RANDOM HOUSE

During the RE series, I set the Oilers GF-GA total for the 48 game season at 131-138 all in (EN, PP, PK, the whole shebang). That means the club should be 46-49 after 17, and they are in fact 38-45. What does that mean? Defensively they’re a little ahead of the game while offensively the club is off by 8 goals, or about .5 per game. And we know that the trouble is 5×5 scoring.

  • OILERS 5X5 GPG 11-12: 1.695 (139 goals in 82 games)
  • OILERS 5X5 GPG 12-13: 0.94 (16 goals in 17 games)
  • (source: nhl.com)

Can we identify a reason for it? If we’re talking overall offense then the Nuge’s injury would be a reason we could point to, but that’s more PP falloff from last season than 5×5 activity. I spent some time on Friday with Woodguy, Michael Parkatti and Bruce McCurdy and found the conversation inspiring (actually, I talked more than any of them so learned little). WG mentioned “variance” and think it fits the current group.

When we talk about expected (46-49) result and then have a peek one third of the way through the pie being baked and see the current number (38-45), how much is variance and how much is a lack of skill? Well, assuming my projections for the Oilers are correct (and that’s a different issue) I’d say a lot of this is random. The Oilers best players are their best players, the offensive stalwarts are at the top of the scoring table and the PP is humming. 5×5 is a bad day, but we know it should get better and that’s good news for Ralph Krueger. The bad news? Nothing in the math suggests this thing falls back to the mean over the next 31 games.

So, the Oilers are missing about 45% of their 5×5 scoring. The bottom 5 EV goal teams in the NHL so far this season:

  • #25 Minnesota 25 5×5 goals
  • #25 Nashville 25 5×5 goals
  • #25 Florida 25 5×5 goals
  • #25 New Jersey 25 5×5 goals
  • #29 San Jose 23 5×5 goals
  • #30 Edmonton 16 5×5 goals

That’s an expansion level gap. The Atlanta Thrashers were looking way up in 1999-00 and Doug MacLean put together a gang that couldn’t shoot straight for the Blue Jackets in their early days.

I don’t see this as being THIS bad for the entire season.

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79 Responses to "RANDOM HOUSE"

  1. godot10 says:

    The positive side to this is they are learning the hard painful way that they have to shoot the puck and not dwell so much on prettiness. When they fix it, it should have some staying power.

  2. Lois Lowe says:

    I personally blame the lack of 5×5 scoring on a poise deficiency.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Lois: I’m going to call this season The Poiseidon Adventure. (old joke, know one here will have seen the movie). (Bruce will get it and roll his eyes).

  4. striatic says:

    where are the Oilers in terms of penalties drawn compared to last year?

    sometimes it seems like the reason the Oilers aren’t getting 5×5 goals is that other teams will take a penalty rather than allow the Oilers a scoring chance.

  5. bookje says:

    I think it may have something to do with the opposition. In prior years, I think the attitude of opposing teams was “Its just the Oilers tomorrow so:
    - we can play our backup
    - we can go out drinking the night before
    - we can stay up a bit later
    - we can pay less attention to the coaches and video guys
    - we (coaches) can slack off on the prep as the boys could use a break
    – etc.

    This year it’s “We play the Oilers tomorrow and they have a line of young guns who could make us look stupid if we don’t come out prepared”

    Teams are preparing for the Oilers like they are a good team, even though they are not as good of a team this year, something they didn’t face in the past. So, while they have improved on an individual basis, the slightly better competition they are facing makes it look as though they are as bad of a team as last year.

    Or something like that maybe.

  6. 42 percent body fat says:

    trade gagner that will help the 5×5 scoring

  7. Captain Happy says:

    Last season, the Oilers had a SHF/SHA gap of – 4.0. (26.7-30.7)

    And, while they ranked 30th if SHF, they actually ranked 20th G/G.

    This season their negative shot differential is almost the same at -3.9 (29.5 – 33.4).

    So, while they are actually generating more shots, they are also giving up more.

    I would think the unexpectedly good goaltending has kept their heads on the surface but any downturn there will results in a worse goal differential than last season.

    A negative shot differential of -4 doesn’t sound like much on first blush, but over an 82 game schedule, that’s an additional 328 shots on goal which, at average scoring rates would be a goal differential in the neighbourhood of -30.

    Interestingly enough, the Oilers current negative goal differential, extrapolated over a full 82 game schedule is -28.9

    The last couple of games, it appears the boys are shooting more but they’re also giving up more shots too.

    It’s likely any improvement in goal scoring “luck” will be balanced out by a little less “luck” at the other end of ice.

  8. bookje says:

    42 percent body fat:
    trade gagner that will help the 5×5 scoring

    I think it would matter who you trade him for. Given that he is leading the Oilers in points, the comment ‘trade Gagner’ seems like it would need more analysis/explanation to be valid and meaningful.

  9. 42 percent body fat says:

    bookje,

    It was an attempt to mock the guys who say tradeGagner, I have supported him since day one.

    it was also said to make sure we dont go more than 12 hours without the discussion. Especially after his sick shootout goal and excellent pk work last night.

  10. bookje says:

    42 percent body fat:
    bookje,

    It was an attempt to mock the guys who say tradeGagner,I have supported him since day one.

    I still don’t understand why you hate Gagner so much.

  11. TheOtherJohn says:

    Do think Bookje is right, above. In days gone by, no one gave two hoots playing Oilers. Now its “lots of skill, can score in bunches if we let them, not hard to play against” so the gameplan is to play us carefully. Tight checking, physical.

    Read the antitheses of how Chicago has played us the last two years: lets see who can score more…firewagon hockeyl We are actually good at that game.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Gagner is second in 5×5/60.

    Zharkov is saving his season, scored again today. A player should have much better numbers in the year after he’s drafted, but Zharkov scored so badly early on that I think we need to give some credit.

    Zharkov 11-12: 50, 23-13-36
    Zharkov 12-13: 49, 21-13-34

    13 goals in his last 19 games. That’s a terrific run there.

  13. jonrmcleod says:

    LT, had you, Bruce, Michael, and Woodguy ever met before? Do they look anything like their Twitter avatars?

  14. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod:
    LT, had you, Bruce, Michael, and Woodguy ever met before? Do they look anything like their Twitter avatars?

    I’ve met WG and Bruce before, no and yes. Parkatti is young and well dressed, so we don’t travel in the same circles.

  15. TheOtherJohn says:

    No difficulty trading Gagner. None, but to get him I would want a piece back that fills a hole in my roster. An example, although Phx would not do the trade stariaght up, is Sam for Martin Hanzal. Very large 2C, good contract, that is decent at face offs. Would change the size in our top 6 in an instance. Think Sam would play well on wing with him

  16. wheatnoil says:

    The thing is that the scoring chances are there, so the goals will come. The poor shot differential and corsi tells us that the Oilers aren’t a great possession team, but when they HAVE possession, they get their chances. So the problem lies not with getting chances, but decreasing the possession time of the other team. I postulate that this has the most to do with breaking up cycles in the defensive zone and getting zone exits with possession, which is where I think CoH’s new Zone Entry toy might be able to shed some light. The second area is in neutral zone play, so in other words zone entries. This team has trouble in these transitions.

    Hall is great in the defensive zone at breaking up cycles and hauling the puck out and he forechecks hard to cause turn-overs, the guy is friggin freight train out there when he’s on his game. RNH is a stealthy bugger and he can strip guys of the puck. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the top line is maintaining possession. They’ve got possession and scoring chances, they’ll score in time. Remember, though, in a 48 game season, luck plays a HUGE role.

    The Gagner-Hemsky-Yakupov line is getting scoring chances and therefore goals. What they suck at is possession. Gagner hasn’t been great in the defensive zone and Yakupov is a rookie. They also aren’t always great at causing turn-overs. When they HAVE possession though, which according to the corsi numbers is not often enough, they’re friggin dynamite and will get chances on net. What they need is someone who can help GET them possession. That either means that they can only be on the ice with defensemen who can get them the puck (and the Oilers have few enough of those) or you’ve got to split that line up with someone who can do the things they haven’t done. Smyth is an ideal candidate and Paajarvi has shown some ability to drive possession at times (at least last season). The 3rd forward on that line doesn’t have to score, they’ve just got to get possession.

    Of course, my argument falls apart when one considers that Hemsky and Gagner have had good possession in the past. Has the third forward always been able to establish possession in the D-zone and push the flow and force turn-overs in the O-zone? Have Gagner and Hemsky forgotten that side of the game? Do they have stronger qual-comp making that more difficult? Is it Krueger’s defensive style that they are having trouble adapting to? Or maybe is it just a small sample size and they’ll put it together?

    All I know is that this year, so far, Hemsky and Gagner are scoring chance guys but not possession guys. Which means if there’s no 3rd forward that can help give them possession, then maybe Gagner and Hemsky need to be split. The problem is the Oilers don’t have the centre depth to put anyone else reasonable with Hemsky. Unless you break up the first line, do you put Hemsky with Belanger? With Vandevelde? *shudder* Until Horcoff’s back, the Oilers are stuck without a lot of options other than breaking up the first line if you want Gagner-Hemsky to have better possession. Thus, the only option I can see is putting Smyth up with Gagner and Hemsky, sacrificing Yakupov to the lower lines, but giving him powerplay time and the occasional push up the line-up. Then, cross your fingers and pray that Smyth can help in the D-zone to limit opposition possession time and force the puck up ice, letting Gagner and Hemsky work their scoring chance magic.

    At least, that’s what was running through my head this Sunday afternoon.

  17. Lowetide says:

    WheatnOil: Great post. I do know that Hall/Smyth played the big minutes a year ago, and both of those guys would played with Gagner-Hemsky a lot:\

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/01/oilers-12-13-port-side.html

  18. delooper says:

    I think Gagner is going to have to have another 8-point night for the Oilers to beat Chicago tomorrow.

  19. slopitch says:

    I dont know if this has been mentioned much but @ShutdownLine just tweeted that the Oilers 5v5 shooting percentage is 3.96. That is insane!

    Whats average, 8%? So if they werent shooting so bad they’d be doing ok.

  20. Ryan says:

    Haven’t paid close attention, but is it just me or do the Oilers have a 2-3:1 margin on giveaways on every game sheet?

    We can’t even blame Gilbert.

  21. delooper says:

    It’s not really “bad shooting” that’s giving them that bad percentage. It’s bad positioning — nobody in front of the net, no second chances. Teams have “the book” on the Oilers, it’s peripheral fancy-dan plays. So you clear the rebounds, block shots and play them physically-hard and you’ll be fine.

  22. jonrmcleod says:

    You all have to watch this Jonathan Drouin sequence from today’s game. It doesn’t get much better than this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7YDx0M51WE&feature=em-uploademail

  23. delooper says:

    Drouin tired-out his line-mates on that shift, watching him do everything. It looks like Drouin is ready for a better league.

  24. sliderule says:

    The RNH ,Hall and Ebs line has had a lot of great control and cycling that hasn’t generated a lot of good scoring chances.They seem to get spending too much time behind the goal line with no one looking for the high slot or finding the empty spaces. RNH in the games before Hall suspension was finding some space in the mid slot but hasn’t been able to convert the chances.If they keep one forward always looking for quiet areas with their skill they will start going in.
    A good example of finding the quiet area was Yakupov in the Coyote game were I believe on one shift he got the puck wide open in the slot for two great scoring chances .If the skilled players do this the goals will come for at least the first two lines.
    The third and fourth lines have not had the stick skill to convert any chances they have had.With jones back he may pop in a few for them.The oil just don’t have the players on their bottom six who can generate much so the scoring will have to come from top six.

  25. spoiler says:

    Bigos is playing on CBS right now if you have a Bell satellite. I’ve been unable to find an online feed thus far.

  26. crude says:

    jonrmcleod:
    You all have to watch this Jonathan Drouin sequence from today’s game. It doesn’t get much better than this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7YDx0M51WE&feature=em-uploademail

    That goal was #74.

  27. spoiler says:

    I put the low EV scoring and shooting percentage squarely on the shaft of Nuge’s stick, He probably should have 7-8 goals by now, but can’t even hit the net much less score. There doesn’t seem to be anything in his shoulder that is preventing snap or wrist shots… and last night when he had a one-timer, he paused instead and made sure he hit the net (which he did for a change). And everything has been missing high and wide. I think its the flex in thenew stick. If it was injury we’d see a loss of velocity and that hasn’t been the case.

  28. Clay says:

    jonrmcleod:
    You all have to watch this Jonathan Drouin sequence from today’s game. It doesn’t get much better than this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7YDx0M51WE&feature=em-uploademail

    That kid’s got it, for sure.

    This is the clip that you show those people who say assists aren’t worth as much as goals.

  29. Woodguy says:

    Captain Happy:
    Last season, the Oilers had a SHF/SHA gap of – 4.0. (26.7-30.7)

    And, while they ranked 30th if SHF, they actually ranked 20th G/G.

    This season their negative shot differential is almost the same at -3.9 (29.5 – 33.4).

    So, while they are actually generating more shots, they are also giving up more.

    I would think the unexpectedly good goaltending has kept their heads on the surface but any downturn there will results in a worse goal differential than last season.

    A negative shot differential of -4 doesn’t sound like much on first blush, but over an 82 game schedule, that’s an additional 328 shots on goal which, at average scoring rates would be a goal differential in the neighbourhood of -30.

    Interestingly enough, the Oilers current negative goal differential, extrapolated over a full 82 game schedule is -28.9

    The last couple of games, it appears the boys are shooting more but they’re also giving up more shots too.

    It’s likely any improvement in goal scoring “luck” will be balanced out by a little less “luck” at the other end of ice.

    Nice to see you be such an ardent supporter of Corsi Dee Ess Eff.

    Here is a list of NHL team by shot differential per game in 11/12 (as per NHL.com)

    PITTSBURGH
    SAN JOSE
    DETROIT
    ST LOUIS
    PHILADELPHIA
    LOS ANGELES
    CHICAGO
    BOSTON
    COLORADO
    NEW JERSEY
    VANCOUVER
    NY RANGERS
    WINNIPEG
    OTTAWA
    NY ISLANDERS
    FLORIDA
    ANAHEIM
    COLUMBUS
    MONTREAL
    CAROLINA
    PHOENIX
    BUFFALO
    WASHINGTON
    TORONTO
    DALLAS
    NASHVILLE
    TAMPA BAY
    CALGARY
    EDMONTON
    MINNESOTA

    Here’s last year sorted by goal differential (as per nhl.com *note* they create a goal out of thin air when someone wins in a shoot out)

     Y - BOSTON
     X - PITTSBURGH
     P - VANCOUVER
     X - DETROIT
     Y - ST. LOUIS
     Z - NY RANGERS
     X - PHILADELPHIA
     X - NASHVILLE
     X - NEW JERSEY
     X - SAN JOSE
     X - LOS ANGELES
     Y - PHOENIX
     X - CHICAGO
     X - OTTAWA
     X - WASHINGTON
     DALLAS
     BUFFALO
     COLORADO
     MONTRÉAL
     WINNIPEG
     Y - FLORIDA
     CALGARY
     EDMONTON
     ANAHEIM
     CAROLINA
     TORONTO
     TAMPA BAY
     MINNESOTA
     NY ISLANDERS
     COLUMBUS

    Finally here’s a list of how the teams finished in the standings (overall)

     P - VANCOUVER
     Z - NY RANGERS
     Y - ST. LOUIS
     X - PITTSBURGH
     X - NASHVILLE
     X - PHILADELPHIA
     Y - BOSTON
     X - DETROIT
     X - NEW JERSEY
     X - CHICAGO
     Y - PHOENIX
     X - SAN JOSE
     X - LOS ANGELES
     Y - FLORIDA
     X - WASHINGTON
     X - OTTAWA
     CALGARY
     DALLAS
     BUFFALO
     COLORADO
     TAMPA BAY
     WINNIPEG
     CAROLINA
     MINNESOTA
     ANAHEIM
     TORONTO
     NY ISLANDERS
     MONTRÉAL
     EDMONTON
     COLUMBUS

  30. Woodguy says:

    wheatnoil,

    Nice post.

    I’m pretty much on the same page.

  31. Woodguy says:

    The largest variance this year for the Oilers is well documented.

    5v5 goals.

    Last year they shot 8.3% 5v5.

    This year they are shooting 5.2%

    Based on the number of shots they have taken 5v5 this year they would have 29 goals 5v5 shooting 8.3%, but only have 16 shooting 5.2% (all based on the first 16 games)

    That’s 13 goal over 16 games. Seriously significant.

    I wouldn’t bang my head against the wall too much it will come around, but like we have all noticed, there are a lot of first shots and not as many 2nd shots on the chances.

    The Oilers seem to be addressing this as well as the net presence was much better last game and there were 2nd shots on a few chances.

    I’m actually really scared about Dubnyk.

    This year his 5v5 SV% is only.907. Last year it was .927

    His 4v5 SV% is a very unsustainable .939, last year it was .854

    .890 seems to be about median over the last few years for 4v5 SV% of goalies who play at least 20 games.

    They are in the ditch a bit right now, but it could collapse.

  32. leadfarmer says:

    Watching these wings dismantle the Canucks. Couldnt be happier.

  33. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy,

    Not a fan of Corsi at all.

    It rewards failure and distorts the analysis of a player’s contributions.

    An examination of SF and SA combined with reference to shooting percentage is far more valuable.

  34. fifthcartel says:

    Not sure if anyone saw the new Oil Change, but hearing Smid yelling after the OT loss with Vancouver was awesome. God I hope they resign him.

  35. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy:
    The largest variance this year for the Oilers is well documented.

    5v5 goals.

    Last year they shot 8.3% 5v5.

    This year they are shooting 5.2%

    Based on the number of shots they have taken 5v5 this year they would have 29 goals 5v5 shooting 8.3%, but only have 16 shooting 5.2% (all based on the first 16 games)

    That’s 13 goal over 16 games.Seriously significant.

    I wouldn’t bang my head against the wall too much it will come around, but like we have all noticed, there are a lot of first shots and not as many 2nd shots on the chances.

    The Oilers seem to be addressing this as well as the net presence was much better last game and there were 2nd shots on a few chances.

    I’m actually really scared about Dubnyk.

    This year his 5v5 SV% is only.907.Last year it was .927

    His 4v5 SV% is a very unsustainable .939, last year it was .854

    .890 seems to be about median over the last few years for 4v5 SV% of goalies who play at least 20 games.

    They are in the ditch a bit right now, but it could collapse.

    You’re missing the forest.

    Last year, the Oilers were uncommonly successful in scoring based on their shot totals (see Eberle and Hopkins for reference) and are now reverting to the mean.

    DB 27

    AH 19

  36. crude says:

    wheatnoil,

    Very well said. I agree.

  37. knighttown says:

    Completely OT but hold off on the Seth Jones coronation for a moment and have a peek at this shift by Jonathan Drouin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7YDx0M51WE

    With that assist he’s now just taken over the scoring lead in the Q as a 17 year old in his first full season. Oh, and he’s missed ONE-THIRD of the games due to injury and competing in the World Junior. Lapping the country in points per game.

    And before you ask, not riding MacKinnon’s coat tails…he’s been out for a few weeks.

    Not speaking for the Oilers who should definitely take Jones but this guy is in the conversation if you’re C-Bus or someone else desperate for scoring and I’d take him ahead of MacKinnon regardless of need.

  38. VanOil says:

    leadfarmer:
    Watching these wings dismantle the Canucks.Couldnt be happier.

    After watching a Phoenix and Minnesota game yesterday seeing two teams play hockey is a relief. Man I hate Lemaire hockey.

    Vancouver are getting creamed but I don’t think they are regretting acquiring Kaisian despite his penalties today. Esh a 8 spot can’t be helping Lou’s value any.

    Druoin’s play was Dasukian he is great. If the Oiler’s can get in the mix for stealing Mackinnon because he drops to 3d it would be amazing.

    To improve puck possession for Hemsky and Gagner why not try the possession beast that is Hall. I don’t think the NHL tests for HGH. RNH and Eblele can cycle through Smyth, Yak and Hartikainen depending if they are playing tough or easy minutes.

  39. Gerta Rauss says:

    leadfarmer: Watching these wings dismantle the Canucks. Couldnt be happier.

    8-3 now Red Wings. Yikes.

  40. VanOil says:

    knighttown,
    Jones and Druoin are great but might be hard to get. I don’t think any one, now that Bruke is semi retired, is crazy enough to trade a top one or two pick. I hope the Oil don’t finish that low by merit.

    Prying a #3 pick off a team with a trade might be do able though with our pick and a player such as Gagner or Hemsky. The #3 guy would give us a Center and we would have to pickup a Dman by other means.

  41. Marc says:

    Captain Happy:
    Woodguy,

    An examination of SF and SA combined with reference to shooting percentage is far more valuable.

    And yet you still picked Minnesota to finish first in the Western Conference even though they were the only team last season that had a worse shot differential than the Oilers.

    Interesting.

  42. Captain Happy says:

    Marc: And yet you still picked Minnesota to finish first in the Western Conference even though they were the only team last season that had a worse shot differential than the Oilers.

    Interesting.

    This isn’t last year.

    The Wild turned over 40% of their roster while the Oilers added a couple of rookies.

    The Wild currently have a negative shot differential of -1 while the Oilers are -4.

    Over the course of an 82 game season, that’s a lot of shots.

  43. Clay says:

    If MacKinnon was available at #3, would any of you do a draft floor deal of Yak straight up for that pick? Serious question.

  44. knighttown says:

    Damn you John R! Get out of my city!

  45. knighttown says:

    Clay,

    Yes. MacKinnon skates exactly like Modano with the shirt flapping behind him. Actually, his combination of speed, power and good but not elite hands reminds me a lot of Hall.

    I’ve got Yak behind Nuge and Hall at this point in their 18 year old seasons (which isn’t really an insult). Kinda like saying I’ve got The Who behind Zeppelin and The Stones.

  46. knighttown says:

    Also on MacKinnon, most scouts consider his tenacity on the forecheck his best skill. In the new dead puck NHL, cycling is soooo much more important than what happens off the rush. No idea the number but I’d guess 80% of even strength goals come off either a chaos/broken play or a low-to-high play off the cycle. No sign that is Yak’s specialty.

  47. Woodguy says:

    Captain Happy:
    Woodguy,

    Not a fan of Corsi at all.

    It rewards failure and distorts the analysis of a player’s contributions.

    An examination of SF and SA combined with reference to shooting percentage is far more valuable.

    That’s like saying you love steak, but will never eat anything from a cow.

  48. Woodguy says:

    Captain Happy: You’re missing the forest.

    Last year, the Oilers were uncommonly successful in scoring based on their shot totals (see Eberle and Hopkins for reference) and are now reverting to the mean.

    DB 27

    AH 19

    Their overall shooting percentage as a team at 5v5 last year was right in the middle of the pack 1t 16th in the NHL at 8.3%

    This year is 30th with 5.2%

    They aren’t “reverting to the mean”

    Last year they were at the mean.

    This year they are way under and will regress back to the mean.

    I see the forest, but you like to stare at stumps

  49. leadfarmer says:

    Someone forgot to let Luongo know that its not yet playoff time. Started the choke early. 8 goals on 28 shots. 2 others waved off including a terrible call by an official that wave the play dead when Lu clearly didnt have the puck.

  50. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy: That’s like saying you love steak, but will never eat anything from a cow.

    No.

    It’s like saying, while I love steak, that doesn’t mean I’ll eat what come from the back end of a cow.

  51. Captain Happy says:

    Woodguy: Their overall shooting percentage as a team at 5v5 last year was right in the middle of the pack 1t 16th in the NHL at 8.3%

    This year is 30th with 5.2%

    They aren’t “reverting to the mean”

    Last year they were at the mean.

    This year they are way under and will regress back to the mean.

    I see the forest, but you like to stare at stumps

    You are assuming the Oilers are talented enough to overcome the significant shot differential they suffered last season.

    Clearly they aren’t and their “mean” is likely at the lower end of the range since they have very few players who can put the puck in the net.

    Please check their secondary scoring for reference.

  52. BlacqueJacque says:

    Anyone watching Tampa @ Pitt? These teams are *so fast* and so good. It’s crazy. Switching between this game and Phx @ Cgy is almost depressing. Like watching a different league.

  53. DeadmanWaking says:

    bookje: I think it may have something to do with the opposition. In prior years, I think the attitude of opposing teams was “Its just the Oilers tomorrow so:

    Let me add one you missed:

    - Who have we got who is snake bit, on a protracted cold streak, or ever played a game for the Oilers? Let’s promote these guys to the scoring lines and watch the fireworks.

    Really, the only flaw in this plan was that at most one former Oiler can score a game winning goal against us for each game played: a team with three or four ex-Oilers might not get enough shots at us over the season to cure all their slumps.

    This year, not so much, but it did happen (Colin “goose egg” Fraser, before Jarret Stoll put the icing on the cake.)

    It’s not that opposing coaches decided to play us easy, but their games against the Oilers were often coming in between tougher game they were more worried about, and the first string net-minder needed to find a day to rest, and such like.

    This year, other teams are playing us harder because they have to. The bad part of this is that it becomes easy to underestimate progress and then mess with something that can’t be rushed. The good part is that any further improvement on our side directly translates to points in the standing, because our adversaries have no remaining slack to take up.

    Maybe the schoolyard bully can still take us down. Or maybe he finally concludes that the cost/benefit is far rosier turning his attention to softer targets. At any poker table, the strong prey mainly on the weak until half the chairs are empty, while maneuvering very carefully not to let a dangerous adversary collect a threatening stack.

    Recently, good teams could play the odds on cost/benefit, and only open up and show us their A game if they came out of the 2nd intermission a goal behind. This season, few opponents wish to “open up” and trade chances (with visions of chagrin in Chicago), so they suck it up and play with grit for the whole sixty minutes and change.

    Still, by all rights we should have sent a pitcher or two off for an early cold shower, and we haven’t, and that’s entirely on us.

  54. copperblueandwhite says:

    Lowetide,

    The Bulls made a great couple of trades to acquire Graovac, Quine and Cardwell….that was about 20 games ago and the whole team has responded including (especially) Zharkov

  55. Woodguy says:

    Captain Happy: No.

    It’s like saying, while I love steak, that doesn’t mean I’ll eat what come from the back end of a cow.

    You are taking the loin and calling quality meat shit.

  56. bookje says:

    You guys are making me hungry for quality steaks and crappy burgers!

  57. Woodguy says:

    Captain Happy: You are assuming the Oilers are talented enough to overcome the significant shot differential they suffered last season.

    Clearly they aren’t and their “mean” is likely at the lower end of the range since they have very few players who can put the puck in the net.

    Please check their secondary scoring for reference.

    Goalposts on wheels when your initial premise is shown to be completely wrong.

    Standard.

  58. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Goalposts on wheels when your initial premise is shown to be completely wrong.

    Standard.

    Aha. Great, great line. Goalposts on wheels. Haaahahaha. Damn.

  59. nelson88 says:

    Davidson with another 1+1 tonight. Might take two or three years but there is a guy I can see pulling a Brodziak (minus the trade hopefully) and forcing his way onto the big league roster.

  60. wheatnoil says:

    bookje:
    You guys are making me hungry for quality steaks and crappy burgers!

    I’d go with a corsi burger, which is basically an upsized version of the fenwick burger, with extra PDO on the side. Sometimes I like to add a THUNDEROUS BODY Shake just to add some balance to the meal.

  61. wheatnoil says:

    nelson88:
    Davidson with another 1+1 tonight. Might take two or three years but there is a guy I can see pulling a Brodziak (minus the trade hopefully) and forcing his way onto the big league roster.

    Keep in mind that he’s doing this in the ECHL, so he’s got miles to go. Still, I’m with you. I’m rooting for the kid as loud as anyone.

  62. bookje says:

    Remember that D.S.F’s goal is not to win the argument, but rather to keep you responding. He is the goalpost on wheels – you are a dog needing to piss chasing him around, and he is enjoying the hell out of the whole thing.

  63. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy: That’s like saying you love steak, but will never eat anything from a cow.

    This metaphor sucks!

    pucks are the food.
    The offensive zone is the Plate
    puck direvted at net is the fork.
    the net is the mouth.

    What we want to do is get food.
    get it on the plate
    stab it with the fork
    put it in our mouth.

    But who prepped it
    put it on the plate
    Who placed the plate in front of you.
    how did you get it on the fork?

    the guys i hate are the ones that have the food on the fork. swing the fork around than pass it off to someone else or the guy at the other table.
    this year he is putting it in his mouth more.

    Corsi, yup he has food on the fork.

  64. Ice Sage says:

    Drouin reminds me of Patrick Kane. Doesn’t matter, he’ll never be an Oiler.
    Just finished a nice steak au poivre… glad I didn’t read this first!

    The Oilers will score more, book it

  65. Lowetide says:

    I barbequed hamburgers for the family. Drank an Irish coffee while doing. Come back in and Calgary’s ahead! wth? 4-3 PHX now, come on you dogs.

  66. VanOil says:

    Lowetide:
    I barbequed hamburgers for the family. Drank an Irish coffee while doing. Come back in and Calgary’s ahead! wth? 4-3 PHX now, come on you dogs.

    I am not to worried about a Cow Town win HNIC reported last night that they will likely have to 20-10-1 to finish the season if they want to make the playoff’s. I am cruel enough bastard that I want them to miss but not by enough to get a good pick. Plus I hate way Phoenix plays and we might if we are lucky compete with them for a playoff spot.

  67. steveb12344 says:

    wheatnoil: The thing is that the scoring chances are there, so the goals will come. The poor shot differential and corsi tells us that the Oilers aren’t a great possession team, but when they HAVE possession, they get their chances. So the problem lies not with getting chances, but decreasing the possession time of the other team. I postulate that this has the most to do with breaking up cycles in the defensive zone and getting zone exits with possession, which is where I think CoH’s new Zone Entry toy might be able to shed some light. The second area is in neutral zone play, so in other words zone entries. This team has trouble in these transitions.Hall is great in the defensive zone at breaking up cycles and hauling the puck out and he forechecks hard to cause turn-overs, the guy is friggin freight train out there when he’s on his game. RNH is a stealthy bugger and he can strip guys of the puck. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the top line is maintaining possession. They’ve got possession and scoring chances, they’ll score in time. Remember, though, in a 48 game season, luck plays a HUGE role.The Gagner-Hemsky-Yakupov line is getting scoring chances and therefore goals. What they suck at is possession. Gagner hasn’t been great in the defensive zone and Yakupov is a rookie. They also aren’t always great at causing turn-overs. When they HAVE possession though, which according to the corsi numbers is not often enough, they’re friggin dynamite and will get chances on net. What they need is someone who can help GET them possession. That either means that they can only be on the ice with defensemen who can get them the puck (and the Oilers have few enough of those) or you’ve got to split that line up with someone who can do the things they haven’t done. Smyth is an ideal candidate and Paajarvi has shown some ability to drive possession at times (at least last season). The 3rd forward on that line doesn’t have to score, they’ve just got to get possession.Of course, my argument falls apart when one considers that Hemsky and Gagner have had good possession in the past. Has the third forward always been able to establish possession in the D-zone and push the flow and force turn-overs in the O-zone? Have Gagner and Hemsky forgotten that side of the game? Do they have stronger qual-comp making that more difficult? Is it Krueger’s defensive style that they are having trouble adapting to? Or maybe is it just a small sample size and they’ll put it together?All I know is that this year, so far, Hemsky and Gagner are scoring chance guys but not possession guys. Which means if there’s no 3rd forward that can help give them possession, then maybe Gagner and Hemsky need to be split. The problem is the Oilers don’t have the centre depth to put anyone else reasonable with Hemsky. Unless you break up the first line, do you put Hemsky with Belanger? With Vandevelde? *shudder* Until Horcoff’s back, the Oilers are stuck without a lot of options other than breaking up the first line if you want Gagner-Hemsky to have better possession. Thus, the only option I can see is putting Smyth up with Gagner and Hemsky, sacrificing Yakupov to the lower lines, but giving him powerplay time and the occasional push up the line-up. Then, cross your fingers and pray that Smyth can help in the D-zone to limit opposition possession time and force the puck up ice, letting Gagner and Hemsky work their scoring chance magic.At least, that’s what was running through my head this Sunday afternoon.

    That’s some awesome work, and i didn’t read ahead in the thread but wanted to give you the *slow clap* anways.

    I’m not sure if it’s been adressed already but from what you are saying it would seem maybe they should try 04 with 89 and 83. I wouldn’t even mind giving 64 a shot with 93 and 14. You could throw in 94 or even 56 or 91 maybe if Yak struggles.

  68. jp says:

    rickithebear: This metaphor sucks!

    pucks are the food.
    The offensive zone is the Plate
    puck direvted at net is the fork.
    the net is the mouth.

    What we want to do is get food.
    get it on the plate
    stab it with the fork
    put it in our mouth.

    But who prepped it
    put it on the plate
    Who placed the plate in front of you.
    how did you get it on the fork?

    the guys i hate are the ones that have the food on the fork. swing the fork around than pass it off to someone else or the guy at the other table.
    this year he is putting it in his mouth more.

    Corsi, yup he has food on the fork.

    So, who is putting the food in his mouth more this year?

    Also, does it matter who prepped the puck?

  69. wheatnoil says:

    steveb12344: I’m not sure if it’s been adressed already but from whatyou are saying it would seem maybe they should try 04 with 89 and 83. I wouldn’t even mind giving 64 a shot with 93 and 14. You could throw in 94 or even 56 or 91 maybe if Yak struggles.

    Lowetide has been pushing Hall with Gagner and Hemsky for months before the season even started. They didn’t look good earlier this season, but was only for a small sample size. I think Hall, Gagner, and Hemsky is a great line in theory and if it doesn’t work, then it makes me think that Gagner and Hemsky truly have to be split. If Hall can’t drive the possession to make the line work, then there ain’t no fixing it.

    Your idea of Smyth on the top line intrigues me. My fear with moving Hall off the RNH-Eberle line is that I have a sneaking suspicion that Hall is driving the possession game on that line more so than RNH and Eberle. However, the only way to find out is to pull him off the line and see, because by eye RNH seems to be better in the D-zone this year so maybe they’ll be fine. Having Smyth on the line allows for some veteran presence, some D-zone work, some gritty battling for puck retrieval in O-zone, and some net presence.

    In theory, a Smyth-RNH-Eberle line and a Hall-Gagner-Hemsky line could make a solid 1-2 punch, with guys like Yakupov still adding some offense to the bottom six and sliding up to the top-line when Smyth needs a break post penalty kill.

  70. gogliano says:

    VanOil: I am not to worried about a Cow Town win HNIC reported last night that they will likely have to 20-10-1 to finish the season if they want to make the playoff’s. I am cruel enough bastard that I want them to miss but not by enough to get a good pick. Plus I hate way Phoenix plays and we might if we are lucky compete with them for a playoff spot.

    Protip: Oilers and Flames now have the exact same record.

  71. rickithebear says:

    jp: So, who is putting the food in his mouth more this year?

    Also, does it matter who prepped the puck?

    Prepped food!
    zone transition
    plating!
    Thats zone entry!
    Christ man!

    Eating More!
    So happy he is!
    Which makes me wrong!

  72. Thiru says:

    Nice post, LT.

    Not much to disagree with above; it all sounds pretty sensible. I particularly like WheatOi’s theory about Gags/Hemmer, because by my eye (and the scoring chances) they look pretty good when they have the puck on their sticks.

    I still think that the team is capable of going on a good run. A litte luck with the EV SH% and Gags/Hemmer reverting to their former Corsi ways is probably all that’s needed.

    Krueger has to prioritize fixing that duo. Split them up, find them a grimy winger (Smyth?) and then it’s off to the races.

  73. BONVIE says:

    slopitch,

    They need traffic in front of the net, they need to drive to the net and they need to shoot the puck if they are “A” in a scoring area and “B” have traffic in front of the net.

  74. BONVIE says:

    wheatnoil: Lowetide has been pushing Hall with Gagner and Hemsky for months before the season even started. They didn’t look good earlier this season, but was only for a small sample size. I think Hall, Gagner, and Hemsky is a great line in theory and if it doesn’t work, then it makes me think that Gagner and Hemsky truly have to be split. If Hall can’t drive the possession to make the line work, then there ain’t no fixing it.

    Your idea of Smyth on the top line intrigues me. My fear with moving Hall off the RNH-Eberle line is that I have a sneaking suspicion that Hall is driving the possession game on that line more so than RNH and Eberle. However, the only way to find out is to pull him off the line and see, because by eye RNH seems to be better in the D-zone this year so maybe they’ll be fine. Having Smyth on the line allows for some veteran presence, some D-zone work, some gritty battling for puck retrieval in O-zone, and some net presence.

    In theory, a Smyth-RNH-Eberle line and a Hall-Gagner-Hemsky line could make a solid 1-2 punch, with guys like Yakupov still adding some offense to the bottom six and sliding up to the top-line when Smyth needs a break post penalty kill.

    I think the Oilers need to have some elements on each of three scoring lines.
    “Playmakers” passers, puck carriers, playmakers.
    Gagner
    Hemsky
    Hopkins

    “Goal Scorers” shooting any time they are in scoring areas, driving to the net , finding quiet areas high slot or side of the net at the right time.
    Eberle
    Yakapov
    Hall

    “Grinders/Powerforwards”
    Jones
    Smyth
    Eager
    Hartikannen
    Horcoff

    Of course there is overlap one could say that Hall is more a power forward, or that Hemsky and Hopkins are goal scorers, and the more elements that any one of these players bring the more balanced the lines can be.

    I think it is just basic old hockey wisdom to know that a good line has a mix of all of these elements, and if three players play on a line that have all three qualities the line would balance. I think that the oilers maybe dont have the perfect options in their roster to fill the powerforward positions on the top lines, but at least try the guys that we have in these spots. For instance if Jones proved he can score close to 20 goals a season in the last two seasons playing in the bottom 6 to me this guy screams that he is that guy that can take the next step if playing with a playmaker, and be a power forward type player. Both Eager and Hartakainen have also showed already that they have some goal scoring ability.

    Hall,Hopkins, Jones
    Smyth,Gagner, Eberle
    Yakapouv, Horcoff, Hemsky
    Hatikainen, Belanger, Eager

    I believe long term the GM has to work on improving our balance on the forward roster bringing in more size and grit, however I think if we look at the lines in terms three scoring lines, we can fix our current roster in a way that their are three more balanced lines.

  75. bookje says:

    gogliano: Protip: Oilers and Flames now have the exact same record.

    Both are 2 points behind 8th place with a game in hand – neither are out of the playoffs at this point.

  76. Kris11 says:

    Also Boogie,

    They are missing their most valuable player 5×5 from the past few years right now, who will return at some point,. His name is Sean Horcof.

  77. gogliano says:

    bookje: Both are 2 points behind 8th place with a game in hand – neither are out of the playoffs at this point.

    Yeah, I don’t know what HNIC was smoking. Something closer to .600, maybe a little less, gets it done.

  78. DeadmanWaking says:

    For my taste, the best tool for following playoff prospect is Western Conference Playoff Chances 50/50. I don’t like the weighted projection until half a season is played: it gives too much weight to team strength on small sample size. The 50-50 tool doesn’t give a home ice advantage. This is nuts, but doesn’t matter much for the first half of the season (since for most teams remaining home games minus remaining away games usually stays within a fairly narrow bracket).

    Right now the Oilers are about 33% to make the playoffs and I don’t think they’ve shown what they can do yet. By the end of the season, you’ll often see seven teams at 80 to 99%, then four stragglers all around 30%. If two of those straggles meet, you might see one at 60% the morning after, and the other clinging to fate at 10% (that this adds up to more implies the other chumps watching the scoreboard that night would have preferred the opposite outcome, and that’s not even counting the Bettman disaster).

    If we come back from the road trip with eight points, our season is far from flushed, but at some point they’ll be needed to win four in a row (counting lucky ties). If we can’t manage that, we hardly deserve to be there. Eight points isn’t very hard if we can drag four games into extra time and Yak picks an auspicious occasion to light up some aching goalie up for his first career hatty.

    Here’s a question: How much is home ice worth, anyway, when you can’t win a face-off? We might be just as good on the road as at home right now (not good enough, but not abjectly terrible, either).

    In a regular season, if a team drops to 15% by xmas (this is extremely poor) and then turns it around and crawls back up to 30% by the trade deadline, the GM has a tough decision to make on whether to buy or sell.

    I tend to view 30% as indication that there’s still plenty of daylight to prove we belong. It’s no great accomplishment to sleep-walk into the second season on nothing but warm milk and Bettman cookies.

    If instead we put a streak together and bang some heads and we’re still at 30% then it begins to mean “too little / too late”.

    Another truism: a mediocre team usually sucks the hind banana on a least one critical statistic. Ours right now is 5V5. But OK–I admit it–it’s a shockingly pendulous hind banana.

    Oh yeah, on that chart 53.5 points gets it done. It comes out with this tool to 0.589. Around 0.560 is par with the Bettman point.

    17 + 0.560 * (48-17) = 51.7

    We only have to beat par by a point or three.

  79. Zipdot says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    Huh, nice post. One of the points I liked is that hey, you’ve got to be able to win four games straight or the playoffs are not your place to be.

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