OILERS AT KINGS G38 (12-13) 6.4.13

One of the fun games fans can play at home (and I hope GMs play in their offices) is “can we win a championship with X player in Y role?” For the Oilers, more and more of the answers are “yes” and the window of opportunity is coming into view.

No matter what happens down the stretch, this season represents a major step forward for the Oilers. There are problems:

  • Steve Tambellini was slow to react in replacing Shawn Horcoff (and Eric Belanger) when injuries impacted center.
  • Steve Tambellini didn’t deliver enough help at the deadline.
  • Steve Tambellini kept several possible “mistake signings” for the summer–should he re-sign Khabibulin, Whitney or Jones that would be a huge error for this burgeoning team.

Before we ask the “can we win” question, let’s have a look-see at what Ralph Krueger is trying to do:

ZONE STARTS–FORWARDS

zone startss

From what I can see, Krueger is less concerned with matchup and more concerned with getting his really skilled players as many zone starts (offensive opportunities) as he can. That’s fine, except the club’s 3rd and 4th lines are not perfectly set up for their task in this scenario. I’d rate Smyth and Horcoff as capable, and certainly Hemsky if the Oilers choose to put him there. After that, we get Eric Belanger, Lennart Petrell and the rest (Eager, Hordichuk, etc–Mike Brown’s Toronto numbers are reflected here so of no help to the discussion). With that as the backdrop–and understanding matchups are less important to the coach–we get this:

CORSI REL FORWARDS

corsirelapril6

The results are as expected–top line ripping it up, 4th line looks like a dog. I’d say the two items deserving of notice are Gagner/Hemsky (they should be in the black) and Yakupov (God love this kid he’s damn near at do).

So, when we ask the question “can the Oilers win a championship with X player in Y role” I get the following:

  1. Taylor Hall as 1line L: Yes. God yes.
  2. Magnus Paajarvi as 2line L: Jury’s out, but he could fill a lesser role offensively and cover the bet defensively.
  3. Ryan Smyth as 3line L: No. I don’t think Smyth will be here when they go deep, although his numbers above are respectable.
  4. Lennart Petrell: NO. No. I love Finns, it pains me to keep writing this.
  5. Teemu Hartikainen as a top 9 option: I don’t know. Jury’s out–I do think he deserves a one season look, 500 at bats.
  6. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as 1line C: Yes, but not yet. He needs to mature. Outstanding talent.
  7. Sam Gagner as 2line C: Yes. I don’t think he’s going to be the 2-way C his Dad was, but certainly enough skill to deliver on 2line.
  8. Shawn Horcoff as 3line C: Maybe. The problem is he’s going to erode for a couple more years before everything’s headed in the right direction.
  9. Eric Belanger: No.
  10. Anton Lander as 3 or 4line C: I don’t think so, we’ll have to see. No matter how good his checking, you have to hit about the Mendoza line. If he can perform at replacement level–say Rem Murray in his first stint as a Oiler–then he’ll have a career.
  11. Ales Hemsky as 1line R: Yes. I have zero idea about what the fracture is between 83 and 89, but am confident both can play at a high level.
  12. Jordan Eberle as 2line R: Yes. He’s not perfect, but he is skilled. The burden of the contract may impact him.
  13. Nail Yakupov as 1line R: Yes, eventually. I don’t think it’ll be long, either. He’s impossible to take your eyes off of–even just skating around (as he does sometimes).
  14. Mike Brown as 4line R: These player types don’t really play in the big games, remember BG being so upset? Brown seems to be  a good player for his role.

We’ll discuss defensemen tomorrow.

AND IF CALIFORNIA SLIDES INTO THE OCEAN……

Oilers have a 24.6% chance of making the post-season, I’m still onside with their chances of making the second season. They need to win one on the left coast, then come home and go on a run. And it would be nice if Denver could play a full GD game once in a damn while too.

I’m off the charts with the kids this season. Man. You could go a long while without seeing all of the things we’re seeing right now. This must be what seeing the crops sprout is like for farmers, just electric growth–maybe hydroponics?

Did I ever tell you about the time I visited my Grandpa in Maidstone, Saskatchewan and found out he had all the hyrdoponics and was growing…..tomatoes? This was maybe 1982, I drove down in the summer during my holidays and he was so excited. I’m like, you know, there are some “cash” crops you can grow Grandpa but that wasn’t his (or my) thing.

Anyway, I don’t know how much coaching there is to do during Taylor Hall’s eruption, but do think the club has done a nice job with Paajarvi this season and they seem to be giving Yakupov a little more leeway now. That goal he scored the other night was a memorable one–did you see Calgary goalie MacDonald’s incredulous reaction?–but there’s some coaching to do there.

Which leads me to two questions:

  • I know Nail was in the OHL for two years, but is there a ‘coaching gap’ between Windsor and Sarnia? Or are these lessons learned in Russia that the Yak needs to iron out on the smaller ice?
  • If you’re Magnus Paajarvi, would it have been better to come over after the draft? Are these struggles a result of the smaller ice?
  • If concussions are an issue, and more ice reduces concussions, should the NHL consider the bigger ice?

Warren Zevon. What a man. Smoked half of Peru and still had time to chronicle a generation.

LOWETIDE AT HIGH NOON

Team 1260, noon Edmonton time and your comments and questions are welcome below or @Lowetide_ on twitter. Scheduled to appear:

We’ll talk Oilers at the deadline, Oil Kings, Barons, 2013 draft and the California trip for the Oilers. Hope you can tune in!

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225 Responses to "OILERS AT KINGS G38 (12-13) 6.4.13"

« Older Comments
  1. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    So, what’s the verdict on Smithson’s first game?

    TOI: 9:54 (5v5 6:55; 5v4 .05; 4v5 2.54)
    FO: 7/9 = 78%
    even +/-
    He was on the ice for 3 of the 5 Oiler penalties and for 1 of the PP goals.
    1 blocked shot; 1 hit.

    any shot differential numbers?

    Some context:

    52
    J. SMITHSON

    Most common opponents:

     ▾
    J. QUICK 6.9
    J. MUZZIN 3.7
    C. FRASER 3.3
    J. NOLAN 2.9
    D. DOUGHTY 2.9
    K. ELLERBY 2.8
    B. RICHARDSON 2.7
    K. CLIFFORD 1.9
    T. LEWIS 1.8
    M. RICHARDS 1.7
    R. SCUDERI 1.6
    R. REGEHR 1.5
    S. VOYNOV 1.5
    J. CARTER 1.4
    D. KING 1.3
    J. STOLL 1.3
    J. WILLIAMS 1.1
    D. BROWN 0.7
    A. KOPITAR 0.6 \

    http://timeonice.com/H2H1213.html?GameNumber=20561&submit=Go

    Thanks Vic!

    Note: columns in link sort able if you click on them

  2. Lowetide says:

    Conclusion: Nuge sucks!

  3. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy,

    that’s a depressing line especially when juxtaposed with LAK.

    how is TOI pulling this data from the NHL website?

    thanks for the tip on “context” and the mc79 post above. I, for one, have definitely abused these corsi numbers without fully grasping them… try to learn more, be better.

  4. Woodguy says:

    Woodguy: Without context, this afternoon’s Corsi #’s

    http://timeonice.com/shots1213.php?gamenumber=20561

    PlayerCorsi+/-
    2 – D – PETRY, JEFF-4
    4 – L – HALL, TAYLOR-1
    5 – D – SMID, LADISLAV-7
    6 – D – WHITNEY, RYAN-12
    10 – C – HORCOFF, SHAWN-4
    13 – R – BROWN, MIKE-6
    14 – C – EBERLE, JORDAN3
    15 – D – SCHULTZ, NICK3
    19 – D – SCHULTZ, JUSTIN-2
    37 – C – PETRELL, LENNART-8
    40 – G – DUBNYK, DEVAN-17
    44 – D – POTTER, COREY-11
    52 – R – SMITHSON, JERRED-8
    64 – R – YAKUPOV, NAIL-9
    83 – R – HEMSKY, ALES-3
    89 – C – GAGNER, SAM-6
    91 – L – PAAJARVI, MAGNUS-5
    93 – C – NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN1
    94 – L – SMYTH, RYAN-6

    EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT

    WHITNEY GETS OUT SHOT WORSE THAN EVERY OTHER OILER FOR ABOUT THE 20TH TIME THIS YEAR!!!

    GOOD THING HE CAN PASS EH?

    WAIT!!

    SHOULDN’T THOSE PASSES RESULT IN SHOTS ATTEMPTS?????

  5. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    how is TOI pulling this data from the NHL website?

    It scraps all of these and sorts the info:

    http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20122013/TV020561.HTM

    Mike Parkatti does it too, he can explain it better if he chooses.

  6. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT

    WHITNEY GETS OUT SHOT WORSE THAN EVERY OTHER OILER FOR ABOUT THE 20TH TIME THIS YEAR!!!

    GOOD THING HE CAN PASS EH?

    WAIT!!

    SHOULDN’T THOSE PASSES RESULT IN SHOTS ATTEMPTS?????

    C’mon man… read. 40 clearly has the worst number!
    :)

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: It scraps all of these and sorts the info

    that’s basically magic to me.

  8. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy: SHOULDN’T THOSE PASSES RESULT IN SHOTS ATTEMPTS?????

    I was thinking the same thing myself, before dismissing a perfectly good idea on my self made altar of doom and gloom.

  9. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: that’s basically magic to me.

    Having ninja Excel skills is a must.

    You can hire that skill.

  10. russ99 says:

    Nice clip LT, I love Warren Zevon.

    I think my favorite is that Hindu Love Gods album he did with the musical 3/4ths of R.E.M., mostly blues and folk standards, with a Prince track thrown in for fun.

    Just got outclassed by two better hockey teams running the “How to beat the Oilers” script to a T. Hope we break it against the Ducks to give us a lift going into the huge homestand.

  11. cabbiesmacker says:

    Lowetide:
    One of the things LA offer us is a chance to see 4 lines who can play. I think we fixate on how big they are but man these men can pass the puck, shoot the puck, protect the puck and cradle a pass,

    What’s left?

    They’re big?

    Oilers aren’t even close top 6 vs top 6 or top 9 vs top 9.
    Hell top 12 vs top 12. Then have the added burden of killing penalties?

    Management might figure it out one day. This team isn’t close to being ready to challenge right now.

  12. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’ll give Grapes icing. He’s been banging that drum for a long time.

    still can’t follow the arguments of the NHL and NHLPA on this one.

  13. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Conclusion: Nuge sucks!

    Undersized 19 year old out shooitng Kopitar,

    Phhhhttttttpppp!!!

    JUST WAIT ‘TILL THE KIDS ARE READY!!

    THEN YOU’LL SEE STEVE TAMBELLINI ADD SOME GOOD PLAYERS!!

  14. Ribs says:

    Woodguy: Undersized 19 year old out shooitng Kopitar,

    Phhhhttttttpppp!!!

    JUST WAIT ‘TILL THE KIDS ARE READY!!

    THEN YOU’LL SEE STEVE TAMBELLINI ADD SOME GOOD PLAYERS!!

    *grumble grumble grumble*

  15. VanOil says:

    Random thoughts;

    Nuge is so young he could be in this years draft.

    I could see Philly buying out Bryzgalov and then trading for Luongo.

    I hope they offer Paajarvi at least 3 years. They will get a Petry like deal he is so close to being very good.

    WG is right Lazar will be the draft pick.

    Penner and RK would be a good mix but MacT will veto. Plus that is a crazy expensive/good third line with Horcoff and Hemsky.

    If Brown should only plays 30 games max next year Oilers would be better. I Potter was our 7th best Dman not our 5th Oilers would be better.

    Size did not beat us today, skill did. This will not be the lesson learned.

    I wonder what the summer training plans are for Nuge and Yakupov. Can Nuge spend the summer training with Gagner, what ever he did last summer worked. If Yak spent the summer doing 2 hours a day on strategy and positioning he will dominate, who should be his tutor?

  16. Captain Happy says:

    VanOil:
    Random thoughts;

    Nuge is so young he could be in this years draft.

    I could see Philly buying out Bryzgalov and then trading for Luongo.

    I hope they offer Paajarvi at least 3 years. They will get a Petry like deal he is so close to being very good.

    WG is right Lazar will be the draft pick.

    Penner and RK would be a good mix but MacT will veto. Plus that is a crazy expensive/good third line with Horcoff and Hemsky.

    If Brown should only plays 30 games max next year Oilers would be better. I Potter was our 7th best Dman not our 5th Oilers would be better.

    Size did not beat us today, skill did. This will not be the lesson learned.

    I wonder what the summer training plans are for Nuge and Yakupov. Can Nuge spend the summer training with Gagner, what ever he did last summer worked. If Yak spent the summer doing 2 hours a day on strategy and positioning he will dominate, who should be his tutor?

    Size AND skill beat them today.

    The Kings can play a much more physical game when required but didn’t have to.

  17. maudite says:

    Woodguy: Undersized 19 year old out shooitng Kopitar,

    Phhhhttttttpppp!!!

    JUST WAIT ‘TILL THE KIDS ARE READY!!

    THEN YOU’LL SEE STEVE TAMBELLINI ADD SOME GOOD PLAYERS!!

    Cmon man, that’s not fair. They said 7 years 2-4 years ago…You have to at least wait until the Nuge and Yak totally fill out and have burnt through their ELC’s before you think about surrounding them with quality players. You need to stop complaining and whining all the time. I think ST has done a great job providing comedic material and a team with poise/good in locker roomativity/nuclear deterentivness.

    It’s absurd to listen to all you whiners whine. The true sensible fans such as myself will be waiting on bandwagon when the plan works and you all get back on…I mean everyone that complains obviously has to be a fairweather fan…No way they’ve been cheering as hard as us true fans. Selling stuff that should not be resigned at the deadline and other such bs isn’t what GOOD teams do. I know this because I’m a fan of one of the most successful franchises in the history of the league…Sure I was only 12 the last time they won a cup but I have a brand new Gretzky jersey that I sport ALL the time. This summer we’re going to magically make trades where we prove we understand market value, fill the holes with actual hockey players regardless of size, not overpay with money or term on any contracts and enter the season with a roster that has no embarrassing imbalances like 3 goalies, 8 defenseman or a guy that can’t really play hockey.

    We’re like a brian glynn and david oliver away from the promise land here stop whining about nothing.

  18. sliderule says:

    Nuge played like a junior hockey player who has just been called up.

    I don’t know how his stats are but he looked tentative with the puck as Kings pressured himHe made several bad passes and never created scoring chances like he can.

    Of more concern for me is his face-offs.He is getting worse not better.For oilers sake I hope it’s just a matter of strenghth not an injury.Lots of smaller centers have been good at face-offs .He really needs to hit the weights this off season.

    Taylor played hard but did nothing..the kings just let him skate into a short gap and cut him off.

    We will probably draft Lazar who is playing wing but from what I saw at WJC Wennberg might be the better player

    I have been watching this team probably before a lot of you were born so let me tell you something that might make you feel better.Good players can overcome bad coaching and management and we have a lot of really good players.

  19. Ray says:

    VanOil:
    I wonder what the summer training plans are for Nuge and Yakupov. Can Nuge spend the summer training with Gagner, what ever he did last summer worked. If Yak spent the summer doing 2 hours a day on strategy and positioning he will dominate, who should be his tutor?

    I vote for woodguy :-)

  20. VanOil says:

    Ray: I vote for woodguy

    How is his Russian?

  21. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    if this flames team had better goaltending they’d be a lot better.

    also, it is amazing to watch Barker getting nhl TOI. hilarious and amazing.

  22. Woodguy says:

    Ray: I vote for woodguy

    He needs to learn how to drink beer?

    Excellent.

  23. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: The reason I must have missed this article is because I followed this link:
    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/tag/zone-exits/
    the tag “zone exits” doesn’t appear to pull all of the appropriate articles. I tend to read these at my leisure and not as they come, so if they don’t pop up on the googles I miss them.

    Thanks, I missed tags on 2 out of the 5 posts. My bad.

    Fixed.

  24. Zelepukin says:

    I feel sick for saying this but given the remaining schedule I can see us going 2-7-1 and picking top 6. we’ve played terrible on back-to-backs and with 2-3 day breaks. I wouldn’t be a true Oiler fan if I wasn’t this pessimistic given the play of the last two games versus playoff teams.

  25. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    glad my failure of intensive research has paid off :)

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