AVALANCHE AT OILERS, G5 (12-13) 28.1.13

Woodguy mentioned something yesterday about coach Ralph Krueger devoting a high percentage of even strength ice time to the Oilers top line. He posted in response to my assertion that Ralph Krueger might be best served by moving Taylor Hall to the Gagner line and Yakopov to the Nuge line–thus creating a ‘tough minutes’ line and a soft parade line in Gagner (Hall-Hemsky) and RNH (Yak-Ebs) respectively.

WG takes it from here: RK’s 5v5 TOI/gm is why I don’t think moving Hall pays dividends.

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 16:28:00; Taylor Hall 16:20:00; Jordan Eberle 16:02:00
  • Sam Gagner 13:04:00; Ales Hemsky 12:49:00; Nail Yakupov 11:52:00
  • Ryan Smyth 08:20:00; Shawn Horcoff 08:07:00; Magnus Paajarvi 08:05:00

If you move Hall and have 10′s line do heavy lifting then the TOI needs to flatten out considerably. That’s not RK’s plan. His plan is to play his top two lines hard in most situations, with 89′s line getting the shitty end of the stick.

All the graphs we looked at yesterday confirm the bolded portion, and a quick look through the EV TOI at NHL.com also confirms WG’s point:

  • Nuge-Hall-Eberle average 16:17 EV ice-time per game (37.86%)
  • Gagner-Yakupov-Hemsky average 12:15 EV ice time per game (28.25%)
  • Horcoff-Smyth-Paajarvi average 8 EV ice-time per game (18.6%)
  • 4th line and extra’s (15.29%)

Going back to 1997-98, no Oiler forward averaged 16 EV minutes per night, let alone an entire line. Now its early in the season and Ralph Krueger will likely flip lines around (has already tweaked 3 and 4lines) countless times during the year. Still, Woodguy’s point is well taken: this team’s even performance rests on the 6 forwards at the top of the order. Imagine Ryan Smyth batting 7th.

  • Horcoff: “We still aren’t learning. It’s a mindset, it is patience, and that comes from experience. We’re young, we’re inexperienced, and we’re showing it at the start of games. We’re not patient, especially on the road. We wanted to make plays and win the game in the first 10 minutes, and that’s not the way it works.”

I think that’s a great quote. Most of the things hockey players say aren’t really valuable–I’m not trying to be a smartass here, but its true–I’ll love Ryan Smyth as a hockey player until I die, but his interviews are the same ones that I heard Gretzky and Fuhr give and before them Keon and Orr and Mahovlich. “We gotta get pucks in deep” would be a great name for a book of cliche hockey quotes, but I can’t imagine any hockey fan would buy it.

We hear it every night.

Horcoff’s quote (courtesy Joanne Ireland at the EJ) is a step above that imo, he’s giving some insight into this young team. Anyway, we could go the whole year without hearing another quote that has some value so I wanted to point it out.

Interesting item came up last night on twitter. The Oilers have 4 EV goals, and Taylor Hall is 1-3-4 at evens! Incredible.

Shawn Horcoff went missing for about 10 minutes in the third period, it’ll be interesting to see if we read about why this morning.

nw capture

 

All of these teams are basically tied for first and only one of the has an even GF-GA (tonight’s opponent). Varlamov has a .927SP, Matt Duchene is 4, 2-2-4 and PA Parenteau and John Mitchell have a couple of goals each. Gabriel Landeskog has no goals, but 17 shots, so tonight might feature a breakout for the young gun.

I won’t post lineups because there could be a tweak or two–please post if you see them. Thanks!

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449 Responses to "AVALANCHE AT OILERS, G5 (12-13) 28.1.13"

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  1. Lowetide says:

    Yakupov (Gagner)

    I like this team. :-)

  2. JohnnyRocket says:

    Nice that the Oil could lock it down in the third. Yikes! The win feels good. It’s nice to see Gagner continue to roll and the kids are starting to gel. Hold on to your hats folks! It’s going to be a wild ride.

  3. B S says:

    Looks like he’s hurt, wonder if it had something to do with Krueger benching him?

  4. SK Oiler Fan says:

    pboy,

    Rigjt you are, just saw a 4. Nasty – league should look at that

  5. JohnnyRocket says:

    Am I the only one underwhelmed with N. Schultz this season?

  6. pboy says:

    He got slashed after shooting the puck.

  7. Bar_Qu says:

    Harski seems to have learned the lesson he was supposed to, and PRV is in the right place to make his contribution (and hopefully learn his lessons too). Belanger continues to be the guy he was meant to be.

  8. DBO says:

    Even strength still a concern, but they had chances. They will roll people on the PP. Special teams will be huge and the PP will be fine with two units who can really score. But the EV scoring still concerns me. Why I still like the idea of more balance. But if Hartikainen and MPS can play like this every night, the 4th line will pot a few.

  9. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Yak took a ligjt slash to the shin after the goal, looked harmless

  10. Lowetide says:

    gr8one:
    LT, can you write a blog and get all of your blogger buddies and news friends and radio cohorts to start a campaign to please for the love of god have the Rexall faithful stop that bloody awful habit of chanting “nuuuuge!!!” or worse “Doooooooooob!!!!” every time they touch the puck or make a save.

    The parallels it conjures in my mind with all the Vancouvidiots screaming “louuuuuuuuuuu!!” makes me throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear them do it.

    Please tell me I’m not alone in this!?!

    I’m not a fan either, but people pays their money.

  11. BlacqueJacque says:

    pboy: I like that Ralph put him back out there to try get an easy goal after keeping him on the bench for awhile.

    Me too, though it would have been nice for Nugget to pop his cherry this season.

  12. wordbird says:

    nice game by Teemus Paajarvakainen tonight. and Hall was a monster.

  13. bookjLe says:

    Lowetide:
    Yakupov (Gagner)

    I like this team.

    You have been waiting a few years to say that and mean it LT. It’s just awesome watching these kids play.

  14. speeds says:

    Won’t be surprised to a 2nd line of 56-89-83 next game, with 91-20-64 as the 4th.

    Or if they wat to leave 64 on the LW, maybe swap 91 and 64′s wings.

  15. hunter1909 says:

    MPS won’t go anywhere. On Saturday one of the Flames tried to blindside MPS and literally bounced off like he’d hit a truck.

    Tonight MPS + Hartski were solid Oilers.

  16. speeds says:

    Be interesting to see just what kind of a deal Gagner is playing himself into, and whether he’s playing himself into EDM’s top 6 long term, or out of their price range if he posts, say, 35 points this year?

  17. BlacqueJacque says:

    Hall 1-6-7.
    Gagner 2-4-6.
    Eberle 3-3-6.
    Schultz 1-4-5-.
    Nuge 0-4-4.
    Yak 3-0-0.

    Through over 10% of the season, the kids look fine.

  18. DBO says:

    And not to be lost is the ice time tonight. Kids had first game under 20 mins in a bit and no one had less then 10. That’s more balance. Harti and MPS going means Ralph can roll 4 and be happy.

  19. JohnnyRocket says:

    speeds,

    I don’t know. I think that 64 needs to be kept with the playmakers. I’d be afraid that he would loose whatever team-first habits he is forming if he was moved to the 4th line. I would think that the temptation to do it all himself would be too great on the 4th line.

    He is too smart and driven a player not to have it “click” at some point with those line mates.

  20. bookjLe says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    Hall 1-6-7.
    Gagner2-4-6.
    Eberle 3-3-6.
    Schultz 1-4-5-.
    Nuge 0-4-4.
    Yak 3-0-0.

    Through over 10% of the season, the kids look fine.

    Averaging more than a point per game for the group of them.

  21. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    Be interesting to see just what kind of a deal Gagner is playing himself into, and whether he’s playing himself into EDM’s top 6 long term, or out of their price range if he posts, say, 35 points this year?

    I’m hoping he stays. Dubnyk gets SP back over .900, that’s a lot of travelling after the SJS game.

  22. bookjLe says:

    Dubnyk had a nice game tonight – in past years, this would have been a game the Oilers lost because of weaker goaltending.

    There are a lot of people who Dubnyk will never win over because he hasn’t mastered the big glove swing on the routine save (Cujo was the best at this). However, if he is keeping the puck out of the net by stopping shots – that’s enough for me.

  23. khildahl says:

    The first line looked like they flipped a switch tonight. Nothing to show for it at EV, but their possession was off-the-charts crazy.

    I can’t wait for the bounces to start going their way.

  24. icecastles says:

    A normal, restrained celebration by Yak. Can only mean one thing: he’s stopped caring and wants to be traded .

    Blow it up.

  25. JohnnyRocket says:

    Dubnyk seems calm this year. I don’t know much about goaltending, but that seems reassuring.

    I hope they can resign Gagner, but with this (predictable) jump in his numbers, I have my doubts. What s upper number we can sign him for long term? 3.5? 4?

  26. B S says:

    speeds,

    I’d like to see him at 5 years $20mil. if he had that kind of season. Him breaking out with an extended set of quality linemates has been my concern, as it could certainly put him out of the Oilers price range. Anything over a $4.5 mil./year cap hit for him would be untenable under future cap restrictions (assuming Nuge and Yak at the same $6 mil/year as Hall). That’s half your cap hit tied up in your top 6. Could end up with Blackhawk syndrome.

  27. Rebilled says:

    Johnson with a shut-out tonight for Phoenix. 1-0 for the season.

    Smith 0-2.

    Would guess to see Johnson Wednesday.

  28. In the Grease says:

    I would have to believe Gagner wants to stay, he’s put in his hard time, and I’m sure wants to be part of this team moving forward. A deal gets worked at possibly a hometown discount ala Subban… ok its not his hometown, but having been in Edmonton since 18, adopted hometown?

  29. wordbird says:

    DBO:
    And not to be lost is the ice time tonight. Kids had first game under 20 mins in a bit and no one had less then 10. That’s more balance. Harti and MPS going means Ralph can roll 4 and be happy.

    and 16 mins for Horcov, 13 for Smyth. fresh for the PK. be nice if that was sustainable.

  30. Lowetide says:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers

    “A lot more confidence with the puck … Harti had his best game by far.” – Coach Krueger on Hartikainen’s play tonight

  31. Rebilled says:

    and of course, 3rd in the Western Conference Edmonton Oilers

  32. Professor Q says:

    Rebilled,

    Such a difference, looking at the top teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences…

  33. "Steve Smith" says:

    JohnnyRocket:
    Am I the only one underwhelmed with N. Schultz this season?

    No (though I didn’t see tonight’s game). He was a third pairing guy last year, and early returns show much the same this year, although he’s better than our actual third pairing, which is composed of two #7s. The $7.5 million in cap hit tied up in Whitney and Schultz is going to have to be raided to preserve our defensive core of Smid, Justin Schultz, and Petry.

  34. justDOit says:

    Kings just tied it. 2 – 2 with 0:43 left in the 3rd. Another 3 point game in the west.

  35. Dipstick says:

    Just finished watching the game on PVR. I’d give up all of the other good things just to have seen Magnus take it to the net and earn a PP. Long time coming!

  36. rickithebear says:

    bookjLe:
    Dubnyk had a nice game tonight– in past years, this would have been a game the Oilers lost because of weaker goaltending.

    There are a lot of people who Dubnyk will never win over because he hasn’t mastered the big glove swing on the routine save (Cujo was the best at this).However, if he is keeping the puck out of the net by stopping shots – that’s enough for me.

    Versus SJ 6G 17 Shots 20 Min. 18.00GA .647SV%

    Other 4 games 8G 133 shots 1.98GA .940SV%

    i remember a Ga and Save% theme last year!

  37. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Nice bounceback game for Paajarvi and solid return to the lineup for Hartikainen. Very good to see.

    If those guys can be solid contributors that would make such a huge difference for this club. They certainly were tonight.

    Yakupov with by far his weakest effort to date but I wouldn’t be demoting him off a scoring line based on one game. He’s a rookie, bound to be erratic.

    Big bounceback game by Smid as well, 8 hits and 5 blocked shots, & he cleared the d-zone 6 times in the third period alone.

    Good to see Dubnyk step it up in the third when the team had a pretty significant letdown. 24 shots against in one period is not my idea of how to protect a lead. That said, we’ll take the two points, especially in regulation. The killer PP won that one.

  38. lawrenharris says:

    Oilers won by three goals and didn’t have a single plus player. You don’t see that every day.

  39. striatic says:

    Rebilled: and of course, 3rd in the Western Conference Edmonton Oilers

    hilarious.

    BlacqueJacque: Through over 10% of the season, the kids look fine.

    the Oil are in a good spot given the shortened season.

    if the Oiler’s coaches are still breaking the season down into 5 game chunks, winning 3 out of every 5 gives them a shot at the playoffs and they’ve done that so far.

    next five games are @PHX, @SJS, @COL, VAN, DAL

    PHX, SJ and COL on the road – need to win 1 of those. against COL, most likely, especially if Landeskog is out a week.

    VAN, DAL at home – need to win 1 of those. DAL, most likely, although they should be improved with Benn back.

    then the Oilers need to pick up a W against one of PHX, SJS, VAN. probably PHX.

    so, big game against PHX on wednesday. if they don’t win that one, they need to figure out how to get a win out of SJS or VAN in order to just stay on pace.

  40. striatic says:

    lawrenharris: Oilers won by three goals and didn’t have a single plus player. You don’t see that every day.

    we’re still waiting on a “normal” win.

    winning without having the lead, winning without any plus players.

    leaves one anxious.

  41. LMHF#1 says:

    Some people who frequent a website many of us used to frequent claim Hemsky had an off game…I think they’re nuts. I saw him really solid tonight. Didn’t follow the running commentary here…what was the verdict?

  42. justDOit says:

    T minus four hours and counting for an epic Hunter post.

  43. Zelepukin says:

    Tonight showed that winning by PP can be a great thing if it means majority of our PP opportunities were a result of the opposition being forced to take a penalty because we are out working and out-skating them.

  44. Zelepukin says:

    It’s also worth noting that now Ebs only scores highlight reel goals. Any missed opportunity to shoot or dangle is nothing more than Ebs analyzing the situation and coming to the conclusion that if its not spectacular, it’s not worth doing.

    If you’re the opposition this means that if its an empty netter, he’ll always pass it off.

  45. OilLeak says:

    wordbird,

    I’m stealing that.

  46. Lucinius says:

    Just got through the game on PVR. I liked the effort tonight (letdown in the third, but.. I’ll take it). Smid was very good. Hall was tremendous, looking more like the player he is than what he put forward in Calgary. Eberle remains magnificent. Dubnyk with a strong game.

    I really liked the combination of Harski and Paajarvi. They just work well together, always have. Both of their games compliment the other very well, glad to see them put together with the renewed Belanger to good results.

    We need more 5v5 scoring, but that will come, imo, with how well the top two lines are going. Yakupov had a weak game, but those’ll happen. Also, on the slash he took scoring the EN goal; I don’t think it was the force that caused the issue, but that the blade got jammed right into the knee below the padding. Slightly worrisome, hope its nothing more than a bruise.

  47. bookjLe says:

    I think the conclusions from last night are pretty clear – Dubnyk is going to win the Venezia, the Oilers will contend for the cup, Nail Yakupov is a failed pick, and Fistric is literally invisible.

  48. BlacqueJacque says:

    bookjLe,

    I think Italy may have something to say about that.

  49. BlacqueJacque says:

    LMHF#1:
    Some people who frequent a website many of us used to frequent claim Hemsky had an off game…I think they’re nuts. I saw him really solid tonight. Didn’t follow the running commentary here…what was the verdict?

    I’m not sure what site you’re referring to, but these are likely the same people who said Sam Gagner is too small and not effective enough as a second-line centre.

    Hemsky played a good game. That second line is getting some tough shifts though and they lack chemistry as a whole. Gagner and Hemsky are kind of OK together, Gagner and Yakupov are alright, but Hemsky and Yak can’t find each other.

    Well, Yak’s passes couldn’t find anyone in an Oiler uniform, so…

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