VOICES FROM THE CRYPT

Craig MacTavish has been General Manager for the Edmonton Oilers for just a few months, and is in the process of building the team in his own image. The discriminating Oiler fan knows that MacT’s teams have certain traits (great 5×5 and 4×5, poor 5×4) and the overall thrust of a MacT team is competing at even strength. I expect we’ll see that kind of team in Edmonton (with elite talent taking care of the 5×4) by the time this thing gets too far along. The problem currently? The Oilers don’t resemble MacT’s teams at all.

In another brilliant set of articles, Tyler Dellow gives us some historic background on Oilers Corsi (or close) going back to the Ron Low era, and then helps us understand the Eakins season and something disturbing. First article is here and gives us a proxy for the Oilers team Corsi back to the late 1990′s:

low and mact corsi

Now this is fascinating stuff, because it confirms what the MacT believers have always known—that guy can coach!

  • DellowThis is part of the reason that I believe in MacT. He has ideas about what works. I think his ideas are, generally speaking, correct. (If he happens across this, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the endorsement). There are people out there – Toronto Maple Leafs, I’m talking to you – who seem to have crazy ideas about how to win games. There’s no guarantees in life and fewer in sports but I’d rather bet on a guy who has the right ideas. Particularly when he’s got a roster that already has a bunch of young star calibre players.

This entire paragraph had me nodding in agreement. Two plus two is four, dammit! Always has been! A follow-up article by Dellow (whose retirement from blogging has shockingly produced a watershed) informs us this team is WORSE than last year’s 43.4% Corsi since the Islanders game. It’s a dynamite article, read it during the day (don’t want any nightmares) and have a look at Taylor Hall’s horrible, horrible number after a 49.3 start!

adams2

2013 MacT Trades

  1. Shawn Horcoff to Dallas for Phil Larsen, cap room and a 2016 7th round pick. Horcoff is a regular (14:23 a night) and helping the Stars in a support role. Overpriced but Dallas knew that going in and (correctly) valued him for sound hockey reasons. Oilers received Larsen (8, 1-4-5 -6) who has stepped in and provided offense for both teams during his Oiler time. The pick is nothing, the cap room allowed Edmonton to acquire Boyd Gordon (and should be considered when evaluating the trade) so it’s a trade that delivered enough value to cover what Horcoff provides. I’d love him on this team right now, though.
  2. Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 2nd round pick for David Perron. This trade looks very good from here, although there’s miles and miles to go. Perron (18, 5-8-13 -4) is absolutely what the Oilers needed for 2line LW and his style of play gives them some nuance they haven’t had for years. Paajarvi has been a healthy-scratch and then was hurt, but it’s important to keep in mind he’s an outstanding young player—AND the 2nd round pick will be in the 30-33 range (that’s a nice community). Still, Perron’s a big bat in the middle of the order and the futures given are exactly the kind of trade Edmonton needs to make right now.
  3. Mike Brown to San Jose for 4th round pick in 2014. A good trade because Edmonton acquired his replacement via waivers (Gazdic) and it allowed them to have some wiggle room on the 50-mission cap. Brown’s value is clear to NHL teams but not really measurable, so I refer to it as the “#3 catcher” spot on the roster. Getting a 4th round pick for the number 3 catcher is a strong trade.
  4. Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy to Calgary for Laurent Brossoit and Roman Horak. Strange trade on some levels but I think MacT was trying to make a “Horcoff” type deal to set up a “Perron” type trade. The Oilers save some cap in sending away Ladislav Smid (the Horcoff) and save cap dollars while also acquiring something useful (in this case two items). I agree with speeds and others that Smid may have given more value at the trade deadline, but it’s also true that contracts with term are not the preferred legal tender at that time. For me, the trade doesn’t make sense unless you use that cap money soon (beyond the Bryz pickup) and the Brossoit pickup isn’t a clear cut “adding an impact prospect” move so there’s plenty to criticize in this deal.

blunt222

2013 MacT Free Agent Acquisitions/Retentions

  1. Anton Belov: A solid signing, and Belov is looking more and more like the modern Jan Hejda. Sign the man!
  2. Mark Arcobello: It didn’t seem like a major item at the time, but signing Arcobello was a major early season positive for the Oilers. There was some question about how much he’d play—and there still is—but there’s no doubt his signing was worthwhile.
  3. Andrew Ference: Ranks 5th among regular defenders in Corsi for % (44) and 4th in time-on-ice overall and even strength (2nd on PK). Ference effectively replaced Smid on the long term roster the night Laddy was dealt, he has performed well as captain but has not been an on-ice value.
  4. Boyd Gordon: Home run so far, an outstanding addition. I wish we had two more.
  5. Jason LaBarbera: It hasn’t worked out and it looks dire now. Still, the risk seemed reasonable and the goalie should retain value now or at the deadline.
  6. Jesse Joensuu: He looked good for 1+ periods but has been injured and ineffective since.
  7. Will Acton: I can’t really say if he’s been any good, Acton plays with the B wingers on the 4line and they’re not good at all.
  8. Ryan Hamilton: Big man appears to have major speed issues, looked big and slow (and then injured) in Edmonton.
  9. Ryan Jones: He’s playing about 10 minutes a night and needs to be more of a factor offensively.
  10. Richard Bachman: He had one major moment in the first quarter, and that’s about what you’d expect from a depth signing.
  11. Brad Hunt: Non-factor.
  12. Denis Grebeshkov: He wasn’t close to ready, we may hear more from him before season’s end.
  13. Linus Omark: Played well in OKC hasn’t shown a thing in the NHL.
  14. Steve MacIntyre: Injured early, I think the Oilers made a massive mistake by hiring an enforcer when they needed to add a center in reaction to the Gagner injury.
  15. Luke Gazdic: I actually have no complaints. He didn’t cost a thing, plays 5 minutes, can fight, the players clearly like him.
  16. Ilyz Bryzgalov: We’re about to find out.

ASSESSMENT

For me, the overriding positives of the Perron and Gordon additions trump the Smid disappointment. There are other positives and negatives, but those are the major stories from the summer/fall transactions so far in the 2013-14 season. The same sound mind who produced those rolling 50′s on the Corsi gun is in charge of this team—I remain positive about this team’s long term future. Now, let’s figure out what coach is doing and fix it!

fellini

EAKINS

The hiring of Dallas Eakins as head coach was always going to be the big move this summer, MacTavish clearly felt the young man brought a lot of elements that were missing and must have seen something of himself in terms of philosophy. The current Oilers are not the run and gun fun bunch of last season, and the hard lessons of playing away from the puck look similar to the Hemsky-era tutoring a decade earlier. “It’s what you leave” has replaced counting sheep at night for these young men, and the progress has been slowed by inconsistent goaltending and defense, by injuries and by a rookie coach.

Except.

Except, if Dellow’s theory above is correct, the hard lessons may have been replaced and the current game plan has a losing end. That’s a big hairy monster in the closet, ladies. Dallas Eakins swarm may have to return before this team turns north.

The first twenty games were a disaster, the second stanza has begun 1-1. However, the Oilers need to fix what ails them in the shot differential or we’re going to be talking about a 10-30-4 team in the new year. The swarm—embrace it!

BLUNT GIF2

TIME ON ICE

Ralph Krueger coached the team last season, let’s have a look at how much he ran his front line players:

  1. Sam Gagner 19:24
  2. Jordan Eberle 18:59
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 18:51
  4. Taylor Hall 18:37
  5. Shawn Horcoff 16:51
  6. Ales Hemsky 15:42

And now Dallas Eakins:

  1. Jordan Eberle 21:31
  2. Taylor Hall 21:21
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 20:58
  4. David Perron 19:54
  5. Sam Gagner 18:29
  6. Ales Hemsky 17:11

So Eakins is running his 1line about 2 minutes more and his 2line about 2 minutes more than Krueger. I like the idea in theory, but nothing seems to rhyme this year. For me, part of the problem is the 4line, and I don’t recall MacT having a useless 4line really ever. Do you? I mean, even his rather one dimensional guys (like Stortini) could be counted on for low event play when they were on the ice. Maybe I’m misremembering. Cleaning up that 4line (and adding more penalty killers) is one of the keys to turning this rig around.

THE BLUE

Krueger:

  1. Jeff Petry 21:54 (plenty of PK, no PP)
  2. Justin Schultz 21:26 (plenty of PP, no PK)
  3. Ladislav Smid 20:19 (plenty of PK, no PP)
  4. Nick Schultz 18:37 (plenty of PK, no PP)
  5. Ryan Whitney 18:28 (plenty of PP, no PK)
  6. Corey Potter 17:27 (a little of both)
  7. Mark Fistric 15:20 (plenty of PK, no PP)

Eakins

  1. Jeff Petry 22:21 (plenty of PK, some PP)
  2. Justin Schultz 22:01 (plenty of PP, no PK)
  3. Phil Larsen 21:16 (plenty of PP, no PK)
  4. Andrew Ference 20:37 (plenty of PK, no PP)
  5. Anton Belov 19:38 (some of both)
  6. Ladislav Smid 17:53 (plenty of PK, no PP)
  7. Nick Schultz 16:22 (plenty of PK, no PP)

Both coach’s valued Petry and both of them used Justin Schultz heavily and in the same roles. Krueger ran his stay-at-home more every night of the year (by a couple of minutes) and Eakins seems to want puck movers beyond any other skill (so far at the expense of grit and physical play). I’m sure both men would have loved a complete defenseman to throw out there in any situation.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

charlezeOilers enter the ‘second 20′ with a loss and a win. Scheduled to appear:

10-126 via text or @Lowetide_ on twitter.

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139 Responses to "VOICES FROM THE CRYPT"

  1. delooper says:

    That’s about the quantity and quality of pictures your blog is going to need to sustain people’s attention and good will in these trying times!

  2. nycoil says:

    Absolutely top notch Monday morning read, LT. Thank you for doing what you do. Read the referenced Dellow articles as well and thr conclusions are indeed disturbing. Hopefully the Oilers read these articles and MacT and Eakins have a little sit down.
    I still think we could use a third line with a bit more identity. Some Mike Grier or Pisano types. That would take some pressure off the kids. Maybe they are more effective at 19mins a game than 21.

  3. russ99 says:

    Only one problem with the “embrace the swarm” idea: recent shot differential issues are just as much (or more) to do with us not shooting as much as how many shots we’re allowing.

    Recent games: (we did shoot 40 times in the Lightning game we should have won…)

    Calgary – 23 shots for
    San Jose – 31 shots for
    Dallas – 22 shots for
    Chicago – 23 shots for
    Philly – 26 shots for

    And considering many of those shots are from low percentage areas, it’s no wonder we went 1-4.

    How about instead of playing the swarm we shoot more, and shoot from more high-scoring chance areas?

    In most of those games, one more goal at a key moment turns some of those losses into wins.

  4. justDOit says:

    delooper,

    Agreed, but LT is approaching left-handed mouse territory here!

  5. B S says:

    russ99,

    Agreed. That damn swarm lost us games and nearly ruined a goaltender. Corsi’s great, but as has been discussed, it doesn’t account for shot quality. Eberle’s comeback starter last night came from the red zone. This season the oilers haven’t been shooting from in front of the net, it’s been all perimeter shots, and few of those, just like Russ99 points out. by comparison, the swarm gave up fewer shots against, but gave them from the slot, completely exposed. Patrick Roy in his prime is about the only way to consistently stop those goals.

    What really scares me is that once Smyth retires, there’s nobody on this team that consistently goes to the front of the net. I think it’s fair to say that we all know that going to the net, screening the goaltender generates the best chances. Smyth is currently irreplaceable on this team and that’s a serious problem.

    Also LT, your consistent trading of Smid in every scenario finally did him in, so stay the hell away from Eberle, he’s currently the best forward on this team.

  6. Yeti says:

    Superb read.
    Have you ever considered hiring that Dellow fellow to work on your blog? He could play Robin to your Batman, kind of thing. ;)

  7. Woodguy says:

    russ99:
    Only one problem with the “embrace the swarm” idea: recent shot differential issues are just as much (or more) to do with us not shooting as much as how many shots we’re allowing.

    Recent games: (we did shoot 40 times in the Lightning game we should have won…)

    Calgary – 23 shots for
    San Jose – 31 shots for
    Dallas – 22 shots for
    Chicago – 23 shots for
    Philly – 26 shots for

    And considering many of those shots are from low percentage areas, it’s no wonder we went 1-4.

    How about instead of playing the swarm we shoot more, and shoot from more high-scoring chance areas?

    In most of those games, one more goal at a key moment turns some of those losses into wins.

    The thing about defensive zone systems, is that it establishes what you are going to do with the puck once you get it.

    Leaving the dzone with possession leads to entering the ozone with possession, which leads to shots.

    In response to every give away seemingly ending up in the back of the Oilers’ net, it seems that “off the glass and out” and “soft dump to center” have replaced leaving the zone with possession for much of the time.

    Dzone systems drive possession which drives shots which drive goals which drives wins.

    Someone on twitter responded to Tyler saying “Eakins confused poor goaltending with poor defensive play” … and made the mistake of changing the system.

    I think that is very close to the truth.

    The playoffs are a distant dream, so now is the time to get the players to learn and execute the system that will lead to winning in the future.

    They need to play the last 30 or so games at a .550 level executing their system correctly or else this lost season will just bleed into another lost season.

    A 1 LD would help.

  8. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Corsi crater is troubling in more than one way. I think Dellow and you here have probably hit on its most troubling aspect: there is no readily available answer.

    The change in defensive structure certainly offers the most at hand answer, considering the timeline. But I wonder about two things:

    1) Is this a correlation ≠ causation scenario? Is it just a coincidence? How much should we weigh “intangible” things like “loss of spirit/confidence/etc”? Is the sample large enough? Was the competition higher? How did Gagner’s early and poor return effect things?

    2) let’s say this is the correct answer, that the defensive changes are the primary problem… that leads to some new questions:

    – Early in the year, we all (Eakins/MacT included) noted that the team overloaded in the d-zone along the boards, even when the play wasn’t stopped there. Eakins said pretty much right away, this isn’t how his swarm was supposed to look.

    – What we saw was a team out of balance in the d-zone giving up the slot completely and grade A scoring chances.

    – Eakins changed his D-coverage to try and limit these kinds of chances.

    – Now we appear to be giving up less of these kinds of chances (this is probably a debatable point, at any rate, one can argue the grade A chances arrive by other means than from the overloaded boards), but many more total shot attempts/chances.

    – Is this a matter of a tradeoff that bad teams make? Quantity for quality?

    – Is it possible that the badly executed swarm was good at breaking up the cycle and getting the puck out of the zone with possession, but horrible at giving up grade a chances and that is what we are seeing here?

    – Is there a way to find a happier compromise?

  9. Woodguy says:

    B S:
    russ99,

    Agreed. That damn swarm lost us games and nearly ruined a goaltender. Corsi’s great, but as has been discussed, it doesn’t account for shot quality. Eberle’s comeback starter last night came from the red zone. This season the oilers haven’t been shooting from in front of the net, it’s been all perimeter shots, and few of those, just like Russ99 points out. by comparison, the swarm gave up fewer shots against, but gave them from the slot, completely exposed. Patrick Roy in his prime is about the only way to consistently stop those goals.

    What really scares me is that once Smyth retires, there’s nobody on this team that consistently goes to the front of the net. I think it’s fair to say that we all know that going to the net, screening the goaltender generates the best chances. Smyth is currently irreplaceable on this team and that’s a serious problem.

    Also LT, your consistent trading of Smid in every scenario finally did him in, so stay the hell away from Eberle, he’s currently the best forward on this team.

    The average distance of shots against the Oilers this year is actually a hair further out than last year.

    The theory that the swarm gave up too many AAA chances sounds good because it matched what we were seeing, and more important what we are remembering, but in reality the number of AAA chances (as figured out using shot distance) is basically the same as last year, if not down a hair.

    Confusing bag goaltending with bad systems play is very easy to do.

    We remember when the AAA chance goes in.

    Its much tougher to remember when the AAA chance stays out.

    Calgary game is great case in point.

    DD stopped most of the AAA chances and the Oilers had a chance to win.

    Most games to start the season 2-3 of those saves go in and the Oilers lose.

    Also,

    Agreed that one of the biggest offensive problems on this team is not playing the “home plate” area.

    Not enough chances generated from rebounds, scrambles , etc.

    The number of times an Oiler has had the puck in the home plate area and passed it has been absolutely soul crushing this year.

    This team over passes and doesn’t go to the net without the puck.

  10. Logan91 says:

    Bring back Storts!

  11. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “Brad Hunt: Non-factor.”

    Not entirely clear on why he’s included (I’m nitpicking here, sorry). He’s a real outside shot at the NHL team. At any rate, if we are going to include him, shouldn’t we point to his success/failure at the AHL level? And shouldn’t we include a player like Andrew Miller if we are including Hunt?

    At any rate, here’s JW’s report from yesterday in case anyone missed it:

    http://oilersnation.com/2013/11/17/oklahoma-city-barons-watch-november-17

  12. Woodguy says:

    B S,

    Mike is tracking shot location this year (which describes shot quality)

    Here’s the Calgary game: http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/11/16/game-stats-oilersflames-nov-16/

    Shots within 10 feet
    CAL 4
    EDM 1

    Shots within 15 feet
    CAL 8
    EDM 4

    Shots within 20 feet
    CAL 10
    EDM 6

    If DD isn’t 100% on his game CAL wins that going away.

    The answer turns out to be ‘BRING BACK THE SWARM.

    Crazy.

  13. dessert1111 says:

    Excellent reading for an otherwise dreary morning, LT. I especially like the first picture — the more red heads, the better! (The Oilers stuff was quite good as well.)

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: Dzone systems drive possession which drives shots which drive goals which drives wins.
    Someone on twitter responded to Tyler saying “Eakins confused poor goaltending with poor defensive play” … and made the mistake of changing the system.
    I think that is very close to the truth.
    The playoffs are a distant dream, so now is the time to get the players to learn and execute the system that will lead to winning in the future.
    They need to play the last 30 or so games at a .550 level executing their system correctly or else this lost season will just bleed into another lost season.
    A 1 LD would help.

    That all sounds on point to me.

    The only thing I would ask is if the panicky exits are by instruction or desperation.

    Eakins has mentioned a lot the team being afraid to lose… that sounds like “dump outs” to me and that he isn’t too happy about it.

  15. sliderule says:

    The swarm is a defensive zone system and isn’t the cause of our poor Corsi.

    We can’t get the puck out of our own end.I don’t think they keep a stat on the time the puck stays in own zone but if they did I would bet in the last 10 games it’s been around 60 percent own zone.

    We seem panicked on our breakouts.Lots of rounding the puck to no one that gets stopped by pinching D.Nearly all our breakout are up the wall and opposition acts accordingly with their forwards and D pinching off these areas.Too often you see a rounded puck with an opposing forward on the wall waiting for it like he was expecting a pass.

    Eakins has to come out with breakout systems that are less predictable .The oil have some defence that can carry the puck maybe a quick skate out rather than passing back and forth or up the wall.Untill the oil figure it out our Corsi is going to be bad.

  16. G Money says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: That all sounds on point to me.

    The only thing I would ask is if the panicky exits are by instruction or desperation.

    Eakins has mentioned a lot the team being afraid to lose… that sounds like “dump outs” to me and that he isn’t too happy about it.

    Having been at the game on Saturday, of course there’s an interesting perspective seeing the whole ice rather than the TV feed.

    What I really noticed is how many of the chances against stemmed from turnovers as a result of poor decisions or poor plays in the neutral zone. Those turnovers invariably resulted in puck movement the other way with the team in a bad position to defend.

    Sometimes those poor plays in the neutral zone were precipitated by poor d zone exits – in other words, the turnover was almost inevitable because it started with a dump out or a pass from the d zone but one which left the neutral zone puck carrier surrounded by Flames and with no passing lane. Again – turnover, “surprised” defensive posture, chance against.

    But in other cases, the turnover was just a brain cramp.

    I said this in my post the other day after the game – all of these are symptoms of the same thing. A lack of intensity. The team skates hard, but their brains and hearts just aren’t engaged until late in the game.

    Until that changes, no system – no swarm, no pre-gap, no trap – will compensate.

    There is no system that can compensate for players who don’t care and don’t battle until the third period every game.

  17. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    The moves MacT made were good on the whole.

    But there’s a lot MacT hasn’t done. Including not addressing centre and defense. No easy task, but these two glaring needs were met with half-measures at best.

  18. Old School G says:

    Until MacT gets this baby balanced out we’re in for mixed results I feel. I really believe that the team is just in over their head through no fault of their own. They’re still about half a team away from being able to compete on a nightly basis. MacT made some great changes but knows he has a lot of work yet, he’s a good hockey mind, when he feels he has a “Core 22″ instead of a “Core 8-9″ everything should be rolling…I hope.

  19. Caramel Obvious says:

    I agree that the breakouts are the problem. This, at least, is a point of possible substantive criticism of Eakins.

    I am also at least concerned that he wasn’t sure enough in himself to stick to his guns in the face of results. The Capitals were the best team in the league and completely and utterly dominated a hapless Canadians team. They lost to unbelievable goaltending and a bad call. The following year they went through a losing streak at the beginning of the year even though they were consistently out shooting the other teams and then abandoned their system. They’ve never been the same.

    It is impossible to make good decisions on the basis of wins and losses. Impossible. That’s the worst thing about the criticism of Eakins. They are so clearly based upon the results. What is needed is a clear headed analysis that ties the coach to those results. If we get that then fine, it is time to blame the coach.

  20. russ99 says:

    Woodguy,

    Personally, I’d prefer we not stunt the development of our skill players by forcing them into a possession game which increases shots, but decreases shot quality and seems to decrease goals –and go out and acquire better defensive players.

    I’ve been spouting for years that we’re not going to be a playoff team until we have a shutdown line, so maybe MacT can accomplish this deadline/summer what he either didn’t or couldn’t do last summer.

    The whole point of hockey is to score more than the opposition, and pushing the current systems may reduce opposition scoring at the expense of our goal scoring talent.

    It’s like last season reversed. IMO, it seems Eakins only wants us to score greasy goals, (i.e. throw the puck to the net and hope someone in the crease can do something with it) and not score with speed, puck movement and creating open space and quality scoring chances in high scoring areas.

  21. Woodguy says:

    Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons,

    I said this in my post the other day after the game – all of these are symptoms of the same thing. A lack of intensity. The team skates hard, but their brains and hearts just aren’t engaged until late in the game.
    Until that changes, no system – no swarm, no pre-gap, no trap – will compensate.
    There is no system that can compensate for players who don’t care and don’t battle until the third period every game.

    I agree with that.

  22. Woodguy says:

    russ99,

    Personally, I’d prefer we not stunt the development of our skill players by forcing them into a possession game which increases shots, but decreases shot quality and seems to decrease goals and go out and acquire better defensive players.

    What system would decrease shot quality?

    That makes no sense.

    The system is a how to leave the dzone with possession and enter the ozone with possession.

    It doesn’t describe shots at all.

  23. Caramel Obvious says:

    I also think we can’t conclude anything on the basis of the corsi after seven games. It’s a classic case of selective endpoints. The numbers look better because they are cut off after the best three game stretch of the year and it’s only seven games. Sure there were good games in there but they were surrounded by bad to terrible games as well.

    I mean it was only seven games ago that the Oilers had another good three game stretch which was immediately followed by a bad four game stretch.

    I think it is stretch to attribute any of this to a single cause. This team is what it is. An incredibly inconsistent team that doesn’t have the talent to match up with the best teams and doesn’t have the team identity to play the kind of cohesive hockey that makes up for a lack of talent.

    Not enough talent is problem #1, 2, and 3. This team can’t string together passes. That’s the problem. Is that coaching? I guess it is possible but I’d like a demonstration that the inability to make and take passes was coaching.

  24. Woodguy says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    I also think we can’t conclude anything on the basis of the corsi after seven games.It’s a classic case of selective endpoints.The numbers look better because they are cut off after the best three game stretch of the year and it’s only seven games.Sure there were good games in there but they were surrounded by bad to terrible games as well.

    I mean it was only seven games ago that the Oilers had another good three game stretch which was immediately followed by a bad four game stretch.

    I think it is stretch to attribute any of this to a single cause.This team is what it is.An incredibly inconsistent team that doesn’t have the talent to match up with the best teams and doesn’t have the team identity to play the kind of cohesive hockey that makes up for a lack of talent.

    Not enough talent is problem #1, 2, and 3.This team can’t string together passes.That’s the problem.Is that coaching?I guess it is possible but I’d like a demonstration that the inability to make and take passes was coaching.

    Godot makes that point in the comments on Tyler’s post:

    http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=6454

    The results from the first seven games were within the standard deviation of a 42%CF team.

  25. knighttown says:

    I’m not trying to be confrontational but there were those of us that disagreed when, early on, many on here said “our Corsi is better…the wins will come”. Of course, that was accurate but it seemed to me (and a few others) that our good corsi was a mirage based on a great schedule of “perfect matchups” in the early going. We’ve always been an Eastern Conference style team and tend to do a lot better against even the top eastern teams then we do against the average West teams like LA and Phoenix. They know us. They know how to beat us and they know the only way to lose is to fall into a fun-and-gun game and they just don’t let that happen.

    We played Winnipeg, Jersey, Toronto x 2, Monteal x 2, Ottawa, Washington x 2, Islanders and Pittsburgh. All of those are Oilers style teams even if we aren’t as good at Oiler hockey as they are.

    The fun really starts in a few weeks when we have Boston, LA, Vancouver, Anaheim, Colorado and St. Louis in a row, 4 of them on the road.

    This isn’t a 48% Corsi team, swarm or no-swarm. It just looked like on for a while because the teams we played were great matchups.

  26. Hammers says:

    sliderule:
    The swarm is a defensive zone system and isn’t the cause of our poor Corsi.

    We can’t get the puck out of our own end.I don’t think they keep a stat on the time the puck stays in own zone but if they did I would bet in the last 10 games it’s been around 60 percent own zone.

    We seem panickedon our breakouts.Lots of rounding the puck to no one that gets stopped by pinching D.Nearly all our breakout are up the wall and opposition acts accordingly with their forwardsand D pinching off these areas.Too often you see a rounded puck with an opposing forwardon the wall waiting for it like he was expecting a pass.

    Eakins has to come out with breakout systems that are less predictable .The oil have some defence that can carry the puck maybe a quick skate out rather than passing back and forth or up the wall.Untill the oil figure it out our Corsi is going to be bad.

    I agree with your analysis but the main reason is the quality of our “D” performing what the coach wants .Give us one 2or3 level L defender who also plays with grit and we would see the improvement needed . That means a trade will be the only way we see things improve .

  27. jake70 says:

    “Sometimes those poor plays in the neutral zone were precipitated by poor d zone exits – in other words, the turnover was almost inevitable because it started with a dump out or a pass from the d zone but one which left the neutral zone puck carrier surrounded by Flames and with no passing lane. Again – turnover, “surprised” defensive posture, chance against.”

    Poor Yak on the Stamkos bailout near the blue line, then goal against……..lol….saw his life flash before his eyes, system play was far from his priority there…..hope Hall bought him dinner that night…

  28. oilersfan says:

    too much in the last two days has been made about the Oilers’ slow start. It was their third game in four nights, second in a back to back, and the way they over play their top lines it is a nobrainer that their starts took awhile to get going. They played 22 mins a night 22 hours ago, travelled to Calgary , arriving after midnight. Meanwhile the flames were at home after getting their ask kicked by the stars 7-2 Thursday night, then getting challenged by the coach and the media all day Friday and Saturday. to me it was obvious the oilers would be outplayed for the first ten mins.

    also I am tired of everyone here talking about how bad Eakins is doing and when will he get fired. maybe he should be fired but there is no way,no way

    NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY

    Eakins gets fired this season or even next. they could lose every game left this season and he won’t get fired. stop talking about it.

    Mact signed him for 4 years and knows he only has 2-3 coach fires in his career. he isn’t going to use one 20 or 40 or 60 games into the guy’s career.

    please stop wasting cyberspace talking about when he is getting fired, if its this game or the next. it ain’t happening.

    I will take any $100 bets anybody here wants to give me. He will not be fired this season.

    everybody please stop talking about it.

  29. justDOit says:

    Hanna LeBarbera waived this morning – Warner Bros should pick him up. They haven’t been relevant since forever.

    Sorry if I’ve missed this before, but why was Klefbom recalled and then demoted again without playing? Were they just giving him an NHL payday, or was it more of a ‘dry run’ to see how quickly he could get to Edmonton? You know, like pregnant women on sitcoms always do a hospital practice run, which inevitably ends up with them locked in/out of something, with real contractions beginning?

  30. OilClog says:

    Hey Oilerfans, I’ve heard rumors on the blog that Eakins may get fired if he can’t get this figured out relatively soon.. any truth to this? how many games do we give him 20? 40? 60? The NHL is a results driven league, and if you’re not producing.. Boy oh Boy I hope Eakins has a magical unicorn of a system written up! or wait.. are we not suppose to talk about the Elephant in the room? lol

  31. Vaclav says:

    justDOit,

    Klefbom was recalled because an unnamed defenceman was injured and was a game time decision against the Sharks. The Oilers would have had only 5 d-men to start that game (Klefbom arrived an hour after puck drop).

  32. leadfarmer says:

    The problem with the team is we are a “puck possession team” that can’t win puck battles, can’t retrieve the puck, and can’t pass the puck.

    The swarm is designed for teams that can win one on one battles not for a team that has no interest in one on one battles

  33. Vaclav says:

    A bit off topic but some of the media and fans were referring to the Ference/Stempniak fight as “dirty” on Ference’s part. That he grabbed Stempniak after a clean hit and just started punching him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQVh69CTDqg

    To me it looked like the hit by Stempniak was interference. Dubnyk made the save on Stempniak’s shot, Ference gets hammered by Stempniak before he gets to the puck. Which makes it a dirty hit by Stempniak that precipitated Ference going after him.

  34. G Money says:

    oilersfan: too much in the last two days has been made about the Oilers’ slow start. It was their third game in four nights, second in a back to back, and the way they over play their top lines it is a nobrainer that their starts took awhile to get going.

    Eakins gets fired this season or even next. they could lose every game left this season and he won’t get fired. stop talking about it.

    The thing is – you can use the ‘third game in four nights’ as an excuse against the Flames. What was the excuse against the Sharks? In that case, the Oilers were at home and had the previous night off, while the Sharks were on the second night of a back to back and third night in four games. Yet again, the Oilers were coasting until too late. (Yeah, I understand score effects, but as I pointed out a while back, the score effects seem to be less the issue as “oh shit, it’s late in the game and if we don’t do something we’re going to lose” and it takes place whether the team is down by one or down by five).

    As to the second point, it’s a fair point to say it would be a mistake to fire Eakins at this point (with which I agree), but it’s also equally valid to suggest that Eakins’ hire might have been a mistake (which I think is also true).

  35. G Money says:

    Vaclav: To me it looked like the hit by Stempniak was interference.

    It was. The puck was on the boards, and Stempniak hit Ference as they were both a good five feet from the puck. Ference wasn’t expecting the hit as a result, which is why he got mad.

    Those illegal but uncalled hits have become part and parcel of every teams strategy against the Oilers.

    So I for one am 100% glad Ference pummeled that POS. We need more of that.

    (Another interesting point from watching the game live and then on PVR afterward. While live, I thought the reffing was pretty average – not good, but not bad. In replay, man the Flames got away with a whole lot of hooking and holding).

  36. VanOil says:

    Dellow and Parlatti have really upped there already excellent contributions to hockey stats in the last few weeks.

    Dellow’s work on legacy Corgi’s and his observation from these play well with my memory of events. It brings together some seen him good old school knowledge has a basis in stats. It leads me to some over arching rules of thumb for building a competitive hockey team.

    Despite High End forwards being the safer bet at the draft (with Centers being better than wingers), building a team with a Elite Defensemen is a better bet for impacting your possession numbers.

    You can have a good team for a long time and win little in the playoffs if you do not have good goal tending.

    This builds on what we learned previously from Parkatti’s examination of luck (PDO). PDO is a good indication of luck but can be gamed by having an above average goal tender.

    From this I think we can conclude what all of us have long known, the Oilers really do need a stud Dman but might have to wait years to build there own. (As I mention yesterday at this point I would mortgage a handful of upcoming 1st round picks in an effort to solve this now)

    Also while I accept that Dubnyk is likely to revert to form as an average goalie. This might not be enough because we are not an above average possession team and he is unproven in big games (not his fault) and could get the post season yips.

  37. justDOit says:

    @TSNRyanRishaug: Oil PP unit practicing, Eberle RNH Perron, Hall and Yakupov on point. 5 forwards.

    @TSNBobMcKenzie: Yannick Weber (VAN) on waivers today.

    Well, that’s about as close as the Oilers will get to Weber.

  38. G Money says:

    justDOit: Well, that’s about as close as the Oilers will get to Weber.

    Mike and Will are still out there.

    If we could only find a Sam Weber, we could trade for all of them and ice a linebacking crew.

  39. FastOil says:

    The problem as I see it is puck support. What looks like a lack of effort is to me a lack of knowing what to do or have a good passing option. They have to think about it, but they don’t have the extra second to do that in the NHL. They then get frustrated and start playing even more individually, the alphas start trying to go through to the whole team and hog the puck.

    If and when Eakins can get team play going, he then can tweak it to suit the players. We know MacT knows about this as well. This is a tough love session these boys haven’t seen before, but until they all buy in it will be ugly, and as they start having success they’ll run with it.

    They also will start to trust Dubnyk again which should calm things down as well. No pain no gain.

  40. commonfan14 says:

    oilersfan: Mact signed him for 4 years and knows he only has 2-3 coach fires in his career.

    If MacT was half as nice to Katz while he was riding along on the Bus as Lowe apparently was, I’m not sure there are any limits on the number of coaches he can fire. Certainly didn’t waste any time using up his first.

  41. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    When do we hear if LaBarbs gets picked up?

    Tomorrow after 12:00, when the waiver period expires or earlier?

  42. VanOil says:

    Building further on the theme of what excellent info Dellow and Parkatti are providing and trying to address the point I was trying to get to in the above post. (plus LT just was dismissing the Eagles playoff chances on the Radio with out backing it up with stats)

    Hockey needs an equivalent to Football’s Toxic Differential. Explained here http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000281155/article/toxic-differential-favors-seattle-seahawks-philadelphia-eagles

    Basically like PDO it is an amalgam stat. Unlike PDO it does not revert to mean. It is a measure Turnover +/- and Big Play +/- (plays over 20 yards).

    In football it shows teams like Dallas who turn over the ball or teams like Kansas that do not have big play potential are up against it trying to win the Supper Bowl. Kind of like trying to win the Cup with bellow average goal tending, possible but unlikely.

    For Hockey I think one side of the amalgam can be found in Parkatti’s excellent work on shot quality. I am not sure if it should be his “Expected Goals” figures or simply a +/- on shots with in twenty feet. http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/11/12/piecing-the-shot-puzzle-together/

    As for the other side of my proposed Toxic Hockey Differential any am unsure. Should it be SV%, a possession stat like Corgi’s, PP/PK +/- or Turnovers just like in Football?

    I would like some learned help on this as I feel we have witnessed plenty of Toxic Hockey and I would like to be able to quantify it. Or am I missing an NHL equivalent to this NFL stat that already exists?

  43. RMGS says:

    leadfarmer:
    The problem with the team is we are a “puck possession team” that can’t win puck battles, can’t retrieve the puck, and can’t pass the puck.

    The swarm is designed for teams that can win one on one battles not for a team that has no interest in one on one battles

    Indeed, and to make matters worse, my understanding is that the swarm is designed for teams that can win TWO-on-one battles.

    I’d add that the poor puck battle skills (is there a metric for this?) are evident in the O-zone as well. A lot of folks (and most importantly Eakins) recognise that the team needs to hold (or win back) possession more in the O-zone with the cycle, good board work, and shots with net presence, but the team’s best forwards don’t play that game well enough often enough. We saw a change in the third last game, but “one-and-done until the third” isn’t the best team offensive profile.

  44. elgruntus says:

    Vaclav,

    And yet, no one mentions Buoma’s blatant knee on Belov just before the Gazdic/McGratton tilt?

  45. oilersfan says:

    G Money,

    g_money

    the excuse against the sharks, is that the sharks are way way better and it would have been that way the entire game, if the sharks weren’t so tired…

    as for Eakins, I am not saying he shouldn’t be fired. I am saying he WONT be fired. actually, he probably shouldn’t because I think too much change is bad, and this team doesn’t need more. clearly he was a rookie in over his head, and I suspect he will improve. it was just a stupid move to hire a rookie coach Again with a bunch of teengagers as star players. that being said, Eakins insisted on a 4 year contract for a reason and Mact gave it to him believing he will give him a lot of rope for a long time before he will fire him. I would be shocked if he got fired before season three is half done. let’s hope by then we will all be happy with him. As I said earlier, no way no way no way it happens this season at all.

    I think it was stupid to hire a rookie coach for this young of a team. In fact, I suspect most here would agree if we could go in a time machine the best thing to do would have been to have kept Tom Renney. all this change sucks. Renney with Krueger was an excellent tandem.

  46. Bag of Pucks says:

    Tambellini gets absolutely savaged in his final year for not addressing the centre depth issue cos ya know, 4C is the absolute lynchpin position for a contending team. But when MacT craters this season by not addressing his starting goaltending until it’s too far late, there’s hardly a peep of criticism?

    We knew going into this season that Dubnyk’s ceiling is mediocre at best and LaBarbera was not a solution as a 1B option. Now, everyone’s going to point to the last 2 games as proof that we’re now seeing evidence of Dubnyk’s sv pct reverting to the mean. Aside from the fact that it’s way too friggin’ late to finally show up to the party (where were you when the team needed youu?), I think the recent play is evidence of something that is far more damning about Dubnyk. Namely, he sucks when the games actually matter and there’s some pressure on. Once the team’s solidly in the basement however and the pressure is absolutely zilch, oh yeah, he’s a real beauty.

    MacT’s handling of the goaltending thus far is especially ironic given his celebrated genius during the 2006 run. Without Roloson playing absolute lights out, that team likely doesn’t win a single round, but MacT in his infinite wisdom starts the season with Nervous Nellie as number one and Done like Dinner as number 2.

    The man implicitly ‘gets it?” For this observer at least, the jury is still very much out on that verdict.

  47. B S says:

    Woodguy: The average distance of shots against the Oilers this year is actually a hair further out than last year.

    The theory that the swarm gave up too many AAA chances sounds good because it matched what we were seeing, and more important what we are remembering,but in reality the number of AAA chances (as figured out using shot distance) is basically the same as last year, if not down a hair.

    Confusing bag goaltending with bad systems play is very easy to do.

    We remember when the AAA chance goes in.

    Its much tougher to remember when the AAA chance stays out.

    Calgary game is great case in point.

    DD stopped most of the AAA chances and the Oilers had a chance to win.

    Most games to start the season 2-3 of those saves go in and the Oilers lose.

    Also,

    Agreed that one of the biggest offensive problems on this team is not playing the “home plate” area.

    Not enough chances generated from rebounds, scrambles , etc.

    The number of times an Oiler has had the puck in the home plate area and passed it has been absolutely soul crushing this year.

    This team over passes and doesn’t go to the net without the puck.

    First off, you can take bad shots from inside 10 feet if it’s from behind the goal line, and the Oilers have had a few of those, you can also take quality shots from 15 feet out if it’s in front of the net with a screen, so I don’t that shooting distance is still representative of true shot quality (that said it’s definitely better than Corsi in that respect, and your post with info from the flames game is consistent with what I saw, and what you said, Flames dominant at times). Remember Yak scores his goals on onetimers from the top of the circle. Give him the puck there 5 times a game and he’ll guarantee you a goal a game. I do agree that in general your better off taking shots in close than far away, just pointing out that a shot from the slot, even from 15-20 feet out is better than a perimeter shot from the goal line. especially if the goalie goes down early (like Dubnyk was early in the season).

    Also, to your second half, noticed Ebs has been taking the front of the net more, but he never seems to stick around and often moves to the side for some stupid attempt at a backdoor shot that the goalie invariably pokechecks. Smyth has hardly an ounce of talent in him, but he made borderline 1st line winger out of himself just by planting his ass in front of the net and swinging at anything that moves. Guys with the hand-eye coordination of our young forwards should be pushing each other out of the way to take that spot.

  48. Ryan says:

    When I take a step back and look at the big picture, my gut tells me that it’s the Oilers d corps that is probably the root problem with the team.

    Is there any precedence for a team being able to compete with 1 #3 defender (Petry), a PP specialist (jr), and 6+ #5-6-7 dmen?

    In recent years, the only thing close that comes to mind is maybe San Jose four or five years ago. They had a punishing 1st line, Boyle, but they probably had something close to a top pairing at least.

    Prior to tanking for picks, the Oilers had a higher-end mix of defenders (though as LT always pointed out, they continually lacked a complete defender after CFP left / and also lacked a good balance of defenders), yet the could still compete despite a sad sack lot of forwards.

    It would be interesting to look at…

    1. Preds over the years win loss record or CF% with/without Shea Webber
    2. Boston’s win/loss or better yet CF% with / without Chara and Seidenberg–though chara never seems to miss games.

    I like Petry and he’s our best dman by a country mile, but we need a top pairing.

  49. RMGS says:

    Wow. Arcobello still not back in. After the fourth line’s pathetic performance on Saturday, I’m flabbergasted.

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 1h

    Same lines: Hall-RNH-Eberle, Smyth-Gordon-Perron, Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky, Jonesuu-Acton-Gazdic. Same D and J. Schultz is skating

  50. godot10 says:

    Credit extraskater.com for the Corsi data.

    Conclusion:

    The Oilers Corsi close results are consistent with a Corsi Close normal distribution with a mean of 43% and a standard deviation of just under 10%.

    No early improvement. No subsequent falloff.

    The Oilers sucked under Krueger with good luck.
    The Oilers with better players still suck under Eakins with bad luck, but the Oilers still suck. There never was and there still is no reason for hope or optimism. If one looks at the performance of individual players, my opinion is that the team has gone backwards.

    The trouble with a lot of these advanced stats guys is that they never put an effing error bar on what they do. It isn’t statistics if you don’t stick an error bar or put a confidence estimate on your number.

    The perceived early Corsi improvement, and the recent decline is still all within the error bars for a Corsi close NORMAL distribution with a mean of 43% and a width (standard deviation) of just under 10%. Nothing to see here except the Oilers suck.

    My response posting at mc79:

    Fooled by Randomness?

    CC CC avg CC SD CC SE
    1 49.2% 0.4920 #NUM! #NUM!
    2 28.6% 0.3890 0.1457 0.1457
    3 46.2% 0.4133 0.1113 0.0787
    4 53.8% 0.4445 0.1102 0.0636
    5 50.8% 0.4572 0.0996 0.0498
    6 51% 0.4660 0.0916 0.0410
    7 47.1% 0.4667 0.0837 0.0342
    8 41.5% 0.4603 0.0796 0.0301
    9 25% 0.4369 0.1022 0.0361
    10 38.2% 0.4314 0.0979 0.0326
    11 51% 0.4385 0.0959 0.0303
    12 54.5% 0.4474 0.0965 0.0291
    13 26.3% 0.4332 0.1056 0.0305
    14 57.9% 0.4436 0.1087 0.0301
    15 33.3% 0.4363 0.1085 0.0290
    16 40.7% 0.4344 0.1051 0.0271
    17 46.2% 0.4361 0.1020 0.0255
    18 52.8% 0.4412 0.1013 0.0246
    19 32.4% 0.4350 0.1020 0.0241
    20 35.3% 0.4309 0.1010 0.0232
    21 50% 0.4342 0.0996 0.0223
    22 34.7% 0.4302 0.0989 0.0216

    I took the value of Corsi close of each game as a sample and then did running simple stats. Average, standard deviation in the mean, and standard error in the mean. (Hopefully Google doc formulas are correct).

    After 22 games, the average of the Corsi Close where each game is considered an individual sample is 43.0%. The standard deviation in the mean is stabilizing just under 10%. And the standard error in the mean is nearing two percent.

    But from first game where one can make a statistical estimate of the error bar, i.e. after the second game, 43% falls between the average Corsi Corsi close plus/minus the standard error.

    i.e. All the data from the 2nd game onwards is consistent with a Corsi Close average of around 43% and a width of the distribution having a standard deviation of around 10%.

  51. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy:
    In response to every give away seemingly ending up in the back of the Oilers’ net, it seems that “off the glass and out” and “soft dump to center” have replaced leaving the zone with possession for much of the time.

    This, plus Eakins’ breakout having the pass up the middle as a primary breakout option are the sources of many of the team’s problems.

  52. Caramel Obvious says:

    “I find Bryz to be a very intelligent man… I have absolutely no concern with how he was framed in the TV show.” – Coach Eakins on 24/7

    This is a great quote and is indicative of a depth of insight that seems pretty rare in the world of the NHL.

  53. art vandelay says:

    The Oilers Corsi close results are consistent with a Corsi Close normal distribution with a mean of 43% and a standard deviation of just under 10%.

    And then you guys wonder why everyone’s laughing at you.

  54. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Does anyone else think that if we started the year with Dubnyk and X and both struggled in the same way that Dubnyk and Labarbs have and then a player like Labarbs (vet backup with good track record, cheap, short contract in sample size slump) was put on waivers, EDM would put in a claim?

    I think they would.

  55. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    “I find Bryz to be a very intelligent man… I have absolutely no concern with how he was framed in the TV show.” – Coach Eakins on 24/7

    This is a great quote and is indicative of a depth of insight that seems pretty rare in the world of the NHL.

    What tv show? where is this from?

  56. Gerta Rauss says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: What tv show? where is this from?

    It’s here ROM-I haven’t seen the episode yet but apparently Boudreau was a potty mouth and Bryz came off as a bit of a nutbar.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24/7_%28TV_series%29

  57. VanOil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: What tv show? where is this from?

    The HBO 24/7 TV series kind of like Oil Change but with real hockey teams. The editing was unkind to Bryz and cost the Capitals coach his job. But he is doing OK with the Ducks.

  58. Gerta Rauss says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Does anyone else think that if we started the year with Dubnyk and X and both struggled in the same way that Dubnyk and Labarbs have and then a player like Labarbs (vet backup with good track record, cheap, short contract in sample size slump) was put on waivers, EDM would put in a claim?

    I think they would.

    I think they would.

    We’ll find out tomorrow at noon EST.

  59. godot10 says:

    mc79 was abusing small sample sizes in his recent theory, the same way he criticized the abuse of small sample sizes in those pummelling Dubnyk early in the season.

    The coin was flipped 22 times. Looking back after 22 flips, one notes that heads appeared 6 times in the first 7 flips, but after 22 flips we are pretty much at 11 heads, 11 tails.

    That is pretty much the correct way to look at the Oilers season so far in terms of Corsi close, in terms of a Corsi close above 43% being heads, and below being tails.

    Just reversion to the mean of a normal distribution.

  60. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Gerta Rauss,

    VanOil,

    Thanks. Missed that one.

  61. wheatnoil says:

    godot10,

    http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/10/11/are-the-2013-14-oilers-better-than-the-2012-13-oilers/

    Parkatti started an idea after the first four games of the season trying to see if the Oilers early corsi numbers were enough to imply that they were better than the 2012-13 Oilers, based on confidence intervals of running corsi. This does help give us a guide of confidence intervals as you mentioned. The result was that the Oilers were posting better corsi numbers than the 2012-13 team, but were not yet high enough or had sustained long enough to be greater than the 95% confidence interval line. It would interesting to see an update of his work. If the Oilers crossed the confidence interval during the first 7 games, that would imply that there is evidence the Oilers were statistically better and that either they were a statistical anomaly or something changed.

    I’ll freely admit that I was one of the people banging the early season corsi drum and believe I made a passionate post or two to that end as well. Clearly I was wrong. I’m still not sure what changed between the first few games and now. You indicate that the first few games might have simply been statistical variance and that might well be true. However, it isn’t conclusive evidence of that. That said, I certainly acknowledge it as a strong possibility. Another possibility is the change in coaching strategy, however I read an article recently about corsi and changes in coaches (I can’t remember from who). Corsi changes that drastic between coaches are rare, so I find it less likely to see such a dramatic change under the SAME coach but using a different strategy. Are the Cult of Hockey boys still doing their zone entry / exit data? I’d be interested in seeing if there’s a change in that from the first few games to the more recent ones.

    In any case, I suspect that the true answer to this question involves a combination of a few different forces. I look forward to more analysis as it arises.

  62. bookje says:

    After having watched that, Bryzgalov, I’m on his side. The universe is awesome. As a casual fan of cosmology who has read loads of books on it starting with Sagan’s Cosmos when I was young and have found it very interesting ever since.

    In any case, some of his weirdness seems to be explained by language and some characteristics (goofy smile).

    It seems to me like a created narrative unless there is more to it (I have watched a few clips from the show now).

  63. wheatnoil says:

    bookje,

    I think the whole point is moot. Whether Bryz is a bit off his rocker or not is irrelevant if he can stop pucks.

    There are reports Tim Thomas wasn’t particularly liked in the Bruins locker room and he has his share of oddities too, but at the end of the day, he stopped enough pucks to get the Bruins a Cup.

    Bryz can live in whatever universe he wants, just so long as he stops pucks in this one.

    (Note, I’m not trying to imply you think differently Bookje, just adding to the general thread of conversation)

  64. bookje says:

    The more I watch, the more that show pisses me off. Is it wrong to actually be aware that Tigers are near extinction (there are fewer tigers in the world today than there are people living in Morinville).

  65. bookje says:

    wheatnoil,

    Yep, I fully agree, though I am glad its Bryzgalov and not Thomas. Being from a rural area and a blue collar background and now being an academic, I always think about how detrimental the ‘anti-knowledge’ norms that exist in a large number of groups are.

    The producers of that video use a lot of effects to make Bryzgalov seem crazy. I would love to see that edited with different camera angles and music to make him seem profound.

    With that said, he should learn to keep his thoughts to himself and talk about quads, hockey , or something else. I find that approach to be effective when I go home.

  66. oilersfan says:

    rom, isn’t one of the biggest issues with simple corsis that it doesn’t take into account zone starts? I mean if Ferrence is taking on the best players starting in his own zone every shift, shouldn’t his simple corsis be terrible? shouldn’t we be expecting that??

  67. wheatnoil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Staples has Ference coming up all rosy here:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/18/on-an-oilers-team-falling-down-andrew-ference-and-nick-schultz-are-playing-strong-d/

    I really wonder about a disconnect between his evaluative system and simple corsiOn

    There’s a great deal of subjectivity in Staples work, which is the negative to its use. However, there’s evidence that defense don’t drive corsi nearly as much as forwards (with a few exceptions, namely elite number 1 defensemen and really bad defensemen). Defensemen have more control over limiting corsi events against than they do at contributing corsi events for. So, corsi doesn’t tell the whole picture either.

  68. Caramel Obvious says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Staples evaluation system is simply the adding up of subjective judgements on the basis of an arbitrary definition of scoring chances. It is entirely dependent upon the quality of the judgement of the evaluator. It is prone to too many possible errors than you could possibly list on both sides, from the definition of the scoring chance, to the artificially excising the event of the scoring chance from the context of the actual play, to the many psychological biases that could enter into the judgment of the evaluator.

    All of this makes the system misconceived on its face. Worse, though, is the way in which the data is presented as significant to the first decimal point. This lends the impression of precision that cannot be supported by the underlying data.

  69. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    godot10:
    Credit extraskater.com for the Corsi data.

    Conclusion:

    The Oilers Corsi close results are consistent with a Corsi Close normal distribution with a mean of 43% and a standard deviation of just under 10%.

    No early improvement. No subsequent falloff.

    The Oilers sucked under Krueger with good luck.
    The Oilers with better players still suck under Eakins with bad luck, but the Oilers still suck.There never was and there still is no reason for hope or optimism.If one looks at the performance of individual players, my opinion is that the team has gone backwards.

    The trouble with a lot of these advanced stats guys is that they never put an effing error bar on what they do.It isn’t statistics if you don’t stick an error bar or put a confidence estimate on your number.

    The perceived early Corsi improvement, and the recent decline is still all within the error bars for a Corsi close NORMAL distribution with a mean of 43% and a width (standard deviation) of just under 10%.Nothing to see here except the Oilers suck.

    My response posting at mc79:

    Fooled by Randomness?

    CCCC avgCC SDCC SE
    149.2%0.4920#NUM!#NUM!
    228.6%0.38900.14570.1457
    346.2%0.41330.11130.0787
    453.8%0.44450.11020.0636
    550.8%0.45720.09960.0498
    651%0.46600.09160.0410
    747.1%0.46670.08370.0342
    841.5%0.46030.07960.0301
    925%0.43690.10220.0361
    1038.2%0.43140.09790.0326
    1151%0.43850.09590.0303
    1254.5%0.44740.09650.0291
    1326.3%0.43320.10560.0305
    1457.9%0.44360.10870.0301
    1533.3%0.43630.10850.0290
    1640.7%0.43440.10510.0271
    1746.2%0.43610.10200.0255
    1852.8%0.44120.10130.0246
    1932.4%0.43500.10200.0241
    2035.3%0.43090.10100.0232
    2150%0.43420.09960.0223
    2234.7%0.43020.09890.0216

    I took the value of Corsi close of each game as a sample and then did running simple stats. Average, standard deviation in the mean, and standard error in the mean. (Hopefully Google doc formulas are correct).

    After 22 games, the average of the Corsi Close where each game is considered an individual sample is 43.0%. The standard deviation in the mean is stabilizing just under 10%. And the standard error in the mean is nearing two percent.

    But from first game where one can make a statistical estimate of the error bar, i.e. after the second game, 43% falls between the average Corsi Corsi close plus/minus the standard error.

    i.e. All the data from the 2nd game onwards is consistent with a Corsi Close average of around 43% and a width of the distribution having a standard deviation of around 10%.

    Thanks.

    Interesting and insightful. Barring sample size issues (perhaps after 82 games the results will even out higher or lower), this certainly suggests the cratering is deeply systemic.

    If Eakins can’t get the team back to Renney levels of terrible, he’s no better than RK.

    Either way, this team needs personnel changes.

  70. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookje:
    After having watched that, Bryzgalov, I’m on his side.The universe is awesome.As a casual fan of cosmology who has read loads of books on it starting with Sagan’s Cosmos when I was young and have found it very interesting ever since.

    In any case, some of his weirdness seems to be explained by language and some characteristics (goofy smile).

    It seems to me like a created narrative unless there is more to it (I have watched a few clips from the show now).

    Couldn’t agree more.

    It is also entirely possible he is having fun at the media’s expense. I know if I were expected to babble platitudes all day, I’d start rambling about nearly everything and abusing non sequiturs pretty damn bad.

    “Ahh. we played fine. Never mind that. When was the last time you listed to ‘like a virgin?’”

  71. godot10 says:

    wheatnoil:
    godot10,

    http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/10/11/are-the-2013-14-oilers-better-than-the-2012-13-oilers/

    Parkatti started an idea after the first four games of the season trying to see if the Oilers early corsi numbers were enough to imply that they were better than the 2012-13 Oilers, based on confidence intervals of running corsi. This does help give us a guide of confidence intervals as you mentioned. The result was that the Oilers were posting better corsi numbers than the 2012-13 team, but were not yet high enough or had sustained long enough to be greater than the 95% confidence interval line. It would interesting to see an update of his work. If the Oilers crossed the confidence interval during the first 7 games, that would imply that there is evidence the Oilers were statistically better and that either they were a statistical anomaly or something changed.

    I’ll freely admit that I was one of the people banging the early season corsi drum and believe I made a passionate post or two to that end as well. Clearly I was wrong. I’m still not sure what changed between the first few games and now. You indicate that the first few games might have simply been statistical variance and that might well be true. However, it isn’t conclusive evidence of that. That said, I certainly acknowledge it as a strong possibility. Another possibility is the change in coaching strategy, however I read an article recently about corsi and changes in coaches (I can’t remember from who). Corsi changes that drastic between coaches are rare, so I find it less likely to see such a dramatic change under the SAME coach but using a different strategy. Are the Cult of Hockey boys still doing their zone entry / exit data? I’d be interested in seeing if there’s a change in that from the first few games to the more recent ones.

    In any case, I suspect that the true answer to this question involves a combination of a few different forces. I look forward to more analysis as it arises.

    The 95% confidence interval is a 2sigma measure, but I think in that piece Parkatti is using a 2sigma confidence based on a 48 game sample size.

    I’m not comparing Eakins to Krueger at this point. I’m just looking at the data from this season so far for 22 games at the 67% confidence level or 1sigma, and asking if I am just seeing normal variance.

    For 95% confidence or 2sigma in what I posted above, just double the size of the quoted standard error. It just makes my point even stronger. At the seven game level, the 43% hypothesis is being stretched at the 67% confidence level, but at the 95% confidence level, or doubling the size of the stated error bar, this years results are not even close to violating the assertion that Corsi Close is normally distributed, and everything is just normal variance.

    I would argue that at the 67% confidence level, the rough analysis I did is pretty conclusive, and at the 95% confidence level it is overwhelmingly conclusive that all we have see so far is normal variance of a Corsi close NORMAL distribution with a mean of right around 43% with a width corresponding to a standard deviation of just less than 10%.

    **The standard error is the standard deviation in the calculation of the mean, or 1sigma confidence (67%). 95% confidence is 2sigma so one would just take my stated error bar and double it.

  72. Caramel Obvious says:

    There are many, many problems with Staples system. Here are three that are likely to go unnoticed.

    First, the evaluation centers around the nodal point of a scoring chance (which is itself arbitrarily defined). He then goes back and assigns “errors” or “contributions” to the scoring chance. However, how far back he goes is something that cannot be defined in advance and hence the conditions of the event do not allow for the evaluation of the event. How far back he goes, and hence the number of errors and contributions he notices is essentially arbitrary in a systemic way that goes beyond the subjectivity of the judgements themselves.

    Second, the evaluation centers around positive (in the empirical sense) events, either errors or contributions. This neglects all the things that didn’t happen. However, as a matter of principle all the things that didn’t happen, the negative cases, are just as important as those that did happen since they form the necessary conditions for the errors and contributions Staples is measuring.

    Third, the assumption is that the errors and contributions Staples does notice are on the same order. But there is no reason for that assumption. This could result in a systematic bias in favour of certain classes of player.

    And these errors can all be in effect at once. For instance N. Schutlz may make fewer errors because he plays a simple game and hence dumps the puck off the glass. This ends up a non-play from Staples perspective, however in the actual context of the game it is never really a non-play, it either helps or it hinders (usually hurts). Or, someone like N. Schutz may make fewer giveaways (and hence fewer errors) because he is always giving the puck to someone like Larsen who makes more errors precisely because he is the better player. Staples might penalize Schultz for making a bad pass but the point is that even if the pass is good Larsen is going to make more errors simply by virtue of having the puck more.

    I could go on and on. And none of this touches on the problem of confirmation bias or other issues of subjectivity. Even if you had a perfect evaluator the system would not be guaranteed to work. And Staples isn’t perfect.

    In these cases the brunt force of Fenwick/Corsi is better. It is less attuned to particular differences but at least it measures what it seeks to measure.

    In the search for the holy grail of granular analysis something like zone exits and zone entries is much better than individual scoring chances which is a dead letter from the start.

  73. bookje says:

    Bag of Pucks:

    We knew going into this season that Dubnyk’s ceiling is mediocre at best and LaBarbera was not a solution as a 1B option.

    How did you ‘know that’?

  74. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    oilersfan:
    rom, isn’t one of the biggest issues with simple corsis that it doesn’t take into account zone starts? I mean if Ferrence is taking on the best players starting in his own zone every shift, shouldn’t his simple corsis be terrible? shouldn’t we be expecting that??

    There are lots of problems with corsi, you have to take these numbers in context as you mention (qualcomp and zs are a good place to start). The problems with D are even more problematic, because they are in their own end most of the time.

    you can see both the zone starts and qualcomp (one measure of it anyway) in the some kind of ninja link.

    If you look at “usage” here:

    http://www.extraskater.com/team/edmonton-oilers/2013

    you can see he’s almost last in terms of % of d-zone starts among D and 3rd in terms of qualcomp.

  75. Ribs says:

    If no one’s mentioned it…

    Labarbera on waivers. Dubnyk to start against Columbus per TSN.

  76. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookje: Bag of Pucks:
    We knew going into this season that Dubnyk’s ceiling is mediocre at best and LaBarbera was not a solution as a 1B option.

    How did you ‘know that’?

    Forget how “he” knew that… how did “I” know that? How did “we” all know this? And worse, how did I/we forget it?

  77. Woodguy says:

    I for one am scared of Bryz playing net for the Oilers.

    I mean, who has ever heard of a goalie who was a little kookie???

    Never ever in the history of the game I tells ya!

  78. Ribs says:

    “Arco is a part of this team,” said Eakins. “He knows that. He could very well be in the lineup tomorrow. We got arguing about forechecks and stuff this morning with the coaches, so when it came to the lines I just threw out how we had them last game and just left it at that.”

    Coach fight! haha. To be a fly on the wall….

  79. Woodguy says:

    B S,

    so I don’t that shooting distance is still representative of true shot quality

    That’s fair.

    Please watch every shot in every hockey game for the last 8 years and report back so we know what adjustment we have to make to the distance chart.

  80. FastOil says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Tambellini gets absolutely savaged in his final year for not addressing the centre depth issue cos ya know, 4C is the absolute lynchpin position for a contending team. But when MacT craters this season by not addressing his starting goaltending until it’s too far late, there’s hardly a peep of criticism?

    We knew going into this season that Dubnyk’s ceiling is mediocre at best and LaBarbera was not a solution as a 1B option. Now, everyone’s going to point to the last 2 games as proof that we’re now seeing evidence of Dubnyk’s sv pct reverting to the mean. Aside from the fact that it’s way too friggin’ late to finally show up to the party (where were you when the team needed youu?), I think the recent play is evidence of something that is far more damning about Dubnyk. Namely, he sucks when the games actually matter and there’s some pressure on. Once the team’s solidly in the basement however and the pressure is absolutely zilch, oh yeah, he’s a real beauty.

    MacT’s handling of the goaltending thus far is especially ironic given his celebrated genius during the 2006 run. Without Roloson playing absolute lights out, that team likely doesn’t win a single round, but MacT in his infinite wisdom starts the season with Nervous Nellie as number one and Done like Dinner as number 2.

    The man implicitly ‘gets it?” For this observer at least, the jury is still very much out on that verdict.

    I thought a while back maybe MacT should have anticipated there could be a problem with an equipment change. Then I thought how exactly do you decide on a better option? One of the goalie casualties was the previous best in the league in Lundqvist. LaBarbera had been a stable player as well.

    Perhaps he should have dialed up Bryz earlier. On the upside the Oilers have had so much bad luck they might go 20 years on the lucky side.

  81. G Money says:

    godot10: The Oilers Corsi close results are consistent with a Corsi Close normal distribution with a mean of 43% and a standard deviation of just under 10%.

    Sorry, but that’s a pretty gross misuse of statistical tools. Taking a sample mean and then concluding that because it is encompassed within a normal distribution with a mean of x and a standard deviation of y indicates that “x” is therefore the representative mean is complete and utter nonsense.

    By that logic, there is actually no statistical difference between the Hawks and the Oilers (since their CF% distributions overlap). Or is that what you’re suggesting?

    The correct tool in this case is a Welch’s t test, to determine if the means of the two distributions are different. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welch%27s_t_test). I believe this, or the students t-test, was the tool Parkatti used earlier (as Wheat was recollecting) in doing a similar analysis.

    Even if you’re going to use the correct test in this case, you’re still on relatively thin ground statistically. If you’re going to use one game as one sample, generally speaking, you cannot even conclude the shape of the distribution until you have 30 (give or take) samples. Until then, even relatively robust tools like standard deviation don’t indicate very much. If you look at the histogram of team Corsi (5×5), this is what it looks like right now (this histogram uses a 3% bar, the 1% bar is much much flatter and wider):

    http://i.imgur.com/PelFgXY.png

    Not exactly a textbook example of central tendency. I suppose the lower half of the distribution does look like it’s giving us the finger, and that is oh so very appropriate.

  82. Caramel Obvious says:

    I just watched the Bryzgalov interview after practice today. Fantastic stuff. I love it when guys treat the media with the scorn they deserve. He must have asked them three or four times what they mean? And it wasn’t a, I’m sorry my English isn’t very good, it was a “your question is stupid would you like to rephrase,” type of response. Fantastic. It’s also my favourite thing about Eakins.

    The incompetence of the media is really incredible. Basically their only job is to ask questions and yet they have no idea what constitutes a good question. I think it comes down to the difference between an education in journalism (useless) and a liberal arts education (which is at the end of the day an education in the art of asking questions and giving answers).

    So for all the media guys out there here are the essential elements of a good question.

    First of all a good question must be open. It is easy to recognized a loaded question, a question that is designed to provoke its answer in advance. A loaded question is fundamentally closed, indeed it is a rhetorical statement or trick, and not a question at all.

    Second, the question must provide a direction that allows it to be answered by supplying the criteria by which it might be understood and under which a satisfactory answer might be given. Vague questions such as “what does this all mean,” or, and I think Rishaug asked this today, “are you going to change anything?” are not genuine questions either because they can be answered in any way at all, none of which can ever satisfy the question.

    Thus a good question, one in which allows for the possibility of understanding to arise out of the question is one that retains its openness despite the finite manner in which it is posed.

    All I want for Christmas is a media that is capable of asking questions. It is easily the most infuriating thing about pro sports. The quality of the media has deteriorated so far that sometimes they don’t even ask questions. Instead they makes statements of personal opinion and then end them with an “isn’t it” and then expect the interviewee to simply assent and rephrase the statement in their own words, which the “journalist” can then use in their story. This nonsense is even worse than a loaded question, which at least, remains a kind of question.

  83. Ryan says:

    FastOil: I thought a while back maybe MacT should have anticipated there could be a problem with an equipment change. Then I thought how exactly do you decide on a better option? One of the goalie casualties was the previous best in the league in Lundqvist. LaBarbera had been a stable player as well.

    Perhaps he should have dialed up Bryz earlier. On the upside the Oilers have had so much bad luck they might go 20 years on the lucky side.

    Except Lundqvist has a .919 sv % with a 2.41 GAA.

  84. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Just what are you saying? What does it all mean?

  85. Bag of Pucks says:

    bookje: How did you ‘know that’?

    Cos he had a track record of mediocrity that spoke for itself. Oil mgmt was indulging in wishful thinking that Dubie was going to suddenly transform into an elite tender this year, but nothing new there, this org has been indulging in wishful thinking and undervaluing the importance of this position for years.

    Listen, it’s foolish for anyone on here to argue that Dubnyk was anything other than a question mark coming into the season. The consistent thread of conversation in the Oilogosphere, the media and around town was ‘this was a make or break season for Dubnyk to finally and firmly establish himself as the starter.

    Personally, I thought there was enough to write the book on him already (poor positioning, rebound control, wilts under pressure, etc.) to turn the page but Oiler mgmt, heading into a season they deemed as one in which they must start winning, decided to roll the dice on a question mark starter and a career backup instead of covering their ass without a legitimate starter contender in case Dubnyk faltered. To me, that’s very questionable decision making re: the most important position on the hockey club. If you doubt this latter statement, I refer you to the chart WG recently posted showing the clear correlation btw position in the standings and save percentage.

    To turn the questioning around, why does goaltending get a free pass for the team finishing in the basement for 3 consecutive years? All this focus on a Top 2 C or Top 4 D, but no one ever says, hey Dubnyk has presided over a massive chunk of this disaster. Maybe we could do better?

  86. Ryan says:

    Woodguy:
    B S,

    so I don’t that shooting distance is still representative of true shot quality

    That’s fair.

    Please watch every shot in every hockey game for the last 8 years and report back so we know what adjustment we have to make to the distance chart.

    This brings me back to the days where I read diatribes arguing for and against coaching systems impacting goaltender save %.

    I’ve read some crappy articles more recently over the past 2 years suggesting that there’s no impact, but vaguely recall some excellent ones from Puck Prospectus that suggested there was something to the Lemaire effect.

    I’m actually curious about this more recently and it obviously ties into data about shot quality.

    Intuitively, it seems patently obvious that coaching systems impact save percentages, but in reality it’s much harder to prove.

    Look at Phoenix which is the opposite of a goal graveyard vs. Philly which is one.

    Mike Smith sucks bullocks and goes to Phoenix and turns into a Vezina candidate.

    Anyone leaving Phoenix i.e Bryz turns to garbage.

  87. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    godot10,

    G Money,

    I can’t follow these intricate stats. conversations. I can understand the results and I can bother to supply the few caveats I know that apply, but I can’t follow the “work” of how one gets there.

    Whatever the case, this team is damn bad. That seems clear. It also seems clear that the glaring problem with the team is personnel. Coaching, since MacT left, hasn’t been stellar (so it seems to me), but Eakins is here to stay and the big matzo ball remains personnel.

  88. G Money says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Interesting and insightful. Barring sample size issues (perhaps after 82 games the results will even out higher or lower), this certainly suggests the cratering is deeply systemic.

    If Eakins can’t get the team back to Renney levels of terrible, he’s no better than RK.

    Further to what we can do in terms of trying to assess the differences between this team and last year’s team, I put together the comparative 5×5 CF% distribution for last year as well. Krueger’s chart clearly indicates that by 22 games in, his team had firmly and solidly established its level of mediocrity. If that Eakins chart doesn’t capture what a bizarre multitude of variation we’ve seen this year, nothing does.

    Krueger 22 games game-by-game 5×5 CF% histogram: http://i.imgur.com/YSWpoDE.png

    Eakins 22 games game-by-game 5×5 CF% histogram: http://i.imgur.com/PelFgXY.png

    Man oh man. We still can’t say for sure what we’ve got this year. It’s almost certainly shit, but we can’t say it is certainly shit with certainty, if you see what I mean!

    Edit: Rom, I guess I followed up and sort of responded to you before I even read your post!

  89. FastOil says:

    Ryan: Except Lundqvist has a .919 sv % with a 2.41 GAA.

    G1 – .875
    G2 – .966
    G3 – .846
    G4 – .838
    G5 – .941
    G6 – 1
    G7 – .789
    .894 Total

    I just meant that for Lundqvist that was a pretty rough start. Dubnyk and LaBarbs weren’t alone. I doubt Slats expected that.

  90. Caramel Obvious says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    The long and the short of it is that Godot showed that the good early results could be random variation, not that they were random variation.

    The only good news in all of this is that underlying true talent is always changing. This means that while the only way forward is for the team to get better, getting better is a thing that sometimes happens.

    Moreover, in contrast to a sport like baseball, hockey is a complex system which means that a number of small changes taken in conjunction can add up to differences that are greater than the sum of its parts. This is impossible in baseball where the results are literally the sum of the parts.

  91. FastOil says:

    The Oilers are 21 in GF. That is encouraging to me. With how poorly they have played as a team. It seems to me if they were playing well they would be right up there in scoring. I would rather be looking at tightening up defensively to win than wishing we could score like so many years. One can be learned.

  92. B S says:

    Woodguy,

    Woodguy:
    B S,

    so I don’t *think* that shooting distance is still representative of true shot quality

    That’s fair.

    Please watch every shot in every hockey game for the last 8 years and report back so we know what adjustment we have to make to the distance chart.

    *fix for a little clarification.

    I had to smile a bit. I realize it’s a tall order, but it’s important to recognize possible systematic error in your* models. There is a metric that probably approximates shot quality better (neilson #s, or chances for/against) except for the first two biases BofP mentioned (the 3rd applies to pretty much any metric we use, they’re just biased towards different plays). It’s also worth pointing out that some users of Chances for/against define chances as coming from particular areas of the ice, if it’s shot on net in that region it’s a chance, if it isn’t it doesn’t count, of course this can exclude goals, but it might better approximate shot quality. If I have time I’ll see if I can track down who used those numbers, but I think it was limited to coaches for their own teams.

    Also, just to point out, I’m not disagreeing with your entire point. the Oilers are bad, I just think there’s more to the story. I’d like to see where the shots for and against are coming from relative to the front of the net. I realize it’s not practical, but this might be much more accurate.

    On a note for data possibly, and practically available, what is the data on where shots are being taken from against the Oil compared with last season, if it’s available.

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Even for stats geeks advanced statistics (e.g. MANOVA, non-linear statistics) can become a bit of a black box, and there’s something to be said for personal observation, as it can often identify trends that metrics don’t exist for, or describe complex variables as a connected entity (in other words, words, like “compete” or a “rush” or a “bad goal”)

    I also agree that I’ve yet to be impressed by Eakins, but like most on here don’t see an advantage to ousting him (Bucky and Smith on the other hand…).

    edit: *your in the broad sense, not yours specifically WG.

  93. Caramel Obvious says:

    More on Staples. Here is a systems analysts from Justin Bourne.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2013/10/08/systems-analyst-puck-obsessed-devils-puck-stare-because-the-puck-is-a-puck-and-players-like-pucks/#more-86470

    It is interesting because the Oilers are the ones doing the good things. In it, he describes errors by all the players on the Devils who contributed to the goal, just like Staples is supposed to do. Do we really believe that Staples is doing this with this kind of attention to detail for every scoring chance? And even if he were how do you measure the magnitude of the errors? Does Brunner’s error equal Loktionov’s, equal Harold’s? Obviously not. Which was greater? I don’t know. So how then do you add up these errors over the course of a game? Answer: you can’t.

    Staples system doesn’t work.

  94. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    G Money: Further to what we can do in terms of trying to assess the differences between this team and last year’s team, I put together the comparative 5×5 CF% distribution for last year as well.Krueger’s chart clearly indicates that by 22 games in, his team had firmly and solidly established its level of mediocrity.If that Eakins chart doesn’t capture what a bizarre multitude of variation we’ve seen this year, nothing does.

    Krueger 22 games game-by-game 5×5 CF% histogram: http://i.imgur.com/YSWpoDE.png

    Eakins 22 games game-by-game 5×5 CF% histogram: http://i.imgur.com/PelFgXY.png

    Man oh man. We still can’t say for sure what we’ve got this year.It’s almost certainly shit, but we can’t say it is certainly shit with certainty, if you see what I mean!

    Edit: Rom, I guess I followed up and sort of responded to you before I even read your post!

    That’s interesting.

    It certainly does seem that this year is more of a roller coaster than last. Maybe the whole year will simply be like that.

  95. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    B S: Even for stats geeks advanced statistics (e.g. MANOVA, non-linear statistics) can become a bit of a black box, and there’s something to be said for personal observation, as it can often identify trends that metrics don’t exist for, or describe complex variables as a connected entity (in other words, words, like “compete” or a “rush” or a “bad goal”)
    I also agree that I’ve yet to be impressed by Eakins, but like most on here don’t see an advantage to ousting him (Bucky and Smith on the other hand…).
    edit: *your in the broad sense, not yours specifically WG.

    I’m not sure stats folks object to personal observation. I take it that this is a misnomer.

    I’m not really sure how to take Eakins yet. I started out hopeful (as I did with RK), but I’m less and less sure of him as the season stretches on (as I was with RK).

  96. G Money says:

    B S: Even for stats geeks advanced statistics (e.g. MANOVA, non-linear statistics) can become a bit of a black box, and there’s something to be said for personal observation, as it can often identify trends that metrics don’t exist for, or describe complex variables as a connected entity (in other words, words, like “compete” or a “rush” or a “bad goal”)

    I’ve had to learn and use statistics in each of my three degrees (three cheers for the overeducated!), and I *still* have to look up the specific definitions of many statistical calculations. Statistics are as mathematically unintuitive as accounting is, except that mathematically accounting is simple!

    I do think one of your comments bears repeating: there’s something to be said for personal observation.

    I can run with anyone as far as math/stats/computing goes, but I will be the first one to tell you that stats are only meaningful in the context of observation and analysis – and that’s especially true of hockey.

    Stats help to build a deeper and/or more objective and/or more nuanced understanding of what is being observed. Without the observation, the stats are worthless. This is something the pro-stats crowd sometimes forgets, and something the anti-stats crowd doesn’t understand.

  97. bookje says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Forget how “he” knew that… how did “I” know that? How did “we” all know this? And worse, how did I/we forget it?

    It’s the peyote, stay away from the peyote!

  98. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookje: It’s the peyote, stay away from the peyote!

    I knew that was the answer… I just didn’t want to hear it.

  99. justDOit says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I knew that was the answer… I just didn’t want to hear it.

    The first step to solving the problem, is to send all your peyote to me.

  100. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    who is Eakins’ telling that his hair is distracting? (about 2mins in)

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=488558&catid=4

  101. prairieschooner says:

    Has anyone looked at breakout start locations
    Seems to me they are a bit option limiting compared to last season

  102. rickithebear says:

    B S:
    russ99,

    Agreed. That damn swarm lost us games and nearly ruined a goaltender. Corsi’s great, but as has been discussed, it doesn’t account for shot quality. Eberle’s comeback starter last night came from the red zone. This season the oilers haven’t been shooting from in front of the net, it’s been all perimeter shots, and few of those, just like Russ99 points out. by comparison, the swarm gave up fewer shots against, but gave them from the slot, completely exposed. Patrick Roy in his prime is about the only way to consistently stop those goals.

    Yes russ way to point that out!
    I sit back and Smile!
    Way to be on the Ball!
    Who would have ever thunk.

    1. Yield shots to the outside.
    2. Dmen pressure any entry in the 0-20 ft range of funnel.
    3. forwards collapse on the 20-35ft range.
    4. willingly yielding the upper points were 3% shooting% is the norm.
    5. physically punishing any who make it into the slot area.
    You remember Mark Fistrics 0-10ft; 10-20 ft, 20-30ft
    We all understand why he was one of the top GA dmen in the game last year.
    Why he and Larsen had the best Goals against results of any dpair in dallas the last 5 years.

    Approx. 140 waves of pocession
    and 60 faceoffs
    Gordon 21 12-9 +3 mostly Dzone
    12 * .35 = 4.42 SF
    9 * .50 = 4.5 SA

    when you look at it the shots off faceoffs is nearly a wash.

    What is a key is getting our team to yield perimter d shots on defence and
    not take the easy shot in the Ozone.

    When you look at Shots for, our scorers (hall, eberle, Smyth, Yak, Perron) were catering to Aekins alot of shots play. Alot of out of the 30ft or less.

    When you compare it to thier history on Some kind of Ninja’s it is clearly evident that a large amount of the 15 to 20% shots were now being taken in the 2 to 6% range.
    Luck, puck Luck, Bahahahahahahaha.

    Oh but that is right there is no diffrence between a point shot and 10 feet from the net.
    Bahahahahaha!

    My 2 year battle is almost done.
    Christ 2 F……….. years.
    My 9 and 5 year old picked it up Quicker.

    Mr. Lange i yield to your genius from the turn of the century. it is a shame The corsi crowd had to cloud it for 10 years.
    Mr. eakins thank you for proving the obvious!
    3 guys at work commented on eakins making it obvious about corsi versus location.

    Lets see
    We can track
    1. pocession by turnover and FO.thaks NHL
    2. Entry Thanks NHL
    3. pucks directed thanks jim
    4. pucks to the net. thanks NHL
    5. type and zone x,y location of shot (thanks super ninja and Lange)
    6. Resultthanks NHL

    we are still missing the X,Y co-ordinates of the plane of net. marked by the sve % shadow of the goalies outline.

    G Money! Best description ever.

    I see it every Day. Pump X is highly efficient successfull 9970 of 10000 times. Has a X efficiency rating and is Ideal for directional steam pass.
    but in the 15 plants with heater X it has failed 14 of 15 times.

    Your an idiot if you put it in a Plant with heater X.

    our players have special skills. A willingness to go to the pain areas and there Shooting % refelcts that.

    it pained me to see them not go there like in the past.
    and to leave our goalies out to dry!

  103. art vandelay says:

    So for all the media guys out there here are the essential elements of a good question.

    First of all a good question must be open. It is easy to recognized a loaded question, a question that is designed to provoke its answer in advance. A loaded question is fundamentally closed, indeed it is a rhetorical statement or trick, and not a question at all. ?

    Proving you know less about journalism than you do about hockey.

  104. Caramel Obvious says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    who is Eakins’ telling that his hair is distracting? (about 2mins in)

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=488558&catid=4

    Yeah, just watch the Bryzgalov interview. The whole time I was thinking who is that knob with the crazy hair?

  105. Caramel Obvious says:

    art vandelay:
    So for all the media guys out there here are the essential elements of a good question.


    First of all a good question must be open. It is easy to recognized a loaded question, a question that is designed to provoke its answer in advance. A loaded question is fundamentally closed, indeed it is a rhetorical statement or trick, and not a question at all. ?

    Proving you know less about journalism than you do about hockey.

    What does this even mean? Is this supposed to be a defense of journalism?

  106. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I gotta say, I don’t get it.

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=488556&catid=4

    Seems like a pretty normal guy. The fact that he is modestly more interesting in public conversation compared with most sports personalities is apparently a real sin.

    I would hate to be policed by these people. Rishaug’s friends must be a bland as rice cakes.

  107. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    justDOit:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think you can see that person in this clip: http://oilersnation.com/2013/11/18/the-bryz-witch-hunt-begins

    thanks! the fro! nice.

  108. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Caramel Obvious: Yeah, just watch the Bryzgalov interview.The whole time I was thinking who is that knob with the crazy hair?

    Ha! I love the fro! Good for that guy.

  109. Caramel Obvious says:

    rickithebear,
    One of these days Rickibear we’ll learn to communicate in English. For now we can simply be amused by his ability to misinterpret data to fit his preconceived notions.

    For years he has been saying that shot quality matters and hence we should pay more attention to goals allowed rates. Finally, someone studies shot quality and when it demonstrates the exact opposite conclusion, Rickibear somehow thinks he is vindicated.

  110. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Wanye with a great piece, the kind of piece he’s made to write:

    http://oilersnation.com/2013/11/18/the-bryz-witch-hunt-begins

  111. justDOit says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: thanks! the fro! nice.

    So who is that? Is he with one of those urban street papers, or did he get kicked out of the arts section of one of the popular rags?

  112. justDOit says:

    art vandelay,

    “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
    ― Noam Chomsky

  113. G Money says:

    justDOit:
    art vandelay,

    “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
    ― Noam Chomsky

    “Yeah, but what if Chomsky has a Corgi!?! You and what army!”
    - Art Vandelay

  114. justDOit says:

    G Money,

    The reason I drank or did drugs was not because of stress, it was out of sheer stupidity.

    I’m a straight shooter.

    I want to be mayor, I want to be premier and I want to be prime minister.

    http://thingsrobfordsays.com/

  115. Lowetide says:

    The guy with the hair is Marc Majeau, a good friend of mine. He’s going to be a big star, mark my words.

  116. Caramel Obvious says:

    Lowetide:
    The guy with the hair is Marc Majeau, a good friend of mine. He’s going to be a big star, mark my words.

    I love adding a picture to the voice. It will make hearing him on the radio much more interesting. Speaking of which I guess that means it is time to google another Edmonton radio host.

    [Edit] Now that is a face made for radio. ;)

  117. Bag of Pucks says:

    While he’s bungled the netminding, I will say MacT throwing out the ‘for sale” sign on a potential 1ov is sheer brilliance. As the season plays out and more and more teams fall out contention, MacT’s bound to hear some interesting offers thrown out – many of which could involve some significant pieces that otherwise wouldn’t be proffered if the return was less enticing. A Top 2 D or Top 2 C w/size could be offered up. To which MacT could say, well I’m not sure I want to trade our 1st for that, but how do you feel about a package with Gagner or Eberle, etc? Let’s make a deal.

    It’s a bit like advertising your classic muscle car with the carrot that ‘trades are welcome.’ You may hear some interesting and unexpected things.

    Beware the ones offering sexual favours MacT!

  118. jimmers2 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I have the idea that the MSM guys have had it in for Bryzgalov since from way back. He started game 3 for the Ducks vs. Edmonton in Edm. in the 2006 playoffs. The Oilers won that game and perhaps got the best of him as well (Peca on a breakaway comes to mind. Did he get another start after that?). Nevertheless, what really stuck in my mind was the thunderous and vibrating pre-agme wind up, with all those lights and seismic tremors. Bryzgalov seemed to be taking it all in with, I think, wide eyes, leaning back against his net with something of a “Wow, Awesome. So this is the playoffs!” expression. It was Cherry, I think, who broke the mood. In the intermission the Don was all over Bryzgalov in personal terms for being an airhead incapable of concentrating. To my eyes, Bryzgalov simply looked impressed by the atmosphere, something that impressed all observers. After all, have any of you seen something like that since? Bad idea for a hockey player to let slip a candid, human face on tv… I think he had a pretty fine game for the most part.

    or at least he didn’T get another s

  119. dangilitis says:

    Here’s the issue LT,

    If you really believe Mact is building a team in his image, you can’t merry that with how he’s built his 4th line. It could have had Raymond Omark smyth or jones but instead he had gazdic coach’s son and brown to start the year. It wasn’t the resources or the ability to attract free agents or whatever excuse we need to reassure ourselves. And add macintyre. He chose those three when he could have plucked 3 guys on the market with better attributes and he could have made the 4th line better in a weeks worth of work, no excuses. Agreed?

    He promptly replaced horcoffs contract with ference. Ference brings the same dimension as Smid and is many years older and was signed for more and with a NTC. He forced his own hand with Smid by bringing in Ference. And now suddenly he’s not in a rush to bring in a defenseman. And now we have two Dmen over 30 who get paid over 3 million and on most teams would be 5-6. J Schultz agent is just going to take that info to the bank. One of them he can either get rid of with amnesty buyout or hold onto until he’s almost 40.

    Those moves can’t be blamed on a lack of time. They were either impulsive or poorly calculated and that worries me that he doesn’t know what type of a team he is building.

    And last, maybe he wants to be nostalgic about 05-06 but doesn’t he remember what a Larsen (mab look a like) can do to a team?

  120. G Money says:

    VanOil: Hockey needs an equivalent to Football’s Toxic Differential. Explained here http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000281155/article/toxic-differential-favors-seattle-seahawks-philadelphia-eagles

    Basically like PDO it is an amalgam stat. Unlike PDO it does not revert to mean. It is a measure Turnover +/- and Big Play +/- (plays over 20 yards).

    In football it shows teams like Dallas who turn over the ball or teams like Kansas that do not have big play potential are up against it trying to win the Supper Bowl. Kind of like trying to win the Cup with bellow average goal tending, possible but unlikely.

    For Hockey I think one side of the amalgam can be found in Parkatti’s excellent work on shot quality. I am not sure if it should be his “Expected Goals” figures or simply a +/- on shots with in twenty feet. http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/11/12/piecing-the-shot-puzzle-together/

    As for the other side of my proposed Toxic Hockey Differential any am unsure. Should it be SV%, a possession stat like Corgi’s, PP/PK +/- or Turnovers just like in Football?

    I would like some learned help on this as I feel we have witnessed plenty of Toxic Hockey and I would like to be able to quantify it. Or am I missing an NHL equivalent to this NFL stat that already exists?

    Great idea. Don’t know of anyone who’s done this so far. Would indeed be a good one to see.

    I think your starting point is probably right: Parkatti’s adjusted goals (calculate it as a differential on a game by game basis) and you have a good measure of the direction and quality of the balance of play. I think his work is stellar, the one part that still seems to need work is separating wrap arounds from tip ins from shots. While shot quality tends to even out and become correlated by distance (it appears), the absolute top likelihood of a wraparound going in is the same as a slap shot from 40 ft, so some distinction does need to be made.

    PDO essentially captures luck (which several thinkers have quantified as representing approximately 1/3rd of the result of any given game).

    The last missing part is the “big fuckups” and “explosive plays” to capture the toxicity. Candidates (all calculated as +-):

    - Turnovers resulting in ten-bell scoring chances. You’d have to define turnovers and you’d have to define ‘ten bell chance’
    - Easy goals i.e. goalie should have stopped. Again, you’d need to define what an easy goal is (distance, sight lines, tips, speed, etc.)
    - Explosive plays e.g. end-to-end rushes resulting in a goal, takeaways resulting in odd man rushes. Again, the difficulty here would be in defining those.

    Finally, the trick would be to appropriately weight and combine those, especially given that PDO is a reversion to the mean metric, while the others are straight differentials.

    And, of course you’d have to deal with Caramel‘s criticism of the metric, no matter how much insight it might bring to the game, because it is subjective!

  121. DeadmanWaking says:

    There was so much content in this thread I thought I’d do something different and reply en masse.

    delooper:
    That’s about the quantity and quality of pictures your blog is going to need to sustain people’s attention and good will in these trying times!

    There’s research which shows that men (especially) behave differently in the presence of attractive women. Even a poster of a face on a wall impacts how honestly people behave in paying or not paying for office treats left unsupervised in the kitchen area. I suspect the spell is broken the moment that more than one male regards the divine beauty as something achievable. Badly broken. Putting that Oklahoma girl on a motorcycle–flexed and bent into an implicitly submissive pose–would change the tone of discussion here in a big hurry.

    FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

    Giving drag racing a whole new meaning: Male staff at motorcycle dealership attempt seductive poses in hilarious photo spread

    FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

    justDOit: Agreed, but LT is approaching left-handed mouse territory here!

    The left-handed mouse is closer to home position which is quicker, with less strain through the shoulder joint. Half the hard-core keyboarders I know (both men and women) have shifted to mouse left. Whatever other advantages it might have, it also saves on chiro and carpel bills.

    B S:
    That damn swarm lost us games and nearly ruined a goaltender.

    So it wasn’t his wife giving birth?

    This is one of those things where you don’t know where you stand until you try it. MacT doesn’t want to stack his chips on a goaltender who is just four to eight bad games away from the permanent scrap heap. If he is that fragile, I say good riddance. Eakins can’t come into a situation like this on a platform of “let’s just keep doing what’s working so good”. You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. I have no love for the tip toe narrative even in retrospect after falling into the worst imaginable sink hole.

    B S:
    What really scares me is that once Smyth retires, there’s nobody on this team that consistently goes to the front of the net. I think it’s fair to say that we all know that going to the net, screening the goaltender generates the best chances.

    Surprise! Fewer young players are willing to perfect such a dangerous (and potentially career shortening) art with million dollar paydays in the KHL just a phone call away. Most of these guys would rather fly Aeroflot on a regular basis than turn their back on Jason Smith three times in thirty seconds night in and night out.

    Woodguy:
    The thing about defensive zone systems, is that it establishes what you are going to do with the puck once you get it.

    Hear hear! The leg bone is connected to the hip bone.

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Is it possible that the badly executed swarm was good at breaking up the cycle and getting the puck out of the zone with possession, but horrible at giving up grade A chances and that is what we are seeing here?

    In a competitive dynamic, this is how it boils out. If not this trade-off, something similar.

    Collapsing into a box around the blue paint is clearly not the best way to break a cycle without the other team choosing to shoot the puck. You’re basically saying to the other team: Take your best shot through the wall of human flesh, we’ve happy to give you one and done. On the downside, your transition game out of the blue paint begins with the flying V.

    Woodguy:
    The theory that the swarm gave up too many AAA chances sounds good because it matched what we were seeing, and more important what we are remembering, but in reality the number of AAA chances (as figured out using shot distance) is basically the same as last year, if not down a hair.

    Then distance is the wrong proxy. How about time and space? I recall from the game highlights sharp shooters teeing up in the kill zone with no defender within two strides of applying pressure. He’s got every possible option, he knows it, and he knows that Dubnyk knows it. This could be why Dubnyk was going squirrelly trying to find the right depth in his crease.

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    The only thing I would ask is if the panicky exits are by instruction or desperation.

    This is where Krueger was way ahead of Eakins. Too much instruction leads to desperation. Too little instruction leads to slow progress. Name your poison. Krueger was very clear last season that he implemented a bare bones system so as not to mentally overload the players and impact their creative flow.

    When I was in my Murakami phase I posted a passage from his book about finding the right swimming coach. Everything going on with Eakins this season is in that passage. All the coaches M. didn’t like were trying to force his body roll. The coach that worked broke him down to fundamentals, then built him up again one small detail at a time, until the body roll came naturally (it still wasn’t a good body roll, but for a triathlete it was good enough).

    Ultimately success in the playoffs requires more than just an adequate body roll, so I’m guessing Eakins is the better bet for making noise once we get past our misery of consistently missing the dance.

    sliderule:
    Eakins has to come out with breakout systems that are less predictable.

    Hemmer is unpredictable to the degree that he’s only ever had four to six ideal linemates. Unpredictable to your opponents in one thing, unpredictable for your teammates is another thing. In the era of instant video, unpredictable is not what it used to be.

    What you mean is that our breakout needs to have a rapid sequence of decision points, so that it can’t be precisely anticipated in the moment. Smid was never going to excel playing that game. His upper bound was one good zone clearing option. He’s gone now. I wonder why.

    When we’ve got six Jultzes back there and the core has two years as a group to practice the system, we’ll arrive at that magical place where handling loaded firearms does more damage to the opposition that to our own feet.

    G Money:
    I said this in my post the other day after the game – all of these are symptoms of the same thing. A lack of intensity. The team skates hard, but their brains and hearts just aren’t engaged until late in the game.

    This is a dangerous narrative. Eakins has the entire team trapped in the uncanny valley of trusting neither system 1 or system 2, the terms Daniel Kahneman uses for the lizard brain and the cortex.

    Four stages of competence

    Stage 3: Conscious competence

    The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.

    That’s just lethal in a game played at NHL pace. I recall Yzerman saying (this was in the bad knee era) that he doesn’t really play well until he enters the flow state where he’s not really thinking at all, but functioning purely on reaction and instinct.

    There’s simply no way to move from the wrong unconscious competence to the right unconscious competence without regressing into an uncanny valley.

    Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons:
    But there’s a lot MacT hasn’t done. Including not addressing centre and defense.

    Yeah, he started with an impossibly long list, and not just because the summer is only a few months long. What sane person seasons a soup without tasting it after every two or three additions?

    Ratatouille Cooking Scene

    Notice that the plump bubonic rat is not cooking with a hairpin on his nose. After each addition he fills his scurvy lungs with fresh inspiration.

    Old School G:
    Until MacT gets this baby balanced out we’re in for mixed results I feel. I really believe that the team is just in over their head through no fault of their own. They’re still about half a team away from being able to compete on a nightly basis.

    You’re right, but you’re overstating your case. We’re about three players away from competitive balance: a true 1D with size who can play in any situation, a power forward / towering centerman who dominates the face-off dot (Neely or Sundin would turn the trick), and a Pisani type to round out the bottom six.

    Of course, you still want more. But that would be enough, especially with Nurse and Klefbom promoted into the bottom of the battling order.

    Two of those pieces are extremely hard to acquire. Will likely cost us a sniper and a good prospect just to fill one of those holes.

    Caramel Obvious:
    I am also at least concerned that he wasn’t sure enough in himself to stick to his guns in the face of results.

    Eakins did stick to his guns. He said “my bad” for trying to cross a wide river at the widest point. Then he marched the army uphill above the fork to cross two smaller tributaries in succession. Turns out the team didn’t even know how to do what he was busy teaching them not to do.

    I once studied Chinese for a year. Learning to write the characters is the most arduous task. The grammar itself is not difficult if you’ve got a flexible mind.

    Chinese language instructors are very strict about drawing the strokes in the right order. You don’t just write the character, you write every stroke in the right order and the right direction.

    If you don’t learn to write Chinese this way, when you become fluent and your writing speeds up, no one will be able to read a thing you write. The distortions to the shape of the strokes introduced by writing quickly are totally dependent on the stroke order. If everyone learns to write with different stroke orders, when the writing speeds up and more corners are cut, you get a billion different ways to cut those corners, and no one can read anyone else’s writing.

    Translation of this to teammates keying off each other in the flow of the moment spring readily to mind.

    I see no evidence in this that Eakins hasn’t stuck to his guns.

    russ99:
    Personally, I’d prefer we not stunt the development of our skill players by forcing them into a possession game which increases shots, but decreases shot quality and seems to decrease goals–and go out and acquire better defensive players.

    See above. Possession is stroke order. The players are not being stunted by being drilled on how to protect the puck.

    Through discipline comes freedom. — Aristotle

    Woodguy:
    The system is a how to leave the dzone with possession and enter the ozone with possession.

    An excellent observation. Elite skills can be grafted onto the north-south system at both ends of the ice.

    Caramel Obvious:
    I also think we can’t conclude anything on the basis of the corsi after seven games. It’s a classic case of selective endpoints.

    If you go to narrative school (there’s quite the racket teaching the gullible how to write Hollywood screen plays) how to selectively choose your endpoints is half of what they teach you.

    Narrative and statistics are two great tastes not yet perfected into a peanut butter cup.

    Caramel Obvious:
    Not enough talent is problem #1, 2, and 3. This team can’t string together passes.

    Don’t agree with this at all. Put any two smart people in a room together and watch the passes fumbled. The problem is subtly different sheet music. Jazz bands tend not to have a dozen soloists. For good reason.

    knighttown:
    Of course, that was accurate but it seemed to me (and a few others) that our good corsi was a mirage based on a great schedule of “perfect matchups” in the early going.

    In fairness to the coach, you only get to argue this point if you argue the same point equally vociferously the other direction when the sampling bias is weighted toward a vicious schedule out of the starting blocks.

    Small samples are inherently prone to sampling bias (not uniformly covering the range of sample types).

    In any case, you’re overstating the magnitude of the mirage. Humans are prone to construing far more sampling bias than truly exists–even when it truly exists.

    Hammers:
    Give us one 2or3 level L defender who also plays with grit and we would see the improvement needed. That means a trade will be the only way we see things improve.

    Unstated supposition. The Tambi model might have got us there by 2025, with each rebuild flowing more naturally into the next one.

    oilersfan:
    MacT signed him for 4 years and knows he only has 2-3 coach fires in his career. He isn’t going to use one 20 or 40 or 60 games into the guy’s career. Please stop wasting cyberspace talking about when he is getting fired, if its this game or the next. It ain’t happening.

    It’s like the W. campaign to instigate the war on Iraq. There was a constant fixation on the bad guy already there, and not a word spilled about the merits of what would come next (other than the depredations of Iraqi oil fields by western interests that pretty much went without saying). Yeah, civil wars are so easily solved by hiring a pricey management consultancy to run a prominent placement
    campaign.

    MacT is simply not handing this group of guys to a fresh coach, not matter what creaking resume (six rings) he tows into harbour. At the very least he’ll take another hack at the clubhouse (four guys axed) before cutting Eakins loose into the simmering cauldron.

    OilClog:
    The NHL is a results driven league, and if you’re not producing … boy oh boy I hope Eakins has a magical unicorn of a system written up!

    Yes, he does have such a beast. It’s the same system he started with, now being implemented in two stages.

    Speaking of magical beasts you have one of your own: it’s the Harpy lurking behind the phrase “results driven”.

    Results are an ongoing process. Economics recognizes this to some degree with the notion of a discounting function: there are differences in how people value present and future outcomes, and valid reasons to do so. “Results driven” only shows up in the rhetoric of those implicitly campaigning for the shortest, meanest, and nastiest discounting window. I want it now!

    This is also the logic of a million black teenagers now incarcerated in the United States. Their discounting window was nasty, brutish, and short. Knock a couple of hotties up in their mid to late teenage years, then go to jail for engaging in the only career path that offers status and short term gratification.

    Narcotics is also a results oriented business (on both sides of the Orwellian stand off), far more so than most cozy capitalists wish to contemplate.

    Katz wants to win a cup in his shiny new arena purchased with a giant helping of public money. Start there with your model of the discounting function that trickles down to MacT and from there down to Eakins. Strangely, Katz did try to knock up a Heatley in the rosy flush of new ownership. Fortunately, he seemed to outgrow his teenage horn dog impulses in two short years of near fatal non-results.

    leadfarmer:
    The problem with the team is we are a “puck possession team” that can’t win puck battles, can’t retrieve the puck, and can’t pass the puck.

    That analysis also applies to Vancouver playing Boston in the finals. When that style of game prevails, everything else appears to fall apart. We’re just not ready to match up against the Kings and the Sharks.

    G Money:
    The thing is – you can use the ‘third game in four nights’ as an excuse against the Flames. What was the excuse against the Sharks? In that case, the Oilers were at home and had the previous night off, while the Sharks were on the second night of a back to back and third night in four games.

    No, the Sharks and the Kings ate our lunch and every crumb in our pockets, too. These teams are kryptonite to our current roster. Losing to these teams does not get a coach fired (unless he’s Alain Vigneault on the downward slope of a faltering regular-season dynasty).

    VanOil:
    Despite high end forwards being the safer bet at the draft (with centers being better than wingers), building a team with elite defensemen is a better bet for impacting your possession numbers.

    Absolutely. But there’s no way to get there from where we started without crossing the river twice. In this case, the first leg of the river is the sniper cluster. The second leg of the river is the Nurse cluster, where Nurse is the new Gagner in town.

    There’s every reason to believe this was the master plan long ago.

    FastOil:
    The problem as I see it is puck support. What looks like a lack of effort is to me a lack of knowing what to do or have a good passing option. They have to think about it, but they don’t have the extra second to do that in the NHL. They then get frustrated and start playing even more individually, the alphas start trying to go through to the whole team and hog the puck.

    Yeah, too many of our alphas regard puck support as a foot race to the opposition blue line. This is the kind of habit Eakins’ tough love is trying to break. MacT sees progress here. That’s why he’s publicly supporting the Eakins program.

    commonfan14:
    If MacT was half as nice to Katz while he was riding along on the Bus as Lowe apparently was, I’m not sure there are any limits on the number of coaches he can fire. Certainly didn’t waste any time using up his first.

    I’m feeling particularly uncharitable toward this comment. MacT would have taken a worse hit (long term) if Krueger had faded and underwhelmed in February. It just doesn’t count against a GM to feel he needs to hire a coach with a compatible mindset. There’s a huge cost in disruption, but if it has to be done, it has to be done, and better sooner than later.

    If keeping Krueger was the only viable path forward, the blame falls on the decision to hire MacT in the first place, not because MacT can’t do the job, but because his tenure here required too much carnage before it became effective.

    I don’t think MacT had a high opinion of the support he received from Lowe’s office when he himself was coaching the team. Perhaps Katz likes the fireworks between Lowe and MacT. Many billionaires believe that some heated friction is good for the management team. Katz might have a very different view of the internal dynamics than ever makes it out of the room.

    RMGS:
    A lot of folks (and most importantly Eakins) recognise that the team needs to hold (or win back) possession more in the O-zone with the cycle, good board work, and shots with net presence, but the team’s best forwards don’t play that game well enough often enough. We saw a change in the third last game, but “one-and-done until the third” isn’t the best team offensive profile.

    The verbal from Eakins in the post game was that it’s a balance between battening the hatches when you don’t have your jump, and pressing the advantage when you do. He intends to improve the team in both disciplines.

    oilersfan: In fact, I suspect most here would agree if we could go in a time machine the best thing to do would have been to have kept Tom Renney. all this change sucks. Renney with Krueger was an excellent tandem.

    We’re back to unstated assumptions. Change is not implicitly bad or good. Some of the good we’ve seen from our top picks might derived from changes that took place when needed. We’re so fixated on the glass half empty that we imagine that the half we have was less than our least entitlement even had it weathered the perfect storm of clusterfuckage.

    However, we’ve also seen that just when you think it can’t get worse, somehow it does. These aren’t compatible narratives.

    At a certain point, one has to achieve level flight. That point is now. Firing Eakins won’t just set this cluster back, it will cut the top off of where they finally peak before the Nurse clusters arrives.

    Bag of Pucks:
    We knew going into this season that Dubnyk’s ceiling is mediocre at best and LaBarbera was not a solution as a 1B option.

    It was a long list of things we already knew. MacT’s plan A was Cory Schneider. When that fell through, plan B was to engage plan A on a different front.

    The Germans didn’t need to capture London and Moscow in the same year: either would have served their immediate purpose. If the Schneider offensive falters, maybe the best plan B is to regroup on the other front where luck is more on your side. Military history is awash with generals who got caught up in mounting bad offensives after good ones went awry.

    B S:
    Remember Yak scores his goals on onetimers from the top of the circle. Give him the puck there 5 times a game and he’ll guarantee you a goal a game.

    I bet Eakins spends hours watching where the puck went the other four times. His risk management isn’t good enough yet, and we lack the 1D standing behind him to mop up the piddle. We lack the 1D because we’re top heavy in cap-unfriendly snipers who have yet to perfect risk management.

    Even when we finally have a true 1D, these snipers need to know how to pick their spots in the balance of what they get and what the give.

    Sometimes I think half of what passes for common sense is being good at showing up when the initial conditions are safe to ignore, and making oneself scarce when the initial conditions show up to bite the idiot who grabbed the reins where he’s least protected.

    godot10:
    The Oilers Corsi close results are consistent with a Corsi Close normal distribution with a mean of 43% and a standard deviation of just under 10%.

    So far so good.

    No early improvement. No subsequent falloff.

    Epic fail. This is not what statistics gives you. The statistics are also consistent with early improvement and subsequent falloff.

    However, all things being equal (as statistics does not reliably differentiate these two stories) one prudently tends to prefer the simpler narrative without the epicycle of two good weeks interrupting an ocean of unbroken suck.

    However, all things are not equal. What passes for statistics in common discussion is the study of memoryless processes. If you want to learn just one useful thing about statistics that’s the one to hang onto: almost all statistics that shows up in popular discourse is based on the assumption of a memoryless distribution.

    Enter the fine world of sports and the dynamics of competitive equilibrium. Hardly a worse model of a memoryless process could be conceived by man.

    We have this constant problem that regression to the mean is invoked as a passive statistical effect, which it often is. But it’s not just that. In competitive equilibrium, the tall poppy is soon beaten down by an extremely active fraternity of coaches in perpetual employment peril.

    The best players don’t just beat the system. They beat it over and over again, until the system runs out of ideas. Any abnormally high performance by an opposing player is soon subject to immense attention and scrutiny. If skill doesn’t work, try muscle, or wood, or worse. After three knee-on-knee near misses, even RNH has started to show cracks in his controlled facade.

    Maybe MacT picked up an extra enforcer because he felt the players wanted it that way. If the room feels better knowing they’ve got that guy on the bench, maybe the team takes fewer dumb penalties in frustrated retaliation, and you come out ahead even with your goon contributing four useless hockey minutes.

    Next, experienced teams make competitive adjustments faster. That gets into our age structure problem.

    I believe the team made a very real improvement in Corsi, but only when playing against certain types of opponents. Against other styles, we might have regressed, but that is also a work in progress.

    The problem with statistics embedded in game theory is that your worst attribute tends to dominate your performance metric, as you get totally killed whenever a team comes along able and willing to exploit your area of greatest weakness.

    Just reversion to the mean of a normal distribution.

    If we were studying a memoryless process, I’d give you the gold star.

    Caramel Obvious:
    Staples evaluation system is simply the adding up of subjective judgements on the basis of an arbitrary definition of scoring chances. It is entirely dependent upon the quality of the judgement of the evaluator. It is prone to too many possible errors than you could possibly list on both sides, from the definition of the scoring chance, to the artificially excising the event of the scoring chance from the context of the actual play, to the many psychological biases that could enter into the judgment of the evaluator.

    All of this makes the system misconceived on its face.

    You’ve fallen for the myth of subjectivity.

    Fermi problem

    As a general rule, an experienced evaluator who is at least aware of subjectivity effects will often achieve a result good to +/- 20% of the true value because the biases never all line up in the same direction.

    Eight times out of ten, a Fermi estimate is better than no estimate. Shit, if I were watching the game tape with my full attention, I think my sphincter would achieve a Fermi estimate to within 20% System 1 is incredible in making course estimates. Evolution is an outcome-based business.

    However, how far back he goes is something that cannot be defined in advance and hence the conditions of the event do not allow for the evaluation of the event. How far back he goes, and hence the number of errors and contributions he notices is essentially arbitrary in a systemic way that goes beyond the subjectivity of the judgements themselves.

    The problem with your line of argument–if you back it up all the way–is that you’ve just disproved evolution. Evolution couldn’t possibly work if the failure mode of system 1 leads automatically to an infinite regression.

    Start your analysis of fallibility with the premise that “evolution works” and see if it comes out the same way as you’ve just depicted, or whether you need to make a small change to your analysis system.

    Woodguy:
    Please watch every shot in every hockey game for the last 8 years and report back so we know what adjustment we have to make to the distance chart.

    That’s a bit too harsh. The point is that Eakins adopted the swarm over a river too wide which took us totally outside the normal parameters of competitive equilibrium–but not for long, he was harshly rebuked by the small number under the W. We were leaking Chernobyl grade chances with top snipers in sniping range totally unopposed.

    In the eight year record, these abnormalities cancel themselves out. No coach or players survives long leaking these kinds of chances.

    One can’t judge the safety of the horrible RBMK reactors on the basis of an accident where the operators deliberately stopped the pumps and disabled the automatic scram protection.

    The validity of this data set rests on the assumption that coaches who deserve to be immediately fired do get promptly fired, so it’s not useful in distinguishing five bells from five bells with a cherry on top.

    FastOil:
    I thought a while back maybe MacT should have anticipated there could be a problem with an equipment change.

    How do you know he didn’t factor this into his pursuit of Schneider? Is the effect so large that he should have snapped up Schneider at any price the Nucks demanded? Even if he thinks the effect truly is this large, can he successfully explain this to the fan base? He won’t be able to point to Dubnyk screwing the pooch, because he probably warms the bench on some other team.

    No, the only possible narrative will be that MacT can’t correctly evaluate assets. GMs are captive to what the fanbase is willing and able to digest and comprehend.

    Caramel Obvious:
    The quality of the media has deteriorated so far that sometimes they don’t even ask questions. Instead they makes statements of personal opinion and then end them with an “isn’t it” and then expect the interviewee to simply assent and rephrase the statement in their own words, which the “journalist” can then use in their story.

    Yellow journalism goes back a long ways. Controversy sells. In sports journalism, in particular, there are long term relationships between the athletes being covered and the journalists covering them. It always works out they come to a mutual understanding of how their bread is buttered. Athletes don’t want to be humiliated. Journalists don’t want to lose access.

    Systems don’t wander into equilibrium by accident. You’re consistently refusing to confront this unhappy fact.

    Caramel Obvious:
    Moreover, in contrast to a sport like baseball, hockey is a complex system which means that a number of small changes taken in conjunction can add up to differences that are greater than the sum of its parts. This is impossible in baseball where the results are literally the sum of the parts.

    That’s exaggerated. The dynamics of the pitching staff in baseball definitely has non-linear terms.

    The whole fetish about line-ups and line matches rests on hockey being non-linear in some fundamental way. The non-linearities people implicitly invoke would be well served to be more forthrightly named.

    The high degree on non-linearity in hockey is why the game theory side often bitch slaps the statistics side.

    Caramel Obvious:
    Do we really believe that Staples is doing this with this kind of attention to detail for every scoring chance?

    We know he isn’t because he divided the work up, at least three ways.

    G Money:
    I can run with anyone as far as math/stats/computing goes, but I will be the first one to tell you that stats are only meaningful in the context of observation and analysis – and that’s especially true of hockey.

    Stats help to build a deeper and/or more objective and/or more nuanced understanding of what is being observed. Without the observation, the stats are worthless. This is something the pro-stats crowd sometimes forgets, and something the anti-stats crowd doesn’t understand.

    In an electronic circuit, a voltage measurement is only as good as your ground plane. For me statistics provides the ground plane.

    Even a solid ground plane isn’t worth a hill of beans if you narrative jettisons the initial conditions of the game theoretic matrix.

    For me, the Tambi era extends from Lowe’s remark “Is it me?” through to landing Justin Schultz. That was the sub-basement rebuild from pariah to pretender, complete with a necessary yet disruptive ownership change. Tambi wasn’t all bad. The team is still here and the new digs look likely to succeed.

    The ground floor rebuild from pretender to contender is pretty ugly right now, but hope remains.

  122. Scotty LaDouche says:

    Well that escalated quickly.

  123. art vandelay says:

    Wow. It took about 12,000 words of pointless bloviating, but you finally got around to stating your thesis: “The new arena will fix everything.”

  124. Lowetide says:

    This blog needs an editor.

  125. rickithebear says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    rickithebear,
    One of these days Rickibear we’ll learn to communicate in English.For now we can simply be amused by his ability to misinterpret data to fit his preconceived notions.

    For years he has been saying that shot quality matters and hence we should pay more attention to goals allowed rates.Finally, someone studies shot quality and when it demonstrates the exact opposite conclusion, Rickibear somehow thinks he is vindicated.

    Time and Time again we study procession.
    In many’s wisdom they use a single value event.
    Corsi.
    once again;
    processions each action has
    1. a cumulative and
    2. quantitative affect.

    1. gaining control of the puck.it is cumulative in measure X processions.
    and quantitative. In your defensive zone, neutral zone, O zone.
    we know that pgcession gained in the O zone yields 50% more shots than the other two.
    Each of these is a ratio.

    2. Entry. A face off won in a o zone is 100% entry. versus crossing the Blue line that has different success rates by system. Dump and Chase versus carry.
    it also varies by the ability of player.

    3. Corsi a puck is directed at the net. it has a cumulative value. but ignores the quantitative value of that action.
    a. X pucks that get to the net. x %.
    b & c. It ignores X,y location and Elevation plane on the Goalie.> than 30ft 4%; 20-30 ft 6-7% 10-20ft 18-22% 0-10ft 15-17%

    The Cummulative Value of an event is affected by preceding event.
    Goals/Shot
    Shots/ Corsi
    Corsi/Entry
    entry/procession.

    The critical part is the quantitative factors that create each ratio.
    As an Exmple Scoring chances is a more intuitive attempt at breaking down these values. Combining the Knowledge of 5-25 ft Shots contralto the X.Y plane.

    Corsi is a measure of procession to the point of release. and is dependent on entry and procession ratios.

    Goals are the 100% measure of wins.
    Yeas they are dependent on number of pucks released

    That released puck is dependent on Location, type, path, Elevation. this is measured.

    What has to be realized that gaining Control, Entry and release is Pocession. As i stated. But is that the full Game No.

    Luck is 1/3. did you watch all of dubnyk’s goals last year? I did.

    the reality is real ease to Goal has Quatifiable factors of greater influence.

    The Location of release, path and Elevation is a more important Factor. By results displayed on Some kind of ninja the variance is 2% to 25% 12.5 times from best to worse. that would be 1250%
    Corsi dominance? at worst 50%?

    Do your Work people.
    Teams have varying shot % for each range. it makes sense that a team like Boston that gives up more > 30 ft shots than a team like Edmonton. Now add in the fact that Boston has a more physically dominate lane influemsce close to the net. and Boston get 30-40% better save %inteh in tight range.

    But hey none of they matters cause all pucks directed are they Same.

    Corsi and luck.
    Are you guys really that Stupid?

  126. Lowetide says:

    Be nice, men.

  127. Lois Lowe says:

    Epic response by DMW.

    For the record, Colonel Obvious, DMW is a smarter man that I have never met than you.

  128. rickithebear says:

    Lowetide:
    Be nice, men.

    I have been a grumpy old man for better part of a year.

    All stast have merit.
    My point.
    There is cummulative and Quatatative values in Stats.
    Specific to 4 factors of play.
    1. Gain pocession
    2. Enter zone.
    3. Direct puck at net
    4. Attempt to stop puck Directed at net.
    the totals for Pocessions gained, zone entry, Corsi, Shots, Goals are cummulative. and give measure of a team.
    the quantitative tells us why we go from Corsi to Shot, or shot to Goal.
    I for one have allways been about the why.

  129. stevezie says:

    Lois Lowe,

    I’m unconvinced of that, but he is better at working a crowd.

  130. Caramel Obvious says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Epic response by DMW.

    For the record, Colonel Obvious, DMW is a smarter man that I have never met than you.

    DMW is not a man he is deity who drops down from above. But he’s still wrong about Staples.

  131. Ribs says:

    Lowetide:
    This blog needs an editor.

    rickithebear: All stast have merit.

    The blog needs an editor and ricki needs his secretary to get on board with proofing his posts here!

    I kid, I kid. rickibear is a gem. I’m always amazed at the high level of intelligence that inhabits this forum. You just don’t find that in most other online commonplaces. It definitely makes following this wretched team a tad easier!

    Thanks, all!

  132. denny33 says:

    Woodguy,

    Shots within 10 feet
    CAL 4
    EDM 1
    Shots within 15 feet
    CAL 8
    EDM 4
    Shots within 20 feet
    CAL 10
    EDM 6
    If DD isn’t 100% on his game CAL wins that going away.
    The answer turns out to be ‘BRING BACK THE SWARM.
    Crazy.

    ***************************************************************
    Eakins, Krueger or Bowman or Keenan, Sather…….you have to be within 10 feet of the net to shoot the puck on the opposition net.

    My main point with the kids for the last two years has been the same – I have coined the term
    ‘rink board advertising’ ….Taylor Hall is the worst for this. In the offensive zone and we have possession look for Taylor and the kids to be looking for a pass by the side rink board advertising….

    You can play whatever kind of defense you want in your own end you want…if your young stars feel there is a force field around the 10 ft. semi-circle around the net ( seemingly allowing entry for only Perron, Smyth and Gordon ) the coach talk for offense is pointless.

    Again, not a big fan of Eakins -but the focus – even in this forum – is finally starting to turn towards the top end talent.

    Re Eakins – anyone else think Adnrew Ference is looking a tad over-matched on the 1st pairing tandem?

    With regards to us losing the corsi wars – if you think that is any kind of revelation – then you missed Dion Phaneuf taking the night off against us or Eric Fehr double shifting against us.

  133. gcw_rocks says:

    I always find your assessments interesting, and optimistic, and sometimes boarding on MacT propaganda.

    An alternative perspective:

    1) In the Smid trade we sent away a proven second pairing NHL defenceman for a maybe 3rd line guy, but much more likely a 4th line guy and we know that those are a dime a dozen. The goalie swap is as likely a downgrade as it is an upgrade, so not worth mentioning beyond the Oilers management unhealthy obsession with Oil Kings and former Oil Kings. Blowing out Smid now to bring in a questionable goalie in a season that is already lost makes the trade even worse. Major fail.

    Andrew Ference: He has replaced Smid, but the chance of him performing to Smid’s level the next 3 seasons is almost zero. This is MacT’s Khabby contract and will haunt this team for years.

    Jason LaBarbera: As soon as MacT signed the russian he pretty much destroyed any value LaBarbera is likely to have. Evidenced by his clearing waivers. And he did that after JL played in 6 games. SIX. Not even started six, just played in six. Either this is a massive failure in pro scouting or a massive failure in patience. The season is lost already. And we flushed a goalie because the swarm defence is a disaster. Nice.

    Jesse Joensuu: Should have signed a real NHL player and signed this guy instead. Its not just that this guy is bad, its that MacT didn’t sign a sure thing and then challenge Joensuu to unseat him. Who would you rather bet on, Raymond, Morrow, Boyes, or Joensuu for a third line winger? Joensuu would finish last on this list 10 times out of 10 for everyone except MacT.

    Ryan Hamilton: The killer here is the opportunity cost again. Signed AHL players when NHL players were needed. Everyone knew this but apparently MacT.

    Ryan Jones: Signed for 1.5M and got waived, then got brought back up when the MacT signings were even worse. He should be playing 4 minutes a night for 600K.

    Brad Hunt: On a team loaded with defensive prospects, why waste a contract spot on this guy? He reduced the Oilers contract flexibility, which the team has paid for since.

    Denis Grebeshkov: MacT focused on the bottom end of the defence when the real help was needed at the top end.

    Linus Omark: Played well in OKC, hasn’t been given the opportunity to show a thing in the NHL. As soon as the season was lost MacT should have brought him up for a pump and dump. Asset management is clearly a foreign concept to MacT

    SMac/Luke Gazdic: Can’t play hockey. What happened to toughness without skill not moving the needle?

    Ilyz Bryzgalov: The only thing more blatant would be to tattoo “DESPERATE” on MacT’s forehead.

    He also chased away the franchise’s best offensive prospect in minor pro (Rajala) for nothing, and sent away the team’s best prospect at playing in the dirty areas (Hartikainen) and then did a press conference the other day bemoaning the lack of that type of player on the roster.

    He also retained three assistant coaches that have contributed to the worst record in hockey over the last seven years. He also gambled on a rookie head coach when vets like Ruff were available at a time when the players really needed the organization to minimize risk and maximize wins. As a bonus, players are telling reporters like Cassie Campbell they won’t sign in Edmonton as free agents because MacT and Lowe are living in the 80s.

    The easy answer is, of course, blame Tambo. But the one thing tambo did right was leave the organization significant contract flexibility. MacT walked into this summer, successfully flushed the team’s biggest anchor contract and then totally mis-read the free agent market.

    The team’s crappy record leads right back to MacT’s door.

  134. Caramel Obvious says:

    What is with the water at coppernblue? The coppernblue groupthink is every bit as crazy as the oilersnation groupthink.

    Every single one of those points is made with what can only be the explicit intention of providing the worst possible spin.

    You are looking for things to criticize and found what you were looking for. Happy?

  135. gcw_rocks says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    I expect my hockey team to strive for excellence. This hockey team strives for nepotism. So, why should we not look at each move made critically? The team was won 6 games and lost 17, not the other way around. It is not achieving anything close to excellence. Its not even achieving mediocrity.

    I never said all the moves were bad. Perron is looking good. So is Gordon. So is Belov and Arcobello. But the number of bad moves far outweigh the good and so I and the rest of Oiler fans get to spend an EIGHTH straight year watching shitty hockey. I have no more patience and they don’t deserve any.

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