Well the first, it’s in. Well the second? So what. It’s over, gone, we need to let it go. Well the third? Go to hell, I’m still mad. A very frustrating night for this Oilers fan.
The Edmonton Oilers didn’t get a late celly and they didn’t get a point from last night’s game. This week is a bugger, with Minny, Montreal and Calgary the foes. If you think 3-6-0 looks bad, try 3-9-0 on for size. The problems are the problems, the solutions in the ether (well, one or two solutions are in Bakersfield, the rest are in the ether).
It’s one thing if it didn’t cost anything, but McLellan’s Oilers are trying to dig out from a decade of suck. That point mattered, in the standings and in the look of 3-5-1 as opposed to 3-6-0. Maybe they can use this as a bonding moment, an us against the world moment.
This is us. Life and death despite the McDavid. Peter Chiarelli solved the goalie issue in a day last summer, the blue is going to take longer. We’ll catch you later, LA. Maybe next time you won’t need the zebra push.
"We were told it wasn't definitive enough to overturn ..I guess we don't have to agree with it but it's made and we move on." Todd McLellan
— Joanne Ireland (@jirelandEJ) October 26, 2015
Scott Cullen of TSN has done much fine work around the draft these last years. Scott’s line in the sand for a useful selection is 100 games, and it works when looking across many seasons and trying to find a universal success point. However, I’ve always preferred the 200-game mark—you can’t Marc Pouliot your way to that number by being a high pick in a strong year. If a player makes it to 200 NHL games, he’s done something memorable. Even a guy like Magnus Paajarvi (228 NHL games) was part of a fabulous rookie crop in 2010 and will always be remembered for the David Perron trade.
Which brings me to Anton Lander. This is a very important season for him. If Lander can hold on to the 3C role and provide Edmonton with some offense, the Swede who looks like he’s headed to a 1960’s coffee shop for an evening of folk music could hang around for the rest of the decade. If he can’t, it might he here’s your hat what’s your hurry. What does he needed to do in order to keep the job? Score a little, hang in with possession and help on special teams.
ANTON LANDER 2014-15
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.60 (5th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 5.52 (2nd among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 13th toughest competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Qual Team: 12th best competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 48.6
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: 5.2
- Zone Start: 49.4%
- Shots on goal/percentage: 61 shots/9.8%
- Faceoffs: 50.1%
- Boxcars: 38, 6-14-20
ANTON LANDER 2015-16
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.00 (in 99:21 minutes)
- 5×4 points per 60: 0.00
- Qual Comp: 2C
- Qual Team: 3C
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 33.7
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -10.6
- Zone Start: 31.0
- Shots on goal/percentage: 12 shots
- Faceoffs: 52.3%
- Boxcars: 9GP, 0-0-0
I’m a fan of Anton Lander and do think he’s been getting the short end of the stick in terms of linemates. In pre-season, that third line was humming with Lander, Nail Yakupov and Leon Draisaitl. So far this season, Lander has been slotted with Lauri Korpikoski and Teddy Purcell (both over an hour with Anton). They haven’t pissed a drop. Go, Anton, Go! I’m cheering for you, sir.
I haven’t mentioned him much, but would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Cam Talbot on behalf of my ulcer and various body parts. His hockey-reference box is a warm quilt on a cold, blue day.
BLUE IN A BOX, LAST NIGHT
- Andrej Sekera is finding his way now, emerging as the strong option on this team for all the chores. They beauty of a complete defenseman is you can run him hard in close games and I think we’re getting closer to a Klefbom—Sekera pairing.
- Mark Fayne suffered a lot of slings and arrows last night (I was in one of many exchanges on twitter, people don’t like this fellow). For me, he had a good game, played more than usual because of the Schultz injury and he’s one of three blue on the team I consider bona fide.
- Brandon Davidson was fine to my eye, McLellan sheltered him (to be expected) but he can retrieve the puck and battle monsters in the corner. He played better than Ference had in his games, meaning that my depth chart now has AF at No. 8 among roster D.
- Eric Gryba is fast becoming Todd McLellan’s minutes muncher. He can defend but is a poor puck handler, I think we may see Klefbom—Gryba on Tuesday night if Schultz can’t go. They were 2-3 in 3:55 together.
- Oscar Klefbom spent much of the first two periods in the fog of war. He was 0-9 in 8:38 with Schultz, 2-3 in 3:55 with Gryba, 5-6 in 3:42 with Fayne, 3-0 in 2:29 with Davidson, 0-3 in 1:35 with Sekera.
- Justin Schultz was injured in last night’s game. I’m not a doctor, but did watch Scrubs. If he was injured on the play SN ran after the period, I’ll suggest back or ribs. Here’s hoping he isn’t out for long.
The Oilers have to do something about the pairings not named Sekera—Fayne, and I think part of that should be to at least consider breaking up that pairing.
I know you’re sick of this (your DMs and emails tell me so) but for me there’s no reason for the Oilers to delay the recall of Darnell Nurse. He was quality in the spring during the AHL playoffs and he’s quality now. Call him up, insert him in the lineup. If he’s poor, the Oilers can send him down after a few games. I’ve maintained all along that he is one of the six best defensive options and he should be here now. After watching last night’s game, I can’t imagine anyone disagrees. At the very least they can start getting him that NHL experience he’s going to need in order to start pushing the river at the highest level. The excuse of Griffin Reinhart also needing those initial NHL minutes to have the game slow down for him don’t apply—Reinhart is injured. Call up Darnell Nurse. It’s the right thing to do.
CENTERS IN A BOX, LAST NIGHT
- Nuge took some hits in the game-day thread on this site last night, but for me he was money again. Skated miles, faced the Doughty pairing and the Carter line, and of course grabbed an apple on a beauty pass on the five by four.
- Connor McDavid is the truth, and the light. 6-4 v. the killer Doughty. Fin.
- Mark Letestu is showing well with his line of jackals. 2-5 v. Nolan-Clifford.
- Anton Lander will get hammered at the office today, but a 20ZS and 8:35 against the Kopitar line is a tough way to make a living. I still like him, cheering like hell, but no idea how much faith Todd McLellan has in him.
WINGERS IN A BOX, LAST NIGHT
- Rob Klinkhammer, at some level, must be pinching himself every day. Holy man, what an opportunity. He’s doing everything he can to stay in the clean air, including all kinds of smart decisions. Cheating for defense, making sure the skill guys get the puck back, the whole nine yards. This opportunity will soon be gone and Klink will go back to doing the chores, but my oh my this has to be a fantastic moment in his career. Kind of like discovering Jiving Sister Fanny in a bargain bin (as I did, summer 1975, McLeod’s Hardware, Maidstone SK. Mr. Meier sold it to me).
- Benoit Pouliot cashed the EV goal last night off a McDavid sortie and looked good for the most part last night. He has some vapor lock moments in his game but I love the guy’s skill set on that line.
- Taylor Hall continued his battle with Drew Doughty, it’s one of my favorite modern clashes. People simply don’t get how good Doughty is, and it’s a mystery to me. Hall was 6-8 against him last night.
- Nail Yakupov is getting some of the shimmy shake back in his stickhandling, time for another reminder about giddyup passes. He looked a little tentative at times, probably because he has the good sense to know what the hell he’s up against when LAK come to town. Made a nice pass to McDavid on the first goal and then drove to the net—a key item in the score. Our young man has found a home, I wouldn’t take him from McDavid’s line even if Eberle was healthy.
- Iiro Pakarinen went unnoticed by me. I feel bad, will watch the game again.
- Teddy Purcell is not well-suited to the game he’s being asked to play, but he does his best and doesn’t bitch about it. Such a nice passer, it galls me to hear people complain about him. Skill, people. It’s more important than hitting someone. Seriously.
- Luke Gazdic fought (it was a good fight, his highlight reel is going to be mammoth before he’s through) and for me is a better player this year for what he brings.
- Lauri Korpikoski isn’t doing enough good things for me to forgive that penalty, but if we’re honest it was a cheap call on a night Edmonton wasn’t going to win because the Gods weren’t going to let it happen.
The Oilers should recall Leon when they send for Darnell. Put him on the Lander line, give those poor buggers some clean air and let’s see what happens when the offense is opened up a little. The 3-6-0 start is good in one way: Peter Chiarelli will be more open to new ideas.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A packed, rocking show this morning at 10, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. The Habs are up, the Ducks are down, and Connor McDavid keeps on rolling.
- Rob Soria, Vavel USA. The Blue Jays are done and we’re on the Royals-Mets.
- Sunil Agnihotri, The Superfan, Copper and Blue. The game last night, staying the course, what’s reasonable in terms of expectations for this week.
- Andrew Bucholtz, 55-Yard Line. The Eskimos started slowly and then kicked out the jams against the Roughriders on the weekend. Can they deliver enough offense in the Western Final?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!