OILERS AT AVALANCHE G26 (12-13) 12.3.13

“Watch out for that last step, she’s a lu-lu!” I wonder if Daryl Katz knew what he was getting into when uttering the famous “rebuild” word that cold, dark winter day in January 2010.

expos

The underdog is always something I can get behind. I enjoy the team building as much as watching the championships. As a fan, there’s not much worthwhile you can invest in a team aside from time and the devotion, and for that, hopefully, you are rewarded with a trip to the top of the mountain. I am spoiled as a hockey fan, having watched my beloved Oilers win 5 and my original favorite team (Boston) win it thrice.

But I know pain. 2006 G7 SCF, or game 1 for that matter. Rick Monday on a cold October day in Montreal “he’ll touch ‘em all” and Jim Fanning’s John Wayne pose as the 80s fell away from the wonderful Montreal Expos. The ’79 Expos won 95, with 5 guys who drove in 73 or more; ’80 Expos won 90 games and the ’81 bunch won their division and came with a hair of going to the WS.

Blue Monday. Pain.

blue monday

As a fan–or an owner–you only get so many sorties before Jeff Loria trades your team for swamp land, or Murray Cook turns your infield from Perez, Scott, Speier and Parrish into Driessen, Flynn, Speir and Wallach (that’s a massive downward spiral).

This season reminds me of the Montreal Expos when Jim Fanning was the manager. They went from Tony Perez to Al Oliver to Dan Driessen so quickly it would make your head spin, and the result was devastating. Sure, the Expos still had Carter and Dawson and Raines and Rogers and and and, but for every impact player there was Doug Flynn or Dan Driessen to GIDP or strike ‘em out throw ‘em out. It was horrible.

Dan Driessen and Doug Flynn are represented on the current Edmonton Oilers, and one hopes management figures out how to bring in competent role players to keep things at do until the Chance Machine returns to the ice. Everyone knows what the problem is, because the Oilers have been using binder twine and rusty nails to fill the holes since 2006 summer. They need Dap, not the generic  type.

The Corsi really shows how wide the gap is getting between the kids–who are getting it now, not just Hall–and the Petrell’s and Eager’s. If you look around the NHL, to names like Kyle Brodziak and Andrew Cogliano and Jarret Stoll, maybe the Oilers are better off staying the course.

With that as the backdrop, the rumors we’re hearing about adding size to the skill lines doesn’t bode well for names like Paajarvi and Hartikainen. Mistake to trade them? They’re progressing, especially Paajarvi.

corsimar12

 

As for names of possible acquisitions, we’re starting to see specifics filter in:

rosscreek

 

Stewart has skill and he’s a big, tough winger. His Corsi is not good this season, ranking 14/15 among forwards who have played more than 5 games. He’s posting good offense at 5×5 though, his 2.69/60 ranks him second on the team and is a good number league wide. Two things: why is he in play? The Blues are a team expected to go deep, why would they want to offload him? Is that Corsi true?

And what would they want in return? Dreger suggested a “Stewart for Kulemin+” trade which suggests the Blues might be looking for more of a 2-way type with good speed.

Hitchcock would love to add Hemsky to that group of PF’s I’m sure. If St. Louis acquired Hemmer, I think you’d have to give them an elevated chance of getting out of the west.

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432 Responses to "OILERS AT AVALANCHE G26 (12-13) 12.3.13"

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  1. delooper says:

    MPS bonding with Yakupov seemed bound to happen. It looks like a great pairing.

  2. FPB94 says:

    Woodguy,

    Absolutely agree. He’s average AT BEST. He really drags PIT down.

  3. Ducey says:

    The Oilers are now tied with Philly with 25pts. The Oil have a game in hand.

    They got to be pissed, eh?

    Is Luke Schenn really that bad?

  4. "Steve Smith" says:

    Kitchener:
    In 2 days we’ve gone from “sell/fire everyone” to “3 points out of a playoff spot with 20 games to go.”

    Those aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Tambellini and Lowe still aren’t NHL-calibre hockey men.

    Pettrell, Brown, Peckham, Potter, and Whitney are not NHL-calibre hockey players. Probably Eager and Belanger aren’t, either, at least anymore. Arguably Jones. Maybe not Yakupov at this point, either.

    You’re trying to frame it as though we’re bipolar; we’re not. We’ve been opposed to this management group since it first exhibited its incompetence. Obviously we’re happier after wins than after losses – we’re fans, you know – but don’t pretend there’s been some transition from “fire the management group and get rid of the end-of-the-roster players” to the present.

  5. gogliano says:

    VanOil:
    Current odds of making the playoffs 13.1%, bleak but less bleak than before. http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html

    50/50 has us at 22.3%. I think it is still too early to trust the weighted formula, though the 50/50 method obviously has its flaws.

    I think we’re still in it, albeit a longshot. Would like to see them make a run, regardless.

  6. "Steve Smith" says:

    Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner. One’s leading the team in goals, and the other in assists. Who wants to go back in time to the beginning of the season and guess which is which?

  7. Bos8 says:

    I think the best thing this year, other then the Younger, is watching Magnus develop before our eyes, it’s a beautiful thing. He’s geared down his skating leaving a gear in reserve, which gives him more options and he’s covering for his linemates defensively.

    Yay, Maggie.

  8. Lowetide says:

    If the Oilers could win three of four at home we could put away the pitch forks.

    Would that be good?

  9. Bos8 says:

    Willis gave Jones a six on the player grades tonight. I don’t know if I’d give him a two. Dogged it all night and on the three on one shot into the chest.

  10. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide,

    No. The Oilers management team does not become competent by virtue of the team winning three of four. Let’s try to have an attention span of some kind, here.

  11. "Steve Smith" says:

    Bos8:
    Willis gave Jones a six on the player grades tonight.

    I don’t know if he’s changed it, but it’s currently a four.

  12. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Lowetide,

    No.The Oilers management team does not become competent by virtue of the team winning three of four.Let’s try to have an attention span of some kind, here.

    Sure, sure. But four of five, Tambellini for the exec of the year, no? That kind of GMing over such a long period needs to be rewarded.

  13. Bos8 says:

    “Steve Smith”: I don’t know if he’s changed it, but it’s currently a four.

    Well, that’s better but still generous. Grumble, grumble, mumble.

    How about that Paajarvi. Eh, eh.

  14. FPB94 says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    Idk. It’s not like they haven’t tried to address the problems of this team. They were right moves who just blew in their faces (And for some of them who could blame them?).

    Veterans: Belanger had been a 30 points out of the 3rd line guy for 10+ years and then just comes here and totally sucks. Ryan Smyth turned into Ethan Moreau after a nice season.

    Blueline: Whitney was really good until his foot imploded… twice. Both Schultz’s have been nice and Fistric isn’t half bad.

    As for bottoms of the lineup: Well yeah the 4th liners they got suck, but so do 90% of the league’s 4th liners. I’d be more worried about the fact that the guys who were supposed to get it done didn’t (Hartikainen, Jones, Horcoff, Smyth (RNH to some extent))

    If they don’t move this summer then they’re idiots.

  15. "Steve Smith" says:

    FPB94,

    I was all-for the Belanger signing; I’m still reluctant to admit that it wasn’t a good one, but I think I’m getting close.

    I was okay with the Whitney trade, too. But I was okay with it on the premise that they were going to try to win at some point during his current contract, and that doesn’t appear to have been the plan (or, if it was, it sure hasn’t been executed well).

    Fistric was a nice pickup, in a sixth defenceman kind of way. But there are some really nice deck chair arrangements available for the discerning luxury liner captain, too.

    The Oilers did well with Justin Schultz, but it was also lucky for them that one of the best defencemen of his generation (maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I doubt it) happens to be one of the seven people in the world who really like the city of Edmonton (I’m another. Bill Smith is a third. I may have overestimated).

    Nick Schultz is not very good, and trading Gilbert for him was a firing offence.

    How many defencemen do we have who would be top-four on most teams in the league? Smid. I like both Petry and Justin Schultz, but they’re also both close calls.

    Pettrell, until very recently, was playing every game for this team. Eager too, when he was healthy. We just gave up a draft pick for Mike Brown, and now he‘s playing every game.

    What it comes down to, as others have pointed out, is this: what good professional hockey players have the Oilers brought in, by trade or signing, during Tambellini’s tenure? Mark Fistric? And you can say “Well, we’re building through the draft, so the priority isn’t on bringing in professionals,” and that would be a defensible argument, except for the question about how many bad professional players they’ve brought in. It’s, like, fifty, or something. So they’re not building exclusively through the draft, they’re also bringing in professionals to supplement the draft core – they’re just awful at it, is all.

    Okay, I promise I’ll go back to pithy and cryptic one-liners, now. Kitchener’s “Oh, not so pissed off at management now, are you?” post just got under my skin a bit.

  16. justDOit says:

    Lowetide:
    If the Oilers could win three of four at home we could put away the pitch forks.

    Would that be good?

    Oh – I dunno… I’m really stocked up on those right now… nowhere to put em, really.

  17. fuzzy muppet says:

    Bos8,

    Bos8,

    I believe it was a 4, not a 6. There was one point early on when nuge feathered pass to him in neutral ice and Jones just goes all Eager and fumbles it away.

    Jones is a 4th liner, not a second liner

  18. FPB94 says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I’d say Tom’s pretty much sucking straight up in Minny. More like emotional investment than anything else it seems to me. (Even tough Nick isn’t really that great either).

    I,m satisfied with ”they didn’t clog the whole team’s salary cap with shitty broken old dudes out of FA”.

    Last time I saw a dmen got traded (of which they were the main piece) the team getting the d-men got absolutely fleeced (Goligoski, E. Johnson) so the market is probably not that great anyway.

  19. stevezie says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    Testify. The problem was NEVER that the Oilers stunk, it was that they were totally unprepared for some very predictable problems. With Horcoff back and Whitney getting better (still not “good”) they are starting to look decent (though still not “good” either).

    It would have been easy to brace the team for Whitney not being ready. It would have been easy to upgrade on VDV, and doable to at least match Belanger if not upgrade him too. We have other problems that could be challenging to solve, but I would say these were our biggest two and they would have been easy to fix. No action was taken. “Waiting out” a month and a half injury is not acceptable for a team that wants to win in a shortened season.

    So Horcoff is back and it really helps, but Smyth at centre shows they are STILL woefully unprepared for even one centreman to miss any time.

    I like Fistric a lot, but bottom pairing defenceman wasn’t a dire need, and in if it is why are Potter and Peckham both still on the team? Brown is okay, but if Eager is replaced why is he still on the team? We need to accumulate talent, not bodies.

    I will admit I was wrong about something- I clearly underestimated how much better Horcoff was than Smyth or Belanger. I thought Ryan would be as good or better on the pp, and that Belanger could play the third line in a pinch. He is fine on the fourth, but that is his rock-solid granite ceiling.

  20. carefreephil says:

    “We let them go…being under a two – nothing lead in hockey is nothing especially not against that team (the oilers)”

    Gabriel Landeskog post game. (http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=218504)

    No love from the Kog.

  21. asiaoil says:

    With both Horcoff and Belanger hurt this team needed a life-line (a real NHL center) and got thrown an anvil (VDV etc). Same with Whitney and his very predictable problems. That’s just horrid mgmt performance and a little win streak after guys start to get healthy does not change anything. They are unlikely to make the playoffs as a result, and if they do, it’s in spite of the front office not because of it. These are still the same clowns who very very nearly threw away their only success in the last decade when they flat out refused to deal with goaltending until the trade deadline in 06. I expect little or nothing from them at the deadline and maybe even a move backwards (Smid trade).

  22. bookje says:

    "Steve Smith",

    I agree. I was forgiving of the failure to bring in real players during the tank years because it makes sense to bring in marginal players during those years.

    Management has not shown any ability to bring in NHL level talent.

    So, either they are ok with being near the bottom (I could almost give them credit for this as a strategy) or they just suck at it.

  23. raventalon40 says:

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/brent-burns-moved-forward-sharks-apparently-never-watched-202426295–nhl.html

    Greg’s article on D switching to F is quite interesting. It might be true most of the time and it might explain why it took so long for Paajarvi to catch on. But now that he has – watch out!

    Plus Burns scored a goal tonight, so at least in this case it works in small sample sizes.

  24. hags9k says:

    Why didn’t they lock up Samwise last summer? Because Oilers. Ch-CHING!

    Do it now. And get Smid done too while your at it so we can all take another small step back from the ledge. If they trade Gags, Smid or MPS I will just puke.

  25. DeadmanWaking says:

    gogliano: 50/50 has us at 22.3%. I think it is still too early to trust the weighted formula, though the 50/50 method obviously has its flaws.

    I was pondering exactly this myself. Here is what I concluded:

    The weighted method works better with teams that have found their level, and worse with teams bobbing up and down like a cork someone tossed into an amphetamine feed-stock agitator, just for shits and giggles. Weighted is just never going to work for The Three Faces of Eve. We’ve seen at least three: the one goal differential sleep-walk, gate-bursting losses, and gate-bursting wins (insufficient sample size on that latter category–more please!)

    History doesn’t help you predict the future (which is what weighted assumes) if it turns out Horcoff really is the straw that stirs the drink.

    I’ve decided that 52 points or 10th in the west clears the bar on realistic expectations for the present season (right now, these criteria are roughly the same). I’d be happier with 9th, and happier again with 8th (in exactly the same increment). The problem with 8th is that people will think it means something entirely different than finishing 9th in measuring progress on the rebuilt, which I strongly suspect is spurious reasoning. But we can burn that bridge if we get there. For now, either rung is a remote consideration.

  26. gcw_rocks says:

    hags9k,

    Because they weren’t sold on his complete game. It still has flaws. He still can’t win a face off to save his life in his 6th season, and while his points have gone up this season, his possession game has dropped off.

    Sam’s a good player, but let’s be a little balanced about his performance.

  27. stevezie says:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/03/13/at-least-two-nhl-teams-interested-in-stealing-brett-clark-from-the-edmonton-oilers/

    So basically we are trading 36 year-old Brett Clark for a much younger Corey Potter and/or Theo Peckham.

    I think this is defensible, but really, is Potter part of the future? Wouldn’t finding a guy better than both Clark and Potter be a goal this summer anyway?

    I guess it is possible Clark doesn’t want to come to Edmonton, but I doubt a guy in the minors was turning down offers from anyone. Maybe Oiler scouts think he’s an Alexandre Giroux? Because really, what else is Nelson gonna say about his best defenceman? “No, I don’t think he’s that good”?

  28. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    If the Oilers could win three of four at home we could put away the pitch forks.

    Would that be good?

    When the Oilers stop adding players who hurt puck possession, clear away that type of player on the roster and add real NHLers who help, I’ll put away the pitchforks.

    I don’t expect to anytime soon.

    Been watching this management group for years and years.

    I doubt they change their spots.

  29. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    stevezie:
    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/03/13/at-least-two-nhl-teams-interested-in-stealing-brett-clark-from-the-edmonton-oilers/

    So basically we are trading 36 year-old Brett Clark for a much younger Corey Potter and/or Theo Peckham.

    I think this is defensible, but really, is Potter part of the future? Wouldn’t finding a guy better than both Clark and Potter be a goal this summer anyway?

    I guess it is possible Clark doesn’t want to come to Edmonton, but I doubt a guy in the minors was turning down offers from anyone. Maybe Oiler scouts think he’s an Alexandre Giroux? Because really, what else is Nelson gonna say about his best defenceman? “No, I don’t think he’s that good”?

    As long as mgt. won’t move one of our numerous 6-8s he doesn’t have anywhere to go. And, you basically have to cheer for a guy trying to make it back to the pros any way he can.

    don’t see why they don’t waive 44 and bring him up though, unless per Hamrlik decision, they simply don’t care about winning this year.

  30. Kitchener says:

    My point remains unchanged from previous weeks: the team’s goal for this season seems to be to finish 20-25, develop the kids, and keep rolling the dice to find a support cast. Their focus is still a year or two out. If that’s the plan, they’re on pace and management likely has job security. I didn’t make the plan.

    For reference, see Elliot Wave: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliott_wave_principle. Armchair GMs (like me and likely you) like to speculate based on daily, weekly, or monthly trends, whereas Tambelowe has repeatedly referenced a multi-year plan. The short-term ups & downs (“OMG we suck!” and “OMG we’re dominant!”) are secondary to the underlying trend, which is definitely going the right direction.

    I’m as curious as anyone to see if/when they win a trade and actually round the corner into perennial contention. They certainly need to move spare parts before the deadline. My question remains: which teams with a desperate need to win now have assets we want? Is a Hedman/Carlson/Alzner/R.Murray/Johansen deal possible?

    Surely this crowd can craft a realistic deal the Tambelowe can read and then implement. Or are we just going to say “management sucks” and keep hating?

  31. stevezie says:

    Kitchener,

    We’ve crafted several. Sign Rozsival was the one that I think would have been the easiest and the most helpful.

    I actually agree with you that Tambellini has a long-term plan, I am just not convinced it is a good one. Finishing 20-25 is fine with me if that’s where team development is at, but this team is incredibly undermanned in some areas. I don’t understand why help is being withheald at this point. We’re not drafting in the lottery anyway, so is there really that much of an advantage drafting at 7 instead of 12?

    As long as the top 9 is healthy we will be a decent team, but that is a helluva variable.

  32. Dipstick says:

    This team needs to learn to compete in meaningful games late in the season. Very soon, that will be more important than stockpiling assets. I hope that they make a valiant run for a playoff spot, even if it means not getting the very best draft pick in June.

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