The boys are back in town and that means (lately) a chance to win the game, possession be damned. Last time our heroes saw blade cut ice they were 5-4 winners despite losing the Corsi 5×5 (41%) and Corsi all (48%) battle. In that 5-4-2 run the team is 47.7% Corsi all, which compares to 50.3% during the Dallas Eakins coaching period this season. I think, at the end of the day, the story of this season is going to be that Dallas Eakins figured out the possession but the blue had no calm feet and the goaltending was just a rumor. The season was flushed almost before it began, behind the net with a Calgary Flames forward forcing a quick, bad decision.
And now, in another of life’s cruel jokes, the Corsi are no long barking but the wins come along as regular as the No. 9 bus. The entire season has been a disconnect, northing rhymes. We know how the new ‘Corsi 40s’ play out but luck owes the Oilers big time, so let’s hope we get another week of W’s.
- Joanne Ireland: Taylor Hall was struck by a puck during Monday’s session and left the ice, favouring his left leg. He returned for a short spell then left the ice again. Nelson didn’t expect it was anything that would keep Hall out of the lineup for the game against the Wild. Source
This is important because it shows management is still interested in giving the hometown crowd a show. At some point they’ll trade Petry and then all bets are off—you cannot argue trading Petry is going to help you win games this season—but for now it’s full steam ahead. I hope they win tonight.
MIKE RICHARDS OVER THE YEARS
|PLAYER||5X5/60||CORSI %||ZS (C’s)||QUAL COMP|
|2011-12||1.27||48.4||3rd best||3rd toughest|
|2012-13||1.51||53.7||3rd toughest||3rd toughest|
|2014-15||1.27||52.4||2nd toughest||4th toughest|
Richards isn’t the worst center in the league but he’s eroding quickly and that contract is poison. If he wasn’t Mike Richards, if this was Flark Larkobello, would we be talking about him at all? His 5×5/60 hasn’t been close to helpful in coming on five years, his Corsi is solid three years running but he’s not playing tough minutes and his zone starts haven’t been an issue for offense since Philadelphia. No sale. Which means the Oilers will trade for him on the Jamieson show.
I’ve heard Robin Lehner to Edmonton a few times now. Probably nothing. We haven’t talked much about it but I’d like to see the Oilers go with a Lehner as opposed to a Niemi. MacT took a lot of heat about the goaling but for me it was a sound bet that worked out. He should have the courage of his convictions and go get Lehner unless it costs Hall. Senators have Curtis Lazar too, I wonder how much Murray would have to give in order to get management’s attention? I’d still keep Hall.
PROBABLY JUST HERSLEY
As reported by Fifth Cartel (and Mr. DeBakey) the Oilers appear to be interested in defender Patrik Hersley. He’s in the KHL and his size (6.03, 209) and age (28) make this right hander a player of interest. Apparently has a bomb for a shot, which may explain the following stats:
- 46gp, 15-14-29. 24pims +5
- Drafted No. 139 overall in 2005 by the Los Angeles Kings.
- 5 EV goals, 9 PP goals and one on the PK.
- 152 shots, 9.9%
- 19:39 TOI per game
- 41 hits, 33 shots blocked
It’s impossible to know if he’s any good at all, he could be slow or have a hunch back or maybe he’s the inspiration for The Fugitive. He does appear to be an interesting player, and the Oilers are so low on RH’s (Petry, Fayne, Schultz). My attitude about these Euro signings, from Belov to Pakarinen, is giddyup. They are mature players and if one or two come through well that’s fine. Edmonton’s Finnish scout Matti Virmanen has been bringing in some interesting things. Maybe this fellow is one.
- Swedish Poster: Hersley is an interesting guy, I might have mentioned him before. He had an ok junior career but never took off at the pro level, the team he played for Malmö was a bit of a mess, so despite a pretty bad season in Sweden he went to the AHL for two years and failed, came back and played pretty well despite not getting prime toi for two seasons with Malmö in Allsvenskan(2nd tier). Went to Modo in the SHL and got off on the completely wrong foot with Ulf Samuelsson, who is a joke of a coach btw and went to Leksand where he started to figure things out.\
- He had a break out year last season but there were still question marks around footspeed and overall game, he lived off that great shot and offensive prowess combined with decent play in the own zone, but this year he’s taken a huge step, looked fantastic with the swedish NT this fall. Even looked like he got quicker if that’s possible at his age, might be his decisionmaking that’s got some speed up.
His shot is still glorious, won the KHL hardest shot at their skill competition and his accuracy is great.
- There are some questions about how well he does at a higher pace and I wouldn’t write him into any top 4 action just now but he is a very nice bet to take because if he can hold his own defensively and doesn’t get killed at the higher pace of the NHL his shot from the blue is in the Shea Weber realm and would instantly give us an elite PP weapon.
KATZ AND FIRE
David Shoalts from the Globe and Mail has a must read article up today, showing the Katz empire’s relationship and handling of a loan to Sherry Bassin, elderly owner of the Erie Otters. The timeline makes clear that Mr. Katz was intent on using Hamilton as a possible hammer in negotiations (kind of like the Seattle trip, but with money) if it came to that. Shoalts uncovers several things that put the Katz group in a bad light.
- Former Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina: “My sense was [Hamilton] was going to be used against the City of Edmonton as leverage for their deal,” he said in an interview. “That’s my opinion.” Source
This blog is mostly concerned with the on-ice product but there’s little doubt that the actions of the Katz group in all things shows a heavy hand and willingness to bully. At some point all of these moments may conspire to cause havoc to Oilers’ ownership, but a trip around North America suggests sports franchises have a very strong position in any community and are very willing to push in order to get their way. I suspect some of you reading that G&M article will be horrified by the behavior mentioned, others may see it as business as usual.
Shoalts story isn’t a new one, it’s been around for a little while. He did an excellent job in setting the timeline and delivering some nuance (like the quote above from Hamilton’s former mayor and some revealing emails). For me, it points out once again just how little we know and how disconnected we are to this ownership. Is Daryl Katz a bully? Of course he is. That isn’t news or especially noteworthy. For Oilers fans, there are two questions:
- Why can’t he run a successful team on the ice?
- Will these business tactics eventually cost the organization in some real way?
My increasing sense is that the answer is he doesn’t care and probably. No big deal this time, I guess, it isn’t like Connor McDavid plays for the Erie Otters and I’m sure his Dad has no connection to Sherry Bassin.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
NHL is back! God I missed it. TSN1260, 10 this morning:
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey and Oilers Nation. What should we expect from the rest of this season?
- Eric Rodgers, Tend the Farm. We’re counting down to the end of the Barons. Bittersweet? Hell yeah. We’ll talk to Eric.
- Travis Yost, TSN. We’ll talk about eastern seaboard storms, predicting the weather, the Oilers and the Senators.
- Eric Hohl, Arctic Ice Hockey. Jets Jets Jets! Plus NHL equivalencies for 2015 eligibles.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!