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. BlacqueJacque says:

    Unlike years past, I am confident of a good bounceback effort. Hall is a monster even if he doesn’t finish ad often as he could, and the other kids need to push the play like he does. I don’t see lineups or ice time changing much from the pattern. This is clearly the year where the kids learn to swim in the deep end.

  2. Woodguy says:

    I’m reading a lot about other NHL teams this year and all the hand wringing based on a very small sample size is full of comedy.

    Fans are even turning on players who are performing well, like…I dunno…. a 20 year old who is averaging 1 5v5 pt/gm

    Here is last year’s top 5 5v5 pt/gm:

    Malkin 1pt/gm
    Stamkos .87pt/gm
    Spezza .75pt/gm
    St. Louis .75pt/gm
    Kessel .72pt/gm

    So Hall is on a pace that would lead the league last year at its toughest offensive dicipline and people are not sure he’s a player.

    Lordy.

    Another interesting item is Eberle’s shot production and shooting percentage.

    Eberle is shooting 11.8%, which is what he shot is rookie year (11.4%). The regression from last year’s 18.9% is underway.

    HOWEVER,

    Eberle has 17 shots in 4 games, which pro-rates to 348 shots in a 82 game season.

    In his first two years, Eberle shot 158 and 180 shots.

    Last year only 5 players took over 300 shots:

    Malkin, Neal, Kovalchuck, Nash and Stamkos.

    If 14 is going to start shooting as much as those guys, he might be a perennial 35-40 goal guys…with a 11.8% SH. That’s great to see.

    Also,

    I think the Oilers scoring will be fine. An embarrassment of talent up front and another in 64 who dents the iron when he hits it.

    I’m concerned about the back end though. N.Shultz is getting severely outshot and Whitney can’t break a cycle.

    Luckily LD is are the most abundant in the NHL and perhaps the Oilers can swing a deal at some point.

    I just hope that MacT makes them ask more questions about the player other than what Steve Yzerman thinks of him and where MBS had him in his draft year 35 years ago.

    I think DD will be fine, but his fine is 15-25th in SV% in the NHL. Serviceable, but not someone to hang your hat on.

    I think this game is very winnable and the Oilers are due to score more. Puck luck hasn’t been the best.

    Variance is a bitch, hopefully tonight the Oilers make it their bitch.

    Go Oilers!!

    *clap,clap*

  3. Woodguy says:

    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.”

    Sounds like this group of young men have a good and thoughtful leader.

  4. BlacqueJacque says:

    I was really hoping the extra 4 months off would help Whitney heal up, and while I knew that he’d never regain his old form I was hoping he’d be effective. Sadly, I’m starting to think his career is done. He doesn’t have any speed, his agility is beer league (I honestly think that’s no exaggeration) and he doesn’t even look like he can comfortably use his strength.

  5. Henry says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    You might be right, but I really hope not. He’s one of the guys with no preseason and it has been only one week.

    It takes me months to get in shape.

  6. spoiler says:

    If Hall plays with Gagner and Hemsky, then Yak, RNH and Ebs will get eaten alive on the road. The opposing coach will hard match and they will be facing the tuffs every shift.

    Not going to happen, LT.

    Going the way he has means Krueger can keep the same lines on the road as at home, and use his D pairings to help whoever the opposing coach decides to brutalize.

    I brought this up before the Flames game and despite two lengthy posts about moving Hall to Gagner’s line since then, I have yet to see this issue addressed.

    Do you really want Yak, RNH and Ebs facing the Iginlas, Thorntons and Crosbys of this league? Coz that’s what will happen.

  7. Ribs says:

    Wait…People were serious about the Hall bashing? Really? I though it was turning into one of those sarcastic memes that we love around here. The bum.

    Just went to check who’s reffing tonight. The game notes are mysteriously missing the officials names so far. Hopefully it’s someone decent. The chintzy calls have really disrupted the games in three of the four played already.

  8. DBO says:

    Our issue is that we do not have an extra tough minutes two way winger who can handle the defensive pressure of looking after RNH and Eberle. I know we talk about adding toughness on that line, but maybe it makes more sense to run with more balance on the three lines, with our youngest winger playing with our two most solid vets.

    Hall-Gagner-Hemsky (tough minutes)
    MPS-RNH-Eberle (soft parade, MPS is the defensive conscience)
    Smyth-Horc-Yakupov (the most comfortable spot for Yak and has backup. Best part is he will lead all the attacks, so he can rush as much as he wants. he’ll be alone waiting for the slowpokes to catch up, but at least he will have support)
    Hartikainen-Belanger-Petrell (no O, but physical and can play in own zone)

    Late in games you roll Belanger onto the third line, and maybe Ya up with Nuge if you need goal.

  9. Clarkenstein says:

    You can quote all the stats you want but the problem has been and is a lack of size on this team. No size in front of the net, no size in the corners to put it out front and no size along the wall in the defensive end. Fistric is a start but in a game that still relies on the physical aspect the Oil are dreadfully short and most of the top 6 get pushed around like little girls. That is why they get beat up by the teams with size. The saving grace for now is the PP but they have to stay out of the box themselves to keep the upper hand on Special teams.

  10. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy:
    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.”

    Sounds like this group of young men have a good and thoughtful leader.

    San Jose won the game on Tuesday in the first 10 minutes and 2 seconds….just sayin. I look forward to an Oilers squad that can win with 5 good minutes. Over the years a number of important losses have come at the hands of other teams that did just that.

    One thing that seems evident through the first few games is that we do indeed have a problem when it comes to the bottom six. It’d be one thing if they were getting chances and just not cashing in…but instead they’ve just been skating around doing a whole lot of nothing. Our top 2 lines are pretty much it so far. That’s a very good group of 6 we’re talking about…but the grind of even a 48 game season requires more performance from the 3rd and 4th lines. That can just be wearing out the opposition D. I remember a game a few years back where a fourth line that I believe included Jason Chimera and Tony Salmelainen spent the night wearing out the Leafs D which paid dividends for the rest of the squad. Something like that would be helpful right about now.

  11. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    DBO: Our issue is that we do not have an extra tough minutes two way winger who can handle the defensive pressure of looking after RNH and Eberle.

    Isn’t the hope Magnus will be that guy? I also think a few folks are hoping Jones can play that role when his eye is right.

    But… yea… this is where the Winnik type guy is needed.

    spoiler: If Hall plays with Gagner and Hemsky, then Yak, RNH and Ebs will get eaten alive on the road. The opposing coach will hard match and they will be facing the tuffs every shift.

    I see that… but LT is basically talking about the AV strategy: soft parade for 1st with sedins and school of hard knocks for Kessler and co.

    That would demand much more careful attention to the lines than RK is showing right now… as WG points out RK seems much more concerned with discipline TOI and zone starts than line matching.

    that’s all well and good and I agree that RK shouldn’t be abandoning his plans 4 games in… but I don’t think the alternative (with this young team) is a loser either. Plus I have a crush on the old Gag-Hall-Hemsky line.

    Henry:
    BlacqueJacque,

    You might be right, but I really hope not.He’s one of the guys with no preseason and it has been only one week.

    It takes me months to get in shape.

    I’m not sure how far we can extend the short preseason and no training camp get out of jail card to Whitney…

    I get that game situations probably take some re-adjusting too… but preseason and TC are mostly for learning the system, or relearning it, and getting used to your line-mates and discipline responsibilities…

    you are expected to come into camp conditioned and at top performance… and all the off-season reports seemed to imply Whitney was “working hard” and considered himself “ready to go”…

    so, I guess I’m saying “speed” and “turning ability” aren’t really the kinds of things he’s going to grow into in the first 10 games… they are there or not.

  12. DBO says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    When jones comes back he will help the balance. If he replaces Hartikainen, then you have an even more dependable 4th lline. I really like MPS on the Nuge line as the defensive part of it. And I am talking myself into Yak on the 3rd line. especially if they are getting the lower EV minutes, which means Yak will get more shelter. he can still slide up on the PP, MPS takes the PK minutes. MPS in the past has been a solid EV player who moves the puck in the right direction. He has size and with Ebs and Nuge he will help in the D zone just like Hall did.

  13. Clay says:

    Ok, so we’re playing Colorado, I’ll kick off the “what would it take to get Ryan O’Rilley / would he fit” discussion…

    Rumour has it that Colorado would part with him for a young top 6 forward + 2nd round pick. Plus, he’s looking for Jamie Benn money.

    A centre lineup that looks like RNH, O’Reilly, and Gagner looks pretty decent, but my guess is Gagner would be the “young top 6 forward” going the other way, at least.

    Is Gagner + 2nd round pick a bargain for O’Reilly, or overpay? Keep in mind that Gagner is a .605ppg player, O’Reilly is .453ppg

  14. Woodguy says:

    Clarkenstein,

    . That is why they get beat up by the teams with size.

    So the Kings and Canucks are small?

  15. Woodguy says:

    Henry:
    BlacqueJacque,

    You might be right, but I really hope not.He’s one of the guys with no preseason and it has been only one week.

    It takes me months to get in shape.

    There was one sequence in the Calgary game that spelled this out very clearly.

    6 was marking his man behind the net, and his man made a quick stop and push to change direction.

    6 had to take all the weight off his left foot, (actually lifted his left foot off the ice) put all his weight on his right foot to make his stop and push.

    By the time 6 had done this, his mark was on the other side of the net wide open and making a pass to the slot.

    No amount of conditioning will change that.

  16. rickithebear says:

    AMEN:

    http://hockeyanalysis.com/tag/shooting-percentage/

    Seek the truth………..

  17. Clay says:

    Woodguy:
    Clarkenstein,

    . That is why they get beat up by the teams with size.

    So the Kings and Canucks are small?

    This popped into my head too, but I left it alone.

    Size is important, no question, but a team that is looking to play a more skilled, puck possession type game can live without above average size.

    Cue the obligatory Detroit example. Yes, they do have some size with guys like Bertuzzi and Franzen, but they’ve also been a dominant team forever with their star centermen being below average in terms of size.

    I take smarts and skill over size any day.

  18. Bar_Qu says:

    LMHF#1,

    Right now SJ is scoring at a rate that screams “PDO regression!” Marleau is at a pace he has never been at and it won’t continue. The difference between SJ and Edm on that night was a couple of vet scorers in Marleau and Thornton who have been taking apart defences which are either inexperienced or not up to game speed yet. They did it again to the Canucks last night and I think it is safe to say Van is going to be a good team this year. Just not yet.

    I would try to refute the Horcoff nonsense which will crop up, but I leave that to such luminaries as Captain Happy/DSF.

    Clarkenstein,

    Strong puck movement, smart play and good skating will (and at times this season has) made up for size in the top 6. There is not a player which I would give up in our top 6 for anything less than a comparable superstar.

    Having said that, Clay, I would be willing to exchange Gagner + ___ for O’Reilly, but I think convincing arguments have been presented why its not in Colorado’s interest to do that.

  19. Bar_Qu says:

    rickithebear,

    …. and you get suckered by some guys who eventually have you singing at the airport in a robe asking for change.

    (I think that’s the quote you meant)

  20. khildahl says:

    Why are people around here so hell-bent on setting Yakupov up to fail by anchoring him with Smyth and Horcoff? Hasn’t this fan base spent enough time criticizing Hemsky for flying solo as the only speedy player on his line? Now we need to do it the new guy too?

    I’m going to the game tonight, so the kids should win (the Eberle jersey I bought last year is lucky live).

  21. mc79hockey says:

    Spoiler -

    Is there some reason Krueger couldn’t just follow the opposition’s best line onto the ice with RNH/Eberle/Yak on the road? They wouldn’t get the softs outright but you can still shelter them from the opposition’s best.

    Of course, that creates a bit of a different problem with the PP – I think RK likes having Yak set up across from Hemsky..

  22. Clay says:

    …sorry for consecutive posts, but physical size doesn’t guarantee physical toughness either. There are plenty of examples of big soft guys (lookin at you, Pennercakes), and smallish guys who can flat out murder people. Kronwall is 6’0″ and 190lbs. Mike Richards, 5’11″ and 195lbs. Remember Peca? 5’11″, 180lbs. Hell, Scott Stevens was only 6’0″ and 215lbs.

    The Oilers’ kids just need a few years to put on some old-man strength, and they’ll be fine. Gagner already has a mean streak, and hell, RNH is sneaky physical too.

  23. Henry says:

    Woodguy,

    I remember that play, I think it was Hudler that made the nice cut. I like your dissection of Whitney’s skating issues, and they worry me as an Oiler fan and a Whitney fan. I still hope he can be effective with a few more games.

  24. bookjLe says:

    I am not as excited about Horcoff’s statement. For a team that frequently hasn’t come out to play for the first 10 minutes of a game in about 6 years time, a little enthusiasm/confidence to start a game is somewhat welcome.

    As per Eberle and shooting percentage, I think we can anticipate that he will have a higher than average shooting percentage simply because he very frequently targets the corners which results in him missing the net quite frequently when other guys are hitting goalie pads while shooting for the 5-hole. The missed shots dont count as ‘shots’ so it leads to a higher percentage. On the opposite end of the spectrum MPS seems to love to dump the puck on the goalie as soon as he crosses the blue line along the boards. He does this 4-5 times a game. It kills his shooting percentage (and often the play). If he can ever break this habit and carrying the puck towards the the, looking for a pass, or even just dumping it in, it would improve his play.

  25. khildahl says:

    Clay:

    The Oilers’ kids just need a few years to put on some old-man strength, and they’ll be fine.Gagner already has a mean streak, and hell, RNH is sneaky physical too.

    Pretty sure I saw Nuge throw at least one hit against Calgary.

  26. Bruce McCurdy says:

    khildahl: Pretty sure I saw Nuge throw at least one hit against Calgary.

    RNH’s physical game is underrated. He generally saves it as a response mechanism when the other team amps up the aggressiveness; but whether he is the recipient or one of his linemates, he’ll ramp his own physical play up, moreover is technically very proficient at finishing (“through”) his checks. He’s got the sneaky shoulder too. If you don’t believe me, ask Travis Ewanyk, Brenden Morrow, or Jesse Joensuu.

    Being a banger is not his primary game to be sure, but he is anything but soft.

  27. BlacqueJacque says:

    I’m not too worried about the lack of size and physicality of this team. It hasn’t hurt us so far – the top line actually has one of the best cycles going in the game and the only six footer in there is Hall. None of the teams that beat us managed to do so by being more physical. Actually, one could argue that the Oilers are beating themselves. With the refs lending a big helping hand.

    Too excited vs Anaheim, trying to do too much vs Calgary.

  28. khildahl says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    I won’t blame the refs for either loss (though I sure would have if we’d lost the LA game), but they certainly contributed. Allowing that first Calgary goal –especially after disallowing that goal against Sir Laurence Oquickier– was a travesty, but the team should have been able to overcome it.

  29. Ryan says:

    DBO,

    Nicely done! I was thinking the same thing and posted those lines at the tail end of a stale thread

    Yak gets some shelter plus the 10/94 line gets some offence.

    The 10/94 line isn’t getting the tough opposition and it’s still not generating any offence against the soft parade.

    One concern is about MPS–he looks the part of being the defensive conscience, but misses assignments too much.

  30. jake70 says:

    I noticed Gagner in the photo. He plays the Avs well over the years. Last year I predicted a 2 g, 1 a night against the AVs and didn’t the bugger go and do just that. I won’t predict anything tonight, only that the Oil score 5 or 6, they seem to be high scoring games vs the AVs in recent years.

    Well maybe this prediction – Gagner has a big night, gets traded right after for O’Reilly, sort of a Weight-Tik scenario. Stranger things have happened.

  31. Bruce McCurdy says:

    DBO: MPS-RNH-Eberle (soft parade, MPS is the defensive conscience)

    “Defensive conscience”, eh? Let’s have a look at MP’s season-to-date:

    EV: 24:16 TOI, 0 GF, 3 GA
    PK: 6:23 TOI, 0 GF, 2 GA

    That’s a half hour of ice time all told, during which the Oil have been outscored 5-0. Obviously not cherry minutes, but not exactly a instruction video on playing defensive hockey either.

    He’s usually in the defensive zone in time, but what he does when he gets there is another question. His positional play to this point has been, to my eye, atrocious.

  32. ashley says:

    Woodguy:

    So Hall is on a pace that would lead the league last year at its toughest offensive dicipline and people are not sure he’s a player.

    Lordy.

    Well, I knew I was coming into the lion’s den with those criticisms. I stand by what I said. Taking some valid (in my eyes) criticism of Hall’s game and exaggerating the position to “I’m not sure Hall is a player” is not really fair debate. Nor is quoting a bunch of stats at a sample size of 4 games.

    I’ve watched him for two seasons now, and I see significant flaw that can be better. Not a player? Hardly. He is a beast out there. I agree. He plays fearlessly and gains the zone regularly with speed. He has defencemen’s knees shaking. However, once he gets there, he can, and is capable of making better decisions. That’s fair criticism in my eyes, and I think your stats are not registering these turnovers as squandered opportunities. Granted, they may not have existed in the first place without his work to get there. That doesn’t mean he can’t do better.

    A curiousity. Why are we comfortable criticizing various Oiler players for parts of their game, including rookies (MPS, Petry, RNH), some of which was heaped on before they even arrived (No 64), and debate them calmly. But if I point out a flaw in Hall’s game, the response is what I would expect if I had mocked someone’s retarded brother? It’s strange, no?

  33. Ryan says:

    Great stuff from Spoiler and Bookjie.

    I re-read Bookjie’s post looking for the obvious sarcasm I seemed to miss and it wasn’t there. :)

  34. Ryan says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Like I said he looks the part, but doesn’t act the part. Very-well articulated Bruce!

  35. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Ryan:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Like I said he looks the part, but doesn’t act the part.Very-well articulated Bruce!

    Sorry, “he” meaning RNH or MP? Not sure which of my comments you’re agreeing with?

  36. gangplank says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    While MPS has +/- stat going against him, almost none of the goals scored with him on the ice was his fault.

    I am surprised that you list GA as a criteria to rate a player’s defensive skill.

  37. Captain Happy says:

    gangplank:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    While MPS has +/- stat going against him, almost none of the goals scored with him on the ice was his fault.

    I am surprised that you list GA as a criteria to rate a player’s defensive skill.

    None of the goals the Oilers scored while he was on the ice were his fault either.

    Funny how that works.

  38. VOR says:

    I’d like to point out that the Whitney bashing here is getting absurd. He, Fistric and Justin Schultz weren’t the problem in Calgary. Smid and Petry were awful and Nick Schultz just bad. In fact, based on time on ice it appear Krueger is a lot less certain Whitney is the problem than the people who keep posting here about every skating problem Whitney has. The move Hurdler made beats any NHL defenceman, it was a world class cut from a world class skater.

    Lets truly call a spade a spade, if we are going to improve one of the things that needs to happen is Smid, Petry, and Schultz senior need to get their heads out of their butts. Each has had great moments this season, but they have also been brutal for long stretches.

    MPS, who I love, looks lost. Becoming a great defensive player often takes time. Most players who end up there learn the trade through an apprenticeship with a master of the art. I think pairing Horcoff and MPS and being patient for a season or two probably gets the Oilers a great shut down winger but my rose coloured glasses aren’t so tinted to believe it is going to be painless, for him, the team, or the fans.

    Hall looks bad because he is so good. He generates opportunities and then doesn’t capitalize at the rate fans want to see. The thing is only truly amazing talents generate that many chances in the first place. A point per game at evens is, as Woodgy points out above, setting the bar very high. The kid can flat out play and people here were actually using the word bust. Really – in on 100% of your teams EV stength goals and on pace to match Malkin’s performance from last year and you are a bust. What exactly does a 1st OV who is covering his draft position look like? It must be greater than the Oiler who wore the #99 in order for Hall to be a bust.

  39. gangplank says:

    Captain Happy,

    Horcoff and Smyth show almost no offensive acumen on ES anymore. Some of it is age, other is difficulty of minutes. However, MPS is not put in a position to score goals/ help create them. Plus his season is only 3 games in.

  40. Clarkenstein says:

    Clay,

    YOu’re talking a two game sample… I’m referring to about a 5 year sample.

  41. Captain Happy says:

    Looks like Freddie isn’t too happy with Magnus either:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers

    Judging by morning skate, it looks like Petrell has moved up to RW with Horcoff and Smyth while Paajarvi-Belanger-Hartikainen are together

  42. khildahl says:

    Captain Happy,

    I don’t mind those lines. The 4th should put some pressure on the other team (not much chance they’ll score, but they’ll be in the right end a little more).

  43. fuzzy muppet says:

    If tencer is right, potter is back in for Fistric tonight.

    ooooof. Krueger might not be the genius some thought he was.

  44. knighttown says:

    ashley: Well, I knew I was coming into the lion’s den withthose criticisms.I stand by what I said.Taking some valid (in my eyes) criticism of Hall’s game and exaggerating the position to “I’m not sure Hall is a player” is not really fair debate.Nor is quoting a bunch of stats at a sample size of 4 games.

    I’ve watched him for two seasons now, and I see significant flaw that can be better.Not a player?Hardly.He is a beast out there.I agree.He plays fearlessly and gains the zone regularly with speed.He has defencemen’s knees shaking.However, once he gets there, he can, and is capable of making better decisions.That’s fair criticism in my eyes, and I think your stats are not registering these turnovers as squandered opportunities.Granted, they may not have existed in the first place without his work to get there.That doesn’t mean he can’t do better.

    A curiousity.Why are we comfortable criticizing various Oiler players for parts of their game, including rookies (MPS, Petry, RNH), some of which was heaped on before they even arrived (No 64), and debate them calmly.But if I point out a flaw in Hall’s game, the response is what I would expect if I had mocked someone’s retarded brother?It’s strange, no?

    In fairness Ashley, I think you said he was about the 7th best player on the team. The rest of the post was fine but that kind of hyperbole got you in some trouble.

  45. RMGS says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    If tencer is right, potter is back in for Fistric tonight.

    ooooof.Krueger might not be the genius some thought he was.

    Is Krueger feeling the pressure of playing the GM’s two-year extension over the (somewhat) better option on the ice?

  46. Lois Lowe says:

    I just want to point out that, unlike the last two seasons, there has been no debate about whether Yak stays in the NHL. Not one single poster has said that the Oilers are ‘burning’ a year of of his ELC, in a shortened season no less. I hadn’t even thought about it until I heard that Galchenyuk is staying in Montreal.

    With Hall being all of 21(?), I am willing to bet that he’ll learn to make better decisions in the offensive zone. He’s still learning the pro game as much as any of the other kids.

  47. Bar_Qu says:

    Captain Happy:
    Looks like Freddie isn’t too happy with Magnus either:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers

    Judging by morning skate, it looks like Petrell has moved up to RW with Horcoff and Smyth while Paajarvi-Belanger-Hartikainen are together

    That looks like a great fourth line. The third line would be great if Petrell wasn’t on it, but that would also require Ryan Jones not to be hurt and Petrell to have been let go last summer.

    If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

  48. nelson88 says:

    ashley,

    Agreed. Call it the internet group “narrative” effect. Fascinating to observe.

    The real kicker is that this site is one of the least problematic in that regard which I think is a testament to the guy who runs it (don’t bring up his son Poo or MacT) and why we all spend a significant amount of time here (my wife is thinking of divorcing me, can’t say I blame her). I don’t go by CopperNBlue and some of the other sites anymore as the group thought narrative driven by some of the more influential posters and their absolute certainty regarding their brilliance is impossible to stomach.

    Long may this be a place for wise minds to offer differing opinions in a cordial manner!

    p.s. not a comment on Woodguy in particular as he is one of the best posters on here imho. although he did go a little oveboard on the hemsky push last year….;)

  49. ashley says:

    knighttown,

    Fair point KT. I was frustrated when I wrote that, obviously, and 7th best was an exaggeration as you point out. Perhaps 7th best that night, but definitely top 3 on this club.

  50. vishcosity says:

    ashley,

    I believe your post yesterday came within reach of Hunter’s 4 am (pre back stroke) garden hose event; not sure much of the malaise was directed at you directly. But I will repeat my bit about over coaching, if only for your benefit. I think Taylor Hall has the look of a player trying to learn a new system, like switching from zone to man to man (except on offense). Dude masters the middle ice like few in the game, if it takes him a while to figure out the final zone play against the league’s elite, then I can live with that for a while. Will he enter the HHOF? I guess that depends on his learning what you describe. Not all first line players do. He might. We’ll see.

    Clay:

    Size is important, no question, but a team that is looking to play a more skilled, puck possession type game can live without above average size.

    I take smarts and skill over size any day.

    I think the age old question is about size or speed. Obviously everyone would take smarts, I’m just not sure it trades off with size exactly. Players can be both big and smart, I’d rather have fast and smart, my own self. Or the odd freak of nature who is big and fast with a semblance of brains. Lindros (pre concussion) seemed to have been that. Mario. Most end up in other (more prolific) sports however.

    Months ago I said i wanted a 2C with thunder in his game. Richards seems to have some of that, and Carter, and Grigorenko too imo. Its not a simple question of size, its 1. attitude 2. skill 3. speed and 4. size. All important, but to limit the discussion to player height/weight is, I think, largely missing the issue.

    Gagner has some of it going on, he’s feisty, sufficiently skilled offensively, relatively speedy, and a bit small. Are there better options? Of course. Letting him prove his thunder against top comp in this contract year has me watching the young player for sure. Is he good enough as a 2C to win the tournament? Maybe. I’d rather have Jordan Staal, but life is what it is. If Sam signs a 4M x 6 deal, it could be good enough for all of this to work.

  51. Bruce McCurdy says:

    gangplank: I am surprised that you list GA as a criteria to rate a player’s defensive skill.

    gangplank(Quote) (Reply)

    I use GF and GA for a LOT. Always will. Call me old school, but until they start awarding Stanley Cups on scoring chances or Relative Corsi I will treat those latter stats as subsidiary to the big numbers on the scoreboard — which, after all, are the drivers of that gigantic wild card known as “score effects” that affects the very process that is being measured by all the advanced stats. Love all those numbers too, stats whore that I am, but “what’s the score?” has always been the first question off my lips. And the stats that best explain how the score got to be what it was are the ones of most interest.

    Now admittedly 30 minutes is a tiny sample size no matter whether you’re charting goals, shots, Corsi, or number of girls in lower three rows who made meaningful eye contact. As for goals scored not being his fault, I guess it depends what you are looking for. One of the things I look for is positional play, and MP’s has been, uhh, nonplussing.

    See Goals #s 3 and 6 in this overview of last week’s defensive meldown vs. the Sharks for two examples of MP in action (or if you prefer, MP inaction); I still have to review the goals in the Calgary game, but on at least one of them MP was more of the same. Which is already an alarming number of examples in (such) a tiny sample.

    Over at the the Cult of Hockey, David Staples tracks individual contributions to scoring chances at even strength, and in the same minute sample size he has MP contributing to one scoring chance for and three against. That’s bad for anyone but especially for a winger, who generally tend to have the least defensive responsibility and the most offensive responsibility, so good ones run 2:1 or 3:1. Now in Paajarvi’s case his 1:3 “ratio” is literally one and three, so it’s WAY too early to do anything other than note the alarming trend and monitor to see if it continues.

    David also tracks chances on special teams, and again Paajarvi’s raw number looks bad — second most SHSCA among forwards — and is much worse when you consider his SHTOI is <½ that of the first two units.

    I've been tracking those same games working on a different d-zone based project, and I'm seeing what David is seeing, which is to say, sporadic JFJ-calibre brain cramps. Mostly positioning issues. Hopefully just a little slump, not a trend.

  52. Woodguy says:

    ashley,

    Well, I knew I was coming into the lion’s den with those criticisms. I stand by what I said. Taking some valid (in my eyes) criticism of Hall’s game and exaggerating the position to “I’m not sure Hall is a player” is not really fair debate. Nor is quoting a bunch of stats at a sample size of 4 games.

    Wasn’t directed straight at you.

    In other parts of the Al Gore people are seriously questioning if he’s good.

  53. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lois Lowe,

    I read somewheres someone saying maybe Yak should stay in Russia because of too much travel and uncertainty (bogus argument IMO)… but I can’t recall the ELC discussion either.

    Still, I think it’s always a valid idea to second guess even the most obvious decisions.

    Bar_Qu: That looks like a great fourth line. The third line would be great if Petrell wasn’t on it, but that would also require Ryan Jones not to be hurt and Petrell to have been let go last summer.

    remember when Renney put 37 on the first line that time?

    BTW… how long on Jones… has there been an update since the injury?

  54. hunter1909 says:

    I’ll be brutally honest here, and admit to the discovery of an entire case of Guinness in my cupboard…set to expire in under 24 hours.

  55. Bruce McCurdy says:

    hunter1909:
    I’ll be brutally honest here, and admit to the discovery of an entire case of Guinness in my cupboard…set to expire in under 24 hours.

    I’ll have to stay up to 4 a.m. to read your next rant … or maybe I’ll just set my alarm.

    The one on Sat…urrr…Sunday was epic!

  56. khildahl says:

    hunter1909:
    I’ll be brutally honest here, and admit to the discovery of an entire case of Guinness in my cupboard…set to expire in under 24 hours.

    By far not the worst thing I’ve ever found.

  57. Woodguy says:

    VOR,

    I’d like to point out that the Whitney bashing here is getting absurd. He, Fistric and Justin Schultz weren’t the problem in Calgary. Smid and Petry were awful and Nick Schultz just bad. In fact, based on time on ice it appear Krueger is a lot less certain Whitney is the problem than the people who keep posting here about every skating problem Whitney has. The move Hurdler made beats any NHL defenceman, it was a world class cut from a world class skater.

    Hudler made a good move.

    My point is that Whitney turned like a tug boat, not a NHL Dman.

    Michael Parkatti at http://www.boysonthebus.com/ is manually doing shot ratios until (if?) Vic gets his game widgets working for this year.

    Here’s the numbers for the Oilers D for the last two games as per Michael: (attempted shots for against total)

    Calgary

    Petry 0
    Smid 0
    J. Shultz 0
    Fistric -3
    Whitney -5
    N.Shultz -5

    LA

    J. Shultz +4
    N.Shultz 0
    Fistric -2
    Smid -4
    Petry -8
    Whitney -11

    So Whitney has been outshot the worst among the Oilers Dman and plays 3rd pairing minutes.

    And he has obvious mobility issues.

    Its not bashing, its the truth.

  58. bookjLe says:

    Bruce McCurdy: RNH’s physical game is underrated. He generally saves it as a response mechanism when the other team amps up the aggressiveness; but whether he is the recipient or one of his linemates, he’ll ramp his own physical play up, moreover is technically very proficient at finishing (“through”) his checks. He’s got the sneaky shoulder too. If you don’t believe me, ask Travis Ewanyk, Brenden Morrow, or Jesse Joensuu.

    Being a banger is not his primary game to be sure, but he is anything but soft.

    Actually, in watching all of the ‘kids’ play, I have been impressed at how effective they all are in going into the corners against opposition players (many of whom are larger) and leaving with the puck. THey use their body a bit, but their stickwork is sublime and they poke, prod and pry the puck away.

  59. godot10 says:

    Captain Happy:
    Looks like Freddie isn’t too happy with Magnus either:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers

    Judging by morning skate, it looks like Petrell has moved up to RW with Horcoff and Smyth while Paajarvi-Belanger-Hartikainen are together

    Paajarvi and Hartikainen together is music to my ears. They made any centre between them last year and this in OKC look like beasts. Vandevelde had 6 goals in the playoffs between those two. Lander started scoring this season when he was put between those two.

    I think Paajarvi-Belanger-Hartikainen has a shot at becoming the 3rd line in a few games if Krueger sticks with it. I think Hartikainen needs Paajarvi, because Harti needs a puck transporter.

  60. justDOit says:

    Woodguy,

    Hmmmm – actually, tug-boats are pretty maneuverable – with engines/props at both ends. I believe the vessel you were looking for was battleship.

    “Hudler to B6…”

  61. justDOit says:

    bookjLe: Actually, in watching all of the ‘kids’ play, I have been impressed at how effective they all are in going into the corners against opposition players (many of whom are larger) and leaving with the puck.THey use their body a bit, but their stickwork is sublime and they poke, prod and pry the puck away.

    I’ve noticed this too. Ebs or RNH will skate in, rather nonchalantly, as if they were merely forming a queue behind the puck carrier. Then they engage their feet and stick, twist and turn, and out they go with the puck. It’s really surprising. That line ravaged the Weber/Suter duo last season on several shifts, in Nashville’s barn, if memory serves.

  62. Woodguy says:

    nelson88,

    p.s. not a comment on Woodguy in particular as he is one of the best posters on here imho. although he did go a little oveboard on the hemsky push last year….;)

    It is impossible to love Hemsky too much.

  63. Captain Happy says:

    godot10: Paajarvi and Hartikainen together is music to my ears.They made any centre between them last year and this in OKC look like beasts.Vandevelde had 6 goals in the playoffs between those two.Lander started scoring this season when he was put between those two.

    I think Paajarvi-Belanger-Hartikainen has a shot at becoming the 3rd line in a few games if Krueger sticks with it.I think Hartikainen needs Paajarvi,because Harti needs a puck transporter.

    TOI should between the 3rd and 4th lines should give you a pretty good idea of what Freddie is thinking.

  64. Woodguy says:

    justDOit:
    Woodguy,

    Hmmmm – actually, tug-boats are pretty maneuverable – with engines/props at both ends. I believe the vessel you were looking for was battleship.

    “Hudler to B6…”

    Albertans making nautical references is usually a bad idea.

  65. khildahl says:

    justDOit: I’ve noticed this too. Ebs or RNH will skate in, rather nonchalantly, as if they were merely forming a queue behind the puck carrier. Then they engage their feet and stick, twist and turn, and out they go with the puck. It’s really surprising. That line ravaged the Weber/Suter duo last season on several shifts, in Nashville’s barn, if memory serves.

    I remember that. That pairing looked like they were trying to drill themselves into the ice.

  66. justDOit says:

    Woodguy: Albertans making nautical references is usually a bad idea.

    Well you seem to have everything else sorted out quite nicely, so I was hesitant to correct you – as most Saskatchewanians would.

  67. bendelson says:

    In regards to the referees:

    No doubt there is significant frustration in regards to the referees over the course of the past week.  Strange penalty calls and a few goals called back (or allowed) to the chagrin of Oiler fans everywhere.   It has certainly been well documented here on Lowetide…  

    Now, I have heard many theories on why this seemingly keeps happening to the Oilers franchise – no respect for the bottom feeders, too many cocky kids etc. etc. and while there may be something to these ideas (conspiracy theories), I find it hard to believe it’s a problem unique to the Oilers.  

    It is NOT.

    On the weekend, Phoenix had two goals called back in a game against LA that they ended up losing 4-2.  Both goals appeared ‘good’ but were called back in one case due to a super early whistle and the other due to the oversensitivity to ‘goaltender interference’ that is currently happening – league wide.

    In yet another game, Columbus had a goal reversed due to a phantom ‘goalie interference’ call.  Neither Columbus player was in the crease and neither player touched the goalie.  Weird call.  Columbus lost that game by one goal.

    Again, it seems very clear that the problem with NHL referees is not exclusively an Oiler problem.

    This is not a rant to dump all over the referees.  It is a crazy fast game that is difficult to referee at the best of times.  This is why complaints about the referees are a constant in this league – always have been and probably always will be.  It does appear however, to get decidedly more difficult to referee after the rules get ‘tweaked’ every now and then…  and I believe this is where we are at this season.  

    The ‘new’ rules are being called very objectively.  It’s mandated by the league.  Anything remotely close to goalie interference is being called (except in Calgary!).  The closing your hand on the puck ‘tweak’ has had repercussions in many games.  The double instigator call has been seen on mulitiple occasions…  And my favourite so far – touching the puck with your glove in the faceoff circle is a penalty – apparently even if you fall and accidently touch the puck.  The rule ‘tweak’ was made to prevent players from gloving the puck back to win a close draw…  So why are they calling the penalty for an incidental ‘touch’ that provides no advantage?  Because they have been instructed by the league to set the standard.  

    On most occasions, the referee’s do a fairly good job of managing a game.  IMO it’s when these mandated rule ‘tweaks’ come down the pipe, that the referees get themselves into hot water.  They lose their ability to referee the game in front of them.  They HAVE to make certain calls.  This changes the way they can manage the game and the result is, in the end, what we are seeing this week.  Strange calls, bad calls, and then sadly, strange make-up calls, bad make-up calls and it goes on and on….  

    Time should fix most of these problems.  Referees tend to always revert back to the norm (survival instincts I would imagine) and return to subjectively managing the game to the best of their ability.  

    One just requires significant patience to get through these times.  And in this, a 48 game sprint of a season, that is a difficult thing to ask a fan to do.

    I expect more of the same problems tonight.
    Go Oilers!

  68. khildahl says:

    bendelson,

    While rule changes certainly impact the calls made, it doesn’t excuse the shitty job the refs do in mid-season. See the Flyers and Leafs games from last year for reference, or the sudden losing of the whistles that happened late in the season.

  69. Bruce McCurdy says:

    bendelson: And my favourite so far – touching the puck with your glove in the faceoff circle is a penalty – apparently even if you fall and accidently touch the puck. The rule ‘tweak’ was made to prevent players from gloving the puck back to win a close draw… So why are they calling the penalty for an incidental ‘touch’ that provides no advantage? Because they have been instructed by the league to set the standard.

    Bang on. The “accidental fall on the puck off the draw” is tied with the “accidental batting mid-air puck over glass” for The Worst Rule in the League. Just adds a total randomness to penalties, and no matter if they happen in OT in Game 7, the ref has no choice but to call them.

    An accidental trip is one thing, but some of these marginal touch-of-the-puck wrinkles need to be ironed out.

  70. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Bang on. The “accidental fall on the puck off the draw” is tied with the “accidental batting mid-air puck over glass” for The Worst Rule in the League. Just adds a total randomness to penalties, and no matter if they happen in OT in Game 7, the ref has no choice but to call them.

    An accidental trip is one thing, but some of these marginal touch of the puck wrinkles need to be ironed out.

  71. Woodguy says:

    justDOit: Well you seem to have everything else sorted out quite nicely, so I was hesitant to correct you – as most Saskatchewanians would.

    Well Northern Saskatchewan is just littered with lakes so I’ll still defer to you sir.

  72. justDOit says:

    bendelson,

    Nice post. I read that Crombeen got a triple-minor called last night – roughing, interference, and holding. Man…

  73. FPB94 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Because often when they do have a leeway the rule disappears.

    Oh the times i’ve seen hands closed on pucks.

  74. Bar_Qu says:

    bendelson,

    That’s likely the best, most objective commentary I’ve heard on reffing so far this season.

    We all get too worked up aboout it, imo.

  75. Woodguy says:

    Cam Charron at NHL numbers has manually done every team’s PDO so far.

    Link: http://nhlnumbers.com/2013/1/28/pdo-numbers-by-nhl-team-jan-28

    PDO is 5v5 SV% + 5v5 SH%.

    They converge to 1 in an almost German clock like manner for both teams and players.

    Basically if your PDO is above 1 you are experiencing good luck and if its below you are experiencing bad luck.

    The further away from 1 you are, the more good/bad luck you have had.

    Here’s the team numbers:

    FIrst number in SH%, 2nd is SV% and the last is PDO

    Team Shooting% Team Save% PDO
    T.B 0.152 0.943 1.095
    S.J 0.096 0.972 1.068
    MTL 0.106 0.962 1.068
    ANA 0.131 0.919 1.050
    COL 0.082 0.956 1.038
    OTT 0.081 0.954 1.035
    DAL 0.069 0.965 1.034
    N.J 0.083 0.946 1.029
    CHI 0.113 0.916 1.029
    STL 0.087 0.929 1.016
    BOS 0.101 0.915 1.016
    NYR 0.088 0.924 1.012
    PHI 0.059 0.951 1.010
    DET 0.058 0.938 0.996
    BUF 0.069 0.926 0.995
    L.A 0.095 0.899 0.994
    WPG 0.065 0.928 0.993
    NYI 0.113 0.876 0.989
    VAN 0.057 0.928 0.985
    NSH 0.062 0.920 0.982
    MIN 0.064 0.913 0.977
    TOR 0.087 0.887 0.974
    PIT 0.060 0.912 0.972
    CGY 0.065 0.903 0.968
    CAR 0.059 0.905 0.964
    WSH 0.053 0.906 0.959
    CBJ 0.060 0.888 0.948
    PHX 0.081 0.866 0.947
    EDM 0.053 0.892 0.945
    FLA 0.021 0.909 0.930

    Oilers are due for some good luck via shooing and SV%, therefore I predict 6-1 Oilers.

    *clap,clap*

  76. "Steve Smith" says:

    bendelson,

    Fuck you.

  77. Woodguy says:

    Hey look Captain D.S.F. Happy can use advanced stats to partially explain why FLA is putrid this year!

    You’re welcome.

    :)

  78. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lois Lowe: I just want to point out that, unlike the last two seasons, there has been no debate about whether Yak stays in the NHL. Not one single poster has said that the Oilers are ‘burning’ a year of of his ELC, in a shortened season no less. I

    This came up on Twitter, mentioned by a couple of ideologues on the subject.

    The reasons for bringing Yakupov over, even for a shortened season, are many:

    1) Ever since the league went to a draft cut-off of 18 years old by the first day of training camp (Sep 15), there has been agreement both implicit and explicit that the best 18-year-olds are ready to play in the league. Especially in the salary-cap era, the league is always happy to have a couple of these first-year-eligible guys around, lest some agent with an overactive imagination start murmuring about “restraint of trade”.

    2) This is especially true of 18-year-old forwards, every one of whom drafted #1 OV since Mike Modano has made the NHL in their first kick at the can.

    3) In Yakupov’s case, there were initial concerns about the KHL trying to retain him. The thought of LEAVING Yakupov in the KHL, specifically for the purpose of underpaying him three years from now, would be 19 flavours of crazy.

    4) That aside, when it comes to core players, the message that “your contract is more important than you are” is not a good one to be sending. Better to get the guy apprenticing on his ELC and when that comes due, pay him. That’s exactly what the Oilers did with Hall; in fact in the last 10 years every player but one taken #1 OV is still with the franchise that drafted him, with most or all of the eligible ones locked up into the UFA years.

    5) “Grow the cluster”. With a core group of young players it is best to have them playing Together a.s.a.p. Not only have them learning against NHL-calibre competition, but learning to work together to beat it. Good as they are individually, players of this skill level are even more dangerous in combination. When the Oilers had their original Big Five, they brought them all in as fast as they could, and even the ones who didn’t seem quite ready at first (Messier, Kurri, Coffey) caught on, and caught up, real fast. In that instance all five of them arrived in a three-season span, very similar to the present situation. Why wait when you can bring them along as a group?

  79. Bruce McCurdy says:

    FPB94:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Because often when they do have a leeway the rule disappears.

    Oh the times i’ve seen hands closed on pucks.

    I’m not talking about hands closed on pucks, I’m talking about the guy taking the draw falling and accidentally touching the puck with his glove. That’s now a penalty. I’ve seen a few of them called this year, and every last one has been ridiculous.

  80. bendelson says:

    khildahl,

    Leafs and Hab games have a completely different set of rules.
    I thought everyone knew that.

    And yes, refs do have shitty games. What we are seeing this week is more than that.

    “Steve Smith”,

    Thanks buddy!

  81. justDOit says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Because I can’t comment on CoH, may I ask if you guys will be doing your 10 game breakdowns of player performance, or are you going to cut those intervals into 6 games (10/82 ~ 6/48)?

  82. justDOit says:

    Rishaug tweeting Landeskog not playing tonight due to head and leg issues. I was surprised when he returned to the game after that Stuart hit.

  83. raventalon40 says:

    Matt Moulson is a beast at EVs. He has zero PPP but he’s 3-2-5. Last year he was 36-33-69 with 24 PPP.

    justDOit:
    Rishaug tweeting Landeskog not playing tonight due to head and leg issues. I was surprised when he returned to the game after that Stuart hit.

    If that was Sutton, it would have been a 5 game suspension.

  84. VOR says:

    Woodguy,

    The pr0ove you are bashing Whitney because right now he is second at EVs among the D in TOI, 2nd in TOI on PP and 3rd TOI overall, so he isn’t playing 5/6 minutes. My other point would be his current goals against per 60 is under 2, which is well above NHL average, and his PDO is terrible so he probably starts putting EV goals for on the board before long. The fact you use two games of bad Corsi against him and call him a 5/6 pairing guy makes my argument for me.

    Outcomes do matter and when the goalie behind you isn’t playing better for you than he does your teammates (arguably worse) and yet you are not getting bad outcomes despite bad corsi then the quality of chance you are giving up might not be the same as the quality your teammates are giving up. Two games might, just possibly be two small a sample for corsi to mean anything to begin with. Additionally, I am convinced corsi isn’t as correlated with outcomes for D as it is for the forwards.

    If Whitney plays #3 minutes for an entire year and keeps his goals against per 60 under 2 I think his injury (however, devestating) isn’t preventing him having value. I don’t think you’d argue with me about that. Thus, I can’t understand given heis currently performing at that level right now, any more than I can with Hall, why you guys are bashing Whitney. They aren’t the problem.

  85. russ99 says:

    Btw: Smyth and Horcoff as 2/3rds of our supposed shutdown line is the problem, not the solution, which won’t be solved until summer.

    I’m hoping for good results from the Paajarvi-Belanger-Harti like, they could stick together for a while.

    Also, I don’t get the angst about Fistric not in tonight, our schedule is insane- we’ll need the whole roster to get through.

  86. Woodguy says:

    VOR,

    The fact you use two games of bad Corsi against him and call him a 5/6 pairing guy makes my argument for me.

    Whitney has been paired with Potter and FIstric and has played a regular shift on the 3rd pair.

    After 4v5 they mix up the pairs a bit, and 6, who see virtually no 4v5 time is coming on right after the 4v5 almost every time usually paired with J.Shultz, who also sees very little 4v5 time.

    Given the large amount of 4v5 time, this has helped increase Whitney’s 5v5 time above his playing partner, but to say he’s not playing 3rd pair is simply wrong.

    He’s playing with either Potter or FIstric, who in each game saw the ice as the 6th Dman.

    When I’m discussing 1/2/3 pair, its to show which level of comp they are seeing.

    He sees 3rd level comp for the majority of the game.

    To say he’s in the 2nd pair is to ignore who 6 is paired with for >80% of his ice time completely.

  87. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I’m not talking about hands closed on pucks, I’m talking about the guy taking the draw falling and accidentally touching the puck with his glove. That’s now a penalty. I’ve seen a few of them called this year, and every last one has been ridiculous.

    That reminds me of a much less finicky call, but which is a personal point of frustration for me as a viewer:

    Tripping.

    Now, I get that in the game of hockey two things occur regularly and often in the same event: one player trips another and/or the other dives.

    Pretty standard hockey call, right? There are 4 choices:

    1) ignore it, or never see in the first place

    2) call tripping

    3) call tripping and a dive

    4) call a dive (although I can’t recall a stand-alone dive call ever).

    But here’s the part that irritates me…

    Hockey is a fast paced game that involves contact and is played on an incredibly slippery surface. When a player falls on their own, with no one around, there is no debate. He fell. end of story.

    But when a player falls (or at least appears to fall) while in some vicinity with a player on the other team, perhaps they are engaged in some incidental contact, the assumption is almost always punitive: either the player dove, or the other player tripped.

    I’ve seen numerous plays like this — where to my eyes it looks like a player has simply fallen — where both the commentary and the refs’ decision making seem wildly out of step with reality. That is, they operate within a strictly punitive context and seem to ignore the likely possibility that no fault was at play.

    Of course, many times a player falls in battle for the puck and nothing is made of it (appropriately so!)…

    but often I feel like fans and commentators’ knee-jerk assumption is that falling = punitive context (someone did something wrong) and that they discount what seems obvious… moving on a slippery surface = falling down a lot.

    does anyone else find the assumption (“he dove!” “he tripped him!”) off-putting on occasion?

  88. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy:
    Hey look Captain D.S.F. Happy can use advanced stats to partially explain why FLA is putrid this year!

    You’re welcome.

    I can use “advanced” (LOL) stats to prove almost anything but , as very wise man said, “not all that matters can be counted and not all that can be counted, matters.

    PDO would rank right up there with the latter since it assumes all teams will regress to the same mean no matter how different they may be.

    I’m with Bruce…look at the scoreboard.

    Another rocking chair.

  89. khildahl says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Depends who’s doing the falling. *coughsedincoughbrowncough*

  90. bookjLe says:

    Bruce McCurdy: This came up on Twitter, mentioned by a couple of ideologues on the subject.

    The reasons for bringing Yakupov over, even for a shortened season, are many:

    1) Ever since the league went to a draft cut-off of 18 years old by the first day of training camp (Sep 15), there has been agreement both implicit and explicit that the best 18-year-olds are ready to play in the league. Especially in the salary-cap era, the league is always happy to have a couple of these first-year-eligible guys around, lest some agent with an overactive imagination start murmuring about “restraint of trade”.

    2) This is especially true of 18-year-old forwards, every one of whom drafted #1 OV since Mike Modano has made the NHL in their first kick at the can.

    3) In Yakupov’s case, there were initial concerns about the KHL trying to retain him. The thought of LEAVING Yakupov in the KHL, specifically for the purpose of underpaying him three years from now, would be 19 flavours of crazy.

    4) That aside, when it comes to core players, the message that “your contract is more important than you are” is not a good one to be sending. Better to get the guy apprenticing on his ELC and when that comes due, pay him. That’s exactly what the Oilers did with Hall; in fact in the last 10 years every player but one taken #1 OV is still with the franchise that drafted him, with most or all of the eligible ones locked up into the UFA years.

    5) “Grow the cluster”. With a core group of young players it is best to have them playing Together a.s.a.p. Not only have them learning against NHL-calibre competition, but learning to work together to beat it. Good as they are individually, players of this skill level are even more dangerous in combination. When the Oilers had their original Big Five, they brought them all in as fast as they could, and even the ones who didn’t seem quite ready at first (Messier, Kurri, Coffey) caught on, and caught up, real fast. In that instance all five of them arrived in a three-season span, very similar to the present situation. Why wait when you can bring them along as a group?

    Very well stated!

  91. Clay says:

    Woodguy: Well Northern Saskatchewan is just littered with lakes so I’ll still defer to you sir.

    Of course Saskatchewanians are sailors!

  92. icecastles says:

    Kreuger interview, speaking about Fistric: [paraphrasing] “It’s not so much about Marc, as it is about Corey. We play 4 games this week and we need to keep everyone in it and nobody from burning out early on.”

    This makes sense to me.

  93. leadfarmer says:

    Captain Happy,

    Did you see the scoreboard of the STL Minn game? Minn is so screwed if Suter goes down. Guys is already playing 30 min a game.

  94. khildahl says:

    Clay: Of course Saskatchewanians are sailors!

    Clay,

    I was wondering how long that would take.

  95. Ice Sage says:

    justDOit:
    Rishaug tweeting Landeskog not playing tonight due to head and leg issues. I was surprised when he returned to the game after that Stuart hit.

    He looked to be in a Land of fog.
    Right call and a break for the oil… still waiting to see a killer instinct here

  96. justDOit says:

    Ice Sage: He looked to be in a Land of fog.
    Right call and a break for the oil… still waiting to see a killer instinct here

    ‘Land of fog’ – that’s one for the sages.

    I was trying to think of a way to incorporate Gabriel’s Horn into that, until I learned it wasn’t a biblical reference, but a mathematical one.

  97. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    “I was trying to think of a way to incorporate Gabriel’s Horn into that, until I learned it wasn’t a biblical reference, but a mathematical one.”

    justDOit,

    It was a bit of puzzler who was playing a horn with infinite surface area and finite volume, until the mathematician Cole Porter published his seminal paper:

    Do you hear that playin’?
    Yes, we hear that playin’
    Do you know who’s playin’?
    No, who is that playin’?

    Well it’s Gabriel, Gabriel playin’
    Gabriel, Gabriel sayin’
    “Will you be ready to go
    When I blow my horn?”

  98. DBO says:

    Bruce: wasn’t MPS one of the better shots for/against players the last 2 years? I’m not up on all the advanced stats, but I seem to recall a lot of talk on here about how MPS was moving the puck in the right direction. Of all of our top players, he seems the best fit, unless we move Ryan Smyth there and have Horcoff and Jones with Yakupov, and then have MPS play 4th line.

    Not sure what is best, but if part of this year is about growing the core together, then having MPS play with Nuge is a good thing. Otherwise roll him back tot he AHL and have him play with Lander, since next year they will be on big club together. I guess maybe our “expectations” for this year are such that we are willing to forgo growth for success. yes we need more success this year, but we are not a cup contender, so growing the kids still matters.

    in two year our lineup may look like this:

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Yakupov-?-?
    ?-?-?
    Haritkainen-Lander-MPS
    (options include Rajala, Pitlik, Hamilton)

    ?-Shultz
    Smid-Petry
    Kelfbom-?
    (options include Musil, Marincin)

    That may be way too simple, and I’m sure I am missing people, but the 4th line can be filled out with vets, and the D projects better, especially if Fistric or Shultz the elder can be kept on a discount. The alarming thing is our lack of anyone who hits and plays physical other then Hartikainen. We need some physical play, we need someone who can actually play in their own zone.

  99. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy:
    Hey look Captain D.S.F. Happy can use advanced stats to partially explain why FLA is putrid this year!

    You’re welcome.

    Haven’t been paying much attention to the Panthers but since you seem obsessed, I went and took a peek.

    2/3rds of their top line (Versteeg and Weiss) are injured, their 3rd line centre, Marcel Goc is out along with linemate Sean Bergenheim and so is Gudbranson.

    Imagine how the Oilers would be faring without Eberle, Hopkins, Horcoff, Smyth and Petry.

  100. Bar_Qu says:

    DBO,

    Isn’t this the dawning light which Khaira is supposed to represent 3-4 seasons from now?

    OTOH, I think the Oil might be more attractive to vet players over the next few seasons too, simply because of the core they have assembled. I’m not saying all the problems will be solved via FA, but certainly it could fill some holes.

  101. striatic says:

    Captain Happy: PDO would rank right up there with the latter since it assumes all teams will regress to the same mean no matter how different they may be.

    that isn’t what PDO assumes.

    good teams and bad teams and defensive teams and offensive teams can all have a PDO of 1 while achieving very different results in terms of W/L, GF and GA..

  102. VOR says:

    My problem Woodguy is this: Whitney is racking up pretty big even strength minutes and his most common linemate may be Potter but the next six are listed currently, and by eye continue to be, Hemsky, Gagner, Yakupov, and Eberle, Hall, and Hopkins, not another defenceman. That is not classic 5/6 minutes and I am sure you know that. His quality of opposition, which was very soft in the first two games was anything but in the last two games. His zone start also looks pretty ugly.

    You can offer a lot of reasons why Whitney being used in an odd way but that only highlights that it is odd. At the moment he is still only giving up 2 goals per 60 minutes played which is outstanding defence and he isn’t getting rescued by great goaltending. So you are bashing a guy who isn’t the problem.

    He is struggling at even strength in the offensive end but that seems to be a combination of bad passing by Whitney (which has zip all to do with his skating) and poor play by the forwards and that may be tied to the fact they are just trying to get out of their own end. Whitney’s zone start/finish data looks outstanding.

    None of the data suggests he is ready for the meat packing plant. I will say again, he also isn’t responsible for the Oilers inability to come out and play the first period like they give a shit. Upgarding Whitney to the level you think his defence compatriots are playing at would have to date zero impact on the Oiler’s record unless you have another Justin Schultz in your pocket. So I will say it again – he isn’t the problem and you have made no argument that he is – you’ve talked about his skating and a two game corsi sample and ignored that he isn’t the problem. I hope if I keep repeating that you will come to understand that the comments about Whitney are bashing because from them you would believe if we could just replace him with an average NHL d-man we would win every game – which is utter BS.

    Meanwhile the real culprits go scot free.

  103. raventalon40 says:

    DBO:
    Bruce: wasn’t MPS one of the better shots for/against players the last 2 years? I’m not up on all the advanced stats, but I seem to recall a lot of talk on here about how MPS was moving the puck in the right direction.Of all of our top players, he seems the best fit, unless we move Ryan Smyth there and have Horcoff and Jones with Yakupov, and then have MPS play 4th line.

    Not sure what is best, but if part of this year is about growing the core together, then having MPS play with Nuge is a good thing. Otherwise roll him back tot he AHL and have him play with Lander, since nextyear they will be on big club together.I guess maybe our “expectations” for this year are such that we are willing to forgo growth for success. yes we need more success this year, but we are not a cup contender, so growing the kids still matters.

    in two year our lineup may looklike this:

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Yakupov-?-?
    ?-?-?
    Haritkainen-Lander-MPS
    (options include Rajala, Pitlik, Hamilton)

    ?-Shultz
    Smid-Petry
    Kelfbom-?
    (options include Musil, Marincin)

    That may be way too simple, and I’m sure I am missing people, but the 4th line can be filled out with vets, and the D projects better, especially if Fistric or Shultz the elder can be kept on a discount. The alarming thing is our lack of anyone who hits and plays physical other then Hartikainen. We need some physical play, we need someone who can actually play in their own zone.

    Time to break up the OKC Barons line.

    Anyone else curious at all if 5v5 scoring would increase if they weren’t trying to play keepaway in the offensive zone instead of taking the puck to the net?

    Yakupov-RNH-Eberle
    Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
    3rd line status quo

    or alternatively,

    Hartikainen-RNH-Eberle
    Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
    Smyth-Horcoff-Yakupov

    I know this topic of convo has been beat to death, but I don’t think it would hurt to try it to see if this was a better way to roll 3 lines.

  104. justDOit says:

    Нинтендо⁶⁴,

    I knew there was another reference out there, but all I returned in a quick search was graphs.

    Thanks, Nintendo64!

  105. FPB94 says:

    Y’all reading a lot into 4 games.

  106. raventalon40 says:

    FPB94,

    I think you’re right. But I don’t think I’m wrong either (not mutually exclusive). The PP has seemed to be been a strong focal point of scoring for ex. RNH both in the NHL and in the AHL. We are seeing this trend continue. I want to see RNH outscore guys on EVs eventually.

    I’ve been saying this since way before it was a news item, too, so not like I’m pulling this off the MSM or something.

  107. DBO says:

    Bar_Qu,

    Yeah, looking at UFA’s next year there are a bunch of higher end and decent mid level options. I think this year may be almost a showcase of what could be. We may be seeing a bunch of 1 or 2 yr deals for solid vets. here are options (and yes I know we won’t get most, but all are ufa’s next year and also qualify as playoff rentals in the next month). And no one who would be over 35 considered either.

    Centre:
    - Getzlaf (ideal, but will be too expensive when you factor in raises to Yak and Nuge)
    - Weiss (2nd best fit. Long loved on this blog by posters. What we hope Gagner turns into)
    - Roy (not physical, but more offensive then Gagner except for last year)
    - Bozak (don’t laugh, but a decent two way centre, still young and would be a good complement to Nuge. Actually, he may the best fit in terms of cost, age, faceoff ability, and he’s right handed)
    - O”Reilly. Yes he is an RFA, but if you can peddle MPS and a 2nd (rumoured the Avs would take a young player and a 2nd for him). He is a solid two way player you can get long term at $3.5 mill. Fits our 2nd line budget.

    Wing:
    - Perry: (see Getzlaf above)
    - Horton (concussion issues, but is a physical winger)
    - Clowe (great fit. may cost, but great fit)
    - Penner (I would love this if only for comedy. Just saying. )
    - Clarkson (awesome fit. everything we would want in a top 6 power winger)

  108. dessert1111 says:

    ashley: Well, I knew I was coming into the lion’s den withthose criticisms.I stand by what I said.Taking some valid (in my eyes) criticism of Hall’s game and exaggerating the position to “I’m not sure Hall is a player” is not really fair debate.Nor is quoting a bunch of stats at a sample size of 4 games.

    I’ve watched him for two seasons now, and I see significant flaw that can be better.Not a player?Hardly.He is a beast out there.I agree.He plays fearlessly and gains the zone regularly with speed.He has defencemen’s knees shaking.However, once he gets there, he can, and is capable of making better decisions.That’s fair criticism in my eyes, and I think your stats are not registering these turnovers as squandered opportunities.Granted, they may not have existed in the first place without his work to get there.That doesn’t mean he can’t do better.

    A curiousity.Why are we comfortable criticizing various Oiler players for parts of their game, including rookies (MPS, Petry, RNH), some of which was heaped on before they even arrived (No 64), and debate them calmly.But if I point out a flaw in Hall’s game, the response is what I would expect if I had mocked someone’s retarded brother?It’s strange, no?

    I’m glad someone else has noticed this. I think part of it derives from a love affair with his underlying numbers and how hot advanced stats are right now in hockey, especially on Oilers blogs.

    Hall is a good player, but he could be better. There’s that play he often makes, flying into the offensive zone, only to lose the puck trying to beat a defender one-on-one or sometimes both defenders. Oftentimes he also falls to his knees doing it. Maybe the underlying numbers aren’t showing those deficiencies, I don’t know. He’s still a good player but fair is fair — if Eberle can be criticized because he’s an accurate shooter and Nail because he’s happy he scores goals, I think Hall can be criticized too ;)

  109. justDOit says:

    FPB94:
    Y’all reading a lot into 4 games.

    Well you have to start reading at some point – the important thing to remember is to not get too excited by what you read in the early part of the season.

    So far, we can see that the Oilers haven’t led a game, haven’t scored a 5v5 goal, and haven’t kept their PK unit on the bench for the opening period of any game. Not a cause to start a ‘run Xxxxxxx out of town’ campaign, but clearly a cause for concern.

  110. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I think you’re all forgetting that when the big guy needed to send someone down to the minors who could perform in the other team’s barn and clinch the amalgamation of heaven and earth he looked to Gabes. He left Mikey on the sidelines with his sword limp in his hands.

    Gabes… the guy is clutch.

  111. FPB94 says:

    I’m not that worried personally. A lot of opening week lineups have nothing to do with the season ending; Also might I add I think the Oil looks better generally. At no point in this season have I tought ”wow this team has nothing to do caliber wise with X team”

  112. godot10 says:

    DBO:
    Bar_Qu,

    Centre:
    - Getzlaf (ideal, but will be too expensive when you factor in raises to Yak and Nuge)
    - Weiss (2nd best fit. Long loved on this blog by posters. What we hope Gagner turns into)
    - Roy (not physical, but more offensive then Gagner except for last year)
    - Bozak (don’t laugh, but a decent two way centre, still young and would be a good complement to Nuge. Actually, he may the best fit in terms of cost, age, faceoff ability, and he’s right handed)
    - O”Reilly. Yes he is an RFA, but if you can peddle MPS and a 2nd (rumoured the Avs would take a young player and a 2nd for him). He is a solid two way player you can get long term at $3.5 mill. Fits our 2nd line budget.

    O’Reilly wants Benn’s contract, over $5 million and long term. Why do you guys keep on bringing up this $3.5 million dollar nonsense. Quit dreaming.

    Nice player who wants way too much money.

  113. godot10 says:

    godot10,

    O’Reilly would be signed by Colorado already if $3.5 million on a long term deal were acceptable to the O’Reilly camp.

    Why would he accept nearly $2 million less per season than he wants to play for Edmonton?

  114. justDOit says:

    godot10:
    godot10,

    O’Reilly would be signed by Colorado already if $3.5 million on a long term deal were acceptable to the O’Reilly camp.

    Why would he accept nearly $2 million less per season than he wants to play for Edmonton?

    There’s been talk that he’s unhappy with his role on the team, and that his salary demands are merely a ploy to expedite a trade without the bad karma of an actual trade demand.

  115. mc79hockey says:

    I don’t find Bruce’s reasoning on why to keep Yakupov super-compelling but I do think that there’s a decent enough reason for it: the Oilers could make the playoffs this year, something that wasn’t true at the start of 2009-10 (when Eberle wasn’t promoted), 2010-11 (when years were burned on Hall and MPS) and last year (when years were burned on Hall, MPS and RNH). BTW – I don’t hear anyone complaining about Eberle’s development being slowed in the WHL.

    Anyway, Yakupov, IMO, gives the Oilers a component that they’d otherwise have to try and find, probably with no success, in that he can shoot off the left side on the Hemsky/Gagner PP unit. That PP unit has looked awfully dangerous to me. The Oilers are taking 48.5 5v4 S/60 so far this year, after taking 44.4, 41.8, 43.5, 42.2 and 38 5v4 S/60 the previous five years. The “second” PP unit is the one driving that – they’re up over 60 5v4 shots an hour, which is phenomenal, Thorntonesque stuff. Four games in, but it’s a promising sign.

    To me, diddling around with contract years is something that you do when the season’s pointless. Last year and the year before were pointless and starting Hall/RNH early just meant that they learned on the Oilers’ dime and, possibly, helped the draft position. Oilers got luck with their crappy record last year despite the goal difference being better. This year, they’re deep enough to give Yak good linemates and soft minutes and cherry PP time and he’s probably good enough to do something with it and those contributions might matter. That, to me, is why you keep him up.

  116. godot10 says:

    justDOit: There’s been talk that he’s unhappy with his role on the team, and that his salary demands are merely a ploy to expedite a trade without the bad karma of an actual trade demand.

    He’s unhappy playing with Gabriel Landeskog on his RW? So you are saying he is not very smart, in addition to wanting way to much money.

  117. jimbones100 says:

    The thing that has stood out for me over the first 4 games is the play of Justin Schultz. He is a wonderful hockey player and I believe he will become a very key part of this teams suceess. As we have seen even with 3 very talented offensive forwards it is very difficult to score in the NHL against the good defenders. Howvere we are goiig to see JS cause all types of problems for other teasm as he darts into the play and effectively becomes the 4th forward.

    JS will win the Calder. And JS will contend (and may win) the team scoring race. What a wonderful and unexpected player to add to the young cluster. Oiler fans smile. A premier offensive defenceman who choose our team over 29 options.

  118. justDOit says:

    godot10: He’s unhappy playing with Gabriel Landeskog on his RW?So you are saying he is not very smart, in addition to wanting way to much money.

    He played 3C for the most part until an injury promoted him. This season, Duchene and Stasny are healthy, which would mean O’Reilly is back to the 3rd line. This is what I read somewhere, and it makes more sense than O’Reilly

  119. justDOit says:

    godot10: He’s unhappy playing with Gabriel Landeskog on his RW?So you are saying he is not very smart, in addition to wanting way to much money.

    He played 3C for the most part until an injury promoted him. This season, Duchene and Stasny are healthy, which would mean O’Reilly is back to the 3rd line. This is what I read somewhere, and it makes more sense than O’Reilly thinking he’s suddenly worth $5M/yr. Edit: Sorry for the double post – damned oversized trackpad!

  120. Captain Happy says:

    striatic: that isn’t what PDO assumes.

    good teams and bad teams and defensive teams and offensive teams can all have a PDO of 1 while achieving very different results in terms of W/L, GF and GA..

    So, that’s exactly what it means.

    Unless it is somehow related to actual results it’s another rocking chair.

  121. godot10 says:

    justDOit: He played 3C for the most part until an injury promoted him. This season, Duchene and Stasny are healthy, which would mean O’Reilly is back to the 3rd line. This is what I read somewhere, and it makes more sense than O’Reilly

    The guy who is playing with Landeskog is playing on the”first” line. If you are playing with the best forward on your team, does it matter what the line is called?

  122. raventalon40 says:

    justDOit: There’s been talk that he’s unhappy with his role on the team, and that his salary demands are merely a ploy to expedite a trade without the bad karma of an actual trade demand.

    That sounds great and all, but who’s your source?

  123. FPB94 says:

    godot10,

    It would hint that he wouldn’t be playing with Landeskog anymore.

  124. godot10 says:

    FPB94:
    godot10,

    It would hint that he wouldn’t be playing with Landeskog anymore.

    So he is asking for $2 million more per season long term, because he might not be able to play with Landeskog anymore (even though a coach would be nuts to break them up).

    Last time I checked, the Oilers don’t have Landeskog , and would probably want O’Reilly to play the toughest minutes (without Landeskog), so why would the Oilers get a $2 million dollar discount?

  125. FPB94 says:

    godot10,

    I don’t think the issue is Landeskog centric.

    It’s just playing top 6 minutes. There’s Statsny and Duchene in front of him; he probably feels dogged cause he played way better than Duchene.

  126. justDOit says:

    raventalon40: That sounds great and all, but who’s your source?

    Ok wait – I’m supposed to REMEMBER where I read something? It wasn’t hockeybuzz, if that’s what you mean. It could have been LeBrun, but I don’t remember.

    Where is the source for the alleged $5M/yr demands of O’Reilly? I haven’t seen that in writing.

  127. justDOit says:

    FPB94:
    godot10,

    I don’t think the issue is Landeskog centric.

    It’s just playing top 6 minutes.There’s Statsny and Duchene in front of him; he probably feels dogged cause he played way better than Duchene.

    ^^ This.

  128. knighttown says:

    FPB94:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Because often when they do have a leeway the rule disappears.

    Oh the times i’ve seen hands closed on pucks.

    This.

    The NHL has proven time and time again to have no ability to call the game as they see it. Every single damn time they go back to putting the whistles away down the stretch in a game or season. “Let the players decide the outcome” they cry but for the team that is down a goal and get infracted-upon with no resulting penalty isn’t that the refs deciding the game?

    I too prefer less black and white and more grey but this league doesn’t have the guts to stick with it. No matter which way you slice it, swinging at a puck in mid air is a desperate play; in effect “I would do anything to not have this puck land” and by it’s very nature this is what the penalty is designed to prevent. On the accidental falling on the puck I do believe some common sense will prevail but it’s a great rule and it’s a damned slippery slope when you have to know “beyond a reasonable doubt” that he didn’t just accidentally fall on the puck.

  129. khildahl says:

    More comments advocating sticking Yakupov with Smyth and Horcoff…

    What am I missing that makes people think this is a good idea? It can’t possibly end any way other than Yakupov looking like he did at the world juniors. He’ll try to do it all himself because his line mates will:
    a) be unable to keep up to him,
    b) be unable to convert on any chances he creates, and
    c) be unable to get the puck to him when he’s in position to score.

    If we were talking Smyth and Horcoff from 2007 this might make sense. Unfortunately, those guys are gone and have been replaced by a pair boat anchors.

  130. godot10 says:

    More on O’Reilly fanboy fantasies.

    The Avalanche have offered O’Reilly 2 years @ $3.5 million per season…i.e. the exact same contract as Duschene.

    The Avalanche would have to qualify O’Reilly at $3.5 million for the last two years before UFA status to retain his right.

    So with the Avalanche’s bridge offer, O’Reilly is already pretty much certain that he has 4 year @ $3.5 million per season in the bag. Likely playing with Landeskog most of the time.

    So why would $3.5 million in Edmonton playing second fiddle to Nugent-Hopkins be attractive to him?

    Stastny’s contract doesn’t have that much longer to run. He has a much better shot at being the #1 guy in Colorado.

  131. FPB94 says:

    Godot: Damn you seem to know a lot about O’reilly being ASSURED to play 1st line with Landeskog,

    Fanboy fantasies. Steve Smith.

  132. godot10 says:

    FPB94:
    Godot: Damn you seem to know a lot about O’reilly being ASSURED to play 1st line with Landeskog,

    Fanboy fantasies. Steve Smith.

    Regardless of who he plays with, with the Avalanche’s current offer, he is pretty much already go 4 years @ $3.5 in the bag, Stastny leaving shortly, and he’s probably better than Duschene. So why would being 2nd fiddle to Nuge at the same salary be attractive?

  133. icecastles says:

    khildahl: Unfortunately, those guys are gone and have been replaced by a pair boat anchors.

    Battleship anchors or tugboat anchors?

    Seriously now….
    I wear my 94 jersey every game. Probably my favourite Oiler of all time, and I’m sure as a mentor, he is invaluable on the team. But I can’t get over how utterly invisible he has been these first four games. He does a lot of things well, but his signature is of course the dirty goals and havoc in the crease. Without a playmaker or a shooter of some sort though, this role becomes fundamentally irrelevant.

    The kids are making beautiful plays, but as was especially evident in the Calgary game, they don’t have the net presence on their top two lines to convert their playmaking into goals. There seems to be a fit here. I know he’s clearly lost a step, but it seems to me that moving Smyth up in the lineup could have a chance both to enable him to do what he does best, and to activate some 5v5 scoring in the top lines.

  134. Marc says:

    Here’s the latest on O’Reilly so everyone can stop arguing about why he hasn’t signed yet:

    http://www.denverpost.com/dater/ci_22458025/colorado-avalanche-needs-get-ryan-oreillys-contract-done

  135. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Marc:
    Here’s the latest on O’Reilly so everyone can stop arguing about why he hasn’t signed yet:

    http://www.denverpost.com/dater/ci_22458025/colorado-avalanche-needs-get-ryan-oreillys-contract-done

    Is that opening sentence a syntactical flight of fancy or a typo?:

    It could turn out that Ryan O’Reilly and the Avalanche will suddenly find ground common and put this nastiness behind them and enjoy a beautiful future together.

  136. cabbiesmacker says:

    Marc:
    Here’s the latest on O’Reilly so everyone can stop arguing about why he hasn’t signed yet:

    http://www.denverpost.com/dater/ci_22458025/colorado-avalanche-needs-get-ryan-oreillys-contract-done

    So much for the “O’Reilly wants first line C coin” expert assumptions above. Love to have the kid long term at $4 – 4.5 per. I’d wish Sammy + a fond farewell but thats what Gagner will likely be asking for next year.

    Hey Av’s? Would you take a broken Horcoff and any of our second round prospects from the past 3 drafts if we paid Stastny’s remaining 2 years? Please?

  137. justDOit says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Not to mention the tandem ands – a bit wordy on their own.

  138. khildahl says:

    In a sure sign of the impending apocalypse, Kerry Fraser says Backlund’s goal Saturday night should have been disallowed.

    Between this and Glenn Healey talking up and defending Yakupov, I’m terrified.

  139. bendelson says:

    knighttown,

    Playing the puck with your glove in the FO circle provides a clear advantage.
    Falling down in the FO circle and briefly touching the puck but in no way moving it or covering it is not a FO advantage. It’s just a sloppy mess.

    More often than not I would suggest the difference is clear.

  140. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    justDOit:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Not to mention the tandem ands – a bit wordy on their own.

    It’s also a really, really passive and strangely informal way to open a piece of writing.

    “It could turn out that…”

    is not a very flattering construction. I think you ought either to start out a lot stronger than that, or to have some fancy dan writing chops in order to pull off such maneuvers.

  141. LMHF#1 says:

    Arnott failed his physical and isn’t joining the Rangers. Odd twist as he was supposedly healthy earlier.

  142. FPB94 says:

    bendelson,

    Hah. Like guys never fall on the puck for a defensive play.

    Cue late game PP, late in the period etc…

  143. godot10 says:

    cabbiesmacker: So much for the “O’Reilly wants first line C coin” expert assumptions above. Love to have the kid long term at $4 – 4.5 per. I’d wish Sammy + a fond farewell but thats what Gagner will likely be asking for next year.

    I don’t think you read the article very carefully. His agent said that he wasn’t looking for $5 million on a SHORT term deal. He didn’t say what they were asking or not asking for on a long term deal.

    “While his agent, Mark Guy, has disputed that O’Reilly wants the same amount ($5 million per year) on a shorter deal”

  144. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    justDOit:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    the tandem ands

    Isn’t that a hipster band?

  145. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    FPB94:
    bendelson,

    Hah. Like guys never fall on the puck for a defensive play.

    Cue late game PP, late in the period etc…

    I think I’d distinguish between a guy who falls on the puck and languishes there to kill time and a guy that makes some effort to remove himself from the puck…

    couldn’t the “makes a reasonable attempt” re: Goaltender interference apply here.

  146. FPB94 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    You’d think that. But the Oilers just got robbed of a goal because Gagner got pushed into Quick and got stuck in his pad.

    I can also recall the Flyers eleminating Washington because Lupul decked Cristobal Huet.

    They’l just penalize the insanely obvious and let everything else go.

  147. Woodguy says:

    VOR,

    At the moment he is still only giving up 2 goals per 60 minutes played which is outstanding defence and he isn’t getting rescued by great goaltending. So you are bashing a guy who isn’t the problem.

    About to get on a plane, so I have to be quick.

    I don’t think Whitney casued any losses, but he’s not good anymore.

    Whitney doesn’t play goal. He doesn’t give up goals. He gives up shots.

    It has been proven time and again that players have very little influence on their on-ice SV%

    Currently here is the 5v5 SV of the Oiler D (3 games, Gabe hasnlk( updated yet)

    Whitney .909
    N.Shultz .895
    Potter .727
    Petry .941
    Smid .889
    Fistric 1.00

    So if you think Dmen influence SV, Fistric should get 45 min a night.

    On the other hand, here’s the Shots against per 60

    Whitney 30.9
    J.Shultz 30.3
    N.Shultz 26.1
    Smid 25.9
    Fistric 24.3
    Petry 23.7
    Potter 20.3

    As for Whitney playing with high end kids, an offensive line is often where many coaches put their 3rd pair.

    They expect the opponent to put out a checking line which is less likey to score, and Whitney is a very good first passer, so it makes sense. Goligoski when he was in Pitt and Yandle in PHX.

    He should be killing it in terms of shot differential.

    I’ll write more on it later, maybe today.

    I don’t blame Whitney for the losses (I mostly blame luck), but he’s not helping, he’s hurting.

    ee

  148. justDOit says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Isn’t that a hipster band?

    Good catch – they used to be called the Assonances.

  149. bendelson says:

    FPB94,

    Nothing wrong with falling on the puck FPB. Not a penalty. Just don’t touch it with that glove during a FO.

  150. FPB94 says:

    bendelson,

    Idk. The times I saw Hal Gill pull that in the corner with no intention whatsoever of giving it up; it’s just not a hockey play to me.

  151. bendelson says:

    FPB94,

    OK. You are talking about intentional delay of game. This is a different conversation .

  152. FPB94 says:

    bendelson,

    The thing is I just don’t trust the refs in making judgement calls about that, considering how they’re handling the intentional delay of games in general. (Or goalie interference)

  153. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    FPB94:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    You’d think that. But the Oilers just got robbed of a goal because Gagner got pushed into Quick and got stuck in his pad.

    I can also recall the Flyers eleminating Washington because Lupul decked Cristobal Huet.

    They’l just penalize the insanely obvious and let everything else go.

    Sure… mistakes will be made… but the question is a little less reliant on worst case scenarios and more focused on run of the mill events.

    Put otherwise, would you prefer that Goaltender Interference were called every time an opposition player made even the most incidental contact (or even appeared to do so from some angle) with the Goalie… or do you prefer refs exercising some judgment here?

  154. Clarkenstein says:

    Fistric out, Potter in. Disappointing.

  155. justDOit says:

    Clarkenstein,

    Four, count em – four games this week. You’ll see Fisty McFistric again soon.

  156. FPB94 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Heh. You might be right.

  157. bendelson says:

    FPB94,

    Don’t trust the refs? What??

    A new penalty is only as good as how it is enforced and as a final thought on the matter, the new FO rule has been enforced very poorly IMHO.

  158. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bendelson:
    FPB94,

    A new penalty is only as good as how it is enforced and as a final thought on the matter, the new FO rule has been enforced very poorly IMHO.

    sounds about right to me… seems like a perfectly reasonable rule chance… provided it is applied with some common sense.

  159. justDOit says:

    I guess the refs didn’t get any preseason games to get the new rules worked out, so I should probably cool my angst and cut them some slack.

    But if they can’t get it together soon, I’m starting an Avaaz.org petition to allow goalies to slash and hack players in front of the net.

  160. leadfarmer says:

    So Shultz and Eberle still lead the AHL in scoring even though they have not been there for over 2 weeks, that is impressive. Looks like Arcabello snuck into the top 20 and is in the AHL allstar game.

  161. Lowetide says:

    I’ve been driving around all day, but read through the thread several times. Some hilarious stuff, thanks for the entertaining comments. I think I’m the only one who does a lick of damn work btw, and I damn well KNOW Clarkenstein is relaxing. :-)

  162. khildahl says:

    Lowetide,

    I thought you were oddly quiet. :)

    Re: work. Smartphones are a wonderful thing.

  163. DBO says:

    Subban signs two years. no dollar amount

  164. FPB94 says:

    5M$

  165. godot10 says:

    $5.75 million actually.

  166. Lowetide says:

    Good deal for the Habs, that kid took the hometown discount. Hopefully he has a long memory.

  167. khildahl says:

    Out of curiosity I just took a peek at the gameday thread on the Avalanche message board. Their writeup follows:

    “Because everyone wants to play a team with three first overall picks at forward complimented by The Clutchest Player Ever and Bobby Orr on crack on defense when you’ve just got hosed 4-0 and your 2nd line is non-existent.”

    EDIT: And wow, reading the subsequent comments it looks like their fans have pretty much already chalked this up as a loss.

  168. leadfarmer says:

    Lehtonen tonight with the amazing behind the back overhand catch. Sorry don’t have the link but pretty sweet save.

  169. leadfarmer says:

    Holy what a sweet deal MTL got for PK. I know the Eberle and Hall deals will work out in the longrun but in the short run they dont look that great.

  170. B S says:

    khildahl,

    Decided to check it out, boy are they fatalistic on the Avs board. I could see this game going two ways, especially with no Landeskog. Either the Avs gut it out, keep it close and pull off a close win, or the Oilers smell blood in the water and Gagner tries for Sittler’s record. BTW, how does that Stuart hit get a pass, but Sutton gets 3 games for an identical hit, shoulder to head, north-south, all this “concussion awareness” by the league is utter B.S. and players should be concerned. I suspect there will be roughly 5 penalties a piece (4-6, 5-5, or 6-4) since we don’t have Henderson to worry about.

  171. justDOit says:

    B S,

    If it comes down to special teams, it favors the Oilers.

  172. DBO says:

    Friedman on twitter saying that 1st yr is smaller, 2nd yr $3.75 mill cause that is where the qualifying offer and arbitration starts. So his next deal will be $5 mill plus. Well, take it for what it’s worth, but if in 2 years Justin Shultz can sign a similar deal, I’ll be happy.

  173. FPB94 says:

    Not that it’s sustainable, but I just noticed the insane start from Patrick Marleau.

    9-4-13 in 5 games. WOW.

  174. B S says:

    justDOit,

    It certainly looks that way, of course it’ll also help if Smid and Petry show up tonight. They were atrocious on saturday (and contrary to most complaints the Kids were holding their own against Iginla, it was those 2nd and 4th line matchups that Iggy and co. were scoring against).

    This will be very telling about whether the kids can push at evens; on paper the Avs can’t field any line that should be able to match Hall, Ebs and Nuge.

  175. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    wow… that subban deal is nuts. I can’t believe he came down so much… I thought he wanted way more than that…

  176. VOR says:

    LT,

    I have been working on an interesting study that I was wondering if you would like to publish the tables I have generated.

    I have taken all the forwards and all the defencemen that played more than 60 games for each of 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and ranked them by Corsi Relative and then compared that to their actual GF/60-GA/60. I have then split them up into data sets of 30 as ranked by Gabe in descending order. Each year there are roughly 300 forwards so 1-30, 31-60, 61-90, 91-120, 121-150, 151-180, 181-210, 211-240, 241-270, 271-300. Each year there are roughly 150 D.

    I have taken the average values for each set of 30 and compared them. You can’t miss, even without using a statistical test, the strong correlation between corsi and goal differential on for 60. However, it is also apparent that it doesn’t work anywhere near as well for D-men as for forwards.

    I was wondering if I sent you the tables if you could figure out how to post them/or one of the geniuses you keep locked up in your basement could? If so, where do I send them? I could even send you the raw data tables and you could share them with whoever you like.

    I can’t imagine anybody looking at them and ever doubting that corsi has some value as a metric ever again. I just don’t want to start into an argument on their validity when I am the only one who has access.

  177. justDOit says:

    FPB94:
    Not that it’s sustainable, but I just noticed the insane start from Patrick Marleau.

    9-4-13 in 5 games. WOW.

    Yeah, Thornton and Marleau are on pace for about 120 points this year.

    Oh yippee! I see another SJS on the sched this week. Make that 130 points this year…

  178. speeds says:

    DBO:
    Friedman on twitter saying that 1st yr is smaller, 2nd yr $3.75 mill cause that is where the qualifying offer and arbitration starts. So his next deal will be $5 mill plus. Well, take it for what it’s worth, but if in 2 years Justin Shultz can sign a similar deal, I’ll be happy.

    The situations aren’t really analogous, J.Schultz is arbitration eligible after his deal ends and Subban wasn’t. If Schultz’s offensive numbers are anywhere even close to what we might guess, players like Doughty (7 mil salary in 2014/15), Karlsson (6.5 mil), Myers (5 mil) loom as comparables.

  179. Lowetide says:

    VOR: Sure, send them over!

  180. cabbiesmacker says:

    FPB94:
    bendelson,

    The thing is I just don’t trust the refs in making judgement calls about that, considering how they’re handling the intentional delay of games in general. (Or goalie interference)

    Lieing on the puck like a giant puddle of goo should not be deemed illegal and could actually bring another dimension to the game. As long as when a player is thusly occupied it’s also deemed legal, (and sporting), to flail on his carcass at will in an effort to dislodge the puck OR steer his inertness into the net.

  181. justDOit says:

    Does anyone know where they post the refs for each game, or is that info closely guarded until the pre-game?

  182. icecastles says:

    cabbiesmacker: OR steer his inertness into the net.

    This gave me the most magnificent image of Horcoff hurling Dustin Brown on his stomach toward the net, the puck beneath him, with Smyth and Hemsky furiously sweeping the ice in front of him.

    Hurry hard!

  183. BlacqueJacque says:

    How impressive are Gagner’s 4 points in the context of the zone starts and playing with a rookie?

    This could be the season he breaks through for a 60 point per 82 game pace. Would you really want to trade that?

  184. Lowetide says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    How impressive are Gagner’s 4 points in the context of the zone starts and playing with a rookie?

    This could be the season he breaks through for a 60 point per 82 game pace.Would you really want to trade that?

    50% of the people who post here, but not me! :-)

  185. B S says:

    justDOit,

    Refs are Watson and Skilliter tonight, Linesmen are Sharrers and Wheler, hence my estimate of 10 penalties, these guys all seem to range from 6 to 10 penalties a game. info is here: http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=86337

    first page of the game notes.

  186. justDOit says:

    B S,

    ah – I was looking at the pregame page. game notes. thx!

    at least it’s not those @ssclowns from the last two games, but maybe all the refs are rusty. Crombeen got a triple-minor called on him last night.

  187. DBO says:

    gonna be stuck work wise until 9 pm. Anyone have a feed?

  188. cabbiesmacker says:

    godot10: I don’t think you read the article very carefully.His agent said that he wasn’t looking for $5 million on a SHORT term deal.He didn’t say what they were asking or not asking for on a long term deal.

    “While his agent, Mark Guy, has disputed that O’Reilly wants the same amount ($5 million per year) on a shorter deal”

    The Avs have a two-year, $7 million offer on the table.

    While his agent, Mark Guy, has disputed that O’Reilly wants the same amount ($5 million per year) on a shorter deal compared to a long-term contract, there’s no doubt O’Reilly wants at least $4 million per year.

    With a much smaller difference on a shorter deal, many Avalanche fans are frustrated at the team’s inability to get O’Reilly signed. Why can’t the Avs come up a little from $3.5 million per year to $4 million or perhaps $4.5 million?

    Seems pretty clear that O’Reilly is looking for $4 – $4.5 per…..short or longterm. Same agent as Subban no? Is he worth it? Why not if Eberle and Hall are worth 6 longterm and our current captain earns in two years what he should have been paid over the entire term of his contract…. for a lesser performances than O’Reilly can bring to boot.

  189. B S says:

    I’ve been looking at penalties for, against and differential from last season and since the debacle of the last two games I’ve started associating Oilers games with refs and linesmen too. By eye, so far there doesn’t seem to be any serious correlation between officials and penalties, except Henderson (in a small sample size so far) seems to be high. Don’t know who their supervisor is though (McGough was for the LA game reputedly).

  190. cabbiesmacker says:

    icecastles: This gave me the most magnificent image of Horcoff hurling Dustin Brown on his stomach toward the net, the puck beneath him, with Smyth and Hemsky furiously sweeping the ice in front of him.

    Hurry hard!

    Gives me images of how Horcoff’s playing right now actually. with slightly less speed .

    Gives a mean inspirational speech tho. That’s gotta be worth $5.5 per. Mind you that’s Ralph’s specialty and he isn’t getting 5.5.\ per. Something’s not right.

  191. cabbiesmacker says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    How impressive are Gagner’s 4 points in the context of the zone starts and playing with a rookie?

    This could be the season he breaks through for a 60 point per 82 game pace.Would you really want to trade that?

    Not nearly impressive as his -3 and both goals coming on the PP. One with less than a second in the game while the Flames players were already drinking Gatorade at the bench.

    Nobody’s arguing what the kid can do on the PP but that’s not this teams current problem.

  192. BlacqueJacque says:

    Whoever was talking up Tyler Seguin in the other thread – he got his second point tonight. Second assist on a power play goal.

    Also lost both faceoffs he took.

  193. justDOit says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    wow… that subban deal is nuts. I can’t believe he came down so much… I thought he wanted way more than that…

    $2M this season, prorated to 48 games is about $1.17M ($25k per game). The Habs are winning without him, and he shouldn’t have even quarreled over this contract for as long as he has. By missing 34 games due to the lockout, he’s already kissed $830k goodbye, with another $100k lost to his contract dispute.

    So now he gets to lace em up and skate around in a training camp fog, which should net him about $150k to $200k before he gets his game back. Welcome back, PK.

  194. BlacqueJacque says:

    cabbiesmacker: Not nearly impressive as his -3 and both goals coming on the PP. One with less than a second in the game while the Flames players were already drinking Gatorade at the bench.

    Nobody’s arguing what the kid can do on the PP but that’s not this teams current problem.

    You know, I’m willing to bet good money that if Gagner hit the magic 6 foot mark, or if he was 6’2 or better, you might be writing about how clutch Gagner’s goals were.

    Gagner’s goal against the Flames wasn’t on the power play. Not sure about the other one.

  195. khildahl says:

    As much as the team is still in preseason mode, the crowd at Rexall is worse.

    Keep your feet moving, people.

  196. icecastles says:

    Oh, Gino. You are simultaneously the greatest and the worst thing on television.

  197. Lowetide says:

    Gene spent the whole prop budget in one night!

  198. BlacqueJacque says:

    I have missed Gene so much.

    I don’t think anybody in the world loves their job more.

  199. icecastles says:

    BlacqueJacque: Gagner’s goal against the Flames wasn’t on the power play

    His first goal was a 4 on 3 OT powerplay. His second was with the goalie pulled, so a 6 on 5 man advantage. Counts as an even strength goal on the stat lines, but basically a powerplay goal.

    That said, he has two goals. Moaning about when and how they were scored seems kind of nitpicky.

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