HOCKEY IS A BATTLE

Did I ever tell you why I’m a fan of Craig MacTavish? It all started when he arrived as an Edmonton Oiler—I knew him as a Bruin, but didn’t really see him as he became. The truth is, MacT wasn’t MacT until he got here, he had all the parts but didn’t become the classic checking center until he was an Oiler. The old timey Habs had Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard, and they were dynamite. But their third center was a guy named Ralph Backstrom, who was a MacTavish. Backstrom probably could have scored more on another team but the Canadiens used him in a checking role. Now, this is all stuff that I recall from stories my Dad told, but the history books confirm it and I did see Ralph as a Hab when a kid.

Anyway, the beauty of MacT as a player was a sense of purpose, unerring devotion to the plan, and consistency. Clarity. I grew to appreciate his hard work, his dogged determination, his ability to delay sorties and chip in on offense. At his peak, MacTavish as a player was overshadowed by others (Messier and Kurri got the Selke votes) but he skated miles in the name of delaying an effective sortie. Ralph Backstrom would have loved him.

As a coach, MacTavish was very similar to MacT the player. I learned a tremendous amount from MacT as coach, he made so damn much sense. Just one year into his time as GM, I think there’s a thread of logic in his style. Not perfect, but a thread of logic and reason.

Which brings us to Mr. Eakins.

  • corsi last nightDallas Eakins: “You could argue which team was better five-on-five tonight… It was one of those nights where we came up short on the PK.”

There’s a lot to dislike about last night’s game: the PK was horrible, SJS would have been tired from their schedule, veterans taking penalties is never a welcome addition to the plot, but the Corsi for % at 5×5 slightly favored the Oilers. Oh, and they LOOKED organized for long periods. Small victories are big steps. I like Eakins clarity, his sense of the team and for the most part his in-season moves. There are exceptions, but you’re going to get that with any coach.

I believe it’s important to remember he’s a rookie too. A lot of the fanbase is put off by his arrogance, but for me that’s not a big deal. After Saturday night’s game against Calgary, I wrote “the only way we’ll be able to keep track is results on-ice, and it is scarcely possible it can get any worse than last night.”

It was better last night, despite the final score. The Oilers looked organized for a long time, and the penalty kill and a two mistakes by their best defenseman (along with a goal that should have been saved) did them in. I’ll take that if it’s combined with the Corsi above, because history tells us if you play that kind of game the result will turn your way often enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Dallas Eakins is a rookie coach. He’s arrogant, has Punch Imlach’s ability to say “they” when he should say “we” and vice-versa, and is extremely unaware of the “better to say too little rule” when asked a direct question. I like his clarity, and believe it’s prudent to add help at D and C this summer, and to give this another try. Make no mistake, an evaluation will/may be taking place and there could be a change at the coaching position.

This fan would prefer roster moves. I don’t think there’s a coach alive who could bring this defense home inside the playoffs. The man responsible for that was fired April 15, 2013.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

JOHANSSON

I’m not taking part in winter anymore, so we’ll be ignoring the elements on the Lowdown this morning. Happy spring! A busy morning, scheduled to appear on TSN 1260 beginning at 10:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll discuss last night’s game and Eakins future.
  • Ryan Marsh, Hockey Director Vimy Ridge Academy Assistant Coach of University of Alberta Golden Bears Hockey. The Golden Bears are a dominant hockey program over decades, we’ll talk to Ryan about the championship won this weekend and the power of teamwork.
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Baseball! We’ll talk about the growth of the sport and the big week for Montreal Expos fans.
  • Tom Dakers, Bluebird Banter. Blue Jays opening day roster is known (well, kind of) and we’ll talk baseball season.

10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Spring!!!!

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

141 Responses to "HOCKEY IS A BATTLE"

  1. Halfwise says:

    They aren’t better than last year in the standings.

    But if you had Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff and Mike Babcock look at game film from last year and this year and answer the question “which team has a better chance to compete for a playoff spot in the West?” I think there’d be a consensus.

    The team still has to make own-zone responsibility something that comes naturally.

    Get Eakins a top pair D or two (and no, I am not referring to ScarJo here) and see what next year brings.

    Oh, and some PP focus and zone exits. Thanks Santa.

  2. FastOil says:

    Agreed the hockey is heading in the right direction. Eakins being arrogant might actually be a good thing because with so many high picks on the team I think he needs as much self confidence as they have to be able to guide/push them.

    I do have a problem though, and that is I had to wait 10 minutes for you to post this. I think I’ll be ok. Please wake up earlier.

  3. Lois Lowe says:

    I don’t actually think it’s a mistake that Eakins says, “they” instead of “we”. He was very clear that the dressing room is “their’s” early on in the season.

  4. frjohnk says:

    For next year
    Let Eakins continue his own development. He is a rookie coach.
    Get a good assistant coach to help.
    Sign a couple of good free agents.

    If next year at this time, we are looking at a top 5 pick, FIRE EVERYBODY, including the cheerleaders and toilet cleaners.

  5. Ben says:

    This team is cursed. Cursed, I tells ya.

    That was one of the better 5v5 games I’ve seen them play all year. Yet pucks find a way into our net on every rare occasion.

    My worry is that when the team plays the right way and still loses by a field goal, the message seems less credible. That’s my sense of what happened in the first two weeks of the season, anyhow.

  6. oliveoilers says:

    Dallas Eakins: “You could argue which team was better five-on-five tonight… It was one of those nights where we came up short on the PK.”

    See, this is the problem I have with DE. I watched the 1st all the way through. Oilers were making tired Sharks skate to keep up. Great 1st period, though I would have preferred a few of those good chances to go in. Oh well. I remember thinking “SJ will come out strong, otherwise they know they are done. If we can keep this up for 10mins in the 2nd, we should be ok.) Then came the Slumpbusters. Players losing focus couple to the coach not making the necessary tweeks to keep them in the game. What brought this home was I’d just finished putting the kids to bed and sat down and the Advanced Stat of shots in the period came up. 20 to 3 in favour of the Sharks. So back to my problem with Eakins. What game was he watching? Simply awesome sound bites. Simply terrible execution. Players must also be asked “why aren’t doing what you were doing in the first?” You see SJ changed their tactics. We seem to have trouble doing the same until too late.

  7. oliveoilers says:

    frjohnk:
    For next year
    Let Eakins continue his own development.He is a rookie coach.
    Get a good assistant coach to help.
    Sign a couple of good free agents.

    If next year at this time, we are looking at a top 5 pick, FIRE EVERYBODY, including the cheerleaders and toilet cleaners.

    LOL, if I’m Eakins and MacT says to me “we’re going to get you some help, an assistant”, I go and prepare three envelopes!

  8. rich says:

    The underlying numbers confirmed what I saw 5v5 last night. That was a good sign as we should be able to play well against a team coming off back to backs.

    Too often this season, that hasn’t even been the case. A positive despite the loss.

    MacT’s laundry list for the summer:

    1. Top pairing d-men (this is a priority). Must have 1, preferably a 2nd.
    2. 1 or 2C. Would say this is important but not as important as help on the back end.
    3. Get Eakins quality NHL assistants. Enough with the good old boys nonsense.

    Still no guarantee that even with those moves, they’ll make the playoffs next year, but they’ll be far more competitive than this season. If you solve #1, you can then push guys down and off-load dead weight on defense – and sorry, I harp on it but Fraser is not an NHL d-man by any stretch of the imagination. Every time he goes out your chances of your opponent scoring are very, very good.

  9. PunjabiOil says:

    I don’t think there’s much to be encouraged about last night. If anything, it was the first time in 13 games they out corsi’d their opponent? That too, an opponent playing the second game on the road on a back-to-back.

    Buffalo, missing their top 3 players came in on the road and outchanced us. That is not progress.

    It just isn’t.

    Furthermore, while most of the game is played on even-strength, special teams matter and goals for or against can alter both momentum and outcome of games. The considerable decline of both the powerplay (as well as 11 shorthanded goals against) and penalty kill has to be attributed to the coach. At least when MacT was the coach, you could reasonably argue they didn’t have the personnel for success on the powerplay.

    With the weapons they have now, somebody has to be held accountable.

    That should be Dallas Eakins.

    It’s time for a new coach, continuity be damned.

  10. Ducey says:

    I thought the Oilers could have shot a lot more. The Corsi could have been even higher.

    Still too many attempts at seeing eye passes in the third. You would think they would learn from the 2nd goal when the dman just put it on net and Hall pounced on the rebound.

    Oh well, a good result. The Oilers play reasonably well, and lose. FLA and NYI win. National media distracted by the implosion of the Leaves.

    Its looking more and more like the Oil will pick top 3.

  11. RMGS says:

    In his first year, MacT has turned over half the roster (and changed the coach) inherited from his incompetent predecessor.

    Question asked in good faith: At what point will MacT (not Tambellini, not Lowe) be held responsible for his team’s performance?

  12. sliderule says:

    Ference was exposed especially on one goal when he was in front of net looking at puck completely oblivious to I believe Pavelski standing 6 ft away,rebound and puck in net.He was directly involved in another non coverage where he puck watched in corner and he and Nuge couldn’t get back to front of net.
    You contrast that to the OK city pair who can make nervous mistakes but in front of net they try to get a stick on and watch the scoring area.
    This is what concerns me about the coaching as Marincin and Klefbom were trained in AHL .Ference is a veteran who has played all over but he doesn’t cover anyone.Do the oiler coaches not see this and why do they not emphasize coverage in the scoring areas.
    It looks like the whole team is caught between swarming the puck or coverage and doing neither.
    Whether you just replace the assistants or Eakins plus them the team needs coaching that takes away the confusion that seems to have infected even the veterans

  13. icecastles says:

    PunjabiOil: Buffalo, missing their top 3 players came in on the road and outchanced us. That is not progress.
    It just isn’t.

    If progress were measured in 60 minute increments, you’d be right. Thankfully it isn’t.

    Not saying they’ve progressed this year. Just saying that’s a terrible way to frame the argument.

    PunjabiOil: It’s time for a new coach, continuity be damned.

    Five coaches since the suckage started. FIVE. The problem is not the coach. I’m truly flabbergasted that after this many coaching changes, people are still saying it’s the coach. These poor players are going to end up with multiple personality disorder if we see yet another change.

    If 15 or 20 games in next year things are still a mess, it’s a conversation to be had. It isn’t right now.

  14. oliveoilers says:

    RMGS:
    In his first year, MacT has turned over half the roster (and changed the coach) inherited from his incompetent predecessor.

    Question asked in good faith:At what point will MacT (not Tambellini, not Lowe) be held responsible for his team’s performance?

    I think out of the three, MacT has the longest leash. As you say, MacT has turned over half the roster. However, I seem to remember some quote from MacT about some of these players being stepping stone players. It would be unrealistic to expect him to be able to go and make every deal he wants within the first year. He also has to do this with limited assets as apparently his list of untouchables is quite large. So he has to draft/sign/trade players, build value, then flip them. Now, could he play his cards a little closer to his chest? Sure, but I suggest he has two more seasons.

  15. flyfish1168 says:

    MacT reminds me of Butch Goring and what he brought to the Islanders before they won there 4 SC.

  16. russ99 says:

    This is why I worry about our future.

    Unbending devotion to defense and emphasizing the collective over individual talent at the expense of offensive and special teams cohesion only leads to losses.

    Turning us into a team that has to win 1-0 or 2-1 every night is a bad idea.

    Gotta score to win, and I hate to break it to Eakins, our defense hasn’t won us any games this year.

  17. icecastles says:

    RMGS: Question asked in good faith: At what point will MacT (not Tambellini, not Lowe) be held responsible for his team’s performance?

    Good question. I think one season in is far too early, but we can certainly assess the roster decisions he’s made so far. LT has done a couple really nice posts on this topic and barring a few risks that didn’t pan out, on the whole I’d say he’s done well especially for a rookie GM.

    To my mind, the biggest problem he has thus far is threefold:
    1) It’s still not easy to attract free agents without hobbling yourself on an overpay/overterm contract.
    2) He came into a team with a crappy mix of untouchable guys (Hall, Nuge, etc), and untradeable guys. The players MacT needs to offload aren’t ones other teams are clamoring for, and there are only so many contracts that can be bought out or waived without upgrade replacements. This severely restricts his ability to make decent trades.
    3) There have simply been so many holes to fill.

    Given these factors, it’s going to take more than a season or two to get things moving in the right direction again. In his first year though, I think he’s done a good job of stabilizing things at least. I’m more curious than trepidatious at this point to see what he does next. Its not an easy challenge, to be sure.

  18. Kosmo Kraemer says:

    I think Eakins easily has the first 30 games next year before things get ugly if the season looks no better than this year. In order for MacT to save his own skin he will have to deal with Eakins. Now when Eakins was with the Marlies, the Marlies did improve in Eakins second year, hopefully this will apply to the Oilers as well. Oilers will improve, but not enough to make the playoffs even with aacquisition of a good defense man to be the number one.

  19. icecastles says:

    oliveoilers: So he has to draft/sign/trade players, build value, then flip them.

    Agree with everything you said (see? I don’t hate you).

    I think the term you used “flip them” is really key to his strategy: there’s the famous story about a guy who started out trading a paperclip and eventually walked away with a house.

    MacT came into the job with an overabundance of paperclips. I believe he’s playing a long game here and is making very few trades without thinking two or three moves past. It won’t always work, but it’s impressive to watch and will become moreso as time goes on. So refreshing to see a truly intelligent man at work.

    Yeah, I’m drinking the kool-aid. But I really think there’s something to him. At least to the extent that he needs an extended chance to prove himself.

  20. oliveoilers says:

    Age categories

    To qualify in a category, the player must be under the age limit as of December 31 of the current season.
    Initiation: under 7 years of age[2] AKA Hockey 1 Hockey 2 previously known as Tyke
    Novice: under 9 years of age[3] AKA Hockey 3 and Hockey 4
    Atom: under 11 years of age[4]
    Peewee: under 13 years of age[5]
    Bantam: under 15 years of age[6]
    Midget: under 18 years of age[7]
    Juvenile under 20 years of age (18-20), for players who want to remain in hockey at a minor hockey association level. Those not playing Junior or playing Senior.
    Junior: under 21 years of age[8] Junior: Broken up into Major Junior WHL, OHL, QMJHL. Junior A (Tier II Junior), Junior B and Junior C in some locations.
    Senior: no age limit

    Smaller communities will often combine the Mite, Mini Mite and Squirts levels into a single Initiation (or Pre-Novice) category.

    Above is from Hockey Canada’s guidelines for playing ages. The reason I post this is because of the “keep the coach, because we’ve fired five in a row in short order” narrative. As you can see, this maps out the progression of a typical start to a hockey player’s career. Each of these age levels has different coaches and playing styles as the child grows to maturity and is able to grasp abstract concepts of tactics and achieve more activities physically.

    What this highlights is by the NHL, players are very used to playing different systems under different coaches. If a player was to develop in synch with these guidelines, he could have at least 9 coaches in 14 yrs. That is on the conservative side.

    I tried to get stats for individual players, but it’s difficult to get before junior A.

  21. Clarkenstein says:

    Relax people. It will all get better when Katz’s kid takes over as President of the org. First he has to finish his Grade XII which, when you come to think of it, is more education than the current President has!

  22. oilabroad says:

    icecastles,

    When you improve your team on paper but the on ice product is worse, I think its fair to say the coach may have something to do with that. How long do you keep a guy for the sake of continuity when you aren’t getting the results?? Honestly, this is a results driven business, I don’t see how anyone can’t see that.

  23. LMHF#1 says:

    Really looked like only one line was going last night – Hall-Gagner-Perron.

    They had some dangerous sequences in the offensive zone but no one else really did. The bottom six is beyond horrible right now and Anton Lander is no Yakupov/Hemsky.

  24. hags9k says:

    I’m not onside with you today LT. That 5 on 5 number was juiced up in the 3rd in garbage time. The 5 on 5 close was much worse. All we did was play them even steven after they got up 4-1. Congrats guys. We got pumped at home again. Team playing back to back. This team has regressed, (I didn’t think it was possible). Eakins should be fired without a doubt. Unless of course Batman’s plan is to “faulter for Conner”, which we all might want to start considering is a very real possibility.

    Does anyone think if we fired Dallas Eakins that he would be hired as a head coach in the NHL by another team? If you have to ask the question….

  25. oliveoilers says:

    I was watching ‘Night at the Museum’ the other night with my daughter. The scene came on that made me think of the ‘Fire Everybody’ advocates: Big Ben Stiller has been captured by the tiny Owen Wilson and been tied to a toy train set rail;

    Ben: Why are you doing this?

    Owen: Because somebody has to pay……

    Ben: Pay? Pay for what?

    Owen: I don’t know! Just pay! Now take it like a man!

  26. Ducey says:

    oliveoilers,

    Thats ridiculous. The players kids grow up playing against also have a new coach every year. Up until Bantam, there should be little emphasis on sytems, with most of the time spent on skill development.

    The Oilers are playing against men whose full time job it is to learn and execute a certain system. Many of those teams have had a great deal of continuity with the same coach and system. Its why vets are better defensively by and large.

    Often the game comes down to one or two plays where the system isn’t executed properly. Continuity and experience with that system is often going to be a factor.

  27. Hammers says:

    RMGS:
    In his first year, MacT has turned over half the roster (and changed the coach) inherited from his incompetent predecessor.

    Question asked in good faith:At what point will MacT (not Tambellini, not Lowe) be held responsible for his team’s performance?

    For me he has to be at least fighting for a playoff spot next year not in the playoffs but the year after if his team isn’t in the playoffs there all gone . As for Eakins depending on who McT trades for , or signs as free agents if he stumbles McT will go behind the bench himself but I don’t think it will come to that .

  28. Andy P says:

    We’re looking for balance on the roster but what about on the coaching staff? A mixture between grinders and thinkers. You need both.

    Krueger was a thinker. Which may help explain why he was alone in the bunch, in getting 40% wins, vs 33%-35% from the other 3. He had Bucky and Smith as the grinders, but he was able to balance out Bucky by motivating the young core, who are clearly not grinders. Although if the defence deteriorated when he stepped up to HC, was that on Krueger or Smith? But that’s water under the bridge.

    Eakins seems to me to be an articulate grinder. Bucky and Smith are simply grinders. They coach like they played, and there’s the problem. To add balance in the coaching lineup, we need an Offense Assistant that can work at the level of skill that we have in our young core, not a person that was a grinder for their whole playing career. The alternative is exactly what we have right now – an unexploited young offense, being turned into a bunch of grinders. Ultimately they will all surely leave and be replaced by the LA template. Starting with Hemmers…..

    Or, Eakins will be allowed to clean house, or at the very least, replace Bucky with someone more suited to the players we want to build our offense around, and then perhaps, between better offensive coaching and a more balanced roster, we may get somewhere.

  29. icecastles says:

    oliveoilers: I was watching ‘Night at the Museum’ the other night

    I don’t like you again.

    oliveoilers: with my daughter.

    Okay you’re still cool. Twice as cool actually.

  30. oliveoilers says:

    Ducey:
    oliveoilers,

    Thats ridiculous.The players kids grow up playing against also have a new coach every year.Up until Bantam, there should be little emphasis on sytems, with most of the time spent on skill development.

    The Oilers are playing against men whose full time job it is to learn and execute a certain system.Many of those teams have had a great deal of continuity with the same coach and system.Its why vets are better defensively by and large.

    Often the game comes down to one or two plays where the system isn’t executed properly.Continuity and experience with that system is often going to be a factor.

    The point was supposed to encompass ALL players, not just Oilers. Apologies if this wasn’t clear. To put it more simply, continuity in coaching is exactly what we need. With the right coach. Otherwise you are compounding failure time and again. I think DE has another season, maybe less, with some new roster personnel. I would like to see him with this. You are taking as gospel that the coach is infallible and it’s the players fault if they do not execute his systems satisfactorily. But what if the systems are wrong at this level?

    I was also trying to get across that a different coach every season with systems isn’t a strange concept to many young players. You confusing work content with body of work. I do highlight this by saying “Each of these age levels has different coaches and playing styles as the child grows to maturity and is able to grasp abstract concepts of tactics and achieve more activities physically. ”

    Vets are generally better because they have been playing at a higher level for longer. It has nothing to do with having the same coach for years.

  31. justDOit says:

    RMGS:

    Question asked in good faith:At what point will MacT (not Tambellini, not Lowe) be held responsible for his team’s performance?

    That is a good question, and I don’t pretend to know the answer. But I do know that whoever does answer it, has to forget the first 7 years of suckage. We’re all pissed of because this will be the 8th year, and that’s fine, but anything that happened before MacT’s arrival to the big chair has to be forgotten. In fact, if anything, he deserves a little extra time for being saddled with such a shit show.

  32. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Jordan Staal is today’s Craig MacTavish.

    RMGS:
    In his first year, MacT has turned over half the roster (and changed the coach) inherited from his incompetent predecessor.

    Question asked in good faith:At what point will MacT (not Tambellini, not Lowe) be held responsible for his team’s performance?

    At least three years, barring an unprecedented series of disastrous free agent acquisitions and trades.

    Look, you can’t just point to the fact at how much of the roster has changed.

    It’s about how shitty it was and how little he had to work with in the beginning.

    This isn’t NHL 14, you’re not trading Gagner for Richards.

  33. denny33 says:

    The Cult of Hockey guys have done a great job of trying to see if there has been any improvement in the Edmonton Oilers this year.

    Bruce:

    Hard to conclude from any of the foregoing that the Oilers have improved in any significant way so far in 2013-14. If the younger players have added structure to their game — a frequent claim by coaching and management — it’s relatively transparent by the key metrics of shots, goals, and wins

    The Edmonton Oilers are 29th in the league.

    Again, *not* saying they should fire Dallas. But some people are really contorting themselves into knots trying to see * progress* where there is none.

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/03/25/its-difficult-to-make-the-case-that-edmonton-oilers-have-improved-under-dallas-eakins/

    His work speaks for itself. No sense trying to sugar coat it.

    Perhaps some people are falling hard for the Oiler managment & PR line of “more *structured* game”….they are selling this line – HARD.

    *Usual caveat – yes, our roster has holes*

  34. RexLibris says:

    I loved MacTavish as a player as well.

    I think he was my favourite Oiler growing up because you could see the effort and determination in every shift, and when the playoffs came around (you know, when they did that sort of thing around here) it was like he was just floating through the regular season in comparison with how he played the game then.

    Messier, Kurri, Gretzkey, Anderson, Fuhr, Gregg, Smith, Muni, and all those guys were fantastic players and picking on as a favourite is like picking your favourite kid – yeah, you may have one but it isn’t really something you can just throw out there without caution.

    What I’ve seen from MacTavish the player and MacTavish the coach is exactly what LT notes: intelligence and determination. Any reason to believe it isn’t present as GM? No. Does that mean he’s going to necessarily be good at the job? No, but he’s got another summer and carte blanche to make some more changes as well as some pretty obvious roster holes, some inherited and some of his own doing, to address so it isn’t like this roster is a great enigma that has stumped the best and brightest.

    Eakins stays. If Hemsky can adapt to his system and, arguably, thrive in it, then so can the rest of these players. Continuity and balance is the answer, as well as adding actual NHL defensemen, not changing the head coach to suit a dysfunctional roster.

  35. book¡je says:

    It’s not Eakins’ fault, its not the players’ fault, it is not management’s fault.

    It’s LT’s fault. If it were not for LT, I would have been ignoring this team completely by 2010 and would have continued to do so until they started winning something.

  36. justDOit says:

    book¡je,

    Ding ding ding!

  37. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    book¡je:
    It’s not Eakins’ fault, its not the players’ fault, it is not management’s fault.

    It’s LT’s fault.If it were not for LT, I would have been ignoring this team completely by 2010 and would have continued to do so until they started winning something.

    Not just your average friendly neighborhood enabler or pusher, Lowetide.ca is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions, the opium of the people. Netizens of the Oilogosphere unite you have nothing to lose but your chains.

  38. RexLibris says:

    book¡je:
    It’s not Eakins’ fault, its not the players’ fault, it is not management’s fault.

    It’s LT’s fault.If it were not for LT, I would have been ignoring this team completely by 2010 and would have continued to do so until they started winning something.

    I thought it was Horcoff’s fault?

    Or was it supposed to be Renney? Quinn? Krueger? Nylander? Pronger? Heatley? Gilbert? Poti? Brewer? Cross? Bergeron? Conklin?

    Man, even the Mayans didn’t throw sacrificial bodies on the pyre at the rate Oilers’ fans like to.

  39. Rondo says:

    If Eakins is the wrong coach then fire him. Oilers put themselves in this corner and the last thing they want is to fire another head coach. But if he is the wrong coach you fire him.

  40. TheOtherJohn says:

    It was not a back to back by SJS. It was 3 games in 4 nights for SJS and the Oilers had 2 nights off. At the end of 2 periods the shots were 28-17 SJS and score was 3-1. SJS went into energy conservation mode and Oilers outshot them 13-6 in the third.That does not make the game close

    SJS did no more than they needed to do for the win. But if some want to run with the narrative that we “competed ” real well against an elite team— you are kidding yourself

  41. Lois Lowe says:

    book¡je,

    *grabs pitchfork and lights torch*

  42. RexLibris says:

    Lois Lowe:
    book¡je,

    *grabs pitchfork and lights torch*

    READY! FIRE! AIM!

  43. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    RexLibris: READY! FIRE! AIM!

    Round Up the Usual Suspects!

  44. Ryan says:

    book¡je:

    It’s LT’s fault.If it were not for LT, I would have been ignoring this team completely by 2010 and would have continued to do so until they started winning something.

    This.

  45. Lowetide says:

    I’m gonna need a bigger moat.

  46. icecastles says:

    book¡je: It’s not Eakins’ fault, its not the players’ fault, it is not management’s fault.
    It’s LT’s fault.

    Not to mention the fact that he ran Smid out of town.

  47. frjohnk says:

    Just looking at capgeek for next year and just wonder how some bad contracts ( Gagner) over payment on others ( Ference, Gordon, maybe a bit) and the choice to not use bridge contracts for the young players may hurt this team moving forward. While I’m basing salary for next year, I’m basing player placement on player performance from this year.

    We have 1 bonafide first line winger, Hall at 6M
    We have 3 2nd line players, Perron at 3.8M, Hopkins at 6M, Eberle at 6M
    We have 2 third line players in Gagner at 4.8M, Yak at 975K,
    We have 3 4th line players in Hendricks at 1.8M, Gordon at 3M, Joensu at 950K

    Hall is great value, as is Perron, who can also be a first liner. Eberle is between a first liner and 2nd liner but is paid too much at 6M. RNH has played more like a 2nd line center and at 6M per year, that’s too much.

    Gagner has played at about a third line pace, same as Yak, but Gagner is way overpaid, Yak is still in his ELC. Gordon is best placed as a 4th line center, first line PK, along with Hendricks, both overpaid as 4th liners. Joensu has not shown he is even a 4th liner, but he is signed for next year.

    Some notes.

    * We have 24M ( cap looks like it might be 68M) in cap room to sign 3 top 9 forwards, 2 other bottom forwards ( Gazdic and Smyth?) and 4 D. Petry and Schultz will get at least 3.5M each. If Gazic and Smyth are signed for 750K each, that leaves 15.5M left over for 3 top 9 nine forwards and 2 top Dmen.

    * If they could have signed Hall, Eberle, RNH to two year bridge contracts at 4M per year or so, that would have left more cap space for other areas of need.

    * Yak’s agent will not want a bridge contract after next year. He will say why should his player be treated differently than the other top draft picks. Especially if he makes a significant jump in production.

    * We have about 22% of our cap tied up in our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th line centers.

    * Almost 50% of our cap space is tied up with 9 forwards. Even if the core improve, we still need 3 more top 9 forwards for this team to be competitive.

    If those young players were on bridge contracts, this team could then overpay for a top Dman or top center man for a few years as a stop gap until the core and prospects would grow into those roles.

    Maybe some of my numbers are off and some of my player placements are in wrong positions, but there is no doubt the overall value vs production is not lining up and within a cap structure this is gonna hurt us moving forward.

  48. justDOit says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴: Round Up the Usual Suspects!

    An effigy of Lauren Pronger, perhaps?

  49. oliveoilers says:

    Guys, guys, let’s not into the blame game. It’s clearly Yakupov’s fault. Damn sideburns.

  50. RexLibris says:

    oliveoilers:
    Guys, guys, let’s not into the blame game.It’s clearly Yakupov’s fault.Damn sideburns.

    Enigmatic Russian has been held pointless in the last three Oilers games. Ridiculous. Should’ve drafted Jankowski. That kid is going to be a star!

  51. gcw_rocks says:

    I don’t get what you are trying to say in this post. MacT gets a pass on the state of the defence? Come on. Tambo didn’t leave him a lot work with, but didn’t leave him locked in disaster either.

    MacT had a year look that team and defence from inside through his old role. He walked into a situation where he was not anchored into ANY long term prohibitive contracts on the defence. Not one. No one with a NTC or NMC. He had cap space and he had a buyer’s market for veterans. His conclusion was to sign Ference, Belov, Grebeshkov, and Hunt, and trade for Larsen. How many legit top four defensemen in that group? Maybe one? How many top pairing? Zero. Then he decided to trade Smid for nothing. Magic beans. And add Fraser.

    MacT didn’t join mid-season this year. He had insider knowledge of his team, a buyer’s market, and a full summer to fix the problems, or at least make measurable improvements.

    So, what do we see?

    Last year the Oilers had a CF% of 44.3% and a FF% of 44.70%.

    This year against the west prior to last night the team had a CF% of 43.64% and a FF% of 42.53%.

    Since January 1st, this drops to 42.57% and 41.37% against the west.

    That’s significant regression and it is trending the wrong way. There are only three logical conclusions:

    1) MacT took a bad situation and actually made it worse;
    2) MacT provided better players and Eakins totally is screwing it up; or
    3) MacT made things worse and Eakins find a way to knock a percent or two off in addition. The perfect storm.

    Tambo is gone. It’s over. Move on. MacT turned over half the defence and even with getting outrageously lucky with Marincin this team’s much worse than last year at possession. MacT needed to deliver quickly, and he hasn’t.

    Why should we assume he will get it right this next summer based the evidence? What happens if he screws up again? Those are the questions that should be being asked.

  52. Oiler Al says:

    Here is a quote from Mike Babcock…. great players dont win games, its great teams that win games. …
    Might explain why they win games without Datsyuk, and Zetterburg in the line up.

    Good sign too put up in the Oilers dressing room. Team play is very very remote with this team.

  53. oliveoilers says:

    RexLibris: Enigmatic Russian has been held pointless in the last three Oilers games. Ridiculous. Should’ve drafted Jankowski. That kid is going to be a star!

    Is he enigmatic or mercurial?

  54. oliveoilers says:

    icecastles: I don’t like you again.

    Okay you’re still cool. Twice as cool actually.

    Best thing about that movie is Steve Coogan. I would seriously consider the ticket prices a bargain if he covered the games as Alan Partridge. Back of the net!

  55. godot10 says:

    Score effing effects

    (from extraskater)

    5×5 Corsi Close 45.9%
    5×5 Fenwick Close 42.0%

    That is NOT an even game 5×5 when the game was on the line.

    2) It was the 2nd game of a back to back that went into OT last night for San Jose. They played just as hard as they had to play. They got the power play goals, and played on cruise control.

    Eakins and his devotees are reduced to telling only the part of the story that fits that narrative.

  56. gcw_rocks says:

    ” but the Corsi for % at 5×5 slightly favored the Oilers. Oh, and they LOOKED organized for long periods. Small victories are big steps. I like Eakins clarity, his sense of the team and for the most part his in-season moves. There are exceptions, but you’re going to get that with any coach.”

    Corsi by period tells a different story, if you look at . http://www.boysonthebus.com/2014/03/25/game-stats-oilerssharks-mar-25/

    Edmonton: 17 17 20
    San Jose: 21 19 12

    Edmonton benefited from score effects in the third period.

  57. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Best line from Eakins last night was when he said something to the effect:

    “they use the word ‘heavy’ a lot, but you know what they are, ‘heady,’ that’s just a good, smart team”

    bam!

    If Eakins is returning to this line of thought or reigniting it in his brain, maybe MacT will too… maybe we’ll start to see that translate into on-ice decision making. maybe.

    Heady, not Heavy.

    love it.

  58. VanOil says:

    I am not convinced by LT’s recent conversion to the ‘they must trade one of the young starts’ rabble.

    These players that, MacT rightly points out, were so painful to obtain should be parted with judicially if at all. I understand the argument that Oilers need to adjust there roster to achieve balance. I do not accept that they have to weaken, an already very weak, roster to do so.

    The Oilers imbalance is not limited to small young forwards in the top 6. It also includes no offensive talent in the system (Marco Roy’s annus horribilis and Greg Chase’s annus mirabilis are far from NHL top 6 locks). The imbalance on defense is lack of talent in the NHL and to much in the system.

    Trading one of the young NHL top 6 forwards for defensive help would create a hole in the top 6 that could not be filled in house. Further more it is not the only way to obtain defensive help.

    Beyond Weber class fantasy trades real live NHL defensemen are available. Mackenzie, the most connected man in hockey, has already pointed the the way with a pick for Myers trade. The D players that seem wise to target are the 5 year pro – 200 NHL players that are just starting to figure it out. Players such as Myers and Kulikov. Sure maybe neither of them becomes the next Chara but they will be above average defenders for years.

    The other way to secure higher end defensive help is to trade away some of our over balance of defensive prospects for older hairier arsed versions. I would keep our best defender, Petry, but am willing to risk the upside of our biggest minutes defender, Schultz for a player like Coburn or Kulikov.

    Bottom end older defensive help is available as UFAs. This is not an unfixable problem, balancing the roster does not need to mean lightening up on skill and punching another hole in the roster.

  59. book¡je says:

    Oiler Al:
    Here is a quote from Mike Babcock…. great players dont win games, its great teams that win games. …
    Might explain why they win games without Datsyuk, and Zetterburg in the line up.

    Good sign too put up in the Oilers dressing room. Team play is very very remote with this team.

    Eakins already put that in the room essentially – see here

  60. icecastles says:

    oliveoilers: Best thing about that movie is Steve Coogan.I would seriously consider the ticket prices a bargain if he covered the games as Alan Partridge.Back of the net!

    Steve Coogan has to be among the most underrated comedians in the business. Have you seen Hamlet 2? Brilliant.

  61. Oilanderp says:

    oliveoilers:
    I was watching ‘Night at the Museum’ the other night with my daughter.The scene came on that made me think of the ‘Fire Everybody’ advocates:Big Ben Stiller has been captured by the tiny Owen Wilson and been tied to a toy train set rail;

    Ben:Why are you doing this?

    Owen:Because somebody has to pay……

    Ben:Pay?Pay for what?

    Owen:I don’t know!Just pay!Now take it like a man!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoiPb2wnHuI

  62. justDOit says:

    book¡je: Eakins already put that in the room essentially – see here

    Chop wood – carry water. Sounds like every trip to the lake when I was a young teen.

  63. oliveoilers says:

    icecastles: Steve Coogan has to be among the most underrated comedians in the business. Have you seen Hamlet 2? Brilliant.

    Haven’t seen Hamlet 2, but The Trip is great. Particularly as it portrays the ‘foodie’ snobs well in my old stomping grounds. Scene where Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon do very creditable impressions of Hollywood stars is hilarious.

  64. godot10 says:

    frjohnk:

    We have 1 bonafide first line winger, Hall at 6M
    We have 3 2nd line players, Perron at 3.8M, Hopkins at 6M, Eberle at 6M
    We have 2 third line players in Gagner at 4.8M, Yak at 975K,
    We have 3 4th line players in Hendricks at 1.8M, Gordon at 3M, Joensu at 950K

    Eberle is top 50 in league scoring. How is that 2nd line? And not just a one off.

  65. Rondo says:

    oliveoilers,

    Speaking of Steve Coogan and the Trip

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFIQIpC5_wY

  66. frjohnk says:

    godot10,

    Read the rest of the post. Eberle is between a first liner and a second liner. Especially on a competitive team. While Eberle puts up some points, there isn’t much of a defensive or physical side to his game.

    Regardless of if he is a first liner or second liner isn’t really what I’m talking about in that comment. It’s more about how bad contracts and no bridge contracts for the young players will hurt this team going forward.

  67. oliveoilers says:

    Rondo:
    oliveoilers,

    Speaking ofSteve Coogan andthe Trip

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFIQIpC5_wY

    Priceless! They should do all Oilers pressers. I wouldn’t care what they were selling. I’d buy it. Michael Caine talking about the sacred logo hitting the ice…..

  68. oliveoilers says:

    justDOit: Chop wood – carry water. Sounds like every trip to the lake when I was a young teen.

    Unfortunately every other team in the league has invested in a pump and chainsaw.

  69. Andy P says:

    RexLibris: I thought it was Horcoff’s fault?

    Or was it supposed to be Renney? Quinn? Krueger? Nylander? Pronger? Heatley? Gilbert? Poti? Brewer? Cross? Bergeron? Conklin?

    Man, even the Mayans didn’t throw sacrificial bodies on the pyre at the rate Oilers’ fans like to.

    No, it’s the Assistant’s fault :)

  70. Numenius says:

    hags9k:
    I’m not onside with you today LT.That 5 on 5 number was juiced up in the 3rd in garbage time.The 5 on 5 close was much worse.All we did was play them even steven after they got up 4-1.

    This isn’t a fair or accurate assessment.

    The Oil were playing the Sharks even in the first period when it was close and it wasn’t garbage time. That counts for something. It also counts for something that the Oil battled back in the third despite being down 5-1. Yes, the Corsi% in the third was partially due to score effect, but it was also due to character. Other games in the year they’ve given up. This time they didn’t.

  71. TheOtherJohn says:

    Numenius: This isn’t a fair or accurate assessment.

    The Oil were playing the Sharks even in the first period when it was close and it wasn’t garbage time. That counts for something. It also counts for something that the Oil battled back in the third despite being down 5-1. Yes, the Corsi% in the third was partially due to score effect, but it was also due to character. Other games in the year they’ve given up. This time they didn’t.

    3 games/4 nights 28-17 after 2 periods and up 3-1

    SJS hit the snooze button

    But keep telling yourself that the Oilers “came on” in the 3rd. Or were you arguing it was a success because we did not quit. By that measure: I agree with you. The Oilers didnt quit

  72. Ryan says:

    TheOtherJohn: 3 games/4 nights 28-17 after 2 periods and up 3-1

    SJS hit the snooze button

    But keep telling yourself that the Oilers “came on” in the 3rd. Or were you arguing it was a success because we did not quit. By that measure: I agree with you. The Oilers didnt quit

    The Sharks are consummate professionals who aren’t interested in running up a gaudy score to humiliate the opposition. They seem to stop around five.

  73. G Money says:

    godot10: frjohnk:

    We have 1 bonafide first line winger, Hall at 6M
    We have 3 2nd line players, Perron at 3.8M, Hopkins at 6M, Eberle at 6M
    We have 2 third line players in Gagner at 4.8M, Yak at 975K,
    We have 3 4th line players in Hendricks at 1.8M, Gordon at 3M, Joensu at 950K

    Eberle is top 50 in league scoring. How is that 2nd line? And not just a one off.

    There are, in theory, 90 top line forwards in the league.

    I think it’s more valuable to look at the scoring by line. Top 10 makes you elite, mid 10 makes you average, Bottom 10 makes you below average.

    By that measure:

    RNH is 28th for C. Barely a top line C. (For perspective: if he were scoring at the same rate as in his rookie year, he’d be 12th).

    Gagner is 75th. There’s a big part of the issue. Not scoring like a 2C (whereas last year he was solidly in 1C territory).

    Eberle is 12th for RW.

    Yakupov is 57th. Again – we need Yak to be scoring at 1RW pace in the next couple of years.

    Hall is 3rd at LW. Elite.

    Perron is 12th at LW. Pretty f*ckin amazing for a 2LW.

    There you have it. Offensively, our strength is LW. Our weakness is mild at 1C and substantial at 2C/2R.

    Unfortunately, it isn’t anything we didn’t already know …

  74. oliveoilers says:

    As we are agreed that this year isn’t a strong draft year, I propose we draft according to the ‘Scrabble’ score each player would receive.

    Bennett – 9

    Ekblad – 13

    Draisaitl – 10

    (Scarlett) Johansson – 19

    Well, it’s kind of scientific……

  75. Ducey says:

    frjohnk:
    godot10,

    Read the rest of the post. Eberle is between a first liner and a second liner. Especially on a competitive team. While Eberle puts upsome points, there isn’t much of a defensive or physical side to his game.

    Regardless of if he is a first liner or second liner isn’t really what I’m talking about in that comment. It’s more about how bad contracts and no bridge contracts for the young players will hurt this team going forward.

    Bridge contracts get you free agent problems and big salaries when you aim to contend.

    See PK Subban. MTL is going to get killed on his contract or lose him.

  76. frjohnk says:

    G Money: There are, in theory, 90 top line forwards in the league.

    I think it’s more valuable to look at the scoring by line.Top 10 makes you elite, mid 10 makes you average, Bottom 10 makes you below average.

    By that measure:

    RNH is 28th for C. Barely a top line C.(For perspective: if he were scoring at the same rate as in his rookie year, he’d be 12th).

    Gagner is 75th.There’s a big part of the issue.Not scoring like a 2C (whereas last year he was solidly in 1C territory).

    Eberle is 12th for RW.

    Yakupov is 57th.Again – we need Yak to be scoring at 1RW pace in the next couple of years.

    Hall is 3rd at LW.Elite.

    Perron is 12th at LW. Pretty f*ckin amazing for a 2LW.

    There you have it.Offensively, our strength is LW.Our weakness is mild at 1C and substantial at 2C/2R.

    Unfortunately, it isn’t anything we didn’t already know …

    Being a first or 2nd line center is not just scoring.

    Faceoffs RNH 42%, Gagner 46%
    Defensively, RNH is about average, Gagner, well below.
    Both are not physical, both lose more puck battles to larger forwards than they win and both are not tough to play against.

    That’s why I feel RNH has played more like a 2nd line center, Gagner is more like a 3rd line center.

    I should also add they both don’t hit much, don’t block many shots and rarely mix it up

  77. Mr DeBakey says:

    godot10: Eakins and his devotees are reduced to telling only the part of the story that fits that narrative.

    I’m pretty sure that Eakins’ devotees make up a fairly tiny portion of the commenters.
    I think there is a fairly large group who are not Eakins fans but
    - don’t see another coaching thing as good, or
    - don’t see another coaching change as likely.

    A very tiny portion.

  78. Numenius says:

    TheOtherJohn: 3 games/4 nights 28-17 after 2 periods and up 3-1

    SJS hit the snooze button

    But keep telling yourself that the Oilers “came on” in the 3rd. Or were you arguing it was a success because we did not quit. By that measure: I agree with you. The Oilers didnt quit

    You’re arguing in bad faith. I didn’t say “came on” or “success”. The drive-by “keep telling yourself” also isn’t helpful.

    My main point was that the Corsi% was roughly even after 1 period, which I claimed counted for something. I didn’t say how much. Success? No. Progress? Hopefully.

    i don’t understand why posters like yourself leave out that little fact.

    As for your second point, that’s a minor quibble.

  79. G Money says:

    frjohnk: Being a first or 2nd line center is not just scoring.

    I agree, there is more to being a complete player than just points, and our players lack completeness in large measure.

    Isn’t that part of our existential crisis with Eakins? Is he or isn’t he demanding that these young men play a complete game?

    That said – the number one job of forwards is to score, especially on the top two lines. It is, as they say, the hardest thing to do in hockey. It is also the measure by which you become “elite”, and is the number one driver of contract value. So when we’re looking at these players and trying to get a measure of whether they are elite or whether they are fair value for contracts, scoring matters most.

    Gagner and Yak and to a lesser extent RNH all suffer their current issues MOST because they are not scoring in line with the roles they are expected to play.

    (And to emphasize the point – by that measure Eberle is unquestionably a top line right winger. He is in fact, bordering on elite).

  80. G Money says:

    Numenius: My main point was that the Corsi% was roughly even after 1 period, which I claimed counted for something. I didn’t say how much. Success? No. Progress? Hopefully.

    I thought the Oilers were the better team in the first period. They were full value for the 1-0 lead and I believe came out of that period not only close on Corsi, but way ahead on the scoring chances clock.

    We can debate what happened in the second period – did San Jose turn it on or did the Oilers get fat and happy? – but the first period looked pretty definitive to me.

  81. frjohnk says:

    Ducey: Bridge contracts get you free agent problems and big salaries when you aim to contend.

    See PK Subban.MTL is going to get killed on his contract or lose him.

    Or you could sign Tyler Myers for 7 years at 5.5M per year, instead of a bridge contract. Works both ways.

    If those 3 players ( Hall, Eberle, RNH) were given bridge contracts at 3M to 4M per year, this team would have more cap room to sign some good stop gap players for next year until the young core and prospects have matured.

    We don’t have that luxury

  82. frjohnk says:

    G Money: I agree, there is more to being a complete player than just points, and our players lack completeness in large measure.

    (And to emphasize the point – by that measure Eberle is unquestionably a top line right winger.He is in fact, bordering on elite).

    Duly noted, I have no problem placing Eberle as a first line winger, same with Perron.

  83. frjohnk says:

    I understand why the oilers signed those players to those contracts. They wanted to avoid the scenario in which those 3 players become superstars ( Hall is there already) and are all commanding 8M or more when the bridge contract is up.

    And while the bridge contracts will most definitely be beneficial down the road, they are a hindrance right now. We need to get more good players but are in a tight space.

  84. TheOtherJohn says:

    Some believe that the Oilers had a pretty decent game against a strong WC team.

    There is some context to that conclusion. Including that Sj just played the 3rd game in 4 days,with the game the night before going to a shoot out. SJS likely gets out of the Saddledome at 11 pm and then travels to Edmonton. By bus or plane they are getting into their hotel by 2:30 or 3 a.m.

    All factors that kinda take away from the strong first period argument. They were outshot 28-17 after 2 periods by a veteran (old) team that would have likely been playing on fumes. Snooze button is hit and the Oilers outshoot SJS 13-6 in the 3rd

    Realize that the natural inclination is to look for any positives late in the season but I am just not sure that last nights effort fits the facts

  85. FastOil says:

    I hope it’s ok with you LT to link to another blog – Backhand Shelf has a lot of stuff by Bourne I find really interesting and pertinent to the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the game, more from the perspective of a guy that likes stats but also played to a high level and is the son of a dynasty NHL’er , a former Oiler enemy. He does occasionally mention Hall and the Oilers, loves Taylor.

    Up recently is a piece about systems and the use of special players which may have some relevance to Eakins. I get the feeling and truly hope this is where they are heading (with some better players as well):

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2014/03/25/dryden-bowman-and-how-unleashing-certain-players-allows-coaches-to-best-utilize-their-roster/

    The Oilers attack was amazing at times in the Sharks game, they could put them on their heels but good. The thing is the sustain and thinking/patience aren’t there yet. And the holes.

    For Oiler fans “the holes” is like “the troubles” for the Irish. I want to start an Oiler site called The Holes.

  86. Numenius says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Some believe that the Oilers had a pretty decent game against a strong WC team.

    There is some context to that conclusion. Including that Sj just played the 3rd game in 4 days,with the game the night before going to a shoot out.SJS likely gets out of the Saddledome at 11 pm and then travels to Edmonton. By bus or plane they are getting into their hotel by 2:30 or 3 a.m.

    All factors that kinda take away from the strong first period argument. They were outshot 28-17 after 2 periods by a veteran (old)team that would have likely been playing on fumes. Snooze button ishit and the Oilers outshoot SJS 13-6 in the 3rd

    Realize that the natural inclination is to look for any positives late in the season but Iam just not sure thatlast nightseffortfits the facts

    The facts you raise here are genuine factors, I agree.

    The question is how significant they are and whether there are other facts that speak to the opposite conclusion, facts which you tend to ignore.

    One fact that your “the strong first period was simply SJS playing tired” ignores is that the Oilers were coming off an 8-1 drubbing by the Flames.

    That wouldn’t have made them tired (because they had days to rest), but one would expect them to be demoralized. Many people expressed this, asking whether Eakins could get the team back on track. It’s also exactly what tended to happen earlier in the season after heart-breaking losses.

    The fact that the Oilers kept up with the Sharks in the 1st suggests that they weren’t demoralized this time, which I contend shows genuine progress. The same is goes for their failure to give up in the 3rd.

    I’m not so sure it’s my “natural inclination” or G Money’s or anyone else who sees progress that’s the problem here.

  87. Caramel Obvious says:

    I don’t think its true that there are by definition 30 #1 centers in the league, unless you mean by #1 center someone who is good enough to be the best player on the worst team in the league. To me, that’s not a helpful definition.

    So I would cut the number of first line players in half. You are a legitimate first line player if you would play on the first line on a playoff team. That means there are 48 first line forwards in the NHL at any one time. This corresponds to the other meaning of the term: elite player.

    If you do that you have to transfer the weight to the second and third lines. That gives an operational definition of:

    First line: 1-48
    Second line: 49-138
    Third line: 138-270

    Using pts/60 as the measuring stick that means that the Oilers have

    First line: Hall 9th in scoring (though inflated by second assists)
    Second line: Eberle: 60th in scoring; Perron, 72nd; Hopkins 108th
    Third line: Gagner, 149, Yakupov, 186th, Smith, 213th, Gordon, 230th

    I think that’s an accurate description of the forward group. The Oilers have one first line player. You can win with a forward group like this but only if you make it up on D.

  88. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    FastOil: He does occasionally mention Hall and the Oilers, loves Taylor.

    Thanks for the link. Interesting stuff there.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2014/03/14/5-players-who-arent-what-you-think-they-are/#more-90343

    What you think he is: 100 mile-an-hour goal-getter

    What he actually is: One of hockey’s best set-up guys

    We had a similar conversation about Kessel, but I really don’t think people have any idea how good Taylor Hall is at setting up teammates. He’s currently 10th in the NHL with 40 assists after finishing 8th in the league during the lockout shortened season. And remember, he’s only 22.

    Outside Edmonton I get the impression that Hall is supposed to be this goal scoring dynamo – he’s big and fast and controls the puck so well – but he’s not on the first page of the goal-scoring leaders this year, and he wasn’t last year either. Turns out that whilst skating around like a maniac he has a pretty good idea where his teammates are.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2014/03/25/why-jon-cooper-is-the-obvious-choice-for-the-jack-adams-award/#more-90549

    shoulda coulda woulda

  89. G Money says:

    A little math work for fellow nerds:

    I was mulling over the effect that a C has on his wingers. We all look at Hall and marvel that the guy is over ppg pace, despite his two centres being mired in offensive slumps. Conversely, we look at a guy like Kunitz who seems to get more recognition than Hall, yet who plays with Sidney Crosby for Pete’s sake, and still sits several points behind Hall in scoring.

    So I did a little exercise, and took a handful of top wingers, then related their ppg pace to their most likely centre’s ppg pace. What that means is that if a winger is rated 1.1, he’s scoring at a rate 10% higher than his centre.

    Here’s my list of wingers, sorted by “relative ppg”:

    Taylor Hall 1.50
    Phil Kessel 1.31
    Jordan Eberle 1.15
    Patrick Kane 1.09
    Alex Ovechkin 1.09
    Patrick Sharp 1.06
    Blake Wheeler 1.04
    Jaromir Jagr 0.97
    Patrick Marleau 0.90
    Jamie Benn 0.89
    Kyle Okposo 0.87
    Corey Perry 0.86
    Gabriel Landeskog 0.84
    Chris Kunitz 0.67

    By this measure, that Kessel’s a player. So are those Hall and Eberle guys. Kunitz … not so much.

  90. icecastles says:

    Caramel Obvious: First line: Hall 9th in scoring (though inflated by second assists)

    Agree with everything you said, but is the above caveat for Hall not true for any player in the league? I’m not sure Hall has proportionally more second assists than any other high-level player who is identified as a playmaker or an offense generator.

  91. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    I buy your idea that it should be Top 16 and not Top 30.

    I don’t agree with lumping all forwards into one generic blob.

    11 of the top 20 scorers right now are centres, despite the fact that there are twice as many wingers as C. This makes sense, as C by definition are more likely to be involved in the play.

    So you’d have to rerun the analysis to see where those guys fit in terms of Top 16 / 16 /16 by position, or you automatically downbias by a significant margin any team that is strong on the wings.

  92. Andy P says:

    I would suggest that everybody is chasing their tails until you not only balance the roster, but also replace the only constant in the ongoing shirt show that has been the Oilers since Bucky, in particular, came on board. Everything else has changed. You have to replace the last constant before you start looking afresh. I’d alkso suggest replacing Smith and Chabot, but Smith only came in 2010, so he “only” has 4 years of futility as an assistant vs Bucky’s 6.

    Hello?

  93. icecastles says:

    Andy P: replace the only constant in the ongoing shirt show

    None of them are fantastic dressers, but I don’t have a problem with any of their shirts.

    Eakins wearing a four-in-hand knot with a spread-collar dress shirt though… that pisses me off every time I see it.

  94. G Money says:

    Andy P,

    Yep. 100%.

    If assistant coaches don’t matter, then they should be changed because a. every head coach should be able to hire his own team, and b. make it clear that the coaching regime is changing.

    If assistant coaches do matter (and given their on-ice teaching role, and responsibility for observing and reporting and giving advice to the head coach, I think they matter a great deal), then it is *imperative* that Bucky and Smith be gone, two years ago.

    Maybe I wouldn’t be convinced Krueger was such an awful coach if he’d had actual quality NHL assistants.

  95. G Money says:

    icecastles: Eakins wearing a four-in-hand knot with a spread-collar dress shirt though… that pisses me off every time I see it.

    Wow, you noticed that? Impressive. A bit OCD I think, but impressive.

    I am guilty of the 4-in-hand+spread combo too, but that’s because I’m too lazy to tie anything else (especially since even with a half-Windsor I usually get the positioning wrong and have to repeat at least once).

  96. Caramel Obvious says:

    icecastles: Agree with everything you said, but is the above caveat for Hall not true for any player in the league? I’m not sure Hall has proportionally more second assists than any other high-level player who is identified as a playmaker or an offense generator.

    This year, Hall does have a disproportionate number of second assists. If you don’t count second assists Hall drops down to 19th in /60 scoring.

    G Money,

    Do centers gets more points because they are more involved in the play or do they get more points because, most of the time, the best players play center?

  97. DeadmanWaking says:

    After all those coaching changes, when do we fire the person who wishes to return to the same well for the sixth time? Sometimes it’s the person doing the firing who needs to be fired. This is why firing can’t be the automatic answer: it assumes the division between those who consider firing and those whose firing is considered is pre-ordained by Gord.

    Have you ever looked at neural tissue? A up-regulates B, which down-regulates C, which up-regulates D, etc. And then it loops around. You just can’t go in there with your laser scalpel and start blowing neurons away because less of this means more of what you think you want–until those secondary cycles kick around.

    Firing the coach isn’t ultimately instrumental, either. Well, you might do it just to get the player’s attention, but that’s kinda old school, and we’re inured; by now our crew would just sleep through a fired coach like Vinny the “velvet” in a New York prison during the film-at-eleven outbreak of drone warfare unleashed by the 1% against the huddled masses.

    If the coach is doing something wrong or badly, then that something needs to change. What is that something? I’d like an answer to that question that doesn’t come from a body-language Ouija board.

    The other problem with the well-lubricated ejector-seat handle is that it either bypasses analysis, or blows it right through the canopy.

    Go to casino. Hire slot machine. Lose $50. Fire slot machine. Hire new slot machine. Lose $50. Fire slot machine. Hire new slot machine. Win $75.

    “See, I told you we had the wrong machine!”

    Continue playing “winning” machine. Lose $200. Kick the blinking onion-toting coke machine in the sheet metal junk. Snag free drink. Chat up cocktail waitress. Lather, rinse, repeat. Outcomes never steer you wrong.

    I’m pretty sure MacT spent enough years behind the bench (and above the bench in the glass booth) to tell when his coach has lost the room or muddled his systems.

    If MacT from his intimate perspective, with his years of direct experience, and with his deep connections to the stars of his profession can’t determine whether Eakins needs to be fired better than we can determine whether Eakins needs to be fired–lacking half the pertinent information–Eakins as the problem here is a gnat on a worm’s ass and we can all wring our hands together over the terribly bad timing of MacT’s grey matter jumping the shark.

  98. icecastles says:

    G Money,

    Wuss.

    Caramel Obvious,

    That’s really interesting, thanks. Does extraskater allow one to exclude secondary assists from point totals? I’m constantly amazed by some of the fine-grain analysis you guys grab. I feel clever when I know how many corgis a given player owns (Scrivens is freaking horrible by the way).

  99. Andy P says:

    G Money:
    Andy P,

    Yep.100%.

    If assistant coaches don’t matter, then they should be changed because a. every head coach should be able to hire his own team, and b. make it clear that the coaching regime is changing.

    If assistant coaches do matter (and given their on-ice teaching role, and responsibility for observing and reporting and giving advice to the head coach, I think they matter a great deal), then it is *imperative* that Bucky and Smith be gone, two years ago.

    Maybe I wouldn’t be convinced Krueger was such an awful coach if he’d had actual quality NHL assistants.

    He was good enough to get a 40% win rate in spite of those two. Doesn’t that alone say something positive about the man?

  100. Andy P says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    After all those coaching changes, when do we fire the person who wishes to return to the same well for the sixth time?Sometimes it’s the person doing the firing who needs to be fired.This is why firing can’t be the automatic answer: it assumes the division between those who consider firing and those whose firing is considered is pre-ordained by Gord.

    Have you ever looked at neural tissue?A up-regulates B, which down-regulates C, which up-regulates D, etc.And then it loops around.You just can’t go in there with your laser scalpel and start blowing neurons away because less of this means more of what you think you want–until those secondary cycles kick around.

    Firing the coach isn’t ultimately instrumental, either.Well, you might do it just to get the player’s attention, but that’s kinda old school, and we’re inured; by now our crew would just sleep through a fired coach like Vinny the “velvet” in a New York prison during the film-at-eleven outbreak of drone warfare unleashed by the 1% against the huddled masses.

    If the coach is doing something wrong or badly, then that something needs to change.What is that something? I’d like an answer to that question that doesn’t come from a body-language Ouija board.

    The other problem with the well-lubricated ejector-seat handle is that it either bypasses analysis, or blows it right through the canopy.

    Go to casino.Hire slot machine.Lose $50.Fire slot machine.Hire new slot machine.Lose $50.Fire slot machine.Hire new slot machine.Win $75.

    “See, I told you we had the wrong machine!”

    Continue playing “winning” machine.Lose $200.Kick the blinking onion-toting coke machine in the sheet metal junk.Snag free drink.Chat up cocktail waitress.Lather, rinse, repeat.Outcomes never steer you wrong.

    I’m pretty sure MacT spent enough years behind the bench (and above the bench in the glass booth) to tell when his coach has lost the room or muddled his systems.

    If MacT from his intimate perspective, with his years of direct experience, and with his deep connections to the stars of his profession can’t determine whether Eakins needs to be fired better than we can determine whether Eakins needs to be fired–lacking half the pertinent information–Eakins as the problem here is a gnat on a worm’s ass and we can all wring our hands together over the terribly bad timing of MacT’s grey matter jumping the shark.

    Do you think we even have half the pertinent information? How about 10%? (without any empirical support)

  101. FastOil says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴: Thanks for the link. Interesting stuff there.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2014/03/14/5-players-who-arent-what-you-think-they-are/#more-90343

    What you think he is: 100 mile-an-hour goal-getter

    What he actually is: One of hockey’s best set-up guys

    We had a similar conversation about Kessel, but I really don’t think people have any idea how good Taylor Hall is at setting up teammates. He’s currently 10th in the NHL with 40 assists after finishing 8th in the league during the lockout shortened season. And remember, he’s only 22.

    Outside Edmonton I get the impression that Hall is supposed to be this goal scoring dynamo – he’s big and fast and controls the puck so well – but he’s not on the first page of the goal-scoring leaders this year, and he wasn’t last year either. Turns out that whilst skating around like a maniac he has a pretty good idea where his teammates are.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2014/03/25/why-jon-cooper-is-the-obvious-choice-for-the-jack-adams-award/#more-90549

    shoulda coulda woulda

    LT has mentioned many times the Habs in the 70′s and how Lafleur did his thing and Lemaire and Shutt backed him up while contributing. Gretzky had Kurri who watched the home end and still managed to pop a few :) .MacT’s biggest cjallenge will be to get complimentary players to the skill he has now. Balance and maximize.

    I don’t know that the team needs a bunch more elite players. I think a pretty good team could be made with competent players with the right tools in their bag. They don’t need Lucic but they could use Penner.

  102. hunter1909 says:

    icecastles: Not to mention the fact that he ran Smid out of town.

    Lowetide imo let Robbie Schremp down after that 60 point pace(over a 80 game season) debut for MacT and his prospects/young skilled players destroying Caine Mutiny on ice.

    Sounds a lot like 2014.

    MacT+Eakins = The Caine Mutiny on Ice 2014.

  103. Bag of Pucks says:

    G Money: Wow, you noticed that?Impressive.A bit OCD I think, but impressive.

    I am guilty of the 4-in-hand+spread combo too, but that’s because I’m too lazy to tie anything else (especially since even with a half-Windsor I usually get the positioning wrong and have to repeat at least once).

    Who’s wearing ties anymore? I think lawyers and undertakers are the final holdouts.

  104. russ99 says:

    Mr DeBakey: I’m pretty sure that Eakins’ devotees make up a fairly tiny portion of the commenters.
    I think there is a fairly large group who are not Eakins fans but
    - don’t see another coaching thing as good, or
    - don’t see another coaching change as likely.

    A very tiny portion.

    I’m about as anti-Eakins as it gets, but even I think to just fire him and start over is a bad idea. That would be wasting yet another year.

    He needs help whether he thinks it or not. Get some experienced coaching in the room (IMO, an associate coach with head coaching experience would be best) and maybe some of the hubris goes away, and they can all work together to move things forward – which even Eakins fans have to see ain’t happening…

    G Money: I agree, there is more to being a complete player than just points, and our players lack completeness in large measure.

    Isn’t that part of our existential crisis with Eakins?Is he or isn’t he demanding that these young men play a complete game?

    That said – the number one job of forwards is to score, especially on the top two lines.It is, as they say, the hardest thing to do in hockey.It is also the measure by which you become “elite”, and is the number one driver of contract value.So when we’re looking at these players and trying to get a measure of whether they are elite or whether they are fair value for contracts, scoring matters most.

    Gagner and Yak and to a lesser extent RNH all suffer their current issues MOST because they are not scoring in line with the roles they are expected to play.

    (And to emphasize the point – by that measure Eberle is unquestionably a top line right winger.He is in fact, bordering on elite).

    You can’t have it both ways, i.e. have these players “toughen up” and commit to a two way game and still produce on offense.

    Very few players can change focus like that with no fall-off, and the failure to recognize that and adapt IMO is Eakins’ greatest weakness.

  105. RexLibris says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    I am reminded of this bit of cinema history – Monty Python and the interminable sacking.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6674ozx16D0

  106. Bag of Pucks says:

    DW, I’m not on the ‘fire Eakins’ wagon either. But ‘MacT knows best?’ Firing coaches insulated Tambellini for a good long while. We can’t assume Eakins is doing a good job simply because MacT hasn’t fired him yet. If he pulls the plug on him in the first year, after giving him a 4 year deal, it’s MacT who comes up looking the worse for wear. Optics are everything – especially with this dysfunctional org.

    Never underestimate the influence of the comfy seat on the gravy train. Peeps got lifestyles to maintain!

    LOVED the stream of conscious slot machine riff though!

  107. RexLibris says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Tambellini fired two coaches, with one marking his historic “Summer of Steve” as coined by a local radio personality and the shift to a rebuilding strategy.

    I’m not sure that qualifies as a “good long while”, unless of course you factor in the time-differential between Tambellini’s dimension and that of the vast majority of sentient creatures existing in our universe.

  108. VOR says:

    If hockey is a battle then you need battlers.

    I am in the midst of running a data mining project looking for people who can win the battles and tilt the ice. I started off with free agents and most of those that could help have been identified and discussed extensively here but I keep getting a handful of names that aren’t being talked about here so I thought I’d mention them -

    Anton Stralman
    Patrick Hornqvist
    Jesse Winchester

    Stralman should be obvious – doesn’t face the best or play with the best but he is a lot better than anyone else on the ice when he plays, really tilts the ice.
    Hornqvist – generates lots of positive corsi events while leaving very few – a MacT player through and through
    Winchester – a classic Oiler, if the guy could stay healthy every GM in hockey would be coming calling this offseason. He is a good faceoff man and the numbers say he can play the tough ice with zip all help and come out ahead. That is for the 30 games he averages being healthy each season. That said if he stayed healthy he would be a strong Masterton Candidate and is the only guy the numbers say would be a good fit for the Pisani role.

  109. VOR says:

    The truly weird thing is what happens when I look for players the Oilers could trade for. Yes, Ehrhoff and Kulikov show up as nearly ideal candidates and Myers as a decent one. You run two of those three players as your top pair next year and the Oilers are a far better team than they are right now. Though my preference would be Kulikov and Myers (since we need a lefty and a righty). But none of the three is the top option available – by which I mean defencemen who are undervalued by their team with their home town media saying they are on the block. By top I mean the player who is producing the largest # of positive events per 60 (far above what you’d expect based on team and linemates) and relatively fewer negative events (again fewer than you would expect based on team and linemates).

    The hands down winner is another frequently injured player. In fact, if the math is right the New York Islanders Calvin de Haan is the real deal. A 2D in waiting. He is probably the cheapest option in every sense of the world of the four players mentioned here. He and Myers, in theory would be near ideal running mates.

  110. Bag of Pucks says:

    RexLibris:
    Bag of Pucks,

    Tambellini fired two coaches, with one marking his historic “Summer of Steve” as coined by a local radio personality and the shift to a rebuilding strategy.

    I’m not sure that qualifies as a “good long while”, unless of course you factor in the time-differential between Tambellini’s dimension and that of the vast majority of sentient creatures existing in our universe.

    Well, I would’ve fired sleepy Steve the Khabibulin contract, but I’m a rash actor. Having him on the job for nearly 5 years seemed like a lifetime to me!

  111. hunter1909 says:

    VOR: Jesse Winchester

    According to Kevin Lowe, Winchester isn’t welcome anytime soon near Recall Place.

  112. OilClog says:

    Firing Eakins would be another wasted year? It is wasted.

    I’m sad to see the 2015 Oilers with only 2 of the fab 5 left because we needed more marlies and face bashers because our coach can’t coach skill.

    Look at those marlies tearing it up this year.. They sure must miss Eakins.

  113. Lois Lowe says:

    icecastles:

    Eakins wearing a four-in-hand knot with a spread-collar dress shirt though… that pisses me off every time I see it.

    Spread collar does require a half-windsor. Full windsor is never acceptable.

  114. Woodguy says:

    VOR,

    What data are you looking at to determine battle wins?

    Very interested in this.

    Agreed on DeHaan. He’s the real deal.

  115. VOR says:

    By the way, for the record, the players most often mentioned here as free agents (the math says they would all help) are:

    Paul Stastny, Mikhail Grabovski, Matt Niskanen, Kyle Quincey, Marcel Goc, David Legwand, Tom Gilbert, and Andrei Markov.

  116. icecastles says:

    Bag of Pucks: Who’s wearing ties anymore? I think lawyers and undertakers are the final holdouts.

    I wear a tie every day. When I started, I was the only one in the company who did. Now, more than half of the professionals here wear a tie more often than not. Granted I may be more style-conscious than the average dude (I have two design degrees after all), but there is no debating that dressing like a professional conveys a level of seriousness, competence and ambition that the “business casual” look will just never going to convey. Want to be taken seriously? Present yourself seriously. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I think men have become indistinguishable from boys in so many ways.

    Plus, no woman worth winning is going to be impressed by runners and a No Fear t-shirt. (not to say she won’t be impressed by or attracted to other attributes, but as first impressions go, why put yourself at a disadvantage)

    Lois Lowe: Spread collar does require a half-windsor. Full windsor is never acceptable.

    Yes! Exactly! I don’t care how thin the silk, or how wide the collar, full windsor is old man territory. A tie, like the rest of the suit should be sharp, crisp and defined. A full windsor just looks fat and jolly. Somehow sloppy and stuffy all at the same time. Horrible, horrible look.

  117. godot10 says:

    frjohnk:
    godot10,

    Read the rest of the post. Eberle is between a first liner and a second liner. Especially on a competitive team. While Eberle puts upsome points, there isn’t much of a defensive or physical side to his game.

    Regardless of if he is a first liner or second liner isn’t really what I’m talking about in that comment. It’s more about how bad contracts and no bridge contracts for the young players will hurt this team going forward.

    Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy, Brett Hull, Pat Kane, Phil Kessel…not much defense, not much physicality.

    Joey Mullen, Rick Middleton, Ales Hemsky, Hakan Loob, Mats Naslund not very physical.

    First line right wingers are now earning $8 million something (Perry, Kessel) Semin is earning $7ish. Eberle’s contract is good value.

    Locking Hall and Eberle up before the salary inflation that occurred post new-CBA will be regarded as one of the ex-GM’s few good moves.

  118. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Someone had mentioned it yesterday (I think) and it got me wondering. Given the deals given to Eberle, Hall and RNH after their ELC’s, how are you going to traverse the negotiations with Yakupov? If he feels his current situation is an outcome of the systems and coaching he is subjected to under Eakins – and he feels Eakins is locked for at least next year but the foreseeable future – how does he feel if he is offered a 2 year bridge contract at say 3.5 MM per year? On those two years, he is being hit ~$5 MM versus what the other guys got. That seems uber punishing to the ego IF you feel you have been strapped down on bringing to the game what are your true strengths (scoring goals and bringing offense). Amongst all the asset balancing MacT has to juggle, this seems by far the most challenging given Yak’s ability to bolt to more receptive environments in a competitor league. This particular situation might be MacT’s toughest equation to puzzle out. I’m guessing he is hoping (like hand rubbing hoping) for a breakout splurge in offense to start next year to help make a publicly acceptable case for dropping a fat stack and term on Yak.

  119. icecastles says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic: Amongst all the asset balancing MacT has to juggle, this seems by far the most challenging given Yak’s ability to bolt to more receptive environments in a competitor league.

    If Yak were not Russian, would this question ever be asked? I am almost certain it would not.

    If he doesn’t play to the level of Hall et al, he will not be payed like them. They are all under the same coach on the same team. I doubt an arbitrator would see it any differently if it came to that. I don’t think it’s much of an issue at all.

    Now can we get back to discussing men’s fashion? Anyone? No? Sigh, fine.

  120. godot10 says:

    frjohnk: Or you could sign Tyler Myers for 7 years at 5.5M per year, instead of a bridge contract.Works both ways.

    If those 3 players ( Hall, Eberle, RNH) were given bridge contracts at 3M to 4M per year, this team would have more cap room to sign some good stop gap players for next year until the young core and prospects have matured.

    We don’t have that luxury

    MacT inherited no cap issues and two compliance buyouts. Only Hall, Eberle, and Smid were signed for longer than two years (other than 1st year ELC’s) And no restricted movement clauses other than Horcoff’s which Lowe and MacT gave Horcoff. MacT has a blank canvas to fashion the team with no cap limitations. MacT had zero cap issues to deal with. See the David Clarkson offer which was reputed to be larger than and as long Hall’s and Eberle’s with a no movement clause.

  121. icecastles says:

    godot10: which was reputed to be

    Key phrase, right there.

  122. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    icecastles,

    Of course it gets asked because he is Russian. What is odd about that? Players often make decisions on where they play based on where they are from. Ference is a great example, so is Parise so is Suter. List goes on and on.

    You should not dismiss pride in the equation here and just assume he will accept rational arguments on why he should suck it up and accept less. We have already tasted this with Gagner and the leverage he held on the last contract go around. Its a business and Yak has every right to use every lever at his disposal. I expect his agent to guide him to do so.

  123. icecastles says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic: Of course it gets asked because he is Russian. What is odd about that?

    Seriously?

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic: Ference is a great example, so is Parise so is Suter.

    Considering these guys are from North America, where the NHL is situated, those are absolutely terrible examples.

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic: You should not dismiss pride in the equation here and just assume he will accept rational arguments on why he should suck it up and accept less.

    I’m not. Pride says you want to prove yourself in the best league, not run home with your tail between your legs admitting defeat on the dream you’ve held your whole life. That’s why he’s not bolting for the KHL.

  124. VOR says:

    Woodguy,

    This is going to be a simplification because I weight these numbers for difficulty of ice and also blend multiple variables.

    However, take the New York Islanders 5 on 5 (all minutes) corsi for and corsi against numbers and divide them by the total 5 on 5 minutes the team has played to get a team corsi for /60 and corsi against/60 for all 5 on 5 minutes.

    Now multiply these numbers times those of Calvin De Haan minutes to get an expected corsi for and an expected corsi against number.

    Now take De Haan’s observed corsi for and subtract the expected corsi for and De Haan’s expected corsi against minus the observed corsi against. Now take the sum of those two numbers.

    I get De Haan being on the ice for 30 more corsi for events than predicted and also for more than 76 fewer corsi against events than predicted which works out to a net positive corsi differential of 107 – in other words 107 better things happen with De Haan on the ice than we would expect. The number for Kulikov is 22. If you consider the huge difference in minutes played De Haan’s rate of unexpected good things per 60 is staggering in comparison to Kulikov. 8.22 per 60 for De Haan and 1.11 per 60 Kulikov. So De Haan is a lot better than the New York Islanders team and Kulikov is slightly better than the Florida Panthers team.

    Now if you do this for Fenwick For and Against and Shots For and Against and adjust for quality of competition and also do the same for giveaways and takeaways (which while useless for inter team comparisons work fine for intra team analysis) you end up with a weighting for the guys which suggests that Kulikov is pretty much an average Florida Panther and De Haan is an extraordinary New York Islanders. It seems plausible to argue that De Haan is more likely to help the Oilers.

  125. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    icecastles,

    Many foreign players make decisions to return to their native countries and play professional hockey. It isn’t just a Russian dynamic. Many Swedes, Finish, Czech players make lifestyle or employment decisions to make that sort of move. It doesn’t seem unusual to me.

    I’m not sure what you find difficult in that. The KHL is a very legitimate high level, high paying professional hockey league. Why is it such a leap to think Yakupov – if he feels cornered on a difficult contract negotiation – to consider an outlet to a league in a region of the world that he knows very well and has family nearby? Particularly if he is offered considerably more money to do so?

  126. jake70 says:

    “I’m not taking part in winter anymore, so we’ll be ignoring the elements on the Lowdown this morning. Happy spring! ”

    Holy cow…..spring you say? In the middle of this weather bomb here in the east, wondering if my roof is going to blow off or not. Man.

    “If he doesn’t play to the level of Hall et al, he will not be payed like them.”

    RNH 2013 40gp 4 20 24 6M cap hit x 7
    Gonna be interesting.

  127. G Money says:

    VOR: Now take the sum of those two numbers.
    I get De Haan being on the ice for 30 more corsi for events than predicted and also for more than 76 fewer corsi against events

    I know I’m trying to work this out in my head, so I’m getting it wrong but – doesn’t that roughly equal what CorsiRel tells you? (honest question)

    Also re: De Haan: sample size?

  128. G Money says:

    icecastles: Lois Lowe: Spread collar does require a half-windsor. Full windsor is never acceptable.
    Yes! Exactly! I don’t care how thin the silk, or how wide the collar, full windsor is old man territory. A tie, like the rest of the suit should be sharp, crisp and defined. A full windsor just looks fat and jolly. Somehow sloppy and stuffy all at the same time. Horrible, horrible look.

    Yes, but … what about the Full Monty?

    That’s my preference when wearing a tie! Spread optional.

  129. G Money says:

    Bag of Pucks: Who’s wearing ties anymore? I think lawyers and undertakers are the final holdouts.

    About a quarter of my time is spent accompanying my sales team on customer calls, providing the ‘executive muscle’ so to speak. I believe the old adage is true: always dress one notch above what your customer is wearing. Most of our customers are biz casual, but some are still suit and tie, so unless I know the culture beforehand, just can’t take the chance. Tie it is.

    It’s OK though, I just take advantage of the oxygen being cut off to my brain and pretend I’m a Flames fan.

  130. icecastles says:

    G Money: Yes, but … what about the Full Monty?

    I’m terrified.

  131. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious: Do centers gets more points because they are more involved in the play or do they get more points because, most of the time, the best players play center?

    That may be an effect. But most of the kids I know playing hockey are slotted into positions long before the talent level is very well established. If C were inherently the best player by such a wide margin, you would think a C would always be BPA for 1OV. Since 2000, it’s been: C, W, C, W, C, C, W, D, C, W, G, W, W, G

  132. VOR says:

    By the way, I am not hating on Kulikov. He is a very fine defenceman and would be an upgrade on the Oilers current D. I am merely saying that De Haan is offering evidence of being a surprising good defenceman on quite a bad team. It seems likely that neither the Panthers or the Islanders are close to as bad as the Oilers. They are however, bad in different ways or better than the Oilers in different ways.

    The Panthers and Islanders are remarkably similar in corsi for but Florida is far better in corsi against. presumably Kulikov is part of the reason for that difference, though the math suggests it is a weak effect at best and meanwhile Kulikov certainly isn’t pushing the offence. Meanwhile the Islanders are pretty good on offence and De Haan is only a little better on offence than expected. However, they are terrible on defence in terms of allowing negative events of any and all kinds but De Haan is far better than his team.

    Both guys are RFAs this season. Kulikov currently makes $2,500,000 and is at Year 5 of paid employment. De Haan currently makes $870,000 and is on either Year 3 or Year 4. Also De Haan this year has outscored Kulikov at evens per 60 (.84 versus .60 or .65 to .38 if you take out 2nd assists) while playing a tougher role on his team (though way fewer minutes) than Kulikov.

    All I am saying is the numbers suggest De Haan is the better trade target if you are going after a young D on another team.

  133. prairieschooner says:

    The Oilers lost another game along the road to Bataan
    Were there positives ? Yes it was not 8-1 again.

    I have to question MacT ‘s decision to try to fix our defence with the hope and a prayer approach
    He signed Ferrence who is an NHL D man
    Belov was a risk to some extent
    Grebeskov was a huge gamble as he had not played any significant hockey for 3 years and was languishing in the nether regions of the KHL
    The guy from the Horcoff trade was far from an NHL player not able to crack the Dallas line up

    As I see it he added one NHL player and took a flyer on the rest
    Was Mac T trying to save money when he should have been adding NHL players?

  134. VOR says:

    Actually, GMONEY, yes and no. It depends on source data. Also, I am just using it as one of a number of data points, all of which tell the same story. This year De Haan is the better player. It was meant to explain the approach I am taking while using a commonly understood stat. You can expand the approach to any number of stats. For example De Haan is +4 in giveaways versus takeaways from what you would expect. Kulikov is -18 from expected. I am also correcting for actual linemate effects by doing the same analysis for linemates instead of team. Or rather the computer is doing the work.

    It is possible De Haan is a sample size freak. That said, Kulikov would seem way too dependent on a team that hides his lack of positive event production behind their team ability to generate positive offensive events. Meanwhile he isn’t much better than his teammates on defence and De Haan is, a lot better than his teammates and linemates.

    I chose the data filters I did because I personally think the Oilers problems start on the offensive side of the puck and what they need is D who can push the river and generate opportunities without getting torched on defence, D who can create far more than they leave.

    De Haan is vulnerable to predation because he has a brutal PDO that masks what those underlying numbers are saying. This is also true of Kulikov. Let me say again – Kulikov big upgrade for Oilers. De Haan a shot at a player who changes everything. Also, De Haan is likely to cost far less in terms of player and salary which offsets the small sample size issue in the analysis I am running.

    There are no sure things. Kulikov is more certain and less valuable. De Haan is better but riskier. All I was saying is De Haan, based on the math, deserves to be in the trade for conversation that has been going on here for months yet I have never seen his name mentioned so I thought I would.

  135. TheOtherJohn says:

    Vor

    Very interesting way to identify potential targets. It would be great to add a pair of D in top 4 and be able to push some players down a pairing or to PB/OKC/CHL

  136. godot10 says:

    Kulikov turned down $5 million per season on a long term deal in Florida, a state without an income tax. And one is near the night life on South Beach.

    And the Oilers also need to sign Schultz to a transition deal, and Petry to a contract similar to Kulikov’s.

  137. TheOtherJohn says:

    If MacT signs Petry to a $5+m contract he should quit as a GM

    And I like Petry alot

  138. VOR says:

    Returning to battlers and how I know De Haan is one. He has thrown 28 more hits and blocked 35 more shots in the time he has played than an average New York Islander would be expected to and has 18 more hits and 1 fewer blocked shots than an average NYI defenceman would have in those minutes. He has 35 more hits and 1 more blocked shots than his defence partners. In other words he is aggressive physically relative to his teammates, fellow defensemen, and the defencemen he plays with. Couple that with the rest of the data and you get a picture of a Dman who is very aggressive and also produces positive events. On top of which he has a total of 26 minutes in penalties when he should have 37.

    So in summary, hits a lot relative to team, fairly average shot blocker, takes very few penalties, produces many more positive than negative events, also far more takeaways and fewer giveaways than expected. In other words he picks his spots and uses them to tremendous effect. He wins the battles that count and he takes part in a lot of battles which is exactly the sort of player the Oilers need.

  139. PunjabiOil says:

    If progress were measured in 60 minute increments, you’d be right. Thankfully it isn’t.

    Not saying they’ve progressed this year. Just saying that’s a terrible way to frame the argument.

    The Sabres game represents the low point of a season in which they have been outchanced on a regular basis.


    Five coaches since the suckage started. FIVE. The problem is not the coach. I’m truly flabbergasted that after this many coaching changes, people are still saying it’s the coach. These poor players are going to end up with multiple personality disorder if we see yet another change.

    If 15 or 20 games in next year things are still a mess, it’s a conversation to be had. It isn’t right now.

    Why are the two things mutually exclusive?

    Why is it not possible both the depth is bad, and Dallas Eakins is a bad coach?

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Lowetide.ca