The first time Edmonton and Vancouver played each other, the power in the division belonged to Chicago. The “Smythe” division predictions for 1979-80 had the Blackhawks #1, followed by three very young clubs in this order: Vancouver, St. Louis and Edmonton. Winnipeg had been crushed in the expansion draft and the Colorado Rockies weren’t expected to score goals under new coach Don Cherry (but they did lead the league in trades).
The first game between Edmonton and Vancouver was played Sunday, October 14, 1979 in Edmonton’s Northlands Colisuem. It was a 4-4 tie.
I bet Risto Siltanen drilled the end boards with slapshots 11 times that night. This is a nice boxscore because it includes Allan Hamilton, Gretzky, Messier, Dave Dryden and of course Stan Weir. Nice.
We’re beginning to get some insight into how Ralph Krueger is using his defense. With a rookie in Justin Schultz, a veteran with issues in Ryan Whitney and a top pairing that is -3 (each) after 8 games, there’s room for improvement.
QUALITY OF COMPETITION
They all look pretty closely clustered, especially the top 4D as listed here. I’m not certain there’s a lot of information we can gain yet via this graphic (anyone?) save for the TOI/60 at 5×5 is pretty damn close. RK seems to be rolling, rolling, rolling based on time-on-ice and this qual comp graph after 8 games.
This gives us some confirmation of what the F zone starts showed us: Krueger is more interested in getting his best players into offensive situations than any matchup advantage he might gain. All of the pairings you’d expect to get a zone start push (any pairing with J Schultz) gets it, and then the veteran pairings take the rest. Great idea, I just wish Krueger had 6 healthy men.
This looks like a decent match for the F Corsi Rel if the Nuge line and the Schultz party of two lined up a lot of the time
Good match, right? In a thread below (the Martindale one) Woodguy posted a link that showed the top 2 D pairings playing most of their 5×5 time with the Nuge line. Conclusion: Ralph’s a wizard. And the top pairing of Smid and Petry should be doing better, correct?
Dubnyk is having a nice start to the season but I’m not certain we should expect a major correction anytime soon, at least at even-strength.
- 11-12SP EV: .927
- 12-13SP EV: .922
- 11-12SP PK: .854
- 12-13SP PK: .926
So at evens, Dubnyk’s current level of play is less than what we saw one year ago. His penalty-killing SP ranks 5th among goalies who have played 3 or more games so far this season–that total may have some correcting to do.
The Oilers have to get this roster situation straightened away. Currently, the 23 man roster looks like this:
- G Devan Dubnyk
- G Nikolai Khabibulin (has not played)
- D Ladislav Smid
- D Jeff Petry
- D Nick Schultz
- D Justin Schultz
- D Ryan Whitney
- D Corey Potter
- D Mark Fistric
- D Theo Peckham (has not played)
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- C Sam Gagner
- C Shawn Horcoff
- C Anton Lander
- L Taylor Hall
- L Nail Yakupov
- L Ryan Smyth
- L Teemu Hartikainen
- L Darcy Hordichuk
- R Ales Hemsky
- R Jordan Eberle
- R Lennart Petrell
- R Magnus Paajarvi
IR: C Eric Belanger, L Ben Eager, D Andy Sutton, R Ryan Jones
Khabibulin will play soon, but the Peckham situation is galling. I understand the need to protect depth and Peckham shouldn’t be shuffled for nothing. However, the club should either IR Ryan Whitney or risk waivers on Peckham or Potter. That extra roster spot, combined with Hordichuk being on the roster at all, make it difficult for the coach to make moves that give the hockey club their best chance to win.
And, as a fan, that’s frustrating.
I think management of the current team could learn a thing or two from the 1979-80 crew, who had some veteran savvy up the middle.
With Belanger out, we have to assume Horcoff the warrior is back in. The lineup might look like this tonight:
- Dubnyk with NK backup
- HS: Whitney, Peckham, Hordichuk