In these days where the chem lab works 24-7, it’s interesting to see who gets the McDavid push and how well each player has performed so far this year.
MCDAVID’S WINGERS GAME ONE
- Anton Slepyshev 7-4 .636 Corsi events (9:20 EV TOI)
- Taylor Hall 6-10 .375 Corsi events (11:44 EV TOI)
MCDAVID’S WINGERS GAME TWO
- Nail Yakupov 8-4 .667 Corsi events (6:23 EV TOI)
- Benoit Pouliot 8-6 .571 Corsi events (8:38 EV TOI)
- Lauri Korpikoski 5-5 .500 Corsi events (4:42 EV TOI)
It looks like Todd McLellan saw what the numbers indicate, as the practice lines yesterday reflected the chemistry between McDavid and Yakupov and we may see them run with Pouliot tonight in Dallas.
- Todd McLellan: “We’re trying to be perfect right now and when we look at the goals that were scored five-on-five there were very few perfect ones around the league; a lot of them were on secondary opportunities, basically garbage-type goals. Our guys have to understand that’s usually the way it’s going to happen, so we’ll get better in that area.” Source
The idea of being too fine offensively isn’t a new one, and McLellan’s San Jose teams (and Craig MacTavish’s Oilers teams) are good examples of teams who could score with finesse and under duress. The brilliant blog Oilers Nerd Alert wrote something that dovetails nicely on today’s subject:
- GMoney: “The Oilers cannot and should not pattern their game after those big heavy teams. It’s the CHI and DET teams, speed, skill, and tenacity, that are the archetypes for the Oilers. But go look at those guys. Even they scored 3X to 4X as many goals (on a relative and absolute basis) from the tough areas as the Oilers did.”
The Oilers forwards have to do more of the dirty work and both Pouliot and Yakupov—McDavid’s new linemates—have a bit more edge than some of the other young wingers. Pouliot is an agitator, and Yakupov, aside from being a fire hydrant on skates, has a little of the disturber in him, too. I look forward to seeing how they shine.
- Todd McLellan: “When the team isn’t scoring, we have to make a change. It’s Yak’s chance to play with Connor and Benny Pouliot. I thought when we made that change in Nashville, there was a little skip in their stride, they were maybe a little quicker, a little more o-zone time, not many more chances but a little more o-zone time.” Source
Hell, someone is going to be Jari Kurri and someone is going to be Raimo Summanen. This is ground zero. We wait, wonder and prepare to be amazed.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 12, 2015
The Oilers get together with the Blue Jays, Toronto’s season turned on the Oilers attendance in G3, maybe there’s some good vibrations coming the Oilers way.
- Todd McLellan: “Davy is here and we’ve talked about wanting to use him and see what he can do, give him a chance to perform and he’ll likely get that opportunity.” Source
The 2010 draft isn’t over yet. Taylor Hall continues to ramble on in Edmonton, Martin Marincin is top 6D in Toronto and Brandon Davidson plays his baker’s dozenth game tonight in the shadow of the Modano.
- Todd McLellan: “Anders will have a real good chance at playing tomorrow. He hasn’t played since the Arizona game in exhibition. It’s time for him to get in and perform.” Source
Someday he’ll be known as the man who was traded for Liam Coughlin, but for now we’re wondering if he can play as well in the regular season as he did in exhibition action. A fun goalie to cheer for, hopefully he ruins Tuesday for Texas.
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) October 11, 2015
Lots of crazy tweets and thoughts on the Al Gore about McDavid (and Jack Eichel) these days, I encourage you to remember the people who attempt to cast doubt about the future of any 18-year-old. I assume there’s a special place in hell for these people.
Connor McDavid is fine. He’s actually doing damned well, and the team is performing at a solid level considering their opponents (and they’re on the road):
Just re-watched Oilers-Preds to grade scoring chances. Oilers outchanced them 13-11, but 7 Grade A chances for Preds, just 5 for Oilers.
— David Staples (@dstaples) October 13, 2015
I don’t agree with David’s errors counts (nothing personal, just don’t believe anyone can take out the bias completely), but he’s extremely accurate (I have found) on the scoring chance count. The Preds story as described here matches the eye test, as two errors (Sekera and Zamboni Door) sunk the effort.
Which is not to say the Oilers are free of the bad times, there was in fact significant running around—especially later in the first period of the NAS game. As McLellan said early in training camp, every team has low points and chaos moments, the trick is to cut down on those moments.
By eye and by Corgi howl (hockeystats.ca says 5×5 Corsi for % was 47.67% against St. Louis, 51.9% against Nashville) this team does appear to be in more of the game than in the past. Iron out the wobbly bits, the running around in their own end like a chicken recently removed from its head, and things will eventually start going in a good direction consistently.
The Oilers overall 5×5 Corsi for % this season? 82-83, 49.6%. That’s on the road against two quality NHL teams. If the power play had been any damn good, maybe Edmonton has a point or two this morning. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Connor McDavid is out of his mind. He just went coast to coast in like 1.4 seconds. Cannot wait to see him in person. HOCKEY!
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) October 9, 2015
- Ryan Rishaug: An early season observation on McDavid through two games is he isn’t spending much time with the puck on his stick leading the rush out of his own end. McDavid swings down low on controlled breakouts, but doesn’t call for the puck, or have his stick on the ice to indicate he wants it. He seems to wait until he gets to the neutral zone to make himself available for the pass. He also has a tendency to curl away from the puck carrier while breaking out instead of towards him. McDavid has incredible speed, and can back off opponents with it. My guess is the coaching staff would love to see him carry it more. Source
I think that will come with chemistry and experience. McDavid doesn’t have a feel yet for who can get it to him in the right spots and frankly Edmonton has one guy (Sekera) who has proven NHL ability in that area. If Justin Schultz can make that tape-to-tape pass to Connor McDavid with 97 not breaking stride? Schultz could get 40 assists in a season.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A very busy morning, as we try to stuff two days worth of great guests into one morning. Scheduled to appear, starting at 10, on TSN 1260:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. Slow starts in Boston and Los Angeles, fast starts in Tampa Bay and Manhattan.
- Mitch Williams, former MLB closer. The man who gave up the Joe Carter homer talks about that moment, and this year’s playoffs.
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. Oilers start—good and bad—and where do we see progress from this Oilers club.
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Sports. Jeff spent years with the Blue Jays and has great insight into the team and MLB in general. We’ll go around the horn and discuss all four series.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. It’s going to be a great day.