OILERS AT COYOTES G42, 13-14

The Edmonton Oilers begin the second half of the season under a dark sky. The promise of the summer and the good things about the pre-season (before the sobering final pre-season game and then the descent into darkness) are long forgotten, the blue skies turned to grey. At the very top of the list of things that are not working: the blue.

 CORSI CLOSE %, 5X5 DEFENSE 2013-14corsi close for 5x5 d

I don’t really see much here beyond a team getting 45% of the pie. Individually, the top 4D are kind of bunched together and I’m not really sure if we learn anything about each player. Petry and Ference have played the most minutes, and Belov is playing about as much in this discipline as Justin Schultz. There is no obvious item that jumps out—beyond the fact that Larsen joined the band when Ladislav “Pete Best” Smid left the group. He’s about as unusual as Ringo, we’ll have to see if he plays more than Corey Power Potterplay now through the end of the season.

CORSI FOR %, 5X5 HOME

corsi for 5x5 homeHuh. Well, the home numbers should be expected to be better, although the overall results haven’t been there this season. Belov and Petry shine like diamonds here, and Larsen/Schultz the younger are eye-catching too. The stay at homes are at the bottom,Ference just below do and Schultz the elder suggesting he’s playing without thumbs. Interesting. They’re protecting Belov, Laresen too?

CORSI FOR %, 5X5 ROAD

corsi for 5x5 roadRead it and weep. Larsen is a bung hole, The Schultz’s join Belov in the Hell Hole and Ference-Petry don’t get you 50 cents on the dollar on the road. The really interesting thing is the TOI total—over a season Ference & Petry are going to play over 200 minutes more at this discipline than the others. Eakins took some time to figure out his team—I think Smid leaving had a lot to do with the new coach liking guys who can handle the puck better—but there’s clearance for Ference and Petry and a lot of protecting Justin Schultz in these road numbers.

CORSI FOR %, 5X5 ZONE ADJUSTED

corsi for 5x5 zone adjusted

Fascinating. Do you think they’ll keep Belov? He does some good things but I’m not certain he’ll be part of the team moving into the future. Personally, I’d sign him and flush Nick Schultz, but one wonders if the third pairing LD job in 2014-15 is going to be reserved for Darnell Nurse.

 THE SECOND HALF

What is a reasonable expectation of the season’s second half? 20 wins? Here’s how things have gone (per 20 games) so far this season:

  • First 20: 4-14-2
  • Second 20: 9-10-1

I go back to the beginning of the season, and the wonky losses to Winnipeg and Toronto. If the Oilers come out of that first 20 8-9-3 or so, then we’re talking a different season. For the second half, I think 17-20 wins should be the reasonable expectation. If they go 33-43-6 after the 4-14-2 start, that would be 29-29-4 in their final 62 games. It isn’t playoff quality, but then again this isn’t a playoff team.

HALFWAY STATS

HALFWAY FORWARDSHALFWAY DEFENSEHALFWAY GOALIESI think there’s going to be a lot of new names in the second half, and certainly next season. We could see two new goaltenders, four new defensemen and six new forwards. And, as we’ve seen so many times during the 2006+ run, a lot of these men will be playing their final NHL games in the second half. Robert Nilsson turns 29 in January, he played his final NHL game before Taylor Hall was drafted.

It’s been such a long time.

 

 

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179 Responses to "OILERS AT COYOTES G42, 13-14"

  1. Ontario Oilers Fan says:

    Dare I say a win for the Oilers? Not based on anything factual. More like a gut feeling. We all know the areas in which this organization must become better. It’s now up to some players who are leaders on this team to signal a sense of direction for others on the team to follow.

  2. Woodguy says:

    Robert Nilsson turns 29 in January, he played his final NHL game before Taylor Hall was drafted.

    Jesus wept.

  3. John Chambers says:

    Infinibuild.

    Maybe New Years Eve 2016 Mr Katz will finally have had enough and will fire the lot, and bring in someone from the outside to save his project.

    He would have to sever his connection to his pals from the BotB, but in time he too might realize they’re a legion of fools.

  4. B-Dog says:

    Hey guys this isn’t post related, but hoped you guys could help me out. I am wondering if you guys have any book suggestions that would help me understand more of the goings on behind the scenes of a hockey team. I mean from a management stand point. I guess the game of hockey as well since I never got to play as a kid, though I did always watch hockey . Thanks guys!

    Oh yeah and Anchor boy by Jay Onrait is a pretty good read.

  5. Lowetide says:

    B-Dog:
    Hey guys this isn’t post related, but hoped you guys could help me out. I am wondering if you guys have any book suggestions that would help me understand more of the goings on behind the scenes of a hockey team. I mean from a management stand point. I guess the game of hockey as well since I never got to play as a kid, though I did always watch hockey . Thanks guys!

    Oh yeah and Anchor boy by Jay Onrait is a pretty good read.

    http://nhlgms.com/

    I received it as a gift from a friend, and it’s my favorite book.

  6. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Going to miss tonight’s game as I’ll be at a party.

    Here’s hoping the forwards manage to cover the point on the PK.

    We can add that early PHX game to the WPG and TOR loses as ones that got away early and helped to crater the life of the team.

    Speaking of that PHX game and not covering the point on the PK, it’s worth noting that we haven’t heard from “find yourself a place to stay Will Acton” in a long time. And, after a very brief NHL looks, Ryan Hamilton and Ben Eager haven’t been given any further reason for living.

    I realize this is setting a pretty low bar… but I’m not sure we would have made it over in the Tambo days. I’m also pretty curious to know how Eakins feels about certain aspects of his roster. I wonder if he’d prefer Acton to Lander and/or Horak and the GM took the keys away from the drunk?

    ———–
    On Belov… I still don’t know what to make of him. He looks competent in all areas (positioning, puck moving, breaking up plays, toughness), but rarely very good.

    The interesting thing is… most bottom pairing D have one skill set nailed and can’t tread water in all the others, whereas Belov looks like a guy that has all the bases covered but doesn’t do any of them exceptionally well.

    (Assuming that assessment holds water) I’m not sure what GMs would prefer: a competent all-rounder who is not great at anything, or a exceptional and exceptionally limited talent?

    What probably goes in Belov’s favor is the following:

    1) He’s MacT’s guy. I don’t think MacT will want to flush him. GMs like their own guys.

    2) Whatever his failings he can move the puck better than the D we are seeing leave town (15 on the next 8:15 bus to nowhere)

    3) He seems to pair well with a variety of Ds:

    WOWY CF% for 19 with 77 (186:42 TOI):
    W: 49.8
    WO: 43.4

    WOWY for 36 with 77 (104:38 TOI):
    W: 37.6
    WO: 50.2

    WOWY for 2 with 77 (99:02 TOI):
    W: 53.3
    WO: 45.8

    WOWY for 15 with 77 (63:37 TOI):
    W: 47.8
    WO: 43.1

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1802&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

    With the exception of 36 (who looks great with 15 and 21 and terrible 77… they make each other tank hard), everyone who has played significant time with 77, plays better with 77.

  7. B-Dog says:

    Lowetide,

    I’ve looked for that book at Chapters a bunch and nothing ever showed up so I figured I misremembered the name but no turns out that they just don’t carry it. It’s a little pricier than I’m looking for but I’m going g to bookmark the page for one day.

  8. Hammers says:

    LT . In Mexico so a bit behind on my reading your pieces . Why and who are the 2 “D” you keep .Not saying I wouldn’t trade Petry or J.Schultz if OK return . I would resign Belov as after 40 games the guy seems to be getting better . McT won’t discard Ference . Nick & Corey will be gone & hopefully for picks but not sure . Larsen is a ????? . Anyway would like to see your analysis of who goes who stays .

  9. gcw_rocks says:

    I think you are right, we will see a lot of new players next year. But I think we are going to see a whole new round of Joensuu, Grebeshkov, and Acton types. Because that’s what the Oilers do. I also think they will ignore at least one area of glaring need like MacT did this summer with the centre position.

  10. steveb12344 says:

    B-Dog:
    Hey guys this isn’t post related, but hoped you guys could help me out. I am wondering if you guys have any book suggestions that would help me understand more of the goings on behind the scenes of a hockey team. I mean from a management stand point. I guess the game of hockey as well since I never got to play as a kid, though I did always watch hockey . Thanks guys!

    Oh yeah and Anchor boy by Jay Onrait is a pretty good read.

    Recently I’ve been reading “The Game” by Ken Dryden

    It’s absolutely wonderful reading, and an awesome view into the mind of an NHL legend.

    To see the quirkiness and insecurities of what I remember from my childhood as one of the true icons of his time, akin to Muhammad Ali, or Reggie Jackson, is an extremely interesting read.

    Pertaining to the Oilers I find the chapter about Scotty Bowman and how he ran his team with an iron fist just awesome.

    Even when The Habs were winning everything Bowman never let up, and never let his players get too comfortable in their own skin.

    Yakupov would have learned to play his way,or he never would see the ice at game time period.

  11. cdean says:

    LT,
    Any Thought on the FussyBritches tweets from last night?

  12. Caramel Obvious says:

    For all the talk of fancy stats a lot of it comes down to the stark reality of those point per game numbers. Because of percentage fueled early years many people came to the conclusion that Eberle and Hopkins were point/game players. We see that they are not.

    So much comes down to the narrative that this was a team of young stars on the rise. Unfortunately, the narrative was never true. This is a team of one star and some nice pieces. These teams don’t win (see Islanders).

    I watched the Blackhawks and Kings last night. Here are some truths that must be faced.

    1) The Oilers don’t have nearly the same level of high level talent as these teams. Hopkins isn’t as good as Toews, Eberle isn’t as good as Sharpe, there is no Kane, no Keith. The talent level isn’t close and the gap isn’t closing. The narrative of the young talented Oilers is not, and never was, true.

    2) For all their talent the powerplays of both teams struggled, looking a lot like the Oilers. Powerplay results involve a lot of luck. The Oiler powerplay isn’t noticebly worse than previous years. It was never that good in the first place. Focusing on the powerplay by most fans is venting, looking for an easily solvable problem to avoid facing the hard truths.

    So time to face facts people. The Oilers problem is the same as it ever was. Not enough talent. There is only one solution to this problem. Add talent without talent going out the back door. Easier said than done.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Hammers:
    LT . In Mexico so a bit behind on my reading your pieces . Why and who are the 2 “D” you keep .Not saying I wouldn’t trade Petry or J.Schultz if OK return . I would resign Belov as after 40 games the guy seems to be getting better . McT won’t discard Ference . Nick & Corey will be gone & hopefully for picks but not sure . Larsen is a ????? . Anyway would like to see your analysis of who goes who stays .

    For me, I keep Petry because he’s a good NHL defenseman. I keep Justin Schultz because he can help the PP and hopefully play a less chaotic defense. Ference is the captain and signed long term.

    Up next is Belov. I would sign him, leaving three spots open for the 7D.

  14. Ontario Oilers Fan says:

    gcw_rocks,

    That is the problem with the Oilers signing free agents is that they can say no.

  15. Gret99zky says:

    gcw_rocks:
    I think you are right, we will see a lot of new players next year. But I think we are going to see a whole new round of Joensuu, Grebeshkov, and Acton types. Because that’s what the Oilers do. I also think they will ignore at least one area of glaring need like MacT did this summer with the centre position.

    Followed quickly by a playoff prediction by some people.

  16. Gret99zky says:

    Book:

    The Game of Our Lives by Peter Gzowski.

  17. VanOil says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    For all the talk of fancy stats a lot of it comes down to the stark reality of those point per game numbers.Because of percentage fueled early years many people came to the conclusion that Eberle and Hopkins were point/game players.We see that they are not.

    So much comes down to the narrative that this was a team of young stars on the rise.Unfortunately, the narrative was never true.This is a team of one star and some nice pieces.These teams don’t win (see Islanders).

    I watched the Blackhawks and Kings last night.Here are some truths that must be faced.

    1) The Oilers don’t have nearly the same level of high level talent as these teams.Hopkins isn’t as good as Toews, Eberle isn’t as good as Sharpe, there is no Kane, no Keith. The talent level isn’t close and the gap isn’t closing.The narrative of the young talented Oilers is not, and never was, true.

    2) For all their talent the powerplays of both teams struggled, looking a lot like the Oilers.Powerplay results involve a lot of luck.The Oiler powerplay isn’t noticebly worse than previous years.It was never that good in the first place.Focusing on the powerplay by most fans is venting, looking for an easily solvable problem to avoid facing the hard truths.

    So time to face facts people.The Oilers problem is the same as it ever was.Not enough talent.There is only one solution to this problem.Add talent without talent going out the back door.Easier said than done.

    Agreed. Oilers chose to suck at the wrong time.

    And now LT favorite Phaneuf has signed no savoir is coming. Happy New years, it can only get better for Oilers fans. Or at least we will learn new Russian proverbs.

  18. justDOit says:

    cdean:
    LT,
    Any Thought on the FussyBritches tweets from last night?

    Can someone enlighten this twittless guy on what (s)he said?

  19. franksterra says:

    Strudwick has a piece up on ON on the Yak benching, he talks about tonights game. He mentions three keys to winning, mainly eliminating the advantage of the Yotes’ talented and o-minded D corps. These are his two keys for our forwards:

    -Get in on the forecheck quickly. Finish checks on the D so they can’t jump right into the play.

    - Back check like your life depends on it. This will eliminate many of the odd man rushes the Coyotes D can create.

    These things require good to excellent: speed, power, determination, judgement. How many of our F corps has more than 1-2 of these attributes?

    Surely at some point Gagner and either Yak or Ebs will need to be traded for 2-3 players with a minimum of 3 of these attributes?

  20. edwards_daddy says:

    ‘Hopkins isn’t as good as Toews, Eberle isn’t as good as Sharpe.’

    Toews was behind in PPG during his draft+3 season; it’s arguable which was better in his own end at that reference point.
    Sharp had no-where near the offensive chops of Eberle, and my guess is by the age of 32, #14 might have worked out what to do in his own end.
    At the same age Hall and Kane have comparable PPG.

    Put Keith and Seabrook behind these youngsters, and this would be a play-off team.

    They might not be there yet, but look at the age of the Philly 70s cluster from the Philly GDT. We need to keep the core together until they get to that level.

  21. Lowetide says:

    cdean:
    LT,
    Any Thought on the FussyBritches tweets from last night?

    I do believe MacT is trying to make a trade, and soon. You need to have a partner. Her specific tweets:

    Prior to holiday freeze Oilers had offered 1st pick plus. J.Shultz to Preds for Weber, talks also brought in Hemsky but will have to wait until they can talk extension MacT has not ruled out Keeping Hemsky but lot of interest in him. Mact has been also taking calls on Eberle but he’s only listening Islanders have scouted Dubnyk along with interest from buffalo. Lander is also being shopped Panthers showed some interest. Mact is trying To change the look of the team and feels the fans pain. He thought the team would be battling for a playoff spot as we all did.

    Talks on replacing Eakins was he is not going anywhere, mact has had a talk with him and they are looking for more experience behind The bench, But mact will reevaluate him at years end if he does not see an improvement. Mact has also had a talk to Eakins about toning it down to the media

  22. sliderule says:

    I just took a look at team canada defence roster.

    It is a heavier defence than oilers

    The average weight is 201 lbs which is 4 lbs heavier than oilers.

    This is on a team of teenagers.

  23. justDOit says:

    Lowetide,

    Ay caramba!

  24. GordM says:

    Watching the WJCs…why oh why couldn’t MacT jump ahead of MTL and grab Fucale!

    I know, I know…hindsight…

    As for NHL Player hunting this summer:
    MacT learned his lesson re: Centre – possible/realistic UFAs? Maybe Legwand, Stajan (mentioned here before), what happens to Stastny? Although I wonder if our pick is in play for an RFA centre on a cap/budget strapped team. Maybe B Schenn…Berglund in STL…O’Reilly in COL if there is any lingering frustration over last year’s contract issues.

    D is probably where we’ll see the action. Anyone remember Stu’s line in the first season of Oil Change…”Do we have an Erik Gudbranson…maybe he’s an RFA we pursue with that pick as the centrepiece.

  25. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    I just took a look at team canada defence roster.

    It is a heavier defence than oilers

    The average weight is 201 lbs which is 4 lbs heavier thanoilers.

    Thisis on a team of teenagers.

    Canada has 10 shots in 25 minutes of play.

    They ARE the Oilers!

  26. Space Dad says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Agreed that the Oilers need more talent. I’m just curious as to why you left out the best player on the OIlers. True that the Oilers have no Kane, but the Hawks have no Hall.

    On another note, I think Aaron Ekblad looks like a monster. I know he’s playing against other juniors but he already appears to have better defensive instincts and abilities than every Oiler dman.

    I might even like him better than Nurse. He’s kind of a Weber to Nurse’s Subban.

  27. Andy P says:

    B-Dog,

    try Amazon,ca then if unsuccessful google it, you’d be surprised where these books turn up.

  28. bookje says:

    GordM:
    Watching the WJCs…why oh why couldn’t MacT jump ahead of MTL and grab Fucale!

    Don’t worry, it appears that the Oilers have learned the perils of finishing too high in the standings and have adjusted appropriately. I would be surprised if they ever pick outside of the top five again.

  29. spoiler says:

    Petan and Mantha are proving to the world why they were heavy sliders at the draft.

  30. Andy P says:

    gcw_rocks: I think you are right, we will see a lot of new players next year. But I think we are going to see a whole new round of Joensuu, Grebeshkov, and Acton types. Because that’s what the Oilers do. I also think they will ignore at least one area of glaring need like MacT did this summer with the centre position.

    The reason may be that those are the BPA’s. As in, nobody else wants to play here at anything resembling a reasonable price. Right now this team looks like a coach, manager and player career killer to many, we’re one of the coldest winter cities in the world, with the worst drivers in Canada, and citizenry who pester you wherever you go with dumcluck suggestions on how to improve.
    We know why we live here but other’s frequently do not understand.

  31. justDOit says:

    bookje,

    So who do you like in 2015 – McDavid or Eichel?

    Also, my neighbor’s son is 14, 6′ 2″ and skates like the wind. Next time I see him, I’ll tell him to look for a place in Edmonton.

  32. flyfish1168 says:

    Ekblad & Nurse would be a good combo unfortunately the timing is off

  33. Ryan says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    A simpler translation is basically that the Oilers top line (Hall – Nuge – Eberle/Perron) doesn’t yet stack up particularly well against the top lines of playoff-caliber WC teams.

    After that, we all know that the Oilers are porridge.

    (With the Oilers lack of roster balance and depth) Until throwing over the Oilers top line strikes fear in the hearts of the Sedins, Kopitars, Backes, etc the Oilers aren’t going to do much.

  34. Derek says:

    Ekblad is a 17 year old struggling in an U20 tournament which is not unusual. He’s not going to be an effective player in the NHL for 3 or 4 years.

    The idea that he’s a dominant force against his own age group because he’s fairly mature physically already and may not have much room to improve was floated here recently and I’m starting to buy into it. He doesn’t seem to have the puck skills you look for in a top defenceman. He sure doesn’t move the puck like Seth Jones did last WJC.

    This is all based on watching the tournament of small sample sizes which is ridiculous to judge a player on, just my humble opinion.

  35. jp says:

    Lowetide: I do believe MacT is trying to make a trade, and soon. You need to have a partner. Her specific tweets:

    Prior to holiday freeze Oilers had offered 1st pick plus. J.Shultz to Preds for Weber, talks also brought in Hemsky but will have to wait until they can talk extension MacT has not ruled out Keeping Hemsky but lot of interest in him. Mact has been also taking calls on Eberle but he’s only listening Islanders have scouted Dubnyk along with interest from buffalo. Lander is also being shopped Panthers showed some interest. Mact is trying To change the look of the team and feels the fans pain. He thought the team would be battling for a playoff spot as we all did.

    Talks on replacing Eakins was he is not going anywhere, mact has had a talk with him and they are looking for more experience behind The bench, But mact will reevaluate him at years end if he does not see an improvement. Mact has also had a talk to Eakins about toning it down to the media

    Interesting stuff regardless of whether there’s anything to it or not.

  36. G Money says:

    Lowetide: For me, I keep Petry because he’s a good NHL defenseman. I keep Justin Schultz because he can help the PP and hopefully play a less chaotic defense. Ference is the captain and signed long term.

    Up next is Belov. I would sign him, leaving three spots open for the 7D.

    Heh heh. So many ways different ways to end up saying the same thing. It all boils down to this, doesn’t it? We have a decent 3-4-5-6 in Petry-Ference-Belov-Jultz. But where the Hawks can throw out Seabrook-Keith (or Hjalmarsson-Oduya) at 1-2, we for all in tents and porpoises throw out (or is it throw up) some combo of Nultz, Larsen, Potter and Marincin.

    You could argue that they are better than e.g. Whitney-Potter, but let’s face it, they’re not *meaningfully* better, and any team giving first pairing minutes to Petry-Ference or substantial minutes to Nultz and Larsen is never going to be a playoff team.

  37. jp says:

    gcw_rocks:
    I think you are right, we will see a lot of new players next year. But I think we are going to see a whole new round of Joensuu, Grebeshkov, and Acton types. Because that’s what the Oilers do. I also think they will ignore at least one area of glaring need like MacT did this summer with the centre position.

    Ontario Oilers Fan:
    gcw_rocks,

    That is the problem with the Oilers signing free agents is that they can say no.

    Gret99zky: Followed quickly by a playoff prediction by some people.

    Are we going to claim that MacT signing Arcobello, Belov, Joensuu, Grebeshkov, LaBarbera, Acton, Hamilton, Omark and Bachman was a bad thing? I agree they aren’t “the answer” and weren’t going to turn the team around on their own, but there are some useful players in there and a whole lot of depth (both in the NHL and OKC). I’m not sure what the downside is.

    I’m good with this approach. Obviously it can’t be the only thing happening all summer, but there’s nothing wrong with making a bunch of bets on veteran pros and hoping some of them reward you.

  38. Gret99zky says:

    jp: Are we going to claim that MacT signing Arcobello, Belov, Joensuu, Grebeshkov, LaBarbera, Acton, Hamilton, Omark and Bachman was a bad thing? I agree they aren’t “the answer” and weren’t going to turn the team around on their own, but there are some useful players in there and a whole lot of depth (both in the NHL and OKC). I’m not sure what the downside is.

    I’m good with this approach. Obviously it can’t be the only thing happening all summer, but there’s nothing wrong with making a bunch of bets on veteran pros and hoping some of them reward you.

    I would advise not going to the press and talking about playoffs after signing a handful of players that could not crack the rosters on most NHL teams.

    Which of the above players would not clear waivers?

  39. gcw_rocks says:

    Ontario Oilers Fan,

    And if you heard cassie Campbell on HNIC, they will keep saying no as long add MacT is GM. At least the ones with a choice will.

    But this last summer there were five or six guys who could not get contracts throughout most of the summer that could have helped this team that would not have been a position say no and still didn’t go get them.

  40. gcw_rocks says:

    jp,

    “I agree they aren’t “the answer” ”

    When MacT started talking about competing for the playoffs with that bunch he showed he didn’t even know what the question is, let alone the answer.

  41. Derek says:

    gcw_rocks:
    Ontario Oilers Fan,

    And if you heard cassie Campbell on HNIC, they will keep saying no as long add MacT is GM. At least the ones with a choice will.

    But this last summer there were five or six guys who could not get contracts throughout most of the summer that could have helped this team that would not have been a position say no and still didn’t go get them.

    Cassie Campell said on HNIC that as long as Craig Mactavish is the GM of the Edmonton Oilers that they will say no to any free agent offers?

  42. VanOil says:

    Goal tending.

    MTL in the clover. For the next 4 years Carey Price will be one of, if not the, best goal tender in the NHL. At the end of that his contract in 4 years he will only be 30 years old. They could trade him for a kings ransom with a now seasoned Fucale ready to replace him.

  43. teddyturnbuckle says:

    LT,

    Andrew Cogliano has 11 goals and 23 points this year at the age of 26. In hindsight do you think it was a bad move to let this guy go for a second round pick? He is playing on a better team but trading a former 1st rounder for a second rounder seems like a failure to me.

  44. Gret99zky says:

    gcw_rocks:
    Ontario Oilers Fan,

    And if you heard cassie Campbell on HNIC, they will keep saying no as long add MacT is GM. At least the ones with a choice will.

    But this last summer there were five or six guys who could not get contracts throughout most of the summer that could have helped this team that would not have been a position say no and still didn’t go get them.

    Remember when Grabovski was put on waivers by the Leafs? Could have been picked up off waivers and solved some of that center depth problem.

  45. Lowetide says:

    It’s clear that turning this thing around in one summer was too much to ask, but I like MacT’s confidence and do think there were strides made. Looking back , I think that short season gave all of us a false sense of the future.

    And not to be an ass, but if Tambellini had solved any of the holes during the summer’s he was in charge this rebuild would be farther along. So getting pissy about Gordon, Perron, Ference, Joensuu, LaBarbara, Belov, Grebeshkov et al points in the wrong direction imo.

    Let’s remember Cam Barker. that’s the problem this year. Let’s remember Theo Peckham, that’s the problem this year. Using that money signing Barker instead of aiming higher was a misspent bullet, and not being able to get Peckham straightened out really impacted the team.

    That’s why screaming about the 2010 draft doesn’t make sense to me. Scream at the Chorney selection, the lack of development for Peckham, the Barker free agent signing.

  46. Lowetide says:

    teddyturnbuckle:
    LT,

    Andrew Cogliano has 11 goals and 23 points this year at the age of 26.In hindsightdo you think it was a bad move to let this guy go for a second round pick?He is playing on a better team but trading a former 1st rounder for a second rounder seems like a failure to me.

    Discussed at the time

    http://lowetide.blogspot.ca/2011/07/center-ice-11-12.html?m=1

    http://lowetide.blogspot.ca/2011/07/sail-on-st-michaels-buzzer.html?m=1

    the Oilers had to pay him and he wasn’t going to play on the top 3 lines.

  47. Space Dad says:

    Derek,

    By my eye, Ekblad hasn’t been struggling. He played 26 minutes in the Slovakia game as one half of Canada’s top pairing. This, as a 17 year old. He hasn’t tried to do too much, yet the goal he scored and his numerous other scoring opportunities show that he has a strong offensive element to his game. I don’t like to continue bringing up Shea Weber, but did Weber do that as a 17 year old?

    The things about Ekblad’s game that I think are special aren’t exclusively related to his oft-referenced size. He is smart, extremely hard working, and devoted to defense first. He has all the tools to be a stud defenseman and he appears to have the right attitude and mindset. I really don’t see the Chris Phillips comparisons, and am surprised as to why he is considered to have such a low ceiling.

    Since I honestly do not know, does anyone here remember what Weber did as a 17 year old?

  48. cabbiesmacker says:

    edwards_daddy:

    Toews was behind in PPG during his draft+3 season; it’s arguable which was better in his own end at that reference point.

    Uh No. No it’s not.

    Very few players as good as Toews is both ways come down the pipe and it’s not a year to year thing either. Maybe…maybe once every 10 years.

    Dare to dream though.

  49. justDOit says:

    Just watching the third period (on demand) of Swe/Rus, and damn if Sleepychef doesn’t look like one of, if not the, best skater on the ice. Beautiful air-mail pass for the tying goal on the PP, and has been a dog on the puck when defending. That young man knows how to use his edges.

  50. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I think the Fucale love on the thread today is demonstrably guilty of letting the wonder of WJC small samples sizes wash over them.

    FWIW, I’m not that concerned that they didn’t use a bullet on a G in last year’s draft. And, I am very glad they didn’t use a high pick on Fucale.

  51. ohhell says:

    Space Dad: Since I honestly do not know, does anyone here remember what Weber did as a 17 year old?

    Weber
    2002-03, Kelowna Rockets, WHL, 70GP, 2G, 16A, 18PTS, 167PIM, +25

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=62488

    Ekblad
    2013-14, Barrie Colts, OHL, 29GP, 10G, 15A, 25PTS, 41PIM, +1

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=145037

  52. melancholyculkin says:

    Hey LT.

    I don’t mean to drag the thread off topic, but since the ballots are due today who would you have on your HOF ballot? I’ve got:

    - Bonds
    - Clemens
    - Maddux
    - Raines
    - Biggio
    - Bagwell
    - Thomas
    - Schilling
    - Piazza
    - Mussina

    Due to the arcane 10 name limit, Glavine, Walker, Trammel, Martinez, Sosa, Kent, and McGwire miss out.

  53. godot10 says:

    MacT made a bunch of bad decisions last summer, thinking he had to go hard ass.

    1) Changing the coach was a mistake, especially to a hard ass NHL rookie coach with a skimpy resume.
    2) Getting rid of Horcoff was a mistake (with a compliance buyout in hand for next season, Nugent-Hopkins recovering from surgery, and the ability of Horcoff to play wing)
    3) Replacing Smid with Ference was a mistake.
    4) 2-year NHL contracts to Joensuu, Ryan Hamilton and Will Acton was a mistake. One year deals should have sufficed.
    5) No plan with the coach for a development plan for Yakupov was a mistake.

    Gordon and the Perron deals were fine.

    People are still far too hopeful for the second half of the season. The next month could be pretty gruesome, which will make all the post-Olympic homestand really, really ugly.

    A bad rookie coach means this could end up being the worst Oiler team ever results wise, certainly in the worst three.

    Eakins basically has no clue how to coach an undermanned roster. And with Yakupov, he show know abiltiy to multitask, to develop a player, while simultaneously optimizing results.

  54. ohhell says:

    BTW,

    The 02/03 Kelowna team were 311GF, 160GA

    The 13/14 Barrie Colts are 136GF, 105GA

    Weber’s draft year team was outstanding which helps to explain the +25.

  55. cabbiesmacker says:

    Space Dad:
    Caramel Obvious,

    . True that the Oilers have no Kane, but the Hawks have no Hall.

    So they’d be a much better team with Hall I guess?

    Probably not a great idea to compare anything Oilers with anything Hawks. Top 3? Whitewash. Top 6? Even with the Hawks not having a true #2 C theres no comparison. Top 9? Best not to go there.

    Hawks have a top 4 D that individually are all better than any D on the Oilers and Leddy at 5 – 6 would be top pairing in Oilerland.

    Hawks are infinitely better coached and their management team makes the Oilers look like a Bantam group.

    When Hall and Nuge become Kane and Toews, if it ever happens, it’s still highly unlikely management will have had enough smarts to make the picks and trades required to fill out the team around them to the point they’re near the top of the league every year let alone win two cups in 4 years.

    All this while having to part with Brouwer, Byfuglien, Bolland, Versteeg, Frolik and Ladd and picking near 30th for a number of years.

  56. godot10 says:

    teddyturnbuckle:
    LT,

    Andrew Cogliano has 11 goals and 23 points this year at the age of 26.In hindsightdo you think it was a bad move to let this guy go for a second round pick?He is playing on a better team but trading a former 1st rounder for a second rounder seems like a failure to me.

    The Oilers “preserved” the asset by trading Cogliano. Cogliano is Marco Roy, I think. They time shifted the asset into a similar asset in the future. Some players need a change of scenery and a 2nd opinion. Dan Cleary needed two 2nd opinions. Cogliano also was also too much of the same thing the Oilers already had in other players.

    Like St. Louis did with an excess asset in Perron. They got an inexpensive, multi-tool, developing player in Paajarvi, and a really high 2nd round draft pick.

  57. Lowetide says:

    melancholyculkin:
    Hey LT.

    I don’t mean to drag the thread off topic, but since the ballots are due today who would you have on your HOF ballot? I’ve got:

    - Bonds
    - Clemens
    - Maddux
    - Raines
    - Biggio
    - Bagwell
    - Thomas
    - Schilling
    - Piazza
    - Mussina

    Due to the arcane 10 name limit, Glavine, Walker, Trammel, Martinez, Sosa, Kent, and McGwire miss out.

    I’d go

    Bagwell
    Bonds
    Clemens
    Concepcion
    Maddux
    Piazza
    Raines
    Sosa

    I’m a bit of a prick about first time entry, so have left a couple from your list until next season.

  58. dangilitis says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Hey,

    Strudwick singing praises of Draisatl on OilersNation this week. I think Oilers could really take this guy, and I have liked what I have watched of him this season. Obviously the media are starting to take note. He will come along quicker than Ekblad and I personally think he’s a better fit than Reinhart. Lets just hope the stars align and he’s a reasonable pick for the Oilers at draft time

  59. G Money says:

    cabbiesmacker,

    Those conclusions and comparisons are facile at best.

    Hockey is a team game. Results are driven by who you play with, in front of, and against.

    As you say, the top 4 D of the Hawks are better than any of the Oilers D now. So … how exactly do you compare Hall/Eberle/Nuge with Toews/Kane/Sharp given that the latter three play in front of this solid top 4 and the former three play in front of dreck? Think that would change things a bit?

    And as you say, there is no comparison in the quality of the Top 9. How much of that together with a superb top 4 D makes the coaching look really good?

    And how about the fact that out of the 29 teams that the Hawks play against, their 29 includes the Oilers and excludes the Hawks, while the Oilers 29 opponents excludes the Oilers and includes the Hawks? Each one of those little things add up to big differences.

    So we don’t know exactly how good our trio is each night basically.

    What I can say with confidence is: we have a superbly gifted trio in Hall, Eberle, and the Nuge. I am confident that Yak will join that 4 as elite, and Perron is a rock solid top 6 winger.

    After thousands of points of discussion, the prescription hasn’t changed. We can build a winning team around that core. But in order to realistically compete, what the Oilers need is a 1/2D, a big 2C (to complement smaller speedy wingers), and capable third and fourth line wingers to complement Gordon and (what should be) Arco.

    Maybe Nurse/Klefbom are eventually the top pairing we need, but not for years. Maybe some of those 3/4 wingers are waiting on the farm or the IR.

    If we don’t want to wait that long, MacT needs to make some actual bold moves this summer, and add some of those key pieces without giving up key pieces. Easier said than done. If building a winning hockey team was easy, 29 more teams would be Stanley Cup champions every year.

  60. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    dangilitis: Strudwick singing praises of Draisatl on OilersNation this week.

    I saw that.

    Based on his reporting (he has MacT watching the kid) and Matty’s, it sure looks like MacT is targeting him if they pick in the 3-6 range.

    I think if they pick 1-2 they go with either of the big boys. Despite my love for Draisaitl, I’d pick Reinhart.

    Reinhart has vision, two way and smooth movement a la Nuge. Draisaitl is less cerebral and fluid, but strong two way and more bulk a la Kopitar.

  61. Woodguy says:

    Bryz getting the start as per Bob.

    DD gets a shutout and hasn’t started since.

    I get not going B2B, but the next start is very telling.

    B2B coming up with LAK/ANA so DD is the sacrificial lamb vs. LAK and Bryz gets another former team in ANA.

    Sail on Kamloops Blazer……

  62. Woodguy says:

    That should read SJS/ANA, not LAK/ANA

  63. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy:
    Bryz getting the start as per Bob.

    DD gets a shutout and hasn’t started since.

    I get not going B2B, but the next start is very telling.

    B2B coming up with LAK/ANA so DD is the sacrificial lamb vs. LAK and Bryz gets another former team in ANA.

    Sail on Kamloops Blazer……

    I think we already knew this… but as you mention Eakins does have a weird obsession with players playing their former teams, so it could just be that.

    I was actually surprised he didn’t put Horak into the Flames game for that reason.

  64. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I think we already knew this… but as you mention Eakins does have a weird obsession with players playing their former teams, so it could just be that.

    I was actually surprised he didn’t put Horak into the Flames game for that reason.

    Just heard Eakins on Oilers Now saying he set up the goaltender schedule so Bryz could play ANA.

    Doobie’s gonna get shelled in SJS

  65. Lowetide says:

    Oh damn. Happy new year, everyone. I shoud have had that in the post.

  66. justDOit says:

    Woodguy,

    They could very well both get shelled. Back to back with ANA/SJS on the road? Ouch!

    Oh. I just looked at the games coming up after that B2B.

  67. teddyturnbuckle says:

    Lowetide,

    Seems to me that the oilers would have a better chance of getting Seth Jones out of Nashville with that package. Just the fact that they already paid Weber so much money upfront it doesn’t make sense to me. I’d do that trade either way for Jones or Weber for Edmonton’s 1st and Shultz. Capgeek is down, does Weber have a NTC that kicks in this year. If so, no chance he agrees to come to the oilers at this stage of his career.

  68. justDOit says:

    teddyturnbuckle,

    The National Post story from when the offer sheet was given, says that he will get two more $13M signing bonuses in each of the next two years, and then two $8M bonuses in each year after that, on top of $1M, $1M, $4M and $4M in salary. His salary then drops to $6M/yr for the next four, and then dives off for the remaining 4 years.

    So yeah, I think Nashville might want out from under that burden.

    Note to MacT: Whale hunting? Just Shea no!

    Edit: Couldn’t copy/paste from that National Post article.

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/07/19/will-shea-webers-proposed-14-year-contract-be-the-last-of-these-deals/

  69. Gerta Rauss says:

    B-Dog:
    Hey guys this isn’t post related, but hoped you guys could help me out. I am wondering if you guys have any book suggestions that would help me understand more of the goings on behind the scenes of a hockey team. I mean from a management stand point. I guess the game of hockey as well since I never got to play as a kid, though I did always watch hockey . Thanks guys!

    Oh yeah and Anchor boy by Jay Onrait is a pretty good read.

    A few good resources are abebooks, alibris, and bookfinder, all dot com. Amazon is hit and miss(both dot ca and dot com)…and after that just google whatever you are looking for.

    The Dryden and the Gzowski books are both good-I haven’t read Behind the moves yet due to its price point-even this morning I can’t find it for under $168.

    I mentioned Gare Joyces’ Future Greats and Heartbreaks the other night-good read if you are a draft nerd.

    You can also visit any of those sites and enter “hockey” in the keyword search-good luck.

    *edit-and Hockeytown by Jim Devallano is a good read as well. All of the above have been endorsed by our host at one time or another.

  70. Andy P says:

    Gret99zky: I would advise not going to the press and talking about playoffs after signing a handful of players that could not crack the rosters on most NHL teams.

    Which of the above players would not clear waivers?

    Arco, Belov, Joensuu, Bachman

  71. jake70 says:

    Lowetide:

    And not to be an ass, but if Tambellini had solved any of the holes during the summer’s he was in charge this rebuild would be farther along. So getting pissy about Gordon, Perron, Ference, Joensuu, LaBarbara, Belov, Grebeshkov et al points in the wrong direction imo.

    LT, I suggest you do a post on how adding “good” players during those summers would have affected the present roster.

    If good (better) players are added year by year, then instead of Hall you have__________, instead of RNH, you have__________, instead of Yakupov, you have __________.

    Fill in the blanks with any players drafted in the top 10 in those years (because we don’tknow where the Oil would have ended up …possible they end up as high as 20th in any of those years by adding “good” players). Do we want any of those players? Are they impact players, that when added to the “good” players picked up a long the way, they are part of a playoff bound team? I don’t know….not trying to be an ass here also, just something to consider. We’ll never know obviously.

  72. Woodguy says:

    Andy P: Arco, Belov, Joensuu, Bachman

    Arco, Belov.

    Maybe.

  73. Survioil says:

    Weber deal makes sense for both clubs but the question is, does Weber’s brand in Nashville nullify the hockey equation?

    Revenue from playoffs maybe enticing enough to Predators….

  74. godot10 says:

    Nashville has already paid 25% of Weber’s entire contract (in 1.5 years) and they essentially have him signed for the rest of his career at an extremely cap friendly number of $7.9 million. The cap hit is less than $1 million more than what Phaneuf just signed for, and will likely be less than Subban and Keith when they re-sign.

    There is about to be a TV revenue windfall, and expansion dollars.

    Why would they trade him? He is a screaming bargain for the forseeable future, just like Hall.

  75. justDOit says:

    Survioil,

    Well they’re 8 points out now, with him in the lineup. Those next two $13M paydays are going to be tough to chew on, for a team with it’s own salary cap.

    So yeah, if they get in to the post season, it might help, but how many home games does it take to generate his signing bonus for the following year?

    And if he does get traded, it will be interesting to see how much (if any) his value is de-rated because of his contract.

  76. justDOit says:

    Capgeek is back up:

    2012-13 $14,000,000 ($13M bonus, $1M salary)

    2013-14 $14,000,000

    2014-15 $14,000,000

    2015-16 $14,000,000

    2016-17 $12,000,000 ($8M bonus, $4M salary)

    2017-18 $12,000,000

    2018-19 $6,000,000

    2019-20 $6,000,000

    2020-21 $6,000,000

    2021-22 $6,000,000

    2022-23 $3,000,000

    2023-24 $1,000,000

    2024-25 $1,000,000

    2025-26 $1,000,000

  77. godot10 says:

    justDOit:
    Survioil,

    Well they’re 8 points out now, with him in the lineup. Those next two $13M paydays are going to be tough to chew on, for a team with it’s own salary cap.

    So yeah, if they get in to the post season, it might help, but how many home games does it take to generate his signing bonus for the following year?

    And if he does get traded, it will be interesting to see how much (if any) his value is de-rated because of his contract.

    You know an obscenely rich Calgary oil financier, a former CBC dragon, bought into Nashville. The Predators are not longer at risk of imminent implosion. But over half the pain of the front-loading of Weber’s contract is already behind them, before the upcoming NHL revenue windfall, and going forward, which is all that matter, Weber is a screaming bargain for Nashville.

  78. justDOit says:

    godot10,

    I didn’t know that – but are they not still losing money and out of a playoff spot as of today? Doesn’t sound like a dragons’ den kind of scenario to me. I know, next year the tv revenue will cure all.

    What really doesn’t make sense about them trading Weber, is doing it during the season. They’ve already paid him $13M as a bonus for the year, and they should want to get their value on that payment for the entire season. The team getting him for the remainder will only have to pay a portion of his $1M salary. Crazy.

  79. godot10 says:

    justDOit:
    godot10,

    I didn’t know that – but are they not still losing money and out of a playoff spot as of today? Doesn’t sound like a dragons’ den kind of scenario to me. I know, next year the tv revenue will cure all.

    What really doesn’t make sense about them trading Weber, is doing it during the season. They’ve already paid him $13M as a bonus for the year, and they should want to get their value on that payment for the entire season. The team getting him for the remainder will only have to pay a portion of his $1M salary. Crazy.

    Plus trading him to Edmonton in the middle of the season will lower the value of the 1st round pick, since it would likely be top 10 rather than top 3.

  80. WeirsBeard says:

    Lowetide:
    It’s clear that turning this thing around in one summer was too much to ask, but I like MacT’s confidence and do think there were strides made. Looking back , I think that short season gave all of us a false sense of the future.

    And not to be an ass, but if Tambellini had solved any of the holes during the summer’s he was in charge this rebuild would be farther along. So getting pissy about Gordon, Perron, Ference, Joensuu, LaBarbara, Belov, Grebeshkov et al points in the wrong direction imo.

    Let’s remember Cam Barker. that’s the problem this year. Let’s remember Theo Peckham, that’s the problem this year. Using that money signing Barker instead of aiming higher was a misspent bullet, and not being able to get Peckham straightened out really impacted the team.

    That’s why screaming about the 2010 draft doesn’t make sense to me. Scream at the Chorney selection, the lack of development for Peckham, the Barker free agent signing.

    Yes! I would say none of MacT’s FA signings have been terrible, in fact he added several useful pieces. The 2010 draft’s tale is at least partially due to injuries(both pre and post draft), and that is luck. We should all be happier that MacT seems to be moving this forward. Not that he can’t be better too.

    In a business where you have to keep grinding away every day, taking three years off was just unacceptable.

  81. Woodguy says:

    godot10: You know an obscenely rich Calgary oil financier, a former CBC dragon, bought into Nashville. The Predators are not longer at risk of imminent implosion.But over half the pain of the front-loading of Weber’s contract is already behind them, before the upcoming NHL revenue windfall, and going forward, which is all that matter, Weber is a screaming bargain for Nashville.

    Do you know what percentage Wilson owns of Predator Holdings LLC?

  82. WeirsBeard says:

    And by three years off, I mean the club, not MacT. Just to be clear.

  83. WeirsBeard says:

    Can you still include cash as part of player trades in the NHL?

  84. Derek says:

    Phaneuf at 7 x 7?

    Jesus.

  85. Gerta Rauss says:

    WeirsBeard:
    Can you still include cash as part of player trades in the NHL?

    not cash per se, but the teams can agree that the team trading the player can retain up to 50% of the salary/cap hit over the term of the contract

  86. Lowetide says:

    Curtis Hamilton with another goal in the first period tonight. 3 goals in the last 4 periods for a guy whose agent was probably scouting Europe for next season. It’s a blip, but I’m lighting candles!

  87. DeadmanWaking says:

    gcw_rocks:
    But this last summer there were five or six guys who could not get contracts throughout most of the summer that could have helped this team that would not have been a position say no and still didn’t go get them.

    Yeah, middle-aged millionaires faced with uprooting family to go into a situation where they will perform even worse than what backed them into the corner in the first place–while under elevated scrutiny in a vein-popped fish bowl–works out great for everyone involved. Some players actually do say “no”, even when it means downgrading their career to a lessor league, or just sitting tight hoping for the phone to ring later in the season. The players who should say “no”, but say “yes” instead because they imagine themselves to have no viable alternative are the ones you least wish to attract. These the Whitneys skating on half an ankle in full rankle about not being slotting into the top minutes, with an ego that’s totally failing to shit or get off the pot.

    The last time I saw the open-arms to has-beens and misfits on their last legs play out successfully was watching Ba Ba Black Sheep back in the seventies.

    BTW, the real life “Pappy” earned his nickname for being 30-years-old in a profession of short careers.

    Stanford’s Distinct Training Regimen Redefines Strength

    Asked what N.F.L. scouts should focus on, he says ankle mobility. The ankle begins the chain of movement. Such thinking enabled Stanford to outscore its opponents in the first and fourth quarters by 144 points in 2010, 115 points in 2011 and 102 points in 2012.

    Apparently, the ankle begins and ends the chain of movement, but some other muscle group takes over during the middle frames. I suspect the journalist composes his articles late at night while blowing smoke rings toward Uranus (or the milky wash behind Uranus, which Bruce could likely elaborate, without even fishing out the long-disused Almanac face-planted at the back of his bottom desk drawer).

    Pappy actually confessed in his book what made him so good: a short, thick neck, and a brutal grunt/scream to keep the blood in his head while pulling extreme Gs as his targeting reticule rides up the ass-crack of some terrified Japanese pilot where the thick anemic curtains are closing in on his thin tunnel of vision as he tugs his stick will all the strength his last shred of consciousness can still muster.

    Just imagine, an entire flying V of misfits resembling Bart Simpson once he finally gets that shot of synthroid which helps him pass through his long-deferred puberty in six short months, while lengthening another 18″.

    I just don’t get this bargain-rack narrative. With the waiver wire, I think it’s clear that some astute shopping can get you from a D+ to a C- with visions of C.

    Personally I’d rather have the coach spending all those precious minutes cajoling Yak from D+ to an A+ than spreading himself thin on the bottom two lines building up a bunch of C- bargain-bin acquisitions to C or C+.

    Unless you think that Eakins has an infinite capacity to do no wrong, it also matters to pick your spats.

  88. sliderule says:

    I would say that if all Mact has on Draisaitl is watching the first two games and the little bit in third game before he was ejected and suspended he can’t be too impressed.

    Draisaitl played pretty pedestrian in the first two games though he did pick up a couple of assists in second game.I understand he has put a lot of weight on and as a result looks slow almost to the ponderous level.

    Check out Dal Colle on the Oshawa team site.He is third in OHL scoring and 6-2 and 180 lbs but he is very young.Eight months younger than Draisaitl.He is a very good skater and looks to have frame to get over200 lbs.Player to watch in prospect game.

  89. nelson88 says:

    Woodguy,

    Your question may have been rhetorical but if not I believe it is 5%.

    I have a different opinion than GODOT on what even that small percentage means. Brett Wilson made a great deal of money knowing when to buy low and sell high. If he has any meaningful say in the matter I wouldn’t bet against him giving the thumbs up to a Webber trade for a substantial overpay.

  90. Lowetide says:

    Curtis Hamilton scores another, that’s 4 goals in his last 2 games. Before this week, he had 10 pro goals in 120 games.

    Acton also has a pair.

  91. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Happy New Year LTers!

    Here’s a special treat to start your year:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g3yocin8DA

  92. Ducey says:

    Lowetide:
    Curtis Hamilton scores another, that’s 4 goals in his last 2 games. Before this week, he had 10 pro goals in 120 games.

    Acton also has a pair.

    Maybe some health and a lack of other options for Nelson (he only has three AHL vets up front) will allow him to turn his season around. More likely is that he will get run over by the Zamboni in about a week.

  93. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule: I would say that if all Mact has on Draisaitl is watching the first two games and the little bit in third game before he was ejected and suspended he can’t be too impressed.

    They’ve been scouting him for a long time now, according to Matty. One would think since at least last year’s WJC.

    I think the fact that Draisaitl is a C and already pretty damn big gives him an edge, but there’s lots of miles to run and all these kids look great from here :)

  94. boxman says:

    Happy New Years Allan and family, bloggers all and yeah you too DSF, I’m hoping health and life wise you’re fine.

  95. Gerta Rauss says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Thanks ROM-Baby Huey really swings!!

    Like that version of California Dreaming.

  96. sliderule says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I liked Draisatl at last years WJC.

    He played with Rieder and they worked well together.

    Germany didn’t give him much to play with this year.

    The prospect game should be interesting

    Happy new year everyone and especially LT for all the work on this blog.

  97. jp says:

    Lowetide:
    Curtis Hamilton with another goal in the first period tonight. 3 goals in the last 4 periods for a guy whose agent was probably scouting Europe for next season. It’s a blip, but I’m lighting candles!

    And I’m going to have a drink. For the kid.

    He’ll have to have a hell of a final 40 games, but it would be extremely impressive if he could earn another contract at this point.

  98. D says:

    Am only watching the first period and then going to spend time with the fam. Just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

  99. justDOit says:

    For everyone who doesn’t observe the Roman calendar, Happy New Year! Personally, I prefer the 7th month to be September, and the 8th October, etc.

  100. Gerta Rauss says:

    Bit of a clown show again to start this thing.

  101. Gerta Rauss says:

    Well the good news is that the Coyotes arms should be tired from shooting by the time the 3rd period starts.

  102. rich says:

    A chance to clear the zone and they fail to do so. Predictable result.

    This year can’t end soon enough.

  103. jp says:

    Not a lot of folks watching by the looks of it.

    RNH (Hall, Perron) to tie it at 1.

  104. LostBoy says:

    Weird period. One of those games it’s like the Oilers have never seen a robot-coached neutral zone trap before. God, the Coyotes are boring. They can approach zone entry with numbers and almost every time still dump it deep. Robot hockey just makes your eyes bleed.

    The last five minutes weren’t bad, though. The Oil seemed to get pissed off or something and started actually finishing their checks. Coyotes still heavily favoured, but you generally don’t want to come out of a first period at home with 21 shots and tied 1-1. We’ll see.

  105. Halfwise says:

    justDOit:
    For everyone who doesn’t observe the Roman calendar, Happy New Year! Personally, I prefer the 7th month to be September, and the 8th October, etc.

    Blame Julius and Augustus. Those months are ego in action.

  106. OilClog says:

    That was beautiful

  107. OilClog says:

    Perron on a breakaway, assist by Hall.

  108. jp says:

    Wow, Perron from Hall. 2-1

    LostBoy:
    God, the Coyotes are boring.

    The Coyotes announcer (after the Yotes dumped it in on a potential 4-2 in the 1st):

    “Some would call that boring hockey, but that’s winning hockey” (or something to that effect).

    More like mediocre hockey, but at least they know.

  109. Halfwise says:

    Perron has wheels? Nice.

  110. jp says:

    Hey, some (early) 2013 magic happening tonight. When’s the last time Schultz made some magic? It’s been a while. Nice pass by Hall!

    I wonder what their New Years resolution was this year?

  111. fifthcartel says:

    God I love Hall.

  112. OilClog says:

    Hall 3 assists.

    When is he going to learn that he’s not always the first option!

  113. OilClog says:

    Phoenix Spanish announce team is gushing over #4

  114. Halfwise says:

    Jultz, and adios Mike Smith.

  115. Colieo87 says:

    Nice 3 goal by assist king Taylor hall, via goal Justin Schultz. Question are the oilers technically eliminated for contention of a playoff spot yet?

  116. Halfwise says:

    By the way, is that waiter with the mascots supposed to look like Elliotte Friedman?

  117. bookje says:

    Corgis? We don’t need no stinking Corgis!

  118. LostBoy says:

    Colieo87:
    Nice 3 goal by assist king Taylor hall,via goal Justin Schultz.Question are the oilers technically eliminated for contention of a playoff spot yet?

    Heck no. 37-4 would give us a shot at squeaking in.

    Mathematical elimination takes longer, but realistic elimination is about five losses away given the records in the West. It’s an unusual year with the West-East disparity post-realignment. In typical years past we’d have a little more time to hope against hope. 94 many years would have been okay. Looking like low 100s this year.

  119. Halfwise says:

    Hockey gods.

  120. justDOit says:

    Halfwise: Blame Julius and Augustus. Those monthsare ego in action.

    Well I though that they were named that way because that calendar starts the year on March 1st? Then Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec all line up! Plus, it give me another chance to celebrate new year in March!

    I’m down with thaa-at!

  121. flyfish1168 says:

    I wonder if the yotes have tired arms from all their shots taken

  122. Halfwise says:

    justDOit,

    I think you’re right, because the Caesar names replaced Quinc- something and Sexti-something. If only thrre was some easy way of looking things up…

  123. LostBoy says:

    The Oilers have played about 15 effective minutes in this one, the last five of the first and first ten of the second. No idea what will happen, but I personally did not imagine we’d be taking a lead to the third. Taylor f-wording Hall has intervened. Eh, better time on New Year’s Eve than I expected.

    (Idiotic but true: I was wondering why so few people were in here tonight; looking after my six year old post-divorce, I’d forgotten if was New Year’s Eve).

  124. Colieo87 says:

    LostBoy,

    Thanks, so what are you going for the oil. A) TOP 5 DRAFT 2014
    B) OUT SIDE THE TOP TEN. REALTISICALLY I think we don’t have the size to compete with the Pacific.

  125. jp says:

    Well, the corgi’s aren’t pretty in this one (shots 15-33). But it didn’t feel quite that bad to me – the Coyotes guys have the chances at 8-13. Slightly less ugly. What are the chances of a solid 3rd period?

  126. LostBoy says:

    Colieo87:
    LostBoy,

    Thanks,so what are you going for the oil.A) TOP 5 DRAFT 2014
    B)OUT SIDE THE TOP TEN.REALTISICALLY I think we don’t have the size to compete with the Pacific.

    Another high pick is irrelevant to this team. They need to be better than .500 the second half this year. They should trade the first rounder while it still has top five, possibly first overall marketability. They have to step up.

  127. Survioil says:

    Happy 2014! From Prince Edward Island. Out for mucky muck meal. How has Horacek looked?

  128. Halfwise says:

    Survioil,

    Bryz has been better than Smith. The Yotes are a big stifling team. But it’s been watchable.

  129. Survioil says:

    Halfwise,

    Thanks no feed here (blame Harper)

  130. Halfwise says:

    Oilers got 3 goals in 10 shots on Smith. Hall has been a beast. The Oil have turned up the pace and it’s helped.

  131. jp says:

    Wow! One hell of a save there by Bryzgalov. Doesn’t want to loose 2 straight to former teams.

    Edit: Bryz can not be happy now. Shit.

  132. steveb12344 says:

    Why couldn’t we have been getting this goaltending from the start of the season….*sob*

  133. steveb12344 says:

    lol still, great game from Bryz…

  134. dangilitis says:

    I have seen enough this year, that goal notwithstanding. Sign Bryzgalov to 2-3 year deal. Offer Dubie backup dollars and trade him if he is not interested before the deadline and let Bachmann back up Bryz for the rest of the year.

  135. Halfwise says:

    Well, the tying goal seemed kind of inevitable. Now OT and Ebs draws a penalty.

  136. gr8one says:

    Just.Farking.Terrible.

    I don’t understand how men who have played a game for their entire lives, eat sleep, breathe the game, train day in and day out for their entire lives can’t just play simple fundamental hockey in the final two minutes of a hockey game.

  137. jp says:

    dangilitis:
    I have seen enough this year, that goal notwithstanding. Sign Bryzgalov to 2-3 year deal. Offer Dubie backup dollars and trade him if he is not interested before the deadline and let Bachmann back up Bryz for the rest of the year.

    I’m good with that.

    Also, are we feeling better now that Eakins drew up the PP plan?

    Edit: all forwards though…

  138. gr8one says:

    I’m done with this team this year too.

    I swear I will not expose myself to this heartbreak one more time until next year.

  139. dangilitis says:

    stuck watching the fox coyotes feed. Announcer is awful and completely biased, not surprising though. Said that Perron call was a great call because Perron is dirty, then just said the call on Eberle was weak…

  140. jp says:

    Ohhh. That fucking sucked! Fuck.

  141. LMHF#1 says:

    You could see that Petry screwup coming a mile away. Yuck.

  142. OilClog says:

    Only this team could end the year that way.

  143. Gerta Rauss says:

    We give up the OT winner with 6 seconds left-that’s about right.

    Happy New Year everyone

  144. Gret99zky says:

    Errrr….Moral Victory.

    If Bryz has any say whatsoever he is not signing an extension with this shit show unless there are zero options available.

  145. Lowetide says:

    So defense. Should probably get some.

  146. Halfwise says:

    And then Yandle outworks both Petry and Belov. Dang.

    Happy New Year, please.

  147. gr8one says:

    Lowetide:
    So defense. Should probably get some.

    And that was our best D man.

  148. Genjutsu says:

    The ice was bad like impossible to believe that its an NHL surface. I guess that’s why you build a team like they have but it sure neutralizes the skill element.

  149. jake70 says:

    Geez Ebs can be weak on the puck sometimes. Wasn’t impressed with the OT pp.

  150. Pouzar says:

    Our D is fine.

    We have zero top end talent.

  151. gvblackhawk says:

    LMHF#1:
    You could see that Petry screwup coming a mile away. Yuck.

    Belov stopped skating for some unknown reason and Yandle went right past him. That should never happen.

  152. hags9k says:

    Belov had a bad OT there too. Could have been curtains off a giveaway earlier in the shift, then he looks like a wheelbarrow racing a 911 turbo on the goal.

    When will this team learn to hold a lead? it’s almost comical how often they give up a late goal. Year after year after happy new year.

  153. rich says:

    Another game, another way to lose. This is a pathetic team. They never cease to exhaust me.

    Oh well, it’s just a game.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  154. Colieo87 says:

    They can never play a full 60 minutes. Way to end 2013. Oilers still need there training wheels. Haha

  155. fifthcartel says:

    Bryz was not happy, poor guy. :(

  156. dangilitis says:

    Lowetide,

    Re: Defence

    If the Oilers purchased camels to shoulder the load of the straws from each of their catastrophic defensive breakdowns over the past few years, there would be enough broken backs out there to consume a veterinarian’s entire practice…

  157. Colieo87 says:

    Happy new years lowetide followers and dignitaries. Stay classy bitches

  158. Pablo Aimar says:

    13-24-4, on pace to put up the lowest point total over a full season in franchise history. At least they are better than last year.

  159. dangilitis says:

    Colieo87 says:
    December 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    They can never play a full 60 minutes. Way to end 2013. Oilers still need there training wheels. Haha

    rich says:
    December 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Another game, another way to lose. This is a pathetic team. They never cease to exhaust me.

    _______________

    Agreed and agreed.

    I really liked the 3rd period play for the 1st 16 mins. They really kept the pressure on and didn’t look like they were holding onto the lead. Lots of good chances created, and mostly did a good job on D coverage. No signs of letting up, and then suddenly, it seemed like Phoenix hit a switch and decided to win all the individual battles.

    It still baffles me how this team can get completely destroyed for significant stretches and then hang in with good teams like the Coyotes for other significant stretches in a single game. To me, this clearly means they have both the tools and the know-how to play against good teams. Even with subpar D and “lack of sandpaper.” Many teams have holes, while not nearly as gaping, but many of these teams still find ways to win. Phoenix is an example of that team, especially the forward talent, and they are nearly always a winning franchise. They play D and F by committee, and their D was always good even with less talent at their disposal than they currently boast. So who do you blame when you know the team is not playing to its potential for significant parts of a game that ultimately seem to cost them, game after game? I know who you can’t blame and that’s Yakupov…

  160. Woodguy says:

    Oiler Dmen the year Tambellini took over:

    Visnovsky
    Souray
    Smid
    Gilbert
    Grebeshkov
    Peckham
    Chorney

    What Tambellini had turned those Dmen into (players under contract) July 1, 2013

    Vishnovsky—-> Brandon Davidson (pick that came with Whitney trade)
    Souray——–>Nothing
    Gilbert —> N.Shultz
    Smid–>Smid
    Grebshkov———> 2nd rounder —>Curtis Hamilton
    Peckham——–>Nothing
    Chorney—–>Nothing

    4 reasonably competent NHL Dmen and 2 D prospects and Tambellini magically turned them into Nick Shultz.

    Remember this when you scream for MacT’s head.

    You should be screaming for Lowe’s head for hiring Tambellini and then not getting rid of him as soon as his incompetence was fairly established (summer of 2009)

    Just a complete and utter failure of management.

    Hat tip to The Beaker ‏@4enzix for this wonder chart: https://twitter.com/4enzix/status/417771800295006208/photo/1

    Throw in MacT turning Smid into a prospect goalie taken in the late rounds and another 180lbs forward and it gets even more frustrating.

  161. gvblackhawk says:

    dangilitis:
    Colieo87 says:
    December 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    They can never play a full 60 minutes. Way to end 2013. Oilers still need there training wheels. Haha

    rich says:
    December 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Another game, another way to lose. This is a pathetic team. They never cease to exhaust me.

    _______________

    Agreed and agreed.

    I really liked the 3rd period play for the 1st 16 mins. They really kept the pressure on and didn’t look like they were holding onto the lead. Lots of good chances created, and mostly did a good job on D coverage. No signs of letting up, and then suddenly, it seemed like Phoenix hit a switch and decided to win all the individual battles.

    It still baffles me how this team can get completely destroyed for significant stretches and then hang in with good teams like the Coyotes for other significant stretches in a single game. To me, this clearly means they have both the tools and the know-how to play against good teams. Even with subpar D and “lack of sandpaper.” Many teams have holes, while not nearly as gaping, but many of these teams still find ways to win. Phoenix is an example of that team, especially the forward talent, and they are nearly always a winning franchise. They play D and F by committee, and their D was always good even with less talent at their disposal than they currently boast. So who do you blame when you know the team is not playing to its potential for significant parts of a game that ultimately seem to cost them, game after game? I know who you can’t blame and that’s Yakupov…

    Eakins: I blame Yakupov for tonight’s effort and result.

  162. rich says:

    @ Woodguy:

    That is one of the saddest charts I’ve ever seen (re: the defense – what Tambellini started with and what he left us with).

    Could not agree more re: comments on the President of Hockey Ops. Have been saying for over a year that Lowe has outlived his usefulness.

    We do need to be patient with MacT. We did not get in this mess overnight, and it will take time to fix because he’s in the process of accumulating ACTUAL NHL players. Not every move is working out, but the man is not sitting around waiting on his bad bets, he’s decisive and he has added some actual NHL players (Gordon, Peron, Bryz and I’d argue Belov…if he were allowed to play lower on the totem pole).

    I did think it was interesting that on the radio play by play, Stauffer called out Gagner for going to get his stick late in the game and leaving his man for a wide open shot…and Eberle came over to say something to Gagner. Would like to see Eakins move Gagner back to the 4th line when Arcobello can come back. Just sayin.

    Eakins still does not have enough real players he can trust to put on the ice late in a close game because so many are not defensively responsible (at forward). Until they fix this and the blue, this team is going to be bad for the forseeable future.

    Time for a nice glass of Merlot and the Good Word. And a New Year. The bad hockey will continue until new players are procured.

  163. dangilitis says:

    Woodguy:
    Oiler Dmen the year Tambellini took over:

    Visnovsky
    Souray
    Smid
    Gilbert
    Grebeshkov
    Peckham
    Chorney

    What Tambellini had turned those Dmen into (players under contract) July 1, 2013

    Vishnovsky—-> Brandon Davidson (pick that came with Whitney trade)
    Souray——–>Nothing
    Gilbert —> N.Shultz
    Smid–>Smid
    Grebshkov———> 2nd rounder —>Curtis Hamilton
    Peckham——–>Nothing
    Chorney—–>Nothing

    4 reasonably competent NHL Dmen and 2 D prospects and Tambellini magically turned them into Nick Shultz.

    Remember this when you scream for MacT’s head.

    You should be screaming for Lowe’s head for hiring Tambellini and then not getting rid of him as soon as his incompetence was fairly established (summer of 2009)

    Just a complete and utter failure of management.

    Hat tip to The Beaker ‏@4enzix for this wonder chart: https://twitter.com/4enzix/status/417771800295006208/photo/1

    Throw in MacT turning Smid into a prospect goalie taken in the late rounds and another 180lbs forward and it gets even more frustrating.

    True. MacT got dealt a worse deal in many ways compared to Tambo, and no question the D was much better when Tambo took over.

    Souray to me is on Lowe, however. It seemed like Lowe took Souray’s comments personally and in doing so, as he seems to do quite frequently, put his ego above the best interests of the team. Tambo could have interjected, I suppose? Whoever is responsible, this to me was the biggest case of mismanagement and whoever is responsible for this should have been fired. An NHL top 3 D-man, shows up to training camp to bury the hatchet, and you send him away???

    Whitney – who do you blame for not knowing about his health in advance? When he came here he appeared in good health. Did Anaheim mislead Edmonton about his ankle. Did Whitney mislead both teams? He has certainly misled himself for many years, so I don’t think he willfully misled anyone. If the health info was available, big mistake. If not, shitty luck??? I liked what Whitney brought when he was healthy and it was a nice trade in theory to trade for a younger D-man. As a side note, Visnovsky could have apparently been had 2 summer ago for, what, a 2nd rounder?

    Gilbert – terrible, terrible trade. Kind of like the Smid trade. Although both Gilbert and Nick are better than Salo was when he left…

    Smid – Smid – good move IMO, and that includes his contract management over the years (Score 1 for Tambo over MacT for keeping him – by the way, Is Broissoit 3rd string on OKC now?)

    Grebeshkov – Obviously bad move, although 08-09 seems to be an aberration, which is ironic because he didn’t even know that he was “selling high”! Hey, Curtis Hamilton has 4 goals in his last 2 games, watch out…

    Peckham – Do you blame Tambo? Or Hostess for the twinkies?

    Chorney – was this a loss?

    I was about to blame him for Jan don’t be a player Hejda, but that one was also on Lowe.

  164. commonfan14 says:

    Woodguy,

    Infuriating to be sure.

    If Tambo keeps Vis and Souray though, what do Nuge and Yak turn into?

    Maybe Sven Baertschi and Radek Faksa?

    Like it or not, dumping a legit top-pairing from a team is probably necessary if you want to score 2 more top picks. It was a soul-selling exercise that probably angered the hockey Gods in ways we still can’t fully appreciate, but it’s the route that was chosen.

    Building things back up is certainly going to be a bitch though…

  165. art vandelay says:

    Agree that whoever buried Souray for (accurately) calling the Oilers a Mickey Mouse organization should have been fired. That’s what you do when you’re coaching the Beacon Heights Mini-Mites C team, not when you’re trying to ice a reasonably competent NHL squad.
    On the bright side, the Oilers picked up some nice corgis by playing close to the Fenwick while wielding a Volatile Sledgehammer in the tough zone starts 5×5.

  166. LMHF#1 says:

    gvblackhawk: Belov stopped skating for some unknown reason and Yandle went right past him.That should never happen.

    Shouldn’t have mattered. Petry turned a rush into a turnover then pinched for no reason. Absolutely terrible sequence.

  167. Alsker says:

    Woodguy,

    As bad as that list of Dmen is, I am as upset/irrate with kBlowe on the forwards we let go that would have mentored/protected the Halls/Ebs/Yaks like Stoll,GlenX, etc. He tossed aside mid aged vets like they were a dime a dozen and has yet been able to find/acquire them to help our youth. I just hope our 1st rounders are still here when this new batch(rebuild part 2?) are finally ready for the big show.

  168. dangilitis says:

    OILERS AT FLAMES, G40 13-14
    27 Dec 2013 ⋅ by Lowetide ⋅ in oilers 13-14 games ⋅ 214 Comments ⋅ Tags: oilers 13-14 games

    The Oilers come out of the break with a game against their provincial (used to be) rival, the Calgary Flames. Calgary is ahead by 7 points, with 2 games in hand, which means they’re basically out of reach for the Oilers.

    Incredible.

    _____________________________________

    That would be true, LT, if we were chasing a good team, or even a decent one. That margin is down to 3 pts and that is after the Oilers blew 2 3rd period leads in the last 2 games.
    Keep the faith in the new year :)

  169. Space Dad says:

    ohhell,

    Thanks… I expected Weber to have underwhelming boxcars (he was kind of a sleeper pick IIRC), but those are surprisingly so.

    I guess my argument for Ekblad is just that there’s no way to tell how good he’ll get, and he’s already great. If he was available in Yak’s draft, I’d have taken him without a second thought (and I love Yak).

  170. Numenius says:

    If it makes anyone feel any better, the Barons were winning 5-1 in the 2nd and lost 6-5 in OT.

    *sob*

  171. D says:

    gr8one:
    I’m done with this team this year too.

    I swear I will not expose myself to this heartbreak one more time until next year.

    This made me laugh :)

  172. justDOit says:

    Happy Gazdic Eberle!

  173. fifthcartel says:

    Numenius:
    If it makes anyone feel any better, the Barons were winning 5-1 in the 2nd and lost 6-5 in OT.

    *sob*

    This is proof Eakins’ system is working!

    and happy new year, looking forward to another year of a top 10 draft pic and agonizing losses!

  174. Bulging Twine says:

    Did you get your answer on Belov tonight LT?

  175. Ontario Oilers Fan says:

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    At best Edmonton will surge into a .500 team once the rebuild is complete.
    1 pt last night really matters. Eakins said that if one wants to play for the Oilers, one needs to compete every night.

  176. Henry says:

    Woodguy:
    Oiler Dmen the year Tambellini took over:

    Visnovsky
    Souray
    Smid
    Gilbert
    Grebeshkov
    Peckham
    Chorney

    What Tambellini had turned those Dmen into (players under contract) July 1, 2013

    Vishnovsky—-> Brandon Davidson (pick that came with Whitney trade)
    Souray——–>Nothing
    Gilbert —> N.Shultz
    Smid–>Smid
    Grebshkov———> 2nd rounder —>Curtis Hamilton
    Peckham——–>Nothing
    Chorney—–>Nothing

    4 reasonably competent NHL Dmen and 2 D prospects and Tambellini magically turned them into Nick Shultz.

    Remember this when you scream for MacT’s head.

    You should be screaming for Lowe’s head for hiring Tambellini and then not getting rid of him as soon as his incompetence was fairly established (summer of 2009)

    Just a complete and utter failure of management.

    Hat tip to The Beaker ‏@4enzix for this wonder chart: https://twitter.com/4enzix/status/417771800295006208/photo/1

    Throw in MacT turning Smid into a prospect goalie taken in the late rounds and another 180lbs forward and it gets even more frustrating.

    You could add Pitkanen in there too. This was a defenseman that could pass or skate the puck out of trouble. Made available because of ‘the fit’ and for not scoring enough despite being such a good puck mover.

    The trade to get Eric Cole was done by Lowe and was questionable because of Cole’s UFA status and Joni being an RFA. The deadline trade to get POS instead of Justin Williams was pure Tambi. He was hoping for a short term benefit for Edmonton (Williams was hurt at the time) as MacT somehow had them in the hunt for a playoff spot, but a total disaster for Edmonton subsequently. POS and Vandermeer are out of hockey for years. Williams is a first liner on a very good team. PItkanen is a (hurt) #1 D on a mediocre team.

  177. DeadmanWaking says:

    I understand why men celebrate the new year. We’re all busy replacing the swimsuit calendar in some grease pit we call a hobby and mopping up six Mickey bottoms with that last pint of nog to better lay in a fresh trove after that mad dash to the liquor store pending three months of plastic lent (broken only by that perplexing alignment of the retail heavens at the symmetric junction of two weeks with half a month).

    It’s not so clear why women celebrate the new year. They must have a secret ritual of their own that arrives on a different bank statement, or a secret compartment of the regular bank statement men aren’t able to find.

    Lowetide was a big part of my year in 2013. I went places that once I was afraid to discover. It was a bit like Eustace trying to peel himself out of his dragon skin, only to discover that every fresh layer was even weirder than the one before. In my story, Aslan never shows up to complete my transformation. There’s a reason for this. I was joking over dinner tonight that church attendance suffered its largest setback in the mid-seventies when children were dressed up in their Sunday-best polyester shirts. Any garment that reeks of ammonia after an hour of sitting dreadfully still while also remaining dangerously flammable was most certainly not orchestrated by agents of salvation.

    There was one year my mother somehow lucked into a dress shirt for a tiny tyke actually made from real cotton. At a steep 70% discount it probably still cost 50% more than the twenty-threadcount monofilament print arrayed as far as the eye could see. I guess fire insurance was sold back then as a group policy. Man, I wore that shirt for eternity and a half–I wouldn’t give it up until it was arm gauchos–and maybe I even bought into some of my Dad’s sermons for the cozy duration.

    He had one sermon that went over particularly well with the home congregations (he had two), based on an agricultural theme I can’t presently recall. I think I heard that sermon repeated in every small town in southern Alberta. It was the custom when one minister took his vacation for another minister to show up and deliver a guest sermon. I could never figure out how my Dad had like three whole weeks of vacation, but ended up spotting in for other ministers half a dozen times in a single summer, all some weird turn into the wending foothills after driving halfway to Banff.

    I think I knew that sermon almost as well as the picture book that taught me how to read where Henry can’t win any competition at the Sunday picnic–until the pie eating begins. Single-serving blueberry pies was my childhood introduction to higher literature, not to mention paradise, where crusts are thick and shirts are thinner (back in 1969 this could not be taken for granted). Not that I ever got to eat a blueberry pie in my Sunday finest. But really, that’s how department stores should be organised, with the children’s clothing section surrounded by display cases stuffed with thick-crust blueberry pies. Then my pants would have been made out of Kneelon instead of Nylon, and I would have escaped some verbal hidings.

    Yes, as it happens, I took my favourite girl from my elementary school (one that I attended, in the same grade) to the Husky tower on my birthday dressed in bright green pants–brand spanking new–made of something vaguely denim-like. Afterwards in my exuberance on the way back to the car, I split both knees open on a grassy knoll, inseam to antipode. If my mother had more sense of humour, she could have glued a short fragment of Harvey’s red tongue to each kneecap, and I’d have been all set for Halloween, only it would have to have been way more dapper than Harvey’s loose lapper snipped and lacquered, which even then isn’t all that Muppety, and only catches flies when coated in honey, unless he gives it a donkey shake.

    What does Kermit eat, anyway? His tongue is too short to catch any fly he hasn’t already swallowed. This must be disorienting for the fly. “Have I been eaten, or not?” Ah, I’ve cracked the mystery. He has a secret life cycle as an estrogenic pot scrubber and he filter feeds off the dishwater debris. “To keep my pants this white, I swallowed six tampons.” Well, at least that explains his hair.

    So, as I was saying, weird is one of those things where the more you peel the worse it gets. Unless Aslan saves you from the itch of selfhood. And that’s pretty weird, too. Infinitely weird, I suppose, which solves the regress.

    For me, my most memorable discabrations were the ones where I painted myself into twister contortions (is that where Ebert snagged his signature look?)

    Twister was submitted for patent by Charles F. Foley and Neil Rabens in 1966, and became a success when Eva Gabor played it with Johnny Carson on television’s The Tonight Show on May 3, 1966.

    I did not know that. There’s so much my parents never told me. Perhaps my mother can be forgiven. She was swollen with my younger brother. Ebert was then 24 years old.

    (Speaking of contortions, I had a Costco magazine arrive on my doorstep this afternoon with the toque of the Snow Queen so artfully overlaid upon the masthead that you can barely discern whether the title is The Costco Connection or The Costco Conniption. The companion catalogue has a large spread of items where Costco chooses to list either the price or the discount–leaving the regular price undisclosed. Under my Vulcan gaze, this does not compute. “Hey, honey, can we afford $800 off this nice furniture set?” “Are you out of your mind! We can’t even afford $20 off!” I’d like to do an episode of the Jetsons where George brings home a fat bonus. “Hey, honey, check it out.” “How much did you get?” “Five big ones! And that’s not the best part, these are five thousand dollars off. With five thousand dollars off, we can spend an entire month in Hawaii!” “Oh, but honey, I was saving up our dollars off to get that irritating warble removed from the Levatroid.”)

    But back to Twister. Twister could be the sole reason Facebook was not invented in the 1970s. The world was just not ready for group selfies. Wait a minute there Google image thingy … I had forgotten all about Rosie Robot. Not any more. On the other hand, there’s this.

    Um, back to painting myself into my own contortions. Of all the words I contorted into my posts with one hand on the yellow dot and one foot on the green dot, I suffered the most over “gobsmacked brace”.

    In the course of that 100-word sentence I’m trying to modulate from Jorge Luis Borges to Gertrude Stein and back again. It’s a rebuttal to Stanley Fish (privately, for the most part). It’s also a metaphor: a metaphor for the disintegration of normal cognitive modalities in the sexual act, especially the first time–long postponed–where you’re lost at sea in the sensory swarm, and you still haven’t mastered basic defense (defense against breaching prematurely). I deliberately threaded together several incompatible sensory modes: the waterbug churning up plumes, the ruffling eagle feathers. Sex is damn confusing to the nervous system. Ideally.

    Now the problem with the eagle feathers was alliteration. There was a sound migration within that sentence. In the real thing, ideally, this also occurs. And the alliteration demanded this particular word: “velvet”.

    Here’s the problem. Even ninety words into a breathless whoosh, a single instance of the word “velvet” invokes disco balls, shag carpet, and cheesy porn music. Unbelievable. There were other words with the same problem. A word would perfectly fit the sound pattern, and all by itself import an entire shag-carpet molester van. I was tangled up with the greatest power of self-derailment I had ever encountered.

    And the solution was: “gobsmacked brace”.

    These are lively words wielded sparsely, but together they’re simultaneously a little rich and yet weirdly vacuous. I was trying for the image of rowers digging in at the catch at the end of a long race, when their faces reach maximal contortion, as the unhappy-half of their nervous system goes into lactic-acid sensory overload. Since that post I’ve seen the word “gobsmacked” used three times in serious texts. Turns out many good writers like to sneak it in. Who knew? Of course, “gobsmacked brace” also referenced the twain entwined, the first time for the first time, where one immediately discovers that brace and embrace are yin and yang to the locomotion of commotion.

    That sibilant phrase “gobsmacked brace” causes in the reader a bit of a mental bubble of the kind I normally try to avoid. An abstraction bubble, aka a brief WTF moment that interferes with the normal digestion of words. WTF moments are good, but they’re best confined to the subtext or the ironic overlay. If the main thrust runs aground on a WTF moment, it’s ordinarily a defect in the forward pulse.

    But not in this case. Somehow, that little WTF moment sufficiently defused the word “velvet” just enough for me to slip in into the concluding phrase without also invoking a shag-carpet molester van with disco trim. Or so I hoped.

    I like tangling with sex because in certain respects sex is all things to all people, you’re barely ever more than one degree of separation from anything you might wish to say next if you’re sly enough with your phrasing. This echoes what Kurosawa said about Mifune: “The ordinary Japanese actor might need ten feet of film to get across an impression. Toshiro Mifune needed only three feet.” Same with sex. A sexual metaphor or play on words allows the brain to switch horses in three hoofbeats, where any other metaphor requires ten. However–as I learned–you might come out the other side with a shag-carpet molester van slung over your saddle you didn’t intend to redeem.

    That was the most surreal pickle of my entire year.

    And it didn’t end there. Later in that thread I saw someone drop the phrase “We were pent up.”

    “Pent”. Never once occurred to me. Yet instantly I recognised it as a latent complement to all the rhymes and images of the sentence’s act II scene II.

    How is that possible? For every word in that sentence there were nine discarded. Every word that remained was auditioned for molester-van overtones about five times. (Sometimes it seems my mind clicks through alliterations and confabulations at the same speed Gary Kasparov evaluates chess positions, so long as my sugar holds.) In that cloud of one thousand words making five pell-mell orbits inside my ear, somehow the word “pent” never once revealed itself to me. The word is so obvious in retrospect, it’s tantamount to a lynch-pin unspoken, as Hemingway was prone to do. In this case, I somehow put it there and never knew.

    The mind is stranger than we can know. Mission accomplished. For me, 2013 was a good year.

    As penance, I consciously wormed an echo of “pent” into this post back in that phrase “pending three months of plastic lent”. I have no idea how I did that at the outset of a post where the only firm direction was spinning the tiller.

    Maybe “pent” is hiding in all my posts, and most of the time I fail to notice. No, I don’t actually believe that. It’s the ants. I know it’s the ants. A pendant is a good Valentine’s gift, if you’re not too maxed out.

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