THROUGH MY SAILS

Twenty-one games into this NHL season, the Edmonton Oilers were 4-15-2 and they were hopeless. Pressure mounted on all fronts, the money ran out, the engine blew, the rent was due and the dog ran away. Since then, the Edmonton Oilers—the team with more #1 overall picks than actual NHL defensemen—are 5-2-0 in their last seven–for a total of 9-17-2 on the season. Yes! A little sunshine in the room.

THE POWER PLAY

dog4

  • Dallas Eakins: “We’re probably going to have to shake that right up, get new units going.”

The power play sucks! Since the club went away from the 5F set-up things have been scrambled eggs, and the thing they were most concerned about with the 5F came last night with 4F! So, one assumes they’ll just use two defensemen from now on and the power play will continue to dive. Coach Dallas Eakins has some great ideas and some bad ones, but he seems to be flushing some of the good ones too soon. I hope they bring that back.

DEVAN’S WINTER

banffI’m cheering for Dubnyk to win the goalie race with Bryzgalov, but I don’t think it happens. They’ve started the Russian three games in a row now, which tells me:

  1. Management believes Dubnyk was unready for the season ala Theo Peckham and he will be sacrificed to the hockey Gods (probably at the deadline)
  2. Bryzgalov sold management on needing a lot of work right away to get into the swing of things. Cagey damn Russians!

Either way, the big man from Regina is probably going to be a good to excellent starting goaltender in another NHL city by this time next season. MacT’s a smart guy, but he’s a new guy, and like all older guy’s he believes his Bible. I think his Bible says Dubnyk let the team down.

BLUE, BLUE WINDOWS BEHIND THE STARS

 pronger2

Eakins has figured out the 4line, is running three sets of forwards on the PK, MacT has found him hot and cold running goaltenders, but the defense remains the teenage bagger at the supermarket who forgets to double bag, doesn’t endear himself to the little old ladies and pisses off the other patrons by saying “you don’t want a hand with these do you?” instead of trying to be helpful.

They’re not lollygaggers and they’re not without talent, they’re just being placed in spots in the batting order that doesn’t suit them. The Punch and Judy’s  are batting cleanup and the speed merchants are in the 7 slot, and there’s no cleanup hitter for miles and miles and miles.

24 minutes a night, all three disciplines. There are 28 in the NHL this morning, Christian Ehrhoff is #28 and Dion Phaneuf is just ahead of him, but who knows if that guy is coming here this season. There’s a chance the Oilers believe Darnell Nurse is that player, and we’d be silly to think he’s more than a year away from heavy duty in blue and orange.

USAGE

Denis Grebeshkov turned the wrong way and was beaten on goal one (he made an error, but lordy where was the support on that play—this team sells each other out like no Oiler team I’ve ever seen) and didn’t get a chance to do much after that (two shifts) and it’s interesting to look at TOI overall last night:

  1. Andrew Ference 27:04, 30 shifts, a goal and a plus 1
  2. Jeff Petry 25:36, 28 shifts and a minus 1
  3. Justin Schultz 24:41, 28 shifts and a plus 1
  4. Nick Schutz, 17:07, 24 shifts and even
  5. Anton Belov 16:19, 24 shifts and a plus 1
  6. Denis Grebeshkov 7:55, 11 shifts and a minus 1

That’s a lot of miles for the top 3, but then again end of road trip, trying to make things matter, good call by Eakins. Ference is absolutely the least popular Oiler this season, which suprises me because Ference is an Oiler kind of player. I expect once they get things rolling in a good way fans will like him plenty.

EXTRA SKATER, BLUE 5X5 CLOSE, CORSI FOR %

  1. Nick Schultz 168-195 (46.3%)
  2. Jeff Petry 205-240 (46.1%)
  3. Anton Belov 175-207 (45.8%)
  4. Andrew Ference 215-255 (44.8%)
  5. Justin Schultz 147-184 (44.5%)
  6. Ladislav Smid 102-143 (41.6%)

Part Timers

  1. Corey Potter 21-14 (60%)
  2. Denis Grebeshkov 35-33 (51.5%)
  3. Taylor Fedun 26-30 (46.4%
  4. Phil Larsen 40-70 (36.4%)

I don’t know that these numbers tell us much beyond the team performance has been significantly below par. I suspect the math folks would tell us that the difference between the #’s Schultz the elder v younger are positing is so small that Random would claim most of it and Luck would claim the other.

Need the Pronger, and right soon.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

BLUNT7It’s fun to talk Oilers after a win, and the club won two of three on a road trip so this will be a good day. TSN 1260, 10 this morning. Scheduled to appear:

Text 10-1260, @Lowetide_ on twitter.

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107 Responses to "THROUGH MY SAILS"

  1. nelson88 says:

    Unfortunately I think you are right about Dubie’s future with the Oilers and his eventual success elsewhere. The GM is the same man who played Smid on LW and is fairly hard headed once he has his mind set in a particular direction.

  2. nelson88 says:

    Dubie was not good to start the season but it was interesting to watch the celebration at the end of last night’s game. Even accounting for a big game/win his teamates seemed pretty pumped for a guy who had let them down and got Smid traded.

  3. vesci says:

    By his actions the GM had his doubts about DD before the season started and I assume that DD’s bad start just solidified the GM’s opinion such that there is probably no changing his mind.

  4. russ99 says:

    My only question about Dubnyk is how his performance this year affects his salary next summer as a UFA.

    If he’ll take around $3M for a two year deal to backup and compete to start, I’d keep him around. He’s currently being paid $3.75M with a cap hit of $3.5M.

    But if we’re paying $4.25+ for a guy who fell off after given his big starting shot, it would behoove the Oilers brass to move him for an asset at the deadline and look elsewhere this summer.

  5. Woodguy says:

    Here is everyone’s 5v5 corgi for the last 6 games, excluding empty net:

    courtesy of Vic: http://timeonice.com/mplayershots1314.php?team=EDM&first=20319&last=22222&hv=0

    RYAN SMYTH 0.55
    JORDAN EBERLE 0.535
    MARK ARCOBELLO 0.526
    SAM GAGNER 0.524
    BOYD GORDON 0.52
    NAIL YAKUPOV 0.519
    DAVID PERRON 0.512
    ALES HEMSKY 0.508
    RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 0.487
    TAYLOR HALL 0.486
    RYAN JONES 0.439
    LUKE GAZDIC 0.432
    JESSE JOENSUU 0.406
    WILL ACTON 0.404

    ANTON BELOV 0.54
    JEFF PETRY 0.539
    JUSTIN SCHULTZ 0.494
    ANDREW FERENCE 0.489
    DENIS GREBESHKOV 0.467
    NICK SCHULTZ 0.452
    COREY POTTER 0.413

    Team 0.498

    Really nice to see Gagner turn the corner.

    Gord help me, but I agree with Godot in that Eakins throwing him to the wolves with Hall after he missed a month was monumentally stupid.

    Hall and RNH are struggling a bit, but not excessively so.

    The media’s two favorite whipping boys, Petry and Hemsky are doing well to very well.

    Lots of nice things here.

    Pretty obvious in where the weak links are too.

    Also,

    All Arcobello does is outshoot in whatever role he’s given.

    If he had Gagner’s hands he’d be a real weapon.

  6. Woodguy says:

    , the Edmonton Oilers—the team with more #1 overall picks than actual NHL defensemen

    This should be the sign at Oilers HQ on Kingsway.

  7. Woodguy says:

    24 minutes a night, all three disciplines. There are 28 in the NHL this morning, Christian Ehrhoff is #28 and Dion Phaneuf is just ahead of him, but who knows if that guy is coming here this season.

    Where are you parsing this info?

  8. jake70 says:

    Woodguy: 24 minutes a night, all three disciplines. There are 28 in the NHL this morning, Christian Ehrhoff is #28 and Dion Phaneuf is just ahead of him, but who knows if that guy is coming here this season.Where are you parsing this info?

    Phaneuf has been mentionned more than once by LT lately….what ya got LT???

  9. sliderule says:

    Staples has an excellent blog on their site on why Petry and other young defenders are still making fundamental coverage mistakes.He put it on the coaches.

    Last night I saw Smith laughing on the bench when the oil were already down.i think all oiler fans were not laughing at that point.Do the fans care more than coaches?

    Schultz jr has regressed from his play last season.He and some of the others seem confused and maybe pissed off.

    And why did Ladi get traded?

  10. slopitch says:

    Id keep DD around for 2.5 million. 1a/1b situations shouldn’t get paid more then 3. There are lots of UFA goalies around that Dubnyk would be best off taking it.

    A #1D. I suspect we’ll be having this conversation for a while. I think MacT is best off adding an Erhoff and another pending UFA type. Defense by committee works too. We are all far too aware of the Pronger effect I just dont think its reasonable to expect to acquire one. The forwards are looking great lately – especially Eberle. And I think Nuge takes a step in the next 50 games. Too bad the first 20 games made buying a bit of a fools move. Oilers pick is currently #5. But they are improving and have played 11 home games to 17 on the road. I suspect they settle in the 10 range. Too many teams are still better then they are.

    If Nurse tears it up at the WJC, maybe you move him to get a #1D. But the Oilers have no one in the system like him. I dont think you can move him unless your getting Weber or a legit #1. Any update on Klefbom?

  11. jake70 says:

    sliderule: Staples has an excellent blog on their site on why Petry and other young defenders are still making fundamental coverage mistakes.He put it on the coaches.Last night I saw Smith laughing on the bench when the oil were already down.i think all oiler fans were not laughing at that point.Do the fans care more than coaches?Schultz jr has regressed from his play last season.He and some of the others seem confused and maybe pissed off.And why did Ladi get traded?

    On that goal, the Star blew by Ference, but Ference was able to recover enough to keep him wide, and Petry followed them back, not once looking over his shoulder for a trailer. How can this be coaching?? Maybe the coaching-directed positioning at the offensive blue-line can be considered but man. Is it too much to ask for one of the 2 things above to not happen? Petry CANNOT let that puck get by him if he decides he wants (with Ference) the puck carrier.

    Willis used to write those “anatomy of a goal” articles last year….really liked them…….the Warren commission could have used Willis…lol.

  12. russ99 says:

    Woodguy,

    I’m pretty happy with what we’re getting from Petry and Belov so far. JSchultz has improved this year on D and he’s our best backline weapon on O, plus I’ll grade Ference on a curve playing a tougher role than he’s used to. So that’s 2-3.5 decent defensemen, depending on your view.

    But the fact we’re giving big minutes to Grebeshkov and N Schultz, with Potter as the backup speaks volumes.

    One big, tough top pairing guy could work wonders with this group, pushing everyone down a spot and opening up better competition for the bottom pairing.

  13. sliderule says:

    jake70,

    On my screen I couldn’t see how far back Petry came from but he was hustling back to get in the play and was still facing the goalie when the pass came out.

    As he was obviously trapped out of position in his recovery he had to mark the trailer the way a forward would have done.

    When you see players game after game making same fundamental mistakes you can change the whole defence or our defensive coach the laughing guy Smith.

  14. pboy says:

    I’m confused at what they are doing on the PP right now. They were running Hall, Eberle and Perron on the sidewalls and in front of the net and Yak and RNH on the blue. To say that it was successful would be an understatement. Chicago comes to town, Toews walks away with the puck and no more 5 forwards to be seen.

    Now the way I’m seeing things, having Yak on the PP with RNH is a must. Be it on the blueline or having Yak on the sidewall, he needs to be within passing distance of RNH. His one timer is the best option on the PP.

    I think I would have 14, 93, 64, 94 & 19 on the 1st PP unit and 89, 4, 57, 83 & 77 on the 2nd unit.

  15. Hammers says:

    russ99:
    Woodguy,

    I’m pretty happy with what we’re getting from Petry and Belov so far.JSchultz has improved this year on D and he’s our best backline weapon on O, plus I’ll grade Ference on a curve playing a tougher role than he’s used to. So that’s 2-3.5 decent defensemen, depending on your view.

    But the fact we’re giving big minutes to Grebeshkov and N Schultz, with Potter as the backup speaks volumes.

    One big, tough top pairing guy could work wonders with this group, pushing everyone down a spot and opening up better competition for the bottom pairing.

    The trouble is getting one . McT must know what most if not all oiler fans know . We need an upgrade on our “D” and we will bounce around until it’s done . Some think we will be in the bottom 10 others bottom 6-7 . As we are, with no additions its definitely no better than bottom 10 if we are lucky . You have to give to receive but the problem is how much do we give . There is no Pronger out there or in our future so McT has his work cut out . . He has a #1 , Petry , J.Schultz , Nurse , Klefbom & Marincin he could use . Maybe it’s the #1 plus one of those players but he has to do it.

  16. russ99 says:

    pboy,

    Watch how other teams run their powerplay, and it’s obvious what’s wrong with ours.

    Our players are fairly stationary, sticking to the same spots, and making either passes or playing it on the boards. We’re way too predictable. The opponent knows where we’ll be and where/when the shots are coming from.

    Puck movement and movement by all the players on the PP are key to creating open spaces for good shots. If the Oilers move, they’ll be better on the PP.

  17. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: All Arcobello does is outshoot in whatever role he’s given.

    If he had Gagner’s hands he’d be a real weapon.

    He needs Gagner’s hands & Acton’s gritensity.

  18. Logan91 says:

    slopitch:
    Id keep DD around for 2.5 million.1a/1b situations shouldn’t get paid more then 3.There are lots of UFA goalies around that Dubnyk would be best off taking it.

    A #1D.I suspect we’ll be having this conversation for a while.I think MacT is best off adding an Erhoff and another pending UFA type.Defense by committee works too.We are all far too aware of the Pronger effect I just dont think its reasonable to expect to acquire one.The forwards are looking great lately – especially Eberle.And I think Nuge takes a step in the next 50 games.Too bad the first 20 games made buying a bit of a fools move. Oilers pick is currently #5.But they are improving and have played 11 home games to 17 on the road.I suspect they settle in the 10 range.Too many teams are still better then they are.

    If Nurse tears it up at the WJC, maybe you move him to get a #1D.But the Oilers have no one in the system like him.I dont think you can move him unless your getting Weber or a legit #1.Any update on Klefbom?

    Move Nurse………… Oh NO you just didn’t!

  19. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy:
    24 minutes a night, all three disciplines. There are 28 in the NHL this morning, Christian Ehrhoff is #28 and Dion Phaneuf is just ahead of him, but who knows if that guy is coming here this season.

    Where are you parsing this info?

    Presumably here, although the “all three disciplines” is a bit of a stretch with Green, Subban, & Hamonic, each of whom is lightly used (<1:00/G) in one of the special teams.

  20. wheatnoil says:

    Bruce McCurdy: He needs Gagner’s hands & Acton’s gritensity.

    He has Acton’s gritensity. If he was 3 inches taller and 30 lbs heavier he’d never be out of the Oilers line-up again.

  21. hunter1909 says:

    Fedun: Since breaking his leg I’ve really hated this player. Why? Simply because the Lowetide/Oilsphere PC drive kicking in and it’s “Let’s all root for a totally damaged prospect” while the other reality of a 29th or whatever placed team endlessly continues.

    Arcobello: Decent AHL player(size issues) and if it wasn’t the Mighty Mouse top 6 and instead was say, Boston, who knows? He might turn out great. Just not with a small, soft yet incredibly skilled top 6. Ever.

    Potter: Decent 7th guy placed in a position to fail.

    J. Schultz: Excellent player being hung out to dry – by incompetent management structure etc.

    Eberle: Mike Bossy skill set – but apparently he doesn’t hit hard enough for the neanderthal part of the fan base.

    RNH: Kid”s already been major injured and it shows in his timid play of late. Doesn’t play like a 1st line centre this year at all. Should be in the AHL until he hits 190 pounds. Potential bust(injuries).

    Hall: Bobby Hull set of jets in his skates. He’s a great player, but stuck on a totally shite show of a hockey team. Reminds of Yzerman in the late 80′s, as he toiled for the then palooka Red Wings.

    Belov: Love him on the Oilers.

    Yaks: Love him on the Oilers.

    Hemsky: Love him with Yaks only. Otherwise, they can’t trade him fast enough.

    Ference: Great character guy. Need 5 more off them please, not Ben(I’m a cup winner and am entitled to change my style as a UFA) Eager.

    Petry: Excellent lower in the batting order player, the kind cup winners have. He’s 100% certain to eventually play for a cup winner as anyone in the current team, imo.

    Dubnyk: His shit goaltending cost MacT his 1st season as GM in a matter of 4 weeks, but that’s supposed to be “alright” because….Oilers?? Plays too much like the basement chesterfield.

    Eakins: I’m fine with Eakins as coach. But until the winners running the ship give him decently sized and capable bottom 6ers, plus a couple of more NHL defencemen, no one should cancel their April golf schedules.

  22. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Denis Grebeshkov turned the wrong way and was beaten on goal one (he made an error, but lordy where was the support on that play—this team sells each other out like no Oiler team I’ve ever seen) and didn’t get a chance to do much after that (two shifts)

    The “support” was Yakupov, who also turned the wrong way & headed up-ice, hoping for the backhand sauce pass from Grebeshkov beating both guys that were mugging him, thus setting Yak up for the ever-dangerous one-on-three rush against the remaining PKers. I get that we need to be patient with Yakupov, but at some point he needs to extract his head from his arse and realize he’s playing professional hockey, not shinny at the community league rink.

    As for Grebeshkov, he did get two more shifts, then allowed the exact same Gord-damned guy to get behind him for a second breakaway. Didn’t score this time, just killed the goalie. That ended the night for both Bryzgalov & Grebeshkov.

    Bryz had a fine half-game, but all in all it wasn’t a good night for Oilers’ Russian contingent.

  23. Caramel Obvious says:

    I don’t like the batting order analogy. It exaggerates the extent to which player’s play against different competition. It is a difference of degree and a relatively small one, especially for defensemen. This is one of the reasons the variance in corsi is smaller for defensemen (the other reason is that they have to play with the fourth line which drags everyone down). Everyone plays against everyone.

    Now that doesn’t mean the Oilers don’t need a good defenseman or two. They do. However, there is no cumulative effect to be had beyond the benefit to whomever they play with. Petry will still be Petry if we add Erhoff or Phaneuf, and his 5/5 role won’t change in any noticeable way. He won’t be “in a role more suited to hiim” or some other phrase that means nothing. His job won’t change at all.

    I think it is important that we don’t buy into these kinds of mythologies and that we make a concerted effort to separate the real from the imaginary. And the way to do that is to make specific claims concerning the effect of competition instead of vague ones. This leads to two axioms to guide thought.

    1) In 5/5 play there is no such thing as roles. Everyone’s job is the same. To score more goals than you give up.

    2) That doesn’t mean that context doesn’t matter. Zone starts matter. Competition matters. Teammates matter. However, the way these things matters cannot be captured by broad generalizations (except for zone starts which has a general and robust effect on everyone).

    From this I conclude that an Erhoff type will help a lot. But it will help because it will add 20-25 minutes of solid play a night while subtracting 15 minutes of the worst defender and another 5-10 from everyone else. It is a strict scalar upgrade. It isn’t magic.

  24. hunter1909 says:

    Oilers appear to be having the kind of season that’s been predicted forever. That is, they might blow a team out Tuesday, but are no more likely to win Thursday from the previous game. Wild inconsistency prevailing, as a team led by overage junior players tries to find it’s way through the NHL jungle while being marked as a bunch of entitled 1st overall crybabies by the other NHL teams who don’t feel like having their asses handed to them by the speed of the Oilers, so they merely get to work on their fragile bodies, etc.

  25. G Money says:

    Woodguy: Hall and RNH are struggling a bit, but not excessively so.

    This team has definitely looked better the last 10 games, but it doesn’t truly turn the corner until Hall and RNH are (like they have been for the last several seasons) well on the plus side of the Welsh herding dog statistics.

    sliderule:
    Staples has an excellent blog on their site on why Petry and other young defenders are still making fundamental coverage mistakes.He put it on the coaches.

    Schultz jr has regressed from his play last season.

    Staples ends his article: If Petry isn’t shoulder checking on a play like the Garbutt goal at this point, the coach who is supposed to teach him to shoulder check and has failed to do so is the guy who deserves the heat. I still believe the number one issue with the Oilers defense is we have guys who are being played past their ceiling. Petry is a guy who I think is a capable 2D or 3D, and he’s consistently played as 1D. Stupid mistakes and the game going too fast are symptoms.

    That said, I remain of the opinion that it is ridiculous that we can have had so many close-to-last place finishes and four head coaches and still have the same two assistant coaches plying their trade. If ‘not teaching fundamentals like shoulder checking’ is an excuse to get rid of Smith and Bucky and bring in experienced NHL assistants with a track record of, you know, actual success, we need to do it.

    JSchultz hasn’t even played the equivalent of a single NHL season yet. He’s also 23 years old. Development for defensemen is never a straight line, and most of them don’t mature on the defensive side of the equation until the age of 25. Perspective.

    P.S. Just got back from California last night. Who the f**k ordered the blizzard?

  26. G Money says:

    hunter1909: Fedun: Since breaking his leg I’ve really hated this player. Why? Simply because the Lowetide/Oilsphere PC drive kicking in and it’s “Let’s all root for a totally damaged prospect” while the other reality of a 29th or whatever placed team endlessly continues.

    You’ll have to explain this one.

    Are you saying the 29th place finishes are Fedun’s fault, and so we shouldn’t root for him?

    Or are you saying that we can’t root for a player to come back from a horrific injury because we are a 29th place team? So if Fedun were playing for say Chi or StL, their fans can root for him, but Oiler fans can’t because it might keep our team bad?

  27. Cobbler says:

    hunter1909,

    Hunter, I agree with a lot of what you have outlined above, but the RNH line makes little sense to me. HE may not be playing that tough, but to my eye and math RNH is a first line center and should be no where near the AHL; at 130 lbs or 230 lbs.

    Potential bust? Where does this stuff come from?

  28. 36 percent body fat says:

    Why the Hell does he not go back to the PP that were working last year. 89-64-14-19-94 and 93-4-83-57(replace 10) and 77.

  29. David says:

    hunter1909:
    Fedun: Since breaking his leg I’ve really hated this player. Why? Simply because the Lowetide/Oilsphere PC drive kicking in and it’s “Let’s all root for a totally damaged prospect” while the other reality of a 29th or whatever placed team endlessly continues.

    Arcobello: Decent AHL player(size issues) and if it wasn’t the Mighty Mouse top 6 and instead was say, Boston, who knows? He might turn out great. Just not with a small, soft yet incredibly skilled top 6. Ever.

    Potter: Decent 7th guy placed in a position to fail.

    J. Schultz: Excellent player being hung out to dry –by incompetent management structure etc.

    Eberle: Mike Bossy skill set – but apparently he doesn’t hit hard enough for the neanderthal part of the fan base.

    RNH: Kid”s already been major injured and it shows in his timid play of late. Doesn’t play like a 1st line centre this year at all. Should be in the AHL until he hits 190 pounds. Potential bust(injuries).

    Hall: Bobby Hull setof jets in his skates. He’s a great player, but stuck on a totally shite show of a hockey team. Reminds of Yzerman in the late 80′s, as he toiled for the then palooka Red Wings.

    Belov: Love him on the Oilers.

    Yaks: Love him on the Oilers.

    Hemsky: Love him with Yaks only. Otherwise, they can’t trade him fast enough.

    Ference: Great character guy. Need 5 more off them please, not Ben(I’m a cup winner and am entitled to change my style as a UFA) Eager.

    Petry: Excellent lower in the batting order player, the kind cup winners have. He’s 100% certain to eventually play for a cup winner as anyone in the current team, imo.

    Dubnyk: His shit goaltending cost MacT his 1st season as GM in a matter of 4 weeks, but that’s supposed to be “alright” because….Oilers?? Plays too much like the basement chesterfield.

    Eakins: I’m fine with Eakins as coach. But until the winners running the ship give him decently sized and capable bottom 6ers,plus a couple of more NHL defencemen, no one should cancel their April golf schedules.

    RNH potential bust? That’s looneyville. He’s 20 years old for crying out loud! Oilers fans are expecting these first overalls to play like they’re 26 when they’re 20. I have no issues with the Nuge. None.

  30. hunter1909 says:

    Cobbler: Potential bust? Where does this stuff come from?

    David: RNH potential bust? That’s looneyville. He’s 20 years old for crying out loud!

    What I’m trying to say is, RNH hasn’t yet grown into his man body. Unless he grows to 190 soon, the chance of him receiving a career threatening injury is very much there. Perhaps the word “bust” doesn’t apply in the way people think it does.

    I’d say Plante/Teubert were “busted’ prospects caused mainly from injuries. Hate to see RNH not develop to his potential, is all.

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    From the Matty piece LT posted on the other thread:

    - Team Canada junior coach Brent Sutter has lots of time for Barrie Colts’ Aaron Ekblad, who’ll go No. 1 or No. 2 in the June draft. “He’s 17 but he looks 30. Forget the moustache, he can grow a big beard. He’s a big man. I don’t think he’ll be playing junior hockey next year,” said Sutter.

    I’m firmly against drafting D this high (still think Nurse was an unnecessary gamble, though now that he’s ours, I love him of course)… but I love this beard talk. I think more players should be evaluated on this basis. We could have signed an undrafted RNH for peanuts!

  32. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    I’m not sure there should be any second guessing about Dubnyk’s future role on the Oil or whether he ‘emerges’ somewhere else. He was brought along patiently and ‘developed’ as a goalie should. Even up to that point, when MacT was brought in as GM he very publicly voiced his doubt about what the man brings to the table. Nonetheless, he was handed the plum role and given ample opportunity to make it his. What did we get? A total unbridled train wreck. An astonishing professional implosion. It’s pro sports, its rough and tumble and certainly not forgiving. His goose is cooked and I personally have no concerns he will emerge somewhere else. All the respect in the world that he rose to the level he has and he will certainly carve out a living as a professional NHL goalie and a decent one. But he is not a #1 and he is not MacT’s man. I would be more frustrated if MacT dithered on this, but he won’t. Dubnyk will be ushered out or situated as a capable back-up to a proven #1 under reasonable financial terms at the first real opportunity to do so..

    On a totally different topic, I’m not settled at the choice of Ference as C. He seems just overwhelmed. Certainly he can bring character and pass on wisdom to the younger players and that’s a real positive. But is this the guy that the players want to rally around in charging to war? I don’t see it and I hope it is adjusted for the start of next year. Give it to the leader in spirit and action amongst one of the young turks. Stop sheltering as that time is past and lay it at their feet. I’m not sure who that is but this needs to be done to symbolize real ownership and accountability by the players that make the difference. No more passengers on accountability. I accept Eakins and the players needed time together to sort out the optimal choice and that’s what the remainder of this season can be, but I think its a symbolic part of the turn this organization needs to take.

  33. David says:

    I

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    From the Matty piece LT posted on the other thread:

    I’m firmly against drafting D this high (still think Nurse was an unnecessary gamble, though now that he’s ours, I love him of course)… but I love this beard talk. I think more players should be evaluated on this basis. We could have signed an undrafted RNH for peanuts!

    I’m against drafting D higher than the “elite” players of the draft. But I’d draft Ekblad 3rd after Reinhart and Draisaitl. It’s a player by player basis. Doughty was worth it. Petrangelo was worth it. A case could be made Hedmen and Bouwmeester were taken too high but I don’t mind where they were drafted. Personally I believe in Ekblad and would love to see the Oilers get him if the finish in the bottom 5.

  34. justDOit says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    From the Matty piece LT posted on the other thread:

    I’m firmly against drafting D this high (still think Nurse was an unnecessary gamble, though now that he’s ours, I love him of course)… but I love this beard talk. I think more players should be evaluated on this basis. We could have signed an undrafted RNH for peanuts!

    Coffee snort – just what I needed today. Thanks Rom!

  35. Cobbler says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    RNH is going to be a bust though. Hunter hates him.
    :)

  36. russ99 says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic,

    Re: Captaincy:

    That probably changes next season. The problem with giving one of the kids the C this year, is that it was obvious that they would be at odds with the new coach at some point, given the new systems and defensive expectations.

    Ference has done a great job trumpeting and reinforcing Eakins’ messages. Had Hall been the C, would we have seen the same, or would the room be even more divided that it is/was?

  37. fifthcartel says:

    Peter Kneulman ‏@PeterKneulman 6m
    Darnell Nurse and Matt Murray have not been invited to the WJ selection camp

  38. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    russ99,

    I think this is quite true. But, ultimately the tone, direction and leadership of the player collective needs to shift to the next generation and this will be an interesting aspect of whether it happens or not to start next season. For our management, don’t avoid the uncomfortableness, personal risk or unexpected outcomes of making this leap. All in to win.

  39. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    jake70: On that goal, the Star blew by Ference, but Ference was able to recover enough to keep him wide, and Petry followed them back, not once looking over his shoulder for a trailer.

    Watch the video again.

    http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2013020405-449-h

    Bizarrely, he actually does look over his shoulder at the trailer, but then ignores him.

    Maybe his head check was too quick and he missed Garbutt? Maybe he forgot the golden rule: “measure twice, cut once”?

  40. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bruce McCurdy: gritensity

    stupendous!

  41. Lois Lowe says:

    It is just sad that at the quarter pole of the season the Flames are still better than the Oilers. I will be happy, however, if the kids from River City can basically go .500 from here on out.

  42. fifthcartel says:

    Canada not inviting Nurse eliminates one of the few bright spots to look for as an Oilers fan.

  43. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money:

    I still believe the number one issue with the Oilers defense is we have guys who are being played past their ceiling.Petry is a guy who I think is a capable 2D or 3D, and he’s consistently played as 1D.Stupid mistakes and the game going too fast are symptoms.

    This is exactly what I’m talking about. The distinction between 1D and 2 or 3D is meaningless. If the Oilers had Shea Weber it would make no difference whatsoever with Petry’s play (assuming they aren’t on the ice at the same time). None.

    Saying that Weber would make Petry better while he sat on the bench makes as much sense as saying that Gazdic makes Hall better while sitting on the bench.

    In the effort to engage, I’ll pose a question. What does the distinction between 1D and 3F mean? What is the mechanism you are identifying with these terms?

  44. Doomoil says:

    hunter1909:
    What I’m trying to say is, RNH hasn’t yet grown into his man body. Unless he grows to 190 soon, the chance of him receiving a career threatening injury is very much there. Perhaps the word “bust” doesn’t apply in the way people think it does.

    I’d say Plante/Teubert were “busted’ prospects caused mainlyfrom injuries. Hate to see RNH not develop to his potential, is all.

    Plante wasn’t very good and had an attitude problem.

    Teubert just wasn’t good at all.

    Neither ‘busted’ out from injuries, they had no shot.

    RNH is doing fine.

  45. Caramel Obvious says:

    fifthcartel:
    Peter Kneulman ‏@PeterKneulman 6m
    Darnell Nurse and Matt Murray have not been invited to the WJ selection camp

    Wow. There is a pretty big disjuncture between the perception of Nurse in some quarters and not even being invited to the selection camp.

    Someone is very wrong here. If Nurse is good enough to play in the NHL next year then he should be a mortal lock for the junior team. Conversely if he isn’t even good enough to be invited to the selection camp then he is years away from playing in the NHL.

    Something behind the scenes must be going on here. There is no other way to reconcile this decision. [Edit] Ok, the behind the scenes information is that they only invited 25 guys to the camp. That changes things a little. Still a bad decision.

  46. icecastles says:

    Cobbler: RNH is going to be a bust though. Hunter hates him.

    I like to disagree with Hunter as much as anyone, but I think his point is being misconstrued.

    He is saying (correct me if I’m wrong, Hunter) that due primarily to his size and secondarily to his already growing list of injuries, there is a real risk that his career could be completely derailed by a serious injury and that playing on a top NHL line against top NHL defenders is asking for trouble. Not because of his skill set or desire or lack thereof, but because they are putting a key player in a high-risk position to be demolished and he is vulnerable.

    If he suffers a career-ending injury this season, Hunter is saying that would make him essentially a bust. Not the best choice of word as ‘bust’ seems to carry a lot of baggage, but I see his point.

    That said, I’m not sure he is at much more of a risk than anyone else. He is a very smart hockey player and sees what is coming better than most. That makes him a more difficult target and he doesn’t play a style that necessitates heavy hitting.

  47. Caramel Obvious says:

    Looking through the invites it is plain as day that hockey canada has fucked themselves again with abject stupidity.

    Josh Morrissey and Chris Bigras were drafted well behind Nurse last year. No one was talking about them as top ten picks. Since then, if anything Nurse’ stock has climbed. From afar Nurse is clearly the better player.

    So once again the team is selected based upon mythologies instead of the incredibly obvious idea to just pick the best fucking players. I hope they lose. If I was Nurse I’d say no next year. Fuck them.

  48. Caramel Obvious says:

    Bigras was a second round pick last year and has 10 pts in 26 games while a -5. That is not a dominating player. On what planet is he better than Nurse? Answer: none. These people are too stupid to breathe.

  49. icecastles says:

    Lois Lowe: It is just sad that at the quarter pole of the season the Flames are still better than the Oilers

    Somebody should “shiv” them Flames, eh Lois.

    I don’t think I would say the Flames are or have been better than the Oilers. They have won one game more than Edmonton, and perhaps you mean you’re sad that Calgary is higher in the standings. But after the first month, Edmonton had lost more man-games to injury than any other team and it was by a factor of nearly 2:1. Paired with the nightmare goaltending of the first several games, I think we saw this team as worse than they actually were and while our brains know better, our battered and abused fan-hearts are scared to have faith.

    The Oilers are not a playoff team.
    They have some serious personnel holes.
    Their defense has a long way to go.
    Consistency a major issue.

    But I look at the above four points and can’t see a single one that is not improved over last year. They are coming along slower than we expected, but even when they were losing, this is a team getting better, not worse.

    Calgary was riding luck and percentages and adrenaline. If you think any of those things are sustainable, bankable, or can be bet on, I want to play cards against you.

  50. CrazyCoach says:

    I simply cannot believe they left Nurse off the invite list. I know I’m a little biased in terms of being an Oilers fan, but did the scouts not watch any Hounds games this season?

    I’m gobsmacked!

  51. icecastles says:

    Sometimes I get pissed that a given player I like is left off an invite list for Team Canada, but when I look at the players selected, I grudgingly accept the team roster and see that they have chosen well.

    That is absolutely not the case this year. At least Hockey Canada always manages to put together a gold-winning team.

    Oh wait. They haven’t. For five straight years.

    My faith that smart people run hockey has taken more blows this year than Charlie Sheen at a house party.

  52. VanOil says:

    Nurse is prone to playing a little to amped up when he is at tournaments. This excitement combined with tying to do to much can lead to suspensions and sloppy play. He has done both with team Canada and team OHL. I still thought his skill would see him through to the team though.

  53. leadfarmer says:

    RNH is going to hit his prime when he is 30 and he will be a top notch player from 27-40. Hall is the one I would watch out for. When that speed starts leaving him he might be out of the league on the Cheechoo train. Hope he starts taking care of himself better.

  54. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious: This is exactly what I’m talking about.The distinction between 1D and 2 or 3D is meaningless.If the Oilers had Shea Weber it would make no difference whatsoever with Petry’s play (assuming they aren’t on the ice at the same time).None.

    Saying that Weber would make Petry better while he sat on the bench makes as much sense as saying that Gazdic makes Hall better while sitting on the bench.

    In the effort to engage, I’ll pose a question. What does the distinction between 1D and 3F mean?What is the mechanism you are identifying with these terms?

    None of your commentary above makes much sense.

    Saying there is no difference between a 1D and a 3D means:

    - quality of competition does not matter (in reality, a 1D plays against the other teams best more often and longer)
    - time spent on ice does not matter (in reality, a 1D plays more than a 3D).
    - ST role does not matter (depending on capability, a 1D will spend more time on special teams than a 3D).
    - the psychology of competition does not matter (playing night after night against Toews is no more challenging than playing night after night against Stajan). Again, bull puckey.

    I understand your sawhorse about “it’s all about ice time”, but that does not jive with many years of watching defenseman play hockey. Weber absolutely and unequivocally makes Petry a better defenseman, because Weber taking on the toughs means Petry’s spending his time and effort in manageable situations instead of unmanageable ones. Confidence grows, stick grip loosens, plays are made.

    If you don’t understand this, you perhaps have confused hockey players with robots.

    And by the way, you have your Hall/Gazdic comparison backwards. Gazdic does not make Hall a better player, but Hall *does* make Gazdic a better player – by far. It allows Gazdic to play fewer minutes, and in situations more appropriate to his “skills”. If there is no Hall, and you simply move the existing lineup up by one and plug in yet another sub-AHL player at the bottom of the lineup, Gazdic not only plays more minutes in tougher situations, but his quality of play will actually decline because he’s getting obliterated (so much worse than he already is) on the ice night after night.

  55. hoser313 says:

    Re: Nurse.

    Canada WJC Coaching Staff 2013-14: Sutter (WHL), Groulx (QMJHL), McGill (WHL).

    Number of WHL defensemen invited to camp: (5/8).

    Really makes you wonder who (if anyone) is looking at the OHL players.

    No politics in hockey….right? :)

  56. CrazyCoach says:

    hoser313: No politics in hockey….right?

    None at all. I remember a time there when the only goalies they looked at were from the QMJHL.

  57. fifthcartel says:

    Arpon Basu ‏@ArponBasu 2m
    Per Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, #Oilers Darnell Nurse tried to do too much and did not show an ability to play a simple game.

  58. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money,

    You’ve operationalized the claim. Which is what I wanted. So thank you for that. That gives us the opportunity to discuss the various elements without engaging in a shorthand that takes far too much for granted. This was my main point when I said we should be more specific regarding these contextual factors. Not that they don’t exist but using the shorthand in the way that is usually done leads to sloppy thinking. So one at at time:

    1) Quality of Competition.

    I think the importance of quality of competition is exaggerated, especially for defensemen. This is born out in the various metrics used to measure this. The variance of these metrics isn’t very large for the simple fact that everybody does play against everybody. We take for granted that quality of competition is important. I agree that it is, however, the extent to which it is important has never been quantified and some, Parkatti for instance, have even argued that we are better off ignoring it. I’m not willing to go that far, however ignoring it would be preferable to giving it a magical significance.

    2) Time on Ice

    It is very reasonable to suggest that quality of play will decline as the amount of time increases. It is also reasonable to suggest that some players can maintain their quality of play better than others (R. Suter for instance). However, that does not mean we can make blanket statements from this notion. Petry is currently playing 22 minutes a game. How much less do you think he would play if the Oilers added another D man? Two minutes? Four? How much more effective do you think he would be? Moreover, the effect of playing time runs counter to the effect of competition. The more Ryan Suter plays, the less he is playing against top competition.

    3) Psychology

    This matters but the extent to which it matters is entirely dependent upon 1) and 2), so this isn’t really an independent point at all. It also isn’t a linear point. For instance, it is not self-evident that the psychology of being the main guy is more difficult than the psychology of someone filling in. For instance it is plausible that psychological speaking it is more difficult to just fill in because you are going to be more afraid of making a mistake.

    4) Hall makes Gazdic better

    That’s ridiculous and you know it. Gazdic gets obliterated now. He didn’t get more obliterated when Hall was injured. The only way Hall can make Gazdic better is by playing with Gazdic.

  59. Logan91 says:

    hoser313:
    Re: Nurse.

    Canada WJC Coaching Staff 2013-14: Sutter (WHL), Groulx (QMJHL), McGill (WHL).

    Number of WHL defensemen invited to camp: (5/8).

    Really makes you wonder who (if anyone) is looking at the OHL players.

    No politics in hockey….right?

    Hockey Canada is horrible for this kind of stuff, happens every year. They’re more focused on having “big names” on the team or who the coach wants, rather than taking the BPA.

    Like last year with the goaltending situation, Subban shat the bed the whole selection camp and still ended up as the number 1 goalie. Then Dumba got snubbed so the team could carry more offensive D like Reilly and Murphy, who were actually both on the ice when Canada lost the bronze medal game.

  60. David says:

    fifthcartel:
    Arpon Basu ‏@ArponBasu 2m
    Per Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, #Oilers Darnell Nurse tried to do too much and did not show an ability to play a simple game.

    Can this win the award for stupidest assessment ever? What is Canada’s love of “simple” “blue collar” game? Nurse is a dominant defenseman in junior. End of story. Clearly Nurse was trying to do to much when he was dominating the Sedins in pre season.

    Hockey Canada has been a terrible organization from the beginning. They won a lot because the talent from Canada is outstanding not because the selected good teams. I’m waiting for Canada to crash and burn in the juniors and Nurse to win OHL defencemen of the year.

  61. LMHF#1 says:

    fifthcartel:
    Arpon Basu ‏@ArponBasu 2m
    Per Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, #Oilers Darnell Nurse tried to do too much and did not show an ability to play a simple game.

    The stupidity of how coaches/scouts evaluate defensemen in one easy statement right there. Wow.

    Never wonder why coaches have no clue how to use offensive dmen. This is the small-brain thinking that goes on. Same as how NFL head coaches can’t figure out how to properly use half the good college QBs.

  62. Lois Lowe says:

    icecastles: Somebody should “shiv” them Flames, eh Lois.

    Har har. You actually didn’t give a very satisfactory answer, someone else did. I stand corrected, but not by you. Your answer was pedantic and was a simple restatement of a definition that was fully obvious.

    I don’t think I would say the Flames are or have been better than the Oilers. They have won one game more than Edmonton, and perhaps you mean you’re sad that Calgary is higher in the standings.

    Usually when someone says ‘better’ in the context of the NHL, they mean more wins or sitting higher in the standings. Unless you know of some other measure that helps you qualify for the playoffs? Calgary has two games at hand and it is two points ahead. Do the Oilers have more potential? Undoubtedly. Will they be the better team at season’s close? Likely.

    Moral victories in pro sports are meaningless at the end of the day. They helped us Oiler fans get through the lean, pre-salary cap years but only because the system was stacked against small market teams. I can’t honestly say that, at this point in the season, Edmonton is a better team than Calgary.

    But after the first month, Edmonton had lost more man-games to injury than any other team and it was by a factor of nearly 2:1. Paired with the nightmare goaltending of the first several games, I think we saw this team as worse than they actually were and while our brains know better, our battered and abused fan-hearts are scared to have faith.

    I don’t disagree with any of this. Except I would maybe express the caveat that Calgary has also suffered a rash of injuries to important players. Giordano is out, as is Glencross, as is Wideman; that’s pretty difficult to overcome. If you want to use the man games lost metric, make sure that you employ it fairly. Also, man games lost is a bit blunt for my tastes, when Anaheim leads the league and Edmonton sits second, one has to wonder have valuable the data is. Losing Corey Potter for 20 games can’t have that much of an effect. If you have read my posts, I have actually been pretty happy with the play of the Oilers under Eakins. To my eye they have improved structurally, if nothing else. The unspeakably bad goaltending to start the season has put them in a hole that no team in the Bettman point era can overcome.

    The Oilers are not a playoff team.
    They have some serious personnel holes.
    Their defense has a long way to go.
    Consistency a major issue.

    But I look at the above four points and can’t see a single one that is not improved over last year. They are coming along slower than we expected, but even when they were losing, this is a team getting better, not worse.

    Other than the 4th point I agree. Consistency is still a major issue. I’d say the improvement comes from playing a much more structured game which they are sticking to for the most part. Last night’s game is a loss last year because each player would have tried to individually win the game by rushing 1 on 4. The Oilers are still wandering in the desert, but I see small things that give me hope. Hence, my final statement “If the Oilers can play .500 hockey for the rest of the season, I will be happy”.

    Calgary was riding luck and percentages and adrenaline. If you think any of those things are sustainable, bankable, or can be bet on, I want to play cards against you.

    Just so you know, Calgary’s PDO is .977, which is lower than Edmonton’s. The Flames also have unspeakably bad goaltending and, in all likelihood, are starting their free fall to the basement of the league. However, Calgary as of today is ahead in points, behind in luck, and has two games at hand. Make your own conclusions.

  63. nelson88 says:

    fifthcartel,

    This would seem to confirm what VANOIL mentioned above. I’m not familiar with Nurse’s past experiences with Team Canada and Team OHL but if true I don’t think it is that terrible of a decision.

    I am a huge fan of Nurse and have been since before the Oilers selected him. He is going to be a stud in the NHL. Sucks for the kid but if there is a silver lining for Oiler fans it is the fact he has a history of taking snubs as a challenge and extra motivation.

  64. nelson88 says:

    Is Ryan Jankowski related to Mark Jankowski (Flames draft pick)?

    Maybe there is a conspiracy…..

  65. TheOtherJohn says:

    Agree with G Money

    A 1D makes everybody else better. Also fresher, able to play against a lower quality of opponent and increases the entire roster. Pronger made MA Bergeron, Staios, Jason Smith and Spacek look like solid 2D. The only one who had a shot at that designation on his own was Spacek. Plus he played 28 minutes a night in regular season & 31 TOI in the post season. That was all quiet/safeminutes

  66. Caramel Obvious says:

    Choosing players based upon what scouts say in a small sample of games is the definition of stupidity.

  67. fuzzy muppet says:

    fifthcartel:
    Arpon Basu ‏@ArponBasu 2m
    Per Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, #Oilers Darnell Nurse tried to do too much and did not show an ability to play a simple game.

    He’s already a good fit for the Oilers. Sounds like the team scouting report.

  68. David says:

    Can Ryan Jankowski be fired please?

  69. Logan91 says:

    I just checked the Team Canada selection list, not surprised to see some of the names, but very surprised to see some that didn’t even get an invite.

    Here are some players I think should have been invited: Baptise, Klimchuk, Gaunce, Poirier, NURSE.

    - I don’t even know why Griffin was invited, he cant even play until New Years eve.

    - Pouliot is not the best defensively, would much rather have Nurse than him.

    - I’m not sold on Petan even though he puts up big numbers, I think he’s going to get thrown around a lot (hopefully i’m wrong)

    - Poirer over Leier all day.

    - Gaunce over Girard all day.

    - Josh Anderson…. Are you kidding me?

    Drouin and Hudon are going to put up big numbers. I was disappointed last year when Hudon got injured. I have no complaints with goal tending this year, that’s a solid duo. Paterson should have played over Subban last year, the kid was great.

  70. David says:

    Logan91:
    I just checked the Team Canada selection list, not surprised to see some of the names, but very surprised to see some that didn’t even get an invite.

    Here are some players I think should have been invited: Baptise, Klimchuk, Gaunce, Poirier, NURSE.

    - I don’t even know why Griffin was invited, he cant even play until New Years eve.

    - Pouliot is not the best defensively, would much rather have Nurse than him.

    - I’m not sold on Petan even though he puts up big numbers, I think he’s going to get thrown around a lot (hopefully i’m wrong)

    - Poirer over Leier all day.

    - Gaunce over Girard all day.

    - Josh Anderson…. Are you kidding me?

    Drouin and Hudon are going to put up big numbers. I was disappointed last year when Hudon got injured. I have no complaints with goal tending this year, that’s a solid duo. Paterson should have played over Subban last year, the kid was great.

    Fucale is not solid. Most of last year had a sub .900 save percentage. Currently sitting at .899. Has a goals against average of 2.62. Tristan Jarry has a .923 save percentage and a 1.98GAA. That’s solid goaltending. Everyone loves Fucale because he wins. Which is the worst stat to rate a goalie. His team scores a billion goals that’s how he wins. At the top prospects game last year he let in 3 goals in his half game. All three other goalies put up shutouts.

  71. David says:

    This Canada team is going to have to score lots to win.

  72. Truth says:

    You’d think Team Canada would have top level scouting. You’d also think that I would know better than to say that after watching the team make the wrong decisions year after year.

  73. Logan91 says:

    David,

    I didn’t say Fucale should be the starter, but him and Paterson are a solid duo.

    Did you watch Fucale and Jarry during the Subway Series last week?

  74. David says:

    Logan91:
    David,

    I didn’t say Fucale should be the starter, but him and Paterson are a solid duo.

    Did you watch Fucale and Jarry during the Subway Series last week?

    I didn’t watch the games. According to the score sheets Fucale saved 19 of 21 and Jarry saved 15 of 17.

  75. icecastles says:

    Lois Lowe: and was a simple restatement of a definition that was fully obvious.

    Yet you managed to get it wrong anyway (even after being called on it the first time, if I recall). At least you admit it now, so good on you for that.

    Didn’t read the rest of your post, I’m afraid.

  76. gvblackhawk says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Denis Grebeshkov turned the wrong way and was beaten on goal one (he made an error, but lordy where was the support on that play—this team sells each other out like no Oiler team I’ve ever seen) and didn’t get a chance to do much after that (two shifts)

    The “support” was Yakupov, who also turned the wrong way & headed up-ice, hoping for the backhand sauce pass from Grebeshkov beating both guys that were mugging him, thus setting Yak up for the ever-dangerous one-on-three rush against the remaining PKers. I get that we need to be patient with Yakupov, but at some point he needs to extract his head from his arse and realize he’s playing professional hockey, not shinny at the community league rink.

    As for Grebeshkov, he did get two more shifts, then allowed the exact same Gord-damned guy to get behind him for a second breakaway. Didn’t score this time, just killed the goalie. That ended the night for both Bryzgalov & Grebeshkov.

    Bryz had a fine half-game, but all in all it wasn’t a good night for Oilers’ Russian contingent.

    Bruce,

    I think you were wrong in naming Yakupov as the primary culprit on Dallas’ first goal in your CoH article today. Yes, he should have covered back but the primary blame still falls on Grebeshkov. When Horcoff closed in on Grebs he had three options: backhand pass to Yak, circle back on his forehand away from Horcoff, or try to skate around Horcoff on his backhand. He chose the worst option (3rd) and skated himself into more pressure. After that, he still had the option of gaining the red line and chipping the puck into the Stars’ zone. He would have lost possession but it would have been a safe play. Instead, he held onto the puck and allowed Garbutt to close on him. When he realized he was in trouble, he attempted to circle back on his forehand. At this point, he still had the option of shooting the puck deep into the Oilers zone where Bryzgalov would have had the opportunity to play the puck. Instead, he froze and allowed Garbutt to steal the puck from him.

    I don’t think that Yakupov should be playing the point on the powerplay but your article miscasts Yak in a negative manner. I don’t think that is being fair.

  77. Logan91 says:

    David: I didn’t watch the games. According to the score sheets Fucale saved 19 of 21 and Jarry saved 15 of 17.

    Yeah, and Fucale was solid. He isn’t that flashiest, but he has great positioning and he gives his team a chance to win every night. SP and GAA don’t always reflect the skill of a goalie (Look at Lundqvist at the beginning of the season).

    If Montreal had not of picked Fucale at the draft, he would without a doubt be an Oiler right now.

  78. nelson88 says:

    Interesting that Constentino also didn’t have Nurse in his camp selections.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/hockey-canada-could-benefit-from-monahan-injury/

  79. TheGreatMutato says:

    fifthcartel:
    Arpon Basu ‏@ArponBasu 2m
    Per Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, #Oilers Darnell Nurse tried to do too much and did not show an ability to play a simple game.

    Brilliant. So Hockey Canada has adopted the same process in selecting players which Kunu uses in teaching surfing. “Remember, don’t do anything.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKIpCPS-oZc

  80. Bruce McCurdy says:

    wheatnoil: He has Acton’s gritensity. If he was 3 inches taller and 30 lbs heavier he’d never be out of the Oilers line-up again.

    Oh I know that, sorry if it was unclear. I was just trolling Woodguy.

  81. Rondo says:

    TheGreatMutato,

    I think that Nurse was not selected because of his physical game . International hockey does not like hitting.

  82. bendelson says:

    The Nurse non-selection was a developing story over this past week. The decision was not made overnight and should not come as a big surprise.

    That being said, it is disappointing and does make one wonder just what Nurse had to do to make the team…

    I suspect the answer is: didn’t matter. He wasn’t doing to make this team. (period)

    Given his reaction to getting sent back to the OHL by the Oilers this past fall, I imagine this decision is not sitting well with the youngster.

  83. Bruce McCurdy says:

    hunter1909: I’d say Plante/Teubert were “busted’ prospects caused mainly from injuries. Hate to see RNH not develop to his potential, is all.

    Not sure you could have picked worse comps. Plante & Teubert certainly aren’t small guys & never were. Moreover, several of their injuries were unnecessary, as between the 2 of them they sustained 3 concussions in needless fights. Other shit happened to them too, for sure, but being a big guy proving how “tough” you are is not exactly a surefire road to an injury-free career.

    icecastles: due primarily to his size and secondarily to his already growing list of injuries

    Fill me in on this “growing list” of injuries, please. The kid joined the Oilers having never missed a game to injury IN HIS LIFE, and suffered one shoulder injury on a freak fall into the boards. He missed time, came back and played a season plus at <100% before finally undergoing surgery to correct it 16 months after sustaining the injury. This year he came back weeks ahead of schedule from that surgery and has not missed a game since. So where does this narrative come from?

  84. OilClog says:

    Isn’t Nurse dominating this year?! From the looks of his stat line.. Everything he tries to do to much of.. He succeeds.

    I’ll say it now, they won’t medal this year.

  85. Bruce McCurdy says:

    hoser313: No politics in hockey….right?

    CrazyCoach: None at all.I remember a time there when the only goalies they looked at were from the QMJHL.

    I thought the thing with the Q goalies was not so much politics as superstition.

  86. OilClog says:

    Grebs should of never made the play he made, to throw Yakupov under the bus for another players botched play is ridiculous. Midst well say every player on the ice during the Grebs give away is at fault. Otherwise the argument doesn’t stand.

  87. hunter1909 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Not sure you could have picked worse comps.

    I’m terribly sorry, but I’ve been enjoying a case of influenza since yesterday and my writing has taken another turn for the worse. I was trying to compare the injuries which derailed both prospects, not size, not anything else. Injuries like Doug Lynch got also come to mind.

    I’ve seen RNH play before he was injured and since, and he’s definitely playing with less abandon. He’s still very good, but he’s not been outstanding either, and something tells me he’s not enjoying the physicality of the NHL given the fact he’s got a teenager’s lanky body. All he needs to do is fill out, which at his age is easier said than done.

    Klefbom lost an entire year in Sweden also. Have no idea how he’s been doing in the AHL, but since no one is raving about him I suppose he’s declined from uber prospect.

  88. FastOil says:

    icecastles:
    Sometimes I get pissed that a given player I like is left off an invite list for Team Canada, but when I look at the players selected, I grudgingly accept the team roster and see that they have chosen well.

    That is absolutely not the case this year. At least Hockey Canada always manages to put together a gold-winning team.

    Oh wait. They haven’t. For five straight years.

    My faith that smart people run hockey has taken more blows this year than Charlie Sheen at a house party.

    I think you are being too hard on them. It is tricky to understand the difference between building a team through a draft and deals and maybe a salary cap, and getting to pick any player you want for a short tournament. Really tricky.

  89. Lois Lowe says:

    icecastles,

    TLDR; Calgary has a worse PDO than Edmonton, and Anaheim leads the league in man games lost.

    Everything you said was wrong and tangential to my initial post.

  90. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I thought the thing with the Q goalies was not so much politics as superstition.

    gvblackhawk: Bruce,

    I think you were wrong in naming Yakupov as the primary culprit on Dallas’ first goal in your CoH article today.Yes, he should have covered back but the primary blame still falls on Grebeshkov.When Horcoff closed in on Grebs he had three options:backhand pass to Yak, circle back on his forehand away from Horcoff, or try to skate around Horcoff on his backhand.He chose the worst option (3rd) and skated himself into more pressure.After that, he still had the option of gaining the red line and chipping the puck into the Stars’ zone.He would have lost possession but it would have been a safe play.Instead, he held onto the puck and allowed Garbutt to close on him.When he realized he was in trouble, he attempted to circle back on his forehand.At this point, he still had the option of shooting the puck deep into the Oilers zone where Bryzgalov would have had the opportunity to play the puck.Instead, he froze and allowed Garbutt to steal the puck from him.

    I don’t think that Yakupov should be playing the point on the powerplay but your article miscasts Yak in a negative manner.I don’t think that is being fair.

    Thanks for reading, and for the feedback. It was perhaps a poor choice of words on my part, but I will make the distinction that I said “a” primary culprit, not “the” primary culprit. To wit:

    Playing the point, he was a primary culprit on both shorthanded goals against, breakaways by Jonathan Toews and Ryan Garbutt that opened the scoring in two different games. Killer goals.

    THE primary error on the Garbutt shortie was clearly Grebeshkov, as I thought I had made clear both in the very next paragraph as well as in the commentary in the linked game grades. But I also tend to use a shorthand of “primary” and “secondary” mistakes on scoring chances and goals to address the degree of the mistake. If I was scoring this one, I would have given primary errors to both Grebs and Yakupov, albeit Grebs would be listed first. I agree with you, he had some options, including passing it back to Bryzgalov, a soccer play that one rarely sees in hockey. But no doubt when he looked up for his partner and found an intergalactic void, he had to make a quick decision and obviously failed in its execution. But Yak’s own failure to provide fundamental support to a stressed teammate played, as I put it, “a crucial role in the breakdown”.

    As for miscasting Yak in a negative manner, I’m struggling to find positives, I really am. But this season has seen precious few of them.

  91. Bruce McCurdy says:

    hunter1909: I’ve seen RNH play before he was injured and since, and he’s definitely playing with less abandon.

    Playing with less abandon is something the Oilogosphere was practically begging Hall to do. You know, that guy with ankle, shoulder, head, and knee injuries so far in his career. If RNH is as “injury prone” as discussed above, then surely he needs to do the same.

    RNH has to play smart, he is after all still coming back from a major surgery that usually has implications for a few months after the player’s return. There’s a fine line between “less abandon” and “tentative”. In my view there have been some nights that he crossed that line (such as in Columbus), and if there are a couple of other items that he needs to develop in concert with his “old man strength” they might be consistency and stamina. But I don’t see durability as an issue (hockey Gords willing), and he’s not usually timid. For what it’s worth he currently ranks 2nd among Oilers centres in hits, behind only Arcobello.

    Feel better soon, Hunter.

  92. Caramel Obvious says:

    Jankowksi, in explaining why Domi was left off the team, said those immortal words of incompetent hockey people everywhere, “we are not assembling an all-star team, we are trying to assemble the best team.”

    Here’s a newsflash for you. There is no reason an all-star team can’t play like a team, and no reason your hand picked team will necessarily play like a team. Pick the best players every single time.

  93. denny33 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    The “support” was Yakupov, who also turned the wrong way & headed up-ice, hoping for the backhand sauce pass from Grebeshkov beating both guys that were mugging him, thus setting Yak up for the ever-dangerous one-on-three rush against the remaining PKers. I get that we need to be patient with Yakupov, but at some point he needs to extract his head from his arse and realize he’s playing professional hockey, not shinny at the community league rink.
    As for Grebeshkov, he did get two more shifts, then allowed the exact same Gord-damned guy to get behind him for a second breakaway. Didn’t score this time, just killed the goalie. That ended the night for both Bryzgalov & Grebeshkov.
    Bryz had a fine half-game, but all in all it wasn’t a good night for Oilers’ Russian contingent.

    *************************************************************************

    Agreed on Yak….

    As far as Grebeshkov – I am not even certain he was the worst defenceman on the night.

    Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry are a number one pairing in the National Hockey League.

    Right this down people because in a few years nobody will believe you….I almost don’t and I am living through it…

    I have seen that paring a lot but last night was tough to watch.

  94. wheatnoil says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Oh I know that, sorry if it was unclear.I was just trolling Woodguy.

    Yeah I know, I think the problem is that I wasn’t very clear. I saw you were trolling Woodguy and in my head my comment was more like: “You know, the funny thing is that is actually HAS Acton’s grit-tensity. If only he had a bit more size he’d be everything the Oilers are desperately wanting right now.” More of a general comment that your joke about grit-tensity sparked for me than trying to call you out or anything.

  95. Logan91 says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    Jankowksi, in explaining why Domi was left off the team, said those immortal words of incompetent hockey people everywhere, “we are not assembling an all-star team, we are trying to assemble the best team.”

    Here’s a newsflash for you.There is no reason an all-star team can’t play like a team, and no reason your hand picked team will necessarily play like a team.Pick the best players every single time.

    They need to have more kids invited to these camps. Something like 3 or 4 players are going to get cut from that list, so there is next to no internal competition to find out who is the best.

    Basically just a hand picked team of players they THINK will help Canada win.

  96. Captain Smarmy says:

    Hockey Canada fresh off several gold medals decided that Kevin Prendergast would be an integral addition to their junior selection process. That’s all you really need to say about them and how they evaluate talent.

    Even if Darnell Nurse is NHL ready next season it doesn’t mean a damn thing because they continuously don’t invite players that end up in the NHL eight months later.

  97. denny33 says:

    Given what everyone in here has been saying about Nurse and his play at the Soo – I am in shock that he did not even get an invite.

    I thought Darnell and Josh Moriessey were the #1 pairing for the under 18′s.?

    Wow.

  98. rickithebear says:

    PDO: so let me get this straight!
    everyone is of equal play so everyone should regress to the mean
    though it never does in one season.
    so it is not a variance in player abilty
    it is luck and not enough games to ballance out.

    Forgive me!
    i look at every shot against and determining an expected GA count
    based on cummulative averages of x,y location of shot.
    you see if it is higher or lower.

    now it is important to note a simple look at two players can show a marked diffrence between 0-20ft shots and >20ft shot ratios.
    Erhoff the last 3 years is 24% 0-20ft, 76% >20ft shots 1 out of every 4.17 shots is a high % range.
    J. schultz the last two seasons is 30.5% and 69.5% 1 out of every 3.28 shots is high %.
    Is this luck and is 1000 his PDO norm.

  99. TheOtherJohn says:

    Sutter has not lost a game in the WJC in 2 separate years. Think about that. The 05 team was absolutely loaded. The 06 team was strikingly average. Maybe the worst winning team in the recent history of that event. Certainly the worse undefeated team.

    The 05 team also had a late 2nd round pick on the first D pairing that has gone on to a Olympic Gold medal.

    So while calling Team Canada staff incompetent you include the coach of a Memorial Cup champion, 2 undefeated WJC gold medalists. But clearly if he doesn’t take a player we like ……. he is a bleep bleep loser

  100. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I thought the thing with the Q goalies was not so much politics as superstition.

    I’d say its some sort of old country voodoo.

  101. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    1) Quality of Competition – what you’re suggesting is that QoC doesn’t matter much. Actually, it does. A lot. QoC is one of the defining elements of what separates a 1D from a 3D. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of … well, every single game of hockey I’ve ever watched.

    Now, it is true that hockey is a ‘flow’ game and that therefore it is tough to get the matchups you want all the time. Given the rules, this is especially true on the road.

    Nonetheless, while it’s true you can’t fully optimize matchups, it’s foolish to suggest that this means they have no value, or that you shouldn’t try.

    The one place where you *fully* control a matchup and therefore QoC is in a home game during a faceoff (excepting icings). This allows you to control the matchup for perhaps 20 to 30s after a faceoff (after that, “flow” takes over and your point about matchups being hard becomes true).

    A quick look at the data suggests that there are about 60 faceoffs in a game. So non-hypothetically, the home team coach can control the QoC of his defenseman approximately 55 times x 25s in a game, or fully 23 minutes in a game. This is not trivia, and it is not trivial. Actually, I imagine it’s part of the strategy of every winning coach.

    If you’re going to insist that this doesn’t matter, I ask you to respond to a very simple hypothetical situation: You are the home team coach. It’s late in the game and the score is tied. It is a faceoff in the d zone, and the Ovechkin (or Toews, or Crosby, etc.) line is out against you. For a defensive pairing, you can choose between: a. Weber/Suter b. Petry/Ference c. Whitney/Grebeshkov. Please choose.

    If your answer is “a”, please explain why 1D vs QoC is not the driving point of the decision.

    If your answer is anything other than “a”, no need to explain, I suggest you instead prepare for the enormous amount of well-deserved mockery that is likely to come your way!

    QoC matters. A lot. It is probably the fundamental defining aspect of what makes a 1D (able to play effectively against top competition) vs a 3D being asked to play 1D (and by definition, not doing very well).

    2) Time on Ice – Let me turn this back on you and ask: you *don’t* think playing 20 mins a night against mostly second tier competition is going to make for better quality play from Petry vs playing 22 mins against a night against top flight competition? Easy answer as far as I’m concerned. Damn straight that 2 minutes makes a difference. So does the other 20.

    Side note: one of the things that also separates a 1D from a 3D is a certain combination of horse-like endurance and economy of effort. A 1D can play 25 mins a night effectively. A 3D cannot.

    3) Psychology – We are not talking about filling in. We are talking about the psychology of playing top-flight competition night after night (where a single mistake is very likely to cause a goal) vs playing easier competition night after night.

    The psychology is simple:

    Virtuous circle of playing less time and against lesser (or at least “more comparable”) competition: less pressure means less stress means fewer mistakes means better play means more confidence means less pressure means …

    Vicious circle of playing more time against higher (too high) competition: more pressure means more stress means more mistakes means worsening play means less confidence means more pressure means …

    It is no coincidence that every slumping team and every slumping player talks about “playing a simpler game”.

    Side note: again, like playing time and QoC, psychological sturdiness is part and parcel of what makes a 1D. “Cool under pressure” or “unflappable” or “poise” or whatever you want to call it. Lidstrom was calm and collected whether he was retrieving the puck against Crosby or against Gazdic. Petry … is not.

    4) Hall makes Gazdic better – yes, your point is ridiculous. If you’re going to treat Gazdic like we are treating our D and play him up the lineup because of a lack of talent or injuries, OBVIOUSLY Hall being on the team makes Gazdic better. How? Because he’s playing fourth line time, where his job is to get burned as little as possible (already in over his head most nights), cycle the puck (rare), and occasionally punch faces (OK).

    No Hall means Gazdic playing on the third line, where his job is to shutdown the opposition and score timely goals. OMFG. Are you kidding me? He’s not just going to get burned by being in over his head, his play will fall off a cliff from being thrown to the wolves every night. Please read Point #3 on Psychology if it is not clear to you why this is the case.

  102. sliderule says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I reviewed the sequence and yak was never playing the point .

    It was the end of the pp as the second unit came on .There was a scrum along the wall and Greb lost the puck and retreated.The obvious play was to dump it with the pressure but he made a mistake.

    If you follow the replay you can see83 on the wall and actually further back than Yakupov.Was he at fault?No of course not ..if on the pp you try to anticipate every dumb play of your teammates you never get out of your end.You just keep retreating.

    If you are in a 1 /3 1 pp setup or even an umbrella pp setup the last player I would put on the point is Yakupov.Eakins would have put Grebs as the point man in either setup so he had the responsibility.

    That why Grebs never saw the ice in the third.Bonehead plays from rookie can be accepted .From a veteran no!

  103. DeadmanWaking says:

    hunter1909: Fedun: Since breaking his leg I’ve really hated this player. Why? Simply because the Lowetide/Oilsphere PC drive kicking in and it’s “Let’s all root for a totally damaged prospect”

    My my. Here’s a man on the run from forming his own opinions.

    To fill the inner vacuum Hunter hangs out where other people express strong opinions formed through their own minds and personalities, then–because he needs to distinguish himself from those who think for themselves–unfurls the opposite George, the original highly-reflective Mylar flag.

    No reason. Just because.

    while the other reality of a 29th or whatever placed team endlessly continues.

    The job of borrowing your opinions from the group sentiment of like-minded individuals–in some matters–becomes a hell of a lot easier if opinions are marched in single file, as if this were a Rowing of the Galley Slaves where a laser-focus on “this sucks, we suck, and especially you suck” is all you’ve got left.

    Hunter, we’re not actually manacled to this sinking ship, so it’s possible to hold two opinions (or more) at the same time without shirking harsh reality.

    hunter1909: crybabies

    That’s precisely the word I already had it mind. I beat you to it. I was already thinking “big boys don’t cry” after your first post.

    Personal misfortune kind of chokes you up, doesn’t it? You might start thinking about your life story, and that just wouldn’t cut it as a public facade.

    Whoever it is in the NHL who ruled (“endlessly” one might say) against no-touch icing is a direct descendant of that Roman commodore.

    Ben Hur is giving him the evil eyeball as the malnourished Feduns topple into the aisle during a preseason trailing tilt, where their hopes and dreams and career prospects succumb to the blue juice of mass entertainment for all the closet Michael Vicks spewing Spanish ducats into league coffers.

    ***

    My phrase “no reason” echoes The Warriors.

    Swan: Why’d you do it? Why’d you waste Cyrus?

    Luther: No reason. I just… like doing things like that!

    This is shortly before Luther receives a game misconduct, to his person, (off screen) from a dozen different people armed with blunt scythes. Samwise had the briefest taste of Luther’s leave. It wasn’t pretty.

    ***

    I’m slowly figuring this out. What we have here is the real Hunter vs. Hunter’s reality.

    Like Petry’s shoulder check, it’s going to be a long work in progress.

  104. Lowetide says:

    Ben Hur. Man. That’s some awesome visual.

  105. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money,

    Your entire post was non-responsive in many ways. For instance, I didn’t say that quality of competition didn’t matter, I said that the difference in quality of competition between a 1D and a 3D isn’t that large. And as an empirical matter I believe you are simply wrong about this. Go look at the data if you don’t believe me.

    Once you come back the reason for this is obvious. It is because, as you noted, it is impossible to always get the matchup you want and hence to a large extent everyone plays against everyone. And second, it is because there isn’t that big a difference between the first and second “scoring” lines on most teams. Indeed the terminology is mostly meaningless. So even when you get the matchup you want that still means your “second” pairing is going up against a line that is almost as good. There is no such thing as a one line team in the NHL.

    Really, this is magical thinking at work. I’m surprised at you.

  106. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Ha ha, nice try. Don’t respond to the challenge and call *my* post non-responsive! You know the answer is “a”, everyone knows the answer is “a”, and everyone knows the reason it’s “a” is because you always *always* match your best D against the best of the other guys whenever you get the chance. Always.

    I know you probably feel you’ve argued yourself into a corner and you’ll look bad for admitting your wrong, but … you won’t, believe me.

    I have looked at the data, and the hierarchy of 1 – 6 D is unequivocal. For example, LA Kings, a really good team with a definitive 1D. Who faces the toughest QoC? Doughty. Does the distinction between 1st and 2nd and 1st through 6th get more distinct at home? Yes. Yes it does.

    As for the data, I think maybe you’re not as comfortable with numbers as you make yourself out to be. Perhaps you’re fooled by the fact that the numbers are not vastly different. Here’s something to think about: if the difference between your top 2D and your next 2D is “merely” 0.5%, you may decide this is a minor amount. Might help to factor in (in this example I’m using ExtraSkater’s TOI QoC) that the entire range for the team is 3.3%.

    Despite the stark observable differences in the deployment of e.g. 1st line to 4th line, the data “smears” to produce a 3.3% range. We know 1st and 4th lines get used way differently. We know its bad news for a team to have its 4th line out against the other teams top line.

    The data still smears to 3.3% range (for a deep team like the Kings). This is an aspect of the data you must take into account if you’re going to analyze it well.

    That 0.5% difference you appear to be sniffing at encompasses fully 15% of the entire range. The difference from 1D to 6D is also stark (>200 basis points, more than 2/3ds of the entire teams range).

    Equally and unsurprisingly, the differences in separation become more stark for the D at home, despite the fact that the overall range actually shrinks.

    No magical thinking here, my friend. Just simple math and years of observation, same as it ever was.

  107. Caramel Obvious says:

    G Money,

    Qcomp from behind the net for the Kings ranked from hardest competition to easiest.

    Voynov -.916
    Regehr -.952
    Doughty -1.165
    Muzzin -1.452
    Martinez -1.967
    Greene -2.969

    Those numbers are average corsi of opposing players weighty by playing time. That means the difference between the 1D and 3D is a massive .249 Corsi, i.e. nothing. The difference from top to bottom is still only 2.053.

    You’ll find similar type ranges with every team in the league, though most will have slightly larger ranges. For instance the difference between #1 for the Oilers Ference (.317) and #3 Belov (-.523) is still only .84, so one corsi event, i.e. almost nothing.

    And you are still being consistently non-responsive to the point where it might be intentional. I didn’t say that coaches didn’t chase matchups, but that when you add up the differences it doesn’t amount to very much. This is as plain as day in the data. If you look league wide the difference between the toughest and easiest competition is something on the order of 4 or 5.* That’s significant but it doesn’t do any good to exaggerate the significance, especially since we were talking about the difference between first and second pairing defensemen.**

    * You’ll note that the range for Qteam is much larger than Qcomp even though the units are the same. This demonstrates that quality of teammates is much, much, more significant than quality of competition.

    ** And the reason for this is obvious as well. If you match up hypothetical 1D against Anze Kopitar that leaves hypothetical 3D to play against Jeff Carter. Splitting the difference between them is making a mountain out of molehill.
    I’m sad to say that it is you, my friend, who have talked yourself into a corner.

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