The Edmonton Oilers are 3-0-2 in their last 5 games, have increased their chances of making the second season from2.5% two weeks ago to 16.9% today. They have an excellent PP, a solid PK and are about where they were a year ago in terms of points after 29 games.
The key for Edmonton is to avoid stepping into the elevator shaft like they did one year ago (2-9-0 in games 30 through 40). How do they stay away from long losing streaks? Injuries are a factor, luck is always in the background snickering, and their performance 5×5 is insane. The Oilers scored 38 5×5 goals in their first 29 games, exactly half the number pushed through by Pittsburgh in 32 games this season. EV scoring (imo) reflects the team perfectly: all world skills, but the gunners lack experience and can be bottled up for extended periods doing scut work far from the opposition goal. They need to clean it up, this isn’t about goaltending or faceoffs or hits or fights or intimidation. This is about winning puck battles, smart outlet passes, not taking chances when nothing rhymes, zone exits and entries. Basically all of the stuff we’ve been talking about this season.
Is it just me or is the lockout a distant bell?
Yesterday on Team 1260, Ryan Rishaug had an interesting take on the Oilers at the deadline. Rishaug suggested the Oilers might choose to keep Whitney, Smid, Fistric and Jones–that would be the club’s commitment to the team–if they were in a position to contend for the post-season.
As a fan, I hate it. I hate it I hate it I hate it. Hey, I’m in my 50′s here people, can we possibly get some freaking urgency at some point? I don’t have forever!
The deadline uncertainty is an issue for all teams around the bubble:
- Ken Holland: “From our perspective, how it affects the Detroit Red Wings – we need to win some games. I look at the trade deadline, and there are buyers and sellers, and those that stand pat. And those that stand pat are teams that are on the bubble. You don’t want to throw a lot of assets at something that you’re not sure if you’re going to miss the playoffs. I’m talking about young players and draft picks.”
College defenseman Danny DeKeyser will probably sign sometime in the next 7 days, Western Michigan club is unlikely to advance. Detroit is probably the favorite to land him.
The Nuge’s flu is likely to keep him out of tonight’s game according to reports. He’s important to the team even though his scoring is way off. “Very doubtful” was the word from coach Krueger yesterday, Eric Belanger will draw back in tonight.
Sam Gagner is tied for 23rd in overall points and 26th in goals (with 12). Taylor Hall is tied for 16th in assists with 20, Devan Dubnyk is 11th in SP (.918).
I’ll revisit my RE at the end of the season, but considering my guest today on the radio show I thought it might be an idea to post his projections, mine and the current state of affairs in regard to the Oilers. My original post about Scott Cullen’s Oiler projections for the shortened season is here (Cullen’s Oiler projections)
SCOTT CULLEN’S OILERS PROJECTIONS
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 43, 13-23-36
- Jordan Eberle 44, 15-19-34
- Taylor Hall 43, 16-17-33
- Nail Yakupov 46, 15-16-31
- Justin Schultz 46, 9-19-28
- Sam Gagner 42, 10-16-26
- Ales Hemsky 35, 9-17-26
- Ryan Smyth 46, 11-13-24
- Shawn Horcoff 40, 7-12-19
- Magnus Paajarvi 45, 6-11-17
- Ryan Whitney 30, 2-14-16
- Taylor Hall 39, 21-19-40
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 42, 13-26-39
- Jordan Eberle 44, 14-18-32
- Sam Gagner 43, 11-21-32
- Ales Hemsky 35, 8-24-32
- Nail Yakupov 45, 11-15-26
- Ryan Smyth 40, 9-13-22
- Shawn Horcoff 44, 6-10-16
- Jeff Petry 42, 2-15-17
- Ryan Whitney 39, 2-15-17
- Justin Schultz 44, 4-11-15
- Magnus Paajarvi 39, 3-9-12
CURRENT PROJECTIONS BASED ON ACTUAL PERFORMANCE
- Sam Gagner 48, 20-26-46
- Taylor Hall 45, 10-35-45
- Jordan Eberle 48, 12-22-34
- Ales Hemsky 47, 13-15-28
- Justin Schultz 48, 8-17-25
- Nail Yakupov 48, 10-15-25
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 46, 3-15-18
- Ryan Whitney 41, 6-13-19
- Ryan Smyth 47, 3-10-13
- Magnus Paajarvi 43, 11-4-15
- Shawn Horcoff 31, 10-5-15
- Lennart Petrell 42, 4-7-11
- Jeff Petry 48, 5-5-10
- Nick Schultz 48, 0-7-7
- Eric Belanger 40, 0-6-6
Cullen is close on Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Magnus Paajarvi and Ryan Whitney. He missed on only RNH by my eye (but who knew?) and did not anticipate Hall’s step forward. Cullen did an outstanding job to my eye.
LOWETIDE AT HIGH NOON
Today at noon Edmonton time, we hit the airwaves of Team 1260 with two hours of hockey talk. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Cullen from tsn. We’ll talk about first half surprises, Oilers who are kicking butt, Calder chances for Yakupov and Schultz, and of course your questions are welcome.
- Ellen Etchingham from Back Hand Shelf. We’ll talk about Ellen’s unique view of the game, what fascinates her these days and her unusual relationship with the rabid fandom that is Oilers Nation.
- Corey Graham from team 1260′s Oil King broadcasts. Corey’s the hardest working play by play guy in junior hockey, because the Oil Kings keep winning! A massive blowout last night kicked off the playoffs for the OK, we’ll talk about the game, the incredible depth and the Memorial Cup.
- Travis Yost from Hockeybuzz. Travis is the Senators columnist for the buzz, and he’s exceptional. His tee up for today’s game is here. We’ll talk Senators, Oilers, playoffs and the impact of coaching on a roster.
Hope you can tune in. Questions and comments welcome, best way to get hold of me (even during the show) is on twitter @Lowetide_ but I check the blog too for questions and comments.