The Edmonton Oilers are at the halfway point of a season that must feel like being boiled in acid. Great, great players losing all the time. 13-24-4. Noxious. Pernicious. Toxic. Foul. Horrible. Ghastly. Regrettable.
Mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake. One year’s experience five times. Addled. Stupid is as stupid does. I cannot believe how many truly idiotic things have been done in an Oiler uniform this season. It must number in the millions.
Whew. Well, that feels better.
A bunch of smart people got together on twitter last night, and the discussion turned to Taylor Hall. His scoring rates are ‘in the range’ but his Corsi is in the ditch—which is buggering up the clear progress we’re seeing in other areas. Just absolutely galling, because the kid (he’s still a kid) has been pushing the river since he arrived and I can’t just get mad at him or think up trades—I love the guy. He’s the promised land, he’s the hero of the Springsteen song, he’s the King.
So anyway, these smart people were throwing it around and then one of the smart ones said “Corsi 5×5 Close %” and it kind of framed the season in a different way for me.
OILERS FORWARDS CORSI % FOR, 5X5 CLOSE
That looks normal from here, or close (the Fenwick numbers are basically perfect save for the wonky Perron). For me, this list makes sense understanding Taylor Hall has been neck deep in swill on a team with addled defense, while boasting a blind-man-in-the-goalie-net, who is giving up cherry rebounds. I can make my mind digest this graph satisfied and then move on emotionally.
OILERS FORWARDS CORSI % FOR, 5X5 DOWN 2+ GOALS
This is what one of the bright fellows pointed out, Hall when the team is down 2+ in goals. A situational stat that indicates Hall is ineffective when the team goes down two or more goals doesn’t put him in a good light, but then again it’s 84 minutes and maybe the net is empty (Oilers are without charm this season when they outnumber their opponent—entertainment ends and hell begins at the “Oilers power play” sign). I don’t buy Hall is giving up, but the Oilers do seem to flag when they’re down a couple, so maybe that’s something we’ll watch for the rest of this season. I suspect the answer is “the defense sucks” but then again that’s my reason for everything these days (“honey we’re out of whiskey!” “defense sucks!”).
There are positives in Hall’s season and he’s the key to the highway, so Dallas Eakins needs to figure this out right after he takes the power play out behind the barn and shoots it. Penalty-kill too while he’s at it.
5X5 OFFENSE PER 60
- Taylor Hall 2.28
- David Perron 1.98
- Jordan Eberle 1.86
- Mark Arcobello 1.86
- Ryan Smyth 1.57
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.46
- Will Acton 1.39
- Sam Gagner 1.32
- Ales Hemsky 1.15
- Ryan Jones 1.09
- Nail Yakupov 0.99
- Boyd Gordon 0.85
- Luke Gazdic 0.77
- Jesse Joensuu 0.35
The next item for coach Dallas Eakins (after Hall, the PP and PK) is Nail Yakupov. These numbers (here) show Nail Yakupov is off by more than half from one year ago (here) and are not acceptable. I’m onside with Eakins and MacTavish, but ruin that kid and that is something I do not forgive.
Whatever they’re doing with Yakupov, stop it. Go opposite George. A small germ of an idea might be to take Joensuu and his magic 0.35/60 off the 2line and task Gagner/Eberle with the Russian. I know that’s a lot of youth and very little muscle, but big men who can’t play NHL hockey all end up in Europe. I’m tiring of this experiment, and haven’t looked up the “JF Jacques” disaster to see how long it took Quinn to figure it out but it was not half of one season.
I’ll look at the defense later. For now, the things to remember about the team up front after 41 games:
- Taylor Hall is King, but something is wrong in the kingdowm
- The power play is the saddest thing on earth
- The penalty kill is the second saddest thing on earth
- What have you done to my Russian?
My Kingdom for a power play.