some material change in Mgt, Coaching, Players or All of the above. Apathy has set it…is that final stage of Oiler fan grief?

    To each their own but I am going to watch Oiler hockey games – I can’t imagine ever making a decision to not watch Oilers hockey games due to a bad product on the ice. This is professional sports, teams go through ups and downs, there are cycles, etc. Yup, there have been way too many downs for this team over the last decade but, whatever, I watch cheering, waiting, hoping, clamoring for more ups.

    They might lose tonight, in fact that is the highly probably scenario. On the other hand, they might win, they might win in spectacular fashion, it might be the game of the year, McDavid might make the play of the year, Larsson might make the hit of the year. Shit, maybe they blow out the Pred – I don’t know, its professional sport, anything can happen on any given night.

    Go Oilers!

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